Archive for July, 2005

Hitchabrut March, day 2

I didn’t join the march. I really wanted to. I’d love to be in the hot Negev desert, in a shabby tent, surrounded by confused and probably hungry people and children i don’t know, with armed policemen around. It would be an adventure, something i would tell my kids proudly one day. Maybe i would learn a chapter of Mishna. Instead i sit in the air-conditioned labs at work, go swimming at the pool, eat pasta and ice-cream at home.

My manager is religious. He’s a workaholic – in a good way, and i’m not writing it because he might read this. So he didn’t go. But he told – and he tried to make it sound as if it is not important, but it did anyway – that his two daughters are down there in Kfar-Maimon among more than 40,000 people, in the terrible heat, with no decent place to sleep, without much food left, surrounded by the police. “Could i tell them ‘No’?”, he said. That’s where i felt the unfairness of it – in 2000-2001, when i would hear about Arab children who were hurt or killed in the riots (anyone remembers Muhammad Al-Dura? I do), i would say cynically – “Oh, their parents could just keep them home; they should’ve known that riots can be dangerous.” Now i feel bad about it – if, God forbid, those girls are hurt there, what am i to tell? That he could keep them home? This is just not fair. War is hell.

To make things worse, my manager also has a son who is a soldier. He’s afraid he might be called to Kfar-Maimon to drive away his own sisters.

Why am i living in this insane country? How long will i keep believing that Israel is the dutch boy with his finger in the dam, keeping Islamic Terror from destroying the planet? Should i keep caring at all? Isn’t it simpler to just ask for shelter in Canada or something?

In the sauna today a man tried to speak to me in Arabic. Seeing my puzzled face, he said in Hebrew, “You don’t talk Arabic?..” and i said that unfortunately i don’t, but would like to learn it. He said that he would like to learn Hebrew – “We all live here, we’re together, we need peace, so i want to learn Hebrew.” His accent was fine. He went on to explain that we were all born from Ibrahim, so we’re brothers, even though their great grandmother was a slave and our great grandmother was a princess. That’s an interesting interpretation. And all the time i kept telling myself – “My orange wristband is not against the Arabs, it’s for Jews.”

My Precious

Don’t you just love it when old friends call you at 23:30 and start asking you questions like: “On my new job I took upon myself the duties of the system administrator for the development environment – how should I approach managing a Windows 2000 server? … OK, and what do I have to do in order to implement ClearCase in my environment? … How do I manage user policies in Active Directory?”

I really wanted to suggest him to start with not calling innocent people at 23:30.

Make Sure You’re Connected

I often like to fantasize about symbols and names. For example, i’m quite sure that despite all his lies and crimes, one day many streets in Israel will be called after Ariel Sharon. Particularly Road 40, from Petach-Tikva to Kfar-Saba – it passes through Kfar-Malal, a village where Sharon was born. In nearly every city there will be a Yossi Sarid Street, a Shimon Peres Square, an Ezer Weizmann Boulevard. There are already several roads and streets called after Rechavam “Gandhi” Zeevi, the assasinated nationalist leader. I hope there will be, as soon as possible, streets that are called after the great Israeli poets and musicians who passed away in the last few years – Ehud Manor, Naomi Shemer, Uzi Hitman, Meir Ariel, Benny Amdursky, Inbal Perlmutter. In fact, i would put Manor and Shemer on Israeli banknotes – poets and musicians are so much better than politicians.

I am writing all that, because the march of the Disengagement opponents today is called by them “The Hitchabrut March”. “Hitchabrut” is the opposite of “Hitnatkut”, which is the Hebrew word for Disengagement. It’s funny that such a simple word in Hebrew appears to be so hard to translate. It often happens with words for ideas, states of mind, principles; it’s probably as hard to translate as Intifada, Nirvana or Zen. There are streets in France called after the Republic, the Commune and the Concorde – no translation would do these French concepts justice. So where would i begin? I don’t know what smart-ass translated Hitnatkut as “disengagement”. The proper word would be “disconnection”, “dissociation”, “cutting off”. So the opposite of it is “(re)connection”, “association”, “alliance”, “assembly”.

