Friday, April 3, 2020

The Over 70s

A popular female astrologer in our country says the coronavirus attack will slow down at the end of this month (25 April, to be exact), and in September scientists will come up with a vaccine and  some efficient anti-viral drug.

On the other hand,  a well-known researcher, Dr. Sharon Moalem (israeli born, lived and worked in Canada  and USA) says in an interview that the corona virus is here to stay with us, and that's good, in his opinion.

 There are two key things that help  lowering numbers of  infected people: testing and lockdown .   
To stop a pandemic there's need to know who's infected, and take drastic measures. 

It seems there are not enough testing kits, testing facilities, testing personnel, so the statistics in most countries is rather inaccurate, and disaster might well be on its way.

As for lockdown- it works where there's discipline only.  So far, we've got over seven (7)thousand cases in Israel. Not surprising, as there is no discipline here.

The over 70s do follow the instructions (I'm in this age group too). They know that it is for their own good. Most of them are frail, vulnerable, with underlying conditions and a weak immune system; thus they are more likely to get seriously ill and spread the virus among family, friends and others.

However, there are many voices out there now stating loud and clear that the beds, ventilators, oxygen, medications and medical staff in the hospitals,  as well as the volunteering activities  are needed for the younger ones who have to work hard  and keep economy going.

I dislike these voices. They sound dangerous and inhumane to me. They present the over 70s as standing in the way of the Health Care System to win the battle against the virus, and of the government to bring about economic recovery.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Suspect

Never heard of  pangolin, until the outbreak of the corona virus. They say it is responsible for the transmission of the virus to humans in Wuhan, China where it all started several months ago.

pangolin (web picture)

This ant/ termite - eating mammal is popular in east and south-east Asia for its meat and scales (used in medicines and jewelery).
It is not clear yet whether pangolin is the source of the virus or just  'the intermediate host', its transmitter from bats to humans.

 At any rate, it is believed that the pangolin is the 'chief suspect', and that the wildlife market in Wuhan is "the scene of the crime" .

pangolin (web picture)

The Chinese authorities have already closed the market down and taken drastic measures to increase penalties, strenghten enforcement, improving education against wild meat consumption.

The pangolin is considered the most trafficked mammal in the world.   Sadly, Nigeria (Africa) hasn't taken any measures against the trade of pangolin, even after the corona virus outbreak.

chinese pangolin  (web picture)

Thursday, March 19, 2020


I can't say I'm totally surprised of what's going on in the world right now: climate change and the corona virus.

I've mentioned before that I believe in God ( the Superpower) and his  Creation of the world. 
I think we humans have constantly violated the order and rules of this creation by wars, colonialism, slavery, migration, globality - and now, we're probably going to pay for it.

I remember my visit to South Africa.   Apartheid was already in its last stages,  and what really puzzled me was the mere presence of the white, european people there. I kept asking myself why are they here? this continent was given by God to the black people, and it belongs to them. The europeans should be here only as tourists not as settlers.  Europe is their God- given continent for.better or for worse.

Climate Change and the Corona Virus clearly indicate that God is fed up with us and is considering a Reset whatever that may mean.

I guess that even if we survive the corona, we might face a totally different reality with scarcity of food, no pensions, violence reaching its highest,  at least for a while.

It is at times like this, that one learns the true meaning of terms constantly misused and misunderstood by us such as: nation. territory, race, sustainability, superpower, climate, and many others.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020


It's rather hard to concentrate on blogging when every day brings with it some bad news about coronavirus.

Our warning example is the outbreak in Italy. The italians haven't taken it seriously from the beginning,  and now Italy is completely paralyzed.
We, in Israel have taken it more seriously, and yet we are probably at the stage were contamination cannot be prevented any further, despite on going drastic measures. This is panicking, because our Health Care System will not be able to deal with hundreds  of corona patients simultaneously.

