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Calling all psychologists.

Lord knows what's prompting countless Palestinians to turn the brand-new sport shirt - fresh out of its cellophane sleeve, that Gilad Shalit was dressed in by his captors before he was released - into a hot fashion item in Gaza.

Identical shirts are selling like hotcakes. There are already no less than ten facebook pages with photos of young smiling Palestinians sporting the same truly-unforgettably-ugly navy blue checked shirt that a worn Shalit was forced to wear during that wearing interview with Egyptian television...

It turns out that "Shalit shirts" as they are called in Arabic, come in an array of colors and plaid designs - but all sport the same weird and highly-starched "signature collar" - a creation that looks like the offspring of a marriage between a Ralph Lauren original and a 1950s-vintage square dancing shirt.  (Ynet News)



Israeli universities and colleges open their doors at the beginning of November.  Some time ago, Tel-Aviv University decided to establish a nursery where students can check their infants on the way to class, just like they check their backpacks when entering the library. Now, the Sapir Academic College on the outskirts of Sderot will be offering the student body an even more unique service: pet-sitting.

Student leaders said the step to construct an on-campus dog sitting service would ease the logistics faced by pet owners and enable more students to adopt dogs. Two-hundred and forty students have already signed a petition supporting the daycare center for pooches that is slated to include a supervised fenced-off area with shade, water and room to run. (Kan Darom weekly)



Everyone knows airport parking costs are expensive for passengers - but what about parking airplanes?

Turns out that if a commercial airliner isn't up-up-and-away in a timely fashion, hefty parking fees kick in. At Miami International parking a Boeing 747 jumbo jet can run $248 a day...which isn't so steep, considering it can cost $52 a day to park a family sedan at Aussie airports. Yet, nothing explains why Ben-Gurion Airport saddled CAL* - Israel's primary air freighter - with a whopping 247,825.64 NIS ($72,000) parking fee for an engineless played-out cargo plane.

The decommissioned 747 was towed to an adjacent decommissioned IDF airbase, where in the course of a month, the hulk was reduced to a pile of scrape metal.  Not only did the airport sock CAL with the maximum parking fee as if the powerless plane was sitting on the apron fully-loaded and ready to talk-off.  The airport doesn't use the former military airport to park aircraft and in fact, Ben-Gurion Airport doesn't even own the airfield, charged the airline...

Hardly an original ploy, back in the early 1990s, two small-time crooks filled their pockets with a similar ploy. Taking over an empty building plot in the heart of Tel-Aviv, the pair simply fenced off the lot, and for a full year turned a tidy profit charging for parking before someone blew the whistle.

*   Cargo Air Lines



Shefa Catering, the subcontractor who runs the Knesset cafeteria is up in arms, letting the cat out of the bag: "I was stunned to discover that in the Israeli Knesset, one of the most secured places in the country, cats roam freely without any control," charged marketing manager Alon Levy. Was Levy suggesting the cats were the source of leaks so rampant in the halls of the Israeli legislature?

No, Levy's ire was in response to his employees finding a dead cat (that apparently died of hunger) in one of Levy's empty cooking pots, after employees returning from an extended period during which the cafeteria was closed for the summer.

Had this happened when parliament was in session, one can safely assume, no cat would have gone hungry - right?



David Elcharar, an Israeli tourist returning from a visit to China was collared by custom's officials at Ben-Gurion Airport carrying 24,000 Viagra pills in his bags. The 49 year-old shoe store owner and father of ten children declared straight-faced that the pills (that apparently contained real Viagra) were "for his own personal use."



The IDF Home Front Command has designed two new ways of coping with GRAD rockets.  The contraptions sound about as reassuring as recommending one construct a "sealed room" out of plastic sheeting and duck tape* as the appropriate response to a SCUD ballistic missile perhaps armed with a chemical warhead falling earthward at five times the speed of sound into the back yard.

The first instantly transforms a great Israeli innovation  - Aminach Mattresses' sapapa or 1½ -size 'double bed' into a cheery  gunmetal gray "blast-proof sukkah" or hut against GRAD missiles. That's not the only "protective item" civil defense engineers are toying with: They also rolled out the prototype for a blast-proof closet (in matching colors) that can be transformed into a mini-shelter against rockets -  while doubling as a wardrobe in peacetime for one's duds.

Both leave the distinct impression that these soldiers are either woefully overworked or suffer from overexposure to Japanese Takara Tomy Transformer Toys that any robotic toy junkie can ogle at on YouTube.

* actually recommended during the 1990 Gulf War.