Your Israel Connection is a weekly news magazine about the nation of Israel.
100 Things I love About Living in Israel #003
The average Israeli taxi driver could be a history professor in a university. Others could be stand up comedians. And still others could lecture on how Israel’s original socialistic economy nearly sunk the nation. My point is that when you get into an Israeli taxi, be prepared to get an education.
I think we have the most intelligent, entertaining taxi drivers in the world. Once, in the middle of our GOD TV Israel tour, our taxi driver gave us a thrilling retelling of the Six Day War. Another time, our driver was so funny, that Elana and I were laughing uncontrollably. And then, he offered us food and coffee…all in a ten- minute trip!
The Israeli taxi driver is nothing like the New York taxi driver, who is often a struggling immigrant. The Israeli is native. He has fought in wars for his country. He will not allow you to look down upon him, no matter how important you think you are. He will talk back to you, correct you and make it clear that he is every bit your equal—and then some.
“I hope it is not the same woman!”
Today, I was coming home from filming in Jaffa. Elana had the car (one difference between life here and in the US is that most families can only afford one car!). My taxi driver was talkative. I shared with him about making Aliyah (moving to Israel) and learning Hebrew. Then, I told him that my wife was Moroccan. (To be clear, Elana is full Israeli, but her background is Moroccan. Most Israelis, or at least their families, came from other countries. Moroccans are one of the largest ethnic groups here.) He told me that he was married to a Moroccan, too!
We talked more and I mentioned that Elana grew up in Ashkelon (on the southwest coast, just above Gaza) and he said, “My wife grew up in Ashkelon.” Then I asked what neighborhood, and it was the same. Then he said, “I hope it is not the same woman!”
Cursing with Joy!
Another time, I was with two friends from America. I started sharing with the driver in Hebrew about Yeshua. We had a great conversation. When we got to our destination, I asked if we could pray for him. The Spirit of God touched him and he yelled in English, “Jesus was Jewish. Jesus was the [blank-ing] Jewish!” It is not the normal response you expect from someone who has just had revelation. But if God had ever chosen to be blessed through foul language, this was it.
I have never met a taxi driver in Israel who didn’t think he was smarter than me! I have had some of the most stimulating conversations with taxis drivers. From politics to religion, I love to engage them.
“That Guy Believes that Yeshua is the Messiah”
My favorite taxi story of all happened not long ago. I am the regional director for GOD TV in Israel. Our CEO Ward Simpson, who is also my best friend and a Jewish believer, was here for the week. We were on our way to meet a colleague for lunch.
I noticed the driver was not talkative. So, I said to him Hebrew, “That guy behind me is a Jew who believes Yeshua is the Messiah!”referring to Ward. I wanted to see how he would react. Suddenly, he yelled in a thick Hebrew accent, “Oh my God! Oh my God! Are you CRAZY?”
We were all laughing after I told Ward what I had told him (since I was speaking Hebrew). Then he started singing a very famous Hebrew song called “Mashiach, Mashiach, Mashiach.” It is a song about the coming of the Messiah. The words are so powerful that he was laughing.
And even though he may tarry,
nonetheless I will wait for him
I will wait every day for him to come.
I believe with perfect faith
in the coming of the Messiah, I believe.
Mashiach, Mashiach, Mashiach oyooyooyooyooyoo
Messiah, Messiah, Messiah oyooyooyooyooyoo
I started singing with him and videoed the last bit as we arrived at the restaurant. And, yes, I have the video to prove it.
With taxis in Israel, you can learn so much and you never know what to expect. If you find yourself in a taxi here, make an effort to engage. You will be better for it!
During Hanukkah, the winter holiday that commemorates the Hebrew victory over the Syrian dictator, Antiochus Epiphanes, we say, “nes godal kara poe,”which means, “a great miracle happened here.” It is fitting that 50 Israelis soldiers were singing one of the great Hanukkah songs, when they encountered a miracle of their own.
Many of you have seen the carcass of the burning bus that took a direct hit from an anti-tank missile from Hamas. This is a severe escalation. Not since 2014 has Hamas used one of their Russian-made, anti-tank missiles. For the most part, Israel has had to contend with tens of thousands of horribly inaccurate rockets. They have no guiding system beyond point and shoot. And when one is actually on target, our Iron Dome has a 90% accuracy rate of taking them down before they can cause damage.
Miracle of Timing
However, an anti-tank missile is much more accurate and the video of it hitting the bus is chilling. No one inside could have survived. However, here is what you may not have heard.
Minutes before the missile hit its mark, the bus was full,with 30 barely-passed-their-teens, IDF soldiers. They had no idea that any minute, their bus would become an inferno. They began to sing the famous Hanukkah song that speaks of the miracles that took place as God protected Israel. It boldly proclaims: “Jerusalem, our capital, the heart of Israel.”
Moments after all 50 had exited the bus, a Hamas missile hit it, turning it instantly into a ball of fire. One soldier, who was standing close to the bus, was seriously injured. Fortunately, doctors expect him to survive. Had they been in the bus at the time, all of them would have surely died or have been seriously burned. Of course, Hamas aired a video of the explosion, declaring that they killed and injured many soldiers. In fact, it was the Arab bus driver who set the record straight.
