Top Ten Most Offensive Israeli Ads

Over the years, the Israeli ad agencies seem less and less connected to the human experience and more and more willing to use anything to sell everything. In this list I attempt to countdown the most offensive advertisements created in Israel in recent years, in the hope of using shame as an incentive to be more creative.

2005 – Yes Satellite TV Ad – McCann Erickson


With millions of Vietnamese dead and 60,000 Americans dead, this ad counts on its viewers inability to feel any empathy to casualties of a war that is not their own.

2002 – Yes Satellite TV Ad – McCann-Kesher-Barel


With more than 1500 people who drowned in one of the worst maritime disasters, the creative genius of Israel’s leading advertising agency adds insult to injury and in an impressive juglling act puts the wheel of the liner in a woman’s hands.

Continues here.

Top Israeli Advertisement Campaign Fiascos

2005 – Cellcom I Mode – McCann Erickson
Three million dollars to teach Israelis to count to three in Japanese


Israeli wireless telecom provider Cellcom imported from Japan DoCoMo’s I Mode, a cellular content platform. Sure of itself, as companies tend to be in this period of late capitalism, the company did not bet on its customers’ positive experiences to gradually conquer the market. Instead Cellcom spent 3 million dollars (count them, ichi, ni, san million dollars) on a marketing campaign that would not stop.
After weeks of broadcasting a teaser, promising, how cliché, ‘the next big thing’, the company used TV ads to introduce the technology, and newspaper ads to explain why we must have it.
Surely enough, with so much hubris – the wrath of the gods had to produce a tragic end. The service was a complete failure and people today do not even remember what Cellcom I Mode is.

2005 – Tnuva – Shoko Shock Milk Chochlate Drink – McCann Erickson
10 million dollars to downgrade a succesful product


Leading Israeli food company Tnuva, have launched a new product, investing 8 million dollars in research and development, and 1.5 million dollars in marketing. This might be a good example of ad agencies creating a need for their own services, as the new product, Schoko Shock, replaces two older products, Schoko Carlo, and Schoko Buddy, which were very popular. Of course, Tnuva could not be bothered with its customers trying out the product and deciding for themselves. Oh, no, the company would have none of that. Instead, as part of the marketing campaign, the company published an apology in the newspaper, falsely stating it cannot produce the product fast enough, as it is flying off the shelves.
Surely enough, with so much hubris – the wrath of the gods had to produce a tragic end. After so much money spent, the new product sold less than the old products, as it did not have their good reputation.

End of Part 1

I Spy With My Little Eye

Everyday, on my five minutes walk to school, I am being photographed by three CCTV cameras. That is, three that I know of, and possibly additional ones that I am not aware of. These security cameras, while aimed at the entrance of each building, grab big chunks of the sidewalks as well.
I spy a security cam on Coresh street, Jerusalem
Should I be bothered by this?
I spy a security cam on Jaffa street, Jerusalem
Is there a cause for concern?
I spy a security cam on Safra Square, Jerusalem
Does this make the public space safer?
Does John Q. Shin Bet have the capability to access each of these security cams, and if so should anyone but the 'bad guys' be afraid?

Lots of questions and not enough knowledge.

Separated Twins: Jaroslav Jakubovic and The Muppets Show’s Zoot

Renowned Israeli saxophonist Jaroslav Jakubovic has an eerie similarity to Zoot, the sax player for The Muppet Show’s Electric Mayhem orchestra. But this is no fluke – Czech-born Jakubovic, working in the US during the seventies with Carly Simon, Bette Midler and Paul Simon, ran in the same circles as Jim Henson, creator of The Muppet Show who molded Zoot in his friend’s image.

Separated Twins: Jaroslav Jakubovic and The Muppets Show’s Zoot

Zoot in a photo taken in the late 1970’s on the set of The Muppet Show.
Jaroslav Jakubovic in a photo taken in 1999 for his ‘Intimate Sax’ CD.

Hey Nimrod! Where’s my AVG shirt?

