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Veteran Chelm readers are familiar with the assortment of Israeli inhabitants* who have come across archeological finds by pure chance – ranging from an Israeli elementary school kid who stumbled over a ground-breaking relic on a school trip without so much as lifting a trowel, to the saga of an Israeli dog named Tzach who fell headlong into a unknown First Temple wine vat without so much as dirtying his paws…

            Well, add Israeli porcupines to the list of Israeli archeologists’ ‘accidental co-workers’! 

            We’re talking about a large rodent called the Indian crested porcupines which can weight up to 15 kilograms. When digging their dens, which can go two-meters deep, these local porcupines (dorbanim in Hebrew) pile both the earth and any ‘impediments’ they encounter outside the entrance to their new ‘digs’… Recently, a Nature and Parks Ranger in the Hefer Valley near Hadera came across a 1,400 year-old oil lamp in pristine condition neatly perched on top of one such telltale porcupine mound as the Ranger searched for telltale signs of illegal activity by unlicensed antiquities hunters. Not a one-time occurrence, field archeologists have run across such ‘finds’ more than once and there is even a protocol for meticulously examining and documenting such porcupine mounds  – layer-by-layer. 

(photo credit: Israel Antiquities Authority, Kav L’Moshav Weekly)

* See the stories here.



Anat Kadari (35) and Roi Ashkenazi (29) ‘went down the aisles twice on their wedding day. Living close to the corner of Namir Boulevard and Jabotinsky Street in central TA, only 2.9 km. from their wedding hall on Hamasger Street, the couple decided to save the thousands of shekels for a limo, and take the bus.

            When surprised passengers on the #171 line realized this was not a marketing gimmick* but a genuine bride and groom walking down the aisle, everyone cheered. Egged had been informed before hand of the couple’s intentions and decorated the bus with balloons. After a 10-minute ride down the main drag, with three stops in between, the delighted couple and their wedding party alighted for a second walk down the aisles. (Yediot)

* See Classy Bus, for example.



Wine from the Negev – dubbed ‘Gaza Wine’ after its port of export – was renowned throughout the Byzantine Empire, exported in millions of iconic bullet-shaped urns for those of discerning palates and deep pockets.  But when the Negev’s wine-producing industry collapsed, the original grape variety was lost to posterity. Israel’s contemporary fine wines are European varieties of grapes…and no one knows what Gaza wine tasted like…until now. 

            Recently a bio-archeological team headed by Professor Guy Bar-Oz, found a tiny treasure trove of 1,500 year-old charred grape seeds in a Byzantine-age garbage dump at Halutza on the Sinai border, an important Byzantine urban wine-producing center. The finders hope that by deciphering the DNA in the seeds they will be able to reconstruct the original Negev variety of grapes while western Negev farmers dream of growing the variety to reintroduce the vintage wine.

            Old wine in a new bottle?  What if after a decade of reconstructing the variety and cultivating a Byzantine vineyard to the point of producing the heirloom grapes, the famed exotic wine turns out tasting more like syrupy-sweet Manischewitz kiddish wine rather than a full-bodied well-aged Cabernet Sauvignon… (photo credit: Professor Guy Bar-Oz, Kav L’Moshav Weekly)



In a truly odd libel case, a lawyer who went ballistic after discovering her husband was keeping company with another woman for the past six years, was order by an Israeli court to pay her husband’s mistress 25,000 NIS ($6,250) in damagers and 10,000 NIS ($2,500) in legal fees…for libel.

            While the mistress had demanded 150,000 NIS ($37,500) saying the angry wife had not only sent her threatening emails, she’d also snitched to the mistress’ boss about his employee’s exploits leading to her dismissal. The latter charge was rejected by the court, but the bench ruled that by posting a sign on the street where the mistress’ mother lives - “warning the Daughters of Israel to safeguard their husbands against the peril” identifying the mistress as “a wrecker of families” and “enticer of husbands” – the indignant wife had indeed ruined the plaintiff’s reputation. (Yediot)



Shalom Weinstein who volunteered to spent his national service as a neighbourhood cop was stunned to find his own handsome mug adorning billboards and buses country-wide, starring in a mobilization campaign entitled “New Cop on the Beat.”

            The bashful 23 year-old felt violated, but remained mum and didn’t complain, fearing it would reflect badly on him if he made a scene.  But, as soon as Weinstein was discharged he hired a pair of lawyers who are now demanding the Israel Police Force and the Government Printing Office fork over 200,000 NIS ($52,632) compensation for turning him into a walking advertisement without asking his permission.


            Otherwise, Weinstein whined that he’s gonna drag the muggers into court. (Yediot)