Carmel (2009) - full transcript

From Israel's most important filmaker, CARMEL is Amos Gitai's (KADOSH, KIPPUR) deeply personal and resonant meditation on Jewish and Israeli identity. Using both fiction and documentary techniques, Gitai links his family history to ancient history.

This is a poem about people

what they think
and what they want

and what they think they want

even though few things on earth

really deserve our interest.

It's a poem about what men do

because what they do is more important

than what they haven't done.

It's a poem about people everywhere

about the way they feel
on a blue night

singing the song of the caravans

and the way they can taste
sand in the scorched airplane

that crashes whistling

like a lament of mourning.

And lastly,
these are poems about war

written at a desk

while it is raging

without mercy.

While the sanctuary was burning,

looting went on and on
and all who were caught

were put to the sword
There was no pity forage,

no regard for rank.

Little children and old men,
layman and priests

alike were butchered.

Every class was held
in the iron grip of war

whether they defended themselves
or cried for mercy.

Through the roars of flames,
as they swept relentlessly onwards,

could be heard
the groaning of the fallen.

Such were the heights of the hill,
and the size of the flaming temple.

The entire city seemed to be on fire.

Titus entered Jerusalem.

He was stunned by the strength
of its towers.

He said: God has been on our side.

It is God who brought the Jews

down from these strongholds.

What could the hands of men
or any machines

do towards overthrowing these towers?

When he destroyed the rest of the city
and pulled down the walls,

he left the towers to bear witness.

The time is now come that obliges us

to make our resolution true in practice

and not bring on ourselves dishonor.

We despise slavery

even without risks.

So let us not accept captivity

with intolerable punishment,

knowing that it would be our share

if we were to be captured alive.

We were the first that revolted

and the last to fight against them.

God hath granted us the power

to die bravely and free.

Our hopes were in vain

for He brought defeat upon us.

It now becomes known

that tomorrow our distress will come.

Let us make haste to die now,

we and our beloved together.

It will be a grief to the Romans

not to seize us alive.

We wish death would come before we saw

the Sacred City destroyed.

While as for the noise,

nothing could be imagined
more temble or horrifying.

There was the war cry
of the Roman legions,

the yells of the rebels
circled with fire and swords.

The people who were left above

were beaten back upon the enemy

who shrieked as the end approached.

The crips on the hill were answered

from the crowd in the city.

The soldiers grew weary of bloodshed.

Orders were given

to kill anyone who was armed
and opposed them

Everyone else was to be captured.

The old and the. weak were killed.

Men in their prime
were herded into the Temple.

Those who were taken
for suspicion or terrorism

and had turned against each other
were executed.

The tallest and handsomest

were kept for the triumph.

For the rest, those over 17.
Were sent to hard labor in Egypt.

Most were sent

to perish in the arenas

by assault of wild beasts.

Those under 17, we sold.

11,000 of the prisoners
died of starvation.

All the prisoners taken
from the beginning to the end of the war

totaled 97,000.

Those who perished

in the long siege,

totaled 100,000.

I get a phone call.

They say: Eidel,

you must perform with us.

I say: What?
Don't do that kind of thing.

I got out 6 months ago.

They say: It's a special gig.

They're taking the army's
best singers from recent years...

to do a show in L.A.

Donors want to see

the army band soldiers.

I asked how much rt paid...

What are you doing here

What am I doing here

We’re at war. aren’t we?

I’m doing my duty ’

You think I wouldn’t come to fight

But that’s peanuts compared to this.

Got a very nice amount for the...

You listening

So I go there, a month of rehearsals...

Quit the chat, there’s a briefing

Make it snappy.

Guys, shut up, it’s my mother


They're from regular service for sure.

Hang up.

- We gotta bash them.
- Hang up.

The adjutant’s never seen such a call up.

Itzik, 2 minutes. Hang up.

There aren't enough bullet-proof vests

and some don't have cases

’cos half the trucks are in a traffic jam.

- Attention, everyone.
- Come on, Mom.

We won't stop until
we curb terrorist infrastructures,

eradicate murderous gangs
and behead the snake.

Hang up.

Finish the call.

Come on. Mom.

In 10 minutes

we're off.

We get to Sasa.

Settle there

Have lunch, chill.

Weapons, get in the vehicles.

Settle between Marcabe and Hula,

The area is full of hostile villages,

including Eita Chaeb.

