Tuesday, December 18, 2012

95-year-old letter reveals Kafka's mouse phobia

Haaretz journalist Ofer Aderet reported the following on December 9, 2012:

“A rare letter written by Franz Kafka 95 years ago has been purchased by the German Archive of Literature, at a public auction held this weekend. This letter was apparently part of the bequest of Kafka's friend Max Brod. A court recently ruled that this collection of manuscripts should be transferred to the National Library in Jerusalem, as Brod had bequeathed in his will.”

“The sale took place last Friday at the Kaupp auction house in Sulzburg, Germany, with the German archive managing to raise the required 96,000 Euros from private donors, wishing to remain anonymous. The four-page letter was written by Kafka to his friend on December 4, 1917, in the Czech town in which he was residing with his sister Ottla while recuperating from tuberculosis. In the letter, Kafka describes his fear of the mice lurking in his apartment, admitting that his phobia is irrational, and that psychoanalysts should look into the source of this fear. He suggests keeping a cat as a solution that is preferable to using mousetraps.”

While the contents of the letter have been published, “in books as well as on the Internet, the letter had not been publicly displayed before. The letter had changed hands several times over the last 30 years, passing between different private collectors. The German archive has now added the letter to its large collection of Kafka writings, and will put it on public display in April, in a special exhibition.”

“In all likelihood, the letter was part of the Max Brod bequest, which has recently been contested in an Israeli court. The parties to the dispute were the German Archive of Literature, the National Library in Jerusalem and the daughters of Max Brod's personal secretary.”

“A family court in Tel Aviv recently ruled that the entire Brod bequest be transferred to the National Library in Jerusalem. An attempt by lawyers representing Hoffe to obtain a temporary injunction to delay the transfer has failed, but they plan to appeal this ruling and the main decision.”

Mice generally refer to the powers of darkness, “gnawing at the root of the Tree of Life.” They evoke anxiety and “nocturnal worries,” as Marie-Louise von Franz says. Or, in Kafka’s words,
My reaction towards the mice is one of sheer terror. To analyze its source would be the task of the psychoanalyst, which I am not. Certainly, this fear, like an insect phobia, is connected with the unexpected, uninvited, inescapable, more or less silent, persistent, secret aims of these creatures, with the sense that they have riddled the surrounding walls through and through with their tunnels and are lurking within, that the night is theirs, that because of their nocturnal existence and their tininess they are so remote from us and thus outside our power.
Kafka provides a particularly touching and simultaneously powerful description of complexes in his (Never sent) Letter to Father. He was unable to uphold his own separate identity vis-à-vis his domineering father. It is amazing how in relationship to him the otherwise so highly cognizant Kafka suffered from a lowering of awareness, abaisemênt de niveau mental. Kafka says, in the beginning of his letter to father,
You once asked me recently why I claim to be afraid of you. I did not know, as usual, what to answer, partly out of my fear of you …,
And later he writes,
I acquired in your presence … a hesitant, stammering manner of speaking, and even that was too much for you … I could neither think nor speak in your presence.
Kafka is afraid and the fear paralyses him. The terrifying complex – Brod speaks of an “infantile complex” – directly attacks consciousness and detracts available energy from the ego. When in the grip of the complex, ego-consciousness and identity are impaired. Feeling is then no longer a value-judgement, and affect and sensitivity overtake us. We are overcome by fear, rage, or the like and tend to project.

Kafka feels his father exposes him by “indiscriminately” speaking about his son in front of others. He sees himself as the hardworking father who sacrifices all to his ungrateful son. The feeling of being exposed is common when a complex is activated, and complexes are activated by exposure.

Excerpted from The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego, ‘Frantz Kafka’s Letter to Father’ (pp. 92-103).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kriegskindheit, War Childhood in Germany

Kriegskindheit, a new book by Helga Thomas

Helga Thomas is a Jungian psychoanalyst and writer in Germany, with whom I have cooperated for a decade. We have worked together with the Bulgarian Jung Society, where Helga teaches, supervises and gives analysis.

The Bulgarian Jung Society provides a forum for the study, training and development of Jung’s analytical Psychology. I consider myself fortunate to have been involved with this group of devoted professionals. As liaison person between the International Association of Analytical Psychology (a position now held by Joann Culbert-Coen), I have witnessed a tremendous development taking place over the years. [For those interested, below find a summary of my presentation on the subject at the 1st European Conference of Analytical Psychology, held in Vilnius in 2009]

During my visits once or twice a year, I have experienced the warmth and openness, coupled with insight and reflection, that characterizes the Jungian psychotherapists and the Bulgarian Jung Society. This has also provided an interesting meeting ground between Helga as a German and me as an Israeli, an example of which was a seminar on the shadow that we gave together a few years ago, which inevitably was held in the shadow of history.

Helga was born in Berlin in 1943, and spent her childhood, until the age of fifteen, in the Soviet Occupation Zone. Her new book, Kriegskindheit, recently published in German and Bulgarian, is an attempt to work through her personal war childhood.

Back Cover Text

The mere act of writing down my recollections, which in part are already a result of working through these recollections, will not suffice. It is important for Erel to hold the letter that is addressed to him in his hands and to read it from the beginning all the way to the end. Yet, even that does not suffice. As I am sitting here in Sofia, I realize it does not suffice either for me to keep telling about it. No, not at all. I don’t need a person to listen to my story. Other people need to read my letter to Erel so that through my story they will be able to reconnect with their own deeply hidden (family) stories. I am visualizing images of well protected, beautifully decorated inner spaces… A new process has begun - not only inside myself.

From the Epilogue

Dear Erel,

I realize I have to add an epilogue. Yesterday, after finishing the concept of the letter to you, I read further in Sabine Bode’s book Grandchildren of the war. Heirs of the forgotten generation. In my own report it becomes clear how parents were silent and now you cannot ask them anymore.

I am a child of the war, not a grandchild, but I feel the same, and so I stay silent just as well… I don’t know whether this causes suffering for my children. I think I have told them about it and I have read good children’s books on this subject to them… sometimes all the three of us wept…

And Stefan asked his Granddad whether he had ever shot anyone to death in the war. My father responded honestly that he didn’t know. Only at the very end of the war he was in combat at the front. He doesn’t remember anymore because he was so badly injured that he almost died. It could have been, but he hoped that it was not the case. The truth? Repression? Illusion? A response appropriate to a child? His honest endeavor and concern at his grandchild’s question were palpable. I would never have dared ask this question! Perhaps for fear of being told: Don’t ask such a stupid question, of course I did, it was wartime, you would have used your gun as well! – and I would have been silent, fearfully, ashamed. Later I was ashamed that I had not asked.


Erel Shalit: Analytical Identity and Culture - Bulgaria

At the First European Conference of Analytical Psychology, “Dialogue at the Threshold between East and West: Past, Present and Future of Cultural Identity,” held in Vilnius, Lithuania, Dr. Shalit emphasized the need “to account for social, cultural, political and historical factors; cultural complexes and social complexities, as well as the wisdom and the psyche of the particular geo-psychological location,” in the development of psychotherapy as a profession. He outlined five factors to be accounted for:

I. The first factor pertains to the change in collective consciousness.

Liberation from a totalitarian regime, from an oppressive Father as dominant of the social collective consciousness, as well as its internalization in the mind of the individual, is not only a political process.

The psychological process to free oneself from both fear as well as reliance on external authority takes longer than the actual change of regime.

The way the principle of Father dominates consciousness, is reflected in the transference on to visiting analysts, as regards for instance reliance, expectation, apprehension and idealization, ambivalence, dependency vs. independence, etc.

II. The second issue is related to the first: While the unconscious is, axiomatically, the antithesis of consciousness, when the ideology of a prevailing, oppressive social collective consciousness claims that “matter is the beginning and the end of reality,” the courage it takes to turn to the soul and the unconscious is particularly noteworthy.

