Tel Aviv Diary November 4-8, 2006- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - November 4, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

November 4, 2006

All you people in Ra'anana are going to be laughing at me but today I had lunch at friencs in Ra'anana, and maybe it was the cortisone I got injected with that was altering my vision, but it seemed like another country. Every one seemed to be coming home from synagogue - It was so unified and singular. Then we had some discussions about politics. That wasn't so unified. One person agreed with me that Labor should get out of the government, and that we should be negotiating seriously with Syria. Another two thought that we were endangering the country by destabilizing the situation. I agreed with both. Most thought that a terrible mistake by giving away Gaza. That was hard to agree with.


A poem about Robert Rosenberg:

You gave me a joint for later

Robert in vest and jeans

With his handlebar moustache

lean and bouncing down the street

as if there was music

in his feet and he

was on the way to some great concert

or a meeting

leading to a deal

that would finally bring him

the future

as it should be


You gave me a joint for later

I donít remember if I smoked it or let it dry

Today when they told me you died

Though I knew it was coming

I breathed it in

And my head spun




why negotiate with Syria? because it's there. what do we give up? as little as possible. and maybe they want nothing less than my jacuzzi. but talk? definitely.

While I was on the stretching machine at the physiotherapist, the guy in the booth next to me was giving away army secrets to the woman massaging his foot. well not army secrets, but pretty inside information about the mess we made of this war. how he had to go to pick up his wounded son up north himself, how we have our own responsibilities in this society and must become involved in everything.

I was quiet, but wondered how. I didn't even make it to Rabin's memorial last night. So much to take responsibility for - and so much beyond our control.

November 6, 2006

I miss the old days when I sat in cafes and watched people. In recent years it seems that all my friends are working double hours, or pretending to be doubly busy, and there is no time for just sitting. This evening after work, after a memorial service, I wanted to have coffee with a friend. At last. But a traffic jam in Ramat Hasharon wore me out and I cancelled. We didn't even have the patience to talk on the phone - not even on the carphone.

Tomorrow I'll talk about suicide bombers. too much traffic today.

November 7, 2006

I think a lot about women suicide bombers. The woman who blew herself up yesterday, for example, who did a video before like all the others do, made me want to cry. The fact that she didn't manage to do much harm, the fact that she thought she was doing something good for her people, the fact that she looked almost exactly like a woman I know... all that is overwhelming.

I have no romantic ideas about the virtues of the suicide bomber. It's just the familiarity that I feel that shocks me.

I'm not happy about the whole situation in Jerusalem. We seem to have a talent for bringing out the worst in all of us, though, and extremisizing people. And doesn't our Mishna say there is no tool better than peace?

November 8, 2006

That's what I meant - you dehumanize the way you see the other, and you can make mistakes - like blowing up a whole bunch of schoolchildren miles away from where you were aiming. You don't make mistakes like that when you're thinking of the fact that they are human beings, with motivations and needs and feelings. I would have thought that didn't need to be said. But it does.

Do I think the 'other' thinks of me as a person? I don't, but i don't think I could possibly be considered if i don't consider first

And now I've understood that 20 people were killed because of a mistake of 200 meters, not miles. The greater the tragedy.

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