Israel has switched from daylight saving summer time to winter mode. This means earlier evenings and ostensibly dropping temperatures… writes Michael Kuttner.

However, just like our politicians who do not know when it is time to change and throw in the towel, summer seems to be reluctant to go and as a result balmy days are still being experienced. Like most other things here the transition of seasons will be abrupt and without warning.

The only constant it seems is the flow of positive stories, some of which are featured regularly in “On the Other Hand”.

LAND OF MILK, HONEY AND NATURAL GAS 

Natural gas fields off the coast of Israel were recently revealed as containing far greater reserves than previously expected.

Energean Oil and Gas PLC, a British-Greek gas producer focused on the Mediterranean, said in a press release, that its Karish North and Tanin fields revealed “significantly” larger than expected natural gas supplies.

“This is an excellent result from the Karish North appraisal sidetrack, confirming in place volumes in the top half of pre-drill estimates and increasing our recoverable volumes in Israel by 0.9 Tcf (25 BCM) of gas plus 34 million barrels of light oil or condensate,” Energean CEO Mathios Rigas said, according to the press release.

CHRISTIAN ZIONISTS IN ACTION 

The news recently has been dominated by attempts to boycott products produced in Judea and Samaria. Grapes harvested in these Biblical places are turned into award winning wines but BDS supporters in Canada and Europe are trying to have them banned or labeled as having been produced in occupied “colonies.”

As opposed to those working hard to deny a legal Jewish connection to parts of the Jewish homeland thousands of Christian Zionists travel to Judea and Samaria to help harvest the grape crops.

This annual solidarity pilgrimage is not only a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy but a massive show of solidarity with the pioneers who are working these ancient Jewish sites.

Watch this year’s inspiring supporters in action from all over the world including New Zealand and Australia

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tELjfXry8o

JERUSALEM’S NEW UNDERGROUND OPENS 

In many countries the availability of land for cemeteries has reached a crisis point. Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular faces a serious problem but with typical ingenuity and innovation a solution has been found.

Why not hark back to the ancient Jewish practice of burials in catacombs and caves? Instead of natural caves why not develop new ones deep underground?

This is exactly what has been done in Jerusalem where the city’s main cemetery in Givat Sha’ul has almost reached full capacity. Work has been underway for some time and now the first stage in this amazing project is ready for use.

The advantages in utilizing this ancient / new technique are many.

Have you ever been to a funeral when the rain has been pouring down, gales blowing and the temperature is near freezing? Not exactly an edifying experience.

Now that funerals will take place deep underground in an atmosphere which is climate and temperature controlled the threats of being drenched and frozen in the winter or scorched by a blazing hot summer are eliminated.

No longer will graves be overgrown with weeds or memorial stones damaged by the elements which make reading the lettering impossible. As you will see from the short video the esthetic surroundings lend an air of dignity and calm while at the same time affording the deceased and family a serene atmosphere.

This is indeed a perfect solution to an increasingly critical worldwide problem and as usual Israel is at the forefront of thinking “out of the box.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VG8m3diNurA

VEGAN IDF

As all Israelis who serve in the IDF know the food served up from IDF kitchens and catering centers is strictly Kosher. With the rapid rise of Israelis who now identify as vegan the IDF now also caters for them.

Unlike many other countries where enlisted personnel struggle to maintain a vegan lifestyle and armed forces are not always sympathetic to their requirements the Israel army, navy and air force has embraced the vegan revolution wholeheartedly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ90BtnzJhE

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel. 

[This article was originally published on J-Wire and is reproduced here with permission from Michael Kuttner.]