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The Jihadi Wave of 2015

a mixed bag of piquant



December 18, 2015 – December 24, 2015


A SPECIAL NOTE TO READERS: This week marked the 100th day of the Jihadi Wave of 2015 which prompted Chelm-on-the-Med Online to being publishing special weekly columns labeled Backpage News from the Front  reserved for short periods of heightened conflict (think ‘Pillar of Defence’, ‘Cast Lead’, and ‘Protective Edge’) – columns that combine the regular quirky aspects of Israeli life (that continue even in the worst of times), and special unbelievable (galling, touching or simply bizarre) aspects of what Israelis dub HaMatzav  (‘The Situation’). We will continue this format into 2016 as long as warranted.


Next week, the 7th Chelm Awards with ‘the best of the lot’ during 2015  - from the Quirkiest Municipality and In the Jaws of the Bureaucracy Awards, to the Only-in-the-IDF Citation and Chelm’s special Honorable Menschen - will be announced a day early:  On Wednesday December 30th.  Don’t miss it!


DECEMBER 2016 Column 4 



All hell broke loose after the Israel Medical Association’s Ethics Board moved to annul its 2013 special triage code in cases of mass causality terror attacks that stipulated wounded victims should take priority over wounded terrorists in such extenuating circumstances. 

            Capitulating to demands from Physicians for Human Rights* to reexamine the special proviso that rests on the Jewish principle of ‘charity begins at home’**,  the IMA’s Ethics Committee announced triage should be based solely on medical judgment – who’s the most wounded, not whether the wounded was a perpetrator or a victim…

            The Committee’s judgment says “it would be unfair to impose on doctors to be judges”…in essence adding a new application of the adage ‘all’s fair in love and war.’ (Israel HaYom) Photo credit: Government Press Office


* yes, the same organization that pilloried Israel two months earlier for brutally trampling on the “right to medical confidentiality” after Palestinian President Abbas accused Israel of 'executing' a teen who had stabbed Israelis, and the Israeli government responded by publishing a photo and a short video of the boy, Ahmed Mansara, in Hadassah Hospital to prove he is alive.  (HaAretz)


** the Talmudic principle, ani’ay eerehcha kodmim lani’ay ir acheret – literally ‘the distressed/stricken in your city take precedence over the distressed of another city”.  



Empty nest syndrome?  Don’t make me laugh!

            Israeli families are incredibly close-knit and ‘seeing the kids twice a year’ is unthinkable – no doubt the driving force behind a new concept for downsizing seniors, advertised* in Yediot:

            Downsizing did we say?! The builders of Hof Kinneret, a rural community of three-room private houses with a garden on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, offer aging residents assisted living with…an attached guest suite for visiting offspring, grandkids and the great grandkids (we should live so long). (Yediot)



Just how much foreign currency in the world is out of circulation, tied up in coinage and small bills left over from holidays abroad, merely sitting in a jar or a zip-lock baggie at the back of a dresser drawer?  Nobody knows.

            Returning from abroad with $3 in change in his pocket, Tomer Zussman had an epiphany: He realized the coins were too few to take to a Currency Exchange but his $3 was just enough to buy one itune…  Returning such small change to circulation could add up to big bucks, It was a no brainer with 4.6 million people flying around the world every day.  

            Travelers Box kiosks are already operating in airports in Israel (as well as Turkey, Italy, Georgia and the Philippines) accepting any amount of loose change and bills deposited, and transferring the value in dollars or Euros to the traveler’s e-wallet of choice, sending a email receipt to the customer…minus a seven percent service charge per transaction. (Yidiot) 


* the proceeds can be transferred to Paypal, Amazon, Skype, itunes or a Starbucks or other affinity debit card account, even the customer’s bank account for unshakable penny pinchers …or earmarked a donation to this or that worthy cause. 



When welfare authorities in Haifa decided to move a mentally and physically frail 82 year-old childless widow to a nursing home, Public Guardianship officials were called in to draw up a careful inventory of the contents of the octogenarian’s flat. Besides the normal flotsam and jetsam of a lifetime, inside a locked clothes wardrobe, inventory-takers found a rare forgotten Torah scroll valued at 100,000 NIS  ($26,315) that the widow knew nothing about!

            Investigators finally unearthed a clue to its origins: a scrap of a document – a tiny note that revealed the Torah had been commissioned by her late husband 35 years earlier in Morocco in memory of his wife’s late grandparents, and the couple planned to donate the Torah scroll to a particular synagogue in Haifa, but for some reason known only to the Almighty, it ended up lost and forgotten in the couple’s wardrobe instead.

            The Public Guardianship transferred the Torah scroll to the designated synagogue. (Israel HaYomPhoto credit:  Israel Guardianship Center)



Imagine being notified by phone - out of the blue - that your bank demands the return of 400,000 NIS ($100,000+) erroneously deposited in your bank account eight (!) years ago, charging you’d failed to notify the bank of the ‘unusual windfall’. You say you don’t know what they’re talking about, but the phone call itself would be unsettling enough to give anyone a heart attack, no?  Well, an Israeli pensioner received just such a call…and suffered a stroke the next morning. 

            Now he’s suing the bank for 640,000 NIS* ($168,421) in damages…adding in his disposition to the court that he no longer has bank statements going back eight years, or any other written evidence to refute the bank’s demands. (Yediot)


* enough to cover the bank’s claim should they file a counter suit and win, with 240,000 NIS left over as consolation.



Ravid Peleg (38) mother of two daughters was trained as an art therapist but in a career change opened group workshops for mother-daughter pairs (at 170-250 NIS or $45-66 ‘tuition’) where she teaches braiding techniques. Forget about simple ‘pigtails’. Hardly for mothers who are ‘all thumbs’ Peleg has built up a portfolio of astoundingly complicated braids – some right off classic Greek statues, others akin to the heroines one finds in Russian novels and one that snakes around the back of the head like a serpent.

            Braiding has nothing to do with hair-styling, it’s all about building relationships and establishing intimacy between mothers and daughters, she declares. (Calcalist)



Remember the story ‘Painting the Town’ back in July 2014 about the freeloader who parked dozens of used cars on the streets of Ramat Chen that he’d bought at an auction, to save the storage fee? 

            He’s not alone: Unknown persons ‘parked’ a 40 foot-long shipping container full of goods in an Ashkelon public parking lot for months, thus avoiding paying for a bonded warehouse. Only when a ‘to whom it may concern’ court order was plastered on the side of the container did it miraculously disappear –  the day before the appointed date when authorities were scheduled to haul it away. (Yediot Darom)