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Did You Know?

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tel Aviv makes CNN’s list of 4 top ‘best picks around the world for celebrating Pride’

Politics will mix with partying this Pride season as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their allies around the world celebrate President Barack Obama’s support for same-sex marriage and protest North Carolina’s passage of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions.

When planning a Pride vacation, pick a destination where the scale of the celebration is one that you can handle, recommends Ed Salvato, gay travel expert and editor in chief of Man About World, a soon-to-launch gay travel magazine for the iPad.

Instead of the biggies such as San Francisco or New York City, which might be overwhelming, consider choosing “a nice, manageable Pride in an interesting location.” Book early, as hotels fill quickly, and be sure to ask about Pride packages, says Salvato. “Often hotels will throw in something so your party starts as soon as you get into your room.”

All are welcome to join in on the fun. For more tips on enjoying the best Pride fests worldwide, check out our guide:

Boston: June 1- 10

What Salvato loves about Boston Pride is the diversity of people from all walks of life who come out for the celebration. This time of year, he says, “shows Boston in its greatest light.”

One highlight of Boston Pride is dancing in the streets. On Saturday, June 9, a Women’s Block Party begins at 1 Boylston Place just after the parade. On Sunday afternoon, block partiers can pick between shaking their groove thing at the Back Bay Edition on St. James Avenue in Boston, or the JP Edition on Perkins Street in Jamaica Plain, which features a Dogs & Drag Fashion Show, family-friendly activities and five female DJs. Other options include themed Pride @ Night parties that take place all weekend long, including a Youth Dance, which kicks off at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

But Boston Pride is more than just one big party.

This year, cultural events include a human rights and education discussion as well as a free exhibit at the Boston Center for Adult Education called “Pride: 40 Years of Protest & Celebration,” which chronicles the early history of LGBT advocacy in New England.

Early arrivals to the city can call Old Boston Tours to book the “Old Boston Original Secret Tour” and learn more about the extraordinary lives of the men and women who made Boston great. The $30 tour is 90 minutes, and reservations are required. Visitors will not want to miss the new American wing at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, which includes a stunning Tiffany favrile glass window, “Parakeets and Gold Fish Bowl.”

Tel Aviv, Israel: June 3 – 8

During the city’s annual Pride celebration, Tel Aviv lives up to its reputation as the gay capital of the Middle East. (Even the crosswalks are painted in rainbow stripes.) All week long, clubs and bars are packed, and special events are planned, including two concerts by Grammy- and BRIT Award-nominee Rufus Wainwright.

On Friday, June 8, revelers hit the streets for the parade that has become one of Tel Aviv’s biggest events of the year. Kicking off in Gan Meir garden, a small park in the heart of the city’s gay community, the parade ends with a massive beach party on the Mediterranean Sea. From 2 p.m. until evening, Gordon Beach is mobbed with people moving to the sounds of the city’s hottest DJs.

For more beach fun, visit Hilton Beach, a popular spot among gay men. Then, for a change of scenery, check out the Azrieli Observatory for a chance to view “the white city” from the highest point possible. Or plan an afternoon at Beit Ha’ir, a museum of Tel Aviv history housed in Town Hall.

Amsterdam, Netherlands: July 28 – August 5

What better year to visit Amsterdam than this one? This year marks the 25th anniversary of the world’s first gay monument, theHomomonument, located on the Westermarkt in the center of the city. Visitors can pay their respects, then stop by Pink Point, an information kiosk/shop providing an array of gay guides and souvenirs. Just around the corner is another opportunity to contemplate the meaning of freedom: the Anne Frank House, where the world-famous diary was penned while Frank hid in a secret annex.

Next, top off the afternoon with a cold one (or three) at some of Amsterdam’s microbreweries. Check the city’s official website for a list of places to enjoy “rich tripels and fruity white beers” as well as “dark brown bocks and thirst-quenching pilsners.” By nightfall, the gay districts on Reguliersdwarsstraat and Amstel will be hopping with street and club-circuit parties that rage all weekend long.

The highlight of Amsterdam Pride is the famous Canal Parade on Saturday, August 4. Unlike in most parades, Amsterdam’s floats actually float. This year, organizers expect half a million spectators will watch 75 decorated boats sail from 2 to 6 p.m. through the Prinsengracht Canal and Amstel River. Find a full listing of the more than 300 parties and cultural events on the official calendar.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Protest South Africa’s ‘Made in Palestine’ Labels

South Africa is planning to require “Made in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” labels on products from the region in place of “Made in Israel” labels, the trade ministry said.

“For now, there is no decision but people should know that South Africa recognizes Israel inside the 1948 UN borders,” Macdonald Netshitenzhe, the trade ministry’s director for trade policies and legislations, said.

“Now coming to the issue of Palestine and Israel, a product from Israel has to be manufactured or produced within the borders of 1948.

Under the 1948 boundaries, territories occupied after 1967 such as the Gaza Strip are not included.

“Therefore for the goods or vegetables which are grown in the area where Israel invaded other Arab countries, South Africa says, you better say these products are grown in Palestine or Occupied Palestinian Territories,” Netshitenzhe added.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the move was aimed at helping “South Africans who do not support Israel, but who in fact do support the Palestinians, to identify those products.”

“This doesn’t, however, mean any kind of boycott of Israeli products,” he said, in remarks quoted by South African news agency SAPA.

yigal palmor

Israel’s foreign ministry reacted angrily to the news, with spokesperson Yigal Palmor telling AFP that South Africa’s ambassador to Israel would be summoned for an explanation in the coming days.

“This is not a political objection to settlements, rather the act of singling out a state by a special marking system based on national-political criteria. Therefore, it is by essence a racist move,” Palmor said.

“It is shocking to think that South Africa, of all countries, would display such callousness, and is blindly marching down the slippery slope of racism.”


We urge you to contact South Africa’s Trade Minister Macdonald Netshitenzhe at:

to protest “Made in Palestine” labels on Israeli food.

You may copy and paste the following text or write your own message:

Dear Mr. Netshitenzhe,

I am absolutely outraged by your decision not to recognize Israel’s rightful borders and to mark Israeli products as “Made in Palestine.” This is clearly an act of outright racism that will not be tolerated. 

We demand that you respect the sovereignty of the State of Israel and its borders. The State of Palestine does not exist.

Please ‘SHARE’ this very important article with all of your friends.

Ask them to email the minister.

Together we are turning our massive network into global activists – who advocate for Israel.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The One-Armed Israeli Soldier from Florida

Here is a story of a Jewish boy from Miami, Florida who although only in his low 20′s, has already done extraordinary things with his life. Izzy Ezagui, when he was 19 years old, decided to enroll in the Israeli Defense Forces after visiting Israel a few times.

In 2008, when Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, he was hit by a 120mm mortar shell, losing his left arm. He went through several surgeries and a year of rehab to recover as best he could – and then decided to do something unbelievable – he was going to return to the army without a left arm!

The IDF initially questioned this idea, not quite understanding how this could work practically-how could Izzy actually serve in the army with only one arm? Well, eventually he became the first soldier in Israeli history to come back to the army after such a serious injury. He completed an officer’s course, helped other soldiers in training, and received an award from the President of Israel.

Click below to watch his video:

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Izzy has now launched a campaign to raise money to publish his memoir. His story is a truly inspiring one, and shows the world how a person can go beyond himself and do amazing things if he has the will- and that is what the Jewish People are all about. This is a lesson that must be spread throughout the world. We are counting on YOU to help us do that!


