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Did You Know?

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Brewing up a party in Jerusalem - Beer Festival

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Jerusalem Beer Festival features international and local producers, music and merriment.

The Old Jerusalem Train Station was the setting for the seventh annual Jerusalem Beer Festival, featuring booths serving more than 100 international beers and more than 20 local producers from boutique breweries to tiny home operations.

Festival producer Eli Giladi stresses that this is the only such festival not sponsored by a beer maker. And lots of non-natives come to check it out.

"We're originally from California," says a representative of Isra-Ale (, who intended to start a brewery the minute he immigrated to Israel. "Everybody told us we're stupid to do such a thing, because nobody drinks in Israel. They were wrong!" he concludes with a laugh.

Herzl Beer was there offering flavors including "Cuban cigar," accomplished with the aid of oak chips and the leaves of the cigars. Pretty tasty.

Martha Graham Company to perform in Tel Aviv

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The Martha Graham Company will perform in Israel for the first time in 30 years at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center.

The company will perform an array of works by the Graham Company and American choreographer Robert Wilson, and will include excerpts from "Chronicle," and "Maple Leaf Rag," as well as "Snow on the Mesa," and "Appalachian Spring."

Graham passed away in 1991 at the age of 96 causing the company to freeze activities due to the publicized scandal involving property rights and inheritance that arose.

A gifted visionary and also called the queen of modern dance, Graham changed the way dancers use their bodies on stage and opened a window of opportunity out of which most major contemporary choreographers took a leap.

The company will perform from November 1to November 5.

Israeli firm brings light to poor countries

GLW provides Africans with standalone light fixture that relies solely on solar energy

The giant structures line most of our major roads and have become an integral part of the urban landscape. Yet to most Westerners, streetlights are so common they hardly get noticed by anyone.

That is not the reality for most third world countries. Many African countries, for example, have a complete lack of street lighting on major streets, making it extremely dangerous to drive in anything but clear and sunny conditions.

That is why Globe Light and Water Systems (GLW,) an Israeli company, has developed a new standalone light fixture that relies solely on solar energy, rather than on the government-run power plants, which often lose power.

The lighting units, called Orion, do not require any external connection to an electrical source, but rather incorporate all necessary components required to create light energy: Sunlight, batteries, and LED lamps.

“Unlike current street lighting which maintains the same level of light emission, our (light fixture's) dimming capability serves as additional power saving,” said Zeev Jakoby, GLW’s Managing Director.

As the sun’s rays hit the Orion’s photovoltaic panels, it charges the internal battery system, producing enough power to automatically turn on the lamps even after sunset. While the system illuminates at 100 percent at evening time, it is reduced to 60 percent at night time and increased again at dawn.

In areas lacking sunlight, GLW created “panel umbrellas” which consist of horizontal panels that are able to absorb the Sun’s energy from different angles and directions.

'Contributing to a better world.

According to GLW, even if there were enough street lamps, the power stations generating their energy in many countries cannot be relied on.

In Nigeria, for example, there are nine electricity generating stations, all owned by the government’s Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN,) or otherwise known to locals many as “Please Have Candle Nearby.”

On the Island of Zanzibar, part of Tanzania, power supply was cut off for close to six months in 2010, leaving locals no other choice but to rely on generators, which are expensive and significantly increase pollution.

And according to a New York Times report, homes and businesses of African nations like Zambia and Angola lost power two or three times a week in 2007.

According to Jakoby, one solution is to replace current wasteful HPS (High Pressure Sodium) bulbs for LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lamps. “While a regular bulb loses 90-90% of its energy on heat, LED bulbs only lose 80%,” he said.

GLW started developing its technology two years ago and is already developing lighting systems for Nigeria, Ethiopia and Columbia.

According to them, the advantages of their lighting system include low operating and maintenance costs. “The battery located within the Orion lasts up to five years and the system requires lamp replacement every twelve years, which includes a simple physical installation,” Jakoby said.

“We believe that we contribute to a better world by giving countries a technology that enables access to such a basic service as light for everybody,” he added.,7340,L-4108589,00.html

The Israel Defence Exhibition (ISDEF) 2011

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OCTOBER 31st - November 2nd

ISDEF is the most significant international defense and security expo in Israel, andis a vital opportunity for high-profile experts to establish professional relationships while serving as a platform for the formation of international cooperation.

There is no other expo like ISDEF that takes place in Israel.  From innovative technologies to avant-garde systems, ISDEF reflects the capabilities and strategic developments of the region and is considered a significant platform for international companies to enter the Israeli market and strengthen business opportunities.

ISDEF will bring together leading international companies from the Defense, and HLS industry, as well as government and military officials, foreign delegations, and key figures from the market.  ISDEF is expecting 150 exhibitors from all over the world and 8,000 guests from 70 countries, making ISDEF a summit for defense, business and cooperation.

A welcome scoop for dog owners

Coming to pet shops in 2012: An Israeli pooper-scooper that turns droppings into harmless, odorless ash within seconds.

The prototype AshPoopie, targeted for retail in 2012.
If you have a dog, then you know that no matter how fancy a pooper-scooper you've got, after Rover's walk you are still left with a messy, smelly nuisance that pollutes the environment with sewage and plastic bags.

One Israeli who got fined for failing to pick up the droppings decided to contact Prof. Oded Shoseyov of the Hebrew University, a renowned biotech inventor, for a better solution. And Shoseyov rose to the challenge.

His novel idea is AshPoopie, a pooper-scooper with a critical difference: After it gathers the droppings, it turns them into odorless, sterile ash within seconds. All the dog-walker has to do is push a button to release an activation capsule from the cartridge inside the unit.

Recently, AshPoopie earned patents in Europe and the United States. Ramat Gan-based Paulee CleanTec, the company founded to develop this and related products, is working with engineers to finalize the design ahead of a 2012 US launch.

Apparently, American retailers can't wait to start stocking the product. "Where have you been all this time?" was the reaction most often heard by executives of the privately funded company when they introduced AshPoopie in September at SuperZoo 2011, the major US pet products exhibition in Las Vegas.

