Re: Anniversary motto

Ron Resnick (
Fri, 01 May 1998 00:48:35 -0400

Lisa Dusseault (Exchange) wrote:
> Did anybody else hear on NPR that the celebrations involved a peculiarly
> Israeli custom: batting people on the head with big plastic hammers and
> spraying silly string at strangers? I thought that was great!
> I can just picture about picture Moses leading his people out of Egypt while
> spraying silly string at those silly egyptians. :)
> Lisa
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Keith Dawson []
> Sent: Thursday, April 30, 1998 4:09 PM
> To:
> Cc:
> Subject: Anniversary motto
> I propose a motto for Israel's 50th. As the ram's horn sounds
> we can turn to our neighbor and affirm:
> Shofar, shogood.
> _______________________________________________
> Keith Dawson
> Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.

The plastic hammers have been around at least since I was a kid - I
can recall Yom Ha'atzmaut (Independence Day) of 1972, walking
around on Iben Gvirol Street in Tel Aviv with them. They're
fun. They double as whistles, too.

The silly string stuff is much more recent, and bloody annoying.
Also popular, and annoying, is shaving cream. It all
makes an ungodly mess.

2 particular customs introduced in recent years that are also
of interest are:

1. US Flags. The plastic hammers are often decorated with the
national flag - Israeli - well, that makes sense. But also
American flag hammers! Also popular is draping flags on the cars. In
the 3 week period from Passover to Yom Ha'atzmaut, cars
get decked out with flags. Again, mainly Israeli. But also
lots of American. Israel has always had a love/hate thing with
the US. More love, than hate of course. But I've never
understood decking out in American colours on your own
national Independence day. Can any of you imagine Israeli flags
on the 4th of July? [Similarly incongruous: Canadians
will certainly remember the great love-in in Montreal
in October 95, the week before the referendum. Y'know,
the one where they trucked in and flew in folks from
Nanaimo to Gander? A massive throng with Canadian
& Quebec flags, live national televison,
and there.... right up front... right
at the speaker's podium... an Israeli flag!!?? What
the HELL was that doing there?]

2. The Ethiopian kids selling the flags. At major street corners
all over the country, during the 3 weeks leading up to
Yom Ha'atzmaut, you find the kids hawking these flags
(US & Israeli) you're
supposed to drape from your car. The vast majority are
Ethiopian immigrants - Israel's now-sizeable black community.
For a country of ingathering and tolerance, it's rather
sad to see this community frequently treated with the same
intolerance as blacks are treated in other nations. You'd really
think Jews would know better about tolerance and bigotry :-(.
I've frequently wondered if the flag-sellers should be seen as a bright
light, getting into the spirit of the national holiday,
and showing their love for their adopted new home? Or
is it pitiable, that these families are so hard-up for some income,
that they send their twelve year olds out for some meagre seasonal

Anyway, I missed the whole 50-year-bash. I'm in the States
this week. Riva had fun there with the kids though - fireworks
and barbecues and all.


[Postscript: Is it really true that there are no WalMarts
in California? I've been driving up and down the Peninsula
and found a few Targets and pitiful K-Marts, but no friendly
24-hour WalMart. Where do Californians buy kids' sneakers
at 1 AM anyway?? I have a shopping list to fill by Friday!]