The Israeli male, a philistine with a small pee

Taking a Shabbes afternoon stroll through Jaffa last weekend, and feeling the effects of a liquid brunch, I had the sudden urge to relieve myself. And, spotting the wrought iron gates of a shack set back and largely obscured from the road, I took my chance.

“Zeh docheh” (that is revolting), Michal, my walking partner, hissed as I rejoined her a bladderful lighter, a (provocative) smirk of self-satisfaction emblazoned across my face.

Israeli women love a good hiss, though I immediately recognised this one to be symptomatic of the familiar female frustration that their anatomies – lovely though they are – simply do not allow them to do what ours can with ease.

Tel Aviv’s architecture has earned it UNESCO World Heritage Site status. It is not just the Bauhaus buildings themselves, however, but also the gaps between them, that make the “White City” such a wonderful one in which to live. It proved impossible in London’s semi-detached, side-gated suburbia to locate any discreet, impromptu pee stops between the Tube and the Isaacson household, resulting in many a desperate, late night dash – “Please God, help me make it!” – up the home straight. The male, post-ale stagger through Tel Aviv, on the other hand, is a blissfully relaxed one, with alleys conveniently located all the way to Melchett.

Like any chivalrous English gentleman (after regularly witnessing them wee in WC basins, I exclude our football fans from such characterisation), I only spend my penny discriminately (in line with the sign, right, which tickled me during my trip last year to the Caribbean) and out of view. While still urination (and arguably even indecent exposure) in a public place – and strictly speaking, therefore, a likely breach of the penal code – I believe it to be an inalienable expression of my manhood, and a rite which I will fight to preserve.

In our ridiculously PC age – in which it is no longer considered acceptable to give an attractive female stranger a friendly pinch or pat on the bottom, or even to compliment her on her breasts – were this advantage and privilege to be taken away from us, then what, dear reader, would be left?

The indigenous male, however, does not possess the refinement or finesse of the Englishman, nor even of little Stuey for that matter, who will only raise his hind leg by trees, corners of walls or discarded plastic bags (his target of choice).

No, Israeli men possess no such subtlety, indiscriminately discharging the contents of their bladders anywhere and everywhere. The sight of them proudly urinating against shop fronts in busy high streets is a familiar one, as is that of unabashed motorists taking leaks in the full glare of oncoming traffic – and we wonder about our accident rate! – when they could just as easily take a few steps behind their vehicle or down the embankment.

Perched upon the pavement, together with other cheapskates, outside Leonard Cohen’s recent performance in Ramat Gan, we were suddenly treated, during the interval, to the delightful spectacle of long lines of local Neanderthals peeing in our direction down the Stadium embankment.

Like Stuey perhaps, Israeli males are keen to mark their (occupied) territory and to simply be “top dog”. It is part and parcel of the macho Israeli psyche: “I am a gever (male), and I will take it out wherever I like.”

In spite of last week’s flash floods here, it is a continuing source of wonder to me how, with such a paucity of annual rainfall, the country’s agriculture survives such uncomfortably hot summers and almost entirely arid springs and autumns. Perhaps now, however, I have the answer: it is the continual watering of the Land by the uncouth Israeli male – providing showers of a rather different nature – which performs, however unwittingly, the critical role in its irrigation. “Jerusalem the golden”, indeed!

So, Michal, the next time the English oleh (immigrant) needs to pull out his “hose”, praise rather than scold him for performing his Zionist duty . . . and, still, with a sprinkling of class.

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9 responses to “The Israeli male, a philistine with a small pee

  1. After a long, hot, rainless summer, the stench of 8 months of collected urine (human, canine and feline) can become quite unbearable. To combat this blight, I keep pails situated under the tens of (noisy iritating) air-conditioners working in my building in order to give my alley-way a daily wash-down, but until the rains come, the stink never really disappears. That is not to say that I never “whip it out” whenever and wherever I’ve got to relieve myself.

    An additional problem are folks taking “dumps” behind my building. At least twice monthly I use a water/ammonia solution to combat that blight.

  2. Mike
    Generally I look forward to reading your take on life in Israel, with its Tel Aviv focus, even more than the excellent Hasmo Legends. This posting however is a disappointment. I do not want to judge but surely the author of this most excellent blog can do better. I do not know at what time you posted this item yesterday, Jan 27th, and am sure that you gave the item several days of reflection following your Shabbes stroll, but this item was posted on a day when Dorit Beinisch was assaulted with a pair of shoes, Peres spoke to both houses of the Bundestag in Ivrit followed by kaddish, Netanya spoke from Auschwitz of the dangers of a new Amalek, Rav Shapira of Yitzhar was released from custody, Ratzon Goel’s wives gave interviews and the Jewish cemetery of Strausbourg was vandalised. To be fair, you have addressed antisemitism (in Europe) in previous items but you have also extensively addressed scatological matters and the gever gever Israeli male. Are you running out of ideas? Do you have nothing serious to say about Israeli society or is your blog only intended to cover light hearted matters and taking the piss?
    Best wishes,
    Aharon

  3. A friend of mine once explained his marital arrangements in the area of decision-making. “I make all the big decisions.” He proudly declared, “And I leave the small decisions to my wife.”

