Ynet's perception of Israeli soldiers on Facebook: Naked.

I gave away the punch line in the title, but there ain’t much more to say than that. Here’s the headline of a Ynet news article from today:

Classified info exposed on Facebook

Basically, some members of the Israeli security establishment were caught with photos of classified soldiers and locations exposed on their Facebook accounts. But what interests me more – aside from the stupidity of the Israeli security establishment – is Ynet’s perception of Israeli soldiers surfing the web:

Israeli soldier naked on Facebook

Is Ynet so desperate for female readership?

Israeli Pet Peeve #127: Wrong number.

I have never experienced this anywhere in my life but here with my Israeli mobile number:

*Ring ring*

Me: “Hello?”

Israeli caller: “Hello?”

Me: “…hello?”

Israeli caller: “Hila?”

Me: “No, must be a wrong number…” (about to hang up)

Israeli caller: “Who is this?”

Me: “What’s the difference?”

Israeli caller: “Hila?”

Me: “No. Wrong number.”

Israeli caller: “Who is this?”

Me: “Not Hila.”

Israeli caller: “Who the hell are you?”

Me: *click…*

It is RIDICULOUS that I have to justify who I am when someone else called a wrong number. And they perseverate and perseverate, wasting their own time in getting irrationally angry at me for not being who they want while wasting their cell phone bills.

And this is across the board; most wrong numbers I get go exactly the way I’ve transcribed it above. Once I had an Anglo call a wrong number and that was totally different. It’s like the elevator thing. I really don’t understand it – wait, hold on one second, my phone is ringing –

*ring ring*

Me: “Hello?”

Israeli caller: “Hila?”

Me: “Still wrong number.”

Israeli caller: “Who is this?”

Me: “For the love of god…”


Karaoke: The good, the bad, the Jerusalem.

Spread the word: I am in the market for good karaoke as opposed to Jerusalem karaoke.

A friend wanted – uncharacteristically – to get her sing on, so we all ventured out to Capricorn, which is apparently Jerusalem’s only karaoke bar.

Actually, it’s more like a portable karaoke machine + arse DJ + bitchy waitress + funny mistake on the drink menu (see if you can find it on this Zodiac Cocktails list):

Zodiac drink menu

Anyway, Capricorn is located at that odd corner at the end of Yaffo/Shlomtzion in the city center and my advice is to stay far away. Not only did the service and karaoke quality suck, but they wouldn’t start up the karaoke until we had been sitting there for over an hour (after midnight). Jeez, were they embarrassed by our voices or something?

I’d love to find a New York-Korean style karaoke place, where you have private rooms and your group gets to control all the songs and do whatever the hell they want.

I’m assuming at this point that my search has to start in Tel Aviv. Taking suggestions.

The plumber just high-fived my husband.

We’ve been living here for two and a half months and I still can’t get over how freakin’ nice everyone is around Tzur Hadassah. My landlady is a complete doll (read: Polish) and gets everything fixed for us right away. She’s professional, polite and considerate.

This is the exact opposite of the experience we had in Katamonim. City folks, of course, are always a bit coarser than country folk. Our landlady was Moroccan and quite… senior. They helped us out and got stuff done, but not with the same flare as this young, career-oriented, property-owning woman.

So the plumber just came, a day after she hunted down his number, a couple days after we told her there was a problem with our dud shemesh. I don’t know if he lives in Tzur Hadassah, or in the country side, or if he just loves life, but man, that guy had a enormous energy at 7pm.

So I’m sitting here and I hear him and my husband getting into a really exciting conversation. And he high-fives my husband. They have inside dud shemesh jokes now. “After all,” I hear him say, “a dud shemesh is just like a really big kum kum!”

Ah, Israeli country-side plumber jokes.

Priorities, people.

I was passed an article about a Charedi wedding that took place after being protested by the bride’s parents and the “most prominent Orthodox rabbis.” The daughter of multimillionaires was sent to Israel to seminary and fell in love with a Charedi “yeshiva dropout.” They managed to get married yesterday after getting through protests from all sides (even picketers at the wedding).

I will defer my own original wording and frustration to the talkback of this article I just read, and it’s not about the actual story.

First, excerpts of the article reflecting the prominent Orthodox rabbis’ actions, then the talkback:

West Side Story, Meah Shearim style

The bride’s parents objected, rabbis protested and the public took to the streets – but the young couple refused to give up. Against all odds and despite violent demonstrations outside the wedding hall, a young ultra-Orthodox woman from overseas and her Jerusalemite fiancé were married in the capital Tuesday evening…

The family also appealed to the most prominent Orthodox rabbis, asking that they exert efforts in a bid to cancel the planned wedding. The rabbis even issued a manifest against the engagement, but to no avail…

At the beginning of the week, the family discovered that the wedding would take place Tuesday evening. Claiming that the young man’s family had exploited wealthy families  in the past, the woman’s family managed to convince prominent rabbis to issue another manifest against the wedding…

Leaflets slamming the marriage were hung in haredi neighborhoods, carrying the signatures of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, Rabbi Nissim Karelitz and Rabbi Michal Yehuda Levkovitch…”Who can tolerate such a marriage with such great sorrow on the part of the daughter’s mother and father? It is a defamation of God to marry a person from the street considered problematic like the groom.”

Addressing the groom’s father, the rabbis wrote, “After hearing from important scholars that your son is about to marry a girl as opposed to the Torah’s wishes, we demand that you prevent this marriage which will not be held according to our dedicated Jewish law… (ynet)

For the whole story, definitely click and enjoy. It gets more ridiculous by the paragraph.

