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Israel's wealthiest lawmaker deals with having no power during snowstorm
By GIL HOFFMAN
17/12/2013
Erel Margalit (Labor) lost power at his home in the capital’s Ein Kerem neighborhood Thursday, and did not regain electricity for 48 hours.
 
Thousands of Israelis have suffered without electricity since the massive snow storm began last Thursday; especially Jerusalemites.

But only one of those Jerusalemites is a Knesset member, ironically the wealthiest MK.

Erel Margalit (Labor) lost power at his home in the capital’s Ein Kerem neighborhood Thursday, and did not regain electricity for 48 hours.

In between, he managed to heat his home using techniques that his spokeswoman said reminded her of the American TV character McGyver.

“It was wild because when the snow started in Jerusalem it was a festive moment, so we were happy, but as the day progressed we realized that the snow was intensifying,” Margalit said.

“We thought the power would come back in an hour or two. It was freezing.”

Margalit, his wife and grown daughters went to the forest to gather wood for their fireplace, but the wet and frozen branches would not light. He ended up chopping up a wooden chair he hated, adding cardboard, and lighting it with cooking oil.

It took two or three hours, but it worked, and they were able to cook.

Meanwhile, without cell phones or Internet, his family played games. “It was amazing,” Margalit said.

“My daughters asked why we don’t always live like that instead of going to the Knesset.

“I mastered the technology of fire and wet wood. Now I have it down to a science. It shows that it doesn’t matter how sophisticated or smart you are. If you can’t light a fire, you cant survive.”

Margalit is a successful venture capitalist who, with 11 IPOs on the NASDAQ, has more hi-tech exits than anyone in Israel. But he had to endure the power outage much like the 3000 poor Jerusalem children, their families and the volunteers in the non-profit organizations he founded.

“If you have no electricity and your house is surrounded with snow, who cares how much money you have and how many degrees you have,” he said. “It was a good humbling experience.”
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