This personal courage and individual path is something that deserves profound respect. Initially I did not realize the extent of their courage, in spite of my sense of affinity to my Bulgarian friends and colleagues, because it was hidden behind their humbleness, and perhaps their respect and reliance on foreign authority. No doubt, though, that the senior members of the Jung society have truly been pioneers – the brave founders of the enterprise of introducing Analytical Ψ, with visiting analysts like myself and others as devoted assistants.

III. Third factor: with freedom and renewal come loss and abandonment – as Jung has stated, abandonment is a necessary condition, not just a concomitant symptom, of development toward independence. Bulgaria suffers from emigration, many young are leaving, many of whom are extremely talented. This means that you experience not only loss, but also have to ask yourself, how come you stay. What is it that binds you, prevent you from leaving – is it fear and failure that hold you back, or does some sense of motivation and meaning beyond your personal welfare induce you with commitment and devotion?

I believe one is confronted with questions pertaining to the relationship between the individual and society, in a way that is qualitatively different from many Western societies.

IV. The fourth issue has to do with the proximity to dreaming and the unconscious. There may be less layers of asphalt, of seemingly sophisticated defenses, that cover and smooth the surface of Mother Earth. She lies barer than in so-called developed countries. Therefore, the access to deeper layers of the soul is often more direct, more immediate. Consequently, we need to consider diagnosis in its cultural context.

Many years ago, as director of a community mental health clinic, I realized the difference between someone who shares suicidal thoughts with the social worker or the family doctor, vs. someone who expresses suicidal inclinations at the psychiatric hospital’s emergency room – it should of course all be taken seriously, but it may mean and indicate very different things.

Likewise, what in one society may be a psychotic manifestation of an ego overwhelmed by archetypal material, this may in another cultural setting reflect an openness to the collective unconscious and the archetypal realm.

V. My last point is that providing education of a profession that previously did not exist in a particular society creates, among other things, narcissistic fear, inflatedness and confusion – for instance, how many pioneering therapists or analysts do not believe that they are impostors, with only the persona of a therapist, without the weight of the ancestors, the forerunners, the traditions and formal learning, lacking the trust in an ego anchored within one's Self?

Out of the massa confusa, a wide array of therapeutic approaches emerge, and there is a lack of clarity of concepts – e.g. as regards analyst vs. therapist.

In such a fluid state of affairs, it is important to enable the development of a firm basis of skilful therapists, with an identity rooted both in their own culture as well as in analytical psychology.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Does Israel need a cease-fire agreement with Hamas?

Cease-fire yes, agreement no

The Hebrew will follow the English        העברית לאחר האנגלית

Attack on Tel Aviv bus
Hamas is a terror organization, openly aiming at the destruction of Israel, firing missiles with the intention of injuring and killing civilians, victoriously triumphant the more damage is inflicted on the detested enemy, whether child, man or woman, or the elderly.

Their goals remain unchanged, so any commitment from their side, as they have themselves stated, has very little value, and is valid only as long as it serves their purposes, for instance rebuilding their arsenal of weapons.

Yet, the ruling Palestinian Hamas government in Gaza carries responsibility of its own acts.

Israel should of course not act in an inhumane way and prevent the supply of electricity to Gaza, the greater part of which is supplied by Israel.

Execution of suspected collaborator in Gaza

The decision regarding supply of electricity should be in the hands of the Palestinian government in Gaza.

At the sounding of the “Red Color” alert, Israeli citizens have 15 to 30 seconds to find shelter from the missiles fired from Gaza.

I suggest declaring an exact date when the Red Color Alert will be connected to the switch which activates electricity supplies. From that moment, electricity will automatically be cut for 15 seconds at the firing of the first missile.

School in Ashkelon hit by rocket

Each additional missile will double the time of the electricity cut. The third missile will cut electricity for one minute, and after the tenth missile, electricity is cut for two hours and eight minutes.

Consequently, the length of the electricity cut will be determined entirely by those who fire rockets, or, more correctly, for the government that controls Gaza. They will know that the next rocket will automatically cause an electricity cut double the time of the previous one, and be fully in control of supplies – by the twelfth missile it will be eight hours and thirty-two minutes.

האם ישראל באמת זקוקה להסכם הפסקת אש עם החמאס?

החמאס לא מתכוון לוותר על מטרתו להשמיד את מדינת ישראל, לכן להסכם אין הרבה ערך.

אך כממשלה השולטת במדינת עזה, היא אחראית להשלכות פועלה.

מאחר ואין להגיב באופן לא הומני ע"י ניתוק החשמל, כאשר ישראל מספקת חלק נכבד מהחשמל, יש להעביר החלטת ניתוק החשמל לממשלת עזה.

בהשמע אזעקת צבע אדום, לזקן ולילד בין 15 ל-30 שניות למצוא מחסה.

אני מציע להכריז על מועד חיבור התרעת צבע אדום למתג שמספק חשמל לעזה. מאותו רגע, החשמל ייפסק אוטומטית עבור הטיל הראשון ל-15 שניות.

כל טיל נוסף יכפיל את זמן ניתוק החשמל. לאחר שלושה טילים, לדקה, לאחר הטיל העשירי, שעתיים ושמונה דקות.

לפי כך, אורך הפסקת החשמל לחלוטין בידיהם של יורי הטילים, או יותר נכון, לריבון בעזה, שיכול להחליט אם ירצה במו-ידיו, לגרום להפסקת החשמל לעזה בהכפלת זמן הניתוק לעומת הטיל הקודם. כך יידעו באופן מדויק מה השלכות שיגור כל טיל.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Whose words are empty, whose eyes do not see?

Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appeared recently on Israeli TV. His objective, as he said, was to influence Israeli opinion.

He declared that for him, the 1967 borders (well, they aren’t really borders, but the reference is to the cease fire lines 1948-1967) with East Jerusalem as its capital is Palestine, while the rest is Israel.

He also said that although he is a refugee from Safed in the Galilee, he had no intention to return to live there. This caused protests among Palestinian, assuming Abbas was relinquishing their so-called ‘right of return.’

However, Abbas soon clarified, in Arabic, that he has not at all relinquished this Palestinian claim.

President Shimon Peres responded by saying that Israel does have a partner for peace, while PM Netanyahu quickly dismissed Abbas’s words as empty.

True, when Netanyahu agreed to President Obama’s request for a settlement freeze to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiation table, Abbas refrained from returning to negotiations.

Following in the footsteps of Arafat’s infamous rejection of a peace agreement in 2000, and then opening a five year war of terror against Israel, Abbas later rejected then PM Olmert’s most far-reaching peace offer.

Leading up to and following its independence in 1948, Israel was attacked by several Arab states, and hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled. Many were called to do so by their own leaders, expecting a quick return, and many fled in fear.

Some had lived in the land for many generations, while others had arrived only a few years earlier (which is the reason that the UNWRA definition of a Palestinian refugee is a person who had lived in the area for two years).

Where the Arabs had the upper hand, the fate of the Jews were, to say the least, not fortunate.

In Palestinian counting, the off-spring of these refugees, and the spouses of their off-spring, and many needy in areas outside of what became Israel, are today counted as refugees, numbered in the millions, claiming a right to settle in Israel (which would then become part of a Palestinian State; according to the Palestinian Charter, the Jews are to leave).

Rather than resettling the refugees among their Palestinian landsmen, and creating a constructive identity for their off-spring, as has been the case in other parts of the world (including Jewish refugees from the Holocaust, and Jews who were forced to flee Arab countries, whose off-spring have shed any identity as refugees), the Palestinian national identity is permeated with a sense of being victims and refugees. The destruction of Israel has for many Arab leaders taken precedence over the building of Palestine.