Ya run. Remaiesh.

Ein Ebel and Ein your ass^

Anyway, we settle here.

And when we get the orders,

we enter all those♪villages.

First you’re welcomed there by...

You can't imagine.

You get a private artist-room

with lots of pampering.

Behind the scenes I see Demi Moore,

Ashton Kutcher...

Unbelievable. I go in...

We fought about who'd sing the solo.

There v/as a solo.

My agent told me: Wow them.

Because if you don’t.

Then there won’t be... OK

So I go there...

I wowed them.

Tons of offers. Tons

'm leaving soon. Hollywood...

Briefing, let's go.

Guys, one more thing...

Listen up

Mom, the emergency draft
isn't my fault

But what's wrong, Mom

Why are you going to the Galilee

For me? You’re doing it for me?

- What are you doing for me?
- 1 also...

don't feel like going,

I got an emergency draft
like all of you

We want to enter and exit

as quickly as we can.
You know that


Any important questions

Is something not clear

Russo. what: s going on here

I: m rounding them

been calling for an hour

- Where's your radio
- No reception.

- What reception?
• Guys, line up.

I’m listening to the news for details.

We.already got clearance.

- Why the delay?
• OK, so we're ready.

Guys, gear up.
Get ready, we're going in.

Give me orders.
I don’t know what to do.

But where's your radio

I tried to reach you.

Doesn't work '
lt: s from the warehouse '

- Nothing here works!
Don't you have a cell phone, idiot?

- Contact the war room.
- It’s on mute.

Where's your war room?

Come here, form a semi-circle.

- Organize them
- OK, one second

Come here, she’s nervous.

Come here. guys.

Faster Move it

Come on, start moving.

Come here.

Come on. guys.

Keep away from the crates

and form a semi-circle.

Tt's not yet easy to breathe

Not yet easy to think

And it's even harder to wait...

Is there anyone in this dive


Anyone in this war-tom place

I woke up in the morning.

I said to Rivka

"I want to go look for Ben."

She said: "No way, with a war on

'There are missiles, Hizbollah,

the whole of Galilee is targeted."

So I didn't go.

Let's have coffee.

We won 't meddle

in their internal politics.

On the contrary.

The steadiness and calmness...

Don’t you want to hear your PM

First of all.

We must get rid of TV.

And Israeli radio stations.

It’s all half-lies and half-truths.

Like in Cairo.

Amman, Damascus, Beirut.

I told her: I want to see him.

Half-truths, half-lies.

And a lot of blah-blah.

Maybe he won't go off to this damn war.

Half-truths, half-lies.

- 1 stayed.
- It’s best to air songs,

sweet, new love songs.

By three o'clock

I couldn’t wait any longer.

- 1 left.
- No more babble about

the damn conflict that will never end.



- When you people get killed...
- Sirens.

- You become...
- The sun was setting.

Sluggish, unfocused.

You suddenly lash out

at everything, for no reason.

Got to Rosh Pina...

and then to Kiryat Shmona.

You people don’t listen...

You grab the words...

They asked me: "Are you nuts?”

- But never get them
- "Are you crazy?"

"Coming here in wartime

"What are you here for

I reached this gas station.

When you people get killed.

We must shrink.

So I called Ben.

I told him: "Come visit your dad."

We mustn’t even make jokes

that have no bearing on anything.

He said to me:

' Now you call

"We're boarding helicopters.

I don't have time for this.”

This guy from my village

spoke loudly and laughed.

I was hoping

I’d disrupt his war.

I immediately...

nudged him

on the tip of his hand, you hear

- Keep talking.
- He immediately shut up.

He said: Sony, Uncle Antar...

I thought I'd disrupt it for him a bit.

I hoped I’d disrupt...

Maybe he won’t go to war.

He won't go there.

That idiot.

I told him: Come see your father.

Thought he'd listen.

- Whoever thinks you hate us...
- If he did...

then he might not go.

It’s not about hatred.

These wars, in the end

we forget why they ever started.

I thought it’d make him not go.

To you people.

We’re like shadows, get it

Come here, take this.

Throw that, clean this, sweep that.

That's all we are to you.

Come, take, throw, clean.

So I’m waiting. Maybe he’ll come.

- How’s it going?
- Good. How about you?

I missed you.

So did I.

It’s tough being a dad in Israel.

Did you see things?

- What’s going on?
- Wait.

