Friday, January 09, 2009

The News

We don't need to agree that the news stinks. It is rather fascinating to observe the difference in headlines. The Herald Tribune and Ha'aretz always differ in their approach to the news of the day, with the IHT usually referring to Hamas fighters as militants and Ha'aretz referring to them as terrorists. As for the Post, they take an even harder line as most of their op-eds and opinion pieces are overwhelmingly conservative. This is nothing new just extra interesting these days.

Best article read this week? This one, by Gideon Litchfield - describing exactly how I felt when the IDF hit the school in Gaza the other day, of course eerily reminiscent of the accidental hit in Kana in Southern Lebanon in 06. I also liked this excellent article by Natan Sharansky earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal but it doesn't admit to the overall problem of there's no winning in what we're doing down in Gaza.

There is no winning, you know. I don't want my neighbors in the South to live under the threat of fire. Our friend, Melina's parents live in Ashdod and needless to say it's been a scary time. They're Argentinean and have been here since 2001 or so. They live in a high-rise building and can't get to the shelter in time when the siren rings. The 'shelter' in the stairway and hope for the best. Melina tried to encourage them to come up to J'lem but they demurred saying they're okay, and they have things to do and they won't be run out of town. My friend Karyn's daughter Ayelet, who's trained as a Red Cross Technician spent a few days down in Ashkelon riding the ambulence and giving a break to overwhelmed workers in that area. Karyn just requested that she call in every few hours and her know that all was okay.

No way to live, right? But what about living under a blockade in the most densely populated place on earth with nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, nowhere to find shelter and very little in the way of fresh food, water, etc availble to you. It's tiresome to hear people say, 'well they voted in Hamas, what did they expect?' Who knows? I remain convinced that there are regular types of people who just want to live, buy their eggs, make a cake, have coffee in a cafe, go to work, send their kids out without worrying for their lives - all the things that I do. Again, I can't say why they don't think through what their lives have been about, how little their gov't has done for them, how their vaunted leadership puts them in the line of fire time after time. This is the part that is always strange and confusing to us here in Israel who assume that someone living in Gaza doesn't want what they've been forced into.

My breads are baked - oat/whole wheat sourdough and a whole wheat/rye foccacia. I will bring Shabbat in with Jess, Daniel and the babies as well as Mona and the kids. My children will be reasonably scrubbed and cleaned up, Natan will be in civilian clothes and I will hope for peace in the coming week. For myself and for my neighbors.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Separate Really?

Today, Jess and I went to the big mall with the babies. I stood outside Golf kids - the stroller wouldn't fit inside - while Jess took care of an exchange. A family entered the store - Mom, Dad, 2 little boys immaculately dressed in cargo pants and sweaters, baby in snowsuit held in Dad's arms. Picture perfect, right? Arab family, as it just so happens. Lots of Arab families at the mall always.

Last week, I went on a 2-day trip with visiting cousins, Karen and Barbara (my Aunt Nora's 2 eldest). We spent a lovely early evening at Hamat Gader, the natural hot springs Southeast of Tiberias. The water was steamy, the evening air crisp and the pools were filled with people of all ages and all nationalities - yes, there were Arabs there too.

Stop in at any hospital locally, and watch how Jews and Arabs mix. Nurses, doctors, support staff, families, patients - hospitals are an unusual oasis of 'getting along.'

Ramat Rachel, where I work out is a stone's throw from Tzur Bacher. Many Arab families join and use the pool and workout room. When the bombing first started last Saturday, I stopped to watch the news on my way out Saturday night. I stood with a few of the Arab workers at the pool and we all watched the news and the headlines regarding the rising death count. As I left the pool, the Muezzin was screaming - or so it seemed to me - and it didn't sound like prayers, it sounded much stronger. Turns out it was the sounds of demonstrations in the street.

It's such a small country here. Borders so close to each other. Not enough room to breathe and find a way to living together. And yet, on Thursday, when I stopped in both Acco to walk around the Old City (in the hopes of some good humus as well) and when we finally ate our humus in the Druze town of Kfar Yasif (which felt quite Arab to me), I wondered at our ability to 'live' together and yet not be able to make peace together.