So Netanyahu may be right.

But he is not very wise.

Netanyahu himself has not done anything to move toward reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians. He has not taken his own words - reluctantly adhering to the idea of two states for two peoples, Jewish Israel and Arab Palestine - seriously. He has not done anything constructive, nothing to enable the renewal of negotiations. Every opportunity is taken to build more settlements, rather than caring for housing within Israel proper.

Mahmoud Abbas is an experienced politician, well aware of his intentions as well as his difficulties. He obviously sent out a trial balloon when he said he did not intend to return to his native Safed, touching on the Palestinian core issue, inevitably evoking protest and ensuing denial.

A more open-minded and creative leader than Netanyahu would respond affirmatively to Abbas’s courage to touch the most sensitive of issues for the Palestinians. In spite of Abbas representing only one of the two Palestinian governments (the other one headed by Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza), he should invite him to immediate negotiations, declaring a willingness to freeze settlement activities beyond the security fence the moment negotiations begin (i.e., not as a precondition, but as an immediate goodwill gesture).

Netanyahu might remain in power after elections, January 22, 2013. Whether he or someone else will form the government, President Obama will have an opportunity to play an authoritative and instrumental role, e.g. by appointing a combined team of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair – both respected by all sides of the involved partners – to parent negotiations between the hostile brothers, together with Dennis Ross, who recently has presented constructive ideas for a peace process.

This might be the ultimate timing - both to ensure that Iran will not attain nuclear weapons, starting a nuclear race in the Middle East, and for the Israelis and Palestinians to get back onto the track towards future neighborly relations.

Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return is on sale now for $14.95, and Enemy, Cripple, Beggar is on sale now for $19.95 or $30.00 for the pair when ordered directly from the Fisher King Press. You can also order The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitcal Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel directly from Fisher King Press. Phone orders welcomed, Credit Cards accepted. 1-800-228-9316 toll free in the US & Canada, International +1-831-238-7799

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Transiency and the Culture of Plastic

Transiency and the Culture of Plastic

Our post-modern era is characterized by increasing dislocation and fragmentation. The sense of permanence and constancy of old, is exchanged for temporality and fluidity, i.e., a condition of transiency. Not only do cars, trains and planes carry us across continents faster than most people once could imagine – perhaps with the exception of Jules Verne and a few others, but we travel cyberspace in zero-time. Speed in the era of transiency, makes the soulful road of the wanderer seem hopelessly obsolete.

Likewise, we are over-exposed to stimuli, information and images: once upon a time we would sit down and quietly look through the pictures of the past, the reminders of our childhood, enjoy a memory, recall days long gone by, share thoughts and feelings from a time that could be brought alive by the one photo from that day. Today, we are flooded by digital photos, numbered almost into infinity. Rarely do we remain more than seconds to glance at each photo, and even more rarely do we return to them – often unaware that what warrants no return, loses its soul.

It is by reflecting on the events in which we partake that we induce them with depth and meaning, but speed and superficiality seem to supersede depth and reflection.

We are flooded with images, but the onslaught of external images disrupts the flow of internal imagery. Excessive exteriority impinges upon the imagery of interiority. Read more here, or at the Fisher King Press Newsletter.

If you are interested in reading other book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and published papers of mine, you will find a compilation at OPEN ENDS.

Certain entries require login. Username and password can be purchased by using PayPal, or at Hebrew Psychology ($15, 46.75 NIS).

Among the articles, book chapters and encyclopedia entries you can access by login are:

-- Erel Shalit, Silence is the Center of Feeling
-- Jerusalem as Metaphor
-- Worship of Transiency
-- Dreams in the Bible
-- Sacrifice of Isaac
-- Jerusalem encyclopedia entry
-- Story of requiem
-- Self, Meaning & the Transient Personality
-- Recollection and recollectivization
-- lakes of memory - review of adagio & lamentations
-- Jerusalem - Psyche & the City

-- with James Hall, The complex object

Eid Mubarak

'Above all praise', by Benjamin Shiff. Read more about the artist,
and see
 more of his wonderful paintings.

I wish my Muslim friends, and all Muslims, a Blessed Eid, Eid Mubarak, a Blessed Feast of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha).

The feast commemorates Abraham’s (Ibrahim) willingness to sacrifice his first-born son, Ishmael, who was sent away together with his mother Hagar.
For many Muslims, not Isaac but Ishmael is the son at the center of the drama of the Akedah, the near-sacrifice:

“Behind the Wall of Tears, the timeline descends from the mosque to the Temple of Jupiter to the pigeon-sellers, to the Temple and yet the one before, right down to the altar of worship and sacrifice. It is here, at the point of the needle, where history and legend merge at the very hub of indistinguishable uncertainty, that the awe-inspiring drama of the sacrifice of Isaac supposedly took place. What terrifying, formidable lesson did God want to teach Abraham, when he told him to go forth to the land of Moriah and offer his son Isaac for a burnt offering?

“Abraham does not question his God, with whom he has sealed a covenant. He binds his son Isaac and lays him upon the wood of the altar he has built. The son submits to the father, Isaac to Abraham, and Abraham to God – a weakness of character? Hardly, since Abraham has already proven his capacity to leave his father’s house, and no less, when he argues and negotiates with God to spare the sinners with the righteous in Sodom.

“Perhaps Abraham did not ask any questions because this was simply his adherence to the ancient practice of surrendering the first-born to the gods? The Scriptures tell us Abraham offered up his “only son Isaac.” Consequently, some Muslim scholars claim that not the little laughing one was to be sacrificed, but Ishmael the first-born, who was the only one who could be the only one of Abraham’s sons. Did not the God of compassion hear the lad who cries of thirst, expelled from his father’s house into the desert?

“Eli Shimeoni wondered, if Abraham argued with Terah when he left his father’s house and went forth to the land unto which God would lead him? What doubts pounded in his heart when he put the burnt offering upon his son, for him to carry the wood, some say cross, of his own sacrifice? Was this the wood of the sacred grove that so meticulously had to be cut down, as when Yahweh commands, “build an altar to your God upon the top of this rock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down?” Without being asked, was little Isaac to carry the Lord of Hosts’ mighty struggle against Asherah, the goddess of the grove, on his shoulders? Was he to be sacrificed, bound to the mother of the morning star and the king of the evening, the mother of the twin brothers Shahar and Shalem – yes, Shalem, the Canaanite king-god and mythological founder of Ir-Shalem?

“The Biblical account is the skeleton of a drama, for the reader to flesh out with feelings, and to be dressed in the garb of interpretations. There is not a word of dialogue between father and son as they ascend the mountain of worship – is it the awe of fate, the brevity of speech when walking straight into inescapable tragedy, or is it the focused silence when you walk the line, stretched to its limits across the cosmic abyss? Or maybe it is the chilling coldness of mechanically executing daily movements, when you submit to invincible catastrophe, as when rather than waiting for the five o’clock bus, you are lining up at Umschlagplatz?

“Is this the story of the Jews’ submission to the father, in which the instincts of the sons bend to the fathers’ discipline, with the rabbis as a Halakhic fortress cementing the power of God, the Father? Or is it the callous need of fathers to castrate their sons, who on the one hand embody their future and bring the prospect to “multiply exceedingly,” but who on the other hand, by their very prime and youth, seem to hold the sword that separates the future from the past, determining who by water and who by fire, who will rest and who shall wander, as the poem recounts our disastrous fate on atonement day?

“In some legends, he recalled, Satan tries to prevent Abraham from carrying out the sacrifice. In his role as adversary, instigating toward consciousness, Satan introduces some healthy doubt into what otherwise seems to be passive submission. But in Biblical reality, it is only when the angel calls upon Abraham not to slay his son, that he lowers his hand, and puts away the knife with which he was ready to sacrifice his beloved son. He has passed God’s test of devotion, and the ram is offered in place of Isaac.

