Thursday, November 29, 2007


I Just had the great honor and pleasure of spending an afternoon with Hadas Reshef, creator of the "Homage to Edward Hopper and Eric Fischl" given above, right over Hopper's own "Morning Sun" and Fischl's "Bad Boy".

Hadas does other peculiar things to familiar works of art. She made a version of Millet's gleaners in which the three bent-backed women stand upright in the field, as a feminist, socialist statement. She was also a major player in the Tze'ela Katz incident. Today Haaretz Journalist Ofri Ilani met with me to discuss the finer points of this story and I invited Hadas to join and offer her own two cents. From there we somehow ended up sitting in a barbershop where I got a free beard trim and both of us were served free hot chocolate. Gotta love the company of artists.

It'll be a wild night for those who appreciate the company of artists. Michel Gondry's latest film "Be Kind, Rewind", is to get an illegal screening at an undisclosed location (if anyone wants to join: call me). Later on poet, barmaid and general good soul Osnat Skoblinsky is throwing a beach party at her apartment in honor of her birthday. Beachwear a must.

One final and far more dramatic bit of good news: My beloved friend, mentor and favorite author Yoram Kaniuk has just gone through his last radiation treatment today and a toast in honor of that is due. When will I ever get to do my work? I have got to switch to the insurance agents' clique soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mieleni Minun Tekevi

A high school student from the south is coming to meet with me today. She's writing a paper about Finland's mythology (otherwise known as "Kalevala poetry"). The millions of readers who frequent this blog and don't know me personally may not be aware of it, but I'm considered a prime expert on Finnish mythology among Hebrew speakers, which is the single most random thing a person can be.

Truth be told, I'm not even sure how big an expert I am today. Five years have passed since I published my book on the subject and the relevant volumes I've collected at the time have been pretty dormant since. Still, there are some aspects of the culture with which I remained in deep contact. They can be summed up in this:

There are no angels in Finnish lore, but there is a lot of Finnishness in this angel, created by painter Hugo Simberg to adorn the walls of Tampere's cathedral.

Finland's legends date back to the stone age and they are at one time intensely minimalistic and very complex. The Finnish hero is hardly a hero, but a living, flawed human entity. Väinämöinen, the Kalevala's chief protagonist, is more similar to impulsive and often morally lax King David than to marble-statue Theseus or Perseus. The melancholy of dark forests and long winters is evoked in his failures, his wrath, his wry sense of humor.

There's a deeply abstract core to the Finnish legends and this element is apparent in a lot of Finnish art. The story of Simberg's painting is entirely the work of Simberg's imagination, but it is steeped with the Kalevala's spirit: the mix of magic and realism (industrial Tampere's smokestacks appear right over the angel's head), The potent melancholy, the deep modesty, the mystery of things left unexplained. You can take your mind off of Finland, but you can't take a dark bit of sorcery away from your life once it's touched you. One look at this painting and I feel prepared for the meeting.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mull of Kintyre

Why am I thinking of the Mull of Kintyre, a windswept cliff on the west shore of Scotland, after a day of traveling through the Israeli/Palestinian desert with Alon?

It's just another twist of this peculiar week, I guess.

I've visited the Mull of Kintyre with Maya Honn and Noga Weiss nearly a decade ago. We found a very cheap hotel by a secluded beach on the west coast of the peninsula. I never did sing the famous Paul McCartney song in its cozy bar. It would have been too corny, but watching The video on Youtube I recognise a lot of what made those times special, bonfires on the beach, the grassy knolls and the sense that everything is open.

The desert we traveled through today doesn't give the same feeling. The Dead Sea is dying further due to human activity. It's simply drying out. Concrete walls along segregated West Bank roads are depressing. The roadblocks are disgusting.

But I shouldn't be ridiculous. This goddamned desert is even more arresting than the Argyll. The sulfur baths in Ein Gedi (we got in for free, part of the job) were intoxicating, and getting to stand 400 meters below sea level is a privilage. The Mull of Kintyre is fantasy incarnate. Israel and Palestine are reality. Annapolis (site of the current peace convention) is somewhere in between. We'll yet see where all of this leads.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Grateful Living

When a family mourns, the nerves are exposed and a lot of old tensions can come to the surface. The shiv'a - that traditional seven-day-long reception on which friends drop by to offer condolences - can be hard on the spirit: to much small talk, too much uneasiness, too many cookies and burekas and way too much coffee.

