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Category: Smile (page 4 of 14)

Fun stuff, politically incorrect humor and silliness in Israel, the Middle East and the world around us on OneJerusalm.com

How Much for a Get-Out-of-Nuclear-Iran-Free Card?

Gush Dan, the most heavily populated section of Israel encompassing Tel Aviv, Herzeliya, Givatayim, Ramat Gan, Rehovot, Bnei Brak, Kiryat Ono, Holon, and a litany of other municipalities sectioned at the whim of some cartographer with either a very shaky pen or very creative gerrymandering aspirations, stands at an estimated 3 million people. It may suddenly occur to you that this represents half of the Jewish State’s entire Jewish population.

The thought of a first strike by a nuclear Iran there…it’s best not to contemplate. And not contemplating it is how the country functions, because you can’t get up and go to work every day with the thought of a nuclear weapon whispering in the breeze. It’s just not that great for sales. But somebody’s got to deal with the problem. That kind of thing is left up to politicians, and some interesting stuff was reported today on that front.

Apparently, a deal is starting to be worked out between Israel and Western leaders concerning international support for a first strike on Iran. This, in return for certain concessions to the Arab world. At first, this sounds pretty good. Israel gets to ensure the existence of the 3 million sitting ducks from a possible nuclear attack on Gush Dan, and everyone promises not to yell at her.

Is it just me, or does something smell funny? The question is, what does international support mean? Will the Western leaders sit at their desks, pump their arms and go “Woot Woot!” as Israeli F16i’s cut through the skies and destroy the nuclear facility at Natanz, risking their lives in the process? I’d like to ask top military strategists about their assessments of the strategic value of “Woot Woot!”.

Iraq bombedLet’s go back in time 28 years to 1981 for a second and think together here. Israel, completely on its own initiative and totally lacking the backing of the wooting West, decided that her life was more important than international support, and bombed Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor in Operation Opera. Not only was Western support lacking, but Osirak was actually sanctioned, designed, and built by Western powers in the first place, lock stock and barrel. Here’s a photo to remind us.

The young strapping lad in the mustache would be Saddam Hussein, and the guy in the glasses? Here’s a superimposed hint. It is of course the young, strapping Jacques Chirac, former president of France.

Now fast forward another 10 years to 1991 and the first Gulf War. Conveniently for the United States, Iraq was lacking nuclear weapons. If he had had them at the time, world history would have developed slightly differently. It turns out, then, that Israel wasn’t only saving itself 28 years ago. It was saving the Western powers, too.

Now back to the present. Essentially, Israel is being told that if she wants Gush Dan and its 3 million inhabitants, she’ll have to do what the West says. Now imagine if that happened in 1981 and Osirak was never destroyed. It could just be that, by making demands on Israel, Europe is endangering its own safety.

It’s hard to say what concessions to the Arab World Israel would have to make for some international cheering. But whatever they are, are they so important that Europe is willing to compromise its own security? Woot woot…

A Decade Later – Will Lieberman Finally Face the Music?

For such a young country that has sprung up out of the desert as a regional powerhouse in a matter of decades, Israel sure takes its sweet time when it comes to investigations and legal action against its leaders. An ongoing probe into Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that started back when I was in middle school (I’m now 25 and married) is now, finally, coming to a close. Lieberman is suspected of funneling millions of dollars through Cyprus for some good old-fashioned money laundering purposes.

We all have to ask ourselves what, indeed, went on these past 10 years that it took an entire decade to figure out what was going on? The answer, as far as I can tell, is lots of coffee breaks and paid sick days, with some coalition government deals helping the sloth along a bit.

The way coalition government deals work here is, let’s say a government controls 65 seats out of a 120-seat parliament. Now let’s say a big Russian guy named, oh, Avigdor Lieberman to pick a randomly preselected name out of a hat, heads a 15-seat faction in that government. If he leaves, then the government falls, which the Prime Minister doesn’t really want, because that would mean he doesn’t get to be Prime Minister anymore, which would make him sad. So Avigdor says something like, “Hey, Bibi, would you mind making sure the police take plenty of coffee breaks and paid sick days so I don’t get indicted for money laundering? That would be really convenient. I mean, I wouldn’t want to *cough* leave the *cough* government or anything.”

