Friday, July 06, 2007

506. In Israel (7)

7/1, evening

Writing quickly tonight because I have to get up in a few hours... Sitting on the balcony overlooking big waves rolling in on the beach.

This morning, a tour of the Rabin Center and a question-and-answer session with his daughter Dahlia Rabin, the director. A remarkable woman who left the law and politics because of the need to make so many compromises. This is a more direct way to make peace, and the Center's programs include diversity training for IDF soldiers and college outreach to young, disenfranchised Arabs and Israelis. We took a tour of the almost-constructed museum, to be finished with they find another $3 million. Right outside, two facing gardens, one named for Clinton and the other for King Hussein, living, growing symbols of the peace treaty with Jordan. Did she believe her father left a confusing legacy of both violence and conciliation? "No; he wanted the state to be good to live in, not just to die for."

Then a brief stop at Rabin Square, which I had also visited on the last trip. It was empty and quiet then, but today we lit candles and listened to the El Maleh Rahamim amidst the sounds of traffic and street musicians, which seemed a fitting legacy: life triumphs over death. Our guide spoke with passion of anger and hatred, and how everyone remembers exactly where they were at that moment. I noted, with shame, that I do not. Twelve years ago I had little interest in being Jewish, and was embarrassed by this, and by Israel in general. But now I can forgive myself. I'm still confused about many aspects of the complicated life of Israel--but I know her arms are open to me.

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