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Did You Know?

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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Save the environment - Save up to 40% on gas with Israel Technology

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A gel for better plastic surgery results

"This could be a real revolution in plastic surgery," Dan Touitou, CEO of Juvenis.

Israel's Juvenis will soon start clinical trials for Tenergel, a safe compound physicians can use to fill in or smooth out body areas altered by treatment and surgery.

Using modern technology, medical science has been able to save the lives of many people suffering from serious, life-threatening diseases, enabling them to extend their lives far beyond what had been possible just a generation ago. But little attention has been paid to the emotional fallout from procedures that entail significant physical changes - and not always positive ones.

For example, AIDS patients under treatment often suffer from a wasting away of the face - called lipoatrophy - even if they survive the disease. And while body or facial changes won't kill patients, they're often traumatic enough to cause depression or other major psychological crises. Facial and breast reconstruction are very expensive and often do not provide satisfactory results.

Enter Israel's Juvenis, which has developed Tenergel, an inexpensive dermal filling technology that lets plastic surgeons more easily fill in areas cut away by the surgeon's knife. The result - a restoration of a "reasonable facsimile" of the patient's pre-procedure appearance, and an accompanying restoration of self-confidence.

Tenergel is a very safe form of artificial fat, says company CEO Dan Touitou. "Tenergel is a unique compound polymer in gel form that is perfect for filling large volumes, such as breast augmentation reconstructing or facial reconstruction." Tenergel can also be used for elective plastic surgery, Touitou says - yielding better results for less money than with current solutions.

Made from organic materials

The best part of Tenergel, says Touitou, is that it's made of organic, safe materials, including castor oil and citric acid. Both are considered foods by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and have long been approved for use intravenously. Since it is a new compound, Tenergel will need to be approved by the FDA for medical use, but Touitou says he does not anticipate any problem with this process, since the ingredients are safe and well-known.

Another advantage of Tenergel is its durability. "Nearly all of the filler products on the market today don’t last very long and require an almost complete reapplication after a period of time," Touitou says. For example, valoneic acid dilactone (VAD), used in lip reconstruction, is very expensive - and almost completely disappears in a half year, as compared to Tenergel, which normally has a 20% reduction, based on extensive animal studies Juvenis has conducted. "Besides, only Tenergel is suitable for large volume application, unlike VAD and other popular materials used by plastic surgeons," Touitou says.

In fact, there is only one other product on the market that could be considered a competitor for Tenergel, made by a Dutch company - and this product is much more expensive and lasts for far less time than Tenergel. Injectable, affordable and painless, Tenergel can be applied on an outpatient basis, and is scar-free - and, says Touitou, it is the only product of its kind that feels like natural tissue.

Established in 2008, Juvenis is located in Misgav, in northern Israel, and is a part of the Misgav Venture Accelerator. Along with Touitou, who has worked in the commercial pharmaceuticals business for years, the company is led by co-founders Prof. Abraham Domb, head of the forensic sciences division of the Israel Police, and Dr. Lior Yankelson, who has established a number of medical startups in the past.

The company, which holds several patents, expects to start clinical trials in the next month or two, and is aiming for EU approval by next year. "Tenergel is inexpensive, long-lasting, and large-volume, the only product on the market with all three characteristics," says Touitou. "This could be a real revolution in plastic surgery."

Clearlight Acne Treatment - Israeli Innovation

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Israeli Hoop Star Casspi Signs up with Telma Cornflakes

Israel’s Omri Casspi, star of the Sacramento Kings basketball team, is endorsing Israel’s Telma “Cornflakes of Champions,” replacing Israeli actress Irna Banai who previously was featured in Telma’s advertisements.

Casspi used to play for the Maccabi Tel Aviv team and is the first Israeli to star in the American National Basketball Association (NBA).

He will receive $200,000 for endorsing the cornflakes manufactured in Israel by Telma, which is part of the Unilever Israel Group, Globes reported.

The company signed up Casspi because of his image of success and strength, it said.

“We want to express the meaning of the message, 'the power to succeed,” Unilever Israel marketing manager Ruth Salomon-Goldberg told the business newspaper. “Casspi is one of the persons best identified with Israeli success, and the link between him and the Telma cereal brand – the leading Israeli cereal brand – is natural.”

Casspi said, "Telma is a brand that I – like most Israeli – grew up with since childhood. It is part of my home and family. For me, the connection with Telma, and especially the message it will convey - the power to succeed - is natural, and I am glad of the opportunity."

Pope Benedict XVI in Jerusalem

Pope Benedict XVI takes part in a farewell ceremony with Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres at Ben Gurion Airport

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Nation to bow its head on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Tonight’s opening ceremony at Yad Vashem focusing on ‘Faces Behind the Documents, Artifacts and Photographs.’

The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust will be honored at ceremonies held across the country on Sunday evening, the start of Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.

President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and other dignitaries will attend the official state ceremony at Yad Vashem.

This year, the central theme of the ceremony will be Fragments of Memory: The Faces Behind the Documents, Artifacts and Photographs, a campaign launched by the Holocaust museum aimed at collecting and preserving documents so that future generations may learn about the genocide of the Jewish people by the Nazis from first-hand sources.

During the ceremony, six Holocaust survivors will light torches in memory of those who suffered under Nazi persecution before and during World War II.

Yona Fuchs, whose nickname is Janek, will be among the honorees at the event. In 1942 he escaped from a concentration camp and found work as a translator for a German company in Kiev. In that capacity he managed to save over a dozen Jews by recruiting them as workers for his employers.

Later, he evaded arrest by posing as a German soldier. He arrived in British-controlled Palestine in 1944, fought in the War of Independence and settled in Haifa. He has 14 grandchildren.

On Monday morning at 10 a.m., sirens will wail throughout the country as people observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Nazi persecution.

The closing ceremony of Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day will take place at Yad Mordechai, the kibbutz adjacent to Gaza named after Mordechai Anielewicz, the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising who was killed in the fighting.

Keeping the Legacy Alive

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"Keeping the Legacy Alive" - Through Eliezer Ayalon's poignant and captivating tale of survival, we can grasp the vital need of preserving the Holocaust survivors legacy. Yad Vashem has been rightfully entrusted with this mission since its establishment in 1953. The brief and compelling film sheds light on Yad Vashem's multifarious activities -- the many millions of documents, the inspiring exhibitions, the workshops, conferences and seminars for educators -- strengthen the voices of the survivors and ensure the relevance of the Holocaust for this generation and future ones.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Kutcher talks Twitter, ‘hasbara’ at Tel Aviv expo

Star says Israel needs to showcase its “smart, intelligent, bright, caring people who are looking for solutions in the world.”

Social networking wunderkind and That ’70s Show star Ashton Kutcher delivered a talk on new media at the Bezeq Expo in Tel Aviv on Monday, where he provided tips on how to use new forms of communication and networking to market Israel.

“The first thing I would do is ask you, who do you want to market to? Because a general marketing campaign for the whole world doesn’t work; in some parts of the world they won’t like the message, and in other parts of the world they will,” he said. “The first thing you need to decide is who do you want to influence and what do you want to say to them.”

