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



In July 2011 Chelm-on-the-Med© Online related how in the first years of statehood, 800,000 Israelis were issued identity card that cited their birth year but no birthday or month.  And how, in  a gesture of good will, to mark Israel's 62nd birthday, the Ministry of Interior invited everyone to choose any birthday they pleased.  The Ministry would duly record the change in the government data base - without any hassle.

The honeymoon was short-lived.

A month after Ahuva Ezra chose November 5th, 1937 as her "new birthday" - she received a letter from the National Insurance Institute saying they were reducing her retirement check in order to collect 10-months of social security she didn't deserve.... Another 1,500 pensioners who took the Government up on the invitation received similar statements.

In the absence of a specific birthday, payment of social security annuities had kicked in automatically on January 1st as a default, but the system suddenly spied a new birth date, and National Insurance Institute computers mindlessly did the math. Bureaucrats then mindlessly justified the move and refused to budge.

Minister of Welfare & Social Services. Moshe Kahlon (Likud) curtly ordered the pencil-pushers to back off.



Everybody's heard about the campaign mounted to free American-Israeli tourist Ilan Grapel from captivity in Egypt. But how many people know about the courageous one-woman expedition of Israeli-Russian 'cat lady' Marina Yagurova to terrorist-infested Sinai, to save two Egyptian alley cats from execution by stoning?

The former Moscow resident read about the kittens peril on a Russian blog and without thinking twice - jumped on a bus from Tel-Aviv-to-Eilat and from Taba-to-Dahab.  Locating the two doomed cats in the nick of time, Yagurova paid for inoculations and expedited the 'extradition' the two extremely-lucky kittens to Israel where they wait adoption - either in Israel or Moscow.



Chelm-on-the-Med has reported some rather brash cases of scavengers taking off with the 21st Century's precious metal (iron, copper or aluminum), but this caper deserves a medal of distinction that goes beyond the daring heist of copper from high power lines described in January 2011.

In a raid on a pirate scrap yard, among the manhole and storm drain covers and a host of other stolen or trashed metal objects, a special police unit that investigates economic crimes tripped over metal parts that appeared to come from IAF military planes, setting in motion a major investigation.



Rahat - a Bedouin city (p. 51,000) north of Beersheva that was founded in the 1970s to encourage nomadic Negev tribes to settle down, still has its own special character.  The city is divided into 33 neighborhoods - each one separated from the others by wadis* - all but one neighborhood inhabited exclusively by separate Negev Bedouin clans, to reduce strife.  "All the amenities" among the single-dwelling housing that dot the landscape go beyond modern designer kitchens, tiled floors and air-conditioning - in some cases boasting such pillars of Bedouin culture as a traditional camelhair tent and open oven for home-baked pita in the backyard. Until now, the only towers in town have been signature minarets ...but not for long.

The 'New Rahat' neighborhood - now under construction -consists of three- to seven-storey apartment buildings, four families to a floor; 4,500 housing units have already been sold, and demand among young Bedouin families is skyrocketing.

* dry river beds


Kibbutz Nachal Oz - situated on the border with Gaza, initiated a unique "price tag" for projectiles periodically lobbed into their back yard.

Hamas and its proxies declare their goal is to totally uproot the Jewish state?

Perversely, the kibbutzniks respond in planting a new sapling in every crater caused by a mortar or rocket inside the kibbutz perimeter.



Actress Hanna Meron has been recognized by the Guinness Book of Records for "the world's longest career in theater."  Meron - who made her first debut in Berlin at age four (as Thumbelina) has been on the stage for 83 years non-stop. No less impressive, half that time, Meron has been performing standing on one foot.

The 'first lady of Israeli theatre' was critically injured in 1970 when Palestinian terrorists staged an attack on El-Al passengers at Munich Airport - an event that almost spelled curtains for Meron.  After a brief convalescence, however, the perky veteran thespian declared that the show must go on.

And on.

And on.



Dan Chamizer, a media personality, renowned as a composer of complex riddles based on enigmatic clues - advanced treasure hunt for history buffs that have riveted the Israeli public for years, was contracted by a lady who wanted him to write a special riddle for the surprise party she planned for her husband's 60th birthday.

Chamizer went to work on the custom-made riddle, however, the customer failed to cough up the 4,000 NIS ($1,159) fee the ex-fighter pilot asked for and ignored his phone calls - truly "asking for it."

Unabashed, Chamizer evenly replied in kind - calling the birthday boy to tell him about the pending birthday bash two days away. Alas, Chamizer reprisal boomeranged: The clueless recipient was totally unfazed by loss of the element of surprise...and pleased as punch to recognize Chamizer's signature voice at the other end of the line, wishing him a happy birthday and a long life.