I wanted to ask a question, in response to the obscene trend of changing to English every single Israeli brand and product, in a futile attempt to give it some vague American chic – which of these two Israeli fashion companies, bearing Hebrew biblical names, look more stupid after their rebranding:
Avigdor clothes company[Origin: 1-Chronicles 4:4 – Meaning: Father protection], who absurdly shortened its name to AVG – or Nimrod shoe company[Origin: Genesis 10:8 – Meaning: Rebellion, a Mesopotamian king], who stopped spelling its name in Hebrew, thus donning an undesirable second meaning.

Avigdor turns into AVGWho's the real Nimrod? You Decide!Nimrod dons an additional meaning

How To Get Rid of A Rented Apartment in Israel in Only 4 Hours

In getting ready to finish my schooling, I wanted to find another tenant to replace me in my rented apartment. Now, granted, it is a very nice apartment and it is very well located in the city center – but when I posted it online I never thought someone would offer to sign the lease without even seeing it first.
I heard about the flat shortage in Tel-Aviv, but I never thought it is just as bad in Jerusalem. Then again, I was 'out of the market' for three years and apparently did not have a clue.

But as I do not tend to share my everyday experiences, this post is actually intended to let you in on a little known secret: an amazing real estate search engine that goes through all the other big websites and summarizes the information for you – an Israeli apartment dogpile, if you will. It is called Baboo and I think it is an excellent tool for flat-hunters.

Good luck!

Top Annoyances Plaguing the Israeli Internet

The Israeli Internet, the collective knowledgebase consisting of websites created and maintained by Israelis, is plagued, in my opinion, with problems that should have disappeared long ago. Well into its second decade, the Israeli net shows a lot of the symptoms that Israeli society show, including short memory, turf wars and little transparency. Here are the top annoyances that bug me every single day:

It is no wonder this Hebrew word is well known around the world. The famous Israeli impudence is embedded in the Israeli net, most notably visible with leading websites shoving pop-up ads into their visitors’ faces, often hiding or delaying the option to close the window, and accompanying the graphics with music or narration. And we are not talking about your run of the mill pr0n site doing it – these are Israel’s leading web portals.

You’re History
The net is the platform onto which humankind is documenting its knowledge, but not in Israel. It is common practice in the IsraNet for webmasters to stop supporting old pages upon upgrading their websites. Similarly, leading companies open an Ad Hoc website for a marketing campaign (e.g. new movie, new snack food), stop updating it after a month, and letting it close at the end of the year.

It seems that the golden rule for webmasters here can be summed up to one sentence: ‘If it works in Internet Explorer – then it works fine’. Nowhere else in the world can one find such poor compliance with HTML rules and the inevitable result is that IE is the only browser that guarantees Israeli websites would show up. Now, granted, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser is as popular here as it is around the world, and private websites can be given some slack, but when the leading Israeli banks manage websites that do not show up on the second most popular browser – it is simply unacceptable. Adding insult to injury, the banks’ own website boast about their great strides for internet security, all the while forcing every one of their customers to use the most unsafe browser ever invented.

This Land Is My Land
In the ancient land of Canaan, netizens mark their territory just as canines do. Israelis are obsessed with taking credit, rather than getting credit. No TV program is ripped without first embedding the nickname of the kid who had done it, no subtitle file is uploaded without the translator adding some thank you lines for his own hard work, and most images are watermarked from here to oblivion, regardless if they are an original work or not.

Website for Every Worker
It is surprising how many successful artists do not foster a website. Singers who perform in sold out venues, who employ managers and PR people, do not see the benefits in having a website – or they do have a website, a fluffy one with almost no content and no updates.

We Don’t Need No (More) Stinking Knowledge
It seems Israeli news websites are certain they are the alpha and omega, as they seldom add links for additional knowledge, even when the entire article discusses a new website. With the nature of the Hebrew language, foreign names can be spelled in different ways. This means that the nasty habit of Israeli websites to not add the English spelling of a name, sends readers into a search frenzy just to track down the discussed website or person. When a recent article discussed Congressman Keith Ellison, it forced readers wanting to read more on the official website to do a lot of searching, as a link was not provided and the Hebrew spelling of Ellison can also be translated back to Alison, Allison and Elison.

