Saturday, May 31, 2003

In case you were wondering why I'm busy busy (and on Shabbat, too)
having had little to say for a while... Bish hooked up my new screen, and it's great! Got me chattering.

Time for threats
Galei Tzahal says the US has prepared a list of sanctions to be imposed on Israel, should it fail to implement the Road Map. The list includes reassessing the use of US arms in the territories (meaning we won't be able to use any?) and preventing emergency assistance (nasty). The source is reportedly World Tribune.com. Alisa sent me the direct link and pointed out that Lynn linked to it, while I was sleeping.

What to change this time
Zeev Schiff discusses the failure of Oslo and warns that the lessons must be learnt if the Road Map is to succeed.


The failure of the Oslo agreements stems primarily from the flawed implementation and not from the inherent desire to
reach an agreement between the two peoples. These flaws, which cropped up quickly along the way and were based on lies and covering up for these lies, led to the armed confrontation that began in September, 2000.

I am yet to be convinced of the Palestinians' goodwill, but this is certainly part of the picture.

The Americans usually ignored the lies because for them the main thing was rapid progress, which was subsequently revealed to be a journey on shifting sands. If the system of lies and whitewashing
continues after the "road map" - failure is assured. Even now there are negative signs of the perpetuation of this shoddy system when the Americans say to the breaking of a substantive promise by the Palestinians that the main thing is to move forward. If there is not immediate attention to substantive violations, once again we will find ourselves in the post-Oslo mine field.

The lies he talks about are, on the Israeli side - the continuation of Jewish settlement in the territories; and on the Palestinian side - incitement and bloodshed.


On Thursday Our Sis and I went to see Bat Sheva Dance Company's latest - "Mamootot". We often go and see Bat Sheva. The first thing of theirs I saw was Ohad Naharin's "Anaphasa", of course, which is something else and not to be missed if it comes your way (unless you really really can't stomach abstract modern stuff, and even then it's worth a try). Mamootot was not Anaphasa but very powerful nevertheless. It kept surprising and brought up various emotions, quite amazing considering there were no lighting effects or any other effects for that matter and even the costume was uninteresting. The music was eclectic, sometimes dull and sometimes exciting and fun ("Was that Bob Dylan in Japanese??"). Most of all, the interaction with the audience was fascinating (and not at all embarrassing as we feared).

This was apparently their first piece with Ohad Naharin not as artistic director, if I understood correctly, but it had his fingerprints all over it and the program (distributed afterwards) called it "Mamootot by Ohad Naharin" (so I don't get what's changed, but never mind).

There goes my cred as a lowbrow.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Shabbat Shalom.

Potential
I am not the Knight
I am a pawn

Hardly noticeable
My moves are small

What made you think I could move like the knight?
I cannot leap

I would be a queen
But I need your help

Two steps taken are my limit
Will you ever understand?

I would be your queen
But I could never be the night

I haven't forgotten Yigal Amir, Diane. Nor Baruch Goldstein. Nor many others who can never accept giving up parts of the Land Of Israel, whatever may be waiting on the other side. But I also remember many right wing friends of mine eventually being swept along with the magic of Oslo and voting for Ehud Barak. No, he wasn't exactly a supporter of Oslo per se, was he? But he had ideas that could take us to good places, we thought, and voting for him was the result of a process these people and many others had been going through, of moving towards an understanding of what could be accomplished here, of starting to hope. Today most Israelis understand the price that will have to be paid. And they accept this price, if they can be convinced that the other side is willing and trustworthy.

The Palestinians seem to have been moving in the opposite direction.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

The Road Map is not really the point, is it?
So it's another suggestion of an agreement. You do this, they do that. They do that, you do this. Expected result: everyone loves each other.

But the problem is more than what to do, when and how. The problem is one of substance, and not just of details. We can argue about the nuances, or about this step or that measure, outlined in the map, there is certainly plenty to argue about, but we'd just be chasing our own tails because these particulars are not the real issue.

As a plan, as an idea, Oslo was excellent. Better than this Road Map. It didn't work not because it was a bad plan, it didn't work because, besides quite a few Israelis finding it difficult to swallow, the Palestinians seem to have seen it from the outset as a means to an end other than reconciliation and peace with Israel. And that is why in the long run it turned out to be such a disaster and that's why the Road Map is also probably doomed.

