Tel Aviv Diary - December 30, 2010 - January 3 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

December 30, 2010

As I sat with Rachel over tea yesterday afternoon, I couldn't stop coughing. "You must have caught a cold," she said. But I demurred. I was still full of energy after a long, hard day. But as soon as we parted, I began to feel my throat, my head, my arms. Everything was aching, and me - I didn't feel so good either. I raced home and dove for the bed, and have not moved since.

My health changed with the weather, which has become grey and a bit chilly. Will I have to cancel my wonderful day? I'll decide in half an hour.

In the meantime I'm getting ready for the shameful verdict of our ex-president. Live on TV. In any case, what a terrible day for the government!

And what a victory for justice. The man who was known for his shameful ways long long before he became president was certain that his political successes would continue to protect him. I can't be happy that he was convicted, because his crimes never should have been allowed in a legitimate political system. But I AM happy that the boundaries now have been forged.

December 31, 2010

Is it possible that this country has awakened totally to New Years'? At the Millenium we didn't celebrate like this, or like everyone else seems to celebrating tonight. We are still sick in bed, too tired for anything but stupid television. All of our friends are dancing around town. Remember the only game in town used to be what we made up - and in our boredom over new years we decided the stone lion on Anonymous Alley would get up at midnight and slouch toward Bethlehem Street to be born, like Yeats wrote:

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Who would have thought back then that our leaders would be tried for such serious crimes? We were just kidding about the coming years, just trying to make fun of all those doomsayers.

January 1, 2010

Thank goodness for the new comedy channel. Only because we've seen everything else on television, from National Geographic to all the analyses of the ex-president's conviction, and only the Daily Show is new to us. Stuck in bed, we are too tired to read, so we lie around listening to our neighbors' argue, and discuss the concept of peaceful negotiations. Sometimes we have some good ideas about it. For example the problems of the assertiveness of women in this country. Most of the time the women are pretty amazing in their independence around here - both Arab and Jew. But there are often mized messages to women about their role in society. The other day (I'm in a haze so I don't remember when or where) that men prefer women to be quiet and passive. To be beautiful - more attractive then themselves, and to be smart, of course, but not as smart as the man. Assertive, but not bitchy. Assertive, but not when the man is talking. The problem is that this is still a patriarchal society, and will remain so until men and women have equal divorce rights. So with all the changes in society, with all the new legal situation, the basis remains.

January 2, 2011

Sounds good - a new year. And I read todays paper and watched the news and it was all about analysis of Moshe Katsav, the new leader of the Mossad, minimum wage increase, etc. Then I get an email in Arabic about plans to fly a private plan to Gaza to break the blockade, and how this is part of a bigger plan, and I realized once again that our own news is getting more and more parochial, more and more narrow, and the whole country is becoming a bit of a bubble. We're tired of thinking over and over again of how threatened we are, and we're less and less interested in what the world has to say - about us and about everything else. We're tired.

We work too hard

January 3, 2011

Here's some stuff to watch until I get better.

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