Tel Aviv Diary - September 17-21, 2012 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

September 17, 2012

To return to the tension of Israel after the comparative peace of the U.S. and Canada, is an incomprehensible experience. In the U.S. there are economic and political worries, sometimes very painful, but in Israel there is the constant threat of existence. What will we do when the city is rubble? some people discuss preparing an escape route. Others have already done it, An alternative citizenship for temporary shelter, a 'vacation' apartment in Florida, a residence abroad, study abroad that might lead to employment, all on the assumption that Iran will bomb Israel.

Not a brilliant manner of living.

But one thing is certain, this is the place to feel the new year.

September 18, 2012

Yes, Everyone is going around wishing each other a happy new year. A year of health, they add. What happened to 'a year of peace'? it seems to have disappeared from the lexicon. And even Haaretz says the oslo accords may be cancelled by the Palestinians. Still, still, I wish this year be a year of peace.

Mohammed in his great wisdom asked that there be no images of him, so that his followers would learn from his writings and not his face. But the hypersensitivity to the literal meaning of no images has sparked so many desecrations of the non-existent image a great deal of harm is being done. Now the editors of "Charlie Hebdo" announce the forthcoming publication of caricatures of Mohammed. I don't believe it. Who would be that silly to rile up an already riled up population? And what good would it do in the world?

September 20, 2012

As a jet-lag victim, I fear I am not a responsible diarist, but goodness that "Charlie Hebdo" caricature offends me. As a Jew, as a friend of Muslims, and as a human being. Enough already with insults! Let's get this year going with a change of direction in our lives. What earthly good can this do?

September 21, 2012

For years I've had this little dream - of visiting the town of Raqqa in Syria, known to be a sleepy place with a great deal of potential - lots of antiques, great landscapes, etc. The reason I picked Raqqa is that Ezi's father built the old bridge there during WWII and it was called the "Gut Bridge" until of course, the political situation made it uncomfortable. So today when the news that Raqqa was being bombed and many people killed there I began to follow the news there. It enveloped me - like here on you tube How absolutely terrible. May the town return to its dormant placidity as soon as possible.

I really didn't like the Cameri's production of Richard III we saw this evening. We're jetlagged and all that so we left as soon as he became king, and instead of watching the end I've been trying to figure out what was missing. And then, watching Raqqa, I understood, the way evil can develop in a human being - perhaps at first just as an act, a way to "prove oneself a villain," and then as a habit, and then to feed the habit - that was the part this production didn't get. I'm sure Assad, for example, began by imitating his father - to gain respect, maybe got stuck in patterns, and now it is a dyed-in-the-wool character.

September 21, 2012

The fall is here - the no-man's-land that the Sinai has become is beginning to bubble, and a fatal attack today in an area of the unwalled border is the first indication of what to expect this winter. How many years have I been afraid of Sinai? it will get much worse before it can get better, and Afghanistan will be a name brought up to compare it with.

Another item that augures a hard winter from a completely different direction is the fact that our daylight savings will end tomorrow. After all the petitions, campaigns, promises, our minister of the interior has once again decided that it is better for fasters on the day of atonement to have an earlier day and earlier night. It is not only that our days are to be shortened for no reason - not even a religious one - but that our entire lives are determined by fools.

On the other hand, the shabbat Tshuva, the most important sabbath of them all, is here. This is a day almost as important as Yom Kippur, and to me a very important day of reckoning

September 22, 2012

Even though we gained an hour today I can't seem to find the time. It's a family intensive period and as much as I'd like to reunite with friends and talk about social issues it seems impossible. When I discovered that there 100,000 Poets for Change had no event planned in Tel Aviv I suddenly felt it was crucial and asked Pappa's if they'd host it. Sure, he said. Then I thought, who would come? As much as we want change we are stuck in tradition.

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

To Karen Alkalay-Gut home