The Chelm Project is a pro bono endeavor. Your donation is greatly appreciated. Your support helps balance overly conflict-driven news that warps perceptions of Israel.

Donate in Shekels


Donate in Dollars

Subscribe to our list

Email Format

Join us!

Are you a publisher or literary agent?

Click HERE

Savor Classic Oldies from 1987-2007
Click HERE

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

CHELM-ON-THE-MED©, August 2010 - Column 1


   Yaakov Agam's famous kinetic sculpture at Dizengoff Square, which looks like a rainbow-striped set of washing machine gears that spring into action on the hour, rotating and spitting out water and fire to the tune of Ravel's Bolero, is a Tel Aviv icon. Yet, for decades, the municipality has moaned and groaned about its high maintenance costs to the tune of $250,000 per annum.
   When Katzrin Mayor Sammy Bar-Lev heard Tel Aviv was considering leveling the dilapidated elevated overpass for pedestrians to create a roundabout and underground parking garage with green spaces on top, he sprang into action, offering to take the aging 1986-vintage sculpture off Tel-Aviv's hands - to "recycle it," in his words, by putting the piece to rest on a traffic roundabout at the entrance to his Golan Heights township. Bar-Lev says such a move would "empower the periphery" and "move the Center to the North."



   Israel has a semi-arid desert climate, prompting some snakes to take up residence in the cool interior of air-conditioned Israeli homes during the summer. One of the strangest and hairiest snake sagas belongs to a resident in Rosh Ha'ayin, a bedroom suburb northeast of Tel Aviv.
   Rami Cohen couldn't figure out where in the world his songbirds were disappearing to. For quite some time, every day or two, one or two of his canaries disappeared into thin air. Cohn had more than a dozen birdcages. What was weird was the cage door remained firmly latched, and all the windows of his house were closed.
   The mystery was solved when Cohen awoke to find a 1.3 meter (4'3'') viper crawling across his bed at 5:30 in the morning. Throwing a blanket over the visitor, Cohen fled the room. The viper was easily cornered by a snake catcher on the top shelf of the bedroom closet. It seems the uninvited houseguest was in the habit of ‘raiding the pantry' so to speak - easily squeezing through the bars of the cages to swallow a bird, then curling up in Cohen's clothes cabinet to digest its free lunch - leaving nary a trace.



   Who needs toll roads? Israel's Public Works Commission has hatched a unique income-generating scheme that won't cost motorists a dime.

   The PWC plans to attach wind turbines to lighting polls illuminating junctions, pave the inside of clover leaves with solar collectors, sell advertising space above overpasses and offer cellphone franchisees space to erect antennas - free of complaints from neighbors about health risks. With 5,933 kilometers of road and 68 interchanges to play with, do the math: the PWC figures a single interchange can collect between NIS 250,000 to NIS 400,000 ($65,789-$105,263) in revenue per annum.

* Actually, the real windfall is in the works - the product of an Israeli startup that designed a way to transform any road surface into an energy-generator by studding the roadbed with special power strips that work more or less like miniature turbines, activated by the weight of cars passing over them.


   When Orr Dotan-Ad and her partner parted ways, she decided the only way to get back into circulation was to establish a networking framework for lesbian businesswomen who would meet once a month to socialize. Dotan-Ad advertised the event on Facebook, but only about 70 interested parties showed their faces.
   How about broadening the circle?
   The organizer rejected the proposal hands-down, clarifying that the forum would not be open to men, even gay men, because "they would be misunderstood."
Alas, lesbian women are Venus and gay men are from Mars...



   Israelis are notorious for their disregard for formal expressions of deference. Kids call their teachers by their first names. Employees call their bosses by their first names. Telemarketers ask to speak with Mor or Limor as if the cold caller is an old buddy from their army days. But a magistrate in a lower court apparently took Israel's familial relationships one step too far when she called an attorney appearing in her court motek (sweetheart). He lodged a complaint - one of a thousand and three complaints against judges on the bench received by the court system's commissioner of complaints in 2009, most protesting tardiness in handing down verdicts. Thirteen percent of the complaints were found to be justified - including the far-too-laid-back bench. The commissioner - former Supreme Court Justice Eliezer Goldberg - dressed down the magistrate saying, "Such an utterance by the court was uncalled for and was contrary to judicial ethics."



   Back in November 2009 Chelm-on-the-Med© suggested in an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post (see ‘In the Media' on this site) that what Israel needed was a "Laughter Brigade."
   An age-old proverb says, "Be careful what you wish for"...
   Sure enough, six Nahal Brigade paratroopers on patrol in Hebron decided to climax their last days in uniform by staging a Macarena-like dance routine in full battle dress to the tune of electro-pop singer Kesha's hit "Tick Tock" - while paroling the streets of Hebron.
The brass overlooked the fancy footwork with loaded rifles on YouTube as a youthful parting shot rather than have the men face the music. Was this wise? You be the judge:


* 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.