Saturday, August 23, 2008


I don't know what is that makes me have to give people new names, so I just go along with it. It took less than five minutes for the first two to come about. One of the groups providing support is called SHATIL, an acronym for something or other, so it was quite natural for me to come up a Hebrew nickname that is a play on the meaning of Shatil (a very young plant) to mushtalim (transplant recipients or spies), then, there were the Baby Shmutznikim. In Yiddish shmutz means dirt, but it's also the acronym for The Young Guard kibbutz movement, and is commonly used to designate kibbutzim and/or the members of that movement. Their youth group is very involved with social justice issues, and their members were along on the trip to act as our arms and legs. I can get away with calling calling them Baby Shmutznikim because I laerned Hebrew on one of their kibbutzim. Then, there was My Personal Communist. At our first meeting with him just about everyone was in awe of him because he is truly a legend in his time. I was a bit beligerant at that first meeting and somewhat less than awed by him. At the next meeting he asked if I remember his name, and I piped up as cheekily as only I can, "Of course, The Communist!" Talk about dead silence. But he had caught my eye as I said it and somehow managed to keep a straight face. It was one of those 'you had to be there' moments. We both understood that I did indeed know his name, and that reputations don't quite do it for me, and that he had to prove himself to me, the little nobody from Kiryat Shmonah who kept correcting his mispronounciation of our city's name. It wasn't long before he was calling me his Personal Capitalist! He really is an amazing man, and his reputation is well deserved. I quite openly adore him and wish we'd met twenty or so years ago.
The Titanic and Iceberg are still known by those names by The Five, but the Iceberg's muscle men are now Sheka and Teka. Those monikers were lifted from an old electric company commercial where two characters by those names which mean socket and plug explain about safe use of electricity. We are still not sure which is Sheka and which is Teka, but that's ok. They are pretty much interchangable and both are proud as can be to have been nicknamed by The Five. Sheka and Teka block an intersection.

As to The Five, we have Hezi, who is the most deserving of our respect, and remains Hezi, Savta (grandmother) Alberto because he reacts to so many things like a grandmother would and worries needlessly about just about everything, Alberto McGyver, who can fix or solve just about and technical issue, Moshe Rabbenu, my across the path neighbor who was our religious expert on the trip, and last but far from least, me, Golan. Our truck driver, Rafi, was divided into 5 parts and each of took one fifth of him so he'd be an inseparable part of The Five.
The five is still having regular meetings to plan our next move. On Sunday we have to go a meeting of all the organization heads in Tel Aviv. Could it be that our dream of a united front might at last come true? Anyone who knows the history of the various groups knows what a miracle that would be, and if it comes about, our trip far exceeded our expectations. The very fact that we already got them all to sit around the same table and talk is no small thing.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


At last, my blasted sunburned foot is getting better! It still has a way to go before it's back to it's usual abnornal normal state, but it hurt a lot less when I got up this morning. Never mind the getting stuck in the middle of the bed part! That was kind of funny except for the panic at the thought of never getting up at all. Somehow I did manage to get up on my own.
On the way to the clinic I saw Hezi heading for his house in his van and decided to try and catch him before he went into his house. Harley Too caught the VW Transporter and was in his driveway before he got out! Go Harley! Electric scooter beats van.
After talking with Hezi, I took that foot to see the surgeon who sent it to hospital to ask a few questions about what to expect after the antibiotic pills are gone in a couple of days. He said that we just keep on with the antibiotic patches until it's all healed. I felt badl for the nurse who took off the present patch and turned a strange shade of greenish-greyish-white when she saw it. It really does look disgusting, but it felt wonderful without the patch! I was in favor of leaving it out in the air for an hour or so, but, no, it got a new patch, and the oversized winter socks went back on. I know I should be thankful for those socks, but, it's summer-90+ degree summer and wool socks don't exactly promote a feeling of coolness. Even with just the patch on, the foot is way too swollen to put any of my shoes or sandals on, so, heavy woolen sock it is for now!
From the clinic I went to see Itzik, and we discussed plans for continuing action by The Five. He agrees that we have to get something going very soon so as not to lose momentum. We are having a meeting tonight at Alberto McGyver's to work on a plan. We'll tell 'The Plants' once we figure out what to do.
Today I have to light a fire under Afikim's collective butts as they are taking their own sweet time returning my charger which was accidentally sent to them with the scooters they loaned us for the trip. I also need Yefim to sort the seat which has stopped swivelling when I most need it to swivel!
If all goes as planned, (when does it ever?) I plan to write about the people involved with trip here.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I'm out! I guess it only felt like a year, but the hospital let me out yesterday! My left foot still hurts like hell, and is swollen, but, it's already better today. The doc said to walk on it, like I have much of a choice in Gimp House. Also have some antibiotic pills to take for the next 4 days, and some lovely new purple bruises from where the nasty Soviet type doctor stuck me. But more on that later. I have to go to the clinic and get the prescription translated from 'hospital' to 'clinic' so I can buy them at the clinic pharmacy.
I have so much to write about that I feel ready to burst! I'll do it a bit at a time, starting at the end. There's still lots to write about the trip, and pictures to post.
Oh, it is wonderful to be home.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


