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As veteran readers may remember, in November 2010, Chelm-on-the-Med© Online got hijacked by Turkish hackers. It took more than a week of tension-filled days for the technical staff to completely restore the website's operations but there was one consolation: We were big enough to be noticed by the Turks, who usually attack large entities like the Jerusalem Post, the Likud party website and an offshore branch of a major Israeli bank. They apparently considered the power of a good chuckle exceedingly dangerous to their cause.

Thus, we had to laugh at the news report that the Turks had struck again - this time, in a stroke of poetic justice, missing the Israeli sites and hitting some 70 Palestinian sites instead. Although the Palestinian websites all carried the Palestine domain extension - ps, the sites sat on Israeli servers, leading the Turks to think they were Israelis.  Ironically, a good number of the hapless victims heralded anti-Israel content.



Oren, a resident of a Tel Aviv condo on Bizalel Street received a rather weird 1,005 NIS ($272) fine from city hall for blocking pedestrian traffic.

Had he parked his car on the sidewalk?

No, that's perfectly legal...  As long as his vehicle has a TA resident decal, municipal inspectors will ignore a car on the sidewalk in a resident's neighborhood, provided there is room for a single baby stroller to squeeze by.

Oren's offence was blocking the sidewalk by another vehicle... and Oren was not alone.  More than a dozen other tenants in his apartment building received identical fines because their green hedge extended out over the sidewalk - blocking pedestrian traffic. The condo hadn't trimmed back the foliage within the three days stated on a warning notification.  Angry residents - most of them students who don't even own the flats they inhabit - considered the collective 15,000 NIS ($4,054) 'hedge fine' a rip-off, and are determined to go fight city hall.



Google Israel has gotten the green light to hit the streets and begin capturing Israel's streets for Google Street View.  Not every place can be filmed by Google signature kelly green cars.  Some narrow streets and alleys like Old Jaffa in Tel-Aviv and Mea Shaarim and the Old City in Jerusalem will be documented with specially-equipped adult-size tricycles.

While some fear the images could assist potential terrorist choose and reach their targets, others say such shots of Israel at street level can drive home to potential tourists just how safe, beautiful and inviting Israel really is



A parolee from prison held up at gunpoint the very Tel-Aviv grocery from which he had just been sacked weeks earlier.  His wife - who was waiting impatiently in the getaway car with their two-month-old son in the back seat - told authorities she read psalms for his success... apparently to no avail.

Objectively, Yaniv Harel didn't have a prayer of a chance: His former employer recognized Harel's bushy eyebrows sticking out from under his ski mask, and within the hour, police apprehended the pair at their Holon apartment, retrieving the ski mask, a plastic pistol...and the two-bit crook's measly 766 NIS ($294) take.



Remember the October 2010 news expose "No Sweat" - how the Jerusalem Light Railway's trams wouldn't be equipped with hang straps for passengers standing up, only hand rails - to avoid the overpowering impact of a line of sweaty armpits at the height of an Israeli summer?

Well, a start-up has designed a solution for buses, as well.

Remove the hang straps?  Nope.

White Scent has designed a retrofit device that will send pleasant fragrances like green bamboo floating through packed buses. The system is already being beta-tested on two Metropolin bus lines - numbers 47 and 48 that take commuters from Raanana to the Big Orange - armed with measured puffs of citrus-scented soap.



EL-AL Airlines plans to offer espresso coffee with a square of chocolate on the side in tourist class, at $4 a cup.

A third of the proceeds will underwrite party bashes for off-duty cabin crew which will no-doubt serve something a wee stronger than coffee.



Due to political pressures*, 1.5 liter PET** bottles in Israel don't carry a refundable deposit like soda cans and wine bottles.  But that hasn't stopped Israelis from recycling plastic bottles as a civic duty.

Forty percent of all 1.5 liter soda and mineral water bottles - some 280 million plastic bottles - were recycled in 2011 by Israeli consumers - a ten percent jump from the previous year. The scope of PET bottle recycling is expected to reach the 50 percent mark soon, although there is no material incentive - way above 32 percent in ecology-conscious Germany, and 33 percent returns in non-deposit programs in Canada.  (Yediot Aharonot and Solid Waste Magazine)

* from religious parties whose constituency is large families - although today Bnei Brak has an impressive recycling rate.

**   PET -polyethylene terephthalate used to make plastic bottles.