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Riots in London?

Milling crowds throwing rocks, firebombs....and even yogurt at police in Greece?

Israelis didn't simply set up dome tents on Tel Aviv's poshest boulevards to protest the cost of living – particularly housing. Jews can't live without organizing as a bloomin' community!

Almost overnight the tent city sported a communal kitchen (that cut profits at cafes that line Rothschild Boulevard); a first aid clinic manned by a certified physician that dispenses free headache remedies in the Tel-Aviv heat; a clothing exchange where tent dwellers can turn in sweaty T-shirts and take freshly-laundered ones; a makeshift lending library; and even communal kabbalot Shabbat* on Friday eve. Oh yes, there were also elections to choose representatives to a joint council of all the tent cities, to hammer out "demands" and parley with the government. (Calcalist)

* The tradition of welcoming the Sabbath in song. See here also.


Multitasking took an embarrassing form after Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman was collared for an impromptu live interview with an early morning current events program on Israel radio.

The senior cabinet minister chose, by the sound of it, to go about his business as he fielded questions on the fly from Reshet Bet (the 2nd Channel of the Voice of Israel radio). The closing sector of the short interview – in which Lieberman sounded off regarding the true face of Hamas – dovetailed with the unmistakable sound of a flushing toilet broadcasted over the airwaves – turning the off-the-cuff comments of a somewhat flushed Lieberman’s into the talk of the town. (Ynet News)


With the high price of land “responsible” for a third of housing costs, Yossi Ti’ar came up with an out-of-the-box solution – literally and figuratively: The 50 year old Tel-Aviv resident got a truck license and bought a spanking-new semitrailer. Ti’ar parks the 12-metric ton vehicle – which he converted into a small mobile flat – wherever he wants, scot-free of municipal property taxes. The only hitch encountered in launching this personal housing project was that the bank turned down his request for a mortgage. They did, however, approve a loan to buy the 250,000 NIS ($70,622) Renault truck.

The 30 square-meter* abode, powered by solar panels on the roof for hot water and electricity, Internet and all the amenities is more roomy and affordable than a 30- sq. meter studio in the Big Orange which rents for 3,500-4,500 NIS ($1,000-1,268) and costs 1,250,000 NIS ($229,357 and up) to buy.

* 323 sq. feet


Many Israelis view the special ambience of "an Israeli Summer” to be the very essence of Israelity – almost a national icon.

Thus, it shouldn’t be surprising that some secular Israeli parents are seeking to bestow on their children unique names that reflect adoration of the Israeli climate – Mediterranean breezes, rainless summers with clear blue skies: The Population Registry now boasts a host of new firsts that go beyond Gal (wave) and Tal (dew): 2,313 youngsters are named Yam (sea) and 1,371 Chofit (the feminine gender for beach); 72 are named Shemesh (sun), 58 Chof (the masculine gender for beach), 50 Tzedef (seashell); and 24 Shamiyim (sky).

The rarest? Seven sabras go by the name Kiyitz (summer), two – Sharav* and there’s even one kid named Chol (sand).

* hot and dry weather with winds from the desert typical of the transition to and from summer.


Alas, Israel isn't Holland. While 5,750 subscribers have already signed up to use short-term bike rentals in the Big Orange, muggy August weather has put Tel-O-Fun bike rentals at a near standstill.

It's not the bicycle riders who refuse to budge. It's the bikes that are suffering from sun stroke.

Bicycles standing in the hot Israeli sun* overheat to such an extent that they become "invisible" to the system's inventory management apparatus. Computerized pay stations filled to the gills with the signature beetle green bicycles claim there are no bikes available.

* Only recently-returned bikes register.


In one of the oddest giveaways every advertised, Care Vision – a chain that offers corrective vision therapy – launched a marketing campaign offering a free plastic dome tent to patients who can't see their way to purchasing an apartment, following refractive surgery at Care Vision's clinics. (Israel HaYom)


Seventy year-old Geoffrey Rog arrived in Israel with his wife on an August 16th flight organized by Nefesh b-Nefesh*. One of his first objectives is to visit the gravesite of Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion to settle an old debt: Rog wants to give the Old Man a high sign that he finally made aliyah.

Back in 1971, when Rog was 29, he met BG at a fund-raising event in the UK for development of the Negev. Pooh-poohing the importance of the collection campaign, Ben-Gurion was more interested in Ingathering of the Exiles, demanded to know “when Rog was making aliyah?”

It only took forty years to do so, but Rog still feels bound to let BG know he finally made it.

* literally ‘soul by soul’ – an NGO that provides guidance and monetary assistance to Jews who want to settle in Israel.