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Clever and Upbeat Mark Schiff, comedian: "...Chelm-on-the-Med is clever and upbeat.  These quirky news stories (some truly unbelievable) are not just funny.  They cast Israel in an entirely new light.  Chelm-on the-Med makes my day more interesting but also more fun."
Ever-Growing Collection Israel 21C: " ever-growing collection of local soft news items - those curious, often humorous stories that would sound like they are urban legends if they weren't in the mainstream news media."
A Perfect Counterbalance Mike Burstyn, Israeli Broadway actor-performer: "Chelm-on- the-Med helps me keep up with the humorous, unique and positive aspects of our modern Israeli society. It is a perfect counterbalance to the negative and false images of Israel available via the worldwide Media.”
Epitomizes Life in Israel Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig, political scientist/media scholar: "Chelm-on-the-Med's news stories are the very essence of what living in Israel is like: lots of creativity, rule-bending, circumlocution, and eccentricity in a nation full of off-beat citizens. There is no better way to show Israel's 'normality' than to highlight its abnormalities."
Creative and Refreshing Amir R. Gissin, Consul General of Israel, Toronto: "The concept of using humour to break down stereotypes and preconceptions about Israel, and doing this by sharing offbeat amusing stories published in the Hebrew press, is certainly creative and deserves our support. I found the site well crafted - funny and endearing, and it is a truly refreshing 'take' on Israel. We need more of this kind of light-hearted input in our advocacy efforts."
A real mechayeh! Comedian Jackie Mason:"Chelm-on-the-Med Online's uncensored view of Israeli life 'on the inside' beyond the headlines is a riot.These incredible-but-true news stories are a real mechayeh!"(*Mechayeh: Literally, 'a life-giver.' Yiddish for 'a pleasure, a blessing, or a relief' or 'something that gives great joy' or is 'delightfully refreshing.')

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Familiar with the exclamation ‘I almost had a heart attack when I heard/saw…’?  It actually happens!

            A 66 year-old father arrived at the scene of a collision after his son called to say he’d been involved in a traffic accident…and had a heart attack on the spot after he spied the demolished cars and multiple ambulances summoned to the site of the accident. He was evacuated to the nearest hospital. The father had assumed the worst although he’d seen with his own eyes that his son – still trapped in one of the vehicles – was only mildly injured.

            A magistrate court ruled the father had suffered “secondary injuries” …that is, in essence his heart attack was collateral damage of the accident itself. The judge awarded the man 55,000 NIS ($14,865) in damages in addition to payment to his son by the driver’s insurance company. (YidiotPhoto credit¨ Magen David Adom website. The Magen David Adom in action


* The decision was based on a legal precedent in family-oriented Israel: In the past, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that a parent who had a heart attack or a stroke upon being told that their son had been killed in a road accident had been ‘struck down emotionally’ by the collision, although nowhere near the site of the tragedy.



A senior Haaretz journalist called on Israelis to boycott the nation’s much-loved HaShachar HaOleh brand* chocolate spread, branding the Haifa-based brand “a supporter of ‘the Occupation” claiming the iconic snack item was – I quote - “a racist-fascist chocolate spread” (because the factory owner Moshe Veidberg believes Jews have the right to settle in Judea and Samaria)…

            The attempt to ‘import BDS tactics’ led sales of HaShachar HaOleh chocolate spread to skyrocket at some supermarkets with one angry customer purchasing six cartons…giving containers away to other shoppers and the rest to a food bank for low-income families… It is believed sales went well over double to triple demand before Passover (Israel doesn’t have chocolate covered matzah, just that irresistible DIY combination when matza meets chocolate). (Israel HaYom, Channel 20) Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons– HaShachar HaOleh


* HaShachar HaOleh (‘Rising Sun’) – founded in 1933 by immigrants from Romania - occupies a special place in the ‘food pantheon’ of Israelis – having served the nation’s sweet tooth for five generations, including in austere times of rationing and severely limited choices, a critical comfort food in battle rations in all of Israel’s wars. Nutella occupies a pale second; HaShachar HaOleh commands 70 percent of the chocolate spread market in Israel. In 2008 - an era before ‘healthy sandwiches’ became almost a holy parental obligation (see the February 2013 piece Sandwich Kids about a crusading gym teacher who went overboard…) - half the sandwiches that Israeli kids took to school were chocolate spread.   



