Israel Stories

Friday, September 02, 2005


My Tuesday morning drive to work has to be timed very carefully. In fact I can imagine that our forefathers had the same problem traveling to and fro as I do in Tuesdays. The problem is that living in the Land of the Bible comes with added problems that were not applicable in London and certainly not preconceived at the time of my Aliyah. So to the point, Sheep. Not one or two but maybe 100 or 200 sheep descend from the surrounding mountains on Tuesday mornings together with their Bedouin shepherds and cross the road, my road, my rout to work. When it comes to crossing roads, sheep are not the most intelligent of animals and they are certainly oblivious to the traffic, the hooting, the angry shouting and the threats of mint source or sh’wama.

So, one day as I sat at the front of a long queue of cars waiting for the sheep to cross the road I started thinking how similar these sheep really are to my fellow citizens. For a start they are totally oblivious to the traffic. Some of the sheep can’t walk a few meters without having something to eat, stopping for a chat or barging in on other conversations. And are they stubborn. I see the shepherds trying to control their flock, but unlike English sheep that follow each other around like, er, sheep, Israeli sheep have their own agenda. Some want to go left, some right, some back and some forward, a bit like the Children of Israel at the Red Sea.

Then you have the taxi driver sheep that wait until, the last minute to cross the road normally chasing behind a ewe or two, and the Israeli shopper sheep, eating as much as they can on their way across. The shop assistant sheep to busy chatting to take any notice of what’s going on and the MK sheep with their tails between their legs. The Chasidic sheep with their black bodies and white legs, the life-guards with their brown legs and white bodies and the kibbutz sheep with white bodies and brown heads. All of Israeli society reduced to a flock of sheep.

Well they say we are what we eat, maybe one to many kebabs, shishliks or sh’wamas have turned our people into what they are today.

Our people have been compared to many things, the stars in the heavens, the dust of the earth and the fish in the sea. Somehow no one ever got round to comparing us to the sheep of the number 10 road.


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