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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, December 26, 2011

If SIRI was Israeli…. (Sorry, in Hebrew)

A very funny, obviously fake video, of an Israeli SIRI.
WARNING: Only funny if you understand Hebrew and are somewhat fluent in Israeli slang.

Click To View Video

Trekking along the Jesus Trail in northern Israel

Historical sites of importance to different religions, lots of nature, spectacular panoramas and physical challenges – Such is the experience of trekking along the Jesus Trail in the Galilee.

As I am in Israel for a long, but finite amount of time, and as a Christian visitor interested in both physical and spiritual challenges, I decided to seek out a pilgrimage route that would allow me to experience the Galilee and sites from the life of Jesus in a more personal way than on a tour bus – by taking a trek. This would also afford me some time alone, and the opportunity to make peace with what was a difficult year for me personally. To that end, I decided to check out the Jesus Trail.

This is how I met Maoz Inon, a 35-year-old entrepreneur who owns the Fauzi Azar Inn in Nazareth, plus another hostel in Jerusalem. It was he who initiated and developed the trail, according, he told me, to three principles: that it would feature hiking in beautiful landscapes, it would have a connection to Christian tradition, and it would encourage the involvement of local communities. In 2009, Inon won the support of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, which agreed to paint the yellow trail markings, as well as of several local governments and the acknowledgment of the Tourism Ministry.

The Jesus Trail is a 65-kilometer hiking path in the Galilee, leading from Nazareth northeast to the Capernaum area on the northern bank of Lake Kinneret. We learn from the New Testament that Jesus walked in this general area on a regular basis. While there’s no way of knowing if he walked along the precise trail now named after him, this could have been the case.

Inon suggested a four-day “classic” Jesus Trail tour, a trip that can be lengthened or shortened according to the individual’s needs. As for me, I’m a 38-year-old journalist from Berlin and a sometimes-ambitious hiker in pretty good condition, but I had absolutely no intention of breaking any speed records or getting up at 6 in the morning. Four days of fairly intensive hiking would be just the right amount of effort, I decided.

One need not be a religious Christian to find interest in the trail, which integrates historical sites from different eras, related to different religions – in addition to a lot of nature, spectacular panoramas and physical challenges.

Arriving in Nazareth, I am warmly welcomed at the Fauzi Azar Inn, located in an impressively renovated Arab mansion, and also, while exploring the town, by the local citizens. After visiting the shuk and the El-Babour spice mill (compared to Tel Aviv, the prices it charges for its huge variety of nuts, grains and spices come as a great relief ), I enter the Roman Catholic Basilica of the Annunciation, where Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel (as recounted in the Book of Luke 1 ) and received the news of her pregnancy.

Inside is a group of French pilgrims who sing and play a guitar so beautifully that I do not mind the fact there are so many of them, and I sit for a long time.

In the evening I have dinner with a Spanish tourist at a local restaurant, and we end up singing along with a group of young Arab Israelis who sing in a choir directed by Palestinian singer Dalal Abu Amneh.

The following morning I hit the road early, after a big Israeli breakfast with Heather, a young American volunteer at the Fauzi. She also serves as a guide for trail pilgrims, and is supposed to help me get going on my way toward Kafr Kana, my first stop.

We leave Nazareth through a lot of garbage, pass through olive groves and Zippori National Park and enter the small Arab village of Mash’had, which in Muslim tradition is the birthplace of the Prophet Jonah. From there it’s downhill, with Kafr Kana already in sight.

The 14-kilometer walk to Kafr Kana has taken me about five hours. I arrive at the Cana Wedding Guest House, a nice, family-run place right next to the Franciscan “Wedding Church,” where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine (John 2:11 ). In biblical times, weddings went on for a couple of days and the entire community was invited, so copious amounts of wine were required. The guest house offers about 50 beds, the only ones available in the whole village. That is very peculiar, considering all the weddings and other ceremonies that take place here, and the pilgrims’ groups that arrive practically every day. I witness an elderly couple renewing their marital vows in the presence of their families; they all sing and take pictures so happily that, for the second time in two days, I decide to remain in the church for a long while.