Immediately after the Passover seder, the Scandinavian fashion chain COS (a subsidiary of H&M) opened its first branch in Israel, but there are skeptics who question their chances of success in an Israeli market, despite the media buzz. Not only is the line austere and pale, taking ‘sleek’ ‘classic’ and ‘timeless’ down to the level of dress codes for girls in a Medieval nunnery.

            Some Israeli stylists clucking their tongues commented that the line hardly seemed suited to Israelis’ “flamboyant streak” interwoven with a ‘wearing what you please’* attitude…

            The naysayers were alluding to an Israeli fondness to ‘wear your personality on your sleeve’ with an individualistic-eclectic layered look that mixes ‘n matches styles with impunity and defies the very notion of ‘dress codes’ or fashion lines.*

            Doubters further note that COS’s fashions are designed for tall slim Swedes, and would be ill-fitted for anyone shorter than 1.75 (5’6”)  (while the average height for women in Israel – of Jewish-Mediterranean pear-shaped stock - is 1.66 (5’4”) meters …even after taking into account that native-born Israelis are significantly taller than their immigrant counterparts. Moreover, COS textiles’ starchy constitution is sure to wilt and crease in the heat and humidity of a Tel-Aviv summer, giving a new twist to the term ‘distressed fabric’. (Yediot) Photo credit: COS UK website


* Israeli home décor follows the same aesthetic tastes: combining plentiful light, white walls, comfort and functionality with artsy-ethnic or antique enhancements spiced up with a healthy dollop of totally useless but aesthetically-pleasing objects picked up over a lifetime. For a taste, see this video.   



Following complaints from residents, police posted a ‘No Entry’ sign for trucks over 4 metric tons at the entrance to Havatzelet Street in Sderot,  to stop large earth-moving equipment owners from hogging the parking on the narrow residential street.  But the heavy equipment operators continued to park there anyway.

            Local cops told residents their hands were tied: The vehicles could not be ticketed or moved (e.g. towed away) once they were parked since the sign didn’t prohibit parking, only the moving violation of “entering the street by motor vehicles of the weight noted at the entrance.”  

            How they got there was anyone’s guess. (Yediot Ashdod) Photo credit:  Wikipedia Commons – Israeliy  



On Monday April 24th Israel will mark Yom Hashoah, the day the Jewish state commemorates the Holocaust.

            One of the articles in the daily newspapers leading up to the annual commemoration profiled former IDF colonel Ronit Lev who has spent the past two years since her retirement fulfilling small dreams harbored by Holocaust survivors by finding volunteers who can light up their lives by actualizing such unfilled and often unexpressed desires – for example, an elderly women in landlocked Jerusalem, confined to a wheelchair, who craved an opportunity to spend just a few hours on the beach in Tel-Aviv gazing at the Med.    

            Another Holocaust survivor whose dream came true thanks to Lev’s good heart and good connections, only wished to  meet, in person, the Israel Air Force pilot* who had led the symbolic flyover over Auschwitz in 2003 by three Israeli F-15s bearing the blue Star of David insignia so she could “kiss the palms of his hands.” (YediotPhoto credit:  IDF


* Today, Major General Amir Eshel, the Commander-in-Chief of the IAF.



Readers: Mark Yom HaShoah by taking the time to view Haim Hecht’s sobering documentary "One Flight for Us" (Tisa Achat Bishveilaynu in Hebrew) with English subtitles that contains the historic background that fueled the gesture.