Normality “Lo-Normali:” (ambiguous Hebrew slang for ‘abnormal, crazy, exceptional, wonderful, insane, magnificent’) synthesizes two previously documentaries, “The City that Never Sleeps” and “Jerusalem Journal.” It presents contrasts between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and within each of the two cities as a showcase intended to defeat misconceptions about Israel’s reality.
“Normality” does not produce headlines. Stories related to terrorism, war, political scandals and presidential visits do. I focused my attention on capturing normality: riding a bus, walking on the beach, witnessing events.
Although Tel Aviv and Jerusalem represent only a part of Israel’s reality, the contrast between the two cities makes more legible the country’s complexity, usually oversimplified with reports on disputes – right versus left, religious versus secular, sacred versus profane, Palestinians versus Israelis.
Israel is a unique country in a unique situation. That is why its normality is simply “Lo-Normali.”
I sat on a bench at Politis Park,
talking to Ruth on the phone,
she in Long Beach, on her evening,
I on my early morning,
surrounded by the caws of crows
and by suspicious cats
trying to catch my attention.
We talked about Hillary and Donald,
about the interview without results that I had the day before
and about what she did while I slept
and about what I planned to do while she will be sleeping.
Suddenly an old man passed by in front of me.
His face looked familiar.
When I realized who he was, his face had already disappeared
and I only saw him from his back,
walking slowly, swaying from side to side,
as of limping on both legs.
“Amos Oz,” I said to Ruth. “He just walked in front of me,
at less than a meter distance.”
“Go after him,” said Ruth.
I started to walk in his direction.
“If he sits at a café,” I thought, “I will sit on a table next to his.
Maybe he will want to talk.
What would I tell him?
I will not tell him that I think
he should have received the Nobel Price long ago.
That would be too painful.”
“Amos,” I would tell him,
“it is an honor just to sit next to you.”
He continued to walk
towards Rehov Levitan.
He looked very old, very tired.
Did his sad eyes lost hope
for “Peace Now,”
for the country to become a Light Unto the Nations?
I will not know. But I least I know
many of the characters that he created,
from the times of the Crusaders
to the times of our own.
Tel Aviv, Saturday, August 6, 2016, at about 7:00 AM