A lovely new day, a cup of coffee and David comes in with the morning papers. Danny, the grocer next door who sets aside the International Herald Tribune, the Jerusalem Post and Haretz for us every morning, has warned us to stock up on bread because after tomorrow there won’t be any for another week. Passover begins Saturday and tomorrow night is Shabbat.
Sounds a bit extreme, no bread for a week, but we can always pick it up in the Arab parts of town.
Then I start reading the papers. Seems our water changes for Passover too.
According to the Post, “Jerusalem’s central water supply is switching over to kosher for Pessah [Passover] tap water.” The paper (www.jpostcom) says the mayor asked the city water supplier to ensure there wouldn’t be any leaven in the water during the holiday.
Jerusalem, just like the rest of Israel, depends on the Sea of Galilee for its water but for the next week we’ll get water in this city from drilled wells.
Why? Well, it seems the Ultra Orthodox are worried that crumbs from fishermen and people having picnics by the Sea of Galilee would contaminate our water with leaven. Can’t take that chance. So the pure water rolls in tonight and it also goes to the taps of the 230,000 Arabs who live in this city with the rest of us.
There’s another great Passover story in the Post today and it’s about gorillas in the Safari Park Zoo in Ramat Gan getting constipated on matza.
They won’t get their normal breakfast of bread and cream cheese during Passover because their keepers can’t touch leavened bread; instead they will get one or two matza a day. Any more and their digestive systems act up – that matza is just so binding.
My day is made. But the paper has more treats.
Did you know that there are about 40,000 little boys who work as jockeys in camel races in Quatar? Boys as young as four are routinely kidnapped or sold by their parents to camel owners in the Gulf states like Quatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Camel racing, controlled mostly by wealthy sheikhs, is a huge sport in these countries and rights groups are campaigning against the practice of using these kids as jockeys. So a Swiss businessman, Alexandre Kolot, working for a robotics company, has designed a 27-kilogram robot to take the place of children.
It’s not only equipped with a global positioning system satellite beacon and shock absorbers, it’s been spritzed with the same Arabic perfume riders use. The idea is to make the camels think their robotic passengers are their regular riders.
A driver racing along beside the camel (who can get it up to 40 km an hour) controls the robot with a laptop remote that has four commands: forwards, backwards, sideways and whip action.
Looks as if this might take off and the abuse of the children could end.
And finally, there is the story of the Israeli consul in the Hague who was arrested this week for planning to sell 150 passports. It’s a nice little yarn about sex, money laundering and death threats.
It all makes a happy change from staring at Gomery headlines on the Internet.