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Everyone  needs a pet peeve.  Uri Zaguri’s was the use of the word ma’avid  on income tax forms (which literally means someone who ‘makes somebody work’) instead of ma’asik (an employer) . But, the kibbutznik from Merchavia saw no way of rectifying the situation so he continued to bitch for another six years about the degrading term* until he ran into ‘the right person with connections’…in a very typical Israeli fashion.

           Discussing his favourite complaint with a friend at a café, naturally, Zaguri turned to the waitress serving his table to share his pet peeve with her, as well.

           Chagit Shemtov replied that her mother Lia Shemtovwas a Knesset member (and deputy-speaker of the House, to boot).  The waitress wrote her mother’s e-mail on a café napkin and handed it to Uri Zaguri…leading to a bill to end the use of the demeaning term ma’avid which “introduces an uncalled-for element of aggressiveness in employer-employee relationships” according the preamble to the proposed law.  

 * originally adopted as a functional counter to the term for a worker (oved) in defining employer-employee relationships



No, mutual assistant isn’t dead. When a typhoon devastated parts of the Philippines, the residents of the Tovei Ha’ir assisted living residence in Jerusalem organized to collect money to aid the victims. The management immediately followed suit, providing matching funds for every shekel collected by the residents. The recipients of the aid weren’t faceless or nameless refugees; they were twenty-five caregivers from the Philippines who live with the residents, whose families lost their homes in the storm.

           Pearl Weissberger (89) explained: “We live together. My aide Marna knows my family and I know her family through the computer. We’re almost like mother and daughter.”

           “It shows we’re more than just employees here.” remarked Victoria Lopez, the Filipino aide who handled distribution of the ladies’ aid. “There’s a genuine close relationship with the ladies,” she stressed.



It’s not uncommon to see all sorts of ‘adopt an animal’ campaigns to find new homes for unwanted dogs* but nature wardens now face what is surely a one-of-a-kind challenge: Finding a ‘loving home’ for 4,500 crocodiles…

            The crocs are the inventory of a reptile farm established in the Jordan Valley in 1987 which was closed to the public by the Wildlife & Parks Authority in 2012 due to negligence after 70 ‘residents’ got loose in the wild.**  Can the crocs be flown abroad, and if so who would foot the air bill?  So far, nobody has stepped forward to volunteer.

            Ironically, the main gate to the farm only sports a sign warning:  CAUTION: DOG!

* including a recent ‘Adopt a Warrior’ campaign to find loving homes for twenty dogs retired from guard duty at the Tel-Nof Air Base whose work had been phased out by electronic surveillance techniques. 

** Not a one-time affair, several years ago, one specimen was found cooling off in the swimming pool of a neighbor moshav… 



Mor Galfner set about proposing to his girlfriend Barak Darom at what seemed like one of the most romantic tzimmers, nestled in the woods in the heart of the Galilee.

           Everything seemed perfectly timed: The prospective groom had already gone through all the theatricals – proposing on bended knee and presenting an engagement ring at the poolside to his wife-to-be – flanked by a small Roman candle for special effects.  And it was Valentines Day, but instead of being fatally struck by Cupid’s arrow, out of the blue a stray bullet fired by a hunter in the adjacent forest grazed the armpit of the love-struck bride-to-be, landing her in the hospital – giving a new twist to the notion of a shotgun wedding.



From time to time, Chelm-on-the-Med has noted the most popular names giving new babies in Israel, but what about children whose parents’ choices have tainted them for life?  One such case is a Jordanian kid whose mother named her infant Yitzhak Rabin in 1996, three months after the assassination of the Israeli prime minister who had signed an historic peace treaty with Jordan a year earlier. Not everyone in the Hashemite Kingdom was pleased; in fact, the Bedouin infant and his family became a target for harassment that lead his parents to flee to Eilat, where they were given temporary political asylum.

           ‘Temporary’ did we say?  Eighteen years later, in mid-February 2014 18 year-old Yitzhak Rabin Namsy was granted Israeli citizenship by Minister of Interior Gideon Sa’ar, after the youngster demanded the right to an Israeli identity card that would enable him to enlist in the IDF and serve his adopted country, along side his school chums. 



Bird watchers in Israel were all in a tizzy after someone spotted a little Scandinavian snow bunting (gavton hasheleg in Hebrew) that somehow got blown off course in the mammoth artic weather system that dumped snow in Cairo in December 2013 for the first time in 80 years.  For two months the little bird became a winter celebrity – attracting countless bird enthusiasts to the seashore near Acco where the rare visitor had settled down, feasting on an abundance of wild seeds and basking in the Mediterranean sun, but alas, jubilation was premature.

           In late February the Scandanavian ‘tourist’ was also spotted by another local – a wild falcon or baz that immediately turned the unsuspecting bunting into brunch.

* Hebrew for falcon