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Did You Know?

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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Senate committee approves Israel security cooperation legislation

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved legislation that would enhance security cooperation with Israel.

The legislation, which was authored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and co-sponsored by 62 senators, would reaffirm U.S. policy to reinforce security cooperation with Israel. It was approved Tuesday during a committee business meeting.

The legislation is expected to move to the Senate floor for consideration.

In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed companion legislation that was sponsored by Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). The legislation passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 411-2.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbied for both pieces of legislation during its annual policy conference in March.

Source: JTA

Canadian Government signs historic agreement with Israel

New initiative will advance energy cooperation between the two countries
On June 27th, Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver signed an agreement between Canada and Israel to advance energy cooperation between the two countries. The agreement includes commitments to share policy expertise in energy management, promote industrial cooperation, and collaborate in various fields of innovation – including environmental best practices and unconventional sources of energy. Parallel to this initiative, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs has been engaging with Canada’s energy industries to explore opportunities in Israel’s nascent energy sector, an effort which will only be strengthened by yesterday’s announcement.

“We applaud Minister Oliver and the federal government for launching an initiative that will only enhance Canada’s position as a world leader in energy,” said David Koschitzky, Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the advocacy arm of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and other Canadian Federations. “With the recent discovery of oil and natural gas in Israel, this agreement provides an opportunity to leverage Canadian expertise for the goal of Israeli energy independence. For Canada, it offers greater access to a burgeoning marketplace of both customers and innovators – both crucial for creating Canadian jobs in a fragile global economy.”

German foreign minister joins call for Olympics tribute to Munich 11

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has joined the effort to urge the International Olympic Committee to hold a moment of silence at the London Olympics for the Munich 11.

Westerwelle joins Canada’s House of Commons, 100 Australian lawmakers and the U.S. Senate in the call to remember the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were killed at the Munich Games in 1972 by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.

Westerwelle sent a letter Tuesday to the IOC President Jacques Rogge urging him to reconsider his objection to a minute of silence.

“This tragic terrorist attack in my country was directed not only at the Israeli Olympic team. It was also an attack on the Olympic Games and the Olympic idea of promoting peace and friendship among the nations,” Westerwelle wrote, according to the Times of Israel.

A moment of silence for the 11 Israelis, he added, would be “a humanitarian gesture and a fitting way to send the message that violence and terror are incompatible with the Olympic idea.”

While IOC officials have participated in memorial ceremonies hosted by Jewish communities, the body has not commemorated the '72 tragedy during the Games other than on the day after the massacre.

Despite the international attention, Rogge has turned down the request. The Summer Olympics begin in London on July 27.

In a May 1 letter this year, Rogge wrote that “the IOC has paid tribute to the athletes on several occasions. Within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away.

In recent days, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and the widows of the murdered athletes have released a video to help the campaign.

“This video is one minute long, the same amount of time we are asking the International Olympic Committee to stop and remember, contemplate and to send a message that the international sporting community will stand against hatred and violence,” Ayalon says in the video.

Source: JTA

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Israeli Army Druze Battalion

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The Israeli army's 'Herev' Battalion is comprised almost entirely of Druze soldiers. What does it feel like to serve with soldiers who are like brothers to you?

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Becoming a Soldier: Nahal Brigade's Elite Training

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Soldiers in the Nahal Brigade explain what it's like to serve in an IDF infantry unit.

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The latest hit in Poland: Hebrew lessons

Hebrew may be a difficult language, but that hasn’t kept Poles from trying to learn it. These days, stories by Etgar Keret and songs by popular singer Aviv Gefen serve as instructional texts

In recent years, no fewer than 13 Hebrew language faculties have launched throughout Poland. In addition to the academic area, a number of private schools that teach students the wonders of the written language, as well as an ulpan that teaches spoken Hebrew, which operates in Warsaw’s Jewish community.

Reading from right to left, the strange letters, and the guttural sounds of Hebrew don’t seem to put off Poles.

According to Israeli Ambassador Zvi Rav-Ner, several hundred Polish citizens are currently studying Hebrew, and the demand is growing.

“This makes me very happy,” Rav-Ner said. “I ask the students why they are studying Hebrew, and their answers are interesting. They say that the Jewish and Yiddish cultures are part of Poland’s history and culture and they want to learn about it.”

“Some say that they want to help make Polish society, which is mainly Catholic, more diverse,” he continued.

The embassy provides assistance for Hebrew courses in the form of textbooks and in inviting Hebrew instructors to work in Poland.

Anna Zaluska, 25, who teaches Hebrew at a private language school in Warsaw, explained that one reason for the increased interest in Hebrew study is increased economic cooperation between Israel and Poland.

“There are also Poles who want to study Hebrew because they have an Israeli partner,” Zaluska noted.

However, despite renewed interest, Hebrew language study is not an entirely new phenomenon. The University of Warsaw has been teaching Hebrew since 1950. The Hebrew study curriculum includes, among other sources, books by contemporary popular writers Eshkol Nevo and songs by Teapacks.


Brits discover posh Israeli teas

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Spice Way also has a visitor center in Northern Israel, where customers can order hand-blended herbal tea infusions and culinary seasonings.

"Who would imagine that a British person would drink anything other than tea with milk -- which I do still drink at 4 o'clock, of course -- but these tea infusions are just something else again, and they are quite extraordinary," says Marian, one of England's growing aficionados of Spice Way herbal teas imported from Israel.

Herbalist Avi Zithershpieler, owner of the Spicy Way shop and visitor center in Northern Israel, has entered some of his infusions in international competitions, and has met success with blends such as Posh Pomelo and Melon.

