Anti-Semitism & Anti-Israelism: that sounds like a good topic for attention
People love seeing bad stuff happen. It gives them something to talk about. Has anybody ever seen a neighbor’s house burning and not run outside to see it? People hear an ambulance and they run out, they run after it, not thinking that it might be leading them to danger. It excites us to see what is going on, as long as somebody else got hurt. We don’t help. We don’t care about the danger of what might be happening; also the reason why the police showed up and the fire department. That is why commercials say, ‘Do not try this at home.’ We don’t care about what might be on the stretcher or the fact that I did not take the First Aid course. We like the noise of sirens. People just run at the ambulance, because of the noise it makes. ‘Maybe something really bad happened and we can talk about it. I need some new things to bring to the table. My friends are getting bored of my conversation.’ That is the thought that goes on in my mind.
I have seen homes burning down and I also just stood there. The firemen were there. I could have gotten in the way. I am good at slowing the rescue workers down. I did try helping by blowing. I am a helper and I did get good street cred for helping the firemen blow out a little of the fire. At 36, when I get a cake, to be able to blow out that many candles takes a lot. I am also good at watching and making comments. A good comment that a lot of people like to hear is, ‘I hope they have good insurance.’ In rare circumstances you’ll hear, ‘I hope they don’t move back to this neighborhood, they were very loud.’ That comment usually arouses thoughts of arson. Even rarer, you’ll hear, ‘I don’t think we are helping by watching the ambulance…Are you the paramedic?..Can I help you?’ Even rarer does the paramedic want your help.
People love watching negative. Why does Miley Cyrus have so many fans? People thrive off the negative visions. That is why they all need the news. It is their connection with the world and in even worse local cases, their community. People love the news, because it gives them something to talk about. People like to pretend they care about stuff that is not them. It offsets the focus of the conversation. It also makes us feel so much better, seeing how bad stuff is in Syria. Nobody likes their own life, but when you are able to see the news and how people are being murdered, it makes you feel good. It awakens a feeling of content living in your rented apartment with bad cable access. That is why all adults watch the news. It makes it easier to fall asleep knowing that people are being killed far away.
I have seen days where people are so depressed because of what happened in the news. Everybody was walking around so depressed and then I watched the newscast and understood why. The anchor was reporting, ‘Today is sunny outside, there is a nice breeze, the Middle East has no bombings and genocide has stopped.’ It kills it for everybody. ‘Sunny outside?’ What kind of news is that? I have to be able to say ‘It might rain today.’ If I cannot say ‘it may rain’ then I know that I am authoritiless with whatever other facts I am dispensing. You show up to your friend’s house with that kind of ‘no more genocide’ news, you have nothing to share. You are skipping dinner and watching TV.
On a personal level, I do not watch the news very often. I want to be able to connect on the good days too. I want to be there for the community, but I want to do useful. I hope that is positive. I hope you don’t view me as a bad person because I don’t like watching the news too much. Because I don’t want to see people dying every day, so that I can fall asleep knowing that I am not, does not mean I don’t empathize. I still give the shocked, blank look of dismay when I hear about tragedy. I think I was educated well.
Most of us immigrants learn the correct response to the news, from the news. But I do think the anchor is the worst person to take the cue from. I don’t think the anchor has any feelings. Death roles off his tongue as if nothing happened. I heard the guy talking about genocide, Sudan, nuclear warheads, Christmas sales, look both ways before you cross the street and Disney World, all within the span of two minutes. He reported all six items with the same tone of voice, the same expression, and the same ‘In other news.’ It would be nice to know that the reporter realized the difference between a kid who rides his bike in a street and mass murder.
There have been some real sad nights. Since the beginning of my Aliyah, I remember the first bus attack. Whenever I pass there, I say a psalm. The terror reminds me to think about life and connect with my people. Terrorism can make you do craziness. I remember when I was learning in a Yeshiva many years back and the second Intifada was taking place, I ended up running a marathon. We weren’t taking the buses because of the ‘danger,’ so for safety we started running around Bet Lechem. Running a marathon is the dumbest thing I have ever done. Because of terrorism, I put myself through pain. I personally tortured myself. I have a lifelong injury because of terrorism. That is why I have started responding with prayer, which is safer and healthier.
Security in Israel is everywhere. I am back on security, because I haven’t complained about getting stopped every time I needed some Burger King. You get stopped for everything. Every office has security guards; ‘he’s having dental work, stop him.’ That was my impersonation of a guy checking somebody who is going to the dentist.
Security guards have turned into the number one profession. It is also the number one profession for immigrants, as you do not need any skills, such as speaking Hebrew. Nor do you need to know how to work a gun. You need to know how to stand for a long time. You need to know how to ask the question, ‘Do you have a gun?’ To make sure that somebody knows how to use a gun if anything happens. If they have a gun, you have to let them through. You cannot stop them, that is dangerous. That is why the security guard ask people if they have a gun, so that they know who not to check. Truth is that if a security guard had to know what the answers meant, in Hebrew, then most immigrants would be out of a job. It is just important to ask the question, check to make sure that you see peoples’ keys and then let them through. The answers of ‘keyn’ and ‘loh’ are complicated to work with.
Hell, I see the security guard outside my building with an MP3 player and a newspaper; as if he is working on an alibi. ‘I did not hear or see anything. I had nothing to do with the murder, you can ask the people who came into the building, I was reading the newspaper the whole time.’ The security guard at the underground parking seems to not care what is in my car. He just wants to make sure my trunk works. Sometimes he’ll give me advice, ‘You need WD40, it is squeaky.’ They do absolutely nothing. They are almost as useless as the police. Ouch!!! I had to put that in.
