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CHELM-ON-THE-MED©, DECEMBER 2016, COLUMN 1
THE WEEKEND CHALUTZ*
MK Yair Lapid, head of the opposition Yesh Atid (‘there’s a future’) party revealed in a speech at a convention of the kibbutz movement that despite his urban upbringing in Tel-Aviv, he admired the old pioneering spirit…so much so that ‘within two years he plans to live in a tzreef (wooden hut) in the Negev’…
Where? In a new settlement to be established by a gar’in (settlement nucleus) comprised entirely of young Yesh Atid members. In the same breath, the journalist-turned-politician millionaire clarified he “wasn’t comparing himself to Ben-Gurion” (referring to the time B.G. spent in the political and geographical wilderness at Sdeh Boker).
Lapid only plans to spend weekends in his tzreef… (Yediot) Photo credit: Ben-Gurion Heritage Foundation Ben-Gurion’s iconic Swedish no frills prefab tzreef.
* pioneer in Hebrew
ORDER IN THE COURT
When a homeless ex-con living on the streets was dragged before the bench in Magistrate Shmuel Herbst‘s court for robbing a convenience store at knifepoint ‘because he was hungry and thirsty and hadn’t eaten all day’, the bench not only sharply criticized welfare and parole officials for letting the defendant fall through the cracks and reach a point where he was that desperate.
After approving the plea bargain reached by the prosecutor and defense attorney (20 months in the can, where the defendant would receive three square meals a day and a roof over his head…), the judge ordered the court records be turned over to the Jerusalem municipality’s welfare department and the parole board for immediate review. Then, before closing the case, the judge pulled out his wallet and handed the defendant a 100 NIS bill to ensure he wouldn’t go hungry in the meantime. (ynet) Photo credit: the Israel Court System website
A SPIC ‘N SPAN ARMY? NOT YET
IDF fatigues (madei bet) are undergoing a makeover.
Come 2018, wrinkle-resistant fabric will replace 100% cotton, …but only for career personnel, thus ensuring the IDF’s iconic couldn’t-care-less crumpled just-out-of-the-wringer appearance in the field will be preserved for draftees and reservists*…
The new duds also boast an inner pocket for stowing one’s cell phone… The most important new feature is a built-in Velcro-like strip to secure one’s beret – Israeli style.** Israeli soldiers only wear their unit berets on their heads at ceremonies. The rest of the time, in dereference to the weather – unlike every other army in the world – soldiers fold their berets flat and tuck them under their left shoulder strap, secured with a safety pin. (Yediot)Photo credit: IDF Spokesperson
* although the brass is considering issuing ‘personal fatigues’ upon induction, thus curtailing quartermasters issuing oft missized fatigues to soldiers in the field that add a ‘misfit touch’ to the IDF’s overall rumpled look.
** In 1993, Yediot columnist Meir Shalev wrote: “There are some things one does only at home” noting that “when he was a small tot his father would make him laugh by…wearing a pair of underpants on his head,” always adding the proviso: “Children, don’t tell anyone how I dress at home.” Shalev went on to relate how a friend from New York, an ardent gentile supporter of Israel, had just called him, clearly ill at ease, to ask why in the world in a televised interview he’d just seen, Israel’s Chief-of-Staff Ehud Barak was ‘wearing’ his beret on his shoulder…
BUSINESS OR MONKEY BUSINESS?
Attorney and businessman Shraga Biran rents out 24 apartments that bring in 3.5 M NIS (almost a million dollars) in rents annually. How did he and his law partners acquire two dozen apartments? The apartments were given to the firm over the years in lieu of cash-on-the-barrel for their legal services!
While the exchange of ownership was reported as income, revenue accruing from the flats should be considered ‘passive income’ Biran told tax officials – that is, it should be taxed at a mere 10 percent under the tax code. Tax authorities took issue with the lawyer’s interpretation, but now a Jerusalem District Court has accepted Biran’s appeal that he was not, in fact, running a real estate business and the apartments were merely a ‘passive investment’ that had, more or less ‘falling into his and his law partners’ laps’ by default.
The court ordered income tax authorities to shell out 60,000 NIS ($15,7890) in legal costs, but the tax men are weighting ‘appealing the appeal’ to the Supreme Court. (Israel HaYom) Photo credit: Wikipedia commons – Paul Simpson
I SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE…
Before jettisoning a career in Israel’s diplomatic service in 2008, 45-year old Gilad Milo served 13 years ago as deputy-ambassador to Kenya. When he found himself back in Kenya, this time working for an agribusiness company, Milo began jamming with Kenyan musicians in local bars in his spare time.
In April 2015 Milo unexpectedly ‘found his voice’…shooting to the top of the pop music charts in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda with the hit “You Know” (with over a million hits on Youtube) followed by “I Promise You” (about a soldier going out on a mission, parting from his wife) - which Milo composed and executes in…fluent and flawless Swahili. (Yidiot and a BBC interview) Photo credit: Gilad Milo’s Facebook page
* Known simply as ‘Gilad’, he continues to compose and perform in West Africa, though he hasn’t given up his ‘day job’ yet as corporate executive for business development and PR at Balton CP…
“IN TREATMENT” AND THE CHILD
Do the sides in a dispute always have the right to legal representation? Not when the welfare of the child is involved, argue Israeli parliamentarians.
A new law that just went into force entitled “Settling Disputes in the Family’ requires parents in crisis to seek help before they file for divorce.
Couples with children must conduct at least one meeting with a mediator, without the presence of legal counsel* – at the taxpayers’ expense. Couples are entitled to up to four free sessions to try and reach an amicable agreement how to part ways without dragging their differences through the courts – a process that would not only be costly and a burden on court dockets. The proviso was prompted by the believe that the welfare of the children dictates parents try to reach a settlement both can live with before embarking on a court battle that would take its toll on the children. (Israel HaYom) Photo credit: Pixabay – CCO Public Domain
* Assuming lawyers are adversarial by nature - seeking to maximize the client’s gain rather than seek a ‘‘doable’ arrangement – parliamentarians believe that by nature attorneys will escalate an already tense situation. Lawyers from the two sides (together with the mediator in charge) will be permitted only from the second meeting, provided the point of contention is legal points, not “treatment-based.”