May 2016 Column 1

GLEANED FROM ISRAEL’S HEBREW MEDIA

April 21 – May 4, 2016

by Daniella Ashkenazy

ABOUT THIS COLUMN: “Backpage News from the Front” is a series of weekly special reports ‘for the duration’ of  the Jihadi Wave of 2015/6 (for lack of a better name) that combines the regular odd and only-in-Israel Chelm-like-but-true news stories ‘hiding’ in the Hebrew media that are normally reported by this author twice-monthly in columns entitled “Chelm-on-the-Med Online” – antics that Israelis continue to do even in the worst of times, and piquant aspects of heightened conflict – from the galling, to the touching, to the downright bizarre.

 

MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

OK, there are plenty of bizarre ways human beings act out their sex fantasies, but Palestinians clearly deserve a category of their own: Interrogation of several young females who embarked on terrorist attacks fully expecting to be killed in the process, reveals to what lengths some boy crazy young Palestinian girls are willing to go to bag a real catch.

It seems not only hormone-ravaged young male martyrs believe they will be awarded with 72 virgins in heaven. A number of  equally-crazed teenage girls were all almost-fatally infatuated with 19 year-old Fadi Alloun, a Palestinian ‘poster boy’ – lionized in wall posters (for stabbing a 15 year-old Jewish boy in October 2015).  The schoolgirls told their interrogators they wanted to die as Muslim martyrs for attacking Jews in order “to be united in Heaven” with the devastatingly attractive young man who from the looks of it, could have made a dashing career as a male fashion model.  (Yediot) 

THE ODD COUPLE

Lea Saban isn’t the first person to take her horse into her house* but she may be the first to do so in a rental house…or was, I should say.

Saban, who rode horses since she was six, was seriously injured in 2001 in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem when she was 18.  In the course of her rehabilitation, ten years ago Saban developed a special relationship with Haner (‘Candle’) – or ’Neni’ as she calls him, an injured horse. She bought Neni and rented space in a stable – for years seeking someone daft enough to agree to rent a house to her and her 450 kilogram (1000 pound) roommate, until she found one…in moshav Bnei Zion.

Saban bought three more horses, built a stable and established a therapeutic riding studio in the back yard. Now – three years down the road – the landlord who indeed agreed to rent his rental house in Bnei Zion to the odd couple (i.e. in this case, the tall tale about the horse who walks in the front door and opens the frig is no joke…) – has asked his tenants to vacate.** Saban is looking for new digs with an understanding landlord who will rent her a small house – lock, stock and water barrel.

Ideas?  She can be reached at 050-4433674 or leaneranch@gmail.com. (Yediot) 

* see for example this German horse who lives with its owner…or the American woman who actually housebroke a sickly foal she nursed back to health that subsequently ‘took over her life’. (She wrote a book about it.)

** At some point, the Reshet tv franchise’s program Ba L’chadesh l’chem (‘Coming to Renew ) did a free 12-hour instant makeover of Lea and Ner’s house in Bnei Zion to accommodate a horse.

DAY TRIPPERS, YEAH

After three weeks of Passover vacation, the National Student Council decided to call a one-day strike of 350,000 high school juniors and seniors to protest drawn-out Teachers’ Union sanctions that there would be no class trips ‘til the disagreement between the teachers and the Ministry of Education over liability during teacher-led activities outside the classroom was satisfactorily resolved.

The hardnosed chair of the Teachers’ Union Raz Erez charged the Ministry had put the students up to it, adding fuel to the fire by snidely claiming: “We’re talking about Generation Y that trips are the only thing that’s important to them!”

The National Student Council shot back Erez was totally out of touch: “We’re Generation Z!”…extending the warning strike for a second day.  (Israel HaYom)

COLD CALLING

When Dr. Pierre Smadja heard a patient in the General Surgery ward at Beilenson Medical Center calling for help, he immediately responded – springing to the patient’s bedside, where the intensive care specialist immediately took charge from two nurses on the floor. Even when the on-duty physician (whom he told them to call) arrived on the run, the house surgeon preferred that Dr. Smadja resuscitate the woman who had been choking and close to death’s door.

The thing is, Dr. Smadja wasn’t a visitor. It was 1:OO AM – well past visiting hours. Smadja was a post-op patient from the adjoining room…who jumped out of bed in his hospital pjs to respond to the call-of-duty.  (Israel HaYom)

* While the 60 year-old physician (who wasn’t a member of the department but is a familiar face on Beilinson’s staff) was discharged the next day, he continued to get updates on ‘his patient’ from home.

SHABBAT IN ISRAEL

Just when you thought you could finally get your head around the complex relationship between religion and state in Israel*…here’s another anomaly: A bill*   introduced in the Knesset will finally allow secular Jews to refuse to work on the Sabbath – not just religious Jews…

Fifty-six members of Knesset – religious and secular, Left and Right – voted in favor of the bill with only two against.  As the bill’s sponsor MK Aliza Lavi (Lapid – Yesh Atid) declared: “The place of the Shabbat in Israeli perceptions is broader than religion.” In fact, even arch-secularists don’t want to give up the special ambiance of Friday afternoon and Saturday mornings in Israel – even in Tel Aviv, as shops close, most cafes empty out and traffic thins.*

Up until now, only religiously-observant Jews had protection under the Work and Rest Hours Law (1951).  It only recognized “religious reasons’ as grounds for refusing to work on Saturday… Employers had the right to demand Jewish employees sign a declaration that they kept kosher and don’t ride on the Sabbath, to be exempted…forcing non-observant Jewish sales clerks either to lie through their teeth or to grit their teeth and work on the Sabbath against their will…albeit, at a minimum of time-and-a-half on Saturday, which is also mandated under Israeli law.

Complicated?  You bet! (Yediot) 

* The Law seeks to deal with certain shopping complex in industrial areas and on the outskirts of the cities that open on Saturdays – such as the the 200 store Bilu complex outside Rechovot, where municipalities turn a blind eye and stores shrug-off minor fines for engaging in ‘illegal commerce’ on the Sabbath as part of their operating costs.

GRATUITIES ISRAEL STYLE

For those who didn’t host the seder, the biggest headache at Passover time was finding the right gift to bring one’s host as a token of appreciation.

A bottle of wine? Flowers?  This is Israel:

Far from ‘token’, Israelis on the average invest 300 NIS ($79) in such Passover gifts, not counting the time and energy finding something that ‘feels right.’ But considering a third of the hosts traipse to the store during Passover week to exchange such gifts for something they’d really like, it’s not surprising 77 percent of the respondents in a pre-holiday BuyMe survey said, to be frank, they’d have preferred a gift card from appreciative guests.

Now you know, for next year. (Israel HaYom) 

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