Weather or not


Ahead of a forthcoming trip to Palestine and Israel, a couple of days ago I went to check the weather on my iPhone’s preinstalled Yahoo weather app. Tel Aviv loaded fine, but it was when I did a search for Jerusalem that the oddness began.

I started by typing “Jerus” – waiting for Yahoo’s database to find the most obvious entry. It came up with “Jerusalem, Ohio” top of the list. Bizarre. So I carried on typing, till “Jerusalem” sat in the search bar. Pause for search. Top of the list now? “West Jerusalem, Yerushalayim“. [‘Yerushalayim’ is the Hebrew name for Jerusalem.] Huh? There was no weather forecast for the city of Jerusalem, only for West Jerusalem. Even in the mad world of Middle East politics, that made no sense.

So I sighed and loaded the weather page for West Jerusalem, then tried to find the weather for the half of the city that I’m going to visit. There was nothing under “Jerusalem”. After failing with “Quds”, “Palestine” and various combinations thereof, I finally found it. “East Jerusale” brought up Gangtok in India (huh again?), but if you add that final M you get “East Jerusalem, West Bank“. Extraordinary.

So I loaded both.¬†Incidentally, they’re identical.

Conclusions? On the one hand, if you type “Jerusalem” you only get West Jerusalem. On the other hand, it’s now possible to have the weather solely for East Jerusalem on your iPhone if you persevere.

The Israeli and Jewish blogospheres are, understandably, up in arms. This is one example – and this Israeli news site reports today (June 6th) that Israel’s ambassador in Washington has send a letter of protest to both Yahoo and Apple.

But the Arab, Muslim and/or Palestinian blogospheres? I can’t find a single word of comment.