Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Inherit the Earth

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening, and the wee hours of this morning (I got home after 1:00 AM), driving around the Judean Hills, delivering and monitoring polls for a primary election. Exhausting but interesting and instructional, not to mention that I wasn't doing it for Olam HaBa. At least one freaky and slightly disturbing fact was learned: Arabs and Jews can argue over the (vast, I've come to learn) West Bank all they want, but at the end of the day, when the silly humans are asleep, the real masters of the land come out: Felis Catus, in some feral version, I suppose. I mean, you're driving down a pitch-black, deserted road somewhere outside Hebron when suddenly a small furry thing that in a very different context would look cute on your sofa dashes across the road. Where do they come from? How do they survive? How do I resist the temptation to feed the cute kitten mewling in our garden?

So they won't feel left out, let me point out that wild dogs, donkeys (both pulling carts and carrying old Arabs), sheep, and camels were all spotted. The ones you really have to watch out for are the wild boar, but I didn't see any.

This morning I spotted a cool sign outside a branch of Steimatsky's, the book chain. (The original store, in fact, on Jaffa Road.) Translated, it read "There are people who simply feel compelled to read every sentence they see." I didn't get it at first (my psychologist better half informs me that this true from a psychological point of view, which is logical), until I realized that I was, indeed, reading it, despite the fact that it made no sense. Ha!

As to the other election, well, I see that I said this four years ago. Not sure I'd be as optimistic anymore, not that I was much back then. Instead, it's time to quote Herman Wouk again, once again on his grandfather:
What my grandfather would think if he knew that the awesome Guide for the Perplexed was available in a paper-bound English translation for less than two dollars, and that American college boys skimmed it in a weekend and wrote confident twenty-paged theses on it, I cannot imagine. My grandfather always retained the impression that America, at least the Jewish part he knew, was more or less mad.
Make that more. Much more. And especially Jews, but everyone else too.

I am left with Ben Hecht, writing of Malchiel Greenwald, probably standing just around that same Steimatsky's, just under fifty-nine years ago:
As is his daily habit, Malchiel has had a satisfactory conference with God in his synagogue. Whatever else you can say about Israel, it is a satisfactory thing to be able to stand in practically the same place in which your forefathers stood twenty-five hundred years ago and offer God unchanged hallelujahs.
Amen, Ben. That was me, this morning. (And, of course, you can say plenty of other good things about Israel as well.) I will admit that the One and teh gays [tm, sic, sick, whatever] were among the things that got me out of the US, but Israel pulled for much better reasons.

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