Oh, I don’t have a recording of this conversation or anything, but I’m willing to bet that coughing was involved in some way or another. It usually is in these government setups.

Weimar RepublicAnd most people don’t even know this, but the system of government on which the functionality of the Israeli Knesset is based is, actually, the Weimar Republic of post World War I Germany (flag on right) which quickly fell and led to the rise of the Third Reich. This is an encouraging statistic for those of us who like uneasy excitement in the world. For those of us who suffer from ulcers, it’s a different story.

As reported by Ynetnews, Dr. Aviad HaCohen of Sha’arei Mishpat Academic College was quoted as saying on the case that:

“Although this is complicated and intricate, there is no justification for spreading this over such a long period of time.” In a fit of understatement, he continued, “This is not just causing a delay of justice for Lieberman, but also casting a heavy shadow over the Israeli government.”

It’s hard to say if shadows can indeed be cast in the dark, with the glorious history of the Weimar Republic hanging over your head already.

And what happens if, at the close of the decade, by some sudden lack of a coffee break, Lieberman actually does get indicted? Given that Netanyahu’s coalition consists of no less than 6 parties, you’ve got the equivalent of a pack of hungry wolves converging on the steak that is his position as foreign minister. Given the fact that Lieberman can barely speak English, there are probably some more qualified people that may lay claim to the post, and make some new threats of their own about government stability for the 31st Israeli government in 61 years of statehood.

I’d recommend, for now, that the government take a daily intake of fiber to keep it regular, but I’m not sure that will *cough* work.

Ku Klux Klan Fugitive Seeks Refuge in Israel

Louis Mayon in IsraelMaybe its the heat in Israel. As strange as it may seem, it’s often been said that the best place for people involved in hate crimes against Jews to hide out in a Jewish country like Israel. This notion turned into reality on Monday when a high profile member of the American racist organization. The Ku Klux Klan, has discovered to be hiding out in a south Tel Aviv apartment. The person, Mickey Louis Mayon (33) was arrested in Tel Aviv’s Bohemian Florentine district, and area considered to be gaining in popularity by young single people. Mayon, is on the American FBI’s most wanted list of 100 wanted criminals, and has been involved in a number of racist inspired crimes, including physical violence against racial minorities, setting fire of federal agent vehicles, and other serious crimes.

Mayon’s whereabouts was discovered after investigative work by the newly formed “Oz” immigration police unit, had received information that Mayon might have come to Israel on a one-way ticket in 2007 to escape arrest in America for a number of crimes including illegal use of firearms (he fired his gun in the air as a “warning”). The Oz unit had received information from Interpol that Mayon might be hiding out in Israel, but he had managed to evade apprehension by moving several times to other addresses.

Speculation as to why Mayon chose Tel Aviv Israel as a “city of refuge” ranges from his possible admiration of Israel Defense Forces, possible connections with local Neo-Nazi groups who were shown recently on TV as being involved in beatings of foreign workers and other people; or, just deciding on his own that Israel would be the best place to hide out in, in light of his personal background (who would look for a KKK member and fugitive in a place like Israel?).

Mayon was taken to a police lockup for illegal immigrants in Holon until a decision is made concerning deporting him back to the US, where authorities there would like to have a word with him. As a post script to this bizarre tale, perhaps Mayon was interested in opening a Klan chapter here in Israel. After all, it is rumored that they changed their by-laws a few years back to allow Jews to become Klan members – if any so desire. He might have thought that Israel is “fertile ground” for establishing the Klan here, in light of all the adverse feelings between Jews and Arabs – especially Palestinians.

MENTAL NOTE: Following this story I think someone should offer special discounted KLAN TOURS TO ISRAEL, tours for Klan members who really want to visit Israel but were too ashamed to ask. Who knew Israel was such an attraction or we could have offered this a long time ago…

Supreme Court decides: Running someone over and leaving them for dead IS a crime

Judge Moshe DroriImagine that upon exiting a Jerusalem supermarket parking lot under video surveillance, somebody has the audacity to charge you. The supermarket clerk actually comes up to your car and asks for the money you refused to pay. So you can do one of two things. You can either pay and get on with your life, or you can leave without paying. Apparently—and I just today discovered this — there’s a third option, and it’s pretty original: You can hit the clerk with your car and drive off.

