Israel Stories

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Tour Guide

‘And so dear friends, that is why this glorious city, king of all the modern Israeli cities, is called after the very man whose dream and vision it was to establish and resettle the land.’

You may be forgiven for thinking that maybe, just maybe this unofficial Israeli tourist guide was talking about Hertzliyah, but of course that would be utterly ridiculous. Instead the city we were standing in was, well see if you can guess……

I’ll give you a clue. As is well known, documented and laughed at, the transliteration of many of the Israeli place names was undertaken by a German, Austrian, Pole, and a chimpanzee. Consequently the ridiculous spelling is symptomatic of the Europeans being unable to pronounce and distinguish certain letters.

So, on the approach to Tzfat you will see signs to Safed, Zefat, Z’fat and Tzfat. Even tourist books spell it several ways in order that the unwary traveler shouldn’t be too confused. Pure logic!

Nitza boulevard in Netanya has three road signs along its cliff top road, Nice, Nitza and Niche, presumably this road was named after the famous philosopher Nitcha! (Yes I know I spelled it wrong).

Other good places are Jaffa, Yafo and Joppa, Lod, Lud and Lydda, Hebron, Hevron and Chebron and Shkhem, Shachem, Sh’chem and Nablus. Choose one guys.

Of course this Israeli pastime of not really caring to standardize their spelling is evident in shops, magazines and my personal favorite, restaurant menus. Yes I’ll order the onyon soup, then the stek and mishrooms and popper sauce and side order of frize. For dessert I think I’ll just have the orangze sourbet. After a time your eyes just get used to it and your brain adapts so I could type; thise Israolis caint spill for thir livvs and you’d either think was I Scottish, drunk or an Israeli menu writer. (The only job where an education is thoroughly frowned upon.)

Boasting one of the world worst propaganda machines, you would hope their English would be correct and appropriate, right Mr Barak?

If you’re good at word games then looking up a road name is a fun pastime, if not it can be an absolute pain in the atlas.

So the poor tourists have no chance. It can get dangerous with bad spelling like Ramla, Ramala, Ramela, Remala and Ramalla etc. Another good one, and then I’ll stop, is Petach Tikva. Spelled in so many ways it defies belief from Peta Tikwa to Peha Ticwa it is probably the most consistently multi-spelled misspelled place in the entire State of Israel

So back to our tour guide who was now elaborating on the virtues of St Peter, the first Pope. This city, he told his Christian tour group, was founded by Christian missionaries as a city of hope for the future of the Children of Israel. The word Tikva (or Tikwa or Tikwer) means hope and so the city was named…………………

The Atheist

Atheists today rioted through the streets of London, incensed by cartoons published in a UK daily paper depicting a blank sheet of paper. One leading atheist was reported to have said that the depiction of nothing is an insult to our sensitivities. The ‘nothing out there, be praised’ should not be made the brunt of the Western World’s Zionist stranglehold on civilization.

Meanwhile in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, several thousand Palestinians rioted, attacking UN and EU buildings in a day of rage highlighting their plight. A senior Palestinian and wanted Hamas terrorist was quoted as saying that the publication of the blank cartoons is a cynical Mossad plot to draw away attention from the Palestinian cause. The Zionists, he continued, have for too long been the great oppressors. Using the Atheist religion as a weapon is despicable.

The Israeli government released a statement saying this was irrelevant.

The Iranian government spokesmen for Anti-Zionist affairs said that his government was appalled that the Jews would stoop so low as to ridicule another religion. Sure they don’t believe in god, sure they say there is no heaven, sure they are negative about religion and don’t believe in the prophet, but they are human beings and should not be the subject to this Zionist Jewish brutality.

The Israeli government released a statement saying this was irrelevant.

It should be pointed out that this UK newspaper does not have a single Jewish employee. While we are not allowed to publish the full details, the owner of the paper is a member of the Saudi Royal family. When confronted with information, the Saudi government accused our reporter of being a Zionist spy and the Iranians decided to have a competition to see who could produce the funniest Holocaust cartoon.

A senior Israeli politician and ‘always nearly the Prime minister’ called from his holiday home in Oslo and suggested that as an act of good will we should supply the Palestinians with a nuclear reactor in a joint venture of friendship with Iran - oh, and while we’re at it, let’s give away all Judea , Samaria and Ramat Hasharon.

The mayor of London provided a brief statement in which he compared the plight of the atheists to the plight of the Palestinians under the Zionist regime of world tyranny. When asked if he would be taking his annual holiday in Teheran this year he replied, “stop hassling me you Nazi Jew boy reporter.” The answer was taken as yes.