Kutcher, who this year was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for his mastery of social networking, said Israel must figure out which groups to target, by “being honest with them and having open, candid conversations about what Israel is and who it is, because the people here are amazing – the young people here are amazing. The entrepreneurs here are incredible.”

Kutcher added that Israel needs to showcase its “smart, intelligent, bright, caring people who are looking for solutions in the world.”

He spoke of a meeting he attended on Sunday with Israeli alternative-energy guru Shai Agassi, saying, “It’s a travesty that the US isn’t already working with them.

This is an Israeli country.

Show people that; encourage them to see what’s going on here. You should have this open-ended conversation about what’s going on here.”

Kutcher’s wife, actress Demi Moore, attended Monday’s talk, but was shuffled out after her husband’s speech before the cameraphone- wielding minions could descend on her. Kutcher admitted that he and his wife often sit at home Tweeting to one another while sitting in the same room.

Hours after the talk, Kutcher turned to his favorite soapbox, Tweeting “Rocking out the Bezeq expo. Love getting a glimpse of the future.”

He is consistently rated as the “most-followed” user on Twitter, with 5,914,509 followers at last count.

Kutcher is an avid follower of Kabbala, and in 2005 married Moore in a private ceremony officiated by a rabbi from the Kabbala Center in Los Angeles. Rumors have circulated that Kutcher and Moore plan to renew their vows during this visit to Israel.

The annual Bezeq Expo is one of the largest events in the Israeli communications industry and highlights a wide-range of Israeli innovations. This year’s theme was “Communications in a Multidimensional World.”

For Kutcher’s sake, let’s hope one of those dimensions will have access to Twitter.

Chassidic Shyne Moshe Levy Premiers Music Videos

Chassidic Shyne Moshe Levy Premiers Music Videos

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Organic BioBee Combats Pests Without Pesticides

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An Israeli firm specializes in selling bugs to farmers. Instead of combating pests with chemicals, farms can now introduce natural predators to keep crops safe.

Israel becomes a ‘contributing nation’ to UN’s AIDS fight

Under newly signed agreement, Jewish State will provide both funding and know how to the fight against infectious disease.

The Health and Foreign ministries have for the first time signed an agreement between the State of Israel on the one hand and the World Health Organization and UNAIDS on the other – turning this country into a “contributing nation,” providing both funding and knowhow to the fight against AIDS.

The two ministries will give $150,000 to the WHO and $100,000 to UNAIDS.

The agreement was announced on Tuesday between the two Israeli ministries and the two UN agencies that battle against the infectious disease, which has in the last 30 years has killed millions, especially in the developing world.

Israel is thus committed to help the UN bodies with its own experts in the HIV and AIDS.

Signing for Israel was Aharon Leshno Yaar, its ambassador to UN institutions in Geneva, with representatives of the two ministries looking on; senior officials of the UN agencies signed as well.

The agency officials thanked the Israelis for their agreement to financially aid the fight against AIDS despite the world economic crisis. They also looked forward very much to the participation of Israeli AIDS experts, noting their special expertise in emergencies, public health and the organization of public health services.

During Israel’s first two decades, it received health assistance from UN bodies, but in the last few decades, its knowhow has been much sought out by them, and some of its experts advise the WHO.

The country’s health system is now regarded as one of the best in the world in its services and quality compared to its per/capita costs. It is also well regarded for having successfully absorbed many thousands of doctors, nurses and other medical manpower from the former Soviet Union during the 1990s.

Keshet sells the rights for Coming soon: Love, to Endemol

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The show "Coming Soon: Love" which launched on the Keshet network earlier this year, has been added to the Endemol catalogue. Endemol is a worldwide network of leading entertainment companies.

The show was launched in israel January 1 and has been a hit for the Keshet network. Endemol now holds the rights to produce local versions of the show outside of Israel and will also work to license the format to third parties.

The show itself, a docu-soap, centers on a web-based community of five celebrity women who are on a journey to find love. Via webcams, the five share their most intimate secrets about their love lives and the dates they go on with each other, the show's host and viewers. Together they form a support group, commenting on the men, available 24/7 to give advice and lend support.

We found our Mojo

An eclectic Asian restaurant is spiced just right to suit the local palate.

An extensive online search for the origin of the name Mojo produced many different options. The one chosen by the young owners of Tel Aviv’s Mojo – Street Kitchen is Asian, meaning “energy of life.” And their newly opened restaurant definitely has good energy.

Following their success in Netanya, the three owners of Mojo, all in their late 20s, decided to open a smaller place in the heart of Tel Aviv, and it looks as if they are doing just fine. Mojo offers a mixed Asian menu that covers many cuisines, from Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese to Indian, with traditional dishes many of which were modified by chef Oren Goldwasser to suit the local palate.

We decided to sit at the bar, overlooking the open kitchen, where five Chinese cooks were busy preparing orders and looking back at us. The attentive barman suggested that we taste the house cocktails. “They’re excellent,” he said, so we tried two and then one more and decided to come back and taste them all. Yes, they were very good, and we were happy we live within walking distance. My companion tasted the La Cross, a whiskey-based cocktail with saffron liqueur and pear juice (NIS 42) that was very refreshing. For me, the barman suggested a ladies’ cocktail. I am not usually a fan of what are known as “ladies’ drinks” (sweet and intoxicating) but agreed to taste this one, which was based on lychee liqueur with vodka and pomegranate juice (NIS 38). It was good and very pretty, but a little sweet for my taste.

All the dishes on the menu sounded good, but we were in the mood for Thai/Vietnamese, so we decided to go for the ban-ban chicken salad (NIS 32), which is basically a green salad made from very fresh lettuce hearts, cucumbers and chicken. The difference is in the dressing, which was basic but very precise – made from soy, sesame, ginger and garlic and sprinkled with peanuts and fresh coriander. The other starter we took was a dish of chicken sate (skewers) in curry sauce with mint (NIS 28). Both were very tasty – simple but well prepared.

The cocktails were finished and after another starter, the dim sum deli (NIS 28) – Asian dumplings filled with ground lean beef that was stir-fried with vegetables – I decided to try another cocktail.

Again I let the barman convince me, and the second cocktail, Mojo rising, was my favorite. It is made from crushed fresh coriander, spicy chili liqueur and pear schnapps. It may sound strange, but it is very good. The tastes complement each other and are perfect with Asian cuisine.

Next, a dish of fried calamari rings (NIS 38) landed in front of us. Apparently the hostess decided we just had to taste it, and she was right. It is a very generous plate of crispy and fresh calamari rings, one of the best we have tasted in Israel. We were almost sorry we had ordered a Pad Thai; but when it arrived, we decided it was a safe but good choice.

Another dish that was served was the Mojo sushi, which was good but not excellent. We are very picky about our sushi and felt that it was unnecessary.

Chef Goldwasser wants to bring local foodies the Asian tastes they love, such as sushi and Pad Thai and add less familiar dishes such as Asian hamburger with soy-Dijon sauce, Ban Mai sandwich and other fun dishes that mix various cuisines to create a new one.

Sushi seems to have become an obligatory part of every menu in local restaurants these days. I guess they go where the clientele takes them, but I feel that sushi should be left to those who are masters in the art of preparing it. Here there is a rather large selection, but we thought that although it was good, the strength of the place is the Thai and Vietnamese dishes (we didn’t really taste the Indian ones), and that’s more than enough.

