GLEANED FROM ISRAEL’S HEBREW MEDIA

January 21 – January 27, 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.

SHOW & TELL

Just a week ago Chelm-on-the-Med was happy to report that knife-proof apparel is on the way…but not so fast!  It’s ‘back to the drawing board’:

A day after the article appeared, the manufacturer sought to debut one of their products on  Channel One TV’s main news roundup – Mabat.  VP Yaniv Montakyo invited reporter Itam Lachover to don their new product on camera in the showroom and demonstrate its effectiveness by stabbing the reporter in the back…except the paper-thin protective slab in the prototype slipped out of place just before the fourth stab…

Lachover was taken to the hospital by the VP to stitch-up a superficial knife wound. Ironically, Montakyo had told Lachover in jest, prior to the live demonstration with the vest: “I’m the guarantor. If something happens I’ll take care of you.”  (Channel One – Mabat)

* How are the Swedes preparing to combat terrorism with the local national terrorism threat index a four out of five – the highest ever?? I swear, I’m not making this up: The Swedish government is underwriting Muslim migrants training as sharpshooters as part of their absorption budget. (Rotter)

DIPLOMATIC INCIDENT

Dave Pilkey’s Captain Underpants demolished the taboo surrounding the word ‘underpants’ revealing that nasty secret that everyone wears undies — even the school principal.  But there are knickers and there are knickers… Thus, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was gravely embarrassed to find a former senior diplomat, Dorit Goldner *(66), was serving as a presenter of some very very sexy designer lingerie for women.

Goldner — who served as ambassador to Moscow since 2009 and was only replaced in November 2015 by a career diplomat, was starring in a monthly advertorial on the Jack Kuba website in Russian under the heading “Dorit Goldner — Female Attraction Brings Countries Closer Together.”

Goldner labelled the Ministry’s reaction “petty” asking tartly: “What, the former ambassador doesn’t wear panties?!” (Yediot)

* Latvia-born Goldner was director of foreign news broadcasts for immigrants at Voice of Israel radio before her appointment. Brushing aside criticism that she had no diplomatic experience for such an important post, Goldner had retorted in 2009 – ‘I’ll learn’.  Apparently she’s still learning.

IN COMMEMORATION

There are countless events in Israel — marathons and hikes, performing arts, and a host of public-spirited organizations and events established to memorialize this or that beloved individual, but the President of the State of Israel has set a precedent by hosting an ‘Adopt-a-Dog’ event* to be held at the President’s Residence in memory of Stefan, President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin’s dog who was run over by a car ten years ago and is still sorely missed. (Yediot)

* organized by Let Animals Live (Ten L’Chaiyot l’Chiyot, in Hebrew) as one of the events marking its 30th anniversary.

GETTING THE HANG OF IT

When Lior Reitblatt retired* from his post as director-general of Superpharm — Israel’s largest drugstore chain (182 branches) after 28 years at the firm — 23 of them at the helm, he recalled one of the most significant milestones (or in this case, perhaps millstones would be more appropriate) in his career — when an employee he fired told him with typical Israeli frankness in an exit interview “You never said ‘shalom’ to me when you walked by me, as if I was transparent.  Do you hate me?!”

Shrug it off a la ‘Chainsaw Al’?

No, Reitblatt was floored…in fact, deplored.

For six years he hung a picture of the employee in his office – as a reminder.  “He looked at me every morning,” said Reitblatt. (Yediot)

* Too young to retire, what does the 58 year-old former CEO plan to do now? He said he “hopes to find he has something in him beyond being ‘a Suit’” … Like what? Reitblatt set off by holding a costume ball retirement party where he chose to show up in a tiger suit.

He told Yediot in an exit interview that he’s always had a fantasy to design…“weird apparel” and is registering a patent for his concept with plans to launch a new global fashion line.

UNCONVENTIONAL WEAPON

Days after the 15 year-old who murdered Dafna Meir z”l  in cold blood told interrogators he was prompted by incitement against Jews for “executing knife-wielding Palestinian teens” aired on Palestinian televisions, the head of the IDF Spokesperson for Arabic media Section Major Avichay Adraee sprang into action, posting a killer response to counter such incitement: a ‘Be Like Bill’ stick-figure meme* in Arabic on the IDF’s Arabic facebook page saying – “This is Bilal**.  Bilal bought a knife.  Bilal doesn’t kill people with the knife.  Bilal bought the knife for his father the cook.  Bilal isn’t a terrorist.  Bilal is smart.  Be like Bilal.” (Yediot)

* If you’re not familiar with this craze, check out the profile in English in the Washington Post HERE.

** a popular name among Muslims – the name of the Prophet’s muezzin.

SHADY BUSINESS

Tel Aviv is the first municipality in Israel to require contractors to provide a percentage of shade in unbuilt areas of every project. What percent shade?  City elders didn’t say, but Attorney Doron Sapir deputy-mayor and head of the municipal building commission said right now 90 percent of the public benches in Tel Aviv are exposed to the sun and bus shelters don’t take into account orientation to the sun. The directive will not only provide protection from the sun but also lower temperatures throughout the city, he claimed.

The former director of the Israel Museum, Dr. Martin Weil, charges “the importance of shade isn’t part of the architecture curriculum.” The designer of Habima Square Dani Karavan was purported to have shot back, in the face of criticism*: “They commissioned from me a plaza, not shade!” (Calcalist)

* a comment sparked by Weil’s doco at the Design Museum in Holon, entitled Tzel Achshav (Shade – Now!) that demonstrates how pedestrians cross the sun-drenched Habima Square during the hot hours of the day – nobody stays not even pauses – underscoring the failure to take the Israeli sun into account.

TRAPPED!

Yehuda Avshaom and his daughter went out on the balcony of their former flat after inspecting the sorry state of the premises.  Luckily the apartment was on the first floor of the 130 year-old building on Agron Street in Jerusalem where they had lived until 2011. As they gazed at the street below, the floor of the tiny balcony gave way like a trap door, sending the two into a five-meter free fall to the pavement below.  Despite the age difference, the daughter broke a number of bones and is in moderate condition in the hospital. Yehuda – age 74 – came out unscathed.

‘Once a paratrooper, always a paratrooper,’ he told Rafi Reshef on Channel 10 TV news: “It’s like learning to ride a bike.  When we dropped, instinctively I bent my knees for impact and went into a roll as soon as I hit the ground,” said the IDF veteran who had fought in the 1967 Six Day War at Ammunition Hill. (Yediot, 5 O’clock with Rafi Reshef – Channel 10)

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