I hope, no – i believe that this march today will be historical; that the Disengagement will be eventually cancelled thanks to the chain reaction it will ignite and that after it Israel will enter a new era, a historical period that will be remembered as the period of the Hitchabrut – The Reassembly, The Reconnection. The Re-engagement, if you like. Or maybe a Revision. Or Reconciliation. It will be so good and revitalizing, that streets will be called after it, just like there are streets called after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, but in this case it will be something really good and successful. I imagine “Kikar ha-Hitchabrut” – a large square somewhere in the center of Jerusalem, in the middle of which there is an obelisk adorned with orange, blue and white stripes (all this stripes business begs to be commemorated!). This march today – the courage, faith and love of the settlers’ supporters, and the disgraceful conduct of the police in the process – made me optimistic.

By the way, there’s one thing i’m sure of – whatever happens there won’t be a Disengagement Street anywhere, not even in Gaza.

(I’m so sorry i couldn’t go myself. Why am i sitting at home and blogging? I just can’t risk my job, i’m too new there. There a lot of Disengagement opponents in NDS, many of them veteran employees and even they didn’t go. I’m quite sure i will come when (not if) there will be a march to the Knesset.)

Thousands Are Marching

Protesters from all of Israel are planning to march from the small southern town of Netivot to Gush-Katif today. The police doesn’t want to allow buses to Netivot to even leave their points of departure; policemen confiscate the bus drivers’ licenses. This is really going too far. I sincerely hope that within a few days our orange revolution will start looking like the one in Ukraine. Someone wrote in a talkback on YNet – “Instead of marching to Gush-Katif, march to Shikmim Farm, Sharon’s home; take everything – money, electric appliances, sheep. It is your money, so don’t be ashamed.” And i totally agree.

Please, God, don’t let anyone die on the way.

One difference between Ukraine and Israel, though, is that the Ukrainians had a bad guy and a good guy – Yanukovich and Yuschenko. The bad guy here seems to be Sharon, but who’s the good guy? Not B. Netanyahu – he stinks. Not Effie Eitam – secular Israelis don’t like him (although i don’t understand why). Not Benny Eilon – he’s rather nice, but also somewhat sinister – there’s something wrong about his dealings with American televangelists. Uzi Landau or Arye Eldad, perhaps? Are they leader material?

The most ridiculous thing is that Sharon was supposed to be the good guy against the bad guy Abu-Mazen and he fails so miserably…

Didn’t Make Me Cry – The Politics Around the Destruction of Gush-Katif Greenhouses

Not that Disengagement makes sense in the first place, but this is going way too far now:

It is agreed that Israel will destroy all the houses, because they are too good for the Palestinians. It will be terrible enough, and in a certain way, even worse than expelling the people. Actual villages – with names, local councils, points on the map – will be erased as if they never existed. I would even prefer if they were settled by Palestinians who would change their names into something Arabic, but no, they will be simply bulldozed. And that is something about which everyone agrees that it is good. The problem apparently lies with the greenhouses. The greenhouses in Gush-Katif are unanimously considered an outstanding agricultural and economical success. They constitute over 15% of Israeli agriculture and provide jobs to about 5000 Gaza Arabs. I’ve been there, i’ve seen them – they are smiling and satisfied with their work. Israel doesn’t want to destroy them, so that all the scientific agricultural advances won’t be totally lost (that’s good thinking); so Israel wants to sell the greenhouses to a European country, so that that European country will then give them to PA for free, because PA won’t accept them directly from Israel.

It is crazy, of course, but it is still better than destroying them – I hate destruction of good things. Israel even wants to help PA sell the produce to Israel. That is weird too, because that produce is sold in Israel every day so why is help needed to just go on with doing it? But OK, it is still not so bad, just very stupid.

The really sad and weird thing is that Europeans don’t want to buy the greenhouses because they are on occupied territory. It won’t be legitimate, they say. They know that they are economically important to Palestinians who can work there, but it is not legitimate. It is so fucking stupid. It’s like the Lebanese television, that broadcasts the European song contest and doesn’t show the Israeli song. It’s like the Iranian Olympic wrestler that gained weight so that he won’t have to fight an Israeli wrestler, because Israel doesn’t really exists. So, Europeans won’t touch anything on occupied territory. It’s not legitimate. They don’t want any trouble with lawyers, i guess. Crap, they just hate Jews.

