Tel Aviv Diary September 5-9, 2006- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - september 5, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

September 5, 2006

Here's something that will make you laugh - i left the United States when Nixon was elected President. It was at least one of the considerations. I thought you couldn't get any more corrupt. Yesterday I was in a taxi driven by a guy who is also a criminal lawyer - and the revelation came upon me that i do not know if i am capable of supporting honesty anymore. When Olmert was elected some of my family supported him. "He's a CROOK!" I exclaimed. "Yes, but he'll be OUR crook." I was told. Maybe that's all we can do. Maybe honest people can't survive in the world against Putin and Iran - maybe we need a criminal - but one that works for us.

So now I'm looking at the NYS democratic primary ballot and i can't decide - honest Tasini? savvy Clinton? Honesty is not a local fault.

September 6, 2006

Thank goodness I'm not in politics - would be going around with my foot in my mouth all the time. For example, all the news around here last night was the video just released by the Lebaneses of Ron Arad, taken as hostage 20 years ago. I never understood why no information was ever released about him - what advantage there would be to keeping all knowledge about him secret. Since -alive or dead - he was never offered in trade of any captured soldiers or imprisoned terrorists, the only reason he was never returned or facts about him made public, it is pretty clear that he is being used to inculcate fear and confusion, and demonstrate a primitive power over us. And the only way to counter that is to ignore it publicly. And yet we have followed our hearts and constantly returned to the subject - constantly spoke loudly and carried a very tiny stick.

The same was true of the kidnapped soldiers murdered in 2000 and -- because that was so successful in creating responses in us -- the soldiers kidnapped this summer. We overreact. Publically. But I don't mean at all that there should have been no military action - there should have been a more thorough immediate military response, more secret negotiations, and as little as possible in the media.

"I know I want to devote my life to activism," an Arab-Israeli student told me yesterday. Then she added a list of what she has done so far, and it was clear she was doing exactly what i see as ideal - communication, education, friendship. As Ghandi once said, there is no path for peace. Peace is the path.

And in answer to a few queries, the "Thin Lips" site is now here. You can download the songs there too.

September 7, 2006

In the cafe called Marilyn Monroe today, I kept overhearing conversations of other people. While we were debating Israeli poetry the people to my left were discussing whether the blockade on Lebanon should be lifted. The girl was very voluble - weapons were pouring in to the area that will be used against us, and all traces of the captured soldiers was being squirreled out beyond our reach. The boy she was talking to was more concerned with the Lebanese citizens, the need to rebuild their lives. On my right was an elderly couple complaining about the budget cuts in the government, and behind me were two women debating the exact nature of the presidential sexual harassment. Of course we all soon reverted to more personal conversations, but for a few moments almost all the major issues in the country were being discussed. "And not one of them agrees with the other!" said my friend. "Isn't it wonderful?"

September 8, 2006

Although must of us do not leave our neighborhoods, especially on Friday mornings when so much has to be done before the weekend, circumstances brought me to four different areas in one day. In Struma Square in Holon, where you could find a dress for 20 shekel, and there were lots of buyers, there was no doubt that times are tight. In Jaffa too, the wares were basic, what is needed. It all reminded me of this country when i first came here, and everyone seemed to have very little. In Ramat Aviv, the concept as well as the idea was for luxury - even the coffee that cost more than double was elegant. No place to find a needle and thread in Ramat Aviv. Or a simple nightshirt. These neighborhoods are 5 minutes and a world away.

September 9, 2006

Let's motor up north today and see what's left of katyusha damage. People I know have been working hard to eliminate the traces of this.

(I'll put the pictures up tomorrow)

And indeed, most of the houses have been fixed - roofs with gaping holes where the katusha entered into the living room and then exploded the walls and the shingles outward, windows and shutters. I kind of suspect that's what happened what the people as well. The katyushas fell inside them, but the outward explosion hasn't happened yet.

We paid our respects to the memorial for the 12 soldiers killed by a katyusha rocket near the memorial for Joseph Trumpeldor.

And we visited Rosh Pina, with all its spirituality and good food.

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

To Karen Alkalay-Gut home

you are visitor numberCounter