My First Protest…

You can say I was a shy and quite kid, in those old days… I lived in a small village and the local school even didn’t have enough kids to open a new class every year. But for some reason, which I fail to remember now, I always regarded myself to be from the opposition, unlike the good kids that only wanted to do what the teacher wanted them to.

It was in the seventh grade, when I made my first public protest. My teacher was a narrow-minded woman that came to the school after finishing a religious teachers-seminar. At about the same time my aunt, which used to live in New York, lost her husband and came back to the village to live with the family. She started teaching English in the local school. At night we would all gather in my grandma’s “Tolstoyan” salon, speaking about life. Making fun of our provincial school was a favorite topic.kindergarten_paid_teacher

One day my aunt taught us an English phrase: “The teacher is not always right, but he is always the teacher”. I liked it. Soon I organized my best friend and together we wrote this phrase (in Hebrew, of course) on a placard, waited after school hours when the classroom was empty, built a pyramid of school tables and chairs, and hanged it on the top of the wall, just near the ceiling.

When the teacher came the next morning she clearly didn’t like what she has seen. She threatened to punish the whole class, so we admitted that we did it. But when she demanded that we put off the placard we refused, and were thrown out.

For several days we spent our schooling time in the yard. I don’t remember what we were doing there, but it could hardly be more boring that attending classes. After some days my best friend told me that he want to surrender – his parents were not happy with him spending his time out of class and he couldn’t stand their pressure. So he went on to remove the offending phrase.

I never told my parents about the whole issue. But a few days later, when my mom waked me up, she had something to tell me. “I hear you make problems at school.” She told me. “Your teacher talked with me. I don’t know exactly what you did. And I know that your teacher may be sometimes narrow-minded… But…”

“Yes, mama, I know. She might be wrong, but she is always the teacher.”

“Yes, exactly”

It was a special joy to be punished for telling the truth.



I was so afraid…

It was in the beginning of the eighties. We were cooperating with the Communist Party and its fronts in “The Committee for Solidarity with Bir Zeit” and “The Committee Against the War in Lebanon”. Usually we would agree on a common platform between their two-state position and our conviction in ODS. But, at that specific occasion, they decided to make a leaflet calling explicitly for “two states for two peoples” – so I told them I wouldn’t take part in its distribution.

The leaflet had to be distributed at “Beit Ha-Kranot” in the middle of “Herzl St.” – not exactly “Tahrir Square”, but at the time it was regarded the place most likely to see some spontaneous gathering in the middle of sleepy Haifa.

I don’t remember what drove me to Beit Ha-Kranot at the designated time, maybe I just passed by or I felt uneasy to leave the comrades alone…

As I arrived there, I saw that only one comrade was leafleting. He was almost fifty (at the time I thought it was an old age), a respected professor from the Technion. I knew him as a very calm and peace loving person.

He was surrounded by a small crowd that clearly didn’t like the message in the leaflets. People shouted at him. Some young guys were teasing him, closing on him and tried to prevent him from distributing the leaflets.

I pushed my way into the crowd, trying to use my supposed neutrality to defend him. The crowd was becoming ever angrier and the scene could become really violent at any moment.

To say the truth, I was relieved when the cops came. Maybe some of the cops recognized me, or maybe my neutrality was not so convincing, as they arrested me also.

As we climbed into the police van, I sat near the professor. He was clearly stressed, but now he stretched his body, as much as you can do inside a police car, and smiled at me:

– I was so afraid…

Well, I thought I understood him very well. But he continued:

… I was afraid that I would beat them!

I could not hide my astonishment.

He told me that while he was a student in the US he made a living as a professional boxer. Later he became a pacifist, avoiding any violence. He was satisfied that he endured this experience without beating his attackers.

I told him that if I knew that the only danger was that he might have beaten those right wing racists, I wouldn’t bother to intervene.

I hope I was wrong.


No Waze 2.0: More Holes in the Apartheid Map

No Waze 2.0: More Holes in the Apartheid Map

Haifa is not so old. Only 252 years passed since the new city of Haifa was built in 1761 as part of Daher Al-Omar’s plan to establish an independent state in the north of Palestine. But Haifa developed pretty fast, and soon people started to build outside the city’s walls. The main street that went out of Haifa’s west gate (at Khamra square, now Paris square) and later turn south along the sea shore was naturally called Yaffa (Jaffa) Road, as Yaffa was the main city in the center of Palestine, 100 km to the south, where the road was leading. Till this day Yaffa road is a pretty central street in Haifa down town, known, between other things, for a bunch of restaurants serving food 24-hours-7-days.

Tel-Aviv Street in Haifa is a small street, mostly known for its garages. It was built much later – it starts after the German colony – so you can guess where Haifa’s center reached before Tel Aviv became known, and it leads virtually nowhere.

Yesterday, when I had to pick a tourist guest from the Port Inn in Yaffa road, I didn’t have a problem to find the street, but I didn’t know where number 34 may be, so I decided to ask for advice from Waze. I’ve already written before how Apartheid Waze completely denies the existence of the city of Ramallah… but here we are in Haifa in the most normal place the Jewish “democratic” State… So I was astonished to find that Apartheid Waze doesn’t recognize the existence of Yaffa street and wanted to take me to “34 Tel Aviv Street, Haifa” instead.

