Many of us have ended up avoiding people who don’t share our general views on the “situation.” Because even a casual mention of the ongoing heat wave can turn into a political argument. This taxi driver came to pick me up – literally – on the wrong side of the road (though in his opinion I was clearly the one standing on the wrong side. I crossed the street, but only in the literal sense.)
Taxi driver: You came to Tel Aviv on one of the hottest days of the year.
Me: Yes, but I came on a day with no shibushim (disturbances).
Taxi driver: Ok, but what about those demonstrators? Do you support them?
Me: Yes, of course I support them.
Taxi drive : BUT TELL ME! HOW DOES THAT CRIMINAL OLMERT GO ON TV AND TALK? HE’S JUST A LIAR AND A THIEF!
Me: And what about Deri? Isn’t he a convicted criminal?
Taxi Driver: AND THAT EHUD BARAK! HE’S ANOTHER ONE! THE WORST PRIME MINISTER WE EVER HAD! A TERRIBLE LIAR. AND HE GOES ON TV AND TELLS US WHAT TO DO!
Me: Do you think Bibi never lies to you?
Taxi driver: GIVE ME ONE EXAMPLE!
Me: If he tells the Americans one thing in English, and says to us the exact opposite in Hebrew, one of those things has to be a lie, right?
Taxi Driver: SO YOU WANT TO PUT BIBI IN JAIL FOR DRINKING SOME CHAMPAGNE!
Me: I’m not a judge. I want him to stand trial, and for a panel of judges to decide if he’s guilty.
Taxi driver: AND THOSE DEMONSTRATORS! THEY’RE ALL ANARCHISTS. I DRIVE THEM TO DEMONSTRATIONS AND HEAR THEM TALKING ON THE PHONE: ‘Oh, we’ll have some fun. Hear some speeches and there’s dancing, and afterward we’ll go drink coffee.’ THEY’RE ALL ANARCHISTS!
Me: Do you even know what an anarchist is? Believe me, the demonstrators are not the problem.
I HATE THOSE ANARCHISTS! THEY’RE WORSE THAN (RACIST SLURS)!
Taxi driver, turning to me: Forgive me for talking like this. Really, sincerely, I want all of Am Yisrael to be together as one, and not to be split in half.
Taxi Driver: AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE JUDGES? WHO SAID THEY COULD SIT ON THE BENCH FOR LIFE? WHO GIVES THEM THE RIGHT TO DECIDE? WE SHOULD FIRE THEM ALL!
Me: (sigh) Thanks for the ride. Have a nice day.