CONVENTIONAL WISDOM says that anything you don't have to pay for isn't worth anything. But apparently that's not true. American business tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who has on several occasions been involved in discussions to purchase Ma'ariv, has now surpassed Ma'ariv's readership with his giveaway tabloid Yisrael Hayom (Israel Today). Ma'ariv, which, for some years, has held second place to Yediot Aharonot in circulation, has been outranked by Yisrael Hayom, according to a survey taken by TGI, a local market-research company, Globes reported. The survey covered the first half of the year. It showed a 3 percent increase in Yisrael Hayom readership compared to the same period last year, and also indicated that a large number of the paper's readers do not buy newspapers, but depend on what they read in the freebie tabloid. JOB CHANGING, especially in public service, is somewhat like playing musical chairs. With few exceptions - such as Nachum Ido, the long-time spokesman for the Social Affairs Ministry, and primarily the National Insurance Institute; Haya Peri, the veteran spokeswoman for the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry; and Shlomit Rubin, the Jerusalem Municipality's comptroller - few people working in the public sector maintain their positions for long periods. A new minister or a new mayor brings sweeping changes in terms of staff changes and responsibilities. It doesn't necessarily mean that anyone occupying an important position gets sacked, but they may move around to take on other jobs in the same enterprise, or they are given freedom to go shopping for a new job in which they can enjoy similar perks to those they had before. Case in point is Moshe Leon, the former chairman of the board of Israel Railways, whose appointment as chairman of the Jerusalem Development Authority was announced last week. An accountant by profession, Leon, 46, is a former director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, and in addition to his accountancy degree also holds a law degree. Leon wasted no time in immersing himself in the capital's development projects, and this week was among the dignitaries who attended the 468th anniversary celebrations of the Zion Gate, which has recently undergone restoration work to preserve its historic image while giving it a cleaner look. In his new position, Leon will also be able to keep an eye on the Jerusalem railway project. The fast train between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv had a tentative launch date of 2011, but there is now doubt whether construction will be completed by 2012. However, with Leon merging his past with his present, there could be some pleasant surprises. BEERSHEBA MAYOR Ya'acov Terner last week presented the Safe Steering Award to Ran Croll, the chairman of the board of Metropoline Public Transport Ltd. and Metrodan Beersheba. The award took place within the framework of "The steering is in our hands" campaign to eliminate or reduce road accidents for at least one day. All 400 drivers of Metropoline and Metrodan buses changed their uniform shirts for those emblazoned with a slogan related to fighting carnage on the roads. Croll told Terner that all 400 drivers had participated in special workshops where the emphasis was placed on careful and safe driving. Of course, it doesn't matter how careful a driver is; the way the other driver coming from the crossroad or the opposite direction handles his or her vehicle is what counts. The careful driver is usually not the one responsible for the collision. However, the premise is that the more careful drivers there are, the fewer accidents there will be. Croll chairs the boards of two large fleets of buses. Metropoline Public Transport Ltd. was founded in 2000. It has been awarded a tender to operate intercity buses between Tel Aviv and Beersheba, has a fleet of 130 buses, operates 28 intercity bus routes and transports approximately seven million passengers annually. Metrodan Beersheba was established in 2003. It services some 20 municipal transport routes and transports about 21 million passengers each year in a fleet of more than 90 buses. THE INTERNATIONAL Commission for Optics has announced that Prof. Ze'ev Zalevsky, of Bar-Ilan University's School of Engineering, has been chosen to receive the ICO Prize for 2008. In addition to the prize, Zalevsky will also receive the Ernst Abbe Medal, named for the German mathematician and physicist who made some of the most important contributions to the design of lenses for optical microscopy. Established in 1982, the ICO Prize is given annually to an individual under the age of 40 who has made a noteworthy contribution to optics. Zalevsky is the second Israeli recipient of the prize. In 2007, the Wolf Foundation awarded Zalevsky its Krill Prize for his achievements and for excellence in scientific research. WHAT IS believed to be the smallest and first commercially available miniature atomic clock in the world has been perfected by Symmetricom, which is represented in Israel by Focus Telecom Ltd. The clock, which saves on electricity, will be unveiled this week at the international NGN Sync and Timing Seminar 2008 to be held at Herzliya's Sharon Hotel, within the context of the next-generation network framework. Focus Telecom is a subsidiary of Focus Engineering Ltd., and specializes in the supply, installation and implementation of timing solutions, and equipment for telecom and IT networks. It synchronizes and maintains telecommunication for army and civilian use.