Global Israel

Stories From Israel

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Me: Excuse me, are you the last in line? Her: My sweet. There’s no such thing as a line here. We’re in Israel.  This is every buffet you will try to eat from and every bus you will try to alight. 
The cab stopped.
A woman was already in the front seat. There were two more in the back.
Him: Where’r you going?
Me: (Not wanting to squish in the back) No no! I’m alright! Thank you!
Him: Come! Come in! (Turns to woman in front seat). Get in the back! (Turns to me) Come!
As I get in the front seat, the woman in the back start yelling excitedly.
The driver asks them where they want to be let off. And they yell ‘wherever you want! Throw us out!’
He lets two of them out at the corner.
Him: Are you in a rush? Do you have a second for us to make a quick stop?
Me: Yea that’s fine.
We drive for about three minutes until we stop…
… In front of a Nargila store.
And the taxi driver’s wife in I wait in the car while the driver buys a new Hookah pipe.
Because hookah is important.
This is Moshe.
The bus to Bnei Brak is divided by genders. Men sit together in the front. Women sit together in the back.
On this particular bus, 7 men got stuck in the back.
Two girls and I are sitting on the floor because by the time we arrived for the bus, there was standing room only.
These girls are on their cell phones. Chilling. Totally chilling.
Next to them is one chassidic woman fervently saying psalms and one chassidic woman listening to something on her headphones.
The baby behind them is being held by her father, who is sitting next to her mother, who has, on her lap, another child.
The guy in the back center is playing in his old Nokia phone. Maybe acquired due to affordability. Maybe due to the desire to remain separate from the secular world.
Soon, the man on the right is sleeping on the shoulder of the man in the center while the man in the center has an intense conversation with the bearded man on his left.
And a girl gets up to give her seat to someone older and the two girls on the floor and I are talking. I offer them gum which they refuse and they offer me sour sticks which I accept (because, sour sticks).
And then I feel something fall on my head and it is a piece of Bissli, the popular Israeli chip thing.
Because the girl next to me is munching away.
A child cries.
A cell phone rings in the tune of a chassidic melody.
This is an average intercity bus ride.
At the market in Jerusalem.
Him: Taste this.
Me: I’m good.
Him: Just a little taste!
Me: No, thank you. I’ve already eaten so much today!
Him: (shrugs) Tasting is not eating.
This is the boy working at the spice stall who dreams of backpacking through America.
(Walk into a random small shop in Tzfat).
Me: How’s it going?
Him: Thank G-d.
Him: I woke up today. I have air in my lungs. Everything else is a bonus.
Me: Wow. What a deep answer for the 10 in the morning.
Him: Of course. These things are not to be assumed. Just look at the things happening in the world now. It’s not to be taken for granted.
This is my cab driver, Avraham. As soon as we finish arguing about the price (he reportedly gave in because I remind him of his granddaughter) he offers me candy. Me: No, thank you. I honestly can’t. Him: Why not? Me: You literally don’t understand how much I’ve eaten over this trip. I’ve gained like 4kg. Him: Have you had enjoyment from it? Me: Immense enjoyment. Him: (While holding the bag over his shoulder) Well, that is much more important. Take a candy. I take a candy and he is silent for a moment. Him: You see this? This is Bibi Netanyahu’s house. (A line of police cars drive by). Him: Ah! Here he is! My brother Bibi (opens window) “SHALOM BIBI!” At this point, he’d piqued my interest. Me: Avraham, tell me something interesting about yourself. Him: Related to the cab? Me: Related to anything. Him: I’ve been married 3 times. Me: What happened? Him: How am I supposed to know… (Pause) …. Women (sighs). This is Avraham.

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