Israel turned 61 yesterday. Everywhere the number 61 was prominently displayed. HaMashbir was giving 61% off. It cost 61 Sheks to go to Jem's party. You get the picture.
My Pollyannaish wife, who sees the world through rose-tinted glasses, sent me a link to "61 more things I love about Israel", a blog entry on the Jerusalem Post website, posted by one Benji Lovitt. In true blackpetero spirit here are "61 more things I don't love about Israel".
1) I don't love the fact that driving in your lane in Israel is viewed as a recommendation not a requirement.
2) I don't love it when someone asks me "Mah Echpat Lechah" (What do you care), of course I care, fool, if I didn't I wouldn't have said anything.
3) I don't love it that any conversation with any group of guys eventually turns to who they were and what they did in the army.
4) I don't love it that many Hebrew websites (my bank for example and BG Airport's site) requires that you use Internet Explorer and do not support Firefox.
5) I don't love it that before Lag B'Omer the country's youth turn into thieves and plunderers. They
then proceed to burn any scrap of wood that they can find, all this, in a country that has like
5 trees. Not to mention the poor shopping carts that get tortured, flayed alive and then burned at the stake.
6) I don't love it that due to ridiculous insurance requirements, each Saturday we are subjected to
a chorus of house alarms that everyone ignores. If you don't use your alarm, after your burglary, they won't pay.
7) I don't love the jelly fish that clog up the beach in July and August.
8) I don't love the fact that our beaches in Herzliya are often closed (for the last three weeks) due
to the high level of sewerage in the water.
9) I don't love Bibi.
10) I don't love the people who double park on the main street and block off one lane while they pop in to the local kiosk to buy cigarettes.
11) I don't love the fact that when people miss an exit or a turn off, they will happily reverse or (gesticulating madly with their hands out their windows) cut across all the lanes and disrupt the traffic, rather than make a U turn at the next light.
12) I don't love that the food is set out in a semi random way in the supermarket, and the layout differs from supermarket to supermarket, even those of the same chain.
13) I don't love kids that accost you at a traffic light for a ride (Tramp Lahatz).
14) I don't love that instead of peace and quiet when you go camping, you're subjected to crowded campsites, Russian disco, and the sound of bottles breaking all night.
15) I don't love that opening a packet of chips requires extreme and unnecessary force, an often resulting in half the contents flying all over the place.
16) I don't love that the cling wrap here does not cling.
17) I don't love that none of my daughters friends parents seem to have cars.
18) I don't love that you are expected to attend every brit/brita, bar/bat mitzvah and wedding of every person and of the children of every person you know. And you need to pay big.
19) I don't love that even though gas costs $1.25 a liter there are so many huge 4x4s on the road, that you wonder why they're paved.
20) I don't love the whole shaved head look so prevalent in the High Tech industry. Hey dudes, real men grow hair.
21) I don't love the fact that almost all the cashiers at my local supermarket look so sour, that one glance from them and the milk in my groceries curdles.
21) I don't love that there are separate verb genders for male and female in Hebrew. It's confusing to remember that stomach is female, or is it male?
22) I don't love that while the Kupat Holim, ministry of transportation, even the police station uses numbering systems to ensure no line cutting, getting onto a bus is still a free for all.
23) I don't love that it's impossible to have a discussion about politics in this country without someone bringing up the Holocaust and "haven't the Jewish People suffered enough".
24) I don't love the fact that Macbooks cost 1.5 times what they cost in the civilized world.
25) I don't love that any open piece of ground quickly becomes a garbage dump for people's refuse.
26) I don't love the hard water that coats the inside of the kettle, hot water heater and dishwasher.
27) I don't love that it's common place to stick hebrew ingredients stickers over the directions in english on packaging.
28) I really don't love vespa drivers, who insist on overtaking you at the traffic lights, then crawl forward blocking your progress.
29) I don't love that even when you request an itemized phone bill not it's not really itemized. It just gives you totals for things like incoming, outgoing and oversea calls.
30) I don't love the random ways banks charge commission, bank charges and overdraft fees.
31) I don't love seeing drivers picking their noses in traffic.
32) I don't love listening to people's cell phone conversations in restaurants, movies, weddings, funerals, while jogging and especially on the bus in the early morning.
33) I don't love the fact that put any Israeli in front of a TV camera and his first words will be giving advice to the government.
34) I don't love how people refuse to pull over for ambulances. I really don't love how they tailgate ambulances as a way to pass the few cars that do pull over.
35) I don't love the absolute obsession with not being a fryer (a Sucker).
36) I don't love the fact that Israeli soccer sucks so much, yet they keep pouring money into it. Spread the money around chaps there are other sports besides soccer and basketball.
37) I don't love the fact that English words written in Hebrew are almost impossible for me to decipher.
38) I don't love that when you ask for a simple coffee at Arcaffe, it comes with 70% milk. All I want is coffee flavored coffee.
39) I don't love the fact that finding a parking in Tel Aviv is more difficult than finding an honest mechanic for your car.
40) I don't love the "Ben Gurion Worm Hole" - the fact that in each airport where planes leave for Ben Gurion, while waiting for your flight, you may as well be in Israel.
41) I don't love that it's commonplace to see drivers pull over to the side of the highway to relieve themselves. Couldn't you walk just a few paces away from the road, so we don't need to see you pee.
42) I don't love that it's so hot in summer that getting into your unshaded car can cause first degree burns.
43) I don't at all love the fact that google Israel decides that you automatically want to set your cookie to google.co.il
44) I don't love that it can take an hour to drive the 8KM from my home to work, while to walk only takes an hour and a quarter.
45) I don't love the fact that running shoes cost double here than in the US.
46) I don't love the fact that after Yom Haatzmaut, the cities need to bring in extra crews to clean the mountains of garbage left by picnickers.
47) I don't love the fact that every time I ride my bike, I feel I'm risking life and limb.
48) I don't love the fact that so much dust collects in the house that we've seen camel trains trekking across our lounge.
49) I don't love that my squints have to do Miluim.
50) I don't love that my boy has to spend three years in the army, and my girl two.
51) I really don't love that I have to work on a Sunday.
52) I don't love that it's hard to find Marmite, and when you do it costs an arm, a leg and a liver.
53) I don't love that there are hardly any trees and all wood needs to be imported.
54) I don't love that only a vast minority of people clean up after their dog's (Mah Echpat Lechah again).
55) I don't love that every Israeli movie is either soft-porn or some depressing war saga.
56) I don't love that the sound in movie theaters is usually so bad that it's necessary to read the Hebrew subtitles even in English movies.
57) I don't love that it never rains from April to November.
58) I don't love that the barriers on the railway crossings go down at least 3 minutes before the train passes.
59) I don't love the "expert" Israeli sport commentators that talk over the real expert commentators during the Olympics, Superbowl, tennis, gymnastics etc.
60) I don't love that road signs have no consistent way of spelling towns like Petach Tikva (or Tikqa or Tikwa).
61) And I especially hate how dammed hard it was to come up the preceding 60.
333 Petersham Road
15 minutes ago