Tel Aviv Diary March 26-30, 2007- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - March 26, 2007 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Should you wish to celebrate my birthday on thursday you are welcome to join me at Nona's in the afternoon. Maybe I'll even have a cake.


How can I continue to celebrate at my age? Well considering the alternative I'm fine. This is also a way to look at the government here.

March 27, 2007

March 28, 2007

I don't know what happened to yesterday - it was one of those days where all kinds of small things went wrong, and it culminated with our walking out of the opera in the middle. But then I watched the news today - one government corruption after the other - And now from our bed we're watching a program about the president and all the new accusations against him. Oy. It's like my day yesterday - nothing serious but a sign that serious things are wrong. With me it's just that i have too much on my plate and it's mixing me up, so i grab whatever is nearest and try to deal with that. And then screw it up. But with the government its the culmination of years of default choices (Katzav vs. Peres, remember? Moshe was granted the job just to screw Shimon. Olmert got in because everyone was disappointed in Likkud and in Avoda. Etc. And he put Peretz into that Defense Minister position he was so unsuited for just to render him an impotent opposition leader. The default list is much longer.

Of course the difference between me and this government is also clear. As Churchill is said to have answered when a woman exclaimed to him, "Sir Winston, you're drunk!" "And you, my dear, are ugly. But in the morning I shall be sober."

The campus was silent and empty today - the strike, in the meantime, seems peaceful, calm. But it won't stay that way. Am I for the strike? If there was any other way to prevent the destruction of higher education in Israel I'd go for it. But I just don't see how. The systematic erosion of the universities from the time of Limor Livnat, the education minister, has been colossal, and has caused irreparable damage.

How much do I make? About a quarter of any colleague of mine in the US, and the cost of living is not much lower. But it's not my salary i am worried about, not even the fact that I've been using my own paper for copying for at least a dozen years, or the fact that the computer in my shared office is 10 years old, and we don't have wireless in our building. I'm worried because we aren't building future generations, future leaders, we aren't building a library, we aren't building a culture, and we;re not teaching people how to think because we have too many people in our classes and we're all frazzled and weary.

March 29, 2007

So Ramon is getting back into politics. There are worse politicians in our government. At least Ramon's learned his lesson. As Ezi says, he knows the only place a politician should put his tongue.

arch 30, 2007

You didn't come! Here there were some of the best poets in the country reading their poems this morning in Beit HaSopher, and the audience was minimal. We don't seem to have any fans. And the Writers' House is so dismal,so bare, it is hard to believe. The smell of damp and disuse.

Afterward we went to Kitan, which is so crowded people are guarding spaces in the parking lot, guiding to their partners on the cellphone, fighting off intruders. We had a plan and got through the center with our purchases in less than an hour, but felt we had conquered the world.

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