The Day In Israel: Mon Apr 27th, 2009
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With global fear mounting regarding the possibility of a possible swine flu pandemic, Israel has quarantined a man who returned from Mexico with flu-like symptoms.
Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
8:10PM: A few minutes ago, the sirens wailed for one minute in memory of the 22,570 fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terror attacks.
6:37PM: Jordan’s King Abdullah displays an astounding lack of understanding regarding the cause of the Middle East conflict and world terrorism.
Or he’s just being plain dishonest.
By the way, doesn’t he remind you of the Beaver?
6:26PM: The Israeli Postal Authority is launching a special stamp series in honor of Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit next month.
Here’s an example of one of the stamps.
4:26PM: The LA Times has reported that the Obama administration asked Congress to amend US law to enable the palestinians to receive federal aid even if it forms a unity coalition with Hamas.
Meanwhile, if you are still under the delusion that Hamas is the only problem:
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Monday that he will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, as demanded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“A Jewish state, what is that supposed to mean?” Abbas asked in a speech in the West Bank’s political capital of Ramallah. “You can call yourselves as you like, but I don’t accept it and I say so publicly.”
4:22PM: A second case of suspected swine flu has been reported in Israel, after a man returning from Mexico complained of a sore throat.
Meanwhile, our Orthodox Deputy Health Minister says we should refer to it as “Mexican Flu” instead of “Swine Flu” since pigs are not kosher.
Only in Israel.
The captain of an Italian cruise ship foiled an attack by pirates off the coast of Somalia on Saturday by ordering his security crew to fire back, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported.
Six armed pirates in a speedboat attacked the ship, which had about 1,500 people onboard, ANSA said. They fled after the security crew fired back.
The cruise ship Melody, which is owned by an Italian company, was on its way back to Italy after a cruise, ANSA said.
No one was injured in the attack about 180 miles north of the Seychelles.
Piracy is rampant off the coast of Somalia despite the presence of foreign navies. The area hardest hit off the coasts of Somalia and Kenya, including the Gulf of Aden, is more than 1.1 million square miles — four times the size of the state of Texas.
So the real hero was the Italian captain, and not the security guards who curiously remain nationless?
5:45AM: You can file this next story under Heh.
Here’s a juicy story: Panic erupted over the weekend in Teheran after Iranian authorities were horrified to discover that citrus fruit being snatched up by buyers across the capital were marked as Israeli-grown Jaffa sweeties.
It was later discovered, however, that the “sweeties” were likely Chinese fruit fraudulently marketed as the prestigious Israeli product.
Two Iranian press agencies reported Sunday that citrus with stickers bearing the words “Jaffa sweetie Israel PO” had appeared in Teheran, but that the suspicious fruit had been packed in boxes that clearly said “Product of China.”
Nevertheless, Teheran immediately responded to the “Zionist” infiltration.
According to Iran-based Press TV, Hossen Safaie, the head of the Fruit and Vegetable Distribution Center of Teheran, expressed his hope that the lawbreakers would be brought to justice and that “his organization will not allow those who want to make a profit ignore the Iranian citizens’ religious and revolutionary learning.”
Press TV also reported that Deputy Iranian Commerce Minister Mohammad Sadeq Mofatteh had offered a 1 trillion Iranian rial prize to anyone who could prove that his ministry had issued a permit for the import of the offensive fruit.
He added that “rogue elements” may have labeled the citrus as Israeli in order “to disgrace the ruling government.”
Later in the day, after Israel denied lobbing any fruit in Teheran’s direction, it emerged that the “made in China” stamp on the boxes was likely the more accurate label.
The Jaffa sweetie, a pomelo-grapefruit hybrid, is popular in world markets due to its taste, low seed count and easy-to-remove peel.
This is not the first time that Chinese producers have allegedly placed misleading labels on produce to make it more appealing to international buyers – although in this case, it may go down as the first marketing mistake to (almost) create a diplomatic dust-up.
In fact, Israeli fruit routinely makes its way to places where Israelis themselves fear to tread.
In recent years, apples grown by Druse farmers on the Golan Heights have made their way across the UN-run Kuneitra checkpoint and been sold in Syria and even Saudi Arabia, with the proceeds returning to the Golan agrarians.
And that is just the tip of the fruity iceberg.
According to Israel Fruit Growers’ Association chairman Ilan Eshel, dozens of tons of fruit goes through the IDF crossings into the Gaza Strip every year. And Israeli-grown avocados, persimmons and bananas are routinely sold to buyers in Jordan, from where – stickers removed – they reach customers in Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Eshel remarked that occasionally the fruit (and yes, the avocado is a fruit) encounters resistance from anti-Israel elements, but buyers are more than willing to close the deals.
“I think that economics are stronger than animosity, and when people want necessary goods – or even goods a bit beyond the bare necessities – they discover that ideology is less of a factor,” said Eshel.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic News agency is reporting that apple and citrus fruit exports were up by 34% in 2008.
Tehran, April 26, IRNA – Apple and citrus fruit export increased by 34 percent in 2008, compared to the figure for the year earlier.
Announcing this, spokesman for Iran’s Trade Development Organization (TDO), Ali Reza Shojaei added that this is while import of the crops showed a decrease of 16 percent compared to the corresponding period.
The value of export in 2008 stood at dollars 166 million while the figure for the previous year was dollars 123.1 million, he noted.
The figures reveal that despite draught in the country, export of the crops was desirable.
But perhaps not as desirable as Chinese Zionist Death Fruit. TM