- You have to go?
- Yes.

Did I ruin the war for you


So did you go in


Take care of yourself.

Want to say hi to the driver?

I think I know him.

- What's the rush?
- It’s my dad.

Don't worry, it’ll be ok.

Does he know me

I heard, your son...

Don't hurry, you don’t need to go in.

We'll do what we have to.

The army will pull out, anyway.

Give my regards to everyone.

How much evil can one swallow

Father, have mercy

Thank God, I'm breathing

Liquidate, kill, expel, mislead

Eliminate, quarantine,

Death penatty, no fear

Lay waste, destroy, rout, eradicate

It's all your fault, friend...

It's not good for man to be alone

But he’s alone anyhow.

He waits and he's alone

He dawdles and he's alone

And only he knows

That even if he dawdles

Will it comp.

August 30th, 1960

Hello, dear Amos.

In my school there’s a young teacher.


and we like the lessons with him

because he can joke too.

Isn't rt nice?

He teaches us grammar.

A British accent, it's hard for me.

And we're reading an Oscar Wilde play.

We read it loud.

He also told us about London.

The world’s theater capital.

I saw aninteresting play about Galileo.

I’ll tell you about it when we meet.

You must've heard his name.

He lived 330 years ago in Italy.

He was a great scientist.

Mathematician, astronomer,

star researcher.

And he’s the one who said

that the earth revolves around the sun

and not the way the others thought

back then:

that the earth stands still

and that all the host of heaven

circles our little planet.

Galileo was a brave

and wise man.

The rulers of his time, the clergy.

Persecuted him for his opinions.

They jailed him,

thinking they could

withhold truth and science.

But they failed.

The truth broke through the walls

and people saw that he was right.

Since you've. decided to live

Since you’ve decided to stay...

Since you've decided to stay

in Kfar Masaryk, I've decided

to extend my stay in London.

Dad wrote to, me

ancTs'uggests I stay longer.

I.thinkjlillfcontinue my studies

to. make'Ithe most of my time here.

There’s so much to learn in life.

You too. study while in the kibbutz.

Work is important.

But so are studies.

As for your visits to Grandma.

I don't want you

on the roads every Saturday.

Don’t njniarounchetfery Saturday

on the roads to Kiryat Bialik

Once of fortnight is enough.

Restrain yourself.

I also would Iove to...

to see you. but I restrain myself

and I don’t hop over to you.

So you can restrain yourself.too.

Once a fortnight to, Kiryat Bialik

and once a fortnight to Dad's

in Kfar Masaryk.

You’ll see dad more often.

On Succoth go to Yigal, OK

Since you’ve decided to stay

in Kfar Masaryk, I’ve decided

to extend my stay in London...

How are you?
OK, and you?

I’m OK.

Working hard? Not too hard.

- Taking care of yourself?
- Yes.

- Give my regards

You'll pay for what you’re doing

Shame on you.

Go away

Scram ' Get out of here '

Hands off’

They're cutting down our trees.

It’s our land, go away.

What are you doing

Those are our trees.

Erez, don't stop.

Get him out of there

Go away, don't pass through here.

Give me that, give it to me

Give me that

Move away.


Let's chop down those trees.

We’ll chop off their arms and legs too.

Bring the saw ’

Move away.

Get out.

What's going on

What's come over you people

It’s our land ’ Our trees

What do you want

The war the Jews made with the Romans
was the greatest of all those

that have been seen in our times
and maybe also of those

that ever were heard of,

worse than those waged
between cities or between nations.

Some historians of this war,
who were not involved themselves

have collected contradictory stories
by hearsay

and have written them down
in a sophisticated style.

Others that were present,
either out of flattery to the Romans

or of hatred towards the Jews.

Give false account of things.

Their writings sometimes contain
accusations, and sometimes encomiums

but nowhere the accurate truth of facts.

I. Joseph, the son of Matthias,

by birth a Hebrew, bom in Jerusalem,
a priest also,

and one who at first fought
against the Romans myself,

and was forced to be present
at what was done afterwards.

I shall tell all subjects of the Roman
Empire what happened dunng this war.

I shall translate into Greek

the book I formerly wrote in Hebrew.

The hill on which the temple stood
seemed to be boiling hot,

as full of fire on every part of it,

and the blood was larger in quantity
than the fire

and those slain were more in number
than those that slew them,

for the ground was not visible
between the dead bodies

and the soldiers, as they ran after
those who fled from them,

went over heaps of bodies.

