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Rishon le-Zion resident Uzi Elias z”l decided to celebrate his 46th birthday by taking his horse Iysha out for a trot, despite the fact that his birthday fell at the height of the two-month Protective Edge campaign – which broke out exactly one year ago. Multiple missile salvos targeting Tel Aviv (marked by sirens, then ‘booms’ overhead as incoming rockets were intercepted) spooked his horse. Thrown from the saddle, Uzi Elias died of head injuries after the horse reared, stumbled and fell on him. Now Elias’ widow is demanding her late husband be recognized as a war casualty.

            Did National Insurance say he was looking for trouble, perhaps contributing to his own death? Alas, no. Authorities argued “unfortunate accidents sometimes take place when people ride horses, without any linkage to the firing of missiles on that day” and threw the claimant case out the window, leaving the issue of causality, contributing factors and ‘who is a war casualty’ for a court of law to sort out. (Yediot)



When El-Al decided, in the name of elegance, that its female flight attendants would be required to wear high heels as long as they were on duty and still on the ground, all hell broke loose.

            Draw up a petition? The employees also did that, but in a unique protest, male flight attendants in a show of solidarity warned management that if they insisted on implementing the directive, the men would also show up for work in high heels, making El-Al the laughing stock of the airline industry. 

            Angry employees also replaced the El-Al logo on the El-Al Flight Attendants’ Facebook page with a creative ‘thumbs down’. El-Al’s attorney jumped in to add fuel to the fire; taking through his hat, the advocate argued that “the demand for high heels is no different than the demand that a chauffer wear a hat”… (Yediot, Globes Economic Daily)



Trust Israelis to make fast food faster…

            McDonald’s-Israel has launched a no-hassle cell phone application developed in Israel that allows fast food lovers to place their order and pay - all by cell phone, then pick up their order at the branch of their choice without having to stand in line.

            The chain promised that even if the application is a roaring success they won’t cut back on the number of cashiers taking orders behind the counter.(Yediot)



Apparently unfazed by inflated real estate prices in Tel-Aviv, some well-padded French olim have ‘taken over’ a pricy* 18-storey high-rise on the edge of the Med, still under construction, snatching-up 53 of the 55 flats in the building. What makes the condo special isn’t just the homogeneous origins of future residents.

            France is only a hop skip and away, and a group of 53 well-padded French immigrants intend to enjoy the best of both worlds… The families plan to live in the apartments, enjoying all the rights of new immigrants, while most of their heads of household will be keeping their lucrative jobs or businesses going in France by commuting to Paris Monday through Thursday, coming home to Tel Aviv for weekends. (Yediot, De Marker, HaAretz)   

* According to a two year-old article in Ha’aretz a tiny 68-square meter two-room apartment went on the market in 2013 for 2.7 M NIS (almost $730,000).



In preparation for summer, instead of publishing a public tender to pick concessioners to run the city’s beaches, the Ashdod Municipality took 200,000 NIS ($50,000) out of the kitty and invested it as ‘venture capital’ in a unique public-spirited social start-up: City Hall purchased plastic chairs and beach umbrellas, and handed the inventory over to a group of Ashdod teenagers – including special needs kids, who are now renting out the chairs and umbrellas to bathers, hawking ice cream and popsicles on the side* to enhance their revenues.

            The Municipality announced that if by the end of the summer the kids don’t make enough income to reach minimum wage for their long hours at the beach, City Hall will make up the difference. (Yediot)   

* Thanks to a freezer chest also donated by city elders.




They say, ‘if you have lemons, make lemonade.’ And what if you have cucumbers? Farmers from moshav Achitov – a community that’s Israel’s largest cucumber-producer, growing 80 percent of the country’s cuc crop in state-of-the-art hothouses that literally blanket* the entire moshav - combined forces with the upscale ice cream chain Dr. Lek (‘Dr. Lick’) to jack up cucumber consumption by concocting a gourmet Cucumber Sorbet, now being sold at Lek concessions for the princely sum of 14 NIS ($3.70) a scoop. (Yediot)

* This aerial photo is truly mindboggling!



Israelis are congenital entrepreneurs when it comes to embracing new technologies and using them in innovative ways, but one grassroots ‘application’ of What’s App has been shot down by the IDF. According to the annual report of the Soldiers’ Complaints Commissioner (yes, there is such a function*) commanding officers were sending orders to their subordinates via What’s App groups.

            Like what?

            “Junior officers are ordering around soldiers through messages.  For example: ‘MORNING ASSEMBLY IN ANOTHER HALF HOUR’ sent to soldiers instead of face-to-face,” revealed Commissioner Major-General (res.) Yitzhak Brick in his report, branding the development “grave.” (Yediot)

* An official ombudsman where even privates can lodge complaints against superiors if they feel they’ve been wrongly dealt a raw deal or someone in authority has overstepped or misused their powers.



Veteran Chelm readers are familiar with the outrageous salaries* and ridiculous perks** extorted by longshoremen…you know, the dockworkers who load and unload ships in harbors when they damn well feel like it…

            Well, as part of a massive reform, the Israel Ports Authority announced it was hiring 30 new stevedores. With 40 percent of the port workers related to one another, in a move to combat cronyism and nepotism, the public tender stipulated that the candidates could not be a relative of a current port worker.

            No less than 5,000 hopefuls sent in their applications…including lawyers and accountants. There were 2,300 CVs belonging to people who had applied in the past with no luck – one from an optimistic bloke who submitted his credentials for a cushy job at the Ashdod port no less than 59 times! (Yediot)          

* grossing 8-11,000 NIS ($2,105-2,8947) the first year (including premiums and overtime),17,000 ($4,474) after two years, and 30-40,000 NIS ($7,895-10,526) among those with a decade or more seniority under their belt…

**  including a monthly ‘steak allowance’ - porter steak, no doubt.  See the July 2011 story Sinta Clause