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Changing your name in Israel is a simple procedure designed to allow new immigrants to Hebraize their Diaspora names (or allow a deathly ill person to try to escape the Angel of Death). Nevertheless, the procedure is also employed by slightly whacky Israelis to act on their wildest fantasies (see “King Pin,” for example).

            Rotem Guez had something else in mind when he changed his name at the Population Registry and on his Identity Card to… Mark Zuckerberg. Incredulously, the Interior Ministry clerk balked, then asked the 32-year-old applicant (the submission was secretly videotaped by Guez) – “Do your parents agree to this???” – then approved the request.

            It's not that the father of two wants to feel like a million dollars… or $17.5 billion to be precise. He wants to piss off Mark Zuckerberg after Facebook closed his account charging that Guez runs a traffic-generating monkey business called “Like Store” that, according to the networking giant, markets fictitious ‘likes’ to online businesses in bulk.

            “If Facebook wants to sue him for fraud, as they threaten to, they will have to send the charges to one Mark Zuckerberg,” said Guez-Zuckerberg gleefully. That one-liner alone was enough to generate a wave of free publicity...




Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher from North Carolina hold the Guinness world record for the longest marriage for a living couple – 86 years, ’til death do they part. But how about the longest divorce?

The world record no doubt goes to an unidentified Israeli couple who opened divorce proceedings back in 1973, but got bogged down bickering over allocation of their joint assets ever since and never finalized their divorce.

In the meantime, the kids have grown up (with hubby paying child support). Over the years, the divisive pair have separated and made up, split up and again reunited under one roof, only to part ways – with one constant over the past 39 years: come rain or shine, and without fail, the two, now in their seventies, have continued to battle over division of their growing assets, while their original lawyers have gone on to become judges.

Will this go on ’til death do they part? Who knows…




Oren El-On chose a surefire tactic to grab and keep the attention of hundreds of jaded insurance sales reps at an Eilat insurance conference, dressing up his lecture on dropping commission rates and their ramifications for insurance agents – by dropping his pants. The deputy-general director of The Phoenix Insurance Company gradually undressed as he talked, stripping down to a pair of colorful red and black designer skivvies and his watch, but stopped there.

A shocked religious insurance agent attending the gathering called on the company to fire the executive on the spot, but a company spokesperson came to El-On’s defense, dropping broad hints that she needed to keep her shirt on: “El-On only wanted to express his deep identification with the complex situation his insurance agents find themselves in the face of new regulatory directives that are detrimental to the profit structure of the agents,” he declared.




This summer, landlocked Beer Sheba will open an 11m NIS* Mediterranean beach facing City Hall, “bringing the center of the country to the south... so residents won’t have to go to Ashkelon or Ashdod to go to the seashore,” declared Mayor Ruvik Danalovich. The mayor hopes Beer Sheba’s unique shoelace-shaped wading pool – one of seven “water attractions” will become a city icon, marking Beer Sheba as a green oasis, alongside Abraham’s well.

While the sand and the seashells and the natural Mediterranean foliage for landscaping will be imported from the coast, the water for the project will be pumped up on-site from ground water – which should ensure there won’t be any jellyfish unless Danalovich plans to import them as well.

Convincing toddlers they’re at the beach should work fine as long as no one tells the kids that the Mediterranean is filled with saltwater and has waves, not fountains.


* $2.9m 




Jews are communal creatures. There is only a smattering of individual farms in Israel – not organized village-fashion. Even early Zionist settlers who rejected the “shtetl mentality” of Diaspora communities, nevertheless settled in groups rather than adopting ‘normal’ pioneering social organization based on the nuclear family.

            Community is so embedded in the DNA that there are villages in Israel not only based on ethnic origins, political party affinity, religiosity or religious-national affiliation, there are village-like communities of like-minded people that range from artists (Ein Hod) to Yogi Moodies* (Hararit) to vegetarians (Amirim). Back in the 1990s, there was even a group of bank employees who petitioned the Israel Lands Authority to allot them land to establish a community of their own.

            Now the chair of the Jerusalem branch of Yad LaBanim – the memorial organization of bereaved families of fallen soldiers – has asked the Israel Lands Authority to set aside land to build a special community for the parents of fallen soldiers, mostly retired empty-nesters who find a common language and comfort in the close company of other bereaved parents to such an extent that they want to live together as a community.

            The Israel Lands Authority said it would investigate the request.


* Followers of the Maharishi’s transcendental meditation doctrine


* Separate ethnic-religious communities – Christian and Muslim Arab villages, Druze and Circassian villages, Jewish villages – are an inheritance from the Ottoman Empire