The rebels sought to push back the Romans

in order to make their way

to the outward court of the holy house,
and from thence into the city.

The remainder of the populace

sought refuge above the cloister
of that outer court.

Some of the priests plucked up
leaden spikes from the sanctuary

and used them as darts
against the Romans,

butin vain

What are you looking at

You're successful injustice doers.

Thieves and adulterers.

You’ll end up competing

against each other, robbing and murdering..

What strange ways you have.

God left your Temple due to them.

You thought the walls would protect you

but they didn't.

The bodies were even dismembered.

A hand here, another there.

It was utter chaos.

When the first line fell.

The ones behind climbed over it

until they could fight no more.

Shoulder to shoulder,
elbow to elbow.

Until the Romans cut them down.

Poor Jerusalem

A voice from the. East

A voice from the Wes t

A voice from the four winds

A voice against Jerusalem
and the holy house,

A voice against the bridegrooms
and the brides,

And a voice against
this whole people.

Poor Jerusalem!



You’ll stand here

and describe to us...

what happened.

You point to this area

and you say:

"I’m the pilot”.
- I'm the pilot.

I crash landed.

I crash land...


Wart, don't be edgy.

Please, say it again.

There was a crash-land...


- Crash...
- Ilan, try it again.

- Should I try?
- Yes."

- You see. Amit
- Ben.'

- You see, Ben?
- Yes,

We crash landed

right behind that tree.

I think

we’ll do this...

What do you say. Ilan? Let's do this...

like I'm talking to you guys, the crew.

Wasn't it good

I think it's better that way.

- Haim
- Yes.

Spoke to Rivka this morning.

It's Haim, not Haimke. right

Yes. I spoke to Rivka this morning...

I love the way you laugh.

Spoke to Rivka this moming.

I said: We’re in a place

that really resembles

Kibbutz Snir in the Golan Heights,

full of cows.


She’s in Paris, it’s cold there.

Now we’re...

close to when it happened.

She said she loves the smell off cows

So you play my son.

Where we're walking’is very similar

to where my helicopter crashed.

It was during the Yom Kippur War.

It was a day

The sky was’blue.

See the. sky? Not one cloud.

We flew over Syna

to try and rescue a pilot

who had abandoned his. jet

His name was Schneider.

And after we got there, we flew...

After a few days of taking out

people who were burnt in tanks.

We finally go to our spot

and the Syrians hit us with a missile

We sat inside the helicopter.

I’ll show you what it was like.

It was"something like...

If this is the helicopter.

If, let’s say.'it’s flying towards me,

then I was sitting here.

Sorry. Avner Hacohen sat here.

I sat behind him.

Next to him sat co pilot, Gadi Klein.

Uzi Cantoni sat here.

- You know Uzi?
- Yes, he's your neighbor.

That's nght.

Nadav Gottlieb’’sat in the back,

he was the mechanic.

And Dr. Keenan sat here.

The Syrians shot their rocket like so

and it initially’hit Gadi Klein

who was killed, on the spot

the whole cockpit split open.

Avner and I. who sat farther away,

only got hit by shrapnel.

Uzi. who sat here.

Got shrapnel in his skull.

Keenan died later

and Nadav fell out with his helmet,

hit the helicopter engine,

his helmet cracked

and he was injured.

So what do you say about that

Er... You’re lucky to have made it.

Yes, I am lucky.

You know what date that was

- October 11th You know what that is
- Yes, it’s your birthday, Dad.

That's right, my birthday.

Truth is, you’re saying it

as if you mean it.

It’s not always like that with actors.

Sometimes they fake it

when they say something.

H’s here, see?
Now there's a cowshed,

and this is what happens.

There’s a devastating event.

Then the kibbutz decides

that this is the ideal place

for cows to eat their straw.

And now there's no trace
of what happened.

That's the way it shoulcbprpbably-be.

Because the world keeps on turning.

But Gadi never came back.

Kfar Masaryk Cemetery

The body of Rajiv Gandhi will be burnt

at the site where they burnt the body

of his mother Indira a few years ago.

- She was also assassinated.
- Awful.

Many heads of state have announced

they'd attend Gandhi's funeral.

VP Dan Quayle will attend

on behalf of America.

August 28th, 1988

Helsinki on Raya and Gideon's island.

