November 1

On the anniversary of my mother's death, my 93 year old mother-in-law had emergency surgery today - This is to explain how i erased this page today after my political diatribe...

There is a great deal going on here to be confused about even without the personal stuff. The government is still standing - and may well make it through. And the latest rating indicates that the right will take the next election as well. Even though the majority of people here believe in negotations.

Can't figure it out

But then there are paradoxes in every detail of life here.

In the hospital today a doctor told me about a 14 year old Gaza boy who had been operated on yesterday here - injured after throwing a grenade at soldiers. His life was saved. I don't think it will change his politics.

November 2, 2002

At Ichilov today, the hospital where Rabin died, we were discussing the memorial service for Rabin tonight in the nearby square. On a practical level the orthopedic surgeons were anticipating lots of back emergencies from standing around at the service. On a historical level, the staff was pointing out the people who were working in Emergency that night seven years ago and received the Prime Minister. On a political level, the same kind of uncertainty about the future filled the air- but now we're used to it.

What made me feel better was listening to Shimon Peres on Tim Sebastian's Hard Talk.

November 3, 2002

Shimon Peres' approach to the situation here - his optimism and determination - entered my dreams. I dreamt about Adrienne Rich last night-- and the dream itself was so real and so palpable it stays in my mind. We went to the Dead Sea and the weather and the minerals made us feel very healthy and adventurous, so we took a boat and crossed over to Jordan for a conference on poetry and dialogue. She said - this wouldnt have been possible before the peace - But from our conversation it is clear there had just been some kind of war before her visit, and the war enabled the peace.

When i woke up i felt all my predictions, speculations, dreams, worries, and anxieties had been in vain, because i never could have imagined this. Peres has said before that he isn't interested in history but in imagination - and the dream was influenced by that and by Rich's "Dream of a common language."

(maybe it was influenced by Sara's successful hip replacement on Friday - who would have thought that a woman almost 94 would sail through an operation that will improve her situation for the future?)

In any case i return to the position that we have to help the future along - but it is possible - and we have to imagine it first.

But first, Elections.

I don't want to analyze the political situation here - The only important point here is that the present parliament was elected under a system that has since been changed - it was the only parliament to be elected in which the prime minister was elected separately, and not as part of the party - for this reason a lot more people voted for small parties - because they could choose any pm they wanted. the next time we go back to the old system, and people will be much more likly to vote for the bigger parties. as a result there will be less power among the smaller parties and fewer opportunities to blackmail the pm. let's see.

In the mean time unemployment here is almost up to 12% and poverty is rampant. Peace would change this.

November 4, 2002

The narrow government can't hold - but Sharon would not want to have elections until after the US war with Iraq. i think that's his agenda - the war will make everyone more right. maybe he thinks it will perk up our economy too. in the mean time the rest of us are going crazy - behavior here is less and less rational. one in five is living under the poverty line (in the Arab sector it is much worse, and the religious sector as well), our water is being poisoned by toxic waste in lebanon, terrorist attack attempts all the time, we're waiting for an attack from iraq - what else could happen.

WAR CRIMES: Amnesty international charged israel with war crimes today. The major crime as i understand it is using human shields - sending a neighbor to a suspicious house to ring the doorbell. the neighbor gets blown up and the fighting breaks out.

today also the army announced that a soldier caught stealing in schehem was punished with a jail sentence and the money was returned to the family. maybe the announcement was made in conjunction with the amnesty announcement...

but closest to me today is the terrorist attack in kfar saba - 10 minutes from me physically - 2 people dead so far - not including the terrorist - (i always wonder with a strange perversity if the numbers of Arab dead include the terrorists - and how do you equate someone who blows himself up standing next to a bunch of kids with one of those kids? i mean a life is a life - but a desire to kill is not the same as a desire to live - whatever the motives)

which brings me back to the human shield - sending a person to ring a neighbor's doorbell, knowing that the people inside might be armed, might be dangerous, might even kill a neighbor if it means killing israelis too...

HOW ARE THE NATURE OF WAR CRIMES DECIDED? I don't understand the borders, the definitions, any more.

November 5, 2002

There's a lot I don't know. I got screamed at today by an unemployed friend for saying that the reason we don't know all the facts about poverty here is that a majority of the poor are in the Arab and Haredi sectors. she said there is a great deal of hidden unemployment - and a lot of poverty around us we ignore - all the middle class people who are being forced to sell their homes cheaply, foreclosed mortgages, etc. I was being a little simplistic and noted that when i got my hair cut today the place was empty and some of the staff had been fired. I thought it was in part because of the strange atmosphere in the shop, but my friend noted that many people began their cutbacks with stretching out the time between haircuts. And then moved on to more basic things. As someone with a steady salary, she said, I see the world differently, and I'm missing a lot of what's in front of me. It's true. I don't know a lot of things. I didn't even think of the possibility that she was 'growing' her hair.

What i do know is that elections on February 4 can't be all bad. Even if the worst scenario comes true and Likkud take over - and that is the worst scenario - there will not be a dozen little parties milking whatever's left of the treasury in exchange for votes. But it is essential that everyone votes. Mitznah.

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