British car show Top Gear is filming an episode in Israel this week, and hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are sure to learn a little about driving in a country where commuting is a blood-sport and road signs confound at breakneck speed.
The hosts were seen entering Israel from Jordan earlier this week in a pair of sand and dirt-battered roadsters, including a Mazda Miata driven by Clarkson that had a hookah affixed to its drivers’ side door.
The well-worn roadsters look more than capable of handling an encounter with a Tel Aviv cab driver or stone-throwing Silwan youth, and whether or not the Top Gear hosts plan to affix Breslav stickers or the likeness of Gilad Schalit to the roadsters remains to be seen.
Though details of the visit are not clear, Channel 2 reported that the Top Gear crew was seen filming in Nazareth, before tearing through the hills chased by paparazzi to Highway 6, where they high-tailed it south toward Jerusalem.
The visit to Israel during a late October heat wave is to film an episode for the show’s coming season. The show has hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide, many of whom will get their first view of Israel as the tourism ministry never intended it: through a bug-spattered windshield flying down an open Israeli highway.
Chess grandmaster Alik Gershon takes Guinness record for simultaneous chess games from arch-foe after marathon 19-hour match against 520 players. ‘I’m tired but insanely satisfied,’ he tells Ynet
A Guinness representative confirmed the new record.
Alik Gershon, 30, won 86% of the games he played against amateurs in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. He needed to win at least 80% to seal the record, which previously stood at 500 simultaneous games.
The tournament began under the blazing midday sun on Thursday with Gershon shaking hands with every single player as he walked along rows of tables lined with chess boards. It ended at 7 am Friday, with Gershon scoring 454 victories, 58 ties and 11 defeats.
Training for the event, which continued through the night, was purely physical and included a lot of jogging and swimming, the former Israeli champion said.
“There are a lot of kilometers to walk and you have to stay focused,” he said, noting that his Iranian rival Morteza Mahjoob walked 40 kilometers (25 miles) to secure his record.
Mahjoob set the current record in August 2009 in a feat which took him 18 hours and with less than five seconds for each move.
Gershon did not let his fatigue affect the game and expressed great satisfaction after winning the tournament, which was initiated by the Jewish Agency to mark the 20th anniversary of immigration from the Soviet Union.
“First of all I feel tired, but I’m insanely satisfied,” he told Ynet on Friday morning. “Breaking a record and vanquishing the Iranians is a wonderful feeling.”
“Hopefully all our wars against Iran will be on the chess board,” said a smiling Gershon. “For such wars, I am prepared.”
In the real world of geo-politics, Iran and Israel are arch-enemies.
Along with the United States and other powers, Israel accuses Iran of using its nuclear energy program to hide efforts to produce an atomic bomb, a charge Tehran vehemently denies.
And Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is notorious for his oft-repeated denials of the Nazi Holocaust and for saying that the Jewish state will one day be wiped off the map.