Worth fighting for

Inon accompanies me for two kilometers the next morning after I leave Kafr Kana, and explains that he hopes the lack of accommodations there and in other historical places in the Galilee might eventually ease up thanks to his efforts. He says he was a little bit surprised when the Israeli Tourism Ministry dedicated a new hiking path called the Gospel Trail in November, which follows almost the same route as the Jesus Trail. The ministry invested NIS 3 million in its new trail, in light of the fact that Christian visitors, whose numbers are increasing, represent more than two-thirds of all incoming tourists – a target audience worth fighting for.

After Inon leaves me, I continue through fields, via the nice Beit Keshet forest and past an army base, until I hit the busy Road 65 close to Golani Junction. Due to construction I lose the path of the trail, and discover I am lost. Fortunately, all roads lead to Rome. “Rome,” in this case, is Kibbutz Lavi, which I arrive at via a dirt path, having only missed paving stones from an ancient Roman road that once linked Acre and Tiberias.

Lavi, founded in 1949 by British immigrants, is an Orthodox religious kibbutz and the country’s biggest manufacturer of synagogue furniture (seats, holy arks, lecterns and so on ). Manager Guido Sasson takes me on a tour of the kibbutz, which also has a large hotel and an agricultural branch.

The next morning, the sun is shining and the Horns of Hattin are waiting for me. The Horns are a double-peaked volcanic formation located six kilometers to the west of Tiberias. From the summit, one has a panoramic view of the entire Jesus Trail route, including the Arbel Cliffs, Lake Kinneret and Nazareth, as well as a good view of Mount Hermon to the far north. In 1187, Muslim forces under Saladin defeated the Frankish Crusader army here, ending the Christian conquest of the Holy Land.

Up on top of the Horns, I am ready to prolong this moment of awe, but out of nowhere, some 50 schoolchildren chattering loudly in Arabic appear on the scene. So I keep moving, descending the site along a pretty steep and rocky footpath now, along a lot of crushed cyclamen. The trail down to the Druze shrine Nebi Shu’eib leads me along a fence for too long; it is neither very comfortable to walk on nor pretty, and I am already exhausted.

I dare not rest at the huge mosque-like Nebi Shu’eib, which is the traditional tomb of Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro (a prophet according to the Druze ), because I am worried I might not get to Moshav Arbel before dark. I still have a walk about some four hours ahead of me, and it is already 1 o’clock. While I can see the beautiful road leading into the scenic Arbel Valley from the entrance to the shrine, to reach it I first have to backtrack along a paved road and turn, so that I can continue the other way.

Dead woman walking

From this point, I walk endlessly without pausing – through ancient olive groves, past the ruins of the mosque of the abandoned village of Hittin, and hopping over a little stream several times as it winds back and forth across the trail – until my legs are in great pain. I need to sit down. Also, I seem to have lost the Jesus Trail again. I choose another path, which takes me out of the valley and up onto a hill, through high grass and some ancient ruins. I focus on a paved road ahead of me and climb up to it. From there I make my way to the ruins of a 4th-century synagogue that affords a great view of the valley. Just before dark, I hurry into the Arbel cooperative agricultural community, where my next overnight accommodations, at the Shavit family’s bed & breakfast, await me.

Yisrael, the cook and owner of this pretty place, brings me fresh mint tea and a plate of five pieces of chocolate, which he just made himself, he says. I feel like I just entered the Garden of Eden. And the breakfast he brings me the following morning is the best I have ever had, if only because it gives me enough strength for the hardest part of the trail, my mission for the day: from Arbel National Park via the village of Wadi Hamam to Tabgha and Capernaum. It’s 18 kilometers and my legs are sore just from thinking about it.

But I forget all the pain when I enter the Arbel Park and admire the view of Lake Kinneret from the lookout point on the mount. Again, two classes of schoolchildren join me and I unwillingly share their lectures, and am way too close to the yelling of their elderly teacher in Hebrew. I quickly follow the steep path down the face of the cliff, certain that no teacher would send their students down there – but I am wrong. They are right behind me, which is a little bit reassuring after all. Thank God for the helpful metal “staples” at the steepest sections, which one can grab hold of.