Mojo offers business lunches between 12 and 5 p.m. for NIS 44-70 and children’s menu with Ninja schnitzel and Samurai hot dog for NIS 35 plus a small gift.

Definitely a place to come back to for a quick lunch or an easygoing supper.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant Mojo
– Street Kitchen, 86 Hahashmonaim St., Tel Aviv
Tel: (03) 635-7777
Not kosher

Matisyahu Summer 2011 Tour Announcement

Matisyahu Summer 2011 Tour Announcement

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Matthew Paul Miller (born June 30, 1979), better known by his Hebrew name Matisyahu (Hebrew:מתתיהו) is an American Hasidic Jewish reggae musician.

Known for blending traditional Jewish themes with Reggae, rock and hip hop beat-boxing sounds, Matisyahu's single "King Without a Crown" was a Top 40 hit in the United States of America. Since 2004, he has released three studio albums as well as two live albums, two remix CDs and one DVD featuring a live concert. Through his career, Matisyahu has worked with Bill Laswell and reggae producers Sly & Robbie.

Matisyahu Live on Letterman

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Hasidic reggae superstar Matisyahu performs "King Without A Crown" on Late Night with David Letterman

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Military History Expert Henkin On IDF Morality

Military History Expert Henkin On IDF Morality

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Angry Birds coming to Israel

Creator of one of all-time most addictive games grants Israeli company privilege to sell merchandise of popular yet quite vengeful birds in Holy Land

Angry Birds, one of the all-time most addictive games, which has already been declared a phenomenon, is coming to Israel.

YPL, an Israeli company, has signed an agreement with Rovio – the creator of the game – which grants the company the privilege to sell merchandise of the popular and quite vengeful birds in Israel.

The company plans to take Israel by a storm by marketing tons of Angry Birds products in as many locations as possible. Amongst the planned merchandise you can find equipment for school, iPhone covers, shoes and clothing, bags, party stuff and more.

“We are proud and excited to represent Rovio in Israel. Angry Birds is a new, contemporary and refreshing product, whose popularity we believe will translate to a huge success in Israel. The demands for these products is tremendous,” said Avi Morgenstern, the CEO of YPL.

More than 'just a game'

In case you are still not familiar with the game, it shows a bunch of cute yet furious birds who are fighting mean, green pigs. Of course, there is a cause for the war – the greedy pigs are stealing the birds’ eggs. Here is where you, the player, comes in: Your job is to bombard those greedy green pigs with the birds using a slingshot.

Angry Birds was first launched in 2009 as an iPhone application, available for download in Apple’s app store. Since then, the game has become more than just “a game” and as aforementioned, today it is considered a worldwide social and cultural phenomenon with everyone playing it (from kids to adults) everywhere (including the office, meeting rooms, the subway and more).

Following the success of the application, the creator Rovio (based in Finland) moved on to creating special-themed versions for the game for Christmas, Halloween and so on. Altogether the application has been downloaded more than 100 million times.

A PC version has also been released. There were also some rumors regarding a possible Angry Birds movie in the future. Imagine that.,7340,L-4058393,00.html

Angry Birds In-game Trailer

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Israeli MK at Knesset Grieving Her Nephew Terror Victim

Israeli MK at Knesset Grieving Her Nephew Terror Victim

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Atrium CEO Rachel Lavine happy to be empire-building in real estate

Rachel Lavine: “The fact that I’m Israeli hasn’t interfered with my ability to close deals.”

Atrium, whose balance sheet exceeds 3 billion euros, is controlled by the Gazit-Globe conglomerate run by Chaim Katzman and Dori Segal, and is dual-listed on the Vienna and Euronext Amsterdam stock exchanges.

“Israelis in Europe say when in Europe be like the Europeans, but I’m not entirely sure that’s the way to go,” says Rachel Lavine, CEO of Atrium European Real Estate, in an interview with TheMarker. “I think Israelis have a clear advantage abroad because they’re hungry, diligent, savvy, and have a drive that Europeans lack. As guests we need to respect European culture but we don’t need to turn into Europeans.

“Europeans are more unassuming, calmer and don’t flaunt their wealth,” continues Lavine. “They don’t feel an existential threat like in Israel and their ambitions are different. In Israel a BA graduate is confronted with: ‘Why don’t you keep up?’ and ‘What are your plans?’ But there’s no drawback to being versatile like Israelis, who are knowledgeable in many fields and can work 20-hour days and multitask. The fact that I’m Israeli hasn’t interfered with my ability to close deals. Israelis are readier to work hard and quicker to close deals than the locals.”

Lavine, 45, has spent three years in Amsterdam and is a prominent figure in Israeli real estate and capital market circles. She is considered one of the top two women in Israel’s property sector, along with Segi Eitan, CEO of Property & Building Corporation ‏(part of Nochi Dankner’s IDB group‏).

Atrium, whose balance sheet exceeds 3 billion euros, is controlled by the Gazit-Globe conglomerate run by Chaim Katzman and Dori Segal, and is dual-listed on the Vienna and Euronext Amsterdam stock exchanges. The company owns more than 150 income-generating properties in 11 central and eastern European countries.

Until now Lavine has kept a low profile and avoided interviews, but it seems that her experience heading Atrium and its heightened activity with capital markets have softened her media stance. Her time at Atrium has involved difficulties both in adjusting to living abroad and dealing with the market crisis, and she’s had to cope with a shaky management structure and wariness on the part of investors. But surmounting all these obstacles, she has led Atrium to considerable improvement in revenues, profitability, and occupancy rates.

Lavine, though, is well aware that Atrium is still some way from fulfilling its potential. Former owner Julius Meinl V still haunts the company: the heir to an Austrian coffee shop chain and Gazit-Globe have been exchanging multi-million euro lawsuits this past year, charging each other with mismanaging Atrium. Last week the case was put into arbitration and Lavine felt the time was right to grant an interview.

Real estate academy

An accountant by training, Lavine gained her experience in real estate and finance at Elbit Imaging, under the guidance of controlling owner Motti Zisser. Elbit Imaging currently focuses its activities on real estate, hotels, retailing and the medical field and is active in Israel, India and Europe. The company’s market cap is about NIS 1 billion.

Shortly after joining Zisser’s group as an assistant controller at the age of 23, Lavine discovered that the world of accounting wasn’t all that exciting. But Zisser’s business activities were still relatively limited and through the 1990s Lavine took part in bringing his vision to fruition.

This included expanding into hotel operations in Europe, where she served as CEO of Elscint, and establishing an empire of shopping malls and commercial and entertainment centers in Europe, serving as CEO of Plaza Centers. Lavine left the Zisser group in 2006, just before her company went public in London at a $1 billion valuation.

“Motti is a great developer who built everything he had from scratch and reached an international standing,” says Lavine. “It was an honor being at his side. From a real estate perspective, it ranked with the best international business schools. I went through almost everything with Motti for several difficult years when the business didn’t take off, but we didn’t give up and continued the struggle. Then, after 18 years, I felt it was enough and decided to move on.