It turns out to be mostly the opposite this time around. We're spending the Shiv'a's days at my uncle and aunt's place. Everybody's being lovely. Late last night, after a good dinner there, my cousin Yaron took out a guitar and we sang Arik Einstein songs. His pajamaed four years old son Tuval decided he is Spiderman and I gave him a hand at climbing walls. My aunt Rachel said "Who would believe that we're in mourning?"

But we are in mourning and these days are emotional. My sisters and I all had work to do this weekend, none of it got done. I find myself being particularly upfront and expressive with people around me, Whether it be on the phone, on the street or in the pub. I notice that I'm more easy to express love, and I know my family living and dead to be that love's source.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lunch Poem

Missing Paris, empty plate Paris, shoplifting Paris,
Ex-girlfriend Paris, on an empty plate,
Empty place ten sheqel afternoon.
Orr bites lower lip, Eli hands tip.

Light in, light out. In my head you said: insist.
Then we got lost in L.A., missing Paris
Till it turned day, and I ate
Paris, I ate grits in Jacksonville, and you.

What good is my head, what good
These Irish cliffs In a town without topography?
I ate you up, made full stop, ordered coffee,
Young again but without the tent.

Roaring in winter, smoking litter,
Sketching school, missing Paris. The shopkeeper said:
May Satan take you. I say: Thank you
Orr for serving me all this.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

In Memoriam, Safta Shulamit

When my grandma died last night, my sister Tamar was in the shower. She was thinking of my grandma's suffering and quietly sang Shalom Aleichem, the family's beloved song for shabbat, as prayer that death will finely embrace her.

When my grandma died last night, my parents were with her. They were returning from a wedding and stopped by at the hospice. my father touched her forehead and said: "She's warm, but something's wrong". They called in the nurse who inspected her and told them: "she's dead. She waited for you and died".

When my grandma died last night I was at the opera, Watching Rossini's "Journey to Reims". In it, a group of travelers are stuck at an inn, unable to embark on a journey that would take them to the coronation of king Charles X of France. The modernist director chose to place the action in a grounded airplane.

Last night's loss turns the rather goofy libretto of "Journey to Reims" into an existentialist work. My grandma was anxious to die, but her airplane waited long for clearance. I don't buy any afterlife theory, but if she's reuniting with my grandpa there and with her former self, that would be a coronation.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

War and Peace

My neighbor Mishu is renovating his flat. The knocking down of walls goes on well into the night.

Moving to Jaffa, I knew I was in for noisy nights. People here have a different approach to the idea of noise pollution. Usually, though, the noise consists of music and chatter, not of doomsday bangs. At midnight I walked down to ask of them to stop. I had a long day at work and needed a lot of sleep.

"Now you've made a mistake." said Mishu, "So far you've been OK, but now you made your big mistake." He was clearly furious. I came out of whatever prissy Jewish Zionist town into his native Jaffa and quickly seek to make changes. "This isn't Ramat Gan, you get that? We are different people here! You go back to Ramat Gan where you came from."

This created a problem for me, since I know nobody in Ramat Gan and can't really go back there. For a moment we stood in the hallway like two tomcats with our hairs on end. Him red with the collective memory of Kafar Qasem (see last post) et al, the occupation, the daily encounters with racism, me hearing "go back to Ramat Gan" as though it meant "go back to Poland". But My family was murdered in Poland! you get that, Mishu? They were murdered even though they were good neighbors and never kept anyone up knocking down walls after midnight!

Wow, what a bad spot. We had to break out of it. "Thank you." I said, nodded and walked back upstairs. They kept working in his flat but made no serious drilling or hammering noise. Somehow, I felt that this was no accident.

This morning I came over with two bags of freshly ground coffee. Mishu opened the door unsmiling.

"Listen, I brought you coffee because you didn't make too much noise after I left last night," I said, "One bag for you, one for your laborers, so they do an extra good job."

"Is it Arab coffee?" he asked.

"It is. I also got me some ear plugs."

"You should have gotten them sooner."

"Look Mishu, it's important for me to be a good neighbor and I want you to know that I respect Jaffa. I didn't mean to offend your culture and I don't think you meant to offend mine. In fact, I think I simply came knocking on a bad day."

It turns out to have been a horrible day. "I fought with everybody yesterday. I lost my voice completely. Man, I'm going to Jerusalem to be with the kids. That's it, I'm taking two days to relax, I need it.

"Sounds good." That meant sleep to me.