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Credit: Dovid Efune Visit:

Israeli researchers score success in lung cancer treatment

Israeli researchers score success in lung cancer treatment

The researchers find that introduction of BKT140 leads to the death of cancerous lung tumor cells and a reduction in the size of the growths.

Israeli researchers have identified a material that could help remedy lung cancer. In tests conducted by researchers at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Kerem on cell samples and laboratory mice, the material shrank tumors by about 50 percent, and when it was used in conjunction with radiation therapy and chemotherapy, the pace of cancerous cell growth was reduced by about 90 percent.

The study was conducted by Dr. Ori Wald, a physician-researcher at Hadassah’s Cardiothoracic Surgery Department; with department head Prof. Oz Shapira; Dr. Uzi Izhar, director of the thoracic surgery unit; and Prof. Amnon Peled of the hospital’s gene therapy unit.

The researchers examined the impact of two components, a receptor called CXCR4 and a protein that cleaves to it called CXCL12, which has been identified in many studies as present in cancer patients.

In studies that they did on lung cancer tissue removed from patients, the researchers found that the cancerous cells contained both the receptor and the protein in concentrations that increased as the cancer became more advanced and aggressive. They later discovered that adding the protein CXCL12 to cancerous lung tumor cells made the growths more virulent.

The researchers then found that a material known as BKT140 succeeded in preventing the protein and receptor from connecting to each other, which led to the death of cancerous lung tumor cells and a reduction in the size of the growths.

The blocker was developed by Biokine Therapeutics of Rehovot for a totally different purpose – as a drug to be given to bone marrow donors to streamline and hasten the production of bone marrow cells before the donation.

Injecting the blocker into lab-grown lung tumor cells and later into mice significantly retarded the tumors’ growth and reduced their volume by about 50 percent.

“We injected the blocker into the mice, and it found its way to the site where the tumor was developing in the lung, where it helped reduce the volume of the tumor,” said Shapira.

In searching for a way to improve the efficiency of the blocker, they found that using it together with traditional cancer therapies reduced the tumors’ rates of growth by about 90 percent, in tests conducted so far only on lab samples.

In addition to radiation and chemotherapy, both of which have side effects, some cancers are being fought with new methods. These include focused biological treatments that use antibodies to block enzymes that encourage tumor growth; antibodies that damage the blood vessels that sustain the tumor; drugs that damage the casing of the tumor, thus preventing its growth; and treatments that boost the patient’s own immune system’s ability to fight the tumor.

“This blocker constitutes a new method for dealing with a tumor, by delaying the encounter between the receptor and the protein, although we don’t yet understand all the mechanisms at work,” said Wald.

The findings were presented earlier this month at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery conference in San Francisco, and the researchers are planning to submit requests to approve clinical trials on people.

Wald expects no problems with obtaining the approval, noting: “The material was already developed as a remedy and has already proven to have a high safety profile with few side effects.”

The researchers are working on another study aimed at identifying exactly how the blocker works to reduce the size of tumors.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women, and is also one of the deadliest cancers in the Western world, with survival rates of only 20 percent after five years.

According to a Health Ministry report issued in October 2010, lung cancer causes 21.5 percent of all men’s cancer deaths in Israel, and 9.9 percent of women’s deaths from cancer.


Sotheby’s Teams up with Israeli Art School for an Exhibition in Chicago

Frank Sinatra believed that “Chicago is one town that won’t let you down”. In June 2012, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem will find out exactly what he meant when the innovative exhibition opens at Sotheby’s in Chicago

The “Bezalel on Tour” exhibition featuring contemporary art works of recent graduates of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem will open on Wednesday, June 21, 2012, at Sotheby’s. The traveling exhibition, which made its first stop at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore earlier this year, will travel throughout North America over the next year.

This is not the first time Bezalel is partnering with Sotheby’s, one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art, for an exhibition. Last year, Sotheby’s London held a selling exhibition for the academy after curator Janice Blackburn visited Israel in 2010. After looking at student works and talking to Bezalel president, Professor Arnon Zuckerman, she felt motivated to take a selection of the best of past and present students’ works to London. After receiving rave reviews in London, Professor Zuckerman wanted to take the exhibition also to America. “This exciting collaboration with Sotheby’s befits our reputation as a world leading academy of art, design and architecture, where creativity, quality and excellence are the very essence of our history,” says Zuckerman.

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Israeli swimmer wins European gold

Koplev after finishing the race (Photo: AP)

Jonathan Koplev becomes first Israeli to hold European championship title in men’s 50m backstroke; Guy Barnea takes meet’s bronze

Swimmer Jonathan Koplev became the first Israeli to hold the European championship title after setting a new personal best of 24.73 seconds in the men’s 50-meter backstroke and winning the gold medal.

Swimmer Guy Barnea joined Koplev on the winners’ podium, taking the meet’s bronze medal after setting a time of 25.15 seconds.

Italy’s Mirco Di Tora won the silver medal.

Koplev and Barnea’s double win, joined by swimmer Yakov Toumarkin’s winning the bronze medal at the men’s 100-meter backstroke on Wednesday, improved the Israeli team’s ranking in the championship placing them in third place.

“This is unbelievably exciting. I knew he could do it – he lived up to all of our expectations and more,” Koplev’s trainer Hanan Sterling said.

He added he hoped Koplev would represent Israel in the 4×100 relay race at the Olympic qualifications.


Israeli Band TYP Perform @ The Cannes Festival (Le Grand Journal)

The South of France, The Beach, The Cannes Film Festival and TYP, can you think of a better evening… (Outside of all that in TLV)

Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo

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Indian software giant eyes Israeli companies

Infosys presents new content sharing platform, considers cooperation with Israeli firms

A delegation from Indian software company Infosys visited Israel early May, and presented the Infosys labstorm initiative. The software giant, one of India’s 30 largest companies, was hosted by the Israeli export institute.

The Infosys labstorm initiative is a technological content sharing platform. It offers companies, investors and businesses to share and view demos and PR videos of technological products, software and firms.

To promote collaboration between Israeli technologies and Infosys, the Israeli export institute invited dozens of Israeli technology, software, communication, new media and energy companies to meet the Indian delegation. Among the participants were Radware, Checkmarx, leviathan Energy Inc, Safend and CQM.

Infosys is a leading information technology company which provides business solutions, technology, engineering and outsourcing services to costumers in 30 countries.

In 1999 Infosys became the first India-based public company to be listed on an American stock exchange, the NASDAQ. In 2001 it was crowned “best employer in India,” and in 2003-2004 Infosys was the first Indian company to win the MAKE (Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises) award.

Yafit Katz Rubin, director of software department in the export institute said the innovative initiative may become the next big thing in technology marketing.

“We believe that the unique meeting will become a fertile ground for further cooperation between the software giants and Israeli firms,” she said.


Talkin’ Bacon in Israel (Marketing Magazine)

While haunting the usual advertising show-off sites, we spotted this work from Red Lion (the new-ish Publicis-owned “consultancy focused on creativity and strategy”) for Canadian Beef Bacon Corporation.

The hook: folks in Israel who keep kosher really wish they could eat bacon, and now there’s a way.

Click To View Video

Client: Canadian Beef Bacon Company
Agency: Red Lion
CCO/writer: Brett Channer
Animation: Kemar Lawrence
Production company: FamilyStyle
Directors: Jon & Torey
Line Producer: Liz Dussault
Executive Producer: Harland Weiss
Editor: Mark Paiva/Posterboy
Sound and music: Vapor

MadonnaTribe: Conan O’Brien, Sacha Baron Cohen and Natalie Portman to arrive in Israel for World Tour Launch

Breaking news from Israel – tv host Conan O’Brien is a special guest at Madonna’s MDNA tour opening night in Israel next week.

