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!”
Oh Hi There! So you’re attending the Daily Freier’s annual Passover Seder? A-Ma-Zing! Can’t wait to see you! Because this year our Seder is going to be a Very Special Episode. You see, we hid the Afikoman somewhere in Dizengoff Center! That’s right, somewhere in Tel Aviv’s labyrinth of an Urban Mall lies the Afikoman!
Is it in that weird store that sells candles on that ramp near the tattoo place? Maybe, Maybe Not.
Is it in that little shop that sells pop-tarts? Not saying.
Tel Aviv, Dizengoff Center: A relieved nation cheered last night after a team of Thai divers rescued the last of 12 youth who went missing last week in Dizengoff Center, the Central Tel Aviv mall notorious for its random and confusing floor plan. Apparently, the children had set out on an excursion with their youth summer camp last Wednesday and gotten lost somewhere between that part of the mall with all the candle shops and stoner artwork and that hallway with the tattoo parlor. When their camp counselor set out to get help using the Dizengoff Center Navigation App, he became hopelessly lost on the ground floor near that ethnic food fair in the open area by the elevators, and had to survive on Druze pizza for the last 6 days. But The Daily Freier wanted to learn the story of the students’ dramatic rescue, so we attended the news conference outside the Mall’s King George Street entrance (no, not the entrance near the stairway to the McDonald’s. The other entrance. Near the mattress shop, OK?)
Police Spokesperson Yonatan C. addressed the assembled press. “We would like to thank the efforts of our Thai friends. Their unique skills as cave divers allowed them to navigate the twisting tunnels, hallways that ramp up or down for no reason, and stairways that don’t lead anywhere.” Yonatan then brought one of the hero divers up to the podium. “Our line of work is very dangerous.” explained Thai Navy Petty Officer Anurak S. “It is very easy to become disoriented. Up becomes Down, left becomes right. An inexperienced person can panic and lose all sense of reality. And that’s not counting the dangers of that part of the mall near the elephant butt playground.”
Tel Aviv, Rothschild: Police are racing against time in an attempt to rescue a man trapped in a Central Tel Aviv elevator with nothing to read but today’s edition of Haaretz. The newspaper, known for its Left-Wing stance, as well as for hosting cultural conferences where performance artists throw oranges at the audience and stick flags in their butt (What? You think we just made that up? Oh Ye of Little Faith), is considered somewhat of an acquired taste. Authorities soon learned that the building’s thick concrete walls blocked cellular data coverage thus forcing the man to pass the time by reading Haaretz instead of checking his phone. Upon learning this, they rushed a team of police, firefighters, and paramedics to rescue the man, identified as recent American immigrant Zachary F, before it’s too late. The Daily Freier wandered over to the unfolding scene to get all of the facts.
While the building’s thick concrete walls forced Zachary to read Haaretz in the first place, Moti explained that they also may have prevented further tragedy. “Baruch HaShem, those concrete walls means he doesn’t have access to Amos Schocken’s Twitter feed.”
UPDATE: As the article went to print, paramedics were struggling to insert a breathing tube into the elevator shaft, as Gideon Levy’s latest Editorial on Gaza threatened to suck all the oxygen out of the confined space.
Tel Aviv, Ben Yehuda: By popular demand, the Israeli Lottery Authority introduced a new game this week, entitled “Guess the Street Liquid“. Each Lotto kiosk now has a puddle of unknown origin on its sidewalk, with local citizens invited to try their luck guessing its contents. Despite the seemingly simple aspects of this game of chance, there are some rules. While Lotto encourages using one’s sense of sight and sense of smell, there is a strict “No Touching” rule. The Daily Freier hung out with the kiosk attendant “Dudu” for about a half hour and watched the citizens of Tel Aviv take a spin with Lady Luck.
First on the scene was Alert local Ronit S., who stopped by the kiosk on her way home from the Shuk and decided to try out this new game of chance. Ronit spent a full minute contemplating the puddle, carefully circling the puddle from right to left and then from left to right before making her guess and filling out the bubbles on the Lottery Card.
