Comment: Talking about the weather

Most things in Israel are done to the extreme. Like the weather.

Rain in Tel Aviv 480 (photo credit: JOANNA PARASZCZUK)
Rain in Tel Aviv 480
(photo credit: JOANNA PARASZCZUK)
Most things in Israel are done to the extreme. Like the weather.
Last 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 outages.
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 least.
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 building.
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 weather.