Day 135 of the War: ‘Drive Slowly’ and Kaplan

A sign in Kaplan last night. (courtesy)
A sign in Kaplan last night. (courtesy)

It rained and stormed the entire weekend, and I found myself reflecting on the famous words from the Arik Einstein’s song “Drive Slowly” (lyrics Arik Einstein and melody Miki Gavrielov). The song describes a difficult night drive to the south (probably to the Sinai desert) in the winter of 1974 during a storm to sing for the soldiers in the front. In the first stanza Arik sings: “We ride in the old car into the wet night/ the rain is heavy again/ and we cannot see a thing/drive slowly.”

 In the second stanza, Arik juxtaposes the condition of those who stay warm at home and the soldiers who are outside without shelter. “I remember how warm it is at home and how miserable/ the soldiers are/ who are lying in the mud right now.”

This song is particularly relevant now because it was written during the long months after the Yom Kippur War. At that time, Arik and his band were constantly on the road, singing for reserve duty soldiers who remained in the front for many long months after the war ended. In one of the lines in the song, as they drive south, Arik sings, “We are almost in Gaza, and hopefully, no hand grenade will fly and blow us up.” Apparently, this line is a direct allusion to terror attacks in Gaza at that time.

This long journey conjures up many thoughts and memories. In a very associative manner, the song manages to capture the atmosphere of uncertainty, the feelings of confusion, and the longing for love, warmth, and stability that characterized the period after the 1973 war. We are in a very similar place right now, but this time, in addition to the unfortunate soldiers outside in the mud, there are also those unfortunate civilians who were left without shelter in Gaza.

I had to remember all that to motivate myself to get up and do my duty as a citizen of Israel, leave home, and make it to the demonstration. I am glad I went,  it was good to be in Kaplan again without any speeches. We have exhausted our words, it’s time for action, and fewer speeches could only help the cause. The families of the hostages in the next street reached a similar conclusion; they wanted to express their frustration and grief. I was relieved to see so many people in Kaplan, we need to bring back the hostages and get rid of Netanyahu and his corrupt government.

About the Author
I hold a PhD in English Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in writing about issues related to women, literature, culture, and society. Having lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994), I bring a diverse perspective to my work. As a widow, in March 2016, I initiated a support and growth-oriented Facebook group for widows named "Widows Move On." The group has now grown to over 2000 members, providing a valuable space for mutual support and understanding.
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