And now for some local horror.

I don’t miss the part of living in Katamon, in Jerusalem, when a Beitar game would be on.

Beitar Jerusalem fans are known for a right-wing/arse/loud/violent combination of stereotype.

This, though. This is disgustingly criminal. It’s been a bit buried in the papers – partly because it happened around the time of the France Jew murders, and partly because, well, it is not flattering and since when do Israeli papers post something that admits to this level of wrongness?

Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans beat up Arab workers in mall; no arrests

Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem supporters assaulted Arab cleaning personnel at the capital’s Malha shopping center on Monday, in what was said to be one of Jerusalem’s biggest-ever ethnic clashes.

Despite CCTV footage of the events, no one was arrested. Jerusalem police said that is because no complaint was filed. Witnesses said that after a soccer game in the nearby Teddy Stadium, hundreds of mostly teenage supporters flooded into the shopping center, hurling racial abuse at Arab workers and customers and chanting anti-Arab slogans, and filled the food hall on the second floor.

It’s not the first time Beitar fans have acted utterly stupid in the name of a game won or lost. There have been tramplings, stampedes. But this is a fit of violence that goes beyond a game.

I despise the violence that erupts from sports frustration or elation (ahem, Red Sox fans). And I despise even more when  hate crimes are done from within my own people to minorities living among us.

How short are our memories? How immature are our minds?

These fans were young – who hasn’t been teaching them?


(And by the way, Arutz Sheva, seriously? There’s camera footage and you’re saying fans ‘allegedly attacked Arabs’?)

Yeah, this still happens.

I was driving through the entrance of Beitar today.

Ahead of me was the shiny white glow of the expansive charedi town, speckled with black movement.

Behind me, in my rear view mirror, I could see the remnants of the sun facing Husan, highlighted by the giant minaret cracking the sky.

And I thought, what the fuck am I doing here?

Tzur Hadassah transportation.

I was asked about transportation to and from Tzur Hadassah. Thought I’d share the options – though they are not as many as would be helpful:

Bet Shemesh: Superbus 182.

Jerusalem: Superbus 184 and Egged 180.

Beitar: Illit buses; there are multiple lines that go to Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh and Bnei Brak frequently.

Tremping: People do tremp (hitchhike) from the front gates. I’ve also seen (and picked up) people hitchhiking from the trempiada at Gilo junction.

Breaking my sleep barrier.

I woke up this morning at a quarter to seven to an enormous boom right outside the bedroom window.

I jerked my head up, like the deer in Bambi when the shots are fired in the forest. My first thought is, Oh shit they’ve bombed Beitar…

My husband mumbles, “Don’t worry about it,” and my second thought is, Oh shit we’ve bombed Wadi Fukin, poor bastards.

My husband continues to mumble, “It’s just a plane breaking the sound barrier.”

My third thought is, Oh shit! We’re bombing Iran today. I hope that damn box of canned food and bottled water he packed that I made so much fun of him for is in the ma’amad… which is also our bedroom.

My semi-Mehadrin life.

Checked the mail today. Being in a  new district, outside of Jerusalem, makes for interesting mail. Tzur Hadassah is technically a part of Matte Yehuda (מטה יהודה) but it borders Beitar, which is technically in Gush Etzion, however… yeah.

So in the mail, I usually get telephone books for different districts, catalogs for different shopping centers. Today I got a booklet that is proud to claim it is the מדריך עסקים למהדרין – the guide for Mehadrin business. That’s super-kosher business, folks.

I had a thought and when I flipped through its glossy pages advertisements, my suspicions were proven right: not a single photo or image of a female throughout. Truly Mehadrin.

They say Beitar is expanding into Wadi Fukin, taking over the small Arab town one housing development at a time. You can see Beitarians striding through Tzur Hadassah on power walks. And now we get to partake in their advertising literature…

Well, I suppose it serves us right; Tzur Hadassians are known to use Beitar facilities, too… like Mehadrin Rami Levi, Mehadrin kupot cholim, Mehadrin hardware stores…

Slice of the Tzur Hadassah commute, minharot style.