I enter the valley and see the mosque in the Bedouin village of Wadi Hamam, which dates back to Roman times. The muezzin starts to chant the most beautiful traditional call to prayer I’ve ever heard over the mosque’s loudspeakers. I freeze and find tears welling up in my eyes. Not speaking to people for six-hour periods for several days in a row, and also being physically exhausted, obviously makes me very emotional and sensitive to human noise.

I walk from Wadi Hamam to Tabgha once again, seemingly endlessly and in a virtual state of meditation, through flat farmland, past pleasant orchard-and-fruit-tree scenery, but feel it is an hour too much of the same thing.

When I get to Tabgha, at the northwest corner of the Kinneret, I am already a dead woman walking. Before reaching the shores of the lake, I visit the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes (“Jesus then took the leaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish” John 6:11 ), built at the site in Byzantine times. I admire the beautiful ancient mosaic, light a candle and sit down for a minute with a friendly Asian nun. But just for a minute, as I still have three kilometers to go before I reach Capernaum, my final destination.

As I hurry along the Kinneret’s beach-side promenade, I meet two other trekking women, very interested in my Jesus Trail experiences. While the sun is going down, I tell them how beautiful and exhausting Day 3 and Day 4 were, and how I wish that more people would walk along the trail, so that maybe the inhabitants of the towns it passes through will stop throwing their garbage alongside, and instead set up B&Bs and coffee shops and other places to serve pilgrims and trekkers, and provide their communities with revenues.

When I finally reach Capernaum, Jesus’ “home base” during his ministry in the Galilee, I find a historic site that also features the impressive ruins of a large fifth-century synagogue. At this site Jesus was said to have performed several miracles, including healing a servant and a paralytic, and driving out a demon. When I stumble into the entrance, I ask the cashier if there are any buses or taxis that can take me to Tiberias. The response is negative, but it is accompanied by a friendly offer of a ride when the place closes for the day.

Meanwhile, I walk another kilometer to see the beautiful, pink-domed Orthodox church of Capernaum, located east of the ruins, and then somehow tumble back again to catch my ride. I am so tired, the waiting car feels like a miracle to me. Hallelujah.


Nazareth as an Eating Destination (Via NYtimes)

THE bartender at Misk, a new restaurant and concert space in Nazareth, Israel, hurriedly scrolled through YouTube videos. His search was projected on a large screen, a new addition to the Ottoman-era white stone building. At last, he found a dance remix of an Arabic birthday song, and as the frenetic opening chords filled the room, a waitress strode out holding a cake fizzing with 18 sparkler candles.

This stylish restaurant, opened in Israel’s largest Arab city last November, is deservedly popular with the younger generation of Nazarenes. In the last few years they have seen the dining scene in their city, which is known primarily for being the childhood home of Jesus, evolve from one offering mainly fast food, like falafel and shawarma, to one filled with creative Arabic fusion kitchens like Misk, where classic Palestinian dishes are given a worldly makeover.

In the middle of Nazareth’s Old City quarter, men and women order salmon with mint leaves, black tahini and okra; and toast with complicated cocktails and shots of tequila. This is a significant change for the city of 73,000, populated by a mix of Muslim and Christian Arabs: Until a few years ago, alcohol was rarely seen on menus and women didn’t often go out at night. The emerging restaurant scene is helping to change that, and turning Nazareth from a two-hour stop on religious tours into a bona fide culinary destination.

“We’ve been eating the same things forever, but in the last five years we have seen so many new restaurants,” said Raja Marjieh, 18, a party guest at Misk.

At the Galilee Mill, housed in a rustic stone building near Mary’s Well, employees operated multicolored metal sifting machines in an open courtyard that smelled strongly of caraway. Sunflower seeds dried in the sun. Farther down the hill, restaurants like Misk and Sudfeh, a fusion bistro in a beautifully restored 19th-century Russian seminary with white stone arches and 40-foot-high ceilings, are serving contemporary Arabic cuisine made with the mill’s 1,000-odd herbs and spices.

“This city is developing,” declared Maroun Maalouf, 17, another guest at Misk, as a Michael Jackson remix began to play. “Maybe we’ll change our minds about emigrating and stay here.”