US TV host Conan O’brien will come to Israel a day before Madonna’s MDNA TOUR, to have a special coverage of the queen of pop’s opening night show in Israel.

His “Conan” late night show got the exclusive deal to have a full covarage of the event, and it will be featured in a dedicated TV special. O’Brien will come to Israel with a crew of 20 people and will have 3 broadcasting teams.

The Conan show is being broadcast on US cable channel TBS.

In other related news, words are in that among the many guests Madonna has invited to opening night of her tour are Sacha Baron Cohen and Natalie Portman – both have families in Israel, and will arrive to the country in a few days time.

New Discovery Proves Bethlehem Part of Kingdom of Judah

Archaeologists have discovered the first evidence outside of the Bible that Bethlehem was part of the First Temple era Kingdom of Judah.

clay seal 
The dramatic archaeological find was announced five days before Jews around the world celebrate the holiday of Shavuot and hear the recital of the Book of Ruth, which mentions Bethlehem.

A half-inch clay seal was discovered at the ongoing excavations at Ir David (City of David) located across the road from the Western Wall.

The stamp, with ancient Hebrew script, is one of a group of seals used to stamp official documents that were to be opened only by authorized officials.

Three lines in the stamp state:
בשבעת (Bishv’at)
בת לכם (Bat Lechem)
[למל[ך ([Lemel]ekh)

The writing means that the stamp was sent from Bethlehem to the king in Jerusalem in the seventh year of his reign.

eli shukrun

Eli Shukrun, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said that it is unclear if the reference to the king is to Hezekiah, Manasseh or Josiah.

The stamps, or seals, were used to seal tax shipments in the Kingdom of Judah in the late eighth century and the seventh century BCE.

“The tax could have been paid in the form of silver or agricultural produce such as wine or wheat,” according to Shukrun.

He added,” This is the first time the name Bethlehem appears outside the Bible, in an inscription from the First Temple period, which proves that Bethlehem was indeed a city in the Kingdom of Judah, and possibly also in earlier periods”.

Bethlehem is first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis (Bereishit) when it named concernng the death and burial of the Matriarch Rachel.


Bethlehem also is mentioned in the Book of Ruth as the place where “the children of Judah dwelled,” including the family of Boaz, who is a central figure in the Book of Ruth, almost all of which takes place in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem is cited in the Book of Samuel as the city where David was anointed as king.

Source: IsraelNationalNews

Monday, May 21, 2012

From fear to fortune: Tel Aviv’s new attitude (60 Minutes – CBS)

Israel’s largest city is bordered on all sides by danger, but its residents now seem more focused on its beaches, bars, and booming high-tech industry. Bob Simon reports.

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South Sudan Senior Minister Visits Israel, Lauds Cooperation

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Bar Refaeli hottest women in the world according to MAXIM

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli is the hottest woman in the world, according to Maxim magazine’s annual list of the world’s most beautiful females.

The men’s magazine will crown Refaeli in its upcoming issue, after readers chose the Israeli over last year’s winner Brit Rosie Huntington Whiteley.

Refaeli, a model turned actress who hails from Hod Hasharon, was ranked No. 6 on the Hot 100 list last year. The year before, the stunner took No. 3.

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We reveal more of this year's Hot 100--the definitive list of the world's most beautiful women.

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Sunbeat Music Festival. June 16, 2012

Taking place throughout the summer, the Sunbeat Music Festival is Israel’s most innovative Global Beats Festival – one of the only music festivals in Israel to rival the big festivals of Europe. Unlike most festivals, Sunbeat is held in three parts, throughout the summer – in 2012 this will be in June, July, and September, at a beautiful location in the Galilee. Attracting passionate, groovy, and upbeat acts from within Israel as well as internationally, Sunbeat is set to be something to remember. The first Sunbeat Festival of 2012 will take place on June 16, with following festivals in July and September.

About the Sunbeat Festival

The Sunbeat Festival was first held in 2011 – a huge success, the festival presented to its mostly Israeli audience some of the most energetic world music acts from Israel and beyond. Split into three events, taking place at 6 week intervals throughout the summer, festival-goers head to the beautiful setting of Israel’s Lower Galilee for some fine music. The festival has quickly become known for its warm, positive & open minded crowd who originate from Israel and beyond.

Sunbeat represents the new global village culture, which draws its inspiration from east and west, fusing different cultural backgrounds, musical heritages, and technological traditions – presenting everything from the traditional folklore to the cutting edge technology.

Besides the live shows, the Sunbeat Festival hosts DJ’s and producers, visual art installations, circus and dance acts, and more.

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PM Netanyahu Visits Prague

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For the First Time Ever, COMEDS Conference to Be Held in Israel

As part of the NATO Committee of the Medical Chief of Military Medical Services (COMEDS), the IDF Medical Corps will host Surgeon Generals and senior medical officers from NATO member countries between May 21st and May 25th.

COMEDS is chaired by Brigadier General Dr. Rob Van Der Meer from the Netherlands. COMEDS promotes international cooperation between NATO member countries and partners in the fields of military medicine, disaster medicine and humanitarian medicine. This is the first time in which the conference is being held in a non-NATO member country outside Europe – an event which has an eminent value in the international aspect.

The conference will include lectures, discussions, a variety of panels and a display of Israel’s capabilities to aid in international disasters and humanitarian crises. In addition, participants will observe a large-scale Home Front Command & Medical Corps exercise in the Sorokah Hospital in Beersheba which will display Israeli capabilities to contend with home front emergencies. The exercise will simulate a non-conventional missile landing in Israel.

The conference will be concluded at a gala event to be held in Tel Aviv. The NATO generals and their spouses, the IDF Chief of the Technology and Logistics Branch, Major General Kobi Barak, and the IDF Surgeon General, Brigadier General Dr. Yitshak Kreiss, as well as other senior officers, will participate in the event as well.

Israeli rock band's song in Fiat ad

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A new TV commercial of the Fiat car manufacturer chose to feature a song by the Israeli hard rock band, Hayehudim, known overseas as IUDM. The song "You Hurt Me Anyway" is the English version of a song from the band's 2007 album, "Forte." The ad was released online several weeks ago, and is expected to be broadcast on US television, in spite of the fact it is in Italian. The band's PR office said the commercial was made in Italian to maintain its authenticity, since Fiat is an Italian car.

Saving farmers money while enhancing animal welfare

The new invention is already creating a buzz among Israeli poultry farmers
Metabolic Robots
The Metabolic Robot cuts down on food wastage and mortality rates

Every poultry farmer is familiar with the sight: some chickens grow big and strong, while others simply lie down and die. And they’re also only too familiar with rising grain prices.

“Chickens are the greatest consumers of corn and wheat in the world,” says Israeli entrepreneur Ziv Dubinsky, whose Metabolic Robots startup tackles the interlinked problems of unbalanced consumption and animal welfare.

“They spend up to 45 days in the coops -- pullets are removed after only 35 days. The slightest change in their feeding patterns can make a great difference. Corn in particular is susceptible to price fluctuations due to weather conditions. Not enough corn is left for human consumption. Corn producers prefer to sell to poultry farms because it’s more profitable.”

