Tel Aviv Diary September 26, 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - September 26 - 30 , 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

September 26, 2005

A new site to visit to help combat antisemitism. ENGAGE. I dedicate this paragraph to John Williams.

What is going on in Gaza? A kassam cleanup?

I was talking to Amit who teaches in Sderot about the rockets. She is very matter of fact about them - Yes, she says, her windshield is cracked from a kassam fragment. No, she isn't scared - you can't die from a kassam unless one falls on your head. But you know how they always say in the news that the rocket fell in an open field? Well, it's across the road from their college. The spirit of the people there, she says, is amazing, and makes it worth while to be there. And when I ask her again if she is frightened, she says it isn't high season for kassams right now.

September 27, 2005

While I'm gone, here are some links for the left: USA: "a href=""> Meretz USA France: Le Cercle Bernard Lazare Italy Sinistra per Israele

I may be online, but it won't be the same if I'm not on the spot! So Shana Tova to you all!

September 28, 2005

Had hoped to leave a tidy Israel, but the turmoil is as usual.

In the mean time I seem to have caught the flu that's going around. If you see a bent-over-double poet wandering around the airports today, it may be me.

I should be okay by the time i get to NY. If it hadn't been such q holiday ridden time I would have looked around to do a reading while in NY. But there's only a day or two in the week when we're not celebrating or fasting or whatever. Still, I got together a really great powerpoint poetry reading called postcard from israel and i'd hate to waste it.

September 29, 2005

It was pretty standard procedure. Being from the Middle East I was profiled, and felt right at home being searched and apologized to. Some guy last year asked me in an argumentative tone what was my opinion of profiling. And I said, I'm all for it. He almost choked on his coffee. But come on, if we're still profiling little old ladies because they carry computers or have a twinkle in their eyes, then we don't have it down to a science, and we're probably letting the more sophisticated terrorists through.

I write this from Newark, where our connecting flight got screwed up. We wound up spending the night here, but even though my family is all around here, I didn't have the strength to call. The Continental flight was so terrrible - only partly their fault - that i was for the first time in my life only ready to fall down on the HoJo bed they provided.

Usually these flights are pretty uneventful, no matter what airlines. But the dangerous economy is everywhere in evident in the cabin of Contintental - from the light bread-heavy meals to the peeling wallpaper to the broken tv equipment which didn't matter anyway because the films were so bad.

I was reduced to bringing out my halva reserves and playing chess with myself.


And I'm going to have to go online to see what's going on in Israel, because 24 hours away can see a changed world.

September 30, 2005

In a restaurant called "Tangiers," our waiter, named "Sureal," introduces us to the fantasy world of San Diego. Richard, in LA, tells me that the 'cardboard' setting of San Diego is connected to the fact that it was built after WWII. After I hang up and drop off again into a jet-lagged stupor, I remember: Israel was pretty much built-up after WWII. But in Israel each structure, whenever it was built, and by whomever it was built (except maybe Hassan Bek) looks like it was hard won. Hassan Bek is the exception because it was built with the unwilling taxes of the local Arabs by the Turks, and looks wonderfully self-satisfied. But every other place in Israel, it seems to me, was made with hard work and pain and meaning.

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