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Hilah Ben-Baruch left her car legally parked in front of her flat on Yehuda Halevi Street in Tel-Aviv and went to work. Returning in the evening she found  the vehicle had vanished…and in its place was an unoccupied handicapped parking spot. A call to city hall revealed the vehicle had indeed been ticketed and carted away to a municipal lot, leaving Ben-Baruch facing a 1,000 NIS ($250) fine and a 350 NIS ($95) towing fee if she wanted her car back.

            Luckily a security camera outside an office building across the street had captured an incriminating sequence of events – frame-for-frame: a municipal parking supervisor ordering her car towed away two hours after a pair of contractors working for the city slapped a handicapped parking emblem under her parked car and repainted the blue-and-white curb white.*  The evidence should have enabled Ben-Baruch to irrefutably prove she'd been framed….except there was no date on the taped footage.

            Go fight city hall?  Not this time.

            Sheepish city elders wrote the incident off to "shlumi'aliyut" – "the handiwork of schlemiels" and squashed the ticket (and the tow fee) on the spot.  (Haaretz, Channel 10)


* blue-and-white (parking permitted) and red-and-white (parking prohibited), a blue rectangle with a white handicap emblem (disabled parking only)   




The upscale township of Omer, outside Beersheba, introduced a unique pacification program on behalf of the bedroom suburb’s two- and three-year-old residents – a hanging tree in a local playground where children are encouraged to hang up their pacifiers when they are good and ready to part with them.

            Omer is not alone. The new "hybrid species" is quickly spreading to other municipalities and individual nursery schools – the fruit of a new children’s book in Hebrew, Etz Hamotzetzim (The Pacifier Tree), written by a 29-year-old kibbutz nursery school teacher Lee Trachtman. The plot revolves around a nursery school with a pacifier tree and three-year-old Noa who, still beset by mixed feelings, has trouble separating from her pacifier.




Burglars and other petty thieves are often caught after leaving incriminating evidence, including one hapless intruder who dropped his identity card at the scene of the crime and another who literally fell asleep on the job, but even the pros make stupid mistakes. One of the strangest feats in cracking a case belongs to the Israel Police Force that apprehended a key member of a gang of metal thieves in the south, believed to be responsible for stealing 6 M NIS ($1.5 M) worth of copper cables from Electric Company high-voltage power lines (see the 2011 Chelm Award for Chutzpa) and from Bezeq's underground telephone cables (caught on camera in one such caper in Beersheva). 

            For some reason, the fellow decided to show up for work barefoot…leaving a clean set of prints for forensic experts, suggesting perhaps even criminals need a dress code. 




            What's in a name? 

            A lot more than we think if one believes a study published in Psychopathology conducted by mental health personnel at the Geha Mental Health Hospital. The authors found a significant correlation between children's names and certain personality traits – whether a child was animated and jumpy, or calm and relaxed.

            Among the findings: Boys with names like Sa'ar (storm), and girls named Gal (wave) were more likely to be hyperactive, and ADHD among boys named Barak (lightening) was, statistically, significantly higher than children with other names. Boys with names like Noam and girls named Na'amah (amicable or placid), and boys named Shalom and girls named Shlomit (peace) and Yam (sea), Ma'ayan (spring) and Matar (rain shower) tended to be laid-back and relaxed by nature.

            Then again, maybe it has more to do with the personality of parents who chose the names…




A pair of seniors in their sixties who out of the blue won 16 M NIS (($4 M) in the national lotteries decided not to tell their eight children about the windfall.  Although the two are now on easy street, the couple said "[the kids] received [help] and will continue to receive but we want them to continue to work to earn a living. Let them learn nothing comes easily" said the two, but added: Their offspring would receive their due…in due time. 




Are Israelis getting taller?

            No, but a survey of 70 new building projects found that in the last decade ceilings have risen from the 2.5 meters minimum set by law to an average of 2.75 meters… but the sky is the limit.

            One project under construction in Netanya called David’s Tower, which claims to cater to foreign investors from the upper crust who come with tall orders, boasts living rooms with 3.3 meter-high ceilings which look as if they belong in Versailles. Another Netanya project with ‘only’ 2.9 meter-high ceilings is called YAM (in English Y-A-M) – not named after the Third World’s most popular ‘sweet potato.’ Yam is Hebrew for sea.




A public tender to safeguard and store government documents was won by a company whose archives burned down.  The ministry in question said they hadn't signed a contact yet…