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The Israeli Postal Service receives 500 to 700 and sometimes a thousand letters a year, sent from all over the world – from Holland, France the USA and the UK, to China, Russia, Kazakhstan and Nigeria to mention a few - addressed to “God”, “Our Father in Heaven” “Our Father on High” and other derivatives of ‘the Almighty’ (some addressed to “the Wailing Wall” or “the Temple Mount”). 

            Rather than sending them to the ‘dead letter box’ or sending them back to sender stamped ‘address unknown’ like every other mail service on the face of the earth, twice a year (prior to Rosh Hashanah and on Christmas) the Israel Postal Service opens the letters and turns over the contents – folded up in little squares – to the rabbi who administers the Western Wall …including the letters addressed to Jesus and Mother Mary.

            Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz stuffs the supplications in the cracks of the Western Wall. (YediotPhoto credit: and the Western Wall Authority  



Israel isn’t just the only country in the world that year after year registers a net gain in trees.

            In the widening of route 675/85 in the Galilee between the Golani and Amiyad junctions – 1.1 million wild geophyte plants (a plant propagated by means of underground buds) including squill (hatzavim), cyclamen  (rakafot), asphodels (iriyot), and anemone (kalaniot) were removed before the bulldozers were sent in, and transplanted. (Israel HaYomPhoto credit: anemone flowers on a hillside, Wikipedia commons Amiad



While the French were focused on bravely fighting terrorism by banning Burkinis on their beaches and forcibly stripping a Muslim mother of her coverings in front of her two teenage sons, a Yediot reporter donned a full-body bathing suit and set off to test responses on a Tel Aviv beach where the modest Muslim beachwear* didn’t even provoke a glance among sun worshipers in bikinis, save two tourists who whispered and ogled. 

            Not only a sign of religious tolerance, Israelis espouse a ‘come as you like’ attitude towards apparel on all occasions – from what they wear on the streets or at work**, to what they wear at weddings where guests (and even the groom) can show up in every form of attire from tie-and-jacket to T-shirt and blue jeans. (Yediot)  


* Israel even maintains special gender-separated beaches to serve the religiously-observant, and some observant Jewish women buy similar modest beachwear such as knee- or Capri length pants and tops with sleeves.


** One exception: While ‘dress for success’ is still a fairly foreign concept, a dress code had to be imposed on civil servants in the Israeli government several years ago that would specifically ban certain items such as tank tops that expose one’s belly button and thongs (but jeans are fine)…with the exception of the Knesset, it seems (see Shortlisted). 



The Canaan Dog (Cana’ani, in Hebrew) is officially Israel’s ‘national dog’ – an indigenous breed whose profile appears on ancient rock carvings in Sinai. In fact, 700 dog skeletons, all anatomically similar to the Canaan dog of modern times, were discovered in a dig in Ashkelon - the largest and oldest (5th century BCE) dog cemetery to be unearthed by archeologists to date.

            There are only three to five thousand pure-bred Canaan Dogs in the world today – mostly in Europe and the USA, while Israel is dotted with Canaan mixed breeds from the Negev whom, national emblem or not, don’t always find someone to adopt them.

            Avital Rosen (39) came to the rescue of 20 mixed breed stray Canaanim picked up by Jerusalem and Dimona dogcatchers – dogs whose lives were on the line, and flew them abroad at her own expense. Not a one-time rescue operation, all told, since 2015 Rosen has paid the airfare for 113 Cana’anim from Ben-Gurion Airport to Los Angeles*, where they were turned over to their new families. (Yediot) Photo credit: Mega, my son Nadav’s now 9 year-old Cana’ani mix, an abandoned puppy found near the Mega Supermarket in Beersheva


* Rosen isn’t alone: The monthly ‘airlift’ (see Wings of Rescue) continues.



There are Mediterranean Diets and there are Mediterranean Diets…

            Prior to the opening of the 2016-17 school year, the Israel Ministry of Education banned the sale of borekes (Mediterranean savory pastries) and other dishes with high fat, sugar or salt content (from soda pop to fries) at kiosks and cafeterias on school campuses. The Tel-Aviv municipality went further - installing automated fruit and veggie vendor machines at schools and community centers.

            Authorities also ordered schools to establish ‘sterile zones’ such as gyms and libraries where no food would be allowed, and in classrooms where there is an allergic child, a sign must be posted clarifying what foods fellow students should not bring to school. Not the only case of out-of-the-box solidarity in the schoolyard, the Yahud High School has 70 students who are hearing impaired or deaf. How did the administration respond?  Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, the entire student body (1,700 fellow 10th-12th graders) is learning sign language. (Israel HaYom Photo credit:



Assuming that come hell or high water the show must go on, hackers ‘held-up’ the Beit Lessin repertory theater’s online box office, demanding half a million dollars in ransom money to unblock the website. The theatre adamantly refused to cough-up the ransom money…but apparently had no qualms on principle to ‘captive audiences’.

            After advertising alcoholic beverages (no more Absolut ads…) was banned by law in Israel, Beit Lessin allowed the Teperberg Winery (founded 1870) to stage an unscheduled ‘promo’ prior to the first act of Coming Out of the Closet -  a seven-minute ‘live advertisement’ for Teperberg’s wines using the theater company’s leading actors as props in a script rife with flat amateurish dialogue clearly not written by one of their playwrights.

            Suffice it to say, the audience was not amused with the trial balloon, free wine in the foyer notwithstanding. (Yediot) Photo credit:  Teperberg video screenshot