I am imagining a Gush-Katif settler, not necessarily religious, who, ignoring the Disengagement plan, planted dill / tomatoes / coriander / flowers in his greenhouse. The day the bulldozers come, he enters the greenhouse, waters them for them last time, then spills petrol all around and waits for the expulsion squad with a cigarette lighter. What will he be? Will he enter the history books – if at all – as a hero, a coward or a nut? Should i feel sorry for him? Will there be people who will consider his deed heroic? Will a street in Efrat or an outpost in Samaria be named after him? And if his suicide draws enough public attention to stop or postpone the expulsion – then what am i to think about him? That his terrible death was good??

I tried to write it coherently, but i can’t – it just doesn’t make any sense.

I’m sorry to admit that Daniel is right – this country has no chance.

Pasta With Chickpeas (Hummus) and Stuff

This is one of my 2 or 3 favourite pasta recipes. The good thing about this particular one is that even a generous plate of it doesn’t make you feel too full.

Feel free to improvise with the ingredients and the quantities!

500 gr. pasta (conchiglie are recommended)

The thing which is special for this pasta, The Hummus:

  • 300 gr. of fresh chickpeas or 1 can of prepared chickpeas

The things which almost all pasta recipes have:

  • Oil (soybean, canola, sunflower – they’re all the same to me. But don’t waste olive oil on frying, no matter what some recipes say.)
  • 1 purple onion, chopped into medium sized pieces
  • Parmiggiano cheese, grated

The Stuff:

  • 1 red pepper, chopped into sticks
  • 3 tomatoes and/or 200 gr. of dried tomatoes
  • 100 gr. olives
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Optional: eggplant, diced
  • Tabasco – a few drops
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper
  • White wine – 1/2 glass
  • Oregano
  • Lemon juice, 1 tsp.
  • The green stuff: dill, parsley, coriander (“kusbara”) – 2 tsp. each (or more – they are healthy and they smell great)

If the chickpeas are fresh – leave them in cold water for 24 hours, then peel them. Yes, one by one. Then boil them on medium heat for an hour and drain. The peeling can take about an hour of your time; it’s good therapy, but if you don’t have the patience, use canned chickpeas, which you can simply drain and wash with running water.

Fry the onion with oil on medium heat. After about 7 minutes start adding the Stuff in order of appearance into the pan, with 2 min. pause between each and mixing all the time. Add the chickpeas somewhere in the middle and make the green stuff last.

After adding all the Stuff, taste and add some more salt and pepper if needed, leave the pan on less-than-medium heat and start boiling the pasta in a lot of water with 3 tsp. of salt. Don’t add oil to the pot, it’s a silly urban legend.

When the pasta is ready, don’t wash it with cold water, it’s another silly urban legend. After draining just mix it well with the chickpeas and Stuff. Serve with grated parmigiano and white wine (Sauvignon Blanc is good, but whatever tickles your fancy is fine).

הצעים

בשנת 2000 רעש (שאנשיה לא אוהבים שקוראים להם “להקת רעש”) הוציאה את אלבומה האחרון “אני זה לא אתה”. אלבום מוצלח, גם אם פחות מדהים מהראשונים שלה. בכל מקרה, אתמול חלמתי שקניתי את האלבום הזה ולא באמת שמעתי אותו, אלא כל הזמן התחלתי והפסקתי אחרי שלושה שירים, אז סוף סוף התיישבתי והכרחתי את עצמי לשמוע אותו עד הסוף. ובחלום הוא נשמע אחרת לגמרי. וטוב מאד. זה קורה לי לא מעט. היתה שם גם גירסת כיסוי ל-Rock ‘N’ Roll Star של Oasis, מתחילה רוקיסטית ותותחית ונגמרת עם צרחות של אמיר קרטס. גירסה סוף הדרך. עכשיו הקטע הכי מוזר – בחוברת נכתב: “Oasis – להקת הצעים”. שיפשפתי את העיניים (בתוך החלום!) כדי לבדוק – מה? “להקת הצעירים”? לא, אין ספק – “להקת הצעים” (כמו ב”הצע וביקוש”). בבוקר בדקתי במילון איך אומרים “הצע” ברבים וגיליתי שבתוך החלום קראתי את זה נכון – “הֶצֵּעִים”. מה יהיה, מה יהיה איתי??



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