We turn on the television after dinner - having seen the news at 6:30 and watched the usual calamities - and suddenly there is that screen again. This time down the street from my daughter's, Orit's place. It doesn't take more than a few minutes to find her - she was somewhere else and had no idea - and to get through the busy lines to Debby and the other friends in the neighborhood. So far so good. But who WAS there and what happened to them?
We were down the street from there last night - maybe a quarter of a kilometer away. For some strange reason we were wandering around a new supermarket. And because we weren't in a big rush to finish up and get home i was noticing the people. For a while it seemed like home - there was an old Yemenite woman who was brought along for the ride, and she was wandering around like us. But she was sniffing and fingering everything and I was really enjoying her observations - the way she sniffed at the schoog because it wasn't as hot at the kind she makes at home, the way she clucked over the prices of the dishcloths, and puzzled over the gadgets sealed in carton and hanging in sterile rows. But when I turned away from her it didn't look like Israel any more - most of the families didn't even look Jewish, but Slavic.
Then this morning the statistics from Bar Ilan came out that 10% of the people in Israel aren't really Jewish. That's of the people who claim to be Jewish, not the Arab people.
Now if we let in 10% of the population as Jews who weren't, why are we having such a hard time with the law of return?
In the old days, when I still had a sense of humor, I used to refer to the research of my colleagues at Tel Aviv University - those in the linguistic department and in genetics. they both came to the conclusions that the genetic make-up of the Ashkenazi Jews and the Palestinians are extremely close, and their languages show extremely similar sources. One of the theories is that when the Jews were exiled to Babylon, many were allowed to stay in order to till the land, to keep the country going. These became the Palestinians.
Ergo - all we need to do is declare the Palestinians Jewish and we've got them here by the law of return.
Now I'm not laughing.
Aviv keeps asking me about conscientious objection.
I keep thinking about the sixties = "what if they gave a war and nobody came?" - and i know that this occupation has done so much to brutalize the israeli society. I've been against the occupation ever since it began to dawn on me that the Arab countries were not going to make peace with us to get their territories back. So why not conscientious objection? Well, during the Viet Nam war when my friends were moving to Canada (and Israel) to get away from the confrontation with the draft, i didn't feel my life was being threatened.
Now I do.
I know that if we could get an atmosphere of discussion going my life would be less at risk and then then maybe i could refuse to fight. but i can't in this environment. it would be immediate suicide for the purpose of promoting long term life. long term peace is a great ideal, but i would like to be alive to enjoy it.
As we were leaving the medical clinic (where I got my tetanus shot for the cat bite that's making it so difficult for me to type) we signed a petition asking for a wall.
I must have still been a bit in shock by the insult of having been bitten by the cat because it was only as we were walking away from the little stand that had been set up near to the entrance of the clinic that I realized that my own reason for a wall was probably very different than those who had made up the petition. I want the wall so we can start talking as two people without the fear of invasion, of terrorism. I want secure borders so that both peoples can start behaving like human beings again.
I want a wall so we can start talking. Many people on the left don't want a wall because they believe it will prevent dialogue. Many on the right don't want a wall because they think that it will determine borders and we won't be able to go in there and clean up every time they reconstitute their terrorist factories. They both have a point. But I still think we can begin some form of dialogue only after we both have a sense of security.