Tel Aviv Diary - October 21-25, 2010 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

October 21, 2010

About six years ago, I hired a cleaner. She is legal - it would have cost me less than half of what I am paying to hire an illegal worker, but I really have a thing about breaking laws. Nevertheless the paperwork for social security, vacation, pensions etc. is so complex and time-consuming I ask my husband to do the math and fill out the quarterly forms. It seems logical to me - we run the household together and help each other out with the less pleasant tasks of daily life. Moreover in recent months I've come to realize she is much more amenable to advice and/or criticism from him than from me. So tell me how Ehud Barak didn't know his housekeeper was illegal and didn't make sure his household was paying social security, pension funds, insurance, etc. Why is his wife being blamed exclusively? Why wasn't Bibi held responsible for his wife's peccadillos? I don't think Ezi and I ever discussed whether or not to hire someone legal or illegal, but there is just no way he wouldn't know her status. And if I can't trust heads of government to follow the laws they themselves created in their own homes, it would be absurd to trust them with My home and My country.

When I was 10 my Yiddish teacher sent in my writing about my cat to the Forwards and I found myself a published writer overnight. Here it is:

And now, at last, fifty five years later, in translation:


October 22, 2010

We are taking off for Genosar.

We watched a group of Messianic Jews, who have accepted Christ, get baptized in the Sea of Galilee at Genosar today. They and their supporters came all the way from Australia to experience Israel from Jewish eyes. They told me later that we were in their prayers, as was Gilad Shalit, and they sang “Amazing Grace” with stars in their eyes. They were down by the water, applauding each immersion, while we stood way up, where the dock used to be, and tried to control our shock at the drying up of the Sea of Galilee. “Master of the World,” I want to ask with Hiawatha, “Do our lives depend on these things? So we Jews above were mourning and the Christians were celebrating below. Later as we walked among the rocks of the shore, I was thinking of Naim Araidi, with whom I didn’t get a chance to talk before, and how in his religion even the stones speak. And suddenly I saw the rocks in their individuality, in their characters, in the suffering and their joy. And they seemed to transcend the limited western religions.

October 23, 2010

We took off from Genosar and spent the morning at the Hula Nature Preserve. If I could wake Ezi up I'd tell the story and put up pictures. Well tomorrow is another day.

October 24, 2010

I've been writing and erasing, writing and erasing. That's a bad sign. I'm not supposed to do that. There are all kinds of things to say that I don't dare talk about. Mostly about what human rights organizations are saying about Israel that they don't seem to be able to say about the US. Also about the Nobel prize winner for Game Theory two years ago and his theories of negotiation that haven't been considered in our negotiation policy.

October 25, 2010

So let me go back to the Hula for a minute.

October 25, 2010

If you are looking for a good restaurant in Tel Aviv, don't go to Carmela. Neither of us enjoyed our meal there tonight, although the other who were with seemed satisfied. I had chicken livers that were fried in felafel -ruining both the felafel and the chicken livers. Ezi had forrel in some funny sauce. both of us had cheese cake that was not absolutely fresh and to me was rubbery. Our friend goes there frequently and is very happy with the place, but I doubt whether I'll ever be there again.

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