(This is my humble example of an "only in Israel" story that I want to link to next week to celebrate my one year blogiversary.)
Israel excels in both its agricultural produce and its hi-tech industries. What is surprising is in what close proximity these two industries are to each other.
Westbankpapa learned this personally when he took a slightly different route home from work one day. Not two minutes from his job in a hi-tech industrial area he came upon a field of beautiful ripe strawberries.
The owner (presumably) had set up a stand to sell them fresh from the fields, and when my husband found out that they were organically grown, he decided to buy some as a treat for Shabbos. There were two prices - one for the almost perfectly shaped large berries, and a slightly lower one for the smaller and slightly mushed up ones (yes, that is a technical term!). Westbankpapa chose the better ones and paid the price gladly.
As he was turning to leave, the seller, who was not wearing a kipa (skullcap) quickly scooped up some strawberries from the cheaper boxes and put them in a bag, and handed them to my surprised husband.
"What is this?" he asked. "These are for you to take truma and maaser from" he answered. (Truma and maaser refers to the portion of the produce set aside for the Kohanim (priests) in the Temple. When the Temple stood in Jerusalem it was a religious obligation to set aside a portion of the produce and bring it to the priests. Now, even though the Temple does not stand, we still keep the laws of truma and maaser as "practice" for when the Temple will be rebuilt. Religious Jews do this when buying from a place where the Rabbanut does not do it for us).
My husband told him that he would have taken from the box that he had bought. The seller wouldn't hear of it, and refused to take payment for the small amount in the bag.
Only in Israel - would a non-religious person know about truma and maaser. And only in Israel would we have to take them in the first place!
Needless to say my husband went back to this field almost every week, until strawberry season was over.
Yaakov from aliyahblog has already sent me some "only in Israel" posts to link to, aliyah06 (Bakadiary) and Ezzie from Serandez have promised, and I am waiting for the rest of you....
Deadline is next week, November 19th.