If we could see a change in the Palestinians, beyond the appearance of an unpopular Prime Minister without the necessary influence or political power to make a real difference, I would maybe be more hopeful.

Make no mistake. I do want it to happen. As in the past, I personally support concessions, painful and risky as they may be. But, as the Hebrew saying goes (slightly amended by yours truly), having been burnt in the past, I now use an oven glove even when I take something out of the fridge. Failing, as I do, to see a change on the other side, I ask myself why we should trust them now, after what they did with the last agreement, and, in fact, continue to do?

This does not mean that I think we should not try to do something with this Road Map and make use of this opportunity. It just means I am very doubtful, hopeful but doubtful, eager for someone to prove me wrong.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Yom Yerushalyim
Tomorrow is Jerusalem Day. Youngest is taking part in the ceremony at school. They've been rehearsing for weeks. I hadn't realized there were so many songs about Jerusalem. I'm even more amazed that I know them all, and even all the words of most of them.

Eilat is that place where you fill up gas after the long drive down the Arava road on your way to the Egyptian border, en route to Sinai. Or at least, it was. For us.

A few days in Sinai, or more accurately on the east coast of Sinai, in a basic straw hut on the water's edge, is our idea of the most heavenly holiday possible. We used to go with the girls every year at the end of August. We were there last in August 2000. We haven't been since the Terror War commenced and we won't go till it ends.

I had a lovely time in Eilat, but I really missed Sinai. The mountains, the sea, the wind.

The freedom.

It's a silly, shallow reason to want peace.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

I'm off this morning. Last night I had a minor trauma because my palm had appeared to have died. Replacing it, keyboard and all, is quite an expense, especially as a keyboard with Hebrew costs about three times as a keyboard without Hebrew (why is that?). Anyway, I had sadly prepared pen and paper to take to Eilat, thinking about the bore of having to type anything I wrote out afterwards (I'm such a brat). This morning palm is up and running again. Pen and paper are thankfully back in the drawer. I hope Bish hasn't placed an order yet.

Some people have been asking me to save Israel by saying something (this way or that) about the Road Map (sorry about the cynicism, uncalled for, but heartfelt). Maybe when I get back. What difference does it make what I think? No one cares what I think. The big guys will just have to sort it out. That's what they're there for. And we'll just go on dodging people who look like they're going to blow themselves up and hoping for the best, thank you very much.

See ya.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Beautiful photographs of Israel
You won't believe where I found this. It was the blogspot advertisement on the top of Allison's blog. I wonder if anyone else clicked through.

For Gunner and anyone else who was wondering
A stone laying is a memorial service which takes place at the grave following the erection of the grave stone, usually attended by family and close friends. I know that in Ashkenazi communities outside Israel this can take place many months after the burial. In Israel it is customary to have it thirty days after the funeral.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Six months, next week.
Hebrew date - Sunday (kaf gimel); Gregorian date - Wednesday (twenty eighth).

Remember that big exam Youngest did, Mum? You know - she and Bish didn't come to your stone-laying because she had to do the exam? No, you wouldn't remember that, would you? Well anyway, she passed it. You'd have been so proud.

Eldest is getting so grown up. She's been forcing me to do "mother" things, like take her to the hairdresser, the orthodontist, the eye doctor (she has started to ask about contacts). She even managed to get me to get a haircut myself, Mum. I finally did it. Can you ever forgive me for not doing it before you died?

Yesterday I went to Kitan and bought Eldest something that you told me you wanted to buy her, when you were already very ill and giving yourself future goals to keep you going (Yes, I knew that was what you were doing). At the checkout I was served by that cashier you used to know. You always loved Kitan.

Please say to me you are looking down and you can see, and then maybe it won't hurt so much, not being able to tell you.

Do you remember that time we went to Kitan and you bought me loads of clothes (a good day's shopping that was, I still wear them all), and then we crossed the road for a spaghetti lunch and you told me how much you missed Grandma and thought about her every day?

Here! Here!
Every word.

Especially the words that mention me ;-) (That Meryl is so nice).

