Tel Aviv Diary July 28-Au,gust 1 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - July 28-August 1, 2020 Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 28-August 1, 2020

it's going to be a busy and frustrating day - not only dentist, exercise, cooking, cleaning, etc. but also what i call herding cats, trying to get the writers to be gracious to each other, and work together. Everyone goes off in a different direction...

i was wrong - we all love each other more than our own opinions. but every time i go on zoom i'm exhausted half way through.

And writers don't complain about corona, either. everyone else does. even my dentist, who always tried to be positive and cheery, even when she's digging in deep, and she's apologizing for causing me pain.

There's a song the demonstrators are passing around - about how the hoses won't stop them, and the corrupt government will have to fall. i was trying to upload it this evening but i'm not good enough at this. trust me - the video is really moving. the young, dedicated faces gave me hope. i don't mean they will pull down the government, but they are committed - and are not giving up.

July 29, 2020

Tisha B'Av - if the temple was destroyed because of "sinat chinam" - gratuitous hatred - that the times are repeating themselves.

July 30, 2020

Blood on the streets. demonstrations, counter-demonstrations, injuries everywhere. who is right? what does it matter? violence feeds on itself. yesterday i gave an interview on the radio and found myself - in the middle of a discussion about love - talking about how love between two people is influenced by the atmosphere in the society. i could see the surprise on the interviewer's face. He changed the subject quickly, and i was grateful for it. I'm sure that Shlomi Hatuka, the interviewer, will develop this subject some day, because he is so socially conscious, and i hope i too will be able to make the necessary connections -

Is there a way to ease the growing hatred here in this country? A video from Sara Netanyahu talks about the necessity of sympathy - well, she talked about stopping shaming. maybe she had a personal motive.

July 31, 2020

the demonstrators from the previous nights are beginning to tell their stories - and they are horrifying. the violence and hatred is constantly being fed from every direction. Including our borders.

Do you remember ten years ago i wrote about the wonderful wedding i conducted at my friend's garden on the Lebanese border. Remember how the ceremony kept getting interrupted by the call of the Lebanese Muezzin? This is about where the borders are being tested by the Hizballah lately .

We ventured out to buy some stuff today - well i did. How will we wake up from this nightmare - everyone is unemployed except the old people, all the stores are for rent, and only the shop for cooking supplies have customers.

August 1, 2020

this description of what it is like to demonstrate against the government in Israel Today helps to clarify the situation:


A Letter to the Media - by Dana Haas Zirkel .... 31/7/2020 On Saturday I was attacked along with other participants in the Black Flag protest. We were standing on Hayarden St. cnr.Aluf Sadeh when a man attacked us (he later told the judge he'd been insulted by a female demonstrator who'd climbed naked onto the Menorah statue in Jerusalem). I was shaken by the event. Immediately afterwards, I texted my family: "we've just been sprayed with some kind of tear gas. We were standing on the eastern side of the Yarden/Aluf Sadeh Bridge. I'm crying because it burns and itches but mainly because today, violence defeated me. I went home. And we're the ones they call anarchists."

I've thought a lot since then; how do I go back and demonstrate again. I've received plenty of support from my partners in protest, Black Flag organizers, my family and friends. I've thought about how exposed we are standing there at the intersection, on the bridge, Charles Clore Garden, or at Balfour, exposed to curses, exposed to violence. Exposed because when you demonstrate, everyone knows what you believe. There is no anonymity. And when you're exposed, you're vulnerable. And while this exposure might end with pepper spray in the eyes, or worse, it also constitutes our power. The power to face a corrupt regime that cultivates violence. Exposure in that people stand with pans and spoons, call out slogans, sweating under the setting July sun, and, as defenseless as they are, they stand up to corruption and say NO with strength and resolution.

I've thought about my parents who lost their closest friend, Emil, who marched to his death at a Peace Now demonstration, where protesters were demanding the adoption of the recommendations of the Kahan Commission that investigated the events at Sabra and Shatila. In his confession, Emil's murderer claimed he'd been incited by rightwing activists. Despite my parents' terrible loss, they didn't only continue to go to demonstrations, but taught me and my brothers how important it is to understand what is happening around us and take a stand; how important it is to express this stand and, finally, to stand proudly and responsibly behind our beliefs.

Last Saturday, demonstrators were attacked at various focal points around the country. The demonstrations at Balfour, Tel Aviv, and Caesarea are accompanied by groups who are extreme and violent and who curse and call for the killing of demonstrators. We cannot remain indifferent to the possibility that behind these attacks is an organized system that endangers human life; that puts democracy at risk; that puts our lives as a healthy society in danger.

Sadly, in the course of the past two decades, my views have become a minority in our country and, in despair, I even considered it preferable to emigrate. And yet, in recent years, here I am, going to demonstrations Saturday after Saturday on Rothschild Ave., Habima, and now at the corner of Hayarden and Aluf Sadeh in Ramat Gan. Despite the shock I experienced, I won't budge from that intersection. I will go back there, stand with pride, get over my fear of exposure, because, in a democratic country, citizens are no less responsible than the authorities. In a democracy, the citizen is the sovereign. His opinion and his ability to express it are what maintain democracy and we must guard this fiercely, even when we are afraid.

I invite you to come and stand with me and my friends at "our" intersection or any other intersection or bridge and take a stand. "For we are all one living human fabric."


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