Most things in Israel are done to the extreme. Like the weather.
Friday, I was playing tennis outside in a short-sleeved shirt and shorts. On
Tuesday, I was one of those hapless sorts with the runaway inverted umbrella,
shoes soaked through and hands numb with cold.
Even as we tout ourselves
as a “normal country,” we can’t seem to experience a normal winter without
record rainfall, gusty winds that have felled trees, flooding that has closed
even the main road leading into Tel Aviv (the Ayalon Highway), and electricity
It’s been raining and the wind has been blowing fiercely now for
three days, with more expected (including the likelihood of snow in Jerusalem
and the country’s other high-altitude areas). The good news is that the
Kinneret, which has been dangerously low for years, is rapidly filling its
depleted supply of water. Monday saw a record one-day windfall, with the Galilee
lake rising by 22 centimeters, and Tuesday’s increase wasn’t far behind.
Forecasters predict the Kinneret could come close to reaching its peak before
the winter ends, and onward.
The bad news is that, considering we are the
“Start-Up Nation” with innovative solutions to every world problem you can think
of, we aren’t too good at handling stormy weather like this. Some failures of
our road and building infrastructure have been exposed, to say the
Hundreds of thousands in the labor force unable to get to work in
Tel Aviv? It’s inconceivable. And the havoc wreaked at the upscale Azrielli Mall
in Modi’in, which wasn’t built that long ago, resembled a man-made lake; leaks
don’t even describe the gaps where rainwater poured into the
The rain will eventually end, and next week, I’ll probably be
back on the tennis court in shorts. But if a political party running in the
upcoming elections really wanted to make hay while the proverbial sun was
shining, it would focus some of the campaign ads that began airing Tuesday night
on its plans to improve the nation’s infrastructure.
Because for once in
Israel – and here we are finally truly normal – everyone’s talking about the
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