My darlings, my children,

Indeed I've aged yet again.

Another year has been added

to my round and growing age

and Raya and Gideon

threw me a birthday party.

Last night we called

Amos and Rivka in Paris,

and my adorable,
mischievous grandchildren

said in unison

’’Happy birthday and many more.”

I said: "God forbid.

Just hope the computer stays OK.”

I’m sitting here on a wooden bench

on this ever captivating island.

By the seashore,

it’s lovely and peaceful.

The sun is now hiding

behind a black dog-shaped cloud.

And behind his head and muzzle

there’s a silver lining of sunshine.

Here, by the bench,

stand proud trees that never fall.

Either poplar or birch trees.

By the water grows a young pine tree.

How did you get here,

so close to the stormy shore in winter

Fearless and strong like these Finns.

They amaze me.

And I enjoy the messages they convey.

Such silence.

No chatter or talking,

only the occasional footstep.

A few couples walk.

Some run, some families nde bicycles.

Many couples.

A little girl with golden curls.

Riding a bicycle alone, passes by.

Probably on her way home.

The sun comes out again, bicycles too.

And a single person strolls along.

The sun is setting

and is hiding behind the last cloud

and the beautiful golden trail

of the sun rays breaking on the water

is thinning.

Final flutters before sunset.

Yes. it is 21 03.

Nothing other than that happened.

Nobody follows you.

You sit and write from right to left.

The freedom to be alone.

How lovely.

Now a tall couple walks towards me.

The man is pushing a stroller

and a big dog walking beside them

approaches my bench.

Sticks his tongue out.

Doesn't touch or threaten me.

The sun hasn't set yet.

Ft just emerged, big and golden

from behind the dog-shaped cloud.

It comes close to the water

and scatters some dancing

rays of light on the water.


The entire bay area is green.

Many trees, in our way of thinking.

Surrounded by forest.

It's darkening now,

and the waters are quiet.

They’re grayish-white.

And green at the brims.

Light clouds are reflected.

How lovely.

Divine serenity.

The sun has set.

That's it.

A happy birthday.

Already 10 days like this.

Man accumulates memories

Like ants

In summer time...


One second.

It’s taped down, sorry.

Sorry to intrude, we were caught...

- 1 understand.
- The siren...

Come in.

Feel free to put some covers on.

You can sit here.

- I'm Efratia.
• Pleasure.

I'm Amitai.

Let’s put on our gas masks'first.

And what's your name

- Yifat
- Efrat?


What a predicament

- Who'd imagine it would come to this.
- What?

Who’d believe we’ve come to this.

Iraq’s strategic tactic

of conquering Kuwait...

I'm sure they didn’t expect the US...

- I’m studying political science
-1 see.

Sorry for not offering beverages.

Everything is OK now.

What do you do?

Armageddon in the world.

- Pardon?
- The war of Gog and Magog

and the soul is troubled

If only Gog will not prevail

and Magog neither

The house of Israel is in between

And Jerusalem in the middle

Let them not see us in tears

Not hear our cries of pain

Those of desperate people

On their knees.

And even if the enemy kills many of us

We will not give in

We will not convert

Since we have conquered

firp and water

We feel happy, free

and masters of our own fate

The fire has reached ijs

to catch us in distress

And now it is the turn of water

I think we can take it off.

The soldiers continue their march

But go nowhere

Almost at the same point

Something awful awaits.

I alone know

Since the look in your eyes

Your gaze has kindled millions of sparks

I didn't know if I was going towards you

or away from you

In the. streets of love.

Leah Goldberg.

Come to me.

Don 't let me do anything.

Do everything in my place.

Do everything in my stead.

Everything I begin

will be completed by you.

Yona Wollach.

A man can be in two places,

in the past

and in the present.

A man can be in two places.

In someone else and in himself.

- Yona Wollach
- Nice.

Someone passes in my life.

And leaves his footprints on mine,

leaves marks on my life.

- Someone.
- Let’s go.

That's it? You're leaving

I had a friend named Shulamrt.

She said: "Age is no Joy."

Age is no joy.

Something to think about.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

- Take care.
- Thank you.

- You too.
- Thanks.


If we’re ever around, we'll...

- Drop by.
- Thanks.

We went out to the street.

The sky was dark.

Thunder of airplanes.

Windows were all taped up.

Gidi said to me: "There’s a war.”