Judge Edmond LeviKeep in mind that this is all recorded. The man in question, a Yeshiva student and the son of the chief Rabbi of a major Israeli city, was let off by circuit court judge Moshe Drori (on the right) last September with community service and a 10,000 NIS fine without being convicted. This, due to the fact that a conviction would ruin his chances of being appointed a rabbinical court judge.

Now, far be it from me to impose my own personal value of not running people over with cars on the rabbinical court system, but I guess I’m just a far-be-it-from-me kind of guy, and I really feel like imposing my value in this case. And apparently I’m not alone, because today, Israel Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy (on the left), while theatrically pounding his fist on the table, imposed that value as well, and the Yeshiva student was convicted in an appeal yesterday.

Noga ZoraishThe rabbinical court system in Israel has often been accused, among other things, of misogyny, being completely out of touch with mainstream Israeli society, and judging converts by ultra strict Hareidi standards (for example, requiring a female potential convert to change her profession from policewoman to something that wouldn’t require her to wear pants). It’s too bad that these strict standards don’t apply to their judges and include forbidding running people over with your car because you don’t want to pay a bill.

Shas chairman Eli Yishai, in the traditional manner of Hareidi-pulling-for-Hareidi, put it this way in his letter to Drori last year requesting leniency:

“If a recommendation for non-conviction carries weight, then this is the time and place. Even now,” Yishai wrote of the accused, “he serves as a spiritual leader and an address for all those in need.”

Except, of course, for Noga Zoraish, the woman he ran over with his car.

Bernie Madoff To Be Released in 2159

Bernie Madoff New YorkPonzi scheme artist and former NASDAQ head Bernie Madoff was sentenced Monday, June 29 to 150 years in prison for his role in defrauding thousands of people out of more than $65 billion during a more than 20 year period. The 72 year former Wall Street guru, had a sort of ironic look on his face, according to witnesses, as he was led into the NYC Federal Courthouse at 7 a.m. local time. So much public interest had resulted in a special barrier set up in front of the building, most likely to keep many of Madoff’s victims from having a go at him after he bilked many of them of their life’s savings. One small woman, who watched him go by, said he had taken all she had and that she planned to write a book about it. “I have lost everything”, the small blond woman said.

Those inside the courtroom said that Madoff seemed to even display an ironic smile as the sentence was read off to him by a female Federal Judge. Madoff’s attorney, in possibly a last ditched effort to receive some clemency for his client, told the court that Madoff’s wife “spent her own money to provide security for her husband while he was awaiting trial. That remark resulted in a momentary burst of laughter from the packed courtroom, due to its irony.

As Madoff was led away, most likely never to leave the prison where he will be confined, many people gave comments like: “it wasn’t enough – the money is still gone – my money is gone!”

Later on, Madoff’s wife Ruth finally broke the silence she had imposed on herself by issuing a statement in that she was not indifferent to what her husband did, and that “not a day goes by that my does not ache over stories I have read of people who lost so much”. That doesn’t appear to go far enough to placate her husband’s victims, many of whom are now virtually destitute as a result of Madoff’s actions. This also includes a number of high profile non-profit foundations, some of whom will have to close their doors due to lack of funds. Ruth Madoff was allowed to keep a sum of around 2.5 million dollars, in a cooperation agreement her husband made with Federal authorities. That amount may later be challenged, however, due to a number of further claims against the former financier.

Putting Madoff away forever isn’t going to bring back most of the money he stole, and lucky claimants may see a 5% return on their original investment. It might have been a better punishment for Madoff (and perhaps his entire family, including two sons and a daughter) to have literally stripped them of all assets, reducing them to the lowest level of penury. Seeing the former ponzi wheeler-dealer residing in a homeless shelter (if one might be found that was willing to accommodate him) might have been a better fate than sending him off to a federal prison where he will be fed, clothed, and attended to medically at the taxpayers’ expense.

Ganavim Get Sentenced: Hirschson & Benizri To Do Time

“We have to clean and sweep not under but over the carpet”, says retired Supreme Court Judge Miriam Ben-Porat on the decisions that sent Hirschson and Benizri into incarceration. Former Tel Aviv District Attorney objects: The punishment for the former Treasury Minister is too lenient, and does not get the message across.

