Tel Aviv Diary February 16-20, 2009- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - February 16, 2009 Karen Alkalay-Gut

February 16, 2009

In these days of uncertainty, when we do not have a new government, and we are considering the terrible options of trading murderous terrorists for one kidnapped soldier, we thought to escape at the movies. But "The Reader" was no escape, It seemed to me a bit of self-justification on the part of Germans that ultimately reinforced stereotypes about German moral and intellectual limitations. The Israeli film, "The Lemon Tree" has something similar - an attempt to solve problems through the limitations of the society.

February 17, 2009

Had a sinus lift today - now I've got cow bone in my face and my mouth is swelling up like a helium balloon. So my inner self is feeling the same way the country does. To divert me from my pain, my kids have been talking about the death of the left. They have my twisted mind so I was not surprised when someone said, "So let's say we killed 1000 Hamas in this war. And now we'll release another thousand from prison - and this bunch has much more experience and time to plan things."

February 18, 2009

As I swell up more and more, and try harder and harder to take fewer and fewer painkillers, I have no news to report of sociological or political significance. The only events of note in my convalescence is the fact that the periodontist called this morning, and noting my confusion, asked "Do you remember me?" "Remember you? I'm doing my best to FORGET!" I said, in the greatest burst of energy I've demonstrated all day. He seemed just a bit crestfallen by that. On the other hand I managed to take care of the problem of Shusha's care today by having the groomer pick her up and return her at lunch time. He took one look at me and agreed to everything I asked with great alacrity.

Ah, yes, there is one detail that might interest you. Because I don't like music at a dental operation (it spoils the music forever by its association with drills) I asked Linda, who was my caregiver yesterday morning, to read Tsruria Shalev to me. She was just beginning the new book, and consented to read out loud to the dentist, his assistant, and me. Within minutes she found herself in the middle of a pretty erotic scene, but bravely kept on with the chapter until the operation was over. And instead of associating Shalev with excruciating dental procedures, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

February 19, 2009

How time flies when you're in pain. Oh, I don't mean my teeth - as long as I don't move my head and keep quiet I'm fine - I mean the weather (dust like you wouldn't believe). the government negotiations (Lieberman is in, Tsipi is out), and the rockets that keep falling on the south. I don't see any way out, except for my teeth, which are less painful today.

Here are some videos to make your skin crawl:



And an analysis here

The other day I saw a preview of "Adam ben Celev" or "Adam Resurrected" that is coming to Israel next week, and thought - how I loved Yoram Kaniuk in the past and how long has it been since I've seen him. Then yesterday there was an interview on TV with him, and I remember the last time we had a conversation. He said then, and in the interview, that he moved away from his leftist politics on the day that Arafat refused the very generous offer of Camp David. I know that isn't a new and brilliant remark, but it suddenly struck me again the way I felt at that very moment that I realized that peace talks here were not about compromise, but self annihilation. I still believe, though, that peace talks can be about compromise, and what is good for all of us - but you have to be careful about the people with whom you are discussing compromise.

And - by the way - Adam ben Kelev is really worth seeing and reading, if only to remember where things come from.

February 20, 2009

Because this is the first week the chapter of the week deals with laws, I thought i'd give you my version:


"Spit it out Moses," I tell him impatiently.
"Give me the whole word at once!"

"It isn't stuttering, you know,"
He says, suddenly clearly.
"Every letter could go, on its own,
Many different ways."

"I have to be so careful
Not to say something
That those Israelites
Will interpret
In some extreme direction.

"That's why I needed to get the laws
Etched out for me
In stone."

Now here's an important petition - for the government to subsidize rainwater barrels and make it obligatory in schools, municipalities and public buildings: sign here

אנו מזמינים אתכם לחתום על עצומה שתחייב את מדינת ישראל לסבסד את עלות התקנת מיכלי אגירה של מי גשם ותחייב מועצות מקומיות ועיריות להתקין מיכלי איסוף בבתי ספר, עיריות ובניינים ציבוריים.

I don't know why we haven't done this before.

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