The Chelm Project is a pro bono endeavor. Your donation is greatly appreciated. Your support helps balance overly conflict-driven news that warps perceptions of Israel.

Donate in Shekels


Donate in Dollars

Subscribe to our list

Email Format

Join us!

Are you a publisher or literary agent?

Click HERE

Savor Classic Oldies from 1987-2007
Click HERE

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn




MK Tamar Zandberg and political hopeful Uri Zakai not only share the same worldview, they also share a flat and a Persian cat named Esti. The couple raised the odds and hedged their bets of a seat in the Knesset by running against one another while campaigning together for one of the first five places on the Meretz ticket during the tiny Left-wing party’s primaries.

            Wouldn’t it be odd had both been picked* for realistic positions on the Meretz party slate?

            Actually, no… 
            Official Knesset records of “Family Ties Between Knesset Members” reveal a huge percentage of Israeli parliamentarians having ‘family connections’ to others who have served in the house…including one grandparent/grandchild relationship, three couples, five brother/sisters and five cousins, six uncles-aunts/nephews-nieces, 13 brother and sister-in-laws, 14 in-laws, and 27 parents/children, to date.


* Zandberg beat out her spouse, placing 4th in the vote among Mertz’s one-thousand member strong Central Committee who were doing the picking.  




Sabra™ Salads – the brand name abroad for Strauss’ popular* hummus, invited 18 company executives from places ranging from America and Australian to Mexican and a Philippians to participate in a ‘learning tour’ of ‘hummus heaven’ (Israel, what else!) to open their minds to thinking creatively about the endless possibilities hidden in hummus.

            Where were the managers taken to meet ‘the real McCoy’? To three of Tel-Aviv’s best hummusiot – ‘private label’ establishments, each with just one item on the menu…but garnished with a host of ‘extras’ besides olive oil and tachina.  House toppings range from a hardboiled egg to musbachah** and hummus with broadbeans (ful)

            Indeed, it’s still an uphill fight: Only18.5 percent of American households eat hummus, compared to 95 percent of Israeli households including one million Russian immigrants.


* Sabra holds 67 percent of the American hummus market.


** A combination of lemon juice, garlic and parsley whose name is derived from Arabic for ‘swimming [in]’ – sabach.



The Metropoline Bus Lines decided commuters on the long and weary ride from Raanana to Tel Aviv on the #48 line – an hour and twenty minutes* and 56 (!) stops - deserve to be gently prodded that the bus is approaching its next stop.


            The PA system has been programmed to play 15 seconds of a ‘signature’ classical interlude from Mozart or Bach or Tchaikovsky or Mendelssohn recorded by Raanana’s symphony, just before the name of the upcoming stop is announced. The initiative – designed not only to ‘enhance the commuter experience’ but also attract new subscribers for the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra’s  concerts – was kicked off with a live performance by musicians from the orchestra on board the bus. 

            If feedback is good, ‘musical signatures’ for each stop along the route will be expanded to other bus lines.


* By contrast, it only takes 12 minutes longer to fly all the way from Israel to Turkey…



Yarden Ben-Ezra, was heading home one evening after a long day managing a Kiryat Ata wedding hall when he found himself in a Hollywood-movie like chase…with a twist.

            While waiting for a light to turn green, a Brinks truck in the next lane hung a sharp right turn, the back door of the armored car flung open, and a sack fell out in the middle of the street. The Brinks driver stopped further down the street, got out and slammed the door shut, and sped away, as Ben-Ezra watched open-mouthed.

            When the light changed, Ben-Ezra drove over to examine the sack – which bore a tag clearly noting the contents: “Total 400,090 NIS*.” Grabbing the bag, Ben-Ezra took off…but rather than beating a quick retreat, he set off in hot pursuit of the Brinks van frantically honking his horn, blinking his lights, and yelling at the top of his lungs.

            Suffice it to say, the driver was dumbfounded. 

            Brinks officials, on the other hand, replied laconically that all Brinks transfers are 100 percent insured, without so much as blinking an eye.


* $100,000




At the urging of the head of the school Parents’ Association, next year 7th graders at Tel-Aviv’s Ironi Alef middle school*  – the Big Orange’s junior-senior high school known for its arts program, will be devoting part of the shi’urei chevrah curriculum (devoted to developing class solidarity and social skills) to…studying the edicts of the late Hannah Bavli – Israel’s one-and-only ‘Miss Manners.”  

            Will it help? Bavli herself – who was born in St. Petersburg in 1901 and wrote columns for decades about good manners in the Ha’artez and Ma’ariv dailies and published the first Hebrew ‘bible of good manners’ – Madrich l’Neemusei Shulchan (Guide to Table Etiquette) failed to leave a dent on the average sabra


* Aleph Municipal High School of the Arts – literally, P.S. #1, that considers itself the Israeli equivalent of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School near Lincoln Center in New York.



Do you have a hearing impaired child?

            Entrepreneur Eyal Rosental and an Israeli company called Goufo have rolled out a free app called E-motion Stories that contains a data base of five children stories from The Ugly Ducking to Cinderella sporting a ‘window’ where the text is translated into sign language as parent’s read the story to their kids.

            Right now, it works only in American Sign Language, but they hope volunteers will pitch in to add Hebrew signing…and more books. 




A family feud between the Sweity and M’salami clans in the village Beit Awwa (population 6,000) in the Hebron Hills has raged for over a century. No one even remembers what originally brought the two families to loggerheads, but Jimmy Sweity (35) says the Sweities were wealthy and respected veteran of the region, while the M’salamis were poor Johnny-come-latelies from Gaza that the mukhtar (village head) allowed in. The M’salamis clan says the Sweitys are Johnny-come-latelies themselves – and originate in Transjordan.

            Social intercourse between the two clans was limited – marriage, unthinkable…until Abed Sweity fell in love with Assel M’salami. 

            When word got out – it sounded like a local Romeo and Juliet tragedy was in the making, but a group of young adults from the Sweity clan chose the road less traveled: Before the situation got out of hand, they marched over to the home of Assel’s family and request her hand in marriage on behalf of the moon-struck twenty-something year-old Abed. Her kin embraced the Sweity delegation and handed out sweets to signal their blessings for the union, breaking the ice between the two rival clans after 100 years. 


            Will spoilers break the spell? Hopefully not.