March 10, 2007

Matter of conscience

[You must be frustrated by the lack of pictures in this blog, I will try to improve on that in the coming weeks.

I'm back in Jerusalem tonight after traveling from Eilat to Massada and climbing up to the Massada Fortress.]

Infrastructure in the desert

First, let me give you a few more details, as promised, about the previous days. There were not too many suprises in what I saw, but let me tell of a few things which struck me nevertheless.

I was amazed by the network of water pipes: all along the road, I could see the trace of the underground water pipe which runs along it, with every kilometer or so a short section above ground with a manometer. I was told that water for most of Israel is brought that way from the Sea of Galilee, meaning that when you flush you toilet in Mitspeh Ramon, the water has traveled 200 km in pipes from the Sea of Galilee. This is surprising for me after seeing a country like Cambodia where water is plentiful but there is no single city with drinkable water (drinkable water is produced at least in Phnom Penh but the water is not guaranteed to still be drinkable when it flows from your tap because of leaks...) and no running water in most places.

Matter of conscience

Here I have a matter of conscience because I don't know how precisely I should write about infrastructures, which are some of the most striking elements for me as an engineer, nor about the military facilities and trivia, which are ubiquitous and as such worth mentioning.

On the bus from Mitspeh Ramon to Eilat, for example, most passengers were soldiers and most stops were at military bases so I could have written down the exact location of all of them and their nature (air force, infantry, engineering, etc.) and printed them here.

I could also comment on the presence of an aerostat (don't ask me if it's a moored balloon or an airship, I wasn't aware of the difference before looking it up in the Wikipedia) or other details like the sign "private road" on my map which are linked to the Dimona nuclear plant.

But I don't want to unnecessarily spread on the Internet information which is sensitive for Israel, even when it is not really secret. So my policy will be, when I think something is of interest to my readers but sensitive, to recount it only in general terms. Which means that I'm applying self-censure - you have to know that, and I hope you will excuse me.

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