"This new concept, very new and fresh, [is] you don't only drink your tea," says Zithershpieler, who also hand-blends seasonings from 300 varieties of seeds, leaves, roots, fruits, nuts and vegetables. "You eat it, and it's also a meal."

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Cisco aims to create 12,000 jobs for Arabs in Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — Cisco Systems Inc. CEO and Chairman John Chambers on Wednesday introduced a campaign to help create 12,000 high-tech jobs in Israel’s distressed Arab sector over the next four years.

Chambers said the initiative represents an expansion of “Maantech,” a year-old project launched by high-tech companies that aims to reduce economic gaps between Israel’s Arabs and Jews.

Arabs make up roughly one-fifth of Israel’s 8 million citizens. While they enjoy full citizenship rights, they are generally poorer, less educated and frequently suffer discrimination in the housing and job markets.

Israel is a global technology powerhouse, and the high-tech sector is a major growth engine for the local economy. High-tech firms are among the highest paying and most respected places to work.

“We have an opportunity to show the rest of the world what we can do together with a government that really gets it and with citizens who really get it,” Chambers said. “If we can move to 12,000 (new employees) within four years, it would be an indication of what’s possible.”

When Maantech was launched in February 2011, less than a half a percent of employees in Israeli technology companies were Arabs, the company said. Since then, more than 22 companies have joined the project, bringing 324 qualified Israeli Arabs into their ranks, still a small percentage.

Cisco is the program’s main source of funds. Other participants include Google Inc., Intel Corp., IBM Corp. and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., the company said in a statement.

Chambers made his announcement at a conference sponsored by Israel’s president, Shimon Peres.

Appearing with the Cisco CEO, Peres said the corporate world is key to promoting coexistence and fighting racism.

“No government or policy could do it. You need the companies,” Peres said, adding that “this is the way to pave to peace.” Peres won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Israeli and Palestinian leaders for peace efforts.

Several new companies joined Maantech Wednesday, including Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq, Cadence Design Systems Inc. and OnTarget Communications, according to a statement from the Israeli president’s office.

Source: Associated Press

FRANCE 24 The Interview : Danny Ayalon, Israeli deputy Foreign Minister

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06/21/2012 THE INTERVIEW

With tensions mounting on Israel's border with Gaza, Israeli deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon talks to Marc Perelman about peace talks and Israel's role in a changing Middle East.

An interview with a French or international personality from the world of economics, politics, culture or diplomacy.

All shows:


Music mogul Russell Simmons says ‘Creating dialogue should be simple as mediating rap battle’

Music mogul Russell Simmons urges peace in Israel

In Israel to promote dialogue between communities, hip hop pioneer says ‘creating dialogue should be simple as mediating rap battle;’ Simmons discusses yoga with Jerusalem’s Grand Mufti, receives blessing from Western Wall rabbi.

To hip hop and fashion mogul Russell Simmons, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is like “a rap beef” that can be resolved through dialogue and understanding.

“A little trust, and it’s over,” he said.

The cofounder of the pioneering Def Jam Recordings record label, which has represented such artists like the Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, LL Cool J and Kanye West, is in Israel on the invitation of Israeli President Shimon Peres.

When he isn’t managing his clothing line Phat Farm or promoting artists, Simmons champions an eclectic mix of causes, from veganism to gay rights to yoga.

In Israel, he’s focusing on interfaith trust. He said creating dialogue should be as simple as a mediating a rap battle, were it not for the political deadlock between Palestinians and Israelis.

Muslims and Jews “have the same aspirations and goals that are much greater than the things they call differences,” Simmons said.

Simmons is one of the wealthiest figures in hip hop, with a net worth reportedly totaling at least $340 million.

He was one of the first players in the burgeoning hip hop scene in the 1980s. His younger brother is Rev. Joseph Simmons (“Run” of Run-DMC).

Simmons arrived in Israel on behalf of a foundation that aims to promote face-to-face dialogue between ethnic and religious communities. He discussed yoga with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Ahmed Hussein, and received a blessing from the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz.

Simmons even did a headstand in front of the Dome of the Rock, one of the holiest sites to Muslims, though he said it was “for the kids” and not for any yogic spiritual reason.


Stray cats and their Tel Aviv strut – The’re sexy and they know it

A group of IDC students parody sexy cats in support of the trap-neuter-return policy

Cats. They’ve got fans and foes in this country, but one group of media communication students from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya is looking out for this particular stray population. As part of their viral advertising class, the students created a pro-cat video promoting TNR, Trap Neuter Return in Tel Aviv, a method endorsed by the ASPCA for controlling feral cat societies.

With photos and lyrics parodying “I’m sexy and I know it,” the song from American electropop duo LMFAO, the idea was to create an “original production” about Tel Aviv’s stray cats, said Yuna Klimenko, one of the IDC students.

“We thought that cats are people’s favorite pets,” said Klimenko.

Not exactly, but it depends who you ask. Local folklore has it that the British are to blame for Israel’s stray cat population, having brought cats in during the period of the Mandate in order to get rid of rats.

Yet the problem could have been created long before that: Geneticists from the National Cancer Institute study established that the world’s 600 million cats are descended from five wildcat matriarchs, including at least one from deserts of Israel, so it may be that the British are not entirely to blame.

Source: Times of Israel 

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"Let The Animals Live, is performing TNR all over the country.
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Tel Aviv dubbed ‘the New York of the Middle East ‘ check out the latest in TLV Fashion

Nicknamed ‘White City’ because of its abundance of white Bauhaus buildings, Tel Aviv hosted its first ever fashion week last year. The country that until relatively recently considered fashion and tailoring bourgeois relics from Europe, is now dubbed theNew York of the Middle East and is spinning with young designers, gaining a following for its street style, and is home to a small army of hip-young-things.