“It was obviously a difficult decision, but I needed a break from the madness,” adds Lavine. “Every week I had to go abroad. I tried completing my graduate studies three times but didn’t have time because of work. They say someone who changes companies every three years is unstable, but being in the same place 18 years can be considered as being stuck. At Elbit I grew, learned and digested what I had learned, and now I’m applying those insights.”

What did you do after leaving Plaza Centers at the end of 2006? “I finally finished the Kellogg-Recanati MBA program, devoted some time to my family and served on the boards of several public companies.”

So how did the connection to Chaim Katzman come about? “I knew Ronen Ashkenazi, CEO of Gazit-Globe Israel. When Gazit acquired a controlling stake in U. Dori Group in 2007, he recommended me to Katzman as the company’s deputy chairwoman on behalf of Gazit. It seemed to me to be a good company and not so big that it would completely chain me down.”

A hard offer to refuse

It wasn’t long before Lavine’s plans changed: She was on her way to a new challenge, perhaps even greater than establishing Plaza Centers.

Toward the end of 2007, before the economic crisis hit, Gazit-Globe was quietly preparing to acquire the controlling share in Atrium, formerly Meinl European Land, with its 154 income-generating properties and swaths of land slated for development. Atrium was suffering from management problems and was shedding a great deal of its market value.

To perform the due diligence Katzman and Segal needed an expert on real estate development in Eastern Europe. They turned to Lavine, and from that point the path to becoming Atrium’s CEO was relatively short.

Did you expect to return so quickly to the insane pace?

“Not at all. I expected to do a few months of consulting work and leave quietly. But during the due diligence things began to gather steam and at the beginning of April 2008 I received an enticing offer from Gazit: If the deal came through I would get to run the company. The offer entailed so many challenges it was hard to resist. In Plaza Centers I had to build everything from scratch, while here I would need to rehabilitate the company and rebuild its value. So in April 2008 we set out on a capital markets road show.”

How did the road show go?

“We went on an intensive tour of Europe, the United States and other places. We encountered frustrated shareholders and tried to convince them to leave their frustrations behind. We explained that the company could be turned around, put on a proper corporate governance footing, and benefit from added value on the basis of Gazit-Globe’s operational history and Katzman’s and Segal’s worldwide reputations, and by instituting a proper dividend distribution policy and appointing a professional managerial staff.”

Gazit-Globe wasn’t the only contender for Atrium considered by Merrill Lynch. Why was it chosen?

“I think it was exactly for the reasons I mentioned before: Shareholders saw the combination of a professional group like Gazit, with a proven track record in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Israel, and a strong financial entity like Citigroup Property Investors declaring its intention to invest for a period of at least five years, despite it being a fund interested in maximizing its stockholders’ returns in the shortest possible turnaround time.”

Why did you think Atrium was a good company to buy?

“I worked for many years in Eastern Europe and I smelled the opportunity. Building such an infrastructure in so many countries isn’t a trivial undertaking. There are few private or public competitors focused solely on commercial centers. Atrium was one of these, an established public company focusing on supermarket-anchored centers, so it fit Gazit-Globe’s specialization like a glove.”

The crisis ended too early

After Atrium’s shareholders voted in July 2008 to allow Gazit-Globe and CPI into the company at an investment of several hundred million euros, and after she persuaded her husband and two children to join her on the new adventure, Lavine and family moved to Amsterdam, where she began building the company anew.

What made you choose Holland?

“Vienna didn’t have any comparative advantage. The dilemma was whether the offices should be closer to the capital markets or the assets. But Holland has obvious tax advantages, and from Amsterdam you can get to everywhere in Europe quickly. The city also attracts quality people.

“I had to rent office space and recruit staff − not so simple considering Atrium’s reputation − and build a headquarters to control its huge assets portfolio. And then in September 2008 the economic crisis hit.”

To what extent did the crisis interrupt your plans?

“At that time there was a tangible risk of the banks failing, and we had 1.2 billion euros on deposit. Managing investments during this period was also not simple. In addition, the company had intended to invest about 1 billion euros to develop properties and the market situation created some difficult decisions. It wasn’t clear if the leases would remain in effect, if tenants would honor their contracts, and if builders would stand by their commitments. It was a turning point, posing some very hard decisions.

“In retrospect, the crisis was a great opportunity for us. Since the company had an abundance of cash and no credit exposure, we could have taken time out to build a proper infrastructure for managing the assets and adapt our development plans to the new reality. In some ways the crisis ended too quickly from our perspective.”

The 6th International Conference on Holocaust Education - Fighting the Racism and Prejudice

Professor Yehuda Bauer - Academic Advisor, Yad Vashem: The Holocaust and the State of Israel

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Professor Hanna Yablonka - Choosing to Go Forward

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Professor Hanna Yablonka - Historian, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel: After the Shoah- Choosing to Go Forward

Major General Ido Nechushtan: IDF Trips to Poland

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Major General Ido Nechushtan -- Commander of the Air Force, Israel Defense Forces, Israel: Witnesses in Uniform - Confronting the Past - IDF Trips to Poland

Natan Sharansky: Democracy, Education and Human Rights

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Natan Sharansky, Former Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies: Democracy, Education and Human Rights

The Holocaust Memorial 2011 is being held at Sgoolai Israel Synagogue on Sunday, May 1

Israel Unger, a member of the Holocaust memorial observance committee, is shown with a book by Alexander Eisen called A Time of Fear: A Memoir. Eisen will be the guest speaker at the Holocaust Memorial 2011 held at the Sgoolai Israel Synagogue on May 1 at 3 p.m.

There was a time when Alexander Eisen lived in fear, the kind of fear most of us can't imagine.

He was born in Vienna, Austria in 1929 and was only nine years old when Hitler annexed Austria. As a young Jewish boy, he watched as the Nazis marched into Vienna.

Eisen will be in Fredericton to share his story as part of the Holocaust Memorial at the Sgoolai Israel Synagogue on Sunday, May 1.

"What I find remarkable and amazing is that every survivor I've ever spoken to, their story is unique and amazing," says Israel Unger, a member of the Holocaust memorial observance committee. "Eisen fits that category. He was actually present on the streets of Vienna when the Nazis marched in and Hitler rode in on his convertible Mercedes."

His parents were born in Hungary, where his grandparents and other relatives still lived.

"Jews were trying to escape from Germany and Austria, and at that point Hungary was not occupied by Germany, it was an ally of Germany," says Unger.

In 1938 Eisen, his parents and two sisters escaped to Hungary. His father was arrested at the border but managed to flee from there to Palestine.

"The conditions for Jews were terrible (in Hungary) but they were not being systematically murdered," says Unger. "That went on until the spring of 1944. The Jews in Hungary almost made it to the end of the war."

Hungary came under Nazi occupation in 1944. Close to half a million Hungarian Jews were deported to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, including Eisen's older sister.

Eisen, his mother and younger sister remained in the Budapest ghetto until they were able to escape, and posing as Christians, they managed to survive until liberation in January 1945.

Those were scary days for Eisen and his family.

"There was constant fear. He talks about the fact that when he went out in the street and somebody would look at him, he would be afraid that they were suspicious of him," says Unger.

To alleviate any doubt, he would engage the person in conversation, determined to show none of the fear he was feeling.