Dubinsky was gearing up to present his invention -- an intuitive tool that automatically adjusts the amount of feed available at any given moment -- at the 18th International Agritech exhibition in Tel Aviv on May 15-17

So far more than 800,000 chickens have been
fed using Dubinsky’s system in about 20 farms

The patented device, which can be easily retrofitted onto standard animal-feeding equipment, uses a unique algorithm based on two years of intensive research. In 2009, Dubinsky installed prototype units in about 20 poultry farms in southern and northern Israel that set the rate of meals according to the chickens’ age and breed.

“As the data mounted, I built a table for each breed’s performance versus the size of the food portions. This formed the basis of the algorithm,” he says.

The results so far have been startling: a sharp drop in mortality rates together with significant savings on grain.

“Automatically calibrating the feeding rate and amount of food served saves substantial amounts of animal feed, which constitutes a major part of the farmer’s expenses,” he says. “Today the situation is that broilers have to eat large portions of food throughout their lives, without taking into account their genetics, breed, age and health.”

Poultry welfare is an under-addressed issue in an industry where profitability is considered paramount, he adds. “Broilers -- and other livestock such as pigs and turkeys -- are treated as products in a production line, with fixed feeding rates and minimal regard for their welfare.”

Step-by-step interaction

Uncontrolled feeding rates and food-line filling times create empty lines, wasted growth potential, lost vitality – and ultimately, survival of the fittest animals and lower profits for the farmer.

Dubinsky says he has seen up to a 40 percent decrease in mortality levels. “That just shows how poor their lives are. The strong overeat and suffer, while the weak don’t get to eat enough and also suffer. This system produces more balanced eating habits.”

“My approach is based on the Japanese Kai Zen philosophy,” explains Dubinsky, who came to Israel from Ukraine as a child in 1976. “Kai Zen is not about changing a system; it rather aims at optimizing an existing system through a series of small-step modifications, based on intensive, ongoing study of the system.”

“The first thing the automatic system knows how to do is to balance the amounts. It’s all in the mechanics --– this has nothing to do with the algorithm. It knows to decide whether the portion will be large or small, depending on demand.”

This new platform gives the farmer a window to direct interaction with the animals.

“Until now they inserted the chickens, closed the doors, placed feed in the silos and waited for the results. [Our] system has an Internet back office where the operator can see how it is working. He has direct feedback on the chickens’ welfare -- metabolic data from afar -- and can see the rate each coop is working at and adjust it to incorporate expense-saving measures. He can know when the chickens will reach desired weight targets and know when to order the trucks to take them away, for example.”

Fed like athletes

“Like all animals, chickens become hungry at certain times of the day. In the final days, the robot knows to lower the pace of feeding, which reduces both stress between the animals and internal competition for food,” he explains.

“Chickens can be naturally obese, because they always want to eat too much. Their obesity must not be allowed to harm them: Because they grow fat too quickly, their legs cannot carry them and many die early. Changing the pace of growth and their metabolism expresses itself in a lower mortality rate. A chicken moves around all day long. Its metabolism should be better attuned. This will make them more similar to athletes, who instead of three large meals a day, eat healthy snacks throughout the day.”
Professor Amichai Arieli of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Agriculture, a world expert on animal nutrition, is a great supporter of the technology and the logic behind it. His statistical analysis based on the results from farmers showed a 12 percent improvement in the chickens’ average biological efficiency, together with a 6% decrease in corn demand.

The Israeli Agriculture Ministry started testing the equipment in March. “The trial will take a year, based on data from several locations. They are conducting thermal tests and metabolic tests on the animals, and monitoring meat quality,” says Dubinsky.

“In Israel only three or four breeds of broiler are nurtured. I intend to expand the algorithm to encompass different types of broilers,” he says. About 20 such systems are already operating in Israel, and Dubinsky says he wants to aim for worldwide markets.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Canadian comedians take Israel by Storm (May31st – June 5th Show Schedule)

Yuk Yuk’s Takes Israel by Storm

Canada’s national standup comedy club, Yuk Yuk’s, is heading to the Holy Land – and bringing with it a taste of unique Canadian humour.

Mark Breslin, founder and CEO of the world’s largest chain of comedy clubs, will be bringing six of his top comedians to perform at selected venues in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, along with some surprise locations along the way. The tour takes place from May 30th to June 7th, and will form the basis of a documentary exploring the role of culture and comedy in Canada and Israel – and how the trip impacts the comedians themselves. The documentary will be produced and directed by Igal Hecht, who has produced over 50 documentary films, including the award winning “Shield of Solomon” (2009) and “The Hilltops” (2011).

Hecht’s most recent project was “Muzika”, a television series highlighting the top names in Israeli music. Muzika is currently airing in the US and Canada.

The comics on this groundbreaking tour are Aaron Berg, Nikki Payne, Rebecca Kohler, Jean-Paul, Sam Easton, and Michael Khardas. Two are Jewish, and four are non-Jewish.

The tour is sponsored by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and several supporting contributors, with co-sponsorship from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The documentary will be aired on the CBC, with plans for later submission to film and documentary festivals around the world.

Breslin was excited for the trip, which he sees as strengthening the friendship between Canada and Israel through the universal medium of comedy. “I’m hoping that this can begin a cultural exchange of comedy between the two nations,” said Breslin. “My plans are to meet with a variety of Israeli comics in the hopes of having them perform for Canadian audiences in our clubs across Canada.”

Yuk Yuk’s has been responsible for launching the careers of renowned comics like Howie Mandel and Jim Carrey, with its clubs presenting comedy to over one million Canadians annually since being established in 1976. “Comedy reveals a great deal about one’s country, and it’s a great way to connect with others across cultures and borders,” said Breslin. “Without question, the Middle East and the world in general needs more laughter.”

Show Schedule


21.00 – Show in Jerusalem, at AACI

Yuks Yuks Canadian Comics at AACI!
Canadian Comedians Nikki Payne, Aaron Berg, Sam Easton, Rebecca Kohler and Jean Paul are coming all the way from Canada to perform for you, here at AACI!

Including a variety of backgrounds and performance highlights such as Saturday Night Live, Just For Laughs, Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Comedy Night in Canada, and a variety of television shows and movies, these Comedians are coming to ply their trade in solidarity with Israel. Come on out and show them our support for their efforts and craft.

When: Thursday, May 31, 21:00
Where: AACI – Dr. Max and Gianna Glassman Family Center
Cost: 40 NIS/30 NIS for AACI members
Pre-register at 02-566-1181


20.30 – Show in East Jerusalem at Legacy Hotel – Free Outdoor show


22.00 and 00.00 – Shows in Jerusalem, at Off the Wall Comedy Club

One night, two hilarious shows!at Off The Wall Comedy Basement The Best Place To Laugh In The Holy City – For more info click here


22.00 – Show at IDC, Herzelya – Free Outdoor show

Includes performance by Benji Lovitt:
“As one of the top English-speaking comedians in Israel, I have performed for audiences throughout North America and Israel (full list here.)  My perspectives on life here have been featured on Israeli television and radio and in publications such as the Jerusalem Post, the Times of Israel, and the Jewish Daily Forward.  My annual Independence Day list of things I love about Israel has developed a huge following (last week’s edition has gained almost 7000 Facebook “likes” in under a week) and I have become a highly demanded speaker on the “Jewish circuit”.  I also opened for comedian Jim Gaffigan during his visit to Israel in 2009″.


