Friday, February 24, 2017

couldnt do it anymore..

as a single man i was tireless.. i was able to rationalise everything that was going on around us and then drown the bad in a surf session..

it was more or less easy..

telaviv is a great town - so much is happening there - in spite of everything.. and there are so many things that need to be spited..

and telaviv does it.. sticks a finger up to all of those things and blows raspberries in their ugly faces and gets on with trying to be a mini city..

but even this bubble doesnt have an impenetrable surface and the illusion of isolation no longer achieves that suspense of belief as soon as your kids arrive into your life..

in the beginning it was paradoxically some kind of bliss.. i lathered my soul with my daughter's integration into a jewish and arab microcosm.. xmas trees excited her.. mohammad was the name of the funniest kid she knew with long hair and an enviable ponytail.. until this day she asks for a mohammad ponytail even though i dare guess that the kid has long been forgotten otherwise..

she was a part of something special.. i bragged about it a lot.. sullying statuses with arguments as to who was more delusional and defending my views at the cost of friendships diluted by time and on FB life support..

but as the wars broke out - one after the other - and as the nightmares piled on - steeling my nights and offering me a crash self-applied course in post traumatic stress disorder - i began to fear for the minds of my kids.. how long would it take them until they started categorising people like a filing cabinet.. how long would it take them before hamas and hizballa and daesh and whoever became their boogymonsters..

so we left.. i dont know how long for.. and i dont know what the roadmap is.. but i had to make sure they grew up without the paranoia.. that moment when israelis and arabs say to you you dont understand you grew up elsewhere thats what i wanted them to have.. the clarity of elsewhere..

i know i havent written for a long time anyway but this venture may well rob me of my sense of part ownership over this dispute - maybe thats what i wanted.. so these may be my parting words from peace blogging..

and in case  they are i wish us all peace shalom salaam and all things in between..

if there is one thing i have learned over time it is that peace is more than just the absence of war.. it is not a dichotomous option simply to be elected and then acted up but rather a choice that requires social construction..

putting down guns may deliver a cease fire like the one we have with egypt and jordan but peace is much more than that.. and in turn can only survive if people go out of there way to humanise the other.. the little known latent perk is that doing so is so much fun :)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

eat cake..


my daughter had her birthday last week.. we celebrated in the park in yaffo.. her kindi is multicultural anyway.. we have mostly jews in her group but also christian and muslim arabs | refugees | foreign workers | interfaith families | cross-cultural families and all continents are represented..

it was a hot steamy afternoon.. the breeze was cruelly scorching.. but we soldiered on.. it had to happen.. so off to the park we went counting down two hours of open air sauna conditions..

the cake - the blood sugar spiking crescendo - was the tipping point - people just started to pour home as their sleeves were saturated with forehead juice.. and we were left with a 2/3s full tray..

an arab clan just near us was busy debating where they would eat and i interjected with the offering of the left over chocolate cake..

they blessed us and adopted the carb..

Thursday, June 9, 2016

only 4 dead..

there was a terrorist attack in telaviv last night.. 4 innocent civilians dead and 16 wounded.. it rarely settles on the original count.. typically that number grows as some of the wounded pass away.

the vicious terrorist attack happened right under my office at the sarona market.. the place i have most of my lunches at and dinner probably once a week.. so yes it could have been me..

i had a relatively late evening at work yesterday.. i knew my girls had already eaten and randomly decided to go home without grabbing dinner first.. at the sarona market..

imagine yourself at the indian food market in singapore having dinner with your family.. or in china town in sydney at golden century.. or in the collective dining area of the timeout market of lisbon.. or at whatever trendy eating precinct you might go to in your home town..

now 4 people - people who had full lives just like yours are gone.. and 16 others are dealing with their wounds.. seems like a terrible movie..

telaviv is normally a sunny city oscillating between warm and scorching inside and out.. but today clouds flew at half sky and an apologetic sea breeze randomly pushed me on my bicycle to work.. no one was smiling..

telavivians were wearing their habitual morning after face - that suspicious airport security look they don the morning after a terrorist attack takes place.. as if their supposedly quick instincts will save them from the next arbitrary murderous insanity that some self appointed terrorist decides to bestow upon us..

as i walked past a construction site i felt that morning after expression impose itself upon my features with my eyes suddenly condensing into a cautious squint..

and then i remembered - that was the war - that was the real battle.. turning people that ordinarily love everyone around them to haters and agents of panic.. so tired of fighting the urge.. im so drained from this rubbish.. last night should not have happened.. it simply should not have..

we have a new minister of defence.. avigdor is a hawk (oddly) with no military experience.. whats going to happen now? will all palestinians be under curfew for ramadan? will we put up some more roadblocks? will we kill some? will we block more kids going to school? will they then send more killers to our towns? what brilliant bicep exposing maneuvers are we about to pull? anyone ever think that maybe peace might be a worthy investment?

people complain that our peace with egypt is a "cold peace".. are you guys nuts?!?!?!?!? your're waiting for hugs and kisses?? cant we just end the madness first and then seek affection in other pastures..