"Come on, let's go eat something."

So we went and had hummus and grilled meat and coffee around the corner. Then I went back to work and listened to my prissy Zionist French Chanson music. Barbara singing: "Never let the days of fear and hate return / 'cause there are people that I love in Gottingen." A beautiful rainbow appeared out the window over Tel-Aviv's skyline, this being the second day of serious rains. Pretty cheesy, huh? I was just glad it occured to me he might have had a bad day. We tend to disregard such factors when we have an enemy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Yemeni Book of Living and Dying

This, my friends, will be my longest post to date. Some days simply deserve that.

When Alon Sigavi, the book's photographer, joined me this morning, we had a few options of places to visit and document. We could go to Sachnin in the north, but the city is famous for its football club and we preferred to go there when there's a match going on. We could go to Netivot in the south, where well known miracle maker Rabbi Baba Sali is buried, but their unique market is only on on Tuesdays. We settled on Rosh Ha'ayin, a blue-collar eastern suburb of Tel-Aviv.

What seemed to be the least exotic option turned out to feature my first experience of consuming a recreational drug as part of a job assignment.

Rosh Ha'ayin was funded in the late 40s as a tent town for Jewish immigrants from Yemen. It's still a very Yemeni place. Almost everyone downtown is endowed with the physical characteristics associated with Yemenis - a particular petiteness, burnt sienna skin and black hairs. We enjoyed fatty and savory "hoof soup", which was served with special pancake-like bread and "hilbe" - a strange condiment that effects the body odor of those who consume it. We saw a photo exhibit of the historic migration and of mud skyscrapers in Southern Arabia, but that's the boring part of the story.

It was the warden at the local historical museum who showed us the way to a qat vendor named Shalom. Shalom's old car was parked behind a kiosk and he was offering green bunches for 50 sheqels apiece. "sheqel" and "qat" are both words amply familiar to Scrabble players in English. They allow the player to use a "Q" without having to wait for a "U". I don't know how common scrabble is in Yemen, but qat is just as popular there as it is at the professional Scrabble world series. It's a national pastime, the drug of choice. Here in Israel it's fully legal to grow, sell and consume, but for some reason isn't available in supermarkets. You have to know the right guy in a Yemeni community to score some.

Chewing the leaves gives a serious buzz - and something extra. Qat is perhaps the most powerful natural aphrodisiac known to man. When my marriage was ending, I bought some qat drink at the Yemeni quarter in downtown Tel-Aviv. I wanted to offer her a courtship gift, to show her that I care and that I'm intent on finding imaginative ways to refresh the bond. Qat wasn't enough to save the marriage and that's not where the problem was to begin with, but even the mere memory of getting stoned with her is one of my fondest of the period.

The drink anyway has a lighter effect than actually chewing the leaves. Equipped with a bunch the size of a major head of lettuce, Alon and I now went on to visit a Yemeni Jeweler named Ezra. He made us Yemeni "white coffee" (don't ask me, somehow it's white and it's coffee), showed us some of the most astounding works of craftsmanship I've seen, and asked to check our stash. He said it was B-grade but would do, and that we should fill up our stomachs before we consume it. He also taught us how to choose the right leaves to chew. "I don't take it myself", said ezra "If I do I go crazy, I don't sleep at night. I go crazy! A spliff in the evening, that's all I need. I don't need this kind of stuff."

The comparison made qat sound like some serius narcotic. We were getting nervous, but the concept of the book is that we experience each city in Israel through the five senses, and Rosh Ha'ayin without qat is like Dublin without Guinness. Interestingly, qat is legal in the U.K. but illegal in the Republic of Ireland. This random fact may only be of interest to my friend Liat Sayaf, who is part Yemeni, part Irish, but bear it in mind if you ever think of carrying any of this stuff south of the Six Counties.

We thought of carrying our own to the Antipatris fortress, an imposing ruin situated just west of town. First we stopped at Kafar Qasem, a large Palestinian-Israeli town, to stock up on baklawas lest we hurt our stomachs. Kafar Qasem is the site of a major pogrom commited by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian-Israelis in 1956.

At the time curfews were commonly imposed also on Arab communities inside Israel (and not only in the occupied territories). An officer in Kafar Qasem ordered that all those breaking curfew are shot dead, without effectively notifying the population of the curfew. The monument at the heart of the town lists the 48 victims, among them girls and boys as young as 8 years old. The officer who initially gave the order was fined 10 Israeli cents. Other officers involved were somehow slipped away from imprisonment and given high ranking government positions. The people at a Kafar Qasem cafe were hospitable to us regardless. We stocked on sweets, took a photos of the mosque and the monument and headed on.