    Intrigued, I asked him for an example of a small decision. “Oh, that’s easy.” he answered, “She decides about minor matters; where we will live, to which schools to send the kids, what to spend our money on, that sort of stuff.”

    I was amazed, “Then which decisions does she leave to you?” “Well, I get to make the really important ones. When to restart peace talks with Syria, who’ll be the next president of the United States, the questions that really count.”

    While seeing Aharon’s point of view, and nobody more than I enjoys passionately debating matters regarding which I have absolutely no say, I can also see a point in occasionally discussing issues that are in our hands. Mike can’t rearrest Rav Shapira of Yitzhar, he can’t pinch a couple of Ratzon Goel’s wives or even wipe out European Anti-Semitism. But when it comes to where and how he passes water – that is definitely still in his hands.

    Just as long as he remembers to wash them afterwards.

  4. Aharon,

    Thank you for your honesty. I value your feedback. You win some you lose some I guess, can’t keep everyone happy all of the time, etc.

    Believe it or not, it took me a few days to finalise the above. And I hope that some readers will find a little merit in it*.

    I don’t really feel International Holocaust Remembrance Day too much, living over here (where we have our own Yom HaShoah, in the spring). And, if I am being honest, it didn’t even occur to me not to post yesterday (although it did the day before, on my father’s Yahrzeit). As for my feelings on the Holocaust, my guess is that they are not too different from yours.

    In answer to your first question, no, I most definitely am not “running out of ideas”. In fact, I have a long list stored on my phone! But, if you must know, writing has come harder these past few weeks. Such things happen to us artists! 😉

    Also, my moods effect what subjects I feel like writing about at any time. And, right now, angry, heavy posts on anti-Semitism/Zionism, and the Holocaust, etc, are not really very high on my agenda.

    Moreover, while I will tackle such matters in the future, the stories that you list can be easily found in the newspaper and news websites, and are not, I believe, the reason that most people visit melchett mike.

    In relation to your second question, I do like to push the boundaries a little, though most of my posts – even if ostensibly “light hearted and taking the piss” – do, I believe, have at their core some very “serious [things] to say about Israeli society”. I am sorry that you appear to have missed them.

    Best,

    Mike

    *Some JC readers, at least, apparently now have!

  5. I suppose it was inevitable that he who has made lavatorial fornication his dream should choose places elsewhere to relieve himself urinally.

    On a more serious note, am I the only reader of this excellent blog who desperately misses the delightfully witty, yet always sagacious posts of the evergreen Nick Kopaloff?

    He once did me the favor, so the the hour for reciprocation is here. I call all those readers who have ever enjoyed Nick’s scribblings, even ever so slightly, to post either here or on the excellent Chatter that he might be persuaded to put pen to paper, or two fingers to keyboard once again.

    Please Nick, we’re ALL waiting!

  6. Hi There,
    Your blog about the Philistine macho Israeli man is spot on. I have had experience dating Israeli men in England and California, and they are very sexy, but stupidly macho.
    I write a dating series on my blog, Sabrina’s London Diaries, called, “Finding Mr. Darcy”.
    I am going to be writing a blog about the differences between Israeli men and English gentleman. It will be all in good fun, I make fun of myself too. I would love to quote you or better yet, add your link on my blog. I thought I ‘d ask you first. My blog is about my 1 and 1/2 years of experience in London.
    Cheers,
    Sabrina Grace-

  7. “I have had experience dating Israeli men in England . . . and they are very sexy, but stupidly macho.”

    But I am an Englishman in Israel, which is a far better combo: very macho and stupidly sexy. 😉

    Feel free to quote and link away!

  8. Sabrina Rongstad-Bravo

    I did write the blog, and there couldn’t be two men who are so disparately DIFFERENT.
    http://sabrinaslondondiaries.blogspot.com/2010/04/finding-mr-darcy-israeli-soldier-vs.html

    A combination of both, very macho and very gentlemanly would be the cats meow. But, not too macho and not to sissy. Some people think English men are Gay, that’s my next blog. Can you help me with the title? ( lol!) Just kidding you seem very busy.
    Cheers,
    Sabrina

  9. Let’s check the logic here:
    Specifically: you pee’d in the street during the middle of the day walking with a girl friend
    Generally: you used that at as inspiration for a blog calling Israeli men neanderthals. So either you actually know all Israeli men or your generalizing.

    Now why pick on Israeli men? Downing street issues a statement in 2000 calling “Yobs” public enemy number one. They were referring to amongst other things the uncouth type who would pee in public on someones fence.

    So specifically you put yourself into that category and I guess you justify the self deprecation by generalizing against all the men in the country you have chosen over all beautiful places in the world to live.

    One of the magnificently beautiful places being France. In France they have a special branch of policing used to ticket your bunch when caught peeing in public.

    So what we do know up to now is that:
    A. in some of the most civilized societies their exists a Yob sub-culture. Yobs bing the uncouth and generally civilly disobedient and
    B. You have chosen to put yourself into that group and at the same time making an appearance in the racist sub-group too!

    In 2010, Downing street faces much worse public enemies- terrorist and the fiscally challenged. So rejoice little man you’re not public enemy no1 anymore so you can go back to Britain.

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