Avraham Hirschson - 5 + Years In The Big HouseIn one day, two former Israeli government ministers are being sent to jail: Avraham Hirschson was handed down a sentence of five years and five months. Shlomo Benizri received a harsher sentence of 4 years in prison. In a conversation with Ynet, legislators fighting against corruption approve of the sentence, but there are some who claim that it should have been stiffer. Former State Comptroller, retired Supreme Court Judge Miriam Ben-Porat wonders: “Who knows how many more Hirschsons there are?

Ben Porat expressed satisfaction with the legal decisions:

“It’s good that punishment is meted out and we show that everyone is equal. Someone with a senior position should have to pay even more. Hirschson was trusted with Treasury funds and engaged in transactions for the entire country. He should have been purer than pure. It is unfortunate, he gave at least an outward impression of a man who cares, who fights for Holocaust survivors”.

She states that corruption “should be cleaned and swept – not under but over the carpet, and that’s what we’re doing now. It is difficult to know how many did not receive the punishments they deserve, because you can only conduct legal proceedings when there is evidence. Just bringing someone to trial is already a deterrent. There is still a great deal of work to be done, but matters are being dealt with as they should – with the necessary severity – and I welcome that, states Ben-Porat.

Judge Bracha Ofir-Tom referred at length to the corruption issues in Hirschson’s verdict and expressed surprise that “the same image of a good man and benefactor could turn into the image of someone who steals public funds together with his subordinates to support “the good life” he and they have become accustomed to as a lifestyle. Was it just drunken power that changed the accused’s view of the the world? Or was it unlimited greed combined with the atmosphere of neglect that took over the organization whose actions no one any longer oversaw?”

At the comptroller’s office it is said that “today the Court clearly expressed the importance of the struggle against public corruption. The comptroller’s office, which has been spearheading the Hirschson scandal from its very first stages, will continue in the struggle against public corruption, and for morality in the country, not excluding those at the top of the pyramid and including all enforcement officials. The comptroller’s office has proclaimed its views more than once, that only a process of proper investigation, followed by legal trial and severe punishment – all immediately following commitment of the crime – will help to cleanse society from the corruption that has affected it.

Retired judge Dalia Dorner is satisfied by “the appropriate legal rulings”, and believes that “they deserve retribution, not in terms of revenge, but in terms of public denunciation of acts of this kind. Fraud and theft have been with us from biblical times, but when it involves public figures, the punishment should be severe. Denunciation is most important and therefore you must take into account that a light punishment may suggest that the crime wasn’t really that bad. God help us if we broadcast that kind of message”.

In the Hirschson case, prosecution demanded a sentence of at least 7 years incarceration for the Treasury minister, who was convicted of stealing milllions, but the judge ruled a lesser sentence. The State has not yet announced whether or not it will appeal. However, then senior prosecutor in the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s office, Adv. Miriam Rosenthal, claims that that are good reasons for this: “He did not express his regret, and the difference between his sentence and the others’ is too slight,” she stated to Ynet.

“The District Court gave heavy consideration to Hirschonson’s personal circumstances,” Rosenthal added. “The punishment is fairly lenient, particularly when the other defendants, who confessed in a plea bargaining and did not waste the Court’s time – and did not spend the funds as Hirschson did, received sentences of up to five years. An extra six months is a light addition.”

When he harshened Ben Izri’s sentence, one of the Supreme Court Judges, Edmond Levy, wrote: “The rising corruption among Israeli governing authorities necessitates the action of setting a higher price…to cope with this affliction and to deter others. Words of admonishment are no longer enough. It’s time to take action.”

Adv. Rosenthal agrees that the punishment in the Ben Izri case is meant to deter – as punishments up to now have not been sufficent. “Ben Izri is not a victim,” she stresses. Despite this, there wasn’t enough in Hirschson’s conviction to get a message across.

And what’s next? Rosenthal sees a link between the two cases only in their involving two public figures who have transgressed – because their crimes are different. Ben Izri accepted a bribe; Hirschson stole. “In my opinion, the prosecution will not link these two cases. If they appeal, it will be due to the comparison between those charged and convicted in a plea bargaining and a man who was convicted after he denied the charges and went through with a trial”.

