November 11

The terrible massacre in kibbutz Metzer - a mother and the two tiny children she tried to protect with her body, the kibbutz secretary, a woman who came to take a walk with her boyfriend - random victims of fatach. and an excuse for mofaz to wreak revenge. the fact - that the kibbutz was leftist, that it prided itself on its coexistence with its Arab neighbors, the same neighbors who are coming in droves to mourn with the kibbutz members - oh there are too many facts, too many terrible facts. all of them irrelevant in the face of this destruction. a man talking to his ex wife on the phone hears her shout - terrorists! - and then nothing - and the children he videoed that weekend are gone.

today as i was reading Hilda Doolittle's "The Walls Do Not Fall" I remembered the terrible connection between the writing of this poem in London during WWII and my own birth in the blitz. Her description of walking through the streets of london after an "incident" and the way the destruction can be seen as an opening up of alternatives, a new way of creating a new civilization, seems so 'theoretical' here, now. and yet, what if there was some way to use all this destruction in order to recreate something entirely new - sometimes i can catch a glimpse of it, a way to pick up the shards of some of we have lost and think in a completely different way to create a different kind of society. It isn't impossible - but it won't happen with the aid of politicians or religious leaders or'academics' who should be the ones to lead new thinking - it can only happen through the artists.

An article from Maariv but translated in Indy Media soldiers. It's about how 100 odd israeli soldiers are being treated for trauma because of what they've been through in the territories. (i keep writing and erasing terrortories...)

November 12, 2002

It is but a minor detail, as Jonathan Swift says of Partridge, and yet i will mention it. The Hebrew Writers Union held elections today. The new board will not be able to handle money since the overdraft of $ 200,000 caused in part by embezzlement has revealed the fact that writers are not to be trusted with money. About a third of the writers I know of were there - and that was because they were either running or voting against someone they hate. The noted writers long ago decided to fend for themselves in the world and left behind the old socialist ideal of a writers' union. And the popular writers never needed a union. What's left are mostly aging middle-level writers. But the most significant element of the afternoon was the venom - spread over almost everyone. As with the entire country, many of these writers would have everything collapse around them just so they could get their revenge on the people who have wronged them. One of my dearest friends, who is very religious, threatened to vote for Yvette Liberman just to screw the non-religious... who have been hassling her for years.

"I stop at the memorial for Rabin to pay my respects," she says, "and i get dirty looks all around." It's enough to make you lose your sense of judgement.

November 13, 2002

The terrible tragedy of Kibbutz Netzer - no one here escapes the haunting eyes of the children murdered with shots fired through the body of their mother - this terrible tragedy. And yet the residents of the Kibbutz prove an amazing example to us all. They have been opposing the placing of the wall - they do not object to it, but want it to be along the green line - the 1967 borders - and not through villages. This has always been a model for coexistence, a model of thoughtful political behavior - and i hope the voices of the kibbutz members are heard in the country.

The point is that there are people on the left who oppose the wall because it is terrible unjust - dividing villages from fields, destroying crops, etc. And there are people on the right who oppose it because it destroys the dream of a 'complete' israel. But what we really need to concentrate on, as i keep saying, is the liquid question of WHERE the wall should be, how its placing should be determined, and who should be involved in the decisions. We have to get away from absolute thinking.

One of my favorite commercials - in the middle of all this absolute thinking - shows two men with kaffiyehs and a rocket launcher walking through the desert. One of the notices that the spy planes are photographing them. They put on their sunglasses (purchased from Eroica stores) and wave. I think the voiceover says something about how no matter where you are you should always look your best...

This kind of commercial represents the kind of flexibility that sometimes only humor and exaggeration can reach.

Last night Oren was interviewed on television about Carmi Ben Haim, the guard at Nona who came from Shchem. After many cuts of the interview, with the handsome Carmi, the pretty and intelligent waitress, Adi, and Oren being interviewed, the question comes: "Have you thought about visiting Carmi in jail?" Oren says, "I thought about it.... (long pause) .. and then the thought passed." Now this was the punch line of the program. But it was also very serious. There is the fact of familiarity and friendship - and then there is the fact of betrayal. These are the basic elements of the issue of Palestinian-Israeli relations and have to be addressed.

November 14, 2002

Kibbutz Netzer - The children's eyes - the tragedy goes beyond all the other terrorist attacks.

And the terrorist's name: Sirhan Sirhan.

I used to stare at the face of the murderer of Bobby Kennedy and wonder how he remained so secure, so sure of himself. I was sure he had been programmed, brainwashed, and that he would wake up one day and beg the forgiveness of the world. And this man - over 30 years later - is of the same family, with the same name.

The numbers are still not clear to me - but i know that well over 650 citizens - women - old men, grandmothers, mothers, children, babies - have been killed in the middle of living their lives. I am certain that there are almost as many innocent Palestinians killed (I have the number of Palestinian dead - which is almost 3 times as great - but statistics of Palestinians include suicide bombers, terrorists, soldiers, children attacking soldiers with molotov cocktails as well as stones, and although i may well be wrong, i suspect from following the news daily that the number of uninvolved Palestinian citizens is much less.)

Each death on either side is terrible - even the deaths of terrorists who have died taking teenage girls waiting to get in to a dance club.

November 15, 2002

I kept thinking all night about the Palestinian boy reportedly killed in Shchem while throwing a fire bomb. Now how do you count him - an innocent citizen, a resistence fighter, a murderer. Like the terrorist caught before he could blow up some Tel Avivians on the beach last month - he said last night on tv that he regretted nothing because we kill their children. So lets say we kill a kid who we think of as a terrorist about to kill us - they think of him as hero - we killed a hero and should be killed. The logic is clear. The only problem as usual is that we all die this way.

So the front page of Yidiot and of Maariv announced the announcement of a cessation of terrorist attacks within the green line. Maariv rejoiced. Yidiot pooh-poohed the sincerity of this oft-repeated announcement. We bought Maariv. Gives us an edge.


10 people killed in Hebron - over 15 injured - on their way from prayers. Erev Shabbat - Ramadan - the city Abraham's two sons buried him in the cave he bought.

What a city - Some of my mother-in-law's family was killed there in august 24, 1929 during the unexpected and brutal massacre by the arabs. I asked Ezi for details justn ow but he said he didn't remember. It suddenly reminded me of the way his father acted over 20 years ago. There was when the trial of the murder of arlozorov was reopened and as the last person to speak with chaim arlozorov in june of 1933 (he took arlozorov to the hospital after he was shot on the beach) he was called in to testify. he was asked if arlozorov told him who shot him, and he answered that he didn't remember. he was an old man and they probably believed him. but when i asked him he told me that arabs killed arlozorov. he said there was no point in stirring up that issue again, so he just said he didn't remember.

no point in stirring up memories that won't make the future more positive. Imagination better than history.

but i only allow myself this indulgence because the identities of the dead and wounded have not yet been revealed, and the terrible tragedy of the day has not hit me.

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