Tel Aviv Diary - August 1-5, 2014 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

August 1-5 2014

August 1, 2014

Cease fire this morning - only 2 rockets since then. It's supposed to last 72 hours but since the missile yesterday was intercepted right over the park I wanted to take the kids tomorrow, I think I'll wait to see whether this ceasefire is once again just another trick.

Of course it was. We're so straight and honest and dumb and now an Israeli officer has been kidnapped during a ceasefire.

Now more than ever it seems necessary to get the UN in on this;

sign this petition now.

הדר בן לאה חדווה. שנשמע בשורות טובות, שבת שלום'

One of the family suggestions we've been tossing around - bring the Gazans to Tel Aviv to build the subway we've been longing for for years. The raw materials, the concrete from the exploded tunnels, is enough to rebuild Gaza and to give us a metro from the south of Tel Aviv to the university. They certainly know how to build tunnels...

August 2, 2014

Six a.m. - the alarm goes off and i wouldn't have woken if Ezi hasn't shaken me up. I'd been up at 5 with my inflamed knee and had just managed to get back to sleep. And now I see it was all over the area, all over the country. We barely got out of the door before we heard the 3 booms. Very loud and scary. Thank goodness for the iron dome. I think I'm going to buy a t-shirt they're selling in the market, the one with the heart: I love iron dome. The news says 2 missiles were shot down,

By the time we got back inside, sleep had disappeared -adrenalin doesn't go down right away. But i don't want to call the kids to make sure all is well. what if they slept through it? Then i see that we have bombed Gaza again. Shit, the idea of the cease fire yesterday had given me so much hope, and two minutes later there were barrages everywhere. How many lives will be ended by this? We have no reason for this.

But neighbors and friends are in mourning over the deaths of their children, nephews, their lovers..

What will today bring.

So I took a break from the war and went to 7 stars mall to have coffee with Debby. It's always crowded there and today was no exception. But I enjoy it because I can judge the fashion and the lack of it. Always does me good to see someone more badly dressed than me. Very absorbing. I could think of nothing else. When I got out and turned on my phone again I saw there had been barrages of missiles the whole time, I was glad Debby had explained to me how the customers in the mall had been guided to safe shelter during her last visit there.

The concept of the defense missile system of the Iron Dome is just amazing - thousands of rockets falling on us and we can sit in a shopping mall and forget it just for a little while. Hundreds of lives are being saved every day. Hundreds, maybe thousands. Maybe mine.

And this is the place to thank all of you who are writing and telling us that you are thinking of us. Beyond the whole political and military problem, it is really nice to know that you're there and you care.

We're stopping. At last. I will still sleep in my clothes and will still scour the international newspapers to make sure I know what's going on. But now maybe we can start attending to the shell-shocked population there and here.


“Where do you go,”
I ask the orthopedist,
“When the sirens go off?”
He opens his desk drawer,
The bottom one near the corner.
“Here,” he says,
“And don’t forget
On your way out
To kiss the mezuzah.”

August 3, 2014

We had just finished watching the news program with Rafi Refesh getting updates on how his program gets watched and interpreted live in Gaza, and wondering at the strange ironies in this entire war when the sirens went off again. I was ready for it this time and grabbed my bag and keys. This time I had my kindle with me and have been reading a biography of Shelley. It made things easier. but the boom was very close. Wonder who the shrapnel fell on.

And all this during the funeral of Hadar Goldin. I too wanted to share in the grief of the family, but my back prevents the thought of it. The tragedy is great.

Ah, yes, it was Shelley, who said, in The Revolt Of Islam: "The more we study the more we discover our ignorance."

August 4, 2014

I don't know if I've talked about this before but it's tough with little children. All over the country there are sirens - which aren't really all that terrible, but demand immediate evacuation to shelter. When you have a baby, who may be strapped into a car seat, you not only have to find a place to stop the car, but you have to get the kid out of the seat, and then find a place that protects you from a missile and/or shrapnel. This is impossible. So you don't go anywhere with a child.

Having said that, I went to the museum today with a four-year-old. The Andy Warhol exhibit was okay.

we did an interview with me being Warhol.

In 1965 I went to a lecture by him. We came early and sat in the front row. He came an hour late and just stood there silent. we were very impressed. A year later it was discovered it was someone else masquerading at Warhol. So this 'interview' had deep meaning for me.

first time ever the picture came out upside down. sorry about that. everything seems to be going that way.

"Anyone with a knife, anyone with a bulldozer, anyone with any means at all - go out and kill israelis," they said yesterday in Gaza. So we've got ourselves local attempts today. In case we didn't have enough to worry about.

But everyone I know (in Tel Aviv at least) has daily contact with Arabs. Shopping malls, pharmacies, even my grandson's kindergarten. This morning there was a guy with a chainsaw under my window. The gardener from the municipality trimming the bushes. Am I supposed to worry about him? This is crazy.

can't get past the first sentence of lamentations. sorry. It's tisha b'av and the streets here are empty.

Here's an email that made me feel better:


Subject: Photo Coverage of Gaza War with Israel

In your constant barrage of photos from Gaza showing victims, bloodshed and mayhem, I have never seen any photo of Hamas terrorists (you call them "militants") shooting rockets or positioning rocket launching sites near civilian installations. Is this omission deliberate or are your reporters restricted or even threatened for coverage Hamas deems unacceptable. You do not report on the later restrictions, but continually feed into their propaganda machine, thus reinforcing continuation of the war for its PR "benefit". Where are the photos of frightened Israeli children running for shelter? Again your omission and one sided photo coverage indicates a cowardly bias. Thank goodness for The Wall Street Journal where more honest and balanced reporting can be found. Elliot Fix

In the meantime I told Ezi I couldn't read Lamentations so he took out the old bible and read it to me. Suddenly tragedy turns into poetry.

August 5, 2014

"Come on, get dressed!" I say to Ezi, "THere's a cease-fire in an hour. Get ready for the attack." And yes, there are 70 rockets before and after the 8 a.m. deadline. I'm already ready, with my key in my pocket and my phone, so i read the Times. It is quite amazing: Elliot is so right. Everything they say is antithetical to what I am experiencing. Not one-sided. Sympathy for the Gazans is of course right. So many killed, so many wounded. So many homes destroyed. But when the headline is "Israel signals it will wind down war on own terms," and we had said yesterday we would be pulling out because there is no one to talk to, and we would be making a 72 hour ceasefire. But then the shelling got more intense, and then, last night it was announced that Egypt was negotiating a 72 hour ceasefire.

The tragedy of Gaza is even greater when one considers that Hamas started the war, invited a ground war, and were informed of the results in advance. And here the moral: People who live in mined houses shouldn't throw rockets.

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