This Teardrop of Land
by Sari Friedman
I've been in Israel for a couple of months. I find myself thinking things like, "Good, it's raining, I can take a walk, maybe there won't be as many stabbers out." Stories circulate of miracle rescues - archangels get personal here. It makes sense to crave a reborn world and your own personal messiah if you feel like your life's being threatened. When you look you can see Jesuses everywhere. And Mohammeds. And Isaacs.
Some Israelis seem impervious to the stress, but others show the strain. I've seen people on buses talking loudly to themselves (without cellphones), people in couples declaring their love for each other on a constant basis. Others quite aggressively seek zipless f*cks. In an ironic display of unity, plenty of Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze and Bahai are on anti-depressants. These are ordinary people, very nice, who aren't causing anyone problems. They just want to live in peace. I think that's what most people want, here just like anywhere else.
Many tiny Israeli shops make a living selling comfort foods: phyllo-crust pastries, chocolate, candy, liquor, chips, nuts, pasta and soup. I came to Israel to make my own phyllo-crust dreams come true. But I also came because that's the path that opened before me, obvious as the parting of the Red Sea. I finished writing my first novel here, and became fascinated by the idea of a metaphysical rite d' passage. The metaphysical imprint in Israel goes deep.
The ghosts are everywhere.The living struggle to survive. My clothes dryer is made of string. My stair-master is stairs. I still sleep pretty close to the floor. In the photo to the left, I'm sure one of those things is supposed to be coffee, but when you taste it, it's hard to tell.
I'm making jokes. The reality is that what doesn't kill us makes us strong... even though, at the same time, that sh*t can hurt.
Sometimes I'm unafraid, but at other times I'm scared to be living in Israel, where there can be several attacks a day: Jewish people knifed by Arabs, or Jewish pedestrians intentionally run over by Arab-driven cars. Arabs who seem threatening, or who have killing instruments in their hands, are shot dead by Jews just as quickly as possible.
If all the people talking about this teardrop of land can't learn to respect each other's right to exist, there's no hope for humanity.
The propaganda mills continue to churn. Zombies who believe their nonsense continue to attack. The hatred from the neighbors from hell makes each moment harder, and also more precious.
Sari Friedman, MFA recently moved from Berkeley, California to Tel Aviv. She's written a novel about a young woman from tribal "Crack Cocaine Central" 1987 Washington Heights, NY who starts remembering her past-life 4,000 years ago in the Land of Canaan. She becomes a part of the tribe of Abraham and Sarah, and she becomes friends with Hagar. This novel is represented by the Deborah Harris Agency in Jerusalem. For more info please visit www.sarifriedman.net