“But has he passed the human test of devotion? (From Requiem, p. 43ff)
Are we perhaps obliged to ask ourselves, once a year, or every day, “Do i pass the human test of devotion?”

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Kafka’s unpublished manuscripts – soon to be revealed!

After five long years, in what seemed frightfully similar to the eternity of a Kafkaesque Trial, Judge Talia Pardo Kupelman (K.) wrote,

"This case, complicated by passions, has been argued in court for quite a long time across seas, lands, and times. Not every day… does the opportunity befall a judge to delve into the depth of history as it unfolds before him in piecemeal fashion," opening, she said, "a window into the lives, desires, frustrations and the souls of two of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century."

The judge ruled that the library of Max Brod, Kafka’s close friend, be transferred to the National Library, in accordance with his wish and intention.

After his death in 1968, Brod’s secretary Eva Hoppe kept, and sold off, some of the important manuscripts. The remaining ones include, as Ofer Aderet writes in Haaretz, Brod's unpublished diary, notebooks with Kafka's writings, and correspondence of Kafka and Brod, among others with Stefan Zweig and Shin Shalom.

Remebering the death of Max Brod, 1968

An excerpt from Requiem - A Tale of Exile and Return:

Without forewarning, Eli Shimeoni found himself transposed more than forty years back in time, walking down Tel Aviv’s King George Street, sometime late winter or very early spring, if his memory did not escape him. He headed for Pollack’s antiquarian bookstore, which even as a young teenager he frequented as often as he could. He felt the thick and heavy air of old books was rich and wise, a comfort and a relief, a refuge from breathing the thick and heavy air of home, which he needed to escape. Those days, after the war of the days of creation, arrogance was in the air. Everyone seemed to fill their lungs with victory and invincibility. But young Eli kept breathing the air of threat and fear, doubt and concern, the compressed air that lay squeezed like the dust in the corners of his room and under his parents bed sofa.

The old bookshop granted an escape into a world of history books and timeworn atlases in which he could sail across the sea of time and continents, where fear and excitement and heroism were free and asked no price. It was a world of books that he could browse but never buy, an odyssey that could only be traveled, but never owned.

Sometimes his mind would play out heroic fantasies. However, unlike his school mates, he was neither the warrior who saves his country, nor the soccer player who leads his team into the world cup final, triumphantly circling the field wrapped in the national flag while an ecstatic crowd sings the anthem. No, his libido was lit by a raging fire, threatening the shop and its treasures from Heine to Freud as if this was Bebelplatz, May 1933. In sharp contrast to his usually slow, pale and shy ways, he would courageously run into the fire and save the most valuable of all the books and atlases and manuscripts.

But that grayish winter day, as he stood outside the window to see if everything was in place, his eyes caught sight of a letter, which must have been put there only days ago. He could not make out the German writing, only that it was addressed to Dr. Brod. His mouth got dry, searching for saliva, his heart pounded and his legs trembled as he entered the store to inquire with the old salesman who might have been much younger than he seemed to be behind those round glasses that always slipped down his nose, who told him that Brod had passed away only a few weeks earlier. Those were years that young Eli would swallow every scrap of paper or piece of knowledge or story by Brod or Kafka. He had even read Brod’s novel Tycho Brahe’s Path to God; though he had found the language difficult, or perhaps simply was too young to grasp, he had been intrigued by the conflict between the old and the new, past thoughts and new ideas. But he felt particularly grateful to old man Brod for being wise enough not to follow stupid Kafka’s request to burn his books – how could he want his books to be burned!!! Of course he could not know that books would be burned less than a decade later, but for sure he knew about Hananiah ben Teradion, the second century religious teacher, who broke the Roman law against teaching the Scriptures. When burned alive with his beloved, the forbidden Torah Scroll, he said to his pupils, “I see the scroll burning, but the letters of the Torah soar upward.”

Young Eli admired the courage of Dr. Brod, but could not really forgive Kafka for wanting to burn his books – only, perhaps, that he had asked in such a way that Brod would understand he did not really mean it. Eli had even seen old uncle Brod once or twice in the street, and tried to follow him without giving himself away, but was too scared that Brod would notice him and scold him and embarrass him and bring him shamefully home to his parents, so he had always made it the other way on Hayarden Street corner Idelson.

He often wondered about the friendship between Franz and Max, and so much wished that Franz would not have starved to death at such a young age – just imagine if he would have lived with Dora across the street of Uncle Max! Write one more book, please, just one!

Read Requiem (English; Hebrew).

As mentioned in Requiem, one of Kafka’s manuscripts that may be found among the thousands of pages in the boxes in the neglected apartment with abandoned cats in Tel Aviv’s Spinoza Street may well be the story - according to leaks, likely by a foreign expert on the Kafka material - about a rat, one among many in Prague’s sewage system. But “this rat had a complex, golden mechanical device, a precise micro-cosmos built into its mind.”

The rest is a story yet to be told, though some of it, as far as we have been able to gather, appears in Requiem (p. 57ff).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pacifica Graduate Institute and The Cycle of Life

Ladera Lane Campus of Pacifica Graduate Institute invites you to participate in a Master Class with Erel Shalit

Space will be limited in order to accommodate ample opportunity for reflection and discussion.

Thursday, October 4, 2012, 1:30-4:30 pm followed by a reception and book signing 4:30-5:30 pm

The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey

A Master Class with Erel Shalit

To speak of a general, human life cycles to propose that the journey from birth to old age follows an underlying, universal pattern on which there are endless cultural and individual variations. —Daniel Levinson

In his essay 'The Stages of Life,' Jung discusses "the problems connected with the stages of life," claiming problem to be the kernel of culture and consciousness. Jung clearly aims at living theconscious life, just like Socrates declared the unexamined life not worth living. On our journey through the stages (or ages) of our life, we encounter the archetypal essence of each phase, and are challenged by the essence of meaning that we are requested to deal with on our journey. This presentation will explore crucial archetypal images of the journey and the stages of life, and tell some of the stories, with references to, among others, Pirandello, Kafka and Oedipus at Colonus.

Dr. Erel Shalit is a Jungian psychoanalyst in Ra’anana, Israel. He is a training and supervising analyst, and past President of the Israel Society of Analytical Psychology. He is Founder and Director of the Jungian Analytical Psychotherapy Program at Bar Ilan University. He is a past Director of the Shamai Davidson Community Mental Health Clinic, at theShalvata Psychiatric Centre in Israel. His most recent books are The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey(2011; the book received the Eric Hoffer Book Award Honors in Culture, 2012), Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return (2010), and Enemy, Cripple & Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s (2008; the book was a nominee for the 2009 Gradiva Award for Best Theoretical Book, National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis). Entries, chapters and articles of his appear in several books and journals. He wrote the chapter on Jerusalem in Tom Singer (ed.), Psyche and the City. He is on the editorial board of Quadrant. For more information, visit www.eshalit.com.

Reservations and Cancellations
Advance registration is required. Space is limited to 50 participants.
The registration fee is $100 and includes the class, reception, and CEUs. To register, please call the Public Programs Department at 805.969.3626, ext. 103.

To obtain a refund on your registration fee, send a written cancellation request via email no later than the Monday before the class. Tuition less a $15 processing fee will be refunded. No refunds on your registration fee will be made after that time. In the event that the program is sold out with a waitlist, if you return your seat to our office, and if we are able to transfer your registration to someone on the waitlist, we will issue you a refund less the processing fee. Any registration transfers that do not go through our office will be assessed the processing fee onsite. A confirmation will be sent via email.