Corruption Case Against Olmert Heating Up

No sooner had former Kadima government finance minister Avraham Hirschson been sentenced to 5 years and 5 months for theft of public funds (among other things) and former Shas Party Health, Labor and Welfare minister Shlomo Benizri lost his bribery appeal (and got sentenced for more than twice the original period of 18 months), millionaire investor Morris Talansky was back in Israel to testify in the continuing investigations against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is facing a number of charges, including being accused of taking more than $300,000 that Talansky was said to have contributed to Olmert’s mayoral campaign in Jerusalem.

talanskyOlmert’s legal problems are a bit different now than they were when Talanasky last appeared in Israel to answer questions concerning the monies he gave to the former prime minister; especially since Olmert is now a private citizen, and as such no longer has the immunity he had as Prime Minister. Talansky himself is under investigation in the USA under suspicion that he illegally transferred large sums of money to Israel under the guise of the money being “contributions”. Besides the noted sum that Talansky is said to have “contributed” to Olmert’s mayoral campaign, there is also the matter of a sum of $150,000 that he is said to have given to Olmert over a period o f years, and used by Olmert for his own personal benefit, including upgrading hotel rooms during trips abroad.

Talansky is under suspicion by American authorities of using his relationship with Olmert to transfer funds illegally to Israel. He noted to reporters that he had been warned against returning to Israel, but felt that he needed to set the record straight. One of the big questions concerning Talansky’s relationship with Olmert was whether Olmert obtained the funds under false pretenses, and whether part of it had been considered to be a bribe. For his part, Talansky only agreed to return to Israel to testify after an agreement had been reached with both Israeli and American authorities in order that his testimony would not incriminate him by returning to Israel.

With two of his former ministers already going “up river” will the former prime minister also be heading in that same direction? Or is he clever enough to find a way out with only a slight “slap on the wrist”. Corruption seems to be becoming more commonplace among government officials and politicians these days, and even former P.M. Ariel Sharon might have had so face similar counts (that led to his son Omri serving a short prison term for miss-use of campaign funds) had Sharon not suffered a severe stroke in January 2006 that has left him comatose and totally incapacitated.

Hirschson Going to the Big House

The State has demanded at least 7 years incarceration for the former Finance Minister Avraham Hirschson. Prosecutor: Hirschson has violated public trust, leaving a feeling that public figures are living high on the taxpayer’s expense. Elroi Hirschson: It breaks my heart to see my father at the defendant’s table; imprisonment will actually be a death penalty.

Two conflicts in the courtroom: the need to hand down a deterring punishment – and the desire to show a little mercy. The son of former Finance Minister Avraham Hirschson, whom the court last week determined had misappropriated vast sums of money from the National Histadrut, said on Thursday morning at a plea hearing at the Tel Aviv Regional Courthouse that imprisonment of his father would in actuality be a death penalty.

EX Finance Minister Avraham HirchsonThe prosecutor, adv. Eli Schwartz, asked the court to deliver a long, deterring sentence, more severe than the ones handed down to his partners in the case. “They obtained their strength from him, he is first and foremost”, he stated. In this context – he repeated that the State had demanded a 7-year sentence for Ovadia Cohen, one of the accused in the case. In his opinion, Hirschson’s sentence should be more severe, should include a suspended sentence with strict fine, and his actions should be determined a disgrace.

Over the last several months, the Court has delivered verdicts of four years’ incarceration to Cohen, who was head of the Financial Dept. of the National Histadrut; 40 months of direct incarceration to Nili’s accountant, Amatsia Bonner. Fifteen months of incarceration were handed down to former Histadrut director, Yitzhak Ruso; the organization’s bookkeeper, Ronit Garti, was sentenced to public service. All four confessed and were convicted within the framework of a plea-bargaining.

The prosecutor also stated in his plea for sentencing that he does not downplay Hirschson’s good deeds over the years, or his activities for the benefit of Holocaust survivors – but at the same time, public representatives who use their positions as a means for personal financial gain should be severely punished.

Schwartz added that Hirschson has violated public trust, leaving a feeling that public representatives live high on the taxpayer’s expense, and added that Hirschson has lived his daily life while continually committing felonies over the years.

