We are almost at the end of what is known in media terms as the silly season. It’s summer time; politicians are away and in theory there are no important news stories.

Even though the news here is usually deadly serious all year round, a local equivalent to the silly season does exist. It’s known as “onat ha’melafefonim” – the cucumber or “cukes” season. Perhaps it’s so-called because cucumbers have no nutritional value whatsoever and they best represent the bland, frivolous news items that are often served up to the public in summer.

I’ve been looking for a local cucumber season story, but so far I haven’t found one. Even in Britain, where the silly season was invented, the press has been bemoaning the fact that the Olympics took over the news this summer and prevented silly stories from appearing. Even the recent brouhaha over the photos of a naked Prince Harry apparently playing strip billiards raised the serious issues of press ethics and invasion of privacy.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think photos of a nude member of the Royal Family should be published willy-nilly, so I will refrain from illustrating this post with one of the many genuine and spoof pics currently doing the rounds.

There is a dearth of celebrities here to provide us with fluff that simply doesn’t matter. There are no royals, obviously, nor are there Israeli film and sport stars famous enough to feature on the front page, should they happen to be snapped in a compromising position. Local stories with the word “strip” in the headline are normally about Gaza or an over-zealous security officer at Ben Gurion Airport. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there are still plenty of scandals in Israel, mostly involving corrupt politicians who are not remotely photogenic – and certainly not in a state of undress.

No, as far as I can make out, there hasn’t been one solitary “cuke” among the acres of nukes in the papers this summer to lighten the national mood, but it’s still not too late for a genuinely Israeli silly season story to emerge.

Strip matkot, anyone?

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