Israel - Light onto Nations is an initiative, not a media watch organization. It is web-based and does not involve fundraising.

Israel - Light onto Nations endorses various Canadian media-watch organizations, such as: CLIC - Canadian Light on Israel Coverage, Honest Reporting ( and The Media Action Group (

Did You Know?

Israel engineers are behind the development of the largest communications router in the world, launched by Cisco.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bibi World View Third on YouTube Series

Bibi World View Third on YouTube Series

Petition: Protect 2 of Judaism's Holiest Sites - Please Sign

The United Nations has once again reared its anti-semitic head.

The Executive Board of UNESCO has declared 2 of Judaism's holiest sites (Tomb of the Patriarchs and Tomb of Rachel) to be mosques and demand that Israel remove the sites from its National Heritage list.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office decried the ludicrous nature of the UNESCO decision:
The attempt to detach the Nation of Israel from its heritage is absurd. If the nearly 4,000-year-old burial sites of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish Nation - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah - are not part of its culture and tradition, then what is a national cultural site?

In cooperating with Arab efforts to erase Jewish historical ties to Israel , UNESCO is aiding and abetting those who hope to and obfuscate Israel ’s Jewish past and undermine Israel ’s Jewish future.

Please also pass this on to as many people as you can. Let our voices be heard.


To: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO)

H.E. Mrs. Eleonora Valentinovna Mitrofanova, Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO
Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
Mr. Davidson L. Hepburn (Bahamas), President of the General Conference
Bureau of the World Heritage Committee
Chairperson: H.E. Mrs. Mai Bint Muhammad Al Khalifa (Bahrain)
Rapporteur: Mr. Ould Sidi Ali (Mali)
Vice-Chairpersons: Mr. Tyronne Brathwaite(Barbados,H.E.Mr. NarangNout(Cambodia),H.E.Mr. Margus Rava(Estonia),H.E.Ms.Dolana Msimang(South Africa),H. E. Mr. Rodolphe Imhoof (Switzerland)

We the undersigned protest The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) ruling that Israel has no right to add the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, where almost all of Israel’s patriarchs and matriarchs are buried, to the National Heritage list. The Tomb of the Patriarchs, the oldest Jewish shrine and the second holiest site in Judaism, centers around the Cave of Machpelah, an ancient double cave revered for almost 4,000 years as the burial site of the Hebrew patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their wives. The connection of the Jewish people to the Cave of Machpelah was established some 3,800 years ago, when Abraham, the first Hebrew, purchased it for the express purpose of using it as a burial site for himself, his wife Sarah, and their future generations. It is the cradle of Jewish history and the focal point of Jewish identity. The rectangular enclosure over the caves is the only fully surviving Herodian structure. Thus the Tomb of the Patriarchs is of inestimable historical value as well as great sacred significance for the Jewish people.

We also protest the decision by UNESCO to re-label as an Islamic mosque the tomb of Rachel, Israel’s other matriarch, and to demand that Israel remove the site from its National Heritage list. The Tomb of Rachel, Judaism's third-holiest site, has been the scene of prayer and pilgrimage for more than three thousand years, and has an especially meaningful connection for Jewish women. Rachel, the matriarch who died in childbirth and was buried at that spot on the road to Hebron, has been a comfort and hope to Jews since biblical days. “Thus says the Lord, 'Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded…and they shall return from the enemy's land and there is hope for the future'… 'Your children shall return to their own country.” Jeremiah 31:16-17. Until 2000, the Palestinians recognized the site as Rachel’s Tomb. It was called “Rachel’s Tomb” in Al-mawsu'ah al-filastiniyah, the Palestinian encyclopedia published after 1996 and in PALESTINE, THE HOLY LAND, a Palestinian publication, with an introduction by Yasser Arafat. However, during the second intifada, Al-Hayat al-Jadida, a Palestinian daily, announced a new-found historical connection to Rachel’s Tomb, declaring that is was "originally a Muslim mosque.”

In an effort to erase Jewish history and supersede Jewish religious sites with Islamic institutions, Muslims have intentionally built mosques upon numerous synagogues and Jewish holy sites. The clearest examples are the Al-Aqsa mosque which sits on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, and the Dome of the Rock, which was built on Judaism’s holiest site of the two biblical Jewish Temples. This pattern repeats itself at the second and third holiest sites. Thus at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, there are domes over the tombs of Abraham and Sarah and a mosque over the tombs of Isaac and Rebecca. Photos from the early 1900's show no Muslim cemetery near the Tomb or Rachel. After 1948 Muslims built their own cemetery surrounding three sides of Rachel’s tomb and now claim that Rachel's Tomb is one of their burial plots and that it contains a Muslim rather than Jewish notable.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office decried the ludicrous nature of the UNESCO decision:
“The attempt to detach the Nation of Israel from its heritage is absurd. If the nearly 4,000-year-old burial sites of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish Nation – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah –are not part of its culture and tradition, then what is a national cultural site?”
“Sites such as the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb (which sits on the edge of Bethlehem) present an inconvenient truth for the pro-Palestine movement and its supporters, who want to claim that the Jews have no historic ties to this land.”

In cooperating with efforts to erase Jewish historical ties to Israel, UNESCO is aiding and abetting those who hope to and obfuscate Israel’s Jewish past and undermine Israel’s Jewish future.

The UNESCO mission states: “Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.”

We demand that there be no exception to UNESCO’s mission when it comes to Jewish heritage. Israel’s Jewish legacy must be recognized and preserved and not swept away to conform with the pro-Palestinian narrative. In attempting to sever the Jewish cultural, religious and natural heritage bond with the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb, UNESCO denies the history it is mandated to preserve, engages in a political maneuver designed to weaken a member UN nation, and undermines its own principles. It aims to rob the Jewish people not only of two sacred sites, which are irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration, but also of their past and a legacy to pass on to future generations. We demand that UNESCO, whose purpose it is to protect heritage, also protect Jewish heritage, rather than deny it.


The Undersigned

Teen Angels in Israel - Casi Angeles en Israel 2011

Teen Angels in Israel 2011
The Teen Angels performed in Tel Aviv, in 3 sold out shows for a total of 20.000 fans.
"Israel is our home" said the Teen Angels to the Media.

Images of their visit to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. An unforgettable trip through a country that they defined as "full of strength and energy".

Teen Angels en Israel 2011
Los Teen Angels se presentaron en el Tel Aviv, con 3 funciones agotadas para un total de 20.000 fanáticos.

"Israel es nuestra casa" dijeron los Teen Angels a los medios.

Imágenes de su visita a Jerusalem y el Mar Muerto. Un viaje inolvidable por un país al que definieron como "lleno de fuerza y energía".


Teen Angels (or TeenAngels) are an Argentine pop band formed during the development of the Cris Morena Group series Casi Ángeles in 2007 until present. The band featured five members — Mariana Espósito (Marianela "Mar" Rinaldi), Gastón Dalmau (Ramiro "Rama" Ordóñez), Juan Pedro Lanzani (Thiago Bedoya Agüero), Nicolás Riera (Juan "Tacho" Morales) and María Eugenia Suárez (Jazmin "Jaz" Romero). By the end of the 4th and last season of Casi Angeles, when the band was about to start its 2011 World Tour, Maria Eugenia Suarez left the band and was replaced by Rocio Igarzabal, who portrayed Valeria in the tv series.

Other cast members who recorded songs for albums include Emilia Attias (Angeles Inchausti / Paz Inchausti-Bauer), Nicolás Vázquez (Nicolás Bauer), Pablo Martínez (Simón Bruno Arrechavaleta) and Rocío Igarzábal (Valeria "Vale" Gutierrez).