While the likes of Chanel, Prada, Burberry and Ralph Lauren have been the ticking clock of the fashion world for decades, there is an insatiable appetite for influences from further afield. Cue Tel Aviv. Last November’s fashion week was well aligned with the city’s spike in all things cool. Here we catch up with a few people whose work is turning Tel Aviv into a stylish force to be reckoned with.

Alon Livne

It’s safe to say Alon Livne is one of Israel’s most-watched fashion designers. By the age of 22, he’d already worked for Roberto Cavalli in Florence and trained at Alexander McQueen’s House in London. Back in Israel, in 2009 he won the local equivalent to “Project Runway” and has gone on to collaborate with the Israeli fashion chain Castro and most recently Lee Jeans where he brought together the casual world of denim and the delicate, feminine world of ballet. The result is a dreamy capsule of delicately tailored denim leotards and pieced-together tops.

Looking at Livne’s collections, it’s easy to see he’s trained with McQueen, probably one of the best tailors the fashion world has ever seen. Livne’s work is structured, yet feminine, with interesting lines and fabrics and everything is expertly tailored, draped, and fitted. He’s got skills and he knows how to use them.

I wondered if it was a tough decision to return to his hometown after working with such famous international designers and obviously possessing an incredible talent that could pave his way in any big fashion city.

“I felt an urge to work from my hometown, to build myself as a unique and independent designer. I think it is important for a designer from every field to connect with his roots and local background.”

Tel Aviv does have a unique allure to it and those from Tel Aviv seem helplessly drawn back to it time and time again. Livne’s recent collection is inspired by the iconic buildings of the Catholic church in Europe and in old Jerusalem. Tel Aviv, however, has a world-famous collection of Bauhaus-style buildings which is no less magnificent, even with their obvious signs of age.

“The first buildings of the city – from the beginning of the 20th century – presents a unique and fascinating combination of design style and culture between west and east tradition. I find all this so very inspiring.”

Ha Garçonnière

Ha Garçonnière, the men’s fashion blog written by best friends Eyal de Leeuw and Sahar Shalev, teaches men how to be stylish gentleman on all points. Bows, suits and endless class, it’s hard to deny these two have a strong sense of cool. After living abroad and returning to Tel Aviv, both gents noticed the lacklustre menswear on their home streets. Determined to make a little dent in the way men dress, they started a humble blog which has become a worldwide affair despite (or because of?) it being written entirely in Hebrew. Pulling inspiration from the sharp-dressed-men of old, obscure books, current menswear magazines, and ‘unknown streets abroad’ these guys know how to dress and I suspect their blog has been a big inspiration behind the recent surge of Tel Aviv street-style covered by many a blogger around the world. Now there’s a full-fashion-circle for you.

The aim of Ha Garçonnière is “to connect heritage to the contemporary and to show that in order to break the rules you have to know them pretty well… Tel Aviv has always been an intersection of cultures. Since we live here, we know that people are curious, thriving for new things and more information about what’s going on in the world – and we are trying to be the messengers of such point of view.” Very noble, indeed!

What do they love about Tel Aviv?

“We see Tel Aviv as a mixture of so many things – east & west, beauty & ugliness, hutzpa & kindness. It is a very cosmopolitan city by the vast influences that it reflects upon itself. If any of the spirit comes out, its amazing creativity, we can only hope it will set real sustainable stylish trends, not ones that disappear so fast.”

Pas Pour Toi

Dorit Bar Or, the well-known Israeli actress showed her beautiful Pas Pour Toi collection at the Tel Aviv fashion week last year. Garnering much acclaim, the all-black collection embellished with rich gold details was inspired by the famous Israeli rabbi, Ovadia Yosef. A proud Israeli, Bar Or draws her inspiration from all over the middle east including Golda Meir and the Egyptian singer, Umm Khultum, who she believes was the original original diva.

Feminine but strong and always sexy pieces, Bar Or designs for confident women who know what they want and aren’t afraid to go for it. I get the feeling she’s not unfamiliar with these traits. It takes a certain type of woman to play the Israeli Peggy Bundy in the local version of Married with Children to which Bar Or asks, “Don’t you find it hilarious that I play a woman with so little style?” But acting alone doesn’t do it for Bar Or anymore.

“My gift and my curse is that I have to create all the time. Now I find it more interesting to create an outfit rather than reading someone else’s lines.”

What about Tel Aviv keeps the ever-glamorous, fire-engine-red-haired designer/actress from wandering away to Europe or another alluring city?

“Tel Aviv is my city for better or for worse. We are very eclectic people gathering goods from all over the world. We have the best nightclubs, bars, and restaurants. Just a few weeks ago we held the gay parade in which they closed half of Tel Aviv. And our film industry – people are now buying scripts written by Israelis that win awards such as: Homeland.”

How can you get your hands on Pas Por Toi? She recommends you visit Tel Aviv and visit them in the concept store in Neve Zedek, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Tel Aviv, where they have the atelier, the store, garden, office and library.


Ayala Meromi Keinan started Gusta eight years ago in Tel Aviv, a chic, urban line of womens wear that looks just as well-matched with a sky-high pair of heels as it does with a beat-up pair of motorcycle boots. Gusta works for just about anyone, just about anywhere.

The Gusta studio and one of their two shops is located in the center of the famous Jaffa Flea Market which is fitting for a designer who draws inspiration from the streets of Tel Aviv – the architecture, the people, the musicians. She says the spirit of Tel Aviv is “youthful and intense,” a couple of words that could easily describe Gusta.

