Yonatan, also referred to as Yoni, begins the story by wanting to make a documentary, asking people what they would wish for if they were given a goldfish with wish-granting powers. He goes around his neighborhood knocking on doors with a camera, recording the various responses that people provide.
The setting of the story is described in this paragraph:
And these were wishes from just one short block in one small, sleepy suburb of Tel Aviv. Yonatan could hardly imagine what people were dreaming of in the development towns and the collectives along the northern border, in the West Bank settlements and Arab villages, the immigrant absorption centers full of broken trailers and tired people left to broil out in the desert sun.
Tel Aviv is located in Israel, with the Mediterranean Sea on one side and Jerusalem to the east. Israel is a religiously diverse country which has a long history of conflict.
Sergi, the story's protagonist, has actually moved to Jaffa, which his "family couldn't wrap their heads around" because it is full of "addicts and Arabs and pensioners,"; Jaffa is a suburb in southern Tel Aviv.
Setting is important in this story because it provides the context for Sergi's characterization. He has moved from Russia to escape the conflict that has riddled that area. When he was young, he became used to the KGB (or the secret police of the Soviet Union) knocking on his door, so Yoni's idea to randomly knock on the man's door makes Sergi skeptical and nervous from the start. Yoni further amplifies Sergi's sense of nervousness by speaking to him quickly in Hebrew, which Sergi can't follow well because it isn't his native language. These factors, combined with Yoni's insistence to press himself into the man's house uninvited, results in a horrific accident.