Click To View Video

With about 75 million registered dogs in the United States and the same number in Europe, it came as no surprise that some of the biggest pet product manufacturers and retailers were clamoring to talk with Paulee CleanTec about partnerships, licensing agreements, joint ventures and sole marketing rights.

Simple to operate 

Paulee CleanTec CFO Moshe Hibel points out that the latest innovations in this field, such as flushable droppings bags, don't really help the environment and sidestep the core issue.

AshPoopie turns droppings into odorless, harmless ash.
"Rather than moving the problem from one place to another, we are really eliminating it completely," Hibel tells ISRAEL21c. "We tried different methods including burning, until we reached the ultimate solution. All the science behind it is done and now we are focused on the mechanism."

The easy-to-carry device contains special tablets that drop into the collection chamber via a button. Within 10 seconds, the feces is transformed into a small amount of odorless sterile ash that can be deposited harmlessly anywhere, even on plants. Shoseyov, who also owns a winery, is the brains behind this and about 15 other patented inventions.

"We are hoping to join the [Israel] Chief Scientist's technology incubator in Haifa," says Hibel. "If we are accepted, some of the components must be manufactured in Israel."

The cost of AshPoopie hasn't yet been determined, but Hibel expects it to be relatively inexpensive. A monthly supply of capsules will cost $10 to $20, depending on the size of the dog.

Cat, human solutions are next 

Paulee CleanTec is already looking to the future of the invention, planning to apply it to cat litter boxes and human waste treatment systems.

"We are now negotiating with leading pet industry companies in the world to look into joint ventures," reveals Hibel. Among these are makers of cat litter boxes.

Judging by the reaction to AshPoopie at SuperZoo, they're betting that cat owners will welcome it. "The cat problem is even bigger than the dog problem because a litter box smells up the home if you don't clean it every day," says Hibel. "This would not smell, and you would not have to collect the ashes more than once a month. You could then use the ashes to fertilize the garden."

The same technology has potential for transforming the unpleasant world of portable chemical johns and airplane, boat and train toilets into an odor-free and environmentally beneficial system.

"What you have to do today is take the sewage out with a truck," says Hibel. "Our system would separate feces from urine, sterilize the urine and use it to clean the toilet, and sterilize the feces and turn it into ash."

The flushing process would require no electrical source because the process of turning the waste into ash generates enough heat to convert it into energy to flush the toilet and perhaps provide lighting as well. The inventor envisions a backup energy source, such as a solar panel, to be installed on the system.

Meanwhile, Paulee CleanTec is expecting to introduce its final AshPoopie design at another major pet products show in Orlando, Florida, at the end of February.

Russians choose Israel as popular tourist venue

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National Geographic -- Russia readers have chosen Israel as one of the top tourist destinations in the annual National Geographic Traveler Awards for 2011.

Israel came in at second place in the top tourist destination category with Italy coming first and Holland in third place.

The competition is conducted in three parts. Russian tour agents and operators are the first to cast their votes, and then magazine readers choose their most favorite tourist destination and the final vote is open to the entire Russian population with over 10,000 people choosing their favorite tourist spots from 48 countries.

In recent years Israel's Ministry of Tourism has intensified its efforts to draw Russian tourists to Israel and in 2011 invested over 25 million shekels promoting Israel. Up until September this year the ministry said some 357,000 Russian tourists visited Israel.

PUMA to set up Israel subsidiary

Multinational sportswear company has been represented in Jewish state in past 20 years by Grundman & Co.

Multinational sportswear company PUMA, which has a sales turnover of $2.5 billion, is setting up its first subsidiary in Israel.

For the past 20 years, the company has been represented in Israel by Grundman & Co.

PUMA' competitor, Nike, is active in Israel through a direct representative of the parent company, while its stores are operated by three local franchisers. Adidas has a direct representative in the Jewish state as well, led by a German CEO.

In addition to the marketing of PUMA's products at 350 points of sale across the country, Grundman has also set up five PUMA concept stores. PUMA's new representative will continue working with Grundman.

Grundman said in response, "This is a process that happens all around the world: When a market segment reaches a respectable size, like what happened in Israel, the international company wants the activity for itself.

"PUMA is among the top 3 in Israel, alongside Nike and Adidas. It's kind of absurd that the better the local agent and the more achievements he reaches, the bigger the chance that the international company will take control of the activity.

"Nonetheless, the change will take place in the right spirit and in full cooperation with us.",7340,L-4121833,00.html

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Miracle in Ashdod - Missile "Missed" Populated Building"

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Release of PA terrorists - will the violence stop?

Gas exploration refuels old Israel-Cyprus ties

‘Maybe this is the biggest and most important landmark of the relationship so far,' says Cyprus-Israel Business Association president.

President of Cyprus Christofias Demetris and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo by Amos Ben Gershom
President of Cyprus, Christofias Demetris meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamine Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem.
As the world awaits word of natural gas exploration partnerships between Israel and Cyprus, businessman Christakis P. Papavassiliou, president of the Cyprus-Israel Business Association, says it's perfectly logical that Israel would turn to its island neighbor, particularly in light of faltering ties with Turkey, gas-line blowups in Egypt and offshore gas finds domestically.

Joint natural gas exploration, with a processing facility built in Cyprus, is among recent proposals. Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoullis flew to Israel in August to hammer out related agreements.
Cooperation between Israel and Cyprus is actually decades old, Papavassiliou tells ISRAEL21c -- since the founding of both countries in the late 1940s and early 1950s, respectively.

"Israel has been for many years at number five or six as an exporter to Cyprus, the main volume coming from fuel -- mainly distilled gas, jet fuel and marine fuel," as well as fruit and frozen goods, says Papavassiliou, the 61-year-old head of Shoham Maritime Services shipping company.

Christakis Papavassiliou
Christakis Papavassiliou, president of the Cyprus-Israel Business Association.
Shani Cooper-Zubida, the deputy head of mission at the Israeli Embassy in Nicosia, says Cyprus "views Israel as a place to learn from about innovation, such as startup companies and R&D."