Teen Angels have spawned 4 studio albums, 3 live albums (from live theatre shows), one special album for Coca Cola, one studio album in Spain with remixed songs, and another in Israel. In the series´ last season, a CD+DVD edition was released gathering all their best songs and videos. Teen Angels 2007 was the 12th best selling album in Argentina in 2007, while Teen Angels 2008 was the 3rd in 2008. Teen Angels 2007 and Teen Angels 2009 were certified Platinum,[2] while Teen Angels 2 earned double Platinum certification. The band´s 2010 studio album was nº 1 in sales in various countries.

Israel - home of the world's hottest fashion talent

Where do Donna Karan, Roberto Cavalli and Diane von Furstenberg go to find new fashion talent? Israel's Shenkar College of course.

Which fashion school spawned Alber Elbaz of Lanvin and Kobi Halperin of Elie Tahari? Where did hot Israeli designers Ronen Chen, Mirit Weinstock and Naama Bezalel get their training? And which fashion school do Donna Karan, Roberto Cavalli and Diane von Furstenberg visit to find new talent?

The answer to all three questions is the fashion design department of Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, founded in 1970 in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan.

Shenkar-trained designers have long enjoyed a world-class reputation, winning prestigious international competitions and working in famous design houses across the globe. In December, Shenkar took the #16 spot on Fashionista's list of top 50 fashion schools in the world.

This achievement is all the more impressive for the fact that Israel is not a world fashion center like Paris, Tokyo, London or New York, points out Leah Peretz, head of the department for the past 14 years. And because it's such a small country, its stores do not carry the full range of fabrics and trimmings available to fashion designers in those major cities.

However, under the guidance of Peretz, Shenkar's students have learned to turn these negatives into positives.

"Our students are forced to be inventive," Peretz tells ISRAEL21c. They tailor their own materials and use the expertise of the college's engineering department to learn how to make plastic accessories. Now that manufacturing has moved offshore, they also learn the "language" of special software that allows them to detail for foreign workers how each garment should be constructed.

Prospective students need not have a developed portfolio to win a coveted spot in the four-year program.

Students who graduate Shenkar are quickly snapped by the fashion industry.

"We are looking for talent, but not necessarily experience in fashion," Peretz explains. "We even prefer those who want to do fashion but have no idea how to sew or cut, because then they are a ‘tabula rasa' and don't have any preconceptions."

Cultural melting pot

Married to diplomat Yair Recanati, Peretz has served as a cultural attaché for Israel and strongly emphasizes diversity. Of the 220 current fashion design students, 20 percent are male, five are Arabs and many are of Russian descent. There are students from both secular and religious backgrounds as well.

"It's like a melting pot, and that is quite unique for a design school," she says. "We make a point to have students from different cultures, and we encourage them to express their worlds."

Last spring, 17 Shenkar students participated in an Internet-based cultural exchange program with 17 students at Japan's Bunka Fashion College, another Fashionista Top 50 school. This year, Peretz invited African refugee women living in Tel Aviv to expose her students to their traditional clothing as inspiration for collections of ethnic designs.

Peretz was an art historian at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem when she was invited to teach a course on the history of design at Shenkar. After accepting an offer to direct the department, she broadened the curriculum dramatically.

"Shenkar was very good at teaching the technical know-how and I still think it's very important to have a solid technical background," she says. "But I made enormous changes to make the program interdisciplinary and very thorough."

Peretz invites prominent guest lecturers - such as Donna Karan -- to teach master classes, and offers elective courses in fashion journalism, advertising, production, photography, styling, drawing, sculpture, product design, embroidery and knitting.

Shenkar students learn the basics of children's clothes, underwear, swimwear, menswear, eveningwear and bridal wear, casual wear, extreme sportswear, knitwear, bags, shoes, jeans and tailored clothing. A fashion and textile archive allows them to handle and inspect historical garments.

"There is no other such archive in all the Middle East, with hundreds and hundreds of dresses and shoes, bags and scarves from the 17th to 20th centuries," says Peretz. Many of the donated items come from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

Jobs at top fashion houses

Some students nab summer positions abroad at places including Elie Tahari in the United States, Stuart Weitzman's shoe design studio in Spain, Marks and Spencer in London, Lanvin in Paris and Cavalli in Italy. Von Furstenberg accepts four Shenkar interns over the course of every academic year, and selects one exceptional graduate to come and work for her.

Back in 2005, Karan took Shenkar design student Avshalom Gur under her wing. He went on to win the British Fashion Council's New Generation award for three consecutive seasons, started his own Avsh Alom Gur label and relaunched the fashion house of 1960s cult designer Ossie Clark in 2007.

London Times fashion editor Lisa Armstrong and Tahari's Halperin are among the prominent group of experts and former students who come to Shenkar from several countries for the all-important "crits" (critiques) of final-year projects. Many of the students receive job offers on the basis of this work.

A Hong Kong-New York design firm recruited seven 2010 Shenkar grads to exclusively staff a new studio, and two more will be hired at the end of this school year.

"In many other schools, when you graduate with a B.A. you go and do internships and only after that introduce yourself for employment," says Peretz. "But our students are recruited immediately because they are full professionals when they graduate."

Peretz says Shenkar students are trained with a universal outlook. "Fashion is totally global. In the 1950s and 1960s there was something unique here in Israel. Now, what happens in Paris, Milan and New York will happen here, too."

And what will that be? "I'm not a fashion designer," she demurs. "I leave it to the professionals."

Israeli Fashion: The Next Generation

The students of Jerusalem's Bezalel Academy of Art and Design finished one of the first ever fashion design programs, and Infolive TV was there as the Israeli fashion world's next generation showed the fruit of their labors on the catwalk.

Israeli fashion designers the latest rage

Food Festival In Jerusalem

Australian ex-PM: 'I'm an unapologetic friend of Israel'

John Howard tells group of expats in TA he has been a supporter of Israel for all his adult life, as PM voted for Israel at UN "whenever it mattered."

“I’m an unapologetic friend of Israel’s,” former Australian Prime Minister John Howard told a group of Australian expats in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night.

Howard was attending an informal dinner co-hosted by Australian Jewish businessman Ashley Krongold and Israel’s Ambassador to Australia Yuval Rotem.

During his premiership, Howard had been invited to pay a state visit to Israel, but hadn’t found the time. Krongold and Rotem took the initiative and brought him to Israel to show appreciation for his support.

Pleased to meet Australians in diverse professions who have become part of Israel’s success story, Howard said he had been a supporter of Israel for all of his adult life, and that he had made sure as prime minister that Australia voted for Israel at the United Nations whenever it mattered.

Howard, now on his fourth visit to Israel, enthused about being impressed by the country’s development. He cited his adventure with an electric car at Better Place as one example.

It had been a long time, he said, since he had driven in a car with a steering wheel on the left. He also spoke glowingly of the briefing he had been given by an IDF colonel on the Golan Heights.

Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Howard said he was in favor of a two-state solution and that the Palestinians were entitled to a homeland with some kind of capital in east Jerusalem plus some limited right of return.

He was aware that offers of this kind had been made by former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, but suggested that the Palestinians had refused them because they had not been given a sufficient incentive for compromise.

He said he found it ludicrous that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas couldn’t go to Gaza without the permission of Hamas, and compared the situation to an Australian Prime Minister not being allowed into the State of Victoria.

As for the wave of uprisings across the Middle East, Howard was optimistic.