Next to stop by was Gideon.” Since we are only a few blocks from that arsey club on the corner of Ben Yehuda and Allenby, and seeing as they had a big promotion last night, I’m going with ‘Goldstar, vomit, and bad decisions’. OK, give me a bubble sheet to fill out.”
Finally, recent Oleh Zachary decided to place a wager. Zachary took a moment to smell the air around the puddle before placing his eyes at street level to make an expert analysis. “I gotta go with burnt peanut oil, because of the buffet over there.” noted Zachary as he gestured toward the nearby Chinese restaurant. “But there’s just too much funk from sunflower seed husks and body odor. So I gotta say that somebody also spilled that new cologne ‘Tahanah Merkazit’. OK so where do I collect my prize?”
Tel Aviv, Dizengoff Center: Tel Aviv’s Cinema scene got quite a fright today with the premier showing of “Dizi Spell“, an independent horror film based on the Dizengoff Center Mall’s “EasyDizi” Navigation App. The Daily Freier was lucky to score a seat to the premier, held at Dizengoff Center’s very own Lev Tel Aviv Cinema. (We were a bit late because, well, you know.)
[SPOILER ALERT] The film tells the story of a young couple, Zachary and Beth, who decide to spend a carefree Thursday afternoon at the Mall. At first the day goes great, with the two getting a coffee and planning their weekend. But then the story takes a horrific turn when they decide to use the “EasyDizi” App to find the Marley Shop so they can look at speakers for their living room. The App continuously turns them around and around as they walk up and down hallways that for some reason are built on a slope. As the lost couple begin to bicker and turn on one another, it becomes clear to the viewer that they are slowly becoming possessed by a talking purple dog that lives within the App itself. In the dramatic conclusion, Zachary and Beth run screaming from the Mall and exit by the Castro’s Clothing Store. As they huddle on the sidewalk shaken and crying and the credits begin to roll, an oblivious new couple is seen downloading the App and entering the mall.
After the film, The Daily Freier sat in on a very special Question and Answer session with first-time Director Adam G. Adam explained his inspiration. “When I first heard that Dizengoff Center had the audacity to create a Navigation App for their Mall, I have to admit, I thought it was some kind of joke. But no, it was far too real. It was at that moment that I realized that there was an amazing Horror Film just waiting to be made. Well that and the App got me hopelessly lost and I ended up spending the night near the Mall’s Loading Dock by the Bograshov Parking Lot Entrance.”
While disappointed that several prominent theater critics got lost near the dark hallway on the second floor that sells luggage and reclining chairs and thus missed the movie, Adam was flattered to host a somewhat disoriented United States Secretary of State John Kerry, who conveniently was in the vicinity.
Tel Aviv, Dizengoff Center: In a move described by State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf as “unhelpful” and “not contributing to a constructive dialogue” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu took United States Secretary of State John Kerry to Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center Mall this morning and left him at the Food Court on the third floor near the cinema. The visit to Dizengoff Center, slated as a “fact-finding trip” by Mr. Netanyahu’s staff, was cut short when Netanyahu informed Kerry that he “really needed to use the bathroom” and quickly exited the premises via a previously unknown exit near the Holmes Gym on the ground floor. A confused John Kerry waited approximately 30 minutes before setting out on his own to try to find his way out of the sprawling shopping center long known as difficult to comprehend even by native Israelis. The Daily Freier’s “City Beat” reporter was able to observe Mr. Kerry’s navigation efforts throughout the mall.
