Bintel Blog

Offbeat Israel: Seductive Water and a Shul That Takes Plastic

By Nathan Jeffay

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Many Israelis considered it sexiest advertisement of the year. According to the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), it is also worthy of a more dubious accolade — the most sexist.

It is an advertisement for mineral water brand Eden Springs that features model Bar Refaeli posed seductively in the male protagonist’s kitchen. “The bar you always wanted at home,” says the catch line — referencing both the model and an Eden Springs dispenser.

WIZO decided to identify the most sexist advertisement as part of its events tied to International Women’s Day, which was celebrated last week. The organization is calling on the public not to buy products that advertise themselves “through the denigration of women.”


A man who appeared to be breaking traffic laws has been cleared of all charges because he celebrates his birthday according to the Hebrew calendar, not the Gregorian calendar.

In Israel, you are only allowed to drive with up to two passengers unless you are 21 or older. In September 2007, driver Chaim Frankel was taking four passengers. A policeman stopped him, looked at his documents, and said he was only 20-years-old. Frankel said he had turned 21 a fortnight earlier.

The dispute centered around the fact that Frankel — like many religious Jews — celebrates his birthday according to the Hebrew calendar, and therefore considered himself 21.

Given that both Gregorian and Hebrew dates have legal status in Israel, the case caused considerable discussion until last week when a judge acquitted Frankel — now 23, according to everyone — of all charges.


It’s the perennial problem experienced by synagogue gabbais, or wardens. When people pledge a donation to the synagogue when called to the Torah — a practice called shnoddering — how do they ensure the promises are kept?

So sick of people not paying was the gabbai in the Halmin synagogue the Haredi settlement of Beitar that, according to reports in the Orthodox press, he called the credit card company Isracard and asked for help finding a solution. He now has a mobile credit card machine that he charges at home and takes to synagogue in the morning (except on the Sabbath when no monetary transactions are permitted).

Yes, you can pay in installments.


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