“I’m in favor of anything that overthrows dictators,” he said, adding that what was happening in the region was extraordinary.

He was encouraged by the fact that in all of the television coverage he had seen of the demonstrations, there had been no burning of Israeli or American flags, and that protesters were not using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a hook on which to hang their frustrations.

“It’s not something that’s preoccupying them,” he said.

Wary of making any predictions about the outcome of ructions in the region, other than to voice his opinion that it would play out differently in different countries, Howard warned that although the movement was toward freedom and democracy, “in some countries you could end up with fanatic Islamic regimes.”

'Israel: A Great Place to Visit, But People Need to Know That'

The International Tourism Conference took place in Jerusalem from Tuesday to Thursday of this week. The conference featured accomplished experts from around the world who exchanged views on topics ranging from economic sustainability, hotel design, culture and media to technology, branding concepts and conference tourism.

One of the conference participants was Diego Lofeudo, Director of Market Management for Eastern Med and Africa on the travel reservation website, Expedia.

Lofeudo said in an interview with Israel National News TV that he believes Israel is a great tourist attraction, but unfortunately not enough people are aware of this fact.

“It’s hard to discover, it’s nice when you find it, but tourists don’t have time to get to love you and you need to help them get to love you,” he said.

Lofeudo suggested that Israel simply has to let people know about all the great things it features. “Open your doors,” he said. “Make sure that people worldwide know about what you have here: tourists, culture, attractions, food – the food here is great.”

He added that there are “3,000 years of culture in the lovely walls of Jerusalem, you have a thriving nightlife in Tel Aviv but people don’t know. Customers online are continuously searching for what to do and they are open to discover new places. We need to make sure they find Israel.”

According to Lofeudo, accomplishing this simply requires a change in the mindset of Israel’s travel industry. He noted that the strengths of the local travel industry lie in Bar Mitzvah tours or pilgrimage visits, but that the independent traveler must also be reached out to.

“The independent traveler, who has none of those liaisons with a potential trip, is looking for food, wine, experience, places to go to like the Dead Sea – he might not even know what the Dead Sea is all about,” he said. “We need to make Israel discoverable and bookable online by investing in branding for the country and for its destinations.”

Expedia began featuring Israel on its website about six years ago, and in the last year along has achieved about $60 million in bookings for Israel. Lofeudo said, however, that way much more can be achieved.

“We need to take it to the next level and the next level is the country investing itself into branding Israel in the online environment.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Urban Outfitters does Israel!

While most of us don’t even know what we’ll be wearing this evening, those in the fashion industry are already planning what we’ll be wearing this spring.

The trendy clothing company Urban Outfitters has already put out their “Early Spring Catalog”. This season’s catalog takes their models and photographers to Israel!

Urban’s facebook page tells us that this was an easy decision for them: “We were craving some warm weather, so we headed to sunny Tel Aviv with photographer Marlene Marino to shoot our early spring catalog. ” Check out their facebook page and blog which showcase Marino’s beautiful photos as well as some pictures taken by the models themselves.

Lesson learned: What’s sexier than a model wearing Urban’s latest fashions? A model wearing Urban’s latest fashions in Tel Aviv.

Glenn Beck: I Stand Tonight With Israel

Glenn Beck: I Stand Tonight With Israel

New spider found in giant sand dune in Israel

A new species of spider has been discovered in the dune of the Sands of Samar in the southern Arava region of Israel, scientists from from the department of biology at the University of Haifa-Oranim said this week.

With a leg span of up to 5.5 inches (14 centimeters), the new spider is the largest of its type in the Middle East, the scientists said.

Its habitat is endangered. “It could be that there are other unknown species [in the dune] that will become extinct before we can discover them,” said Uri Shanas of the University of Haifa, who is heading research in the area.

“The discovery of this new spider illustrates our obligation to preserve the dune,” Shanas said.

The Sands of Samar are the last remaining sand dune in Israeli territory in the southern Arava region, the university said. In the past, the sands stretched some three square miles (seven square kilometers), but due to the rezoning of areas for agriculture and sand quarries, the sands have been reduced to less than half that.

The spider is a member of the Cerbalus genus. Since it was found in the Arava, it was been given the name Cerbalus aravensis.

“Even though details are still lacking to enable a full analysis of its biology and of its population in the sands, the scientists know that this is a nocturnal spider, mostly active in the hottest months of the year, and that it constructs an underground den which is closed with a ‘lifting door’ made of sand particles that are glued together to camouflage the den,” the university explained.

The Israel Land Administration intends to renew mining projects in the Sands of Samar in the near future, which will endanger the existence of the newly discovered spider, Shanas said.

It is possible that there are additional unknown animal species living in the sands, and therefore efforts should be made to preserve this unique region in the Arava, the researcher added.

“The new discovery shows how much we still have to investigate, and that there are likely to be many more species that are unknown to us. If we do not preserve the few habitats that remain for these species, they will become extinct before we can even discover them,” Shanas said.

Finishing Construction, IDF Puts Field Hospital to Good Use in Japan

The IDF Home Front Command and Medical Corps. Aid delegation to Japan opened an advanced medical clinic this morning. The opening ceremony was preceded by a minute of silence in honor of those who perished in the natural disaster. The mayors of Kurihara and Minamisanriku, whose towns suffered severe loss and destruction in the tsunami, attended the ceremony. During the ceremony the mayors thanked the members of the delegation for volunteering, and for their desire to help the people of Japan by providing medical care for the ill and injured.

The clinic’s first patient was the mayor of Minamisanriku, who had recently been injured. He was examined by the commander of the medical delegation, deputy to the IDF Chief Medical Officer, Col. Dr. Ofir Cohen-Marom.

The IDF aid delegation to Japan arrived at Minamisanriku in the Miyagi Prefecture early Monday morning after a 14-hour flight and 8-hour bus ride. They held their first operational briefing with GOC of the Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, and the Head of the IDF Medical Corps, Brig. Gen Nachman Ash.

The city where the IDF field clinic is being established is attracting many displaced persons and the IDF aid delegation has been distributing and setting up the medical equipment in order to have the field clinic operational. As of Tuesday morning, march 29th, the field clinic features:

Pediatrics ward
Surgical ward
Maternity and Gynecological wards
Otolaryngology (Ears, Nose and Throat)
Optometry department
Intensive Care Unit

Seven Japanese nationals who speak Hebrew joined the delegation on Monday in order to provide translation services and serve as liaisons with the local population.

Radiation levels in the area where the IDF aid delegation has deployed are being followed carefully by experts from the Atomic Energy Commission and by experts from the IDF Medical Corps in order to ensure that there is no danger posed to delegation members or patients in the area.

IDF Team Treats 11-Month-Old Baby Left Homeless By Tsunami

This morning Sanae (sp.), an 11-month-old baby who was left homeless by the tsunami, arrived at the IDF delegation's medical clinic at Minamisanriku accompanied by her grandmother.

Sanae, who suffers from an inflammation of the eye, was treated at the clinic by Lt. Col. Dr. Amit Assa, a pediatrician, Lt. Col. Orly Weinstein, an eye specialist, and Capt. Galit Bidner, a certified nurse.

Sanae's grandmother received medicine from the team, along with an explanation how to best continue future treatment, and was invited to return to the clinic in two days' time. She was also given diapers and toys for Sanae.

For more details, click:

$200 million renewal project launched at Nat'l Library

Plan includes new building and digitization of library’s materials; "expanding access will allow country to protect, share traditions.

Almost 120 years after the Abarbanel Midrash, the forerunner of Israel’s National Library, was founded, the country’s largest library is embarking on a dramatic renewal project that will include a new building and a vast digitization project to make thousands of the library’s manuscripts and books available online.