Indeed, it wasn’t long ago that young Arabs would leave Nazareth for Tel Aviv or abroad. The city was so neglected that donkeys with saddlebags were sometimes used for garbage removal. But in March 2010, the Israeli cabinet backed a $214 million plan to encourage development in 13 Israeli Arab localities, including more than $3 million earmarked over four years for Nazareth’s tourism industry. Starting in January, 15 new businesses will receive start-up grants of up to 30 percent of their initial investments from the tourism ministry, and several years of reduced taxes.

The government investments will help, but the culinary flowering can be traced to a notion that Arabs here had better fend for themselves. This coincided with a worsening of political events, which some residents say encouraged them to stay in town rather than face antagonism elsewhere. Tensions between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs simmered from the start of the Second Intifada in 2000 until well after the 2006 Lebanon War.

Yet several new spots opened in Nazareth during those years, even as Israeli Jews stopped coming to Nazareth and Christian pilgrims canceled trips to Israel (both have since returned). The most celebrated nouvelle Arabic restaurant in Nazareth, Alreda — which is ranked No. 1 in the Middle East on TripAdvisor — opened in 2003.

“We understood we were not really welcome in Israeli places,” explained Tawfik Dawahri, a native Nazarene now living in Paris, as he dined at Alreda. “So the Arabs said, ‘Why should we go outside of the city?’ ”

Before the conflict, Nazarenes had driven to Haifa, the closest major city, to go to clubs, bars and restaurants. Now there were suspicious glances to endure, leaving traveling residents uncomfortable.

“Liberal young people needed good places to go out near their houses, not 40 kilometers away,” said Daher Zeidani, the owner of Alreda.

With its charming Old World décor and delightful garden terrace, Alreda must have seemed like a veritable oasis to the isolated Nazarenes. It could not have hurt that virtually every dish on the menu is a winner. A Moroccan-style chicken, almond and honey pastilla is a fantastic amalgam of savory and sweet. A salad of baby lettuce, soy sprouts, roasted onions, tomatoes, oranges and pistachios is as complexly flavored as it sounds, and pairs well with a refreshing Old Nazareth cocktail of arak, lemonade and mint. A magnificent Lebanese-inspired pistachio dessert took Mr. Zeidani 10 years to perfect.

For full article click here

Israelis develop cancer ‘cluster bomb’

Tel Aviv University medical researchers say they have come up with new technique for blasting cancer tumors from inside out, reducing risk of disease returning after treatment

Israeli medical researchers say they have developed a new technique for blasting cancer tumors from the inside out which reduces the risk of the disease returning after treatment.

Tel Aviv University Professors Yona Keisari and Itzhak Kelson are about to start clinical trials of a pin-sized radioactive implant that beams short-range alpha radiation from within the tumor.

Unlike conventional radiation therapy, which bombards the body with gamma rays from outside, the alpha particles “diffuse inside the tumor, spreading further and further before disintegrating,” a university statement quoted Keisari as saying.

“It’s like a cluster bomb – instead of detonating at one point, the atoms continuously disperse and emit alpha particles at increasing distances.”

The university said that the process takes about 10 days and leaves behind only non-radioactive and non-toxic amounts of lead.

“Not only are cancerous cells more reliably destroyed, but in the majority of cases the body develops immunity against the return of the tumor,” the statement said.

The wire implant, inserted into the tumor by hypodermic needle, “decays harmlessly in the body,” it added.

It went on to say that in pre-clinical trials on mice, one group had tumors removed surgically while another was treated with the radioactive wire.

“When cells from the tumor were reinjected into the subject, 100% of those treated surgically redeveloped their tumor, compared to only 50% of those treated with the radioactive wire,” it said.

“The researchers have had excellent results with many types of cancer models, including lung, pancreatic, colon, breast, and brain tumors.”

It added that the procedure would begin clinical trials at Beilinson hospital, near Tel Aviv, “soon.”


A Look at New NYC Campus to be Built by Cornell and Israel’s Technion

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Technion Executive Vice President and director General Dr. Avital Stein and congratulated her on the selection of the Technion, along with Cornell University, to build an applied science and engineering campus in New York City.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “This is an additional achievement for the Technion less than ten days after Professor Dan Shechtman won the Nobel Prize. This is additional proof of the accomplishments of local technology, and a source of pride for both higher education and the entire State of Israel.”

