The Chelm Project is a pro bono endeavor. Your donation is greatly appreciated. Your support helps balance overly conflict-driven news that warps perceptions of Israel.

Donate in Shekels


Donate in Dollars

Subscribe to our list

Email Format

Join us!

Are you a publisher or literary agent?

Click HERE

Savor Classic Oldies from 1987-2007
Click HERE

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn



When things got dicey in Japan, the Japanese government put out an urgent request for 300 special Geiger counters made by the commercial wing of the Dimona nuclear reactor, Rotem Industries.

And the Israeli ambassador to Japan?

He made an urgent request, too – that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem send his beleaguered skeleton staff of four at the Israeli embassy a shipment of Purim hamantaschen* to lift their spirits. The Hong Kong Chabad center came to the rescue, airlifting the goodies to the stressed-out diplomats in Tokyo via FedEx.

Apparently unsure whether hamantaschen would do the trick, the ambassador also asked Jerusalem to “send a psychologist” – who began conducting hour-long conference calls with Israeli nationals ‘stuck’ in Japan, to calm their nerves ....

* Yiddish for the triangle-shaped filled cookies served at Purim, called Oznei Haman (Haman’s Ears) in Hebrew.


Remember the February column, “You’ve Got Mail – a la 2011,” about how the IDF's Israel’s Home Front Command will be sending personalized SMS messages to all cell phones within radius of any incoming rocket or missile anywhere in the country?

Quick-thinking officers at the Home Front Command came up with another innovative application in the wake of the Japanese earthquake-tsunami: text messages will also go out to warn Israelis in advance of such natural disasters.


The existing SMS rocket-missile notification system will be attached to state-of-the-art earthquake warning technology that gives a 5- to 35-second warning before an earthquake occurs, and 30 to 60 minutes before a tsunami.* Five to 35 seconds doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but tell that to residents of Sderot who have 15 seconds to duck and cover.

* The last tsunami hit Acco in the year 1033.


When a couple from Rehovot started getting inflated cell phone bills, they called OrangeÔ agent K., who’d sold them their cell phones. After much nagging and haggling, K. managed to reduce the charges, but the next time the pair sought his personal intervention, they got a recording that K.’s telephone had been disconnected. The couple turned to a nearby service center for help.

Giving the idiom 'ask me no questions – I'll tell you no lies' a new twist, the service rep told the two that K. was dead and all the records of his transactions had been deleted. Forget it, there was no one to talk to, she said.

But rather than simply ‘get lost’ as they were told to, the two decided to consult the telephone directory, where, lo and behold, they found K., who turned out to be very much alive and surprised to hear he’d been “killed in a tragic car accident”... although he was no longer working for Orange.

The company said there would be hell to pay, and opened an investigation.


Israel has some of the most enlightened labor laws in the world. Now it has instituted a host of new labor regulations that abolish child labor, mandate work breaks and stipulate maternity leave – for work animals.

The animal rights law forbids working an animal with a newborn that is less than three days old; all work animals must receive a work break at least once every three hours; sick or injured animals are entitled to ‘sick leave,’ and working an animal less than three years of age is illegal. All the new regulations carry a 2,000 NIS ($555) for each infraction.

Another new regulation prohibits cutting the tails or ears of animals on ‘aesthetic grounds,’ an offense that carries a 4,000 NIS ($1,111) fine.



Everybody’s heard about Bar Rafaeli and Gal Gadot, right? But what about supermodel Luba Fishman?

The 100-year-old member of Kibbutz Givat Haim (Ichud) was chosen to pose as poster woman (in a rocking chair) for a mega advertisement on the side of a high-rise on the edge of the Ayalon Freeway and bus stops asking motorists: “Does Real Beauty Have an Age Limit?”

The campaign banner of the centenarian, sponsored by DoveÔ Soap, is hanging for a month to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.*

* March 8– April 8


A breach of diplomatic protocol was avoided when a sharp-eyed university student working as a security guard at the gate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem noticed that ministry employees had raised a black-yellow-red horizontal striped flag instead of a black-red-yellow vertical striped flag in honor of a German delegation led by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, which was scheduled to arrive at any moment. The directional hazard was corrected in the nick of time.

The horizontal stripes belong to Belgium.


Not everybody loves Saturday night. While the rest of the world was marking Earth Day by turning off the lights for an hour on Saturday night, March 26th, Israel – a nation that dwells alone in any case – marked Earth Day on Thursday the 24th. Two days early.


The 15 municipalities participating in this global event needed ‘lead time’ to set things up, and the organizers of the symbolic event wanted to avoid desecration of the Sabbath.