Saturday, January 25, 2003

Fluey Shabbat ramblings
Well, I’m sorry to say we didn’t get to Mitzpe Ramon. I’ve been in bed since Wednesday, feeling sick and sorry for myself, getting up only to feed the girls and hazily publish a post here and there. Funny that my hazy posts managed to attract a bit of attention. Why is that? It’s the same when I’m really tired. I seem to write best when my head isn’t working and I’m writing with my stomach. This hardly makes me feel good about myself but there you are. Anyway, I was quite sure I’d be better by Friday, so we made plans for the trip. By making plans I mean we decided to go. I couldn’t find the energy to pack any bags.

Well, on Friday morning I was worse, so we stayed home.

I spent the weekend reading, mostly. I’m reading Ben Gurion’s biography by Michael Bar Zohar (the abridged version). It’s a bit gossipy for my liking, so far, not enough analysis, and the Hebrew is way too flowery, but it’s the only Ben Gurion biography they had at my local public library. I hear Shabtai Teveth’s is the one to read. I don’t really like reading biographies, but this one’s an easy read for a bed ridden fuzzy brain.

Not being able to sit for long by the computer, I typed out newspaper articles and some of the longer blog posts and read them in bed. A few weeks ago, I bought the Friday editions of both Yediot Aharonot and Maariv. You already know we subscribe to Haaretz. Bish and I were both struck by the enormous amounts of paper we were needlessly consuming. It may not be very cheap typing out articles but at least we’re not supporting such shameless waste.

So what’s been happening?
That Diane has been back for a while, you probably already know. Lynn B. has a new, attractive, home via Blogmosis. She links to this excellent frogginess about the big mistake of what’s left of the Israeli left.

“Now that the Olso bubble has burst (a process that began at Camp David and Taba and reached a peak at the Passover Massacre), the Labour party ought to be preparing themselves for the future. They do not need to take on the Likud position, as proven by the more pragmatic and moderate statements of Shinui. But some how, the Labour generals can't stop fighting for the last peace. They can't give up that dream that somehow, in some way, they're going to make a peace-maker out of Arafat. They're preparing their new Maginot Line - or road map - irrelevant of what reality might present. They're presenting their magic solutions irrelevant of whether they're suited to the conditions of peace”. Read the rest, it’s really good..

And more on the same subject by Bret Stephens in the Jerusalem Post. He discusses Mitzna’s contempt for his countrymen and women who see things differently from him and why that makes him the wrong choice for prime minister.

I must admit I’m a bit tired of all this talk. The mainly left leaning papers here are busy trying to dissect what they perceive as the illogical herd behavior of the majority of the nation. They can’t understand why hungry people in development towns would rather vote Likud. There is constant frustrated chatter about this on serious TV discussion panels, as well (the kind only lefties and Bish ever watch). If we are to believe the more prominent and vocal commentators, all we have to do is get out of the territories and a new morning will dawn, peace will reign ever after in the Middle East and the development towns will be paved with gold. In short the Messiah will be at the gates of Jerusalem on his white donkey. They claim that regular people can’t see this because they are being fed a false reality by the right. This is rather absurd considering that it is they (and not the right) that more or less dictate the agenda of the media. According to the prevalent punditry, this entire war thing with the Palestinians is no more than a political spin to keep the people from noticing that they are hungry and miserable. The thing is that most regular people don’t seem to buy this. They do perceive this Terror War as an existential threat and would probably rather be hungry and poor than dead or worse. What is amazing actually, is that in spite of all this free propaganda the left gets from the media, the people seem unmoved.

Meretz is exasperated that despite all their good deeds in slums and development towns, the residents of these places won’t vote for them. They just can’t understand it. But it’s quite logical really. The people living in these places can clearly see Meretz fighting for Palestinians’ rights more than for theirs. And besides, is there anything worse than accepting charity from someone who pities you and, you suspect, despises you? This, by the way, could be one of the reasons why the Palestinians don’t seem to be too enamored by the Israeli left either, besides in a rhetorical capacity. At least the right bestows a measure of respect on them by perceiving them as a threat.

This whole election thing is making me sick. I’m not feeling very hopeful about the ability of creating a decent government. It just doesn’t add up, however you look at it.

And while we’re on the subject, I’ve been reading that some bloggers seem to think that ”Aleh Yarok” (Green Leaf) is a good bet as a protest vote. Well, for your information, an article in Haaretz’s secondary growth, Tel Aviv local rag Ha’ir, a few weeks back revealed that Green Leaf number one, Boaz Vechtel, is actually ultra-radical-left-wing (sorry, no link, they don’t have an online presence). Be careful what you do while under the influence.

