School girls lining up to enter the Old City on Jerusalem Day.

I’m not leaving tonight, as planned. American airlines are not flying in or out of Tel Aviv for a couple of days, first flight out is  Friday night and that’s what I’m on. But nobody knows if it’ll really happen.

“You suppose El Al is flying and only American airlines are too wimpy?” I ask my sister.

Stupid question. I watched last night as the television showed rockets flying over the airport. Do I want to sit inside a plane while that happens? No, sir. My brother-in-law flew to NY last night and ended up in a shelter 7 stories underground, and finally managed to leave. I’m not so lucky.

There are occasional explosions from far away, no siren warning us of incoming rockets. Tonight is Eid-el-Fitr, the last night of the Ramadan, and fireworks are to be expected, but this is way different. After the initial 7 rockets aimed at Jerusalem on Monday early evening, Jerusalem has escaped the onslaught of rockets coming from Gaza and hitting the south and central parts of Israel.

My brother took a walk with his wife and two missiles hit an uninhabited field not far from them.

I got upset. “Why are you taking a walk outdoors when all the warnings ae to stay in?” When the sirens go off, instructions are clear: Go down to the shelter. If you don’t have a shelter, go into the building’s staircase but avoid the ground floor. And if you don’t have a staircase, stay in an inside room with as few window panes as possible.

The Israeli forces show videos of how their Iron Dome downs missiles. One missile meets the other in mid-air and explodes it, and it looks like a video game. Those are probably the explosions we hear all the way here.

We watch TV endlessly, and the Israeli army makes optimistic announcements and videos of the buildings and Hamas commanders that are going down. But journalists are demanding to understand why is it that with all this damage done in Gaza, Hamas is still succeeding in sending rockets into Israel. Also, how is this going to be different from other battles with Hamas?

There is absolutely no talk of cease-fire.

But for many people, what is happening inside Israel, between Israeli Jews and Arabs, is by far the worst. This is the first time in many years that Israelis see Israeli Arabs rioting in the cities, burning cars, throwing rocks, stones, and Molotov cocktails, rioting especially  in Lod, where a curfew has begun but is not yet enforced, Bat Yam, Tiberias, and other cities. Whereas yesterday Arab citizens rioted against Jewish citizens, with police presence scant, now they ae rioting not just against police but also against Jewish counter-rioters. We can see people with Israeli flags walking the streets, attacking Arab passers-by, attacking mosques.

My sister took Molly the dog to the dog park at 10 at night, and as she was getting the dog out of the car another car passed by and a young man threw a couple of full orange soda cartons hard at her.

I have lots of thoughts about all these impressions, but this is not the time, things are moving way too fast. This is the time to maintain some steadiness and bear witness as much as possible. Take in as much as possible.

Announcement of more rockets coming in in 20 minutes, at 9:00 pm.

Happy Eid-al-Fitr.



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Eve Marko - The Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills: Hunt for the LynxThe Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills: Hunt for the Lynx begins a trilogy about a society of dogs after humans have destroyed themselves and much of the world. Living with their families and clans in the Kiskadee Hills, they’ve developed over generations a rich tradition and way of life, and have prospered. But now, an unknown killer is butchering the Kisdees of the Hills.

Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges says: “You will never look at dogs the same again. Eve Marko gives us a story that explores the path that life on our planet has taken, and asks what your role in that course might be.”

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Eve Marko - Bearing Witness

To bear witness to anything is to be as close to it as possible.

It’s not to read books or see movies about it, it’s not to have an opinion or tell a story. It’s to let go of all ideas about it—be in the space of not-knowing—and simply be there, up close and deeply personal.

Eve has been involved with the Zen Peacemaker Order’s Bearing Witness Retreats—in places of suffering and conflict since her first visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

There have been 20 retreats at the site of those concentration camps since, along with retreats in Bosnia, Rwanda and the Black Hills of South Dakota, near the Pine Ridge Reservation.

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Eve Marko is a Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and head teacher at the Green River Zen Center in Massachusetts. She received dharma transmission and inka from Bernie Glassman. She is also a writer and editor of fiction and nonfiction.

Eve has trained spiritually-based social activists and peacemakers in the US, Europe and the Middle East, and has been a Spiritholder at retreats bearing witness to genocide at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Rwanda, and the Black Hills in South Dakota. Before that she worked at the Greyston Mandala, which provides housing, child care, jobs, and AIDS-related medical services in Yonkers, New York.

Eve’s articles on social activists have appeared in the magazines TricycleShambhala Sun, and Tikkun. Her collection of Zen koans for modern Zen practitioners in collaboration with Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, The Book of Householder Koans: Waking Up In the Land of Attachments, came out in February 2020.

Hunt for the Lynx, the first in her fantasy trilogy, The Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills, was published in 2016.

“When I was a young girl my dream was to be a hermit, live alone, and write serious literature. That’s not how things turned out. I got involved with people. I got involved in the world. Two things matter to me right now: the creative spark and the aliveness of personal connection. In some way, they both come down to the same thing.”

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