Yesterday evening I went to a concert. So what, I hear you say, there’s nothing newsworthy about that, anyone can go to a concert. I would have agreed with you, but this morning, chatting over the Internet with friends who still live in London, I realised how lucky I am to be living in Israel’s rich cultural environment.
I drove just a few minutes from my home to the Rishon LeZion Cultural Center (Heichal HaTarbut). Leaving my car in the convenient underground parking, I made my way into the very modern concert hall. The all-Tchaikovsky concert, performed to an appreciative audience by the internationally acclaimed Rishon LeZion Symphony Orchestra, was exceptional. Only fifteen minutes after the last triumphant trumpet blast of Tchaikovsky’s exuberant Fifth Symphony I was back in the comfort of my home.
My friends, living in a rather dreary London suburb, have no cultural center. London’s famous West End has sucked all the cultural life out of the suburbs. This is not usually a problem, an hour or two in a traffic jam followed by a desperate search for parking should be enough to get the suburb dweller to their concert. But, for the last few days, central London has been invaded by believers in the new religion of Climate Change. These eco-warriors for Extinction Rebellion, a socio-political movement which advocates nonviolent resistance to avert climate breakdown, are causing chaos. Many roads, underground stations, even the famous Piccadilly Circus, are being targeted by hundreds of protesters desperate to save the world, no matter what the cost to us humans. At the time of writing, the protests have disrupted the lives of some 500,000 people and cost business owners in London’s West End hundreds of millions of pounds. But for Extinction Rebellion it is an emergency.
“we are facing an unprecedented global emergency”
It is not clear how long the police will let these protests continue but if my English friends want to hear some Tchaikovsky, they will have to make their way to Rishon LeZion.
In addition to the threat of imminent extinction, there are a number of emergencies in the world that make us Israelis even more appreciative of our wonderful country.
“Corbyn’s polling lead is a national emergency” (The Telegraph 17/04/2019)
“Scale of poverty in Britain is a national emergency” (Jeremy Corbyn 28/11/2018)
But, to end on a more hopeful note, Switzerland has just announced plans to abolish its emergency stockpile of coffee, declaring that the beans are not vital for human survival.
“Coffee has almost no calories and subsequently does not contribute, from the physiological perspective, to safeguarding nutrition.” (The Telegraph 11/04/2019)