i seem to have erased part of this entry in a moment of confusion.
After the horrors of last night, with 12 people dead and just as many wounded, i turned on CNN in the morning to get an update. It began: The bodies of 3 Palestinian soldiers were recovered.. following a shooting..." The pain at that kind of distortion is primary and physical. Even though i believe the Jews in Hebron should not be there until a political situation allows it, i still don't believe that an attack should be trivialized in that way. The Laestinians killed had ambushed There IS a difference between the deaths of ambushing gunmen and soldiers protecting citizens on their way to prayer. Even if there is a question about whether they should have been in that place at that time.
This afternoon on channel 2 the poet Nabil Sirhan recited a poem about peace, together with the singer Haya Samir and I think a gentle piano accompaniment. It was such a simple poem about peace for everyone and so right for this moment. Here we are in the middle of such animosity hatred that grows and grows and a very pregnant woman sings in Arabic in a haunting voice of peace. It was the end of the storytellers' festival.
In the mean time the people were dancing in the streets of Gaza because 12 Israelis were killed. They seem to celebrate our deaths more and more. And in the case of Hebron, the Israelis had been trying to move out, had returned the authority to the Palestinians, so they were the ones responsible.
And we, I fear, will revenge these deaths more and more. This may be the city where Ishmael and Isaac buried their father together - in a place that is noted Abraham paid for. But it has never been a city of peace between the peoples.
Tonight the Jews of Hebron meet to demonstrate and there are good reasons for fearing they will attack their Arab neighbors. So the Israel army will be in a position of protecting the Arabs of Hebron against the Jews while simultaneously searching in Hebron for the terrorists who murdered the Jews.
We have to be very careful to consider why take any specific actions - revenge is not a good reason. for anything.
I had a little virus problem just now so wrote this in note form off line.
was thinking a lot about
And how it happened as well in kibbutz nezter last week when we think we kind of understand a situation and then it turns upside down on us
Both extremes of our society attacked during one week
Inside green line /outside
Think of the mother on the phone in Netzer screaming out "Terrorists" to someone too far away to help her and think of the soldiers in Hebron with no means to communicate to each other and not knowing what is going on in 'death alley'
And the reactions also show the extremes of our society the call of revenge and the call for peace.
All this has made me obsess about the idea of Borders and how we divide up the realities we live in how we think we understand a situation
And then it turns
Or we forget to look at it in detail
Take for example: the fence
Some people want the fence makes them feel safe some don't want it because it limits our political options
but for a long time I forgot to ask - where is this fence going to be built who makes the decisions about that -- what kind of fence I should have been asking what are the considerations for each centimeter? It's different for each centimeter but it is too confusing for us to decide
Or while I'm at it, how do we divide people arab/jew. Religious/ non-religious, Sephardic/ Ashkenazi, left right. Enemy/friend.
these divisions have to continually be rethought. I
told the religious cab driver tonight that he shouldn't think of his people, Shas, and the non-religious as separate entities, but as
permeable extremes. He responded by
reminding me of all the famous people in
November 19, 2002
As i went to vote in the primaries today, i was thinking about the concept of civic duty, and how little it is stressed in this country lately. I thought to go in the middle of the morning, when most of the early voters would have left and working people would not yet be arriving, and even took the dog because i thought it would be empty, like last time. But in front of me in line was Shimon Peres, and the press.
It was a typical Ramat Aviv event. You really can't leave your house around here without something happening. But it struck me very powerfully that the concept of civil duty was embodied in the person of Peres.
Allright. I'm prejudiced. Have even written a poem to Peres - i think it's "In My Skin."
Here, I'll paste it in.
Loved by half this land
with all its heart, you start
today and wonder that
the other half did not come through.
I just want to take my bags
and get out of here, Leah
said, and I thought of you
and how when I saw you once
in your office I thought the perfect man
in his proper place
Suddenly I fear you will think
it was all a waste, the dreams
spattered on the pavement
like the blood of your mate,
and that as well as the bullet
the assassin cast
the deciding vote
But a dream is not worth less
that it cannot be redeemed
at this very moment surely
some things that dont happen
stay in our hearts as much
as those that do surely
we must plan that dreams
can, as they have before,
I sent him the book with the poem years ago, but suddenly realized a few weeks ago that he never responded and that could not be like him. It must have been lost - so i sent him another one last week. And when I saw him, mentioned it. He hasn't received it yet.
But then, it's no longer that relevant.
I mean not immediately relevant. But the idea of civic duty permeates the poem, and that IS relevant.
One of the major problems in this country at this moment is the habit we've gotten into of letting 'professionals' do everything for us. When we SHOULD be organizing together to do things for ourselves. I mean neighborhood drills, first aid classes, bartering services like day care, etc. etc. We expect it to be done because we've paid. Yes it's true we pay something like 80% of our salaries to taxes - including VAT, city taxes, land taxes and income taxes. But we've got to be involved in every aspect of government, and every element of our daily lives.
Oy, I can't stand that pedagogical tone either.
November 20, 2002
I usually wait until i ask the person for approval but when Linda wrote me tday about studying with Rabbis, I was so thrilled at the identification from halfway around the world (and about something that happened 40 years ago) i had to note it. She said: "And then you wrote: "I am more and more uncomfortable with the polarization between religious and non-religious people here. Anti-religious sentiments seem more and more acceptable - politically correct. But the religion in which I grew up was comfortable, and felt flexible. I studied in Public School, Hebrew School, Yiddish Shule, and privately, with Rabbis, and enjoyed the Rabbis most. "What if there's no God?" I asked Reb Gedaliah Cohen, and he answered in the Yiddish we always communicated, "Whether there is a God or there isn't a God, a Jew must study Torah." I loved that answer, the indifference to the potential danger of the question and the potential heresy of the questioner, and the emphasis on individual responsibility and study. And I loved studying Torah. But now we seem to afraid of the Bible because it seems an extension of the apparently corrupt and politically right religious parties." It was as if you'd been in class this morning with me, studying Maimonides' Thirteen Principles with a Chabad Rabbi, in a class full of a very mixed group of Jewish adults from the Seattle community. He, and every Orthodox teacher I've had in this program, express that same approach, and it's so liberating. I love that answer too."
Maybe it's because my husband happened to be in Seattle at the moment that letter was written, but there was such comfort to me in not being alone with my memories!!!
Linda also wrote about the poem i just posted about Peres. I'd glad i remembered it yesterday - it was a pep talk to me.
But now I must go off to Yad Sarah to exchange my mother-in-law's walker for a less-sophisticated one, as her recovery is progressing. I would have liked to spend some time delineating the amazing old people of Tel Aviv who live with their amazing Philipine aides. But perhaps later.
Phil wrote me today asking about why i didn't talk about the mother of 7 killed the other day by terrorist sniper. I also didnt write about the highjack attempt on the plane to Istanbul (foiled by Shiri - an ex-Nona waitress!) The reason is that I was overwhelmed by the statistics that came out today - 15,000 terrorist attacks on Israel in the past 25 months. what is that - one an hour? no wonder we're suspicious of everyone.
Is Mitzneh going to be able to change anything? Right wing friends of mine say that he lives in the dream past. I say he lives right now in Haifa - with his finger on the pulse of a city that contains everything the country contains. I had the pleasure of dealing with him once - when there was a plan for Hilai, Corinna's planned international/ interracial writers' center in Haifa. He was a very very impressive person in his practical vision.