A giant sinkhole at the Shaare Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem on June 7, 2021. (Oliver Fitoussi/FLASH90) Oliver Fitoussi/FLASH90


While the second-place word was “governance” (mishelut in Hebrew), Israelis picked this ominous term as their Hebrew word of the year.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

Thanks to a number of sinkhole incidents, Israeli voters selected the word “sinkhole” (bolen in Hebrew) as the Word of the Year, the Hebrew Language Academy announced on Tuesday.

One Israeli was killed and another injured when a sinkhole opened up under a swimming pool at a villa in the town of Karmei Yosef during a party in July. Video on social media showed inflatable pool toys suddenly being sucked into a hole as partygoers scrambled in shock.

In September and November, sinkholes opened up on Tel Aviv’s busy Ayalon Highway. Nobody was injured, but they prompted traffic jams and a surge of internet memes. Tel Aviv drivers were again forced to find alternate routes later in November thanks to a sinkhole opening up on Ibn Gvirol St., another key road.

Declining water levels and digging through soil are among the causes of sinkholes. Some Israelis blamed work on a Tel Aviv metro line, but it isn’t clear if that was responsible.

Sinkholes also pose an increasing danger in the area around the Dead Sea. The shoreline has been receding for years as Israeli and Jordanian companies use evaporation pools to harvest and export the Dead Sea’s minerals.

The second-place word was “governance” (mishelut in Hebrew). Israelis have had five elections in a nearly four-year period.

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