Tel Aviv Diary - August 16-20, 2014 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

August 16-20 2014

August 16, 2014

As if nothing had happened. Even though this is a temporary ceasefire we have begun to behave as if it is over, and all is well. We're suddenly meeting with friends, relaxing in gardens. etc.

My heart throb Yom Tov Samia, appeared on television tonight, after years of silence. He was on to promote his book on Gabi Ashkenazi, the previous head of the armed forces, but he threw in a few sentences that evaluate the situation we're in clearly, quietly, and in such a way that I hope he goes into politics.

August 17, 2014

When they announced today that it is not probable that the ceasefire will hold, I couldn't breathe. This can't be true. So we're off to the beach to take advantage of our last full day of quiet. Tomorrow life will become murder for all of us again.

Murder. No matter how we show the statistics and explain how Hamas kept bodies of babies in the freezer, dressed soldiers as civilians, trained children not only to build the tunnels (like the chimney sweeps of victorian england) but to shoot against soldiers, and even let women arm themselves here and there, we are labeled murderers in the press. Even if there was a grain of truth in this, the kind of smear Israeli is getting all over the world is overwhelming. Why would the NYTimes choose to put the kidney scandal run by a few Israelis on the front page "Transplant Brokers in Israel Lure Desparate Kidney Patients to Costa Rica?? Here we are sitting here in terror waiting for Hamas to decide if they will accept a ceasefire and the Times keeps finding tangential stories often based on incomplete facts to blacken our name. Next they'll be saying we're getting organs from Gaza.

There is an entire ward in Ichilov of Palestinian patients and Arab patients from abroad, by the way. They pay to come here for medical treatment. I guess they trust us.

There is a great discussion here about inter-religious marriages in the past few days because of a couple who grew up in Jaffa got married. Because there is a law here (inherited from the Turks) against interdenominational marriage here. So the bride converted to Islam. What would you expect, that the groom go through the tortures of Jewish conversion? Because we have 3 days in which to find some object for our frustrations we return to the rabbinate. I didn't get married in the rabbinate. 34 years ago we traveled to Cyprus to marry, and shared the office of the municipality with a Lebanese couple. He was muslim and she was christian. same problem there. they don't talk about it.

August 19, 2014

Twenty-four little hours and we are already working on a place to hold an exhibit and a reading on the Galapagos poems. Now that I understand that the poems are about the emotional and physical problems of getting close to nature, I am all enthusiastic about the book (which is in press and just awaits the open sesame from me. So please consider thinking about finding these poems a venu. i suspect they are much larger than the galapagos but are about man in the world. Any idea anyone?

I say these things every once in a while, but none of my friends ever come forth with an idea,.

August 19, 2014

When I heard the app on my phone that warns of a rocket in the country, I wept. Not from fear, of course, but such sadness. Three rockets into Beer Sheva is a temptation for reprieves. And this evening is full of little warnings on my phone. I know people who are down there, ready to invade Gaza, and I want them at home, in my kitchen. I even recognized a Palestinian writer I met once in Maghrar on tv last week, and wonder how he is faring. He didn't give me his card so I can't call.

Galapagos, of course, goes back to the back burner. The next book, about love, I stopped publication for because I didn't like the translation. "Aren't you sorry?" the publisher asks me. "Who can concentrate on literature now?"

August 20, 2014

No way to describe the mess. Last night we kept hearing booms, and this afternoon in the market there was one that echoed in the narrow streets. Orit said she heard something fall in her backyard. But of course the rockets were shot down. And in the evening we stopped by the port on the way home and found a concert in progress, and a bunch of people doing yoga.

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

To Karen Alkalay-Gut home