Tel Aviv Diary January 15, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - January 15, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

January 15, 2008

So we're really beginning to see the results of the arms smuggling into Gaza. The rockets hitting Ashkelon are not made at home, not local, but imported.

I think there is somewhere a voodoo doll that was holding a computer on its lap, and last week they stuck the computer with a pin. This evening, as i finished reconstructing an article that had been lost, and was sending to the journal that was waiting for it, thinking that now i will make a back-up, the computer began to smell, and then smoke. So once again, please realize that if i leave you alone in a restaurant, having forgotten the appointment, or having written you to cancel but not succeeding, it is the fault of the pin-sticker.

So Ezi and I are sitting in Nona's, having finished a thousand medical tests in a row, and in need of the sun and warmth of familiarity, and there is a bald Russian next to us with a pretty woman. It is nothing out of the ordinary, and other people seem to join in for a moment, and then leave. But then two paparazzí come by on motorcycles, take their photographs and move on. They must be famous, we tell each other. How can it be we don't know who they are? This is Tel Aviv.

January 16, 2008

So the rockets are pounding the people of Sderot and we're trying to pound the terrorists of Gaza. The stories all around are gruesome.

And the faculty strike is not much fun either. We're becoming violent all around. I have a strong sense that there are too many morons involved and can't stop thinking of Mose Allison's "Stop this world/ I want to get off/ Too many pigs in the same trough/Too many buzzards/sitting on the fence./Stop this world/it's not making sense."

Here;s another point: the minister of finance yesterday said something about not giving in to the demands of a popular of only 4500 people. I hope that statement is making us more determined in the faculty strike. The old French saying that is now being bandied about,"L'Etat n'a pas besoin de savants," the state has no need of wisepeople, seems so true. And the savants are such molquetoasts! I keep remembering my mother-in-law's battle call: "We won't let them shit on their heads: We'll open our mouths!" I(t sounds better in Hebrew.)The students however, are not going to lets us give up - they're doing our work for us.

My backup may be coming back by tomorrow. At the moment I have no past, no chip background. I write to the moment.

January 17, 2008

From Haaretz headlines just now"- Finance Min.: I`d meet with all parties for chance to end lecturers strike (Israel Radio) 90 days of a strike - untold damage to students, to faculty, to all of us, and innumerable insults and infantile remarks, and now he's willing to meet with ''anyone'. In Hebrew the translation for "duh" is "good morning."

I didn't hear the radio interview because i was meeting with students at the time - trying to hear their complaints and ameliorate the situation. But of all the political situations I have been involved in (and that includes anti-vietnam demonstrations, sncc busrides and local peace demonstrations) I've never felt before the extent of having no-one to talk to as i do with this government.

And it will never happen again, this strike. If the average age of the senior faculty is 56, and retiring people are not replaced, then whatever we don't achieve right now for the benefit of higher education will never again be defended.

January 18, 2008

The strike is over. It is hard to believe, and I'm still waiting to hear the down side of it.

The real hero of the strike - not because he did something to stop it, but because he proved his humanity, is the president of Tel Aviv University, Zvi Galil. His refusal to employ court orders or to lock the campus demonstrated to all of us that Tel Aviv is truly a superior institution, despite the poor leadership in the past. I'm sure that in the struggle of the junior faculty he will be a great inspiration.

Rockets continue to fall on Sderot, and we continue to aim at the militants and hit citizens. As much as I feel for the people of Sderot, and the absolute helplessness of being targets, i feel as well for the people of Gaza, who as citizens should not have to suffer for the militants in their in midsts.

January 19, 2008

The Museum of the Land of Israel has an exhibit about a photographer Ezi knew as a child, and has always had many stories to tell about him. So we went today to see Maxim Solomon's photographs. Great pictures - Rabin carrying a dufflebag, Shoshana Damari visits a giraffe, a beggar pleading for small change under a poster of Ben Gurion and his dream. Ezi even bought a book of the exhibit. But there were other exhibits just as fascinating. "Men's Jewelry," which treat the way weapons are accessories - not only to fashion, but to male identity. Suddenly I remembered how a few years ago I was going into a mall with a friend, and they asked him at the entrance if he had a weapon. He nodded to me and said, "She's the only weapon I've got with me." The guard looked at him understandingly and we walked in.

Have you seen the new coin - the two shekel piece? The newspaper says it's being called the "shnekel" (for "shnai-shekel" two-shekel) but Jerry said he was told it is called "the dollar"because that's what it's going to be worth soon.

And with that I think I'm going on hiatus for a while. My computer problems are too overwhelming to ignore, and I think i'll spend a bit of time putting things together again. Of course I may be proved wrong or i may not be able to stay away.

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