Tel Aviv: After being caught with some cannabis and spending close to a year in a Russian jail, Naama Issachar is now happily back in Eretz Yisrael thanks to a personal appeal from Prime Minister Netanyahu. Yet a lot has changed here in Israel since the early days of 2019, and Naama discussed her adjustment process to Israeli life with the Daily Freier.
“Wait, what’s up with Telegrass?” Naama asked us, slightly annoyed. “There’s a Nature Party in the Galil next week and I was hoping, I mean a friend was hoping to touch base with my weed guy, I mean a friend’s weed guy.” Naama paused for a moment and reflected. “The funny thing is that all of Tel Aviv basically smells like a giant spliff, but ‘everyone is out of weed‘. Like is that even scientifically possible?”
Naama continued describing the Big Adjustment. “I have so much to catch up on. Things like who won ‘The Voice’, and who we’re sending to Eurovision…. so is ‘Tudo Bom’ still a thing?”
Before ending the interview, we secured a promise from Ms. Issachar that she would update us with all the stories from her inevitable trip to MidBurn and/or Tzfat later this year.
EPILOGUE: While the Daily Freier has a rich history of shrewdly negotiating with Mr. Putin, nobody from the Government bothered to call us. Next time something like this happens, can someone have Bibi’s office send us a text?
Des Moines International Airport, Iowa: In the aftermath of yesterday’s disastrous Democratic Party Caucus in the State of Iowa, Israel immediately dispatched a C-130 Hercules filled with emergency vote-counting supplies and experts on how to efficiently hold an election. Long known for sending rescue teams to Haiti and other locations stricken by natural disasters, the Israeli Government also maintains a cell of experts on how to hold an election, how to ensure that nobody can form a viable coalition, how to waste a day of national productivity, and Avigdor Liberman. The Daily Freier caught up with the elite team as they unloaded their equipment on the tarmac of Des Moines International Airport.
“We don’t have a moment to spare.” explained Team Leader Yossi H. “They need to begin preparing Right Now for their 3rd or 4th Election some time this Summer.” Yossi quickly gathered his team for a Mission Brief, and we saw the various specialists report in, to include experts from United Torah Judaism on how to trade Draft Exemptions and Stipends for votes, and a team from Kahol Lavan carrying a giant vacuum designed to suck all the charisma out of a room. In addition, a procurement team from the Prime Minister’s Office was immediately dispatched to the rich part of town to solicit free gifts.
The Daily Freier asked Yossi exactly what was required of Iowa in order to reach an Israeli-level of Elections Excellence. “Well, the leader of the United States is under a legal cloud and the opposition is trying to remove him from office before the next election…. so you’re actually off to a good start. But perhaps the reason I am most optimistic is that you also have a cranky Jew who wants to run America like a Kibbutz.”
Jerusalem, Har Nof: “Everyone saw her, but nobody looked!” Police detective Motti F. described his exasperation at trying to catch Jerusalem’s most prolific female bank robber. The sheitel-clad thief dubbed “HaGiveret” by police, has successfully perpetrated a series of brazen robberies in Jerusalem’s religious neighborhoods, leaving behind many male witnesses but nobody who can actually identify her… because that would mean… you know… men admitting that they were actually looking at a woman.
Detective Motti explained. “Our police sketch artist used to work for Mishpacha Magazine, he’s great at drawing male criminals, but when he sat with witnesses to the robberies, all the sketches he produced had blurred-out faces! Honestly, this is worse than when I worked in Tel Aviv and tried to find a bike thief who wore a hipster beard.”
A witness to one robbery described the scene. “She walked into the bank and yelled that she had a gun, and nobody was afraid of her. But then, she started singing along to the elevator music and someone cried out ‘Kol Isha! Assur!‘ and everyone ran away. She had plenty of time to take all the money….and the rugelach in the break room.”
Working on a tip that the suspect had fled into a certain apartment building, police knocked on doors and gathered a group of suspects for a police lineup (OK, they needed to look busy so they just rounded up a few random religious women… because who else but a master criminal needing to disguise their identity would own several wigs?) Local resident Raizy D. described the momentary panic that ensued. “When all those men with guns stormed in, we thought they were from the tax authority… that they had heard about my unlicensed mishpachton or Blumie’s cash-only catering business or the store in Ruchi’s machsan. Anyhow, none of us are that bank robber lady, we wouldn’t do that! Imagine…. religious people breaking the law like that!”
Jerusalem, Clal Building: “Would you believe it? The first week after I made Aliyah, I’m trapped in a building again!” said Zachary F, an American college student who once got lost in Dizengoff Center. “My neighbor told me to go to a Government office in Binyan Clal. At first I thought he was pranking me…it looked like an abandoned building… but then I saw the security guard … and that was the last time I saw daylight for the past two weeks.”
Since then, Zachary has been wandering up and down the stone staircases, looking for signs or directions or even windows to orient himself (spoiler alert: there are no windows), stopping occasionally to check if there’s wi-fi where he’s standing (spoiler alert: no wi-fi can penetrate the building’s thick stones) and living off stale food from the vending machines.
