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CHELM-ON-THE-MED©, June 2010 - Column 1



   Ask any airline: unaccompanied minors require special handling. But try shipping unaccompanied pets as cargo. Now that's a real challenge.
   It requires expert logistics and fine orchestration - including knowledge of airline policies, local health and quarantine ordinances and customs regulations, as well as input on climatic conditions and reliable transporters.
   That's where Terminal4Pets comes in - an Israeli company that specializes in sending pets all over the world. All kind of animals. And all kinds of services - including in-flight pet diapers and ‘airport companions' who accompany pets on conveyer belts from check-in to cargo hold and cargo hold to baggage claim - leaving owners anxiety-free to enjoy the duty free.
   Memorable clients? Well, there's a 50-year-old immigrant who took her 10 dogs and 10 cats on holiday to her native Luxemburg, to visit her mother who has 30 dogs and cats of her own. The cost? NIS 100,000 ($27,000). Another landmark case was orchestrating accommodation for two mice to be flown to Singapore for special training - to the tune of NIS 60,000 ($16,216).


   When Tali Philoskov first arrived in Arad in 1990 as a 27-year-old immigrant from Moldavia with two small children, she was hired as a chambermaid at a Dead Sea hotel. But after three days of making beds and changing towels, the Russian psychology grad made management: put in charge of all the hotel's maintenance staff (who were all Russian immigrants who didn't speak a word of Hebrew). Philoskov* came to Israel speaking Russian and fluent Hebrew. At the time, she'd quipped to her father that, "at the rate things are going, I'll end up mayor..."
   Today, in retrospect, the wisecrack almost sounds ‘prophetic.'
   Philoskov was just elected mayor of Arad in a landslide victory. The ex-chambermaid took seven other candidates to the cleaners by grabbing almost half the popular vote, with her closest competitor - a veteran Likudnik - left trailing in the dust with a mere 16.5 percent.

* For years, a senior bank employee in the Arad branch of Bank Leumi although she began as a lowly teller.



   An elementary school outing to the Elah Valley where David slew Goliath, led to an archeological discovery missed by the experts. The location: a well-trodden archeological site, tel Shuka - also called Givat Haturmusim because of the bright purple Lupine flowers that cover the hillside - a plant that the Talmud cites as a ‘food of the poor.'
   Although tel Shuka had been sifted through by archeologists umpteen times, in fact, it was an eight-year-old kid who stumbled upon the rare groundbreaking artifact just ‘sitting there' on the ground. Eitan Rozentzweig picked up a stone that had caught his attention, dusted it off for closer inspection and showed it to the guide. The ‘rock' turned out to be a small 3,500-year-old kiln-fired Canaanite fertility charm.
   The find led the Antiquities Authority to ‘age' the ancient tel considerably: Based on artifacts found at the site, archeologists thought the site dated back to biblical times. The charm kicked its origins all the way back to the late Bronze Era.
   Finders keepers?
   Nope, the Antiquities Authority took possession of the rare relic, but they gave the budding amateur archeologist (whose granddaddy is an archeology buff) a grand tour of the Rockefeller Museum and a nice letter of commendation in exchange. Hoping Eitan Rozentzweig leads a charmed life, archeologists invited the second-grader to spend next summer working on a dig in the hope maybe he'll luck-out again.



   Everyone knows that male Muslim suicide bombers expect 70 virgins will be awaiting them in heaven. But what about female Muslim suicide bombers?
   Criminologist Dr. Anat Berko ventured into virgin territory seeking some answers from women who had been apprehended in one piece after failing to blow themselves up due to technical glitches or second thoughts.
   Berko discovered that a portion of the participants were sure that in heaven a shahida* could ‘have her cake and eat it too': they would be ‘perpetual virgins' - their virginity reinstated every time they had sex... a truly immaculate conception.

*A female shahid or Muslim martyr

* Berko noted that the Muslim heavenly delights are openly sensuous - ranging from alcohol to unbridled sex.


   A reckless 44-year-old driver with 63 citations, including running red lights and other serious moving violations, whose license was pulled for 18 months, may be back behind the wheel "due to professional needs." And with a truly bizarre caveat.
   The fellow failed a psychiatric evaluation (required before he could get his license renewed). Branded irresponsible" because he refused to "own up" to once having "driven under the influence", the applicant demanded (and received) the right to a second opinion, A psychological evaluation found him to be "narcissistic, arrogant and flippant, with a problem respecting the law." But because the driver was the director general of a firm with 100 employees, the psychologists recommended he be given a second chance... with provisos. Ministry of Health officials in Jerusalem ruled in favor - provided the motorist limit his driving to the Dan Region (the Tel Aviv metropolitan area)...
   Should we issue a Code Orange for the Big Orange and its suburbs? Not yet. There's still one formidable barrier: Israel's much-feared* Motor Vehicle Bureau* where the applicant must undergo a driving test.

* See "Suits Them Right" in the April 2010, Column 1 for more.


* Copyright© 2010 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.