Tel Aviv Diary - July 2-6, 2014 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 2, 2014

Every moment brings a new development in the story of the lost boys. Not that anything could have saved them, but our own fumbling kept the riddle of their disappearance going for two and a a half weeks. And now the murder of Mohammed Abu Kadir is as henious as the murder of the three innocent boys.

Hate injures the haters. it is so easy to start and so hard to stop the results.

20 rockets today. how many tomorrow. and how much.

I was in the unisex bathroom of the student union today, clutching the only role of paper i found in all the booths, It had been placed in a puddle on the sink so most of itt was wet, but it was better than nothing. Suddenly I heard a voice - someone was in the room, and I heard a deep voice in an Arabic accent. "Oh no, no paper." So I leave the booth and call out, "Anyone need the paper?" A hand comes out. I pass the paper under the door. Never felt so intimate with a stranger in my life.

Never did get to see his face.

July 3, 2014

Because of this radio program I recorded today with Ilene Prusher, I got to go to Kikar Medina. Haven't been there for years. Didn't feel I missed anything either. There was an amazing onesie I saw in a window there, maybe the most gorgeous feminine baby dress I've seen in years, but not only did they not have the size, but it was half price at 370 shekel. People eat for a week on that. Easy.

The radio program is tomorrow morning but i don't have the exact site yet. In general it's Ilene is a real pro so it can't be a bad interview, but i never remember what i say. And by the time it goes on air it may be out of date.

I was thinking about something as I walked to the printers this morning on Rothchild Boulevard. The avenue is gorgeous, replete with pools, playgrounds, lawnchairs, library...

But it's all meant to keep away the demonstrations from two summers ago.

It's like the misinformation we kept getting about the boys - jew and muslim alike - to make us forget the reality.

I don't mean that Tel Aviv is a bubble, but that there are a lot of attempts to divert our attention from some our most important issues. There were thousands at the demonstration against revenge this evening, but it is something that should be addressed by our prime minister. There is no doubt in my mind that the murder of Muhammed was political and encouraged by the fact that we did not speak out in time against this.

The 30 odd rockets so far fired on the towns in the south this past day need also be addressed more actively. I don't mean we should bomb the hell out of Gaza in return. I mean that the Vulcan or laser protection systems should be given more attention then they've received up to now. The rockets that can be shot down by patriot missiles don't get used much anymore Because they have been rendered ineffectual. Let's render the missiles these lower flying missiles ineffectual as well.

July 5, 2014

And what have I been doing in these trying times?

I didn't go to Jerusalem to assuage the demonstrators, I didn't go to Baka to celebrate Ramadan - although it was my dearest wish, I didn't go to Sderot to uplift their failing economy in the light of the repeated rocket attacks, or even to the local grocery store to do my monthly shopping to keep Tel Aviv going as a 'free' town.

No, we escaped to Zefad to wander the streets of the ancient city and listen to stories about history and nature. It was a wonderful escape, and I learned a lot. some of it relevant. Lots of people hacheted to death in what you foreigners call pogroms. Lots of Rabbis saying things about Zefad. Lots of songs that have a tangential relevance to the place.

One fact I didn't know - the "tembel" hat that we have always seen as integral to Israeli modern history, was brought in by the German Templars. Arab pronunciation turned the temple hat to the tembel and it was adopted by the israelis in that form.


Iím kind of starring in a show at the Arab-Jewish theater in Jaffa. Itís about covering, and how poems are clothes and clothes are poems. Most of it is in Hebrew but it has English subtitles, and the more English speakers in the audience that I know about, the more English there will be. It starts at 9 p.m. and if you say the magic word, ďOrpheusĒ the ticket is only 40 shekel. Iíd love you to come and help me get through this first poem-play Iíve done since the Israel festival almost 10 years ago.

July 5, 2014

Safed. Weather's nice. The rest of the country bubbles and burns but Safed is all into praying. I used to love this city. Now it seems like a total but temporary escape from reality.

July 6, 2014

Back in the Tel Aviv bubble. The opposite of Safed in one sense - there are religious and non-religious people and no one has the right to interfere with another's life.

Murder! Are we surprised? We must must must apologize to the family, and maybe we should be punishing by destroying homes of murderers like this. And make sure the language of the government changes drastically. All the leaders must now make sure they direct people in more peaceful directions. Incitement is in itself a crime!

We spent the weekend in Ruth Rimonim Hotel in Safed. Weather was nice. But I don't think I'll be back that way. If you ever go there, go for the weekend only if you are very observant. And don't let them put you in the new wing. It's such a walk to the dining hall and to the pool.

On second thought - stay away from the dining hall. It wasn't bad, but totally uninspired. The pizza at Milano Pizza there was better than the hotel.

On the way home I really wanted to stop at my absolute favorite restaurant - Sahara - but Ezi reminded me we'd have to go through Wadi Ara, where there were violent demonstrations yesterday, and we had too many little kids of worry about. So we went to Zichron Yaakov and tried out Adama. It was very very good, even wonderful. But I missed Sahara. Badly.

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