Now that, last week, rumors circulated on a possible involvement of Turkey in the conflict with the Islamic state, this recording-interview I had acceNow that, last week, rumors circulated on a possible involvement of Turkey in the conflict with the Islamic state, this recording-interview I had access to, about the book of Benny, is quite appropriate.
"I am none other than the grandson of Albert (Avraham ) Ziffer, who in 1895 founded the world's first Jewish sports team, in Istanbul".
Benny Ziffer,the literary editor of the (so-called private and independent) Israeli newspaper Haaretz,... whose mother was Turkish, focus his book on these groups of diverse peoples, living in the area of the Levant.
It’s about a trip visiting Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Greece,… the Mediterranean basin…till Egypt and Libya. There’s been a lot of "hate" between these peoples. No majorities, "only minorities", stresses Benny. Always in continual denial,…as if being always somewhere else, in their minds;... nostalgic.
He offers a polemic portrait of these peoples: always moving***…they “love decadence” . Interestingly, the trip ends in Paris, once the capital of the Levant; France herself having lost her glory (to the Anglo-Saxon rise).
Regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict he (again) quoted Jacqueline Shohet Kahanoff (major "muse" of his work): the day a Palestinian woman with miniskirt enters Jerusalem,…. peace will come.
It’s just a metaphor, he said, of another necessary change as prerequisite to the attainment of peace: “first we should get rid of our own prisons and traditions”.
This is a collection of stories of people in a small village called Tel Ilan, Israel. Stories, which stand on their own; with little interconnectedne This is a collection of stories of people in a small village called Tel Ilan, Israel. Stories, which stand on their own; with little interconnectedness.
As I was reading the book I got cozier and cozier, with this small village life. There was a climax, I would say, with fifty (plus) year olds gathering at a place for singing. But then the last “chapter” blew it all, because it’s no more in Tel Ilan: but in another time, and in another place.
But, first some of the characters of Tel Ilan.
She was known in the village for her “glacial, intense glaring of her glasses lenses”. She never married. She’s been anxiously waiting for the arrival of her nephew Gideon at her place. Yet he never arrives.
Gideon, an almost-autistic child, who ran from home at 12, managed somehow to connect with Doctor Gili Steiner. It was fun when he had to prepare for 12th grade exams and he spent some days at Gili’s; she never helped him getting prepared; they played checkers, instead. Gideon had to stop his military service due to a renal infection.
Arié Zelnik, a big, strong man, living with his sick 90 year-old deaf mother. Arié left his apartment in the Carmel Mountains. He wanted “total quietness”; Naama, his wife, left for San Diego, USA; he’s got a daughter and a son.
Arié was once a navy commando; now he wants to “erase” all family memories; he wants to build airplanes miniatures. Until the day he receives a strange real-estate agent…
And there’s Rachel, living with father Pessach: an avenge-full 88 year-old former MP in the Knesset; of a political party, which has been dissolved (the MAPAI).
Rachel is a 45 year old widow; her husband died of cardiac arrest.
Pessach has got a big white moustache; roams the house with his black beret; and, most important, has a daily routine: to insult the International Socialist and…to look for chocolates. Rachel wonders sometimes: what do I do here? Meanwhile, she allows a young intellectual Arab called Adel to live in her place,… in the back yard.
Adel talks in Arabic with the cats; he would like to write a book: about “us”. The differences and similarities between Arabs and Jews, it’s implied. Pessach doesn’t like Adel, at all. But they manage to talk. Adel says about those differences: our (Arabs) unhappiness stems from the soul; or even the heart. Is it deeper? Yet they both agree: at night they both hear noises; someone is excavating the underground, beneath their homes.
Pessach told Rachel: we’re like a shadow passing by. Pessach dislikes the man trying to date Rachel: he’s a Vet with a pony tail and wearing an earring.
And other stories.
Things get cozier when some of the characters get together for singing; but after this episode, something very surrealistic (?) happens; the above mentioned “chapter”: on another time and place.
It’s a place plagued by mosquitoes and poverty and promiscuity….; women upon seeing a healthy man start saying: let’s kill him.
This last chapter aroused in me questions: is it the Tel Ilan of the future? But, all those previous chapters had been so realistic, so historically stamped, I would say, by the real Israel's History, since its founding fathers.
Why this change?.
(Ben Gurion) (Ben Gurion)
I thought of 4 stars, but due to this style (?) and content-change I am prone to 3,… stars. ...more