July 27

A friend tells me I should not express such sympathy for Palestinian victims. If I want to feel grief, I should feel grief for Israeli victims. One does not preclude the other. Like everyone I know in Israel I am repeatedly devastated by the senseless attacks on Israeli citizens. But my heart goes out to those Palestinians who are injured and killed in innocence as well. I guess I don't make solid divisions between Palestinian and Israeli, but I do make clear distinctions between those who beliefe the other side should be killed and those who believe the other side should be cooperated with.

On another subject - perhaps - the high court ruled yesterday that all signs should be in Arabic as well as Hebrew - in cities where fewer Arabs live, like Tel Aviv, as well as places where more Arab citizens concentrate.

This little ruling is pretty amazing in its implications for co-existence. Maybe we'll even go back to learning Arabic in schools like in the old days.

Yehudith writes:"your TAD is like a pornographic documentary. a lot of truth using a very particular camera lens to document very particular body parts in motion." Then she added "please excuse the vulgarity. i hope this is not offensive."

But that's exactly the point. The close-up. I would only add one note. Its not the plastic porno of today - its like the porno of the sixties, where you see the black and blue marks, the pimples, the fat.

And other clarification: it's porno because it's private. But the private is not vulgar. What's obscene is the public, the world outside of the diary where people hate and kill without any moral frame of reference. I may be very wrong, but I think we are in dire need of a greater frame of moral reference.

We live just like they do in the porno movies where one girl goes to the beach and meets five men who all attract her and none of them have any backgrounds or committments...

I have a porm about porno on my website and how it erases all ethical perspectives. Now I see it is a political poem

Here's another more direct poem, written in 2000 and forgotten until i got onto this train of thought:



Here on this side are all the people

who want to live together, Arab and Jew.

And on that side are all those

who do not, who throw rocks

or whatever venom they can

at whomever is on the other side.

People say this fight is about land

or old scores or ideals or sepulchers.

I say we’ve got the groups disordered—

Right now it is between those who can see

the other side

and want a chance

to grow in peace

and those who believe

theirs is the only side there is

and want the other


A friend just asked me sarcastically if i am aware of the murder of 4 people on the Hebron Road last night - Yes - I may not talk about the news every day but I am Israeli - I listen almost every hour - and have been listening every hour for the past 30 years. The first element of Israeli society is the interconnectedness - the constant knowledge that what happens to others affects my own life directly. The death of an individual in Israel is a national tragedy.

June 29

The funerals are today - usually the picture of the victim is flashed on the t.v. screen with the funeral announcement. Almost always the pictures seem to be cut from snapshots - capturing a person in the middle of an activity, busy with his life and full of everything but the thought that they will be stopped suddenly by a bullet or a bomb or a knife. There are few staged portraits - graduation or license or something like that. These people seem stopped mid-motion.

And now I get a letter from a woman I don't know who tells me my political opinions are like the weather in Seattle - if you don't like it, wait a few minutes and it will change. A minor point - my sympathies focus on individuals as the need arises, but my political opinions, about the need for fairness for all, including ourselves, remains.

June 30

The Israel Philharmonic had to cancel its U.S. tour because no company would insure them yesterday. There was a similar crisis with Maccabi Haifa in Cyprus yesterday as well. I myself worry about appearing in public abroad as an Israeli. Maybe the interruption will be minor, like last month in London when Ahinoam Nini's concert was stopped when Palestinians got on the stage to declare their cause. Maybe there will be something more dangerous. In any case Terror has seriously affected the nature and presentation of culture in this part of the world. I know this is much less terrifying that last night's infiltration of the houses in the settlement of Etamar last night where two people where injured, but it is far more universal, less specifically politically motivated, and more dangerous.

July 31

One of the reasons I made this journal public was that I wanted to make sure that people get human faces - Not only that I would use my self as a 'human interest' personal example of the Israeli who makes decisions that are often painful and not without great conflict and deliberation. I also thought that I would try to give the victims and the victimizers on both sides human faces, that I would present as best I could the personal experiences and deliberations of both Jew and Arab. But the recent wave of terrorism - 'successful' and 'failed' - has left me beyond words. Even with all the desire on my part to preserve humanity and individuality of these people, they are all beginning to blend together. There are so many!!! So many terrorists, so many victims, so many incidents of Arab houses blown up, of Jewish settlers angry and violent.

This blurring, this blending, this loss of sensitivity, of humanity, is the most frightening mental experience I've known since the beginning of these 'troubles' - If it is not a temporary aberration, it is a terrible damage. Even if it is 'protective,' a coping mechanism, it is not right.

Perhaps the background for this is the economic reforms - reforms that seem to target the helpless, the indigent, the down-trodden. "Give me an alternative!" the Finance Minister, Silvan Shalom, calls out on tv, "and I'll do it." And I have none.

One of the few individuals that stand out this day is Seff Wertheimer, the industrialist visionary who created the industrial park, Teffen, in the north. His idea of a kind of "Marshall Plan" for the non-oil-producing countries in the Middle East - Jordan, Turkey and Israel - seems one of the few plans I've heard that is on the right track. To invest in creating businesses, industries, independence, and dignity - that makes emotional as well as practical sense.

2:30 p.m.

I don't know who was killed just now - many students fron abroad - 6 killed and 70 injured - at the Hebrew University - Jerusalem. The whole country knows already because we have become used to keeping an ear to the radio, or leaving the tv on without sound. I'm going to see about donating blood.