"Inside he's be trembling, but outside he tried to present a cool demeanour," says Unger. "And he survived."

Like others, Eisen has many stories of situations where things could have turned out very differently.

Following liberation, Eisen was determined to join his father in Palestine. He roamed Western Europe for eight months until he joined a group bound for Palestine on an illegal aliyah ship, the Theodore Herzl, in 1947.

The ship was seized by the British and the refugees were sent to a detention camp in Cyprus. It was in Cyprus that Eisen was reunited with his mother and sisters, who had also been detained there and were waiting to be allowed entry to Palestine.

Eisen finally reached Palestine in the fall of 1947. He joined the Israeli underground (Haganah) and later the Israeli army, fighting in the battle of Jerusalem. He was transferred to the Israeli Air Force where he met his wife, Renata Markovic, who was also a Holocaust survivor. They married in 1951 and immigrated to Canada the following year.

They now have two children and five grandchildren, all of whom live in Toronto.

At age 75, Eisen became involved in Holocaust education. He has recently written his memoirs. His book is called A Time of Fear.

Eisen will share his experiences with the community on Sunday, May 1, at the Holocaust Memorial, presented by Sgoolai Israel Synagogue and B'nai Brith Fredericton.

In past years, this annual event has been well attended, says Unger.

The local Jewish community is small, he says, so he appreciates that so many others come out in support as well.

"It's so gratifying that the larger community is interested in taking the time to remember and to help us to commemorate."

The local Jewish community holds the event each year for a variety of reasons, but an important one may be quite simply, to quote poet and philosopher George Santayana, that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

It's a sentiment that was echoed in the words of German president Richard von Weizsäcker on May 8, 1985, says Unger, during a remembrance of the end of the Second World War.

"One of the things he said was those that close their eyes to the past are blind to the present. He went on to say whoever refuses to remember the inhumanity is prone to the new infection."

Unfortunately, says Unger, there is a lot of new infection going on.

"You just have to look at the news and see the attacks that are made against Jewish institutions, even here in Canada," he says. "It didn't stop in 1945."

Unger believes that the larger issue is that from every human tragedy, one should learn.

"When people die in unusual circumstances, physicians perform autopsies. They do it because they want to learn, to prevent it from happening to others," he says.

"The Holocaust was destruction and brutality on an unimaginable scale and it was many tragedies. I think we need to learn from those tragedies, to try to prevent it from happening to others, of any faith or of no faith."

The Holocaust Memorial 2011 is put on by the Sgoolai Israel Synagogue, with partial funding from the Atlantic Jewish Council and contributions from individuals.

The programs for the event were printed by the TD Canada Trust branch on Prospect Street.

The memorial is taking place at the Sgoolai Israel Synagogue, 168 Westmorland St., at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. Everyone is welcome to attend.


What: Holocaust Memorial 2011
Information: Alexander Eisen will be the guest speaker at the annual Holocaust Memorial at the Sgoolai Israel Synagogue, 168 Westmorland St., on Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m. A reception will follow in the social hall.
Contact: To learn more, visit,679398

Governor hails work group to import Israeli technology

Chandigarh, Apr 28 : Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia today expressed happiness that the state government had constituted a work group to import Israeli technology to use brackish water in agriculture and horticulture in the larger interest of the farming community.

The Governor was speaking in a meeting convened at Haryana Raj Bhawan wherein a report was submitted regarding the recent Israel visit by a high level delegation led by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

He said that 52 per cent of the area of Haryana was facing problem of brackish water in some districts including Faridabad, Gurgaon, Palwal, Jhajjar, Rohtak, Sonepat, part of Panipat, Jind and Kaithal.

Israel was successfully utilising brackish water for use of agriculture and horticulture.The work group would study the system of water conservation and use of brackish water for agriculture as was being done by Israel, he added.

He said, "Water is very essential input for crops, animals and livelihood. Day by day the availability of water is declining.

Therefore, conservation of water is necessary for sustainability in future.''

Israel Leads in Agriculture Technologies

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Israel Boasts Agricultural Innovations

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Israel Cultivates Desert Agriculture

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Heleni Bistro Bar - Jerusalem, Israel

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Heleni Bistro Bar Jerusalem

The Heleni Bistro Bar is located in the heart of Jerusalem, offering a rich, varied Italian meat menu and a night menu featuring a assortment of alcoholic beverages, draft beer and tasty snacks. Heleni offers outdoor and indoor seating, a VIP floor for events.

The Heleni Bistro Bar is located in the heart of Jerusalem, offering a rich, varied Italian meat menu and a night menu featuring a assortment of alcoholic beverages, draft beer and tasty snacks. Heleni offers outdoor and indoor seating, a VIP floor for events with up to 30 guests, business lunches, take-away and deliveries, with a variety of excellent dishes and professional service.

Jerusalem forum for at-risk youth teaches coping skills

Forum discusses problems in the haredi sector, as well as the high incidence of suicide among Israeli youth.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was joined by teachers, youth groups, youth advocates, city councilors and students for the first-ever “Forum for At-Risk Youth” on Wednesday evening, in the municipality’s first attempt to unite the city’s various educational programs to solve some of the most pressing problems faced by the city’s teens.

The forum was held just prior to the lighting of the “Lights of Hope,” a 720- meter-long flag, which was lit on Wednesday night on the walls of the Old City near Jaffa Gate, by President Shimon Peres, Barkat and Nava Barak, the head of the ELEMYouth in Distress organization, to raise awareness and funds for at-risk youth.

Spearheaded by youth advocate powerhouse Shabtai Amedi, head of the municipality’s Kidum Noar (For the Advancement of Youth) program, the forum discussed problems in the haredi sector, as well as the high incidence of suicide among Israeli youth.

The ultra-orthodox is the sector with one of the highest drop-out rates, at 10.9 percent. Additionally, 8% of haredi youth are not enrolled in any kind of educational framework.

In 2010, there were 640 reported incidents of suicide attempts among people aged 14 to 24, according to hospital emergency rooms across the country. This does not include the suicide attempts that went unreported, said Talal Ben Noar, a 16-year-old from Beit HaKerem, and an active participant in Kidum Hanoar, who presented the findings on suicide rates to the forum.

She pointed out that Facebook and online harassment was the cause of at least one suicide in the past year, when a 15-year-old from Kfar Adumim hanged himself after receiving nasty comments on his Facebook page.

She added that the causes of depression and suicide were complex – especially in the ultra-orthodox and religious sectors, where the social stigma can keep some people from seeking help.

Another Kidum HaNoar participant, Natan Stivelberg, criticized the municipality’s suggestion to fund more therapists.

“Don’t just look for money for more therapists, we need to look for alternative ways for people who won’t ask for help,” said Stivelberg. “Make school more meaningful for them... the only reason I stay in school is my cinematography class. Find more options like that.”

Echoing Stivelberg’s comments was Fiona Kanter, the mother of 16-year-old Lee Gabriella Vatkin, who died after a drug overdose in June 2010.

“My daughter was one of the ones who fell through the cracks,” Kanter told the forum. She stressed the need for informal educational options – something the city is presently lacking. There are successes in Jerusalem’s struggle to help troubled youth, Kanter told The Jerusalem Post, citing alternative schools like Meled, or the four-year-old “Parent’s Patrol,” for parent volunteers who oversee troubled neighborhoods.

