Sunday, July 16, 2006

Allison Kaplan Sommer: Snapshots from Israel

Sometimes you gotta smile to keep from screaming...
Just in the last few hours...

The government tells people from Tel Aviv northward to "be alert."

OK, so I'm alert. Now what?

I'd love some specific instructions. Let the kids go play at their friends' house or not? Go grocery shopping or not? Dentist appointment?

I guess I'm supposed to keep doing it as normal, but ALERTLY. Fat lot of good alert will do me if I'm in the dentist's waiting room and hear a siren for a one-minute warning till a missile hits.
At least I'm in the boring suburbs, where there is no point to hurling a long-range missile, unlike the Tel Aviv bloggers, who are dangerous close to military headquarters, a nice juicy target. I just have to worry about Hezbollah having really bad aim.

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So I get this sudden phone call that sort of stunned me -- I pick up and Lisa's yelling into the phone "ARE YOU WATCHING CHANNEL 10 NEWS RIGHT NOW????"

In fact I wasn't. I confess I was making macaroni and cheese.

She was really excited because the Israeli Channel 10 Arab affairs commentator Zvi Yeheskeli was being broadcast on Hezbollah television live. She was so into it that she was practically hyperventilating.

I felt I needed to talk her down.

"Don't have an orgasm," I said. I was kidding, of course. In my opinion, one of Lisa's great characteristics is how fascinated she gets when Arabs and Jews are talking to each other, no matter how bad the context is -- like this one, for instance. Mind you, Lisa is no Pollyanna about the Middle East -- but she is good at seeing the hopeful side of things. I've decided to label her thrilled reaction a "dialogasm" -- an ecstatic condition caused by unexpected Arab-Israeli dialogue.

But back to the phone call. Unfortunately, I was too busy making dinner from a box to talk much. "That's OK," she said. "Anyway, I've gotta go blog this." And so she did.
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They are reporting on television that thousands are leaving the Haifa area and heading south.
And on an unrelated note, I just heard my 9-year-old teach my 2-year-old, who is in the parroting stage of learning to talk, how to say, "Boo, Hezbollah!"
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Try cleaning out the bomb shelter, the room you like to pretend doesn't exist, the storeroom for all of the crap that you don't know what to do with and you just toss inside.

I peeked in mine today, realized there was no light -- not a good thing -- and stuck a lamp in there. No need to replenish the water supply -- there was still plenty of mineral water in there -- left over from 2003 (anyone remember Saddam Hussein? Scuds? Anyone? Bueller?)

Israeli television tonight is having the traditional "open studio" that it has in times of crisis, a national tradition that began in radio and moved over to television. It's a mix of news reporting, helpful advice from the authorities, shmoozing on various crisis-related topics, and occasional musical interludes -- stars coming in and talking about their war experiences and singing something cheery/and or inspirational.

Channel 2 had Shiri Maimon, who placed second in the country's first season of "American Idol" -- called "A Star Is Born" here -- and went on to represent the country in the Eurovision competition. She talked about spending the night in her parent's place just north of Haifa, getting in her car in the morning to head back to Tel Aviv, freaking when she heard the sirens, and pulling a U-turn and turning around to cringe with Mom and Dad in the shelter.

She was talking about clearing out their shelter, which is inevitably used to store rusting bicycles and old ping-pong tables that no one has played on in years....good thing we have these national crises to help us get those pesky household chores out of the way.


Oh, wow, this is TOO funny a cooincidence. I just saw that literally five minutes before I put up this post, Imshin posted the following:
Time to empty the communal security room on our floor again. Time to get it ready for use. Only guess what? This time it is us who are the security room villains.

Since the last war (is it only three and a half years ago?) we have purchased not one, not two, but four bikes. The other inhabitants of the floor also have between two to three bikes to a family. And guess where we all store them?

So now we’ve been ordered to remove them. Immediately.

The official option is to put them in the air raid shelter downstairs, which is a bit inconvenient. We’ve decided we prefer to move them into the apartment. One each in the girls’ rooms and two at the entrance of the apartment.
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On the Channel 2 "Open Studio" they just hosted a poor Bar Mitzvah boy from the north who had to cancel his Bar Mitzvah party after a Katysha hit the hall where he was supposed to celebrate. The hosts gave the disappointed kid a Bar Mitzvah gift to help ease the pain -- a portable DVD player to keep him entertained in the bomb shelter.

You couldn't make this stuff up.

The news is reporting missiles landing near Afula and Nazareth Illit for the first time.

LINK here to this last snip. The others are in reverse sequence, all posted today, July 16.

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