Thursday, March 15, 2007

Israel: It's complicated




You'll never believe what Israel has as a national problem.
No. Not the Palestinians.
Nope. Not Iran.
If you say Global Warming, you're ice, ice cold.


Cats.
Stray, stray cats.
They are considered the squirrel of Israel.
The Zionists are overrun by feral cats.
In Tel Aviv.
In Jerusalem.
In the Negev Desert.
They tried to kill the cats one year and got a rat problem. They swiftly went back to the cats.

I'm back in America and I am getting used to not seeing things in Hebrew. English is the third national language in Israel. Arabic is second,it sweeps across road signs and shawarma stands and looks like dancing.

In Israel, in the Arab neighborhoods, it is not uncommon to see houses built with only a completed first floor. The second and sometimes, third floors are left for a later date. The houses are designed deliberately as such so that when it is time for the family's son to wed, there is a place to build a home. Arab men are not permitted to wed without their own dwelling first being secured. Sometimes, in the desert, these bottom heavy domiciles look like ghosts.

In Israel, there is pain in the hills. Like one of the dead Zionists said, the future of Israel, is in its desert.

Hebrew is a mostly made-up language.
From the Torah, they did the best they could. They, of course, had to figure out how to say things like ice cream and computer as time went on. Video game. The Internet was never mentioned in the Song of Songs.
New Jew, new Hebrew, is the sentiment.

Sometimes Israel, the way it is built, the secrets that it has, feels like a Disneyland for Semites. Some Semites more than others.

In the Dead sea. You do not swim. You cannot swim. You float, only.
Any attempt to swim and the water will try to kill you. If you go under the surface the water will keep you, and sting you. It is too heavy to come up through. The water of the dead sea is toxic and healing all at the same time. If the water gets in your eyes you cannot open them from the pain. The Dead Sea tastes like putting your tongue on a battery and it takes several minutes for the pain to subside.

You can not stand or you will cut your feet on the salt deposits and spines of unidentified rocks. Lie on your back and the Dead Sea keeps you up all on its own. I have never felt anything like it. Its surface feels like mineral oil and its waters cradle you. If you pull your breasts out, they will float like Buoys.

They have signs cautioning for camels like we do for deer and you can feel the people feel God in the land. At the Kotel, and at the Dome of the Rock you can feel the two religions, both so strong in their beliefs, turning their backs on each other. It is cold in its separation and more stifling than frightening to see the amount of guns on peoples' backs. In both religions, the women cover their hair.

On Sunday, I stood where the The First and Second Temples used to be and where Muhammad, made wings, and went up to heaven.

I saw where Jesus Christ was crucified at Golgotha.
On the slab, where Christ's body was laid out, people took off rings and laid them down so as to have them blessed. People blessed oils, and candles, and incense. People kissed everything in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that they could.
It's funny, but of all of the religions trisecting Jerusalem, Christianity feels out of place. At the fourth Station of the cross, where Jesus met with Mary, there is a sock and brassiere shop. The Jews and the Muslims seem to have the strongest lock on the Old City. The Christians aren't putting up much of a fight.

You feel the air change in East Jerusalem where the Muslim population is not "Israeli-Arab," where they are not citizens of the State of Israel, but instead Palestinian.

In case you were wondering, yes, there is a Palestine.

You can see it on the hill from the The Temple Mount. Because Palestine is both it and and beyond it.

In case you were wondering, Israel is complicated. After two weeks, I see the murk of the region only more. I see it like Dead Sea mud.

I see an Israel that should exist, because it is as much in the history of the Jews as anyone's. Who the hell hasn't taken that land? The Arabs got it from someone else, too. That land has been lost and reclaimed like a Title.

They offered the Jews Uganda when this all started. Before '48.
Some people thought they should go there.
Brooklyn has the second highest Jewish population in the world.

Third Temple in Williamsburg?

I have more to say after I sleep.
Thank you for welcoming me back.

3 comments:

Megan said...

Beautiful.

I'm so thankful you made it home safely. Call me once you are rested.

Hutch said...

Can't wait to hear more, esp. how to solve all the problems over there. You did come back with that, right?

franny said...

like a Title. just like a Title.