The $200 million project, funded by the Rothschild fund Yad Hanadiv, was launched at a ceremony at the National Library on Sunday evening attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson, and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer.

The new building, which will be located across from the Israel Museum and next to the Knesset, should be finished by 2016.

The first step of the digitization project will make 15,000 books available online, which should take 30,000 hours of scanning using state-of-the-art digital technology. Until the renewal project, the library had used a grant from the Dorot Foundation to digitize a total 1,100 out-of-print books and manuscripts.

The National Library, now located on the Givat Ram campus of Hebrew University, has approximately 5 million books and 9 million maps, manuscripts, photos, music recordings, and other documents.

The material includes books handwritten by Maimonides, posters, old phone books, important photographs, as well as Jewish literature from all corners of the globe in a variety of languages. It also holds one of the richest collections of classical Arab literature, including rare illustrated manuscripts.

About 200,000 visitors come to the library each year to use the collection, and 300,000 use the digital catalogue.

The library hopes that with the digitization of the most important manuscripts, an estimated 10 million people in Israel and around the world will use the National Library’s digital depository for research, and 600,000 will flock to the new building.

“Direct contact with the treasures of the past leaves a deep impression on every one of us,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said at the ceremony.

“We are guarding here the magnificent treasures from the birth of our nation and of all of humanity.”

He added that expanding the accessibility of the library’s materials through new technology would not only allow the country to protect its traditions but to also share them with the world at large.

Lord Jacob Rothschild, chairman of Yad Hanadiv, pointed out that his family had helped build other important buildings in the area, including the Supreme Court and the Knesset building itself.

“These were essentials needed by the people of Israel,” he said on Sunday night, adding that a National Library is another essential for a nation that often refers to itself as “people of the book.”

“Like many things in the new Zionist state, the original library had modest beginnings but had a soaring vision,” he said.

PM Netanyahu at the International Tourism Conference

Google Doodle for Israel's logo has quickly become one of the most recognizable corporate logos. It also has been changed more than any other logo, sometimes even daily.

According to the Wikipedia entry, "The current official Google pop logo was designed by Ruth Kedar, and is a wordmark based on the Catull typeface. The company also includes various modifications and/or humorous features, such as cartoon modifications, of their logo for use on holidays, birthdays of famous people, and major events, such as the Olympics." When Google adapts its logo for special occasions it is called a "Google Doodle." I was curious to know whether Google would honor Israel yesterday on its 62nd anniversary of statehood with a special Israel-themed Google Doodle.

Well, it did and didn't. There was no Israeli Google Doodle on the U.S. Google search engine site, but the Israel version of Google featured a Google Doodle with an Israeli flag (pictured).

The first Google Doodle was in honor of the Burning Man Festival in 1998. The doodle was designed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were attending the Burning Man, as an "out of the office" notification.

Israelis are already familiar with Google Doodle because of the Doodle 4 Google competition in 2008. Google Israel invited first to 12th grade students to reinvent Google's homepage logo around the theme "My Israel" for Israel's 60th anniversary. Google Israel received thousands of wonderful doodles and chose 40 drawings which would go on to the next stage. The winning doodle, selected from over thousands of entries, was created by Ilona Flaxsman, an 11th grader from Givatayim.

Ilona's doodle graced the Google Israel homepage on June 30th, 2008. Ilona described her Google Doodle on the website: "My picture has simple symbols that everyone is familiar with. A white dove, known for bringing peace, and the flag with the colors that make it distinctive. The fact that we have a country that is 60 years old is testimony to many things (strength, hope, unity…). And what remains to achieve is peace. We all hope that some day a white dove will fly bearing witness to this."

Another Google Doodle for Israel appeared on Israel's version of the search engine in 2008 for Israel's 60th birthday and had an Israeli flag with the number 60 replacing "oo" in "Google" behind the flag. It's reprinted on the Googlified blog in which the blogger adds the Wikipedia definition of Yom Haatzmaut (Israel Independence Day) followed by the phrase "Now talk about being controversial."

Hopefully in the future Google will pay tribute to Israel on her Independence Day with a Google Doodle on the U.S. version of the website too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Palestinian Wall of Lies Expose



The Palestinian Wall of Lies Expose


Surgery? Border patrol? Israeli robots can do it all

Israel's universities are revolutionizing robotics, programming their inventions to think and perform tasks even better than humans.

Open your imagination and you might just find some lifesaving, time saving and entertaining robotics invention that has already been invented in Israel.

Many of the advances in this science fiction-inspired field are based on the kind of real-world computer programming and artificial intelligence at which Israeli researchers excel.

Robots can aid surgeons in many ways, making delicate procedures safer and more routinely successful.

Recently featured on CNN, world robotics expert Prof. Moshe Shoham of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology invented the world's only robotic tool for back surgery, the SpineAssist. Developed by Israeli company Mazor Robotics, it's the smallest of five medical robots in daily use in countries including the United States, Holland and Israel.

Robots that deliver chemotherapy on target

"SpineAssist attaches to the patent's body so that that there is no damage caused to the surrounding nerves when implants are being placed in the spinal cord," explains Shoham to ISRAEL21c. "One can insert instruments through the arm to minimize damage to vital organs."

Shoham also developed ViRob, a clever one-millimeter robot that can swim past the stomach to deliver a payload of chemotherapy directly to cancer cells or, when equipped with a camera, take snapshots of a body's internal landscape for diagnostic purposes. He's also working on a small robot that can navigate through amniotic fluid to diagnose fetal abnormalities and even help perform in-utero surgery.

Down the hall from Shoham at the Technion is the lab of Prof. Alon Tal, whose "snake" robot for endoscopic heart surgery is now in commercial development. The snake-like robot can be maneuvered around organs for better control and vision during "keyhole" surgical procedures.

This robot is a real kick

Prof. Gal Kaminka heads the highly regarded robotics team at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan.

While most robotics applications today are basically remote-control machines, Kaminka is focused on the brains behind robots, developing the algorithms - detailed mathematical instructions -- to really make them think in a human way. Since Israel is already a leader in algorithm software development, he says, it's just another step to make it a leader in robotics development.

His lab, which utilizes resources from social psychology, competes annually in the international robotic soccer competition, RoboCup. Its winning formula involves multi-robots programmed to work together like a real team.

Kaminka's multi-robots also have many possible security and defense applications. They can be used to carry out search-and-rescue missions, stake out a building with suspects and terrorists inside, and effectively man and patrol borders.

Automated border patrol, lawn mowing

As an Israeli, Kaminka knows how important it is that Israeli borders are secure. But soldiers can be killed or kidnapped on routine surveillance, and captive soldiers, like Gilad Shalit, compromise national security. His idea was to create a team of intelligent sports utility vehicles that drive themselves. The idea is not novel, but the "brain" that Kaminka gives them is what makes his robots unique.

The SUV robots, now being commercialized by G-NIUS, are programmed to work in teams so that no area of the border is left without a watchful "eye" that knows how human beings might attempt to sneak under their radar.

Capable of being driven by people, these SUV robots could be an attractive solution against border and drug runners in the United States, which needs help in keeping out illegal immigrants from Mexico.

Companies that have evolved from Kaminka's lab include the lawnmower robot maker Friendly Robotics and Maytronics, a leading US pool-cleaning concern. There is also Cogniteam, which is building a platform so that robotics developers can easily implement their algorithms.