What did I want to say

I could've felt worse

/ couldn't do a thing about it.

Do you hear

Dear mother, hello.

How are you and... Wait

How are you

Did you get my letter with the flowers

Hope they didn't arrive all wilted.

Thank you for the lovely calendar.

I’m wearing the brown and white jumper.

Soft and comfortable.

It suits me.

Thank you for the letters.

I'll tell you about my day

as I always do.

It’s morning, the birds are chirping

and hopping joyfully from tree to tree1.

We rise, make our beds.

Breakfast is served quickly.

My tutor and I make a spitfire.

Then the food arrives and we eat‘

Then we study.

The teacher says good morning

and we reply.

We sit and if he’s in a good mood.

He says a few words.

Then he says:
”We'll study a subject

for an hour and a half,
then mathematics

but no English.”

And we complain

because we like to study English.

That's how class begins.

If we do have English,

we sing "good morning to you” in English

and then have regular classes.

When class isfover

we go to eat some food.

Then we go to work.

I work on the farm.

From work we go to the showers.

We rest for an hour and go to our rooms.

Lights out afcnine.

We hear the chickens clucking.

And then everything goes quiet.

Everyone sleeps in his warm bed.

Everyone falls asleep.

After half a day-of work

the weekday is over.

Love, Amos.

We have Omer. Who's missing

Amos, how are you? Sit down. son.

Let's go over whahwe've learned.

Here we have the Greek temple.

Very nice.


OK. Greek Temple.

What do you call the thing that holds...

Beam is correct

When something's from Greece, it’

Greek. A Greek Temple.

That's an excellent question.

What are these called

Columns, right. Beams go like this...

The market is empty and dark.

Shops are still closed.

Only vendors of suhun

and suhun bagels

with sesame and hyssop advertise

their wares to early risers.

Other than them, the market is still.

A boy gets to the station
at the last minute.

He's relieved to see

that the train hasn’t pulled out yet.

It's 6:15 am. The train cars

are filled with Arab workers from Acre

making their daily tnp to Haifa.

Some work for the railroad.

Others go to governmental

or construction jobs.

They look out

the car windows and ask:

"Where's the boy with the violin

The conductor calms them:

"Easy, easy, he’ll show up."

They all wait for this boy.

Then the boy comes running

with all his strength.

Huffing and rushing to get on board.

The passengers let out

sigh of relief and cheer him.

The Arab conductor helps him up

and adopts a smug expression:

he fulfilled his promise.

He blows his whistle

anfd the engine blasts in response.

The boy is on board.

The passengers make room

for him to sit and the train moves.

You can sense how pleased they are.

That’s the story of Joshua Luria.

Efratia is also a Luna descendant

That's the story.

Saturday night, March 31st, 1984.

Keren, my sunshine.

I got you ’100 First Songs'.

A book recommended by your mom.

In a few days you’ll be one year old.

How lovely, your first year.

You can stand on your little feet.

You've picked your head up

and discovered a new world, nght

I hope

you'll always stand erect.

With your head high, eyes open

to see a lot

of the beautiful world around you.

Flowers, trees, birds,

lakes, brooks.

The ocean and waves.

So many colors.

All the colors and shades.

Sounds and noises.

Whispers, quiet, silence,

and smell the flowers, grass, hay

and taste many flavors.

Sweet honey, hot pepper.

And all of the many spices

given to us by tbe Almighty -


Wrote you only about a tiny fraction

of all the wonders he's created,

humans and animals,

small, tiny,

and big, huge, Adam and Eve.

In my long life I’ve seen quite a few.

There were good and bad ones.

Some weren't too good.

Always amazed at how

each one differed from the other.

At how nature was created

by the one that some call "God".

It’s a mystery.

Maybe you’ll be able to solve it

In any case,

you who were so loved

by your good mother and father.

By your grandpa and two grandmas,

by aunts, uncles and friends of family,

you’ll know how to love

the other people.

The boys and girts.

And they'll love you too. dear Keren.

There'll be those you don't like.

That's OK too.

As long as you love life, my darling.

Yes, you have everything going for you.

Bless you, and many happy returns.

And I'm sending warm regards

to your dear parents.

Kisses. Granny Efratia.

Keren, I’m sorry,

but the drawings aren't good.

Soon you'll draw better ones.

He doesn't get Bialik poems

or Leah Goldberg songs:

beautiful, quiet songs.

