Friday, February 27, 2009

Election Weary, Rain Happy

We are a little election weary in our little country, but I'm not sure the present system is as terrible as is often bemoaned.

At any rate, the coalition discussions continue and will intensify this next week as Bibi turns to his natural partners for ongoing talks. We all desire that he will be able to create a strong and stable government. Except, of course, for Tzipi Livni. Today Livni rejected the idea of a unity government, saying that tomorrow she will begin working to bring down the Netanyahu government. Not a word about the seriousness of the hour and a willingness to compromise in a way to work together for our survival. All about Tzipi.

Again, I direct you to the parallel site, Today in Israel, where there is more detail on the coalition predicaments and discussions.

The rains continue this weekend, the cyclamen are still blooming, and B'H, it's Shabbat. We'll get through it all somehow. After taking a week off of posting, I should be up and running again next week.

In the meantime,

Shabbat Shalom

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Following the Rain

It has rained hard and steady, including enough hail to pile up on the window sills and the ground, since Friday night, shortly after it was announced that Bibi Netanyahu would form the government. Mega lightning and enormous thunder claps made the ongoing event even more dramatic.

The reports are that it will continue to rain through Monday - two more days. Much snow accumulated on Mount Hermon, snow that will melt into the Kinneret in the spring.

How much rain fell directly into the Kinneret has yet to be reported, but more rain is forecast for next weekend.

Do you think these prolonged soaking rains could have anything to do with electing a government that finally means business about protecting this Land?
If you have followed my blog, you already know that I think in the affirmative on this issue.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Election Progress

I know, they drag out forever, these Israeli elections. If you are following the Today in Israel blog, and/or of course, the news! you know that today marked the parade of parties going to Beit HaNassi (the President's house) to give their recommendations for the person best suited to form the next government.

Bibi received the overwhelming mandate of 65 seats to Livni's 28, yet it's not over yet. Peres still has to formally request of Netanyahu to form the government, and since they are not the best of friends, who knows what might still happen. At this hour at least, Peres is insistent on asking BOTH Netanyahu and Livni tomorrow to Beit HaNassi to try to force them to work together in a unity government - even though Livni is firm (today at least) about sitting in opposition.

Then of course, there's the budget... We could know who will be prime minister by summer. It's enough to drive one to drink!! Yet, Israeli's are pretty patient about it all. After all, what can we do? Nothing. So...we shrug our shoulders and drink coffee and wait....and then, we drink some more coffee and wait some more.

It's Israel. (And I really love coffee.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shabbat and haShkediya

As we transition to Shabbat, a few close ups of the blossoms of hashkediya (the almond trees) on my street . The bees are happy too.

Photos mkfremont

Shabbat Shalom

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Follow me... TodayinIsrael for running election coverage

Monday, February 9, 2009

Some things Are Eternal

I hadn't been to my places in the hills for some time; every time I thought about going I felt a hestitation and no drawing to go like I normally did. I felt it might have to do with the fact that one of the last times I was there, later at night, walking and gazing out over the night time hills as I have so many times, a security guard (too unprofessional for shin bet) followed me in a car, stalking and harassing me a bit. It was during the war and I could see they were looking for something/someone below on the hill. Still, for G-d's sake, I don't look like a terrorist, and it was unnerving. I felt like "my space" had been invaded and it was no longer "private".

Today, however, I decided to go to one of the spots. A place where I sit next to an enormous fragrant thyme bush and look out, with trees and flowers and rocks on the hillside in the other direction.

Even before I arrived at the long walkway to the stairs, my heart sank, but only briefly. Surrounding the entire area was a construction wall. Cranes and caterpillars peeked over the top and could be heard chewing up trees and crushing rocks. I knew of course, the wild display of cyclamen gracing the hills and hiding beneath the rocks were being pulverized as well.

Ah, this is probably why I haven't come. I would have been furious at the sight of the fence going up, and the machinery moving in to my tranquil and wild hillside. But, this is Yerushalayim. We want it to grow in people. Where are they going to build except on an empty hillside?

Nevertheless, as I walked alongside the construction barrier, I mulled over the idea of joining the "green" party - because though we do need building, we still need our green space to be beautiful and healthy.

As I turned the corner to climb the 100 steps or so to my bench, I could see that my view would be totally blocked. What about the butterflies who inhabit the thyme bush? Would they move on now that there would only be one bush from which to dine? Already some had moved on when a wild and uncaring Iryia (city hall) worker went crazy in his pruning of both the thyme and the gorgeous canopy of leaves and flowers that cascaded over my bench - the canopy that had provided me cool shelter on steamy days, and was like a special covering while I thought and dreamed.

I thought of Jerusalem and her history...when there was no bench, nor concrete stairs nor buildings of any kind, and I wondered how many scenes this little tract of Land had witnessed over the centuries.

That's when G-d whispered in my ear - that Jerusalem, though eternal, will always be changing before us - only He and the Am are constant.

Only G-d and the People Israel are constant. It gave me peace. Jerusalem is eternal, but her face is ever changing (though not her spirit); G-d and His People will never change. The same G-d, the same People - Am Yisrael - through the ages.

Comforting thoughts on election eve.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


With the elections drawing very near, this is the talk of the coffee shops and cafes, like in any country that votes. It's in our heads and a bit heavy on our hearts.... at least on mine.

When I write my other column (blog Today in Israel) I can be detached, analytical - the journalist and commentator. But when I write this column...well, my heart shows a bit more.

I am concerned. While there is "hope" in some camps, the street is frustrated. Israeli politics being what they are, no one trusts anyone in or near the government. Lots of regular people are slightly depressed - still struggling from the betrayal of Barak not finishing the job in Gaza and wondering...what's around the corner.

There are rumblings about the north, and it seems like something may erupt at the Israel/Lebanon border. We can feel it.

Yet Israelis are so resilient. A week from now, when the elections are all over with, the talk in the coffee shops and cafes will be turning towards the spring and what it will bring. Unless of course...the north explodes, or the south re-ignites, or ...the list goes on. It is because the suffering is so great here at times that Israelis learn to turn their emotions on and off - at the drop of a hat they can shift gears, making the best of a bad situation. It's called survival.

Slowly, slowly I am learning how.

In times of trouble we are at our strongest, we pull together as a People. But we have something else. After the shkedim bloom and we are reminded of God's word over Jerusalem, we will know Esther's courage and determination to save our People (Purim) and we will rejoice and laugh. Shortly after that, we will once again experience God taking us out of Egypt and into freedom in Pesach. Whether these are traditionally observed or religiously observed, they will permeate the country. No matter what trouble we may be suffering through, in the midst of it, we as a nation always stop and celebrate our journey...and it strengthens us.

We are a national People, Am Yisrael. And I am drinking it all in. Slowly, slowly I am learning and understanding a bit more of what it means to be Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael.