I just met with a Japanese researcher who came to Israel to write about Israel’s attitude towards the LGBT community here and spoke, among other things, on the connection between public diplomacy and social media. He told me that in Japan they see Israel as a difficult place in this context  because of the clashes with the orthodox institutions, whereas I showed him, much to his utter surprise, all the articles that talk about the changes that have been made here (in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament) in the last 48 hours concerning marriage.

After that we spoke about Tel Aviv’s history, the Ministry of Health Anti Polio campaign I took part in as a consultant, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the changes in the Arab world, the radical Islam and the Arab political institutions.

It was a true Kodak moment for me to see the man’s face as he realised we (the IDF) just demolished a 2 kilometre underground terrorist tunnel that was built using Israeli construction materials and that were used by the “brave” Gazan miners.

I don’t know if you ever spoke with a Japanese, but compared to Israelis, their facial emotional range is quite narrow, until I asked him how it is for him to live in a country that suffered a nuclear disaster, when you suddenly see his eyes become wet from tears and his voice changes all of a sudden and becomes soft.

He told me that there are men who still need to work in the Fokoshima area and they get $150 a day and these are the poorest people that sacrifice themselves for their families. They are literally dead men walking. That was amazing. Hisoshima, Nagasaki and now Fokoshima. Lots of Japanese live in denial about this he told me. At the end of our 2-hour meeting he handed me a small souvenir, a cloth, something that looks like a bandanna, with drawings of fish swimming upstream. Symbolic, I thought to myself.

Swimming Upstream

Originally written in Hebrew on my fb page