But one giant gap in the city is informal programs.

Kanter, who worked for Nir Barkat’s mayoral campaign as the organizer for Anglo residents, is trying to start a non-institutional afternoon “school” in her daughter’s memory, which will offer teenagers a structured framework in the afternoon.

While drop-in centers already exist in the city, Kanter wants to offer courses including philosophy, drug education and a “street smarts” course that would teach kids how to open a bank account, or rent an apartment.

Kanter said that rather than relying on an extensive network of donations to start her initiative, she wants it to be funded by the municipality, because she envisions it as the overreaching “umbrella” for youth organizations in Jerusalem.

In the meantime, before the one-year anniversary of her daughter’s death in six weeks, Kanter hopes to launch a Facebook page for Jerusalem youth called “Interactivi-Lee,” where teenagers can reach out for help in a medium they are comfortable with.

Deaf-blind theater troupe touches audiences

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Though they cannot hear or speak, the Israeli actors in Nalaga'at stage full-length, professional performances -- the only shows like this in the world.

These actors can't see or hear. Nevertheless, their unique theatrical presentation captivates audiences by blending touch, mime, sign language and music in a show about dreams and disability.

"It's everything good theater actually is and should be and so seldom is nowadays," says Adina Tal, director of Nalaga'at Center (, an Israeli troupe made up of 11 deaf and blind actors from Tel Aviv-Jaffa. In Hebrew, na lagaat means "please touch."

The only deaf and blind theater troupe in the world, Nalaga'at has also performed in North America and Europe. There are two full-length shows in the repertoire. The actors learn their parts slowly, each paired with a translator who signs instructions into the palms of their hands.

"It really, really changed my life being here at Nalaga'at," says actress Batsheva Ravenseri through interpreter Feige Swirsky. "I got in touch with a lot of interpreters, who support us, and they love us and we love each other."

NY composer Peter Lieberson dies in Israel at 64

American composer Peter Lieberson, who wrote his most inspired songs for his great love, the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, has died at age 64.

Lieberson died Saturday at a hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel, of complications from lymphoma, said Peggy Monastra, an executive at his New York-based publisher, G. Schirmer.

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The New York-born composer, who lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was in Israel for medical treatment. He had been diagnosed with the cancer while still mourning his wife's 2006 death of breast cancer.

Lieberson was a well-established artist years before he met Lorraine Hunt in 1997. His works were being performed by the top U.S. orchestras and soloists including cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianists Emanuel Ax and Peter Serkin.

A follower of Tibetan Buddhism, Lieberson came from a generation of composers whose classical music was suffused with references to more popular, audience-friendly styles such as jazz and Broadway.

In 1983, Serkin premiered Lieberson's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which then commissioned three more works from him, including the 2010 "Songs of Love and Sorrow" for baritone, to poems by Pablo Neruda.

Lieberson was especially drawn to vocal music in recent years, writing songs for Hunt Lieberson to poems by Neruda and Rainer Maria Rilke.

After Hunt Lieberson's death at age 52, National Public Radio titled a program about their magical collaboration "Tracing Love's Arc." She had canceled most of her concerts in the final months of her life _ except for performances of the "Neruda Songs" with orchestra that her husband wrote for her and she recorded.

The Washington Post called them "one of the most extraordinarily affecting artistic gifts ever created by one lover to another."

Metropolitan Opera music director James Levine, who conducted a Boston performance, said the music was "a kind of miracle."

"We didn't have any idea that we would lose Lorraine so soon," Levine told NPR. "But Peter could hardly have written a more appropriate piece, in every respect _ to her talent, to her artistry, to her emotion and intelligence and everything that she had _ which was really extraordinary."

Lieberson once said that her voice gave him chills _ long before they met.

"I realized it was a kind of force that I was listening to," he said. "It wasn't the trained voice so much that impressed me _ it was the soul behind it."

Those who heard his compositions had a similar reaction to his talent.

After a 2006 concert, New York Times critic Allan Kozinn noted Lieberson's "cohesive, energetic and intensely communicative style ... and a current of lyricism and drama that gives this music its warmth and passion."

Lieberson was the son of Goddard Lieberson, then president of Columbia Records, and Vera Zorina, an actress and former ballerina. He learned harmony by listening to great jazz recordings and live Broadway shows, as well as recordings his father's company made of living classical composers including Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky.

Those influences converged in Lieberson's music, along with a fascination for Buddhism that blossomed during his years at Columbia University. He went to Colorado in 1976 to study with the Buddhist master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and married another disciple, Ellen Kearney. The couple led a Buddhist program in Boston, and Lieberson earned a doctorate from Brandeis University and taught composition at Harvard University.

Buddhism was central to his opera "Ashoka's Dream," the story of an ancient emperor of India. It premiered in Santa Fe in 1997, with Lorraine Hunt singing the part of Ashoka's second wife. Around then, Lieberson stumbled across a paperback at the airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that would change their artistic lives _ Neruda's "100 Love Sonnets," with its shocking pink cover.

In 1999, after divorce, Lorraine Hunt become Lieberson's second wife, for whom he also composed his 2001 "Rilke Songs."

Lieberson leaves three children from his first marriage. He also is survived by his third wife and longtime friend, the Tibetan writer Rinchen Lhamo.

PETER LIEBERSON (1946-2011): "O ihr Zartlichen" from Rilke Songs

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In memory of Peter Lieberson and
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (1954-2006).

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, mezzo-soprano
Peter Serkin, piano

from Bridge Records BCD9317 (2010)

Bridge Records is one of the many labels distributed by Albany Music, and with the passing this week of American composer Peter Lieberson, only a few years after the death of his wife, renowned Mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, we feel honored to present this selection with kind consent of Bridge.

Lieberson, son of the famed Columbia Records producer Goddard Lieberson, studied with such important composers as Milton Babbitt, Charles Wuorinen, Donald Martino and Martin Boykan.

The "Rilke Songs" were written for and dedicated to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.

"Working with Peter and Lorraine was a joy and a privilege. You knew you were making music with the most gifted artists, and spending time with two of the loveliest people on the planet." --David Starobin

Mountain Jewish Music Fest from Melody to Radical

Mountain Jewish Music Fest from Melody to Radical

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El-Op Receives Israel Defense Award For Development Of Imagery Intel System

File image of El-Op's advanced electro-optical photographic system, named Condor. The pod provides very large volumes of high resolution reconnaissance imagery in near real time. The imagery is provided in both the visible and infrared spectral bands from standoff distances beyond the enemy's air defence systems.

The Israel Defense Award was granted to a team consisting of Elbit Systems' subsidiary El-Op, Ness Technologies, the Israel Air Force (IAF) and Israeli Ministry of Defense, for the development of a highly advanced imagery intelligence system with unique anti-terrorism warfare capabilities.

To date - including the current win - Elbit Systems has received seven Israel Defense Awards.

El-Op CEO, Haim Rousso said he was proud of this achievement, which is a testament to both the Group's sophisticated R&D capabilities and to its customers' satisfaction. He added that El-Op has an established position as a global leader in the electro-optical systems industry and particularly in the field of imagery intelligence.

