Tel Aviv Diary March 3, 2004 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from March, 2004 Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 3, 2004

Today we are told a terrible danger was averted last night - but there is a gag order on the details. The feeling last night of being in a virtual situation continues.

Last night we wandered around the shopping center with only the heightened security telling us that something was wrong.

So Tennenbaum's son-in-law is a friend of Sharon, and Tennenbaum's mistress says he's a liar, and the dirt about our government that is coming out of this situation is worse than the (no small amount) of dirt abou Tennenbaum himself.

Were it only Tennenbaum himself - a pathological liar and apparently a sociopath - the problem could be seen as contained. We would confine our reactions to a laugh in the grocery store over our neighborhood of Sodom and Gomorrah (as we did in the weeks following his capture).

But there is Sharon's connection - Sharon who claims he knew nothing about Tennenbaum's background.

No wonder people like Ben Caspit are calling for Sharon's resignation - today.

But Sharon probably wasn't involved personally in the whole shtik. That is worse.

I went back to the Ramat Aviv Kanyon this morning - it is as if there had never been any 'warning'. Crowded - big sale at Super Pharm in cosmetics.

And while we're Dolce & Gabbanning, we're also lining a few Hammas guys up on our sites - the wonderful folks who prepared the woman who blew herself up in the Erez junction, making life more difficult for those who want to go to Israel to work, and two other guys connected with suicide bombers.

It's pretty hair-raising, this business of targetted killings. And yet, and yet, how many killings were they responsible for? And how much of our lives has been altered by their actions?

There is a similarity between this and the decision of the high courts today to allow the playboy channel to continue. The rationale is that of freedom - they should be allowed to show what they want and i don't have to watch if i don't want to.

My only problem with that is that I get the immediate results of other people watching porno - the fact that some kid learns from Playboy that rape is fun for women and decides to try it for example.

March 4, 2004

With all the awful news today, including the terrorist warnings and the closing of the borders for Purim, one item brought a bit of a smile to my lips - the discovery that Sara Netanyahu was employing an illegal worker and keeping her passport. Since it was her husband Bibi who began a campaign against the employers of foreign workers and smirkingly warned the women of my neighborhood that they would have do without their Philipinas now, my sense of revenge is awakened. After all, my beloved Angelica, who worked for me once a week, left the country with her family after 10 years in great fear of prison. (I hope she has been happy in Spain, where she is also illegal.)

Now the hypocrisy of our leaders is well known, and we have an increasingly high tolerance for it, so nothing will probably come of this - but it is nevertheless pleasurable to see it exposed.

We're not going to a Purim party - at least I don't think so. Even though I love to dress Ezi up.

In the past year Purim scares me. Ever since I read the Megilla and realized that not only was Haman hung but all his 10 sons. The threat of the extinction of the Jewish people was always what was emphasized, and when I was a pupil in Folk Shule it was my great joy to play Haman in the Purim Shpiel and twirl my moustaches like a genuine movie villain.

I must have known then about his sons and rejoiced in that. But as an old lady in the Intifada I realized that we wiped out his seed the way he wanted to wipe us out. And I started brooding over that fact. That kind of blanket killing - we know it only too well today. Makes me shudder every time. Whether the killing is necessary or not, it's impossible to rejoice over it.

But, maybe I'll called Rachel and see if there is still room for us at her Tango Party.

Reviews of "Thin Lips" are coming in. I'm putting them up on the site here. The book in Hebrew, Taavot Shuliot, hasn't been sent out, I think. You have to ask at the shops for it.

March 5, 2004

After the periodontist, I stopped at Canyon 7 Cochavim to alleviate my anxieties. This is not a relaxing experience even on the best of days - but a friday morning, erev purim, when the country is on superalert? but the place was crowded - and i noticed for the first time that there were many young men in costume (plainclothesmen?) gold lame harem pants, turned up pointy shoes, turbans. Yes indeed a strange number of eunuchs. and a lot of girls in biblical costume as well - as if we were returning to the old idea of dressing up for the megilla. how quaint.

And there in the center of the plaza you could buy traditional food as well. traditional mexican, traditional indian.... but where were the Druze? I couldn't find them, or their roll-up pita.

March 6, 2004

I was going to write more about the Druze yesterday, about the film Maktub that's about love between Druze man and a Jewish woman, and the Druze faith in reincarnation. It really is a good film, but the news finally reached me that my friend Yoav Dagon committed suicide. It was in the papers, yesterday but I was looking at articles about myself and ignored the news. So when Sara called me thinking I knew, it was a big shock.

I think I have written about Yoav before - the curator of the Nahum Gutman museum. He didn't like my book about war poetry (in Hebrew) because it was too dark, and only when he read the manuscript of Taavot Shuliot (tangential desires) did he agree to approve my use of Nahum Gutman's painting for the cover. He didn't want Guttman associated with the Holocaust and Gulf War, but was more interested in the positive elements of the history of Israel. And we had all these conversations about the painter Ira Yahn, Bialik's lover, and his quest to recover her lost works, to help reclaim her reputation.

So Yoav as I knew him was a positive crusader. And I was surprised that he did come to the launching of the book last week, especially when he had so much to do with the cover, and planned to drop in tomorrow to present him with a copy.

This morning we went to the museum to see the exhibit of Israeli art. But it was such an erratic and uneven display,even i couldn't help but notice. It was like they had collected whatever was available, and put them together. Some of it was very good, some of it much less interesting than the sketches my father-in-law Bandi never bothered to frame.

But perhaps it was only that I was dispirited.

No. A good lunch and a beer at Nona's was much better in quaity than the museum. A sunny Saturday on the sidewalks of Tel Aviv is unbeatable.

All the terrorist attacks averted today does not contribute to my sense of security, however, because I know that no matter how many were averted, one is sure to succeed eventually. I also know that we are not managing to do anything to alter the sense of utter frustration of the Palestinians.

I've been hearing a little point about the Mel Gibson's Passion that deserves a note. He doesn't have any Arabs in the movie? Weren't they around then?

March 7, 2004

Where can you get the book and te disk? Here seems to be cheapest - costs less than it cost me!

And while I was recording a radio program with Anat, escaping together in a sealed room from the world, 14 people were killed in Gaza. 2 of them children. "Don't tell me about children," a soldier serving in Gaza once told me, "They hold their children up between them and the guns...They keep the children next to them when they are shooting!" This little piece of information doesn't make anything right. Even if they use their children as human shields, the killing of a child is tragic to all.

But now I'm off to the airport to entrust Ezi to the vulnerable airlines for a week. There's enough to worry about - no wonder a soundproof room is a relief.

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