Where am I?
Still can't be bothered with Reshet Bet radio station, which is a sort of radio CNN, giving news all the time. I used to have it on non-stop at work (My job does not require using a brain very often, so my brain is free to do other things). The news seems so repetitive lately. My friend at work fondly calls Reshet Bet "The Piguim (=terrorist attacks) Station" because that's the station you switch to, after a terrorist attack occurs, to get the particulars. They have tuned the interviewing of every idiot who was anywhere near the terrorist attack to a fine art. They are also forever talking to the most annoying commentators they can find on affairs of the day. Needless to say, they just love Yossi Sarid and Dr. Yossi Beilin.

I'm not even in the mood for classical music. Definitely in the pits. I'm listening to stations that play things like ABBA and other such upbeat and annoying oldies. Oldies?! Having ABBA on the oldies shows is bad enough but some of the other stuff they put on the oldies shows really make me feel ancient, stuff I was hearing for the first time, like, yesterday. Anyway, I'm listening to anything happy sounding that I can sing along too. Pretty pathetic but it seems to be working for me. Drives the girls in the next office up the wall though. My singing that is.

Besides that I'm busy preparing for my three day trip to Eilat next week. Eilat season is here in a big way. Everyone has just been, is there at the moment or is going next week. My trip is with work. Bish and the kids are not invited (Which is okay because I read somewhere once that you should take so many days holiday without partner and kids every year). It's one of those dirt-cheap deals that you get through work except that it means you have to spend three days there with your workmates. Now I don't know about you but I have a problem with my male coworkers seeing me in a swimsuit. I don't mind being sociable with them otherwise (even though the effort will probably kill me) or even going dancing with them all in the evening, but the swimsuit thing is probably where I draw the line. I have to work with these people, for goodness sake. I've been experimenting with all sorts of sarong type shmateh's from the back of the closet. Hopefully likeminded female coworkers and I will manage to sneak off to relatively uninhabited beaches. Not that I mean to actually bare my skin to the sun unprotected if at all possible, I'm not in the habit of frying myself, but I like swimming in the sea and the Red Sea is lovely to swim in.

Why am I going if I anticipate such hardship, you ask? Well, it's the same as listening to ABBA on the radio. Escapism, I guess. And it beats working.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

A good sign?
Gazans have taken to the streets to protest the use of Beit Hanun to launch Kassam rockets against Israeli towns and villages. It looks like this is a direct result of Israel's military activities there.

A few days later: I'm now thinking this was no more than a manipulation for the foreign press and not a gauge of popular sentiment in any way. A popular cause can easily get tens of thousands of Gazans (inhabitants of what is probably one of the most densely populated place in the world) out onto the street. Here there were a measly few hundred. I am less than impressed.

Monday, May 19, 2003

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall"
John Williams wrote me "Some guy on Brit Telly was talking about the wall around Israel as representing 'man's inability to live together'. He should come here because I've got a wall and I'm flaming well glad of it, as I like my privacy. Come to think of it I'll bet he's got a bloody wall around his home too. Why is a big wall somehow anti-social, I mean the Chinese are revered for theirs and it wasn't erected to grow peaches against, was it?"

And I was reminded yet again of Robert Frost and his wise neighbor.

While I am writing
Another one. A shopping mall in Afula. A woman blew herself up among people.

It looks like 4 murdered, at this point; 18 injured, 5 of them in critical condition.

So who rides the bus from a Jerusalem suburb into town at 5:45am? 44 year old Marina Tsahvirashvili does, or used to, on her way to work in the kitchen of Shaarei Tzedek hospital; so did 63 year old Yitzhak Moyal, on his way to the sorting room in Jerusalem's Central Post Office; and 42 year old Ghaleb Tawil, also a hospital worker; 34 year old supermarket worker Ronny Yisraeli; 55 year old Nelly Frob, maintenance worker in the police station in the old city; 52 year old Olga Brenner, a cleaner in a new immigrants radio station; and even 67 year old Shimon Ostinsky, once an economics lecturer in Kiev, now a guard in a car park in Jerusalem. Just ordinary, hard working people, scrambling for a living, ride the bus from a Jerusalem suburb into town at 05:45am.

Who would blow up such people? 19 year old Bassam Jamal Darwish Takruri, son of a well-to-do Hebron family, would.

