Tel Aviv Diary - August 26-30, 2014 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

August 26-30, 2014

August 26, 2014

This is my answer to the 300 holocaust survivors who have argued against Israel. The facts are simple to me

1) we are not racist - we live with Arabs and are gradually but certainly including them in every aspect of our society. I have students who are Arab. In the past years 20% of my students are Arab. My physiotherapist is Arab, as is my pharmacist, one of my grocers, the surveyor we recently employed (Kamal Zuabi - of the Zuabi family) I also have 2 Zuabi friends. Look at my facebook friends and there will be numerous Arabs.

2) We are under attack - constantly. I was in the hallway at 6:30 this morning in my nightgown (the first time I didn't go to sleep dressed in 2 months). While we were investing in shelters, protective and alarm systems, they were investing in weapons and training children to fire them and build tunnels. We have been planning our lives around shelters and safety for the past 2 months - for example Orit cannot take the children in her car because she wouldn’t be able to get them out in an attack. When I take them I make sure Ezi comes with me. If there is a siren we have to get each one of their safety seats, run away from the car, lie face down with hands protecting our necks, and make sure the babies are covered (usually with our bodies). This happened to people in the south DURING ceasefires. So if we stop bombing them there is no certainty they will stop bombing us.

3) It is hard to be humane with people who are NOT humane. A woman in Gaza was burned by her people because she had sullied the family honor. She was treated at Ichilov and the doctor told us he managed to save her and after a month sent her back. When she returned for further treatment she was stopped at the border wearing explosives. That was the only way her family said she could be restored to honor. Yesterday three cab drivers were injured when they went to the Erez Junction to pick up Gazan patients on their way to the hospitals in Israel. There are numerous stories like this. In the old days I used to visit Gaza with Nissim and Orit and the children played together. It was idyllic. As people we are all the same, but the political situation has forced people to behave in monstrous ways. I do not think we are monstrous yet, but we cannot fight fairly against a people who have no rules at all. 4)As for divestment, there are over 22000 Arabs who make their living from the factories in the west bank. Divestment would put them in the same place as the Jews. I'm against the territories, but not for the economic boycott as a method of protest. Unemployed people are far more dangerous than people with full stomachs.

Tablet mag has a letter from an Israeli soldier that gels exactly with what all the soldiers (my grocer, my students, my relatives) tell me click here.

I put this on my facebook page but the only reactions was a negative one from Bangladesh. How very sad that the great nobility of our soldiers is lost in the strange squabble over who was right. it seems clear to me - that we've been getting fired on for years and haven't responded. when we did respond, we're called aggressors. the history of this is another story and needs to be sorted out. But I fear it won't be sorted out and we'll have another, more violent war soon.

Can't say how wonderful it is to be free of the threat of rocket attack for the moment. I've been uncomfortable about every move, and terrified for the children. Even if nothing good comes of it, no rockets is better than rockets.

August 28, 2014

Lately I've been going to museums only with little children, but tonight we had a chance to visit the tel aviv museum and saw some wonderful exhibits. I love Guy Ben Ner. I love Chagall. I love being able to concentrate on art. Anselm Keifer and I had our usual long conversations. But my favorite is always the artistic street cat

August 29, 2014

There is SOOO much going on in Tel Aviv. All of a sudden! Of course there were things going on all the time during the war, and before every event we were informed that the theater was a shelter. Movies, plays, etc. But now there are performances everywhere. This is going to be a theater year for us.

And an Arabic year. We're studying Arabic in a family-friend group, small enough for dyslectics to learn. There may be room for one more.

A morning at the Greenfeld Golf Club. There our friends tell us the government is going to change. And that by the time the Hamas are ready to start again, we'll be in a different mode. It seems so easy to be optimistic on a golf course.

August 30, 2014

The Artists' House on Alharizi Street in Tel Aviv has long been a little shabby, neglected, sad, but I was surprised to discover that what's inside is bright and new looking. Not earthshaking, but interesting. The site isn't in English - they don't expect tourists - but you can just go in and see what's up.

In the meantime the fireworks on our northern border are getting brighter and brighter. Qunaitra is lighting up as Assad's forces try to retake it. And we're amassing troops up there in case they don't. What a summer we're having!

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