This year, she helped bring a delegation of Cypriots to Israel. "There is no doubt that the strengthening of the political relationship affects the commercial relations," she tells ISRAEL21c. "We get a lot of requests from Israeli companies and from Cypriot companies that discover that their neighbor has great potential for business."

At the beginning of September, the Israel-Cyprus Business Association, in cooperation with the embassy, hosted Tel Aviv Stock Exchange CEO Ester Levanon. "The event was very successful as a lot of businessmen showed up interested in investing in the Israeli stock exchange," Cooper-Zubida reports.

Cyprus buys almost 90 percent of its refined oil from Israel, and Israeli companies have built three desalination plants in Cyprus. Other Israeli products exported to Cyprus include cosmetics, household paper, stone, plaster and cement, glass, plants, iron and steel tubing and piping, machinery and furniture.

Total trade for 2009 between the two nations grew to about half a billion dollars, "and there is strong potential for further increase in the coming years," she says.

A warm trading history

Cyprus is an Eastern Mediterranean island country near Greece and Turkey. An invasion by Turkey in the 1970s split the country in two, with one half controlled today by Turkey, the other independent and formally known as the Republic of Cyprus. Linked to the European Union since 2004, Cyprus has become a democratic nation in a region of growing fundamentalism and unrest. This makes it a natural partner for Israel.

Papavassiliou can remember the early 1960s, when Israelis and Cypriots began visiting each other's lands, which are little more than 250 miles apart. The friendship and the tourist trade between them is still brisk.

He even spent a few summers working at an Israeli kibbutz with other foreign volunteers who wanted to sample the communal agricultural way of life. The young State of Israel purchased many goods from Cyprus, and the two former British colonies have "grown up" together through mutual cooperation in areas such as agriculture exports, medicine, firefighting and tourism.

As for the future, Cooper-Zubida looks to energy: "Cyprus and Israel signed an EEZ agreement, which defines the economical borders between the two states," she says. "Israeli companies are interested in investing in this field and ... this kind of cooperation will turn the Cyprus and Israel relationship into strategic relations.
"However, energy is not only gas. Israeli companies can contribute a lot to the Cyprus energy field as we are facing common problems in this area. Israeli know-how can solve the challenges of Cyprus dealing with renewable energy," she notes. Papavassiliou adds that Cyprus has benefited greatly from Israeli irrigation and greenhouse technologies.

Cultural similarities

The Israel-Cyprus relationship is not only about trade, business, and work, says Cooper-Zubida.
"Cyprus is very similar to Israel in terms of culture. We hear the same music, we eat the same food and we even look the same. It took me almost a month since I have first arrived to Cyprus to stop thinking that every second person walking on the street is an Israeli.

"Cyprus is like a small village -- you have orange, olive and fig trees in every corner, people know each other and are very generous and ready to help you even if they don't know you at all. It reminds me a lot of Israeli behavior, and Israel reminds Cypriots who go on visits to Israel."

For all of these reasons, Cooper-Zubida thinks that any Israeli or Cypriot business partnership will make both parties feel at home.

Papavassiliou concurs, looking to deepening this cultural connection with more business ties. "We've helped Israel, they've helped us. We have an important link. Now we've reached the age of gas exploration. Maybe this is the biggest and most important landmark of the relationship so far."

Partners in Progress Landa Equal Opportunities Project for Arab Students at Technion

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Technion has created a number of outreach projects to help different groups of students to overcome educational and social gaps when entering Technion. Partners in Progress is about one such program. The Landa Equal Opportunities Project was created at Technion 10 years ago, through the generous support of the Landa Fund. The program has successfully prepared Israeli Arab students to do well at Technion, the number of Israeli Arab students applying to Technion has increased, the dropout rate has radically decreased and Israeli Arab students have been integrated into the Technion community. Technion thanks Benny and Patsy Landa for their support.

Cabinet approves creation of green-growth plan


Government task force given six months to give course of action for transitioning to a green economy.

The cabinet approved the future institution of a national plan toward promoting green growth on Sunday, pursuant to Israel’s responsibilities as an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member state, the Prime Minister’s Office reported later that day.

The plan, which was suggested by the Environmental Protection and Industry, Trade and Labor ministers, will create a framework for green growth in the years 2012-20, and will recommend a specific course of action for Israel’s transition to a green economy, according to an Environment Ministry statement.

A government task force will have six months – until May 2012 – to submit a detailed plan, whose implementation the two ministries expect will generate billions of shekels for the Israeli economy, as well as save additional billions that are currently being invested in combating environmental and health hazards, the statement said.

Some stipulations within the plan will include mapping out and removing environmentally harmful subsidies, accelerating green innovation, developing the cleantech industry, encouraging cleaner production and promoting green industrial zones, according to the Environment Ministry.

Part of the government’s decision to begin formulating a plan stems from a June 2009 OECD Declaration on Green Growth, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Signed by all 30 then-members, as well as Israel and three other non-members at the time, the declaration tasked the OECD with harnessing a green growth strategy that combined economic, environmental, technological, financial and developmental elements, according to the OEC website.

The Israeli cabinet, the Prime Minister’s Office explained, defines green growth as “socioeconomic growth and development that does not harm the environment, promotes the efficient, cost-effective and lasting use of natural resources and promotes the creation of ‘green’ jobs while maximizing opportunities for using clean growth engines.”

Pleased with the cabinet’s decision, the Environmental Protection Ministry said it viewed the move as a positive step in the growth of Israeli industry toward meeting new international standards and maintaining competitiveness in the global market.

“Economic growth is an important thing, but is not the essence of everything,” Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement. “What interests us is the quality of life of the country’s citizens, and economic growth that destroys and depletes natural resources does not improve quality of life. Therefore, it is necessary to advance green growth, taking into consideration public health and the environment. Everyone will benefit from this green growth: the market and the environment.”

Poll Results: How do you think the Schalit deal will affect PM Binyamin Netanyahu's popularity?

Poll Results: How do you think the Schalit deal will affect PM Binyamin Netanyahu's popularity?

