Well, the Team Orange and Team Blue are tied 2-2 on the playing field of the Rosenblum family.
Team Orange struck first. Two weeks ago, as I was driving out of my Har Nof neighborhood in mid-afternoon, I suddenly found myself driving into a thick band of blue adhesive tape being held on either side of the road by two groups of adorable yingele. Less than amused by this example of youthful hijinks, I nevertheless chose to keep driving rather than get out of the car. The latter course of action offered no upside – I could count on any of the boys I confronted loudly proclaiming their innocence – and an assured downside – increasing the mirth of the perpetrators.
I carried on and parked the car in the neighborhood adjacent to Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav, and left it for my wife, who was supposed to pick it up five minutes later. She did. But unfortunately by the time she arrived at the car both the tires on the right side were completely flat. I took this good news with even less equanimity than I had the previous assault on the car a half an hour earlier. (Just the previous day, my bank informed me that, unlike the American government, I was not entitled to unlimited budget deficits.)
By that time, there were no tire stores open, and two flats eliminated the possibility of making due with the spare until the next morning. On my way back from work – this time on foot – I stopped to survey the damage and try to figure out what I could have done to puncture two tires at the same time.
That mystery was easily solved. The side walls of both tires had been punctured with a sharp instrument. On the plus side, that eliminated the hypothesis I had briefly considered and then dismissed that my pre-teen assailants in Har Nof had also placed nails across the road.
I was left to contemplate the fact that someone who does not know me or anything about me, other than that I do not clean my car too frequently, had decided that I could do without a functioning car and several hundred shekels. The random manner in which I had been selected for this little bit of viciousness left me feeling violated.
The next day, however, one of my sons solved the mystery of why my car had been singled out for attack. A bit of the blue adhesive held across the road in Har Nof had adhered to the car. Someone passing by concluded that I was one of the hated left-wingers, who wear blue plastic bracelets and fly blue ribbons from their car antennas. Somehow the discovery that the attack on my tires, while twisted, was not entirely random oddly enough comforted me.
Team Blue rallied last week. On Thursday, my mother went out to do a little marketing. After picking up some medications for my father at the pharmacy, she returned to her car to find that both tires on the right side had been punctured in broad daylight.
Whoever decided that the orange ribbon on my parents' car made them fit targets for vandals could not have known that the driver of the car was a 75-year-old woman, who speaks only a few words of Hebrew. Nor could he have known that she had she had spent the first four days of the week in Sha'arei Tzedek hospital with my father or that my father was then convalescing at home with a broken shoulder and anticipating my mother's swift return so she could help him maneuver through the everyday tasks that require two functioning arms.
No, he couldn't have known all that. But he surely knew that the discovery of two punctured tires would likely cause the owner of the car no small inconvenience and more than a thousand shekels. Worse, I doubt that it would have made any difference to him if he had known my mother's particular circumstances. Her crime – flying an orange ribbon on her car – was obviously too heinous to be mitigated by pleas of an incapacitated spouse and the like.
Hopefully this little contest will end in a 2-2 draw. I will not wash my car until after the Gaza withdrawal to hide the fact that the paint underneath was once blue. And my parents have decided that they can do without their orange banner, which they took in the first place more to encourage the dedicated youngsters standing for hours in sweltering heat handing them out than because they expected them to change the prime minister's mind.
Team Orange punctured my tires because they wanted me to reflect on the fact that any inconvenience I experienced was nothing compared to that of more than two thousand families sent on a national mission to the Gaza Strip more than three decades ago, who are now losing the beautiful communities, synagogues, homes, and businesses that they built from sand dunes.
Team Blue wanted my parents to know that they are sick and tired of hearing about the suffering of those being evicted from Gaza. Let them get on with it already, and stop reminding us what is entailed for them, and what might be in store for us as well if the withdrawal turns out to be a prelude for yet another round of war with the Palestinians.
Team Blue did not start this business of inconveniencing others as a political statement, but they have picked up the gauntlet with a vengeance. Only among the peace and love crowd – former Labor minister Ephraim Sneh, leading columnist Yoel Marcus – do we find enthusiastic calls for civil war and finally settling scores with the settlers.
As for me, I wonder how far it is from puncturing the tires of those we don't agree with to beating them up. And from there?