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NOTE TO READERS: The Chelm Project is publishing this special unscheduled column of Backpage News from the Front in light of the situation, as a contribution to national morale. Additional special columns of Backpage News from the Front will be published as warranted.


In the meantime, in the absence of an IDF-generated campaign name (hopefully not another one like ‘Protective Edge’ that sounds like an ad campaign for a new Gillette razor), Chelm readers are invited to write-in and suggest an apt name for the battle at hand.


a mixed bag of piquant



October 1- October 15, 2015



In a rash of knifing attacks, an Arab woman from Nazareth who tried to stab a soldier in the Afula central bus station was surrounded by half a dozen Border Police with weapons drawn yelling ‘drop the knife!’  But focus on the incident moved lickity-split from the attacker to the soldiers who neutralized the terrorist, after a short video shot by a bystander caught a junior member of the patrol (who turned out to be a raw recruit) aiming at the terrorist with her short Galil assault rifle…while still tightly holding on to a half-eaten popsicle… ( and

* Hebrew for popsicle



A soon-to-be divorcee claims his soon-to-be ex-wife had broken the law when she planted a bug in one of the floppy ears of their daughter’s rabbit-shaped smichi (security blanket), then used the recordings from when the toddler was in her father’s custody to gather incriminating conversations the mother subsequently used as leverage in their Family Court proceedings.

            A cop investigating the ‘illegal wire tapping’ complaint shook his head labelling the tactic ‘a new one’ in his 17 years on the force, yet whether the underhanded tactic actually broke the law remains to be seen. (Yediot)

* And the ‘neighbors’? Assuming all’s fair in love and war, a Palestinian family was found to be ’storing’ four ammo clips inside their toddler’s teddy bear. (Israel HaYom) Anotherexemplar (Hebrew slang for ‘a piece of work’) boarded a Jerusalem bus armed with…an infant (and a butcher knife in a sock which he stashed under his seat). (Yediot)



Looking for a lucrative occupation to make money literally hand over fist? Become a translator… but not just any translator: Become a certified translator into sign language, a service underwritten by Israel’s National Insurance Institute – Bituach Leumi, under Israel’s accessibly laws…provided the entitled can find a translator. There are only 250 translators in Israel who know how to sign

            The going rate is 250 NIS ($65.80) an hour at big gatherings, 85-110 NIS ($22.37 - 29) at university lectures and 150 NIS ($39.50) at private gatherings, but that’s for Hebrew signing. Those who can sign in other languages in high demand such as Arabic, Russian and Amharic will really have their hands full, especially if they live on the periphery. 

            Bar-Ilan University offers a two year course, but before graduates get certified they must complete 560-hours of hands-on experience. (Yediot)



Hannan Abu Hussein’s new exhibition, crowned by a conceptual installation – a ceiling covered with an assortment of realistic knives pointing downward (all cast in concrete but very life-like, daring visitors to walk under them) just opened at the Barbour Gallery in Jerusalem.

            The timing might be exceedingly sticky to say the least, but - no, the topic has nothing to do with current events…nor is it inflammatory by any measure: The exhibition by the Bezalel graduate born in Um el-Fahem - entitled Herut l’Rega (Momentary Freedom) - is devoted to excoriating ‘honor killings’* in Arab society. (Calcalist)

* a potential ‘death sentence’ hanging over many Muslim women’s heads, where male members of a family murder their own spouses or daughters for behavior – real or imagined, that ‘shames their family’ that can range from wearing jeans to adulterous conduct.



As a precautionary measure, supermarket chains in Israel have taken knives off the shelves in the kitchenware department.

            “What’s the wisdom of checking* clients at the door to our branches* when they enter, when they can equip themselves with a knife inside the chain,” explained the head of the Rami Levi discount chain. (Yediot)

* security guards who open purses or ‘wand’ shoppers, a practice that began in 2000 to foil suicide bombers.



Fire fighters responding to a 3 AM call for assistance to free two injured passengers trapped in a car on Route 4 in the Sharon after a collision with another vehicle, found themselves ‘high and dry’ after a smashed customer walked out of a nearby pub, and discovering the keys still in the ignition took off with their fire truck, siren sounding.*

            The 20 year-old drunk driver barrelled down the highway lights flashing and siren blasting with a squad car in hot pursuit, dodging a number of roadblocks in the process, before being cornered in the environs of Hadera. (Israel HaYom)

* Admit it, now who hasn’t secretly daydreamed of doing something like this!



How should Israelis cope with anxiety?

            During the 1991 Gulf War, IDF spokesperson Nachman Shai suggested Israelis take a deep breath and drink a glass of water after each salvo of rockets from Iraq. In response to the current wave of terrorist attacks, Yediot devoted a full page article to suggesting calm could be restored – at lease internal calm – by downing a hefty portion of mashed potatoes, offering readers a gourmet chef's killer* recipe for this energizing comfort food. (Yediot)

* including 250 grams (more than 8 oz.) of butter and up to 2 cups of milk or olive oil for a kilo of boiled potatoes…



Although eligibility to buy firearms has been relaxed (lowering required reserve officer status, from captain to second lieutenant), run-of-the-mill Israeli citizens are resorting to all sorts of alternative protective measures* when out and about - registered in the growing popularity of ‘walking sticks’ (as Arik Einstein’s 1969 pop hit ‘Abraham and Sara’ declares - ‘If the Creator desires, even a broomstick can shoot’). And, there’s a sudden interest among Israelis to take up American baseball…or at least baseball bats.

            One plucky middle-aged Jerusalem matron was captured by a photojournalist sitting on a public bus with a wooden rolling pin poking out of her handbag. (Yediot)  

* one assailant attacking a pedestrian with a knife was clobbered on the head by a gutsy local merchant armed with an umbrella.