Tel Aviv Diary - April 14-18, 2013 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - April 14-18, 2013 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 14, 2013

Yael Globerman on Memorial Day:

At the sound of the siren
Of Memorial Day,
The homeless beggar
From the Street of the Prophets
Stands erect as a cello
Suddenly given notes:

For two pulsating minutes
He is like everyone else, he has a place
He has a room in the loss
Of a nation.

April 15, 2013

We were eating dinner when the siren rang last night. In bathrobes even though it was eight o'clock because Ezi had been in the hospital that morning and had slept all afternoon and I joined him when I came home.

No one could see us and the food was very attractive. Still, in mid-bite, we stood silent while our meal cooled. My mind could not wrap around all the thousands killed in war or terror attacks and instead flashed portraits of friends and students and sons lost. It was not a voluntary act, but an instinctive one.

Today I will probably be at the bank when the siren goes off and my moment of silence will be a communal one, in sympathy for the others who have lost loved ones. They are two different kinds of mourning - both a part of this day.

Two flags hang over our balcony today.

Even though our celebration tonight will be with a bunch of anti-zionists I am filled with pride whenever I think of the State of Israel. It's private and public as well. After the war my parents had nowhere to go - they had to leave England because their visas were only temporary but they had no citizenship anywhere in the world. They had not been accepted into Palestine before the war (by the British) and were afraid to try it again. Fortunately one aunt of my mother's sponsored them in the US and we went there. But I was always scared. Even now I remember my father's terror that he would be found out and beaten, just like in Danzig. Even now I remember the talk around the table of the Arab bragging that they would complete Hitler's task.

April 16, 2013

Independence Day - We didn't plan a picnic or a trip because Ezi is still recovering, but last night we not only spent the evening discussing the pros and cons of Zionism (I remain very pro) but we also got to see fireworks from the hill nea our house.

Me, I hate fireworks. Always want to hide under the table just like in the Blitz.

April 17, 2013

A strange way of celebrating but we went to see Hannah Arendt last night. Her concept of the 'banality of evil' always intrigued me, and her own actions during the war of helping children escape to Palestine as well as her numerous provocative pulications prove that she endorsed the concept of awareness and responsibility. But in the film it is clear that she took Eichmann at his word when he said he was only following orders. Since he helped to shape the program of the liquidation of the Jews he knew perfectly well what was involved in his actions and he was responsible. The denial of responsibility in this case was not about 'the banality of evil' but the defense of someone trying to save his own life. The two men I was with at the film - one who photographed the trial and the other who was present at the trial - saw Eichmann differently.

But now I have to read The Jewish Writings to see what exactly she wrote, and then examine to what extent the editors of this book shaped this book. I'm certainly not going to base my ideas on Hannah Arendt and/or Eichmann on a film, especially one with a clear agenda.

With all the terror going on in the U.S. it is hard to pay much attention to the fact that 2 rockets fell on Eilat today. That we've got another cyber attack on the university. For us it's a regular day.

April 18, 2013

When we walked out for sushi at Akiko, I was thinking it might be too much for Ezi, who isn't do all that well after his latest ritoxyn dose. But he was fine, and it was lucky we walked because on the way back there was a traffic jam in the center of Ramat Aviv G that looked ominous - lots of noise, drums, police cars, an ambulance on the side. It was only when we got back that we discovered there was a demonstration at the local Bank Hapoalim against its forgoing of the Dankner debt. My only opinion on the subject is that it is good that we're demonstrating about something - especially about how big business and banks work hand-in-hand.

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