22.00 – Show in Tel Aviv, at Heseg House – Free show


Nikki Payne

The East Coast is famous for it’s seafood; fiddle music and a little lady who humps things, named Nikki Payne. Growing up in a trailer park with a speech impediment may sound tragic to many, but it is comedic gold to Nikki Payne. Not letting anything stand in her way, she has been nominated for two Gemini Awards, and has won countless Canadian Comedy Awards.She is most known for her appearance on NBC’s ‘Last Comic Standing’ and Much Music’s ‘Video on Trial’. Nikki has written for ‘This Hour Has 22 Minutes”, ‘Comedy Inc’ and ‘Pop- Cultured’. Nikki’s CTV’s ‘Comedy Now’ special is one of the highest rated ever in all the world’s history!

To quote Nikki’s mom, “She’s just so darn cute”, you won’t want to miss it!

Aaron Berg

“There are few comics around doing this material. Lenny Bruce would approve.” NOW MAGAZINE“A Breakout star!” ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT“There is a new barbarian knocking at the gates of comedy.”


Originally from Toronto, Aaron was the winner of the 2007 COCA Comedian of the Year Award. It’s not just what Aaron does that makes him who he is but what he doesn’t do as well…One of a select group of comedians to turn down Last Comic Standing auditions due to it’s irreverent approach to mediocrity gives him a great crutch known as integrity. Aaron has been nominated for two Canadian Comedy Awards and is the writer/performer of THE UNDERBELLY DIARIES, the sordid tales of his part time experiences as a male stripper. Aaron has also appeared in award winning films, as well as the cult hit DETROIT

Sam Easton

“Offbeat brilliance” Brad Oswald, Winnipeg Free Press

“Whether it’s acting, or alone behind a mike, Sam Easton is one to watch” Guy Macpherson, Georgia Straight

Star of FINAL DESTINATION 3 and THE L WORD. Winner of The Phil Hartman Award, nominated for the Tim Sims Award, and two Canadian Comedy Awards.

Rebecca Kohler

Fathered by an eccentric and quick-witted Canadian diplomat, Rebecca Kohler has made her home all over the world. From Brazil to Thailand, Rebecca learned that the one thing that tied people together was their love of laughter – and pointing at her. After moving to Montreal, Rebecca took the stage for the first time and was met with great success. The laughter remained, but the pointing (mostly) stopped. Her credits include: The Broad Appeal Show, The Just For Laughs Homegrown Competition (local), The Young Guns of Stand Up Comedy, The New Voices of Comedy, The Geeks of Comedy and Comedy Night In Canada at the Just For Laughs Festival.

Jean Paul

“Savage wit and spontaneous combustion combine into an explosive comedic barrage. This cat is fearless. In terms of any kind of act, he works without a net. He is so freewheeling it’s almost psychedelic.” Daryl Jung, NOW MAGAZINE

Jean Paul’s comedy is culled from his cultural crazy quilt of a childhood – born in Trinidad, raised in Brooklyn and currently residing in Toronto.

This in itself explains his kaleidoscope of accents. He’s funked up, has a twinkle in his eyes and is deadly articulate. Feeding off the vibe of a room makes his performances electrifying. Says Jean Paul, “I was always into comedy, even as a kid. I found it fascinating. Some of my friends were into model car kits. I was into Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Bill Cosby”

Michael Khardas

Michael Khardas is an Israeli-Canadian writer and performer based out of Toronto, Canada. Michael has been doing stand up comedy since the tender age of 18, performing for a variety of different venues internationally. Having performed all over North America, Europe, and Israel, Michael has crafted his style of Jewish ethnic comedy to entertain even the toughest of spectators, all while utilizing the gentle art of clean comedy.

In June 2007, he was featured in a full page article in the Jerusalem Post, praising him as one of the top English speaking comedians to come out of Israel. Michael is currently working as a writer and comedian in the Canadian comedy circuit.

The Host: Mark Breslin

In 1974, Breslin opened the first Yuk Yuk’s, in the basement of Toronto’s Church Street Community Centre. Two years and many sweaty shows later, the Yuk Yuk’s flag ship was moved to 1280 Bay Street in the trendy Yorkville district. Over the next decade, Yuk Yuk’s would expand to its present reach of fourteen clubs across Canada.

Breslin has produced such television programs as “Late Night with Joan Rivers” for Fox Broadcasting, “Yuk Yuk’s – the TV show” for CBC TV and “Mondo Taboo”, two pay-per-view specials for The Movie Network. He was executive producer on “Friday Night with Ralph Benmergui” for CBC TV and “Yuk Yuk’s 25th Anniversary Special” for the Comedy Network. Currently, Breslin is a story consultant on “Kenny vs Spenny” for CBC TV and Showcase.

New CW Digital Studio to feature webisodes using Israeli technology

Yoni Bloch

American TV network The CW, which airs 90210, America’s NExt Top Model & Gossip Girl, has announced the launch of CWD – Digital Studio, an all-new destination for fresh, original content created exclusively for the digital platform. The new creation is set to feature special webisodes of the network shows’ using Interlude, founded by Israeli rock musician Yoni Bloch, most recently featured online doing a special interactive video for breakout comedy series “New Girl”.

Interlude is the realization of a vision to offer users a unique next generation online video experience. Using Interlude’s proprietary technology platform, online users can make choices about the course of a video in real time, in a completely seamless video experience. The result is a shareable personalized version of the video created from millions of unique possibilities.

In other CW related news, the network has also formally announced its fall line-up that will include new mystery drama “Cult”, starring Israeli actress Alona Tal.The show revolves around an inquisitive young female production assistant (Jessica Lucas) on a wildly popular television series who joins a journalist blogger (Matt Davis) in investigating the show’s rabid fans. Together, the duo finds the fans might be re-creating crime scenes from the show in their real lives — behavior that has lead to a rash of disappearances and a likely murder.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gilad Shalit joins Arab and Jewish cyclists for peace

This year’s Cycling for Peace group bike ride had a star celebrity – Gilad Shalit – and was joined by a record number of Arab Israeli citizens.

Former captive soldier, Gilad Shalit, leads the Cycling for Peace run from his home in Israel's north to Acre.

Former captive soldier, Gilad Shalit, leads the Cycling for Peace run from his home in Israel's north to Acre.

Five years ago, the inaugural Cycling for Peace group bike ride started by the municipality of Acre (Acco) was dedicated to then-captive soldier Gilad Shalit. This year, organizers were excited to have Shalit leading the pack of about 500 cyclists on a 36-kilometer ride from the Shalit home to the multicultural seaside town of Acre, in northern Israel.

About 150 Arab Israeli citizens joined the ride on May 4 — the biggest turnout yet — showing that at least the wheels of peaceful intentions are rolling in the Arab and Jewish communities.

While Jews and Arabs live in relative harmony in mixed cities like Jaffo next to Tel Aviv, and Acre in the north, there are few opportunities to engage in face-to-face recreation and camaraderie. The two populations interact in the marketplace but beyond that they tend to stick to their own sides.

“It is very emotional,” recalls Lydia Hatuel-Czuckerman, the director of sports activities for the city. “Jews and Arabs are participating together each year for peace and tolerance. And accepting one another and living together as two nations. This is the idea behind this kind of event,” she tells ISRAEL21c.

It was her idea to see if Shalit could come along. “We dedicated the ride in the past to Gilad Shalit with lots of hopes and wishes for his return. This year it was natural to ask him to join us.”

Shalit rode at the front of the group with the leaders, and when the riders pulled into predetermined stops they were met with cheers from the local communities.

Ranging from the age of two — a young girl towed by her dad –up to 60 years of age, the Arab cyclists accepted the idea of riding with Gilad “very beautifully,” Hatuel-Czuckerman says. The complicated reality for Arabs in Israel often translates into divided loyalties, so it’s not to be taken for granted that Arab Israelis would join the ride in such numbers.

