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While Europeans suffer with unseasonable 39-41 degree Celsius heat waves armed, for the most part, with totally inadequate antiquated ceiling fans, Israelis of all stations take air conditioning for granted, with at least one air conditioning unit in almost every home, office and hole-in-the-wall shop or eatery from Dan to Eilat… Even the smallest apartment on record in the Big Orange – reported by Chelm in September 2011 - an 8-sq. meter (86 sq. foot) warren, boasted an air conditioner. 

            Yet, until now lifeguards have been left out in the cold (or to roast in the heat as the case may be). Now there’s a pilot project brewing to install state-of-the-art Israeli-made Electra™ solar-powered air conditioners in lifeguard stands along the Med, as well. (Yediot)



As the long-heralded Tel Aviv ‘light rail’ subway project – whose first station was built a bit too optimistically 48 years ago in the basement of Israel’s first ‘skyscraper, the 35-story Shalom Tower - is finally-actually underway! 

            Tel Aviv elders are sweetening six years of gridlock in the center of the city by embarking on another grand construction project - putting a ‘lid’ on the main artery through the heart of the city - the ‘sunken’ Ayalon Freeway. The ‘roof’ will be seeded with grass and peppered with trees and biking trails.

            The 2 B NIS ($525 M), 60-acre green ribbon will run from the Yitzchak Sadeh exit in the south to the Arlozorov exit to the north. Tel Aviv’s strip Mall may be shorter and skinnier than Washington’s 1.8 km* National Mall, but the park will add much-needed open spaces for residents of the Big Orange …assuming the proposal gets off the ground.  In the meantime, planners say getting approval of the Planning Council could take three to five years. (Yediot

* Alas, the Red Line under construction – which will run from Petach Tikva to Bat Yam doesn’t even run close to the ‘orphaned’ Shalom Tower station….

** 1.2 miles between the Capitol steps and the Washington Monument.



Israel’s sushi supply is in crisis.

            Tel Aviv alone has 100 (!) sushi restaurants, but a combination of a very cold winter and a hot-dry spring has led to a 60 percent drop in summer avocado yields – an essential ingredient in Israeli sushi.

            Israel’s defence complex is said to take into account every possible contingency, but they’re not alone. One restaurateur not scrambling to find summer avocados is Shimon Babo-Shapira - owner of Kyoto, one of the countries first and foremost Japanese restaurants. Armed with 17 years of experience and fearing just such a situation, Babo-Shapira bought in advance the yield of an entire avocado orchard in the north, harvested the fruit in June. The ‘green gold’ (whose price skyrocketed to 35 NIS a kilo, instead of 7 NIS under normal conditions) is in cold storage under optimal conditions at an undisclosed location. (Yediot)



City elders in the Big Orange have finally given aging Artik* vendors a break.       For five years, licensed popsicle sellers plying the beaches bearing bulky insulated plywood boxes of popsicles have battled city hall – led by Yossi Shalom (66), who has been ‘on the beach’ for over 51 years.

            The beef?

            The vendors wanted the right to hire young assistants to shoulder the burdensome boxes. Until now hiring helpers was hindered by draconian terms in their ‘personal business licenses’ issued decades ago by the Tel-Aviv Municipality. (Yediot)

* a bastardization of ‘arctic’ - the generic term for popsicles in Hebrew slang dating back 60 years or more. The Hebrew Language Academy says the correct name is karchonim (Hebrew for iceberg), but the term Artik is still widespread.



Who isn’t sick and tired of waiting on the line for service representatives to answer? 

            An amendment to Israel’s Consumer Protection Law just came into force mandating no more than a three-minute wait for a human operator to answer…or for an option to leave one’s number obligating the company to call back within two hours. Aren’t Israelis lucky?!

            But wait a minute! What’s the penalty?

            There isn’t any. The law simply sets standards of fair business practices or “duties” of service-providers. If they don’t fulfil their duties “nothing in the law hinders the rights of the consumer” to go though the exhausting time-consuming and costly business of suing the offending service-provider in court, stipulates the law… (Yediot, the Israeli Government Website)



Cutting out hours of cooking time and the mess, Israeli food engineers have perfected instant home-made humous to compliment freshly-prepared just-add-water-and-lemon tchina made
in a jiffy from pure sesame seed paste in the pantry. Now all one needs to do is add water and season with lemon juice and garnish with olive oil and chopped parsley to produce fresh humous that won’t look and taste like the store-bought varieties.

            The product is the brainchild of Marcelo Adatto, founder of a successful humousia* chain called Blue Bus (which began ages ago in a junked blue EGGED bus in Pardes Hana converted into a diner). Adatto has been dreaming of making instant humous for a full decade before he joined forces with a veteran Israeli food processing firm in Yavne to make it happen. (Yediot)

* eateries with one item on the menu.  Humous.



Should last-of-kin be able to inherit the Facebook account of a deceased love one? 

            MK Adi Kol (head of the Knesset’s Public Inquiries Committee) is determined to change inheritance laws in Israel to allow people to pass on their digital legacies* – websites, emails, and social media accounts.

             The initiative was sparked by a battle of the bereaved parents of Sergeant Ben Vanunu z”l who fell in the 2014 Protective Edge campaign, to receive the password to their son’s Facebook account in order to keep it alive. (Facebook allows surviving kin to transform an account into a memorial site, but not to change the content in any way.)

            Facebook Israel apparently relented: On June 6th 2015 Ben’s grandfather posted an update on Ben Vanunu’s Facebook account that a coffee bar café called “Atzel Ben” (‘At Ben’s’) was opening in Ashdod as a living memorial to his grandson. Ashdod’s mayor was in attendance. ( )

* What does the public say?  A survey found 79 percent favor access to their Facebook or Tweeter account by a surviving spouse, 75 to their cell phone, 72 percent to their Internet and cell phone account, 70 percent to their email account.  Only 48 percent agreed to share their search-and-surf history with surviving kin.  



A moonlight 5-10-15 km. off-road race at Mitzphe Ramon (the ‘Big Crater’) in the middle of the Negev turned into a genuine marathon when the race organizers failed to make sure that one of their crew would be at a crucial junction - in place and on time and armed with a stick light to signal all runners to turn left on to the road leading to the finish line, leading hundreds of participants to just keep running along a trail into the desert instead.

            Some of those who planned to participate in the 5-km. run ended up doing 15 km... At midnight local police and rescue teams in jeeps familiar with the terrain were still picking up tuckered-out participants who had gotten totally lost in the dark. (Yediot)  

* Shvoong, the race organizers, claimed an ambulance hid the directional signs and promised to mount an investigation…once they finished collecting their ‘lost sheep.’