THIS WEEK, o’best beloveds, we are going to examine stories that make no sense.
Example One: the president of Argentina has adopted a young Jewish man as her godson to stop him turning into a werewolf. Yes, you read that right. President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner had a fun-packed meeting with the Tawil family of Rosario, in central Argentina, to mark her adoption of the youngest of the Tawils, Yair.
According to Argentinian folklore, apparently, the seventh son of a family turns into “el lobison”, a transformation that blossoms fully on the first Friday after the boy’s 13th birthday.
Fear of the werewolf was so widespread in 19th century Argentina that some families murdered their seventh sons, leading the presidents of the time to intervene and adopt them.
The deal, seemingly, is that seventh sons or daughters – how nice, an equal opportunities werewolf – get adopted by the president, a gold medal, and, crucially, a full educational scholarship.
Shlomo and Nehama Tawil became parents of seven boys in 1993, and immediately wrote off to the presidential palace in Buenos Aires. But they were turned down because, at that time, the offer only extended to Catholics.
The law was changed in 2009, and Yair Tawil, the boy in question, wrote again. One can only imagine the content of this letter: please, stop me turning into a werewolf. Only you can help…
So what is wrong with this picture? Well, Yair Tawil would have celebrated his barmitzvah and possibly started howling at the moon and aiming the odd bite at people in 2006. Even with a change of law, the timing makes no sense; and most peculiar of all, Shlomo Tawil turns out to be the director of the Chabad House in Rosario.
I cannot honestly imagine that the Chabad movement encourages its followers to believe in werewolves, even if – by now – Yair Tawil has laid waste to most of the rest of Rosario. I mean, come on, guys.
Who are you kidding?
Example Two: Israel Radio reported last Friday that a Delta flight from New York was delayed on 20 December after strictly Orthodox passengers refused to sit between women.
Two Charedim refused to sit in their assigned seats and the flight crew’s rather distressing response was to try – unsuccessfully, admittedly – to persuade the two women to move.
The ensuing wrangle was only resolved when an American pilgrim, who must have been confirmed in his belief that all Jews are nutters even before he reached the land of Israel, agreed to swap seats.
It was also reported that in October the same flights suffered a delay after both Charedi men and women refused to take their seats next to travellers of the opposite gender.
On that occasion, the strictly Orthodox passengers got off the plane – although I don’t know at whose behest – but finding their luggage and taking it off, too, caused a 75-minute delay.
Rather shockingly, when this happens on El Al – repeatedly – the airline has said that it not only has no official policy for dealing with it, and even worse, has no intention of putting any such policy in place.
Presumably, even in the narrow confines of their own world, it must have occurred to these hard-line travellers that there might be – shock! horror! – OTHER PEOPLE on the plane. And that they might even be of a different gender.
If airlines can impose obesity penalties on passengers, then they should impose gender discrimination penalties on passengers, too.
If you are a strictly Orthodox male and you don’t want to sit next to a woman, then, tough. You either pay for two seats so that the seat next to you is not “polluted”, or you sit down in your assigned seat and shut up. And as for the airlines: unless you impose such a policy at point of sale, then, no, there is no acceptable situation where religious rights trump civil rights on board a packed flight. Like I say, come on, guys.
Who are you kidding?
Example Three: Nigel Farage is named Briton of the Year. ‘Nuff said.Download original article as a PDF