Tel Aviv Diary - October 14-18,2015 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

October 14, 2015

I've been putting poems by Naim Araidi on Facebook - one a day - for the past 2 weeks. Each one seems appropriate to the day.

Naim Araidi

Jerusalem Divides

Jerusalem cracks apart
And is no longer itself.
The mosque which was a church
Which was once a synagogue
Is no more what it was
And what has been will never be again.
The worshippers in the Dome of the Rock
Hear the whisperings of the notes
Infiltrating the cracks of the Wall
And do not know what is written there.
And between these and those
The voices of the Via Dolorosa
And many Christians carry and bestow
Many crosses on their shoulders
To all who are here
And to those who will follow.
And in the ceiling of the sky in a full moon
God presides and does not regret
What He did with Babel.

Babel and Jerusalem are two symbols
Of crime and punishment

Translated by Karen Alkalay-Gut

October 15, 2015

I was thinking about picking up my granddaughter from nursery school, and then there was an announcement about streets being closed off because of a terrorist chase. the terrorists were caught, and the streets were opened. But my granddaughter is still not yet three years old, still very white and fragile with an incredible sense of humor and empathy, and I couldn't get to her.

I don't believe the world news has noted that there are Arabs running around the country with knives, with guns, with cars, and everyone - Arab and Jew - is petrified. It's a bad time and that's when the worst jokes come out. Here's one: I was in the health clinic and the Arab nurse came over to me and said "this will be just a little stab." So I shot her.

Oh yes, and the car chase today - they caught the guys - and released them.

October 16, 2015

So what's new? I'm talking on the phone with Rivka Bassman - a holocaust survivor and poet. She admits she can't watch the news any more. Me, I just hate the way we handle things all the time. without exception.

“Homeland is racist,” “Homeland is a joke, and it didn’t make us laugh,” - I meant to talk about this yesterday. "Homeland" is notorious for making mistakes like having hebrew signs on what's supposed to be a Beirut street, but the other day we noticed the grafitti had not been vetted by Arabic speaking censors and it was mocking the program. I love Homeland but it really is a bit naive - as is the whole US understanding of the Middle East. I seem to be making generalizations lately...

October 17, 2015

Since all the pharmacists in our neighborhood are Arab, and have been for a long time, I don't think twice about taking their advice about my health. The three giggling teenagers in black hijabs, however, turned my head for a moment as we passed them. They were too comfortable in the neighborhood - with four stabbings today (two by young women terrorists) I get just a bit jumpy.

October 18, 2015

At the end of a class of teachers and principles, after we discussed the necessity of seeing what the others see, we all went our ways today - some to Tel Aviv, some to Teybe, some to Beer Sheva. We ended at 6. were any of us stuck in the bus station at beersheva when the terrorist started shooting? how absolutely terrible. in order to sleep we have to turn off the television or watch some old comedy. so i will have to wait until the morning.

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