Archive for Israel
An American Jew* and a Jewish American**, deconstruct the motivations, repercussions and realities of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress (March 4, 2015) live and direct (to only each other) just as it happened. This isn’t exactly Live coverage from House of Reps’ locker rooms, not is it even live… but all this blather should be put to death anyway:
*Jerusalem local, papa.
**Transient traveler-type, célibataire.
Sands shift, borders are redrawn, battles fought. But in one theater, there are no winners — only cooperation or sandy balls. The famed beach paddle sport Matkot is one of refined skill and simple, simple rules: hit. For decades, almost always in pairs parallel to the shoreline, Tel Avivians (and other Israeli-inspired Mediterranean beachgoers) have smacked a squash rubber ball. There is no net, there is no score — there is but the betterment of mutual skill, the sound of the waves, and a never-ending supply of onlookers to make fun of the rookies.
With this inspiration, I announce the first ever INGULFED.com Co-Sponsored Initiative for World Peace and Other Endeavors: the First Annual Global International World Matkot Invitational Championship. Now, I’m not positive what year the First Annual will be, but I have every reason to believe that a strong Matkot [MAHT-coat] culture cultivated and encouraged around the Middle East will provide the necessary grassroots support for the resolution of many (if not all) of the regions problems, whatever they may be. I’ve already forgotten, just thinking about Matkot — see?
In Hebrew, signs point to the Salt Sea. But below those letters reads the English no euphemism could touch. The Black Sea ain’t black. The Red sea ain’t red. But the Dead Sea, oh yeah — that pond is fuckin’ deceased.
In fact, the six-foot-under Sea is sinking even deeper. Less than 1,300 feet below sea level in 1970, the dead seashore now sits 1,385 feet below, and continues to recede three feet further every year. But despite the fact that decades ago the sea split into a separate North body and South body, there is one clear winner — your body.
Or, The Ruins’ Point
The land marked on many maps as “Israel”, or as a series of dotted lines, or a be-yarmulka’d frowny face, is exactly what it has been for millennia: ever-changing. Every neighborhood and time-tested city is a variable function that depends on your state of mind: Feel like a local? The city is x. Feel like a tourist? The city has this to offer. Feeling especially Jewish today? Come, have a homentashen.
As the first familiar place I’ve been in seven months (save a week at grandma’s house), Israel — as it does for many — felt like an old relative. Like at grandma’s house, Israel always feeds to excess and loves to retell old stories. But insomuch as any past posts have been a travelogue, the document of this short stay in the Holy Land can’t be. I’ve changed too much throughout the course of my Isrelationship — I haven’t been just the brief courtier I was in North Oman or Eastern Azerbaijan. In rapidfire, express-tourism, vision is clear because it is so heavily filtered. Depth makes statements difficult, assumptions even harder — putting complete thoughts together after visits spanning nearly 15 years and a brief stint as a semi-professional is harder than trying to chart the evolution of your favorite color in your first seven months in utero. I can’t write advice for tourists because I’m all mixed up about what it means to be one. Less is more sometimes, and as much as this is a failure to reveal the value of touring in the first place — it’s not you Israel, it’s me.
Long story short: it hurts to think. So I’ll report the facts unmarred by that aggrandized pastime, and all that deducing and synthesizing that purport to accompany “clever” writing and “helpful” analysis — well… that’ll just be your job for the moment.
The Conclusive Guide to Crossing (In and Out Of)
Jordan by Land
If I’d spent Hanukkah in the United Arab Emirates, I had to spend Christmas in Israel. At a dark 5:30 in the morning, a muezzin belted out the dawn Call to Get Moving from the Grand Mosque. We few “Members of the Tribe” left for an 8:00 flight to Jordan, the civilized among us connecting to Tel Aviv by air. Not me. Here’s how to do it by bus:
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