Bintel Blog

Offbeat Israel: The Bomb Shelter Thief and the Passover Potato Boom

By Nathan Jeffay

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In countries that were bombed during World War II, those who were alive at the time always saying how being in the bomb shelters brought people together and created a sense of community. Not everyone saw things this way when Israel’s bomb shelters opened during the recent Gaza offensive.

A man from Southern Israel was given a two-year prison sentence this week for robbing Beersheba shelters during the Gaza offensive. His defense lawyer, believe it or not, said — to his credit — that he didn’t break in but just took advantage of the fact they were open.

While shelters were unlocked to allow quick access, the convicted man stole a generator, a toolbox, a cart, a knife and a bicycle, the court heard.


On Tuesday, Israel’s Labor Party voted to join the next government. You have probably heard that the decision was bitterly controversial within the party. What you probably haven’t heard is that people who used to be on Israel’s most wanted list were rooting for Labor to make the decision it did because they feared a major change at the Defense Ministry, Ynet reports.


And as of this week people from all over the world can tour Israel without leaving home.

The Tourism Ministry has launched virtual online tours that allow you to “wander” around the county, learn about sites, listen to audio and view video. The site works in several languages.

Visitors to the site can create an itinerary according to their interests. Itineraries can have a focus in areas such as culture and history, nature, food and wine, family or archaeology. There are even special itineraries for cyber-pilgrims. Which begs the obvious question: Is Pope Benedict XVI coming in person this spring, or is he just making an online appearance?


So, how do you replace your carbohydrates during Passover — when bread, pasta and cookies are forbidden? Well, while the Jewish State may claim to have solved The Jewish Question it hasn’t come up with anything new on this, the real Jewish question. According to a survey just out from potato retailer, Israelis buy 16,000 tons of potatoes in the fortnight before Pesach, representing a 55% rise compared to a two-week period during the rest of the year.


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