Two corrections to my past entries:
1. Susanna writes about my wedding entry about the tv program in Faradis:
I didnt see the Guy Pines event, but I knew about the wedding. they invited me. One thing is for sure, no one in Faradise has the kind of money to invite 3,000 guests. My uzeret who I love, Jamilee.... when her daughter got engaged it was an affair in the road with all the neighbours and family, but certainly not 3000 people. Perhaps I am wrong, check it out but it seems to me that it is an illusion to think that our little village of Faradise can afford more guests to a wedding than the total population of Zichron.
Right – I'll try to find out the numbers! But Susanna's note reminded me that = as they say in Hebrew: things that you see from here you don't see from there. Multiple vision and multiple fact sources are always necessary.
2. the second correction comes from Aviv, who, without referring to my journal entry about Jenin, sent me an article from a guy who was in.. well let him tell the story:
1-The First Casualty of War is Truth!
From: David Zyngier firstname.lastname@example.org
Tonight (25 August 2002) I attended a meeting in Melbourne Australia organised by the State Zionist Council of Victoria. The guest speaker was Dr David Zangen. Dr Zangen is head of pediatrics at Haddassah Hospital in Jerusalem and also a Major (Reserve) in the Israel Defence Forces. He spoke about the conduct of Israeli soldiers during the battle of Jenin in April 2002.
He was made famous by the article "A Question of Blood" written by Dan Gordon (Hollywood scriptwiter) and published in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles May 24. http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/searchview.php?id=8646 This article has been republished many hundreds of times on the internet. (Try searching Google for "A Question of Blood" and Zangen and you will see how many times!)
He spoke eloquently and from the heart about the efforts to which Israeli soldiers went to NOT harm innocent Palestinians, about the myths of the Jenin massacre and the lies told by journalists and UN officials about Israeli conduct of the war there.
At the end of his address I quoted the following extract from Gordon's article from The Jewish Journal - titled "A Question of Blood"
"I was in the Jenin refugee camp on April 16. ... I heard a story ... told to me by Dr. David Zangen, chief medical officer of the Israeli paratroop unit, which bore the brunt of the fighting in Jenin. Zangen stated that the Israelis ... offered the Palestinians blood for their wounded. The Palestinians refused it because it was Jewish blood."
I asked Dr Zangen whether this was true. In front of 250 people he categorically denied ever having said anything like that to Gordon or that the incident ever occurred!"
Please feel free to republish this email.
Now – this is a very strange letter and I am sure Aviv sent it to me not only because I helped to transmit what apparently wasn't stated by Zanger, but also because it embodies some of the paradoxes of transmitting information. Dr. Zangen's subject was the humanity of the soldiers in Jenin, and one – albeit colorful – fact, was denied. But the title is 1-The First Casualty of War is Truth! as if the entire story about Jenin is called into question. Now there have been so many stories circulating about what happened in Jenin. Arab parliament members in Israel said at the time and never retracted the number of 3000 massacred, a number which was reduced by more than 80% by the U.N. There were stories of torture, sadism, and so on. The story about Jenin residents refusing transfusions of Jewish blood is very 'colorful' but not terribly 'basic' to the general story. i somehow doubt whether this isn't a mistake somewhere along the way.
the title, however, of this piece "-The First Casualty of War is Truth! gives me a feeling of bad faith. and i'm sorry for it.
Enough for the moment of mistakes in the media. i think the big issue in israel today is the relationship between jews and arabs. the palestinians arrested in east jerusalem who turned out to be responsible for a number of terrorist attacks, including the one on the nightclub in rishon lezion attributed to infiltrators from gaza shocked people here, and once again diminished the possibilities of mutual trust (it also sent the idea of a united jerusalem down the drain).
But the arrest of the members of the renowned Bachri family for aiding the terrorist who killed 11 in suicide bomb explosion on the Megiddo road last month was devastating. I am finding it impossible to deal with it.
Maybe later today.
She was standing at the table talking to her friends, and the bag with the bombs and the nails was on the table behind her. That's why she got the brunt of the explosion. One of the women she'd been talking to died from a nail in her brain but the others just lost limbs. Her own body was so multilated the family was not allowed to see her.