Pacifica’s Ladera Lane Campus
The class will be held at Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Ladera Lane Campus, 801 Ladera Lane, Santa Barbara, California, 93108.

A limited number of rooms are available for participants on a first-come, first-served basis at the rates below (plus 10% occupancy tax) at Pacifica’s Ladera Lane Campus.
$82.50 per night single occupancy (one bed)
$115 per night couple occupancy (one double bed)
$125 per night double occupancy (two twin beds)

Accommodations are simple, dormitory-style rooms with shared bath and shower. All reservations and changes in accommodations must be made through Pacifica’s Public Programs Department. Payment is due at the time of your reservation. Cancellation for accommodations with full refund is accepted up to 5 days before the event. Cancellations made 1-4 days before the event will receive a 50% refund. There will be no refund for cancellations on the day of the event.

Continuing Education Credit
3 Hours of Continuing education credit is available for RNs through the California Board of Registered Nurses (provider #CEP 7177) and for MFTs andLCSWs (provider #PCE 2278) through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

For more information and registration, contact:
Pacifica Graduate Institute
Public Programs
249 Lambert Road, Carpinteria, CA 93013
805.969.3626, ext. 103

Monday, September 10, 2012

The C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles presents:

A Weekend with Erel Shalit

Friday, October 5, 7:30-9:30 pm
Saturday, October 6, 10:00 am-3:00 pm

Click to Register for this special event!

“To speak of a general, human life cycle,” says Daniel Levinson, “is to propose that the journey from birth to old age follows an underlying, universal pattern on which there are endless cultural and individual variations.” In his essay “The Stages of Life” Jung discusses “the problems connected with the stages of life,” claiming problem to be the kernel of culture and consciousness. On our journey through the stages of our life, we encounter the archetypal essence of each phase and are challenged by the essence of meaning that we are requested to deal with on our journey. The lecture will explore crucial archetypal images of the journey and the stages of life, and tell some of the stories.

Dr. Erel Shalit is a Jungian psychoanalyst practicing in Ra’anana, Israel. He is Founding Director of the Jungian Psychotherapy Program at Bar Ilan University. A training and supervising analyst, and past President of the Israel Society of Analytical Psychology, Dr. Shalit also served as Director of the Shamai Davidson Community Mental Health Clinic at the Shalvata Psychiatric Center in Israel. His most recent books include The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the JourneyRequiem: A Tale of Exile and Return; and Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path. In addition Dr Shalit's work has appeared in numerous books and journals. He wrote the chapter on Jerusalem in Tom Singer (ed.), Psyche and the City. He is on the editorial board of Quadrant. With Nancy Furlotti, he is editing a forthcoming volume on The Dream and its Amplification.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lakes of Memory and Burning Nights

adagio & lamentation

ISBN: 9781926715056

poems by Naomi Ruth Lowinsky

Il Piccolo editions, Fisher King Press, 2010
Carmel, CA

Naomi Ruth Lowinsky was the first child born in the New World to a family of German Jewish refugees from the Shoah. Many in her family were lost in the death camps. It has been the subject and the gift of her poetry and prose-to write herself out of the terror, into life. Naomi had a special tie with her only surviving grandparent, the painter Emma Hoffman, whom she called "Oma." Oma showed her that making art can be a way to transmute grief, a way to bear the unbearable. The cover of adagio and lamentation is a watercolor by Emma Hoffman-an interior view of the Berkeley home where Naomi visited her often as a teenager. Oma tried her best to make a painter of her, but Naomi was no good at it. Poetry was to be her vehicle. Adagio and Lamentation is Naomi's offering to her ancestors, a handing back in gratitude and love. It is also her way of bringing them news of their legacy-the cycle of life has survived all they suffered-Naomi has been blessed by many grandchildren.

Download a free preview

A Review by Erel Shalit of adagio & lamentation, appears in the Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche, Summer 2012 (vol 6:3):

Poet and Jungian analyst Naomi Lowinsky’s journey of adagio & lamentation begins with a desire, a longing, a plea to Grandmother Emma Hoffman, Oma, to stop being dead, so she can talk about the light of morning and the light of late afternoon. Then, perhaps, the poet can grasp the meaning of the difference between the painter’s painted shadows, when she shapes emptiness, and like the creator, “there was light” (2010, 1).

And the journey ends at the threshold of summer’s tremor, when one might hear the sound of distant drums, or a helicopter, the anxiety that echoes deeply in the whisper of the gods in the living oak trees and the god of dreams—“is it a war machine,” or a fire, or memories to be penned (90)?

Even the ghost story poems contain beauty and sensuality; the complexes that are our ghosts may be “breaking into a million fragments,” but may, as well, in the oceanic turmoil and intensity of youth, “cause the trumpet vine on the back fence to flower for the first time” (5–6).

Read the full review

Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche is an international journal published quarterly for the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, one of the oldest institutions dedicated to Jungian studies and analytic training. 

Founded in 1979 by John Beebe under the title The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal, Jung Journal has evolved from a local journal of book and film reviews to one that attracts readers and contributors from the academy and the arts, in addition to Jungian analyst-scholars.

cover of the Jung Journal
(San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal)
Featuring peer-reviewed scholarly articles, poetry, art, book and film reviews, and obituaries, Jung Journal offers a dialogue between culture--as reflected in art, literature, science, and world events--and contemporary Jungian views of the dynamic relationship between the cultural and personal aspects of the human psyche.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Recollection and Recollectivization

The 2nd European Conference on Analytical Psychology will be held in St. Petersburg, 30th August to 2nd September, 2012. Titled “Borderlands”, it is a contribution to the concept coined by Jerome Bernstein (Living in the Borderland: The Evolution of Consciousness and the Challenge of Healing Trauma), who will be the opening speaker.

painting by Hagit Shahal

In my lecture Recollection and Recollectivization: the transient personality in search of memory, I will look at ‘the never guilty mass man’ (Jung), of the post-modern condition, related to Erich Neumann’s concept of recollectivization.

On the dark, shadowy side of the postmodern condition, we stumble upon transiency and fragmentation, alienation and rootlessness.

Particularly, we may observe the relationship between the individual and the fragmented group, which constellates as a transient crowd formation. In the condition of recollectivization, ego and consciousness are lost in the group, however, in a way strikingly different from the early state of oneness with the group.

Recollection serves as an antidote to recollectivization, and may show us “how we should act when the libido gets blocked” (CW 5). A smell and a fragrance, a subtle taste “of a cake dipped in tea,” as Proust says, re-calling a childhood memory, a lost time, a forgotten era, and the recollection of ancient wisdom and the ancestors, may provide the individual, as well as the group, with an anchor across the boundaries of time, by means of linking back to past heritage, and serving as a bridge to future developments. Thus, recollection is a central aspect of the conscious, explored life.

The following is an excerpt from the lecture:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Recommended in US Review of Books

The Cycle of Life
by Erel Shalit
Fisher King Press

reviewed by Peter M. Fitzpatrick

"The perspective of life as a cycle lived through its stages enables us to bring the archetypal and the personal dimensions together."

While Sigmund Freud mapped out the psychosexual development of children to puberty through the oral, anal, phallic latency and genital stages, Carl Jung expanded the study of human development through the second half of life. Jung also expanded Freud's somewhat materialistic focus on psychosexuality as the source of the unconscious to include a vaster world of archetypes that emanate from our undifferentiated Selves through symbolic forms. It is the child's slow separation from the Great Mother archetype that allows him to incorporate the powerful unconscious energies of this symbol into a developing ego. The next stage, the "puer," or troubled teenager, carries this process further, adding the "fire" of his or her growing awareness of Eros to the "dismemberment" of the "unconscious" contents of the archetypes so that the ego can use their energies. A successful transition to adulthood entails a completion of the ego's ascendancy. But the ego must learn to surrender its role as "king" once old age begins.