Driving home to Tzur Hadassah through the minharot (tunnels) is not always peaches. On our way home today, passing Husan, Beitar and Wadi Fukin, we found soldiers everywhere, cracking down, probably on the hunt for someone specific from a tip-off.

We were greeted by this right as we were getting to the machsom (checkpoint), literally 3 minutes from home:

We recently discovered that going through Ein Kerem and Hadassah Hospital up to Tzur Hadassah can be just as quick, depending where we’re coming from. Shame we didn’t think of it before we sat in this for an hour. And the Ein Kerem way is so much prettier.

Last words for Katamonim.

Well, it’s pretty much the eve of our moving from Jerusalem to Tzur Hadassah.

It hit me the other night that I’m leaving the convenience and culture of living in a city; a friend of mine came over to me as we left a party to wish us a good last Shabbat in Jerusalem… And I was like – wait, what??

But that’s ok. It’s very exciting to move to a new situation with it’s own pros, cons, culture, characters… And as we move on to this new place, I’ve been reflecting the good, the bad and the hilarious of Katamonim, where I’ve lived for the last two years.

-> אלתיזחן: I’m going to miss these guys… The dudes from the nearby Arab neighborhood who, by foot or by pick-up truck, come around every morning shouting, “Altizachen! Altizachen!” They come around to pick up anything useful – electronic, furniture or otherwise – to renovate and sell again.

-> Makolet guy: I truly will miss our local makolet guy… And he will, I’m sure, truly be disappointed not to see us in the Kurdi shul up the block this Pessach, after he enthusiastically invited us to partake in all the wonderfulness that is a Kurdi shul kiddush on chag.

-> בורקס גן עדן: If heaven were in the form of bourekas, well, this is where heaven would be baked and sold and eaten by me.

-> The local brood of Kitlers: I think we’re trading up, since we’re moving from this cat infested building to a dog infested town… But I can’t help but admit that I’m sorry I won’t see our local Kitler population grow old and have kitlers of their own…

-> Beitar games: How else would we know whether Beitar won/lost/trampled on itself if we don’t here the firecrackers/sighs/shouting from outside our windows?

-> אמא and לידור: Surely, one of the more annoying aspects of my ‘hood are two characters who clearly go by the names of Ima and Lidor. When Ima isn’t shouting from upstairs out the window, “Lidor! Lidor! Lidor! Lidor!”, little Lidor is shouting up to the window, “Ima? Ima? Ima?”

A futuristic lizrael update.

Lots of people are talking about ringing in a new year – at work, in the news, on the party scene. I’m not much of a New Years gal, but it seems 2008 holds a bunch of new experiences for me, before it’s even begun.

The year starts for me with recognizing the fact that I’ve been here for three years now. I feel like three years is the second hump to cross (after one year). There’s something about three years… (maybe it’s because the Nefesh b’Nefesh financial assistance contract is completed?)

Along with acknowledging three years of aliyah experience, I get to take on some new ones with a set of wheels… Yes, in the newborn weeks of 2008, I will become the dreaded creature known as: Israeli driver.

Soon after, we’re set to hit the beginning of February, when we make our big move; I haven’t really made it clear yet, but here is the official announcement that we are leaving Jerusalem and moving to Tzur Hadassah, a cozy suburb about fifteen minutes away, tucked in green hills, next to Beitar.

Fast forward to the summer, when I plan to be finishing the requirements for my Conflict Management and Negotiation degree at Bar Ilan. Not sure what comes after that in terms of a mediation career, but I’ll be glad to know that I’ve completed my Masters.

After that, it’s all a blur: living in the Israeli suburbs, finished with graduate school. Maybe I’ll have a chance to fall in love with Israel all over again and see this place through the eyes of someone with their feet in the ground. Then again, maybe I’ll get antsy and wiggle through the days until I can’t take it anymore.

Whatever the year brings, I’m looking forward to the new experiences… Three years in, and I’m ready for the next phase. Is the next hump the ten-year? I won’t bite off more than I can chew, but I can say I’m ready to start the trek… Although for this phase, I’ll (finally) be trekking in a car.

Stay tuned…