Away with 2006 – Happy 2007

It’s again that time of the year – the end.

The most significant event of 2006 was undoubtedly the war between Israel and the Hizballah in Lebanon. Except the killing and the destruction, it exposed the Israeli government’s negligence of its citizens. Refusing to officially declare the fighting as a war, saved some money for the state, money that was necessary for the paralyzed economy of the north of this country.

The border town of Kiryat Shmona was abandoned by its strong citizens, while the weaker ones stayed there to suffer. The comparison to Katrina in New Orleans is inevitable. The war exposed the government’s mismanagement and the widening gaps between the rich and the poor. Many people feel that the country doesn’t belong to them, but to a small elite group of corrupt businessmen and cynical politicians.

In the meantime, life in Tel Aviv was as usual. The streets were full and the job market (at least in the hi-tech industry) was steam hot.

Anyway, I’ve been reacting to the news about the war many many times, and in both languages. I “created news” just once, when visiting Haifa during the war, and “reporting” from there (well, personal impressions). Improved pictures are here.

Next year, I hope to write a more personal end year roundup.

Happy 2007!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to everyone abroad. Being through a few Xmases in my life, I can say it’s quite a pretty holiday, especially when it’s snowing all around.

Here, in Israel, we have Hannukah, with it’s lights. But it sure isn’t a light holiday when the traditional food is fried donuts (or fried anything). Also, it isn’t a religious festivity, and not an official day off, so except the children at school, business is as usual.

And, this year we hardly have any winter, so a snowy Christmas is just something you see on American TV shows. But anyway, here’s some snow from Nepal:


Merry Christmas!


Someone invaded our house in the middle of the night. While we were asleep, he broke in through the bathroom window, went to the living room, snatched our bags and our keys, and got out through the front door. The bedrooms’ doors were closed. We heard nothing.

We discovered it only in the morning. The damage consists of my one month old camera, optical sunglasses, and documents. My roommate had a substantial amount of cash, and some documents as well. Of course, we didn’t have any insurance.

It probably happened late at night, somewhere between 3:30 to 5:30. There was some money on the table, and it wasn’t stolen, which indicates that the thief operated in darkness. The cafe behind our house closes at around 3:30, and I do hope that the robber isn’t amongst the cafe’s workers. That’s as far as our detective skills go.

Apart from the monetary loss, we also lost some of our sense of security. Someone could come again and also hurt us physically. Breaking into my car is something I’m used to. It already happened to me 4 times in the past, and it happened to more than a few friends of mine. Breaking into my house is more alarming. I thought Tel Aviv was safer than my hometown Beer Sheva. I was proven wrong.

Well, at least I got rid of my ugly sunglasses…

Northern Israel – business as usual

Happy DogTwo months after the war, northern Israel looks (almost) like there was never any war. The damage made by 4000 rockets, courtesy of Hezbollah, isn’t seen.

My girlfriend and myself took a short weekend off in the Galilee, and this is the impression we got. We haven’t been to Kiryat Shmona, the city that was hit by 1000 rockets, so maybe we haven’t seen it all.

Here are all the pictures.

Jews in SafedWe started in Safed (Tzfat), which is an ancient Jewish center. Located in the mountains, and holding so much history, it could be a great tourist attraction. Lots of old synagogues of different styles and narrow walkways are seen in the old city. The authorities probably don’t care too much. Many buildings are in a shabby condition, and too much garbage is seen on the streets. This is not a result of the war. It can be blamed on years of negligence. When asking some locals about the war, they said that it was scary, but almost all the damage was fixed, and the rest is being fixed right now.

Romantic JaccuziWe then headed to our “Zimmer”, or guesthouse, at a small place called Harashim. Our host complained about too much competition, a problem that began already a few years ago. War? Well, he said that during the war, he had only one guest, a settler from the West Bank. Afterwards, the regular crowd came back, like in the days before the war.

We joined his hospitality and the fresh cold air of the high mountains (900 meters is high in Israel!), so we didn’t bother to leave the warm bathtub. After some rest in the quiet and cold mountains, driving in the noisy and polluted streets of Tel Aviv made feel… at home.

Happy New Year

Shana Tova!

This evening we celebrate the new year in the Jewish calendar. Shana Tova is what you hear from everybody in the last few days. Instead of saying goodbye, the blessing is for a happy new year. The custom is to eat an apple dipped in honey. I prefer honey mustard ssauce on my spare ribs. The festivities last for 2 days, so Sunday is a day off from work (oh yeah). Since it is one of the only holidays that my family celebrates and forces me to appear at, I’ll be driving all the way down to the desert town of Beer Sheva.

The year ended quite bad. The recent war up north still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. People here in the Tel Aviv bubble don’t really deal with the war anymore. It’s over, next. But the war left it’s scars, and hurt the hopes for peace. It has also hurt the hopes for social reforms. It seems that the terrible gaps between the rich and the poor (the war helped exposing them) won’t be reduced soon. Many people have less trust in the country and its leaders. Potential alternative leaders aren’t really seen around. Maybe next year will be better.

Personally I had quite a good year. I just recently finished 4 months of being unemployed. It was so fun! I’ve been to Peru for 6 weeks, and then just enjoyed my beloved Tel Aviv. And, the new start at the new job seems quite promising (touch wood, its only 3 weeks).

In less than 4 months there is another new year celebration (2007). I get to celebrate according to all the traditions.

Well, all the new year messages I get wish me luck, health, peace, love, blessings, etc. Well, thanks everybody. I just wish everybody (and myself) a lot of money. With a lot of money, I will already make up my mind and make the wishes come true.

Shana Tova !