‘We all love him’

Starting at Shalit’s hometown of Mitzpe Hila and continuing through Nes Ammim and Regba to pick up additional riders before reaching the final destination of Lily Sharon Park in Acre, the ride started at 9:00 in the morning and lasted until about 1:30 in the afternoon.
Gilad Shalit cycles with Arab and Jewish Israelis on the Cycling for Peace run. 
Gilad Shalit cycles with Arab and Jewish Israelis on the 
Cycling for Peace run.
At the starting point, Shalit was the undisputed star of the show, Hatuel-Czuckerman reports. Cycling for Peace was the first opportunity for the crowds of people who had followed his story to actually see him since his release in a prisoner swap last October.

“We all love him and wanted to take pictures with him,” she says. “He was very nice. He was very polite and understanding and patient with everybody, and when he came to Nes Ammim there were about 200 who waited there and greeted him with clapping hands.”

Shalit, although he was in very frail condition when he was released by Hamas in the Gaza Strip after five years of captivity, did very well on Cycling for Peace. “He rode with us all the way, was among the first in the group, and he is in really good shape,” says Hatuel-Czuckerman.

When the peace riders rolled into Acre, they were met with refreshments, prizes, a cycling show and live music.

“Last year’s race called for Gilad’s release, so this year we’re proud to hold an event with his participation,” Acre Mayor Shimon Lankry said.

The sporty side of peace

Hatuel-Czuckerman who also runs the Israel Or Association for Fencing, sees much peacemaking potential in sports. “I think it is the best way to make peace because in sports there is a common interest to all the people,” she says.

“And when you are on teams — this could be on bicycles, on the track, fencing or when playing basketball, and you can see this especially in Acre – you can find Jews and Arabs participating together. They are training together, behaving like family to one another and respecting each other. It’s beautiful,” she says.

“Athletes can be friends. When you see them not playing together, they are usually ordered not to, like between Israel and Iran. If you ask the athletes directly, I am sure they would be willing to participate.”

Source: Israel21C

How far can you spit a pit?

Olive lovers of all ages came to find out, at Israel’s first official olive-pit spitting contest.

Olives are not just for eating as Israel takes part in its first ever official olive-pit spitting contest. Photo by Doron Horowitz/Flash90.

Olives are not just for eating as Israel takes part in its first ever official olive-pit spitting contest.

Kibbutz Givat Brenner, just south of Rehovot, was the setting for Israel’s first official olive-pit spitting contest. Hopefuls of all ages tried to best the world record of 21.32 meters (nearly 70 feet). Izhak Hazan won the competition, albeit with a distance of 10.9 meters.

Click To View Video

The contest was a natural fit for Israelis, who come to Givat Brenner every year for an olive festival.

“We are strong in olives, and we are strong in competition also,” points out a vendor of olive products at the competition, which was part of a February olive festival.

Visitor Rafi Mann adds, “There are few other things which are more Israeli than olives. We’ve had olives for thousands of years.”

The contest was run under the auspices of the Spain-based International Federation of Olive Pit Spitting. Yes, there is such an organization.

Source: Israel21C

"House" in Israel

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Cast of "House" visits Israel

The cast of "House", the world-wide famous TV show, were on a visit to Israel during the last few days. During their stay, they visited hospitals and were introduced to different departments, a children's department among them.

StandWithUs "Israel Matters" Display: Traveling to Campuses and Communities

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On 5/3/2012, StandWithUs brought the "Israel Matters" display to UC Santa Barbara.

To bring the StandWithUs "Israel Matters" display to your campus, synagogue or church,
go to:
or email

Guest Post: Enlisting to the IDF… Twice

Every IDF soldier remembers his first day in the army, but no one remembers as well as Sgt. Ephraim Dissen — the only soldier who enlisted to the Nahal Brigade twice. Today we feature a guest post written by him.

Sgt. Ephraim Dissen and friends
Sgt. Ephraim Dissen (left) and his comrade in the battalion

The decision to make Aliyah was not an easy one. I was born in Chicago, where I graduated high school. After more than 18 months of science and math studies,  I decided to enlist to the IDF.  So I did. That’s just the way I am.

I took part in the Mahal program, which brings hundreds of foreign volunteers to serve in the IDF. I enlisted to the Nahal Brigade (which is undoubtedly the army’s most awesome unit) and became a part of the Shaham battalion. After 14 months of hard service, I finished my service and went back to my previous life in Chicago.

Less than six months after signing up for uni, I decided I’d had enough. I packed my bags, and in a (slightly, ahem, rash) decision decided to return to Israel — this time for good. Coming back made it clear to me I was not done with my army service. AI arrived at the recruiting base — again — where I demanded to be a part of the Nahal Brigade. Again.

This time, I joined the battalion’s reconnaissance platoon. Looking back at my service so far, I have no doubt I made the right decision, and even after being released from the army, I plan to keep on living in Israel.

3rd photo of TLV’s pride campaign released..

The latest of 3 ads released for Tel Aviv pride…




Chinese managers to study entrepreneurship in Tel Aviv

About 1,000 senior executives and entrepreneurs from Nanjing are expected to participate in a special program at Tel Aviv University over the next five years.

Tel Aviv University in cooperation with the Consul General of Israel in Shanghai is to host host a delegation from the city of Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province in China, headed by Mr Yang Weize, Secretary of CPC Nanjing Municipal Committee. This is the first time that a delegation from China is participating in a special executive development program of studies to be conducted by LAHAV Executive Education at Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Management. About 1,000 senior executives and entrepreneurs from the city of Nanjing in China are expected to participate in this special program over the next five years.

To mark 20 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and Israel, the city of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, will hold “Nanjing Day” at Tel Aviv University’s campus on Monday, 21 May 2012. A cooperation accord between Nanjing, a city with a population of eight million, and Tel Aviv University, will be signed, and an exhibition of Chinese art, “The Beauty of Nanjing”, will be opened. "The Night of Nanjing”, open to the general public, will take place in the Bar Shira Auditorium from 18:30 to 19:30, with performances by dancers, singers and acrobats from Nanjing who will be coming specially for this event. 

“Nanjing Day” will be held in the presence of Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University, Her Excellency, Madam Gao Yanping, Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to the state of Israel, Mr Yang Weize, Secretary of CPC Nanjing Municipal Committee and will be attended by Prof. Asher Tishler, Dean of the Faculty of Management, Dr Michael Angel, Chairman of LAHAV Executive Education, Mr Udi Aharoni, CEO of LAHAV Executive Education, and members of the delegation from China, senior officeholders from Tel Aviv University, academics, and representatives of the business and public sectors. 

Apart from Mr Yang Weize, the delegation from Nanjing will include 30 senior officeholders and entrepreneurs. Among them will be Mr Zhou Qian, Vice Mayor of Nanjing, Mr Zheng Zeguang, Vice Mayor of Nanjing and Ms Chen Liqin, Vice Chairman of Nanjing People's Political Consultative Conference and the Executive Vice Director of the Organization Department, CPC Nanjing Committee. 

The delegation will meet President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres, Dr Giora Yaron, chairman of Tel Aviv University’s Executive Council, Prof. Joseph Klafter, president of Tel Aviv University, Prof. Aron Shai, rector of Tel Aviv University, Prof. Asher Tishler, dean of the Faculty of Management, Udi Aharoni, CEO of LAHAV, academics, and leaders of the business and public sectors in Israel. 

Chinese organizations usually send their senior officials to study in the US and Singapore. The members of the Nanjing delegation chose Israel and LAHAV Executive Education at Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Management for their studies in order to get a first-hand taste of Israeli entrepreneurship and innovation from Israel’s experts in the field. 

