Tel Aviv Diary - August 10-14, 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - August 10-14, 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

August 10, 2019

we landed this morning. back home. the terrible news about the murder of an Israeli solder stabbed in the back on his way home from the bus stop. With a book by David Grossman in his pocket. in Italy there were only distant images on pizzeria televisions. here they are everyday tragedies and can affect anyone.

The people sitting in front of us were an Arab family - the children the age of the children I was sitting with. the children watched each other, curious, but only the parents could speak to each other. it was the middle of the night when we took off and the kids fell asleep, but maybe if it was daylight we could have created a dialogue. in tuscany our kids played with french kids, with dutch kids, and even with italian kids - without knowing the language.

August 10, 2019

i must have been a day ahead last night when i wrote this last verse. Today i did nothing but look at the works of Jesse Stampler, of whom i remembered very little. But i should have remembered more - after all she was an American poet who moved to Israel with the same socialist ideals i had - and she wrote in English. She was translated a bit by the poet Rachel, but writing in English in Israel, and about socialism, she couldn't be remembered.

she was also writing in a kind of free verse, in which every phrase was a part of reality - a real picture of the Emek - and reality overwhelmed the poetic. it's a different kind of poetry - where real life determines the poetic. i love it. i can't wait for my interview about her tomorrow.

August 11, 2019

Tisha B'Av - i know we're supposed to mourn the destruction of the temple and all that - but my first grandchild was born on this day so for me it is always a day of rejoicing. And this year it takes place on the same day as the Muslim holiday of the sacrifice, when Ishmael was saved from the knife - Iid el adha.

Unfortunatelt the two holidays clashed as Jews and Muslims clashed in Jerusalem. We have to learn that the sacrifice that has to be made is to each other - to sacrifice our sense of superiority on both sides.

August 12, 2019

There are crueler months than April. Just so's you know.

Even at the university, where i went to meet some colleagues in peace and quiet, there were kids all over the place, not any more noisy than anywhere else in the world, but noisy and in large quantities.

August 13, 2019

As we sat overlooking the fishpond at the posh cafe in the mall, a night heron picked up a fish in his craw and spent almost 20 minutes as we tried to eat figuring out how to swallow it. this made our lunch particularly hard to digest but it seems to be typical of this crazy season where violence comes from such unexpected places. As Iran works on finding ways to get weapons to Hamas through any available direction, we keep subverting them, involving more and more countries daily. The conflict spreads like an oil spill, and we can only try to contain it. Together with all the Arab countries who seem to be on our side.

Today for some strange reason we went to the Crocodile River and traipsed around the ruins of ancient flour mills and learned that the last crocodile was seen in 1877. i think it was the hottest day of the year and there are questions in my mind not only about how i got roped into this midday sunny adventure but also how I survived it.

August 14, 2019

after one trip into Tel Aviv and back - with a broken down underground garage that was blocks away from where I had to be. and a hot sun with no shade. on my way to my second engagement my car refused to cooperate and i wound up going home and spending the evening with old friends at a cafe. So I missed Nora Gold's book launch, so I missed Etgar Keret's talk, but the reunion with friends was worth it and made up for a tough few days.


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