Proud and Prickly with a Soft Heart

Muscular. Courageous. Bronzed. The stereotype of the sun-kissed sabra is Ari ben Canaan, as played by actor Paul Newman in the 1960 movie Exodus. The word sabra stems from the name of the prickly pear cactus—tzabar in Hebrew and sabr in Arabic—whose thick thorny skin covers a sweet and succulent soft flesh. An affectionate metaphor, it describes native-born Israelis whose rough and impertinent manners hide their good hearts and sensitive souls.

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