Popularity will rise, public wanted Schalit's release - 80%

Popularity will drop, cost for Schalit was too high - 20%

No change, socioeconomic issues, PA statehood bid more important issues - 0%

Too soon to tell - 0%

I don't care - 0%

Next poll: Should Israel be providing humanitarian aid to Turkey?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Israeli aid mission headed to flood-struck Thailand

A special Israel Navy (INF) aid mission will leave Israel for Thailand on Saturday night, to assist authorities and the nation’s flood victims.

Israel will be sending an initial shipment of 200 lifejackets. (Yoav Zitun)

Israeli PM Netanyahu joins the fun… reacts with humor to web phenomenon ridiculing him

Instead of being insulted by placement of his image from Shalit reunion on historic photos, prime minister decides: ‘If you can’t beat’em, join’em’

Prime Minister reuniting for the first time with his son Gilad Shalit at the Tel Nof airbase.

Instead of being insulted, Netanyahu decided to respond based on the slogan: ‘If you can’t beat’em, join’em’.

Last Tuesday, when Shalit returned home after more than five years in Hamas captivity, a photo taken by the Government Press Office was distributed in Israel and overseas. In the photo, Netanyahu is seen smiling in the background as father and son embrace.

Within hours, dozens of amusing images began to surface on the internet in which Netanyahu’s smiling image was planted in the background of famous pictures.

and of course @  Quebec city Party!

On Wednesday, Netanyahu reacted with quite a bit of humor to this latest web phenomenon. A ‘photoshoped’ image was uploaded to the prime minister’s official facebook page, with the same smiling Netanyahu posted on a photo of the prime minister’s recent UN address in which he used the Hebrew slang term ‘dugri’ (frankly).

A bubble from Netanyahu’s mouth says: ‘Dugri, you made me laugh’.

Translation: Dugri (frankly), you made me laugh’

The prime minister told his staff that he was very much amused by the photos that had been uploaded to the web. When one of his aides said that they were flooding the internet, Netanyahu replied, “So let’s do one too.” And that they did.

Yad Vashem to honor Frenchman

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The family of Frenchman Yves Criou will accept a medal and certificate in his honor at a ceremony at Yad Vashem.

The event honoring Criou declared a Righteous Among the Nations, will take place at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem on Sunday morning.

His children Francoise Criou and Reuven Kagan will accept the award and the French Ambassador in Israel Christophe Bigot will also be present.

Criou, a religious Catholic from France, married Lisa (Lisette)Kahan, the daughter of an observant Jewish family who had emigrated to France from Russia in 1936.

During World War 2 he was drafted into the French Army and captured by the Germans but succeeded in escaping and returning to France.

On his return, he worked with his brother in law Julien Kletjman who was later arrested and sent to Auschwitz where he died.

Criou agreed to hide Kletjman's wife and son and other family members from the Nazis.

In March 1944 fearing the Nazis may discover the family members he moved them all to an apartment in Paris and to support them opened a radio repair shop in the basement.

Shortly after, the Allied forces liberated France.

Criou died in September 1981.

In March this year the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among Nations at Yad Vashem decided to award Criou the tit

'Israel Mideast's best honeymoon destination'

Readers of Recommend magazine, consisting of travel agents and industry professionals, voted Jewish state as sexiest romance/honeymoon destination in region.

The readers of Recommend magazine, consisting of travel agents and industry professionals, have voted Israel as the sexiest romance/honeymoon destination in Middle East.

For the fifth consecutive year, Israel was also chosen the best-selling destination in the region.

The vote was part of the magazine's 15th Annual Readers' Choice Awards in October.

Haim Gutin, Israel commissioner for Tourism, North and South America, accepted the award presented by Recommend magazine Editorial Director Lorri Robbins.,7340,L-4137157,00.html

Dalhousie University (Halifax, Canada) Forges A Research Relationship With The Hebrew University

Dalhousie University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel signed a memorandum of understanding Sunday, Oct. 23, strengthening their commitment to explore opportunities for collaboration on international research.

Premier Darrell Dexter, who is leading a seven-day trade and investment mission to Israel with Nova Scotia Business Inc. and business and academic leaders, was on hand with Dalhousie’s vice-president of research, Martha Crago, to support the signing ceremony.

“Nova Scotia is the university capital of Canada and well known for its cutting-edge research in life sciences, including neuroscience, marine, biotechnology, biochemistry and biomedical engineering,” said Premier Dexter. “Dalhousie’s memorandum with Hebrew University provides the opportunity to share expertise and best practices in technology transfer and industry engagement.”

The collaborative relationship between Dalhousie and Hebrew University will establish joint research opportunities in medical research, oceanography and water and waste management.

“We’re essentially setting up research collaboration based on our mutual strengths,” said Ms. Crago. “Israel is a leader in technology commercialization and we’re looking forward to exploring how Dalhousie and Hebrew University can work together on projects that benefit both institutions.”

The memorandum of understanding outlines some of the objectives of merging both universities’ resources for academic and research projects. The relationship will also support travel by faculty members and post-doctoral students.

While in Israel, the Nova Scotia delegation is focused on establishing relationships and exploring opportunities that will bring similar development and expertise to Nova Scotia.

The group has also met with researchers, academics and administrators from Birzeit University in the West Bank, and with officials from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

The trade mission continues until Thursday, Oct. 27.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wine Talk: Israel’s forgotten brandies

Stock is a well-known international company that was founded in Italy in 1884 by an 18-year-old named Lionello Stock.

Twenty years ago there was a large market for Israeli brandies. However, high domestic taxes and the fact that brandy just drifted out of fashion have contributed to an ongoing decline in Israeli brandy, which has continued until today. This is sad because Israeli brandies are good and deserve better. 

 The brandy with the highest profile is Stock 84. Stock is a well-known international company that was founded in Italy in 1884 by an 18-year-old named Lionello Stock. The Jewish-owned company settled in Trieste and was a great success until the rise of Hitler and Mussolini. Then the distilleries were pillaged, closed or nationalized. Because of this, Stock had to rebuild his company again towards the end of his life and chose to make a start in other countries such as America… and Israel.