“I think that my designs hold together the spirit of a young city mixed with foreign cultures which have merged here over the years.” Her plans are to stay in Tel Aviv but to open up Gusta to the world via an online shop, which we personally don’t think can come soon enough!

Yohji Yamamoto

Photo Monica Feudi

This year Tel Aviv will be hosting one of fashion’s most celebrated designers as Yohji Yamamoto exhibits more than 80 of his signature silhouettes at the Design Museum Holon. The exhibition marks the 40th anniversary of his company Y’s and the 60th anniversary of the Japan-Israel relationship. The visionary designer explains that, “After exhibiting in London, Florence and Paris, it is a natural flow for me to organize an exhibition in Israel this time – a country very rich in culture. In an era where we only receive prepared information, as a thinker, I want to see Israel with my own eyes and feel it through my skin to get to know it well. Now I will be able to experience it live.”

The exhibition will run from July to October at Design Museum Holon.

Source: Boat Mag

Saturday, June 16, 2012

ALERT: Take Action to Stop the United Church’s Boycott of Israeli Communities

ALERT: Take Action to Stop the United Church’s Boycott of Israeli Communities

This August, delegates from across the country will meet at the General Council of the United Church of Canada (UCC), at which they will vote on a proposed Church policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Alarmingly, this new policy – if adopted – would include a Church-wide boycott of Israeli products from settlement communities. This is based on the view of a United Church working group report that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is the “primary contributor to the injustice that underlies the violence of the region.” On this basis, the Church is now being called upon to level pressure solely against Israel to end the conflict – rather than emphasizing mutual obligations and reconciliation between the two sides.

Sadly, the United Church report ignores the fact that the vast majority of Israelis are prepared to make serious compromises on the settlements when Israel is met by a reliable partner for peace. In 1982, Israel withdrew thousands of settlers from the Sinai after signing a peace agreement with Egypt – and peace has since been upheld. In 2005, Israel withdrew every last settlement (over 8,000 civilians) from Gaza as a painful, unilateral decision – and there have since been 10,000 missiles and mortars fired from Gaza into southern Israel. The removal of settlers from Gaza is not mentioned once in the United Church’s report.

The lesson is clear. Although the vast majority of Israelis are willing to offer compromises on the West Bank settlements, the Palestinian leadership must first sign a final peace agreement with security guarantees (as required by international law) in order to protect the next generation of Israeli children from Palestinian terrorism. Shockingly, the words “Hamas” and “Hezbollah” do not appear even once in the United Church’s 26-page report.

There’s a world of difference between being pro-Palestinian and simply anti-Israel. If the United Church ratifies this highly biased report without amendment, it will place the Church outside the genuine peace movement and in the same camp as the most virulent anti-Israel activists – those in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign.

Now is the time for Jewish Canadians to make their voice heard. Here are three simple ways you can make a difference today:

1) Get the facts on the UCC report – go to

2) Call, email, or meet with members or clergy of a United Church in your area – search for a local congregation

3) Forward this email to your contacts to help raise awareness about this.

 To get involved, or for more information, please email us at

David Arquette celebrates Bar Mitzva in Jerusalem

US actor celebrates ceremony at Western Wall while visiting Israel to film travel series

When American actor David Arquette arrived in Israel to film an episode of a popular tourism series, he never imagined he would end up have a Bar Mitzva ceremony of his own at the Western Wall.

Arquette, 41, ex-husband of actress Courtney Cox, arrived in Israel on Friday to shoot “Trippin,” a 12-episode travel show that spans across the US, Morocco, Thailand and several others countires. The actor and crew visited Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Masada over the course of three days of filming.

While attending a Bar Mitzva held for a local boy in Jerusalem, the hosts suggested Arquette should have his own coming of age ceremony, traditionally celebrated at the age of 13. “Better late than never,” they told him.

Arquette, whose mother was Jewish, liked the idea and soon made arrangements to ascend the synagogue platform to read from the Torah and put on the phylacteries – a Jewish prayer ritual – for the first time.

During his visit to Jerusalem, Arquette was also learned how to cook Old Testament foods with Chef Moshe Basson from the Eucalyptus Restaurant, as well as go on a shopping spree at the Mahane Yehuda market.

His itinerary for Tel Aviv included fishing in Jaffa and serving as a guest of a DJ at local night club.


Moldova wants better ties with Israel

Moldova’s prime minister says his country would like stronger ties with Israel.

Vlad Filat made the appeal Sunday as he met with Zoram Dori, adviser to Israeli President Shimon Peres, during a four-day festival of 400 Jewish artists, scientists and musicians from the former Soviet Union, Israel and the US. (AP)


Peres awarded US Medal of Freedom and US visit

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On Wednesday, President Shimon Peres was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom-- the highest civilian award the United States government can bestow upon an individual. In a gala dinner held in
Washington in Peres' honor, US President Barack Obama praised the Israeli president's legacy and efforts on behalf of peace. Accepting the award, Peres said he was profoundly moved by the honor, adding
that it was "a testament to the historic friendship" between Israel and the US.

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US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta hosted President Shimon Peres at the Pentagon on Monday, saying that military cooperation between the US and Israel was stronger than it has ever been as well as stable and
ongoing. Peres visited the Pentagon as part of a multi-day visit to the US in which he is scheduled to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from US President Barack Obama. In addition to meeting Panetta, Peres took part in a roundtable discussion with other senior US officials, including US military chief Gen. Martin Dempsey. Peres took the opportunity to voice Israel's concerns about Iran potentially obtaining nuclear weapons, accusing the Islamic Republic of desiring to "take control of the Middle East" as part of its religiously inspired imperialistic ambitions.