The police have only caused problems in my Aliyah. They make a business impossible to run in Jerusalem. They require security guards for everything. Every house, every business, everywhere needs a security guard. We need to support the immigrants, and somebody has to support the police. I don’t know how the police get the money from the security companies, I just know that the police don’t come when I need them. You cannot get dental work without security. And when you leave with braces on and the metal detector goes off, you have to pull out a note from the doctor (who is also a security guard, because he made Aliyah a couple of years ago).
You can argue that the police need to get payed off because of terror. I don’t see terrorists looking at Mr. Tuvia’s makolet from 1942, with two customers a day, as a target. There are days though where even I feel like I want to go terrorist on the makolet guy; like when he was out of milk cartons and I had to buy the bag of milk. The milk opened crazy on me, because I did not have down the back of knife on back of knife opening technique. Yes, I was ready to go Fatach on him. I will venture to say that somebody needs the money.
Police don’t care if somebody gets shot. They do care if I cross the street on a red guy. They are good at pedestrian control, but if it is a drive-bye, there is nothing they can do. Once somebody uses a car for their crime, the police do not get involved. How is there such a hi car theft rate? Why, in such a small country, can they not find the stolen cars? Especially when there is somebody watching it on video. Calling 100 or 101 is pointless. They must have somebody screening the calls before they send to dispatch. That is the only explanation I can think of. There has to be a message sent out, ‘There is a shooting going on, on Lincolon Street. Do not go there, it is dangerous. I repeat. Cops should stay away. You have families. Wait till the violence subsides. Then bring the pad. You have the pad; you remember how to use it. Write it down and do the file. We are good at taking notes, let them know we write. Let them know it will be filed.’ Yes I am bitter.
People scream at the police here, because they have no respect for people who take notes. It looks official on carbon paper, but it is not legible. Then they are unreasonable when it comes to easy pointless tickets for making a turn at a legal left, only because you didn’t scream at them. To get out of tickets, scream at them. If you yell at the cops, that means you are correct. I got a ticket for going against a sign that wasn’t there. It still isn’t there. However I didn’t scream. I don’t have that Middle Eastern fight in me. I have money and a degree. If you want to get out of tickets, you have to scare the cops. If you threaten the cops, then they let you off. I have to use other methods to get out of tickets.
The New York State Driver License is my method. The license is your get out of jail free card. It is more useful in Israel than in the US. They can try to do whatever they want to my quiet unresponsive American soul, but they see that kryptonite and it is over. Yes. With that ID, I can cross the street on any red or legal green. As long as I do not speak Hebrew and understand words like ‘Shalom’ I can curse the officer and he cannot do anything. You have to also stick with the argument that you do not understand the difference between the red guy and the green guy; as to argue that in the US, you can go on a red guy. The cop is stuck and all he can do is say, ‘Good evening. Now you know to only go on green. I think Israel should adopt the American rule of walking on the red guy…I am an idiot, like you said. You have a NY State drivers license.’ Then you can cross and do whatever you would like, ‘Look, it just turned red again. Got to cross. My tradition.’
I learned another trick to get by security. Catch this. Say ‘Shalom’ with an American accent. You get right through. Try this. It is a novel idea and it works. Say it very politely and they start thinking, ‘She must be Canadian.’ I hope that terrorists don’t pick up on this technique.
Sometimes I feel safer with the security guards who do not speak languages.
My parents live in America. But they like to worry about Israel and all the ‘violence.’ The news likes to portray Israel negatively. The free flow of media into the country and out of the country allows for a freer speech than most. And free speech can kill a well run Middle East dictatorship.
My father lives in America, but he watches the news because his doctor told him he needs to build up his heart rate. He watches the news like it is a football match (these two words makes sense to Americans and the rest of the world in different ways). He gets worked up, throws popcorn and starts screaming at the TV , ‘Israel did not do that. What kind of a call was that? Come on Dan. Take it back.’ I worry for him. Sometimes I turn the channel for him, ‘Dad, calm down, you are going to pass out. Let’s put on Fox News. Fox News makes Israel people happy.’
At least my parents have heart. People in America don’t care about religion anymore. They don’t hate you because you are Jewish. They hate you because you care about being Jewish. The average American only hates people who care about something. ‘That person is such a bigot. Look at him and how he hates people. He wants to marry Jewish- keep a tradition alive, what a disgusting racist?!’
The problem with America is everybody is so PC now. Nobody is anti-Semitic anymore. They are all too apathetic to care. They won’t hate Jews, but they will support bombs being thrown on Israel.
Is terror or antisemitism right? I would have to say ‘no.’ I do not mean to offend my politically correct pacifist friends who want Israel to be bombed. But I do have to say that as Jews, we have a higher calling. We have to make sure that we act in a just way, which does not lead to pointless Jewish hatred, because we have degrees. We should give the news less meat factories to talk about.
We have to watch how we act when there are people around, especially when we are wearing a yarmulke. We don’t always represent our people in a way that the masses understand. When we go to movies, it is embarrassing. We don’t go as patrons, we go as smugglers. My parents would reprimand me, ‘Put the Coke in the pocket.’ As if that is normal. Even when we don’t wear kippas, they know we are Jewish. The concession people can spot us. You even hear it, ‘That is not money in the pocket, that is popcorn. We both know Jews have a lot of money, because they save on the theater popcorn prices. Pull out the kernels…Jew in Isle 5, opening the coke during a love scene…Should have not brought the can sir. Show the yarmulke.’ I support the idea of smuggling into the theater, but we have to represent our people right. I am not saying to hide being Jewish, unless you want to be safe.
In Israel, we do not deal with that blatant kippa antisemitism In Israel they don’t say it is a Jewish thing. They say it is ‘Those Ashkenazim.’