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Just in time for Israel’s 65th Independence Day – marked by consumption of record quantities of grilled meat – a study by the Volcani Agricultural Research Centre at Beit Dagon found the holy grail!  Downing 200 ml of Israeli ‘Turkish coffee’ (called “mud coffee”* in Hebrew and for good reason*) while consuming a juicy hamburger curbs by 50 to 80 percent absorption of the harmful culprits lurking in red meat that are responsible for clogged arteries.


* botz café in Hebrew.  Luckily, for maximum effect, one does not need to swallow the finely ground sediment that awaits the unwary at the bottom of the glass…




Israel’s newly-minted Minister of Finance Yair Lapid, swept into office on a wave of dissatisfaction among young middle class professionals, had the best of intentions when he wrote on his social-networking blog that he wanted to better the circumstances of “Riki Cohen from Hadera” – a fictitious construct designed to symbolize the hard-pressed middle class. Riki Cohen and her husband struggled to make ends meet on 20,000 NIS a month, said Lapid.

            With no experience in economics (or government for that matter), the new senior cabinet minister – purported to have pulled-in some 100,000 NIS ($27,777) a month as Israel’s top news anchor before he ran for office –   didn’t know that grossing 20,000 NIS ($5,555) per month put Riki Cohen in the 9th percentile of Israeli incomes, while the average wages per couple is 12,345 NIS ($3,429)…earning the rookie politician jeers from almost all quarters.      




In a truly precedent-setting ruling, Justice of the Peace Nasser Jahshan used his authority to impose a temporary restraining order – normally used to keep a violent and estranged husband safe distance from his spouse’s residence – in order to order a Pardes Hannah family to ‘remove’ a constantly-crowing rooster from their back yard that was driving their poor next-door-neighbor bonkers.

            The chicken aficionado whined that ‘if he wanted chicks, he needed a rooster.’ Moreover, it was against nature to deprive his hens a rooster*… but his plea was to no avail, although the bench did allow the crestfallen defendant to keep his constantly-clucking hens in the meantime. 

            How long would the cock be in the doghouse?  Until the honorable judge issues a final ruling.


* In Israel, even those in prison are entitled to periodic conjugal visits.




On the eve of Yom HaShoah*, a Red Magen David (MADA, in Hebrew) team in Nazareth Illit was summoned by a pedestrian to come to the aid of an elderly woman who had been sitting on a bench for hours, without food or drink. 

            The woman refused the paramedics’ plea to take her to a hospital to be checked and only asked the pair to give her a ride home in their ambulance. Escorting her up to the door, the pair found the flat in a state of serious neglect and disrepair. There was food in the frig that had long expired, the water and gas didn’t work and the place was a mess.

            Not within their mandate? Just call the municipal welfare department and call it a day? Think again, this is Israel. 

            Head paramedic Roman Balman’s first call was for reinforcements from the station; then he and a group of volunteers began setting her house in order – cleaning the apartment*,  calling in a plumber and filling the frig for a start – all with the blessings of MADA’s director, who told Balman ‘just send me the bills.’        (Yediot, MADA)


* Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. In the course of their impromptu mercy mission, the paramedics found out the woman was a Holocaust survivor and former partisan. 




When the President of the United States travels abroad, the logistics are fine tuned right down to the smallest detail.  Or are they? 

            During Obama’s recent trip to Israel, the White House’s souped-up presidential limousine designed to meet any crisis situation was grounded after someone in the entourage filled the limo’s tanks with diesel fuel instead of gasoline. That wasn’t the only hitch: President Obama decided to surprise President Peres with a magnolia tree from the White House lawn. The tree arrived safe and sound on Air Force One, but after it was planted with pomp and ceremony, Ministry of Agriculture officials unceremoniously uprooted the two-meter high magnolia and hauled it off to a plant quarantine facility for several months’ observation.




The Barzilai Medical Centre in Ashkelon no doubt misses the good old days when nobody could read a doctor’s writing. Today, release forms from Israeli hospitals are being digitized, but alas – the new system inaugurated by the Ministry of Health, still has some kinks to iron out.

            Suliman Cohen’s heart more than skipped a beat when the nurse at Kupat Holim* told him the hospital’s summery report he’d received after minor back surgery, addressed to his attending physician for follow-up care (!), reported “the patient died on the course of surgery.”

            The 76 year-old’s first reaction was he was a dead duck, must be terminally ill and nobody told him.  Although reassured by the hospital that it was a computer error, Cohen still fears the ‘news’ of his premature passing may have automatically been passed on, computer-to-computer, to other recipients – for example, the National Insurance  Institute which sends him his monthly social security check… 


* his sick fund, or HMO