Jack Cohen – So What’s Beersheva Like and New Year Greetings
We’ve only been living here a week and I can already tell you it’s hot. But, you know that and you also know that it’s a dry heat because it’s in the desert and not humid like in Netanya. Today was the first day that we didn’t have help from our wonderful daughter Miriam and our equally wonderful (must be equitable) son, Simon, who came all the way from California to help us move. Miriam did all the organization this end, with her equally wonderful husband Jeff, while Simon worked very hard to pack boxes and unpack boxes and do the heavy lifting and high work. When he left yesterday he left us in a livable situation, almost normal. We have paintings on the walls, a fridge filled with food, functioning air conditioners and a smart TV and wifi. Who could ask for more?
Today I drove to the bank like any normal person and asked for money, and got it. I went to the hardware store (I know the way, been there many times) and bought some knick-knacks. We are almost completely unpacked, only about 10 boxes left (out of ca. 120). But, these boxes are the intractable ones, the ones that have contents for which there is no known place. I sit and look at them and sigh, but so far have not been able to unpack them. I have developed an aversion to cardboard boxes, or cartons as the Israelis call them. They make me feel insecure and itchy. I can never face hundreds of them again taking over my living room, reproducing behind my back.
But, back to Beersheva. It seems a much bigger city than Netanya, even though it probably is not. And I notice a lot more Arabs around than in Netanya. Many of them, especially the young women, seem so modern and well-dressed. There are several big malls here and there is absolutely no discrimination. There are Arab shoppers and Arab servers. In the Ministry of Interior Building where we went to officially change our place of residence, there were Arabs waiting with us being served by a number system and there were Arab clerks. The whole idea of an Israeli apartheid is rendered ludicrous by just one visit to Beersheva.
I must admit that up to now I have not actually engaged in any social activity in Beersheva. I know the tourist sites (the Tel, the Negev Brigade Memorial, the Air Force Museum) and so on. But, actually I am happy to live a quiet, retired life (yeah, how long will that last?) Meanwhile life goes on and we are enjoying it. Best to all our friends in Netanya and elsewhere.
New Year Greetings
Since we are celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, I thought I would express some thoughts. We Jews tend to be a pessimistic people, for good reason given our tortuous history. But, the present looks good, with Israel flourishing and remaining a vital haven for Jews experiencing persecution around the world, such as in France. Also, we are relatively fortunate, given the current world news. There have been terrible hurricanes in the Caribbean that have destroyed many towns on vulnerable islands and have ripped up the mainland USA, both in Texas and Florida. For the life of me I cannot understand why people whose homes are destroyed, rebuild over and over again in such dangerous locations.
Also, the terrible earthquake in Mexico has obliterated towns and brought death and destruction to Mexico City. Please understand that I feel very sorry for the people caught in these natural disasters, but I am also glad that Israel is not subject to them. We Jews need a break, a period during which we can recover and rebuild, and that may take a very long time, certainly decades. However, most of our misfortunes were man-made not natural disasters. Think of the Holocaust during WWII, the worst case of genocide in History. I would rather put up with any natural catastrophe than that. But, we generally don’t have a choice. At least now we have the ability to defend ourselves in our own homeland.
This has been shown by recent IAF attacks against Hizbollah and Iranian targets in Syria. PM Netanyahu has declared that Israel will not allow Iran to establish any bases in Syria that threaten Israel. And Russia and the US have been notified of this firm decision. So we face the future with determination and hope. From my new home in the Israeli hinterland I wish all my readers a Shana Tovah and a fruitful, prosperous and safe year ahead. Welcome to 5778.