Tel Aviv Diary - August 21-5, 2014 - Karen Alkalay-Gut


August 21-5 2014

August 21, 2014

Yiddish (this is a poem in Yiddish by Rivka Basman I tried to translate)

How wonderful for me
That you canít understand
What I write.
A bird free
To reveal both
Abyss and heaven.

But when Iím near the end
Of writing the heartbeat in Yiddish
A tear escapes me
That you cannot know
My Yiddish poem.

Something of the joy of secretness I feel not only when I speak Yiddish that you could not possibly understand (I think) but voice my intimate feeling it stranger. some of the joy I feel in this diary, which is not a blog and not publicly known. I can say what I feel. But lately I've been holding back. I don't want to give away secrets that may harm our country - even if they are just personal. It is not a decision to censor,but to protect.

And last night, in a conversation with some old friends who have become antizionists long ago, I did the best I could not to get into a discussion of politics.

I would have won, I know, but even the argument was beneath me. Of course I agree that this situation in Gaza should have been solved years ago, that the reason for so many residents of Gaza is that they are from here and were kept there by Egyptians at first and then by us. But that the 'fault' is as much Egyptian as ours. Neither of us tried to ameliorate the situation. I knew Palestinian refugees in Gaza. They lived well, and sold their goods to Israel with pride. That situation of normalization should have been encouraged in history. That situation could have been solved in '48 or '56 had there been organizations to help us. There were less than half the people then than there are now. Our governments made big mistakes then.

And of course they need an airport now - but the fact that they would use it to import warheads to destroy us makes us cautious of this alternative. Look at what they have done to all the millions contributing to the cause. Not food, not housing, not schools (except for shooting schools) and not colleges, but guns, concrete, explosives, israeli soldier uniforms,.

But I rant.

another sleepless night like this and I won't be able to write at all.

August 22, 2014

The rockets are incessant. Of course. We killed 3 Hamas leaders yesterday דand revenge must come. And yesterday the rockets were incessant because of Def and/or Def's family. Then we take revenge for the rockets and then they take revenge for our revenge and ...ah.

By my count over 4000 rockets have been fired on Israel. I can't keep counting accurately, and i can't find anywhere on the web where they are keeping count. I know they weren't expecting the iron dome, and that means that these rockets would have killed far more than 4000 people here. This in no way justifies the number of people we have killed (even if our estimate is of less than 1300 citizens), and maybe it would have brought us to our knees, forced us to... what? give up a Jewish State, allow the mass slaughter that Hamas promises in its constitution? And yet, I'm going to drag myself to the peace rally tomorrow night.

I have a grandson who constantly reminds us that he is 4. And now they are repeating over and over on the news that a four year old boy was killed in the last shelling. We were all out in the hall with the last rocket attack on Tel Aviv a few minutes ago, and were trying to calm down the little boy - our neighbor - as he sat on the staircase and covered his head with his hands. But he was right to be terrified.

August 23, 2014

Family day. From last to first: Soldier came home. It always amazes me how close we are to Gaza - the drive to Gaza from my home is an hour and a half. Before that, we heard a boom or two while I was crayoning with the babies. I considered moving away from the window, but the booms were distant. In the morning we were at a bar mitzvah - extremely moving because it was the son of our late nephew - it took place in a town on the green line - where the wall is - about a quarter of an hour from our house in the other direction. So there were three generations on the borders of safety today.

And now there was some rocket from the north - Lebanon. But that was what two hours away so I'm going to ignore that for the moment...

August 24, 2014

Wow - I'm really feeling important. Apparently the Hamas is reading my diary - among lots of emails and blogs from here.

Another meeting this morning at Beit Leyvick - trying desperately to save this important shelter for Yiddish writers. One of the guys on the board, 94 years old, looks incredibly frail but he was in the red army, siberia, and of course the army here. I'm overwhelmed with respect for each one of them, even if they never write another book. The building itself is in the middle of Tel Aviv, four stories high, and incredibly desirable. Dilapidated and full of books, but wonderfully desirable, with busts of forgotten writers, paintings of long ago, and years of tradition.

August 25, 2014

Boycott West Bank products? And put 24000 Palestinians out of work? This place is so interconnected it is almost impossible to hurt one population without hurting the other. Why not live together?

We spent the morning at the Land of Israel Museum - great exhibit on wild animals and on kites. But the reason most of the grandparents took their grandchildren is that the wildlife exhibit was in the shelter of the museum.

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