Tel Aviv Diary - July 27-31, 2010 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - August 1-5, 2010 Karen Alkalay-Gut

August 1-5, 2010

August 1, 2010

I had to go to the insurance company this morning - otherwise I never would have left the air conditioning. People seem to be moving about, but I can't understand how - or why. The insurance people seemed pleasant enough, so it can't be that they are as affected as I am by the weather. But I'm a mess. As my mother-in-law used to say: My head aches, my chest hurts, my stomach aches, my legs hurt, and I myself don't feel too good.

But seriously folks, we're at a peak down at the electrical company and I have a good premonition that something's going to break down soon and leave us all in the dark and sweaty heat. We're a high tech society and reliant on machines. This in itself is a bad idea around here.

August 2, 2010

While Grad rockets were flying past Israel and into Aqaba this morning, I was taking my own advice about downgrading the high tech and visited a homeopath for my allergies, tinnitus and fibromyalgia. I will begin taking the prescribed medication on Thursday. According to him, I will be feeling much better in three days. Please take note - in 3 days my blogging will begin to improve in quality.

To return for a moment to the Grad rockets, my friend in Eilat says they passed the important places but they only didn't hit anyone there because Al Keida does aim well yet. They are serious rockets, he says, and they were meant to stop direct peace talks. Eventually, the guys who shoot those rockets will get better. Any way they didn't not try to hit Aqaba. And they caused enough tragedy there for any Al Keida terrorist to be proud of himself.After all, what possible interest would Al Keida have in maintaining the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan? A little revolution there would be lovely for them

August 3, 2010

So the gardener was working in the garden and all of a sudden he runs into the house and because she's on the phone he makes gestures to his boss, like hands on ears, big eyes and wide, excited mouth. "What is it?" she says. "Katyusha! Didn't you hear?" "Didn't pay attention - I was on the phone" She looks at her cell phone for a text message that would instruct her what to do, but there's nothing. It takes a while for the information to come out on the news. But as soon as it does she begins to analyze it. Most people have years of experience figuring out the situation and what it means.

August 4, 2010

Barry Rubin always has interesting information about the situation. Here's what he wrote today:

Today's Example of Ridiculous Media Bias Against Israel
By Barry Rubin*
August 4, 2010

