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



   The Society for the Preservation of Nature has hatched a unique plan for conducting a national survey of a rare species of small migratory owl that stops in Israel between March and October on the route between South East Asia and Africa.
   An MP3 recording of the owl's irritating high-pitched call - which sounds like a cross between rusty bike brakes and a smoke detector warning that needs a battery replacement*, was placed on the society's website. Then the society called the newspapers, and put out a call to the public-at-large to report if anyone picked up the bird's signature call within hearing range, and to cite the location.
   Based on such ‘census data' (there's an online form) the bird enthusiasts hope to map the population of the rare birds, without even stepping out of their air-conditioned offices. In any case, a survey by traditional methods would have been paramount to looking for a needle in a haystack.



   Trouble juggling work and domestic duties? MK Anastassia Michaeli from the Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party has the key.
   When one of the parliament's maintenance personnel opened the door to Michaeli's office suite in the Knesset before hours, the cleaner was floored to find the MK attired in PJs fast asleep on the floor under a homey comforter. The unscheduled encounter let the cat out of the bag: in fact, Michaeli was in the habit of crashing in her office rather than returning to her home in Rishon Letzion. Struggling to explain the strange digs, the MK told reporters: "On Monday for example, voting on a series of bills before the house only ended at 1:30 am and I had to be at deliberations at the Knesset at 9:30 am." Why didn't she avail herself of one of the Jerusalem hotel rooms at the disposal of members of the House? "In the Knesset there's no one next door, no streets and noise from outside," she replied. The MK failed to mention that the Knesset is perhaps the only place where Michaeli - who has a brood of eight children ranging in age from 12 down to 18 months - can grab a few hours all to herself.


   Einat Levi-Levin requested that her husband Tzafrir's last name - "Asaf" - be added to her hyphenated maiden name. The Ministry of Interior told her nobody in Israel could have three different hyphenated last names at the same time in the population registry.
   Nobody? In fact somebody already does. One person: Judy Nir-Moses-Shalom. Nir-Moses-Shalom was born into the illustrious Moses media dynasty - the owners of Yediot Aharonot. She lost her first husband, renowned journalist Amiram Nir, in a plane crash, then married a rising political figure - Likud leader Silvan Shalom.
Is there a difference between a somebody and a nobody? Does it take pull to stretch the law? Perhaps.


   How does one make a million-dollar truckload of Absolut Vodka vanish into thin air? No need to call in a Houdini or David Copperfield. Four cool-headed thugs will do the trick.
   In an innovative heist, a truckload of Absolut Vodka was commandeered just outside the exit gate of the Ashdod Port. Two individuals armed with tear gas overpowered the driver, and two accomplices stuffed him into a ‘getaway car' and dumped the fit-to-be-tied trucker in an out-of-the-way spot far from the scene of the crime. In the meantime, the dashing young men in the truck - aware that the double-trailer was no doubt equipped with a GPS tracking device - didn't hightail it out of town. They ducked into a crane-operating loading zone just outside the gate. Claiming the hijacked vehicle was disabled, they asked an accommodating crane operator to transfer the ocean-going containers with the goods to their own truck and sped away with NIS 4 million (over ($1m) in very liquid assets, leaving police truly clueless.



   For 11 years a divorcee had chased after her ex to exact orderly payment of child support awarded by the court, with mixed results. When she got wind that her former spouse was getting hitched again, it wasn't the wedding itself that sent her through the ceiling; it was the sheer scope of the extravagant affair, to be held in an elegant hall with hundreds of guests, that got her goat and constituted the last straw to his ‘crying poor.'
   Marching into a family affairs court in Netanya, she demanded and received a court order that put a lien on any and all monetary wedding gifts (checks and cash) given to the newlyweds to secure payment of all the unpaid child support over the years. At the end of affair, NIS 125,000 ($46,250) was handed over to a representative of his ex, giving a good twist to the adage, ‘All's fair in love and war.'


* 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.