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Do decision-makers actually read the budgets they are called on to approve?  No, judging by the performance of the Bnei Brak City Council. 

           Twenty out of twenty-five council members raised their hands to approve the city’s 980 M NIS ($284 m) budget –  seven pages of which were printed in pure gibberish due to a computer glitch.

           A sharp-eyed member of the opposition (who had gone through the document with a fine-tooth comb, looking for ‘ammunition’) revealed the oversight after the vote in order to embarrass his political opponents, but the city’s legal council ruled that – purely from a legal standpoint, you mind – the vote could stand… The council chose - purely for appearance sake, you mind  - to print out the missing pages and take a re-count, but totally ignored the extra input. 


An Israeli court has approved an appeal to the public to help underwrite a civil law suit…in exchange for a cut in any money awarded by the courts. 

           The ground-breaking decision involves a bankruptcy case of a former tycoon whose court-appointed trustee found that there wasn’t enough money in the kitty to take legal action to recover $50 M in the hands of a London partner of the bankrupt Israeli businessman. So in a rare step, Tel-Aviv judge Eitan Ornstein gave the trustee, attorney Eitan Erez, carte blanche to try and mobilize $1.5 M from the public-at-large to pursue the case, if the tycoons’ creditors declined to cough up the $1.5 M needed to pursue the case in British courts. 

           A new investment channel for risk capital?  Time will tell.



The gender police in Great Britain are lobbying to have half the little green men on stoplights replaced by little green women in the name of gender equality. They are not alone.

           Having solved all the problems of discrimination against women, two women MKs are ‘very concerned’ about gender-bias inherent to the Hebrew language where grammatically (like many other languages*) every word has either a male or female gender. Also in the name of equality, the two have introduced a bill that would require all road signs – and in fact directional signs throughout the public realm from cafes and hotels to parking garages and pools – to be worded in both male and female forms, just like job offers – addressing women drivers as well.

           Will motorists be able to navigate among the multiple slash/commands** that will be required, fast enough to respond in time? 

           Let’s hope so…                                                                             

* For anglo-saxons who think they have more problems keeping the genders straight because English is not gender sensitive, Russian immigrants face a no less confusing problem since gender is often arbitrary – so words in Russian that are feminine may be masculine in Hebrew.

** twice in this sign…



Spartan Jewish hamlets in the heart of Samaria hardly engender visions of posh eateries, but who says only hedonistic urban creatures in Tel-Aviv crave upscale cuisine?  

            Need proof?  Ma’ayan Sha’ar, a settler from Rosh Kodesh – a windswept rocky hilltop hamlet – has been on a roll ever since she began offering take-away Sushi – including home delivery in a region where fine dining opportunities have been dominated by pizza-by-the-slice.

            The idea was hatched when each of Rosh Kodesh’s six families was asked to bring a ‘tried and true’ family recipe to the community’s Chanukah party; Sha’ar – who used to secular – brought kosher sushi. The Japanese delicacies were an instant hit all around. When her neighbour opened a romantic tzimmer (jacuzzi and all the trimmings) to share the hamlet’s spectacular vistas, sushi became a room service staple of her fledgling tourist enterprise.  



Normally college is the place where young people mingle and meet a mate while getting their degrees – the source of the joke about the gal who ‘got her Mrs instead of her Masters.’ 

            No chance of that happening spontaneously at the Ono College’s haredi program, designed to mainstream ultra-orthodox young people into the workforce:  The secular private college schedules male and female students classes in law, business administration, and health services on different days at its Or Yehuda campus, and even instructors are gender-identical to their classes.  

            In an attempt to aid cupid, the college has set up a unique ‘marriage counselling’ service for the one-thousand strong haridi student body. A matchmaker interrogates participants in depth – not only about who they are and what they’re studying, but also how many siblings they have, what their father doesn’t for a living, what stream or sect and rabbinical authority of ultra-orthodoxy they follow, and even what kind of head-covering the bride-to-be plans to adopt as a married woman.*

            One hundred students have already signed up for the college’s unique counselling service.

 * a sign of degrees of religiosity



Justice must be blind, judging by two recent court decisions concerning a farmer from Kfar Tavor up to no good, and an upstanding Tiberias resident without a pot to piss in…

            The farmer received a green light from the National Water Authority allowing him to draw water directly from the Sea of Galilee, but the fellow helped himself to an additional 2.8 M cubic meters of ‘liquid assets’ from the lake between 2005 and 2009 by ‘recycling’ his expired permit.  A Nazareth Magistrate’s Court only gave the offender a slap on the wrist – a 80,000 NIS ($23,188) fine which comes to three agurot (less than one cent) per cube – instead of crucifying the crook.                                                                               

            By contrast, the Tiberias resident out for a stroll along the banks of the Sea of Galilee who was caught red-handed by a municipal inspector peeing on the edge of the lake, was promptly strung up by authorities: The city instantly slapped the pisher with a 320 NIS ($92.75) fine. The Mayor of Tiberias castigated the lawbreaker for good measure, saying “everyone’s waiting for rain, but that’s no way to raise the water level of the Sea of Galilee!” Do the math! In terms of ‘impact on the environment’ that comes to about 225,352 NIS ($64,386) per cubic meter – reason enough to make the offender very very pissed. 

 * at a human average of 1.42 litres of urine a day