One of my sons maintains his sanity by allotting less than 1 percent of his attention to Israeli and regional politics. But when I returned from a trip overseas last week he chided me for buying cottage cheese.
“Don’t you know there’s a cottage cheese boycott?” he asked indignantly. “Dairy products are grossly overpriced.”
I must admit that news of what our local media call the “cottage cheese intifada” did not reach me in Albania. The Albanians have their own problems and interests, such as finding out what an Israeli journalist visiting their country thinks of it. Less then 24 hours after I’d set foot in the southern city of Saranda I was interviewed by the local TV station. Six days later, a half-page article with my picture, all based on the TV interview, appeared in what I was told is the country’s “serious” newspaper.
Albanians don’t have time for cottage cheese wars. Nor do our Egyptian neighbors, 1,000 of whom were reportedly wounded this week in the continuation of their uprising in Taghrir Square, or our Syrian neighbors, hundreds of whom have been killed, on orders of their president, while protesting.
It’s nice to know that Israelis will rise up for a cause, after being glued to their armchairs for so long. But for cottage cheese?
They also serve who stand and sing
It was okay for Israel to send the transsexual diva Dana International as its representative this year to the Eurovision song contest—watched by some 125 million people. And that was not her first time at Eurovision.
Now there’s a flap over the scheduled performance of singer Harel Skaat as part of a salute to National Service volunteers. Most of the volunteers are young women who declare that they are religiously observant and thus are exempt from compulsory military service. Skaat came out of the closet in 2010.
The daily Ha’aretz reported that a rabbi and a Knesset member said they had received many complaints from women in National Service about Skaat’s scheduled performance. But Sar-Shalom Jerbi, the director of National Service, was unmoved. Apparently, finding a singer who had completed military or national service was no easy task, and that was Jerby’s main criterion.
According to Ha’aretz, Skaat’s PR commented that this would not be his first performance before the women of the National Service and that he was delighted to be doing so again.
And now for something positive: Book your ride
Bus stops in the northern city of Haifa now have a delightful addition: shelves with free books. Ha’aretz reports that artist Daniel Shoshan, a senior lecturer in the Technion’s Architecture Faculty, and recent graduate Amit Matalon have been putting up the shelves for the past few months in the hopes of creating a free lending network.
The artists plan to continue the project in other cities around the country, and requests are already pouring in.
Text copyright 2011 by Esther Hecht. No part of the text may be used without written permission of the author.