Founder of Yuk Yuk’s Mark Breslin talks Israel

Recently members of Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club toured Israel. Below is a radio interview of Mark Breslin, founder of Yuk Yuk’s, speaking about this experience on Israel’s  “Realty Bites” with Josh Hasten.

Yuk Yuk’s in Israel Radio Interview part 1

Yuk Yuk’s in Israel Radio Interview part 2

Yuk Yuk’s in Israel Radio Interview part 3

Yuk Yuk’s in Israel Radio Interview part 4

Canada joins campaign to mark 40th anniversary of Munich Olympics massacre

TORONTO (JTA) — - Canada has joined an international campaign for a moment of silence at the opening of the London Olympics to mark the 40th anniversary of the killing of Israeli athletes at the Munich Games.

On Thursday, Canada’s House of Commons unanimously passed a motion to commemorate the “tragic terrorist events of the 1972 Munich Olympics wherein 11 Israeli athletes were murdered.”

“Civil society groups and political leaders around the world have been calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold a moment of silence at the opening ceremony of the London Games,” said Liberal Party parliament member Irwin Cotler, who proposed the resolution. “I am delighted that the Canadian Parliament is the first to unanimously support this call.” 

A spokesperson for Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the minister called IOC president Jacques Rogge this week and “re-iterated his strong support” for the official commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the attack, reports the National Post newspaper. That followed a letter Baird sent Rogge this month saying Canada “strongly supports Israel’s request” for a moment of silence at the opening ceremony in London.

The IOC last month has scotched any possibility of a tribute to the Israeli athletes at the opening ceremony, leaving Israeli politicians fuming. The committee “has regularly commemorated the 1972 tragedy and will do so once more in London at a ceremony during the Games, but there will not be a minute’s silence in the opening ceremony,” an IOC spokesperson told Agence France Presse.

As during every Summer Olympics since 1972, the Israeli Olympic committee will organize a memorial. Rogge will take part in the London ceremony, as he did at the one at the 2008 Games in Beijing, the spokesperson added. 

Fish Farms in the Desert: Only in Israel!

Israel’s Arava desert gets just 30 millimeters of rainfall a year, but it produces 60 percent of Israel’s fresh vegetable exports, 10% of cut flower exports … and now it has a thriving ornamental fish industry, too.

“The desert is dry and all the water that we have here first of all is water that we drill here in the Arava; we’re not connected to a national water system,” explains Alon Gadiel, director of the Arava Research and Development Center. Yet Israel is in the top six exporting countries for aquarium fish, and there are now 18 fish farms in the Arava. Three of them breed the clownfish better known as Nemos because of the hit movie “Finding Nemo.”

“A business like aquaculture is a very good business because you don’t need a lot of land, and you don’t need a lot of water. You need a lot of knowledge,” says Gadiel. In addition, he stresses, “We breed fish that originally grow in the sea, and we sell them from captivity so we prevent harming the ecosystem.”

Click To View Video 

Source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

First-ever Israeli film festival in London kicks off

Seret festival is brainchild of Haroush, former manager of London Ahava cosmetics store.

The London Israeli Film & Television Festival

 Photo: Courtesy LONDON

London is set to host the UK’s first-ever Israeli film festival which kicks off on Thursday with a celebration of work celebrating the contribution that Israeli film and television has made and the diversity of its projects.

Seret, the London Israeli Film & Television Festival, is the brainchild of Odelia Haroush, a former manager of the Ahava cosmetics store in London targeted last year by anti-Israel activists; Anat Koren, editor of Alondon, a popular magazine in Hebrew for London’s extensive Israeli community; and Patty Hochmann, a member of the Israeli Film Academy.

Haroush said she hoped the festival would provide a window to Israeli culture and life and show how Israel’s film and television industry is flourishing.

She said she was motivated after experiencing weekly protests by anti- Israel activists at Ahava.

Koren and Hochmann, who were roommates at Tel Aviv University some years ago, got together with Haroush last summer to put the festival together.

“We all realized that there is no Israeli film festival in London, as there are in various places around the world, such as New York, Chicago, Amsterdam and Paris.

“The Israel film and TV industry is flourishing with many Israeli television programs are being bought by US and UK distributors,” Haroush told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. “We wanted to show the UK audience the culture and social diversity in everyday life in Israel through the medium of film and television.”

There is no better example than the successful Homeland, a US adaptation of his Israeli television series Hatufim (Prisoners of War) (2009), which has won two Golden Globes and has been screened in more than 40 countries.

The festival will screen 14 Israeli films at various London cinemas showcasing the outstanding contribution of Israeli film and television to the arts. Some of the films’ directors will feature in question and answer sessions.

Episodes from the award-winning sit-com Ramzor (Traffic Light), which was adapted by Fox in the US and bought by Russian television channel RTC, and award-winning drama Pilpilim Tzehubim (Yellow Peppers) will make up the festival’s program.

The films set to be screened include Footnote (directed by Joseph Cedar, 2011) which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards, Off White Lies (Maya Kenig, 2011), Invisible (Michal Aviad, 2011), The Fifth Heaven (Dina Tzvi- Riklis, 2011), I Shot My Love (Tomer Heymann, 2010), Sharqiya (Ami Livne, 2012), 2 Night (Roi Werner, 2011) and Lipstikka (Jonathan Segal, 2011).

Friday sees an industry day which provides an opportunity to meet Israeli filmmakers and television program creators.

The aim is to facilitate discussions about collaboration and broaden the communication that already exists between the British and Israeli industries.

“The day will give a opportunity to directors and other talents that we are bringing from Israel to meet and discuss their last and next projects with some important figures from the film and TV industry in the UK,” Haroush said.

