I just got back from a whirlwind visit to London, for my nephew’s barmitzvah.
The last time I was there in May, the country was just properly coming out of all the masks and lockdown tyranny, and there were so many closed stores all around, even on Bond Street, one of London’s main shopping thoroughfares.
But last time, we rented a car, and we stayed in our little ‘tourist family’ bubble in the wealthier Jewish parts of the UK.
This time around, I was finding it hard to book a cheap flight that didn’t land in the middle of the night.
So I ended up booking El Al, which got into Heathrow airport around 9pm.
First, a word about what is going on with all the tech in the airports now.
In Ben Gurion airport, I stood in one ‘snake line’ for an hour and a half, just to get to the ‘security check’.
Then, I straightaway stood in another ‘snake line’ for an hour, this time to actually just check in.
Then, I pretty much had to run to my gate, and stuff a sandwich in before I boarded while I was getting threatening texts from El Al on my phone that the plane was going to leave without me – all half an hour before it was meant to take off.
While I was standing in those snake lines, I started to get some strange sort of pain in my eyeballs, that I haven’t had before.
The penny dropped, that Ben Gurion airport is totally irradiating the travellers as they stand in those ridiculous ‘snake lines’.
It used to be, that you put your luggage through X-ray machines.
And now, those have gone, because EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING IS BEING X-RAYED.
Constantly, for 2 1/2 hours. Without your permission or knowledge.
Welcome to the police state.
So, I get to Heathrow, and there I also stand in a ‘snake line’ at passport control, looking up at the weird ceiling and feeling that strange pain in my eyeballs again that’s whispering ‘involuntary irradiation’.
I decided then, I don’t want to leave Eretz Yisrael again.
At least, not until all this evil tech has been dismantled and thrown to the bottom of the sea.
But as all my family live abroad, that’s not an easy decision to make, or stick to.
My dad came to meet me at Heathrow.
It was already getting late, and he was worried I might get mugged if I travelled on the Tube by myself.
My dad’s eyesight doesn’t let him drive a car, so we travelled back to ‘Jewish NW London’ on the Tube.
It was a shocking, and eye-opening experience, for many reasons.
Literally, I saw three four white faces in my carriage the whole time, and two of those were speaking Romanian, or something.
All of the ads were disgusting, and / or woke propaganda.
There was some black guy with a huge tree tattoo on his arm and ring through his septum, next to text talking about how he self-identifies as ‘demi-s*xual’.
What in the world?
Who was paying for those ginormous ads, stuck all over the tube, and what were they all about?
There were a ton of ads for ‘plant based meat’, so you could stop torturing the poor porkers by eating them.
There were ads for dresses, modelled by young girls, by a company that should have renamed itself ‘The Hookers Clothing Warehouse’.
And there were menacing ads by London transport all over the place, encouraging customers to snitch on anyone taking photos of all the spying tech now everywhere on the tube, with the catchy slogan: See it. Say it. Sorted.
Welcome to the police state.
There was also ads from the government, encouraging Londoners to rent out a room to strangers, to try to beat the housing shortage.
Apparently, the British Government will give you £625 a month, tax-free, if you do that.
While we travelled, my dad was telling me how people are now stealing his grapes out of his trolley at Tesco’s.
And also, stealing his trolley, with its pound coin in it, when he turns his back for a moment.
People are getting desperate, he told me.
He’d seen someone getting mugged recently at Charing Cross Station, and was clearly still traumatised.
We got out at Golders Green Station.
As we were trying to leave, two people in their twenties, who looked wizened well beyond their years, stopped us to ask us for spare change or even, just some food.
I’m homeless and I’m really hungry, the woman told me.
The man she was with had something seriously wrong with one of his eyes, and I suddenly felt like I’d whooshed back 200 years to Dickens’ London slums, albeit wearing Nikes and hoodies.
As we stepped out the station, there was another youngish, homeless man there, begging for change.
All three were white Britons.
The next day, I went with my niece to Camden Town market, owned by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi, and then on to Selfridges to meet my brother.
It wasn’t packed to the rafters, but there was still some of that familiar London ‘shopping buzz’ in Camden, and I wondered if maybe the city was actually doing better than it had seemed, the previous night.
Then we got to Selfridges.
It was half-empty.
But more than that, way more, was the homeless people I had to step over on the pavement, who were lying there on cardboard boxes, freezing in their sleeping bags.
If they were lucky.
There were signs all over the place, explaining how they were homeless, and needed money to buy a proper sleeping bag for winter, which was fast approaching.
We weren’t talking about the odd homeless person, which has always been a familiar part of London life.
We were talking about tens and tens of them, sleeping in cold corners of the pavement in the middle of the day, in one of the wealthiest shopping districts in the world.
In many ways, the barmitzvah itself was great.
In other ways, I pondered to myself what would make the next generation want to stay Jewish in the UK, in the United Synagogue, where shul consists of cantors dragging out prayers you don’t understand; rabbis booming out superficial speeches that always seem to emphasis the importance of giving charity – above everything else; and cold, half-empty synagogues with prayers for the Monarchy and the State of Israel carved into their walls.
Then we hit the kiddush, and the question kind of half got answered.
It was awesome, not in a good way, to see a bunch of overweight, well-to-do people rushing at the food as though they’d spent three nights starving on the pavement, somewhere.
My brother, whose kiddush it was, advised me to get stuck in early, or else we’d end up with no food to eat.
It’s terrible, but that’s how it is, he told me.
Other people told me that even for London, the kiddush behavior in that particular shul was awesomely bad.
My dad also noticed how the crowd had literally tripled from the people who’d been praying in shul, with 150 people magically becoming 500, as the food was laid out.
‘Just for Kiddush’, or JFK, had struck again.
The Jewish people’s secret to staying Jewish, in the diaspora.
I spoke to a few people while I was there, and most of them seem totally unaware of what is really going on, in the UK.
When you travel in cars, when you stay in your ‘wealthy Jewish bubble’, you just don’t see the problems, the same.
And even when you do, I guess there is a strong element of ‘boiling the frog’ going on.
I was last in the UK in May 2022, and I could see that the homeless problem was a lot worse in the last six months.
The interest rates are going up and up now, and people who took out massive mortgages based on a 1% interest rate are now faced with 3% interest rates – and that’s probably only the beginning.
Food is expensive.
Energy bills are shooting through the roof.
There are homeless people everywhere.
And a revolution is coming, one way or another, in the UK – and in other places, too.
My brother from NYC told me that homelessness is a massive problem there too, now, with ‘tent cities’ all over the place downtown.
Here in Jerusalem, I’m not feeling it the same, and I’m not seeing it the same.
Sure, I’m still panicking about the police state, and still worrying about the next stage of this geula process.
It’s not going to be easy, wherever we happen to be, and as I’ve said repeatedly on the blog, geographical location is only one factor, in how easy this next stage will be.
I came back to Israel fervently praying that the rest of my family will somehow find the urge and ability to move here, ASAP.
And not just because I am sick of being irradiated and mis-treated by airports.
There is a revolution coming to the diaspora, one way or another.
And the safest place to be in those times is Eretz Yisrael, even with our Erev Rav fascists in power.
Because at least here, there is still real Torah, real tzaddikim, real kedusha to be found, to protect us.
And not just a really good kiddush.
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