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CHELM-ON-THE-MED©, January 2010 - Column 2


   To two masked muggers, it looked as easy as taking candy from a baby. Their victim - attired in a prim head covering, long sleeves and skirt down to her ankles was a young frail-looking religious mother out for a stroll, an infant strapped on her breast. Miriam Segal, a new immigrant from Florida and mother of four, was only five months in the country. Indeed, she was taken by surprise when someone jumped her from behind in broad daylight on the edge of Beit Shemesh in the Jerusalem Hills, but Segal told reporters with a wink that "she quickly realized it was not her husband"...
   The pair of thugs had definitely picked a fight with the wrong lady: Segal has 13 years experience in martial arts and is a Kung Fu black belt. Baby and all, she threw the assailant over her shoulder and onto the ground, kicked him in the balls, then in the chin. Turning, she stared-down his partner with a steely gaze while muttering under her breath in unintelligible English - enough to make the knife-brandishing second assailant cut and run. The two only got away with her hat. Segal said if she hadn't had a baby strapped to her waist, she would likely have wasted the two, or at least made mincemeat of #2.


   Going back to school - enrolling in university or getting a high school equivalency diploma late in life is hardly news, but Elinore Kanti's back-to-school plans were a bit more piquant. The 57-year-old Haifa resident asked her boss for permission to enroll in an unusual form of in-service training: to join the 9th grade Arabic class at the Re'ali High School where Kanti works as school secretary. She doesn't just audit lessons three times a week; she submits all the assignments and homework, but admits she keeps a low profile - only raising her hand when no one else knows the answer, so as not to disrupt the class.


   One of the hottest kiddy items in Israeli supermarkets is heat-and-serve schnitzel shaped like dinosaurs. It was only a matter of time until someone designed and patented a dream machine that grabs round pitas on the production line before they enter the oven and reshapes them into mini designer pitas fashioned for "kids ages 12 months (!*) to 8 years."
   There are 38 shapes to choose from says the 38-year-old designer Eyal Mor: hearts and flowers and butterflies, airplanes, teddy bears, ice cream cones and baby bottles. Camcorders... and even extraterrestrials.**

* Whatever happened to finger food at this age?

** The machine is suitable for making mazzoh, pizza and tortillas, as well


   How does one convince new prospective residents to buy a house at the foot of "the green Gilboa" - a bucolic sector of rural settlements right in the middle of ‘nowhere' * - unless one has always dreamed of living exactly where the Book of Samuel says King Saul lost a decisive battle with the Philistines and his life.
   Give new home owners a second car?
   Actually, the vehicle dreamed up by the head of the Gilboa Regional Council that he said was offered to those who only needed ‘one more push' to make the decision to move into the sticks was original by any measure. While Mount Gilboa itself would offer a spectacular view of the Gilboa Council's offerings, it had been decided to offer serious speculators a free hot air balloon ride (at 5:30 in the morning, before rush hour ) to get a true birds'-eye view from an altitude of 1,000 feet - at a cost to the municipality of 1,000 NIS ($250) per passenger.

* Five minutes from Yokneam and halfway between Afula and Hadera.


   Residents of towns bordering the Carmel range are accustomed to wild boar sightings within city limits, but usually such encounters end with the frightened pedestrians and skittish animals all taking flight.
   While a cornered boar can become aggressive, even dangerous, one particular stonewalled specimen nicknamed Oinker* hardly fit the profile. Apparently separated from his family, the orphaned young boar chose to ‘adopt' the residents of Savyon Street in Nesher** after a resident threw an apple to the lonesome and clearly dejected pig that he found sitting on a stone wall.
   Soon all the residents were feeding the boar who would come out of the brush when residents whistled and began playing with neighborhood pets... until nature took its course: the piglet, alas, ate like a pig - including scraps put out for Savyon alley cats - and in no time Oinker grew into a sizable boar. Residents were finally forced to give up their neighborhood mascot and park rangers found it a foster home at a nearby kibbutz.

* Chrundik, in Hebrew

** At the foot of the Carmel, just east of Haifa


   Five years after Israeli police inaugurated breath testing to establish intoxication, an independent lab test ordered by a traffic court established what many drivers had been yammering about for years. The device was not accurate.
   In 14 days of intensive testing by an analytical chemist, the breath-analyzing apparatus was not only over-sensitive to humidity and collared a person who hadn't drunk any alcohol at all - it identified orange juice as alcohol!
* Police retorted that the lab's findings were not admissible in a court of law....


* Copyright© 2010 by Daniella Ashkenazy. All rights reserved worldwide. For limited usage, see FAQs. All stories are completely rewritten by Daniella Ashkenazy from news items gleaned from Yediot Aharonot, unless another news source is stated.