One would think medical people know a lot about the virus, and the only thing now is to come up with a vaccine.
Well, the corona seems to be very elusive. People that infect others are in many cases  asymptomatic, the disease is described as a mild sort of flu, but those who recover from it might still.infect others .

They say it is dangerous  mainly for  elderly people with chronic disease history. There's, however, a 38 year old driver with no such history (albeit a smoker), hospitalized in serious condition.
Now we have a 9-year old too on the list although they say the virus seems to avoid children.

Besides blaming the chinese for eating snake meat and bat meat, additional blame is put on the airplane. Yes.the vehicle that connects countries also helps spread the virus.  So, flights get cancelled, airports closed.  Nobody knows what next.

We are reminded to wash our hands thoroughly. That's something most of us do regularly.  Pity we are not reminded to watch our immune system and make any effort to strenghten it. That would be very rewarding.

Where does all this lead to, total collapse? Only God knows.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Jeweler

Sometimes , when I look in the mirror and notice my earrings, I recall for a minute the smiling, kind face and  sweet french accent of the one who has  sold them to me - the jeweler from the Shopping Center passage.

At the end of that  year of the earrings' purchase, I returned to the jewelery shop . I had some buying plans for the new  upcoming year, and I thought that would be the best place to get quality at a decent price, and excellent customer service.

The shop was closed.  There was an obituary both on the window and on the entrance door.  I was shocked. The man was barely middle-aged, too young to die.

I entered the neighboring shop to get some information. Had he been ill? was it an accident?
"He was murdered", came the neighbor's answer."The police had arrested a suspect".
Murdered?!!  I was shocked again.

There were customers in the neighboring shop, so I couldn't go on with  my questions, but I promised myself to get the whole story. 
I supposed it was a robbery attempt that went  wrong. 

As I happened to know someone on the board of our local newspaper I asked to have a word with him on the matter.He informed me that the story won't be published  any time-  at the specific request of the deceased's family.

It appeared the jeweler  (married, with wife and kids) was sexually involved  with a young man, in charge of the cleaning of the shops in the passage. The young  lover was arrested by the police and charged with murder.

Whenever I'm in the vicinity, and enter the shopping passage, I see deterioration: empty, closed shops , frequent change of names and ownership, messy place with items displayed outside the shops, etc..
It occurs to me that perhaps it's some kind of punishment, having to do with the fact that a murder has been committed here, a soul has been taken away by force and it's crying above.

When buying or renting property people usually take interest in the price, physical condition, proximity to important places. Few are interested in the dark history of the asset such as past tragic events involving death. These few are usually people who believe in superstitions or have religious/mystical beliefs,  and they probably won't buy/rent the asset or part of it after all.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Living Among Us

I've got the strange feeling that Sars was a warning, Corona (officialy named covid-19) is the 'real thing'. The viral outbreak doesn't seem to be under control. Words like 'global', 'outsource', 'China', have become ominous. If the chinese stop working , the economies of the world might collapse.

In the meantime, people go on with their plans, especially touristic ones. During the second week of February we have the annual IMTM  fair (see my previous posts on the subject). Usually, it's a popular, colorful touristic event that lasts two days; half of the day dedicated to professionals , the other half open to the public.

Expo area in TA


Pavilion 2 out of two main exhibit pavilions

This time, however, something in the air, perhaps fear of the virus,  got translated into fear of the crowds. Most visitors just grabbed maps and flyers without pausing to ask questions or discuss itineraries like in the past; some of the beautiful booths were partially or totally deserted.

Indian booth posters  - Incredible India

India booth posters- Human and Nature

Perhaps,  there's some other explanation ( I arrived late,  the business transactions among tourist operators once closed , the public was of little interest to them, the operators were tired from the 'after party' of the previous evening... ), but it's hard to ignore the virus rumors, these days.