About the project

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cornell University President David J. Skorton, and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology President Peretz Lavie on Monday, December 19, announced an historic partnership to build a two-million-square-foot applied science and engineering campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City. “Thanks to this outstanding partnership and groundbreaking proposal from Cornell and the Technion, New York City’s goal of becoming the global leader in technological innovation is now within sight,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

The campus will be organized around three interdisciplinary hubs: Connective Media, Healthier Life, and the Built Environment. Cornell will immediately offer Master and Doctoral degrees in areas such as Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Information Science and Engineering. In addition, after receiving the required accreditation, the campus will also offer innovative Technion-Cornell dual Master of Applied Sciences degrees.

The NYCTech Campus will host entrepreneurs-in-residence, organize business competitions, provide legal support for startups, reach out to existing companies to form research partnerships and sponsor research, and establish a pre-seed financing program to support promising research. The NYCTech Campus will also establish a $150 million revolving financing fund that will be solely devoted to start-up businesses in the City.

Cornell is widely known as a global leader in the fields of applied science, engineering, technology and research, as well as commercialization and entrepreneurship.Cornell is home to the top-rated Ivy League engineering program and is one of only a handful of institutions with top-10 programs in the key disciplines that drive today’s tech sector: Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Materials Science and Nanotechnology, and Information Science.

Like Cornell, the Technion also has a world-class track-record in research, development and entrepreneurship. The Technion’s departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science are considered to be among the best in the world. The Technion boasts top ranking faculty members including Nobel laureates -the most recent, Professor Dan Shechtman – who just last week accepted the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Professor Shechtman is also well-known for his course on entrepreneurship, now in its 26th year and boasting 10,000 graduates. The Technion has long been considered a driving force behind Israel’s emergence as one of the world’s great centers of technology.

Israel today has one of the highest concentrations of high-tech start-up companies globally. In partnership with a strong community of incubators, private investors, venture capitalists, angel groups and entrepreneurs, the Technion’s tech transfer arm, Technion Technology Transfer (T3), has filed an average of 300 new patents each year and annually nurtures innovative startups in sectors such as clean-tech, cell therapy, drug delivery, nanotechnology and others. Companies including Intel, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Yahoo! and Hewlett-Packard have established major operations near or on the Technion campus, where they can take advantage of  the world-class research and students and faculty members of the Technion.

The Technion graduates currently head nearly half of the 121 Israeli companies on the NASDAQ, which have a combined market value of over $28 billion. More than 70 percent of the Technion graduates are employed in the high technology sectors that drive Israel’s economic growth.  Presently, Israeli companies headed by the Technion graduates employ 85 percent of Israel’s technical workforce.  According to a recent article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, there are approximately 4,000 start-up companies located around the Technion’s home campus.

With the selection of Cornell/Technion now complete, the project is scheduled to move into the environmental and land use review process, expected to be completed by the fall of 2013. Groundbreaking on the first phase of the Roosevelt Island campus is expected by the beginning of 2015. A temporary off-site campus will be open in 2012.

Israeli Consulate Teams Up With Miss New York for Week of Channukah Cheer

Is Channukah early this year? Is it late this year? When was the last time Channukah was ever on time?

According to the Jewish calendar, Channukah begins on the 25th of the month of Kislev. This year is extra special as Channukah and Christmas meet, making for a week in which hundreds of millions of Americans are celebrating both remarkable holidays. All week long, the Consulate General of Israel in New York has been handing out holiday cheer to the children who  need it most.

“In the spirit of giving back during the holiday season, we are delighted to be able to bring a little holiday cheer to the children in our region and those that will be celebrating the holidays in hospitals” said Consul for Public Affairs Gil Lainer. By spreading the joy of Channukah (most importantly with sufganiyot) “we hope this will be the beginning of a sweet year for them and their families” continued Lainer.

