Stephen Horenstein
Music, Arts and Society

Today’s News!

JICM News.  (S. Horenstein, chief editor). It can now be confirmed that Jerusalem resident Joe Blowstein has stubbed his toe. Because of his myopic vision, he failed to see the litter in the road, and he tripped. He has illusions of suing the authorities, but is in too much pain to move.  Toe stubbing is underestimated in the Middle East.  The awesome and terrifying re-occurrence of stubbed toes is on the rise. Even though the municipalities are cleaning the streets, people seem to be dazed from information overload, or focusing on their huge bank minuses, hence leading everyone to chronically stub their toes. The Prime Minister has issued an ordinance to the Ministry of Health, that anyone having more than two stubbed toes in one month, is NOT entitled compensation from the Health Funds, no matter what enhanced health plan they are on.  In case of war (highly unlikely), the Prime Minister has announced that this new restriction will be lifted, as it is known that soldiers, as well as other important sectors of our defense establishment, must work in the night time hours without light, and if THEY should stub their toes in inordinate fashion, surely they will be compensated.  (Meanwhile local citizens’ rights groups have shown outrage at such new items; they claim that the government’s reactions are a smokescreen from other pressing and urgent issues).   In other news, the following items have yet to be fully confirmed:

  • The United States is pulling its forces out of Syria;
  • Bibi’s pending indictments are serious;
  • Current economic ills of most of the population are steadily growing, (aside from 2% of the population; in any case they rule)
  •  The deflated percentages going to our people from the lucrative gas finds and recent pipeline plans are being described as “outrageous” by citizens rights groups. Authorities say such reduced percentages are not true. However, according to the rights groups, it is common knowledge that in most countries with new natural resource discoveries, residents benefit from 60 to 80% of profits. Authorities have refuted this assumption and have called the claim “absolutely ridiculous”. They have added that the current 5%-10% (unfortunately taxable) which has been set aside for the population, is the fairest to all parties.

Other breaking news items via the official government press office:

  • Pollution is on the down rise
  • People are acting kinder to each others
  • There has been a marked reduction of poverty in our outlying communities
  • More and more, Israeli drivers have been seen getting out of their cars and embracing each other, rather than screaming and cursing for the right of way, or beeping inordinately to get their way.
  • The recent Yellow Vest protests for economic improvement have been subdued by promising honey for all protesters. This is surely good news for all of us!
  • The mystic charms of Safed are clouded by residents’ fears that after decades of complaints, the miclatim (bomb shelters) are still flooded.  Local authorities have responded, “yihiyeh b’seder‘ (“everything will be all right!”).

One final item. Our “true scoop” news bureau is currently investigating new information regarding the 2003 devaluation of Histadrut pension funds (now called Miftahim “Vatikim”), including all funds of teachers working in public schools. This action, in the name of sound economics, left hundreds of thousands of workers, perhaps more, with 30% to 70% reduction of their retirement funds. Many loyal workers who are NOW retiring are facing dire poverty.  Their pensions are a pittance of what was originally promised. The original agreement to implement such a pension devaluation was “orchestrated” by then Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then Histadrut Chairman Amir Peretz. With the current focus of authorities around special deals (whether numbered case 1000, 2000 or 4000), there is new renewed interest in the “grand-daddy of them all”, this gross pension devaluation.  More on this breaking news later!

About the Author
Stephen Horenstein is a composer, researcher and educator. His repertoire of musical works has been performed and recorded worldwide. He has been a recipient of the Israel Prime Minister's Prize for Composers and the National Endowment of the Arts (USA). His teaching has included Bennington College, Brandeis University, Tel Aviv University, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance; residencies at Stanford University, York University, California Institute of the Arts, and others. He is Founder and Director of the Jerusalem Institute of Contemporary Music, established in 1988 to bring the music of our time to a wider audience.
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