Tel Aviv Diary July 3-7, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - July 3, 2020 Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 3, 2020

amazing how wonderful every little detail is outside - flowers especially. our whole house is full of flowering plants now and they are a great comfort, but outside they are wonders. Even outside my door it is amazing. i will not forget this period of my life and the appreciation i had for small things.

The loss of government control over the covid virus is less astounding to me day by day. sometimes i think of what would have happened if Hillary Clinton had been elected president. The US would have a health system and we wouldn't have had Bibi.

I fear we've messed up. we invited the kids to the beach for a surprise birthday party, before the big breakout. I bought 3 kinds of masks, and we checked out the place a few days ago to make sure it was 'safe'. But Ezi was so into it, he took off all the masks and sat close to all the kids. I'm worried.

we were 'safe' from strangers, but i don't trust my grandchildren anymore.

July 4, 2020

Hard to believe it is July 4. We did light some sparklers at the restaurant yesterday, but nothing more. in the old days i enjoyed going to the Ambassador's house and watching the fireworks from there (even though I hate hearing fireworks) but now i miss those parties. And the house is for sale - It's on a cliff looking out at the sea. Not a big house but gorgeous and terribly expensive. I even hosted an evening there for two guests from the US - Reed Whittemore and Chris Lehmann-Haupt. There was one thing about that evening I will never forget - when i got there, i saw it wasn't just a reception, but it was set up for a formal evening, with chairs and a stage so I asked the charge d'affaires, "Who's MCing this?" and she said, "You are." and I did.

And now i get all farklempt when I've got to join a zoom meeting.

a friend came to visit. we sat outside on a bench and people passed - most of them without masks. "What kind of fantasy are you living in?" she shouted. "Put on that mask you're wearing on your arm!" "Don't you see you're in danger?" She's right, but i still don't have the nerve to scream at people. not even Ezi.

I remember sending packages to Israel when i was small. in '73 my mother sent me packages - powdered eggs, tuna, etc. now there are many families here with nothing to eat - we have to start finding a way to help them - the government sure won't.

June 5, 2020

I dreamt about Zachi HaNegbi who announced on Friday that the fact that people were hungry was nonsense. that's how deep his announcement hit me. My anger at the disconnection between the government and the people woke me early. it also reminded me that there are two families in my building where the breadwinner is in one of those occupations that will take a long time to return - a pilot and a tour guide. one of them remains positive and friendly, but nervous, and the other has forgotten how to say hello. but both most be helped. and i don't know how.

Meanwhile, we too are disconnected from life. in our daily walks, the trees overhanging the fences promise us amazing fruits - olives, peaches, petango, pomegranates - there is a neglected richness we need to disseminate.

the other night we found a lamp on the street. it was a little crooked but we brought it home and Ezi straightened it out. that makes the fifth lamp we use that came from the street. this one gives a lovely gentle light when i do zoom, and the one we found before is a very modern table lamp (our second table lamp), and the one before that stands in our living room we've had for at least 20 years.

By this i mean to indicate that even we recycle stuff and if we can do more - much more of it.

And I think we can get more creative about our social distance. if restaurants have to be restricted to 50 people, they should be separated by plastic walls and divided into small spaces with a central kitchen that is carefully watched. the diners can't wear masks or stay 2 meters away from each other, but they can be kept in smaller groups, and the kitchen carefully guarded.

But who's listening around here? If Tsachi hanegbi can say that there are no hungry people in Israel, and that most have received support from the government, it should be clear that he (and his fellow ministers) are wearing their masks on their ears.

i wrote that and then i thought - who am i accusing? I don't know everything that's happening around me either. Maybe my unemployed neighbors are hungry too. It's so easy to forget what's going on behind a wall.

July 6, 2020

Boy, are we slow! Not only the individuals on the street I've been complaining about, but also the government. More so. We're getting 1000 people a day infected and we are only now trying to figure out where people catch it (from friends and family I'll bet - we'll see). If I had a theater i would have closed it on Thursday and went to the hospital and ask to be put to sleep for a few weeks. If i allowed myself to read my journal I would check to see if I complained enough last month when others rejoiced that the corona had passed.

Ezi and a neighbor are going down to our shelter in the morning to fix it up. Our neighbor thinks we will be needing it soon. No one else has said anything about this so I don't know quite where this thought comes from but I tend to trust the gut feelings of old men.

July 7, 2020

It seems this thought came from the fact that the entire building is in need of basic repairs and we don't have the money to do it because of our unemployed neighbors.

i'm not good for discussion today. i just wanted to let you know that the guys don't think a war is near.

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