Hypersensitive to Hyraxes
That leaves the middle two pages. Here is where individuals in the community will write things of interest to them - occasionally an "interview" with a new family, sometimes a book review, and more often than not, an opinion piece about current events.
These opinion pieces (and the inevitable responses) can sometimes be a bit (ahem) pointed. During the time before the disengagement there were heated exchanges on the controversial issue of refusing army orders, and everyone had a different opinion about the form of protests that were needed.
Then again, sometimes these pages contain letters about more local issues, some serious and some less so. These two weeks had an exchange of letters that I personally found extremely funny.
It seems that our yishuv has been overrun by a very pesky gang. No, not a human one, a four legged one. Living in the rocky hills of Samaria we are surrounded by the wonders of nature in the form of all kinds of creatures - from slugs and snails, to scorpions and snakes, and even to what is called in Hebrew "shfanei selah". After extensive research on the internet I finally found out what these are called in English - hyrax.
These animals reside in the rocky crevices in the mountains, are very social beings, and are in general not agressive. They run away and hide in the rocks at the first sign of danger. There is only one problem with them - they are vegetarians. Aggressively vegetarian. It seems that every garden in our yishuv has turned into their own personal restaurant.
One family posted a letter complaining (rightly) that they are so unafraid of us ("yefei nefesh" that we are - slang for bleeding hearts) that packs of them have been sighted running down the street! I have been witness to this myself. This family also claimed that there is a skin disease that has been found in a number of children here that may be carried by the hyraxes. Therefore this family was looking for others to complain with them to the municipal authority and have them exterminated.
The next week another family, well known for their love of nature and animals, wrote a response. They made the point that the disease in question is carried by flies and not by hyraxes, and that the main reason why this other family complained was because of the damage to their garden, and not the health threat. The simple solution is to put up a high fence or own a dog. (Eue d'Fido seems to put them off).
I personally totally agree with the second family - although in truth I haven't suffered from their attacks of the munchies. Our garden is behind a stone fence and we used to have a dog in the yard - whose olfactory presence is apparently still sensed.
On the other hand, I couldn't help but fantasize about a possible solution to the problem, even a cruel one. I imagined a cottage industry sprouting up, where we capture and export these creatures to Far Eastern countries where their taste in "unusual meats" is well known. Perhaps a clever marketing person could spread rumors that this delicacy is the ancient Middle Eastern version of the blue pill....
Just a flight of fancy guys! I don't want any hate mail....