They said on TV that the military court handed down a death sentence to the Arab who’d killed the girl soldier, and they had all kinds of people come into the studio to talk about it, and because of that the evening news went on till ten-thirty and they didn’t show Moonlighting. Dad got so pissed off about it that he lit his smelly pipe in the house, even though he’s not supposed to because it stunts my growth. He shouted at Mom that because of her and lunatics like her who voted right wing the country is just like Iran, which is where all the Persians came from. Dad said it was going to cost us, and that besides what it’s done to our moral fortitude—which is a word I’m not sure I understand—the Americans weren’t going to take it lying down either.

The next day, they talked to us about it at school, and Tsion Shemesh said that if you hang a guy his dick gets hard like in the porn movies, so Tsilla, our homeroom teacher, kicked him out, and then she told us that when it comes to the death sentence opinions were polarized, and no matter how good the arguments were, for or against, it is really all in the heart. And Tsachi the moron, who’d been left back twice, laughed and said it was really all in the heart of the Arabs but their heart would stop beating anyway when they hang by the neck, so Tsilla kicked him out, too. Then she said she wouldn’t listen to any more inane reactions and she was just going to teach us our regular subjects—and she got back at us, with a ton of homework, too.

After school, the older kids had an argument about if when you hang somebody and he dies, it’s because he chokes to death or because his neck gets broken. Then they took bets on cartons of chocolate milk and caught a cat and hanged it from the basketball hoop, and the cat screamed a lot, and in the end its neck really did break. But Mickie wouldn’t pay for the chocolate milk, and he said it was because Gabi had pulled hard on the cat on purpose and that he wanted to see it again with a new cat that nobody touched. But everyone knew it was because he was a cheap-ass, and they forced him to hand over the money. Then Nissim and Ziv wanted to clob-ber Tsion Shemesh because he was a liar and the cat’s dick didn’t get hard at all. And Michal, who’s probably the prettiest girl in the school, happened to pass by and said we were all disgusting and like animals, and I went and threw up on the side, but not on account of her.

—Translated from Hebrew by Miriam Shlesinger