We are home. Bloody and tired, but home. I have to take my freaking foot to the clinic before it falls off on it's own! This is a whole new level of pain that I have yet to explore, and that's saying something! I will post the article from the Jerusalem Post even though they got a major drtail dead wrong. They WILL print a correction. Gotta go get my foot fixed!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I'm not quite sure where to start, and I'm not too sure I remember everything in the order it happened, but I'll try. The 5 on wheels met on time at the appointed departure place spot on time.Our truck was ready and loaded and our sign took pride of place. After a short ceremony lead by my private communist, we rode through town and were sent off by lots of honking and cheers from pedestrians, very few of whom thought we'd get to the town limits, never mind to where we are today! At the first major junction, we pulled over to put the electric wheelies on th truck and skip the road works where there are no shoulders to ride on. At the end of the road works, the chairs came off the truck, the cops joined us and we headed towards our next stop, which was the same place we were turned back from on our first attempt. We had a lunch break there wand were joined by a woman who will be referred to from now on as the Titanic. She is one of the 'leaders' of the demonstration going on in Jerusalem that were supposed to riding to rescue. She was supposed to pay for our lunch, which she simply could not do without insulting all of us. She had a huge beach umbrella attached to her chair, was dressed all in white, and had a mean expression on her face. The umbrella sailed off the chair and created quite the sensation on the highway. After riding for what fely like a week, we arrived at Kibbutz Amiad where we were to spend the night in the 'members club room' Titanic was upset that no one had seen fit to be sure that she hads her own 'private' room. The rest of us were just thankful that we had a place to sleep, and were not at all upset that she took herself off to look for a hotel! In the morning we loaded ourselves in the cars and vans and drove to Afula again bypassing road works. We off loaded at a service station and rode though town to a restaurant that had invited us for breakfast. Sever local big shots were on hand to give us a rousing send off. As we left Afula, the Titanic arrived with her sidekicks and we just kept on going. She eventually caught up with us and after a short temper tantrum, she packed up and left. We were on a road know as the Wadi Ara road. It's a large region of Arab villages. At one of the villages we were joined by a young man on his power chair. We welcomed him warmly and after a fair distance stopped at a service station at the entrance to the a largish city along that road. The people there were wonderful and offered us everything except their wives and houses. We had a make shift and after a rest, took off again. Two of The Iceberg's (the other so called leader who got us into this thing) sidekicks, one on a power chair, the other on a regular wheely, pulled by one of us had trouble keeping up. At the next rest stop we convinced to continue in their van. We covered a lot of ground, and even though we were in good shape and more than willing to keep on for the next 3 miles to the kibbutz that we were staying at that night, our police escort made us get off the road and continue by car. We agreed, and when we got to the entrance of the kibbutz, off loaded and made a triumphant entrance on our chairs with my personal communist blasting music from the speakers on the roof of his pick and telling everyone within a 10 mile radius that the "Marvelous five from Kiryat Shmonah who are on their way to Jerusalem to fight for the rights of 600000 disabled in Israel were entering the kibbutz" He lead us through the kibbutz with the speakers blasting until we got to the building where we were to sleep. It was an old children's house and there were already beds there so there was less to take off the truck. We had a meeting with the Iceberg, his muscle men, my personal communist and talked over the day and planned the next one. We were not happy with the behavior of the muscle men and they agreed to behave the next day. Our photographer came to see how we were doing and to report on what he'd organized press wise. Several reporters caught up with us there, and they tried to muscle their way in. We were notified that the one of the TV news stations wanted to interview us at 0900 on our way out of the kibbutz. The muscle men demanded that we wait for them to arrive before starting the interview, Yeah, right. We told them that we leave on time and stragglers would just have to catch up. Thankfully we finished the interview before they showed up. They were not happy at all, less so when we let them know in no uncertain terms that we really didn't much care what they thought about it. They knew what time the interview was scheduled, but weren't there. They went a little bit nuts and tried to create provocations between us and our police excort. When that didn't work they just fell in line and eventually got in their vans and left yet another time. We rode through Hadera with the speakers blasting, and headed for the next rest stop at a service station very close to where we were to stay that night. There were meeting late into night where problems were discussed and plans for the next day were finalized. After too short a sleep we headed for Netanya, but the muscle men had different plans and wanted us to go to a G-d forsaken town for no other reason than that one of the lives there. Our police escort didn't want to go there, so they both decided to throw themselves onto the road. Well, one of the did,
while the other watched. Somehow they onvinced the cops that we should go there
so, it was back on the truck and vans. I'm glad now that we did go there. The disabled who met us were more thrilled than any of us dreamed that The Five was actually there. We gave them each one of our shirts and shared pizza with them. I was devastated by the whole thing. Their town looks like the most neglected place you can imagine, and the simple act of going there and giving them a little attention reminded us of why we were doing this. At the daily evening summary just about everyone had something to say about going there and that the manipulation angered them. When it was my turn I told them that even though I'm sick and tired of the games I'm glad we went there and put a little sparkle in their eyes and some pride in themselves.

