OK so the Hebrew word for salad is "salat".
But nobody offers up just "salat" on their table. If you did that, you'd seriously be dragged off to the funny farm. There is no such thing as just putting one salad on the table.
You need to put "salatim", it's always in the plural.
In Israel and even outside of Israel when one entertains, the "salatim" skills are always under scrutiny-especially when you have Sephardic relatives!!
Ashkenazis are just not as good at "salatim", sorry that's just the truth.
I guess mezze or tapas is sort of the equivalent, in other cultures but it's not really the same.
When you go to a restaurant in Israel, as soon as you sit down, you get about a dozen little "salatim" and fresh pita or laffa on the table. They are usually made with the vegetables that are most in abundance in Israel, some are fresh and some are cooked salads.
They are all yummy and have varying degrees of spicy, so you have to make sure to ask what is spicy and also to pace yourself so you don't get full before the main course arrives.
Great article! Well done!