“I tried to find a store to ask for directions. I mean, there’s storefronts here, but it seems like they’re never open or boarded up… except for that sleazy looking sex shop over there and I’m too embarrassed to go inside.” he said. Zachary is hopeful that one day soon, someone will actually walk into the Clal Building and he can get directions. “Just so you know, when I get out, I’m going to complain about this on my Aliyah Blog!”
The Daily Freier confirmed that the Clal Building did actually contain the Misrad Habinui Vhashikun (rental assistance office) which Zachary was seeking out. We also learned that it was built by the same architect who designed the Dimona Reactor (No. Really.)
Before we said our goodbyes, we asked Zachary if he had any messages that he wanted to convey to the Authorities. “This building is so dilapidated and old, I don’t understand why the Government is using such antiquated facilities… It’s so unlike them!”
Haifa: A woman who married a wild boar from Haifa in 1999 is now, decades later, one of Israel’s many ‘Agunot,’ the name for women ‘chained’ to a defunct marriage and unable to remarry in a traditional ceremony. Her husband, the wild boar, has repeatedly refused to grant her the Jewish divorce degree known as a Get. Smadar S., who had only been on three dates before she married the boar, and who subsequently filed for civil divorce, is frantic to get a religious divorce as well so she can remarry and have a child before her biological clock ticks to the end of her fertility.
“I never thought a wild boar would trap me like this.” she said. “He was so nice in the beginning. But now my life is a mess and it’s completely unfair. Why does he get to remarry while I can’t even date? Being an Agunah is worse than turning forty.“
“Look, I understood that he was a wild boar.” Smadar went on. “But I thought my love would help him to change. I was patient. I was kind. He wanted to root through garbage? Fine. I looked the other way. His idea of a vacation was digging his furry snout into garden manure… whatevs. A wild boar’s gotta do what a wild boar’s gotta do. I get it. I’m not meshuganah. But he’s absolutely refused to be a mensch and grant me a Get, even when asked by friends, family, attorneys and others. His response was always the same. He’d snort a few times, trot away and overturn a trash bin.”
The wild boar population in the coastal city of Haifa has grown considerably larger since 2018 as a result of the city’s mayor, Einat Kalisch-Rotem banning measures that would have driven the wild boars away and/or killed them. Animal rights defenders have applauded the mayor’s defense of nature and the local wildlife, but there have now been reports of single wild boars in dating apps and groups of wild boars blocking traffic. Wild boars, like foxes, jackals and other wildlife, are protected by Israeli law.
“Wild boars are grey, their hair feels like bristle, and they can grow up to two meters (six feet) long.” Smadar took a long sip of her coffee and stared into the distance. “I don’t know why I thought that was Hot.”
“Oy, veh iz mir… you wouldn’t believe how selfish they are. A wild boar thinks only of himself. He never replaced the toilet paper after he used up a roll. Just left the cardboard. Seriously, every time. He never paid a bill. Never cooked a meal. Never a kind word. Nothing. De nada. I wish I’d gotten a pre-nup.”
As we got up to leave, Smadar inquired whether we knew any ‘discreet’ Arab Christians or Russians who ran a butcher shop. “Asking For a Friend“.
Tel Tzion: As more and more olim are realizing that they really don’t want to walk to the Makolet and speak Hebrew, the Israeli postal system has become desperately overwhelmed. “I walked out of my building and a guy in a van yelled at me: ‘Are you Leora Cohen?’ Umm…what?” said Tel Tzion resident Hadassah C. After Hadassah explained that she wasn’t Leora but that she was Leora’s upstairs neighbor, the guy threw a parcel at her and sped off shouting “So, you give this to her when you see her.”
Strangely enough, many Amazon shoppers in Israel are finding that just because something comes from an American company doesn’t mean that their Israeli counterparts are remotely sorta halfway holding to the same level of American service. “My parcel was late. And the box looked like it had been taped together. .. and the sweatshirt I had ordered for my husband smelled a bit like arak and nargileh smoke.” complained Chani D., another disappointed shopper. “I’m not going to stop buying from Amazon (chas v’shalom!) but I complained on about 22 Facebook groups, including the one where the guy said he just ordered 16 boxes of Kleenex because and I quote, ‘I’m kind of a tissue snob.‘ Yeah, that one too.”
The Daily Freier tried to reach Amazon customer service staff in Americaland to provide some constructive feedback. A customer service representative in Omaha replied “Yeah, yeah, we heard this already. Honestly, we didn’t expect Israeli delivery drivers to be so…Israeli. Wait, you mean, they’re still doing that after we told them not to? But…but… we told them not to!“
Beitar Illit: “The weirdest things have been happening since I bought this van.” noted Beitar Illit resident and father-of-nine Yitzi P. “We just made Aliyah last month and I got a good deal on a used van from some hippie religious guys…. they were really nice, they even included a CD player and some CDs. It’s funny, but whenever I stop at a red light, people start dancing and the guys in tight jeans and gelled hair run out to give me hugs and call me “achi”…..that means brother, right? People are so friendly here!”
