Tel Aviv Diary -July 7-11,2015 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 7, 2015

I've been going to fewer and fewer places because of my back and hip, but when I do drive, I'm always encountering rudeness and traffic infractions. Sometimes it is electric bikes who threaten pedestrians. sometimes it is people who cut me off while i'm driving. But there are very good reasons for this. One is the lack of clear regulations and enforcement. Like bicycle trails that trail off suddenly in the middle of the city. Like laws that are not clearly published and not enforced. Then there are the roads - in some places, like Arab towns, the municipalities don't invest all that much in public facilities. There is also the old culture of individualism that was born with the country. Nobody is going to tell us what to do. I think a clear program with little investment could change it.

Since I mentioned Arab villages and municipalities I want to complain about the lack of public facilities like playgrounds - in part because of the value of land, in part because the community centers around the mosque which seems to place little value on non-religious activities. This too could be easily improved with a little public awareness campaign.

Now if i know so much why am i not doing anything? why am i not involved in peace activities? Let me fix my back and I'll jump right in.

July 9, 2015

Every day I hear of another group of Jews and Muslims who work together to understand each other better, to make a better society together.

And not a day goes by when I don't hear some sort of racist remark from Jews or Arabs. We have to learn how to deal with them without exploding.

Ezi and his sisters and all the partners and children and grandchildren celebrated Ezi's birthday this evening at Pappa's. I got drunk. Good night.

As far as I know there has never been a birthday party for me that I didn't make myself. But there is almost as much pleasure in organizing a party for someone else.

July 10, 2015

Whatever I did today was erased by the effect of the memorial service for Michael Sternberg this morning. We read a lot of poems, and spoke of his great soul, but as the day went on I couldn't stop thinking of his role with the UN forces in the Sinai Desert. How he warned us in the past years that the sinai is a snake pit. How he worked until his last days when he was getting powerful chemo. I remembered suddenly how he called me from his office one day, how he was trying to make sure that peace efforts would continue while defence efforts remained strong. i remembered the siren that went off at his funeral, the crowds in uniform and civvies, the gun salute, the numerous people who called me after his funeral, not knowing about his death, asking how he was.

July 11, 2015

Saturday morning civilization in Tel Aviv. Banana beach. You sit at the cafe and order food - good food actually - with great service. it's crowded but the sunbrellas make it the best place to meet on the promenade. Now if only the flag wasn't black. I almost lost a grandchild to the strong waves.

But I believe I will be back there, sipping coffee and watching the waves - and all the celebrities.

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