Know where I was this week?
Not the Kinneret.
Palm trees in Jerusalem, Israel, from Yemin Moshe looking out over the Dead Sea to Jordan.
Come and see for yourself, Jerusalem is not always as seen in the news.
Leaving Jerusalem by Route 1, when traffic is moving, is a wonder.
So many cars, so much construction with new wider roads and multiple lanes.
Oh the contrast, remembering the early days of one lane winding up and down the mountain.
Alongside the highway, light rail construction is even more impressive.
Rising up and over the valley and stretching into the entrance to Jerusalem are new train tracks.
Driving south to Beer Sheva on Route 6 is also a sharp contrast to the old days of narrow roads.
Not only has SodaStream in the Negev grown in size,
but from barren sand, a new industrial park is growing next to the SodaStream complex.
The Beer Sheva ANZAC Museum opened two years ago in time for the 100 years commemorations.
Inside is a display of World War I military items, boots, hat, and a trumpet.
While our guide Colin explained the ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) role in the 1917 war in Palestine, I was fascinated by digital posters.
Why would these young, very young, Australian and New Zealanders travel halfway around the world to fight in a war so far away from home?
But they did enlist. And the Light Horsemen from Down Under came to assist the British army fight the Ottoman Empire.
Having toured Beer Sheva in the past, Allenby’s place in the story of Beer Sheva is well known.
However, the video in the ANZAC Museum was new.
Old black and white photos from World War I do not tell the story as effectively.
The war was not going well for the British army before the ANZACs arrived by boat with their magnificent horses.
Without water. In the desert heat with flies and sand and lice, the options were few and demanded immediate action.
They charged. Those crazy Aussies and Kiwis! Sorry, I could only get a blurry photo from the video, they were galloping too fast.
The Light Horsemen charged mounted on their prize horses to the surprise of Turkish soldiers – right at them, jumping over the shocked enemies heads and out of weapon range.
They made it to Beer Sheva, to the wells, which were found safe and intact.
The Australians lost 32 soldiers.
The New Zealanders lost 31 soldiers.
From the victory in Beer Sheva, the British forces went on to turn back the last of the Ottoman Empire, arriving in Jerusalem on December 9, 1917.
Each year on October 31, there is a memorial ceremony in Beer Sheva.
In 2017, there was a major 100-year ceremony and commemoration.
I thought it appropriate to take a minute to remember those young ANZAC soldiers who never made it back home.
With only hours to go until Israeli elections, many are still undecided,
but at least we now we are down to only 32 parties to select from.
With so many parties and candidates it is impossible to keep track,
so we decided to share just a few pre-election observations.
1. A “Bibi is a strong leader for Israel” poster is up in the spot
where Tzipi Livni was hanging just a couple of weeks ago.
2. Bibi is good for the rich,
according to Shelly Yacimovich of Labor banners.
3. Zippi Hotovely is one of our favorite candidates,
she was often available to speak and so easy to photograph.
4. In September, Jeremy Gimpel was campaigning for Anglo votes,
an old video comment got him roaring into the headlines this week.
5. Shas MK Eli Yishai took time out to meet with a group of AMIT
supporters from US in his office even though they can not vote.
6. Chief rabbis are allowed to give brachot, blessings in person,
but a brachot ‘phone app’ before elections was ruled against the law.
7. A large banner for Naftali Bennent could be found in German Colony
and a small green and blue sticker on this graffiti nose on Jaffa Street.
He is gaining popularity, but is he everyone’s brother as his ads read?
8. This is an old Moshe Feiglin sticker.
Interesting that he has kept a low profile this week.
9. So tomorrow is the time to decide which letters to put in the ballot box.
Not going to bore you with all 32 letter combinations here,
I will leave that for someone else.
Predict what you want, but things can change quickly,
just ask Avigdor Lieberman,
one day he was near the top and the next day out of the running.
In May, Dov Lipman was posing in the Knesset
with MK Amselem and heading Amselem Anglos group.
Today, Dov Lipman is running with Yair Lapid with Yesh Atid party.
And finally, 10. my favorite sign from this week,
a very clever ad for the Jerusalem Theater.
After the election noise quiets, it is time to subscribe for some culture.
At a recent class on Nevi’im, the Biblical prophets, our teacher mentioned,
a characteristic of a prophet is that victory is important over personal glory.
This election session personal egos seem to be a reason to run for office.
Let’s hope that after election day the winners and losers will indeed work
for the good of the people and the land of Israel.
Meanwhile, everyone also has to decide what to do tomorrow,
as Israeli election day is a day off from work.