Israel is in the top 20 of per capita cellular phone ownership in the world. Cell phones are ubiquitous there, even in restaurants and movie theatres. In addition, Israel proudly trumpets its contributions to the cellular phone industry (Motorola developed the cell phone in Israel!). In fact, for most people, even though cellular phones are pedestrian, they are still miraculous, and thus the Hebrew world pelephone (Pele = miracle). It can also be called a telephone celloolari, but pelephone is much catchier and pleasing to the tongue. It can also be shortened to simple – pele.

Additionally, it is worth noting that the Hebrew word for instant coffee (Nescafe, i.e. “miracle coffee”) is derived from another word for miracle (Ness), and has no actual connection to the Nestle food product company. If you want to order instant coffee at a restaurant (which many Israelis do…inexplicably), you only need ask for “Nes,” and your server will know exactly what you want.

3 Responses to “Hebrew Slang – “Pelephone/Nescafe”

  1. By: David Lapides
    Date: April 4, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Love you guys ISRAEL IS THE BEST

  2. By: David Lapides
    Date: April 4, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I live in LA

  3. By: Dav
    Date: June 22, 2017 at 1:22 am

    Well, just gotta mention real quick – those two are prime examples of generic names.
    Sure, Pele means wonder, but it’s called like that because the first company to bring ’em magicky telephones to Israel was – surprise surprise – Pelephone. So it just stuck as generic name for any cellphone.

    Nescafé, same thing – the first popular instant coffee, at least in Israel, was the then much coveted “foreign import” Nescafé. It stuck, and now it means any kind which is like the original. The “ness” portion of the word is purely coincidental, but every other joe thinks or jokes about the “ness” as being a miracle.

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