The second week of the year 2013 hit large parts of the Levant with serious storms, rainfall, and snow. Up to 20 centimetres of snow in Israel’s capital Jerusalem, for instance, provided the – white – floor for a snowball fight between Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his wife and sons. a scene not to be missed by the Jerusalem Post which published a picture of it on its front page. This blessing from above meant a welcome event for being in the media, only days before the parliamentary elections in Israel, and it even made its way into youtube.
Besides the obligatory campaign support for Netanyahu for the upcoming elections, another detail about this unusual weather-condition has been quite interesting. The fact that the weather does not stop at state borders remarkably prompted the Jerusalem Post, usually not known for its open and inclusive attitude towards neighbouring countries, to feature the headline: “Storms claim 17 lives in region”, followed by: “All in all, at least 14 people have died in the winter storm in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, the Palestinian Authority and another three in Israel. With the torrential rains and winds that swept the region for nearly a week, meteorological agencies in both Israel and Lebanon have called the storm the worst in 20 years”.
These tones are addressing and acknowledging regional coexistence; they show normal, ordinary relations between neighbours, who, in this case, suffer from natural conditions that don´t care about borders. Wouldn´t there be other ‘natural’ conditions that justify a more open and inclusive approach even across these borders?
 Jerusalem Post, print edition, Friday, January 11, 2013
All rights reserved: Sigi Atteneder, 2013