Men's  chat

girls'  chat

deserted  booths

If I understand correctly, the covid-19 virus is part of the same virus family as the 'flu' (the corona family).
Not much is known about it, so hopes, at this stage,  are modest - mainly to bring it down, at least, to the level of the flu (influenza) virus.

The latter has practically been living for decades among us. We are familiar with it, have an annual vaccine, anti-viral drugs, understand its spreading  process, can foresee mutations etc..

May God protect us from  the Corona  family !


Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Beggar in Black

I remember from my childhood and early adolescence in a communist country, that begging was seen as public disturbance and  forbidden by law; beggars were treated cruelly if caught. 
Charity and fundraising were not allowed either. 
The rationale behind it was that the government took good care of its citizens , and the above activities implied the opposite, which was unacceptable.

Perhaps the communist approach was not so bad after all, considering the amount of fraud and corruption regarding benevolent, non- profit organizations in the western world.
People give away stuff and money without properly checking where it goes to and that doesn't help fix the situation.  Sometimes even the social services are involved  in the scam.

Well. to go back to what I started with - begging and beggars.
Over the years, I occasionally stumbled upon a certain beggar who for some reason or another, managed to capture my attention. His "territory" was the heart of  Tel Aviv city. 

He was not the standard beggar. He didn't have a 'fixed' place, but was rather on the move, stretching his hand to passersby and shop keepers, an imploring look on his face . He seemd ageless, with no visible physical disability. He made no use of kids or heart-breaking little posters to ellicit symphaty. He was casually dressed in a black t-shirt and  pants.

begging-   (Getty's images)

I happened to see him a few times in an adjacent town, probably his hometown as he was not begging there.  Last time, I saw him sitting in a posh restaurant checking the table menu. I stood outside for a while, not believing my eyes; my imagination ran wild. Was he leading a double life? Was the man at the table, perhaps,  a twin  brother?

I entered the restaurant and approached his table; looked him into the eyes, but... couldn't do it, couldn't ask him about the begging, couldn't tell him that people begging money, do so for very basic needs, not for luxuries.   
Just turned around and left.  
Were are the story investigative journalists when you need them?

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Sitting Shiva

'Sitting Shiva'  is a mourning custom in judaism. It starts immediately after the funeral and lasts seven days and nights ('shivah', literally means seven).

The 'shiva' is kept at the residence of the deceased or in the home of one of the principal mourners (relatives of first degree). The mourners usually sit on low beds and stools, express their grief, and discuss the loss of the loved one with visitors that come to offer their condolences and comfort .

web picture (from the Jewish Chronicle) -Sitting Shiva

Shortly before my  retiring from work, the secretary at our office lost her mother, a last year hospice patient. 

The 'shiva' was held at the home of the secretary's sister.  The latter, a TV writer and director, wife of  a well-known hospital doctor, lived in a beautiful house, located in a respectable neighborhood of a central city.

We were a bunch of four-five people from the office coming to extend our condolences to the bereaved family. 

The spacious living room was occupied by the sister and her family awaiting the visits of high society people from the TV and medical fields.. We were directed to an adjacent room where we found our secretaryׂ with HER visitors.

I  felt very badly about that, not to say shocked. The 'shiva' is meant to be a custom of togetherness not of separation, of human solidarity not of human polarization.

The thing is I've met the sister on a previous occasion and she had left a great impresion on me: good- looking, witty, polite, kind. And now this... perhaps,  her husband's idea. Who knows.
We (the office colleagues), were too embarassed to discuss the matter among us.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Silent Walls

People often blame  outer factors for their health issues: antennae, electric cables, screens, pesticides...the list is long. We seldom hear ,however, about the walls in our homes. 

indoor walls and ceiling  (Web picture)

The truth is that these walls emit toxicity at various levels. Silent, silent, but dangerous. Building materials, wall primers and paint , have improved over the years; and yet we're constantly advised, and rightly so, to keep windows slightly open during most of the year.

