UPDATES 9 am Israel time, Wednesday, December 11 2013:
**Oops! Remember the $3-4 billion dollars in sanctions relief that the Obama Administration said (before the “negotiations”) the Geneva Agreement was supposed to provide the Iranians? And how the $3-4 billion was later updated to $6-7 billion after the “negotiations” were concluded? According to the latest U.S. numbers, the relief is now estimated to be between $20-25 billion dollars–and may go much higher as countries and companies rush to Tehran.
**Remember the “apartheid” Jerusalem Light Rail system that all of the so-called international “human rights” NGOs wanted to stop from being built–because it extends into the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem?
According to statistics released yesterday by the Jerusalem municipality, the system is an amazing success with 130,000 passengers per day–except on holidays when the number averages 150,000 per day. Air pollution in the capital has been greatly reduced (one train=10 buses) as access to the city center has been greatly enhanced.
The only problem–as your humble servant can personally attest to–is that the train cars are packed all of the time. So much so that new plans are in the works for new lines–one to Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus and another to Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem. By the way, no one uses the train more than Jerusalem Arabs who can be seen getting on and off in large numbers at every stop along the way.
**The various ceremonies surrounding Nelson Mandela’s funeral kicked off yesterday. Here in Israel, PM Netanyahu caused a stir by indicating that it was too expensive for him and his wife Sarah to go (an estimated 7,000,000 shekels). Of course this decision came in the context of reports of the Netanyahu’s lavish expenditures at their three homes in Israel–expenditures all footed by Israeli taxpayers.
Shimon Peres also did not attend because of a lingering case of the flu. This left Yuli Edelstein, the speaker of the Israeli Knesset and four of his fellow Knesset members to attend.
Truth be told, for all of Mandela’s greatness in enduring his years of imprisonment on Robbins Island, fighting tenaciously against the apartheid government, and seeking reconciliation when black rule took effect, Mandela was no friend of Israel.
He counted arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat among his closest friends and never missed an opportunity to castigate Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. It’s no surprise that Arafat’s right hand man, PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was one of the featured guests at yesterday’s festivities.
As a tangential aside, Israel’s Yediot Aharonot newspaper is running a half page picture this morning of the fireworks at the ceremony yesterday between Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
Michelle was apparently incensed at her husband’s lack of decorum in yukking it up with the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt in the grandstands–as they took turns taking pictures of themselves together with their cellphones. When she couldn’t tolerate it any longer, Michelle forced Barack to move over–and she sat beside the Dane.
Today’s blog is more like a weather report because the news here today is all about the huge storm that swept in from the Mediterranean last night.
Thus far in the last 12 hours–and the storm is predicted to continue until Friday–rainfall totals are:
Nahariya (northern coast) 35 mm, Kibbutz Ayalon (western Galilee) 30 mm, Haifa 20mm, and Tel Aviv 22 mm.
Snow is falling in the northern Negev (2 mm), and on Mt. Hermon (30 cm).
Wind speeds are averaging about 45 kmp throughout the country with as high as 60 kmp on the Israeli Golan Heights.
Flooding is already taking place in various locations.
Many schools and public events have been canceled today.
Traffic is a nightmare everywhere.
Stay tuned to your weather channel for more details as the day progresses.