When I was in college, a popular Israel advocacy technique was to inform the campus of “cool facts” about Israel.

“Did you know that Israel has more museums per person than any other country?” or

“Did you know that the technology for AOL Instant Messenger was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis?” or

“Did you know that Israel has the world’s second highest per capita of new books?”

(more can be found here)

I thought I had learned every bizzaro fact about Israel by graduation.

But then today I learn that an Israeli invented Rummikub.

An article in the online magazine Today’s Isarel, tells the story of Ephraim Hertzano:

Back in the early thirties in his home country of Romania all playing cards were outlawed. Determined to come up with a substitute, Mr. Hertzano decided to exchange the cards with tiles, and Rummikub was born! With the end of World War II, the Hertzano family arrived in Israel and began hand-assembling each set in their backyard. Rummikub eventually found its way to America,where, in 1977 it became the country’s best selling game. (MORE, on page 19)

So Israel advocates, get your fliers ready:

“Did you know that today Rummikub is the third best-selling game in the world and Israel’s number one game export?”

I didn’t.

Posted on November 7, 2007

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