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CHELM-ON-THE-MED©, December 2015 Column 1



The Jihadi Wave of 2015

a mixed bag of piquant



November 27, 2015 – December 3, 2015

December 2015 Column 1


A freak shift in wind patterns dumped 92 mm (3.6”) of rain on Ashkelon in the course of 30 minutes and 118 mm (4.6”) in the course of five hours. The downpour not only temporarily turning the town into a modern-day Venice*; despite its southern location and proximity to the Negev, Ashkelon broke a country-wide record for cloudbursts.

             Of course neighboring Ashdod didn’t fair much better: A section of Ashdod was walloped by golf ball-size hail that plummeted 1,709  brand-new cars (including pricy Mercedes) just off-loaded in Ashdod port and parked like sitting ducks in an open lot waiting to be ferried to local branches.

            Dealerships across the country said they would invite each owner to Ashdod to inspect their damaged car to decide whether they would settle for a discount based on the drop in value after the dents were repaired, or whether the new owner preferred to wait impatiently for a replacement car to arrive. (Yediot)  


* One sharp-tongued journalist entitled his report from Ashkelon - ‘Suddenly a river runs through it’…



A sure sign Hanukah is just around the corner (Sunday evening!): Israeli pastry shops vie to producer the most ridiculous or fanciful sufganiya (jelly doughnut) concoction hoping to attract media coverage.

            This year’s ‘winner’ is undoubtedly the ‘Druze doughnut’ offered by the Shany bakery and café chain - filled with techina and date syrup (instead of the traditional strawberry jam) and topped with a curly crunchy traditional Middle Eastern oriental pastry topping of thin kadaif noodle threads saturated with honey. (Israel HaYom)



 Who really runs the Israeli President’s Residence?

         A stray cat (and her family) who took up residence well before the Rivlins moved in. 

         Attempts by the President’s wife Nechama Rivlin to ‘discourage’ the intruder by sprinkling pepper about the garden failed to even faze the pussycat* who acts like she owns the joint, lounging on the red carpet whenever its rolled out for visiting dignitaries and loitering under the tables during gatherings in the garden (perhaps expecting a surreptitious handout from the staff who view the stray and her family as a permanent fixture).

            The “presidential cat” was photographed and posted by Ruvi Rivlin on his personal Facebook account quote “waiting for [Secretary of State] John Kerry.” Was Rivlin suggesting something catty in the subtext??? (Yediot)


* Robert A. Heinlein once wrote - “Never try to outstubborn a cat…”



The show must go on, the only question is…when: 

            When Gesher Theatre actress Fira  Kantor  went to visit her parents on Shabbat in Kiryat Gat, she unexpectedly got stuck behind a road block while security forces ‘locked down’ the town until they could collar a terrorist who had stabbed five people on the street and was hiding ‘somewhere in the vicinity’ – all this at 6:30 PM,  two and a half hours before curtain time for S. Ansky’s The Dybbuk.

            Loyal theatre patrons – informed of the circumstances and the whereabouts of the missing actress - patiently and patriotically waiting an hour and a half in their seats – ‘til 10 PM – for Kantor to arrive. (Israel HaYom)



Zichron Yaakov elders have taken the concept of intergenerational living* one step further by locating a new municipal kindergarten and nursery school in an assisted living facility now under construction in the town.

            Designed to change traditional points of interaction between the young and the old, seniors will serve as one-on-one mentors for the preschoolers while also participating in activities like storytelling time, and even sharing meals together.**

            The mayor announced the grandkids of regular residents will get preferential treatment (protextzia, in Hebrew) in registration.

            Of course, those kids who don’t get in can turn to ‘granny4rent’ – the free Israeli matchmaking platform that latches up unemployed/retired persons over 50 and overextended working parents. (Yediot)


* for example, a ‘youth wing’ in a nursing home in Raanana.  See the 2012 story “Something Old – Something New


**  Was this an elegant ‘local solution’ to the acute shortage of nursery school assistants in Israel? See Head Start.



In Israel, kids study Bible as part of their history. What was the assignment in a Bible Studies class at Tel-Aviv’s Ironi Alef (PS 1) middle school/high school…homework designed to make the curriculum ‘relevant’?

            Parents complained that after studying the story of Rahav the prostitute (Joshua 2:1), the teacher sent her students to go ‘collect’ business cards for sex services  scattered on sidewalks in Tel Aviv  like falling leaves, (i.e. an advertising ploy ‘imported’ from Thailand).

            The school clarified the idea was the students’ – collect samples and employ the cards to protest such sleazy practices.* The teacher was only going along with her students, but the administration would consult with the school supervisor. (Israel HaYom)  


* There are been several protest demonstrations in Tel Aviv calling on city officials (and the police) to eliminate the blight; as HaAretz noted: It’s a no-brainer: the litterers have left their telephone numbers on the cards!



 In the wake of the Paris attack, more than one commentator – both Jews and gentiles - has labeled Jews the ‘canaries in the mine’ in regard to the danger of radical Islam, but Israel HaYom columnist Dan Margalit chose to quote a medieval Jewish sage who stated hundreds of years ago: Mi’sheba poranut l’olam ain margish ba tchilah eleh Yaakov (When calamity appears, no one feels it at first except Yaakov [i.e. the People of Israel]).

            France has “extended emergency status for another three months? Brussels grappled with terrorists on the loose with empty streets, paralyzed public transport, and closed schools, restaurants and entertainment halls?

To prevail, Europeans will not only have to adopt Israeli politically incorrect security protocols - reflected in a cartoon by Uri Fink that showed Liberte Egalite and Fraternite being ‘wanded’ by Securité… Sustainability and resilience hinges on Europeans embracing the time-tested Israeli mindset epitomized by the oxymoron sigrat chirum – literally ‘following routine in a state of emergency’* that every Israeli is familiar with. (Israel HaYom)Photo credit: Uri Fink, The Israel Cartoon Project


* This includes what some have labelled a ‘they tried to kill us, let’s eat’ mentality reflected not only in Jewish holidays.  It underlies the actions of a group of Jerusalemites who declared an eatifada on Facebook in response to the Palestinians’ so-called ‘intifada’ – defiantly going out despite the Situation.