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November 13, 1981 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-11-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

20 Friday, November 13, 1S1

• the Israeli Pond
• Are Floating About in
Some Fishy Stories

By CARL ALPERT

HAIFA — There's some-
thing fishy going on in Is-
rael. Perhaps it began when
Jonah found a highly-
original solution for his

housing problem, but in our
times it seems to have
started in 1938 when the
first pairs of carp, male and
female, were brought here
from Europe and became

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the progenitors of the coun-
try's fish population.
Today, Israel is dotted
with fish ponds, populated
by countless hundreds of
thousands of the fleshy fish
which have become almost a
dietary staple of many Is-
raelis.
Another, more recent
immigrant, is the dolphin.
This easily-trained marine
mammal has already be-
come something of a star in
show business. Several
trained American dolphins
were brought to Israel with
their bagful of tricks and in-

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Tel Aviv's Dolphinarium
has become an overnight
success. It is reliably—re-
ported that the dolphins
make uncomplimentary
remarks to each other about
the spectators — all in He-
brew, of course.
Now there is another
tourist attraction at the hot
springs of Hamat Gader, on
the further side of Lake
Tiberias. About 100 alliga-
tors were flown in from
Florida and if all goes well
they and their offsprings
will be slithering through
the swampy nature
preserve being flooded for
them. Nile crocodiles were
common in Palestine for
hundreds of years and up to
recent times there was a
whole colony of them near
what is now Hadera until
settlers began draining the
swamps.
The project opens up
many possibilities, in addi-
tion to entertaining
tourists. This could provide
a new, effective threat for
Israeli mothers who seek to
control their uncontrollable
little sabras: "If you don't
behave, I'll throw you to the
alligators!"

From a more construc-
tive point of view, one can
look forward to a new
export industry of wal-
lets, belts, shoes and
other products of the
flourishing alligator
farms. To be sure, we're
going to need a lot more
swamps to support that
industry, but the Israelis
who were ingenious
enough to dry up the
swamps, can be counted
on to show equal in-
genuity in restoring
them. New zoning laws
may forbid agriculture,
industry or housing de-
velopments in areas re-
served fot swamps!

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It worked well for a
while, but then Israeli in-
telligence began to assert
itself. Whatever the vis-
itors would do, the Is-
raelis felt they could do
better. If Israelis could
design new planes and
release hostages at
Entebbe and win wars in
six days, why should an
Israeli dolphin not be
equally resourceful?

That's not the end.
Marine life, of a sort, made
other headlines in Israel not

CASH AND CARRY NO ALTERATIONS ,

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troduced to - local dolphins
taken out of the water off
Israel's coast. The idea was
that the olim would teach
the sabras how to perform.

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TEL AVIV (JTA) — A
fearless Israeli veterinarian
saved the life of a 10-foot
alligator by mouth-to-
mouth resuscitation last
week. Dr. Bernard Hurwitz
literally put his head in the
reptile's jaw. He emerged
intact and the patient lived.
The feat occurred during
an emergency operation at
the newly-opened Hamat
Gader alligator farm where
one of 120 reptiles recently
imported from the U.S. re-
quired surgery for a fester-
ing bite wound.

long ago when a Sephardi -
member of the Knesset,
Ra'anan Na'im expressed
his anger at what he felt
was Ashkenazi repression
by saying in effect: "Gefilte
fish makes me vomit!" The
colorful expression cap-
tured the essence of certain
forms of Ashkenazi culture,
and a national debate broke
out over the relative merits
of Lithuanian gefilte fish,
highly spiced, and Polish
gefilte fish, much sweeter.
All the complexities of the
Ashkenazi-Sephardi con-
frontation were neatly re-
duced to a marine
metaphor. For weeks gefilte
fish was a national slogan, a
trademark, a capsule ex-
pression of a major national
problem.
When a group of Israelis
living near Na'im objected
to his remark on the
grounds that it fanned
inter-communal divisive-
ness, one paper headlined
the story: "Neighbors Carp
About MK's Quip". The
country was swept by a
wave of dinner parties at
which gefilte fish was osten-
tatiously served alongside
the Sephardi delicacy,
couscous, as indication of
national unity.

Between the carp and
the alligators, the dol-
phins and the gefilte fish,
it would appear that Is-
raelis have really gone off
the deep end. The ques-
tion is: Can we keep our

heads above water?
People are having a
whale of a good time, but
there's no need to fish in
troubled waters.

Anyone who crabs about
the new spirit must feel like
a fish out of water, and no-
body will 'pay attention to
his crocodile tears. And
anyone who thinks this is
just a plot of the public rela-
tions people, angling for
business, is just trying to
draw a red herring across
the path.

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1982

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