It was just this morning that I was standing around a group of friends talking about the situation, and our sense was that maybe the worse was behind us. All the attacks in the last few days had taken place in the West Bank, it seemed far away. The economy seemed at least for the moment unaffected. This afternoon all that changed, two stabbing, two different cities, both effectively suburbs of Tel Aviv. Once again the terror is no longer far away ( 50 miles) but in the middle of our cities, and once again everyone will be on edge, no matter where we are. The two most severely wounded an 80 year old woman and a 70 year old man- I guess they were easy prey for 20 year old men.
Most of us were depressed enough this morning, all having the sort of morning after discussion after Saturday nights rally, and almost everyone I spoke to all member of the same Tel Aviv bubble were disgusted and discouraged. Everyone agrees that the rally was a disaster, a meaningless get together, where Clinton so outshined every Israeli, it was embarrasing. Even more so, since of all the speakers other then his family he was the only one to know Rabin. Then there is the realization that we are all stuck with our current Prime Minister, who is a brilliant politician but a terrible leader, and yet there is no one to challenge him. To round off the events of the day- Mosiac Magazine published an artice titled What do Palestinian Want, by Daniel Polisar. The article lays out in detail, both how much they hate us, and how much they living in reality of their own making. A totally depressing article, in a depressing day.
The day is coming to an end, we just uploaded our first Apple TV app which is also our first game. It’s a Presidential election trivia game, and to get it out with all the new requirements of the Apple TV we had a family hackathon for the last few days. As a result, I have tried living in my own little world of American election history and tried to ignore the events taking place in Israel- if just a little.
Of course that really is not possible, with my phone going off every few minutes with a different notification from Asset Source, or Channel 2 news, the events around are really hard to ignore. The complete idiocy of our governmental system is hard to ignore on a day like today. After Prime Minister Netanyahu spent the last week trying to prove to the world that Israel has no intention of changing the status quo on the Temple Mount- Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hoteveli- a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, gave an interview in which she says that she is hoping for the day that the Israeli flag flys from the Temple Mount. In any other country in the work she would have been fired on the spot, but not here.
Today is the 20th anniversary to the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin. The official governmental ceremonies took place today, and once again it was difficult to hear Bibi who was the chief inciter against Rabin speak about him. There has been some really strange revisionism going on the last year from the right wing, making the claim that the death of Rabin hurt the right, since if he had not been killed he would have stopped the Oslo process. I am working on a longer the usual article for Newsweek that will go with my coverage of the main commemoration in Saturday night, where President Bill Clinton will be speaking. I hope to examine the issue in depth, and look at how a political assassination has been depoliticized. Meanwhile it’s been raining, they say that is a good thing, it does make it harder to walk our dog who hates water!
Another week is coming to an end in Israel, the third-week violence. Yesterday that violence reached a Bet Shemesh, a city where one of my closest friends lives in. As she said to me on the phone last night- Nothing bad ever happens in Bet Shemesh, and I guess that was the point of the terrorist, similar to their attack in Raanana- we should not feel comfortable anywhere. It is certainly having an impact. If one is rational about it, it’s clearly no more dangerous in Israel then any of the big US cities before crime was brought down. Certainly as someone who spent many a year in Morningside Heights ( Upper West Side of Manhattan) I should not feel unsafe, and in reality I do not, but after getting use to the feeling of absolute safety that I have always felt in Tel Aviv, I am glad these days that most of where I go I take “Mac” our dog with us.
Yesterday evening I was in Dizengoff Center. Usually on Thursday night which is the night of the food fair, the place is teeming with people. Last night it was mostly empty. That seems to be the case throughout the country. Stores have been empty and I am sure we are going to see all too soon more signs “Store for Rent”. There have been other small changes, suddenly security guards that were there only for the show, are carrying weapons and soldiers on leave are not only carrying their weapons, but they are carrying them with magazines inserted- something that in itself can be dangerous.
I was initially planning to write to turn these events and observation into a piece for Newsweek, but as opposed to these posts which I just read through for overt grammar and spelling errors, I actually spend time and effort in editing my Newsweek pieces, something I do not have time for at the moment. We just finished a large client project, have anther one on the cusp of being finished. We two, are also in the midst of trying to finish two important products of our own, one of which it for the Apple TV and must be finished by Sunday night if we want to have a product at launch- so this is it. Next Saturday night is the major commemoration to mark 20 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin. I am going to have to find the time to write a major article on impact, 20 years later for Newsweek.
When I was a teenager, my parents use to come visit Israel every summer ( as I did) and they liked staying at the old Moriah Hotel. The old hotel was a small hotel with 30-40 rooms run by the owner. This was during the period between the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War and with tourism booming in Jerusalem, they decided to expand, and try to build the new building that stands today on Keren Hayesod Street in Jerusalem. When I visited them I would stare in amazement as three or four workers would be working on the site trying to build a big hotel. Three summers in a row they returned and slowly a hole was dug, foundations laid and maybe one story finished. Finally, I imagine the owner ran out of money, sold out to one of the chains at the time and quickly the building went up.
I was reminded of that story today when I went with my son Eytan to Mifgash Ha Steak, which is located at the intersection of Begin and Karlbach- one of the interchanges that have been closed to begin work on the Light Rail. I stood in the restaurant talking to the owner, one of the many owners of small business that will be terribly impacted by the construction, that is expected to keep the intersection closed for five years. We discussed why is it that in Israel it takes five years to do the work that would allow the intersection to reopen, when in many other places the work would be done in 6 months. As we looked out the windows of the restaurant it was clear, there we one piece of heavy equipment working. On the whole site, I counted at tops 10 workers toiling away. Other places in the world, if a key intersection was to close they would have hundreds of workers toiling 24/ 6 finishing the project.