The Israeli government released a statement saying this was irrelevant.

The President of the United States of America convened a meeting with the Israeli foreign minister and asked him if he had anything to do with this, and maybe they should hold off on the security barrier for a while. In response the Israeli government spokesman cried, ‘oh for the love of…..!’

The Arab boycott drew new momentum as the cartoons were rumored to have been published on the inside cover of every book written by the Zionists. They said that a blood thirsty, uneducated, power crazed, radically and violently anarchic religion with no respect for human life and dignity or tolerant of other religions could only be expected to turn this matter into a world crisis. It’s not sure whom they were referring to, but shortly after their spokesman was blown up in a ‘work accident.’

The French, worried that this incident may trigger world war three, offered a very lucrative arms contract to North Korea for the manufacture and supply of two million white flags. The Germans denied everything and the Greeks blamed the Turks.

The UN issued resolution 786,553,467,862 against Israel blaming them for the decline in Palestinian economy by restricting the sale of Kassam missiles to their brothers in Shchem (Nablus) and Chevron (Hebron), citing this as a direct consequence of the publication of a blank cartoon in a UK newspaper.

The Israeli government released a statement saying this was irrelevant.

Meanwhile the tiny country of Micronesia stood before the world in Israel’s defense. (yeh!)

The Russians, acting on the sound advice of Hamas and Iran have decided that if you can’t beat them, join them, and have supplied Syria with a new army and equipment ready for Yom Kippur.

The Israel government released a statement saying this was irrelevant.

The editor in chief of the UK paper primarily responsible for publishing the blank cartoon released a statement this week saying ‘the Paper deeply regretted this big fuss over nothing.’
The above story isn’t true. All characters and countries alluded to are purely fictitious, no sorry that fractious or is that ferocious. Of course the real world is run according to much more sane guidelines, NOT! Anyway this article is in no way meant to harm or discriminate, unless you’re the Mayor of London in which case you are totally irrelevant.


Monday, March 06, 2006

The King

“Confront all your demons, expel them from your presence, never let them back.” All I asked was ‘which is the quickest way to Agrippas Street’. Still its an original answer though the directions were a little cryptic. “Beware for today is the day of the coming of our lord, he continued”. “So is that left at the lights or right?” I had the feeling that my time would have been better spent asking someone else. But this guy was kind of interesting. Still I have wasted too much time in my life and I wasn’t about to waste another three hours of life chatting to Nathan of Gaza or whoever this guy was.

As I turned to go he shouted, “The day of the lord is nigh, loosen your belt, unbutton your shirt, lay bare your head and prostrate yourself so he may walk upon your back.” Tempted as I was to say its sounds like a Thai massage, logic clicked in, and rather than incur the wrath of this prophet and get my head kicked in I remained silent as I walked away.

I’d almost forgotten about this man (in Israel with all the ‘colorful characters its quite easy) then last week as I was walking in the Old City and there he was, but instead of rags he was wearing a white toga and strumming a small harp. “King David is here, so fear not, for I shalt fight thy battles with the spirit of the lord and my army of seraphim and cherabim.”

Now I know all about the Jerusalem Syndrome, this overwhelming need for sane and insane alike to become biblical characters. Go to the Old City on any given day and you will be confronted with a least two Messiahs (one of them must be wrong), a King David and a Jeremiah.

“Minister, minister, care for your children, order them not into damnation so they may eliminate those who may trespass against you”. An American tourist standing next to me said “that kid sure knows his bible.” “Actually,” I said in a pompous sort of way, “Its Marillion!” “Is that an Old or New Testament book?” “Erm, try 80’s rock band who sold out to commercialism after there lead singer, Fish, left.” He just stared at me. Look, I thought, he’s the nutter not me.

“Do you realize, tell me do you realize, this world is totally….” “Fugazi”, I shouted. King David looked at me. It was a very despondent; you’ve taken everything away from me, look. “You like Marillion to?” “I’m sorry, but if you want to get your message across, try your own words, not some Scottish poet called Fish.”

“Of course youre right, but the words are so powerful and instill this feeling of dread and awe I me.” “So when you hear Marillion singing ‘Lavender blue dilly dilly lavender green’ you feel the yolk of the kingdom of heaven?” He looked at me. Maybe I pushed him too far, maybe I was a bit out of order, maybe my tolerance levels just gave in, but the look he gave me was as black as a swarm of locusts. As I waited for the hail, frogs and ground to open he said, “You know the redemption is coming”, and wondered off singing Kayleigh.