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Tel Aviv has a finite amount of land coupled with ever-growing demand for ‘digs’ in the Big Orange – leading Tel Aviv elders to investigate a new scheme* that theoretically could double the city’s built-up areas…                           How?  By changing building codes to permit “a 100 percent increase in building presently above ground”…square meter-for-meter.

            How? Build underground.

            The new digs can be used to enhance residents’ security (add a bomb shelter, and perhaps parking), or put the extra space to other uses (commercial or public) while allowing owners to also add another floor of flats ‘under’ the building… 

         However, ‘basement apartments’ with window wells are still considered inhabitable in Israeli eyes; the new directive allows, at most, one  floor of ‘sunken apartments’ – stipulating that 1.5 meters floor-to-ceiling (i.e. out of 2.5 meter minimum height set by the building code) must still be above ground. (Calcalist) Photo credit: Tel Aviv skyline


* The idea comes in addition to the city legalizing rooftop lofts and national schemes that encourage contractors to add stories to old existing residential buildings, or raze them and build new ones for the flat owners with extra floors underwriting building costs.



The Palestinian BDS movement received a blow to its esteem from a unique source: a celebrated 87 year-old Palestinian techina paste manufacturer in Nablus famed throughout the region and purported to be the only tchina used by discerning top-of-the-line gourmet chefs in Israel. 

            HaYonah - Pigeon or Dove Techina (Hamama in Arabic) announced it was pulling up stakes from Nablus and relocating LOL…in a Jewish settlement in Samaria.     

            Owner Farid Qamchee’a explained the move: The desire to gain a kashrut certificate to compete with two other popular quality techina producers from the Israeli Arab sector who have kashrut certification and a host of other Israeli techina producers (i.e. major Israeli supermarket chains* only carry kosher products.)

            Nablus suffered from what can at best be classified, delicately,  as an ‘accessibility problem’**...that has thwarted the firm’s efforts to  get kashrut certification. So Dove Techina moved to the Karnei Shomron industrial zone, southwest of Nablus. (Yediot) Photo credit:  HaYonah ad  


*  except the non-kosher Tiv Taam chain which was established in 1990 to cash in on skyrocketing demands for non-kosher fare created by new Russian immigrants pouring out of the Soviet Union at a rate of 15,000 a month at the time. 


** Nablus earned itself a bad reputation as a hotbed of violence even before establishment of the Palestinian Authority (or the State of Israel for that matter): as the ‘heart’ of the 1936-39 Arab uprising. In the past two decades, Nablus won notoriety as the ‘terror capital’ for suicide bombers during the 2000-2006  Terror War (‘Second Intifada’) and as the ‘city of martyrs’ prior to and during the 2015-2016 Jihadi Wave, glorifying and supplying assailants on Jews. The city – under autonomous Palestinian jurisdiction since 1995 - continues to stand out as a ‘city of refuge’ offering asylum to suspected terrorists. No Jewish kashrut supervisor in his right mind would agree to work on-site in Nablus.   



Who is a Jew?  Try ‘who is a professor’ for a change.

            Neve Tzedek Hospital neurologist Dr. Yoram Finkelstein believed he was entitled to call himself a professor – to be more exacting, to present himself as Professor Yoram Finkelstein…all on the same line [i.e. in his signature) because since 2005 the neurologist has been an adjunct professor and faculty member at Vanderbilt University’s med school in the United States.

            But, because Dr. Finkelstein didn’t hold a professorship at an Israeli med school (Finkelstein has only taught at the Hebrew University since 1986) and he hasn’t received recognition of his status by Israel’s Ministry of Health, the Israel Medical Association’s ethics committee felt the title was misleading…but they agreed to a compromise solution: Dr. Finkelstein could add the title ‘professor’ on a separate line under the title Dr. Finkelstein…

            He refused and continued to present himself as “Professor Yoram Finkelstein” setting in motion sanctions by the IMA in 2013 which Dr. Finkelstein countered with bitter court suits that went all the way up to the Israel Supreme Court in 2017…

            Puzzled, Dr. Elyakim Rubinstein - the esteemed but exasperated vice president of Israel’s Supreme Court hearing the case, told the neurologist that it ‘was beyond his comprehension’ why Finkelstein didn’t simply re-appeal recognition of his professorship ‘based on his undeniable merits’ via normal medical channels rather than getting into a toxic judicially-refereed pissing contest with his fellow medical colleagues. (Israel HaYomPhoto credit: website



A recently released con entered a Jaffa eatery and swiped the pocketbook of one of the employees stashed in the manager’s office for safekeeping. This being his lucky day, the fellow not only found the owner’s credit card inside her purse, but also the owner’s secret four-digit PIN. 

            Unfortunately, when the thief tried to withdraw cash at the closest ATM just down the block, it turned out the credit card owner’s bank balance was so low he couldn’t withdraw a dime.

            Give up? Not on your life. 

            The inventive thief took advantage of the option to automatically extend ‘his’ credit line by taking out an instant 20,000 NIS loan no-questions-asked, and within minutes he was able to withdrew 9,900 NIS from the ATM.

            Why ‘only 9,900 NIS?

            Most probably the other half had already gone automatically towards covering the owner’s overdraft…(Israel HaYom) Photo credit” Illustration. Isracard Quickie Loan online ad


* Statistically, a pickpocket has a good chance of being stymied by an overdraft: 2015 data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics shows more than half the Israelis who have bank accounts are ‘in the red’ at least one month a year on average…



Israel’s army is considered one of the scruffiest looking military forces in the world, in part due to the fact that there are no regulation haircuts for reservists who make up most of the IDFs fighting force…an exemption that reflects the fact that Israelis serve in reserves throughout their adult lives (officially up to the age of 45-49), and could certainly not by expected to bend to ‘fashion’ standards one can demand of conscripts and career personnel.

      Thus, when the commanding officer of the elite Egoz commando unit prevented one of his reservists from partaking in a joint military exercise in Cyprus with a Greek Cypriot commando unit “because he wasn’t presentable enough” in his long dreadlocks*… even threatening to drum him out of his unit altogether, the reservist’s buddies, who went into battle with him - dreadlocks and all - in the 2014 Protective Edge campaign in Gaza, hit the ceiling.

      In an angry letters to the IDF top brass they labeled the measure a “grave incident of discrimination that was totally in contradiction to IDF values” demanding the Minister of Defense condemn the action. (Israel HaYom, NRG Maariv) Photo credit: The 2017 Cyprus Exercise. The press photo - released by the IDF Spokesperson - begs the question: Couldn’t the reservist have tucked his rastot under the floppy clownish-looking IDF helmet covers (mitznefet*) worn in the exercise – camouflage gear found only in the IDF?


* The term mitznefet is biblical - appears in the description in Exodus of the turban worn by the high priest in the Temple of Jerusalem (from the Hebrew language root meaning "to wrap") but in modern Hebrew mitznefet also connotes a ‘clowns hat’…