Son Elroi, who wept when the verdict was read, has asked for mercy for his father, who was only recently able to see his first grandchild;

“My father is the most important figure in my life. I have memories of my mother’s misery and suffering during the first years of my life. My father did everything for my mother; he took care of her for years and was both a father and mother to us. When people asked me what it was like to grow up without a mother, I would tell them that God had blessed me with such a warm and loving father that I don’t know where he gets his mental strength from. ”

“It breaks my heart to see my father at the defendant’s table. I am waiting for someone to wake me up from this nightmare,” added the son and stated that since the publication of the first article on his father’s deeds he hardly leaves the house: “The articles are being written one after the other and there seems to be a competition to see who can write a more condemning story. My father’s life has not been easy; he lost my mother to a fatal disease. I wouldn’t wish anyone to go through the suffering he has known.”

Hirschson has been charged with embezzling approximately 2 million shekels from the National Histadrut, and with taking bribes. The judge stated that the National Histadrut and Nili, under the former finance minister’s management had become a “casino” in which all senior representatives win money that is not theirs. Hirschson’s lawyer has already announced that he will appeal the conviction.

The former finance minister has also been charged with theft under management, fraud under aggravated circumstances, fraud and violation of corporation trust, laundering funds and falsification of corporation documents. Along with this, the Court has acquitted Hirschson on two accounts – financing the primaries and financing a conference at Ganei HaTa’aruha. The verdict will be served this Wednesday.

Translated by Lori Bul.

Dudu’s Hit List Gets Ever Bigger

Ex Israel television personality (for now anyway) Dudu Topaz, appears to be sinking deeper into the quicksand of high profile crime when more names from his ever growing “hit list” were divulged by the police, including ex-wife: Roni Chen. Topaz’s lust for revenge seems to have been so great against Chen, the mother of one of his children, that even her new husband, actor Haim Zinati, was also noted on the list; and word is out that Dudu wanted to use explosives to do them in. When some of Topaz’s close friends were interviewed concerning the new revelations, including his brother Miki Goldenberg, the general response was “This really can’t be – especially concerning the mother of his own child! This guy has simply lost it!”

DuduOther well known personalities on Topaz’s “get even” list included TV news commentator Yoav Gross, TV show hosts Zvika Hadar (who recently rejected Topaz from being a panel judge on the Star is Born musical talent competition, and now calls Topaz “a monster”); as well as Erez Tal and Avri Gilad (both of whom also rejected Topaz from being in their shows). Another name listed in Topaz’s “bank of targets” is Israel Today newspaper editor Amos Regev, who Topaz believed wrote too many unkind words about him.

Topaz is still being held at the Abu Kabir police lockup in south Tel Aviv. His remand order has been extended by another 10 days due to him being regarded as “dangerous to the Public”. For sure Dudu would have been “dangerous” to those noted on his “bank list”, had he and his “employees” not been apprehended before they could carry out any more acts of revenge.

But the order to actually harm his ex-wife must have been simply too much to believe for those who know Topaz personally. “He thought that he sat on ‘Mt. Olympus’ and could do what he wanted to, regarding these acts. He’s not really bad – he’s simply sick” said actress Irit Sheila, a close friend of Topaz.

Topaz’ neighbor, and alleged accomplice, Daniel Zanko, who police think may be involved in a plot to inflict “serious injury” on Ms. Chen and her husband, is also being interrogated by the police.

Dudu Your Friendly Neighborhood Thug

Dudu TopazDudu Topaz, one of Israel’s icon television and theater entertainers, is a guy who just can’t stay out of the public limelight. But age and poor ratings apparently began catching up with the man who once had some of the most highly successful programs on TV. His catastrophic fall from grace reached a climax yesterday, when he was arrested and indicted for his alleged role in a conspiracy to attack and intimidate some top management officials in the Reshet and Keshet Israeli television network companies, including Shiri Margalit, Deputy Director General of Reshet, and daughter of Channel 1 TV icon Dan Margalit.

