A lot of people have been asking me how I’m doing lately. What with the war and all that.
And by a lot of people I mean my therapist.
And by how I’m doing lately I mean relative to how I was doing before. Which isn’t great.
But enough about me. I’m here to talk about my war-torn little city. That’s right. Or Yehuda. Or as I’d like to call it War Yehuda. Because if you think this quiet little slice of heaven, lodged in between the airport and the chiriya, the mountain of trash used as a landfill for all waste from the center of the country, has gone unscathed from this conflict, then think again.
The first sign of war was literally that. A sign.
Paid for by my hard earned arnona, municipal tax money. It was approved by the fine mayor of this town (who bears an eerie likeness to several high ranking members of the Hamas organization)
Translated loosely the sign reads: IDF soldiers, the residents of Or Yehuda stand with you. “Kick the shit out of their mothers” and come home safely to your mothers.
There’s gotta be a better use for the money than a controversial sign. Maybe a tunnel? Which I could use to burrow out of here and right into the VIP lounge at the airport. Besides, what has their mother ever done to you, Mr. Mayor?
And this war is making everyone on the home front crazy. Just the other day I’m at the dentist’s office in town getting D.’s teeth checked up. And it’s a small little trailer off the main street. Certainly no safe room in case of attack. And there’s a couple of olim, new immigrants, from Georgia. Not the Peach State. Gruzia as they call it here. The Switzerland of Eastern Europe. Home of the delicious Chatschapuri and the smooth Chacha. And the Georgian blockhead watches the news and shakes his head. “Putin would have kicked their ass by now.” He says in his thickly accented Hebrew. And not to be outdone a Chilean olah chadsha with weird backne and a mole says in three parts Spanish one part Hebrew: “Pinochet would have kicked their asses too.” Not to be outdone by these bloodthirsty dictators the fake-nails, bleached blonde receptionist comments: “Liberman would have kicked their mom’s mom’s ass.” It sounds better in Hebrew.
And of course there’s a siren once I wrangle D. into the dentist’s chair. And all of us rush out to the stairs of an adjacent building. We wait about three minutes before heading back to the shack. And the Chilean lady points to the sky and calls out: It’s debris! No you dumbass. It’s birds. You can tell by their wings and their circling in the sky. But I don’t call her a dumbass. It’s bad enough that she barely knows seven words in Hebrew and three of them are “siren”, “shelter” and “debris”.
And my heart breaks when I see the levels of destruction caused to my fine city. Seen here in pictures.
Granted, only one missile landed anywhere near here. And the fighting is raging on a good hour from here. But we’re located strategically next to Trash Mountain. And what a symbolic victory that would be for Hamas. To strike at Trash Mountain. No Israeli would ever feel safe again. And Hamas world finally have the long awaited photo-op they could use to sell this tragic war to the unfortunate people of Gaza.
This war has taught me many things about my new neighbors at my mother in law’s. Like my next door neighbor. The police officer. Who’s biggest fear is not rockets. Nor armed terrorists sneaking up through tunnels in Or Yehuda. It’s stairs. The four flights of which he has to go up at the end of each siren. So I’ve noticed that during the first few sirens he’d go all the way down to the makeshift bomb shelter. By week two of the war he’d go down as far as the second floor. By week three he’s just popping his head out the door. Shirtless. With the hairiest chest. And some serious moobs. And I look across the hallway at him and it’s like a weird funhouse mirror at some ridiculous county fair in Nebraska. That’s what I’ll be like in ten years if I don’t watch out.
And every day there’s a dozen or so supporters of the operation waving flags right across from the large army base. And the signs are being held up by what I can only describe as innocent, young, Ethiopian and ultra-religious children who were cruelly and heartlessly deprived of summer camp arts and crafts. And the writing is somewhat illegible. Which must have caused at least one accident. And they read something like: Honk if you support our troops.
Which in Or Yehuda is the equivalent of holding up a sign that says “breathe if you support our troops.” People are honking all the time regardless. And I can’t imagine all of them supporting our troops. Like a flatbed with Thai construction workers. I don’t imagine they care as much about the troops as they care about making the yellow light at the intersection and getting home.
So thank you all for your support as I suffer through the hardships here in War Yehuda, mon amour.
And if you hear some loud honking followed by screaming and cursing or if your nostrils track the scent of thousands of kilos of waste, you know you’ve made it to my little paradise in the Ono Valley.