However, my focus in this story is the following… Thank you, שרה, for highlighting this in your talkback, which everyone else seems to be missing:

Does anyone else find it totally disturbing that all the rabbis come out of the woodwork to speak out against this marriage but none of them are speaking out against the horrible stories of child abuse we’ve been seeing in this country lately!? They’re busy protecting this young woman from a marriage to another religious Jew when down the road, there are mothers/monsters in prison for beating their children…and the rabbis haven’t banded together to say anything about that?!

A Passover theme to helping Sudanese refugees in Israel.

Pessach is a week and a half a way. Obviously I’ve been leaving everything until next week, but if you’re not, good for you.

And if you’re trying to figure out what to do with all your leftover chametz – breads, pastas, crackers, snacks etc. – there’s a new idea beside selling it:

The Jerusalem YMCA’s gym, Great Shape, is collecting your chametz – or any sealed nonperishable food – and giving it to the Darfur refugees located in Israel.

If you’re interested in dropping off your goods, be sure to do so by April 16th. The Jerusalem YMCA is located at 26 King David Street in the center of Jerusalem. The Great Shape Gym’s number is 02-625-8436.

My time in jail.

Remember the nationwide drill I wrote about? The emergency sirens went off today at 10 am all over the country, wherever you happened to be standing.

And me? I was standing in Ma’asiyahu prison in Ramle. And let me tell you, it’s a little surreal to hear a siren go off in a prison.

I attended a class field trip today (class: Psychological approaches to family mediation) which took place in the Ramle complex of prisons. The professor’s goal was surely to get a different view of people who are likely involved in family conflict, although we didn’t get much of that. It was very interesting nonetheless, and as always, jives with my general philosophy that contact theory works.

Ma’asiyahu prison is a “light” prison for people at the end of long sentences or smaller crimes. The prisoners are encouraged to work and/or study to be prepared for their release (although some of them never get released). For the most part, they are free to work and walk around within the prison gates and interact with the guards.

A few noteworthy items about the experience:


I got to the jail a half an hour early. For thirty minutes – I exaggerate not – I wandered aimlessly around the grounds trying to find the meeting place for my class. I asked a couple guards for directions (they had no idea) but get this: not one prison guard or army soldier (or prisoner for that matter) asked me what I was doing or why I was there. No one stopped me. Me, looking like a little girl with my backpack on; I could have been Dora the Explorer ready to help her convicted lover escape for god knows what.


It turns out that this is the same prison where Omri Sharon is filling his sentence. I was actually standing in his block. I have to assume he is losing some weight, those beds are not very big. But kol hakavod to the Israeli prison system; he isn’t getting any better treatment than any one else based in the four-prisoners-a-room spacing.


There is a religious section of the prison, where datiim live together and attended classes in a midrasha, keep shabbat and kashrut and so on. At first it hit me weirdly to see this men in tzizit walking around the prison yard; I come from a religious upbringing for the most part and back in New York, except for very few charedi-business theft cases, I never gave religious prisoners much of a thought.

It also hit me weirdly that there were a lot of kippah-wearing guards. Religious Jews are the prison guards for religious Jews… It’s like I live in a Jewish state or something.

I also thought it was nice that the whole prison will be doing a Pessach Seder together.


Here’s something that pissed me off: The tour was given to my graduate class but also some other class/acquaintances of my professor. The latter were older and more… obnoxious. When one of the prisoners volunteered to chat with us about his experience, quite a few of my older companions went down a rude road, asking him directly why he doesn’t regret what he did (which was computerized theft) and why he doesn’t donate money to charity now to repent. In addition, they laughed in his face when he mentioned that the work he does for the jail is not in computers (as part of his punishment).

Do not the courts judge right and wrong, reward and punishment? Isn’t that the kind of democratic society we choose to live in? Who are we to judge our peers outside the court room, when they are paying back society for their crimes? I don’t think we have any right to come face to face with this man, who volunteered to be a bridge for us to view a different world, and laugh at him while he pays his debt.

Then again, I might feel differently if he were a rapist or murderer. What do I know, anyway.

I heart the Tzur Hadassah medical clinic.

This is one of those moments when something really good happened and I have to share it with everyone I know. In marketing, we call that a sale.

Last night I spent my time rolling around in bed and puking my brains out. Not really how I had wanted to spend my Sunday evening, but, sometimes that’s the way it’s gotta be.

Today (at godawfully early in the morning) we made an appointment for the medical clinic up the block, which apparently has a good reputation, even outside of Tsur Hadassah. It takes all four kupot (socialized health insurance companies), they do lab testing and the clinic is freshly painted and decorated like it’s an interior designer’s office. Woo!

But the thing I was most amazed with was how incredibly nice, smart, friendly, human our doctor was. The man has never met us in his life, but after a few minutes of chatting (and asking all the right questions and more) he was doling out advice (unrelated to my sickness) and his cell phone number. He was actually paying attention to details and taking the time to explain how the clinic works and to welcome us.

Sounds like I have a crush, but honestly – when was the last time a doctor was so nice to you? In the States I found that all the good quality doctors were assholes and here, whether they are good or not, they are just cold. Maybe it’s just city kupot doctors.

Or maybe this guy is Anglo, been living in Tzur Hadassah for 15 years, loves his job and sees himself in a young Anglo married couple fresh off the boat to Tzur.