Min ha-Maitzar (from the depths of my heart, soul and the remainder of my mind) I am trying to understand what is happening to the Israel I knew and cherished.
I remember when Rishon Lezion was a sleepy town founded in 1881 and whose streets were mainly paths of earth, dusty in summer and muddy in winter.
I remember when a request to install a telephone in one’s house required a seven year wait.
I remember when the doors and windows in homes could be left unlocked because there was no fear of theft. (Ahh…. Hayu zmanim….those were the days !)
I remember when neighbors shared information. food and help to those in need.
I remember when we were content to listen to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s raspy voice on the radio.
I remember when public telephones on the streets did not accept coins…only tokens called Asimonim.
I remember the man wearing a tall white chef’s hat selling hot dogs at the Mugrabi in Tel-Aviv.
I remember the sweet taste of boiling hot corn-on-the-cob sold on the sands of Tel-Aviv’s beach.
I remember at bus stops when the vendors would shout “Eskimo. Artic.Kartiv” frozen ices. Yum Yum.
In short, I remember a different Israel, a world in which tv in homes was rare and computers, cellphones, ipods and other modern devices were not yet invented…. when Israel was a much quieter place.
Min ha-maitzar… from the depths of memories for which I long, but can only see them in my mind’s eye. I think it was a happier Israel when we had basically only two political parties…labor and the opposition. Today we have 45 or 47 political parties. Jews simply cannot get along with one another. We have no sense of unity or of bonding. Everyone is an individual, not part of a group in society.
In our earlier years we had two basic kinds of population… the poor and the not-so-poor. Today we have the billionaires, the millionaires, the extremely rich, the average rich, the not too poor, the poor and the very poor.
The “samayach b’chelko”— those satisfied with their portion in life— are few. Most clamor for more.
Falafel stands were soon over-taken by the pizza-by-the-slice and gazoz surrendered to coca cola.
I remember so well the joy of sitting quietly in Rishon’s City Park. There was a cage of chattering monkeys and a cage of pretty parrots whom I liked to tease into talking. My frustration. The City Park is still beautiful but it is terribly over-run by hundreds of cats who are fed by old Russian grandmothers rocking babies in their carriages and shouting to one another in po-russki.
There were no Ethiopian Jews in Israel when I was a teen-ager…only Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews and Arabs. Today the Ashkenazim, Sefardim, and the Arabs have increased in numbers and in Rishon we have thousands of Ethiopian Jews, beautiful people, a happy, smiling people, a people whose history began with King Solomon.
I once asked an Ethiopian bus driver how to say thank you in Amharic. He taught me to say “amasiganali” and I use it frequently when thanking an Ethiopian Jew for some service rendered.
Min ha-maitzar… from the depths of my soul, I am sickened by our current political disease where our Prime Minister invites racists and former Jewish terrorists into his coalition in order that he may keep his role as leader of the nation, and when he states that Israel belongs only to the Jews and not to the native minorities who live here as citizens.
The gentle and loving body of Menachem Begin, our greatest Prime Minister and the founder of Herut, today’s Likud party, is rattling in his grave. He would despise and disown the present administration.
Min ha-maitzar…. From the depths… karati Yah… I called upon the Lord.