Sunday, October 21, 2012

Birds of Another Feather

My friends have an ostrich farm in the middle of the desert. Jodie and I visited there on Saturday, surprised that the middle of the desert was much closer to our home than we had imagined. The El Hayaen Ostrich Farm is located near Ofakim, not far from the Gaza Strip. Once there were 22 such farms in Israel, exporting 20,000 ostriches a year to Western Europe. El Hayaen is the only farm still operating today.

Ostriches were once an indigenous species in Israel, but they disappeared from the desert landscapes in the 1920s. I had previously seen ostriches roaming in the Hai Bar Nature Preserve near Yotvata, and on a visit to Kibbutz Ha'on near Lake Kinneret many years ago.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Shalom Tower in the Beirut Skyline

Israel has just bombed Iran’s nuclear facilities, but the latest intelligence reports suggest that only 4 out of 5 plants were taken out of operation. This news is playing in the background in the opening scenes of the new season of Showtime’s “Homeland”, the Emmy-winning series that has its origins in an Israeli television drama.

Each new episode of “Homeland” is airing in Israel on YES satellite television only days after being broadcast in the United States, so Israelis are fully up to speed on bipolar former C.I.A. agent Carrie Mathison and former POW-turned-terrorist Nicholas Brody. Israelis watching the show will be pleasantly surprised to recognize some of the settings of the initial episodes of Season Two.

Monday, October 8, 2012

You're Never Too Old for an Adventure

How hilarious is The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared? Everyone I know who has read the book has ended up laughing out loud. Repeatedly. It's just that enjoyable and funny!

The international bestseller, written by Swedish author Jonas Jonasson, tells the story of Allan Karlsson, who is about to celebrate his one hundredth birthday. Everyone will be at the party in the old age home - the mayor will be there, the local press will be there. Everyone except for Allan, who escapes through his bedroom window in his slippers and makes his getaway.