Under the cooperation accord between the educational entity representing the city of Nanjing and LAHAV Executive Education to be signed on “Nanjing Day” on 21 May at Tel Aviv University, every year for the next five years, the city of Nanjing will send over 200 senior executives, entrepreneurs and officials for studies at LAHAV. The title of the program of studies will be Entrepreneurship and Innovation The Israeli Model. In the first program, scheduled to begin on 22 May 2012, the students from China will learn about the special characteristics of this model, and how it supports the creation of global enterprises in various hi-tech areas. The program includes meetings with leading academics, managers of venture capital funds, government officials, and visits to leading companies in the area. 

Prof. Klafter said, "Tel Aviv University is proud to play a focal role in strengthening academic relations between China and Israel. The program of studies for senior officials and leading entrepreneurs from the city of Nanjing, the first of its kind at Tel Aviv University, opens opportunities for important academic, scientific and research activities."

Source: Globes

Procter & Gamble Explains Why Israel is THE Startup Nation

by Ricardo Geromel

I visited P&G office in Tel Aviv. Lital Asher-Dotan, who established Procter & Gamble first R&D hub in Israel called “P&G Israel House of Innovation”, explained why P&G calls Israel a “startup nation.”

In the entry lobby of P&G office, which is 20 minutes away from Google’s office in Tel Aviv, there are a few samples of different products sold by P&G in Israel. Among the usual health and beauty brands (Head & Shoulders, Pantene, Oral B, Gillette, Tampax, Pampers …) and brands of household cleaners (Ariel, Lenor, Swiffer, Tide …) there were also different prizes and trophies P&G Israel has received for the development of innovative products. However, what surprised me the most was that besides all these products and prizes there was a copy of the acclaimed book Startup nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer.

Procter & Gamble takes Research and Development seriously: it invests $2.8 Billion annually and has 9,300 employees in R&D worldwide. The Israel House of Innovation (IHI) was created five years ago by CEO Bob McDonald and one of the key goals is to create alliances between P&G and Israeli innovators.

Procter & Gamble’s Israel House of Innovation collaborates with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NASDAQ: TEVA; TASE: TEVA), the largest generic drug manufacturer in the world; the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which carries out more than 1/3 of all academic scientific research in Israel;

Powermat, which has only 70 employees and is developing wireless battery rechargers. By the way, Jay-Z participates in the JV with Powermat and P&G not only as a spokesperson but also as an investment partner. P&G has also signed on bilateral agreement with Israeli Chief Scientist providing Israeli start ups that collaborate with P&G favorable access to governmental funding.

Present in over 180 countries and with total revenues of about $80 Billion, P&G is the world’s largest Multinational consumer goods company. Procter & Gamble has promised to deliver 3-6 % of growth per year or about extra $5billion in annual revenue. Open innovation is the key to this growth: the giant established in 1837 aims to have 50% of all innovation (not only on new products but also on internal systems) having elements from outside of the company. Jeff Weedman, P&G Vice President, External BD:

“Our JV with TEVA represents the lessons learned that we need better access to Innovation and global abilities while we can provide the in-depth consumer knowhow.”

Lital Asher-Dotan explained why P&G calls Israel a startup nation:

-Israel has the highest density of tech start-ups in the world. Israel has about 80 companies listed on NASDAQ, more than all of Europe, Japan, Korea, India, and China combined.

-Israel is the biggest destination for global venture capital per capita. In recent years, many US based VCs have opened Israeli funds and/or Israeli offices – Sequoia ($580M), Benchmark ($490M). Greylock, Battery Ventures, Bessemer. Main accelerators in Israel are: Microsoft, VentureGeeks, The Junction, TechLoft, DreamIT Ventures,The Hive, UpWestLabs, The Library, and MobileMonday.

- Israel raises 2.5 times as much global venture capital as the U.S., 30 times more than Europe, 80 times more than India, and 350 times more than China.

-Israel has twice the number of engineers per capita than the US and Japan. 34% of its population holds university degrees (24% of the work force).

- Israel has the highest level of R&D spending relative to GDP in the world: 4,9% in 2009. OECD average is 2,3%.

- Israel holds the largest number of Nobel Prize winners this past decade. By the way, I had the chance to meet Dr. Dan Schechtman, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “the discovery of quasicrystals,” who told me his views on entrepreneurship.

-In Israel, Military technology is often transferred to other areas. For instance, Based on real-time image processing technology from Rafael’s Missile Division, Dr. Gabi Iddan from Given Imaging developed the PillCam™ capsule endoscope – the first ingestible camera in a pill for detection of GI disorders. The PillCam™ capsule is easily ingested by the patient and transmits high quality color images that enable physicians to directly visualize parts of the GI tract. Capsule endoscopy is the only available ingestible diagnostic tool that allows direct visualization of the small intestine.

I have just outlined the key points why Israel is considered by P&G as a startup Nation. In a post for Techcrunch, Roi Carthy and Daniel Cunha, founders of Initial Capital, suggest what the Brazilian booming startup community could learn from the Israeli case.

Source: Forbes

Israel pavilion Korea 2012 – Sea of Inspiration – Virtual Tour

Israel Expo 2012 virtual tour – Little preview…

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Major General Amir Eshel Appointed Commander of the Israeli Air Force

In a ceremony held today in Tel Aviv’s “Rabin” (Hakirya) Base, Major General Amir Eshel was appointed Commander of the Israeli Air Force. Minister of Defense, Mr. Ehud Barak, the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, as well as members of the general staff and their families attended the ceremony.

Major General Amir Eshel, the new IAF commmander
 Major General Amir Eshel, the new IAF commander

Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel replaced Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, who has held the position for the past four years and has completed 37 years of military service.

Minister of Defense Barak conveyed his best wishes to Maj. Gen. Eshel, and said: “for the past two generations, the IAF has been Israel’s most critical and decisive component and the keystone of its deterrence capabilities.”

The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gantz, thanked Maj. Gen. Nehushtan for his service, saying: “we have the best Air Force in the world. The IAF has an immediate, significant and strategic value.”

Maj. Gen. Nehushtan said: “the IAF operates every day, every minute, 365 days a year, across Israel and around the world guarding the State of Israel.”

Nehushtan wished the best to Maj. Gen. Eshel and said that he solely trusts him to stand at the head of the Israeli Air Force.

Maj. Gen. Eshel thanked the Defense Minister and the IDF Chief of the General Staff for trusting him with the position and said: “Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan leaves a strong and capable Air Force designed in his image. We face significant challenges, but are ready for any future task.”

Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel - Planning for the Unknown - Israel's Ever-Changing Strategic Reality 

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Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel began his career as a fighter pilot in 1979. He went on to serve in a variety of staff and command positions, including Air Force Chief of Staff and Chief of Air Staff. Maj.-Gen. Eshel assumed his position as Head of the IDF Planning Directorate in 2008. This Jerusalem Issue Brief is based on his presentation to the Institute for Contemporary Affairs of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on January 17, 2012. He has since been named commander of the Israel Air Force.

World Bank excited about Israeli cleantech firms’

Ruzgar Barisik says IFC enthusiastic about investing in local industry; adds ‘Israeli technologies are very promising’

Ruzgar Barisik, who serves as senior investment officer at the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) says he sees great potential for Israel’s cleantech industry.

Barisik, who recently visited Israel, said that “Israel is a very exciting place for us: Market interest in a growing number of Israeli technologies makes this a very promising area we want to be part of.”