Topaz was remanded into custody at Tel Aviv’s Abu Kabir lockup on charges that he masterminded a group of thugs who were sent out to beat up and destroy the property of Margalit, Avi Nir, Director General of the Keshet network; and even Topaz’s own agent, Boaz Ben Zion. Things must have gotten pretty bad for Dudu is he put out an intimidation contract on his own agent, but this is apparently what happened, according to police sources, who now say that Topaz was at “the top of the pyramid” of the gang, and that he spend “thousands of shekels” of his own money to try to get even with people in his industry who had probably had enough of his actions.

Topaz, actually David Goldenberg, had reached the point where he wasn’t given any offers to host new TV programs, due to his poor ratings in previous ones. The three mentioned people who had been attacked by men who are now said to have been Topaz’s security guards, were attacked over a period of nearly two years. Ms. Msraglit, the apparent last victim of Dudu and the gang, was injured in the assault and had to be taken to hospital for treatment. Topaz is said to suffer from medical problems, including a form of diabetes, which could be partially responsible for his irrational behavior, sources say. When “interviewed” recently in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park, Topaz almost had the appearance of a homeless person and told a Channel 10 interviewer that “if any of you (TV and the public) think I’m capable of doing such things, it’s very sad”.

People who know Topaz personally, including his brother Miki and long time friend and fellow icon Manny Peer, said Topaz is “a man who loves people” and will do anything to help those in distressed. But often his remarks and gestures got him intro trouble, including incidents such as the time he called right winged Likud party members “cha chacktim” (low persons w/o education) and when he fondled a visiting Argentine actress during an appearance on a TV show. Not being considered for recent variety programs (for which Dudu was once a master of) must have been too much for him, as he is that kind of individual who simply has to be in the limelight all the time. And when his own agent quit working for him, that must have been the last straw. His most recent girlfriend, Dr. Rita Rodriguez Barer (herself a psychiatrist and possibly a former physician treating Topaz) said she cannot believe he would do such a thing.

When arrested, reporters tried to interview Topaz when he was being shuttled from room to room by his police guards. When asked if he had any comments regarding his arrest, his answer was “All I have to say, I’ll say to the police”.

Yossi Sibi, a close friend of Topaz, said that his “colorful lifestyle” often got him into trouble. For all of us who remember Dudu in better times, his long fall from grace is a very sad event and something that Hollywood movies often pick up on.

Topaz, who police said was trying to leave the country, will be remanded for 8 days while the investigation continues.

Rioting Peasants Shake Up the Royal Court

Benjamin IThe Israelite king, Benjamin I, was deeply troubled. Following his economic decrees from the Royal Court in Jerusalem, his loyal subjects were on the verge of rioting – even to the point of marching on the Royal Palace with buckets of tar and sacks of feathers.

“What have I done to deserve this outrage?”, he moaned as he peered out at the crowds massing in the square below his closed window, which had to remain closed to prevent the continuing barrage of eggs and rotten tomatoes from entering the room where he stood, together with his wife, Queen Sarah-li; who appeared to be more interested in a reality TV program going on (Run for the Millions) than the commotion going on below.

“The peasants keep clamoring for bread. Don’t they realize that these new decrees are for their own good? Don’t they understand that they can find other work, good work, as chimney swifts, if our royal treasury can no longer give them largess?” he continued.

“Don’t worry my dear, if they don’t have bread or pitas to eat, let them eat cake”, his queen said, apparently thinking of something else.

“Cake! Did you say cake?” he fumed. “Marie Antoinette, Louie’s wife, said the same thing, and look what happened to both of them! Maybe we should throw our subjects a bone – like allowing them, especially the older ones, to be given an extra penny on their pensions per month. That will enable them to go purchase…..”

“Nonsense!”, the Queen screamed. “Are you becoming weak in your old age? We have to be strong with these people or the next thing you know they’ll be raiding the royal henhouse. Then they’ll even throw those eggs at us!”

“I’ll deal with them, especially their leaders, personally. I have my list of people to get even with, now that you are king again” she cooed, kissing his cheek.

“That won’t work like it used to” he moaned. “The peasants are too strong now. They’ll burn down our palace like the French peasants burned down the Bastille. Maybe we should cut a deal with them, like give their wives free maternity care.”

“Free maternity care?” she hissed. “That’s how we got into this mess in the first place. Also by hiring those alchemists to turn lead into gold. If you would have listened to me, we would have them convinced to do their patriotic duty and pay even higher taxes for the good of the Motherland.”