The author engagingly illustrates Jung's conceptions of the power of the archetypal forces that inhabit our unconscious Selves, showing how they are dual, with both grandiose and terrible aspects. In accessible language, he maps out how figures from the Bible, Greek mythology, and fairy tales contain eternal truths on the mythic level where the Self at the core of our being operates. He explicates the dangers of becoming stuck in a particular stage, and cites actual cases of individuals he has helped make the transitions in his clinical practice as Jungian analyst.

US Review of Books

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lakes of Memory and Burning Nights

The following is an excerpt from a review of Naomi Lowinsky’s adagio & lamentation (Carmel, CA: Il Piccolo editions, Fisher King Press, 2010), which will be forthcoming in the next issue of the Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche (Summer 2012).

In the aesthetics of Lowinsky’s poems, the lamentations become simultaneously softened and sharpened. The Passover angel “passed over our house” and nobody comes to the door, and we understand that it truly is Nobody who comes to the door, fully dressed in nobody’s black mask (12).

At the center of this deep trail of poems stands “adagio and lamentation” (27), a prayer, a covenant with the dead, with the shadows, with the candles borne into the dark woods. The memories are dreams that come alive in the reflections in mother’s great lake, again, in “many shades of blue,” and in the duality that are the legs on which the conscious life stands, “playing two violins at the same time,” simultaneously being an old gypsy and a wild child. This is the mother who is able, at one and the same time, to know that she’d loved him and “were glad to be free of him,” the divorced husband (61–62). The contrasts and the contradictions that touch the senses and deepen the feelings, creating both complexity and unity, color every line of this beautiful work.

Erel Shalit

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eric Hoffer Award to The Cycle of Life

I am happy to share with you that my book The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey has won the Eric Hoffer Book Award Honorable Mention in the category of Culture (which makes me especially pleased!)

The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey, by Erel Shalit, Fisher King Press

Part Jungian review of the various stages of life and part travel guide for leading a self-aware existence, this book explores the dynamic and meaningful archetypal images formed in each of us throughout the various stages of our lives.

Chapter by chapter, Shalit, a Jungian analyst deftly guides readers through the complexities of life, not merely in a linear fashion, but with an emphasis on the particular meaning and significance of the various clusters and transformative elements that are present in each stage of all of our years, from beginning to end.

Exemplified by personal stories and clinical vignettes, The Cycle of Life, provides a solid foundation for readers to chart a conscious life by formulating a natural balance at every stage of their journey—specifically by not fixating on any one particular stage. By learning to embrace, retain, and refine the universal initiation and by changing our perspective that each season of life presents to us, we live our lives to the fullest.
Read more about the cover painting 'Life' and the artist Benjamin Schiff

Eric Hoffer Award Committee, USReview of Books, May 2012.

For those of you who are not familiar with Eric Hoffer, (July 25, 1902 – May 21, 1983) "he was an American social writer. He was the author of ten books and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February 1983. His first book, The True Believer, published in 1951, was widely recognized as a classic, receiving critical acclaim from both scholars and laymen, although Hoffer believed that his book The Ordeal of Change was his finest work. In 2001, the Eric Hoffer Award was established in his honor with permission granted by the Eric Hoffer Estate in 2005." Learn more about Eric Hoffer . . .

Monday, May 14, 2012

Professor Marina Boyadjieva, MD, 28.01.1924-12.05.2012

Few of you have ever heard about Marina Boyadjieva, who died of cancer on May 12th, at the age of 88.

Professor Boyadjieva was a senior psychiatrist, who served many years as Director of Psychiatry at the Medical Academy in Sofia, and among her other tasks, also had been advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO).

I had the privilege to get to know Marina a few years ago, through Sania Tabakova, the publisher of literature and psychoanalysis, Lege Artis publishing.

For more than twenty years, Marina was the foremost translator of many psychoanalytic authors, from Freud and Jung to Wilhelm Reich, Ellenberger and Marie-Louise von Franz. She also translated works by recent Jungians, such as James Hall and James Hollis. I was fortunate to have two of my books translated into Bulgarian by this exceptional woman.

Pleven, where Marina moved from Sofia, is a couple of hours’ drive from the Bulgarian capital. Dinner with Marina in her small apartment was a big event—meeting an old woman full of humor and mature vitality, profound intellect and life-generating stamina in spite of life’s hardships.

I pray that Marina will rest in peace, but believe that no less will she stand on the bridges of the afterlife, making the voices spoken in one language at the one side of the river heard and understood by people at its other bank.

Erel Shalit
14 May 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return - in Hebrew

Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return - download in Hebrew for $2.00

ניתן להוריד את הנובלה כאן
ניתן גם להזמין את הספר המודפס בפסיכולוגיה עברית
ב-15% הנחה (59 ₪ כולל משלוח), כמו גם ספרים אחרים פרי עטו של אראל שליט.
כמו כן, ספריו ניתנים לרכישה ב- Amazon ב- Barnes&Noble, וישירות מ- Fisher King Press

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Binding of Isaac and the Parting of the Red Sea

From the Haggadah of Arthur Szyk

The Jewish spring holiday of Pesach, Passover, begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, the first month in the Hebrew calendar's festival year, on the night of the full moon after the vernal equinox. This year, the eve of Pesach is celebrated on Friday, April 6.

A legend tells us that at the very moment the children of Israel went into the Red Sea, Mount Moriah began to move from its place, along with the altar for Isaac that had been built upon it. The whole scene had been arranged before the creation of the world. Isaac was bound and placed upon the altar, and Abraham raised his knife.

Far away, at the Red Sea, God said to Moses, “Moses, My children are in distress, the sea is blocking their path and the enemy is pursuing them, and you stand so long praying?” Moses asked God, “What should I be doing?” God said, “Raise your staff!” Moses lifted his staff, the waters of the Red Sea parted, and on Mount Moriah the voice of the angel went forth and said to Abraham, “Do not raise your hand against the boy, or do anything to him” (Gen. 22: 12).
(A midrash from Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael)

The two events, the Parting of the Red Sea and the Binding of Isaac, do here not take place along the timeline of history, but are synchronistically juxtaposed.

In both cases, God tells his earthly representatives to raise the knife or staff:
In the one case, God asks Abraham to reaffirm their covenant by the sacrifice of the son. The actual deed of sacrifice to the gods is then exchanged for its symbolic representation, which is a significant stage in the process of civilization and acculturation.

In the other case, God tells Moses to stop praying and raise his staff, to do the actual deed of parting, of dividing, of differentiating the sides, which is an essential act of consciousness (separating this from that, for instance to know good from evil).

Both take place simultaneously. The one does not follow the other, and one does not take place at the exclusion of the other. The sacrifice, not as a concrete deed but as a meaningful reaffirmation of the transcendent dimension, beyond the acts of the ego, enables depth and soulfulness. However, consciousness and the actual deeds of humans in the realm of ego-reality, are equally necessary, and required for the manifestation of the soul.

The following are excerpts from my novella Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return (Fisher King Press, 2010), which is forthcoming this spring also in Hebrew:


Truth was, Shimeoni essentially agreed with Derrida on many points, such as his interpretation of Abraham’s covenant with God of circumcision.

The Divine Father’s archetypal scar inflicted by generations of fathers of the flesh on generations of consent-less Jewish boys seemed to Professor Shimeoni, as indeed to Derrida, to be a repetition-compulsion, rather than the profound internalization of memory.

He recalled Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi’s epic work Zakhor, wondering if the Jews don’t merely repeat the trauma when they cross the desert every Passover – outside of the Land of Israel even repeating the hegira a second night, perhaps to ensure that the Jews of the Diaspora do arrive to the Promised Land...