If anyone deserved to have a little hope injected into their lives it was this group! If we do nothing else on this trip, the detour made it all worth while. From there we rode into Netanya for lunch, where I had my daily temper tantrum. It had become a strange kind of tradition for me to have a daily tantrum during which I usually go off on one of the muscle men, take off for a shady spot have a little cry and a cigarette. The other 4 are used to it and expect it, so they just leave me alone. They know I'll calm down and be back soon. We rode around Netanya for a while with the speakers at full volume, then loaded ourselves back on the vehicles and ewnt to the next kibbutz. Here, the 'miracle' happened. The leadres of the warring factions of disabled organizations contacted us and asked for a meeting. We agreed to meet with the representatives of the group that tried it'd hardest to stop us from even leaving Kiryat Shmonah.

Their spokesman had said some very harsh things at the end of a TV piece on us, and was a little concerned that an aplogy woulfd be required. Yoel, my personal communist assured him that one would not be needed. When he arrived, I stopped him, leaned over and while holding his hand planted a huge kiss on his cheek. End of the issue. He and his boss spent a long time trying to explain why what we are doing will never suceed. In the end they agreed to stop trying to stop us agreed to meet with the Titsanic and the Iceberg the next night. Talk about making history. Several other 'leaders' called and wanted to meet too. The next night we had an historic meeting with 4 representatives of the various warring factions. While the 'grownups' were talking, the spokesman and I met with the kibbutz young folks and fine time. A few critcal issues were hammered out and a meeting set for the night with even more groups.

The morning brought us to Herzlia where the vice mayor met us and gave each of us a token gift and much praise. After riding pretty much all over the town, we had a rest at yet another service station, then continued into Tel Aviv!. Get your aps out. There we were The Five on Wheels IN TEL AVIV ON OUR WHEELIES. Wow. We met up with some Tel Aviv disabled at the most central spot there, where the two muscle men were bound and determined to block traffic. We refused poing blank, and most of the ones who had come to greet us also refused.

They just can't help themselves. If it's an intersection they have to block it with their bodies. We just sat there and watched while the police dealth with them. Some of their 'people' were quite rude to us, but we ignored them. That night was another long seemingly unending meeting of the organization heads. It was very loud and I've never seen one room so full of so many egos at the same time. They were all sent home to think things over and get ready for another meeting with as many organization head as we could find. Now, that was a wild meeting. Me, I just sat there and laughed at them all from behind my hand. Th worst were the two who asked us roll to their aid. We met with an MK who pretty much couldn't believe what we were telling him. His wife had to pinch him hard and say. "this is your dream coming true, and these Five are handing it to you" He took a minute, then shook his head and dove into the planning. Again it was long loud session and we ended up going to sleep well after 0300 for about 2 hours. It was decided that there would be yet another meeting in the morning as there was no 'ride' planned for Friday morning as it had been decided that the 'peace'talks were more important.

As we have two very religious guys with us, and Sunday is a fast day, we just came to this lovely kibbutz with computers and internet for a nice long weekend rest before we continue for two more days to Jerusalem. I also needed my left looking at. The top got all sunburned with a blister the size of the Superdome.

It's all nicely bandaged, and the swelling is going down. That's pretty the story to this point. There are going some very important developments over the next few days. Egos will be deflated in such a way that only The Five could come up with. I'll write all about it after it's a done deal.

Friday, August 01, 2008


After an insane week of preparations and meetings, we, The Five are ready to 'march' on Jerusalem.Afikim, the kibbutz that manufacture the scooters we use generously agreed to provide us with 'new' scooters to use for the trip. They will also provide tech back up if anything should go wrong them. The groups that are helping us, Shatil, the Kibbutz movment and their youth group have been amazing. As have several local businesses who came through big time. Baby Genius and I even got the forum design done in time to start pushing it, only to get a message from the server this morning that there's a glitch. I'm going to do some routine maintenance on the computer after this posts in the hopes it might be ok. The auto save isn't working either. Computer says it's on line and sends mail just fine, but, who knows? In any event, I'm going to have a nice quiet Shabbat and slowly get my stuff ready for the trip.