In 1938 he began to produce brandy in Ramat Gan.

The company’s Stock 84 Brandy, now a major international brand, is still made in Israel under license by the Barkan Winery, which is owned by Tempo Breweries. It remains the biggest-selling brandy in Israel.

The Carmel Winery began distilling excess grapes to produce brandy in 1898. Carmel’s brandies include the Extra Fine, which is Israel’s oldest brand of wines or spirits, and the label has remained virtually unchanged. More well known is the Carmel 777 Brandy, which is more than 50 years old. The name 777 was chosen because of the importance of this number in the Jewish religion.

Carmel 100 Brandy was launched to celebrate the winery’s 100th anniversary.

Carmel’s brandies have won gold medals in international competitions. The most prestigious prize was the trophy for Best Brandy Worldwide at the International Wine and Spirits Competition awarded to the Carmel 100 Brandy in 1998 – an outstanding award for an Israeli brandy.

In the early 1990s, the Tishbi Winery gained the advice and support of Sidney Back of the Backsberg Winery in South Africa in an innovative venture. They decided to purchase an authentic alembic still from Cognac with the objective of making Israel’s first Cognac-style brandy. The resulting three-year-old brandy was an instant success, winning the coveted trophy for Best Brandy Worldwide at the IWSC in London in 1996. It was no mean feat for two Israeli brandies to win this prestigious trophy twice in three years.

The Extra Fine, Carmel 777 and Stock 84 are available in supermarkets. The Cave and Carmel 100 brandies may be found in quality wine shops, while the rarer Jonathan Tishbi and Carmel 120 brandies are available only in the shops at the wineries themselves. No doubt they will continue to be appreciated by those connoisseurs and brandy lovers, who know what others are missing.


Stock 84, VSOP

It is made from a number of grape varieties, distilled in a continuous still and aged for up to four years in large oak casks. The result is light and fiery, popular with those looking for “bite.”

Extra Fine Brandy, two years old Extra Fine is aged in oak for two years.

The result is a light style, but it is still quite fruity. Ideal for use in cooking or mixing in cocktails.

Carmel 777 Brandy, three years old Carmel 777 is aged for three years in small oak barrels. It is a light, fruity, spirited brandy, representing good value in an aperitif style.


Carmel 100 Brandy, eight years old

This brandy was matured in barrels previously used for wines, so it can be said to have a “wine finish.” The youngest component is eight years, but there are older brandies in the blend. Elegant with an aroma of dried fruits and a touch of rich sweetness.

Stock XO A newly released XO brandy, produced by the Barkan Winery, which makes Stock brandy in Israel under license. It is described on the Stock website as “dark, rich and smooth.”


Carmel 120 Brandy, 10 years old

Rare expression of 2,000 bottles only, produced to commemorate Carmel’s 120th harvest. There are components of 15-year-old and 27-year-old brandies in the blend. It has a rich, fruity nose, a warm middle palate and a long, lingering finish.

The Cave Brandy, 10 years old A brandy produced by the Binyamina Winery and matured for 10 years in a genuine cave, from which it receives its name. It is sold in a stylish glass decanter. It is rich, full bodied and deeper colored than the others, with an attractive sweetness in the finish.


Jonathan Tishbi Brandy, 16 years old

This is an estate brandy named after the owner of the winery. It was made from grapes grown in Tishbi’s own vineyards, double distilled on its lees in an authentic Charentais still. It was then aged in oak barrels.

It is sold in a traditionally frosted brandy bottle.

Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery and writes regularly about Israeli wine for international and Israeli publications.  

I love how Israelis go all out when promoting parties

Promoting a party is not taken lightly in Israel. A music video produced to promote a Soccer themed event for the ARISA party line in Tel Aviv


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The Dead Sea Scrolls: From a Cave in Israel to Times Square

Two thousand years after unknown scribes penned the Dead Sea Scrolls, they are discovered by a tall man in his mid-30s in a conspicuously dark area deep underground. No, we’re not talking about the caves where a Bedouin originally found the Scrolls in 1947, but right in the heart of New York City’s Times Square.

Opening tomorrow is “Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times” at the Discovery Times Square Exposition, with arguably one of the most important archaeological finds in history making its way across the Atlantic.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are, of course, the oldest surviving copies of the Hebrew Bible (Christianity’s Old Testament), as well as other non-religious texts which shed light on what life was like two millennia ago, around 100 BCE. In addition to the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves, the exhibition also features a three-ton stone from the Western Wall and over 500 never-before-seen artifacts.

What was the world like when the Bible was composed, when the Scrolls were written and hidden? What religious beliefs do they represent? How did

the traditions we know as Judaism and Christianity emerge from ancient Israel, and how do the Scrolls illuminate this process? These are just some of the questions the exhibition seeks to answer, and visitors will go on a whirlwind tour of the history’s first text-based religion.

“The exhibition brings to life a fascinating period in history and vividly highlights how archaeologists and researchers piece together the past by examining and interpreting objects from daily life and ancient written documents. Israel’s archaeological sites and the artifacts they have yielded provide a record of extraordinary human achievement. The pots, coins, weapons, jewelry, and of course, the scrolls on display in this exhibition constitute a momentous contribution to our cultural legacy. They teach us about the past and also about ourselves,” said Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn, exhibition curator.

While much of the mystery surrounds the origin of the Scrolls themselves, its journey from Israel to New York is equally remarkable. To say the Scrolls are delicate would be a severe understatement. Had they not been sealed inside of dark caves in a dry climate, they would never have survived to be found in 1947. To get to New York, the Israel Antiquities Authority, who is partnering with Discovery for the exhibit, employed the most state-of-the-art preservation technology to get them here in one piece.

Last month, some of the Scrolls were put online, in a landmark partnership with Google. But nothing quite beats seeing it for yourself, so if you’re in the New York area, be sure to see “Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times.”

Discovery Times Square is located at 226 West 44th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. You can purchase tickets online and avoid the line by clicking here.

