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.
But it is truly amazing, impressive, supernatural…?…just how much of a non-event the hot weather and ominous news seem to be. Consider this sampling from the Jerusalem Post…
- Preparing for a War by Surprise. “If striking Iran wasn’t hard enough, Israel will also need to find a way to quietly place the IDF on high alert before the attack.”
- UN Won’t Put Hezbollah on Terror List. “Despite last week’s terrorist attack in Bulgaria that Israel blamed squarely on Hezbollah, the EU… rejected Israeli calls to place the Lebanese organization on its terrorist blacklist.”
- From the Love Thy Enemy department: US Jews Continue to Support Obama
- IOC: No Moment of Silence for 1972 Slaughter of Israeli Olympians. International Olympic Committee…rejected calls for an official commemoration of the 1972 Munich Games attack during Friday’s curtain raiser, a standing request of the families of the 11 Israeli Olympic team members who died.
- In February, 2011, US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, told congress that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is “largely secular,” but… The slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood is Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Koran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the path of Allah is our highest hope. What might their slogan be if they were fanatics?
- Despite Barak Obama’s recent vow of his “unshakeable commitment” to Israel, US assistant to Obama for homeland security and counterterrorism, John Brennan recently referred to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem, as “al Quds,” the name preferred by Hezbollah and its Iranian overlords.”
I needed to get outdoors. So I walked yesterday early morning to Emek Rafaim, the main road in the German Colony to a coffee shop with a streetside patio. From a spot in the shade I watched Jerusalem start her day.
The humidity was down. The high was not quite supposed to reach 100. I felt better.
On the walk home crossing Azza Street I remembered a vignette from a week earlier. I had come across three little girls selling lemonade on Azza in that day’s 106 degree heat. They had set up a stand in shade near a bus stop and business was good. In white blouses and lavender baseball caps (the oldest of the little cuties couldn’t have been over eight) their pony tails bounced with baffling energy as they brazenly hawked gadol (large) lemonades to passers-by for only 5 shekels each, about $1.25.
No wonder they seemed so happy. Demand was up, margins were good and their gadol drinks were about the size of rinse cups at a dentist’s office. As poor as the deal seemed, several cash carrying customers had lined up behind me ready to buy so I caved and paid full price. One of the little businesswomen tipped a ladle and filled my cup half way, another took my coin, the third motioned move on.
Why did that make me feel good?
Even in that heat, we sweating, satisfied customers were smiling. Walking away, I heard the lemonade triplets belly-laughing over their success, bringing to mind something from Zechariah, good to remember now that the demand for gas masks is on the rise…
There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof…If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes?