Illustration: Eight Tornado Composite by Jason Weingart - Own work [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia
The weather these last few days has been a bit stormy. Just this Sunday, we had thundershowers dotting the area around Jerusalem, and last Shabbat even saw some rain in the center of the country.
There is also a bit of a nip in the air, and yet winter doesn't really feel like it has arrived. Moreover, there is a blocking high centered to our north which is basically putting any weather changes on hold. It is associated with warmer, drier weather in southeastern Europe, including Israel, and wetter and colder weather in western Europe (on the backside of the high is a trough).
Yaakov Cantor of the Israel Winter Weather group wrote that "three factors favor a higher probability of high pressure and at times, a ‘blocking high’ from Greenland to Scandinavia. First, we are near the minimum in the sunspot cycle, which in the past 100 years correlates with high pressure in those areas. Second, the atmospheric pattern from this spring into early fall featured frequent episodes of such blocking highs, and such patterns tend to persist and recur. Finally, the ocean temperature pattern with abnormally warm waters from near Greenland to Iceland, and abnormally cool from off the coast of southeast Canada to near France, favors a better than usual chance of blocking highs this winter."
He expects this type of blocking pattern to persist into late December or early January. And yet, there is some indication that the block will, at least temporarily, be replaced by a trough of low pressure that could bring rain from sometime next week until the first week of December.
But don't worry that we won't have any weather at all — just prior to our recent showers, we had weather of a different type: missiles from Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) seem to have now morphed from a "nuisance" (unless you were hit by one) to being able to explode with the destructive power of a small tornado.
The good news is that our Prime Minister was heard to say: "Our enemies got the message..." and "I believe the message is starting to get across” that we are not to be trifled with. Except that the news following Shabbat was that Hamas operatives fired at Beer Sheva. So, I am not sure that anyone is really listening to our Prime Minister anymore.
Even more interesting is that the mainstream media is bending over backwards to pretend that the ceasefire that "started" early Friday actually lasted through the continuing rocket fire emanating from Gaza. Look at the headline from this article (and it wasn't alone among media outlets): "Fresh rockets target south but shaky Gaza ceasefire appears to hold." The article noted that the rocket fire was the fourth violation of the ceasefire. Either there is a ceasefire or there isn't — or does the old, but not so-old joke still hold: "We cease and they fire?"
When does a stated policy become a thing of ridicule? When did we become an object of ridicule? Perhaps when it was claimed that if one rocket is fired from Gaza, we would return or attack with ferocity? Or when the previous Prime Minister Olmert agreed to accept an economic separation between the Israelis living within the area demarcated by the ‘Green Line’ (the old 1948 Armistice Line) and those outside it?
The end result has now been the European Court of Justice ruling that the building of Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria — the home of Jewish life going back to the time of the Bible — is "characterized by the fact that they give concrete expression to a policy of population transfer conducted by that state outside its territory.” Of course, the court forgot to note the irony that the only ones who engaged in population transfer were the Europeans when they ‘transferred’ the Jews to the gas chambers.
It's not just us our policy makers and media that must have read George Orwell's book, 1984. Hamas says that Israel will not choose when there will be a ceasefire; that the decision to carry out military campaigns remains in the hands of Hamas (and PIJ); and that “Israel bears the consequences and results of its ongoing aggression.”
So, let's summarize: the Israeli government claims that it will show "no mercy" and that "we will protect ourselves." But, we stopped the bombing very soon after it started and didn't attack Hamas at all. The media claims that a "shaky" ceasefire still holds, but missile fire continues. Hamas claims that it can attack us whenever it wants but we would be the aggressor. In the meantime, Palestinian Islamic Jihad has developed a 300 kg bomb that can easily destroy a building.
Fortunately, we don't have any real tornados here. At least that is something. So as long as our leadership continue to blow hot air and our media reassures us that skies are clear and sunny, we've got nothing to worry about.
Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.