When my husband’s aunt and uncle made aliyah from the US in the 60′s, they spent a few years in Bnei Brak. That first morning, one of the children noticed laundry hanging outside some nearby buildings. “Ma,” he said, “We live in a slum.”
A reader of my post, Twelve Things I Love about Israel, had a similar reaction when I listed laundry as one of my favorite Israeli activities. (Helene, if you’re still around please delurk.) I think it’s a shame that so many Israelis use dryers; we have sun nine months out of twelve. Even on cloudy, threatening days a good wind can blow laundry dry in a few hours.
Most Israeli apartment buildings contain a shaft just for laundry lines. A decorative railing hides your dirty (from the pollution) linens but allows air to circulate. In my old building, the lines were completely covered by a concrete roof. In my current apartment I have to pay attention to the state of the clouds. If only the weather report would predict the exact hour rain will fall on my nearly dry clothes.
From the 6th floor window, out of which I do my hanging, I have a view of a dangerous, unsignalled intersection. A left turn is legal only in one of the four directions, and drivers coming from the side street can’t go straight; they must turn right.
Israeli drivers are affronted, I mean affronted, when forbidden to go straight through an intersection. The violation rate is about one per load of laundry. Once or twice I reported a truck driver to his employer, but without a license plate number they couldn’t identify him. When I am driving behind someone about to make an illegal turn I start honking; I also signal the correct direction to drivers as I’m crossing the street. My kids start cheering if I get the drivers to change their mind.
I’m protective of that intersection; my kids cross there all the time. Occasionally the police stake out the corner and catch offenders; I figure they get about 0.0001% of the lawbreakers. I haven’t noticed a deterrent effect.
I’ll be watching, though.