Human Touch

It can be hard to live here. An awful lot happens in Israel that can be upsetting, that can be frustrating, aggravating, annoying. Introduce me to a single Oleh who has never had a day where they’ve thought “I must be mad for living here” and I’ll call him a liar! We’re all a little bit mad. It’s part of the territory.

It can be beautiful to live here. Today, within a period of just 30 minutes, I witnessed two  beautiful moments, that once again reaffirmed my love of living here.

I was running some errands in “town”. The traffic lights were out at a major intersection, so there were a lot of confused drivers, and a lot of risk-taking pedestrians. I was of the latter. Around 20 people began crossing the street together, and an older gentleman tripped on the wheel of a shopping cart belonging to an older woman. He face planted onto the middle of the street, and his belongings scattered all around him. Every single person crossing that street, no matter the direction in which they were headed, stopped and either helped the man up, or helped pick up his possessions and money that had flown from his pockets as he fell. The lady whose cart he had caught his foot on was distraught, and couldn’t stop apologizing to him. He accepted no apology, told her it was his own fault, his wife always tells him to watch where he was going. Not one car honked that the road was blocked, not one person walked around the scene without stopping to help in one way or another.

15 minutes later I was getting felafel from the 4 flavor felafel guy on Herzl (giving him a shout out because his felafel is delicious, and because he is a mensch). While he was stuffing a pita for me, a man who had I had seen begging for money earlier, came to the side window of the felafel shop.  He stood there looking through the glass at the food. Without missing a beat, Mr. Four-Flavors grabbed a paper bag, filled it with fresh felafel and chips and handed it to the man, telling him “bete-avon.”

Two relatively minor incidents that reminded me that we are all one people. Our little country surrounded by hostility, but we have each other most of the time.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lesley Yaniv
    Feb 08, 2016 @ 20:29:14

    Those are the things that make me miss Israel terribly.
    My big problem is that poor man begging for money. When I came to Israel there were no people begging for money. There were no hungry people. Oh, of course there were some people richer than others, but the HUGE differences seen today were absent. The health care system worked, university was practically free, young people after the army could study, work and reach a home of their own. It was not out of reach.
    There was much you could not buy in Israel so when uncles and aunties came from abroad they would be asked to fill their bags with what you could NOT buy. There was envy, of course there was, but there were NO beggars and children were fed and educated.
    Things have changed a lot. However, the intrinsic kindness is still there.


    • vanessabrooksceo
      Feb 08, 2016 @ 22:16:50

      Lesley I could not agree more! It’s one of the ways Israel has changed to the negative since I left. I love that you can get everything here and I don’t have to rely on others to bring things all the time, but there are too many people living in poverty.


  2. Trollmamma
    Jun 08, 2016 @ 13:45:25

    I’ve lived here 23 years, and I am that Olah who has never thought of herself as mad for living here. Mad generally? Possibly. But there was nothing for me in the old country, may the gods of Primark and Marks and Spencer’s forgive me.

    Loving the blog, Vanessa. Shall be back!

    Also, just a note: I have been visiting Israel since I was a small child of 3 or so, and I remember seeing beggars then. Mostly at various tachanot mercazit, and maybe not so much at traffic lights, but they were there. Nu, ma la’asot?


    • vanessabrooksceo
      Jun 08, 2016 @ 14:59:30

      I lived here 25 years ago for 7 years – it was much easier coming from Ireland than it was to come this time from the US. I think that’s the biggest difference. It is a very very easy life in the United States for most Jews. Coming from the UK/Ireland/possibly most of Europe is a lot easier in many ways and for many reasons.


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