How Honest Are Israelis?

Watch this video to find out.

How would you react if a “blind man” mistakenly gave you more money than he intended? Similar social experiments (both real and staged) have been circulated online, showing how members of the public in the US and Australia react when asked for change of a 5 or 10 dollar bill by a "blind man", who then offers them a much greater sum "by accident." The results tend to be mixed – while many quickly explain his mistake, others are seemingly happy take advantage of the situation.

Now watch what happens in Israel.

Comments (15)

(9) MESA, February 16, 2016 2:51 AM

Mi K'Amcha Yisrael

(8) Howard Sanshuck, February 15, 2016 2:29 AM


I live in the modern version of the City that God destroyed in the Torah, Las Vegas, Nevada. Once while going into Starbucks, I noticed that a man had just picked up something valuable that had been lost by someone else and gloatingly said to a woman companion how lucky he was to find it. He then put it in his pocket and they drove away.

(7) Emanuel Miller, February 14, 2016 5:06 PM

Thank you for crediting me with the subtitles

Unlike some other organisations, it's wonderful that Aish recognised my work and gave me the credit. It's upsetting to work on a video for hours on and end for it to then be copied elsewhere - thank you for linking to the original video and acknowledging my work. I really appreciate *YOUR* honesty, Aish!

(6) Michoel, February 14, 2016 6:01 AM

Benefit of the doubt

to the fist commenter that was asked a higher price by the store-keeper:

It could be that there was NO correct price. There was an expectation of haggling. So for an American, the shop keeper started higher and for a (likely poorer) native he started lower.

I do agree that the video really shows only decency to a blind person and very little about fundamental honesty.

(5) emma, February 11, 2016 4:39 PM

people are people

I am Jewish and lived in Israel People are people it doesn't matter if you Hasidic or not . If you honest you honest, doesn't matter of religion

(4) Anonymous, February 11, 2016 9:57 AM

The Australian video is a fake.

The Australian 'social experiment' video to which the text refers, was all made by actors only: Of course, it doesn't change the Israeli honesty in this video.

(3) Heather, February 10, 2016 2:46 AM

Just another reason why I love Israel!

When seeing this topic I already guessed what would be the reaction and it is another reason why I love Israel :)

(2) Yehudis, February 9, 2016 8:45 PM

Israelis or Jews?

The video says they were all Israelis. Were they all Jews?

Shlomo, May 8, 2016 1:19 PM


The overwhelming majority of Israelis are Jewish. Had one of them been an Arab, I would have been able to tell by his or her accent, and as far as I could tell none of them were.

(1) Anonymous, February 9, 2016 4:22 PM

But What If You're Not Blind?

This video proves only that people won't take advantage of a blind man, not that they are otherwise honest or dishonest. I'm not blind and I'll share two anecdotes with you which happen to be true. My first visit to Israel was with a group of fellow American students, so long ago that the currency was the Israeli lira, not the shekel. After our flight landed we were whisked away in buses to our ulpanim. Mine was in the Galilee on the shore of the Kinneret. We stopped for refreshment along the way and my madrich was horrified to learn that I had been unmistakably shortchanged at the kiosk by the Israeli cashier. My rude introduction to commercial life in the Jewish state was to be cheated by a Jew.

Fast forward several decades and my Israeli father-in-law and I are strolling down Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall, a magnet for tourists. The proprietor of one shop was a Hasid, replete with payot and Tzitzit. I purposely went into the shop speaking American English, asking about the price of a particular menorah. The Hasid quoted me 100 shekels. I left the shop and sent in my father-in-law. He made the same inquiry in Israeli Hebrew and the Hasid, not knowing we were together, quoted him 50 shekels. It wasn't bad enough that I was being cheated because the proprietor mistook me for a tourist, but that I was being cheated by a Hasid with his holier-than-thou attitude.

Sharon, February 9, 2016 8:30 PM


Regarding your second story, when you buy in certain places, you can bargain prices down. Even if there is a set price, you can offer less and sometimes pay less. And obviously if the seller thinks you're willing to pay more, he'll ask for it. I think that as long as he gives you a receipt, it's legal. It takes getting used to, but doesn't necessarily constitute cheating.
When I first encountered this, I was shocked, but it seems quite normal to me now.

H, February 9, 2016 8:51 PM

Your first sentence was disproved in Australia and elsewhere...

DIdn't you read the introduction?
Too bad that one bad incident from many years ago - and another one that is not on the same level but rather a widespread business practice which should not be done - keeps you unable to appreciate goodness when you see it.

Anonymous, February 11, 2016 8:33 AM

Let's Start By Being Honest With Ourselves

Let's start by being honest with ourselves. Assuming that the filmmaker is being honest with us, he claims at the end of his video that "dozens" (although by my count, he showed us only nine Israelis) did not cheat a blind man. In a nation of over 6.3 million Jews, the video proves only that on a single occasion a handful too small for statistical measurement passed the test. It does not answer the question How Honest Are Israelis?

While we can engage in wishful thinking which is no substitute for evidence, we really have no idea if even the few Jews who appeared in the video, much less the remaining 6.3 million, are ethical in their business relationships, or if they cheat on their taxes, or for that matter, on their spouses.

Anonymous, February 10, 2016 1:57 AM

Don't look at the negative

I feel sorry that you experienced to very negative impressions on Jews, religions or not. From this experience, you can either choose to think all Jews are horrible dishonest, or you can view these experiences to be isolated stores. Its your lifes choice to always see either the negative or the positive.

There is a wonderful story that pinpoints this ides. These was a holocaust survivor that proclaimed to a reknowned Rabbi, "I cannot be religious anymore. In our barracks, only one man owned a payer book and he would only allow people to borrow it in exchange for their daily ration of bread. I could never associate myself with such horrible people." The Rabbi showed him how he could veiw the experience in a positive light: look at all the people who were willing to give up their daily rations for a prayer book.

This story does not perfectly illustrate your experience but hopefully it will be encouragement

Basya, February 10, 2016 12:04 PM

with his holier-than-thou attitude?

You said, "with his holier-than-thou attitude". Your description was of a man dressed frum, and his business practices.

Leaving the business practices aside for the moment (others have discussed them) -- where was his "holier-than-thou attitude"? Was it because he wore tzitzis and payos (again, that is the only thing you mentioned other than the business practices)?

Just because someone is visibly frum, doesn't meant they have a "holier-than-thou attitude". If you think so, you are projecting your own prejudices.


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