Sub Par Subdomains
When the three letters, WWW, were arbitrarily chosen as the default subdomain back in the days, no one probably thought the internet was destined to be surfed by laymen who would grow to expect the tongue tying prefix. Nowadays, people all over the world type in or – but not in Israel. The triple double u’s have become synonymous in Israel with a website’s address, so much so that people do not understand how to type in upon request. Instead of educating the masses, websites tend to use a lot of slashes, thus many radio ads quote website addresses full of slashes or unneeded sub-subdomains (e.g.

Your Ad Here
Many websites choose not to have an independent website and reside under an irrelevant domain, chose only for its monetary values. When Israeli number one radio station’s website is you know something is wrong. Usually, as with the mentioned example, the collaboration ends after some time, and the website ceases to work (see ‘You’re History’ )

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

In light of the 2007 Israeli Pride Parade, commencing today at noon in Tel-Aviv, and later this month in Jerusalem (God willing), and in light of two recent articles discussing the ‘Glass Closet‘ (Michael Musto for Out Magazine, Gal Uchovsky for Time Out Tel-Aviv), I just wanted to convey it is a shame that successful people in the media cannot summon up the courage it takes to come out of the closet, and become a role model for teenagers struggling in life. Izhar Cohen missed the opportunity to tackle gay invisibility in the seventies, Ofra Haza missed the opportunity to raise AIDS awareness in the nineties, but it is never too late to be a hero in the eyes of Israeli teens. I reckon that singers with sold-out events and songwriters who write hit songs about love, have no business avoiding what everyone in this tiny country already knows.

Here are some positive role models:

Dana International Ivri Lider Rona Kenan
Nitzan Horowitz Korin Allal Miki Buganim
Assi Ezer Amir Fey-Guttman Yehudit Ravitz
Yehuda Poliker Harel Skaat Orna Banai

And others who can be positive role models:

Izhar Cohen Sarit Hadad Dafna Rechter


In a changing world
There’s so much you could be
Why can’t you choose your self
Like your enemy?
Have you ever imagined
A new you?
I could be someone else
Somebody new.
I want a positive role model
  – – From The Musical ‘Closer To Heaven’ by the Pet Shop Boys


Update: On December 23, 2009 singer-songwriter Yehudit Ravitz finally came out as a lesbian. This post was joyfully updated to reflect the news.

Update #2: On March 18, 2010 singer-songwriter Yehuda Poliker sorta-kinda came out. In a Channel 10 documentary film he used wording that left many disappointed. On July 16, 2010 in a newspaper interview in Yedioth Ahronoth, Poliker finally admitted falling in love in the past with men. Only then was this post finally updated to reflect the news.

Update #3: On October 22, 2010 singer Harel Skaat came out as gay. This post was joyfully updated to reflect the news.

Update #4: On December 30, 2011 comedienne Orna Banai came out as a lesbian. This post was joyfully updated to reflect the news.

Knut Kidnapped Madeleine

Knut The Polar Bear Kidnapped Madeleine McCannIf you have been watching television lately you probably know all about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, one three year old British girl. British TV stations and many International networks have been following the search over the passing month. You may also know all about Knut, the polar bear recently born in Germany.
I bet, though, you did not hear about all the Indian children who died during that time from diseases long ago eradicated in the Western world; I bet you did not hear anything about African children forced to join a militia and kill people, and I am definitely sure you have not heard about Sesame Street teaching children why it is wise to be a Muslim martyr.

Who kidnapped my television? Who cynically implemented the unspoken Peoples-Worth-Index and is a black man still worth three-fifths of a white man? The disappearance of a child is a horrible tragedy for his parents, but when that is all that is aired on the news, how can people hear about the misfortunes of others?

To put it bluntly – if Knut the bear can kidnap all the airtime – can he kidnap a little blond girl?