I look at the pictures, on this side and on this side. Here - a good looking young warrior, from an affluent background, taking his fate in his hands, sacrificing himself for an exalted cause, to be remembered and revered forever as a hero; here - people who got up early day after day and worked hard and long to feed themselves and their loved ones, to pay the rent, to survive. Not striving to be heroes, not striving to be anything. Just people. Like you and me.

Where is the poetic justice in this? Why are the cold-blooded murders of these people seen by so many as fitting revenge of the weak? Why is this young, good looking, physically strong and economically secure kid perceived as being more desperate than a 67 year old economics lecturer making his way in the soft early morning light to his dead end job as a guard in a car park?

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Some other blogs have posted some pretty gruesome photos of the horrors of this morning's terrorist attack. The Frog posted one as a protest and actually called Reuters up to complain and suggested we all do the same. The photo Gil posted is worst. Not for the squeamish. Not for me.

It seems a gas balloon has exploded in a restaurant on Ibn Gabirol St. near Kikar Rabin. Quite close to us but we didn't hear the blast, just the ambulances. Ten people have been reported wounded. We thought it was a terrorist attack at first, but they're saying it looks like an accident.

And while Bish and I ponder if Sharon will throw out Arafat this time, especially considering his recent reiteration of his demand for full "Right of Return" for all Palestinians into pre-1967 Israel, look what has crept up on us:

Lag Ba'Omer (also known as an opportunity for every Jew to become a raving pyromaniac for one night)

It actually didn't creep up. Tel Aviv kids have been on a wood-gathering rampage for months now, our usually gentle offspring included. The Security Room, of Iraq War fame, immediately became a hiding place for choice planks of wood, once plastic sheeting had been dismantled.

Numerous young horrors have been sighted daily, rushing round in amok, pushing purloined supermarket carts full of the booty of raids on construction sites and other quality wood sources (Strangely reminiscent of the looters in Baghdad, only shorter). It is a well-known fact, after all, that the size of your bonfire reflects directly on your worth as a human being.

An important reminder to all Israelis, in view of tomorrow night's festivities:
Don't forget to close your windows if you don't want your home to stink from the smell of the bonfires!

Youngest's bonfire begins at 7 pm. We're to bring a potato covered in aluminum foil, 2 cans of sauerkraut (That's a new one. They don't really expect any kids to eat that, do they?) and wood for the fire.

[=================================]
(This depicts the last part bring cut by my inner censor. Sorry.)

Alisa has fallen down a new rabbit hole. A very stylish one too.

You turn on the radio at 6:15 am to hear what's new with the strike and you hear the words "...that was major general Mickey Levy, commander of Jerusalem District Police..." and you know, even before you hear another word, that there has been another terrorist attack.

7 murdered; 20 wounded. A bus near the French Hill in Jerusalem.

You continue making sandwiches for school; you prepare lunch on plates for the kids to warm up in the micro when they get home; you wake everyone up and you leave for work. Another day. Another week.

On the way out you glance at the newspaper. The headlines tell of yesterday's terrorist attacks, in Casablanca, in Hebron. Old news already.

We are told that our early childhood shapes us into the people we are to become.

But when we have become those people, the so-called formative years of early childhood, important as they may have been, seem to fade into vague memories of just a few scenes, played over and over in our minds, until we're not sure if they ever really happened; if they are no more than dreams or fantasies.

What happens if our early childhood has no resemblance in any way to the life we live today? What if everything is now completely different from what our early childhood prepared us for? The sights, the sounds, the smells, even the language we talk, the accepted behavior expected of us by society, by our loved ones? What happens to those hazy early childhood memories then?

Maybe they become so distant as to make them appear to have happened in a previous life, or not at all.

But every so often we hear a word, spoken in a long forgotten dialect; we notice a scent, so unmistakable, so familiar. And then it's gone. And we are filled with such a feeling of yearning, of longing, for another life, another world.

For some, the world in which I spent my early childhood is still home.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Hiatus summary
I enjoyed it. A week of (almost) no writing, at least no writing for "public" consumption, showed me that although I enjoy the ongoing rambling I engage in on Not a Fish, it does actually require me to sacrifice, to a certain degree, the bliss of dwelling on nothing. Not that I dwelled on nothing this week. I was quite engaged with the planning and carrying out of Youngest's birthday party, since I was the entertainer (Guaranteed to add to one's white hairs. Luckily I now hide mine beneath a layer of chemicals, so no one's the wiser). I also spent the week contemplating a certain new aspect of Youngest's education that has come up, which will require us to make some decisions, and reading up the subject.

