Tel Aviv Diary July 21 - 25>, 2004 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - July 21 -25, 2004 Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 21, 2004

Ha! Fooled you!

You thought I could be consistent! could count! No. The last entry was 6 days and you didn't know where to find me, right?

Enough postmodern joking

My friend Amy Lippman has been in a state ever since her twin sons got sent to the army in dangerous places. Today she got interviewed in the Jerusalem Post. I always tell her that when my father was born in Lithuania his mother waited 4 years until she had another son and then registered them as twins. That way only one would have to go to the army. Because the idea of 2 sons in danger is just not human.

But that's her idea - the army isn't human and everyone should be home. I like that idea in principle.

I even once won a BBC World Service Poetry Award with a poem about that.



A month before mobilization
my daughter lies beside me and talks
the way she did at naptime
when she was three.

When I groan I need to sleep
she pats my stomach
and sings the tuneless lullaby
my mother sang to me:

Like blinds my eyes
flash open: How
does she know it? She laughs, chattering
in that tongue she never learned.


The night before her mobilization
friends come to say goodbye
as if she were embarking on a long journey.
But there is only a kitbag, 3 pairs
of socks, long underwear
and a funny doll
God knows
where she will hide.


"Women belong
in the same jobs as men,"
she retorts when the Rabbi on TV
calls for a demobilization of all women
from the army. Then "Men belong
in the same jobs as women,
in their homes, in the kitchen,
in safe places
away from the borders."
another important site: Palestine Israel Journal

July 22, 2004

Of course I would rather have my kids and all kids at home in the kitchen and not on the front - but there is that element of defence that always has to be considered.

And as I constantly complain, I do not have enough evidence to make intelligent decisions. For example, apparently there is a great discrepancy between the number of outposts declared and actual. There has also been a population increase of 5% in the jewish west bank population in the past year. it doesn't fit the picture the government projects.

And there is supposed to be a demonstration next week - a chain of people from the sea to jerusalem against the turning over of territories. At the same time it is rumored that Israel has been moving the wall to the green line, very quietly, without declaring anything.

I myself have never seen either wall.

The only wall i have seen is the one put up in our yard by the builders who are reinforcing the shaky foundations of our home. The cats in the yard went crazy - suddenly their space was divided by some unknown power, and it took them a few days before they figured out how to get around the barrier, and the expressions on their faces began to relax. They are still in a state of shock, and haven't found alternative places to relax.

July 24, 2004

Sometimes I don't write because i don't have the time, sometimes because i don't have the heart.

This is the week before Tisha B'Av, the mourning of the destruction of the Temple. In recent years it has become connected to the physical and political sanctity of Jerusalem, and that always bothers me. Always. That's why I always say ironic things about Jerusalem. It scares me - the idea of a living myth. The responsbility is terrifying, and not fair. It is not for the living, for practical people who need to breathe and survive.

So this morning when my neice who is visiting there in Jerusalem recommended that she come to Tel Aviv and not wait for us to come there I breathed more easily. I would have been more happy to go deep into the desert to find her rather than maneuver the streets of the holy city.

The whole question of the Palestinian demonstrations against the corruptions in their government has raised numerous reactions all week. Many people felt a secret pleasure at the fact that they were keeping each other busy, others warned that this would only last a day, and still others suggest that what is happening in Palestine is exactly the same as what is happening inIsrael....

July 24-5, 2004

Computer glitch - self-imposed i think, made yesterday impossible - i wanted to write something about the plan of Al Keida to attack Eilat - and then this morning Yehuda Etzion called for Temple Mount mosques to be bombed, and what I was saying on Friday about how similar both sides are seemed to be reinforced. But of course there is a difference between talking, planning, and executing.

There is also a difference in numbers. We constantly forget how many Arabs there are - and how just a small percentage of extremists can make a real difference in the world. There is a human chain today of 100000 people to preserve the 'whole' land of israel. But there are also statistics that well over 90% of the people living there are willing to make an agreement.

I know it is impossible to consider the concept of discretion in an online diary - because anyone keeping a diary on line is by definition indiscreet, nevertheless i do try to be very careful of this. So sometimes i have nothing to see because so much is going on. that should not be discussed over the web.

(I was thinking of this because of the CIA's announcement that it had people in Al Keida on high levels. All I can say is - shut up! Even when I complain about not having enough information to make complete political decisions, I'd rather not have THAT information.)

I started to write today before I heard Yehuda Etzion speak on television, before i digested the possibility that there are real terrorists in potential in our midst, and I spoke with the ease an informality of an intellectual. But his words - inciting violence - are clearly illegal, if not mad, and unless he is charged, this government will be morally unsuitable to continue. If it doesn't happen by tomorrow, we had better get a petition calling for criminal incitement.

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