In a Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song, Anthony Kiedis sings about how he likes pleasure spiked with pain. That crossed my mind as an apt description of this time of year in
On Monday morning, Amos and I set off to the
To get there, we took the train to Tel Aviv. The carriage was packed full of young male and female soldiers, many casually donning their scary-looking M16s. It is a constant source of surprise to me just how militarised this society is. At times, it seems like there are more people in uniform or carrying a gun that the opposite. A sign of this is how routine and unremarkable the question everyone is asked at the security check outside every station, many supermarkets and public area: “Are you carrying a weapon?”
On the train, we talked about this suffering. With Anat, Tzachi and other Israelis and Jews, I have discussed the question of Jewish persecution and suffering. While I am painfully aware of the extent to which Jews have episodically been oppressed and persecuted, with the Holocaust the crowning achievement of anti-Semitism, I feel it is important for some Jews to take a more balanced view of their history. It has not all been ugly – the Jews have had periods of great integration and prosperity since ancient times.
In addition, other migrating peoples, such as the Roma, have also faced persecution. In fact, you don’t have to leave the supposed comfort of your own home to be oppressed, put down and persecuted. I gave the example of
The diaspora is a subject which has interested me for some time, so I didn’t learn anything revalationary, except perhaps for the fact that, according to one display, Egypt had 1 million Jews out of a population of 8 million in the first century. It was perhaps befitting that while we were on the final leg of our tour around the museum, the sirens marking the end of Memorial Day sounded.
Amos had wanted to take me to see one of the largest settlements built in the
One people's poison is another's meat
In the afternoon, I caught up on some much-delayed writing, while Tzachi hosted his young boys’ school friends in what turned out to be an exhausting – for parent and offspring alike – inflatable pool party.
On Monday evening, the dark clouds of mourning over
But the dichotomy between the two days is not the only contrast. It is nearly 60 years since the 1948 war and 40 years next month since the West Bank and Gaza were occupied. In Yesh Gvul, a group of Israeli refuseniks, were holding their tenth Alternative Beacon Lighting ceremony in Jerusalem that evening.
Yesh Gvul, a group of Israeli refuseniks, were holding their tenth Alternative Beacon Lighting ceremony in Jerusalem that evening.
In the evening, we went to a local Independence Day celebration. The fair, with its charcoaled meats, hustle and bustle, and children carrying flashing toys, reminded me of muwlids in
Back home, they put the children to bed and Tzachi informed me that he would be playing his favourite computer game, World of Warcraft. Tzachi, who had been calling all my ideas for peace ‘great but Utopic’, shared his own zany, leftfield peace vision with me, a sort of ‘make virtual war, not war’ idea. “Everyone in the
©Khaled Diab. Text and images