Tel Aviv Diary - October 17-21, 2011 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

October 17, 2011

If I were Gilad Shalit's parents and I didn't have a heart attack long ago, I'd have one now. The fact that the government finally figures out how to exchange him for 1000 terrorists after 5 years is bad enough, but now the last minute delays and sabotage attempts must be excruciating.

Appropos heart attacks, we still don't have an answer from the pathology lab about Ezi's .

October 18, 2011

We were in the bank at 10:20. We would have been there much earlier but we wanted to make a final effort to get an answer from the lab before the holidays. Didn't work.

We were in the bank at 10:20, with all kinds of forms and questions on the table, sitting in front of the clerk, Sharon. Suddenly she looked behind us and called out, "Is he here?" The big tv hanging over the tellers took off the cute little skits about bank investments and was running the public channel. Gilad Shalit is back, wearing the hard thin face of five years of anguish, but healthy, walking on his own.

The clerk's tears smudged one of the forms before she stood up. By then every one in the bank was standing, staring at the screen. "He looks all right," smiles Shai, our private banker, echoing the words of the other men, as the women seemed to come together in our desire to feed him, to call the dentist, to hug him very very tight.

And now the television is full of Gilad. For days it was all the old fogies talked about on the media, and now we see the entire process, the happiest of programs.

Why do we not have the results of Ezi's biopsy after more then 2 months? They are actually done - and the slides are in a sealed evelope sitting on the desk of someone who will not be back at the lab until Sunday. That's what the woman in charge of the lab told Ezi this morning. I suppose this means he's not in immediate danger, but that's an assumption on my part.

Meanwhile we managed to do a little footage for Russian TV about my search for my cousin. The program Wait for Me may actually come up with a first cousin I've never met. I certainly hope so. A family with so many gaps, so many losses - My brother and I, our children and grandchildren, and perhaps this cousin are all that remain of a vast family.

October 19, 2011

For Simchat Torah, for the reading of Genesis, we have the smile of Gilad Shalit. Maybe everything else is the same, or worse, now that Gaza and the West Bank have a new group of educators for Shihad, and maybe there will be a war soon, but for now we have a holiday.

As for those who are suffering because the murderers of their loved ones were released, I can only empathize and sympathize. All our joys seem to be mixed with sorrows, and come at a price and a danger.

October 20, 2011

Every summer many of our friends disappear - they go away or get busy - So do we. But we spent much of this summer in medical procedures or waiting for the results so we missed our friends a lot. And now that the holidays are finally winding down, they are all coming back, and the social season is in full bloom. The holidays are late this year, and so are the parties and dinners and gatherings. We have a lot of different friends, but in this respect they are all the same - everything stops until the holidays. And then when it starts it is crazy - there is so much to talk about, so much to compare, so much to celebrate, so much to condemn.

But no one said anything about Khaddafi, even though his death was so recent. It was like a moot point with no way to speculate on.

October 21, 2011

Zeruya Shalev has some genuine things to say about the Shalit family in Haaretz today. So much about the prisoner trade deal has been heartless that it does me good to read something simple and true.

Apropos simple and true, but on the other side, Hizbollah has promised that the next war would begin in Tel Aviv. I believe him. I believe that I am in as much danger from Nasralla as my friend who lives a stone's throw from the Hizballah. To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

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