“Does not compulsive repetition constitute the dangerous engine of fundamentalism?” he wondered, “in contrast to an enlightened process of internalized memory, in order to liberate the trauma.” Is this not the very opposite of that monumental cultural transition when the knife is taken out of Abraham’s hand, turning the actual, concrete sacrifice of Isaac into the acculturated representation by his Binding, the akedah?

The knife need not actually cut, in order for man to humbly bow before the transcendent image of God. Shimeoni adhered to Einstein’s view of God, as when he says that the religious attitude is the knowledge and emotion “of a knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty,” and when he expresses his belief in the God of Spinoza “who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”

Truly, he repeated to himself, the binding of Isaac signifies this striking cultural transition from literalness to symbolic representation.

God told Abraham there is no need for complete sacrifice, only a sacrifice of the complete (shalem), in order to be seen (yireh), to be recognized, to be named, to become completely human. He will suffice with sacrifice-by-proxy.

Rather than being trapped in the harsh reality of actual deed, reality can be transformed into images; rather than slaying the flesh of the son, the soul can expand by the creation of images that represent reality. By substituting the sacrificial animal for the actual son, the story of the akedah represents the separation of meaning from act, which is essential to culture and civilization.

But war is the destruction of representation and civilization, said Eli to himself, thereby arguing with Heraclitus that War is the Father of All. The tragedies on the battlefield are all too real and irreversible, and the essence of trauma of battle and war and Holocaust, is the loss of the representative symbol – all that remains is the hellish repetition of trauma.

Nothing represents the loss of symbolization better than the survivor from hell who holds on to a dry slice of bread. In hell, there are no mirrors and no images, no images in the mirror, only the bare walls of suffocation. In the cruel reality of war, the knife is raised and the angels circle above, repeatedly descending, attempting to divert the hand that holds the knife from descending upon the son, until the angels have all gone, and the son is no longer bound but sacrificed, the knife ripping out the soul of life and Isaac laughs no more.

Happy Easter - Happy Passover!
Erel Shalit

Monday, March 26, 2012

Forthcoming in April: Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return in Hebrew

An announcement in Hebrew and an excerpt from Requiem in Hebrew (forthcoming paperback and eBook) will follow the English.

חזרה:סיפור של גלות ושיבה - קטע מהספר (שייצא לאור בעברית בחודש אפריל) לאחר הטקסט באנגלית

Recently, “The European Preparatory Committee for the Global March to Jerusalem” published the intention to organize marches to Jerusalem on March 30, 2012, coinciding with the annual commemoration of “Land Day.”

The organizers state: “We aim to make this march a turning point in the nature of the confrontation, with the occupation having to face millions of protesters and demonstrators demanding Freedom for Palestine and its capitol Jerusalem.”

Amos Harel writes in Haaretz, Monday, March 26, 2012:

IDF girds for Land Day disturbances

The army is making preparations to deal with demonstrations along Israel's borders in advance of Land Day on Friday. The day commemorates the deaths of six Israeli Arabs on March 30, 1976, in protest of Israeli government land policies.

Over the past several days, the Israel Defense Forces has finalized its instructions concerning circumstances under which soldiers can open fire along the borders and in the territories. It has also been decided that forces will be reinforced to a limited extent in some areas.

Although the IDF is prepared for relatively serious events, the current intelligence assessment in General Staff headquarters and at the Shin Bet security service is that demonstrators are organizing fairly limited activities at this point.

The current security preparations have drawn on the experience of three events last year: Nakba Day, marking the anniversary of Israel's establishment on May 15, 1948; Naksa Day, commemorating the anniversary of the outbreak of the Six-Day War; and last September's effort by the Palestinian Authority to secure recognition at the United Nations for an independent Palestinian state.

In all three cases, appropriate steps were carried out by the IDF Central Command and effective coordination was undertaken with the security forces of the Palestinian Authority to contain the situation and avoid large numbers of casualties. In the June and July incidents, however, demonstrators on the Lebanese and Syria borders were killed by the army as they attempted to storm across.

Preparations for Land Day have included readying crowd-dispersal equipment and the deployment of marksmen. In areas of the West Bank which are recognized areas of friction with the Palestinians, the so-called "skunk" devise, which sprays a particularly harsh-smelling substance at demonstrators, is being pressed into service.

Officials in the defense establishment are particularly concerned about what might occur on the Lebanese border. According to reports from Lebanon, the main demonstration is planned for the Beaufort area, north of the Israeli town of Metula. Israel recently approached the Lebanese government demanding that it help prevent demonstrators from approaching the actual border with Israel.

Israeli officials believe the Lebanese army does in fact plan to deploy in the area to head off possible bloodshed.

On the Syrian border, there are currently no signs that authorities in Damascus will be encouraging violent demonstrations, in contrast to events in May and June of last year, when Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime was behind the protests.

In the West Bank, demonstrations are anticipated at known flash points during the past several years, including around the villages of Bil'in and Na'alin near the security barrier, the Qalandiyah checkpoint north of Jerusalem and the village of Nabi Saleh west of Ramallah. A special police presence will also be deployed at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, particularly because some protest organizers are describing the demonstration as an international march to Jerusalem. Some Fatah members are planning to take part in West Bank demonstrations.

Despite the intense attention preparations for Land Day have attracted on the Internet, there is no indication on the ground of a large-scale response to the call for protests in the West Bank or along Israel's borders. Nonetheless, a senior defense source told Haaretz: "The Palestinian Authority is looking for ways to again raise the Palestinian issue on the [world] agenda, and therefore it has an interest in protest that attracts attention on Friday."

The source also said that in the coming months other protest days are expected to be observed in the West Bank, including one in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on April 17.

From Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return:

Those very days in that tidy little room with the little desk where he could sit down and write after he had summoned some of his strengths and managed to rise from the bed and exorcise the apathy in which he had been stuck, he did what he always did, and started to scribble down his account of events. He looked back in bewilderment how quickly it all had unfolded. Perhaps it started a year and a half ago, on March 30, when the Arabs in Israel commemorated “Land Day.”

“Well,” he thought, “of course it started long before.” Perhaps it started around the talks in Annapolis – the impressive peace production with its open-ended declaration, followed by a year of “vigorous, ongoing and continuous negotiations,” that were ultimately no more than fruitless attempts at reconciliation. President Peres had said at the time that the alternative to Annapolis is catastrophe. Only later would it become evident how right he was, or, rather, how Annapolis and its aftermath could not prevent the inevitable catastrophe. And did not the Prime Minister at the time say, when he went off stage yet on record, that “the state of Israel is finished” if a separate Palestinian state is not created. The end was certainly on his mind, just like on everybody else’s.

Professor Shimeoni tried to organize the order of events, and he jotted down:

For a long time Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had threatened to resign, but yielded to American pressure to remain in office. His continuously weakened position, however, was exposed by the humiliating coup carried out by a coalition of Islamic Jihad, Hamas and groups from within his own Fatah movement. Without any resistance, they entered his Muqata compound, pointed their guns and threatened to execute him. After merely an hour or so, a document was signed, and President Abbas was allowed to leave the headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and the West Bank of Jordan for a safer haven. He appeared to be quite relieved from a burden far heavier than what a decent man’s shoulders can bear.

Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return
, as well as The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel (Revised Edition, 2012) can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and directly from the publisher,  Fisher King Press.

עמוס הראל, הארץ, 26/3/2012

צה"ל נערך להסתערות של מפגינים על הגבולות: חודדו נהלי הפתיחה באש, חלק מהכוחות יתוגברו

צה"ל משלימים את ההיערכות לקראת צעדות המחאה המתוכננות בעולם הערבי ביום האדמה, החל ביום שישי הקרוב, אז צפויים המפגינים לצעוד לעבר גבולות ישראל. בימים האחרונים חודדו הנחיות הפתיחה באש לכוחות בגבולות ובשטחים. במטכ"ל אף הוחלט על תגבור כוחות מוגבל בחלק מהגזרות. עם זאת, אף שצה"ל נערך לתרחיש חמור יחסית, ההערכה המודיעינית כעת - המקובלת הן על אגף המודיעין במטכ"ל והן על השב"כ - היא שמדובר לעת עתה בהתארגנות בהיקף מוגבל בקרב המפגינים.

