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The threat of a nuclear Iran? The spiralling cost of living? Blooming Israel bashing?  According to the Israel National Bureau of Statistics, 86 percent of Israelis reported they are ‘content with life.’*

           Subjectively a fool’s paradise – a Chelm-on-the-Med?

           Not in this case.

           The United Nations' World Happiness Report inaugurated in 2011 and conducted by Columbia University's Earth Institute which ranks happiness according to a variety of objective, measurable parameters such as life expectancy, infant mortality, socioeconomic status, and education reported in its most recent survey that Israelis are among the happiest people on the face of the planet out of over 150 countries studied – ranking 11th place in 2013, up from 14th place in 2012, and significantly higher than the United States which came in 17th in 2013.  (   

 * Interestingly enough the ultra-Orthodox scored highest on the ‘contentment index’ – 66 percent reported they were happy, compared to 30 percent among those who define themselves as ‘secular.’  Another interesting survey conducted by a popular Hebrew news website ‘confirmed’ that Israelis – like all Jews (think Born to Kvetch…) – can’t live without complaining: 66 percent were displeased with the state of the nation on the whole, but 70 percent said personally, they were ‘very happy’ or ‘quite happy’ with their lives.



When Rose "Osang" Fostanes won the X-Factor singing competition on Israeli television with her rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “I’ll Do It My Way,” there was a fly in the ointment. While the grand champion got an instant contract with a leading Israeli recording studio, the Filipino foreign worker was only licensed to work as a caregiver with the elderly and was forbidden from working as a vocalist (or even moonlighting as a domestic on her day off to make extra cash, for that matter).

            “Of course she can sing – anyone can do that—but not as a professional,” a tight-lipped Israeli official retorted when queried by the Philippine Star, but Minister of Interior Gideon Sa’ar chose to make an exception.  No he wouldn’t curtail Fostanes’ talents to singing in the shower.  She could make her once-in-a-lifetime bid for stardom right here in Israel – cut and release her first CD…provided the family who had employed her for the past six-years would release her from her contract in eldercare. 



The United States Post Office seeks to survive by merging routes and uprooting vintage blue mail drop boxes along the way, but remains solidly behind its unwritten ‘covenant’ with the public that “come rain or snow, sleet nor mail, nothing can stop the mail.”

           Israel’s Communication’s Ministry has no such covenant: It’s considering a different tactic to cut costs and save the Israel Postal Authority which is also floundering from plummeting mail volume: simply delivering snail mail once every two days, even twice a week.



An elderly neighbor finally lost her cool, pricking a ‘cat lady’ (actually he was a male neighbor) four times in the chest with a fork in an altercation over the latter’s habit of feeding an army of stray cats just under her window. Hearing the defendant’s tale of woe – the cats were using her windowsill as a urinal – a sympathetic judge arranged a reduction in the charge sheet from “grievous assault” to a lesser charge, sentencing the fork-wielding neighbor to four months probation although the bench ordered her to fork over a small fine to the  cat lover, as just compensation. 



The Israel Antiquities Authority recently revealed that back in 1993, archeologists uncovered the skeleton of a young 1,600 year-old female who apparently died in childbirth, whose remains showed residue of marijuana – apparently used to speed up the birth as well as ease childbirth, the first physical* evidence that hash was being administered as a medicinal preparation in the ancient Middle East. (see

            And speaking of medicinal pot, a newly-orphaned son found himself in a heap of trouble after he failed to report to authorities that his father had died, continuing to accept packages of medicinal marijuana prescribed for the old man – shipments that continued to be punctually home-delivered by courier for another five months. Strangely enough, out to have it both ways, cops not only charged the Kiryat Shmonah suspect with “fraudulent receipt of goods in grave circumstances”; they also charged him with “possession of a narcotic…not for self-consumption!?”

 * Medical texts going back as far as 1,600 BC cite the use of hemp, cannabis and sativa.



A new neighborhood in Kibbutz Sasa is being named in honor of George Walker Bush, Jr.  

           Weird choice?  Not really.

           The name is apparently tied to the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan, which have been a windfall for the kibbutz’s Plason Sasa (1985) Industries  whose innovative carbon composite technology has been providing ballistic protection for American personnel in tactical vehicles and helicopters in conflict zones. Not only saving countless American lives, sales have also underwriting the kibbutz’s new living quarters.



The absolute monarch of Swaziland Mswati III plans to make a state visit to Israel. Although he is a devote Christian, he as fourteen wives, yet the head of state has agreed to be accompanied by only one member of his harem on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Of course, that doesn’t count the rest of his royal entourage.