It’s hot, Israel is surrounded by active enemies and the US has renamed one of the oldest cities in the world.
The threat of chemical warfare against Israel isn’t something new. People here have been acquiring about 2,200 state-supplied filter-respirators a day. But as Syria, with its huge chemical weapons arsenal deteriorates before our eyes, a sense of urgency has pushed the handout rate to above 4,000. (Israel Scrambles for Gas Masks.)
Marcia and I got our masks delivered to our door 6 months ago. (There is no end to the benefits here.) But even with this most recent answer to “What’s next?” the mood on the street in Jerusalem never seems to change. Walking in the city, one encounters the same as ever number and condition of smilers, shouters, scowlers and double-wide baby carriages.
People ignore one another or wave hello or honk in traffic today, as our isolation expands, just as on those rare days in the recent past when rocket fire in southern Israel, saber-rattling in Egypt and hate-speech from Iran are not in the news. From street level one would never guess that in Lebanon, about as far from Jerusalem as it is from Fort Myers to Tampa in America, Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, may soon control Syria’s chemical weapons supply.
The stakes are high for the group which fears that toppling Assad will pave the way for increased Western pressure – if not war – on its strongest ally and founder, Shi’ite Iran… Hezbollah has shown no sign of abandoning Assad and Lebanese officials close to the group say it won’t stand idle if the battle worsens. Some said it will fight Israel. (Stakes high for Hezbollah.)
Well, why not? Everybody else is doing it. [Read more…]