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Photoshop provided the best commentary on hours of total gridlocked in Gush Dan* after police were forced to close the main artery through the Big Orange after a monstrous weather system (all over Israel from Dan** to Eilat) turned the Ayalon watercourse that serves as a 'meridian strip' between northbound and southbound traffic on the Ayalon Freeway and normally  is no more than a concrete drainage ditch with a few inches of water – into a raging torrent that began to shosh onto the eight-lane  expressway and adjoining commuter train tracks. In response, Nimrod Ganzarski** planted an IDF submarine in the middle of the torrent and Ofer Regev and Tal Shaham replaced Tel Aviv's iconic green rental bikes with green kyaks. 

       In fact, fantasy and reality weren't so far apart:  Israel Police announced that an unidentified and apparently highly-motivated and determined 'commuter' from Modi'in was fished out of the Ayalon watercourse unscathed by Red Magan David personnel and delivered to Shiba Hospital to be 'warmed up' after his kayak (!) capsized  near Ben-Gurion Airport, half-way to Tel Aviv….



Talk of bad timing: The same day newspaper business sections were filled with stories of a possible $500 M. ++ Exit for the Israeli social media-based traffic navigation ap WAZE (rumored to being eyed by Apple), WAZE servers – that weren't programmed for such a contingency as police closing a major artery out of the blue – sent motorists to the empty-but-closed Ayalon Freeway further snarling traffic, until WAZE personnel manually eliminated the closed artery from the servers' optional routes (that in any case all registered total paralysis).


* The Dan Region or Tel Aviv metropolitan area

**  Kibbutz Dan the most northerly point in Israel

*** editor of the Jerusalem Post Lite




Bnei Brak native Dorit Barak is offering guided walking tours of the bustling religious city on the outskirts of the Big Orange, where she was born. When it was founded in 1925, Bnei Brak was slated to be an agricultural village but grew into a honest-to-God city of 170,000 souls. The objective of her “My Bnei Brak Tour”: to break down barriers between the observant and non-observant by giving the latter a taste of life in what for many secular sabras* is a totally foreign culture that might as well be in Fiji or the Amazon Basin.

       The tours not only include a chance to ogle at the façade of famous yeshivas and synagogues; breaking the CoL index and the ice, participants are led to one of the city’s best-kept secrets: a hole-in-the-wall mom and pop** eatery at 28 Rashi Street with two tables (+ standing-room-only on the sidewalk, plate-in-hand) that has only one item on the menu – cholent.

       Cholent is a traditional slow-cooking savory Sabbath stew of beans, potatoes and meat, but Hillel’s Cholent dishes up cholent Sundays through Thursdays, and it costs only 15 NIS ($3,75) a serving… the price of a bottle of soda pop or a cup of tea in Tel Aviv cafés.


* Native-born Israelis

** ‘Mom’ Malka Friedman is a Bnei Brak native, ‘pop’ Hillel Friedman hails from Brooklyn




Squabbles over visitation rights between estranged spouses are nothing new, but what if it’s the child who refuses to cooperate?

       A Rishon Lezion family court ruled that the teen who ‘disowned’ her father by denying him the once-a-week visitation rights set by the courts couldn’t have it both ways. Her father’s lawyer suggested, and the courts agreed, that the father would no longer be required to automatically fork over child support payments to his ex* as he had for years. “Dads aren’t ATM machines,” ruled an angry judge, ordering that child support payments be placed in a savings account managed by the plaintiff’s lawyer, money that would only be handed over to the mother if her daughter had a change of heart.


* An ‘accomplice’ to the unilateral divestment of papa, who for years had refused to hold up her side of the bargain and regularly sabotaged his attempts to see his daughter.




The Society for the Preservation of Nature mapped out the oldest trees in Israel – some a hundred years old like the stately mulberry at 5 Amsterdam Street near the Tel Aviv Municipality, some five hundred years old, such as the monumental sycamore that still graces the re-landscaped garden in the center of the Habima Theatre-Mann Auditorium-Helena Rubinstein Pavilion of Contemporary Art complex in the heart of Tel Aviv.

       The oldest known living tree in Israel is in Netanya, a giant 8-meter high, 25-meter wide giant with an 8-meter circumference trunk, estimated to be between 600 and 1,200 years old. Surely some of Napoleon’s army sought shade under this spreading sycamore tree on its 1799 march northward from Jaffa to Acco,* say the environmentalists.


* For a fascinating account of how Napoleon ‘met his Waterloo’ for the first time in Acco, see Nathan Schur’s detailed account of Napoleon’s 10-week incursion into Palestine from his base in Egypt in an attempt to make himself “emperor of the East” – Napoleon in the Holy Land.




Instead of quietly taking a seat beside his father who was patiently waiting his turn to withdraw some cash from the bank, the impatient 21-year-old walked up to an unoccupied cashier and told the teller – “This is a stickup. Give me all the money you’ve got.”

       The cashier stuffed a wad of bills into an envelope. But instead of walking out the door with the take like any normal bank robber, the strange young man stuffed the envelope into his father’s purse and took a seat… Asked point blank about the source of the unexpected windfall, papa, truly beside himself, jumped up and returned the envelope to the still-stunned cashier apologizing profusely for his son’s weird ‘withdrawal symptoms.’

       Alas, it turned out this was not the boy’s first offence: he was already under house arrest when he went out to get a breath of fresh air in his father’s custody… for snatching a purse.

       Police took the suspect into custody for safe-keeping.




Israel gets pilloried for a host of incredible ‘offences’ that range from the ‘classic’ that Israeli soldiers don’t rape Arab women because they are racist, to a Guardian article on the status of women in Gaza in which a woman in Islamic-controlled Gaza charged that Israel was the culprit behind her jobless husband beating her (not, God Forbid, Sura 4 Verse 34 of the Koran that sanctions wife beating to keep women obedient to their husbands)…

       In such a milieu, ‘compliments’ come in many forms, including assurances from a member of the Palestinian Coordination Committees in Syria, Hamas agent Muhammed Hifawi. Hifawi said a hit job against a senior Hamas operative in Damascus, Kamal Anaja, was ‘too brutal” to be the work of the Mossad. The assailants had broken into the victim’s apartment, tortured him at length, then cut off his head and stuffed body parts into a cabinet before setting fire to the flat.