Israel Seen – Back Page News from the Front Jan 20 2017
Once again Daniella Ashkenazy treats us to “daily life ” in Israel according to the Hebrew Press
SEEKING: A SIGNATURE LAUGH
Knut Studios – an Israeli design and technology company – collected the greatest laughs on the planet (from kids to seniors) employing a downloadable app – #Laugh*, which turns each recording into a ‘laugh star’ (i.e. human laughs, visualized as 3-D one-of-a-kind sculptures). The entries will compete for the title of ‘the best laugh’ on earth…an idea dreamed up by Israeli conceptual artist Eyal Gever after he was queried: “What would you do if you could create art in zero gravity?”
“Choosing to depict laughter was a very conscious decision…something that is so human, that is absent in soundless space,” said Gever. Laugher is universal and free-floating – “unconnected to culture, to race, to time,” he added.
Some time in 2017, the winning laugh pattern will be sent via satellite to the International Space Station where it will be turned into ‘the first art object ever created in space’ – at least that’s what Made in Space and NASA hope will emerge when MiS’s “zero-gravity 3D printer” is put to the test. “The winning ‘laughter star’ will then be released in space…like some interstellar message in a bottle. (Yediot)
* Read more and download here…and don’t miss the video! http://www.laugh.ai/#intro
SECRET OF SUCCESS?
The sports headline about Dudi Sela wearing the same pair of underpants for three days straight during a winning streak that culminated in Sela winning the title to the Association of Tennis Professionals Canberra Challenger Tour, sounds like some sort of gross fetish, particularly after a 26 hour flight with two stopovers from Israel to Australia. But, if one reads beyond the headlines, it turns out the reason was far more prosaic: Israel’s top tennis pro borrowed shirts and shorts from a friend after his suitcase failed to show up in Canberra, but stopped short of borrowing the fellow’s boxer shorts… (Ynet) Photo credit: Dudi Sela Facebook account
STRANGE ‘BLUNT INSTRUMENT’– TAKE TWO
What constitutes a dangerous weapon?
If one believes Israeli cops in Tzfat – pita filled with fragrant fresh-fried felafel balls, which an angry 55-year-old grandmother of three threw at her husband, qualifies. That was back in January 2016 (see the original story Strange “Blunt Instrument”).
But has street fare become the ‘weapon of choice’ in Tzfat???
Or is the following item that just appeared in the papers the same case but somehow the ‘blunt instrument’…and the assailant and the victim got switched???
Twelve months after the first incident took place, it was reported that a 59 year-old man from Tzfat – who had attacked his wife with a pita with potentially far-less-lethal fillings – shawarma shavings and diced salad…emerged from the ordeal unscathed more or less, after the state attorney and the public defender handling the suspect’s case reached a plea bargain deal whereby the offender would not be found guilty as initially charged, but would serve 100 hours of public service. (Yediot) Photo credit: My favourite vintage cartoon about ‘the piece-by-piece peace process…
UNIQUE RED TAPE
An art installation by Israeli sculptor Micha Ulman which had been touring the world was brought to Israel by the German Embassy – scheduled to be put on display in a church in the Old City in Jerusalem. The sponsors, however, ran into a snag when customs officials confiscated one of the main elements in the installation: a metric ton of white salt*.
The salt wasn’t just plain table salt or even rock salt; it was granulated potassium that originated from a mine in Thüringen, the area where the artist’s father originated before fleeing to Palestine in 1933. Potassium can be turned into explosives. For the same reason, one can’t purchase household ammonia in Israel or the Territories – not since 2000, when Palestinians began used potassium fertilizer and household ammonia to make suicide belts… The exhibition opened without the installation.
But now, the salt is now thoroughly ‘stuck’ in a customs warehouse: On one hand, officials refuse to ‘release’ the impounded material to be safely disposed of under supervision; on the other hand they demand the Germans pay storage fees for the ‘captive’ ton of salt. (Yediot) Photo credit: The original Yediot article
* The contrasting black material in the installation is volcanic rock from the Golan Heights.
IS THEIR NUMBER UP?
Finally, someone has come up with a foolproof way to stop the epidemic of business cards for sex services scattered on sidewalks in Tel Aviv like falling leaves (i.e. an advertising ploy ‘imported’ from Thailand): Police have got their number? Simply disconnect service to the telephone numbers appearing on any such business card!
Just such an amendment to the law is being sponsored by the Ministry of Internal Security, a bill that also empowers law enforcement authorities to charge the offenders, through it’s unclear if it will only be for littering the sidewalk or a more serious offence*. (Yediot) Photo credit: Facebook Campaign to Stop Advertising the Sex Trade
* since prostitution per se is not criminalized under Israeli law, (see “Yes Ma’am, No Madam”), only pimping.
Extra! Extra Read all about it!
FORGET ABOUT A TWIZY
How are authorities ‘fighting’ the introduction of miniaturized two-passenger electric city cars like the Renault Twizy?
Although the cars will have a 100 km range, heavy customs taxes on the vehicles as ‘bonafide cars’ not top-of-the-line motor scooters, mean Twizy and the likes – – which sell for €6,990 ($7,800 or 29,640 NIS) in Europe – will run 55-80,000 NIS in Israel, making miniaturized models a non-starter, particularly considering authorities intend to allow the 80 km/hr vehicles to drive only within city limits.
Both factors* have disqualified Twizy from participating in the Tel Aviv Municipality’s latest ‘ditch your private car or else’ initiatives following the roaring success of city hall’s municipal rental bike network Tel-Ofan**.
Auto-Tel is based on 260 municipal four-passenger Hyundai 10i minis that will come with 520 ‘reserved’ parking spots throughout the city and free curb parking throughout Tel Aviv. The enterprise – which is expected to take four private cars off the streets for every shared Auto-Tel car introduced – will be up and running for a set number of subscribers, by the last quarter of 2017. (Yediot)
* Using city hall’s cars outside city limits is permitted, but hikes up the price per minute.
** Of course there were kinks in the rental bike system at first, one an ‘only-in-Israel’ gem: see the August 2011 story “Mugged”.