“God loves [Israel]. I just let off 50 soldiers from the bus. A minute later the bus was hit. 60 seconds earlier and you would have had 50 dead soldiers.”—Arab Bus Driver
This bus had an Arab driver. In his shock while being treated (thank God he lived), he said, “God loves you. I just let off 50 soldiers from the bus. A minute later the bus was hit. 60 seconds earlier and you would have had 50 dead soldiers.” https://t.co/m7hhJRl35A— Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll (@skjask) November 12, 2018
A Blessing for Both Sides
I cannot even imagine the response from Israel, if the soldiers were still on the bus. This miracle not only benefited Israel, but Gaza as well. Many Palestinian lives were saved. It makes one wonder if Hamas waited until the bus was empty, before firing. They know full well that the only thing restraining the IDF is the fact that, with all their rockets, they have caused only a few deaths.
The situation is still tense. Israel and Hamas have agreed on a ceasefire. This caused our Hawkish Defense Minister to resign from the government—taking his party with him—bringing Netanyahu’s coalition to the smallest number possible, just 61 members. We will surely have new elections soon.
One thing that is troubling is how Israel’s army allowed an unarmored bus carrying soldiers to get within the scopes of Hamas. This was extremely reckless and, no doubt, it is being discussed amongst the senior leaders of the IDF.
I have been in the US now for three days. With all the hoopla over the midterms and taking a few days to rest and get over jet lag (yes, it is a real thing!), I have been watching the news—both Fox and CNN. One of the themes that I see on CNN, over and over again, is that Donald Trump has a problem with black women. And, today, I hear he has a problem with all black people.
They come to this conclusion based on his criticisms of Maxine Waters, Andrew Gillum and Stacy Abrams. And then, he went too far, attacking Michelle Obama (Don’t let the fact that he actually attacked her husband—not her, and it was only after she attacked him, cloud your judgment). [of him].)
Indeed, he did call Gillum a thief and said that he has done a horrible Job as mayor of Tallahassee. He wants Stacy Abrams to concede in Georgia. And, yes, he has referred to Maxine Waters (who has encouraged violence again Republicans) as “low-IQ Maxine”. Then on Friday, he went after Michelle Obama. She wrote in her new book that she would never forgive President Trump for advancing the birther debate. He responded that he would never forgive former-President Obama for gutting the military.
And now he is attacking the black leader of the Broward County Election Commission, Brenda Snipes, over irregularities in the way they count votes. Well, he didn’t mention her by name, but he did refer to the “political corruption” in Broward County. That should be enough for CNN and MSNBC to label him a racist.
Equal Opportunity Offender
If we simply look at these statements, sure, we can make a case that President Trump has a problem with African Americans. But we have a problem. He has made more statements than these—many, many more statements—AGAINST WHITE MALES! President Trump has actually proven he is not a racist! He has been rude, mean and critical of people of every race, not based on the color of their skin, but rather, on the content of their “politics.”
Trump Must Hate White Males, Too!
If we are to conclude that President Trump hates blacks based on his harsh rhetoric, then we must conclude that he really hates white men! Here is a list of some of the mocking nicknames he has had for white men:
• Lyin [sic] Ted (Cruz)
• Little Marco (Rubio)
• Sleepy Joe (Biden)
• Da Nang Richard (Blumenthal)…mocking his fictitious tour of duty in Vietnam.
• Low Energy Jeb (Bush) …effectively putting an end to Jeb Bush’s hopes of becoming president.
• ‘Leakin’ [sic] James Comey
• Al Frankenstein
• Crazy Bernie (Sanders)
• Cryin [sic] Chuck Schumer
The list of people that he has labeled with clever, even if mean nicknames is made up overwhelmingly of white males!
Based on his mean words to white men, should we conclude that he hates white men? Of course not! Just read his twitter feed. He is going after Taylor Swift and Hillary Clinton. He calls faux, native-American Elizebeth Warren, Pocahontas. He calls Nancy Pelosi, High-tax, High-crime Nancy. Does he hate white women?
Not A Saint/Not a Racist
My desire is to look honestly at President Trump. I don’t think he is a saint. And I do not think that the “Trump is never wrong” mentality is good for our nation. I do think that he has contributed (along with Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi and certain unhinged people in Hollywood) to the division in this country. He could do better. And yet, he seems to understand the frustration of the average American who feels judged by elite left for “clinging to their guns and religion.”
I do think that he could be gentler and kinder in the way he speaks of others. I do think that he is easy to goad, because of his thin skin and short temper. While I think CNN’s Jim Acosta is a grandstanding narcissist, he knows exactly what he is doing when he challenges the president. He knows how easy it is to provoke President Trump into going off script and losing his cool.
However, to conclude that he is a racist based on the way he speaks against certain African American politicians or entertainers is utterly dishonest. Look at the black people he has embraced from Ben Carson to Kayne West, from Mike Tyson to Jim Brown. In addition, there is Hershel Walker, Terrell Owens, Latrell Sprewell and others. Just the other day, President trump said this about Oprah:
“Oprah was a friend of mine until I ran for office. Once I ran for office we diverged slightly … until I ran for office, we did very well. We had a good relationship. I like Oprah.”
How can someone who hates black women say such things?
The fact is, the president has made many verbal missteps, but these have nothing to do with race. If we are going to conclude that hatred of an entire ethnicity or gender are the same as criticism of a particular individual’s stance or politics (regardless of their ethnicity or gender), then we have to conclude that he hates (along with every other classification) white, Anglo males the most…because that is who he attacks the most.