What I didn't do was take more than a very mild interest in the week's events. I hardly noticed the general strike; I did not worry myself with the Road Map rhetoric; or with certain utterances made by PM Sharon and a-Ra'is Arafat. However, I couldn't refrain from reacting with satisfaction and interest to the belated developments (as in: about time too) concerning the particularly militant and obnoxious Northern Division of the Israeli Islamic Movement (The top guys were arrested, as a result of their extensive economic support of Hamas and the families of murderers and their part in channeling foreign aid to the same), but not enough to find the time to blog about it, apparently.

The uncertainty of life is such that it is beneficial to take a breather from the news occasionally. They have a way of catching up sooner or later anyway, if you like it or not.

Friday, May 16, 2003

It's over!
Free again, free again!
My idea of hell would be to have me being sent back down to Earth as an entertainer at children's birthdays. For eternity. Aaaaaaaah! (I hope God's not reading this).

More tomorrow.

Monday, May 12, 2003

I'm very busy preparing for Youngest's birthday party on Friday afternoon. I hope blogging will pick up afterwards.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Shabbat Shalom
So I realize I am more or less the last person to link to the Hasidic Rebel. I noticed him but hadn't had time to take a look. The ultra-religious world fascinates Israelis. Books about it, fiction and otherwise, are extremely popular, a peek into our past, maybe. You all know Naomi Ragen, I suppose, even if you haven't read any of her books, but there are quite a few others. I was particularly moved by Dov Elboim's disturbing novel about life in a Haredi yeshiva as experienced by a young teenage boy. I don't think it has been translated

What could be more intriguing than a blog written from inside that world, and by a dissenter no less? There is just something so alluring about looking into a different world, and also seeing our world as others see it.

As a child I was always drawn to other little girls I came across that were different - like the Palestinian schoolgirls with long pants under their long striped school dresses and, of course, the ultra-religious girls with their red woolen tights. Their tights always seemed to be red, no matter what color the rest of their clothes were. Our skirts were all way above the knee in those days. The Arab and ultra-religious girls in their long clothes seemed so exotic.

Isn't it a fascination with the different that draws us to Salam for instance, who rewards us with his unique point of view of life in Iraq? I suppose that's why some people find us Israeli bloggers interesting, too, although we're hardly as intriguing. I don't think our lives are particularly unusual, security considerations aside. This guy has just started writing about life as a technician in the Israeli Air Force. Would that be an airplane technician, I wonder. It always blows my mind to think about the responsibility those guys have. Just think of the tens of thousands of bolts on a fighter plane, for one thing. Imagine mucking up. Brrrrr. Same feeling about people who fold parachutes.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Salam Pax tells about The War.
Diane helped him post. I've only just started to read it myself, and I've got to stop now to go to work, but from what I've read so far... well, just go and read it.

I can never access him at that URL, so I get to him here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Do it yourself fireworks. A Yom Haatzmaut present for Allison.

New guy - hillbill

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Happy Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day)



Go read the important stuff at Gil's.

Update: Like every year, we went to see the fireworks in Kikar Rabin this evening. Last year suicide attacks were daily events when Yom Haatzmaut came around so besides us there were about three other celebrants in the Kikar (not counting the hundreds of police) and the atmosphere was very tense. This year things were back to normal. We have a favorite bench in a side road with a good view, because we don't like to be too near for the fireworks and the rest of the show doesn't interest us. You get a crick in you neck from looking up at the fireworks display if you're right underneath and the bits fly into your eyes. The only difference was that this year we had to do without Eldest's company. This year Eldest demanded to go on her own to hang out in the Kikar with her friends. I nearly had a heart attack, but what could I do?

About Yom Hazikaron
Allison Kaplan Sommer, Gil Shterzer and Jonathan Edelstein.

This Hebrew site has the names, personal stories and burial places of all 21,540 who fell in Israel's wars. You can type in the names of people you know who have been killed and read their stories.

