Remembering Rabin and enjoying democracy in Israel
I know exactly where I was when I found out--at the local nursing home, where I visited residents every Shabbat afternoon. I usually ignored the televisions that were on in residents' rooms, but that day, it was impossible. I don't think I knew that he had died; only that he was shot. I didn't really get the full story until after Shabbat ended. After I found out that he had died, it occurred to me, for the first time, that a democracy could stop being a democracy under the right circumstances. I had to take some SAT IIs the next day, which was quite difficult.
Fast forward thirteen years. I am here in Israel. I listened to someone read a lovely Rabin memorial poem on the radio was I walked from Talpiyot to Meah Shearim. (One of my new activities is taking long walks, since Jerusalem is a lovely city for walking and I need the exercise.) I read many interesting, scandalous, depressing, and humorous campaign posters for the upcoming mayoral elections. On Friday, I watched teenagers standing next to each other on street corners, holding up signs and passing out fliers for opposing candidates, but chatting in between handing things out. On Shabbat, I chuckled at the (inexcusable given the number of native English-speakers campaigning for him) poor English translation on one of Nir Barkat's handouts: "Barkat shall execute!"
I am really enjoying this election. In a way, I feel more connected to this election than to that other recent election, although I voted in that one and won't vote in this one. I don't really have time to read any newspapers here, so I wasn't following Obama/McCain at the end, but here, the election is all around me and it feels like everyone is involved and everyone cares. And it's nice.
It was a bizarre day, to say the least.
Glad we endure, and that you are there to enjoy!