A ketovet is an address, but its meaning in Hebrew goes beyond mere street name and number. The phrase “ein ketovet” (literally, there’s “no address”) means there’s no one to turn to, nowhere to register a complaint, no one who is willing or able to do anything about your problem.

In the Israeli-Palestinian context, it can be similar to the refrain “no partner,” though it can also be used to indicate the perception of chaos, as with statements that there is no single ketovet for the Palestinians. The accusation gets lobbed in the other direction too: Two years before Gilad Shalit was released from captivity in 2011, Yedioth Ahronoth’s website cited Egyptian and Hamas officials as saying there was “no address” in Israel with whom to discuss a possible prisoner swap.

“Ketovet” can also be used to mean there is in fact someone to talk to (“yesh ketovet”). But it’s not necessarily a positive thing that “there is an address,” as with the phrase “Lekhol kadur yesh ketovet,” the Hebrew equivalent of “Every bullet has a name on it.”

And sometimes the term is used with a double meaning in mind, as with a report on the homeless by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel that is rather aptly titled “No address.”