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



Is the word “Champaign” a "protected designation of origin” or PDO?

If you ask the French who invented sparkling wine – yes.

The CIVC, a guild established in 1941 to protect French wines from the Champagne region from imitators, filed a million NIS $280,000) damage suit in an Israeli court. Oddly enough, the defendant isn’t an Israeli wine-maker. It’s Mey Eden* – an Israeli spring water bottling plant.

Their crime? Coining and using the slogan Ha-Champania shel HaTeva (Eden Mineral Water – “Nature’s Champagne”) on their labels and in their advertising campaigns... The plaintiffs claim the slogan uses the trade name Champagne to make a quick buck and fool the public into thinking Mey Eden’s product is the quality of the Real McCoy or associated with champagne makers in France.

While according to the Europeans (using the same logic) the Greeks have exclusive right to use the world “Feta,” the Italians own “Parmesan” and the French “Roquefort” and “Camembert,” could anyone in their right mind – who isn’t totally smashed – possibly think Mey Eden’s beverage is watered-down French champagne?

An Israeli court will adjudicate the case.


A 74-year old kibbutz welder from Kfar Giladi was on his way to do some errands in Kiryat Shmona when he was pulled over by a pair of cops... and collared on suspicion he was wearing stolen army apparel.

In fact, Uzi Kroll was wearing the same ratty olive-green and oil-stained padded jacket he’d worn to work for decades. The coat, however, was an IDF “look-alike” – a signature 1970s vintage Doobon* – a field parka that decades ago was the height of low fashion in Israel, sold to civilians over-the-counter at ATA clothing stores. Now bear in mind: IDF originals are labeled by the quartermaster with a huge “צ” and the year of issue stitched to the lining, but the cops hauled the kibbutznik into the station anyway. They took mug shots and fingerprints and confiscated his jacket.

Later, the station head argued everything was in order, reassured the press that if charges were unjustified, he’d close the case..

He didn’t say anything about returning Kroll’s jacket.

* Hebrew for ‘teddy bear’ coat, because wearers looked like overstuffed bears. The English version of this Wikipedia entry is a gem in itself...


An innovative bill before the Knesset will restrict surprise prizes for kids at fast food joints to those who order healthy items on the menu. The criteria, however, are a bit curious, to say the least: all meals must include a piece of fruit, be less than 600 calories, contain less than 640 mg of salt and... have “less than 35 percent fat.”


Insurance companies everywhere seek ways to weasel out of paying claims, but in the case of Amikam Shechter, his insurers chose to employ pure chutzpa instead of reciting the small print: they rejected the 47-year-old policy-holder’s claim for damages following a road accident that landed him in a wheelchair. The company claimed Shechter would have ended up in a wheelchair anyway, sooner-or-later because he had used crutches ever since he had polio as a kid!

Hardly about to take the insult sitting down, Shechter took his insurance company to court. That was back in 1998...

The suit dragged on for 13 years until a Jerusalem magistrates court finally ordered the insurers to pay Shechter – now 60 years old – damages for medical expenses, lost income and the extra expense of moving to a ground floor flat and buying a specially equipped car to the tune of 1.5 M NIS ($420,000)... hopefully with compounded interest.


Prof. Gabi Shefler has an odd hobby. The Jerusalem psychologist is a bell ringer in his spare time.


The Jerusalem YMCA. The bells – all 35 of them – are controlled from a console on the sixth floor of the Y that looks like a marriage between a weaving loom and a church organ with pedals and a set of pins instead of keys which operate pulleys instead of pipes at the back of the instrument. The bells were brought to Israel by the British 75 years ago in honor of King George V (immortalized in The King’s Speech).

How did Shefler get into bell ringing?

Twenty-five years ago Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek published an advertisement for a municipal course for bell-ringers. Eight people showed up.

The bells can be heard from a distance of four kilometers, which raises a delicate question: exactly how did the beginning bell-ringing students ‘practice’? (Yediot and Haaretz)


For some Israeli youth, looking to chill-out after military service, walking the full length of the 940-kilometer Israel National TrailShvil Yisrael – has become an alternative to trekking across South America or the Himalayas.

Finally, hikers who meander their way from Kibbutz Dan to Eilat can go home waving a passport stamped with all the places they’ve been to, just like their peers who choose Katmandu or Machu Picchu.

The product of a Bezalel Art Academy student’s final architecture project, the recently inaugurated Israel Trail Passport – which only costs 5 NIS – can be stamped at 22 museums and field schools along the way, each with its own unique rubber seal similar to border control stamps around the world.