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

separated..

we all knew it would happen..
its the essential ingredient to this madness..
but last night it finally did..
in a fierce dispute while watching the news sanity left the house completely defeated and paranoia slept diagonally across the bed..

i used to require my kids to let me walk on the road side of the footpath to buffer their access - theyre only little..
now i do it out of concern that a terrorist might purposely run us over - this way (i delude myself) i can try to push them out of harms way if i have to..
i used to look both ways before crossing the road..
now im looking all around even while sitting..

dropping off the girls used to be a fun a happy event..
now its filtered by locked gates and security codes..
now its burdened by excessive precaution and concern..
now its a chore that torments me completely - is it really irresponsible to walk the 700m that we need to walk? does it really make sense to drive?

on my way home - i walked past a fence..
i imagined climbing up it quickly if any car chose to aim my way..
i used to love the noise and clamour of the markets in the morning..
now all i hear is the crickets - i didnt know we had any in yaffo.. since when do markets have crickets..

watching the hollow alleyways..
i try to convince myself that its just early..
noting the smile free faces drive past..
i tell myself those people are just tired..

why is everyone listening to the news so loudly..
back at home i can hear a radio outside even through my tripple glazed windows..
7 dead.. so and so wounded.. the stats begin to blur..
as paranoia makes itself comfortable..

its feels like this time sanity has left for good..



hebrew and arabic juxtaposed..

all we here these days is arabs yelling allahu akbar and jews screaming that a terrorist attack has occurred.. hebrew and arabic should really however sound more like this when the two languages are juxtaposed..

the cage..



WARNING: Graphic contentThis morning, a terrorist went on a violent rampage in Jerusalem with a vehicle and a butcher's knife. This is the danger we face. This is the result of Palestinian incitement.
Posted by Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday, 13 October 2015
i cant even begin to imagine the level of insanity that leads someone to run over innocent people.. and then for their leaders to have the audacity to say that theyre not against us - its just that they don't like the government.. like running over someone and stabbing someone else afterwards is going to change the government.. what a load of rubbish.. the palestinians will no doubt show this video as jewish terror of an innocent driver who simply lost control of his car and innocently repeatedly stabbed some guy who must have been the malicious jew who distracted him from focusing on the road.. or something like that..

                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *

today i walked across the almost completely dormant flea markets to pick up our girls who go to kindy just over the other side of the markets with a metal bar that i conveniently tucked into the fold of the stroller's awning.. i appointed it to be our defender in case we were attacked by a terrorist.. feels odd even typing it..

while picking them up i saw all the cute kids that share the day with each of our daughters and their lovely parents.. most jewish but quite a few arabs too.. our daughters dont know what jew and arab means yet - they play with whoever is funniest that day.. yaffo is wonderfully mixed that way which is why we like living here.. a new immigrant who didn't speak Hebrew approached me as we were leaving to find out how to register her daughter at that daycare centre.. she looked around and lowered her voice and whispered: "do arabs send their kids here?"

i told her that some did but assured her that everyone was really nice.. i was offended by her question instinctively but i assumed she was simply ignorant of our tradition of co-existence.. i gave her all the info she needed and then i left..

as we walked home i held up the usual chit chat with the girls - you know - look at the cat look at the bird stop at the kerb look where youre going.. but my eyes were constantly looking around for suspicious people.. and my hand was ready to grab the bar in defence..

there was one suspicious person who walked past oddly i thought - as i mentally clung on to the stereotypical nuances that differentiate jews and arabs in Israel with my hand poised to clutch the bar and swing at what might be a knife if i had to.. but of course that scenario never matured into anything beyond my newfound torment..

and here is the most horrible part of terror - youre chances of dying constantly remain below that of a pedestrian being involved in an innocent car accident (note my choice of words) in a western country.. the potential of which any of us would discard on a daily basis without hesitation.. but something about the evil of terror makes it so absorbing that suddenly 100s of merchants in one of telaviv's finest retail villages are stranded without patrons and they will struggle to pay bills and wages this month and it doesn't matter that the risk is essentially low.. suddenly a whole community is brought to a stand still.. suddenly a whole country shuts down..

in Israel we have a long dry summer every year - and every first rain  people die on the roads like human sacrifices to the incoming winter.. death is a certainty on the roads on those days and it is unavoidable.. or so it seems.. and yet no one stops shopping or going out or driving..

but terror doesn't just cage you in physically - it cages you mentally with all rationalisation set aside..

it is really so sad.. people dying and people bleeding and people living in fear and next people will go hungry and there is always the risk that while in the cage of this insanity people get so caught up in the cycle that they dont even really know why its happening - theyre simply upholding their so called right to react to the injustice they perceive was inflicted upon them..

Thursday, July 23, 2015

the fortress dillusion..

many moons ago when i was a law student basking under the sun of far away lands - a dorm neighbour cast his opinion lightly about how Israelis suffer from a fortress mentality.. it was clearly a statement that carried negativity.. it was made of criticism and judgment.. even a bit of a mockery.. and it disturbed me..

and i insisted he was wrong.. describing us more like a kumbaya humming middle eastern Jamaica - island style.. what fortress..

but - now as an adult - with a family and two little girls - i couldn't agree more.. we are so heavily and tightly wrapped in the fabric of our walls and so strangled by our mental mote that nothing could be further from the truth..

we follow closely as town after syrian town is blown away.. we watch the jittery turks decide to help then not help and then yes help their terrorised neighbours.. we see egypt beg to persuade the west that 'normal' life is back on track.. digging a whole new canal because normal people dig canals.. who even cares about Iraq anymore when isis can slaughter people just about anywhere..

except for us..

here is Israel we are drunk from our false sense of security.. completely convinced that our unrivalled military edge keeps us leagues ahead of our psychotic neighbours almost organically.. the fact that our borders are shockingly porous and have flimsy fences that any private school would demand to reinforce doesn't shake us into seeing the truth..

saudi arabia has denounced the impending deal with iran (who is to terror what aviva is to tennis).. it tickles us that an arab country can openly push our agenda and even threaten to attack iran.. but not enough to move forward and lower our virtual walls and negotiate collective peace..

because we are a fortress nation.. and we like it that way..

all sarcasm aside.. i wish and hope that the violence that is sweeping our region end soon.. i wish and hope that no more people be murdered in the name of any ideology and that tonight the people of the middle east sleep safely..

good night..