We had some incredible partners too! On Monday, Consulate staff teamed up with Amber Collins, Miss New York 2011 and a host of Miss New York 2012 contestants for a night of fun at the Ronald McDonald House. This marks the second consecutive year the Israeli Consulate has thrown a Channukah party at the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald house is an amazingly supportive institution for children receiving treatment in the New York area, providing them and their families a wealth of services and housing at a nominal fee of only $35 per night.

The holiday party brought smiles to kids who truly need all the love and support in the world. There were magicians, cotton candy, bunnies, clowns, and of course, dreidels.

“Ronald McDonald House New York is honored to host the Consulate General of Israel in celebration of a holiday that means a great deal to us all,” said William T. Sullivan, president & CEO of Ronald McDonald House New York. “With Chanukah’s deep roots in hope and faith, we believe that their visit will bring renewed inspiration to our families.”

On Tuesday night, to ring in the first night of Channukah, the Consulate visited a special after-school program for kids at the Children’s Aid Society in Harlem. If there was one thing we all learned, it’s that playing dreidel transcends cultures. Everyone got in on the action! The girls of Miss New York were also in attendance, as well as a special performance by the hit a capella group “Pella Singers.”

Click To View Video

Later in the week, Consulate officials and staff visited children at the Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey and at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. Delivering teddy bears and sufganiyot was a small, but important way to lift their spirits during the holiday season.

The Sea is a Magnet for Israel’s Windsurfing Champ

Israel’s Olympic windsurfing hopeful Lee Korzits readily admits to being a hyperactive thrill-seeker. Only on the water is she truly able to focus. “I can’t concentrate anywhere else, so it’s like a meditation place for me,” she says. “I learn to be quiet - really quiet. I listen to the sea, and the sound of the waves is like a mantra.”

The 27-year-old Israeli became the youngest windsurfing world champion in 2003. In September, she earned the silver medal at the RS:X European Windsurfing Championships in Bulgaria and on December 11 Korzits captured the gold medal at the Women’s RS:X World Championship in Australia, in the second of four qualifying rounds for next summer’s London Olympics.

“Windsurfing for me is everything,” says Korzits. The challenging sport combines elements of sailing and surfing with gymnastic jumps, loops and spins.

Click To View Video

The daughter of a swimmer and a lifeguard, she was raised in the beach town of Michmoret, between Tel Aviv and Haifa, along with sister Bar and brother Tom. Her siblings also are windsurfers of note, and Tom was her first coach. Nearly every child in Michmoret learns to windsurf, says Korzits, who still lives near her childhood home. “I grew up in a place where everybody went to the [Emek Hefer Sailing] club together as kids, and the good ones stayed. A lot of good athletes come from this village of mine.”

An Israeli Olympic sport

Korzits follows in the footsteps of Gal Fridman, an Israeli windsurfer who won a bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and captured the gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

There was one point in her career when it seemed like she’d had enough. In 2006, following a board-surfing injury, Korzits had a well-publicized run-in with the national team consultant and quit competing for a couple of years. But she came back with a deeper love for her sport. Korzits took on a new coach last year - a childhood friend who knows her well - and she’s in the water three hours a day. She does lung-strengthening activities such as biking and swimming for another six hours, taking just one day per week to cut back a bit.

“It’s all about getting to the Olympics,” she says. “That’s the dream and we work very hard for it from the time we are young.”

She doesn’t consider her training regimen a burden, even though her schedule leaves little time for a social life. “I cannot rest if there are good waves,” she says. “I want to be in the water.”


Korzits may specialize in windsurfing but she also enjoys sunboarding and other extreme water sports. “I look for the danger. I like risks,” she admits.

In her many travels around the world - six different countries this year alone - she sometimes faces risks of a different sort, as a living symbol of Israel. “You kind of get used to it, from traveling the world,” says Korzits.

“I try to stay in a bubble. But I feel proud that I was born here and I live here. I know I’m Jewish and I love representing Israel. When you hear the national anthem that’s playing just because of you, it’s a feeling you cannot imagine.”

She says that during the qualifiers in Bulgaria, one of the best aspects of finishing in second place was seeing the Israeli flag posted on the results board. When the athletes came ashore in Australia, Korzits draped her flag around her shoulders and said she was ecstatic to win gold for her country.

