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Tel Aviv, like every metropolis, suffers from a shortage of parking spaces – all the more so such parking that doesn’t take the driver for a ride as well.

Leave it to two Israelis to dream up a win-win solution to maximize all available parking spaces in the Big Orange: Just Park It match-makes individual flat owners who own parking spaces under or behind their buildings that are empty part of the time with commuters who would love to ‘rent’ the spot in the owner’s absence. Like any rental, owners are free to set their own price...

Commuters can key in a time and place on the Just Park It website, check out suitable spots, and pay by credit card online for a given number of hours. The renter receives the lion’s share of the parking fees deposited directly into the owner’s bank account once a month.


Keller is at it again!

The Basor river course is hardly the mighty Nile, but over the past year no fewer than 10 junior Nile crocodiles have been caught in the Basor – reptiles believed to have escaped or been stolen from a now-closed crocodile farm in the western Negev.*

Responding to a new ‘sighting’ by hikers, Arieh Keller set out in a row boat to catch what he and two nature wardens hoped was the last wayward juvenile to find sanctuary in the creek before the creatures turned into full-grown crocodiles.

After hours of playing hide ‘n seek, close to midnight Keller succeeded in lassoing a pair of beady eyes peering out from overhanging foliage near the bank. The croc, however, turned out to be a five-year-old specimen that had apparently escaped undetected for years. In the tooth and nail struggle, Keller’s rowboat flipped over, dumping Keller into the creek with the croc.

Would the croc have attacked him – or cut and run? Keller apparently recovered first from the surprise encounter, grabbing the open-mouthed 1.5 meter-long (4’11”) reptile by the jaws, wrestling it into submission before it could make up its mind.

* See the December 2009 column of Chelm-on-the-Med© Online, for another no-less-hairy encounter with the farm’s lost inventory.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar plans to make a documentary on American soldiers who liberated Jews from the concentration camps, but before embarking on the project he came to Israel to get the blessings of Rabbi Israel Lau – the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv and former chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Israel

On the surface, the topic and the trip may sound like a strange choice for a Muslim convert. In fact, for the NBA American basketball star*-turned-filmmaker and writer, things hit close to home.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s late father, Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Sr. – an Afro-American police officer and jazz musician – was a member of the 761st Armored Division that liberated the Buchenwald Concentration Camp where eight-year-old Lau was one of the survivors. One of the World War II veteran’s dying wishes was that his son go to Israel to meet the kid he remembered, who had become a famous rabbi. The two met for the first time 14 years ago.

Lau said he still remembers vividly being lifted up by a tall black GI who scolded Germans forced to visit the camp: “Look at this sweet kid. He’s not even eight years old and he was your enemy! He ‘threatened’ the Third Reich?!”

* Who scored more points than any other player in the history of the NBA.


Beersheba’s first-term mayor Ruvik Danilovich has a problem separating his private life from his public life. No, it’s not overwork.

The 40-year-old bachelor says constituents are constantly trying to fix him up with suitable girls. Even the president of Ben-Gurion University has tried to play matchmaker, says the mayor. While Danilovich frequents Beersheba’s entertainment spots as part of the job and “loves to interact with residents” while doing so, he says he only goes on dates outside the city – mostly Tel Aviv – because he wants his date to “judge him as Ruvik,” – and not “meet the mayor.”


When the daughter of the head of the workers’ committee at the Ashdod Port celebrated her bat-mitzvah, her father partly paralyzed the port (off-and-on) by cutting everyone’s shifts; a port spokesperson said laconically that clients had been informed in advance to “expect delays.”

Actually, this was an improvement over past performances: when the labor leader’s older daughter celebrated her bat-mitzvah in 2008, work at the port came to a complete standstill for a full four hours – without warning – because with so many workers invited to the simcha*, no one was left to mind the shop.

* A happy life-cycle event


When it comes to planning that “unforgettable wedding,” far out locations, nutty and accessible by unlit dirt road if at all possible, marked by little sign posts (“To Tamar and Itamar’s Wedding” scotch-taped to lampposts along the way), are in vogue in some Israeli circles.

Rising to the occasion, designer Sasson Kedem* now offers bridegrooms a truly far-out but classic black and white frock, in perfect ambience with that ultimate laid-back wedding. Looking like a marriage between a pair of harem pants, a straitjacket and a hospital gown, it must be seen to be believed. Click here. It’s all yours for 3,380 NIS ($965). Sandals not included. (Calcalist)

* Kedem is a world-renowned designer for plus size women, who says he was “motivated by his zaftig wife’s meager and unimaginative clothing options.”