There followed a discussion of marriage dissolution that is confined to the writer's social interests that sheers well away from the borderline political discussion that seemed tempting to follow up. However a question was asked about religion and Yehoshua observed that people cannot get answers from literature for their spiritual problems and seem to be turning to fundamentalist religions.
A reference was then made to the messages we had received in the Press that Prof. Yehoshua had deeply offened American Jews by saying that they were not Real Jews as they wore the coat of the American and could not devote themselves to the true Jews real interests which are the social and political affairs in Israel. He had m ore or less asked them what they were afraid of as although the numbers of Jews living in Palestine had deteriorated from 4-6 millions in ancient times to a mere million - however the numbers of Jews counted among the global members of the diaspora had now reversed this disaster and now ensured Jewish survival in the Middle East . Thus there is nothing to make them feel insecure in their adopted country or any need to assimilate with that country as all their energies should go to the survival of the Israeli nation. He said "It is an obligatory relationship" Well infact ofcourse anyone interested in Jewish matters knows that from time immemorial jews have completely failed to assimilate in the cou tries of their dispersion casting in that manner a calamitous veil of anti-semitism around themselves. It has only been since the second World War that young Jews have been marrying outside their tribal relationships and altogether casting off any interest in the Middle East to which they feel alien.
Professor Yehoshua went on to discuss the influences of the American writer Faulkner and the Jewish writer Kafka on his work. Kafka he said, was "living for the world" and of Faulkner he praised his multi-monologues and writing in "several layers" that very much attracted him.
Asked about his interests in the indigenous inhabitants of his country he maintained that the Arabs were always very important to him, whether Israeli Arabs or Palestinians. Referring to a short story of his called Facing the Forest in which there is a close relationship between a solitary writer and an Arab who, revealed latterly, as a man who had had his tongue cut out - he intended to totally repress any sense of plot in the story, an impasse of time and place that restrained any argument that would have terminated the stress and depiction of the writer in the story. In alternate aspects he said that he had a great interest in Arab medaeval poetry and he believes that it is up to every individual Jew to learn and try to understand the Arab as "We must find a way" to communicate and live with them. "I have empathy with them" he said, "but I see them at eye-level - the same level as I judge myself and as neighbourly as I judge myself"
Incited to continue by emotion as it
were he claimed that it is necessary for Israel to make
an unconditional retreat from certain areas of Palestine
and decrease the level of bloodshed. "I don't
approve of this action of constant killing" He went
on to discuss the large numbers of Russians that are now
in Israel who came there not as Jews but only because
they had a distant relative or grandparent who had been
Jewish. They now have their own political poarty under
Lieberman. And the Ashkenazis - what of them? Here with a
rapid excitement he broke into a complaint that the
Ashkenazi's do not commute or socialise with the
Sephardic Jews who are the original tribes of Jews that
history in the Bible describes. Almost rising from his
chair he reached up his arms instead to claim that his
problem with them is that only a small group of
Ashkenazis rule and control within the Government.
"Bravo" I cried out from the audience, my
interuption faded immediately in his rapid talk !With a
hint of emotion he eased into his acceptance nevertheless
of the Russian Christians amongst them. The Russian
Orthodox Church, that was melding its culture with the
Jews. Also he set the pace again into a rapid complaint
about present conditions in Jerusalem that he insisted
should be declared an International Religious City, that
must be stabilised and recognised internationally by Law.
Jerusalem he said can never and must never be a
culminating political problem .
For months, the deliberate firing of hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians in towns such as Sderot and other Gaza-area communities has hardly elicited a yawn outside Israel. The fact that most Sderot residents are working-class, dark-skinned Sephardic Jews, many of them (or their immediate forebears) refugees from Arab countries that brutally expelled them some decades ago, did nothing to stir sympathy for them. There is simply no cachet and no romance here, no Save Sderot marches,... not a whiff of censure of the Palestinians.
might in the future have to record this
"unfortunate" result very widely both in the
diaspora and in Israel itself. Peretz, the new Defense
Minister in Olmert's government is a native of Sderot who
will now be the traditional scapegoat of the Ashkenazis
who must isolate and disarm the people of Gaza.A problem
that is now exacerbated by the very political existence
of Gaza which has taken a "prisoner of war" in
a daring an technically military exercise - demanding the
release of children and women from Israel's gaols where
hundreds are held without trial in both cruel and
Amusingly enough Raymond Deane
(IPSC)diffused his leaflet of protest, in reference a
A GLASS OF BEER
The perfect murder has no reasons, he said, the perfect murder needs only a perfect object, as it was in Auschwitz. Not the crematoria, of course, but as it was afterwards, outside working hours. And he fell silent looking at the froth on the beer and taking a sip. The perfect murder is love, he said. The perfect murder doesnt require anything perfect except giving as much as you can. Even the memory of gripping the throat is eternal. Even the howls that rocked my hand, even the piss that fell like grace on cold flesh, even the heel of the boot awakens another eternity, even the silence, he said, looking at the froth. True, a decent job frees a lot, but a perfect murder doesnt lose a drop, like the lips of a child, he explained, like sand and froth, like you, listening, sipping and listening.
I LOOK THROUGH THE MONKEYS EYES
I look through the monkeys eyes, as they play with my skull in the treetops. Im lifted with the eagle as he flies because my entrails are in his; in the belly of the earth I crawl with worms who ate my eyes out of my sockets; I am green, I grow in the grass That my rotting flesh makes rich. O my body How you have grown!
THE BARBARIANS (ROUND TWO)
It was not in vain that we awaited the barbarians, it was not in vain that we gathered in the city square. It was not in vain that our great ones donned their official robes and rehearsed their speeches for the event. It was not in vain that we smashed our temples and erected new ones to their gods; as proper we burnt our books that have nothing in them for people like that. As the prophesy foretold the barbarians came, and took the keys to the city from the kings hand. But when they came they donned the garments of the land, and their customs were the customs of the state; and when they commanded us in our own tongue we no longer knew when the barbarians had come to us. http://israelpoetryweb.org
In contrast Professor
Yehoshua's short stories, The Continuing Silence of a
Poet, are worth a read to pick up the bleak
mesmerising problem of a writer in his own land - there
is no faulting him in narrative cowardice, and as for
poetic synthesis the silence is an expanse of time
passing through the lines like a knife amid the debris of
fear, stagnation and dross. That stagnation that reels
through his stories is surely created by the Ashkenazi
inheritance of Europe and America - that deadly black
sense of security that must prevail over