Too Cold on the Train?

Our new Minister of Transportation is taking seriously this whole “government of change” thing

Photo: Yossi Aloni/Flash90

I needed to be in our editorial office in Jerusalem on Sunday, so I took the bus. Having gotten stuck in the return of annoying traffic jams on previous trips to the city, I decided never again to drive myself into Jerusalem, at least not during rush hour. The traffic jams on the bus bother me much less. There are now more and more special lanes for buses, so traffic jams are hardly of any consequence. And if we do get stuck in a traffic jam, I can just close my eyes and take a short nap and then appear fresh in the office.

Of course, not everything is perfect on the bus, especially when it is full or late or doesn’t show up at all. Our daughter has it easier. She can take the train to her studies, completely oblivious to the morning traffic jams. We have had a very beautiful train station in Modiin for many years, and it was the first train station to be built underground. But from there you can only travel in the direction of Tel Aviv. In theory, I could drive to Ben Gurion Airport and then from there catch a train to Jerusalem, but it’s not worth the time. I did, however, take the train from Jerusalem to Modiin via the airport to escape the traffic jams at the exit of the city, because there has been a huge construction site there for a long time. I think that many of you will hardly recognize the entrance to Jerusalem when you can finally visit us again.

It’s no fun driving to Jerusalem

In a few months, all of this will be a moot point. I will say goodbye to the traffic jams into and out of Jerusalem for good once the news train line from the capital to Modiin is finally completed. The journey will only take a mere 18 minutes. Heavenly. Of all modes of transport, the train is the most convenient way for me to get from one place to another. Especially in summer. I love the pleasant coolness on the train.

But that is exactly what could change soon. After all, we have had a “government of change” for three weeks. Our new Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli is known for her commitment to women’s issues, which is perfectly fine. But she likes to demonstrate her feminism by often using the feminine form of Hebrew words in places where they don’t fit with the rules of grammar. In my opinion this is a bit ridiculous. In Hebrew, a woman speaks differently than a man, so you can also tell whether someone is talking to a man or a woman on the phone. I know that discussions over gender in speech are taking place all over these days.

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli

Anyway, back on topic. As part of the “change” the new government wants to see, our Minister of Transportation has decided to stand up for women who are too cold on the train because of the air conditioning that I love so much.

“I’m always very cold on the train. To be honest, I’m always cold with air conditioning. The fact is that women get colder faster when the air conditioning is on than men. It’s known that the world caters more to men, and this is the case also with air conditioners. I’ll take care of it and see if we can set the air conditioning on the train so that the women won’t be cold and the boys won’t be warm. I’m on it.”

The topic of “air conditioning on trains” has been in the headlines for the past few days. I know the problem from home. My wife keeps asking me to close the air conditioning or at least set it to a higher temperature. This is a serious struggle during the Israeli summer. But later when I receive the electricity bill, I suddenly see my wife’s point of view.

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