Gloria Center
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Along Israel's border with Lebanon, east of Metulla, some bushes were pushing in on the border fence. The fence is set in slightly from the border precisely so that Israeli soldiers can work on it. The IDF called UNIFIL and informed the UN that this work was going to be done today so that they could tell the Lebanese army that there was no aggression going on but just routine maintenance. Soldiers from UNIFIL came to observe and can be seen standing next to Israeli soldiers in the photos. Photographers were also standing by to film the operation.
But Lebanese soldiers opened fire on the Israelis who were working and in no way acting aggressively. The fact that journalists were standing next to the Lebanese soldiers shows that they knew Israel was going to do this maintenance and were observing. After the Israeli soldiers were ambushed, they returned fire. One Israeli officer was killed, another seriously wounded; three Lebanese soldiers, and a Lebanese (?) journalist were killed.
So how did Reuters and Yahoo report this? By saying that Israeli soldiers had crossed into Lebanon and been fired on, thus implying the Lebanese army was acting in self-defense! Other news agencies merely reported: Israel says the soldiers were inside Israel; Lebanon says they were on Lebanese territory.
Reuters: "An Israeli soldier is seen on a crane on the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border near Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli artillery shelled the Lebanese village on Tuesday, wounding two people, after Lebanese Army troops fired warning shots at Israeli soldiers."
Yahoo: "A Lebanese officer spoke on condition of anonymity under military guidelines, said the clash occurred as Israeli troops tried to remove a tree from the Lebanese side of the border." No Israeli is quoted.
AP also missed explaining the story properly: "The violence apparently erupted over a move by Israeli soldiers to cut down a tree along the border, a sign of the high level of tensions at the frontier where Israel fought in 2006 with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah....There was no sign of any extensive Israeli preparations for a large-scale operation - an early indication the clash might not trigger a wider conflict."
By the way, AP was so "accurate" as to correct the name of their photographer but not the biased inaccuracy of its facts!
The New York Times also takes a "neutral" approach: "Each side blamed the other for the flare-up, trading accusations of violating the United Nations Security Council resolution that underpins the four-year cease-fire." But what is most amazing is the additional information that tells us more about contemporary journalism than almost anything you can read:
"Israel said that its forces were engaged in routine maintenance work in a gap between the so-called Blue Line, the internationally recognized border, and its security fence, and that it had coordinated in advance with the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Lebanon, UNIFIL."
Hello? Can't the mighty New York Times contact the UNIFIL offices and find out that Israel's story is true? Indeed, isn't it indicated by the UNIFIL presence as observer? Well, it isn't surprising since the same newspaper is unable to find the evidence, publicly available, that the Turkish IHH group that organized the Gaza flotilla had a history of being a terrorist-supporting group.
Oh, and then there's this amazing little example of bias in the article:
"Israeli and Lebanese army troops exchanged lethal fire on their countries' border on Tuesday, in what was the fiercest clash in the area since Israel's monthlong war against the Lebanese Hezbollah militia in the summer of 2006."
So, there's no mention of the cause of the war: a Hizballah attack into Israeli territory, killing several Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two who were taken into Lebanon. According to the great "newspaper of record," Accorfing to the Times, Israel just arbitrarily attacked Lebanon in 2006, just as it is said to be doing in 2010.
The truth, however, is easy to ascertain--did Israel announce the maintenance, permit the photographers and UN people to watch and then cross deliberately into Lebanon?--but Israel is being portrayed as an aggressor that caused the outbreak of fighting. So millions of people will either believe that Israel was at fault or that the event is in question.
The narrative, however, is simple: In an unprovoked attack, Lebanese soldiers fired on Israelis and murdered one soldier.
If the mass media cannot get this right how can it report accurately on other situations like the following:
2000: Israel offers to return the entire Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for full peace. Syria refuses.
2000: Israel offers to accept an independent Palestinian state in all of the Gaza Strip, almost all of the West Bank, and most of east Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority refuses.
2008: Hamas tears up a ceasefire, begins massive mortar and rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, Israel defends itself.
2010: A Turkish pro-terrorist organization trying to help Hamas, a genocidal and antisemitic terrorist group, sends self-described jihadis on a ship who chant slogans about killing Jews and being Jihadi martyrs. When Israeli soldiers land, the Jihad warriors attack them with weapons and kidnap several. Israeli forces rescue the soldiers, killing nine attackers in the operation.
Note, though, that the Times discounted the video of Israeli soldiers being attacked by claiming--with no evidence--that perhaps Israeli forces had been shooting beorehand at unarmed civilians on the ship!
But if the media cannot even get right a previously announced, UN-approved, maintenance activity on Israeli territory then what hope is their getting right anything more complex?
Here's a video of the attack from Reuters.
To its credit, the Canadian Broadcasting Company issued a correction saying that the tree's location is disputed and changing the photo caption to say the tree is "near" the border rather than on the Lebanese side.
We now have a UNIFIL official on record as saying that the Israeli soldiers who were attacked were on Israeli territory. Which mainstream media outlets will or won't cover this fact?

*Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books, go to You can read and subscribe to his blog

And now to address the weather. I have long ago stopped translating because all I get from it is complaints and demands, but this one was hard to resist.

Pinchas Sadeh


Not long ago, on a hot summer day
Someone said to me: Why not buy yourself a fan
To fight this heat wave, since youíre home all day and night?
And I considered it and thought to myself: This is me -
I donít have any quarrels with heat or with cold,
And I donít have any complaints against them.
They donít come to hurt me. They donít wish me harm.
They were created thus, the heat of the summer, the cold of the winter.
Thatís how they were made. It's in their natures. According to the world order.
Iíd say, when I think of it, that my heart holds only amity for them.
When they arrive I say to them: You are welcome in your arrival, and peace to your departure.
Come back next year too, I say. I hope to be here as well.

August 5, 2010

Panic Ensemble is recording its second disk. So I tell my GPS to take me to some house in Herzlia - one of those small streets coming off of a small street off of a small alley that ends suddenly - Of course it doesn't take me a long time to realize I'm being led astray - it's just a question of bringing up the memories of long ago. After all I lived here in Herzlia for a while, and had gotten lost for ever until I figured out the logic - Alterman Street, for example, can't be far away from Agnon and Tschernichovsky because the whole neighborhood is authors. That reminded me that I heard a recording of Agnon recently, and listened to how his sentences are divided like phrases of the Psalms, and that everything has a logical balance. That's when I found the street. Easily.

And the recording went wonderfully.

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