Unfortunately, it turns out the national park authority locks Antipatris fortress before sunset. Our alternative junkies' niche was a bit bizarre: the cemetery at Kibbutz Einat.

It's not just any cemetery. Einat is a rare place in Israel where secular funerals are conducted. This means that Jews lie there next to Non-Jews, and that many free minded people such as artists choose to be buried there. Each plot is a small garden where the bereaved plant trees and place objects related to their loved ones. The entire cemetery is a flowering garden of love and longing.

I never felt so sad in a cemetery before. The one in Bnei Brak I visited recently was starkly impersonal, while this was so obviously the resting place of individuals. You could tell those who died Young by the toys placed in the flower beds, the ripe old agers by the engraved quotes by forgotten poets and the occasional garden gnome. This is what loss is really about: a cherishing of what was once alive. Walking there, my own life and the lives of those dear to me gradually gained more and more value in my eyes.

To celebrate being alive, we spread the fresh greens on a bench and began chewing. Soon enough it hit us, the "sutul", the sense that everything is well with the world, and if it isn't, who cares. The sun was setting over massive Highway 6 - Israel's noisy toll turnpike, shining its last rays on the West Bank only two miles away to the east. None of this could disturb the deep rest of the dead nor of the living. We were one with them, for a short while. We were also one with the struggling families of Rosh Ha'ayin, with the still scarred elders of Kafar Qasem and with ourselves. Finally we said a last cheer for Yemen and its people, and headed back to the glowing lights of the big sober city.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

There's Only One Real Solution to Our Problems as a Society, and Our Government Spits in the Faces of Those Doing the Work

Tonight at 20:00, on Rabin Square, there will be a rally in support of the striking teachers.

If we're too busy to go tonight, we'll need to free many an evening in the future, to demonstrate about all the trouble into which this country will get itself for lack of education.

Expect good music by Muki and Church of the Brain.


Post scriptum: We did quite well. Here are the results.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Home and Non-Home

"Where, rhyming amongst shadows of fantastic things
Like a lyre I plucked the laces, the strings
Of my wounded shoes, my foot near my heart."

-Rimbaud, "Ma Boheme".

My shoes are wounded too - from walking all day around the town of Umm Al-Fahm, another great place not served by Israeli public transportation because its 60,000 residents speak Arabic.

Never mind. I'm at home now, at the back of the Little Prince cafe, having a pint with Lior Kodner, my sweet and down to earth friend who is an editor with Haaretz. Into the yard walks Dana Guidetti, a high tech professional and the muse of much poetry written in Tel-Aviv these days. "You're so right on / Dana Guidetti," wrote Chicky Arad, "You are the breeze at the upper floors of the El Al Building /... You are the scarlet of a terminated revolution's blood". Her grey training suit doesn't quite evoke that metaphor, but Dana lives across the street and doesn't mind looking homey around her friends.

The circle of these friends widens. Vizan is here with Osnat Skoblinsky the poet. Nathan Zach dropped by recently and Vizan bought him a glass of Scotch. Shlomo Kraus, the publisher, will soon arrive, inspiring us all to be both more serious and more fun as literati. We may move on to his house, right down the alley, with the lion's statue in front. We may fish through his fridge for food, we may hum an old Israeli tune as we do so:

המדבר כיסה אותך
באבק לבן ורך
עץ ירוק בארץ חרבה
איך נשכח את בית הערבה?

The desert shrouded you
In soft, white dust,
A green tree in an arid land,
How will we ever forget our Arava home?

My life is at the junction of such different wonders. Umm Al-Fahm's streets are steeper than San Fransisco's and more labyrinthine then Venice's. They smell strongly of roasting coffee and car fumes. I can barely read the signs over the shops there and I don't understand the aesthetic of the monument for the dead of October 2000. At the municipal art gallery I was shown a punishing piece of video-art concerning roadblocks, then taken to the roof by Hadil, the owner's daughter, to look at the mess of structures climbing up the hills. Beyond them is the countryside, barbed wire fences and olive groves, roasting lamb and byzantine mosaics.