"Artificial Intelligence is just software and another way of thinking software development," says Kaminka. "Israelis are building very good software and that's Israel's future if you look at high-tech development. It has all the resources to be a leader in robotics."

Robots in the Negev

A handful of neat projects at Amir Shapiro's lab at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev includes robots that can walk on walls, robots that can shoot arrows to the ceiling and Spiderman-like robots that can climb along a rope to reach a target. He's got robots that can automate fruit harvesting, and others that can water agricultural fields, all without human navigation or guidance.

Another BGU research project now in development by Yael Edan is Gestix, a robotics device than enables hands-free image scanning in a surgical theater. This device is intended to allow for a more purely germ-free environment, thereby preventing hospital-acquired infections. Using Gestix, surgeons can manipulate digital images using hand motions rather than touching a screen, keyboard or mouse.

Shimon Peres in Switzerland

Israel's Military Goes Green for "Earth Hour."

Israel's military is observing "Earth Hour 2011," the IDF Spokesperson's Office stated from darkened offices on Thursday. As a result, the lights at numerous IDF installations - including the Kirya, Tel Hashomer, and Tzrifin bases - were turned off.

This is the fourth year in which the IDF has turned off lights for "Earth Hour," and the first year a group of officers and soldiers will take part in the main "Earth Hour" concert at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. Soldiers from the IDF's Technology and Logistics Branch, who are involved in environmental protection and energy conservation on a daily basis, will participate in pedaling the bikes that will provide power to the concert.

On a year-round basis, the IDF conducts activities to protect the environment and conserve energy, by dealing with and preventing hazards, increasing the awareness of soldiers and commanders and using advanced technologies.

The IDF is not alone in observing the event. Fifteen Israeli cities and several major corporations are also participating. The cities taking part in the project this year are Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ashdod, Bat Yam, Yavne, Yeruham, Jerusalem, Kfar Saba, Modiin-Maccabim-Reut, Ness Ziona, Netanya, Petah Tikva, Arad, Raanana, Rehovot and the Tamar Regional Council.

Earth Hour is a global event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature, also known as World Wildlife Fund, and is held on the last Saturday of March annually. Organizers ask households and businesses to turn off non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.

Earth Hour was conceived by WWF and The Sydney Morning Herald in 2007, when 2.2 million residents of Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights. Following Sydney's lead, many other cities around the world adopted the event in 2008. In Israel, fifteen

Earth Hour 2011 is scheduled to take place on March 26, 2011 from 20:30 to 21:30, at participants' respective local time. Israel however, due to the Sabbath, observed Earth Hour on March 24th from 20:00-21:00.

Israel National News produced this article with the lights off.

Famous Israeli Singer Teaches Music to Religious Students

Israel National News TV recently visited Mizmor, a unique school of music which has been halakhically, socially and culturally established for members of the religious sector.

“We felt that there is a need for people who want to study music in a professional manner but couldn’t find their place halakhically and socially in other schools,” explained the school's founder and principal, Itzik Weiss.

While visiting Mizmor one comes across famous Israeli singer Mika Karni, who is known as Morah Mika among the students. Karni teaches vocal pedagogy, composition, and interpretation for female singers. She does not focus on creating religious music, but rather on compositions that are personal, original, and influenced by a variety of musical genres.

“I always say that this is the Rimon [a famous Israeli school of music -ed.] of the religious sector, because it’s a school of modern music but everyone who studies here is from the religious sector,” said Karni who added: “What I show them are things that for example, my daughter who is 12 years old, has known from about the age of four – country music, jazz, or all types of singers that they didn’t hear about. But it’s wonderful. There is something about simplicity which money can’t buy. There is something about simplicity that goes really well with music, so I think it’s an opening for many good things that will happen at this school.”

Karni noted that the performance of the school's students is “in many ways much more focused than performances I’ve seen in secular teenagers, because singing is very similar to praying. It’s a connection between intelligence and emotion, which they are experienced with because of something else, but this is the experience which is required.”

The fact that Karni works with female singers in a separate, women-only group, can appear limiting, but in fact allows for many unique and special things in the composing process.

“We reach a much higher level of openness,” said Karni. “There’s also a kind of sisterhood and a great atmosphere. I think there’s something soothing both in the knowledge that it’s girls only and in the knowledge for them that they’re in the same surroundings in which they grew up. There’s something very good about this.”

Uniquely, the school offers several courses of study but there are no divisions according to instruments. The program's main idea is to study the whole ensemble rather than improving one’s skills on a particular instrument.

“There’s no difference between a pianist, a drummer, and a saxophone player in terms of the subjects that are taught here,” explained Weiss. “At the end of the day they study music so that they, using their instrument, can advance and create music and be a part of the music scene.”

Mika Karni - Lighthouse

CITYsights: Water in the City of David |

How did the denizens of biblical Jerusalem retain access to water throughout the year -- and especially in wartime situations -- when their main water source lay outside the walls of the city?

For more, surf to

Euro 2012 Group F: Israel 1 Georgia 0

Substitute striker Tal Ben Chaim scored the only goal as Israel beat Georgia 1-0 in a Euro 2012 Group F qualifier on Tuesday.

Ben Chaim of Maccabi Petah Tiva, not to be confused with central defender Tal Ben Haim who played the entire match, scored in the 59th minute, seven minutes after replacing midfielder Bebars Natcho.

Left unmarked on the right of the area he blasted home a pass from Elyaniv Barda after Maor Buzaglo had done all the running down the left wing.

Captain Yossi Benayoun played a key role for Israel returning after a six-month injury layoff.

The result keeps Israel in the hunt in a tight Group F, which Greece lead on 11 points.

Croatia and Israel, who also beat Latvia 2-1 on Saturday, both have 10, with Georgia on nine.

Resurgent Israel sink Georgians

Substitute Tal Ben Haim scored the only goal as resurgent Israel saw off Georgia in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in Tel Aviv.

The Maccabi Petah Tikva attacker had been on the pitch for only six minutes when he settled matters with a low strike from just inside the box. The win, Israel's second in four days, saw them leapfrog their opponents into third in the Group F table, one point behind leaders Greece, albeit having played one game more.

Maor Buzaglo had an early effort blocked by Genoa defender Kakha Kaladze, before Lior Rafaelov headed a fine cross wide of the target. Buzaglo should have done better from 12 yards shortly after, but his weak shot was comfortably caught by Georgia goalkeeper Nukri Revishvili.

His opposite number, Dudu Aouate, was called into action after 16 minutes when he turned Alexander Amisulashvili's header from a Zurab Khizanishvili free-kick round the post.

Israel were handed a good chance just before the half-hour mark when Akaki Khubutia fouled Elyaniv Barda 20 yards from goal, but Rafaelov sent his free-kick against the wall. The Maccabi Haifa man did far better 10 minutes before the break, though, when he drilled his effort from just outside the box on target, only to be saved by Revishvili.

When Rafaelov won a free-kick four minutes later, he handed responsibility to Bibras Natkho, who fired poorly over from 25 yards.

Georgia had their chances after the restart, with Jaba Kankava and Otar Martsvaladze failing to test Aouate, while Dani Bondarv and Buzaglo were equally wasteful at the other end. But Buzaglo made amends as he played in Ben Haim, who had replaced Natkho moments earlier, to finish from 12 yards for the opener.

More chances followed for the hosts, with Almog Cohen firing over and Kaladze throwing himself in front of an effort from Elyaniv Barda. Georgia could muster little save a clutch of long-range strikes, and they could have slipped further behind a minute from time, but Revishvili smothered Buzaglo's 12-yard shot.

