Tel Aviv Diary November 9, 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - November 9, 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

We barely make it to the polls - no place to park - traffic - a few nervous miscalculations. But we made it, and a man is waiting for us a few yards before the entrance. "Good evening," he says, "My name is Luba Eliav," and both of us shake his hand with great respect. "I'm asking you to vote for Amir Peretz." I am shocked at first - the old battle horse is going socialist - but it made sense a bit later. Then we go to stand in line. A young man is sitting at the entrance. He asks our name and then tells us which line to stand in. "Any other advice?" I ask. "Yeah, but are you going to vote for race or what's good. " Somehow I take issue with that, can't banter any more. In fact I can't breathe. Not that I understand exactly what he's saying. Who's the good guy? which race would i vote for? If I vote for Peres it's despite the fact that he's a Galician by birth. If I vote for Fuad it has nothing to do with his origins. ...

Then I'm called to vote and whn I'm finished, seconds later, the boy is gone.

I still hadn't seen someone from Peres' team.

So now we're back home with the election results.A bomb goes off in Amman, and I think - thank goodness I didn't vote for Amir Peretz - he wouldn't know how to handle an international situation. I don't think - as i always do - about the terrors of the individual victims, or the motivations and actions of the terrorists.

November 10, 2005

A truth: Even since I couldn't believe Adlai Stevenson couldn't lose, I've picked the losers.

But I'm not unhappy about Peretz - If he uses the right advisors, if he really takes the help of others, he'll be fine.*

The bombs in Amman, however, are absolutely awful. We who have been there before, seen the terrible carnage, know and sympathize.

[*later i add: the real rejoicing is at the Likkud party headquarters - they are convinced, as i was, that with the election of Amir Peretz, their victory is assured in any election. That's what I fear as well.]

November 11, 2005

It is no secret. I've had a thing for Shimon Peres for a long long time. And now, I fear, he is broken. Years ago I wrote a poem for him in this situation. It's in In My Skin

Sunday, June 2, 1996

Loved by half this land
with all its heart, you start
today and wonder that
the other half did not come through.

“I just want to take my bags
and get out of here,” Leah
said, and I thought of you
and how when I saw you once
in your office I thought – the perfect man
in his proper place –

Suddenly I fear you will think
it was all a waste, the dreams
spattered on the pavement
like the blood of your mate,
and that – as well as the bullet –
the assassin cast
the deciding vote

But a dream is not worth less –
that it cannot be redeemed
at this very moment – surely
some things that don’t happen
stay in our hearts as much
as those that do – surely
we must plan that dreams
can, as they have before,
come true.

So clearly I am as much of a dreamer as he is.

November 12, 2005

Tonight, while the memorial of Rabin was going on in Rabin Square, I stayed home with Ezi - in bed with a fever - and watched, between phone calls, as Peres and Clinton urged the young to continue Rabin's heritage by going into politics, by becoming active. It's something I say often to young people, but with none of the authority of these fantastic statesmen.

Before Ezi got really sick we had a few visits with family and friends. What was amazing was how absolutely involved my contemporaries are in the political developments, and how totally indifferent the young people we met with were to them. This is obviously not a representative sample, but it was strange to me all day. Although my friends and I did not have the same opinions (I'm a sentimentalist and voted for Peres even though I believe in the power and actually the rightness of Peretz - they believed in Peretz period), it was a pleasure to talk with wise involved people, and to see possibilities for the future. I've been seeing things with such black lenses lately, that hope was refreshing.

November 13, 2005

We keep going back to the statistics that many many Israelis (i forget how many) are taking anti-depressants, that life here is really too much for the normal person. And here the weather is perfect, and the sea so inviting...

Even the groundswell of support for Peretz seems almost positive, rational, hopeful.

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