Tel Aviv Diary July 6-10, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary July 6-10, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 6, 2008

Hard to believe but we at the university are still going, still studying, despite the incredible heat. The ancient airconditioners try as hard as they can, and there is no one sitting on the grass in the sun, and somehow the semester continues.

Someone asked me today what role in the government I would take if I had the chance - I said minister of justice. Off the top of my head. Why? It's so easy. The courts here are an incredible mess - backlog is incredible - and all you have to do is set up arbitration courts to clean up the calendars. And now it turns out they have now set up private arbitration courts, headed by Dahlia Rabin. There goes my dream. I think I'd still like to be a judge - I think i'd be better than our present Minister of Justice.

"Stop coughing," I tell Ezi, as he hacks away in the hemotology ward, "People will think you're sick." It is one of many numerous remarks I make that many people look at me askance. You have to have that weird sense of macabre humor that makes it funny. Not everyone has it, but i find it more common in Tel Aviv then anywhere else in the world.

July 7, 2008

Only after I did a radio program on Ezra Pound tonight did I realize how strange it is in this country that we examine his as a poet and marginalize his antisemitism. (It could be that the "we" here is a royal "we"). It may be that we are above that kind of subjectivity, and judge him as a poet, or it may be that we can't bear the thought of such an important poet being so hateful of us.

Since I began complaining about the state of the university a few days ago, lots of people have been sending good advice about what I can protest and counter the situation. Ways to raise money for scholarships and so forth. I promise that if the information is specific i will get on it, but I am only one very beleagered person and you might want to help too. One way is to write the members of parliament in protest. The refusal to return money taken away from the universities, the refusal to invest in the universities, to invest in the future of this society, is unpardonable and correctable. Here are some addresses: Kadima: Ehud Olmert: eul mert

רוחמה אברהם בלילא

יעקב אדרי

דליה איציק

זאב אלקין

אלי אפללו

זאב בוים

יצחק בן ישראל

מנחם בן ששון

רוני בראון

עמריה דותן

אבי דיכטר

צחי הנגבי

מג'לי והבה

יואל חסון

שי חרמש

דוד טל

ציפי לבני

שלמה מולא

שאול מופז

מיכאל נודלמן

מרינה סולודקין

גדעון עזרא

יוחנן פלסנר

חיים רמון

מאיר שטרית

עתניאל שנלר

רונית תירוש

מרצ - יחד:

חיים אורון

יוסי ביילין

זהבה גלאון

אבשלום וילן

רן כהן

גיל: רפי איתן

יעקב בן יזרי

יצחק גלנטי

יצחק זיו

חזית דמוקרטית לשלום ושוויון:

מחמד בראכה

דב חנין

חנא סוויד

עבודה: קולט אביטל

עמי איילון

פואד בן אליעזר

אבישי ברוורמן

יצחק הרצוג

מתן וילנאי

נאדיה חילו

שלי יחימוביץ

דני יתום

איתן כבל

ע'אלב מג'אדלה

מיכאל מלכיאור

יורם מרציאנו

אורית נוקד

אפרים סנה

אופיר פינס פז

עמיר פרץ

שלום שמחון

יולי תמיר


דוד אזולאי

אריאל אטיאס

חיים אמסלם

מזור בהיינה

יצחק וקנין

נסים זאב

אליהו ישי

אמנון כהן

יצחק כהן

אברהם מיכאלי

יעקב מרגי

משולם נהרי

יהדות התורה:

משה גפני

שמואל הלפרט

יעקב כהן

יעקב ליצמן

מאיר פרוש

אברהם רביץ

צדק לזקן:

אלחנן גלזר

שרה מרום שלו

משה שרוני


יולי אדלשטיין

מיכאל איתן

גלעד ארדן

משה כחלון

חיים כץ

ישראל כץ

לימור לבנת

בנימין נתניהו

גדעון סער

ראובן ריבלין

יובל שטייניץ

סילבן שלום

ישראל ביתנו:

יצחק אהרונוביץ

רוברט אילטוב

ישראל חסון

אסתרינה טרטמן

אביגדור ליברמן

סופה לנדבר

אלכס מילר

סטס מיסז'ניקוב

דוד רותם

יוסף שגל

ליה שמטוב


זבולון אורלב

אפי איתם

אריה אלדד

בנימין אלון

אורי יהודה אריאל

אליהו גבאי

צבי הנדל

יצחק לוי

ניסן סלומינסקי

ברית לאומית דמוקרטית:

ג'מאל זחאלקה

ואסל טאהא

סעיד נפאע


טאלב א-סאנע

עבאס זכור

אחמד טיבי

אברהים צרצור


"Oh, come on!" you are saying to yourself"Most people don't study English at the university. They study it in high school." But where do their teachers come from? And of course it is not only the communication and language skills I'm worried about that are becoming lost in this country.

July 8, 3008

And on a slightly different note, I had an enjoyable interval at the university complaining to my architect nephew about the building I'm in, a glass monstrosity for this country that attracts heat so much no air conditioner can cool it, and so the central air conditioning has been cancelled. Only the individual rooms can be cooled, so all the doors are always closed. As a result people never gather in the hall, or even pass through if they can help it. Furthermore, since the building was designed to be air-conditioned, no thought was given to ventilation. Built with a magnificent view of the sea, no access to sea air is provided, and there is no seating areas or classrooms that allow the sea view. The one place there is a seating area, a (hot and sticky) glass-enclosed cafeteria, the shrubbery hides the sea. Shall I go on? Perhaps some other day, but my point is that when foreign architects are employed (especially architects from cold countries) it would be wise if there were educated local partners with some knowledge of the environment in on the deal.

July 9, 2008

i'm cheating - it's past midnight and i haven't written and you guys are already writing me to see what's up. Well there's a lot of family around - both from abroad and from here, i've got a sick husband, and classes to teach.

And I do things i shouldn't, like go to Michel for a facial, visit bookstores - like the Tsomet Sfarim in Hertzlia, and have dinner at Pappa's. At Pappa's, for instance, I tried 4 of the pizzas for the first course, some frutti di mare main course, a little of the priest belt pastas, profiteroles, and chocolate cake. Did I really need that? Maybe not, but I wanted it all.

July 10, 2008

I finally got it right. With Rivka Bassman's help, I finally managed to spell out my yiddish poem Jewish Women. It was written as an addition to the song "Jewish Women" in English sung by Panic on their album, but I only realized the significance when I saw it on Youtube. The Yiddish version I did in Tmunah and Dirks version on TV. When I wasn't around to do a tv version they asked Dirk, who with his German accent, unwittingly transformed the poem into something antisemitic. In Yiddish it is a praise of the power of women, in German it seems a total degradation. See for yourselves: Yiddish Yiddish with German accent

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