The Jewish holiday Pessach was great this year. Not because I celebrated it, being Christian and all, but because there were a lot of orthodox Jews to be seen in Hamburg in the area around Hamburg university. It was simply great to see Jewish life be a normal part of German life - again. And it wasn't only orthodox Jews, who are, of course, easy to recognize, but also the fact that Hebrew is not so seldomly heard in the city these days. I'm glad about this.
On the watery side of things, April has not been good. Not for the land, not for plants or animals. Southern Europe is suffering from severe water stress - which is, by the way, not as unusual as the media is trying to make it sound - and even Hamburg is unusually warm: it is necessary to water the plants every day. This may be nice for us, enjoying the sun and all, but it has serious implications because it is yet another proof of climate change. Maybe it will help keep the topic in the news... Nevertheless, the damage is only economic up to now, at least in Europe. Nobody is suffering from water scarcity in the sense that there is not enough drinking water, and this scenario is far away.
For those who would like to understand the water conflict in the Middle East, however, it may be useful to experience rather closely how fast quality of life can decline due to water scarcity - I am talking about the lack of green spaces and the like - and starting from there it may be easier to see why agriculture and the land tend to have a high ideological value on the other side of the Mediterranean. This is part of the psychology of the Middle East conflict, and needs to be looked at rather closely when trying to solve it.
On a completely different note, the last couple of weeks have seen intense work on the historical chapter of my thesis: water in Israel and Palestine 1882-2005. Topics include economic structures, social changes, law aspects etc. pp. One of the rather interesting bits of information has to do with this last aspect: Both the British mandate government AND Israel adopted large parts of Ottoman and Islamic legal regulations concerning land and water governance, and parts of Israel's legal system still show their strong influence. The fact, for instance, that Israel allows the different religious groups living in the country extensive freedom and self-governance - Sharia courts illustrate this - is due to this strong link: The so-called Millet-system which was in place for most of the Ottoman empire established the principle of self-governance for different religious groups. Interesting, don't you think?