So what else have we got? Iraq. Oh, yes, Iraq. I’d nearly forgotten.
Haaretz interviewed former UN biological arms chief, Richard O. Spertzel. He explains why the U.N. inspectors won’t find anything and why the only way to disarm Saddam is by force (duh). I wonder what the O. stands for.

Tom Paine, who I regard as one of my main BlogDads (although he had a different name back then) cheered me up no end in my sick bed with this hilarious Donald Rumsfeld press briefing. And if that was not enough, he cracked me up with this description of what a space shuttle flight would look like if the whole crew were Israeli. Not to be missed.

Tom Paine wrote the aforementioned biblical press briefing as a birthday gift for Judith Weiss of Kesher talk, who has this gem to offer (no connection to the biblical stuff). Tom has thrown down the biblical gauntlet, suggesting we all do our bit for the birthday girl. What does he want from me? Can’t he see I’m not well? (Sneeze, sniffle, sniffle, cough, splutter). In my distress I cried to the Lord, and he heard me.
Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
What shall be given to thee? or what shall be done to thee, thou false tongue?
Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.
Woe is me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!
My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.
I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.

That about sums it all up, but not very suitable for a birthday celebration. First one to come up with what that is, gets to be Knesset member for Shas (If it’s a man. If it’s a woman, she gets to marry a Knesset member for Shas and raise his seventeen kids).

This is too much for me. I’m going back to bed. By the way, there is a prison near Beer Sheva called “Ohalei Keidar” (the tents of Kedar). Maybe there is hope yet, and this is straight from the mouth of King David himself.

While we’re on that positive note here’s another comment about the leaky Israeli prosecution, written by a lone ranger who doesn’t think Liora Glatt-Berkovich deserves a medal. Somehow I don’t see him becoming CNN’s White House correspondent any time soon. Never mind. I’m rambling. Anyway, I’m being unfair. There was another in Maariv, but most of you can’t read that, can you? This is just as well, because it’s full of inaccuracies. On the other hand, I thought this one, in Ynet very amusing. Hebrew readers should go read it. Like the best Yiddish jokes, it just doesn’t translate. Sorry.

* * *

I was awakened by the warmth of the soft afternoon sun on my face. I could hear the sounds of a happy family in the street below. The young couple had taken their little children for lunch on the beach and they had now brought them to see their grandparents. What I was hearing was the happy meeting. The grandmother was asking her grandchildren if they had had a good time, and what they had eaten. The son was off to park the car and the daughter-in-law was chatting to her father-in-law. ‘Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy’, I whispered to them from my bed. Happy carefree moments like this are precious and far too brief.

A photo of my mum's I have always loved has her reading a bedtime story to R.T. He is about three and is listening with what looks like a detached air. The wonderful thing in the photo is my mum's face. She is completely engaged in what she is doing. The story and her little boy are all that exist at that moment. She is reading to him with all of her being.

The framed picture of Mum I have put on my desk at work portrays a similar scene. Mum on the beach with my two girls. The girls are much younger than they are now. It's a sunny winter day like today and they are collecting shells. Here too, she is completely engrossed in the serous business of finding the best shells. I know that when they get home, she will sit them down in the kitchen to paint the shells with goash paints. What a lovely time they are having. The girls are probably staying with my parents for a few days. They will come home in a few days time and I will find their little plastic bags of painted shells among their things, along with their drawings and their freshly laundered and nicely folded clothes. Mum reveled in family life.

On Thursday Dad said it's been eight weeks. I'm not counting the weeks. I'm looking at the dates. Here's the Hebrew date, kaf gimel - tomorrow; here's the Gregorian date, 28th - Tuesday. One month. Two months.

Last night I had a dream about her. No, not a dream. A nightmare. I woke up in a fright at one o'clock and was afraid to go back to sleep. I ran into the living room to find Bish like the girls do. We sat together till three and Bish made me laugh.

Nothing can really prepare you for this loss, can it? I asked youngest if she remembers collecting shells with Grandma. She doesn't. But she remembers going to the beach with Grandpa and Grandma and playing in the sand between them. Everyone has their own memories.

Update: A reader comments: "Regarding the vote in development towns: you may be right that people there are voting for the Likud because they believe that is the right choice in the situation, and I'm not saying they're wrong, but you should not ignore the tribal nature of much of this vote. In the Post they quote people saying they will always vote Likud because of the way the left and the Ashkenazis treated them in the 50s! This whining about past perceived wrongs is uncomfortably like the Arab world which loves to go on and on about being "victims"."