Tel Aviv Diary January 4-8, 2007- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - January 4, 2007 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

January 4, 2007

We are investigating everything around here. Murder. Embezzlement on an enormous scale. Goverment corruption.

We go to a vet that examines the dog, asks me questions, examines some more, and uses deduction. Once my dog woke up totally crooked. She looked like the letter C. I went to the vet, he decided she had caught a cold. But it didn't go away, and the vet was on vacation so i went to another vet. He took some xrays, said he had to call in an orthopedist, but he was pretty sure it was a slipped disk. The specialist was called in and although the xrays weren't clear, confirmed the necessity for an operation. As someone who has been avoiding exactly that operation for years, I decided to try my original vet again. He had returned. We went to him. He examined her and said, it's a cold, and gave her some mild medication. If it works, he said, we will know. if not, we can consider an xray. She was cured.

What does this have to do with investigations of corruption? The facts about government corruption and embezzlement have been out in the open for years. We choose not to ask the obvious questions and state the obvious and logical answers. This is a small country - people see things. They hear things.

January 5,2006

What a great afternoon - sitting in Mul Yam, looking at the sea, with the rain falling all around us in varying patterns, drinking champagne. I thought most of the city would be staying home, but there was a sale in comme-il-faut and it looked to me like the stores in the port were open until sunset, so although we found parking, it wasn't terribly easy.

The food in Mul Yam by the way remains excellent, and we had a number of things to celebrate, so we kept eating and drinking all afternoon. And with sufficient champagne the bill doesn't seem so exaggerated.

In any event, a rainy afternoon on the inside of a window at the sea shore is a good way to break the midwinter monotony.

January 6, 2007

Everyone is raging about corruption - I am rejoicing that some of it is coming to the fore. I only wish we could get at some of the other places that can ruin lives and do little good. The Rabbinate, for instance. Take one rule, the cohen and the divorcee. As a divorcee I married a cohen 27 years ago - but i had to do it in Cyprus in city hall. Then, when we went to visit my parents, the local rabbi married us again. Even though I told him i was divorced and according to jewish law and all that, he told me he was hard of hearing and maybe i could try and talk to him louder after the ceremony. So we were married twice, and at great expense, but never had a wedding with our friends, or even our whole family. Then when we got back the reform rabbi in Israel, who sent us to Cyprus in the first place, sent over a couple who had been in our predicament and we helped them plan the expensive trip to Cyprus. We didn't hear from them for a while, but ran into them in the supermarket and asked how Cyprus was. That's when they laughed and said they just bribed someone in the rabbinate in Ramat Gan. So this is old and ignored - and yet determines people's lives.

Nevertheless, despite all this corruption, I still have a warmer feeling - even toward the government institutions - than I have toward other bureaucracies I've encountered in my life. There is a human quality about institutions - even income tax - that has always served me well. I have rarely failed to find clerks who find ways to help me out of whatever dilemma I find myself - without breaking laws, but just being human beings.

January 7, 2007

For the past three days, every time I went to take out a dog, the heavens opened up on me after a few steps and we got soaked. The dogs didn't mind, and I don't usually mind, but eventually the weather got to me. And now I seem to be a victim of the local epidemic. Brrrr.

So instead of working, I'm watching one of the many investigative programs on tv. It is not that everything is wrong in this country and we need to take everything apart, but that we have to make sure. There was a story going around that emergency rooms were reusing needles. I asked my relative who works there and he laughed at me, and a few other doctors who laughed at me as well, but now the expose is out - it's another urban legend. We seem driven by a need to find fault.

January 8, 2007

How long will it take me to come around to Barak? You can change behavior but not character, and as a human being he is seriously lacking. But has he changed his WAYs? Maybe. The fact remains: He got us into shit and he left. It will take a lot of evidence to convince me that an expedient patriot can be trusted.

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