Saturday, March 15, 2008


Almond tree in full blossom near Amuka

Spring has definitely sprung and the evidence is everywhere, starting with the rooftop itself which is coming to life after its winter hibernation and is sprouting buds where once there were dead stalks and pushing out flowers through formerly brown wilted leaves.

The swallows are also back and while it's true that one swallow does not mean spring, scores of the nimble daredevils certainly do. Following their aerobatic displays, as they swoop around the rooftop, adds a touch of excitement to your morning fruit salad and yoghurt.

Last weekend we were in the Galil where the almond blossom overpowered the senses and fell to the ground like snow (see pic above).

On the downside, after a week of blessed lull (more or less), there's also a springlike resumption of hostilities in Gaza, following an Israeli assault on an Islamic Jihad cell in Bethlehem, in which senior Jihad military commander Mohammed Shehadeh was killed. As the Israeli pop song goes, "they don't make wars in the winter any more" and so we can expect much more of the same as both Israel and the Hamas engage in grandstanding and brinksmanship. It appears that both sides are going to have to suffer more bloodshed before the conditions are "ripe" for a diplomatic deal that might stabilise Gaza's borders.

I'm off to the Dead Sea for a workshop that should also give me enough time to take a few photos of the the great disappearing lake that Pres Shimon Peres wants to refill with water from the Red Sea. The environmentalists are warning that this will could to untold damage but Shimon will not be moved and is mobilizing funds in all his diploamatic meetings. Germany, whose chancellor Angela Merkel will be visiting this week, will also no doubt be asked to cough up some euros.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of resurgent youth accompanying spring, check out the (Israeli) Middle Eastern street art webmagazine in English aziza which has just launched its first issue.

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