Israelis often assume that Canadians are like Americans who live in a cold country, and some of them speak French. This of course is not a very useful paradigm with which to start to work with Canadians.
When preparing Israelis to work with Canadians, these are the main differences which I point out:
- Canada is a very secular society. I prepare the Israelis that they will not find a lot of religious fundamentalists in Canada who marvel at those who come from the “promised land”, as they find south of the border.
- I prepare Israelis that in communications, Canadians are not as explicit as Americans may be. Messages may be more subtle, and objections may be expressed somewhat mutely.Israelis tend to see Americans as not very confrontive, and I prepare the Israelis that the Canadians are even less confrontive. And I warn them that being “nice” is very Canadian, but niceness does not mean agreement exists.
- I warn the Israelis that an authoritarian style does not fly as well in Canada as it does in the States. I also warn Israelis not to brag about the military background in the more peace-loving Canada.
- I tell Israelis that Canadians do not expect people to act like they do, because they realize that Canada is not the center of the world. Canada is very tolerant in this way. And I caution the Israelis not to be pushy.
- Canada and Israel, I point out, are more egalitarian in nature than the US.
- I also point out that Canada and Israel are far less politically correct, and the humour of both countries contains many examples of ethnic stereotyping, without people dropping dead and calling a lawyer; yet I warn them to exercise caution.
- Many Israelis speak perfect French. In Israel, speaking French may have a perceived negative value, because it is indicative of hailing from a Middle Eastern background. I encourage Israelis to use their French freely in Quebec. I also prepare them that in interactions with the Quebecois, the management style may be slightly more authoritarian. Quebecois and Israelis may be more informal and fun loving after work, when things can get done as well.