Then there's the city, every night. The chai, the beer, the rock band playing the late show at Levontin, Shlomo throwing two eggs in a pan for hungry Vizan, Lior letting me look over yesterday's foreign news pages, to locate an error, Dana talking about her love for Mario Vargas llosa.

And there's the final walk to Jaffa and to bed along the waterfront, and thinking of Rimbaud. To live a balanced life you need a home - a place from which to escape and to which to return. You also need somewhere to escape to and return from. I have both at this point. I make the escape each day and return each night. Rimbaud had only the latter. Once he escaped he never returned. maybe this made him into the great poet I'll never be, but I pass on the honor. My foot is nicely close to my heart as it is.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Charles Clore Park Embankment Haiku #2

Migrating sparrows,
a sliver moon and a kite
look down at the sun.

(and check out last season's variant).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Nocturnal Jerusalem 101

As dusk was falling over Jerusalem, I clicked my phone for one last shot of its savanna wildlife.

My workday brought me to some pretty interesting places, including an abbey near Beit Shemesh where the nuns wear white Obi Wan Kenobi hoods, keep silent for years and fall to the church's floor in ecstasy during prayer. It ended at Jerusalem's "Biblical Zoo" where animals are only kept if they are mentioned in scripture (they're pretty sure the panda is in there somewhere).

Seeing that such was the case, I decided to head downtown and visit my friend Gilli Stern. From Gilli's window no Jerusalem Giraffes are visible, but you can see the Kingdom of Jordan: mountains the color of dolce de leche rising beyond the Old City's ramparts. Smoking on the balcony, Gilli reminisced about sneaking onto those ramparts one night in July. The idea was yours truly's and we were joined by Theo, Erika, Magen and Morane.

"Ever since we did that, I've come to thinking about how little I know of the Old City," he said. "I actually started asking people to walk me down their 'Jerusalem trails'."

This was a request. Most native Jewish Jerusalemites, myself included, have a strange relationship with the urban miracle beyond the walls. Ever since the beginning of the first Intifada in 1987, we mostly avoid it fearing "danger" or simply skip it, thinking it irrelevant to our lives (it's not, especially on the human rights level, since our tax money funds a lot of discrimination in East Jerusalem, and our votes sanction it).

The change occurs when a teacher arrives to open our eyes and ears and lips and nostrils and fingers to all that's there. In my case this teacher was my cousin Karen, born in Paris and thus free of Zion's little paranoias. Twelve years ago she simply assumed I knew of some Ethiopian monks living on the roof on the holy sepulchre church, among sacred trees that they are not allowed to touch. Never have I heard of such stuff, and you can't beat that kind of tease to the curiosity, I headed in.

Gilli was now putting together an entire faculty of such teachers, and I was recruited to give tonight's lesson. I picked Damascus Gate as our port of entry, Ja'far's knafe bakery as station #1 and Cafe Central, down Al-Wad St. as a place in which to wash down with tea and coffee the excess sugar consumed at station #1.

Big mistake, there was a lot of sugar in that coffee. There was sugar in the atmosphere too: in the calm of the card games and the hospitality of the owner. We head into Palestinian hangouts anticipating spice - a brawl, perhaps, involving us getting murdered, of course. We end up sitting leisurely trying to get a ring of Nergila smoke to form a halo around some guy's head, for the photo's sake.

Our love of halos, as well as a few German friends Gilli made at the pub, led us to station #3: The Austrian Hospice. This hospice isn't a place to die in, but a hotel for pilgrims, owned by the Catholic church (and hence decorated with many a halo). It's a chunk of Europe located in the middle of the Muslim Quarter, and when I say Europe, I mean that I once waltzed all night there to a string band, at a New Years' ball.

No ball tonight, but the friends were there, showing us their artwork on the computer, drinking Taibe beer and shooting the scheisse.

Leaving the hospice late, we found ourselves on very quiet streets. The Old City empties at night. We took the hint, skipped on the monuments, mausoleums, secret cycterns, wailing walls (yes, there's more than one), holy trees etc., headed for Jewish West Jerusalem and started looking for sufganiot, the jelly filled donuts that are a staple Jewish winter food. All bakeries have run out of them already, except one at the Machne Yehuda market. We ended up sitting on an empty stall of the market, mixing the knafe in our stomachs with some Yiddishkeit, for good measure.

Ach, Yiddishkeit. Where else does it mix so naturally with zebras, Johann Strauss, rose water and ecstatic vipasanuns? You tell us.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


At the risk of turning this blog into a jukebox, I'm following up the last post with more offerings of the finest art form.

