April 26, 2007
Books: Yehoshua’s latest explores boundaries of responsibility
(Page 2 - Previous Page)"We have to end the occupation and give the Palestinians the possibility of creating a state," Yehoshua said.
Unfortunately, last summer's war in the North made that harder. Every time a Palestinian fired a shot, it reinforced the right wing in Israel, he believes. "To me this is the saddest thing," he said.
Yehoshua has a vested interest in a ceasefire -- some of Hezbollah's rockets fell on Haifa, the city he and his wife have called home for more than 30 years. The couple, who "want to be very good grandparents," purchased their apartment in Ramat Gan in order to be closer to their children and grandchildren on weekends. Yehoshua's youngest grandchild, a tiny baby girl, slept peacefully on the living-room sofa while her grandfather was interviewed.
None of Yehoshua's four children is a writer, for which he professed to be "very happy."
"It's frustrating to be in art," he said. "You're exposed to tension and criticism day and night."
Yehoshua said that he once accompanied Saul Bellow to a restaurant in Cambridge after Bellow received the Nobel Prize.
"I was astonished that nobody in the restaurant noticed him. Here everyone in the gas station talks to me -- they ask 'why are you so naive? How could you say what you say; how could you be so stupid?' They quarrel with me, but with a lot of kindness and respect, he said with a laugh."
A fifth-generation Jerusalemite, that city is the location of his latest book. Yehoshua says that Jerusalem is in his blood and it intoxicates him: "I'm connected to Jerusalem almost too much. It has to appear in every one of my books."
Yehoshua believes that the Old City should be governed by a joint nongovernmental body representing the three monotheistic religions.
"We cannot possess Jerusalem with a national flag he says," he said. "We must elevate it to the monotheistic cradle of humanity."
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