Joseph Ackerman, President of Elbit Systems, said that imagery intelligence is one of the most evolving areas globally, driving growing demand and sales of these systems to many armed forces worldwide.

Elbit Systems' imagery intelligence systems are industry leaders, showcasing the group's R&D capabilities and understanding of the market's tactical and unique operational requirements.

As announced at the beginning of the year, El-Op has recently been awarded contracts exceeding $100 million to supply imagery intelligence systems to various customers.

Elbit Systems CNR - 9000 Audio Production

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This video was made for Elbit Systems
All the audio production was produced in
PerfectVoices Studios

Elbit, Elettronica to develop anti-missile system

(Reuters) - Israeli defence firm Elbit Systems Ltd. (ESLT.TA) said on Wednesday its Elop unit and Italy's Elettronica SpA have agreed to jointly develop systems to protect helicopters and wide-bodied aicraft from low-altitude attack by shoulder-mounted, heat-seeking missiles.

The agreement builds on the experience of both companies in infra-red countermeasures. Elettronica was an early pioneer in the field, beginning in the 1980s.

Elop provides electro-optic digital technologies for military and space applications.

The Direct Infra-Red Counter-Measures (DIRCM) systems are intended to protect helicopters and larger aircraft during their take-off and landing.

Elettronica and Elop will jointly offer defence systems based on "MUSIC", the world's most advanced laser-based DIRCM protection system, Elbit (ESLT.O) said in a statement.

The system can operate with most types of Missile Approach Warning Systems.

The two companies will offer systems based on the technology for both military and civilian use. Marketing has already begun, with early deliveries expected by the end of 2008.

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Elbit Systems

Elbit Systems Ltd. is one of the world's largest defense electronics manufacturers and integrators. Established in 1967, and based in Haifa, Israel, Elbit employs 11,000 people worldwide.

Elbit Systems is traded on NASDAQ as well as on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange where it is a constitute of the TA-25 Index of leading shares; however, as of 2010 over 45% of its stock is owned or controlled by Michael Federmann, who serves as the company's Chairman of the Board.


Early years – A division within Elron

Elbit Systems was founded in 1966 by Elron Electronic Industries (TASE: ELRN), which combined the existing expertise within the Israel Ministry of Defense-Research Institute in special computer design with Elron's experience in electronic product design, manufacture and management (initially under the name Elbit Computers). Elbit steadily expanded developing and producing logistic-support weapon delivery and navigation systems for most Israeli aircraft, establishing a combat avionics package for the IAI Lavi fighter aircraft, and producing a fire-control system for the Merkava tank.

1996 IPO on NASDAQ

In 1996, Elbit spun off into three independent companies:

Elbit Medical Imaging NASDAQ: EMITF - During 1999 to 2000 Elscint (Another affiliate of Elron) and Elbit Medical Imaging sold their imaging activities to General Electric Medical Systems and to Picker (now part of Philips Medical Systems) for approximately $600 million.

Elbit Systems – Created as the defence electronics arm of Elbit, the company had an Initial public offering on the NASDAQ stock market and finished its first day of trading at a price of $7.75 (on 25 August 2009 it reach an all time high of $70.69).

Elbit - which focused on communications activities and in 1999 led the consortium that founded Partner Communications Company Ltd., Israel's first GSM operator NASDAQ: PTNR. In 2002 Elbit was merged into Elron. Elron sold its shares in Partner during 2003-2006 for approximately $160 million.

Merger with El-Op

In 2000 Elbit Systems merged with El-Op (a company controlled by the current Chairman, Michael Federmann), creating the largest non governmental defense electronics company in Israel and increasing Elbit Systems' value which later in 2004 enabled Elron to sell its shares in Elbit Systems for approximately $200 million. Following the merger with El-Op, Michael Federmann became the largest shareholder in the combined group.
[edit] Growth by acquisition

Following the merger with El-Op, Michael Federmann and CEO Joseph Ackerman led an aggressive growth by acquisitions strategy. The company acquired companies, including:

- Elisra (70% ownership)
- Tadiran Communications
- Shiron Satellite Communications
- BVR Systems
- Assets of Israel Military Industries’ Aircraft Systems Division
- Innovative Concepts, Inc.
- Mikal Ltd (the company initially purchased 19% of the firm, and later agreed to acquire Mikal's 100% holdings in Soltam Systems and Saymar and the 87.85% portion of ITL held by Mikal, in exchange Mikal's owners received the 19% of Mikal that Elbit had purchased) Elbit subsequently announced a cash tender offer for the 12.15% remainder of ITL held by the public.

Elbit Systems Gets Contract Valued at About $18 Mln

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Elbit Systems (ESLT) announced it was awarded an approximately $18 million contract, for the supply of an Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation system for an Asian air force.

The contract is a follow-on order that calls for the supply of two additional complete systems (static and mobile) to be used for real-time, autonomous air-to-air and air-to-ground combat training and debriefing. The new systems will feature interoperability with an existing Elbit Systems' training system that the customer is already operating. The contract will be performed over the next two years.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Eureka will invest in 14 projects

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The European inter-state body for Research and Development - approved a series of promising cooperative R&D projects in a variety of areas, including renewable energy, agrofood technology, biotechnology, physical and exact sciences, IT and electronics, industrial manufacturing, and more when it assembled in Haifa and Nazareth earlier this month, under the auspices of the Israeli Chairmanship of the European body.

During the EUREKA meeting, 89 innovative projects totaling 134 million Euros of investment were approved. This includes 71 projects endorsed through the Eurostars program, a joint initiative of EUREKA and the European Commission which supports small and medium sized R&D intensive companies.

Fourteen of the 89 approved individual EUREKA and Eurostars projects have Israeli partners -- representing almost 16% of the total. Israel is only one of 40 member countries in EUREKA but represents just under one fifth of the individual project proposals approved during this meeting.

Safdie - the architect who planned to be a farmer

Cities, museums, malls, hotels, and even mosques – Moshe Safdie’s architecture can be found all over the world.

Israel-born Moshe Safdie is firmly rooted in the soil from which his ‘humane designs' rise above the landscapes of the US and Asia.

The architect of some of Israel's most iconic structures, from Yad Vashem to the Mamilla and David's Village compound that links the Old City with modern Jerusalem, has created housing, hotels and museums - even a mosque - that dot the globe.

Yet to his surprise, Moshe Safdie is usually described as a Jewish or Israeli architect. "For better or worse, it's part of my identity," he tells ISRAEL21c.

It's not that these adjectives aren't accurate. Safdie was born in Haifa in 1938 to a Jewish family with roots in mystical Safed (hence the surname) and later in Aleppo, Syria. He maintains a branch office in Jerusalem and votes in every Israeli election. The modifiers are, however, a bit limiting for a world-renowned urban planner, theorist, educator and author who is a proud citizen of three countries.

Growing buildings instead of crops

Safdie was 15 when his parents decided to immigrate to Canada. After a carefree childhood raising bees and chickens and going on scouting expeditions with his friends in the gestating state of Israel, the change was traumatic.

