`I really want to have a life'

Editorial Notebook

July 20, 2002

AFTER MONTHS OF looking over her shoulder when she left the house, working out at the gym instead of walking in her Jerusalem neighborhood, and seeing soldiers stop shoppers in town, Lisa Katz decided to venture out on a Friday night. Dinner in Tel Aviv.

The 45-minute drive was uneventful, down from the sun-baked hills through green stretches of farmland. She arrived in the secular heart of Israel to find restaurants packed. Reservations at Tel Aviv's trendiest spots were impossible until 10:30 or 11 that night. She decided on an outdoor cafM-i in south Tel Aviv, a part of the city that has always been Jewish. She felt fine. Relaxed.

In Tel Aviv, she always feels freer, breathes easier. Maybe it's the lack of Arab style in the architecture that engenders this feeling, she wonders. And yet how strange to be in this upscale restaurant, when Palestinians are under a military curfew, taking it in the neck?

She scanned the menu: salad and fish and chocolate cake to finish.

In 19 years in Israel, Lisa Katz has raised two children, earned her doctorate from Hebrew University and lived through, among other attacks, the 1996 suicide bombings that nearly scuttled the peace process. Lisa Katz knows the benefits and burdens of Israeli citizenship.

And, all too often now, the horror eclipses the joy.

Within days of her Tel Aviv outing, the headlines read:

Seven Israelis Murdered in Bomb and Shooting Ambush On Bus Near Emmanuel. Daughter and Grandmother Killed in Bus; Father Who Arrived to Rescue Them Killed.

Two Suicide Blasts Kill 5 in Tel Aviv. Israel in Shock After Suicide Bombers Return. Israel Freezes Plan to Ease West Bank Crackdown.

Baby Born to Emmanuel Victim Dies.

With the Israeli military's return to the Palestinian territories, the suicide bombings had subsided -- until last week. How else to explain the outdoor revelry in Tel Aviv that Friday night?

Lisa Katz lives on the border in Israel, in her mind and in her body. All of Israel is so close to Palestine that anyone can be a target. Palestinians can say what they will about occupation, she says, "but murder is murder, when we do it and when they do it. ... Many people have lost homes and homelands without becoming murderers. Whoever said compromise is so terrible?"

Lisa Katz wants to have a life again, to eat out without armed guards at the door, to walk through downtown without looking over her shoulder, to watch the nightly news without cocking an ear for the names of the day's dead.

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