What’s Happening on the “Street”

As I have written before, westbankpapa is one of the official spokespmen for our yishuv, and the only one who is a native English speaker. This past Friday we hosted someone from the American Embassy who wanted to visit our yishuv and hear what is being said “on the street” in Yesha (my expression, not his). (Another advertisement for making aliyah – and moving to a yishuv. Where else but here would an American diplomat want to know the opinion of a suburban mother of three…..)

He was a very polite and attentive guest, and explained that his colleagues hear the Arab side of the story and his job is to hear ours. He showed a bit of sensitivity to our point of view when he said that he describes our yishuvim as communities – and not settlements.

We described the stone throwing incidents lately and how this affects our daily life. (I drove by the same corner just the other day to take my kid to the dentist – there is an army jeep there now). We also expressed our frustration at the fact that where the politicians at Annapolis are just going through the motions in order to boost their own ratings, what happens on our level is that the terrorism just increases.

Another example of what is happening on the “street” (literally!) happened to me yesterday. I went into Petach Tikva after work to buy some books (there is a good used book store there), and on my way back to my car I was stopped by a security man. “Noone can walk up this block now, there is a suspicious object”, he said. I noticed a crowd down the street being held back also. This being Israel, some people began to argue with him. One Charedi man pushed his way through anyway and went down the street (maybe he thought his peyos would protect him, I don’t know..). Others started to make jokes. One said that his car was parked right where they were checking out the object, and he hoped it would blow up his car. “It’s a piece of junk – maybe the insurance money will get me a better one.” A few others kvetched good naturedly about being tired after a day of work and just wanted to get home.

Finally the police “chablan” – the guy who blows up suspicious objects – came with his robot. One conscientious parent took the opportunity to explain to his daughter what was happening. Two minutes later we were let through. The little girl was disappointed that there was no explosion (either it was obvious that the object was not dangerous or the explosion happens in a closed container so that the noise is muted – I’m not an expert on how this works).

I’ll be happy when the politicians finish having their pictures taken and come home. Then maybe things will settle down.

Good Food and Good Reading

Batya hosts the latest Kosher Carnival, and it has some delicious recipes.

 Soccerdad hosts this week’s Havel-Havalim – with a heavy dose of Annapolis related posts.

Bringing Back Memories

Here in the “new country” we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving anymore. Everyone went to work and school as usual, and we didn’t eat anything even resembling turkey or cranberry sauce.

 So it was nice to read Jack’s post about his Thanksgiving day. It really brought back memories. For those “new Israelis” who are nostalgic, go over and read his post.

HaMatzav Shelanu – Our Situation

People say they come to my blog to get a perspective on the “situation” in Israel. Well, most of the time I try to write about the beautiful parts of living in Israel. Occasionally I have to write about the painful stuff too.

First, I will refer you to the Muqata, who writes about the terrorist incident last night where a 29 year old father of two was gunned down in his car. Every time there is a big “peace initiative” the terrorists have to come out and prove that they are still alive and kicking.

They are not just “alive and kicking” near Kedumim either. The other night two girlfriends of mine were driving home about 6:00 pm and Arabs threw rocks at their cars. The first friend managed to escape the rocks without any damage – the second friend ran over the rocks on the road and they seriously damaged her car (yeah, they were that big). This incident is another in a series in our area – a gas balloon was found in a tire on the other road leading from our yishuv recently. Last night there was a meeting with the army responsible for security. Things got a bit heated when the army official in charge claimed that they couldn’t arrest the stone throwers because they were “just 17 year olds”. (There are surveillance cameras that record these things so the perpetrators can be identified). One woman exploded at this statement. “My son, who was 17 at the time, was arrested simply for being in a ma’achaz (called illegal outposts in English). All he wanted to do is build another community in Israel and he was arrested. Why can’t you arrest Arabs of the same age if they trying to kill us with rocks?”

My kids downloaded a music video with the name, appropriately enough, “HaMatzav Shelanu” by Har-el Moyal. They look/listen to it at least twenty times a day, and it shows our “situation” from the point of view of the soldiers fighting these terrorists (who also suffer when the Prime Minister lets prisoners out. Why the hell should they risk their lives to kill and capture them if they are just going to be let out again?)

The words are all in Hebrew, but you don’t really need to know the language to understand what is happening. Just look at the faces – of the soldier, his parents, and his girlfriend.


The Hyrax Saga Continues

About a year ago I wrote about the controversy in our yishuv regarding a group of very pesky critters named Shfanei selah – or hyraxes. These are animals that ruin gardens, and are so brazen that whole packs of them can be found running down the street in our yishuv.