Upon realizing that Netanyahu had no intention of coming back, Mr. Kerry set out toward what he thought was an exit to King George Street, only to find himself turned around and in the middle of a room of vendors selling homemade traditional foods. Mr. Kerry took the time to recount some of his experiences as a Lieutenant in the Mekong Delta during Vietnam to a bewildered Druze woman selling flat breads with labaneh cheese. Mr. Kerry then set out again, trying to reach the Dizengoff Street pedestrian overpass that connects the two wings of the mall, and perhaps find an exit near the parking garage at the corner of Dizengoff and King George. Unfortunately, Kerry took a turn up a ramp that led to a bunch of semi empty shops. Again, Kerry displayed his diplomatic acumen as he told the woman applying Dead Sea mud to his face and neck that Putin’s actions in Syria would only hurt Russia in the long run and that Putin really needed to “get with the program and find some sort of consensus”. As Mr. Kerry set out again in search of an exit, the Daily Freier looked over the railing toward the second floor to see a dozen hurried men and women wearing khaki pants, bulging tan vests and earpieces fanning out and asking random passerby questions while gesturing frantically. At this point Mr. Kerry reached a tanning salon whose genial owner listened to Kerry’s recollections about appearing once on an episode of “Cheers” back in the early 1990’s. As the shops began to close this afternoon in preparation for Shabbat, a desperate Secret Service agent asked the Daily Freier if we had seen “a tall older white guy with a patrician manner and a long face.” and we informed them that we thought he might be with our friend Zachary near the store that sells Pop Tarts.
Tel Aviv, Shuk Ha Carmel: Recent immigrant Zachary F. is tired of getting hustled at the Shuk every week when he does his shopping. It seems that Zachary may not be necessarily getting the best prices when he shops, and he believes his American-ness is to blame. “So when I got here this Summer, the cheese guy would smile at me and tell me I was getting the ‘special price for Americans.’ …… I believed that line for at least two months. But in a way I guess he was right. I WAS getting a special price. Double.”
Zachary is fed up with this experience at the Shuk and he’s looking to make a change. “I’m sick of it. They treat me like I’m some dentist’s kid from Long Island. I mean, my dad is an actuary. And I’m from Rockland…….There’s a difference.”
So Zachary has hatched a plan: pretend he’s Russian while shopping. “Have you seen the bouncers along Allenby Street? They’re all Russian. And they get respect. And since I took two semesters of Russian at school, I think I can pull it off.”
Zachary’s attempts so far have been decidedly mixed, with some of the vendors at the Shuk providing critique and feedback to the Daily Freier. “Ten points for trying, but maybe he should have left his Birthright tote bag at home.” noted a bemused Motti from the vegetable stand halfway down the hill on the right, before the beer kiosk. Yet Motti is reluctant to call an end to Zachary’s charade. “We let him speak his Russian every week for about ten minutes. According to Illya the herring guy, his Russian isn’t half bad. But tomorrow Illya is going to tell Zachary that during last week’s conversation he agreed to marry my sister. That oughta be fun.”
While Zachary’s resilience and resourcefulness to date have been commendable, a sign of just how far he has to go was evident in his last conversation with this reporter: “So your newspaper is called the Daily Freier??? What the heck does that word even MEAN anyway???”
Tel Aviv: A wave of relief passed over the city as Tel Aviv learned that a missing tourist, feared kidnapped, is simply somewhere on the third floor, east wing of Tel Aviv’s sprawling Dizengoff Center Mall. American college senior Zachary F. was last seen walking into the mall from the King George Street entrance last Wednesday. When he failed to return to his hotel for two days, alert staff notified the authorities, who in turn reached out to his family in the United States.
A reporter from the Daily Freier’s Crime and Justice section managed to locate Zachary near the candle shop that nobody ever goes into. “I tried to contact my family, but the Wi-Fi here really sucks. I finally managed to send an email to my dad, but he only checks it when he’s at work. I even tried Facebooking my mom, but since I forgot that she only communicates IN ALL CAPS, BY WRITING ON MY FACEBOOK WALL, she never got the message.”
Despite the harsh environment, Zachary has shown remarkable resourcefulness and resilience. “I took two semesters of Russian, so me and the security guards have really hit it off well. One of them gives me half of his sandwich every morning. But when I asked him for help getting out of here, he just kinda smiled, cackled, rubbed his hands together, and talked in riddles. Also, I think I might have a date with the girl from the coffee shop on the second floor, but where am I going to take her? That sketchy tattoo shop by the Dizengoff street pedestrian overpass??”
As the interview ended, Zachary asked the reporter if he could follow us out to the exit, but we’re really in kind of a hurry and just gotta go. Good luck!
Live from Tel Aviv. This is like Satire and Stuff.