Tel Aviv Diary January 1-5, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - January 1,-5 2020- Karen Alkalay-Gut

January 1,2020

You's think I'd have something new to tell you this year. But it's the same old same old. Bibi asked for immunity. He says it's what the people want and therefore in line with democracy. Yes, last year when he was asked he said he'd never ask for immunity, but now it seems to him to be imperative to the country. Tell me something i didn't know he'd do. Tell me something unexpected. Tell me he's going to do something selfless for once.

Hmmm something new. I'm reading poetry at 10 tomorrow at the university. then i want to go to drink in a museum - maybe the design museum. for some reason I have a strong hankering for the Tate. for civilization when it seemed relatively stable,

January 2, 2019

After my guests left last night I raced to the media to see if Bibi had asked for immunity just before the deadline. He had. Ganz responded immediately with an attack on Bibi. "He won't convince anyone," Ron said. We were sitting in Serafina and I could hear the conversation of the people behind me which was exactly the same. "Followers of Bibi won't change their minds," they were saying to each other. And I could think only of T. Carmi's poem: "It is hard/for two conch shells/ to have a conversation./ Each one hears only/his own sea." it's a translation from memory so i'm not sure of its accuracy. Then i suddenly another literary reference came to my mind, and I said, "Ganz won't win votes from the other side by criticizing Bibi directly. He's got to be like Marc Antony, in his elegy of Julius Caesar. He's talking to all these guys who are on the side of Brutus, one of the murderers of Caesar, and starts out by praising him, but gradually, by pointing out the facts, turns the crowd against Brutus. You must have read at some point in high school, and have forgotten it, but think of it again now:

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men–
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

So like thie repetition of

Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.

I'd say, Bibi says it is the will of the people that he continue, and Bibi is an honorable man. Bibi said before the primaries he wouldn't seek immunity, and Bibi is an honorable man... etc etc. etc. I think that there is a chance this technique might convince a few of the people who follow Bibi to look at the facts.

What have I been doing? too much. cooking for family, cooking for friends, teaching, studying, and ... living.

January 4, 2019

The surprising storm today tested even the limited of the multiple new sewers on our street, and we soon discovered that parts of the city are not as likely to survive the flood. At least two people were trapped in a basement elevator and drowned. Cars floating in the stream. We were not out today, recovering as we are for the second week in a row of 14-18 dinner guests, but the dinner conversation would have given me enough material for a week of discussion in these pages.

Take, for example, the argument made that the 'liberals' fail in part because they concentrate on lesser issues. Trans bathrooms for example. This point was vehemently countered by the argument that this issue is representative of the entire picture, that the government (US) is trying to take away our rights. Now I was remained silent as always - but i was thinking that 1. Tel Aviv public bathrooms are such a non-issue, because one can never figure out what the signs say, and rarely feel obligated to follow any rules. the sign 'men' is just a suggestion, and i have been there more than once. 2. the question of 'rights' is a bit problematic. I mean the declaration of independence entitles us to 'life liberty and the pursuit of happiness' with no guarantees at all that we can achieve that goal.

January 5, 2020

This year is not starting off right. With three people dead so far, all this rain is not working well for us. Such a dry autumn, the ground has become parched and solid and cannot welcome so much water, so it doesn't sink into the ground but flows onto the streets carrying the fertile topsoil, into the sewers, blocking them. it is a destructive rain.

Like the assassination of Quassem Soleimani. He was a serious enemy and to the west deserved his end, but it comes at a time where it can wreak only destruction.

what can i say - we all deserve better. we deserve to respect the sanctity of human life, and to have our own lives respected.

write me

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