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In 2002 kibbutz Givat Haim Ichud ratified a decision of the Israel Lands Authority that would turn ownership of homes (in essence, the land they were built on) over to the members themselves. The kibbutz appended a list of all those eligible  – married couples, and widowed and divorced persons, while a couple who were separated at the time found themselves thrown together without their consent, under the same ‘roof’…at least from a legal standpoint. The pair sued the kibbutz demanding they too should be entitled to two plots, like their divorced neighbors.

            A district court ruled that the two continued to be a couple in the eyes of the law even if the get*less spouses physically lived apart, granting them solely the ‘right’ to fight over who got the house… But, the Israel Supreme Court overturned the ruling – apparently founded on definition of a common law wife as someone ‘living under the same roof’…only in reverse. 

 * get – Jewish divorce papers, in Hebrew



The public image of the 40-acre Sachar Park in Jerusalem is indelibly tied to its role as the most popular venue in the capital for low-class families grilling first class meat on Israel’s Independence Day, but Jerusalem elders see the park as a perfect site to drag one’s adversaries over the coals, as well.

            Yes! Israel will soon have its own Hyde Park!  But forget about soap boxes; the Israeli Hyde Park debate corner will boast a small amphitheatre with benches for an audience of kibitzers.* The forum will boast a moderator who will assure every speaker gets his turn, no one will hog the stage, and everybody can have their say, while ushers will assure exchange of ideas won’t escalate to exchange of blows. In deference to the Israeli lifestyle, the amphi will be augmented by an adjacent café.

 * Yiddish for someone who looks over the shoulder of a player, offering advice



A Bat-Yam resident who tripped and fell due to an uneven sidewalk went to the doctor who ordered tests, then sent the patient for physiotherapy. In the course of suing the city for 4,000 NIS ($1,142) in damages, the victim sought to turn the mishap into a ‘cash cow’ by targeting ten other localities, suing city hall (with different lawyers) for identical accidents, using copies of the medical reports from the first fall, which due to an oversight, failed to mention the site of the mishap.  

            Three municipalities fell for the bait and sought to settle out of court for a tidy 15,000 NIS ($4,286) each - provided the injured party drop the charges, but it turned out two of the three cities were covered by the same insurance company which put two and two together, and blew the whistle. 



Eighth-graders in the Chinese capital of Beijing studying world history encounter a heftychapter in their textbook devoted to the military battles that shaped the political geography of the State of Israel, from pre-state Mandate times when building the infrastructure of statehood , through the 1948 War of Independence, the Sinai campaign, the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War and all other junctures that followed, up to the present, based on information culled from Israeli websites, revealed Israeli diplomats . 

The move is a breath of fresh air.  The depth, emphasis not to mention orientation of the curriculum is eons away from the way Israel is treated in western high school textbooks according to two academic studies of textbooks curriculums, one in 1993, the second in 2008: a spotty paragraph here or there, rife with “factual errors, oversimplifications, omissions, and distortions,”. 



A rare ancient tamarisk tree in the Negev is at risk…all because of legend.
            Stories circulated among Bedouin in the northern Negev and Palestinian Arabs from the Hebron area that a treasure trove of gold coins had been buried by retreating Turkish soldiers in 1917 (during the First World War),  either “near or under” the lone tamarisk at Tel Nagila – an ancient tel near kibbutz Ruchama.

Treasure hunters have, working under cover of night, begun digging holes around the tree, and even under the tree, some even using a mechanized backhoe, endangering the tamarisk.

            Nature wardens are seeking ways to protect the tree…or find a way to kill the rumor before it kills the tree.   



            While an old Yiddish adage says ‘marriages are made in heaven’ in Bnei Akiva* word is out that marvelous marriages are made in Perth:

            Israeli shlichim (emissaries) spend a year or two in Jewish community centers and youth movements in the Diaspora to encourage young Jews to make aliyah or at least strengthen their Jewish identity.  Logically, Melbourne – with a Jewish community of 45,000 - should be a first choice Down Under, but an extraordinary number of aspiring shlichim from the religious Zionist movement Bnei Akiva are requesting  to be sent to ‘the boondocks’ – Perth, which boasts only 150 religiously-observant families out of a small Jewish community of 8,000. 


            In recent years, no less than ten couples have emerged from such annual missions: Six were between a sabra** shaliach or shlicha and a member of the Perth Jewish community, two between shlichim who had to travel have way around the globe to meet.  There are another two couples ‘in the wings’ who haven’t tied the knot yet.

 * a youth movement for religiously-observant youth.

 ** sabra: term for a native born Israeli