Tel Aviv Diary - November 5-9, 2010 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

November 10, 2010

Every morning, Ezi reads the paper. I think it takes about an hour. I look at headlines and a few of the items and I get sick. The pressures in this country can be overwhelming. That's why I am grateful for my dog.

We are a four-walk-a-day people. But Shusha is an eight-pee-a-day dog. So we spread out the newspapers on the floor for her and wait.

Today I am anticipating which side of the argument she will take on the issue of artists performing in the Ariel Cultural Center. On the one hand I am very proud of the fact that performers are taking a political stand, and seriously risk their major source of livelihood - government support. On the other hand I believe in education and dialogue, and how but through performers can performers communicate. Perhaps their act of protest will mean something to us, who are already convinced, but how will it connect with those who believe the opposite? Because the writers in English are also debating this question - whether to offer a reading in Ariel or not - it is a personal issue for me. I tend to prefer contact, and regret not being invited to read in Ramallah.

Well, we'll see what Shusha has to say.

November 11, 2010

Well, she made a mess on both papers.

Next week is Eid Al-Adha, the festival of the sacrifice. I think we don't talk about it much in Israel because there is a little problem - which one of Abraham's sons was he willing to sacrifice, Isaac or Ishmael? Which is the chosen religion? I don't really see the great honor in being the sacrificable son, but both buried their father together so they must have something in common.

November 12, 2010

On Wednesday my friend Shaul died. It has taken me two days to admit it. but this afternoon I googled him, found the two books of poetry he wrote (of which I have several copies left over) and - very little else. He was a fine man and I will miss him.

November 13, 2010

As we sat on the sun-drenched crowded Tel Aviv port, Dalia said, "This is the best place to be on a day like this, and that's the very reason it's the worst place to be." We could barely hear each other, the shops were crowded, but we'd made a reservation the day before and the sun, the water, the sky...and the food at Julia's....were amazing. Prices were higher then I'm used to, but maybe I'm used to reasonable places like Papa's, but it was tasty, reasonably speedy and very very good. In the port of Tel Aviv, the ancient Philistines come back to life, and I totally understand how they got their name.

November 14, 2010

Dahn Ben Amotz keeps coming back into my memory. I remember sitting in his apartment, sometime around 76, and puzzling over why he had brought up the subject of the territories and the occupation. I think I explained to him that it was just a bargaining tool for peace, and as soon as they were ready to talk we'd give them back. Now I'm embarassed at my naivity.

But has my mind changed about appearing in Ariel? I'd appear in any place in which I wasn't in danger. Or my audience. Could I discuss the occupation with settlers without one of us being in danger? I think so. At least I don't think I'm in danger.

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