Saturday, January 10, 2009

My truck runneth me over

At least that's how I am feeling at this very moment. Every bone in my body aches. Hubby had been feeling like this a couple of days ago and called me to say that we were gonna have dinner at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital - he felt so bad - which I promptly told to my co-workers over lunch - and boy did we all have a good laugh with all the women saying in unison - "men!" But today I'm babying myself with ginger, lemon and honey tea and the Jewish penicillin chicken soup.

And everywhere I turn, it's war - even though it's not felt in the Jerusalem area to the extent people are feeling it in the south of Israel and of course in Gaza itself. I can't seem to do a news fast. My husband is pretty much glued to Al Jazeera's English station and my emails are full of all different kinds of mail. Some are "Let's boycott Arab products - because the Israeli Arabs are traitors", and an American friend married to a Palestinian in the West Bank emailed me a "Let's boycott Israeli products" thing. Now how the fuck am I supposed to do that?

"No, darling, I can't watch your son (my grandson) today. Not until this war is over. I promised my friend I'd boycott Israeli products, and he's one of them."

That would also mean all Teva medications and 99% of the food I eat. Not to mention no ICQ and using my disk-on-key. Even if I were far to the Left, it would seem nearly an impossible feat.

I got a sad email from the Sulha family that a Gazan peacemaker's two children were injured in the fighting, and that we should pray for them. He would come to the Sulha each summer with his family.

And thank God I get emails from groups that are saying "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies" and the All Nations Cafe is working in Walaja in planting workshops together with Jews and Arabs and are having a peace workshop on Tuesday that I hope to go to, if I'm feeling better.

Rabbis from Human Rights had a 20th anniversary get together at Maaleh Hachamisha hotel in the hills outside of Jerusalem this past week, with Chava Alberstein performing. Hubby and I thought it would be dinner but I had my suspicions because it was free. He was feeling like shit but decided to meet me anyways at Liberty Bell where a bus was going to take all us car-less people to the event. I introduced myself to the handful of people there. There was a familiar-looking woman there. I started to talk.

"You look very familiar."

"You probably know me from demonstrations."

"I don't demonstrate"

A look of confusion from the woman.

"Where are you from?"

"I'm from Maaleh Adumim."

Woman steps back. I continue.

"Yeah, I hold dialogue groups between residents of Maaleh Adumim and Palestinians from Abu Dis."

"IN MAALEH ADUMIM?" She shakes her head. "What are you gonna do when we give it back?"

I was gonna ask her - "back to Jordan?" but nicely responded that I will worry about it when it comes to that, and that I'll take up residence in Abu Dis since I have friends there, it's cheap and I'll perfect my Arabic.

Hubby was feeling lousy and he gave me one of his "in three hours time, you will hear about this from me..." looks.

Meanwhile, Hubby, aka Mr. Tact, was talking to me about his upcoming job. His long-time partner Abed was coming to work on this project and he was thinking about also hiring a Jewish guy who he knew was out of work now. He says rather loudly,

"Well, it's better than hiring an Arab."

I looked at our Arab bus driver, glared at my husband, hoping Mr. bus driver did not understand English or was hard of hearing. Hubby didn't get it. I continued glaring, pointed at the bus driver, and then Hubby picked up.

"You know, I need balance. I can't hire two Arabs - that would be imbalance. I need to hire this Jewish guy for balance."

Thank you darling, I thought. That's all I need is an angry Arab bus driver now while we climb all over the rain-drenched dark roads of the hills. Geez.

Even at the venue, Mr. Tact went on when he saw there wasn't any dinner. We were walking in with the other participants and he's talking about how "fucked it is that there's no dinner, and what did I think? That they were gonna feed 200 people for free?" Thankfully, we were at a hotel, and I stuck my hand into my Contingency Fund envelope that I save for emergencies, and this was such a one. I gave him 100 NIS and told him to buy himself a meal. A real meal. The speeches were all gonna be in Hebrew which was, again, another no-no for bringing Hubby along. But he assured me that he'll be fine, after he eats, lounging in the lobby to people-watch - which he was.

Then as I worried both for our troops in Gaza and for our own in the South of Israel and for the innocents in Gaza - there were reports coming in of terrorists caught in the nick-of-time in the Jerusalem area and global demonstrations against the Israeli action in Gaza. I walked into the store where I do my weekly shopping in Gaza. I smiled at the Palestinian workers and they didn't smile back. Perhaps it was the situation, perhaps they had a hard day at work. I don't know. But I felt something wasn't right. I asked a worker unloading veggies if there were newer lemons other than the ugly ones on the shelves, and I didn't get an answer from him. I came up closer to him and repeated my request. Again. No answer. Was this a protest - ignore Israeli customers day - of some sort? I tapped him on the shoulder and then he answered me. I hope I wasn't being paranoid, but it threw me for a loop a bit.

At least I have my visions. I sat down afterwards and meditated. Instead of the war-torn poverty-striken, Hamas-occupied Gaza strip, I envisioned beautiful beach resorts by the sea beckoning Israeli tourists to come. The Arab hospitality is in full swing, they are prosperous, there are luxury hotels and then there are these quaint Sinai-type huts for the tourist looking for a more close-to-the-earth experience. We go fishing with the Palestinians in their fishing boats, and we sit by a bonfire on the beach, sipping Arabic coffee and enjoying the tranquility.


rabbi lars shalom said...

liberty bell??!! welcome to Southend!!

Philip I said...

Palestinians should convert to Judaism

Anonymous said...

Wish I'd known you were so close to my stomping grounds -I would have invited you over for some good mb food :>) Next time tell me. Hope you're feeling better.


HolyCityPrayer said...

"I got a sad email from the Sulha family that a Gazan peacemaker's two children were injured in the fighting..."

This is very interesting. I would love to hear why these children were not herded by their parents (or themselves, if they are adults) away from harm's way.

We Israelis and pro-Israelis feel that Hamas is using these people as human shields. Either Hamas is therefore to blame, or people should do their best to go spend a few weeks with their friends in Rafiach or something.

jerusalemgypsy said...

"This is very interesting. I would love to hear why these children were not herded by their parents (or themselves, if they are adults) away from harm's way."

OY - HOLY CITY! You should know better than that. What about the poor kid in Sderot who was shielded by his mother, who nonetheless sustained a very serious shrapnel wound to the head?? As well - a friend of mine emailed me that one of the kids from Gaza was killed, who was involved with the wonderful Israeli/Palestinian summer camp - Creativity for Peace. Sometimes, there is so much you can do to shield. And it's particularly those people (being in the minority in Gaza of course - who dialogue with Israelis) who we should mourn for.