Next week (April 9) Israel will be holding its elections. We’re going to have the day off, and I hope everyone does their civic duty and votes.
Israel has a number of parties in the elections and when I was researching who to vote for, I found that many parties have only a few people on their lists and a handful of program points. Most parties in Israel know they have no chance of becoming the largest party putting their top person in the prime minister’s chair. They run because it’s important to have their voices in the Knesset. Israel is run by a coalition so they can sometimes be the swing vote that makes or breaks a bill or even a government coalition.
In this election, there is an actual race between two parties with full platforms: Likud run by Netanyahu and Blue and White led by a triumvirate of Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid, and Moshe Ya’alon.
The popular vote is important, but it’s just the beginning of deciding who “wins” in a coalition system. The party that wins the popular vote will get the opportunity to form a coalition government. If that party can’t do it, the party with the next largest number of votes gets its chance.
Here’s my prediction: Netanyahu will “win” in spite of personal corruption scandals, his embarrassing family, and proof that bots created social media accounts to promote him (I wonder who the meddlers are?). He’s an incumbent – it will be his fifth term (think about how crazy that is!). He has his party faithful. He’s been working hard on coalition partners (distasteful as they may be and some barely over the threshold to run). People believe that his diplomatic skills and his excellent English are positive for Israel.
Even so, here’s my gratitude list for this election. I am thankful that
- The election cycle is only three and a half months long.
- Annoying text messages and calls from unknown numbers will end on April 9.
- I don’t watch enough Israeli TV to see all the political ads (those highlighted on social media are untranslatably horrible).
- I’ve managed to avoid seeing bus ads.
- We changed our clocks so I had one hour less of the election campaign.
- The election is in the spring when hope is renewed and we are reminded that this too shall pass.
Wisteria in Liberty Bell Park
A citrus tree of some kind in my yard is starting to bloom and it smells wonderful!
I didn’t pay any attention to this sage plant all winter and it bloomed anyway!
This week Israel changed the clocks to Daylight Savings Time. Personally, I like longer evenings and I don’t get too wound up about changing time.
So much happened in the world this week, but I was focused on my own projects. Can I say I didn’t have time to deal with it all?
The clock change coordinated with the spring equinox and we expect certain weather changes. While parts of the world were covered in snow, Israel was sweltering in 80–86 degree (27–30 degree Celsius) weather. Strangely, on the day of the equinox, we had actual spring weather of 70 degrees, but the rest of the week felt like oppressive summer. Today is another cool day with summer on its way again on Monday. If this is spring, what will summer be like?
During times of change and when too many things are going on, I pay special attention to the little things. I haven’t watered my window boxes for ages and I’ve let everything lie fallow. Without my help or encouragement and even out of a pile of weeds, a few flowers found their way out and let me know that everything will be ok.
There’s a lesson in that for all of us.
I don’t usually suffer from allergies, but this week I found that I was sneezing and snuffly. As I walked to the office this week, I noticed several fragrant suspects and I decided that I didn’t mind so much after all.
There’s a hidden courtyard behind the Waldorf-Astoria in Jerusalem. Each corner seems to have something special.
Wisteria with a background of grapes
I think this is a type of sage
A rose is a rose is a rose …
I don’t know what this is, but it has a very strong, sweet fragrance
I don’t know what these are either, but they smell nice too.
There’s a small rose garden next to the King David Hotel. They aren’t the typical full-bodied roses that I remember from the US, but they are still lovely.
On the last leg of my journey, I walk through Bloomfield Park. Here were some smaller blooms, but mostly just the typical Jerusalem greenery – olive trees and various other shrubs.
I don’t know what these are, but they are tiny and pretty
And come in alternate colors
Soft, delicate I-don’t-know-whats
And more Jerusalem greenery
And then I arrived at the office thinking that I would rather be outside (because maybe I’m actually allergic to work?).
On Friday, I missed the Jerusalem Marathon – on of my favorite days of the year – because I was travelling in the north of Israel. Now I’m back and happy to share with you the glory of spring in the north.
One hill, many blooms
Atlit Detention Camp, carving in one of the huts – When Jews were trying to enter Israel illegally before Israel was a state, the British arrested them and put them in a detention camp just south of Haifa. Even though it was a camp, which had scary connotations for many, the people were just so happy to finally be out of Europe and in Israel. I have to say, my aliyah was a lot easier.
Haifa from my hotel
Bet She’arim – details from sarcophagi dating from the first to the fourth century CE. The fourth picture is a detail of the evidence of how they must have shaped the burial caves.
And everywhere you look, flowers!
Baha’i Gardens, Haifa – springtime with the Baha’is in the upper garden (accessible only with a guide!) From the top to the middle where the shrine is, it’s about 700 steps.
While a lot of really depressing things have happened this week, this Friday post comes to you on April Fools’ Day. So rather than try to make sense of that paradox, here’s a photo essay of a springtime walk in Jerusalem.
This week as I walked to various appointments I noticed that there was a wonderful aroma in the air and so many flowers were blooming everywhere I looked. I didn’t take pictures at the time, so this afternoon I retraced my steps and captured some of the beauty of Jerusalem.
Community garden on Zamenhof Street, tended by volunteers from the neighborhood.
Zamenhof Street and Lincoln Street. Funny fact: The pronunciation of Lincoln in Hebrew doesn’t resemble the English very much. All the letters are pronounced with an extra vowel between the last l and n – Lin-co-lin.
Outside the Orthodox Union building. They take care to bring lots of glorious color to the street.
Near Jabotinksy Street. As I took the photos of the window box and the orange blossoms, a group of monks in brown robes tied with rope belts walked by speaking Italian. Just a typical day in Jerusalem.
Gan HaShoshanim. I was nearby, so I decided to take a detour and I’m glad I did. Another interesting fact: Gan HaShoshanim means rose garden, but there are no roses growing in this park.
Arlozorov Street. Wisteria, lilacs, and many other beautiful things.
And finishing my walk with a passion fruit ice cream. I can happily confirm that it was GOOD!
I hope you enjoyed this little springtime stroll. There’s so much more to Jerusalem than the typical Old City views and while there may not have been actual roses to stop and smell, there is plenty of beauty to stop and admire.