After I found the inn and my tourist, I had some time to check things with Waze again. Apparently Waze Zionist SW decided that Yaffa does not exist any more and for every search containing the word Yaffa (Yafo in Hebrew) replaces this forbidden name with Tel Aviv before conducting the search. I even tried to look for Yaffa street in Jerusalem, which is even more central than Yaffa street in Haifa, and where there is no Tel Aviv street at all. Waze tried to suggest all kind of locations with names that includes Tel Aviv and Jerusalem together – but was in complete denial of the possible existence of Yaffa Street.

Some of the Apartheid’s distortions of reality are as strange as others are brutal.

7% at the Wedding…

7% at the Wedding…

I heard the following story from several independent sources that swore they personally witnessed it, so it must be true… (*)

In one of the numerous weddings that are filling our summer nights with music and excessive eating, a couple of guests came with their kid. According to different sources he was seven years old, or twelve, or even sixteen.

The couple was apparently very much enthusiastic about participation, getting off the table every now and then to dance or clap or greet and chat with different guests. They were also enthusiastic about the food, trying every dish presented.

The kid was holding his smart phone in both his hands, totally indulged in some other world. He even hardly touched the food. The observers were trying to guess whether he was chatting or gaming or both…

Suddenly, as his parents were standing at the edge of the dancing floor, the kid raised his eyes from the device and threw a lost glance around the big hall. Slowly, he stood on his legs, walked between the tables and turned to his parents.

–         “We must go!”

–         “Why, Dear?”

–         “It’s 7%”

The coupled packed quickly and the whole family went away.

(*) Each of my reliable sources claims to have has seen the scene in another wedding…

The Turtles’ Sour Feast

The Turtles’ Sour Feast

The Turtles are famous for their slowness, but they have also extraordinary patience and insistence…

Not every day they would make a feast. Actually they waited some forty years before they decided to summon all the turtles in the forest and have some good time together. It required another year until the news passed by and a couple more until everybody gathered in a lovely clearing… You could image they were impatient and hungry even before they started preparing the food!

Preparing food for such a respected gathering is not that simple, but all were busy like bees. They brought many kinds of vegetables to make a huge pile of salad. They waited patiently under trees to get the best fruits just as they fall down, dragged them to the clearing and squeezed their intoxicating nectar. They toiled with urgency and happily and didn’t even throw a glance at the watch, but it consumed some more months before all was ready.

Just as the worlds’ best food was on the table and they gathered around it and wanted to start eating, they discovered that they forgot the most important ingredient of any meal: They didn’t bring salt.

They consulted each other and decided to send one young turtle, which was known as the fastest turtle in the forest, to bring salt. He was reluctant to leave the festive gathering, but after some social pressure he murmured: “OK, but don’t you dare touch the food until I’m back!” and disappeared between the trees.

They waited faithfully for days and weeks, freezing in their places around the temptations on the set table, but wouldn’t touch the food. They were patient but their stomachs grumbled with hunger and they didn’t talk any more, just sent long glances between the trees…

When weeks turned months and there was no news from the young turtle, some of the turtle kids started nagging and the old ones were consulting restlessly. After several months of consultations one old turtle said: “If we wait any more the food will be spoiled anyway. Lets eat!” To say the truth, at this point all the turtles were simply happy to bring this sad saga to any end, and they started to clap and attacked the food on the table from all directions.

At this very moment, the rapid young turtle came out from his hide behind the nearest tree, all angry and shouting in his highest voice: “You faithless traitors. I knew you will not wait for me!”

* * *

This story is dedicated here, in the current harsh circumstances of the Arab Spring, to our comrades from the left who are angry and alienated from the revolution because it didn’t wait for them…

Knowing that being angry at the comrades is not a solution – without the distinctive contribution of the left this very special historical feast can all turn sour.

You can read this post also in Arabic.

Futile Protestation of Innocence

Futile Protestation of Innocence

This is an old joke. I assume its IP rights have already expired, so you can have it for free…

* * *

Our Hero is a dedicated school inspector, specializing in the teaching of the Bible. After so many years he knew all the small tricks that the teachers will use to make good impression on his visits. Repeat a lesson that was already learnt. Carefully choose which child to ask questions… So it was only natural that he interrupted the teacher and requested her permission to ask the pupils some questions by himself.

He was not looking for embarrassment or trying to be a sadist, so he chose one well dressed kid that sat almost in the middle of the class and seemed to be well informed.

–         What is your name, dear?

–         Moses.

–         Will you please tell me who broke the Tablets?

Here the kid became anxious, moved uneasily in his placed and quickly said, almost crying:

–         Not me, Sir. I didn’t break any Tablets.

Our inspector was surprised, almost amused by the kid’s ignorance. So he turned to the teacher, protesting:

–         Did you here what he said? He says that he didn’t break the Tablets!

–         Oh Sir!

The teacher was much stressed by this confrontation between the important visitor and the innocent child, but decided to stand by her duty to protect the kid:

–         Sir, I know this child very well, if he says that he didn’t break them, you should trust his word!

Here the inspector couldn’t stand it any more. He broke out of the class and went straight to the Principal’s office. With his breath short he told the respected manager what just happened to him in the class. Of course, he wouldn’t make an issue from a foolish child, but the teacher’s response drove him mad.

The principal wouldn’t let such an issue dim the reputation of his perfect school. He didn’t wait a minute and promised the inspector:

–         Don’t worry. I will call Moses’ father and he will pay all the damages!

* * *

This old joke is dedicated with love to all my teachers and principals, without whom I would never be what I am.

* * *

But who really broke the Tablets?

If we believe the Bible it could have been Moses after all…