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In her recently-released study Sandals – Anthropology  of an Israel Fashion, professor of anthropology and sociology Tamar El-Or made a ground-shaking discovery: The iconic ‘Biblical-style sandal’ - as intimately associated with Israel as the kova tembel - was not modelled after an archaeological find after all. Examination of archaeological relics in Israeli museums revealed that the local sandal of antiquity – the ‘Bavta sandal’ was closer in style to flip-flops.        So where did the sturdy no-frills ‘Biblical sandal’ come from? The name sandal tanachi* originated in the 1940s, the successful branding ploy of a Czech immigrant. Not only did the founder of Nimrod Sandals coin the name, the shoe store was merely ‘judaizing’ a style called ‘Jesus sandals’ that existed in Central Europe… (Yisrael HaYom, HaAretz)

* Tanach – an acronym for the Hebrew Bible.



 Barbie Dolls come with mind-boggling choices of accessories, from shoes and pocketbooks to sports cars and kayaks…zillions of fairytale props of a perfect world. Skirting the controversy whether Barbie’s unattainable proportions play a role in the anorexia epidemic, Efrat Iwanir, a student at the Holon Technology Institute has added a unique new set of accessories you won’t find in Toys R Us - that can be self-manufactured on any 3-D printer: a Barbie Doll size cane, crutch, and walker.

            Iwanir hopes not only parents of children with special needs will download the free 3-D print file (HERE), but also parents of other kids…as a medium to nurture inclusiveness and acceptance of exceptional kids. (Israel HaYom)



They say a good administrator doesn’t have to be an expert in the field he or she manages; one only needs to know how to employ and listen to the professionals…but the head of the Science and Technology Committee of the Knesset seems to be stretching this bit of wisdom.

            In the course of horse trading power bases in the Knesset, the S & T Committee fell to MK Ori Maklev from the ultra-Orthodox Yahadut HaTorah party. The new chair promptly put his foot in his mouth during deliberations about the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat with an ‘original’ explanation why lakes only freeze over at the surface that defied science.             Maklev said that the temperatures at the bottom of lakes and oceans are lower than at the surface, however, “while cold sinks,” he added, “due to Devine Providence and faith only the surface freezes over in order to allow life to continue for the multitude of marine creatures in the waters.” (Yediot)



Israeli innovation is everywhere. 

            Take Technion computer science students Michal Friedman, Yoav Mizrachi, and Zorik Gechman who - seeking a ‘cool’ final project for their course in ‘computer programming in an Android environment’ - decided to design a working prototype for a robotic barman.

            The contraption holds eighty bottles of alcoholic beverages and three bottles of juice and can mix five different cocktails to perfection within seconds, so much so that tasters said they couldn’t tell the difference between the ‘look ma, no hands’ drinks concocted by the Robodrink machine, and those prepared by an experienced flesh-and-blood bartender. (Yediot)

* Anyone out there with an airport vending machine company? Contact the course instructor, Associate Professor Yossi Gil at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Yiddish literature professor Ruth Wisse related the following classic Jewish joke: Four Europeans go hiking together, get lost, then run out of water. “I’m so thirsty! I must have tea,” says the Englishman. “I’m so thirsty! I must have wine,” says the Frenchman. “I’m so thirsty! I must have a beer,” says the German. “I’m so thirsty! I must have diabetes,” says the Jew….

            An OECD* study shows Israel may have one of the lowest mortality rates from heart disease – third after Japan, France, and South Korea, but when it comes to diabetes, the Jewish state ranks third in the world – with one of the highest incidence of diabetes: a whopping 27 percent Israelis age 60-76.  (Israel HaYom)

 * Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development



Motor scooterists and motorcyclists found themselves the victims of crossed signals at the Israel Police Force when the traffic division announced two-wheeled vehicles could use public transportation lanes during rush hour, while highway patrols delighted in issuing 250 NIS fines to anyone so foolhardy to do so, because it turns out that the Police Force can’t change the law. Only the Minister of Transportation has such powers to exempt two-wheeled vehicles.  

            One exchange between an Israeli cop and a driver being ticketed was caught on film and accompanied the news item. As New York Times commentator David Books astutely observed in a gem-of-a-column published in 2009 aptly entitled “A Loud and Promised Land”: “Israel is a country held together by argument”…

            Chelm readers are invited to compare the above encounter between a luckless motorcyclist and an Israeli cop (you don’t need to know Hebrew, just watch the animated body language), and instructions of how to behave when pulled over by an American cop… (YNet



Do tax authorities finally aspire to bring ‘within the tent’ (when it comes to paying income taxes) generous tips to religious persona such as spiritualists giving advice or blessings, handing out talisman or holy water, after such gestures were waved for years as gifts – tagged merely a way of saying thanks. 

            Now such functionaries will be expected to write invoices and receipts for such gratuities.

            Of course, the devil is in the details: The draft contains a fuzzy clause that stipulates that in certain undefined circumstances, there are un-circumscribed cases where giving money constitutes “a gift that does not require tax”… (Yisrael HaYom)



In January 2015, Shai Ochana was stabbed in a terrorist attack commuting to work in Tel-Aviv by bus. The assailant severed the tendons in his wrist; after treatment at the hospital Ochana, who had been living and working in Tel Aviv at the time, returned to his parents’ home in Arad to recuperate. Ochana gathered himself together and submitted a claim with Israel’s national insurance institute – Bituach Leumi - for compensation, only to receive a letter in response asking the following question – answers demanded by pencil pushers to process his claim:  Number one: “Who was the terrorist?”  Number two: “Do you know him personally?”  And last but not least:  “Why did he stab you?”  

            A spokesperson apologized for sending the letter and its gist, claiming National Insurance “doesn’t customarily send letters such as this.”  (Yediot