For one day, 10th June, Haaretz, the Hebrew language Israeli daily and Isreal’s oldest newspaper changed how the news was written. The paper’s editor-in-chief Dov Alfon exchanged 31 reporters for 31 of Israel’s finest authors and poets. The objective was to honour Israel’s annual Hebrew Book Week and give authors the opportunity to witness and report on the events of the day. Apart from the sports section and a few other articles, The authors’ articles filled the pages, from the leading headline to the weather report.
Writers used the first person and showed up in nearly every photograph alongside their interview subjects, including the likes of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres.
Author Avri Herling summarised the stock market, “Everything’s okay. Everything’s like usual. Yesterday trading ended. Everything’s okay. The economists went to their homes, the laundry is drying on the lines, dinners are waiting in place… Dow Jones traded steadily and closed with 8,761 points, Nasdaq added 0.9% to a level of 1,860 points…. The guy from the shakshuka [an Israeli egg-and-tomato dish] shop raised his prices again….”
Eshkol Nevo’s TV review started. “I didn’t watch TV yesterday.”
Roni Somek wrote a poem, titled “Summer Sonnet.” For the weather report.
David Grossman spent a night at a children’s drug rehabilitation centre in Jerusalem and wrote a cover page story about the patients and ended it, “I lay in bed and thought wondrously how, amid the alienation and indifference of the harsh Israeli reality, such islands — stubborn little bubbles of care, tenderness and humanity — still exist.”
Yoram Kaniuk wrote about couples in the hospital cancer ward, “A woman walking with a cane brings her partner a cup of coffee with a trembling hand. The looks they exchange are sexier than any performance by Madonna and cost a good deal less,” Kaniuk a cancer suffer too, wrote. “I think about what would happen if I were to get better…how I would live without the human delicacy to which I am witness?”
June 11th the paper resume normal service. What a wonderful way to celebrate the diversity of writing.
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