Monday, March 28, 2011

‘BIG Day’ to buy Israeli products set for March 30

A Los Angeles-based organization is calling on supporters of the State of Israel to head out to their local malls and grocery stores on March 30 and go shopping.

Roz Rothstein

Celebrating Israel and purchasing everything with a “made in Israel” label on it can serve as an antidote to an international boycott campaign being pushed by a coalition of anti-Israel organizations, said StandWithUs, a 10-year-old pro-Israel NGO. The group, which has chapters in several American cities, the United Kingdom and Israel, is urging schools, synagogues, community organizations and individuals to participate in its BIG (Buy Israeli Goods) Day.

“We need to show the boycotters that their efforts are doomed. Let the boycotters know that when they call for boycotts of even one or two stores or products, they will face a much larger movement to buy Israeli goods,” said StandWithUs co-founder and CEO Roz Rothstein.

“We are telling people to go to their local stores, request the exact Israeli products being targeted and buy them out. Let store managers know they should keep Israeli products well stocked on the shelves.”

Opponents of Israel are promoting a very different message. Groups like End the Occupation and CODEPINK are asking shoppers to avoid Israeli products. They are also calling on their sympathizers to push for a divestment from Israel as well as a boycott of academic and cultural exchanges.

The March 30 date corresponds to Palestinian Land Day, when six Arab Israelis were killed in 1976 during protests against government confiscation of land. According to the Global BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) Movement website, “the BDS national committee (BNC) is calling on you to unite in your different capacities and struggles to join the Global BDS Day of Action on Land Day, 30 March 2011, in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s right to self determination on their ancestral land.”

Originally launched in 2005 by a number of Palestinian organizations and controlled through the national committee, the effort has gone international. The BDS website features video of past protests in England, Spain, Sweden and Canada. Protesters, employing street theatre, song and dance, have targeted Toronto’s Mountain Equipment Co-op for stocking Israeli-made merchandise and Chapters Indigo, for the support of “lone soldiers” by Chapters principals Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman. Protesters have also targeted the Aroma Espresso Bar, a franchise of an Israeli-based cafe chain.

StandWithUs believes far more people support retailers who stock Israeli products than those who want a boycott. On Nov. 30, 2010, Rothstein noted, protesters in Brooklyn, N.Y., stood outside a large pharmacy and urged shoppers to avoid Israeli products. StandWithUs, in conjunction with the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, countered the boycott by mobilizing supporters to enter the store and purchase every Israel-made product they could find.

“Delighted store managers said it was their best shopping day and promised to keep their shelves stocked with the targeted products,” StandWithUs stated in a news release.

A similar tactic has been used in Toronto. Before Passover two years ago, Not in Our Name, a small Jewish group that supports a boycott, marched outside a downtown LCBO. Dozens of Israel supporters, responding to a mobilization effort co-ordinated by the Canada-Israel Committee’s (CIC) Buycott Israel program, countered that demonstration by purchasing the store’s entire inventory of 150 cases of Israeli wine. Last October, when protesters demonstrated at Aroma’s Bloor Street cafe, sources told The CJN there was no effect on its business.

Sara Saber-Freedman, CIC’s executive vice-president, said “buycott” campaigns originated in Canada and have spread worldwide. “The broad concept is that the power of the pocketbook counters the boycott effort. The message needs to be that when you target Israeli goods for boycott, the consequence will be more sales, not less.

“It flips the effort to delegitimize Israel from something that is negative for Israel and attaches a negative consequence to boycotters – the opposite of what was intended.”

The CIC fully supports the StandWithUs campaign, Saber-Freedman said.

Rothstein said opponents of the boycott can visit ­ for information about Israeli consumer products available by region. The site’s Canadian section lists 22 categories of merchandise from baby and child apparel to women’s swimming attire. Dozens of merchants in the Toronto area are cited, along with several in other cities including Vancouver and Montreal.

Rothstein believes the boycott effort has backfired. “I believe they think they are making a difference. Really, what they are accomplishing with their hostile campaign is to coalesce the pro-Israel, pro-peace community into doing counter-campaigns. It becomes clear, when they do these flash mob dances at stores, that they do not advocate peaceful coexistence. They do this because it’s their way of going on the attack and working to isolate and demonize Israel,” she said.

Israel's ambassador to the Youtube orchestra

After years of tedious practice on the oboe, 26 year old Emmanuel Danane's dedication has paid off. He will spend the weekend in Australia where he will join the YouTube International Symphony Orchestra.

Auditions were conducted via the web for thousands of potential candidates. Emanuel had not heard about the competition until the end of October, and three days before the application was due, he submitted his audition.

100 musicians from 33 countries were selected for the big event, which will take place this weekend, where a large symphonic concert will be held in Australia.

The project will be broadcast on YouTube from the Sydney Opera House.

Itamar Youths Come to Strengthen Jerusalem

On Sunday, a group of teenagers from the Samaria community of Itamar, where the heinous murder of five members of the Fogel family occurred just two weeks ago, visited the place where last Wednesday’s terror attack in Jerusalem took place, near the International Convention Center. The purpose of the teens' visit was to strengthen the passersby and to convey a message of unity and shared destiny to Israel.

Itamar's youth coordinator, Pinchas Michaeli, spoke to Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew website about the initiative and the comments the teens received from passersby.

“We set up a stand near the site of the terror attack to greet passersby and give them a sweet treat for the road,” Michaeli said. “The passersby were surprised to see our youth happy and especially to see them handing out something sweet.”

Michaeli arrived in Jerusalem with about twenty boys from Itamar, all of whom carried signs and notes on which they expressed a message of unity and partnership with the people of Jerusalem. “The youth approached the people, gave them a treat, and if the other side wanted to, they started a conversation,” he explained. “The passersby were very intrigued by the act of giving, especially when it came from residents of Itamar.”

Michaeli noted that the Jerusalemites happily embraced the teenagers.

“They expressed sympathy and asked if they can help in some way,” he said and added that no political arguments took place between the youth and the passersby. “I do not think that there was anyone there who wanted to argue or avoided aproaching the teens. People just do not feel the need to argue. These terror attacks unified people. We saw this during the Shiva when people came from all over the country to offer condolences.”

The Shiva (the Jewish seven-day period of mourning following the death of a loved one) to which he referred is that of the Fogel family, the parents and three of their children who were brutally massacred in their home on a Friday night by terrorists just two weeks ago.

Michaeli told how he, as a youth coordinator in Itamar, deals with the difficulties and concerns of the youth in Itamar following the barbaricl murders.

“We are assisted by the Samaria Regional Council as well as members of the trauma unit and psychologists,” he said. “The youth of Itamar was exposed to trauma. This is not simple to deal with, but things are slowly returning to normal.”

IDF opening field hospital in disaster-ravaged Japan

Medical delegation will complete construction of a field hospital near Minamisanriku, a village devastated by the tsunami.

The IDF medical delegation to Japan will begin admitting patients on Tuesday morning after it completes construction of a field hospital near Minamisanriku, a village devastated by the tsunami that hit the country earlier this month.

Brig.-Gen. Shalom Ben- Aryeh, commander of the 53- member delegation – which consists of officers from the Home Front Command and the IDF’s Medical Corps – said the medical clinic would include surgical, pediatrics and maternity wards, as well as a intensive care unit, pharmacy and laboratory.

Seven Hebrew-speaking Japanese nationals joined the delegation on Monday to provide translation services and volunteer as liaisons with the local population.

The delegation met with local Japanese journalists on Monday and asked them to report on the establishment of the new clinic so it will attract as many patients as possible.

The delegation arrived on Sunday with 62 tons of medical supplies.

