The Shmooze

Dude, Just Swim Back!

By Haaretz

The International Red Cross was set to return an Israeli Arab who has been held in Lebanon after crossing the border a few months ago.

It was not clear whether the man, Ahmed Jamal Daif, accidently swam across the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon while diving, or whether he purposefully swam over.

Daif will be returned to Israel through the Rosh Hanikra border crossing on Thursdays.

In September, London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported that Lebanon arrested three people suspected of spying for Israel and trespassing, adding that an Egyptian citizen and his wife were arrested on suspicion of spying, and an Arab-Israeli man was arrested on suspicion of trespassing.

Ahmed Jamal Daif was found at the time in a diving suit on a beach in the southern Lebanese border town of Naqoura, a Lebanese army source said, adding that Lebanese intelligence is interrogating him and ascertaining whether he was spying for Israel.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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Attack of the 50-Foot Natalie Portman?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images
Portman at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January

Natalie Portman is big everywhere in the world, including in Beirut, Lebanon, where she appears on a 50-foot billboard for Dior cosmetics. But not everyone is a fan.

Algemeiner reports that anti-Israeli Lebanese bloggers are complaining about the actress’s image in their capital city. “Since each contact or with an Israeli occupation in Lebanon is considered a crime, you do not think hanging a poster size of 15 meters with the Zionist Jerusalem is illegal?,” suggested one blogger. He was referring to Portman having been born in Jerusalem (as Natalie Hershlag) and to her public stance in defense of Israel and against anti-Semitism.

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Spielberg Censored in Lebanon

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

It’s not quite worthy of a Sherlock Holmes story, but the mystery continues: Who censored Steven Spielberg’s name at a movie theater in Lebanon?

In a piece picked up by The Washington Post, the country’s Blog Baladi reported yesterday that the director’s name had been covered up on a poster for his next movie, the kid-friendly “Adventures of Tintin.”

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World's Largest Falafel, But Who Cares?

By Devra Ferst

Israel and Lebanon have waged a several year battle over who can produce the largest vat of hummus. The last record was set by Lebanon on May 12, with a 23,046 pound bowl of the chickpea dip. And now Israel is off to set the Guinness World Record for the largest falafel ball. An Israeli Chef in New York made the 10.9 kilogram (about 24 pounds) ball last weekend, according to Ynet.

Now I love Hummus, I mean love it. I have traveled all over Israel looking for the tastiest hummus and falafel accompaniment. I even challenged myself to eat some hummus every day for an entire year. But even I truly don’t care about this tit-for-tat PR war over the food, so I sincerely wonder who on earth does?

When will this food fight end?

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