Wednesday, September 24, 2014

So much for vows

Every fall, for the past six years, I tell myself (and anyone standing near me) that I am no longer making effort with the new batch of people who moved to our neighbourhood the previous summer. I am so committed to my annual announcement that I now have a list of reasons why I am just not going to put myself out there any more:

  • I have more than enough friends who I never see
  • Most new families are too young and have young families
  • They may not stay more than a year so why invest the energy
  • I'm too tired
  • I'm too busy
  • I have to wash my hair 
  • They are (American, British, Australian, etc...) so let their own countrymen take care of them
And every year, I break that vow.  Why?

I don't know. I think it's because I can't help myself. Don't bother suggesting that I am just a nice person at heart because I don't think that is the case. But after much thought I have broken it down into a few reasons:

  1. No matter how hard I try I cannot shake the memories of my early days here and the people who helped me through them -- most of them virtual strangers at the time. For all those ignorant Jews outside of Israel who insist that moving to Ra'anana is no big deal because it is just like any other big western city .... WRONG... It is very difficult. And everything you thought you knew about functioning day-to-day is out the window. Between language, culture, and local idiosyncrasies, you might has well have moved to Mars. Then add the fact that it is September and still hot, really hot, in fact, and you have yourself the makings of a total emotional stew.
  2. I can't help but admire these people -- particularly those who made Aliyah during the war. If there is one thing this summer's war taught me it is that the colour of your political stripe is not so important (I never thought I would see myself type those words.) What is important is that you are here. That is now the dividing line between Jews, for me. I am not talking about every individual case -- some people have good reasons not to be here. However, most do not. Most of the them are full of baloney.
  3. Some of these new people are people I would have wanted to be friends with no matter where or when I met them. Oui, some of them have added a beautiful dimension to my life. The fact that I had to move here to meet them was just a nice touch.
So, on that note, to all the new people who have just arrived, I would like to say thank you for packing up your lives and coming to join us here in Israel. I hope it will be all you thought it would be and I am willing to be bet it will be even better than you ever expected.

I cannot promise that I will meet you all, speak to you all, feed you all, or help you all, but I am thinking about you.

Shana Tova.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Now THIS is a plan

Have you ever received one of those emails that goes around and around on the internet listing all the technological, medical and scientific contributions Israelis have made to the world? Of course you have. Here's one of those lists.  Yes it is from a Christian website (circa 2005), but it illustrates my point. Here's another on that is more recent. If you Google "Israeli contributions to  .... you will find more list.

Every time I get one of those emails, I read it. Many of the items on lists are already well-known Israeli inventions, but in the chance that there might be something new added, I always read to the end. And I am never disappointed that I did.

Today, I was at a 50th birthday party for a good friend when another friend (he told me to refer to him as an acquaintance) casually presented a fabulous idea that addresses real politik and Israeli inventions. I told him it was a fantastic idea and that he should do something about it. He looked at me and said "I am. I am telling you."

That wasn't what I had in mind.I was thinking a little bigger that my blog. But who am I to turn down a breaking story? Since he refuses to promote his own anti-BDS, pro-Israel idea, it falls to moi to do so. Therefore, here, with his express permission, is his great idea: (drum roll)

Israel now, or in the very near future, will (God willing) make enough money from its off-shore oil and gas reserves that the government will be flush with cash. That will probably be a first in the history of the state. Fighting existential wars is very very pricey and keeps Israel comfortably ensconced in the red.

However, once the country's financial fortunes improve, my mystery friend thinks that the government should set up an agency to provide financial exits for any Israeli company, individual or university to sell its most recent remarkable creation. At that point, the remarkable invention will then belong to the State of Israel. Can you see where this is going?

Here's where his plan gets really good (and apologize if I don't get this exactly correct but frankly, he should have written this himself!!!):

The government agency now responsible for making sure the world can benefit from the blood,sweat and tears of Israelis (that's the marketing angle), will send its representatives out in to the mean, mostly anti-Semitic streets of everywhere to sell that newest, greatest, world-changing thing.

Of course every country from here to Timbuktu will want whatever we are offering. However .... here's the catch .... the only way a country, corporation or the like will be able to access a slice of Israeli brilliance is if they first sign a contract that states they are now in a working relationship with the State of Israel, and from this point henceforth, they are forever and ever Israel's greatest friend and supporter and must publicly act as such. (Maybe,since this is Israel, we could add something like "failure to comply will be immediately seen by The Omnipotent God who will, in turn, smite you.)

You want the know-how to save lives?
You want the technology to let paraplegics to walk again?
You want to cure ALS and auto-immune diseases?
You want the newest, fastest Intel chip?

All you have to do is put your John Hancock (or in this case your David Ben-Gurion) on the dotted line and wire the funds.

Of course, there is always another choice: stick with the Muslims and get the newest updates on algebra.