“I’ve got it! ” the king exclaimed suddenly. “We’ll tax more those knights who received a horse from their “employer” in order for them to get to and from the jousting tourneys. I was going to hike the tax on oats by 10%, but just levying a “horse tax” sounds much easier.

“Oh my king, thou art truly wise,” Queen Sarah-li said. “Now, let’s go eat lunch – the royal butler advised me that the lamb chops, and the caviar should be especially good today.”

Poor Piggy

Just a bad time to be a pig….


Poor Piggy

Sleeping To The Sound of Cellcom

In the background of this cute Pug sleeping with open eyes you can hear the current commercial for Cellcom.

Maybe that’s why her eyes are a little “freaky”…



A Cake to Die For

This is apparently the real thing. I can’t say if its been manipulated or not, but regardless its an interesting and original idea for a tombstone.

I mean if everyone chose cool topics for their tombstones then going to visit someone in the cemetery would be a much more pleasant (and in this case even useful) experience. I would even say that the likelihood that more people would remember the people in the ground would substantially improve.

BTW, the recipe on the tombstone is for Yankale’s Yiest Cake. I guess Yiest cake is the only way to translate it although it sounds a little funny. It’s a great cake to have with coffee and is sort of a favorite. I guess this one was so good that the couple decided to share it with anyone who came to visit.

AGAIN, no guarantees on the authenticity of this picture :)

Yankale Cake Recipe

Americobsession: An Application

Part 4

We have recently defined Freud’s terms, the id, ego, and superego for the sake of playing with a new understanding of what it is about American pop-culture that sends young Israelis flying to the mall for the latest Rihanna album or happy meal. Allow us to divide young Israel in the same fashion as the mind: the id would be the part of this group that endlessly craves all of the food, attention, and love it can get. The ego would be that part that tries to rationalize the basic desires by performing a balancing act between the id and the superego, the latter of which takes in the societal rules and regulations. I would like to argue, then, that it is the id of young Israeli culture that most thirstily craves American pop-culture, for it is the kind of goods coming out of MTV and McDonalds that are most immediately satisfying: they are the cheapest, take the shortest amount of time to achieve, and take the least amount of conscious thought. The battle between the id, ego, and superego of young Israel is clear: id-ruled young ones want it all, and ego-rationality belongs only to those who can differentiate between the movies that one can watch while talking on the phone and eating a burger, and those that take concentration and, if I may say, intellect. But who, then, informs the ego so that it may protect the id from receiving every bit it pleases? As we learned, it is the superego that learns to cope by first, living with and imitating parents, and second, by following the rules and regulations of society. The difficulty would seem in our case, then, that what society is dishing out is aimed at the id, rendering the ego helpless in the face of such juicy junk as Top Model and 90210.

McDonalds GenerationAfter all of what’s been discussed, one thing we can say for sure is this: American pop-culture, by its very nature, will always be the most accessible and masturbatory form of food and entertainment. It aims to satisfy—it goes straight for the id—and in such a young and, as I said, “culturally vulnerable” place like Israel, it seems the only thing that will stop its ultimate takeover is very early education. And what about the networks and companies that are allowing the dribbling in of this crap? They are more or less completely unstoppable – they in fact are paying for the leakage. And they now have a hold of what we crave, so much to the point that they’ve picked on what White Castle has reminded Americans endlessly: “It’s What You Crave!”

Maybe, despite the repugnance that I’ve expressed in these posts, you still may, “but is American popular culture really so awful?” No, it can be quite fascinating actually. The real concern arises out of the thought of every new generation of Israelis acting more and more like infants to later and later stages of life, until one day – if there are no other forms of cultural entertainment besides all that dribble I’ve mentioned – we may cease concerning ourselves with anything else, including how to remain the historically rich, diverse, and culturally remarkable place that we in fact really are.

In the next and final post of this series, we’ll hear from some Israelis and Americans on the subject, both here and in the States, in order to find out if my concern is such a concern for others. Perhaps what defines Israeli culture is all a matter of personal perspective, or it could be that the infusion of American into Israeli culture is somehow seen as necessary for the future; in any case, it seems a topic worth discussing.

Written by Alana Sobelman

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