Jewish Journal

Berlin of the Israelis

Dana Hadadi/ Israel/Europe

February 12, 2012 | 9:00 am

-Where do you come from?
-Ah, I know a guy down there. Actually Uri is here, he has relatives in Eilat. Don’t you know Uri? Tell them what’s the name of that cousin of yours?

- I’m a senior. I`ve stopped working. I can afford myself to travel a lot. I enjoy my free time.

- You know, in my age I could have become a senior by now. But I don’t want to.
-Yes, but he worked really hard, Haim. For many years.
- I’m still considered to be relatively young.
-Ha, everything is relative.

-So, everybody’s here?
-Whoever’s not here- so he’s not here. Ha ha.
-Where’s Yaron?
-Who’s he?
-He’s the guy with the… coat.
-The guy with the coat? Sure he’s not the one with the head? Ha, ha.

-Not all here are couples. Here, there’s a single man over there, we should fix him.
36 Israelis straight out of the fresh delivery of the latest hot travel agency’s deal get on a bus in the coldest time of the winter of Europe, to explore Berlin.  Berlin of the time they knew is quite different kind of deliveries, and also to explore some Berlin of the time of today. (Shopping time).
Everywhere in the world Israeli will try to make themselves feel at home.
Maybe after years of exiles we developed a ‘strangerophobiya’.  We just cannot bear not to own the place. You either move there to open the next Falafel place, or simply tour it, but with a bag of ‘Bamba’ snack in your hand.
In this case, it was not so far from the truth. Berlin serves perfectly the need of the Israeli to claim it. It does it by wearing a big invisible coat of guilt.

Israelis say: “B’Ktana”, which means- symbolically like, not biggy- just a hint. So, Berlin is very tasteful with its demonstration of guilt.
Here, B’ktana- golden stones integrated in the pavement with names on it in some streets where you go. There, B’ktana- some signs indicate couple of the most significant Nirenberg rules.  And did you know here, where there’s an elementary school, used to be a synagogue. No Jews now, but pupils still must write a biography of a selected Jew in order to graduate.
Quietly and modestly but shameless, Berlin will show you how it faces its disgraceful history proudly, like intellectuals do.  They reconcile by living in between the monuments, so they could “think about what they did”. Berliners of today are afraid of nationalism (not big fans of flags, and never say: “I’m German”), so how could a collective state of mind be changed in less than 3 generations?
They say Germans love the system.  They say they are loved to be told what to do.
Maybe this is the new system of what they are supposed to do?
Is it possible Germans never had whatsoever actual feelings for Jews? As they were following voices who called for their culture’s destruction now they obey the voices that call for Jews’ culture preservation?
I wouldn’t know.
I only know- on the same supermarket where the system listed for me how many cents per gram for every product listed in the shop, between the aisles, I had a small chat with one old lady, who didn’t know I don’t speak German. And she was looking at the box of the cookies I was holding in my hand, trying to develop a conversation as it goes: “Cookies in a box. Would you believe it? How marvelous”! Because eventually it all goes done to that.

*This review was written thanks to Ido Porat and Berlin Tours Leah

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