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Chelm-on-the-Med Online has related countless incredible stories* of how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs acts as in loco parentis for young Israelis who get into trouble when abroad (or whose Jewish mothers think they’ve run into trouble – real or imagined – because junior, now out of the army, has failed to call home every week as he promised.

So it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is launching a special proactive smartphone app that will not only carry up-to-date travel warnings and other relevant information for travelers based on where the phone (and hopefully its owner) is at any given moment. The app can also call the nearest Israeli embassy or the ministry’s special Situations Room in Jerusalem that fields and handles requests for assistance from Israeli nationals abroad the second the user presses the program’s emergency ‘call button.’

Now, the ministry is investigating the legal ramifications of adding another feature: adding GPS tracking capabilities that can pinpoint the location of missing persons or youngsters whose stressed-out mothers think they are in distress.


* For a few truly loco cases, see the July 2009 Column 2.




The Kiryat Ono Academic College has added a new course to their business management program – golf. The new elective is designed to assist future business development professionals ace new clients when they are abroad by arming them with the ability to network on the golf course.

            And speaking of unique curriculums: a school in Zichron Ya’akov has also added a new subject: “Classic Games.” Champions of the program hope teaching digital children to jump rope (gumi*) and play hopscotch (class), dodge ball (machanayim) and tag (tofeset), can combat kids turning into total couch potatoes.


* The ‘Israeli version’ played with a loop of elastic tape (gumi), not a jump rope.




D. and M. wanted to get married, but didn’t have a penny to their name. Turns out that all they needed was a little help from their friends… who opened a Facebook group called “Organizing a Wedding Together” which asked surfers to help put together a wedding for the pair, ad hoc.

Within minutes someone offered to drive them to the wedding; a makeup artist offered to prepare the bride; a band volunteered to provide music; a photographer said he’d take the wedding pictures gratis and a graphic artist offered to prepare a hand-written marriage contract. Another business offered to provide waiters at the reception and donations flowed in to pay for a hall and a caterer.

The couple – who knew nothing of their friends’ campaign – not only got a memorable wedding held in a Bat Yam hall, but their friends – encouraged by the response – had asked Israelis who didn’t even know the couple to donate furniture and appliances to give the newlyweds a good start.




Lawyer jokes abound, but this one – no joke – comes directly from the heart of the legal profession.

            An experienced criminal lawyer lecturing at a professional gathering was explaining to a gathering of beginners just setting up their practice how one should tailor legal fees to the client’s abilities: to set a number, one should concentrate on three things, as she had been advised by a leading criminal lawyer: the client’s shoes, his watch and his car key ring, setting the sum accordingly. Then, one should say the sum quietly and evenly – let’s say “ten thousand,” and if there is no response add “dollars,” and if he doesn’t walk out, add “not including 16 percent VAT.” If the client remains unmoved, one can always add, “Of course that’s only an advance…”




Ariel Bendor has finally found his voice.

The Bar-Ilan University law professor and frequent TV news commentator has taken to the stage for what he hopes will not be a one-night stand. Not in his regular role as ‘sage on the stage’ – as an aspiring rock star.

Accompanied by a 20-piece rock band and backed up by two vocalists, the event held at the Tel Aviv Port Redding 3 stage attracted a packed audience filled to the rafters with university faculty and students, state attorneys and other lawyers, including members of the Israel Supreme Court past and present – including former chief justice Aharon Barak and Bendor’s mom, retired justice Dalia Dorner.

Bendor revealed he has been singing and composing since he was six, but only got around to releasing his first CD as a composer and vocalist now – at age 48 – with numbers that included “Not Too Late“ and Yes, Yes.




Is the BDS* movement losing momentum? There’s room for optimism: Israel has just been accepted with open arms as a member of the IFOPS – the International Federation of Pit Spitting.

            Other member states include Bulgaria, Italy and China. Actually, pit spitting competitions are ancient and can be traced all the way back to the cavemen, a pastime found illustrated in prehistoric cave drawings in Spain.

            The best score by one of the chief contenders for the Israeli championship was 13.9 meters – but Israel still has a long way to go: Spain holds the world record for olive pits – 21.32 meters, while the world record for cherry pits is 56 (yes, fifty-six) meters.


* Attempts to isolate Israel by boycotts, divestment and sanctions