Third time, ice cream!

“Pa’am shlisheet, glida!” (!פעם שלישית, גלידה) – (old-fashioned) Israeli slang; used upon meeting someone you rarely see twice in one day. You say, “pa’am shlishit, glida,” which means if you run into each other again, you’ll sit down for an ice cream. (Although, even if you meet the third time, no one actually buys ice cream.)

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Israel’s multiparty system – Is there a flavor for you? (Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay) 

In honor of Israel’s third elections in one year, the Jerusalem municipality announced that people who spend at least 20 NIS at certain retailers on election day can bring the receipt to a range of ice cream parlors and get free ice cream.

Ben & Jerry‘s got in on the game and is launching a new ice cream flavor in honor of the elections. In English, it’s called “One Sweet Vote” and in Hebrew, it’s a pun, “Yesh Ta’am Lehatzbiah” (יש טעם להצביה) or “There’s a reason/flavor to vote.”

You may ask yourself, “what on earth does ice cream have to do with anything?” And maybe even, “if I’m lactose intolerant, will they substitute some of that nice passionfruit sorbet?”

Israelis have some hilarious theories about where “third time, ice cream” came from. One pervasive theory is it’s from the British Mandate period when English speakers would say something like “if I see you again, I’ll scream.” I’ll scream = ice cream. Get it? No English speakers buy that theory at all.

Another common one is that it comes from the German. “Next time we meet, we’ll have a beer.” Possible. But there’s no three and there’s no ice cream.

In my personal experience, I found it used by men who think they are being suave. I’ll see them more than once in a short span of time, and they say, “Pa’am shlishit, glida?” like they’re asking for a date. Uh. No. Stalker. *giant eyeroll*

The explanation I found in a deep crevice in the internet was biblical. When the Israelites left Egypt, they need help from God to survive. At their first stop, God provided water. At the second stop, God provided water and dates. At the third stop, God gave them manna. Manna is described as “thin as frost.” When the Bible was translated into Aramaic, frost was translated as – wait for it – glida! 

It remains to be seen if the third time is a charm for the Israeli elections. Based on this, we could look forward to ice cream or screaming or beer or rescue by God. Maybe all of the above.

Or – more likely – it may play out like two friends meeting for the third time: nice words, but nobody buys the ice cream.

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