June 2016 Column 2

GLEANED FROM ISRAEL’S HEBREW MEDIA

June 1 – 8, 2016

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.

MISTAKEN IDENTITY

The terrorist attack at the Max Brenner café in Sarona in the heart of Tel Aviv by two Palestinian cousins dressed up in suits and ties* left Tal Hadad afraid to walk the streets…and he wasn’t even close by — at least not that night.

Somehow a photo of the recently demobilized IDF vet and a friend who were indeed ‘dressed to kill’ — taken when the two friends visited Sarona a year ago – ended up illustrating a breaking news bulletin about the attack in which a Fatah source identified the perpetrators. The photo spread like wildfire to all live television coverage, online news sites, and the social media.

Hadad said the picture of himself and his unidentified buddy — in expensive suits with all the fashion accessories hamming it up in what looks like a dressing room, with the price tags still visible — was taken when the two guys were still in the army and had gone to try-on some of the pricey fancy duds sold in one of the high-end fashion stores in Sarona. (Ynet)

* Some witnesses said the terrorists ‘looked like a pair of lawyers’ but the Palestinian bartender at Max Brenner said he immediately tagged the two as coming from Palestinian territory by the cut of their jackets…yet the two didn’t set off any alarm bells when they sat down and ordered cappuccino and brownies. (Yediot)

BACKPAGE NEWS FROM THE FRONT

A crowd of 200,000 persons attended Tel Aviv’s annual Gay Pride parade, including the British ambassador to Israel and his partner. Not all the participants were members of ‘the kehilah’ (the GLBT community): Take several dozen straight IDF veterans from an artillery reserve unit who joined their gay commander First Lieutenant (res.) Omer Nahmany (26) as a sign of solidarity…a move led by Nahmany’s own commanding office. The brigade commander Lieutenant Colonel (res.) Itam Berger (36) who told the press he was only following the IDF tradition of ‘leading from the front’. (Yediot)

* Israel has openly-gay lesbian and transgender officers. The first step taken by the newly-minted Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman was to declare the partners of GLBT soldiers killed in action would receive equal rights identical to bereaved kin of straight couples.

VENDING MACHINES WITH A ‘RETURN POLICY’

Shavuot is just around the corner (Saturday night) — marked by a orgy of milk-based dishes, from blintzes to cheesecake, a rather strange practice considering 75 percent of Jews are lactose intolerant to one degree or another, according to HaAretz

Here’s another sign Israel is a ‘land flowing with milk and honey’ (or at least flooded by milk and milk products): automated vending machines are being installed in train stations, selling milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and gvinah lvanah,* with prices set identical to the food chains.

After the consumer swipes their card, they can finger the merchandise and check the expiration date with the option to put items back on the shelf. Their credit card is only charged after they close the door to the refrigerated glass display case. (Israel HaYom)

* soft white spreading cheese that has no resemblance to farmer’s cheese.

FACELIFT

Residents of an apartment building on Rechov Charov 26 in Haifa chose to take advantage of changes in the building code called TMA 38 that encourages shoring-up old building against earthquakes by allowing flat owners to have a contractor do the reinforcement and renovate existing apartments ‘for free’…in exchange for the right to add additional floors to the existing structure and sell the new flats on the open market.

Only after the plan was approved by the local building commission did the owners realize that the elevator for the walk-up had been placed by the contractor on an exterior wall to the rear instead of in the stairwell — with the lift going right into the bedrooms of veteran tenants… (Calcalist)

  1. EVEREST OR BUST

Is there anywhere where Chabad envoys haven’t planted their flag? Apparently not.

“The Lubavitcher rebbe instructed us to print the Tanya (i.e., the ‘bible’ of Hassidism) in every place where there are Jews,”   says Chabadnik Meir Elfassy (30) — a roving emissary for Chabad and  photographer. He chose to climb Mt. Everest to do just that.

What’s amazing is not only that Elfassy convinced operators of a number of upper base camps to allow him to plug in a printer* he’d brought with him (shlepped together with the paper by Sherpa porters) to fulfill the mitzvah; Elfassy made it to the upper base camp wearing traditional garb of an ultra-Orthodox Jew without any thermal apparel (“so the Jews would recognize me”), walking 18 hours a day for two weeks, subsisting only on tuna and matzah, since it was Passover.

Lord knows what’s next. Alfasi has already published the Tenya in Antarctica… (Israel HaYom)

* fed solely on fickle solar energy which hinges on the weather…

FORGET-ME-NOT

Need proof that falling into a routine can carry serious risks?

A guy walks into a Tiberias convenience store with a mask and a toy gun, hands the cashier a note saying ‘This is a stickup. Bring the money’ and walks out with 2,320 NIS ($627) in cash. The next week, the same masked bandit walks into the same supermarket, hands the cashier the same note ‘This is a stickup. Bring the money’ and walks out with everything in the till.

Easy as taking candy from a baby?  Not so fast!

In the second case the two-bit crook conveniently left the note on the counter next to the cash register…which had been written on the back side of a pharmacy prescription written by his doctor, with the patient’s name, gender, age, and date of birth clearly spelled out at the top…* (Yediot)

* A similar ‘slip up’ in 2010, this time a prescription slip left at a flat in Tel Aviv by the burglar …was reported by Maariv in 2010.

 

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