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Yoram Kaniuk, one of Israel’s most famous and prolific writers, who died in early June, never lost his sardonic sense of humor even up to his last breath. On his death bed, Kaniuk recalled that his mother had been disappointed that he ‘never went to university’ but could be consoled by the honorary doctorate he had received from Tel-Aviv University; now, having decided to donate his body to science, Koniuk quipped days before his death  that he would soon have a second opportunity to ‘go’ to Tel-Aviv University. (IBA First Channel)   


A hoarse 24 year-old IDF veteran sued the army claiming she had lost her voice after being forced to yell ‘Attention!’ too many times while serving as chanichat toranit (duty cadet) during her basic training in the IDF.  The fact that her CO often demanded she repeat the command louder and louder apparently exacerbated her condition, permanently straining her vocal cords, leading a Ministry of Defense medical board to recognize the husky vet’s condition as a line-of-duty injury.

            Alas, a similar complaint from a civilian fell on deaf ears: Eighteen months ago a sales associate from Tiberias was left speechless in a row with her boss. The plaintiff claimed she has been reduced to writing notes every since, a true liability considering one of her four kids was only an infant who still doesn’t know how to read.

            While the labor court recognized a possible linkage between the very vocal exchange and the plaintiff’s psychological aphonia* brought on by mental anxiety, a National Insurance medical board judged silence was golden, awarding the applicant a ‘zero percent’ disability.

            The unnamed plaintiff declared that she wouldn’t be silenced, and was appealing the ruling.


* Aphonia: Inability to utter sounds.  A 2010 Swiss study of 21 cases of psychological aphonia reveals 20 patients recovered – two after two to three years so apparently there’s still room for hope. Only one of the patients remained “fixated” – a certified nut case.




            Facebook was reported to have offered the developers of Israeli ‘traffic jam dodging’ navigation technology Waze a $800 M – $1 B ‘exit,’ but the deal came with a catch.

            While countless high tech giants like Intel and Google have established R&D centers in Israel, and other buyers who have taken over Israeli technology have gladly left future research and development in place in the Jewish state, according to the media, Mark Zuckerberg – who may be Jewish but unlike Warren Buffet (a Mormon from Omaha), hasn’t a clue how Israelis tick - insisted the employees uproot and move to California… 

            They turned him down. There are still some things money can’t buy.* 


* Media exposure created by Facebook (and Apple’s) interest in the company led to a 25 percent jump in downloads and the number of users of the community/crowd-sourcing based app now stands at 48.9 million. 


** Don’t worry. Several weeks later, Google bought Waze for a reported $1.1 B, with no such Diasporist dictate.




Familiar with the age-old story about the guy whose sister, rumor has it, is a hooker…so go prove he doesn’t even have a sister?          

            Well, a Tel-Aviv resident named G. faced a unique twist on the above dilemma:  How does G. prove he isn’t a serial killer and doesn’t have bodies stashed all over his pad? 

            In a strange twist on habeas corpus, G. found himself in a truly nightmarish state after someone repeatedly called the cops to report a dead body in his flat. 

            The cops have yet to find a body, and have yet to finger the anonymous caller who ‘has it in for him,’ but law officers didn’t come away totally empty-handed: In the course of breaking into G’s apartment the first time and searching the joint for a stashed body, they found a small cache of hash, so in lieu of ‘bringing the body’ the cops hauled the owner’s carcass down to the station for questioning…




Israelis of all ages are technologically savvy and adopt new technologies with alacrity – so much so that 57 percent of all cell phones in Israel are smart phones, a world record.*

            Need more proof?

            Dr. Yigal Arieli recently celebrated his 100th birthday, saying he reads a lot and can still dance a mean tango – albeit slower than in the past.  Yet, all things considered, his plans are short-lived, Arieli admitted: His only plan for the future is to buy an iPhone 5, said the spry senior, explaining: “I love gadgets.”


* compared to 40 percent in Germany and 42 percent in Spain.




A desk used by Israel’s 2nd president Yitzhak Ben-Zvi sat untouched for 50 years since Ben-Ziv’s death; when the Ben-Zvi Institute for the Study of the Oriental Jewish Communities of the Middle East sent the desk for refurbishment, the restorer found no one had emptied the locked middle drawer of the desk following Ben-Ziv’s death in April 1963.

            In the drawer he not only found a pocket watch, a check book and savings account book, a letter opener, a plastic pencil box with a pencil, eraser and a tiny key, notes in Hebrew and Yiddish, a receipt from an optician for 18 lirot,* and other paraphernalia.

            Inside the desk drawer was a tiny cardboard box embossed with the words “The President’s Residence” containing a map of Israel and little satchel of soil from Jerusalem – the likes of which Ben-Zvi kept in his desk to give as souvenirs to visitors.


* $5.40