Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Last night we were in Netanya.
‘Look what the fence has done for Netanya,’ Bish commented as we drove past Independence Square in the center of town.

Remember Netanya? Netanya of the Park Hotel Passover Massacre, when thirty people, many of them elderly, were slaughtered as they sat down for the ritual Passover Seder meal in the dining room of a hotel; Netanya of numerous other terrorist attacks in recent years; Netanya that had become a ghost town because people were too scared to leave their homes, not to mention stay at the beachfront hotels.

Last night the center of Netanya was alive and buzzing with activity. People everywhere, hundreds of them, happy, carefree. Just a mid-week summer night in a vibrant holiday resort. Municipal banners promised Tu b’Av festivities (the Jewish festival of love) somewhere, but we could see no sign of them, just people having a good time out on the town. We could hardly get past with the car.

Netanya is not an affluent place, it never has been, even though the meaning of the name is ‘God gave’. It is laughable to talk about those wealthy Israelis eating off the carcasses of the poor Palestinians when discussing Netanya.

The fence has allowed the ordinary people living there to once again go about their lives in safety; it has brought back the tourists, enabling the locals to make a living. I am sure people in Netanya are extremely grateful for the fence. The fence has been a blessing for Netanya.

* * * *

While we’re on the subject of blessings, Mazal Tov to the young couple whose marriage (the night before on Tu b’Av, how romantic) and the subsequent Sheva Brachot celebration in one of those beachfront hotels, gave us the opportunity to witness Netanya’s amazing transformation for ourselves.

And I haven’t forgotten the wedding anniversary of Our Sis and Mr. Our Sis today. Mazal Tov to you too!