A musical week marked by the Top Hat Carriers oddly leaves me a Bonnie Raitt fan. Early this week, I noticed people were gossiping about me (sweetly! they were wishing me well in a whisper). This brought back Raitt's Something to Talk About, and a memory: When I stayed in Denmark with my friend Inge, rumor spread around her provincial hamlet that the two of us were lovers, even though she was nearly two decades my senior. Inge kept making fun of small town attitudes and singing this song. Somehow I reckon she wasn't all that opposed to the idea.

Looking for the tune online, I found this beautiful clip of Raitt in her 30s, doing John Prine's painful and lyrical Angel From Montgomery. They broke the mold into a million pieces after they made Bonnie Raitt. Idiots.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Land is Defunct!! The Land is Defunct!!

Some things will cause you to pop out of your seat and make a fool of yourself. One such thing is the music of the Top Hat Carriers, a Jerusalem based band that produced punk-tinged tunes with Dadaist lyrics in the late eighties.

I was invited yesterday to take a minor part in a project featuring Top Hat Carriers' frontman Ohad Pishof. Later last night, at the house of my friends Shlomo and Ricky, I told them of this. Shlomo then got up to the computer and magically made it play a rare track from the Carriers' debut tape, which was distributed in 500 copies around Jerusalem sometime in the previous century.

In my garden, the world is perfect.
People are mean, it's a boring city,
A boring city, you can pinch the sun
Vanish in fire.

The land is defunct!!
The land is defunct!!

Two pints of beer and a glass of whiskey turned into a dance in the midst of the living room, shaking the floors of Tel-Aviv's most ornate and precious historical building. I may have lost my reputation for seamless dignity in the eyes of my friends, but you know how the saying goes: Dance like no one's watching, and love like you'll never be hurt, especially if you love Jerusalem punk-music.

If you do, or are inclined to, check out the Carriers here, in a relatively mild mood and here, ending a concert with the legendary listing of their names in the feminine Hebrew form. Interestingly, the popular Ynet internet portal happens to mention today this homemade and rather revolting clip, in a feature on classic Israeli clips of the eighties.

If besides Jerusalem punk-music you like Tel-Aviv underground poetry, tonight at 9:00 or so the latest Ketem evening will take place at "Makom", 12 Vital St. in Florentine. It'll feature legends Efrat Mishory, Maya Bejerano and Professor Gavriel Moked, live jazz and a few lines in Finnish to be recited by yours truly.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Rabin, Sacco and Vanzetti

Lin sent me all the way from Utah an invitation for a march on behalf of African refugees. It took place in Tel-Aviv this morning and was a massive success. Thousands of people, about half of them refugees, came together to protest the threat of deportation. I've posted on the subject before, the bitter pill is here.

There are more political gatherings in store this weekend. Tomorrow night will be the annual rally in Rabin Sq. in memory of our assassinated Prime-Minister. I recommend this recent post from Homefris's blog for those who wish to get a clear view on where this story stands today, with the murderer potentially only eight years away from release.

Sunday will bring a different sort of protest. First the high-school teachers went on strike, for being payed pathetic wages. They were joined by the faculty members of the state universities. Now the waitresses working at the "Coffee To Go" franchise right outside Tel-Aviv University campus have also formed a picket line. In an act that's meant to draw attention to all labor struggles, Tel-Aviv artists have arranged an evening on their behalf.

I was invited to participate in this evening. my plan is to bring my guitar and sing Woody Guthrie's ballad of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. The two were union leaders who were framed for murder and executed in 1927 Boston.

Sacco and Vanzetti were no prime-ministers, but they were murdered for political reasons just as Rabin was. The Sudanese, Erithrean and Ivorians who marched with me today risk being the next on the list of victims. Here are the final verses of this rather rhythmic, refreshing folksong (Originally I published the entire lyrics, but they are readily available online), in a wish for more life and more justice.

Vanzetti docked in 98;
Slept along the dirty street,
Told the workers "Organize,"
And on the 'lectric chair he dies.

All of us people ought to be
like Sacco and Vanzetti,
And everyday find ways to fight
On the union side for the workers' rights.

Well, I ain't got time to tell this tale,
The dicks and bulls are on my trail.
But I won't forget these men who died
To show us people how to live.

All you people in Suassos Lane,
Sing this song and sing it plain.
Everybody here tonight,
Sing this song, We'll get it right.