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In 2014, 212,581 new vehicles arrived in Israel, in 2015 - 250,000…and in the first six months of 2016 alone 164,000 new cars were ordered.

            What’s going on?!

            Chalk it up to rising standards of living and even more so – the dropping price due to ‘city cars’ 

that put a private (Hebrew for a family sedan) within the means of more people and attract urbanites (who how have a shot at finding parking spot since such ‘shrunk’ vehicles can be parked at a right-angle to the curb by ‘borrowing’ an small piece of the sidewalk*)….

            Among the ramifications of the upsurge is not only growing gridlock: In 1961 five digit license plates sufficed; today the number of seven-digit license numbers is fast running out…   

            Israel’s Motor Vehicle Licensing Bureau wants to begin issuing eight-digit (3-2-3) license plates in April or June 2017 (depends on who you ask) but there’s a snag: Seven-digit tags were introduced in the 1980s before the ‘computer revolution’…and there’s a built-in ‘bug 2000’-like glitch.

            It turns out the rollover will cost the Registration Bureau alone 10 M NIS ($2.6 M) to reprogram their computers to recognize the extra numeral. But that doesn’t count some 400* other public and private bodies that have license numbers registered in their data bases, who will have to follow suit. (YediotPhoto credit:  License plates - Wikipedia


* Israelis are practical and in Israel, even the municipally bends the law when realities dictate: This legal Israeli practice of ‘borrowing some of the sidewalk’ extends – at least in Tel Aviv – to regular size cars;  Because the municipality is very aware of the acute shortage of street parking in the Big Orange even with one side of the street reserved for residents, the city refrains from ticketing cars with all four wheels on the sidewalk in the evening and overnight that have a local resident parking decal on the windshield (issued by city hall upon presentation of a signed lease or proof of flat ownership), even if there isn’t room for a baby carriage to squeeze by…as required by ‘regular’ parking-on-the-sidewalk practices.


** dealerships, the financial sector, tax authorities, police, insurance companies, municipalities down to the post office…where Israelis can transfer registration upon sale of a used vehicle, without any hassle.




During the 1967 Six Day War – Ilan Frumkes’ tank was put out of action in a mine field in Sinai on the opening day of the war – its communications out of commission, as well. While still waiting for help to arrive*, on the third day an IAF Piper flew over and dropped a jerry can of water on their heads and an (empty) tin of canned corn in their laps…with an encouraging message scribbled on the label: “Guys, don’t worry. Sinai is in our hands. We’ll extricate you soon”. 

            For 49 years Frumkes has been asking himself - who was the ingenious pilot. He told Yediot that he still had the can of corn….

            The ‘messenger’ got the message…but he wasn’t the pilot: Yossi Yudovich, a kibbutznik from Kfar Menachem, was a tank officer from an armored reconnaissance unit who’d been ordered  - just after lunch - to ‘map all the armored vehicles stuck in Sinai and somehow let their crews know help would arrive.’



            Collecting the leftovers of his own unit’s battle rations, Yudovich had boarded the Piper and dropped empty cans of corn on each bogged-down vehicle. (Yediot) Photo credit: Piper during the Six Day War -  IDF Archive  


* which came only at the end of the war…



We all know about blood banks for people, even pets, but Israel is one of the worlds major flyways for migrating birds that cross the country on their way between Europe and Africa.  Some visitors arrive injured or exhausted. Now, the Ramat Gan Safari ‘s wild animal hospital and the Nature and Parks Authority are establishing the worlds first blood bank for wild birds, after a transfusion saved the life of a migrating winter buzzard. (YediotPhoto credit:  the Long-Legged Buzzard with caregiver Noel, getting a blood transfusion, Ramat Gan Safari – Ofer Brill 




Israel’s Minister of Finance approved a savings account plan for all Israeli children where beginning in 2017, Israel’s social security system - Bituach Leumi - will deposit a monthly sum of 50 NIS ($13.15) in a long-term closed account for every child in Israel, that can be opened when they turn 18*.  The savings can be used towards tuition or buying an apartment. Parents will have the option to earmark another 50 NIS from their monthly child allowance to be deposited in their child’s closed account to double the amount that will be available when they reach adulthood. In 18 years, the government’s plan will yield a 19,751 NIS ($5,198) balance, and 22,865 NIS ($6,017) for those who opt to wait ‘til they are 21 (most probably those in the midst of their military service) to withdraw the savings. (Israel HaYom) Photo credit: Daniella Ashkenazy


* What fueled the bighearted move by the normally tightfisted Ministry? The scheme was a compromise, in lieu of raising child allowances by 50 NIS a month. Child allowances in Israel do not hinge on parents’ income, but are not across-the-board: They are graduated by the size of the family – ranging in 2016 from 150 NIS for one child to 1,614 – to 2,986 NIS for ten children (the latter for children born before reform of the system in July 2003 that slashed payment by 56 percent that previously had increased exponentially that made baby-making a lucrative ‘business’…including a Bedouin fathers of 22 children.




Vegans in the IDF are entitled to a host of special dispensations (from vegan meals  to non-leather boots) but a girl soldier found herself being punished for “failure to follow orders” when she refused to don a helmet with leather webbing after pulling guard duty. 

            The private’s commander suggested she cut out the webbing if it bothered her. Of course, such an action would be akin to jumping from the frying pan into the fire:  Not only would it render the helmet grossly uncomfortable and unsafe….such an action would constitute “vandalizing military property” – a no less serious offence, so she stuck to her guns. 

            A major sentenced her to three days in the brig…if she repeated the infraction; unrepentant, the private appealed to the Soldiers’ Ombudsman who came down on the army with a ton of bricks: The soldier in question has the right to receive a helmet without leather components and the punishment she had received was “a grave infraction by commanders in particular,” said major-general Yitzhak Brick. Veganism was an “integral part of such soldiers’ [self] image and the essence of freedom of conscience,” snapped the ombudsman. (ynet news)