Israel - A Leading Force in the Field of Mobile Apps

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New 'scarless' surgery available for tumor removal

  Doctors performing surgery [illustrative]

Natural skull opening below cheekbone and above jawbone provides new route for removing tumors without scarring.

A technique developed by Johns Hopkins surgeons is providing a new route to get to and remove tumors buried at the base of the skull: through the natural hole behind the molars, above the jawbone and beneath the cheekbone.

In a report detailing the novel surgery, published in the October The Laryngoscope, the surgeons say the procedure, already performed on seven patients, yields faster recovery and fewer complications than traditional approaches. And, because the incisions are made inside the cheek, there are no visible scars.

Kofi Boahene, M.D., an assistant professor of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says the idea for the new approach came to him when a 20-year-old female patient previously treated for a brain tumor developed a new tumor deep in the skull base.

Traditional surgeries to remove skull base tumors require incisions through the face and bone removal, which can sometimes be disfiguring. Additionally, these operations can harm facial nerves, leading to paralysis that affects facial expressions and days or weeks of hospitalization and recovery. Boahene said he was gazing at a skull model in his office, considering options to spare his patient from another traditional surgery. “I looked at the ‘window' that already exists in the skull, above the jawbone and below the cheekbone and realized this was an access route not previously recognized for this kind of surgery,” he said.

Knowing there was always the option of switching to the traditional approach while trying the new approach, Boahene and his colleagues performed the new procedure on his patient last year. The expected surgery time shrunk from six hours to two. Additionally, the patient was able to leave the hospital the next day and return to college, with no visible evidence that she had surgery performed.

The report in The Laryngoscope describes details of the surgeries on three of the seven patients Boahene and his colleagues have thus far treated. Besides benefits for patients, he and his colleagues note, the new procedure is significantly less complicated for surgeons to perform, provides excellent visualization of the skull base area, and could potentially save health care dollars due to patients’ shorter hospital stays.

Not all patients are candidates for this procedure, Boahene cautions. It isn’t an option for those with very large skull base tumors or those with tumors that wrap around blood vessels. For these patients, traditional skull base surgery is still the best choice, he says.

In the future, he and his colleagues plan to try the new procedure using a surgical robot, which could provide even better visualization for surgeons and further reduce chances of complications for patients.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Israeli boxer a reality star in Malaysia

Ilya Grad becomes only Israeli to ever enter Southeastern Asian country, wave flag of Israel and leave in one piece

Ilya Grad, 24, made history when he became the first Israeli to enter Malaysia, after receiving special permission from the country's Muslim authorities, in order to participate in a national TV reality show on boxing.

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Grad, a former Israeli Muay Thai champion, the 2010 Asia champion and the second runner-up in the world championship, has been living and training in Thailand for the past four years. He has already won 38 competitions, and lost only nine times.

Malaysian television station AXN recently invited 16 of the world's best boxers to participate in a reality show called "The Challenger Muaythai". They live in the same house, eat and train together, and in the evenings they fight in a ring in front of the cameras.

Grad was nicknamed "Achilles" and had the honor of representing Israel in a country which legally bans the entry of Israelis.

"My friends and family asked if I was crazy when I just received the invitation," he recalls. "They asked why would I want to do it, told me not to go and warned that I could get in trouble. But I decided that I wanted to do it because of the sportive challenge and in order to be the first person to wave the flag of Israel there."

Despite the producers' promise to guarantee his safety, when Grad landed in the Kuala Lumpur airport he was detained for 25 hours and wasn't allowed to enter the country until the Malaysian sports minister personally intervened.

The Israeli boxer was eventually allowed to enter the country and received a special visa, but his passport was not stamped.

"When I wanted to start the first fight, the producers demanded that I carry a flag of Russia, the country I was born in. It was absurd, and I explained to them that if I was forced to do that I would fly back home immediately," he says. "They eventually gave in and waved our flag on prime time TV."

The local audience was not as enthusiastic, responding with booing and loud roars.

'One step forward toward a life of peace'

At the end of the fight, the two Malaysian judges declared the French boxer the winner. The Thai judge, on the other hand, ruled that the Israeli had won, but after consulting the other judges it was decided that Grad has lost the battle.

"The basically stole the fight, but I was comforted when I left the ring and was approached by many Malaysians who apologized for booing and said that I was the real winner," he says.

Despite his loss, the production asked Grad to stay on till the end of the competition, likely due to the great amount of interest he raised.

"I left Malaysia with mixed feelings," Grad says. "The fact that I was allowed to enter Malaysia took us one step forward toward a life of peace, and yet I felt like I was behind enemy lines. But I can say for sure that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.",7340,L-4135928,00.html


Tribute to Israel Navy

File:Naval Ensign of Israel.svg

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The Israeli Navy (Hebrew: חיל הים הישראלי‎, Heil HaYam HaYisraeli) is the naval arm of the Israel Defense Forces, operating primarily in the Mediterranean Sea theater as well as the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea theater. The current commander in chief of the Israeli Navy is Aluf Ram Rothberg.


The origins of Israeli Navy lay at the end of 1920s with the founding of the Yarkon and Zvulun marine sports clubs. In 1938, encouraged by the Jewish Agency, Dr. Shlomo Bardin founded the Marine High School in Bosmat, the Technion's Junior Technical College. 1943 witnessed the founding of the Palyam, the naval branch of the Palmach, whose training was undertaken at the maritime school. The Jewish merchant marine was also raised, operating the SS Tel-Aviv and cargo ships such as the Atid.

In 1942, eleven hundred Haganah volunteers joined the Royal Navy, mostly in technical roles (12 of them were officers by the nomination agreement of the Jewish Agency with the Royal Navy). A few reached sea service and combat service. Two of them served with the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), one of which was Edmond Wilhelm Brillant. With the end of the Second World War, Palyam members took part in clandestine immigration activities, bringing Europe's Jews to Palestine, as well as commando actions against Royal Navy deportation ships. Royal Navy volunteers, meanwhile, rejoined the Hagana.