ההיערכות הצבאית מבוססת על לקחי האירועים בשלוש יוזמות המחאה הקודמות אשתקד: "יום נכבה" במאי, "יום הנכסה" ביוני וההפגנות סביב פניית הרשות הפלסטינית לאו"ם בספטמבר. בשלושת המקרים הובילה היערכות נכונה בפיקוד המרכז, יחד עם תיאום ביטחוני אפקטיבי עם מנגנוני הביטחון של הרשות, להכלה של האירועים בגדה המערבית, תוך הימנעות מגרימת נפגעים רבים. ואולם, בגבול לבנון וברמת הגולן הרגו החיילים כמה מפגינים שניסו לחדור לישראל.

במסגרת ההכנות חולקו לכוחות אמצעים לפיזור הפגנות והוצבו קלעים וצלפים. בגדה המערבית גם יוצבו בנקודות החיכוך המוכרות אמצעים כמו "בואש", המתיזים חומרים בעלי ריח חריף במיוחד על המפגינים.

במטכ"ל נערכו בימים הקרובים כמה דיוני מעקב אחר ההכנות לאירועי יום שישי. במערכת הביטחון מוטרדים בעיקר ממה שעלול להתרחש בגבול לבנון. על פי דיווחים מלבנון, ההפגנה המרכזית מתוכננת באזור הבופור, צפונית למטולה. בימים האחרונים פנתה ישראל לממשלת לבנון בדרישה למנוע התקדמות של המפגינים לאזור הגבול עצמו. בישראל מתרשמים כי צבא לבנון מתכנן להתפרס במקום כדי למנוע תקריות דמים. בגבול הסורי אין לפי שעה סימנים כי השלטונות יעודדו הפגנות אלימות. זאת, בניגוד לאירועי מאי ויוני, שם עמד משטר הנשיא, בשאר אל-אסד, מאחורי ההפגנות.
בגדה המערבית צפויות הפגנות במוקדי החיכוך המוכרים מהשנים האחרונות, בהם אזור הכפרים בילעין ונעלין שליד גדר ההפרדה, מחסום קלנדיה מצפון לירושלים והכפר נבי סלאח ממערב לרמאללה. גם באזור הר הבית תהיה היערכות משטרתית מיוחדת, בעיקר משום שהמחאה מתוארת על ידי מארגניה כ"צעדה בינלאומית לירושלים". גורמים בפתח נוטלים חלק בארגון חלק מההפגנות בגדה. עם זאת, למרות העיסוק האינטנסיבי בהכנות באתרי אינטרנט שונים, אין כעת סימנים בשטח להיענות גדולה, בגדה או בגבולות ולכן מעריכים בישראל כי לא יהיו הפגנות גדולות במיוחד בסוף השבוע. גורם ביטחוני בכיר אמר ל"הארץ" כי "הרשות הפלסטינית מחפשת דרכים להעלות מחדש את הנושא הפלסטיני על סדר היום ולכן יש לה עניין במחאה שתעורר תשומת לב ביום שישי". הוא הזכיר כי בחודשיים הקרובים צפויים ימי מחאה נוספים בשטחים, בהם יום הזדהות עם האסירים הפלסטינים ב-17 באפריל.

מתוך חזרה: סיפור של גלות ושיבה (ע' 25)

בעצם אותם ימים, באותו חדר קטן ונקי, ליד שולחן הכתיבה הקטן שעליו יכול היה לכתוב לאחר שאגר כוחות והצליח לקום מהמיטה ולגרש את שדי האפטיה והכניעה, הוא עשה את מה שתמיד נהג לעשות, והחל לשרבט על הנייר את סיפור האירועים. הוא הביט אחורה בתדהמה כשראה באיזו מהירות הכול התפתח. אולי זה התחיל לפני שנה וחצי, ב-30 במרס, ביום האדמה.
"טוב", חשב, "זה התחיל כמובן הרבה קודם". אולי סביב שיחות אנאפוליס – הפקת השלום המרשימה עם ההצהרות הלא מחייבות, שאחריהן באה שנה של "משא ומתן רציני ומתמשך", שבסופו של דבר התברר כלא יותר מאשר ניסיונות פיוס עקרים. הנשיא פרס אמר בזמנו שהחלופה לאנאפוליס היא קטסטרופה. רק מאוחר יותר התברר כמה הוא צדק, או איך ועידת אנאפוליס ומה שקרה אחריה לא יכלו למנוע את הקטסטרופה הבלתי נמנעת. והאם ראש הממשלה לא אמר באותו זמן, מאחורי הקלעים אך לציטוט, שאם לא תקום מדינה פלסטינית "זה סופה של מדינת ישראל"? הוא בוודאי חשב על הסוף, בדיוק כמו שכל אחד אחר חשב.

פרופסור שמעוני ניסה לארגן את סדר האירועים, ושרבט:

הנשיא הפלסטיני איים להתפטר במשך זמן רב, אך נענה ללחץ האמריקאי להישאר בתפקידו. אך מעמדו ההולך ונחלש נחשף באמצעות ההפיכה המשפילה שבוצעה בידי קואליציה של הג'יהאד האסלאמי, החמאס וקבוצות מתוך תנועת הפתח עצמה. ללא כל התנגדות הם נכנסו למוקטעה ברמאללה, כיוונו לעברו את רוביהם ואיימו להוציאו להורג. כעבור כשעה נחתם מסמך, והנשיא הורשה לעזוב את משרדי הרשות הפלסטינית ואת הגדה המערבית למקום מקלט בטוח. הוא נראה כמי שהוקל לו לאחר שמשא כבד מאוד הורד מעל כתפיו.

חזרה מחזיר אותנו לנושא נצחי, דו שיח עם הנפש; והרי אנחנו יודעים היטב מה קורה כשמשוחחים עם הנפש – אנחנו משתנים, התודעה מתרחבת, הבלתי אפשרי נהיה אפשרי, וכבר לא חייבים ללכת בדרך הקטלנית של האבות הקדמונים.

חזרה היא סיפור דמיוני על תרחיש שמתרחש בראשם של ישראלים רבים, על הרהורים קיומיים ופחדים אפוקליפטיים – ויחד עם זאת, על התקווה והמחויבות שעולים מתהום הפחד. הסיפור אומנם מתרחש בארץ בזמן כלשהו בהווה, אך הוא קושר אותנו לנצחיות ההיסטוריה על ידי שילוב מארג של דיונים עם קפקא והיינה, וכך מקבל משמעות אוניברסלית.

אראל שליט, פסיכואנליטיקאי יונגיאני, יו"ר לשעבר של החברה הישראלית לפסיכולוגיה אנליטית. הוא מיסד ומנהל התוכנית לפסיכותרפיה יונגיאנית בבר אילן, וניהל בעבר את היחידה הקהילתית לבריאות הנפש ע"ש דודסון, של שלוותה.

הוא חיבר ספרים רבים שיצאו לאור בעברית, באנגלית ובשפות אחרות, ביניהם הגיבור וצלו: היבטים פסיכופוליטיים של מיתוס ומציאות בישראל, The Cycle of Life ו- Enemy, Cripple & Beggar.

ד"ר שליט מרצה במכונים, באוניברסיטאות ובבמות תרבות בארץ, באירופה ובארה"ב
פרטים נוספים בקרוב