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CHELM-ON-THE-MED©, February 2017 COLUMN 2
UPSTAIRS AT THE DOWNSTAIRS
In a slight modification of the adage ‘politics make strange bedfellows’ Yediot revealed* that Bibi Natanyahu not only knows the Kushners – President Donald Trump’s michutanim**… The President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner first met Natanyahu in the 1990s when his father Charles Kushner hosted Natanyahu overnight in the Kushner home in New Jersey, putting Natanyahu up in his son’s bedroom and sending the teenage Jared down to spend the night in the basement.(Yediot) Photo credit: Donald Trump - Facebook
* The ‘tidbit’ first appeared - one sentence in a 2,600+ word Saturday edition profile of Kushner in the New York Times - but received limelight placement in Yediot on page 2 of the tabloid – featured as a sidebar ‘scoop’ to the lead story on the eve of Natanyahu’s meeting with Trump at the White House.
** the Hebrew-Yiddish term for the parents of one’s son- or daughter-in-law.
Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri (Shas) became the talk of the town after a falling out with a former confidant - singer Benny Elbaz.
Elbaz chose to settle a score with Deri by sharing with the media the ‘full take’ of a Shas campaign ad used during 2015 elections that the two had participated in. The aired footage shows a distraught Deri crying his eyes out calling ‘Ovadia!’ and ‘Abba!’ – to underscore to Shas’ supporters how close Deri had been to the party’s deceased spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef who passed away in late 2013*. Only the raw footage revealed Deri resorting to using a raw onion to produce the requisite tears in the theatricals. A political rival, former MK Nissim Zeev, quipped that “teargas would have been faster-acting.” (Walla, Channel 2 tv, Galei Zahal) Photo credit: Screen shot from the footage
* in fact, relationships between Ovadia Yosef and Aryeh Deri had been a rocky road, with the venerated rabbi at one point calling Deri “a thief” and “an evil man” in unauthorized 2008 footage of a conversation between Ovadia Yosef and one of his sons, leaked to the Second Channel in 2014.
WHAT WERE THEY (PL.) THINKING?
When a 48 year-old Ramat Gan resident told Bituach Leumi that he planned to kill himself because he wasn’t happy with the way they were handling his case, social workers at national insurance called police, who rushed to the suicidal fellow’s apartment. While the cops found the flat owner safe and sound in the living room, they also found a pot-processing operation full of cannabis plants and processing gear in an adjoining room, giving the flat owner amble reason to want to shoot himself.
While taken into custody to be booked on a trafficking charge, the judge first sent the suspect to Abarbanel* to have his head examined. (Israel HaYom)
The same week, a 27 year-old fellow in Tel-Aviv, posted his plans to ‘check out’…on Facebook. Cops broke into the fellow’s apartment in the owner’s absence when no one answered the door, and ran smack into the saddest looking potted marijuana plant one could possibly imagine, in the foyer…
This didn’t stop the cops from turning around, collaring the fellow and hauling his sorry ass into the station…then trying to pin the owner with “possession not for personal use.” Even before weighing ‘the evidence’, a magistrate dragged the cops over the coals in turn…for trying to double the fellow’s troubles instead of sticking to their original mission. (Israel HaYom) Photo credit: Israel Police Force
There are volunteers worldwide who create wigs for women undergoing chemotherapy. Eli Ben-Zikri – a cancer survivor himself – has for the last 13 years worked at Beilinson and Kaplan medical centers* cutting hair and fitting and styling wigs for such patients, but recently Ben-Zikri found himself embarking on a unique mercy mission - to ease the side effects of hair-loss for an ultra-Orthodox man who faced a double blow to his esteem while undergoing chemo: not only loosing the hair on his head, but also his beard in the process. His oncologist called Ben-Zikri because the illustrious rabbi in the physician’s care refused to meet with his Talmudic students after he lost his signature beard - a mark of religiosity and a source of esteem. Could Ben-Zikri help? The hairdresser created a full beard and matching side curls (pe’ot) for the rabbi. (Yidiot) Photo credit: Tzvika Tishler Yediot, courtesy of PELE
* in Petach Tikva and Rechovot and elsewhere, through the national NGO Pele (‘a [free] Wig for Every Woman’).
The much lauded and long-awaited Harel tunnel on the highway between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem – envisioned to cut travel time to 35 minutes between the Big Orange and the capital – was opened with Prime Minister Bibi Natanyahu cutting the ribbon with Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz at his side.
The only fly in the ointment was that it subsequently took motorists an hour and fifty minutes to get to the capital via the ‘improved route’ – significantly longer than before there was a tunnel...
Largely responsible for the extra bottleneck was the fact only two of the three lanes of the 800-meter tunnel were opened to traffic at the festive ‘inauguration’ – traffic flow further constricting by the sudden reduction in the speed limit from 100-110 kmh, to 70 kmh within the tunnel.
The third lane is scheduled to open in May 2017. A light at the end of the tunnel?
Pessimists pointed out that the only way one can traverse the distance between the two cities in 35 minutes is to firmly maintain a speed of 110 kmh the entire distance without taking one’s foot off the gas pedal even once…(Yediot, Israel HaYom) Photo credit: Nitivei Israel
MUHAMMAD, THE JEW
When Muhammad was 16 or 17 years old, like his contemporaries in East Jerusalem, he threw rocks at Israeli Border Police. Now he wants to join the IDF and serve in the Border Police… How such a reversal is possible, could happen only in Israel.
While working as a floor tile layer on a building site in Beit Shemesh, in casual conversation with a Jewish laborer, Muhammad mentioned that his deceased mother was Jewish. “If so,” the fellow replied (much to Mohammed’s surprise) by Jewish law, you’re Jewish.” The young Muslim discovered that, in fact, he was registered in Israel’s Population Registry as ‘Jewish’…leading to a reunion with his mother’s family whom he hadn’t seen since he was five. Mohammed – now 21 – has changed his name to ‘Israel’ and plans to go into the army, stressing “I speak fluent Arabic and I know all the alleyways of East Jerusalem.” (Israel HaYom) Photo credit: IDF Spokesperson