During the last months of British Mandate in Palestine, the former Royal Navy volunteers started working on the captured clandestine immigration ships (known as the Fleet of Shadows) in Haifa harbor, salvaged a few and pressed them into service. These were to become the Navy's first ships and saw service in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence.

With the founding of the IDF in early 1948, the Israeli Navy was therefore formed from a core of the following personnel:
  • Royal Navy Volunteers with the technical skills and discipline acquired from the Royal Navy, though with no active sea service and experience on Royal Navy Ships.
  • Palyam members who had led the clandestine and immigration effort, but had no sea background in navigation or leading a ship into a battle. The captains of clandestine and immigration ships were Greek and Italian, while Palyam personnel were commanding the ship under instructions from the Haganah. Ike Aharonowitch, captain of the Exodus and a Jew, was the exception rather than the rule.
  • Merchant Marine captains and chief engineers, possessing navigation skills but lacking combat skills.
  • Jewish volunteers from the US Navy and Royal Navy, such as Commander Paul Shulman of the USN, and Commanders Solomon and Allen Burk of the Royal Navy. These, however, were often discriminated against and their experience wasted by a navy command that was based on the Palmach and its various branches. This resulted in odd situations where unskilled officers from the Palyam were in command of far more experienced naval officers.
To make matters worse, Palyam personnel often resisted efforts to instill order, discipline and rank in the newly formed service. Mess rooms were initially shared by both officers and enlisted men. Ships possessed a captain with nautical skills, but also a commanding officer regarded as political. This would cause a great deal of debate between veterans of the Palyam, Royal Navy volunteers from the Haganah and USN Machal volunteers about what form the Navy should take. Commander Allen Burk is reputed to have said, out of despair, "You cannot make naval officers from cowboys".

The Israeli Navy suffered from a lack of professional command during its early days. Gershon Zak, head of the IDF "Sea Service", was a teacher and bureaucrat without any relevant experience. Having never been recruited into the IDF, Zak was a civilian and had no official rank. The early days of the Israeli Navy were therefore characterized by political infighting, as many groups and individuals jockeyed for power. Palyam politics blocked the nomination of Paul Shulman (a USN Jewish Officer with a rank of Commander who volunteered to the Israeli Navy) as Navy-Commander in Chief and he resigned in 1949. The first Navy-Commander in Chief awarded the rank of Aluf was Shlomo Shamir.

The conclusion of the 1948 war afforded the navy the time to build up its strength. Beginning in the early 1950s the navy purchased Frigates, Torpedo Boats, Destroyers and eventually Submarines. The material build-up was accompanied by the training of Israeli Navy officers in Royal Navy academies in the UK and Malta, as well as in France.

Three distinct periods characterize the history of the Israeli Navy:
  • Foundation and early days
  • The destroyers' age
  • The missile boats era, beginning in 1965 and bearing fruit during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Until 1967 the Naval Headquarters were located at Stella-Marris, on the slopes of Mount Carmel, Haifa. After the Six-Day War it was relocated to the Kirya in Tel Aviv, next to IDF Headquarters.

File:Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - Israeli Navy Preparing for Flotilla Operation (4).jpg


In a radical revamp of its surface fleet modernization program, the Israel Navy has shelved long-held plans to purchase Lockheed Martin-produced Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) due to their ever-rising cost estimate, as well as exercising a fallback option involving corvettes built by Northrop Grumman. Instead, sources say, the Navy is pushing to establish a combat shipbuilding industry through customized, locally built versions of a German corvette design. Currently in an exploration phase, the concept calls for a stretched, approximately 2,200-ton version of the MEKO A-100 built by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), the Hamburg-based consortium building two Dolphin-class submarines for the Israel Navy. Countries that are building or now operating the 1,650-ton German-designed corvette include Malaysia and Poland. If carried out, the ships would likely be built locally by Israel Shipyards (which built the Sa'ar 4.5 class and earlier INS ships), with IAI acting as prime systems integrator.

The Israeli Navy also plans to buy four more Super Dvora and two Shaldag patrol boats, and has ordered two additional submarines, and is discussing with Germany the possibility of a third. The Navy is also building up an amphibious assault capability to deliver battalion-sized infantry forces and is in discussion with the Ground Forces Command to decide which battalions will be trained in landing operations.

The Navy is considering buying two large ships which would be specifically designed for the navy's needs, and which would be outfitted with electronic warfare devices, radar, and weapons systems. Israel planned to order each ship for $300 million from the German shipbuilding company Blohm + Voss. After the United Arab Emirates-owned Mar group announced that it would buy the majority of shares in the company, the Israeli Defense Establishment began to look into the potential outcomes of buying ships from an Arab-owned company. It is being reported that Israel is now leaning towards producing 2 modified versions of the Sa'ar 5-class corvette domestically.

IDF Prepares to Deploy 'Magic Wand'

 Magic Wand Test
Magic Wand Test

The IDF is in the final stages of laying the groundwork to deploy its long-range missile defense system in central Israel.

The IDF is in the final stages of laying the groundwork to deploy the "Magic Wand" missile defense system in central Israel.

The move to deploy the system comes on the heels of Israel's deployment of the Iron Dome missile defense system in the south, which has provided efficient, but limited protection from rockets fired by terrorists operating in Hamas-run Gaza into southern Israel.

If it works as advertised, Magic Wand will be able to operate in inclement weather and will fire intercepting missiles capable of changing course mid-flight. Whereas Iron Dome is intended to intercept short range rockets, Magic Wand is designed to intercept long-range missiles fired from Gaza and Lebanon.

According to security officials, Hamas and Hezbollah possess medium-range missiles capable of striking at Israel's central regions, which could potentially be intercepted by Magic Wand. The use of such rockets, should another conflict erupt, is considered a near certainty by most defense analysts.

The cost of such units, however, is potentially prohibitive. A single Magic Wand projectile can reach up to $1 million. Defense official argue the financial damage of a single rocket not intercepted by the system could easily outstrip that.

