The Army Radio announcer had good news for listeners. Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel has slashed the price of a ticket for the Mount Hermon winter sports site in the Golan Heights by 30 percent.
The decision was made after the Israel Lands Administration’s agreement with the Mount Hermon Company on the site’s operation.
True, the company announced that it has not yet made a decision about ticket prices, but that did not stop the minister from issuing a statement informing soldiers and civilians that, this winter, we will pay less to slide down snowy hills on plastic bags.
The decision to reduce the cost of entry to the site (assuming it will really happen) is a pretty good step for local folk. But mainly it’s a marginal, largely declarative move that sounds like a parody of the term “bread and circuses” from Roman Empire days.
When people went out to demonstrate and lived in tents because it’s too expensive for them to subsist in this country (during the social protests in the summer of 2011), they weren’t thinking about tickets for the Mount Hermon resort.
Reducing the price of entry to a site where skiing is possible about one week a year is a bad joke. There are a lot of problems here, ranging from the cost of housing to the cost of a cup of coffee. The cost of visiting Mount Hermon is not one of the urgent issues. But the declaration sounds good on the radio.
Beyond this, there is a poetic dimension to the housing minister’s announcement. The citizens of this desert land work hard, perspire and don’t manage to rest quietly under their fig tree and grapevine. Now, though, comes a cabinet minister like some Middle Eastern Santa Claus and gives us snow as a present. Ho, ho, ho, it’s great being here. And now it’s 30 percent cheaper, too (maybe).