8 Things You May Not Have Known About Israel

February 10th, 2012

1. Toilets in Israel have two levers.  One for smaller duty flushes, and one for heavier duty flushes, I guess.  And I thought America had too many options.

Two Lever Toilet

2. Israel has the fourth largest Air Force in the world, after the United States, Russia, and China.  I see helicopters flying overhead all the time, including the one below, which I probably wasn’t supposed to photograph.

Helicopter

3. America sold Israel all their M16’s for $1/each.  At least, supposedly.  Maybe it’s not true, but I have seen the words, “Property of US Government” stamped on the side of M16 machine guns they carry.

Soldier Powwow

4. Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel. 

5. The concept of a “Tumbleweed Christmas Tree” was also designed, developed and produced here in Israel.  By us volunteers at Nir-Oz, in fact.  I bought the lights (which are too short), and the girls came up with the idea of wrapping it in toilet paper.  They also made the ornaments.

Tumbleweed Christmas Tree

6. There is no Dr. Pepper in Israel (what?!), only Coke cans with funny writing on them written backwards.  This lack of Dr. Pepper is a travesty of epic proportions, and I believe a significant factor in causing duress, hardship, et al to the populace at large. 

I have taken steps to combat this dearth of DP, this oppressive policy, by joining the Facebook group entitled, “Bring Dr. Pepper to Israel!”  So far I’m the third member, though technically my membership is pending approval by the admin. I’m hopeful our collective voice will be the harbinger of future change in this crucial dilemma. 

Down With Coke

7. In 2011, a total of 680 rockets, mortars and Grad missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel (says Wikipedia).  I took the following “Sunset over Gaza” picture last Wednesday evening.  There were artillery explosions going off while I snapped it.  Unemployment is high in the strip, one of the chief occupations being digging tunnels.  I hear even cars are smuggled underneath the wall.

Sunset Over Gaza

8. Hummus is one of the chief foods of Israel. They pronounce it who-muss instead of humm-us, like is proper.  Here is a lunch I had the other day:

Pita and Hummus

What is hummus?  Who knows.  Some say ground chickpeas.  Others say processed bird snot.  Regardless, I think it tastes quite nice. 

At a hostel I stayed at last week, I overheard two ladies asking the owner if he would please recommend a good restaurant. 

“Sure, there’s a great one right down the street where you can buy pita and this great big bowl of hummu – “ at which point he was interrupted by gnashing of teeth and wailing, “Not huuuumus! you can get that anywhere, we want something different!” 

Taken aback, he suggested they board a bus to somewhere more exotic. 

Later, I overheard them asking the same man, “Is there anything to do around here?”  (we were at the Ramon crater, one of the most striking geological features in Israel, great for hiking) 

He said, “Well, you could hike in the cater.” 

“No, we don’t want to hike.  Is there anything else?” 

With the patience of Job, he explained options ranging from stargazing to horseback riding to camel tours, etc – but he highly recommended we all at least go out to watch the sunset over the crater. 

So we did.  Below are two pictures I took: one of the crater, the other surreptitously snapped of the ladies.

ramon crater sunset

ramon crater lady tourists

2 Responses to “8 Things You May Not Have Known About Israel”

  1. Ryan Says:

    Great article! I never knew the toilet thing! That’s crazy!

  2. Patsy Rillo Says:

    Nike – you make things sound like sooo much fun. Hope those two girls weren’t
    “Ugly Americans” as the book from years ago is called. They sounded so like that, hope they enjoyed the sunset! A. Pat

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