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What would most high officials and their bodyguards do if they heard someone on a traffic island adjacent to City Hall yell “a knifing!” (dikira!), and spied the assailant banishing a knife and attempting to knife his victim a second time?

            Step on the gas and whisk the mayor out of danger?

            Not in Jerusalem. 

            Mayor Nir Barkat and his bodyguard jumped out of their car to ‘neutralize’ the terrorist. Barkat (in white shirt) tackled the assailant barehanded, throwing him off guard and onto the pavement. The mayor’s bodyguard pulled out his service pistol, took aim and yelled “drop your weapon!” The attacker dropped the knife and surrendered without resistance.  

            Barkat shrugged off the incident saying ‘It’s also part of our life in Jerusalem.”* (Yediot, Haaretz

* The 55 year-old mayor is a former paratrooper and company commander, who pioneered anti-virus software in the 1990s, before entering politics.


Ten days before Passover (March 25th), Israel marked Good Deeds Day (Yom Ma’asim Tovim in Hebrew). Some 800,000 Israelis signed up to participate in one of 10,000 ‘good deed projects’ around the country. 

            Among the initiatives was Sderot HaYo’atzim b’Rothschild*:  Between the hours of 12 noon and 6 PM Rothschild Boulevard hosted consultants in a variety of fields who ‘manned benches’ along the plush tree-lined avenue to provide free advice – including lawyers, psychologists, financial planning experts and career counsellors, dog trainers, parenting consultants, personal trainers and fashion stylists, all celebrating one of the oldest and most hallowed and entrenched Jewish ‘institutions’ – the atzes-gibber (free advice-giver).   

* consultants’ boulevard on Rothschild  



Spring is here, and summer is just around the corner. 

            In Eilat the temperature often exceeds 40 °C (104 °F) in summer, capable of turning the interior of off-duty buses into a cauldron that requires drivers to start the engine and turn on the air condition an hour to an hour-and-a-half in advance in order to bring temperatures down to a point where passengers can board without being cooked alive.

            The Egged Bus Company is rumored to be saving literally millions in fuel with a Rube Goldberg contraption inaugurated in the summer of 2014:  Think of it as a sort of oversized hairdryer working in reverse. 

            The bus coop installed an industrial strength air conditioning unit – the kind you find on the top of buildings – in the off-duty parking section of the Eilat terminal and jerry-rigged the unit to pump cold air through gigantic flexible hoses that can be wheeled up to the doors to provide a blast of cold air capable of cooling the interior of a scorching bus in a few minutes flat.

            The co-op refused to provide details who dreamed up the strange-looking device saying it was still being tweaked. (Calcalist)



A 1.35 meter long Grass Carp weighing 30 kilo was fished out of the Sea of Galilee by Ein Gev fisherman who compared the whopping catch to “netting the Loch Ness monster.” The variety was dumped into the lake in 1979 but it turned out they couldn’t reproduce and the assumption was that the Grass Carp – a native of eastern Asia - was extinct…at least as far as the Kinneret was concerned. Yet, the 36 year-old fish* survived against all odds.

            A foodie from the kibbutz said a fish of this magnitude could be made into 350 pieces of gafilte fish. (Israel HaYom)

* The only snag in this ‘the one that didn’t get away’ story is that according to scientific research, the Grass Carp lives an average of five to nine years, with the oldest surviving fish recorded being eleven years-old.



Veteran Chelm fans are familiar with the banner that Shimon Peres’ neighbors hung over the balcony. Having witnessed from their windows a parade of official receptions and fancy gatherings of ‘the rich and the famous’ held by Peres in the garden of the President’s Residence, the neighbors called on the outgoing president to finally invite them over for coffee.

            Well, the newly-inaugurated President of the State of Israel Reuven (‘Ruvi’) Rivlin has made good on the request. After inviting the neighbourhood kids in for a friendly game of soccer,* the down-to-earth Rivlins hosted a ‘get acquainted with the neighbors’ coffee klatch in their home – unceremoniously posting an invitation in the hallways of adjacent buildings where condo committees tack messages to residents about leaky garbage bags and collection of monthly maintenance fees.

            A veteran of the neighborhood (since 1956), Eliezer Levi, said the last time he had coffee and cake with his distinguished neighbour was at least fifteen years ago, during Ezer Weitzman’s tenure as president (May 1993-July 2000).    

* See, “It’s a new ball game



In 1988 Gleanings (a predecessor to Chelm-on-the-Med) reported how in the shadow of growing unemployment and in the wake of drastic cutbacks in personnel at Israel Aircraft Industries, the company chose to offer their employees a timely but somewhat tasteless Passover present: A set of suitcases.

            No less incredible, after Israel Railroads finally inaugurated train service to and from Nitivot, placing the Negev town a mere 60 minutes (!) commute from the Big Orange…authorities employed one of the oddest pricing policies one can imagine: People can go from Nitivot to anywhere in the country for free over a period of three months…but, they have to pay full price if they plan to go back to Nitivot…

*To top it off, while the new pricing policy boiled down to a 50 percent discount roundtrip, the press discovered the cost of taking the train is significantly higher than the cost of taking a bus.    



When John Baird visited Israel, between meetings with Israeli leaders, the 44 year-old Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs stopped his entourage on Rechov Agripas at the edge of Jerusalem’s famous Machane Yehuda market and jumped out of his car to order a 20 NIS ($5) falafel in a lafa (an oversized Israeli ‘wrap’). His only request:  Skip the schug (Yemenite hot sauce).


            When Baird subsequently visited Ramallah to pay a visit to PA President Abu Mazen, Palestinians treated the Canadian diplomat to eggs.  Not Middle Eastern shakshouka, mind you….eggs and old shoes hurled at his car as a sign of displeasure with Baird’s outspoken unapologetic support of Israel’s right to defend itself.