Tel Aviv Diary - May 16-20, 2012 Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 16, 2012

Does anyone remember those days in Israel when the idea of rape seemed not to exist? Of course it must have been there - but I hitch-hiked criss-cross this country and can remember only one incident when it was uncomfortable (and that was really my fault - what was I doing hitching a boat-ride with two guys across the sea of Galilee?)

Anyway, the news now seems to bring only stories of sexual crimes, and Ezi's theory is that the increased violence is connected to the occupation. I'm not convinced it's just because we learn to beat up on people in the territories. I think it's also because we need to distract ourselves with more and more colorful violence so we don't pay attention to our actual political powerlessness. We pretend we're in control and the crimes are coming from elsewhere, not from ourselves. It's like a paranoia that is useful because it keeps us busy and makes us feel we're on our toes, but in reality we're ignorant and helpless.

May 17, 2012

Superpharm - I start out with the pharmacy department: Everyone there is speaking Arabic. Then I go to cosmetics: Everyone there is speaking Russian. And where I work everyone speaks English.

May 18, 2012

I think I may have had a bit of sunstroke yesterday. We went to the opening of a Joshua Neustein exhibit yesterday in Jerusalem and the reception before was outside in the noon sun. Hunkering under the scattered umbrellas we met up with some wonderful peoplea but I think I came home with a bit of sun stroke and am all bitten up.

And yet, the exhibit was inspiring. It was so conceptual that it encouraged my own creativity. Meira Lehmann-Perry's concluding exhibit as curator at the Israel Museum is really a beginning - an opening up for the future. I kept thinking that I have to bring my children, not so much because they'd enjoy it, but because they'd learn to think like artists. So go if you have a chance. But if you want a more conventional interpretation of the exhibit, read it here

May 19, 2012

We passed through the area of Tel Aviv that now primarily is occupied by African refugees. There are something like 60,000 of them here and even though we're pretty good at taking in immigrants I can't imagine how their situation can be improved. With hundreds more coming in every day and so much crime being attributed to them, what can be done?

May 20, 2012

boy did I lose my cool. I downloaded something and managed to erase the memory of this entry when it wouldn't save. Never mind. Nothing worth reconstructing anyway. As usual on Sunday I'm watching Yaron London talk about the Hebrew language. It is becoming my favorite program because he goes around talking to people and I am learning so many new words and new reasons for the strange language of the street. Or reminded of old truths. Like the fact that so much of our slang comes from the army experience - something which almost everyone goes through.

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