I saw something in the cemetery this year that I hadn't noticed before. I walked along the wall that divides the military cemetery from the civilian cemetery. Right along the wall, on the civilian side, are rows of graves belonging to deceased parents of fallen soldiers. Most of them have inscriptions telling when and where their soldier was killed (besides the usual information about the deceased). Some have inscriptions with a few words about the specific wish of the parents to be lain to rest near the grave of their child. One or two graves have inscriptions both in memory of parents and siblings of the deceased who were killed in the Holocaust and in memory of a child killed in war in Israel.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Yom Hazikaron (Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel's Wars)
Many come early in the morning. Some come with little folding chairs, others have with them buckets and brushes to clean up a bit before the crowds start coming. A soldier girl waits at the gate and greets each person with a flower and bottles of water. So no one should faint in the heat. It's always so hot.

No one asks for directions. Everyone knows the way. Many have been coming here year after year on this day for over half a century. For some it is their first time. Each and every one of them would rather not be here. What would they not give to have been spared this?

Gradually the stream of people increases. By nine o'clock there is a steady flow. By ten o'clock the tension is rising as people begin to be anxious that they will be late, more and more of them passing through the gates all the time. They are from all walks of life, old and young, rich and poor, healthy and frail, Jews - Ashkenazi and Sephardi, religious and secular, but also Druze, Bedouin. United in grief, they make their way slowly along the familiar paths, under the unrelenting sun that does not know to distinguish them from the rest of us. By a quarter to eleven there are thousands flooding through the gates, a sea of people now rushing to get there in time.

And at one minute to eleven everyone is in place, each standing by the grave of a loved one. A hush falls. Any moment now it will start, the three-minute siren that opens the ceremony, the memorial service. For these are the families and close friends of the 21,540 fallen Israeli soldiers and members of the Israeli security forces. These are the people who pay the price.

This is the real Israel you seek. Come here on this day, for this is where it is to be found. Come and see them. They are all here, tens of thousands of them, and more. The parents who buried their children, never to dance at their weddings; the children who grew up not knowing their fathers, with no one to call "Abba" (Daddy); the wives who grew old alone with their memories of young handsome husbands, of love that was not destined to mature; the men who held their friends in their last moments, forever to ask themselves why they were allowed to continue their lives.

This is their day. On this day we share their pain with them. On this day we honor them and their terrible sacrifice.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Before I turn in...
Our Sis sent me this


Euro-English
The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European nation rather than German which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of the "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with the "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords containing "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

If zis mad yu smil, pleas pas it on to oza pepl.

Update: Steven Den Beste tells us that "the above is loosely adapted (to be generous) from a classic article called "Meihem in ce Klasrum", which was originally written by Dolton Edwards.

It was reprinted in the classic collection "A Stress Analysis of a Strapless
Evening Gown", where I first read it while in high school, about 1970. (In
that version, the target years had been updated, and that's the version
linked to above.)"

Yalla bye
Amram Mitzna (who?) just resigned from his position as chairman of the Israeli Labor Party. Maybe this time the party will choose for their chairman someone people will want to vote for and not some dreary Meretz look-alike. I am not heart broken (understatement). His resignation speech was uninspiring: Whine whine whine, as usual. Yawn.

OK so I went a bit overboard with the flag thing. I bought a little flag for the car and a big flag for the apartment (They're pretty cheap and it's easier than digging out last year's rather faded flag from the bottom of the laundry basket. And car flags don't last very long). After paying I noticed there were bigger flags for sale in the store, so I quickly switched the one I'd bought for a bigger one and paid the difference. When I got home I discovered that the bigger flag was really BIG. Really really big. I put it up anyway. I had to squish it a bit to make it shorter so the bottom part wouldn't block the window of the woman who lives underneath us. We get on her nerves as it is, because we dare to water our plants and because we're there. Anyway, there it is. The really really bigger flag. Hopefully Bish won't shoot me. Maybe he won't notice.

Update: He didn't notice.

And more about flags:
"Funny, I had a similar incident when I bought my flag at Steimatsky's here in London. I too went overboard with the size of the flag, but mine will drape my London flat's balcony. By the way - size does matter these days. So, if anyone is reading this in London and looks up from Regents Park and sees the Blue and White Israeli flag - they should remember that I also read and highly endorse imshin's blog.
Let me wish you a chag sameach and to my beloved Israel, the only country in the world where we truly belong. I weep for and remember all our men, women and our children who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we all may continue our legacy. May Israel thrive and continue to be the hope for us all.
Long may it prosper!