Today I saw a sign on the bulletin board near our makolet (grocery store) that next Thursday morning a hunter will be in the area in order to “decrease the population”. He’ll be armed with a silencer, and supposedly his presence has been approved by “all of the authorities” (the municipal government and the army, I suppose).

I don’t know how some of the nature lovers in our yishuv will react to this notice – last year there was some protest. I just hope that if he does get final approval to come out here, he is more successful than Elmer Fudd….

Havel Havalim “Save Israel” Edition

YidwithLid hosts this week’s Havel Havalim, which he calls the “Save Israel edition”. Definitely worth a look.

Am I Missing Something?

As I have written before, I am taking a break from reading and/or listening to the news lately, with occasional “lapses”. Today was one of those lapses.

With all of the hoopla surrounding the Annapolis summit, you would think that peace is ready to break out any minute. I am sure that is what Shimon Peres thinks. A look at some of the news articles from today makes it seem otherwise.

Fatah and Hamas are having at each other. Then again the world seems to yawn when civilians are killed – if it happens in Gaza.

The IDF is not anticipating a break in the action either. They are having exercises specifically to train for riots breaking out in Yehuda and Shomron (dashed hopes for peace and all that….).

Despite these harsh realities Olmert thinks that it is important to get ready to make concessions.

Am I missing something? I don’t think so. I think I will go back to ignoring the news.

I Think He Broke A Record

I’m not sure if anyone is keeping records about this, but it seems to me that LifeinIsrael has broken a record this time – with his edition of Havel-Havalim, of course.

Go over and find some new blogs.

The Grumpy Parent’s Guide to Bnei Akiva

This past Shabbat signified the end (Baruch Hashem) of what is called in our part of the world, Chodesh Irgun. This refers to the first month of the year in terms of Bnei Akiva, the Dati Leumi youth group. Kids start in fourth grade and continue until the end of high school, although most of the acitivites slow down at ninth grade. In tenth grade some of the teenagers are picked to be madrichim (counselors) and they are now in charge of the younger kids. The other teenagers basically have an acitivity once in a while, but if they are not chosen to be madrichim then Bnei Akiva loses some significance.

I have a love/hate relationship with Bnei Akiva. During the regular year I love it – but during Chodesh Irgun I hate it.  The main problem I have with this month is the timing. Just when your kids get back into the swing of things after the Jewish holidays, this month comes along to mess things up. Things become even more intense the during the last week, when even small kids are up to all hours practicing their play and painting their wall in the clubhouse.

One of the “highlights” of the ceremony on Motzei Shabbat is the official naming of the current Shevet (“tribe” – which refers to the current ninth graders). This year’s Shevet is called Dvir, which is not bad as names go.

At one stage of the ceremony, (held outside on the basketball court) as I sat shivering and wishing that they would hurry up already, I started to think of alternate names for the Shevet – particularly appropriate to be given by a grumpy parent – to grumpy teenagers.

(These are mostly slang terms in Hebrew, and even Arabic, and I don’t have the patience to translate – my apologies!)

Westbankmama’s alternate names for the Shevet:

Al hapanim



Aizeh Bassah



Lo Mashihoo

Feel free to chime in with some of your own….

Momentary Rebel

There isn’t much of an autumn in Israel – it is usually hot one day, then cool and rainy the next (like yesterday and today!).

 There are some signs, though, of the changing season. One of them is a traffic rule that goes into effect on November 1st. Israeli law says that you need to put your car lights on from November 1st until March 1st, even during the day.

Personally I find this law incredibly stupid. It does not take into account the weather conditions at all. In this part of the world a winter day can be warm and sunny, without a cloud in the sky. Turning on your car lights in these conditions does absolutely nothing to improve safety. But the law is the law, and if you don’t follow it you can receive a ticket. I know – it once happened to me.

I was driving to do some errands yesterday (on a beautiful sunny day, November or not) and I started thinking about how stupid the law was, and I thought to myself that I would ignore it. (Our car does not give you a warning if you leave the lights on after turning off the ignition. I am always afraid that I will leave them on by mistake and my battery will give out, leaving me stranded).

Well, you know the saying (loosely translated from the Yiddish) – man plans and G-d laughs.

Just as I was thinking about how I was going to be a “traffic rebel” – a traffic cop pulled up beside me in the next lane. My hand flew out and flipped those lights on faster than Jews dive for the food at a kiddush.

A bit sheepish, I consoled myself by turning the lights off again as soon as he disappeared down the road. We’ll see if I make it through the winter without a ticket!

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