Tel Aviv Diary - July 25-29, 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary -July 25-9, 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 25, 2019

I was all set to be angry with the new party because Stav Shafir deserted the Labor party to join it, but after i heard the speeches, the determination, the honesty, i may well switch over. Yesterday I watched Robert Mueller squirm before the aggressive Republican congressmen, and watched Boris Johnson seem to play with Britain the way a child plays with a toy, with intensity and short patience, and it seemed to me the world was lost. but somehow Barak and Horowitz and Shafir roused me. i still worry about trusting someone who weeks after an aggressive and successful campaign to win in one party, shifts to another one with great joy and no expression of regret, but it is absolutely imperative that Netanyahu's negative influence be neutralized. it's less his politics than his lack of morality that bothers me.

This isn't the place to be talking about Robert Mueller's strangely rattled appearance before congress, but i was feeling so bad for him all day and no one was interested in discussing it so i have to let it out somehow. they say he asked to repeat the questions 30 times - i heard those questions - they were coming at him so fast I couldn't believe he wouldn't be rattled. the questioners were quoting from the exceedingly long report and them asking him about it - as if he could remember every line by heart. and then they were asking him questions he probably didn't dare answer - i think because they would have made him vulnerable to libel charges. and now they're saying he failed to wow anyone and called the whole report into question. i don't think that is at all true. maybe i'm biased and don't understand but he behaved to me like a very responsible person who was being attacked for being responsible. and i think we really need to educate voters about how to judge their politicians. i may be the only one, but i identified with Mueller's stutterings and equivocations. it took a very brave man to be there yesterday and i want to shake his hand - even if it's a hand he'll never see.

July 26, 2019

this is our anniversary. forget it.

July 27, 2019

and the celebration continues. i don't know what has made us so cut off from reality - but it is pretty nice to live a normal life and not expect something to blow up at any minute. too bad it was just a weekend when we could do this. from tomorrow we're back in the world, listening to the news every hour, waze in the car, and the internet whenever it seems too quiet.

July 28, 2019

The moment the accusation of a gang rape by Israeli minors on a British tourist came out, our conversation keeps returning to the subject of morality. what creates a society that perceives this behavior as the goal of a vacation. This is true of the British as well as the Israeli societies. Now that the whole story has been reversed and the boys have been jailed and the girl is being held for questioning, the situation has not really altered. what makes this situation desirable?

And the time that people seemed to have different goals struck when i opened the paper to the page The Experiment that invited Israeli Arabs to live the Zionist Dream". what amazing goals they had. that ideological unity spoiled only by the fact that both people had rights to the same land.

July 29, 2019

I don't know why it has taken me so long to understand the situation. Where is our moral conscience? Television. Even though i complain about competitions on television, and programs that encourage scheming, cheating, hurting the other in any way possible (like Survivor), I have been coming to realize that the only social criticism we get is from television. Two examples: I mentioned Avri Gilad's program last week called "What would you do?" that sets up situations which demand intervention from passersby - a bride clearly being abused in the bridal shop by her soon to be husband, children sleeping on a bench in a busy square in late evening, and so on. The program encourages social intervention - it's our business what goes on around us. This is the way I first encountered Israeli society - and i always remember my favorite joke on this occasion: Why don't people have sex on the street in Tel Aviv? Because people would be standing around giving advice." We don't do this enough lately, and the TV reminds us. Second example: Tonight on the news there was a feature about date rape stuff being slipped into kids drinks at bar mitzvah parties. the magen david (Israeli red cross) gave examples of kids having lost consciousness after drinking water, and a warning was issued to educate children not to drink anything that wasn't supervised from bottle to throat. There has been a great deal of discussion on the news about the kids who were absolved of rape charges in Cyprus and their moral obligation to behave with respect to others. Even though they didn't rape the girl, they shouldn't have been watching and filming an orgy. But i think i've mentioned this. Another example is a program called "All included," which focusses on defrauding consumers, particularly seniors. it is just now that i realize how much the moral compass her is examined all the time by news and other shows - and how it is replacing the intimate social framework that characterizes small communities - like kibbutzim.


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