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Ben-Gurion Airport officials pulled aside three passengers* going through customs on a hunch. Maybe they were trying to smuggle in cell phones? Or rare reptiles? (Custom officials swear they’ve ‘seen it all’…but have they, indeed?) 

            The fishy foursome (who turned out to be three chefs and a prominent restaurateur returning from a ‘sister’ restaurant in Holland) were a customs’ ‘first’: Their carry-ons were chocked full of fresh goose livers and shrimp.

            The haul was destined for the re-launch of a fancy non-kosher restaurant in the Tel-Aviv Museum residential tower complex called Toto (which has nothing to do with the state-run sports lottery – the TOTO, or Dorothy’s dog in The Wizard of Oz). The sum contents of all their bags: 40 kilo of fresh goose livers and 60 kilo of shrimp – uncooked food that requires a special import license, treif** or not.

            Customs trashed 2,000 euro’s worth ($2,723 or 9,354 NIS) of uncooked goose livers that originated in an unapproved slaughterhouse in Holland, but the newspaper report said nothing about the whereabouts of the shrimp…

* A fourth accomplice who had already exited the terminal was quickly collared by officials ‘just beyond the Green Line.’

* Yiddish for ‘forbidden’ or non-kosher food.



Every physician knows that pain is subjective – and what one person reports as unbearable pain, another considers tolerable – but there’s more to it than meets the eye: A joint American-Israeli study conducted at Wake Forest University in North Carolina in collaboration with the Technion and Haifa University found the more gray matter in a certain area of the brain (found in high-functioning individuals), the better the subject deals with pain.

            In short, smart people suffer less pain.



The IDF bends over backward to accommodate service conditions of conscripts’ special needs, even providing ultra-orthodox vegetarians – tiv’onim - who don’t consume any animal-based protein –  with combat boots made of synthetic material and non-wool berets without leather bands (perhaps in case they must eat their hats?) and a stipend to buy special food at the canteen.

            Nevertheless, a disgruntled recruit claims the food available in boot camp failed to meet his special needs, not only complicating an existing medical condition due to avoidable stress; having fallen into a depression and been discharged on psychiatric grounds, the by now rejected and dejected former conscript is suing the Ministry of Defense demanding disabled veteran status for life.    

            The plaintiff charged that the mess failed to meet his needs “and as a result I was forced to subsist on Bamba alone during my entire sojourn on the base” – yes that melt-in-your-mouth peanut-flavored snack (!) Israeli kids are fed from infancy, voted the ‘ultimate comfort food’ by raw recruits adjusting to the rigors of military life

            Is ‘too much of a good thing’ life-altering. I guess we’ll find out…



Greenpeace has singled-out Israel – which has one of the greenest footprints on the face of the planet:  Israel has 99 percent solar water heating, 85 percent sewage water recycling (reused as irrigation water), recycles more beverage bottles per capita than any other people on the face of the earth,  builds homes of concrete and cinder block – not wood, and registers a huge net gain in trees year-after-year. 

            Has Greenpeace heralded Israel as a ‘light unto the nations’?

            Nope. Greenpeace named Israel the chief culprit behind the denuding of the Amazon rain forests! 

            Yup, seven million Israelis have “the second-highest per capita usage of  Ipe* decking wood” charges Greenpeace’s officials in Israel!

            Per capita?!

            What about all the Ipe sold to 312 million Americans - $5.7 B of Ipe wood** for decking alone in 2013? Ah, that’s beside the point.  

 * Ipe – pronounced EE-pay, also known as ironwood because of its density

** Israelis bought $1.3M of Ipe wood accuse Greenpeace activists.



            The traditional kibbutz and moshav isn’t dead.  It’s just relocated…

            AlefBet Planners Ltd. revealed that several years ago they were floored to get a call from a go-between representing the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez who said the die-in-the-wool Israel basher wanted AB Planning – which had 60 years of experience planning new kibbutzim – to build Chávez a kibbutz.  Or a moshav.

            The $400 M 500-member mega coop they planned was built on undeveloped land 150 km. (93 miles) from Caracas, a pilot to attract people to leave the city and return to a quality-filled life in the countryside - complete with standardized houses and equal plots of land, a marketing coop and regional processing plants and slaughterhouse, school and sports stadium in the middle.

            In 2002, even Angola asked AB to plan a series of tribal-based kibbutzim for demobilized soldiers from the country’s civil war to nurture coexistence, revealed Alefbet Planners’s CEO, Kobi Bogin. Ghana and Congo have also established Israeli-style kibbutzim and moshavim. Planning involves adapting kibbutz and moshav models to local culture and conditions on the ground - including some African copies where buildings are made of mud bricks. 

             The innovative Israeli company, incidentally, has even planned an old-age home for elderly cows in India, including call buttons that beep when they don’t feel well.