Jenny in St Johns Wood"

Oh, yes, the Road Map
Gil has kindly supplied us with links to the full document. In two languages. Groan. There's no escaping it now. I'm going to have to read the damn thing. As proof of my willingness to tackle the subject seriously, I've even printed it out. In two languages. I've finished the latest mindless escapism I've been reading, so I really have no excuse.

I settled down yesterday after lunch to read it. The print was sooo small. I woke up an hour later, greatly refreshed but no more knowledgeable. Maybe I shouldn't have attempted to read it in bed after a big Shabbat lunch.

I really do mean to read it. I just can't be bothered. This morning I asked Bish what he thinks about it, the Road Map that is, not my inability to muster up interest in it. He always reads everything and then has intelligent analysis to offer (I've long wanted him to write on Not a Fish as the token clever guy, but he refuses). Guess what? He hasn't read it either!

Dad also says he's stopped reading analysis about the conflict.

I've read in a few places that I'm a real Israeli (teehee, fooled you all). Could there be anything more embarrassing? Well, yes actually, there could, but forgive me if I don't elaborate. I'm not sure what a real Israeli is. What would a fake Israeli be? I'd like to point out that I don't see how I could be seen as representing anyone but myself. However I do think my disinterest in the Road Map is pretty representative. Jaded, I think would be the word Diane would use. Right now I'd much rather watch a silly romantic comedy with Eldest than the news. The sillier the better. The Princess Diaries was perfect. So was that one about the not-so-dumb blond that becomes a hotshot lawyer.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Shabbat Shalom.

Eldest has gone off to a Bat Mitzva party. She asked me to drop her and a friend off at Dizengoff Center shopping mall today after school so they could get presents. You can't just get any old present, it's a Bat Mitzva, she explained, when she saw the look on my face and proceeded to break a tooth (I don't know if the tooth thing is connected). The stuff in the local shop just won't do.

Now I'm not crazy about Eldest going to Dizengoff Center on her own. First of all, it's had a few fires in recent years and I don't believe they've really done enough about making it fire safe. Another thing is that it's enormous, easy to get lost in and has a lot of out of the way nooks and crannies, some of which are congregation places for freaky sorts of youngsters - not the kind I want congregating round my sweet eleven and a half year-old. To top it all, there are a lot of warnings about impending terrorist attacks and a dangerous, desperate British ISM peace-activist is said to be on the loose in town, having failed to blow himself up among Israelis enjoying music on Tuesday night.

The compromise was that Bish took them to the Ayalon mall in Ramat Gan and stuck around till they'd finished shmying round the stores that sell pink fluffy stuff to female adolescents.

I'm probably just being hysterical. That's what Eldest tried to tell me anyway. Actually, I like Dizengoff Center, I'm just nervous about Eldest going there without me. Eldest tried to reason with me that fires and terrorist attacks can happen anywhere and anytime and that they're not a good enough reason not to leave the house (I didn't tell her about the congregating freaky youths).

Nothing as art
It appears silence belongs to John Cage. Keep talking or he might just sue you. And interesting secrets belong to Anna Livia Lowendhal-Atomic. Spill the beans or else!

Supercilious twerps. Here's to us lowbrows.

And to Amir Benayoun, mon amour.

The meaning of Peace
Apparently the International Solidarity Movement of pro-Palestinian (so-called) peace activists (or more accurately: Human Shields for Terrorists) is a convenient vehicle for terrorists to infiltrate Israel. According to the UK Telegraph, the terrorists who perpetrated the latest murderous attack came to Israel as ISM activists.

Seen on LGF. Tomcat, on LGF comments, put it best, quoting Dylan - "Sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace".

Thank you Diane for this early morning rush of adrenaline.

The ISM homepage says "While the world focuses intently on the unfolding events in Iraq, international ISM activists are under attack. Wake Up Israelis!" I suggest an update: "While the world focuses intently on the unfolding events in Iraq, international ISM activists are slaughtering Israelis. Wake Up ISM activists!"

According to Haaretz, Israel won't be letting these people enter the country any more. Seeing as they already lie about their intentions in order to gain entry, I do hope the security forces will actually take active steps to throw them out, and not just bar their entry.

Meryl also writes about this, while Laurence generously contributes to the Human Shield effort.