Saturday, February 5, 2011

Taking my mind off Egypt

    

From time to time one needs to take a break from the situation in Egypt and clear the head with a stroll around the neighbourhood. First, down to the beach to take in some sea spray on a brisk Shabbat morning.


Next, an encounter with some cheap scenery from a 1950s sci-fi movie. Actually, this was taken underneath the Shalom Tower. A fire broke out there a few months ago and these pipes are part of the unsettling, temporary infrastructure.'Unsettling' and 'temporary' are two adjectives that could describe our reality nowadays as popular demonstrations and revolts erupt around the region: Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Syria, Algeria.  


Israel has been one of the few countries that has criticised President Obama for "throwing Mubarak to the dogs",  with some worrying out loud that he could the same to us one day. Here, with what happened in Gaza and Lebanon fresh in people's minds, the instinctive reaction is to assume that the Moslem Brotherhood will exploit the chaos to seize power. Hopefully, the doomsday predictors will be proved wrong and Egypt will find its own way of achieving a democracy in which the Islamists will play a role without leading Egypt into fundamentalism.

Meanwhile, the residents of Neve Tzedek have more other problems on their mind. The ring of residential towers is closing in on the historic old neighbourhood and threatening its calm narrow streets with an influx of people and cars.The flyer above paraphrases Herzl's slogan to declare  'If you will it there will no towers' while advertising a public signing of legal depositions of oppoition to another megalominacal  project, to the north this time, involving two 40 tower blocks and the tearing down of a school to widen the adjacent road.


With with everything changing so quickly around us I can't help wondering if Israel is going to be able to remain  "a villa in the middle of a jungle" (the arrogant metaphor that Ehud Barak used to describe the difference between Israel and the Arab world surrounding  it) for ever. The winds of change roaring through the Middle East are bound to affect us sooner or later. I get home and read that the gas pipeline from Egypt tro Jordan has been blown up by terrorists. The pipeline through which  Israel receives 40% of its natural gas remained unharmed but supplies have been halted as a precaution.

And here ends my wander though the neighbourhood to take my mind off what is happening in Egypt.
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