Radiation levels in the area where the IDF aid delegation has deployed are being tracked by experts from the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and IDF Medical Corps.

“The scenes here are worse than in an earthquake,” Ben- Aryeh said in an interview from Japan. “It looks like after a meteor strike or a nuclear explosion. Everything from mud, water, wood, trees, cars, trucks and debris are all mixed together.”

Medical Aid Delegation Departs for Disaster Zone in Japan

The aid delegation to Japan landed this afternoon (March 27th) in a Tokyo airport, after a 14 hour flight.

The delegation was received at the airport by the Israeli Ambassador to Japan, Mr. Nissim Ben-Shitrit, as well as the embassy staff, and the IDF attaché in Tokyo, Rami Ben-Efraim.
As of recently, the delegation has been making its way by bus towards Kurihara, located in the Miyagi Prefecture.

Tomorrow, the aid delegation will set up its medical equipment and begin administering aid to local residents in Minamisanriku. The 53 members of the delegation join the preliminary team and the logistics staff already sent by Israel to Japan. In total, there are 60 members of the aid delegation.

IDF Aid Delegation Lands in Japan

Commander of the Delegation, Brig. Gen. Shalom Ben-Arieh and the Israeli Ambassador to Japan, Nissim Ben Shitrit, brief the aid delegation upon their arrival to the town of Minami Sanriku in the Miyagi Prefecture.

Special Coffeehouse, Special Waiters

Israel National News TV took part on Sunday in a special event organized by Café Meyuchad (special coffeehouse in Hebrew). The coffee and the food were indeed special, but what makes the coffeehouse truly special are the people who operate it, all of whom have Down Syndrome.

“The special coffeehouse is a unique social project which in essence combines a high-quality culinary experience with giving people with special needs an opportunity,” explained manager Hadas Lixenberg. “We give people with Down Syndrome who are over 21 years of age the opportunity to come and be waiters.”

Lixenberg noted the coffeehouse's great success and the acceptance that it has received from the crowd at large. “Until a person sees the special coffeehouse with his own eyes he doesn’t really understand what we’re talking about,” she said. "But the crowd really encourages it and people come and accept this coffeehouse as a coffeehouse like any other. Just as you have all the other coffeehouses in Israeli society, you have the special coffeehouse which, thank G-d, is doing well.”

She noted that the special project gives the staff “independence, self-confidence, and a sense of equality. It really enriches them and of course, the tips, which always make them very happy.”

INN TV's visit to the special coffeehouse took place as part of Donna, a designers fair for religious women which took place at the Tel Aviv Port. The fair is an initiative of the managers of the special coffeehouse and all its proceeds go towards the operation costs of this social project.

Blair removes website maps that did not label Israel

The map appeared on the Office of Tony Blair website, as well as on the website of the Office of the Quartet Representative.

Quartet envoy Tony Blair’s offices quickly removed from their websites Monday a Mideast map that did not label Israel, shortly after The Jerusalem Post brought the matter to their attention.

The map on the websites was an illustration for an article written by Blair on the so called “Arab spring” – headlined “We can’t just be spectators in this revolution” – that appeared in The Times and the Wall Street Journal earlier this month. The map and the article appeared on the Office of Tony Blair website, as well as on the website of the Office of the Quartet Representative.

In the colorful, three-dimensional map, the lines of Israel are drawn, but the name doesn’t appear. The names for Lebanon and Cyprus are also not on the map, but labels for other small states, such as Kuwait and Qatar, do appear.

Blair has been an eloquent critic of those seeking to delegitimize Israel, and at a speech in Herzliya last year said that the delegitimization of Israel is an affront not only to Israelis, but to those “everywhere, in every part of humanity, who share the values of a free and independent human spirit.”

Blair’s spokesperson in Jerusalem, Ruti Winterstein, said “The focus of both the illustration and the article it accompanied was recent events in North Africa and the Gulf. It also clearly showed the State of Israel.”

The map was replaced on the websites by a picture of Blair delivering a speech.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gay opposition rises against Israel Apartheid Week

Activists in favor and against Israel face off after a LGBT community center cancels "A Party to End Apartheid."

As the Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) events of March come to a close, a number of leading gay and non-gay activists have come out swinging to defend the Jewish state.

“When Israel is accused falsely of being an apartheid society, there is an agenda – and that is the delegitimization of the Jewish state. And that is anti-Semitic,” Stuart Appelbaum, the first international trade union leader to announce he was gay, wrote in an e-mail to The Jerusalem Post last week.

“When Israel is singled out and held to a different standard than so many countries where people are actually oppressed because of race, that is anti-Semitism, too,” added Appelbaum, who is president of the New York-based 100,000-member Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

Until late February, academics and activists, particularly gays and lesbians, who compare Israel with the former apartheid regime in South Africa might not have expected that action against their blasting of Israel was in the cards. Michael Lucas, a columnist for the gay US magazine The Advocate and a producer of adult entertainment films, was the game-changer. He launched a public relations and financial boycott campaign targeting New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center for its plan to host an IAW event entitled “A Party to End Apartheid” with the anti-Israel group Siege Busters. Siege Busters was also slated to fundraise at the center for a new flotilla to break Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

According to Gay City News, the leading US publication on LGBT, the center’s executive director, Glennda Testone, justified the denial of space to Siege Busters, saying at a charged public forum last week that the group’s activities were not “LGBT-focused” and that its planned IAW meeting was “an incredibly controversial and contentious event.”

While Lucas’s efforts garnered a rare victory in a battle arena where anti-Israel forces have gained traction over the years, he told the Post that “I think we still have not succeeded in getting across our key point. We are not fighting ‘criticism of Israel’... We are fighting the delegitimization of the State of Israel. The stated goal of these groups is a united, multiracial Palestine. That’s inevitably a Palestine with a growing Muslim majority and the end of the Jewish homeland.”

Appelbaum also stressed that free speech rights were being used as a phony argument.

“The Siege Busters and other groups opposing the center’s decision to prohibit the Israel Apartheid Week party were intellectually dishonest. This was not a question of free speech. This was hate speech. The center should not be used as a venue for racism, Islamophobia or anti-Semitism. Nor did they even care about free speech. The same groups have consistently sought to ban and prevent supporters of Israel from expressing their views.”

Asked what was driving a segment of the LGBT community to bash Israel, Dr. Phyllis Chesler, a professor emerita of psychology and women’s studies at City University of New York and a leading expert on contemporary anti-Semitism, wrote to the Post that “over the years, the gay liberation movement, world-wide, has become increasingly Stalinized and ‘Palestinianized.’” She said that “to retain their place in the larger Left, feminist and gay movement, they have identified Palestinians as the most victimized of all, and to retain their own value as outcasts and victims, they, too, especially lesbian feminists and lesbian Jewish feminists, must toe this politically correct party line.”

According to Chesler, “the fact that Palestinians torment, torture and murder ‘queer’ Palestinians and that Israel grants them asylum does not matter.”

In a March letter to the LGBT Center in New York obtained by the Post, Yonatan Gher, the executive director of LGBT advocacy organization the Jerusalem House for Pride and Tolerance, wrote that the Jerusalem House was “a safe-haven unique to Jerusalem in its ability to be a home to Palestinians and Israelis, and Secular and Religious LGBTQ people from a wide political spectrum.”

He added that “Apartheid is a difficult word. As a peace activist myself, my experience is that the use of such terminology – despite injustices that undoubtably exist – is counter-productive to achieving the goal of promoting tolerance, acceptance and peace.