(Air conditioning, which requires closed windows and doors for its efficacity, has worsened things for many people, including me, causing various allergic reactions and dry skin). 

I don't trust any wall stuff. We don't really know what's in it despite regulations. The use of  lead in paint ( lead -  a metal that can be very toxic)  was banned in 1978, but  it still exists in walls of older homes.  Asbestos (silicate minerals)- based materials, are banned in most countries and yet they are not completely out of use.

The bottom line - we should keep the windows open (not all the way, just a few inches)  for as long as  possible. Of course, not during the night or in very nasty weather.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

A Neighborly Hand

I tend to compare Climate Change with an experienced army general. The later knows he cannot successfully fight a war with the tactics and strategies of the last war. He has to surprise the enemy.

Fires were not new to australians, and yet they got surprised by the highly devastating nature of the last fires.They needed all the help they could get (The neighboring countries New Zealand, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea were the first to offer help). 

In Israel, we don't have much rain . but 2-3 consecutive days of strong rain, some ten days ago, almost destroyed an entire city (Naharyia) in the north of the country.  The city was heavily hit by floods, and that came as a complete surprise.
The official explanation to the stunned citizens was that the severe flooding was perhaps due to the Gaaton river(crossing the town) being diverted to build a mall?!

Naharyia floods (web picture)

It would seem Climate Change is here to stay. So, there are two main urgent needs:
1.  lots of smart rescue plans to save lives (both human and animal).
2.  good neighboring country relations based on reciprocity and cooperation.  
Nations are more than willing to help other nations in distress, but sometimes because of distance, it takes precious time till the planes with the experts and equipment arrive at the scene of the disaster.  So, where possible, good neighbors are top priority.

Nine years ago we had a deadly fire on Mt Carmel (44 fatalities) We badly needed help and we got it from many countries. It was really heart warming.  Here's the list with the helping countries (it appeared on the internet):
Azerbaijan – 2 helicopters
Bulgaria – 1 plane and 92 firefighters
Croatia – 1 plane, 8 firefighters and fire repression materials
Cyprus – 1 plane and 1 helicopter
Egypt – fire repression materials
France – 5 planes and fire repression materials
Germany – 1 plane, 7 experts in firefighting and fire repression materials
Greece – 7 planes, 34 firefighters and fire repression materials
Holland – 5 experts in firefighting
Italy – 1 plane and fire repression materials
Jordan – 3 truckloads of firefighting equipment and materials
Palestinian Authority – 21 firefighters and 3 fire engines
Russia – 3 planes and 22 experts in firefighting
Spain – 5 planes
Switzerland – 1 plane, 3 helicopters and a team of 14
Turkey – 2 planes
UK – 2 helicopters
US – 5 planes, 11 experts in firefighting and fire repression materials
Among the countries that offered assistance which wasn't required: Australia (was ready to rapidly deploy a team of 5 incident management experts and 20 tons of fire retardant), Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Romania and Ukraine.

It's mutual. We always offer help to other nations in disaster cases. I especially remember the earthquakes in Azerbaijan and Turkey. Israel had  an important assisting presence there.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Pomelo Orchard

pomelos at the store

I'm very fond of the pomelo fruit; it's sweet, friendly to the digestive system, and has many health benefits. I do like to eat pomelos; I have, however, little knowledge about the cultivation and harvesting of this fruit.

There's a pomelo orchard by the tiny road leading to our local cemetery. On the way back from my annual visit at  the cemetery, I approach the place with the intention to either buy or get permission from someone in charge, to pick a few pomelos. Never saw/heard anyone there on that specific day;  it was rather spooky.

the little road leading to the cemetery

the pomelo orchard

 As far as I know, the orchard  is owned  by a citrus  company  whose latest  proprietor is a famous magnate. The rumor has it  he has bought the company only due to promises that the agricultural lands (orchards) that belong to it will be turned into residential/industrial property. 

 the orchard

Despite strong denials coming from the company, I tend to believe that rumor. This seems to be the trend nowadays. There's no big money in agriculture; water and labor are expensive .On the other hand, flat soil is  attractive to construction,  there's a lot of money involved, and that's the way the rich get richer.