It was - what - 3 weeks ago - but no one in her family has even begun thinking about going on with their lives.
There are thousands of stories like this. They are not delineated, not told - not because someone is trying to hide them but because the effect of these stories, while the situation is still going on, is not positive.
Schulamith went away for a few weeks and while she was there she found herself writing a poem - no - more of a prayer - about not wanting to get blown apart at this moment. it's the kind of thing people think of all the time, but never dare to say out loud. but she wrote it abroad and in english - the distance and language were probably necessary to release the poem.
and anyway, you don't want to make the situation more difficult for other people - to infect them with your fear. so you keep quiet.
imagine the feeling of the Israeli-Arab population right now -- so many stories emerging this week about Arab-Israeli involvement or acquisition in terrorist actions. All trust remaining from the debacle 2 years ago when Barak's government was responsible for opening fire on the demonstrating Arab population is being eroded. Even though these are all the same people who were getting along not all that long ago.
And they are getting blown up too.
4 people killed in Gaza today by Israeli soldiers. A mother, her two grown sons and her nephew. Israel apologizes deeply, the soldiers say there was suspicious movement around the house and they followed standard procedure. there are possibilities that they made an error in judgement, possibilities that someone was doing something suspicious around there, all kinds of possibilities - but when you put people in that situation there is bound to be trouble.
Now the Hamas is vowing revenge, saying 'we told you so' about the 'Gaza First' program, and seeing in this action total justification for furthering terrorist attacks. every one seems to be right - and 4 people are dead.
One would think that all of us are so smart and we know what's wrong - someone should be listening to us and change the situation, right? i mean we're all giving great advice - why are all these people taking three steps back for every one step forward?
i used to imagine that a few of us women would get together and clean up the place, pull the armies back by their collars, the way mothers separate quarreling kids. there's even a poem i wrote once to Naomi Shihab Nye long ago - about wanting to be an enormous kindergarten teacher - i think it has the line i often return to that Ezi told me he learned from nursery "It all started when he hit me back.."
But we're not big enough to take the kids up by their collars...
and i'm like a grandmother already.
(this was written off line because I couldn't get into the web today – and my computer seems to correct spelling errors – so this may be a little more smooth than usual.
Friday nights always used to be designated for political discussions, a group of friends around a coffee table, some nuts, cakes, fruit salad, and heated arguments about government policy, individual figures, economic policies, scandals, gossip, and the politics of the Arab-Israeli situation.
We don't talk politics any more.
Even among good friends –
most people beg boredom but I think it is powerlessness and fear that keeps people away from their formerly favorite subject.
Or maybe it's exhaustion.
Whatever it is – it isn't apathy.
Tonight Rachel reminded me that anyone living in Israel has experienced neighbors screaming at night – some Holocaust survivor. She noted that this kind of experience, being roused mid night by a nightmare of the holocaust, is a kind of holocaust experience in itself. A little post-trauma of your own.
multiply this by thousands, she adds, and you have the experience of living in Israel today.
Like the six degrees of separation theory. Now it's 2 degrees of separation. Ask any Israeli and he/she knows someone who has been directly involved in a terrorist attack. Maybe they've just lost an eye, maybe much more. But everyone is maimed in a way that makes reasonable consideration impossible.
I wonder what Muslims in Jenin talk about on Friday night – they seem to be animated by hate. But who knows. Maybe some people are thinking about the way out of this mire.
I think I'm repeating myself – about the victimization I mean. Just like the conversations we all keep having – and are no longer having – because they are samsara repetitions.
Lisa came from the States today – I thought she would come with new ideas, new proposals, like she always does. But she too is tired, maybe only from the flight, maybe because nothing seems to work here. In her projects with troubled kids in the U.S. -- she can see results. Here -- where do you begin?
I'm waiting to start this project of student anthology until the fall – so far the only person I've enlisted is Amal. The most common expression around here nowadays is "after the holidays."
So me too.
Everything will begin again after the holidays. Just like the torah that begins again every new year. Except there was an attack tonight. And because all the kids and grandchildren are here and shouldn't be worried, I don't even have the details.