“I was among those who was shot”

To Moscow for a book festival on red square came to classic Israeli literature Meir Shalev, author of “the Russian novel”, “Esau”, “the Dove and the Boy” and many other novels. In Russian language the writer presented his new book “My wild garden” and a series of books for children about the cat Kramer. About growing marijuana in the garden, lice, catching poisonous snakes with his bare hands and the right politicians to discuss literature with Meir Shalev was interviewed by the Explorer “the Tape.ru” Natalia Kochetkova.

About Bush marijuana

Near the house I have a garden. It is only the wild flowers that grow in Israel. This garden appeared. 20 years ago I still lived in Jerusalem, but it was harder and harder to stay there. I began to look for his house and found him in the valley of Israel, in the village, not far from the place where I was born and which is described in several of my novels.

Near my house there was a stretch of dry land. All of it was shriveled, but one of the Bush — Bush of marijuana. The Bush was green, and I realized that someone at night comes with a watering can and watering it. I have a friend who is a police officer. I invited him to see the house. He saw a Bush and said, “You haven’t had time to enter the house, and Bush is already planted?” I replied that the Bush was not mine. For a good mood, I grow grapes, and this someone else’s Bush. And as soon as the real owner will collect his harvest, I’ll destroy it.

And indeed, once night came the owner of the hive and cut it. After that, I plowed with a tractor your site and started thinking, what would be put there.


I love to walk in nature, look at the landscapes, to animals to plants. When I was young, I walked a lot. But in the army I was severely wounded: four bullets in the knee and in the thigh. It was six months after the end of the six day war, July 1967. It was an operation in which an Israeli night of the shot another Israeli part. I was among those who was shot. Now I don’t have to walk a lot — I just starts to fall apart the knee. So I sit in my truck. I love to look at nature. Not only in Israel. The same trip I took in Namibia, Mongolia, Kenya.

I Have never had land — my whole garden was placed in pots on the balcony in Jerusalem. While I was pondering what I’d plant in your new garden, winter came, the rains began, and the seeds were in the ground, sprouted: it was the anemones, cyclamen and daffodils. And I thought, why not plant a plot of flowers that grow in Israel.

I Must say that the gardens with wild plants in Israel is not just me. We have many beautiful wild flowers. They are known to all, because Israel is a small country. Since Israel is a point where three continents: Africa, Europe and Asia, we have 2,700 species of wild plants on a very small area. It is an impressive Botanical wealth. In addition, the love of nature is part of the Zionist ideology. Because the first settlers who came to Israel a hundred years ago, knew nothing about this country and wanted a better acquainted. And their children taught the same. So it since then and passed on from generation to generation.

So I started looking for bulbs, seeds and seedlings of wild plants. In Israel, when you lay a new highway or build a new house, before that happens, the district Council publishes an announcement that you can come to this place and dig up plants that are growing there. I also chose the flowers in such places. I also met people who have the same gardens. They gave me advice on how to care for such a garden.

And because people read my books, they wanted to help me and all the time he made the gifts. They said, here I brought you a bulb of a Tulip or Narcissus, anemones. Was the man who said, “I will follow what you put. So, dig a hole. Not here. Now soot. No, turn the bulb, like this.” Then it once a week came to watch, well if its growing a flower. Every time we had to take a guest, make him coffee, tea, to talk to him. After that, he invited me to his daughter’s wedding, hoping that I get to speak. And I realized that to grow wild flowers is more difficult than I thought before.

But the wild flowers of Israel is very stable. Now summer, very hot and my garden looks completely dead. I figured if they can withstand such a climate, it can take my departure.


the Garden is a haven for plants and animals, but nature is not pretty. Much more violent than civilization. (Shows a photo of the phone on which it holds the head and tail of a big snake.) This is also the nature in my garden. This is Viper, that is a snake that can kill you. I caught her alive. Drove a mile from the house and released there. The snake is not a territorial animal. The fact that she crawled in my garden, doesn’t mean it’s her house. I like to catch with his bare hands poisonous snakes, I know how to do and do not for the first time. In the village when this situation arises, the neighbors call me. I once caught this snake in a kindergarten and killed her. It was impossible to leave her a chance to go back.


in my garden there are a few enemies that hinder me to grow flowers. First, it is the other wild plants that I don’t want to be in my garden, therefore I weed out all the time. Although it is a philosophical, ethical question. If I want to grow a natural garden, then why are some plants I purposely planted, and disposed of.

