On museums and Annapolis – shmalapolis.

Jerusalem is once again hosting חמשושלים, that period when museums go late Thursday nights and restaurants discount themselves for the weekend.We chose to visit the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. I never felt any specific or strong feelings towards Menachem Begin – the sixth prime minister of Israel and former Beitar movement head and Irgun strategizer. The museum always looked so fancy on the outside so we decided, why not?Menachem Begin

It wasn’t until the end of the tour that I realized the symbolism of my Begin education tonight, one of the nights covering the Annapolis ridiculousness going on. If Sharon were dead, he’d be rolling in his grave. They don’t make leaders like that anymore.

Menachem Begin pushed through war so he could get to peace. And that wasn’t consistent; it went back and forth, but at least it went. He did seem to think about what he was doing and who it would help or hurt; in the very least, he had emotions along with brains.

Ehud Olmert puts that to shame. In terms of mistakes and misfits, at least Begin knew when to step down. Begin exuded personality; he laid his beliefs on the table and stood firm, while Olmert is a blank stare of a man. Begin was a fighter for social justice, yet in the present leadership students haven’t been to school since last June.

Leaders today don’t have the kind of experience that creates the potential for… nostalgia. The big guns are dead or – almost dead. Sadat and Begin – these guys had balls. Where are today’s guts? Do good leaders only spring from tragedy?

I’ve purposely chosen to actively ignore the Annapolis goings-on. It’s the first time that I’ve been apathetic towards a ‘chance’. I’m another hard-working exhausted Israeli, tired of vomiting up cliches. I’m slowly paying my due; I made aliyah and live my life here, working hard to stay committed. How is the government completing their end of the bargain?

As a museum, the Begin Center wasn’t all that impressive, but I’m glad I went. I feel a renewed sense of spirit; not necessarily in the backwards American-Zionism way, but just as an Israeli citizen who knows that inspiring leaders have existed in the past and believes that someday – hopefully before more tragedy is done – they will rise again.

Brothers, sons, teachers, students.

Not quite street art, but temporarily tonight Keren HaYessod street was painted with the anger and frustration of local teachers:

Teacher Protest Jerusalem

The sign reads: “Brother, brother! Your son is my student!”

Sometimes, this country seems like one big block party where literally everyone is separated by a few degrees. In this case, the holders of the sign make an excellent point, bringing the strikes home for the members of the National Labor Court, which is where they were stationed tonight. The same teachers who are striking are the professionals who are currently not in classes teaching your children… Bridging the gap between lawmakers and underpaid professionals.

Playing the PeaceMaker… from your desktop.

Not sure I’ve ever mentioned this ‘out loud’ here before, but I maintain a second blog called Better Than Misery which covers my journey as a mediation student.

The latest post I wrote is actually relevant both here and there, so I thought I’d bring some attention to it here:

PeaceMaker

Yesterday, Haaretz newspaper did a promo of the new PeaceMaker Game released by the Peres Center for Peace. It was included in the (left-wing) paper and is being sold from the game’s website for $19.95.

The motto of the game is: “Play the news. Solve the puzzle.” That’s pretty much what it’s about: solving a strategic puzzle, essentially getting your ratings – as a world leader (of your choice) – to be 100% good with both the Palestinians and Israelis. That sounds politics to me, not really conflict resolution. More of a short term thing and a game centered around displaying the hardships of a world leader embroiled in conflict.

Read the rest…

A bus driver's advice: Sleep.

In the two and a half years I have ridden the 400 bus to Bar Ilan, I have never fallen asleep and missed my stop – until today.

What am I, six-years-old? As I walked up to the driver to confirm and to get the best route backwards, I knew the conversation could go two ways. He could yell at me and make feel dumber, or this:

“We passed Bar Ilan?”

“Yes… Where were you? I just announced it.”

“Ha… yeah… I was sleeping.”

“Sleeping? Wow, lucky you!”

“Yeah… In two years I’ve never done this.”

“It’s great! You slept over an hour? Because you know, if it’s over an hour, that’s a real sleep! Good for you!”

Yeah! Good for me! I was only ten minutes late to class anyway.

An Israeli workday.

This hasn’t happened in a while, but today was a high terror alert in Jerusalem so the police were everywhere. Here’s what I watched from my office window after police discovered a suspicious package near the Malha mall:

bomb squad robot

 The bomb squad guy getting the act together with (Israeli) man’s best friend.

 traffic build up

Traffic backed up to the mall. Sucks to be in a vehicle! Or a pedestrian.

 bomb robot

Look at Rover go… In about three or four explosions, the job was done.

What kind of doctor *are* you?

Why is it that whenever I go to my doctor for an issue, I always end up with a referral to get a blood test? Is that universal to Israeli kupot doctors?

Seriously, watch this:

“Doc, I think I injured my knee.”

“We should get your blood count.”

“Doc, I’ve been getting weird headaches lately.”

“Let’s do a blood test… just to be sure.”

“Doc, my hair is falling out.”

“Let’s get some blood tests done. It’s always handy to have.”

I agree it’s good to build a medical record for me here, in a new place and all. I just don’t get why it happens like this. Do you want information about my blood? Let’s do one big ginormous blood test and get it all out of the way.

Today's word: celeb/סלב

So the Globes article I was interviewed for came out today:

globes interview

My first Israeli 15 minutes of fame… You might call me a סלב (pronounced ‘celeb’). Can you guess what it means? Creative, I know.

UPDATE: Here’s the section of the article where I yap about Facebook. It’s the best I could do, they don’t post the full articles on the Globes site.

globes article

UPDATE: Here’s the article.