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CHELM-ON-THE-MED©, MARCH 2015 COLUMN 1
IT’S PURIM’S, FOLKS!
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“Give me lucky generals,” Napoleon is purported to have said, aware that leadership and planning and prowess in battle only go so far.
As his first act, the newly sworn-in 21st IDF Chief-of-Staff Lieutenant-General Gadi Eizenkot* went to the Western Wall to say the Prayer for the Wellbeing of the State of Israel and to put a note in the cracks for a little bit more leverage than lady luck.
And what was the last act of outgoing Chief-of-Staff Benny Gantz? On the way to his last day at work as Chief-of-Staff after 37 years in uniform, Gantz spontaneously told his driver to pull over and stop several blocks from General Headquarters, and jumped out of the vehicle to give an elderly woman sitting on a plastic chair at an intersection in the rain collecting alms a 200 NIS ($50) bill.** (Yediot)
* who despite his European-sounding name is of Moroccan parentage
** caught in the act by a passing pedestrian, Simor Louzon, who snapped a photo and posted it on his Facebook page.
Not only is there some confusion vis-à-vis Labor leader MK Yitzhak (‘Bujee’) Herzog’s running mate MK Tzipi Livni. (Livni is supposed to rotate-in as PM after two years, if the Zionist Camp heads the next government, but she has almost completely disappeared from public view in recent weeks.* At the same time, it appears Bujee Herzog has a double!
Channel 10 discovered the Zionist Camp’s campaign in the Arab sector is being conducted by a guy also named Yitzhak (‘Bujee’) Herzog who heads a ticket called in Arabic “The Labor Party for Peace and Equality” which isn’t even listed on the ballot… (Israel HaYom, Channel 10)
* After campaign managers discovered Livni was no winner - more a liability than a draw. Why was she a ‘turn-off’ for voters? See the December 2014 item ‘Keep Your Seats”.
** While the “Z word” may deter Arab voters, a rival candidate from the Bayit HaYehudi (Jewish House) party filed a ‘complaint’ with the Elections Commissioner Salim Jubran charging the name Zionist Camp “misleads the electorate” citing anti-Zionist declarations of some of its candidates (for example, #4 who branded the national anthem Hatikva “racist” and #9 who ‘urged mothers not to send their kids to the army’).
SPECIAL NEEDS POPULATIONS
Israel already has laws that prohibit cutting the tails or ears of animals on ‘aesthetic grounds’ and mandate sick leave and three days ‘maturity leave’ and work breaks once every three hours for working animals. Working an animal less than three years of age is also against the law.
Not about the leave things to the ‘cat ladies’ who put out food and water for stray alley cats, just before the government fell and the Knesset adjourned, Labor MK Yechiel (‘Helik’) Bar (now #7 on the Zionist Camp list), stretched Israeli accessibility laws by introducing a private bill that will require local municipalities to establish “accessible and clean drinking fountains” during the summer for stray cats and dogs in their jurisdictions.
The bill gained the support of parliamentarians across the house - from Meretz to Shas to Israel Beitenu, and is sure to be passed into law after the elections. (Yediot)
Veteran Dan bus driver Rachamim Yisraelov made an unscheduled stop on his regular route from Bat Yam to Tel Aviv on a #10 Bus. Out of the blue, with nary a bus stop in sight, the driver abandoned the wheel and jumped out of the bus to accost a passing pedestrian heading for his car, and embraced the perfect stranger.
Well, not exactly a stranger. Yisraelov had recognized out of the corner of his eye Professor Avi Rivkind, the head of the Shock Trauma Unit at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.
“You saved my sister’s life!” declared Yisraelov, flinging his arms around the surgeon with typical Israeli spontaneity. Without another word, the bus driver released Rivkind from his grasp, climbed back into the driver’s seat, released the emergency brake and continued his scheduled run…accompanied by a round of applause from passengers, witness to the impulsive gesture. (Yediot)
GOING THE EXTRA 6,000 MILES
American army veteran Brian Mast lost both his legs when serving his country in Afghanistan, but that didn’t stop the former sapper from giving a hand to Israel.
Mast - who is not Jewish and hails from Florida - first encountered Israel bashers on campus at Harvard University where he is studying economics and business administration. Watching anti-Israel demonstrations during the summer 2014 Protective Edge campaign, he felt he had to speak up.
Write a Facebook post? Send a Tweet? Not this 34 year-old vet!
The former staff sergeant volunteered to spend several weeks in Israel with Sar-el* - braving a cold winter front while leaving a very pregnant wife and two kids on the home front – explaining he was more than willing “to fill sandbags or stir the soup” to demonstrate he stands with Israel and rejects revisionist rhetoric that casts Israel as a villain and the aggressor. (Yediot, Channel 20)
* a program for civilian volunteers (many of them retirees)who spend several weeks in Israel in uniform on an IDF base helping out, demonstrating their upport of Israelwith borrowed boots on the ground.
In the days before air conditioning, every Israeli apartment came with a standard 12 sq. meter* porch as a ‘must.’ But in the 1990s balconies fell from popularity as Israelis sought bigger living rooms – made at the expense of the once-iconic porch, oft eliminating them altogether.
Sure enough, just like ceiling fans are back in style, so are porches…and the bigger the better! In the seaside city of Ashkelon the smaller the apartment, the more room dedicated to the porch: Some balconies in one new housing project are a full third the size of the entire apartment – for example, 100 sq. meter apartments being advertised boast a 30 sq. meter porch and even a small 85 sq meter flat sports a 20 sq. meter one. (Yediot Darom)
* 12 sq. meters = 129 sq. feet
It was an only-in-Israel moment when 18 year-old Shani Winter arrived at the induction center to be drafted into the IDF. Shani wasn’t accompanied by her mother Anat Rosen-Winter; she lost her mother when she was an infant – in a suicide bombing at the Apropo café in Tel Aviv on Purim 1997. Yes, her father Miki and her four grandparents were there for this rite of passage, but so was someone else: Tziona Bushari was there in uniform to accompany Shani.
The photo in Yediot of the policewoman carrying the wounded 6 month-old Shani in her clown costume from the scene remained etched on the collective memory of Israelis. Tziona, it turns out, followed Shani’s growth through phone calls and visits all these years.
“You can relax. You’re a very special girl and I know you’ll succeed in the army. I know what you’re going through today when everyone’s here with their moms,” said Bushari, “but you should know that every place you go, I’ll be there for you.” (Yediot)