Source: JPost

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Celebrate Falafel Day on June 12th!

Connecting the world through Falafel.

Follow along with the Falafel Day Community as we countdown to June 12th!

Follow along with the world as we countdown to Falafel Day!

What is Falafel Day? It’s a day in which the entire world celebrates Falafel by eating it.

How to Participate

  • Eat falafel on June 12th for breakfast, lunch or dinner
  • Tweet using the hashtag #falafelday
  • Share pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #falafelday
  • Send us pictures of yourself eating falafel for us to feature.
  • Join the Facebook page
  • Share your Falafel stories below
  • Post as your Facebook status
  • Learn all about Falafel here

Rogers Communications signs deal with Israeli traffic info service

Cellint Traffic Solutions pairs up with Canada’s Rogers Communications to launch country-wide traffic information service

An Israeli company, Cellint Traffic Solutions recently announced that it has signed an exclusive deal with Rogers Communications to launch a country-wide traffic information service in Canada later this year.

Cellint, which was founded in 2005 and has headquarters near Tel Aviv, is the leading provider of real-time road traffic information based on cellular data.

Cellint’s high resolution traffic information provides detection of relevant slowdowns, similar to road sensors, as well as travel time.

“We are excited to work with Rogers and we already see great interest from major industry players and key customers,” said Cellint CEO Ofer Avni.

“The combination of Rogers and Cellint is about to provide a higher standard of traffic information service in Canada than ever seen before, enabling Canadian drivers to make the most informed decisions related to their driving plans in real time.”

The company uses a technology called “TrafficSense” to continually provide traffic information through analysis of anonymous signaling data of mobile phones operating on Rogers 2G and 3G networks in vehicles.

All active phones provide anonymous travel time samples by matching their signaling data with a database of unique cellular signatures for each road, generated by the technology.

The traffic flow information is automatically analyzed and is distributed through text messages, voice messages, mapping information, TMC reports and other tools.

The service will be delivered to car manufacturers, navigation providers, mobile users, mapping portals and government agencies, according to a press release.

The first customer signed is a major public transit provider in Western Canada.

“Rogers is thrilled to be working with Cellint to deliver accurate and timely traffic information to players across Canada, helping businesses more efficiently manage assets that are on the move and to better the commuting experience for Canadians,” said Mansell Nelson, Vice-President of Rogers Machine-to-Machine.

Source: ShalomLife

The Six-Day War: A Veteran Looks Back

45 years ago today, the Six-Day War began when the Israel Air Force launched a preemptive strike against Egyptian forces mobilized in the Sinai Peninsula.

At the time, Hillel Erman was a 30-year-old staff sergeant serving in a reserve unit of the IDF Paratroopers Brigade. He sat down with us earlier this week and answered a few questions about his memories of the Six-Day War.

Hillel Erman
Six-Day War veteran Hillel Erman (Photo by Zev Marmorstein)

Do you remember the lead-up to the war?

Yes, I remember it well, like it was yesterday. I remember when Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran and prevented Israeli ships from entering or leaving Eilat. And I remember when Egypt mobilized its forces in the Sinai Peninsula — and expelled the U.N. troops that were in the area. The prime minister at the time was Levi Eshkol. He was under tremendous pressure to do something against the threat. The reserves could not stay mobilized forever, nor could they go home in the face of such danger.

Menachem Begin, who was in the Knesset opposition, joined the governing coalition, which strengthened the resolve of the public. People were very scared. They saw how the Arab nations around us were preparing for war, and we didn’t do anything.

Where were you at the time?

I was called up 18 days before the war started. My brigade, the 35th, was in the Ben Shemen forest near Jerusalem. We practiced in the forest so that no one could see the training. I remember the time there was boring — we didn’t know when the war was going to start, and we just waited.

The army was pressuring the government to make a decision — either attack or send the soldiers home. I remember that I was wondering what I should take with me on the plane, since I couldn’t carry much on me with all my parachuting gear. I didn’t know if I should take more clean underwear or more food — I didn’t know what to expect. At some point, my unit was moved to Kibbutz Nahal Oz, on the Gaza border. The Egyptians fired on the Kibbutz and the fields around it caught on fire. Some of the other soldiers in my brigade had lived on kibbutzim before, and they knew how to deal with such things. We all helped to put out the fire.

Hillel Erman
Hillel Erman (left) stands with IDF soldiers during the Six-Day War. (Photo courtesy of Hillel Erman)

Where did you serve during the war itself? How was it when the war started?

In early June, we were moved near the Egyptian border and were told to wait until someone called us on the secure Red Line and gave us the code for the green light. At 7 a.m. on June 5, we received the call with the secret code — “Red Sheet”. We heard that the Israel Air Force bombed the Egyptian Air Force.

It was a very difficult fight. We were two Paratroopers Brigades and 30 tanks from the 7th Armored Brigade. The battle took place in Rafah, and the Egyptians were hiding in 12 km long ditches. After 24 hours, the battle was over. Out of 600 Israeli soldiers, 30 were killed and 40 were injured. One of the soldiers who was killed was my officer.

After Rafah, we were sent to Khan Yunis and then to the Suez Canal. On our way to the Suez Canal, two Egyptian planes attacked my brigade on the road. Two soldiers were killed. By the time we arrived at the canal, the war was already over.

What was the IDF’s biggest achievement in the war?

The biggest achievement was that the IAF targeted Egyptian runways in order to prevent the Egyptian Air Force from taking off. Then, the IAF bombed the Egyptian planes that were stuck on the ground. All in all, our Air Force destroyed an 80 percent of the Egyptian Air Force, which was much stronger than ours at the time.

