In September 2015 I changed my role as a columnist to a blogger. (I still haven’t saturated the difference…one is paid and the other is not paid seems to be a factor).
I awake not too early in the morning, recite my prayers, drink my coffee with something called carbohydrates, a small glass of fresh orange juice, and make my way to the computer.
The internet brings me the Hebrew press, the German press, the British and American press, occasionally the Canadian news and unfortunately the nonsense of the American political campaign.
After some hours of reading and absorbing news of the world, I look for a common denominator between our Israeli press and the foreign press. Which presents the most accurate-date news reports? Which press blames Israel for the ills of the world and which papers, like our Yisrael Hayom, hail our government and support its policies?
When I find something controversial I try to understand it from the various news services. Reuters is usually more accurate than the daily New York Times. The Canadian press is frequently more favorable to Israel, the French Agence Presse less so, and the German press walking a thin line of neutrality.
It becomes my daily task to read, absorb, accept the favorable and discard with disdain the critical and biased. Sometimes I read the English language version of the Kuwaiti Al Jazeera which I find comprehensive and sometimes even fair.
When not engaged in dissecting the news of the world I turn to personal episodes of my life, of 63 years of memories, mostly all happy, of experiences in the beloved land.
Besides holding Israeli citizenship whose passport and Teudat Zehut (national ID card) I carry with immense pride. I also carry a passport of another nation for security but rarely present it to the Immigration Officers at ports of entrance.
At times when I am questioned about “dual loyalty” I reply “Jerusalem is my mother. The other country is my wife. A man can always separate and divorce a wife but a mother can never be divorced by her children”.
There is vastly great difference between the love and devotion one holds for two different lands.
On a magnet which my daughter placed on our refrigerator in Rishon Lezion many years ago, the message is clear: “I love (name of city or country)_____________but Jerusalem is home”.
In my morning prayerbook I recite the prayer for the welfare of the soldiers of Tzahal, followed by the prayer for Medinat Yisrael. It is a constant daily reminder of who I am and wherein lies my love and devotion.
In the evenings I turn my television to Arutz 2 for the varying opinions of Abramovitch and London and the late Kirschenbaum. Israeli news interviews are often pepperd by strong opinions of guest speakers who rival with one another in shooting matches, all speaking at the same time and not controlled by the news commentator or moderator. It is a melee, unlike the courtesy of political discussions in parliments and news interviews of foreign countries.
Israel has never really accepted the term of “adivut”…of courtesy. Look only at the lines waiting in the offices of the Misrad HaPnim (Interior Ministry) attempting to apply for or to renew passports and register other needed information. They are often met with gruff and short-tempered clerks. Few courtesies.
I recall accompanying an Israel friend from Rishon in 1956 to the offices of the British Council in Tel-Aviv. He had been invited to participate in a conference in England and was required to present a certificate of his proficiency in the English language in order to receive approval for a visa.
When we entered we were courteously escorted into an office. The officer called for tea and biscuits and served us. He examined my friend orally and was quite satisfied with his ability to converse in English. Immediately he took out a pad of paper and wrote a visa for him to enter England. He rose up from his chair, shook my friend’s hand and wished him success and happiness in his first visit to England.
As we left the British Council offices, my friend was almost hypnotized and kept repeating over and over again “aizeh adivut; aizeh adivut”. What courtesy ! What courtesy! Nothing which one saw in Israeli government offices in those days.
My last dealings with the Ministry of Interior occurred in Jerusalem in 2001. I was treated with hospitality and kindness and my requests were approved and granted on the spot. As the song goes, “The times they are a-changing”.
So a blogger is fueled with ammunition in order to convey impressions and opinions to the many thousands who read his daily column and occasionally reply with a comment.
The blogger’s day does not end when at the midnight hour his computer is turned off. Simply because his mind is not turned off.
With his head resting on a pillow his thoughts turn to the next day’s articles.
What happens in the morrow’s news affects the words he writes. Hopefully they will cause his readers to think.