It is a term that serves to increase alienation, to push away mainstream Israeli society.”

Yet, in the latest issue of the New York-based liberal Jewish newspaper The Forward, Dr. Judith Butler of University of California, Berkeley, who has written extensively on gender theory, said it was “quite simplistic and false” to argue that Israelis are free from homophobia and Palestinians are plagued by bias against LGBT.

Butler, a fierce critic of Israel’s policies, signed a petition in support of Siege Busters and opposed the center’s cancelation of the IAW event. She noted in The Forward that in Israel, there were “modes of virulent homophobia among right-wing religious people” and “modes of living as queer” that take place “within Palestinian areas.”

What struck many LGBT observers – including Appelbaum – as bizarre was The Forward’s failure to mention that Butler had gone to great lengths to praise Hamas and Hezbollah as “progressive” and “leftist” forces. Butler has come under fire in Germany and in the United States for her defense of the two radical Islamic movements.

Last year, Jan Feddersen, a leading gay journalist with the liberal daily Tageszeitung, wrote in a commentary – with a sub-headline reading that Butler was “In bed with Hezbollah” – that she “favors, in a global perspective, alliances in which homosexuals cannot be interested. Hezbollah and Hamas, she recently decreed in a speech, should be positively rated from the leftist perspective [as] organizations that fight misery and poverty and oppose what she sees as the Zionist impertinence called Israel.”

While in Berlin last year, Butler helped promote an alternative Christopher Street Day gay parade in the Kreuzberg district, at which Israeli flags had previously been removed.

Lucas told the Post that “Butler’s comment is blatantly manipulative. She asserts that there are ‘ways of living as queer within Palestinian areas.’ Well, sure, there were also ‘ways of living as a Jew’ in Nazi-occupied territories. Just not very pleasant ones.

So what? And, sure, there is ‘virulent homophobia among right-wing religious people in Israel.’ That’s very sad. But equally true is that the few religious homophobes are kept in check by some of the most progressive pro-LGBT laws in the world and by a population which, in its vast majority, is not just LGBT-friendly but LGBT-welcoming.”

The Israeli Gay Youth TV Commercial

Israel: Gay Oasis

We came to Israel from one of Americas most progressive and accepting cities, San Francisco. In search of common ground, we decided to look at Israel through the lens of the gay community. All we really had starting out was a BlueStar postcard telling us that gay Israelis could serve in the army, a right still not enjoyed by our fellow Americans. The question was, how does a country so wrapped up in religion and conflict exceed our relatively peaceful and secular nation in terms of gay rights. What kind of gay community has grown up in Israel in the last sixty years? And where will it lead. We found that Israels gay community has fought at least as hard as ours to secure its rights. And that even a nation surrounded by enemies can find a place for every one of its citizens to belong.

Israeli Gays: Jerusalem LGBT Pride Parade

Israeli gay activists and lgbt community exercise their freedom and rights by marching through ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem for a beautiful Gay Pride Parade (2010).

Israel is home to the most thriving LGBT community in the Middle East. While gays are persecuted in nearly every Arab and other Middle Eastern countries, they enjoy great freedoms in the Democratic State of Israel. Of course, their situation is far from perfect. But this parade was a sign of great hope, for even greater improvement of their conditions in Israel.

Israel's smallest PC

CompuLab, an Israel-based manufacturer that specializes in small computer has announced the release of a small PC - the Trim Slice. The Trim Slice runs on a dual-core Tegra 2 processor. The price will start at $250.

The little computer comes with 1GB of memory. There are 4 USB 2.0 ports and a serial port.

The whole thing uses an average of just 3 watts of power and has a fanless all-metal design.

The computer could be used as a media player, gaming system, or even a desktop PC with the right software.

"Israeli filmmaker Alma Har'el's documentary to go to the Tribeca Film Festival"

Israeli filmmaker Alma Harel's, documentary "Bombay Beach", will screen it's North American premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival to be held in New-York on April 20.

The film is a rusting relic of a failed 1960s development boom, and the failure of the American dream-creating a moving, distinctive, and slightly surreal documentary experience.

There were 12 feature films selected for the festival and Harel's film is the only Israeli film will be screened.

Bombay Beach Trailer

A documentary-record-cum-drama with dreamlike musical elements describing a small community on the fringes of the lost American dream, and the dreamers who populate its surreal and poetic landscape.

Bombay Beach is one of the poorest communities in southern California located on the shores of the Salton Sea, a man-made sea stranded in the middle of the Colorado desert that was once a beautiful vacation destination for the privileged and is now a pool of dead fish.

Film director Alma Har'el tells the story of three protagonists. The trials of Benny Parrish, a young boy diagnosed with bipolar disorder whose troubled soul and vivid imagination create both suffering and joy for him and his complex and loving family.

The story of CeeJay Thompson, a black teenager and aspiring football player who has taken refuge in Bombay Beach hoping to avoid the same fate of his cousin who was murdered by a gang of youths in Los Angeles; and that of Red, an ancient survivor, once an oil field worker, living on the fumes of whiskey, cigarettes and an irrepressible love of life.

Together these portraits form a triptych of manhood in its various ages and guises, in a gently hypnotic style that questions whether they are a product of their world or if their world is a construct of their own imaginations.

The narratives are interspersed with choreographed sequences in which the protagonists dance -- to music specially composed for the film by Zach Condon of the band Beirut and songs by Bob Dylan.

For more info check out the official website:

Israel, Russia sign space agency cooperation agreement

Israel and Russia Sign Space Cooperation Agreement
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Deal meant to foster joint programs in planetary research, space biology and medicine, also outlines guidelines for cooperation in intellectual property and scientific exchanges.

Israel and Russia on Sunday signed a space cooperation agreement, with the head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, making a special visit to Jerusalem to attend the signing ceremony.

The framework agreement is meant to foster joint research programs and other collaborations in areas like astrophysical and planetary research, space biology and medicine, navigational satellites and launching services and technology. It also outlines guidelines for cooperation in intellectual property and scientific exchanges.

This agreement joins previous ones signed by Israel with the European Space Agency as well as the space agencies of France and Italy. The Science Ministry said in a statement yesterday that both the industrial and scientific communities will benefit from the new agreement. "We expect the agreement will be implemented through the shared activities of the research and industrial institutions of the two countries," Dr. Zvi Kaplan, head of the Israeli Space Agency, told Haaretz. He said there are several framework agreements with other countries that are not being implemented because of lack of investment by Israel or its partners.

The signing ceremony took place in the Prime Minister's Office, in the presence of Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, Roscosmos director Anatoly Perminov, Kaplan and experts from both countries.

Hershkowitz called Israel "a world power" in the space field. "We have abilities and advantages over many other countries and the fact that Russia, a pioneer in space, wants to acquire Israeli expertise is a great honor for the State of Israel," he said.

Perminov told Haaretz he was interested in cooperating with Israel "to develop a micro-system weighing up to 230 kilograms for remote sensing of Earth from space at advanced resolution."

The Roscosmos chief also spoke about his agency's agenda for the near future. "We're planning to send a manned mission to Mars by 2035," he said, noting that last year the agency began working on a nuclear engine capable of covering such a distance. He estimated it would be ready in about nine years.

Israel has distinguished itself internationally in recent years for its success in reducing the size of space-bound equipment. Its expertise in the area has been attributed to its unique practice of launching satellites westwards, against the direction of the earth's revolution and in the exact opposite direction of most of rest of the world. Motivated by the need to avoid launching missiles over its neighbors to the east, Israeli scientists have focused on reducing the weight of Israeli space technology to ease the burden on them.