Bee Dude

Nobody got it when I posted a bee and Jeff Bridges as the Dude – Bidud (Hebrew for Isolation / Quarantined from Covid exposure). For me it was after going to a friends’ house a week ago Sunday. He tested positive two days later, banishing me to my room until after Rosh HaShana. Now, it looks like right after I serve my time, the whole place is going into lockdown. Dang. Through all my self pitying, one thing kept rising to the top: honey. It is profoundly special to observe the holidays when living in Israel, that much more so when I can dip my Israeli apples in my own honey. How am I going to harvest my bees while stuck in my room. 

Can I bend the rules, step out of convention? For those of you old enough to know John Travolta as bubble boy, we know bidud could, in fact, be mobile. When I wear my bee suit nobody comes within at least 10 meters (Purim aside). When I am running at full speed from an angry swarm, people always run the other direction. Certainly, therefore, I would not be a risk to others, and could rationalize a slight modification to the Covid isolation rules so I can get my honey. 

I don’t keep bees for honey. It’s more about the fact that us people have so messed with nature, and the bees need our help. Usually when we kill off another species there is some moaning, a press release,  but we can see them in a zoo.  Not so with bees. My hardworking pollinators predate humanity by many millennia. Their global demise should have all of us sighing a collective WTF, and doing something about it. 

Einstein, yes the Einstein, said if the bees die off he gives us four years. Us being humanity.  I am not saying we should halt our quest to find a Covid cure and focus on the bees, nor am I comparing the likelihood of surviving this pandemic – to surviving our global disregard for nature. Data and science is pretty clear, we will survive Covid. Herd immunity, or the magic cure which everybody is looking to Israel to invent, will keep most of us alive.  The other issue, our recklessness and disregard for mother earth which is killing the bees, is a much slower burn so to speak. It is at least right now, until it isn’t. (The black Jewish character in “Away” S1E8 24:30 would get my bee passion). I will have to decide myself about my honey, bending convention and escaping Bidud in a bee suit. Am considering it here. Alone. In this room. Bee Dude in Bidud.

While writing this I tabbed over to the White House and am mesmerized. Peace is really happening. Trump and Bibi are doing exactly what needs to be done. This incredible signing could not have been done in a vacuum, so there is hope that the Saudis and a handful of other Arab States join in tow, eventually possibly even Iran. Just wow. 

We have known for decades that the path to peace is not with the Palestinians. They have mastered the art of benefiting from victimhood, even convincing most American Jews that they are on the right side of history. While the signing was going on in DC, they bombed us from Gaza, launching indiscriminate missiles to civilian centers, as usual. Worldwide support has made it cost effective for them to NOT settle the conflict. The fallacy of their narrative and their tactics of terror have gone on for way too long, and it looks like the Gulf states are getting it. Perhaps the world will too. After that, maybe the Palestinians would have no choice but to come to a settlement. Maybe would become a certainty if their money dries up, and our current leadership can continue what they have boldly started. 

I haven’t felt this optimistic since the millions came out to demonstrate against the Charlie Hebdo attacks shortly after we made our move to live here. At the time it felt like the whole world was against us, the attacks were disgusting. We had Obama courting Iran, Ilhan, BDS on campuses headed by Jews, thousands of missiles launched at our population centers from Gaza. Huge sums of cash given to Palestinians to finance all this, lifetime cash rewards for families of suicide bombers. It Felt grim. Then what? France of all places. Millions of people coming out against antisemitism. I cried. There is a silent majority out there, there is a right and a wrong, and hope.

Bibi and Trump are by no means perfect humans. That they were able to rise above all the noise and pull this off is pretty spectacular. It is astonishing how polarized politics have become, and how adrift so many are led by tangents that ignore the bigger picture, the work that needs to be done. It takes true leadership to forge new paths, to move forward. This signing, this first major step in what can end the conflict, would transform our life in Israel in unimaginable ways.

More than that, this new peace agreement has given me a needed breath right before Rosh Hashana. An anomaly of a year for us all. It looks like the Sheiks may be the ones to finally shine the light to end BDS, and the ridiculous misguided campus movements in the US.  I fervently hope that Bibi and Trump can continue on this path, that we do not revert to the failed narrative that has plagued us for decades. Imagine all the time, resources, effort, and energy that has been wasted on this conflict for so many years. Imagine if we could redirect all that, and focus on the bees. 

Happy and hopeful 5781!!!

About the Author
Ken Milman moved to Raanana from Los Angeles with his wife and four boys in 2013, his daughter joined a couple years later. On the rare occasion he is not working abroad, or trying to convince his boys to go on some extreme adventure, you can find him biking, sailing, beekeeping, spearfishing, or tasting rare whiskeys and olive oils with friends.
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