Tel Aviv Diary -January 2-6, 2014 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - January 2-6, 2014 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

January 2, 2014

Today and tomorrow are dedicated to small businesses. We are told to frequent our neighborhood shops - what a joke. I have been in the bank when small business owners argue and plead for their lives and don't get the 50,000 shekel extension they need to remain in existence. I have witnessed the municipality harass a local pub and eventually close it down while all the other businesses around them were left alone, for reasons which appeared to be connected to a form of Protection. At the same the large chains wield enormous power in every aspect of retail. Small businesses here have little or no encouragement except a television campaign that can have very little effect if any. Most of us barely know the names of the small businesses in our neighborhood. And yet, our local grocer, Barake, has won my trust and respect. I do my big shopping on line, but make sure to purchase some things at least twice a week. And whenever I'm there there is always someone else who stops by for some conversation as well as the little things one always needs.

January 3, 2014

I can't get no satisfaction - spent an hour at the idigital store - found them as stymied as I am - and turned my downcast nose homeward again. Am now looking for a local kid who's a mac teacher.

As a member of the control committee for the Daniel Amichai Rowing Center,as well as a person interested in language, I have been troubled by the fact that there are now specific words in Hebrew for water nativation - no specific word for rowing, in fact. The Hebrew Academy is trying, but so far with little success. Perhaps you have some ideas? Haaretz can tell you more about this.

Another chapter of "Here Lies" is also in Haaretz today. This one is about Whitman.

January 4, 2014

Fiddling away while the whole mideast burns. Lebanon seems close to civil war, Syria continues its massacre, Iran importing mass weaponry - most of it for Hizballah... and we eat chulent and gossip. Barbara whispers to me she is beginning to understand why Nero fiddled - what else was there to do at that point. We stop for a moment and then go back to gossiping.

January 5, 2014

Almost missed today.

When we were in Eilat I couldn't help but notice that there were many refugees from Erithrea and Sudan working in the hotels. Today's strike of the illegal workers in their attempt to be accepted as political asylum seekers almost crippled the hotels. Thousands of workers in Eilat alone.

And the strike almost crippled Tel Aviv - the traffic was horrendous as many thousands joined the protest.

It seems kind of clear to me that instead of harassing these people we should find out which are asylum seekers and which are just job seekers, which can be trained and employed in agriculture, which can be trained and employed in other ways, and which have to be sent away. So far, we just set them in Tel Aviv or in these camps where they can do no good to anyone or for themselves. A little sense, a little humanity, a little attention - that's it. what was it the prophet Amos said, "Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?" (chap 9,7 - I like the sound of the King James)

January 6, 2014

Any chance for a peace treaty? By exchanging land? You go to sleep a citizen of Israel and wake up a citizen of Palestine? Don't think so.

But back to the refugees. Who is a refugee? Who is just a border jumper? Why haven't we been able to figure out who is who?

And in case I haven't mentioned it - or mentioned it enough - the homeless jobless people wandering around Tel Aviv are almost as dangerous as the electric bicycles that almost run me down every time i step outside in the city. I was alone at 11 p.m. last night in the middle of Tel Aviv and the only thing i was worried about is that the bikes don't even have lights half the time. They suddenly zip past you.

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