That’s how it is.

- Can I
- Yes.

July 20th, 1986.

Dearest Keren,

here’s a little bag

with many blessings.

We can't see them

but I v/hispered them in there.

Keren, be healthy, wise and pretty

when you’re grown up too, OK

Take care of your brother too, OK

Help your parents

whom you love very much.

You know how to help.

Learn something you already know:

to put things back in their place.

You're done with a toy

Put rt away immediately.

Finished reading a book

Right away.

And so forth. It's good.

Then sing and dance.

Good, good, the way you do it.

Kisses, Granny Efratia.

I thought it was the one with the dolls.

You want the one with the dolls

November 4th, 1983.

Sweet, sweet Keren,

You must've grown prettier

since I saw you,

but I'm sure you laugh.

Laugh with joy. and that's great

You must've forgotten me.

But I remember you and miss you.

In our Haifa, where we were bom.

You, your parents and me,

there’s a heat wave going on.

I went into town today

to look for a nice outfit for you

and found this pale blue one.
Like it?

It was chaos, one day I’ll tell you

and I came home with a headache.

I bought you 3 little dolls:

your parents can do you a show,

a puppet-show.

I'm sorry they're not so pretty,

but that’s all there is here.

Ask your father

to fix their hair with paint. He can.

Your mother can tell a nice story.

Meanwhile, be healthy.

And send my regards to the park, trees,

pigeons and ducks.

Yes, Keren, we stand for democracy.

Not a monarchy.

Kisses, Granny Efratia.


November 18th. 1984.


for your question

about living somewhere else.

I’ve thought it over, but where

When I was young, after the kibbutz,

I studied in Vienna and Berlin, 1932.

We let our provincial ways go

and ft was great.

But now? No.

Maybe London

In 1960

it was great studying there for a year.

I loved the rainy city

and I loved being able to be alone.

It was indeed rough.

Toughening, interesting,

and the students were like boys

who didn't fear getting old.

But to live there permanently? No.

Both London and the British

are not as they once were.


It’s got some appeal.

I’d gladly visit

Centre Pompidou, by the carrousel,

feast my eyes on the fountains

and, of course, rush in

on the escalator with fellow humans.


I’d visit the impressionists, too.

I love, love, love them.

I’m charmed each time,

I’m mute in this city.

French? No way...

If so. no.

There’s no other place to live in.

No, neither I

nor others like me, have another place.

After all,

some things make life easy

even in the Israel of 1985.

There’s a beautiful area in the Carmel,

a beach, boardwalk at dusk.

Bat Galim and Dado beaches.

Beautiful sunsets.

There’s the university. Nathan Zach.

Enjoy it a lot.

A bit of A.B Yehoshua

Gideon Efrat, the best.

There’s the Haifa theater.



and friends, those who’re still alive.

We know what true friendship is.

The Second Immigration people...

and my dear parents are buried here.

I’ll always love them and never forget.

Some of my best friends lie here too.

So does my architect husband.

And many more.

I’m not a grave keeper, no.

Dry, hollow bones, no.

But memories were made here

and they can't be uprooted.

I take short visits to distant places

and come back.

We might not have another place

but anxiety is setting in.

What will become of you, the youngsters,

our flesh and blood,

dreamers of the lost dream?

Can you overcome the darkness

that envelopes us?



The war bell rings at the doors

People are surprised, this can't be

And as usual. I ask questions

I lock the door

Shut off the lights


And destruction hits like waves on sand

People search

who's on the right, who's on the left.

You need not meddle

Just look from the side

If I could. I'd be unique

And I pray to God

The One Redeemer

My God


Stressed people pour into the streets

Throwing rocks, overturning cars

And I face them holding 2 torches

One for myself

the other for what’s ahead

They lie anyway

As usual

Donfygivfya damn about truth

Waiting for the future

The present died long ago

Your life is like a continuous string

When God's had enough, he just smiles

And cuts it

And I pray to God

The One Redeemer

My God


Soldiers line up

And wear their berets

Thtfcommanders. are shamed

And wipe their tears

I close my eyes at such funerals

So much sadness, it can't be

How much morel?

If I asked to escape

Then I had a choice

Arid if I riave'no mow strength

Then I'm going back

It's so important not to forget

So I try to remember

If I had a bit of brains

I wouldn't be retarded

I’m sorry

And I pray to God

The One Redeemer

My God