Winter is here
Photo: Motti Kimchi

In love with Israeli winter

Op-ed: Raanan Shaked says winter our only chance to feel part of sane Western world

All Israelis agree that winter is the best thing that happened to us around here since last winter. Indeed, winter is our first and last hope to wake up in the morning and think that maybe, by coincidence, or by mistake, without knowing it, we were accepted into the European bloc and the first thing they did was to install their romantic weather here; as though soon we shall see toasted chestnuts being sold on our streets.


Winter is a season – a real season – in Israel, a state that has almost no seasons. We have summer, ultra-summer, almost-summer, and summer-in-principle-but-with-haze. And then, after a sweaty eternity, when we are certain that this time around it won’t be coming (maybe the bodies that boycott Israel convinced it to stay away), winter lands here for its annual performance, with all of us getting first row tickets.


Here come all the greatest hits: Rain. Storm. Hail. Fog. Cold. Puddles. Snow in the mountains. And of course the latest hit from the last few years: Massive rainfall followed by a quick, sunny respite.


It all looks so…foreign. It’s like a small sample of elsewhere, an unexpected adventure, the chance for a different life, more movie-like, the kind we can mostly hallucinate about – in the midst of a Mideastern desert burning with fever and heat.


We missed you

It’s a miracle, yet it still happens after all, every year. A brief moment where the entire set around us is replaced by Western world décor. A moment of sanity that is expressed in the most basic manner in which sanity manifests itself: Seasons. Rea, tangible seasons.


Our winter wardrobe is being taken out of the closet at this time – an unexpected rescue from our life term jail garb at Prison Heat, the t-shirts, flip-flops and overall sloppy Israeliness that submits to the verdict of our sweaty climate. Something in the air clears up, as though everything is washed, waxed and polished, and suddenly everything around here is breathing and energetic.


But enough waxing poetic here: Winter is no summer, and this is a good enough reason to favor winter. Because it is our only chance to free ourselves of an unchanging, endless climate routine, turn our weather forecasters into people with a real job, turn the Sea of Galilee into a real lake, turn our farmers into real businesspeople, and turn the decision to skip work into a valid alibi.


In any case, Israeli winter is what is known as “spring” in Britain, so let’s shake its hand with reserved coolness and say: Good thing you came. We missed you terrible.



פרסום ראשון: 11.16.11, 20:12
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