An IDF fighter jet flies overhead. (Photo courtesy of Hillel Erman)

Do you have any other specific memories from the war?

In El-Arish, my commander, Raful Eitan, who later became the Chief of Staff, was shot in the head from one of the tunnels. The bullet scratched his forehead, went into his helmet and came out from the middle of it. He was taken to the hospital, and for some time my brigade didn’t have a commander.

After a while, a new commander came to take over. He didn’t know the exact location of the brigade, and he asked me on the two-way radio to give him our location. It was forbidden at the time to broadcast such precise information on the radio, in case the Egyptians were listening. In order for him to prove his identity, I asked him for the color of his beard. When he answered that his beard was black and white, I knew who he was, and he gave me an order to tell him where we were.

What did you do after the war?

I left the army for a while and went to study, and then joined the army again, as a career officer, and served in the Paratroopers Brigade. After eight years, I retired from the army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and returned to reserve duty. During my reserve duty, I served in a secret unit.

Egyptian tank
A damaged Egyptian tank on the side of the road. (Photo courtesy of Hillel Erman)

Did you participate in any other wars? What do you do today?

Yes. I was 19-years old and in active duty during the Sinai Campaign. I also participated in the Yom Kippur War and the First Lebanon War. Today, I participate in a lot of charity work, and play soccer every Friday with a group of friends.

Hillel Erman
Hillel Erman stands with his parachuting equipment. (Photo courtesy of Hillel Erman)

US & Israeli Forces Hold Joint Emergency Rescue Drill

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Countless rescue and humanitarian aid missions in disaster regions all over the world have made the IDF experts in emergency relief. On May 15th, 2012 Israeli and US forces held a joint emergency rescue drill. Together, they trained how to extract injured victims from a collapsed building, to clear paths through debris and to navigate in the chaos that is left by a natural disaster. The IDF plans to hold similar drills each year with teams of the US Armed Forces, in order to pass on their knowledge and prepare for future disasters.

For more from the IDF:

Tel Aviv home to world’s most beautiful people

Readers of online travel mag, Travelers Digest, think the men and women of Tel Aviv are among the best looking in the world. Of course we agree.

beach volleyball

Tel Aviv has been getting lots of attention lately as a party city, a startup city and a gay-friendly city. Now all eyes are on Israel’s second-largest municipality because of the beautiful people who inhabit it.

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Travelers Digest readers ranked Tel Aviv No. 10 on its 2012 list of Cities with the Best-Looking Men and No. 7 on its companion list of Cities with the Best-Looking Women.

“Tel Aviv has become a hot spot for trendsetters worldwide. Local cuties flaunt their fit bodies – made all the better by their year-round tans – at any of the numerous beaches and cafés found on the 10-mile seaside strip,” wrote journalist Jessica Benavides Canepa.

OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria calls Tel Aviv a hub of ‘Vibrant Life’ and ‘Technology’

OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria visits Tel Aviv, calls it a Hub of Vibrant life and Technology. Wants to promote Tel Aviv vibrancy

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Twitter includes 4 Israelis in ‘White Hat Hackers’ list

Four Israeli hackers honored for helping Twitter improve user information security

Four Israeli hackers were included in Twitter’s “2012 White Hat Hackers” list, honoring users who contributed to the social media platform’s security protocols, thus preventing user information from being compromised.

Twitter, issues the list annually, hailing “independent researchers that volunteer their time and help us recognize problem area and improve security.”

Seventeen people were included in the list in 2012. The four Israelis in question are all cyber-security experts who are employed by top Israeli information security firms.

The four were credited for recognizing a crucial “hole” in Twitter itself and in its smartphone application, that could potentially allow hackers to take over user accounts.

They also offered solutions and helped Twitter through the repair process.


Israeli technology turns greenhouse gas into fuel

Technology developed by head of the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Energy Center creates mixture that can be used for car fuel.

A new Israeli solar technology is able to transform greenhouse gas emissions from the dirtiest of pollutants into a useable fuel for automobiles.

Israeli startup NewCO2Fuels Ltd., in partnership with Australian firm Greenearth Energy Ltd., has acquired the license for a technology developed by Prof. Jacob Karni, head of the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Energy Center in the department of environmental sciences and energy research, as well as supervisor for the institute’s solar program.

The innovation uses concentrated solar energy to dissociate carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and oxygen, as well as water into hydrogen and oxygen, allowing for the synthesis of the carbon monoxide and hydrogen into a gaseous hydrocarbon mixture called Syngas.

The Syngas, in turn, can be converted into methanol for vehicular use.

Karni’s research, which was conducted in partnership with Dr. Avner Rothschild from the Technion, received a $200,000 grant from the Silicon Valley-based organization Israel Strategic Alternative Energy Foundation in 2010.

Logistically, the solar heat generation occurs on parabolic dishes, which reflect the light captured to a reactor, a focal point of the parabola that allows for extremely high temperature generation, explained David Banitt, the CEO and major shareholder of NewCO2 Fuels. At the reactor site, the carbon dioxide enters and splits due to the heat, with carbon monoxide exiting through one pipe and oxygen through a second, Banitt told The Jerusalem Post. The same process applies to water, for hydrogen and oxygen.

“The process becomes much more effective if it’s performed at much higher temperatures,” he said.

The hydrogen and carbon monoxide can then come together to form Syngas, which in turn can be converted into methanol for fuel.

Methanol is already in use for vehicle propulsion in several countries around the world, and a Dor Chemicals and Ten Gasoline partnership is currently performing an experiment in Israel with a blend of methanol and benzene.

“We would like to produce methanol that would be cost competitive to gasoline,” Banitt said.

