Israel: the sublime and the earthly
Israel is a state in the Middle East, formed on May 14, 1948 in accordance with the UN separation plan of Palestine. The capital is Jerusalem. The main economic and cultural center is Tel Aviv. The population is more than 6 million people. About 80% are Jews, about 17% are Arabs, the rest are representatives of other nationalities: Druze, Bedouins, Circassians, Russians, etc. It borders on Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. From the west it is washed by the Mediterranean Sea, from the south by the Red Sea, in the southeast there is a unique drainless salt lake – the Dead Sea. Almost half of the south of the country is the Negev desert, a significant part of the territory is the mountainous chains of Galilee, Samaria and Judea. More than half of the population lives on the Coastal Plain along the Mediterranean Sea.
Israel is a parliamentary republic. The highest legislative body, the Knesset, consists of 120 deputies. The head of state is the president, elected by the Knesset by secret ballot for five years.
The state currency is the shekel.
The official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, and Russian and English are also widely used.
Life and water
5% of the world’s population in the Middle East accounts for only 0.09% of fresh water. So Israel has something to worry about. The government considers the situation with water supply almost catastrophic. Meanwhile, Israel is the only land in the world where the area of the desert is not only not increasing, but shrinking, and they have been harvesting crops on conquered lands all year round.
The secret is simple. Giant pumps lift water from the ground hundreds of meters, cut tunnels and canals in the rocks, build pumping stations, put water through pipes and supply it to consumers. And those three quarters of the water is allowed for irrigation. Not for watering – for watering a garden, garden or plantation in the country will be only crazy. Each plant has its own pipe, from which, at the command of computers that take into account everything from the time of day to the frequency of planting, water flows dropwise directly to the roots.
A certain standard of consumption is prescribed for people – the average amount per family. Each extra cubic meter costs one and a half to two times more expensive. But the requirements for water are high: in addition to the bill for its use, a complete report on its quality according to several parameters is necessarily sent to each consumer. And, by the way, the pressure of the water in the taps is exceptionally good even on the last floors of skyscrapers.
In a narrow sense, kashrut is a set of laws on food that is permitted and forbidden by the Torah. At the same time, the word “kosher” – “clean”, “right”, “suitable” can refer to any thing or phenomenon.
The Torah permits the use of only mammals with cloven hooves that chew gum. There are three types of kosher domestic animals (cattle, sheep and goats) and several wild species (for example, deer and roe deer). The rest – a pig, a horse, a hare, and others that do not have both signs of kosher, are forbidden for food. As for the bird, the situation is more complicated: the Torah does not show signs of its kosher, but only lists 24 species of non-kosher birds, mainly carnivores or carrion: crows, ostriches, storks, etc. Therefore, it was decided to consider only hens, geese, ducks, turkeys as kosher. and pigeons.
With fish, too, is not easy. Only one that has both fins and scales is allowed. Crayfish, shrimp, oysters, crabs are not kosher. Amphibians, reptiles, rodents and insects are forbidden to eat.
It’s good for vegetarians: any plant products are kosher, if they are not poisonous. The main thing is to be careful not to eat an insect or a worm in a salad or apple.
With eggs, milk and caviar, it’s more or less clear: we ask for mercy from kosher animals, birds and fish, but not from non-kosher animals. It is contradictory with bees: they themselves are not kosher, but honey is allowed – the bee, they say, does not produce honey, but only collects it. In general, this is debatable.