Click To View Video

Korzits writes songs, and has broad interests despite never finishing high school (she took equivalency exams for her diploma). “I’m not a person who likes studying, but I like to know stuff.”

After her competitive days are over, she plans to stay close to shore. “I would like to teach windsurfing, to show kids what the sport can give them. In the sea, they have to handle something stronger than themselves. I want to give the power I got from nature to other people.”

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Apple to open research centre in Israel

Apple will open a new research and development centre in Israel that will focus on semiconductors, the Globes business daily reported on Thursday.

Apple will open a new research and development centre in Israel that will focus on semiconductors, the Globes business daily reported on Thursday.

JERUSALEM - Apple will open a research and development centre in Israel that will focus on semiconductors, the Globes business daily reported on Thursday.

The Israeli newspaper said the maker of iPods, iPads and iPhones has already hired Israeli high-tech veteran Aharon Aharon to run the centre.

Globes said that although Apple was a global innovation leader, it is a small investor in R&D. It invested $2.4 billion in R&D in 2010, just two per cent of its revenue and less than other high-tech firms, it said.

The R&D centre in Herzliya, Israel's version of Silicon Valley, would be Apple's first outside California, Globes said.

The newspaper said Apple vice-president of R&D Ed Frank was currently visiting Israel.

Earlier this week, Israeli media reported Apple was in advanced talks to buy Anobit, an Israeli maker of flash storage technology, for $400 million to $500 million.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Israeli takes the gold at Sailing World Championships


Israeli Windsurfer Lee Korzits has won the Sailing World Championships in Perth, Australia in the RS:X class.

This is her second world championship, eight years after her first title in 2003. European champion Zofia Noceti-Klepacka of Poland took second place.

Israeli President Shimon Peres called to congratulate Korzits. “If I had long arms I’d send them to hug you in the name of all the State of Israel. You fought the win and beat it with force stronger than any male force – feminine force. You are wonderful. The people love you ” Peres said.


NBA Star Amar’e Stoudemire to open Hebrew school?

NY Daily News reports American basketball player interested in opening school which would focus on teaching language, Jewish history

Take this report from the NY Daily News with a grain of salt, but it seems that NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire, the New York Knicks’ power forward, is embracing his Jewish heritage and is interested in opening a Hebrew school.

According to the NY Daily News: “Amar’e Stoudemire wants to get into education, but it has nothing to do with basketball. A source close to the New York Knick tells us the power forward is interested in opening a Hebrew school, which would focus on teaching the language and Jewish history.

“The insider says the idea appears to be on the back burner for the time being but that Stoudemire has discussed it seriously.

“The 29-year-old renaissance man, who speaks some Hebrew himself, went to Israel during the summer of 2010 to learn more about his Jewish heritage on his mother’s side of the family. He also sports a Star of David tattoo on his hand, and, after returning from the Holy Land, follows a kosher diet.

“Another source close to the b-baller tells us Amar’e is ‘always looking for ways to improve education and resources for all children,’ but ‘no school of any kind is currently in the works.’”


7.5 tons of Israeli nuts and seeds headed to Australia

Israeli candy distributor Leiman Shlissel strikes deal to export sunflower seeds to Coles, Woolworth’s supermarkets under Kliyat Gat brand

Leiman Shlissel, owner of the Kliyat Gat nuts and seeds brand, has struck a deal to export sunflower seeds to Australia.

More than 7.5 tons of nuts and seeds, mostly black sunflowers seeds, will be making their way soon to the shelves of the Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.

The seeds will be marketed in Australia under the Kilyat Gat brand.

“This deal matured following an unusual marketing move on our part,” says Revital Meder, Leiman Shlissel’s marketing manager. “We managed to reach Israeli ambassadors in many countries worldwide and recruit them as ‘Kliyat Gat’ ambassadors.”

Meder adds that the move contributed greatly to the completion of the deal, but was preceded by a lot of fieldwork in order to get to know the local market, contacting buyers, and business meetings with local decision makers.

“At the end of the day, the combination between quality, price and service is the crucial factor in such deals,” Meder notes, adding that the company plans to penetrate additional markets around the world.

