a friend asked me how I like israel and if I keep up with the politics there. I haven't written much about my stay here apart from some notes & thoughts in my notepads, so this is just a quick reply to remember / trigger some memories. (scattered / stream of consciousness thoughts warning! some things might need fact checking too - I'd have to look up old notes)

and this is a link to 'most of the hebrew that I know list on live-vicariously-through-joni blog I came across whilst searching for the spelling of ta'im (tasty) the other night. this list is more words than I know, but I do know quite a few of them!

yeah sort of. I've read up on a bit and asked people from work and
taxi drivers etc & seen some films/docos here. everybody just wants
peace basically - those I've spoken to in israel and palestine (I've
only been to bethlehem in palestine a couple of times which is safe -
not gaza so haven't spoken to many palestinians). israel is a great
place - I love it here! it's a shame that the surrounding countries
want to destroy it. in most ways israel isn't like how the media
portray it - same with other things in media I guess. that's not to
say israel is perfect either - no country is. and unfortunately there
are deaths and casualties on both sides. but from what I've seen
israel tends to defend whereas hamas & hezbollah attack. lately
there's been more talk about a PA state being formed and some dramas
with the israeli PM, but to be honest I don't see it happening. if
they did return the requested areas most israelis would have to leave
or the attacks would get worse and they'd block off the water supply &
most of the sacred jewish sites would be at risk etc so I don't see
israel ever agreeing to it. I hope there'll be peace one day but I
don't see either side backing down.

the scariest part I've seen is the
reports of what the children are taught in palestine - so they'll grow
up with hatred of the jewish people & learn to worship the
martyrs/terrorists so this will never end as it continues in the next
generation. I think they need to stop that. not all palestinians are
like this of course but with 80% support of the people in recent
elections it seems that most people support the PA ideas. I hope they
can find a way to build and support their own people and state instead
of blaming israel for everything. the media tends to focus on these
complaints. & their leaders don't seem to care about the people, but
there are other countries that suffer from this too - eg india. I'm
pretty pro-israel these days after seeing & living how the people live
here. I guess it's easier to say that coming from Aus/the west.
whereas if I were from an Arabic background I prob wouldn't have had
the opportunity to travel/live/see what I've seen, so it's from a
privileged perspective (but I can't change my own background so it's
harder to imagine their lives).

life in general is same as back home -
people don't let the threat of being attacked stop them from living
their lives which I think is a good attitude. living in jerusalem has
been great - religion is really in your face here so it's been
interesting to see that instead of say living in tel aviv which is
just like any other city. having the country shutdown on
shabbath/saturdays has been good too - I actually like it. it forces
you to see friends/family (ppl who have family here) & is less
commercial as shops are closed. it's like sundays in the 70s when I
was growing up when shops were closed. we had to find other things to
amuse us than spending $. this is nice - I hope to continue this at
home (I still go to a cafe though - need to eat & drink coffee!)

the feel of the country is similar to aus and it feels very familiar to me
for some reason. probably from stories growing up - the places are
mostly recognisable words though they are closer and sometimes
different to how I imagined them. the desert is amazing too - I was
expecting sandy deserts like sahara but it's more rocky. and the
jerusalem stone buildings (limestone) look great - all the buildings
in jerusalem have to be made from jerusalem stone to keep the charm of
the city. I wish I had a jerusalem stone house (though they're mostly
apartments / multiple family houses here not single home dwellings).
it's cooler temperature wise in jerusalem too as it's in the mountains
- and drier than tel aviv which is humid.

I would like to spend more time here but I think it's time to go home
for a while. if things don't work out there then I can try come back.
and there's always holidays - as I haven't seen all of the country yet
so should come back when I don't have to work. it's going to be sad to
leave really. the people are great too. u should try come here one day
- someone (pizza guy / Tito) mentioned the other night that israel is
like an untouched diamond - sounds cheesy but it's true ! I think people
think it's really scary and there's only a warzone here but it's an amazing

"Shum da'var" that's nothing (everything / hakol)

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