But critics of systems like Magic Wand say, despite their proven operational success, that they are tactically defensive weapons which only mitigate - rather than remove - the strategic threat posed by stockpiles of rockets in terrorist’s hands.

Concerns have also been raised that reliance on such systems, rather than aggressively pursuing the elimination of strategic threats, presents a weak strategic posture and could lead to complacency among Israel's political echelons vis-a-vis Israel's necessary strategic depth in terms of maintaining defensible borders.

Like Iron Dome, there will be a limited number of Magic Wand units to be deployed based on immediate operational needs. While the system will likely able to protect central Israel from the daily threat of Hamas' rocket capabilities, analysts say defense officials may have over-sold its capabilities to the public in a scenario where open conflict with Hizbullah - in possession of tens of thousands of rockets - erupt.

In such a scenario, they say, the IAF would be in a race against the clock to destroy the stockpiles and launchers from the air before the system was overwhelmed, or Israel's own stockpiles of expensive defensive rockets was depleted.

The Iron Dome and Magic Wand are two of the three systems Israel is developing and deploying as part of its multilayered missile and rocket defense apparatus. A third system – "Arrow 3" – is designed to thwart ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere, which could potentially carry nuclear warheads.

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Israel's Spacecom wins contract for Amos 5

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Spaceom Satellite Communications won a $27.6 million five year contract to supply satellite communications from its Amos 5 satellite.

The Amos 5 satellite is scheduled to launch in December and the new contract will allow the company to expand its services to African countries.

The first of Spaceom's satellite fleet Amos 1, was launched in 1996 and currently consists of Amos 2 and Amos 3.

Amos 5 to be launched later this year will deliver to the entire African continent with access to Europe and the Middle East. Amos 4 is scheduled to commence operations in 2013 extending Spacecom's footprint to Asia and Russia as well as the Middle East and Europe.

Amos 6 is expected to become operational in 2014.

Israel sends aid to Turkey

This afternoon, a first Israeli aid package including portable homes and buildings will arrive in the quake ravaged area in Eastern Turkey. Israel was the first country in the world to offer Ankara assistance in the aftermath of the October 23 natural disaster.

Deputy director general of the Defense Ministry, Bezalel Traiver, told Israel Radio that the portable structures could be set up immediately, anywhere and in almost any weather. Traiver said that at this stage, Turkey had only asked for temporary structures.

The Turkish government said today that it was struggling to cope with the demand from the homeless survivors for shelter. At the beginning of the week Turkey declined all international offers for help, citing the country could deal with the consequences of the 7.2-magnitude quake domestically. Last night, an official request for assistance was made to Jerusalem.

And though diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey are at the lowest possible level, Israeli officials said humanitarian aid trumped any political crisis.

"The humanitarian gesture to Turkey was forthcoming regardless of the [diplomatic] crisis. We remember their assistance during the Carmel forest fire," said Defense Minister Ehud Barak last night. "We will send everything necessary and whatever they ask for."

Israel is well-known for the relief delegations it sends to help victims of manmade and natural disasters around the world.

Israel has sent rescue teams to Turkey before. In 1999, Israeli rescue teams pulled 12 people out of the rubble and recovered 140 bodies. Israel also set up a field hospital in the region and treated more than 1,000 victims.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said that "hundreds, possibly thousands" of people are still trapped under the rubble.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When does anti-Zionism become anti-Semitism?

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A look at an anti-Israel rally in Toronto, Canada (filmed by the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs). A comedic take on a rather scary rally. United Church of Canada, an Imam, a Khommeni student, and more! There's a lot of hatred against Jews and even President Barack Obama. Even a special appearance by Jay-Z. Some names were slightly changed to protect the innocent.

El Al air crew to promote Israel

Airline's pilots, flight attendants turn into Israeli ambassadors upon landing in foreign countries

While their colleagues from other airlines take advantage of their stay abroad to rest, go sightseeing or shop, El Al's flight attendants and pilots will be delivering lectures and meeting with local residents in a bid to improve Israel's image in the world.

The Israeli airline will launch this Wednesday a new voluntary initiative at New York's Yeshiva University, which will see El Al's air crew take part in Israel's PR efforts.

The project was initiated by El Al CEO Elyezer Shkedy together with the Jewish Agency, the Foreign Ministry and the StandWithUs pro-Israel education and advocacy organization.

The first "ambassadors" have undergone intensive training in the past few months, and will convey the messages they learned between flights, during their stays abroad.

The project will be supervised by Yehudit Grisaro, head of El Al's in-flight services department, and Alon Futterman, who is in charge of the Jewish Agency's summer missions.

"Hundreds of stewards and pilots have offered to take part in the project, which is completely voluntary," they explain. "We chose those with language skills, rhetoric and representative features, seeking to present the State of Israel's beautiful, positive and apolitical face, which is not displayed through the foreign media.",7340,L-4124431,00.html

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In an effort to improve Israel's image abroad, the country's national airline El Al has decided to recruit its pilots and flight attendants to become unofficial diplomats in promoting the country abroad.

The project called Blue and White El Al Ambassadors was initiated by the airline's chief executive officer Eliezer Shkedy who said the aim was to encourage airline staff to engage in public diplomacy in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto.

The project was launched at the Yeshiva University in New York and is sponsored by the Stand With Us advocacy group, the Jewish Agency and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In recent months El Al pilots and flight attendants have undergone intensive training to prepare for the role that will require them to talk to the public abroad.

China to build railway to Eilat

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Israel and China will sign an agreement that will pave the way for the construction of a 180 kilometer railway from Nahal Tzin to the southern city of Eilat.

A recent visit to China led to the breakthrough, Transport Minister Yisrael Katz said, adding a cooperation document between the two countries is currently being drawn up.

Katz said Israel intends to invest some NIS 100 billion in roads and trains in the next five years and the Chinese will be a significant part of the project.

In the near future Chinese companies who specialize in infrastructure work plan to send representatives to Israel to carry out the job.

According to reports China will also be involved in the construction of the Haifa-Carmel railway following the construction of the Carmel Tunnels.