Last night I was stuck in Jerusalem traffic (Jerusalem was designed to handle 400 vehicles, give or take a horse-drawn buggy, and is invaded each weekday by a million motorists), and because I always think of you, dear reader, my radio was tuned to Reshet Bet to catch the news (Kol Israel has a new news edition on the hour and the half hour, and if we’re not careful they’re perfectly ready to do minute 15 and 45, too). The 5 PM news had two items that would have made me fall off my seat laughing under normal conditions, and I’m not sure which one should be delivered first—my instinct says to go with the individual and move up to the group story.
Believe it or not, “Robbery by note” is a regular crime category in Israel. It involves a guy walking into a bank, presenting the teller with a note demanding a certain amount of money, and the teller gives it over.
Yes, it’s just like the bank robbery scene from Woody Allen’s “Take the Money and Run.”
Yesterday, in Ashdod, the robber’s note read: “This is a robbery.” He passed this note to a bank teller in the city’s A Quarter. The teller handed over to the robber—whom he assumed was armed, but that part is not at all clear—the amount of money he had on hand, and soon after, the robber disappeared.
Estimates are that the robber walked away with tens of thousands of shekels, which is a very good pay for writing such a short note. I mean, for that kind of money I’d expect several typed pages with an executive summary, but I would be wrong.
On January 29, the same thing took place in the city of Lod, where the robber submitted a written request for 20 thousand shekels, the teller happened to have that amount on hand, placed it in a handsome envelope and gave it to the man.
It was all shot on a smartphone by a waiting customer and shown on Channel 10 News.
So that’s one great way of making a living from writing in Israel.
THE WAGES OF RACISM
On Thursday, three days before the soccer match between Beitar Jerusalem and the team representing the Arab town of Sakhnin, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, and the Israel Sports Betting Board, transferred to Beitar the amount of 200 thousand shekels to help the team with its action against violence and racism that have recently exploded among some fans—in reaction to the addition of two Muslim players from Chechnya (Chech players?) Zaor Sdayeb and Jibril Kdayeb.
As you may recall, several Beitar Jerusalem fans expressed their firm objection to the addition of non-Jewish players to their favorite team by carrying a huge sign, big enough to be seen by the NY Times, with the immortal phrase: “Beitar Pure Forever.”
Yes, if you’re thinking “How Aryan is that?” your parents haven’t wasted all that Hebrew day school tuition money for naught.
But now, as it turns out, writing those three words on a banner and raising that banner in full view of the world media (which, I’ll admit, is harder than just jotting a note and handing it to a teller) can yield a very nice return on your efforts. I mean, that’s better than $50 thousand for one afternoon’s work. It even beats robbing banks, where you have to schlep from one bank to another with your note before you can put together that kind of cash.
What a country.