Walking by the Moon

Before the Golan Heights are handed over to Syria, I joined a group in nightly trek. We descended from Mitzpe Ophir, on the Golan to Ein Gev, on the waters of the Sea of Galilee.

It’s the first time that I made a night trek, starting at about 1:00 AM and ending with the first light, just before 5:00 AM. Seeing the slopes in the moonlight, the lights of Tiberius (on the other side) and the dark lake was wonderful.

Taking pictures in the dark was quite a challenge, but I got my lucky one:

This picture was taken after one of the steeper descends on the way, while waiting for the slower people in the group to come along 🙂

Picture of the Stars from Israel

15 seconds of exposure, and I didn’t see exactly what I was aiming for… Well, the stars were captured!

Anyway, thanks to the organizers, Yuval and Hagit for the great trip.


For those of you who are interested in some Jewish tradition, here’s a video featuring yours truly lighting the Hanukkah candles:

I’ve been to a house party on the 8th day of Hanukkah. The hostess, Gitit, insisted that we’ll put our beverages aside, stop chit-chatting for a few minutes and light the Hanukah candles. I volunteered to make the blessings, and Mr. Lerman captured the moment and Youtubed it.

I don’t like Hanukkah, since there’s no vacation from work!

Only in Israel: Local Beer is More Expensive

I’ve already praised the Israeli “Dancing Camel” beer. It’s a tasty unfiltered beer that is a good competitor to the Belgian beers that I love.

Unfortunately, it became expensive. At my local bar, called “Armadillo”, they sell a pint (about 500ml) for 30 shekels. $7.5 for a local draft beer is way too much. It’s the most expensive beer in this bar. It tops beers that are imported from Europe (such as Weihenstephan , and naturally tops beers that are produced here, such as Danish beers Carlsberg and Tuborg. All these beers cost 20-25 shekels for a pint, which is a common price. Beer in Europe is much cheaper.

I asked the bartender about the high price, and she just said: “It’s an expensive beer”. I’m frustrated that a beer that is produced within a walking distance of the bar costs so much. I can understand that it’s a “boutique” beer – not a beer made in mass production, but it’s local!

So, I didn’t dance with the camel, but found comfort in my Weihenstephan. The high price of Dancing Camel remains unsolved.


Drinking in Armadillo

10 Good Things in Israel

There’s a group writing project running in the Israeli blogosphere, thanks to Hannit.The theme is “10 Things”.
I’ve already written a Hebrew post about 10 unconvincing reasons not to live in Beer Sheva.
Here’s a list of 10 good things in Israel:

  1. The coffee here is excellent. Every gas station serves coffee that can’t be found in many countries.
  2. We have a great command of the English language.
  3. The weather is good, and very stable. Lots of sunshine.
  4. The Hi tech industry is excellent. Second only to the Silicon Valley.
  5. We have many types of landscapes, squeezed up in a small country.
  6. We’re still a democracy (although this is controversial).
  7. Israelis like to travel around the world, something that makes them wiser.
  8. Tel Aviv – One of the most vibrant cities in the world, if not number one.
  9. Dancing Camel Beer (and also a huge choice of international beers that Tel Aviv can offer.
  10. Israeli girls are beautiful. They make it to the top 10.

There are many bad things here. I usually complain a lot about politics. But, today I feature a positive post 🙂

And Bless This Thy Holy Gay Parade

Guest Post by Vandersister

Traditionally, the annual Gay Pride Parade in Israel is held in Tel Aviv. Last year, the GLBT community asked to hold it in Jerusalem, claiming that they have the same right to march in the capital city as any other community or public sector. Unfortunately, and some say shamefully, the parade was reduced to a rally, as a result of enormous pressure from the police, various politicians and the threats of the Haredim (Orthodox religious sector). Long before the designated day of the parade, they were blocking the roads, starting fires, rioting, throwing stones at police officers, and at the same time – accusing the GLBT community of “disturbing the peace” and “compromising public safety”. Apparently, being homosexual in itself is more offensive and harmful than any form of actual, direct, verbal or physical violence. Why, of course it is. What were we thinking?

This year, on top of the riots, the stone-throwing, the tire-burning and the road-blocking, the Haredim have recruited a new weapon to use against the GLBT community – the ancient art of hexing (or spell-casting, if you will). Just a few days ago, the leading Rabbis of the Haredi sector placed an official curse (!!) on the organizers and participants of the Gay Pride Parade. They distributed a message in hundreds of flyers that were plastered all over Jerusalem, saying:

“To all those involved, sinners in spirit, and whoever helps and protects them, may they feel a curse on their souls, may it plague them and may evil pursue them; they will not be acquitted of their transgressions from heavenly judgment.”

Silly me, I thought this was the 21st century, not the dark ages. Uh well. But other than the obvious repulsion at this childish and medieval-style response, I felt a sense of familiarity when I read the words of the curse… Where have I heard these things before?… Oh yes! Of course! Monty Python’s film, The Holy Grail! That memorable scene where King Arthur and his knights are fighting the murderous rabbit; they stand helpless until one of them remembers that there is a sacred weapon they can use – the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch! Here’s a

Friar: “And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, ‘O Lord, bless this Thy hand grenade that, with it, Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits in Thy mercy.’ And the Lord did grin, and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals and fruit bats and large chu–”
Brother Maynard: “Skip a bit, Brother.”
Friar: “And the Lord spake, saying, ‘First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then, shalt thou count to three. No more. No less. Three shalt be the number
thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three.
Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.’ ”

In short? Holy wars are stupid. There’s nothing holy or sacred about violence. Support the parade in Jerusalem – Israel is still and despite everything, a
democracy. And don’t forget to count to three!