Can mezuzot thwart water crisis?
Government ministers' attempts to come up with ideas to deal with depleting levels of Lake Kinneret prompt agriculture minister to suggest replacing all of Water Authority's parchment scrolls for good luck
The escalating water crisis plaguing Israel has its ministers racking their brains in an attempt to come up with ways to deal with the predicament.
Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) is Israel's main freshwater reservoir; and a recent succession of dry winters has left it nearly depleted.
The Knesset has heard suggestions the likes of partially shutting off the water supply to prisons or organizing mass prayer rallies, but Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon has come up with an original idea: Changing all the mezuzot in the Israel Water Authority offices.
Jewish tradition calls for a mezuzah, a piece of parchment inscribed with specified Hebrew verses from the Torah and places in a special case, to be affixed to every doorframe.
Simhon's peers found the suggestion somewhat puzzling, prompting the agriculture minister to explain the logic behind his proposal: "I would like to remind everyone that Labor was at an all-time low in the polls, but after I had the mezuzot at the Labor House changed we doubled our strength."
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested, fondly, that the next government consider keeping Simhon in the Agriculture Ministry so he may continue handling the water crisis.
The government has held three sessions on the water crisis in the past few weeks, at National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer's request.
Ben-Eliezer claims he want his fellow ministers to be fully updated on the situation, so that none of them claim they were unaware of its severity. "This has been an extremely dry winter, with the lowest recorder rainfall since Israel started keeping track."
Head of the Water Authority, Prof. Uri Shani, said that "the rainfall we've had so far is about 45% of what we were supposed to see at this time. Water consumption, however, has increased. The probability of us having a dry winter for the fifth year in a row was minute. We have prepared an emergency contingency plan meant to see the water system though this hard time. The government has already approved these steps and we have been implementing them uncompromisingly. The Water Authority is also working on several other emergency contingencies to cope with the drought."