"When we were 13 or 14, we all pretty much figured we'd go to Nachal [the Fighting Pioneer Youth infantry brigade] and then form our own kibbutz," he says, recalling that he was an ardent Zionist and socialist even as a teen. "I was going to study at Kadouri Agricultural School, where Yitzhak Rabin had studied. Now, I had two years of high school left, and agriculture had vanished as an option."

An aptitude test revealed the young man's strengths in math and art, pointing toward a career that would combine both. "Had I not left Israel," he reflects now, "I might not have been an architect."

Safdie studied for six years at Montreal's McGill University. His groundbreaking thesis on experimental prefabricated housing formed the basis for his first major project -- the master plan for the 1967 Montreal International and Universal Exposition.

Habitats in Montreal and Modi'in

"I proposed a habitat -- a sort of a fairy tale -- and it got approved and built. That was the beginning of my professional practice," he says. Many years later, he would put some of the same "humane design" principles into play when designing Modi'in, one of Israel's first planned cities.

However, every Safdie creation is uniquely specific to place and culture. "A building cannot be experienced as independent of the land in which it is rooted," Safdie says.

Before pulling out his sketchpad to begin a new project, he spends considerable time at the site and with the client, absorbing the subtle messages of physical context, culture, past and symbolism.

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority museum complex that Safdie had a hand in creating from 1987 to 2005, was one of his most challenging assignments "from the point of view of coming up with architecture that can resonate with the charge of memory and history."

An avid student of biology and physics, he endeavors to harmonize his structures with their natural setting. "I am interested in how nature evolves designs to respond to the survival of an organism and in applying these principles and sensibilities to architecture," he says.

Indigenous materials are key to this approach. For the new Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, completed in 2004, Safdie incorporated Jerusalem stone and rainwater elements "to show the significance of water in our culture and ecology." Mindful that this building represents Israel to millions of visitors, he designed its central rotunda "as a gateway to the country where passengers arriving and departing pass each other in a celebratory way."

Global citizen

Safdie says he maintains "a trilogy of loyalties" to Israel, Canada and the United States.

Safdie and his wife, Jerusalem-born photographer Michal Ronnen Safdie, moved to Massachusetts shortly after he became director of the urban design program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design in 1978, a position he held for 12 years until his practice left him little time for academia. Safdie Architects is based near Boston and has offices in Toronto and Singapore as well as Jerusalem.

He returned for the first time to his native country after the 1967 Six-Day War, with an assignment to mastermind restoration projects in and near the ancient quarter of the capital city.

This commission turned into the most monumental, and often frustrating, accomplishment of Safdie's 40-year career. Due to myriad logistical and bureaucratic hurdles, 35 years went by from the time he began renovating the first structure, Yeshiva Porat Yosef opposite the Western Wall, until completion of the blockbuster final piece, the Mamilla residential and shopping complex and luxury hotel.

Several other plans were conceptualized but never built, including housing in the Jerusalem Forest, which was scrapped in the face of overwhelming public disapproval. Political problems have plagued Safdie's vision for the renovation of the City of David, which he formulated partially with the aim of regularizing and legalizing the status of the neighborhood's many Arab squatters.

Safdie, who speaks Arabic, says he maintains close relationships with Palestinians and often receives inquiries from students and faculty in Muslim countries. He has designed projects in Senegal and Iran, a mosque in Dubai and the Asian University of Women in Bangladesh, where he was feted by the prime minister and foreign minister.

"Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie" premiered at the Safdie-designed National Gallery of Canada in October 2010 and will travel around North America over the next two years.

The exhibit's curator, Donald Albrecht of the Museum of the City of New York, said Safdie is "especially adept at realizing the aspirations of a surprisingly diverse group of clients."

Urban to rural, small to mega

Safdie's completed works run the gamut in terms of setting and scale.

Among his many well-known designs are the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Harvard Business School master plan, the Ford Center for the Performing Arts and Vancouver Library Square in British Columbia; Exploration Place Science Center in Wichita, Kansas; the Salt Lake City Main Public Library, Utah; the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts; the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia; and Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

Now 73, Safdie has five new projects opening this year: Marina Bay Sands Resort in Singapore; the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri; the United States Institute of Peace Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; the Khalsa Heritage Center in Punjab, India; and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Also under construction are an addition to Safdie's Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles; the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel, in Jerusalem; and a high-density residential development in Qinhuangdao, China.

The would-be farmer has certainly cultivated the land, even if not in the way he had expected.

Budo for Peace teaches more than just martial arts

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A shared love of martial arts brings together both Arab and Jewish children from villages in Israel's north to learn not just karate but respect, tolerance, and more.

Educational program

The Budo For Peace program is comprised of physical trainings and educational workshops. It aims to strengthen participants' physical, mental and cognitive abilities.

Weekly training sessions

Is club is comprised of 10-20 students. Students meet with their local instructor twice a week for 1.5 hour-long lessons. Each session includes one hour of physical training and a 30-minute educational program. Physical training varies based on the instructor expertise and experience; traditional martial arts taught in BFP clubs include: Karate, Judo, Aikido, Taekwando and more.

During the second half of each lesson, the instructor teaches part of the BFP educational program. The 2-year program utilizes discussion, activities and role playing to teach the students about budo values - the inherent code of behavior found in all traditional martial arts. By using martial arts terminology, the program connects expected behavior to everyday life. Once acquired, the twelve chapters will assist BFP students in learning tolerance, participating in coexistence programming and how to prevent bullying and unnecessary violence.

The twelve chapters are each printed in Hebrew, Arabic and English. Each language is written in culturally-sensitive, martial arts terminology. To preview the first chapter on courtesy, click here.


All BFP instructors are black belts in their chosen martial art. All instructors hold a Teaching Certificate and have a minimum of two years teaching experience. Instructors choose to join BFP because they believe in the organization's vision for building tolerance and understanding through the martial arts.

Three times each year, Budo for Peace instructors join together for a two-day seminar. During these sessions, our instructors enjoy and experience the vision in action. They share their own professional knowledge and experience during physical training sessions. They discuss teaching techniques during workshops and dialogue groups. During each Sensei Seminar, the Budo for Peace Educational Coordinator leads training sessions, offering techniques and suggestions for optimal use of the BFP Educational Program.

Sensei Patrick Rault with Budo for Peace students in Jisr Azarka

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What is Budo?

Bu: Stopping conflict

Do: Way

Budo: "The way of stopping conflict”

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The Japanese word budô, loosely translated as "martial arts,” literally means "the way of stopping conflict.” The word is made up of two characters – "bu” (武) which encompasses both "stop” and "conflict,” and "do”(道) meaning "the way,” as in karate-do, aiki-do, ju-do, ken-do. Students of the traditional Japanese martial arts learn to deal with and control conflict, both within themselves and between themselves and others.

Although different budo may vary in physical technique, they all share a general concept that training enhances the connection between the mind, body and spirit. The mind develops concentration, focus and self-discipline. The body becomes fit while one learns to defend oneself. The spiritual training offers emotional stability and a way to live in harmony and balance with the world.

Budo is considered a way of life. All budo practitioners share the general philosophy that by training the mind and body, one develops ki (inner power) and with this energy one can create wa (harmony) with oneself and with others in the world.

The four main principles of budo are respect, harmony, self control, and self improvement.

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Budo for Peace