Of the many problems I have with Jerusalem, I would put taxi drivers near the top of the list. Generally, a taxi ride leaves me feeling seething with rage, furious in the knowledge that I've been fucked over royally by a rapacious driver and impotent because my Hebrew wasn't good enough to do anything about it (funny that, taxi drivers are the only class of people in Israel, as far as I can tell, whom are disinclined towards speaking English to the linguistically challenged like me. Perhaps I should travel by cab more often...)
Anyway, I had a meeting in Jerusalem yesterday. No problem. I check the bus timetable on line, and figured out precisely which bus I'd need to transport me from the Central Bus Station to my destination and back. Couldn't be simpler...
We arrive in Jerusalem. It is pissing down with rain. I scurry from bus stop to bus stop, trying to find the right point to catch my bus. I can't find it.
I'm getting very wet.
I dash back indoors to ask the nice folks at the information centre where I can catch my bus. The queue there is long and static. I'm running late for my appointment. I dash back outside, swallow my pride and hail a cab.
To my surprise - no, to my shock - it was a pleasant experience. No, in fact, it was a delightful experience. The driver put on the meter without being asked. He took the most direct route possible. We had a nice little chat (in Hebrew; he did most of the chatting, as you can imagine. But I did understand him most of the time, and was able to make the right noises when appropriate). He showed me the sights along the way.
And he didn't try to overcharge me. I was so overcome, I gave him a tip...
Perhaps the key is to work on my Hebrew (mumble, grumble, why can't everyone learn to speak English for my convenience etc etc...)
A while ago, I read about this scheme, for catching up with the dog owners who allow their pooches to crap all over the place. I laughed. Using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, I thought.
Last night, I got back home from Jerusalem at about 7, wet, tired and exhausted. I approached the communal entrance to my block of flats, thinking about a hot shower and an early night when suddenly...I was flat on my back.
It seems that I slipped on a lump of dog shit deposited right at the doorstep - at least, that's what I deduced from the skid marks on the floor and the strange smell clinging to me. It's not the first time, mind; I marched upstairs swearing violent retribution against the perpetrator. Suddenly, DNA swabs seem like the most logical thing in the world...
Murakami's visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum prompted him to come up with the following insight: "I think that the State of Israel suffers from some sort of trauma. The brain tells them that excessive self-defense is not good, but their body spontaneously responds to the slightest of provocations."
And the response of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
"The State of Israel is proud for having presented the Jerusalem Prize to Murakami and respects his right to express his opinions on current affairs. However, Israel regrets that the author, who is highly popular in Israel, preferred to adopt some inaccurate generalizations about the Middle East conflict, without knowing the facts. We would be happy if during his next visit in the country, the author would find the time to learn more about Israel and the reality in the Region."
Come on, I'm sure they pay Mark Regev and his mates enough to come up with something better than this...
I've seen this gem pop up a few times in the last couple of days.
I guess it's difficult to be inventive when it comes to marketing Surface to Air Missiles. I mean, what else can one say? "Maximum damage guaranteed"? Or, "This product is certified as ecologically sound and carbon neutral. No trees were harmed during the manufacture of this missile"?
What can I tell you about her? She's Leonardo DiCaprio's girlfriend. She's from Hod HaSharon - which, I suppose, is as unlikely as Naomi Campbell coming outta Streatham. At the moment, she's probably Israel's most acceptable export.
If, like me, you're a lazy reader, you may misread 'sexist' for 'sexiest'. If you are like me, you would then ignore the appalling syntax that the the use of 'sexiest' would entail and immediately plunge into youtube to locate this gem.
If, like Mrs Goy, you are a feminist firebrand, you'll still go into youtube, albeit just to tut loudly at the chauvinism of the advertisement.
I'm guessing that in any case, you'd want to see the ad. So, putting out of your misery, here it is:
Loose translation of the voiceover - The 'Bar' you'd always want at home: The Mi Eden 'Easy' - easy installation, easy service, easy preparation...(Mi Eden is the name of the campany in whose name this crap was prepared.)
PC and advertising do not necessarily go hand in hand in Israel (actually, PC and Israel, generally speaking, do not go hand in hand; but that's another matter altogether...). Consequently, one occasionally gets the outrageous yet undeniably witty creation, like this one for a cable network's HDTV
But more often than not, it's just sleazy crap that does nothing but repel the viewer from the product.
That said, the bigger question for me, is this: What's wrong with tap water?
Why do I use the word 'incident', rather than 'terrorist outrage', perhaps, or 'understandable reaction to the continued oppression...' ?
I'll tell you why. This, from Friday's Ha'aretz:
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called for the demolition of Raydeh (the driver of the tractor, now deceased)'s home..."It was simply an attack meant to murder innocent people," Barkat said.
Hamas praised the attack, calling it a "natural response" to Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes in Arab East Jerusalem, and to Israel's military operations in the Gaza Strip.
Riyad al-Malki, Information Minister for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Western-backed government, called the attack a "traffic accident," and demanded an investigation into why the driver had been shot.
Today, my son's Kindergarten have their Purim party. He was so giddy with excitement, he could hardly sleep last night. He went dressed as a Lion, his favourite animal at the moment.
He will return home, his Mishloach Manot tucked under his arm. Following precedent and tradition in the Goy household, I shall relieve him of his burden immediately upon return from Kindergarten, since it obviously isn't healthy for two year olds to gorge themselves on chocolate and the like.
(He'll cry himself to sleep; such is life. Being a parent demands firmness occasionally. But don't fret. He'll have his revenge with one of these beastly objects...
(W/R/T the chocolate, I suspect I'm going to have a tummy ache tomorrow. Again. It happens every year. Will I ever learn?)
"Tranquila", written and directed by Avital Dvory. On at the Cameri in Tel Aviv on18/3, 23/4 and 10/5.
Worth checking out if one has the opportunity - I saw it at the Akko Festival in 2007, and enjoyed it very much. (If, quite reasonably, you don't trust my taste, I should add that the show won Ms Dvory the "Best Newcomer" prize at the festival.)
Best of all, if one is, as they say, linguistically challenged - as I am - the show relies largely on physical movement, mime and puppetry to communicate its story. Accessible to all...
This is a packet of Bamba. Bamba, for the uninitiated, is a peanut butter-flavoured snack, much beloved of small children across Eretz Israel. If you're British, think Wotsits with more Peanut and less Cheese.
(The Small Noisy One, if allowed, would eat Bamba morning noon and night. He would also take a packet to bed with him, along with his guitar. But that's another matter altogether)
. This is Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America. You may have heard a bit about him recently.
So, what's the connection between the leader of the free world and a bag of crisps? According to an acquaintance, a small child of six or seven had heard a lot of talk about the new president of the United States, and was curious enough to want to know more. So she approached her mother and asks:
Ima, tigidi li al ha Adon Barack Obamba - Mum, please tell me about this Mr Barack Obamba.
I like it :-)
I moved to Israel two years ago today. Time flies when one is having fun, no?