Many commentators, both on TV and in the papers, used their bully pulpits in a similar fashion, condemning a government that was straining to cope with a crisis that happens once in 50 years. Very few commentators found it necessary to discuss personal responsibility in a crisis, preparedness on an individual basis – all the things folks in Buffalo and Poughkeepsie have been doing since snow was first invented.
My friend and colleague Stephen, who lives in Efrat and so has been exposed to a much rougher version of the “storm of the century” than we did here, in coastal Netanya, wished to differ with the general gist of my story, and so, loyal to the ethics of truth in reporting, I will paraphrase from his recent irate chat:
Israel is looking like a third world country this weekend, because there were no surprises here that couldn’t have been planned for in advance on both the local and national level to help relieve the situation, and that includes simple solutions like stocking up on salt for the roads and buying a snow plow or two to attach to a pickup truck here in the Gush.
The IEC could actually have fixed their infrastructure years ago, as the residents of Gush Etzion have been suing them to do these past few years. It’s practically criminal that they haven’t done so.
Jerusalem has snow almost every winter, as well as some big storms every couple of years, even if not on this scale. This wasn’t a new and unpredictable event for the IEC or the government.
Maariv cited Shlomo Buchbut, of The Center For Local Government, one of the most experienced experts in this field, who said he had been trying to contact and advise local decision makers across Israel, with disheartening results. He said the experience reminded him of the early hours of the Yom Kippur war, when reports of a crisis were streaming in droves and decision makers were stuck in place frozen.
I suppose it’s a combination of issues, then. Israelis who feel they can measure up to anything life hands them discovering their own mortality, and an Israeli government that believes when the time comes it’ll figure out something already.
See you next century.