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While plenty of Western countries now prohibit interviewers from asking job candidates their age, ethnicity or religious affiliation – Israel has added three more questions that are now unlawful:

"Where do you live?" - to eliminate tagging an applicant with a particular political orientation, level of religiosity or ethnicity, such as settlers living in the territories or residents of an Arab village.

"How many children do you have?" - to level the playing field for working mothers with many children who might need to take more sick leave than other candidates.

"What’s your reserve unit and how many days of reserve duty do you do a year?" -  to combat any reluctance by employers to hire reservists who get called up often for active duty.


Why is this night different from all other nights?

For Rachel Arbel – Passover night is indeed unlike any other night. Every year she clocks-in after the seder to field calls at the ERAN Emotional Crisis Hotline which always registers a rise in calls on the night of the seder. Callers are not only bed-ridden or lonely people without relatives seeking a bit of human contact on a holiday; there are also post-seder casualties, suffering from an overdose of close kin in close quarters, and desperate for a bit of empathy, says Arbel.

One of her most memorable seder calls she has ever gotten was from an old man - estranged from his son, who called ERAN in the middle of the night, very despondent. Abel suggested they conduct their own seder right then and there, and proceeded to read and sing the entire hagadah from cover-to-cover over the phone to the elderly caller.


For years, Nachal Oz, a kibbutz that hugs the border with Gaza, has been receiving electric bills for... the Palestinian Authority, to the tune of 2.7 million NIS ($750,000) a month, not including 71 million NIS ($19.7 million) of unpaid previous bills for electricity supplied to Gaza.

No one – including service reps at the Israel Electric Company – knows why Nachal Oz has been so honored, but the billing statements continue to arrive every month addressed to “The Palestinian Authority – Nachal Oz”... (Channel 10 TV)

* Nachal Oz gets socked coming and going – not only getting hit with the bills for Palestinian power demands, but periodically hit by Palestinian rockets from Gaza, too.


Book signings of works by famous authors are a common sight, but renowned Israeli painter and sculptor Menashe Kadishman is probably the first artist to hold a public signing of his work... no strings attached. And in a department store, yet.

The 79-year-old artist with a lifelong fascination with portraying sheep, sat at a table set up between women’s wear and house wares. Sporting a white gallābīya* he commenced to draw line portraitures of Israelis who flocked to receive the free signed originals.

The artist was flanked by three Hebrew poets of repute reading aloud from their works. The public-spirited Happening was organized by the Hamashbir chain to give its clientele a taste of Israeli fine art and high culture. Not at all sheepish with the odd gesture, Kadishman said: “Art should be in places frequented by the public, like Hamashbir, not in expensive museums or in the hands of a wealthy person who buys art as a business [investment], keeping it in a vault.”

* Traditional Islamic men’s garment, similar to an ankle-length shirt.


The IDF’s aging chief tailor has gotten a pile of odd jobs from the Logistics Command in 43 years on the job. One of his tallest orders was a request in 1983 from GHQ to stitch together a special 50 cm. wide and 2.2 meter-long* mattress for a field cot for the country’s newly minted but unusually lanky chief of-staff Moshe Levi – nicknamed Moshe-ve-Chetzi (Moshe ‘n a Half).

One of the tailor’s most recent special assignments was a rush request for infrared-sensitive battle uniforms that will stand out like a sore thumb even from a distance of three kilometers – designed to cut down lethal exchanges of friendly fire in the heat of battle.

* 20” x 7’2”


There are more volunteers per capita in Israel than anywhere else on the face of the earth, but the enterprising volunteer project started by 26-year-old Meir Partosh provides a truly unique service. Every Thursday (when most people do their Sabbath shopping), he and a small army of high school students ply the Machane Yehuda open market in Jerusalem offering to help elderly shoppers carry their unwieldy market baskets to the bus stop or the car. And sometimes, even all the way home.

Back in the 1990s, medical research found Israelis suffered from a special strain of a universal and well-documented malady: frozen shoulders. Best labeled “shlepper’s shoulders,” an Israeli orthopedic surgeon said the malady was triggered by lugging home bulky plastic market baskets filled to the brim with fruits and vegetables from Israel’s open markets.


Oil exploration drilling operations in the middle of Ashdod and near Rosh Ha’ayin east of Tel Aviv haven’t panned out, but a thirsty cop in the Galilee found oil unexpectedly when he turned on the tap in the Safed police station to make himself a nice hot cup of coffee.

It took local water authorities hours to get to the source – a tanker truck that had erroneously dumped 2,000 metric liters of fuel oil into the water system instead of a heating oil storage tank.

Another tanker – this time with water – had to be called in to provide the Canaan neighborhood’s 2,500 residents with drinking water until authorities could figure out how to thoroughly flush the fuel out of the system.