Thursday, July 20, 2006

Home, sweet Home!

Made it back home, not just in time, well in time. Very well in time, actually. This war in the North is quickly becoming part of the status quo. I start to suspect that I will be going and returning a couple of more times, before there will be a dramatic change in the news.

Oh yes, the news. While in Germany I was starving for news. The hotel deep in the forests of the "Schwaebische Alp" had neither cables nor satellite TV, so I could get only the local and two national German stations. The good souls have news in the morning and twice or three times during the evening program, that's it. Well, there is not much to talk about, is there. How many times can you look at a traffic jam caused by vacationers going south? Or see the dropping water levels in Lake Konstanz?

News in Israel are something else. For starters, there usually is something new to see, every day, every hour, somewhere somebody is trying to kill somebody else. Or gets killed. Or could have been killed. Whatever. So whenever you turn on the national channels, it will be only a few minutes before you get some news update thrown at you. Soap - commercial - news - commercial - news - promo - commercial - news - soap. That is roughly the typical programming sequence. This is how Israeli TV manages to spread a single episode of "24 Hours" over 24 hours actual viewing time.

Well, the thing is that even when it occasionally happens that there simply are no news whatsoever, how much news can 6 Million people generate after all, the pattern continues unchanged. When poor Ariel Sharon had his stroke all we could watch on TV for a full week were commercials and news bulletins. By the end of the week TV news crews had managed to interview every person Sharon ever talked to in his entirely life, and many more he hadn't, including hospital cleaning staff and random patients in other wards. Waiting for the next 30 seconds of "24 Hours" I had to watch Moshe from Moshav Galia, telling live about his abdominal pain, which is not entirely unlike the feeling Ariel Sharon must have had at the beginning of his stroke, being finally relieved by the same capable doctors, even with somewhat similar probing instruments. When Sara from Kfar Saba started to talk about the traffic jams on the way to the hospital, I changed channels for the 67th time that evening, only to return to the recorded version of Moshe's abdominal thriller.

It won't take long and the current news will decay to the same level. That will be the moment to finally go on summer vacation without the fear of missing another historic moment.

A peaceful weekened to our soldiers in the North, to frightened families in damp shelters, and to the poor Lebanese civilians who have nothing to do with the Hezbolla shmocks and get into the way of the IAF by bad luck only. May God watch out for all of you.

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