Leiman Shlissel imports candy to Israel and exports kosher products to Jewish communities abroad. The Kliyat Gat brand leads the market of packed nuts and seeds in Israel.


Shooting Israel: South Korean Photographer Jungjin Lee’s Israel

“In this picture I show Israel’s sad beauty,” the Korean photographer Jungjin Lee says, as she looks at one of her recent works. Lee, who turned 50 this year, is one of three women who took part in the “Shooting Israel” photography project, in which 12 leading photographers from around the world spent a lengthy period documenting Israel through their lenses.

Lee took this picture about a year ago at Midreshet Ben-Gurion in the Negev. As elsewhere, here too she tries to describe through photography thoughts that she cannot express in words. The viewer must adopt an introspective, meditative sort of gaze, the kind Lee has personally used in recent years.

“I think this photograph shows how I interpret the Land of Israel as a metaphor. Not as a representative of the real world, but rather as something that can be anywhere,” she says. “My work is not just about the photograph; it is also close to poetry. Not a preoccupation with a topic, but rather [a means of] exposure of internal emotions.”

Lee visited Israel three times over the past year, for several weeks each time. This was her first time here. At first she toured the country, including the West Bank, in search of subjects to photograph. Jerusalem, the coastal road, the Golan Heights, Nazareth, Masada and Mitzpeh Ramon were some of the sites on her list.

In January she set up shop in the desert, and the result is before you.

Lee does not want to be treated as a photographer who documents a particular place and time, as photojournalists or portrait photographers do. Her thoughts and feelings while working on a picture are no less important to her than the photograph itself, she explains.

She prints her photographs in large format on handmade rice paper. This paper is thin but highly durable, and has been used in artwork in Korea and other Asian countries for centuries. In printing the photo – a manual process that takes place in a darkroom, with a special brush – she creates uniquely textured prints that have the qualities of a painting.

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Bnei Akiva's Version of "The Amazing Race" - Running Through the Land of Israel

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Netanyahu woos Arab world on Facebook

PM to chat with Arab web surfers on social networks, answer questions about Israel’s policy

“Hi, my name is Faisal from Saudi Arabia, and I would like to ask Mr. Netanyahu what’s going on with the military strike on Iran?” If this sentence sounds imaginary to you, it might not be in the near future.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed to open communication channels between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Arab world, as part of efforts to promote discourse between the sides.

To that end, Netanyahu plans to hold chats on Twitter and Facebook, where he will answer questions of web surfers from the Arab world, his replies simultaneously translated into Arabic.

The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson to the Arab media Ofir Gendelman held a similar chat recently, answering questions about the Arab Spring, the future relations with Egypt and, of course, the prospects of a military strike in Iran.

However, along with many curious participants, some took advantage of the forum in order to lash out at Israel.

“I wrote them thank you very much for teaching me new words in spoken Arabic,” said Gendelman, adding that “I told them they paid a great service to the State of Israel.”

Gendelman’s response most have caught the attention of Arab media, as he was soon after featured in a profile report on Asharq Al-Awsat – one of the leading newspapers in the Arab World.
Online chats with the Arab world is not a new phenomenon in Israel. Adel Hino and Lior Ben Dor, who head the Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s unit to the Arab world, also chat with Arab web users on a regular basis.

“In effect, we operate a virtual embassy in 22 Arab countries,” said Ben Dor, adding that their virtual initiative “bypasses censorship and crosses borders.”


Netanyahu: Schechtman Nobel is a Holiday for Israel

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On Dec. 10, 2011 as Prof. Dan Shectman received his Nobel prize in chemistry, hundreds of Technion students gathered in the Zielony Student Union to watch the ceremony live in the Heller Cinema. A standing ovation was given to Prof. Shechtman when he received the prize.

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Dan Shechtman (Hebrew: דן שכטמן) (born January 24, 1941 in Tel Aviv) is the Philip Tobias Professor of Materials Science at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, an Associate of the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, and Professor of Materials Science at Iowa State University. On April 8, 1982, while on sabbatical at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C., Shechtman discovered the icosahedral phase, which opened the new field of quasiperiodic crystals. He was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for "the discovery of quasicrystals".