Some may see this as a metaphor, but believe me, she’s not here. Give an example from another book about my grandmother who had a thing for cleanliness. My grandfather’s brother sent her from America a huge powerful vacuum cleaner so she can clean up. When I was in Belgium, one literary critic said to me, “American vacuum cleaner, which cleans the dust from the Zionist is a metaphor of the genocide of the Palestinian people. Because you are getting technology from the United States, and the dust is a symbol of the land that you suck and throw. Now, when I’m talking about your garden — I’m just talking about the garden.

in addition to weed my way some animals. For example, the mole. I have in the garden, the buttercups and wild gladioli is a plant that loves the mole. It was winter, when the mole destroyed my buttercups and gladioli. Then I realized that it was wrong. I started the war to result had survived me or the mole.

One of the methods of controlling mole used in the village where I grew up: in the hole of the mole fits in the trunk of a makeshift rifle hunting cartridge. When the mole touches the barrel, the gun shoots. It’s cruel, illegal and dangerous to others, because if people come to a gun — he will lose his foot.

Another method is to dig a hole, shove the hose and fill the hole with water. When I tried them, came to me from the district Council and asked if I built a pool in the backyard? The fact that my water bill has increased 10 times. And the pool will be taxed separately. A mole, nothing happened. Except that he asked but water, I poured him some more shampoo.

Then I dug out his tunnel and stood over him with a hoe. I stood there an hour, when three hours later the mole came to dig her hole, I couldn’t bend over and hit it with a hoe, because I was shot in the back. The mole returned home, and I went to the podiatrist to treat the back.

One of my friend said that the hole you need to stick one end of the hose, and the second to connect to the exhaust pipe of the machine, and then the mole will start to suffocate and run away. But I replied that I’m Jewish, Jews have a strong historical memory, and they don’t do those things.

I looked at this and thought: that’s done! I’m a grown man. Moreover, I am a famous man. I look at your garden and realize that all the holes it has dug not the mole, and me. I spend every day for three hours of their time trying to get rid of it. Since then I just grow their buttercups and gladiolus in pots. The mole also lives quietly. I really don’t know what he eats now. And I all began to say that my mole is now not at war and in conflict.

About the benefits of swearing

But I must say one more thing: my garden is open. That is, it has no fence. It borders the nature reserve, where there are old oaks. They are smaller than the European, but very beautiful. There are wild boars that consider my garden a part of their reserve, so they come to me every night. They do not eat plants, but they dig up the ground and scatter the bulbs. And I have every morning to re-plant anemones. I don’t fight with them — I’m afraid of them. They are big and strong animals.

One night I went out on the balcony. I stand and say to them: why don’t you go to my neighbor, he has such a beautiful garden, lawn, very beautiful wooden terrace with Jacuzzi. I would very much like to have it in two in the morning woke up and saw that he had in a Jacuzzi three boar with a cigar. But they come to me.

they Usually go in the night, but it was day. In my garden there is a table on which stood pots are onions. I stood and worked, and suddenly heard behind me the boar grunts. I looked around and saw a wild boar with five.. When I was young, I probably would have run away from the boar. Now gone, so I jumped up on the table. And here’s me standing on the table next to me kabanicha with five., my phone in the house, neighbors at work, and I don’t know how many hours I here still stand.

as a result, I began to talk to her. I spoke to her in Hebrew, but she understood me. She understood what I was saying some very ugly words about her, her children, her husband and his parents. My mother, when I was a kid, if she saw me talking to the bully, told me that it is not necessary to communicate with him. While her face had a special expression that I remember. Suddenly I saw on the face of kabanikha mother’s face and heard her tell his children that they should not to communicate with me. She ran into the woods and took a brothers’. Their tails were upright, that contempt.


of course, You know that the country in which I live, is considered the Holy land for many people. She’s a Saint for all Christians, some Muslims and Jews. Because of this the sanctity of the war that we are not always rational. This is not a war for territory, access to water or minerals. If the war is for resources, it is possible to negotiate. When one says that God promised me this land, and the other says: no, I — there is no negotiation is possible.

unfortunately, in Israel there is a situation that still has to show strength, so that the country continued to exist. And more unfortunately, our government does not conduct peace talks. I belong to the left side of the political spectrum do not agree with the ongoing policy. If the Red army during the Second world war came to Berlin, then the world today would look completely different. Sometimes you need to show strength and fight.

