July 14

Talk about displaced people. Here are some. The first is my father's family and friends. There are 5 of the 6 brothers and sisters here. Only one of them didn't survive the war. But I know they were never together again. And never in that house.

The second picture is of my mother's parents and some of her brothers and sisters. She, the serious faced girl with a little sister above her, is the only one in the room who didn't die or wasn't killed in May of '42 or in the partisans. My brother and I are the only survivors of the Kaganovich family. We have never been back to Lida where they all lived for generations and generations.

Looking at these pictures makes me think of the responsibility of survivors -- to those who were killed randomly and because of their race.

In this posting of ancient photographs, by the way, I’m fitting into the fashion of Israel. Many people around here are escaping into nostalgia – the favorite website right now is www.hevre.co.il where you can look up high school friends, scouts, college, grammar school, etc. You go into the past when things made more sense, were much simpler, and you tie up the loose ends – the old girlfriend, the old score…

Helps you keep from thinking how many suicide bombers got stopped on their way to you today, or how many people in Gaza can’t get their cavities filled because the dentists have run out of the materials, or how many people in Hebron are worried about getting to dialysis… It helps a little, but every time I take my blood pressure medication in the morning I think of some woman in Ramallah who isn’t getting hers – and how it would be to go without.

You see that expression on my mother’s face? She’s probably around 12 but she’s already gone through hell. She used to tell me about her older sister, Shifra, who had consumption. I think she’s the sick looking one in the picture. It was during World War I, and they would be stuck home for days each time they were invaded. Then they would send my mother out for medicine for Shifra. She remembers having to step over bodies in the street on the way to the pharmacy, and being reprimanded by the pharmacist for risking her own life for someone who probably couldn’t even be saved by the medication. Shifra died soon after.

July 15

A strange world, Jerusalem. Every time I go I am surprised by its strangeness. When I was first there in 1965 I was crazy about the city – I loved the Givat Ram campus of Hebrew University, the rolling hills, the unpretentious sanctity of every view, every stone.

Now I find it ugly, purposely unaesthetic, closed in and closed-minded. My political views probably warp my logic, my eye.

Still, today, when I went to the Renaissance Hotel to read poetry, Ezi noted how uninviting and closed the entrance seemed. Large, impressive, uninviting. The Har Hatzofim campus strikes me the same way—the architecture of the conqueror.

And yet the people remain wonderful – the religious women who look to the world like they exist in a previous era have hearts that open up into the coming century. The cold-eyed Arab managers at the hotel warm to human contact with little urging, even though it goes against the efficiency demanded of them in the job. If we’re ever going to make it through this it will be because human hearts reach beyond injustices and fear


The poet speaks.

All right, I’m a total romantic. But I do love people – as individuals. In groups sometimes they’re really dangerous.

On a more ‘practical’ note, I’ve been wondering about economic theories that use unemployment as a ‘resource.’ I know I don’t know about economics past Thorsten Veblen, but there has to be a way to use the enormous human resources of this land. There has to be a way to channel people into building their future.

July 16

7 lives lost on the way to Emmanuel today. One of them was very pregnant, and the others were mostly kids and mothers.

It had to happen sooner or later. We've been stopping them right and left but someone was bound to get through.

An amazing cycle. We put pressure on them because they are killing us. This makes them hate us more. They kill more. We put more pressure....

And no one is big enough to stop it.

Funerals tomorrow so no peace talks.

July 17

And now there are 8. The baby born yesterday in a c section didn't make it. Her mother is still fighting for her life. Most of the victims were mothers. The same group who blew up a bus on December 11 killing mostly women is responsible. So the theory of escalated motivation because of the present occupation is blurred.

Since most of the Israelis killed in this intifada are civilians, it isn't surprising that there are so many women. ICT researchers found that the proportion of women in the Israeli death toll is about 30 percent, while Palestinian fatalities are overwhelmingly 95 percent male. So even though we're the invaders, it's still much safer to be a palestinian woman than an israeli woman

The statistics are on the full ITC report which is online at: http://www.ict.org.il/researchreport/researchreport.htm

There are a lot of interesting clarifications about statistics here.

We're observing Tisha B'Av today - the day of mourning for the destruction of the Temple. Just what we need to keep our spirits up.

We're okay - the 2 suicide bombers blew up a bunch of foreign workers - the gentle and peaceloving people who come here to better their economic situation for a few years. Many of them are illegally here and fear going to a hospital on the chance they'll be discovered and sent away.

The neighborhood is one of foreign workers, so the street was crowded. Any where else in Tel Aviv was pretty empty - Tisha B'Av is a serious observance here. The Temple on Temple Mount - where even Jesus prayed - was destroyed by the Romans in the first century of the common era, and we still observe that date by fasting and sitting on the floor as we do for any mourning.

Of course, in protest of the religious strangehold on this society, some people do not observe this date and there were some cafes - including Nona - which were not only open but crowded.

Got to go and glue myself back to the television now. I am hoping that when Angelica comes tomorrow, she will report no bad news.

All right - you got me - i don't sit on the floor and fast. actually i fed people all day and talked politics. the 'we' was the spiritual 'we' - shows you i still identify myself as a jew even if i don't follow any of it.

but what about the politics - i went with Liz for her bone density test and she told me how she got people mad at her by saying in the NY TImes that she left Israel because there was no one to talk to - that all her friends had gone to the right. is this correct? i don't know. I know it is hard to talk with both Jews and Arabs nowadays. But not because they are all fanatics - because they are scared and angry - and everyone has a right to be angry. the thing to do is change the atmosphere - the reasons for the anger, the anger itself and the results of anger.

Oren and I figured out that if Arafat had signed the peace agreement almost 2 years ago there would have been over $5000 per citizen in this area brought in from the US. Certainly there would have been investments, and quite possibly the atmosphere in the world would have made the attack on the WTC impossible. I think we have to go back to that moment and figure out how to make it work out.

In the mean time, I've been discussing the idea of the wall, re-evaluating it, looking it again from th sides of the right and the left. And yes. I think we need it - good fences make good neighbors - but we need to also do a lot of other things - talk - analyze - nurture.