However, converting agricultural soil to residential use, might have bad general consequences : food price increase, loss of open, green spaces and more. The government shouldn't allow that to happen. 

Yesterday, before posting on the subject I went back to the orchard to  refresh my memory. After two previous days of heavy rain, the soil was soft and muddy. The trees were full of fruit whose skin color was deep yellow. not green as four months ago when I last saw them. There were also  lots of pomelos on the ground.

trees full of fruit

pomelos on the ground

Do have a look please at the surprise in the video from  Elifaz (kibbutz in the south of the country which has one of the best pomelo orchards).

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Pick Sisters

There's a very successful 70 year old  israeli singer and composer of polish descent, that happens to live in my hometown.
Last year, he got a massive stroke while on the plane that was to bring  him back home from a tour abroad. The pilot changed the route so that he could get him to the closest hospital. The musician was saved. After a long and difficult recovery period, he's now back in business. Happy End.

However, he and family are still heavily on the radar of the Media, due to his daughter's Daniella marriage to the famous american filmmaker and  director Quentin Tarantino.

I used to see this daughter of his hanging around with her sister. The two girls were rather plain looking, but seemed to have inherited their father's musical aptitudes. They set up a musical duo, The 'Pick Girls', and for a while had quite a big success (I personally liked them enormously; there was something very refreshing about them).

The 'engine' behind the sisters was their mother(divorced from their father, the musician). The mother works  in the lyrics business - writes the lyrics of songs and musicals, which eventually become great hits. She's a talented, charismatic woman; her late mother was a well-known , sharp journalist for one of the major newspapers in the country.

The duo, however, was short -lived, as one of them, Sharona, got married and started a family. The other one, Daniella  was left behind with no real purpose in life.

Then, one day Daniella was invited to a party and there, she was introduced to the guest of honor , Quentin Tarantino. Their affair lasted several years with ups and downs and at the end of last year they finalized it by getting married. Now, they're expecting a baby. Happy End again in the Pick family. (I do like stories with a happy end).

I once overheard someone commenting on the fact that she got  to Hollywood and the Red carpet without her being a known actress/singer/model...just the spouse of....
So what??
Anyway, she wouldn't be the first to get there on such a 'ticket'. 

Thursday, December 19, 2019

In and Out Design

I was to pick up a small parcel from Amazon. The carrier had delivered it to the wrong address, which made me mad, of course. It was on the outskirts of the town, at a petrol station shop.

After I left the service station with my parcel, I got rewarded by the sight of a very special store nearby. In fact it was more like a long shaped warehouse. The sign read  "In and Out Design".  It shared the vast open space on which it was set up with an adjacent big cat and dog shelter .   A bit further - a strawberry field .   The whole space used to be one big strawberry field, now only a marginal part of it is allocated to the growing of the delicious fruit (Agriculture, like many other good things in this country, is rapidly deterioratng).

warehouse look

narrow entrance

I was attracted by the bamboo pieces of furniture outside. I love bamboo - so light and yet so solid!  Ideal furniture material for all ages , especially for young  and elderly people ; for all spots - interior or exterior. It's rather expensive as it's mostly imported stuff.

