I fwd-ed a sweet email from Lisa May to Lisa G. I think my sister might be digging the whole blog thing, because she has agreed to write us some more from her headquarters in Tel Aviv. Note from AG: These two weeks after Passover in Israel are particularly intense. One Sunday is Holocaust memorial day (described below) and the next week is memorial day.
These two civic holidays are marked by the most extraordinary moment of silence. I swear, it would give you goosebumps. The whole friggin country stops. They get out of their cars and stand in the middle of the road, totally quiet. And Lisa, I think you will agree that is an accomplishment for a country of the noisiest people in the world (Eastern Europe meets North Africa...c'mon!!!)A place where it is not unusual to hear people talking on cell phones during movies. -AG
April 8-another guest entry from our Happyrobot Tel Aviv correspondent:
DON'T FORGET TO MOURN From sundown today until sundown tomorrow it's Holocaust Remembrance Day. Absolutely everything is closed tonight. If you're hungry and forgot to go the supermarket today, well...too bad. So let's see what's on TV tonight, shall we? Channel 3: a musical performance by Holocaust survivors, together with their grandchildren. Channel 4: Documentary about a Hungarian Holocaust survivor. Channel 5: the sports channel. No sports on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Channel 6: Old movies. No old movies today. Channel 7: MTV. No MTV today. Channels 9 & 10: Simultaneous broadcast of a documentary called "Into the Arms of Strangers," about the child refugees from Germany and Austria, who were sent by their parents to England in 1939, on the Kindertransport. Channel 11: Itzhak Perlman and Daniel Barenboim perform music in memory of those who died in the Holocaust.&n! ! ! bsp; Channels 12, 13 and 14: CNN, SkyNews, BBC: George W. Bush tells Sharon to get out of the West Bank ASAP & tells the Arabs to condemn terror before he gets really, really mad at them; the Queen Mum is dead; the Queen Mum is really dead. Four more movies about the Holocaust. Jordanian TV: kids wearing white blouses with red ties and keffiyehs wrapped around their shoulders stand in front of a big mural of Jerusalem's Old City and sing a passionate-sounding song, complete with dramatic hand gestures. I can make out the following words in Arabic: "al Quds" (Jerusalem); "shaheed" (martyr); "jihad" (holy war); "Falasteen" (Palestine).
Oh, how we all love our totems and our martyrs, our tragedies and our grief.
So I thought, what the hell, I'll watch that pretentious literary show on French TV - the one with the moderator and the authors sitting around a table, trading clever quips, with an audience in the background. Thank God for cable. I get everything from Morocco to Moscow TV.
But we're all really irritated because "Sex and the City" has been cancelled for three weeks in a row- because of the first and last nights of Pesach, and now because of HRD. Next week it'll be cancelled again: it's Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers. More gloom. We're a season behind, and I checked the HBO website so I know what's going to happen next, but everyone else is freaking out about Miranda's pregnancy. Is she really going to keep the baby? asked Eran anxiously. I opened my mouth to reply and he clapped his hands over his ears: No, no! Don't tell me! TOP
CAFE CULTURE? After an early-morning meeting in north Tel Aviv, I stopped for a coffee at a cafe on Diezengoff, near Arlozorov. (Does it seem as though I spend most of my life in cafes? That's 'cause I do...) It's one of those places where dignified old ladies with stiffly sprayed hair, wearing suits decorated with a brooch on the lapel and carrying bags that match their shoes, gather to drink coffee and chat in elegant, formal Hebrew characterized by marked German or Hungarian accents. It's also one of those places that serves really good coffee, with a little cookie on the saucer (I'm addicted to the little cookies.) Before I could place my order, the waitress announced, "We are now charging two shekels per patron for the security guard." I guess that the old ladies were complaining about the extra charge added on to their bill. As I poured hot milk into my espresso, I could hear the "whump, whump" sound of helicopter blades above my head. Army helicopters, headed in the direction of the West Bank. More bombings. My friend Shimon, a graphic artist who lives in Jerusalem, about 15 minutes' drive from Bethlehem, says that he can hear the explosions from his office. TOP
TAXI POLITICS Then I took a mini-van (same price as a bus, but safer) to my old office. I wanted to use the printer, and say "hi" to some people. The driver had the radio tuned to a speech being given by Yossi Sarid, of the left-of-centre Meretz party, in the Knesset. "Ariel Sharon," boomed Sarid, "You of all people (he was referring to the Lebanon debacle, 20 years ago) should know that nothing will be gained by sending the army into Ramallah, into Nablus and into Jenin. You are making Yasser Arafat into an international hero..." All the passengers were listening, raptly, to the speech, delivered in very articulate and elegant Hebrew.
yossi sarid; a lover, not at a killer
"Who is that?" the guy next to me asked. "Yossi Sarid," I answered, adding, "He speaks really well, huh?" Then, curious to see how people would react to criticism of Sharon, I added, "Too bad that nobody listens to him." I got cynical smiles and nods of agreement in response from my fellow passengers. Interesting. Maybe Sharon's current policies aren't as widely supported here as the media are reporting. But Sarid is too cold and arroga