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In November, the United Nations General Assembly gathered for their annual Israel bashing session – passing nine biased anti-Israel resolutions (with nary a word about Syria during the session supposedly devoted to “the situation in the Middle East”). Yet, there was a ray of light in the sordid farce: After but another 160 in favor, 5 against with 6 abstention vote accusing Israel of ‘human rights violations’ – a resolution sponsored by such human rights luminaries as Mauritania which is renowned for its broadminded tolerance of slavery* - a UN interpreter, unaware she was speaking in the presence of a hot mike - commented to a colleague in the translator’s booth:

            “I think when you have… like a total of ten resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there’s gotta be something, c’est un peu trop, non? [It’s a bit much, no?] I mean, I know…There’s other really bad shit happening, but no one says anything about the other stuff.”

            “I understand there was a problem with interpretation,” noted the secretary of the plenum session after the laughter died down and called for a vote on the next anti-Israel resolution, without batting an eyelash…

* dove-tailing a New York Times article on slavery in Mauritania, just before the vote…



Speak of ‘Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings’…

            The advantages of breast feeding turned into a windfall for Israeli diplomacy. The webmaster of the General Health Fund discovered, much to their dismay, that out of 1.1 million hits on the HMO’s series of instructional video clips with breast-feeding tips in Arabic, only 45,000 viewers came from Israel’s Arab community. 

            Who were the other million plus viewers? 

            Well, 560,166 surfers were from Saudi Arabia, 168,900 were from Egypt, 89,000 from Iraq, 71,213 from Morocco and 65,505 from Algeria and that doesn’t count the rest of the Arab-speaking world.  

            For a change, talkbacks weren’t the usual Israel-bashing tripe; surfers thanked the sick fund for the practical advice.

* In another stroke of good luck, an Israeli rap urging medical staff to ‘wash their hands’  to keep their patients’ safe - produced by the 110-year-old Shaare Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem - went viral.



In a strange quirk of nature two apparently very near-sighted female barn owls mated with the same eagle-eyed male barn owl (who apparently wasn’t complaining). The ‘lengthy lovers triangle produced 20 eggs and a record number of offspring: Incubated in one oversized nest that the threesome built in an abandoned well, 19 chicks emerged and months of triple parenting produced 16 fledglings that took wing - a world record according to ornithologist Dr. Motti Charter, a barn owl authority.



The Israeli parliament has a unique ‘arrangement’ called kizuz whereby a member of the coalition and a member of the opposition agree in advance to ‘offset’ the effect of the unavoidable absence by a member of the house on a critical vote, by ‘matching’ absent members from opposing parties to balance the vote, or by a political opponent who is present, abstaining from voting.*  

            The unwritten protocol usually worked like a charm.  But recently, in a mean-spirited move, opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) ordering her colleague MK Erel Margalit not to offset MK Karin Elharar’s (Yesh Atid** party) ‘lost vote’ after the wheelchair-bound parliamentarian found herself recuperating from delivery of her first-born by Cesarean section, just as the contested state budget came up for approval. 

            Margalit did so anyway, but the incident gave birth to a bill – supported across the political spectrum  – that will allow Members of Knesset to ‘telecommute’ their vote under extenuating family or health circumstances - including sitting shivah*** for a family member. (Yediot, Haaretz)

*  designed to prevent arbitrarily influencing the balance of power in representative government due to unexpected vicissitudes or circumstance.

**  literally, ‘There is a Future’

*** seven days of mourning in Jewish tradition.



An age-old joke says that ‘between 2 and 4 PM (when kibbutzniks enjoy an afternoon siesta) one could walk off with the entire kibbutz.’  It may simply be an urban legend, but what’s for sure is that between 9 and 11 PM someone actually did walk off with hundreds of thousands of shekels worth of plastics at kibbutz  Kfar Aza, adjacent to Sderot and Gaza.    

            The cheeky seven-man gang arrived in several cars and three trucks at 9 PM, sprung the mechanism on the locked electronic gate to the kibbutz’s Kafrit Industries plastic factory, drove right in and brazenly loaded-up 62 metric tons of plastic products on their trucks with the kibbutz’s own forklifts which were conveniently parked in the yard. The party - which wore broad-brim hats to hid their identities from security cameras - departed two hours later, at 11 PM, leaving nary a trace. 

            The lone kibbutz watchman making his rounds confessed that he saw the commotion but assumed some members must be racking up some overtime on a Friday night.



A recent Chelm column reported thoughts of imposing arnona (local property taxes) on grave plots, not just apartment flats, to fill local coffers.

            The height of chutzpa?  Actually, no. 

             Haifa mayor Yona Yahav wants to enhance his city’s tax base and is  claiming the offshore deposits Dalit and Tamar natural gas fields out in the Mediterranean, should be added to Haifa’s ‘jurisdiction’ thus giving Haifa the right to collect arnona for any drilling platforms established to bring the natural gas up and ashore, although Dalit is located 48 kilometers (30 miles) from Haifa, and Tamar is 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of the port city.