Charedi Zadie Challenges Me to Krav Maga
Walking up to Breakfast (you know- that restaurant in the Jerusalem Central Bus Station that all the seminary girls eat at? Ya whatever I also eat there) my ordering of the usual omelette sandwich exploding with vegetables and quinoa is supplemented by a death stare glaring from my left. Slouching over the counter is a charedi man, most likely in his late 60’s, his black pants toeing the nipple line of his white shirt, the contents of his recently purchased salad mentally preparing to be inevitably caught in his grizzly grey beard.
He’s staring at me, not at his food, his tinted eyes reflecting the grimace of his lips. Then he starts harassing me.
“Did you know that during the times of Yehoshafat the Jews only merited because of the Torah and not because they had an army? There is no reason for the Jews to have an army and we should just get rid of it all together. Jews were put here to learn Torah, that’s it.”
I’m not responding, because this individual is from outer space and the nonsense he’s emitting isn’t worth wasting even one word on in response. But he continues to blab away.
“Don’t wash for that sandwich because only real Jews need to wash.”
“You think you’re going to get a shidduch? Because with that uniform you won’t.”
I continue to be the mature one and stay silent. But it’s getting more difficult. Witnessing all this, the guy behind the counter steps in.
Awesome Breakfast Employee: Hey- did you come here to harass the soldiers or did you come here to order food? I told you yesterday to stop and I won’t let it continue.
Charedi Zadie from Mars: This is none of your business.
Awesome Breakfast Employee: No, it is my business, and if you don’t leave him alone I won’t let you eat here anymore.
I guess he really likes his seminary salads because after muttering to himself he stops talking to me. For one minute.
Charedi Zadie From Mars: Did they teach you Krav Maga in the army?
At this point I can’t take it anymore and coldly turn toward him.
Meir: Yes, they did.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING ACTUALLY HAPPENS.
He takes a step back, raises his fists, looks me in the eye and says in complete seriousness:
“Do you want to fight me?”
It’s 9 am, I’m in the Tachana Merkazit ordering a sandwich, and a delusional anti-medina grandpa IS CHALLENGING ME TO KRAV MAGA! Last time in krav maga we learned how to defend against knife attacks. I think I’m going to recommend ‘Punches from Hungry Charedi Senior-Citizens’ be added to the curriculum.
Normally, the utter ridiculousness of this situation would find me laughing it off. But I’m not laughing. And although there’s obviously something wrong with this person, his attacking me is completely unwarranted and downright offensive. I turn away and don’t say anything- like I do when Palestinians curse me out by my guard posts- because soldiers are taught to be better than that. But my head is fuming.
How dare you? I sleep four hours a night, get to see my room once a month, and eat half-meals out of a box so you can eat here in peace, and this is what I get in return? You should be thanking me. If you really cared so much about learning, you would be spending your time doing that instead of coming here to insult me and waste mine.
I’ve read in the news about the growing attacks of charedim on soldiers, but personally experiencing it is a slap in the face. It’s such a contrast from the yeshuv I’m stationed at where the people are so thankful and truly appreciate that what we do allows them to do what they do. There are people who lack sense and then there are people who can’t even make sense of themselves. Unfortunately, for the soldiers of this country, blind hatred from our own nation is another battle we have to endure.