Sima Kadmon

Written on ice

Op-ed: How is possible that a storm considered a regular winter day in Europe leads to a multi-system failure in Israel?

There are not many competitors for the title "the first to understand the extent of the storm." There are even fewer competitors for the title "the first to understand and do something ahead of the impending tempest."


If it were not for tens of thousands of families, including babies, elderly and sick people, who were forced to sit at home for three days without electricity, in bitter cold, totally disconnected from the world, we might have been able to joke about it a little. Because between you and me, with all due respect to the storm we experienced here in the past few days, it wasn't a hurricane. It wasn't Katrina, or Sandy. And so all the comparisons to the power outages in New York are groundless.


But it appears that whoever spent the last four days in a lighted up and heated house, watching television and using a smartphone with a fully-charged battery – doesn’t really have a say.


The word "failure" has been recorded here in regards to almost every possible issue. We've had plenty of commissions of inquiry appointed here, from wars to fires. What was done with their recommendations, how many of them were actually implemented – that's a different story. But appointing a commission of inquiry or the state comptroller's report are our way of saying that the matter is being looked into, and forgetting about it.


So once the first tree collapsed, the first cable fell down, the first house was cut off from power supply – the writing was on the snow: A commission of inquiry. The difference is that this time the fingers will not be pointed at the firefighting system, but at the Israel Electric Corporation. But the fate of this report will be similar to the fate of previous reports – it will look as though it were written on ice.


And perhaps it's just the weather as an allegory: This is what we look like in a state of emergency. An amateur country. It was enough to see the prime minister during the special assessment of the situation on Saturday evening, in a position reminiscent of the days of the Carmel fire, only without the chopper – sitting between the police commissioner and the Jerusalem mayor, receiving updates about the weather, about collapsed trees, torn cables, the frost on the road; handing out compliments to the entire world based on the Yossarian method in "Catch 22," according to which if the blunder is really big, someone must be given a citation: The army, the police, Border Guard officers, Magen David Adom, Electric Corp workers, the authorities, the public transportation, not to mention the Israeli public, which always exposes its grandeur during such times – in order to understand that there's nothing left to say, we have a wonderful country.


Let's hope Iranians didn't see

So if everything is so okay, why is everything not okay? How is it possible that in a storm which in Europe is considered a regular winter day, here there is a multi-system failure? How is it possible that hundreds of thousands of people sit in the dark and cold for so many hours with no one to turn to? And how is it possible that all those who should be taking responsibility somehow emerge from this story as heroes, from the Electric Corp to the local authorities – until the conclusions of the commission of inquiry or the recommendations of the state comptroller's report, which will anyway buried in the cemetery of commissions of inquiry.


Let's hope that the Iranians didn't see what Israel's citizens saw in the past few days, as all the accumulated damage caused by this storm in the past 48 hours is equivalent to much less than what we will suffer here every five minutes in a war with Iran.


So perhaps we should simply stop whining about being among the backward countries in the Western world, and start taking pride in the fact that we are among the advanced countries in the Third World.


After all, it's all a matter of perspective.



פרסום ראשון: 12.15.13, 10:24
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