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Champaign taste and beer pocket?

            OK, you can’t afford your very own executive jet, but Israel Aircraft Industries has rolled out in a series of video clips* how to build origami models of some of the firm’s top-of-the-line products including not only the $19 M Israel-built 10-passenger G280 Gulfstream executive jet, but also an origami model of IAI’s Ofek spy satellite and Arrow missile… (Yediot) Photo credit:  IAI website


* released just before Sukkot 2016 (including a pdf ‘blueprint’), for those jaded with making construction paper chains and paper lanterns…



Israelis throwing out the ‘rule book’ and cutting corners takes all sorts of forms.

            An Egged bus driver in Haifa turned his #40 bus filled with passengers into an ambulance after a woman passenger lost consciousness and collapsed in the middle of his run from Bat Galim to the Train Station.  

            Realizing there was no time to spare - it would take an ambulance twenty minutes to arrive, he judged – without consulting the passengers, Ro’e Levy wordlessly took command of the situation - closed the doors and ‘flew’ to Rambam Hospital not far down the road…then returned to his regular run.

            Doctors said Levy landed at the hospital just in the nick of time, saving the 43 year-old patient’s life. (Israel HaYom)  Photo credit:  Rambam Hospital


According to Jewish tradition, at the close of wedding ceremonies, the groom recites the Biblical verse ‘If I forget thee O Jerusalem” climaxing in breaking a glass (and in times of yore, stamping on a spent flash bulb) in remembrance of the Temple. But over the past year, some 50 Israelis (mostly from the national religious stream) have added an enhancement to ‘remembering Jerusalem’ in their wedding ceremony, based on a traditional among Yemenite Jews: The groom symbolically marks the occasion by placing ashes on his head…but in this case, we’re not talking about just ‘any old ashes’.

            On the outskirts of Jerusalem there is a site where for years Israeli archeologists have been sifting through rubble barbarically excavated from the Temple Mount in 1999 by the Waqf* without permission or supervision by archeologists, which the Arabs simply dumped in a wadi, truckload after truckload. Besides countless artifacts that have been rescued after-the-fact, the material from the Temple Mount is filled with ash that dates back to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, prompting the young men to request a handful** of the dry-shifted grayish dirt to use in their wedding ceremony.  

            The Chelm Project assumed the grooms were sprinkling ashes on their heads, but in searching for an apt photo, one of the grooms told us they are dabbing ashes on their foreheads (!) unaware how totally weird that sounds to  anyone who knows anything about Ash Wednesday… (Israel HaYom) Photo credit: Temple Mount ash after dry shifting,   


* Waqf – the autonomous Muslim administrators of the Temple Mount.


**Yes, entrepreneurial-minded parties have approached the archeologists asking to buy more substantial (i.e. commercial) quantities of the ash-filled soil, but the archeologists have turned them down flat.



Israel is a family-oriented society to such an extent that 4.3 percent of the children born in Israel are ‘test tube babies’ conceived in vitro*, compared to one percent in the United States.

            The courts are constantly re-defining and expanding ‘reproductive rights’ – hallmarked by the 2013 case of the parents of a thirty year-old man who died of cancer whose sperm was used to produce a grandson based on his oral wishes, without a ‘biological will’ (see Defining ‘In a Family Way’). An even more far-reaching case involves a grandmother-to-be (come December 2016) whose only son was killed during his army service; on his deathbed she requested her son’s sperm be preserved and after a lengthy legal battle, the courts allowed the bereaved mother to engage an Israeli woman in her productive years to serve as a surrogate womb.

            Who needs assisted-reproduction technologies?

            Among Israeli Jews, it’s usually a fertility issue with the woman, revealed fertility specialist Professor Fu’ad Mohamed Azam, head of the fertility and in vitro department at Ichelov Hospital in Tel Aviv. Among Israeli Arabs a huge percentage of the cases involve men with low sperm counts caused not only by fat saturated diets and heavy smoking, but also from drinking enormous quantities of Turkish coffee! (Yediot) Photo credit:  Wikipedia commons - Eaeeae


* 35,000 procedures annually, covered by National Insurance (i.e. not all produce a pregnancy). 



Three girls strolling down the street in Givatayim were slapped with what is surely one of the strangest improper conduct cases on record: The threesome - on their way home at 1:20 in the morning on a Sunday night- was accosted not by a would-be rapist or mugger, God forbid; it’s quite safe for teens to be ‘out and about’ in the wee hours of the night and there are no teen curfews in Israel.

            The three girls let out a blood-curdling shriek when a cockroach jumped out of the dark and crossed their path…as fate would have it, right in front of the local police station. A vigilant cop slapped the girls with a 350 NIS ($92) fine for “making noise” after 10 PM, causing a public nuisance… (Yediot) Photo credit: Edvard Munch’s The Scream 



Members of kibbutz Ein Gedi on the shores of the Dead Sea voted 69 in favor and 90 against establishing a synagogue* on their kibbutz fearing such an edifice would “change the secular character of the kibbutz”…rather ironic considering Ein Gedi already has a  synagogue…a synagogue that stood at Ein Gedi 1,600 years ago, discovered in the mid-1960s by the kibbutzniks themselves while ploughing their fields. (Israel HaYom and Ynet) Photo credit:  Israel Parks Authority



* The proposed full-scale reconstructed replica of the ancient synagogue…with an adjoining mikva (ritual bath) was envisioned as a drawing card to serve religious tourists and attract potential wedding parties. In fact, with the same religious clientele in mind, the kibbutz dining hall recently obtained a kashrut license - for business reasons.