Full story via JPost

Friday, June 8, 2012

Jewish community applauds Toronto City Council's condemnation of fallacious term "Israeli Apartheid"‏


Jewish community applauds Toronto City Council's condemnation of fallacious term "Israeli Apartheid"

TORONTO, 7 June 2012 – B’nai Brith Canada has commended Toronto City Council members on the passage of a motion condemning the use of the fallacious term "Israeli Apartheid" at Toronto’s Pride parade. The term has been used by Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, an anti-Israel protest group that plans to participate in this summer's parade, in reference to the State of Israel. B'nai Brith is anticipating Toronto City Council's upcoming anti-discrimination policy debate where it hopes the policy will be revised to prevent the use of the term "Israeli Apartheid" at taxpayer-funded events.

Upon passage of the motion at today’s Toronto City Council session, Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada issued the following statement:

“Queers Against Israeli Apartheid’s participation in Pride Toronto not only defies logic, berating the sole Middle East country that fully welcomes the LGBT community, but also runs counter to the original philosophy of the parade itself, a celebration of diversity and acceptance. The passage of this motion condemning the use of the term “Israeli Apartheid" at Pride has signaled to Toronto, and indeed the entire country, that hate and intolerance are not welcome at Canada’s largest Pride festival. This is an important step as the City of Toronto joins numerous other Canadian government voices in recognizing that the "Israeli Apartheid" label is fallacious and divisive."

For more information:

B’nai Brith Canada has been active in Canada since 1875 as the Jewish community’s foremost human rights agency.

Buycott ALERT: Support Cirque du Soleil's performance in Tel Aviv

ALERT: Support Cirque du Soleil's performance in Tel Aviv

Canadian renowned Cirque du Soleil is scheduled to be in Israel this summer. The troupe is being criticized by anti-Israel activists for their decision to perform in Tel Aviv.

Urge them not to change their plans and visit Israel – a country that promotes peace and dialogue.

Show your support and send Cirque a personal message via Facebook, Twitter or their website.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Jewish Heart for Africa completes 58th solar project

Organization aims to bring sustainable development to schools, orphanages and medical clinics in rural African villages.

Kaliro Orphanage in Uganda

Photo: Matthew Reber

By installing a small set of solar panels in some of the most remote of African villages, Sivan Borowich-Ya’ari and her organization Jewish Heart for Africa are able to bring electricity to schools, orphanages and medical clinics that have never seen artificial light before.
This week, Jewish Heart for Africa is officially marking having helped 250,000 people throughout the continent, bringing them sustainable solutions that allow for the fulfillment of basic life needs. Based in New York City, the organization is a 501-c3 nonprofit whose goal is to save African lives using Israeli sustainable technology. Founded in 2008 by French-Israeli Borowich- Ya’ari, 33, as of Tuesday, the group had completed 58 solar projects at schools, medical clinics and orphanages in villages throughout Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi. The project that had just been completed as Borowich-Ya’ari spoke to The Jerusalem Post over the phone from New York on Tuesday evening was in the village of Nthodo, Malawi.
“Our priority is really to get where the need is the greatest,” she said.
Borowich-Ya’ari, who received her masters degree in international affairs from Columbia University, began her career bringing sustainable energy to Africa while working for a United Nations development program. From there, she decided to establish her own organization, to bring similar aid to African villages through an Israeli lens.
“Israel has so much to offer and Israel managed to cope with a land that was without any kind of resources, and today it is one of the most innovative countries,” she said. “I’m sure that if we can transfer these technologies to the people that are most in need, we can help them.”
First and foremost, the solar panels bring something as simple as electric light to the communities, Borowich- Ya’ari explained. The villages need to have at least 1,000 residents and be far from the national grid, she added. After receiving a commitment to maintaining the solar facilities from the local government, Jewish Heart for Africa teams teach the local residents about what is going to be happening and how solar energy functions.
“Most of them haven’t seen light in their life,” Borowich-Ya’ari said.
Upon arrival to any of these villages, visitors will usually see a simple medical clinic that has essentially nothing inside – no light and no refrigerator for medications.
“If you want to find a medical clinic at night you can’t,” she said.
The photovoltaic systems that Jewish Heart for Africa installs include storage batteries so that energy captured during the day can also be used at night, according to Borowich-Ya’ari. Team members always make sure to then install light bulbs in various places around the village, with at least four outside the medical clinic.
Within the clinic, the organization brings in 50- to 60-liter refrigerators that have ample room for vaccines – a feature that also attracts doctors to come live in the area. In addition to powering the medical clinic, the local school and the orphanages, the group also ensures, as an incentive, that the homes of doctors, nurses and teachers all receive electricity, Borowich-Ya’ari explained.
Once the medical clinics are equipped with electricity and refrigerators, lines and lines of people ready to receive vaccinations quickly form, and the organization has now vaccinated over 100,000 people, she said.
The average cost per project is about $10,000, much of which is raised through donations from the global Jewish community. By bringing in sustainable Israeli technologies to African villages, the organization also hopes to improve Israel’s image worldwide, according to Borowich-Ya’ari.
In addition to providing basic electricity needs, the solar panels have also paved the way for clean water access in several villages, Borowich-Ya’ari said. In a few of the villages, Jewish Heart for Africa has installed water pumps – powered by the solar panels – that each pump over 20,000 liters of water per day. Thus far, four of these have been completed in Uganda and Tanzania, and one in Malawi.
Borowich-Ya’ari hopes to continue bringing vaccines, solar energy and drinkable water to more and more villages throughout Africa.
“The demand is so great,” she said. “You look into the eyes of the children – everyone needs it.”
Source: JPost