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CHELM-ON-THE-MED©, DECEMBER 2014 COLUMN 2
GEVALT! HELP IS ON THE WAY…
Yair Lapid - head of the Yesh Atid ('there's a future') party, a journalist-turned-politician who found himself in charge of the economy after his party won 19 seats in the Knesset* - had to have a professor give him a quickie course in basic economics upon taking office as Minister of Finance, starting with the difference between 'an average' and 'the mean'…then went about ignoring professional advice to run the economy 'by the seat of his pants.'
With elections set for March 17th 2015, Lapid declared in a lengthy press conference that Bibi Natanyahu would not be the next PM because “Natanyahu was out of touch” with the average Israeli – a charge that sounded eerily like a case of 'the pot calling the kettle black': Wasn't it the wealthy-but-green Minister of Finance who whined that no couple could be expected to live on 20,000 NIS a month**…the 9th income percentile and more than four-and-a-half times the minimum wage?
Far more scary, sounding about as qualified as Caligula's horse, Lapid declared with typical aplomb that he considers himself now experienced enough to fill the bill…
* expected to drop to half that in the next elections
** see The 20,000 NIS Question April 2013
UP IN SMOKE
When police found the largest marijuana field ever uncovered in Israel, lacking storage facilities for such a haul (1.6 metric tons of the weed) the law decided to burn the lot – except for three kilogram which was saved as evidence.
Evidence did we say?
The prime suspect’s lawyers told the court there is no evidence whatsoever that there was 1.6 tons in the first place. The law stipulates clearly that the suspects’ lawyers must have an opportunity to ‘weigh the evidence’ (literally) and affirm or contest the findings of the police, he said.
So go prove to the court that there were 730 pots of pot and 34 sacks filled with grass seized in the police raid.
* The 53 year-old resident of Rishon le-Zion with a green thumb who leased the one-dunam (a quarter of an acre) plot from a Kfar Yona farmer said he wanted to grow ‘lettuce.’ He didn’t say what kind of lettuce…
KEEP YOUR SEATS!
MK Tzipi Livni no doubt sets a world record for switching parties, changing her allegiances four times in eleven years – giving a new twist to the term ‘independent variable.’
The nimble former Mossad agent started off as a die-in-the-wool Lekudnik, jumped on the Kadima bandwagon when it seemed expedient, then founding HaTenuah when it was not, and now when polls show her party is scheduled to implode on March 17th Livni has dumped HaTenuah to take up opposition leader Buzi Herzog’s puzzling offer of a sure seat in the Knesset as Number 2 on Labor’s slate…but not before demanding she replace Herzog mid-term as Prime Minister (!) if the wimpish Labor leader forms the next government.
When the marriage of an Israeli career diplomat serving in Africa went on the rocks, the consul resigned and asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send the couple’s household good back to Israel.
After their personal effects were packed up by an international carrier and before each could open a new chapter in their lives, the pair – perhaps in the throes of a unique form of ‘empty nest syndrome’ – patched up their relationship and decided to cancel the separation. The consul asked to withdraw his resignation and the request was approved.
End of story? And they lived happily every after?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, apparently unmoved by the happy ending, sent the reconciled couple a telegram demanding 27,000 NIS ($7,105) - the cost of packing up their personal effects and then returning the boxes to their house - the damage* of a repaired relationship.
* The diplomat asked Jerusalem to reconsider, arguing the cost of sending a replacement would have been higher, had they indeed parted ways.
The Mateh Asher Regional Council in the Western Galilee found an innovated way to cut costs maintaining its public beaches ‘off season’: The Council order the gate to the popular Achziv beach closed, allegedly “to combat vandalism” but winked to protesters from the green NGO Adam Teva veDin that anyone could access the beach through holes in the fence…or by swimming-in from the seaside.
PEOPLE OF THE BOOK
The Knesset library has a one-of-a-kind collection – a library of ‘in-House authors’: 1,600 works which constitute 90 percent of the books penned by 312 members of the Israeli parliament – past and present. MKs have written and published books in no less than 11 languages – including Yiddish* and Japanese, not just Hebrew English, French, German, and Spanish.
The collection is the initiative of Minister-MK Uri Orbach from the Jewish Home party (who himself authored no less than 26 children’s books) together with the Former MK’s Forum (there is such an ‘Old Boys Club’). The most prolific author of all times is David Ben-Gurion z”l who wrote 39 books (not to be confused with the 40 books written about B.G. by others). Topics range from politics and religion, to novels, plays, and poetry…and even one cookbook (on Hungarian cuisine cooked-up by former Minister of Finance Yair Lapid’s father, the late MK Tommy Lapid z”l).
“There isn’t a parliament in the world where a full third (!) of its members wrote books,” declared chief librarian Gila Eldar, proudly.
* a work by Yitzhak Ben-Zvi published in 1918.
NEW PEACE INDEX
A November-December 2014 survey by pollster Dr. Nabil Kukali from the Palestine Center for Public Opinion found Palestinians follow an Alice-in-Wonderland ‘off with their heads’ logic: In the wake of the summer war, 57.9 percent “believe firing missiles [at Israeli citizens] is a good idea”; 83.3 percent favor going to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to pillory Israel for daring to react to such a patent war crime. (PCPO)