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More than one native son has left Israel with $10 in his pocket and become a millionaire.  Well, now it's the Palestinians turn to beam with pride thanks to Farouk Shami – who no doubt takes the cake in terms of striking it rich with a striking stroke of luck.   

The hairdresser from a Palestinian village near Ramallah who arrived in the United States in 1965 with $71 in his pocket, skyrocketed to prominence as one of the world's top hair care mavens, launching a hair product line – the Farouk Systems' CHI brand, based on....cooperation with NASA.  No kidding.

NASA allowed the immigrant hairdresser to employ a special solution that strengthens the outer walls of American space shuttles, to eliminate the use of ammonia in hair-coloring and hair-straightening products...which Farouk Shami began manufacturing in Houston in 1986, backed by a wealthy Texan whom the exceedingly-lucky émigré ran into by chance.


Remember the September 2011 report on the smallest apartment on record in the Big Orange – an 8- sq. meter (86 sq. foot) warren?

Without waiting for the Tel-Aviv Municipality to stop prosecuting landlords who cut large apartments up into studio apartments suitable for young people, Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) stepped forward, signing a ministerial directive that regulates and "kashers" such renovations for the next three years, almost anywhere in Israel:

Three of the five provisos stipulate that the original apartment can't be smaller than 120 square meters; individual renovated units can't be smaller than 40 square meters each; and...only 30 percent of the flats in any given building can be split into smaller units – first come, first served.


A group of IDF reservist decided to reenact their grueling 120 kilometer forced march with full-gear when they were in conscript service – a 25-hour ordeal that culminated in receipt of much-coveted red paratrooper berets back in 1991. The only concession made by the group in 2011 – with  everyone now pushing 40, was the march took three-and-a-half days (without the gear) - not 25 hours, to complete – an event organized to commemorate a buddy who fell in Lebanon in 1997.


Dr. Dov Klein decided to fight the bane of adwords, suing Google and one of its adword users for 300,000 NIS ($83,333). 

On what grounds? 

For four months, every time a surfer keyed in the name "Dr. Dov Klein" in a Google search, a link popped up on the sidelines to one of the Israeli plastic surgeon's competitors – a cosmetic surgery outfit called Proportzia whose website in English ["it's customers"; "al of whom" and last but not least – " Proorzia Clinics"] is in dire need of a facelift.

Klein argued that Google wronged him by allowing advertisers to use keywords without any limitations and that Proportzia illegally used his personal name and title (and reputation as a cosmetic surgeon, one might add) to leverage their own business.   

Proportzia claimed Klein didn't have absolute rights to his own name...*

* The Magistrate Court of Tel Aviv-Jaffa thought otherwise – awarding the physician 50,000 NIS ($13,888) in damages for the period when Proportzia linked their website to his name.


Gridlock in Bnei Brak is hardly the center of attention of traffic updates on Galgalatz – the army radio station that meshes popular music with regular reports of the jewciest traffic jams in the Jewish State. 

Some male haredi* motorists refrain from listening-in - not only because of the army station's blatantly-secular content, but also due to its mixed-gender playlist and traffic updates. They only listen to their wives, worrying that hearing strange women's voices in their heads while operating a motor vehicle could drive even a good man plum off the straight and narrow.  

Now, for a nominal service fee** all-male presenters on a haredi radio station are on-call to update such motorists on the latest fender-benders along Bnei Brak's main arteries – Rebbe Akiva or Jerusalem streets and congestion in other  major ultra-Orthodox communities such as Mea Shaarim, Elad and Betar Elite. The service also treats listeners to the Tfilat HaDerechthe Traveler's Prayer for a safe journey – at no extra cost... but only after the driver indicates whether he prefers the Ashkenazi version ("Press 1") or the Sephardic version ("Press 2").

* ultra-Orthodox

** half a shekel, or about 14 cents.


Yishay Malkov returned to Israel after managing an upscale Gordon Ramsay group restaurant in London, and opened his own restaurant.  While the retro décor boasting vintage photos such as Ben-Gurion standing on his head and serves Mediterranean cuisine, the establishment, located on King George Street 88 in Tel-Aviv, is named "Bertie" – in homage to King George Vi (popularized in the movie The Kings Speech).*

Malkov said his years in London underscored the difference between British and Israeli patrons: "A Brit will eat politely what he's served, go home, sit down and write a complaint in detail with three copies. It prevents me from taking corrective action."   Driving home his point, Malkov added: One such complaint concerned a bloke who sat stolidly and stoically on a protruding nail throughout his meal, and it never occurred to the Brit to request they replace his chair!

And Israelis?  "It's easier to work with an Israeli clientele, because an Israel will immediate complain, not swallow his dissatisfaction," explained the restaurateur.

* Malkov was apparently unaware that the street was named in honor of Bertie's father– George V who reigned (1910-1936) during most of the British Mandate...