October 10

As we were reentering Israel this morning, a bus blew up just opposite our orchard. It's also right near Bar Ilan University. A seventy-two year old woman, Saad Aharon, on her way back from medical tests, was killed and dozens wounded. The driver saw him fall from the bus as he was entering - the people outside saw him roll out, and ran to help him, then saw when they opened his shirt to help him breathe that he was wearing a explosive belt bomb. The driver and another guy tried to hold him down, but he was determined to blow himself up - and they finally jumped up and ran away from him. They probably saved many lives - and can't figure out where the old woman was who was killed.

We were in a taxi and decided to take an alternate route, so suffered only in the delays and the usual grief and sadness.

How many other terrible things happened when we were here - that no one has even bothered to relate in the news? -

When I was in the States I missed the feeling of sympathy with the victims. Isn't there a site with all names - at least of those killed in terrorist activities? Can't find a list - and for every injury, and there were many today, there are far more in shock - over 30 came to the hospital.

The sniper in Maryland who has been killing innocent people randomly is a similar experience. But much less bloody. Still the shock of those in the vicinity is somewhat comparable.

For the first time here I hear another probably consequence of the projected war in Iraq. Psychologists warn of intensification of these previous traumas.

So there is no time to luxuriate in comparisons between the US and Israel. Israel is always in a state of tension, always demanding that you forget your sorrows and tensions of yesterday and deal with today's. And take it easy.

After only a few hours in Israel I see one thing I didn't think much about in the U.S. - the fear of war from Iraq. Angelika is terrified because she doesn't have a mask for her son, and doesn't know where to get one. She's illegal but still has her mask from the last war (can't remember where she got that one) - she won't leave here of course, but doesn't sleep from terror. Other people have been stockpiling food. Nothing to do about biological or nuclear attack, but chemical is almost old hat.

I may be wrong but a strange passive fatality seems to have taken over. People want to kill us. Period. Nothing can be done about it. Period.

October 11

On the other hand things are much more intense and informed here. The questions I couldn't answer in the U.S. because the situations seemed so absurd have new dimensions. Every event has new dimensions. Today's ceremony for the opening of the Daniel Amichai Rowing Center would have been very different in any other country. Not just because many of the speakers addressed the question of justification for the elitism of a rowing center, reinforcing the idea of the social equality of rowing clubs, and not just because the police were checking the identity papers of the landscape workers on the grounds and security men sat in the middle of the audience, and not only because we jumped with every bumping of the dump trucks across the river, but also because Linda warned the listeners that traffic accidents, (like the one that caused Daniel's death) are different from the terrorist activities we all fear daily,because there is something in them that can be controlled by the individual. Putting the terrible accident that caused her son's death into the context of contemporary existence. It didn't keep her from weeping at the dedication ceremony, but it might help save someone else's life.

October 12

So what can be done? November 19 - Labor Party elections. I'm voting - are you? Whatever happens, there will be changes - and i think this is the time and place the passivity of the left can end. I know the Arab-Israelis boycotted the general election last time and caused Sharon to become Prime Minister. It was a mistake - so let's not let it happen again. Simple. Join the Labor Party. Vote.

Karen Alkalay-Gut Home