“I’ll be attending Agritech Israel 2012 this month, and it will be my third visit to Israel since we launched our Cleantech Investment Program this past September, meaning I’ve visited Israel more than any other country,” he told Israel NewTech.

Barisik further explained the IFC’s cleantech program’s motivation to invest in Israel: “The World Bank was founded after World War II, with a mission to alleviate poverty worldwide.

“After 10 years of activity, the organization understood that to do so it needs to be active in the private sector as well as the government sector, and in 1956 the IFC was born.”

Today, IFC is one of the world’s largest financiers for companies in the developing world and holds a $48.8 billion portfolio, spanning almost every major industry, reaching millions of people in more than 100 countries.

The IFC, he added, is looking to invest in innovative, high growth companies who are commercializing new technologies or business models.

“Israeli companies are usually looking to expand their activities beyond their domestic market. They are driven by Israeli entrepreneurs who tend to be very international in their approach, having often been educated or done business abroad.

“Additional success drivers in Israel are the great academic and industrial research programs, the strong venture capital investment community active in the country, as well as the support of government programs like Israel NewTech,” he said.

The IFC has yet to invest in Israel, but according to Barisik, the Cleantech Investment Program of the IFC is planning to invest some $150 million annually in 15 companies worldwide, and he expects that one to two of these investments can be made in Israel every year.

Reprinted with permission from Israel NewTech

Before ‘The Dictator’ and ‘Borat,’ friends recall, Sacha Baron Cohen was a very nerdy, very funny, Israel-oriented guy

As the actor/comedian makes his way to Israel for his latest flick, those who knew him way back when share some potent memories

He’s recently been caught storming New York’s Waldorf-Astoria (now owned by an Israeli) and referred to jahnun on “Saturday Night Live”, all in character as the bearded, Hebrew-speaking Middle Eastern tyrant General Aladeen, leader of the fictional country of Wadiya, who is taking the world by storm in “The Dictator,” and will soon be in Israel, presumably to visit his grandmother.

He is Sacha Baron Cohen, the Jewish, English and half-Israeli comedian who has created a career out of imagined characters who deftly comment on the political, cultural and social issues of the moment.

He began his career as the fictional Ali G on “Da Ali G Show,” playing a boorish, uneducated type, and often baffled his celebrity and politician interviewees who didn’t realize he was in character.

Now he’s a celebrity, married to a fellow — converted — celebrity, actress Isla Fisher, with whom he has two daughters, including one whose name is Elula. For those who knew him when, as a fellow Habonim Dror youth group member or Cambridge student, his current antics are hilarious, sometimes crude, but his success is not altogether surprising.

“I remember being on the bus during our Habonim Mahane Lomdim trip, and he did this standup bit about lost property at the front of the bus,” said one woman now living in Ra’anana, who attended a three-week seminar with Baron Cohen in Israel when they were graduating high school. “He was really very nerdy, he didn’t hang out with the girls, but we were literally crying from laughter because he was so funny. I remember thinking how talented he was, and very, very smart, a genius, really.”

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Sweden loves Israeli hi-tech

Special: Leading Israeli venture capitalist Erel Margalit helps Sweden develop its startup industry

One of Europe’s strongest economies takes advice from Israelis

A crowd of some 400 Swedish entrepreneurs, managers and venture capitalists gathered in a small conference hall in the town of Kista, near Stockholm. The occasion was the 10th anniversary of entrepreneurial incubator STING, one of the biggest in Sweden. Erel Margalit, veteran Israeli entrepreneur and founder of the JVP Fund, got up to speak.

Margalit came to Sweden for a quick two-day visit to try to help fix or at least improve the Swedish startup industry. In some respects this seems to make little sense – how come Sweden, one of the strongest and wealthiest economies in Europe that has produced giant enterprises like IKEA, Ericsson, H&M and Skype, is turning of all places to Israel for advice on developing successful startups? But this is exactly what happened.

“Israel has created a large quantity of technology in relation to its size,” says Margalit. “It’s wonderful to see that the world is very interested to learn from us. When I visited Spain they practically tied me up to prevent me from leaving. They are simply astonished by Israel’s success.”

The JVP Fund, which is based in Jerusalem, was founded by Margalit in 1993 and manages eight venture capital funds totaling more than $900 dollars. JVP’s strong connection with Sweden began with an investment in t Swedish company Qlik Tech. After the stock was issued successfully on NASDAQ the Swedes realized that Israeli know-how and experience in establishing startup companies and encouraging entrepreneurs could be of benefit to them.

In his recent visit, Margalit met with local high-tech business leaders, venture capital managers, government officials, economists and top advisors of large Swedish corporations. “We came out of the meeting with many new ideas,” one Swedish business leader told Margalit.

The Swedes explain that one of the main problems they confront is how to expand into the international market. Swedish entrepreneurs are skilled and creative, but with a population of nine million people, the local market is small and limiting. Sweden has created many international companies, but the startups that have developed there in recent years have had difficulty breaking out of the country’s borders.

Another interesting problem is that Swedish high-tech workers are reluctant to leave secure and stable positions in a large company and are anxious about taking a chance on a small startup.

To cope with these problems Margalit recommends that the Swedes give incentives to entrepreneurs and investors in the way that Israel has done for the last 20 years, including the Initiative Program of the Ministry of Industry Trade and Employment and the Chief Scientist, which in the 1990s aided in establishing Israeli venture capital funds.

Margalit also recommends lowering taxes that prevent companies from giving employees options. “When a person risks his career and moves to a small company you must give him a way to make a profit,” he says.

The Swedes agree, but it is also clear to them that this will be difficult because such measures contradict the social democratic, equality-for-all tradition that also demands collecting high taxes.

‘Israelis love to invent’

In one of the meetings, a local venture capitalist asked Margalit how Israel has succeeded in attracting so many international companies to establish development centers in Israel – from Intel and Google to Apple. “American companies understand that Israelis love to invent”, Margalit replied. “And this is contagious.”

In his speech to the participants of the STING incubator conference, Margalit stressed the principles on the basis of which startups succeed. “You need to join technology experts with artists, writers and authors, and understand that we are in a cultural revolution that also integrates technology. Art schools are as strategically significant as engineering schools,” he said.

Per Hedberg, STING’s director, says that Sweden and Israel are essentially very similar. “Israel is a small country without a local market that tries to focus on innovation, just like Sweden. The focus on creating international companies attracts me to Israel.”

Margalit adds that Israel can also learn from the Swedes. “The combination between Swedish equality and the state’s readiness to invest in the private sector, and the innovation and creativity of Israel can conquer the world,” he says.

Swedish-Israeli relations were tense in recent years. There were tendentious stories and coverage about Israel in the Swedish media – like a 2009 report that Israeli soldiers harvested the organs of dead Palestinians – and this created strong negative feelings about Sweden in Israel.

“Most Swedes people do not have a position about Israel, positive or negative,” says Joseph Ackerman, the economic attaché of the Ministry of Industry Trade and Employment in Stockholm who accompanied Margalit on his visit. “There are anti-Israel extremists, but there are also extremists who love Israel very much. The media is relatively unified in its views against Israel – but this is true also in Israel. Everyone goes beyond sound proportions.”

However, Ackerman stresses that visits by Israeli high-tech experts like Margalit and trade agreements between Swedish and Israeli companies increase the possibility of talking about what is positive in Israel.

“Indeed, when political events happen, it also influences business relations. Why will companies go to Israel with all the security problems? It means we must be better and more innovative, and bring added value that will attract them to do business in Israel.”