Yitzi continued. “Then, a guy comes up to my window and gives me a little bag and asked me if I “rotzeh samim?” It took me a minute because my Hebrew isn’t so good, but I realized that he was giving me havdala spices! That’s so nice, right? He was doing kiruv like the Chabad ladies who give out candles. After a few days, I ended up with a few extra bags of havdala spices, so I decided to share the mitzvah too…I’ve been giving them out whenever people come over and try to dance with me at traffic lights!”
Yitzi explained that he’s happy in Israel. “I think I totally understand Israelis now. …but hey, that police car looks like it’s been following me all day. Do you think I have a busted tailight or something?”
Tel Aviv, Weizman: An American citizen is under arrest today after authorities discovered that she’s been running a fake MASA program for over a year. MASA is a a public-service organization founded by the Government of Israel together with The Jewish Agency. Alison R. was detained early this morning after a month-long investigation. Apparently she created the NGO so she could stay in Israel “because I LOVE LOVE LOVE it here.” The Daily Freier was able to speak to Alison while she live-blogged her experience in the Tel Aviv District Court’s holding facility.
“I really don’t see what the big deal is.” complained Alison as she posted photos of her detention cell to Secret Tel Aviv. “I’m making a difference in the Community. Also, believe me, I have done A LOT for Israel.“
The Daily Freier asked Alison how she first decided to create a fake MASA program and she explained. “So I did my homework…. and discovered that every MASA program needs to be a combination of the following words: Start-Up, Communities, Women, Internship, Impact, Periphery, and Water. So I created ‘Women of the Periphery Sustainable Water Impact Start-Up Internship’. Wait… do you think they’ll let me out in time to go to Kuli Alma before it gets crowded? It’s Old School Hip Hop Night!”
The Daily Freier then spoke with the Israeli Police Anti-Fraud Task Force to demand answers on how this deception was able to go on for so long. Lead Investigator Lieutenant Dalit S. explained. “Our greatest challenge is that Alison’s NGO didn’t sound any less ridiculous than your average MASA program. During our investigation, we uncovered an NGO that builds gender-segregated religious dog beaches. We were about to arrest them until we discovered it was for real.”
UPDATE: Authorities released Alison after learning that 50 people have already applied for 8 positions with her Women of the Periphery Sustainable Water Impact Start-Up February 2020 Internship. Also, half of your Taglit bus wants to extend their trip to volunteer there “because it sounds A-Ma-Zing.“
Jerusalem:The stalemate in Israeli politics is broken and a new coalition has won the backing of the public. Netta Barzilai will join the Blue White and Pink party, thus saving Israeli voters from a third election and saving the sanity of President Rivlin. The shocking move will see the Eurovision winner as Defense Minister. Plus, Bar Refaeli will serve Finance Minister.
As a confused Bibi looked nostalgically at a pair of furry handcuffs, Sarah began to bake cakes with metal files inside. While the ultra-religious parties, Shas and UTJ, sensing their time was up, raided yeshivas, burning a surprising amount of Wizard of Oz DVDs. The Joint List said: “We will not cooperate with this Coalition. We are not your toy. Wait, can we rephrase that?”
An excited Netta noted “I have a manifesto to unite people and make them forget about scandalous corruption, the insane cost of living, and an utterly senseless conflict. Oh, and ridiculous fashion and cheesy music for Everyone!”
Tel Aviv, Rothschild: Apparently the Daily Freier is in a lot of trouble. Like, a LOT of trouble. In the spirit of Community, we decided to organize a pétanque tournament. In Tel Aviv. On Rothschild Boulevard. Where apparently a certain….group of Olim congregate and play this really cool looking game that looks like bocce only even more ridiculous. Anyhoo, we organized this Competition, and somehow accidentally added “Anglos Only” to the Facebook Event. Must have been an oversight. You see, the Daily Freier has been obsessed with pétanque for a long time. But now we are getting a bunch of angry texts from the principal of Collège Français de Tel-Aviv, the French Embassy, and that kinda hot/kinda crazy French girl from your Ulpan. The Daily Freier hastily held a News Conference to dispel rumors.
Daily Freier editor Yuval Weiss greeted the assembled press, but before he could finish his introduction, an angry editor from I24-Francaise lit into him.
“It is simply…absurd that the Daily Freier would exclude the very Nation that created this noble sport from your tournament. Do you not notice that the pétanque courts of Rothschild are absolutely French?”
“Wait, they’re French?” replied Yuval. “You sure? Because I’m so Woke that I don’t see race or color or national origin.”
The Daily Freier tried to change the subject to our upcoming Chanukah Scavenger Hunt in Dizengoff Center, but the French Embassy Chargé d’affaires stood on his chair and began reading from the Declaration of the Rights of Man and name-dropping the Marquis DeLafayette.
Finally, Yuval was able to regain control of the Press Conference. “We apologize for the oversight. It’s just that as Anglos we are used to creating new opportunities on very short notice. It’s hard to explain this concept sometimes….. Wait, what’s the word for ‘entrenpeneur’ in French?”