This is the first in a series of reports from the front lines of Or Yehuda, Israel’s pearl of the Ono Valley. Every week incredible, unbelievable stuff happens and you miss it because you either don’t read Hebrew, you have a life or you don’t get the free weekly called the “Gal Gefen,” which rounds up the pertinent events in a glossy, mostly advertisements type of free magazine that shows up in your mailbox.
(It was voted the best free magazine to read while taking a crap.) So here it is. The roundup:
1. Mayor stays mum over street name . Or Yehudians were surprised to find out a new street sign had been posted in the industrial area without getting prior approval by city council. The street’s name is “Bali” which, in Hebrew can mean one of two things; the first is, of course, the island and province in Indonesia. The second means “because I feel like it.” Members of the opposition demanded a response from the mayor as to why this peculiarity came about, without any formal debate (as is customary with street naming). The Mayor, who is still reeling over the outcry from opposition and press to last months’ debacle surrounding the naming of a street after former Likud minister (and close friend of the mayor) Gideon Saar, refused to comment. “He’s out for revenge.” One anonymous member of opposition told the Gal Gefen. “Maybe Or Yehuda has a student exchange program with Bali. If so, I’d definitely go back to high school and get my diploma.” a local resident of Bali Street said cynically.
2. Strangers with Candy. On Saturdays, the Sabbath, ultra religious men went around handing out hard candy to the local children asking them to read prayers and say Shema. The children agreed and began praying. The parents of the children were outraged when they heard their children praying loudly and claimed that older men handing out hard candy to children set a really bad precedent and those children should by no means accept candy from strangers. Or pray.
3. Oh Canada. The mayor of Or Yehuda angered the entire Canadian Jewish Community by changing the name of Yahadut Canada (Canadian Jewry) to recently deceased singing icon Arik Einstein. The Gal Geffen was unable to reach any Canadian resident of Or Yehuda for comment.
4. Sleeping with the fishes. An undercover reporter was dispatched to a local fish shop suspected of being linked to the world of organized crime to purchase some grouper for a dinner party. The fish monger, a figure known to police, stared at the undercover reporter blankly and asked whether she wouldn’t prefer some carp. He then proceeded to tell the undercover reporter that they were having a terrific sale on carp. When the reporter insisted on a grouper filet the fish monger sought her opinion on how one, per-se, would go about filleting a grouper. The confused fish monger proceeded to dice the grouper, skin and all, before finally giving up and refunding the reporter’s money. On leaving the shop the reporter noticed an illicit dice game being played in the alley behind the shop.
5. School Daze. The recent cold front sweeping through Israel has had a major local impact as some of the local elementary schools were forced to shut down due to a lack of sufficient heating in the classrooms. A local resident and father of a six year old first grader (a recent immigrant from Uzbekistan) commented that “this situation is an outrage. In Bukhare this is summer weather!” He was seen shaking his fist at the gate while wearing a t-shirt and flip flops.
6. Hot for Teacher. A local high school teacher was taken in for questioning after a series of wallets had been stolen from local students. When reached for comment, one of the students whose wallet had been stolen said: “This is an outrage. If you can’t trust the teachers, who can you trust?” Many of the other students claimed that they would “think twice” before coming to high school the next day. No charges have been pressed.
7. Winging It. Residents were outraged at a sign congratulating G., a local resident and air force cadet on earning his aviator wings in the IDF. When reached for comment G., wearing a Kappa sweat suit and spitting out sunflower seeds claimed: “I don’t know what the big deal is. I just wanted to get a job with an easy commute.” The mayor justified the expenditure and use of municipal tax shekels for the sign by stating: “I felt like it”.
8. Raw Deal. The first ever sushi restaurant opened its doors for business in Or Yehuda this week. Local residents were shocked to learn that fish could be eaten raw and further claimed that they had only ever tried eating carp.
9. Clowning Around. In his weekly column, Itzik the clown boasted about received a fax from an 11 year old girl in Tiberias claiming that her grandmother cuts out the column from the Gal Geffen in Or Yehuda and mails it to her. In other news, someone called said eleven year old girl from Tiberias (on a land line) and told her to get with the fucking program. It’s 2015 for fuck’s sake.
10. Busted Balls. Maccabi Or Yehuda lost 3:2 in a close soccer game in the “C” league. They dropped to the 13th place in the standings. On losing the close game and learning that they had dropped to the last place in the lowest league in Israel the coach replied: “I thought there were 12 teams. Huh.”
Finally, in the weekly gossip column it was reported that the residents of “The Mediterranean Towers” retirement home celebrated the New Year with a black tie gala that was held between noon and one PM at the facility’s Ballroom/dining room. Over 100 residents arrived and sipped champagne while Gidi Sivan, a well known organist played some tunes and got them on the dance floor. No injuries were reported.