Bintel Blog

Offbeat Israel: The National Sperm Count in Crisis

By Nathan Jeffay

  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli sperm is declining in quality. Fast.

Research at Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Hospital found that the sperm-cell concentration among sperm donated in Israel declined by 40% between 2004 and 2008.

In the last decade, the concentration of sperm among donors has declined from 106 million cells per cubic centimeter on average to an average of 67 million per cubic centimeter. Sperm have also become less mobile, the researchers found.

They were not clear on the cause of the change, but research published in other countries has suggested that chemicals in the environment, especially in drinking water, have an effect.

Hadassah’s findings have caused a stir in Knesest, where Kadima lawmaker is calling for an immediate meeting to discuss the infertility rate of Israeli men.


“Using toilets without payment,” declares the sign on the bathrooms in the Old City of Jerusalem.

What this enigmatic sign means is one of the great mysteries of Jerusalem, along with where the menorah from the Temple went and where exactly the Holy of Holies is (except if you read the Hebrew, it’s saying you can answer a call of nature free-of-charge).

It’s not just in the Old City of Jerusalem. Wherever English is written in Israel, there are amusing errors. Every restaurant menu has it blooper and every city has its badly transliterated street signs. Even the English-language press honors the national tradition. Some months ago Haaretz’s English edition printed the following apology:

A mistake appeared in the interview with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, published yesterday in Haaretz. The minister intended to say that Israel would “hit Iran” before it obtains a nuclear bomb, and not “eat Iran.” The transcript of the interview, which was conducted in English, was approved by the minister’s aides before publication. Haaretz regrets the misunderstanding

The Northern Israeli town of Kiryat Motzkin has decided that the use of awkward English has gotten so out of hand that street signs must be replaced.

In this particular locale, there is, according to one sign, a Menachem Begin Street and, according to another, a Minaahem Begin Street. The late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson is called Schnoarson, and Chaim Weizmann is Weizmamm or Veizman. The municipality is starting to take down the signs and put up correctly written ones in their plaice.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Kiryat Motzkin, Infertility, Bernard Kouchner, Sperm

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.