July 2, 2012
You must be wondering where Israel has been recently.
Well, I came back from my last trip just in time to enjoy the White Night in Tel Aviv. It’s when the city literally and practically does not sleep. And whatever the event, it won’t cost you anything. All is free. (Well, I’m not so sure about that. Surely the theatres etc. must charge as usual. Let’s continue…).
For us, the evening started with an invite to the Litvak Gallery for yet another exhibition opening. I’ve told you about Litvak before: already considered to be the World’s leading dealer for glass art, but also dabbling in more conventional formats. This time, the focus was on a young and apparently already successful young artist from Venice, Michel Bubacco.
Actually born on the island of Murano made him really a child of glass, as Murano is the island of glass. Michele’s father is Lucio Bubacco, and you have to know him!
Enough of that – I was personally not mad-keen on the works – I was more interested but some of the glass on display.
Lino Tagliapietra Yoichi Ohira ..and. of course, Dale Chihuly
But the, you’re not that interested in glass, are you?
So, having had our fill of great cocktails, we left into the White Night. We did not have to wander far. Within a few minutes’ walking distance, we reached Golda Centre (reminder: I’m English), where you’ll find the main opera and theatre, plus the fabulous Israel Art Museum, recently upgraded.
There, in the plaza, a band played dance music, and almost everyone was dancing the night away. (Yes, this is Israel, the place was fenced in and we had to show our handbags to the sleepy security guard; we become easily accustomed to that way of life. Just another local habit).
But we’re an ‘older couple’, and after having done enough to say ‘We’ve done it’, we went home. We left it to the others to experience, and the media to report, about yet another aspect of ‘another city that never sleeps’.
Am I painting the picture too white? Well, honesty has always been my favourite policy – and we did have a Black Night – across the nation. You will recall my Letter about the fantastic, peaceful protests across Israel some months ago.
Well, the movement continues; it has momentum; it has political support. So many did also take to the streets, many thousands, and marched in protest against the Whiteness. There were clashes of voices, there was arm-waving. But no violence. Both sides made their point. One to make a political statement; the other to just have good, clean fun.
Been some interesting articles in recent editions of the Jerusalem Post…
The first focused on the yarmulka – or the kippa – that some Jews wear. It was a reminder not to generalise. In fact, reflects the very Letter I am writing: trying to reduce the attitude of outsiders who comment/criticise without knowing at least some of the facts.
Yarmulkas – there are different shapes, sizes, colours, materials. There are different ways of wearing them: with or without clips. (How do they keep them on sometimes? And why use a clip when there’s no hair?). There’s even the way they are worn: slanted, at the back, almost in the eyes, etc.
What is sadly true – in my opinion,. is that it is rarely an individual decision. One style usually follows the style of the others.
Want to know more? Look it up…
Many articles – also here – about Syria – about Assad. This is the man, or the son of the man, who so many have said is the partner with whom Israel should speak for peace. What a perfect case of ‘I told you so’. Finally, sadly, the town of Hama is becoming known, despite the reminders from people like me, who referred to the carnage that took place there in 1982, when Papa Assad sent in the army against the Sunni Muslim community.
Death figures of 40,000 have not been denied. And that only took a few days. (King Abdullah’s father, Hussein of Jordan, was not able to kill as many when he put down a Palestinian revolt. Only 5-10,000 were killed on those few days, an event which came to be known as Black September. I continue to be very concerned about that peace treaty).
Equality for Arabs in Israel. (There’s so much unwarranted criticism of how Israel treats the Arabs. In the ‘occupied territories’ it’s another subject. No peace, and the rules have to be different. Defence against aggression was never easy to explain. But here in Israel, we get fed up with the criticism.
Considering the situation, no real peace from the neighbours throughout Israel’s existence, it is fantastic that the Arab population legally has the same rights as all other citizens, and, in certain cases, is a recipient of ‘positive discrimination’. OK, so don’t serve in the army. I personally am a wimp.
So I have no experience of real fighting. But I can imagine, were I in the army, that the one next to me would have to be trustworthy. I am not sure I would be happy having an Arab minding my back when fighting ‘his people’. Same thing with the orthodox Jewish community, many of whom are exempt from serving. I would have trouble trusting that soldier, too.
BUT…it does not mean they should be exempt from serving the very community that gives them that freedom of life. And that’s a constant argument here. Do your bit for the country…
Finally, we really had fun a couple of nights ago. We have a roof apartment; quite a big space up there. I’m the very amateur gardener – you only see the stuff that lives. When some plant inexplicably dies, it is ‘buried’. But at night, with the lights on, it’s quite nice..
Our friend Tova – which means ‘good’ (f.) – decided that ours is the ideal place to host one of her famous parties. Moshe Arnon, musician extraordinaire was the entertainer. He sings, DJ’s and plays half a dozen instruments. And he broke his leg that morning, so had to crawl up and down those stairs. And, I can assure you , he had a car-full of equipment to lug all the way up there.
Around 50 guests came, each had to pay and bring something to eat/drink.
The hostess, before the event…
Moshe Arnon, with one of those instruments
Part of the enthralled audience
By the light of that silvery moon…
they ate, they drank…
and they danced the night away.
It was a great success. Went on until around 1.00, which is normally frowned upon by the neighbours, who could have called the police. I mean, he had speakers up there – nicely controlled, but still…