And it’s important for me that my garden — it is very small, but the only land in Israel that is Holy for anybody. I checked on my land did not go Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. This land belongs only to my flowers and plants.

cat Kramer

My cat’s name is Kramer. He’s fat, black and sleeps all the time. He sleeps so much that at some point we decided to change it for another cat. Then he suddenly woke up. He came to us. He was born to our neighbors in the village. When he was about 10 months, I came to visit my friend from abroad and brought the steak, very good meat.

I began to prepare the meat and Kramer smelled the smell of a neighbor’s house and ran up to us. When he ran into the house, then lost his balance and crashed into the wall. So I called him Kramer as the hero of the TV series “Seinfeld.” I gave him a small piece of steak. He tried it. And since then stayed in our house to try again.

Kramer is a special cat. For example, he can read. How do we know? He is very happy when I start reading the sports tabloid. He knows that sport is not interesting to me, and it means that I will soon cease to read, laid the newspaper on the floor and put on her some treats for Kramer. How does he know this is a sports app? Because it says “Sport”.

Of lice

in our house, there are other animals. Many years ago, when my daughter was little, she once came home from kindergarten with lice. Had to wash her head with a special shampoo and comb hair comb. I then worked in Israeli television and led talk show. Then I said to her daughter: “Imagine if lice you go to my head, and my head is on the heads of guests. Then they will be able to keep your program for body lice, which live in the minds of the audience.” In this moment has entered the room my wife and said this may be a good idea for children’s books.

I wrote a book and brought it to his editor. But she told me that it is unable to type because lice is gross. I put the book in a drawer where it has lain for three years. Then the publisher asked if I have a book for children. I replied that I was there, but it is disgusting. He read it, we released it, and now it is one of the most famous and best-selling children’s books in Israel.

About didacticism and the angel of death

I am a writer who does not teach. Kids in my books do not teach anything. I raised my children — that’s enough for me. And children have their parents. There are topics I will not write for children, there are topics I won’t write for adults. For example, when my son was four years old, he heard the phrase “angel of death” and asked me who it was. I explained to him. Then he said he wants to Purim to change into the angel of death. When was his birthday and asked him what he wants as a gift, he replied that he wants a black cloak with a hood and a scythe. We told him it’s all bought. He put on his coat, took a scythe, ran outside and began to frighten passers-by.

I said to him, if now will come the real angel of death, he will be angry at you. After all, who looks at you now, I think that you’re the real angel of death. And over it already will laugh. I don’t want the angel of death angry at my child, it could end badly. I even thought to include this story in a children’s book, and then decided that I would not write about it for kids and put this story in one of her adult books.

About problems with Knesset

I Have a story in which a boy wakes up in the night because he hears a lion’s roar. He looks out the window and sees that the garden goes the lion. And in the morning he sees that sitting in the garden parents and drinking coffee. The next night, he again hears the lion roars. This time he looks Leo in the eye, and the lion looks at him through the window. The next night Leo enters the room, the boy starts to run after him with a stick, and it turns out that it’s not a real lion, but a lion costume, inside of which was hiding his parents. He is very angry, takes the suit, does not allow them to watch TV, read a newspaper on the basis that lions do not read Newspapers and don’t watch TV.

a few months after the book came out, I got a call from the Knesset is the Israeli Parliament. I was told that I had to go to the Commission because some psychologists and educators claim that this book is harming the relationships between parents and children. I replied that, first, a book the kids like it, and secondly, I do not recognize the right of politicians to discuss literature. They said: anyway, you should come to this Committee. I said that he did not come, let the police come and accompany me. As a result, they discussed the book without me, and I’m the only one in Israel, the writer about whom the Knesset has decided that his book affects readers.

the “red riding Hood” and parental fears

I believe that without a doubt parents should decide which books get into their house. But I also think that to censor books and to make sure that they did not get anything wrong — it was to raise a child in a sterile bubble. For example, there are now parents who do not read the children “little Red riding Hood”, because I think that this is too cruel a story the wolf eats the grandmother, then kill the wolf, then his stomach ripped open.

But as in any children’s text, “little red riding Hood” has several levels. First — for children: the child reads that one must be careful not to trust strangers. The second is for adults. From the point of view of the adult in front of him — the crazy family. Mother sends a little girl into the woods, knowing that it was a prowling wolf. She warns the daughter that she should be afraid of the wolf, but if it’s so dangerous, why not leave the baby at home? Grandma sent no medicines and a bottle of wine and cakes. And another question that arises is: where’s dad?

in Short, it’s a complicated story, and each generation can interpret it in accordance with their experience. And this book is written for the wolves, which reads: do not touch the grandma, and especially her granddaughter.