Tel Aviv Diary - March 6-10, 2015 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 6, 2015

thanks for your support. I'll stick around in these pages for the elections. Even though it's looking darker and darker.

I keep missing the good things. There was a Purim party in Gan Meir and everybody was headed to the party in costume, and when they asked me what I was dressed as I told them I was disguised as an invisible person. like most of us, really.

I just didn't have enough to drink.

here's a link to an English summary of last week's Amos Oz, "Last Chance for a Jewish State." If you can still get a ticket, come to vote.

Who knows? Elections may be so close the president will have to declare the winner. And then... well we know how much Rivlin loves Bibi.

March 7, 2015

This is my chapter of the week - I'm sitting in synagogue and every time they read the phrase about how Moses' face lit up there on Mount Sinai, I poke Ezi. Why? Because the word for 'emanation' is my name, Karen. It is also the word for 'horn' and the mistranslation is the reason that Jews are supposed to have horns. But today was the first time I really thought of the concept of responsibility that is so prominent in this story. I know this is supposed to be about getting the 10 commandments, but my goose bumps had little to do with the Lord and a lot to do with the position of the individual in the universe. Like - you're not the center of the universe, but you have a job to do in the world. It's not a complicated message, but it is sometimes hard to conceive.

That was the moment I understood what the problem was with Netanyahu's speech in congress. He was being the center of the universe, not the responsible statesman. Meir Dagan put it better than I could.

March 8, 2015

Some say there were 50000 people in the protest against Bibi last night. Add to those number the people at the Bar Mitzvah we had committed to before, the people who hd to keep their restaurants open, the people who's babysitters were at the demonstration, the poor, the tired, the old, and you can just imagine how much we don't want him around.

March 9, 2015

As election day gets closer and closer we get more and more nervous. Me I'm biting my fingernails. Most of the election ads are so incredibly stupid, it seems that the projected intelligence level of the voters is way below normal. I actually don't know anyone who watches them, even though they cost a great deal of money to the public. I would think it would be important to mention that Herzog's maternal family are from Egypt (admittedly from Bialistok), that his uncle was Abba Eban, that his father was president, and his grandfather an important rabbi who engaged in many religious reforms here. But nobody mentions CVs here.

So there will be no Israel prize in literature this year because the secrecy of the judges was exposed (by our illustrious prime minister) and there is no way to get a committee together that will be anonymous and objective. As someone who is not eligible for the prize anyway (not only because i'm not that important but because I don't write in Hebrew) I cannot stress the objective importance of literature in the development of the language and the need for literary role models in this country. When I was on the committee for a Yiddish prize for literature I saw how influential this encouragement is. Without encouragement, people may give up writing. Without literature, the language is poor, the imagination is poor, and the possibilities of the culture are poor.

March 10, 2015

Not a moment is quiet, nothing here is ever boring. The action is unbelievable. Every day the election predictions are different. It would be a hitchcock thriller if it were fiction.

"I'm going to vote for Kachlon," a friend tells me. "he's solid, and he saved me money with his cellular phone revolution." I know - he reminds me every day. "Boogie looks like a lawyer," another friend says, "but talks like a child." "There are international movements working against me," says Bibi. "Don't VOTE," says a woman on the radio - "Tell them the system is impossible." The ISIS victims are told they're in a movie, and so they are quiet. And then they are beheaded.

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