Tel Aviv Diary - February 28-March 4, 2011 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

February 28, 2011

The Bialik-Rogosin school in Yaffo is the subject of a film "Strangers No More." Today the film won the Oscar for best short film. A student of mine teaches there and I always believed it was too good to be true. But it is true - the children come from 48 different countries - from Darfur, Ethiopia, Philipines - escapees, refugees, and they are welcomed and tutored by my friends, but threatened by the government with expulsions. After all, many of them are 'illegal.' It's interesting to remember that "The New Colossus," the poem that shaped the image of a welcoming America, was written by one woman, but served to problematize the policies of numerous presidents.

Netiva Ben Yehuda the coolest woman in Israel, died today, at the age of 82. Her dictionary of slang will remain for me the most important Hebrew books I own. Together with Dahn Ben Amotz she cut through the crap.

March 1, 2011

How could I write about the news when "Beauty and the Geek" was on tv? I was having a reaction to a medication so I couldn't go out, or even read, but given the choice between something intelligent and a junk reality show - i chose the junk. It was shmaltzy and fake, but fulfills the hunger of Israelis for mutual development in the Middle East. If a gorgeous dumb girl can get close to a brilliant creepy geek, and learn something from him, then maybe we can overcome our differences.

March 3, 2011

Vanessa Paradis cancelled on us two months ago, after threats. And now Yael Naim - my friend's daughter, an Israeli singer - won the singer of the year award. I wanted to write this yesterday morning when the announcement came out, but I was too busy congratulating her. And last night I fell asleep.

I have to make an announcement - I'm returning the money I got for performing for Khaddafi.

If the whole business of the West cooperating with Khaddafi because he renounced his quest for nuclear weapons didn't sound ridiculous way back then, you might have been surprised by his behavior now. But he went off very early in his career, and the way the world conveniently forgot the Lockerbie incident and the other state sponsored terrorism...well the world deserves no less. Unfortunately it's all those people in Libya who are paying.

All this helps me ignore momentarily the mess we ourselves are in.

As does John Galliano. I read the Tribune everyday, which is mostly about fashion and sexy international news, so Galliano is really wonderful - both fashion AND spicey antisemitism.

March 4, 2011

There is sometimes nothing better than watching 'what a wonderful land' on friday night TV after a long day of babysitting. It's a parody of the news that's been going on for years but was off for a while. And we are rarely home and/or awake on Friday nights. So watching the head of Parliament here shmoozing with with a bunch of comics dressed as regular guys was the perfect ending for the crazy week. I don't have to tell you that. You know it has been a crazy week, and you and I are not the only ones who are fearing and praying that 'somehow good will be the final goal of ill'. As much as we tried to make the world a little better for the next generation, it doesn't look like we succeeded in any way.

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