When I entered the place , I felt like floating in the the world of the arabian nights : all magic around - a multitude of lights and colours , furniture, plants, light fixtures, some statues and statuettes -  new and vintage - all collected by the owner from all over the world. 
The store also offers design advice by architects and other professionals.

bamboo items




'You'll have to come back during the day hours to have a better look', I said to myself.  I doubt it , though, whether I'll buy anything; not only because of the high prices, but also because I'm in the phase of minimalism and simplicity. Here, it seems they've managed to turn even the simplest natural bamboo stick into some sophisticated item.

sign in hebrew indicating the cats & dogs shelter

On Fridays between 11:00 and 14:00,  adoption of cats and dogs takes place in the area near the design store. Big event for both the adopters and the adoptees!
I remember asking a neighbor of mine how much she paid for her puppy. 3 -  was her hesitant reply. 3 hundred? No, 3 thousand came her answer. Well, why pay so much, when you can get one for free at this gorgeous adoption center:)

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Father and Son

Bnei- Brak - waiting for the green light

I usually see them on a Thursday,  if and when I happen to be at the supermarket adjacent to the ultra-orthodox city of Bnei-Brak. Father and son ; the son has Down Syndrome (condition caused by an extra chromosome). The two are shopping for the upcoming Sabbath.

The father is moving around picking groceries, while the son watches over the shopping cart. Sometimes the later gets bored or impatient and starts screaming to get his father's attention. I've also seen him turning the cart upside down while in a fit of anger.  

People in the store stop to look at the "show". They pity the father. I pity him too, of course, but I pity the son even more; how sad to be born in this world just to evoke feelings of pity, and rejection! 
The father  shows him affection , talks to him in a very soft voice and calms him down... till next time.

Bnei-Brak  -chatting under the tree

It looks like the shopping on Thursday is a treat for the boy - he gets to be with his father for more than an hour, and probably feels as his right hand, his helper. They seem close to each other, and I feel very bad  about my thoughts on the issues of prenatal tests and pregnancy termination.

orthodox father and his two girls

usual sight in Bnei-Brak; mother,  kids and baby in the carriage

Anyway,  in orthodox circles abortion is unacceptable unless the mother's life is in danger. It is considered murder of a potential life.

youngsters in Bnei-Brak

Friday, December 6, 2019

Sunrise, Sunset


I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I mustn't give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory
And a new day will too begin
(Lyrics - 'Memory' song from 'Cats' musical)

Masada  sunrise (near the Dead Sea )  - web picture

I seldom get to watch the sunrise as I'm not an early riser, but I've seen a lot of sunsets ; they are a source of endless fascination to me.

I like the symbolism of these two nature phenomena : sunrise symbolizes the beginning (of day, of life), sunset  symbolizes the end (of day, of life).  I also like the many wise lyrics, and quotes on the subject.
As for superstitions, there are quite a few, but usually associated with sunsets. especially with their red color - as a sign of storm, blood and war.

In the center of my hometown, there used to be a ballroom dancing school named Arthur Murray (after the dance instructor who opened  dance studios all over the world). It's closed now and the place serves as a youth center for smart kids. 

I sometimes happened to be near the school, in the evening hours while dance lessons were going on, and the sun was gradually setting behind the structure. Music, dance, sunset - what an uplifting sight and feeling that was! (The facade had big windows enabling passersby to watch the dancing couples).

sunset behind ballroom dancing school

The distant blue strip of the religiously famous Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) and a spectacular sunset -  are the usual noteworthy sights on the road going down from uphill holly city Safed (Tzefat) to the little pittoresque town of Rosh Pina lying at its foot.

blue strip of Lake Kinneret

sunset on the road down to Rosh-Pina

I was coming home from a commemoration ceremony near Jerusalem, and along the road from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv  I couldn't keep my eyes off the stunning sunset seen through the bus window.

sunset seen through bus window on the road Jerusalem-Tel Aviv

And here's the Mediterranean  Tel Aviv Promenade with an amazing sunset reflected in the water!

sunset at the Tel Aviv promenade

Nothing, however, compares with the  sunsets at the Marina of Herzlyia city; the orange and red colors are mind-blowing.

sunset at the Marina of Herzlyia town

sunrise, sunset
sunrise, sunset
swiftly fly the years
one season following another
laden with happiness and tears

(Lyrics - "Fiddler on the roof" musical)