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CHELM-ON-THE-MED©, September 2009 - Column 2


   The area surrounding the parameter of Israel's Dimona atomic reactor is a kind of No Man's Land. But, several scientists from Ben-Gurion University were allowed access to the area a few years ago to survey the state of ‘indigenous residents' in what amounts to a de facto untouched nature preserve.
   They found the presence of the reactor rendered the surrounding area inhabitable to certain creatures, but it's not what you think: Kept off limits to goat herds and the like for some 50 years, the area lacked hoof marks that break the soil's crust, making it inhospitable to critters that like a sandy environment. Although flora was identical to everywhere else, the closed area was found to be crawling (literally and figuratively) with reptiles and small mammals - more than surrounding territory: Snakes and rodents in particular - including four species of gerbils...none with three eyes or six toes, one might add.



   In 1996 in a fit of rage, Yassar Arafat told critics where they could get off, saying Israelis could "go drink the [Mediterranean] sea". It was only a matter of time until an Israeli upstart took up the challenge! Meet Morris Kahn.
   The 82-year-old backer behind two of Israel's first IT entities - Aurec and Amdocs, drilled a 72-meter deep private well in his back yard facing the Med, in order to drink sea water...and irrigate his expansive lawns. The pricy private desalination system Kahn installed can provide 15 cubic meters of fresh water a day - about equal to the 16 cubic meter quota a month permitted individual households in drought-ridden Israel. While drilling fresh water is tightly regulated in Israel, nobody talked about sea water.
   Is the billionaire - a declared environmentalist - pioneering grassroots production of fresh water (to parallel consumer-based power production now augmenting the electric power grid) as he claims? Or is he siphoning off a vital natural asset? Opinions are divided.*

* The Water Commission will test the waters to determine whether Kahn is pumping pure sea water...or saline water in a ‘gray zone' that separates the fresh water aquifer from sea water below.



   Warning: When Asaf Zlig from Bat Yam sought to transfer ownership of his used car to the buyer, he learned that somewhere down the road someone had placed a lien on his assets to cover a 30,000 NIS ($7,500) outstanding debt.
   In what surely must be one of the strangest law suits on record, the party seeking recovery was a municipal hospital in neighboring Holon. Asaf Zlig doesn't deny he's a former patient. It's just that he was only four years-old at the time he was hospitalized.
   The hospital's case rests on a court ruling regarding a 3,000 NIS ($750) unpaid medical bill in a suit that named the toddler an accessory, along with the parent who signed his admittance forms. That was in 1990 when Asaf Zlig - now 26 - was in 1st grade; a year later the hospital's lawyer had even obtained a warrant for the youngster's arrest - never served because the arresting officer chose to take the law into his own hands and retreat empty-handed after the seven-year old ‘offender' answered the door.
   Now, 21 years later, the hospital is still trying to collect.



   Does a contractual employer-employee relationship exist between a prostitute and her procurer? Yes, ruled a district labor court, rejecting the latter's claim that he was only fulfilling an ‘administrative function'.
   The bench ordered the pimp to return part of an Israeli hooker's earnings - some 45,000 NIS ($11,250) in missing wages. Actually, the lady in question claimed he owed her 100,000 NIS ($25,000) in back pay for escort services. The only snag was she couldn't provide billing receipts for the sum she claimed, but the three judges, nevertheless, evened the score: They ordered the pimp - who had already been socked with 11-years in the slammer for white slavery* - to hand-over an additional 50,000 NIS ($12,500) to his former employee in compensation for mental anguish.

* Pimping is illegal, prostitution is not



   When an unidentified person dumped a young dog at the side of the road outside the town of Kiryat Malachi and sped away, Sigal Krupnik pulled over and scooped up the pooch before it was hit by a passing car. The Beer Tuvia Regional Counsel's head veterinarian summoned to the scene of the crime*, grabbed a gun from the trunk of his car. Aiming the gadget - designed to read microchips routinely embedded under the skin as part of the dog licensing procedure - Dr. Vadim Iskovitz squeezed the trigger...
   Bingo! A 16-digit number magically appeared.
   For a split second, it appeared that Iskovitz had the heartless owner's number. Unfortunately, on closer examination, the code bore no resemblance at all to the one used in pet registrations that begins with a series of zeros. Secondly, a thorough head-to-tail inspection showed neither hide nor hair of a tell-tale microchip.
   Turns out that the mysterious readout was the outcome of crossed signals in an era of electronic overload: Barking up the wrong tree, the scanner was doggedly reading the microchip embedded in the remote for Krupnik's car anti-theft system, dangling from her keychain.

* defined as cruelty to animals on the law books

* Copyright© 2009 by Daniella Ashkenazy. All rights reserved worldwide. For limited usage, see FAQs. All stories are completely rewritten by Daniella Ashkenazy from news items gleaned from Yediot Aharonot, unless another news source is stated.