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Did You Know?

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

Sunday, June 23, 2013

IDF Soldiers Wish President Peres a Happy Birthday

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Happy Birthday, Mr. President Shimon Peres! We congratulate you on your 90th birthday and thank you for your continued leadership of the State of Israel.

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Israel tops world ranking of smartphone usage


Survey shows Israelis use their smartphones just about anywhere; rising number of Israelis apt to use smartphones during social gatherings.

A young woman was sitting on a bus this week and a man in his 40s walked toward her. Engrossed in his smartphone, he was desperate to sit down to take care of the urgent matter on his screen. When he sat down, the woman saw what was so important: He wanted to finish the level on Angry Birds. After a few seconds, she went back to her cellphone to continue her game of Dots.
That’s the way a bus ride looks these days; so does waiting in line or even walking down the street − an endless bumping of smartphones connected to people with hands.
A recent survey conducted by Google and Ipsos MediaCT shows the same trend. Carried out in the first quarter of the year, taking in 1,000 smartphone users ages 18 to 64 in dozens of countries, the survey found that 57 percent of Israelis have a smartphone − compared to 35 percent last year.
That figure makes Israel a world leader in smartphone saturation. In Germany, by comparison, the figure is 40 percent, in France, 42 percent and in Spain, hot on Israel’s heels, 55 percent have smartphones. The only country that overtakes Israel is Britain, where 62 percent of the population have smart phones.
Israel also leads in smartphone usage: According to the survey, 93 percent of Israeli smartphone owners use it to surf the Web, as opposed to 83 percent in Britain, France and the United States. Among Israeli owners, 48 percent use the communications tool to watch full length TV programs.
The survey also looked at the social habits of smartphone users, revealing a somewhat worrisome trend. In 2011, only 16 percent of Israelis felt comfortable using their smartphones at social gatherings, but by this year, the figure had vaulted to 50 percent.
Coffee in one hand, phone in the other
A similar rise was noted in the use of smartphones in coffee shops. In 2011, only 30 percent said they held their coffee in one hand and their phone in the other; in 2013, 54 percent did.
In fact, Israelis use their smartphones just about everywhere: at home (87 percent‏), at work (77 percent‏), and while riding to work or walking down the street ‏(72 percent for both‏). Half of those polled said they use their smartphone while watching TV, and after seeing a commercial, 53 percent looked up a product on their phone.
Smartphones are also being used to help shoppers make decisions − 64 percent said they use it while shopping for everything from the calculator to comparing prices to asking friends’ opinions on a potential purchase. In the United States, that figure was 58 percent and in Germany, 41 percent.
One area where Israel lags behind users in other countries is making purchases online with their smartphones. The Americans lead the world in that regard, with 46 percent reporting they do commercial transactions with their smartphones, compared to 39 percent in Britain and only 31 percent in Israel.

Top UK biomed executives arrive in Israel

UK Israel

Delegation of British pharmaceutical companies, organizations participating in international biomed conference in Tel Aviv. ‘Coupling of Israeli innovation with experienced British industry will be of enormous benefit to Israel companies,’ says British ambassador

A delegation of British pharmaceutical and biomed companies and organizations, headed by senior officials, has arrived in Israel to participate in the international biomed conference (ATIA- ILSI) taking place this week in Tel Aviv.
The delegation is made up of 20 members and is organized by the British Embassy in Israel, the UK Israel Tech Hub and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).
Among the members attending the event are representatives of the NHS- the British health services, NIHR- the British institute for Health Research, NICE- the National Institute for Excellence in Health, NOCRI- the NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure.
The British Embassy is displaying in pavilions #29-32. British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould, together with MP Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office minister, honored the event with his presence on Monday.
The members of the delegation were to hold a series of meetings with Israeli firms in search of cooperative ventures in development and the use of the UK as a springboard to Europe and the world at large.
“Through highlighting the world class offerings of the UK’s clinical research infrastructure, NOCRI is determined to develop and strengthen genuine collaborative partnerships between the UK and Israeli life science industries,” said Professor William Rosenberg, scientific advisor to NOCRI.
“Streamlined access to the NIHR’s technologically-advanced R&D facilities and skilled clinical research workforce can provide Israel companies with the support and backing required to develop patient-focused health treatments.”
According to Ambassador Gould, “The coupling of Israeli innovation and entrepreneurship with world class and
experienced British industry will be of enormous benefit to Israel companies.
“They will benefit from access to government programs that support companies in their initial stages, from the option to commercialize technology and develop it together with international pharmaceutical companies working in Britain.”

Sam Sank's Heartwarming Surprise

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For Father's Day: the story of former Paratrooper, Sam Sank.
"It was the proudest day for both my parents and myself...we are blessed to have had this day together and now it serves as a memory and dedication to my father. Seeing me as a soldier was his greatest joy."
(The surprise took place on the day of Sam's swearing in ceremony in 2010.)

Sam's father suffered from Multiple Sclerosis. He passed away eight months ago today.

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SodaStream Partners With Whirlpool’s KitchenAid


Push the blender to the side! Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR  ) and SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA  )  jointly announced Monday they are collaborating on introducing a KitchenAid-branded home carbonation system in the fourth quarter this year.

Noting the growth and popularity in home carbonation systems, Whirlpool General Manager of KitchenAid Small Appliances David Elliott was quoted as saying, “Working with SodaStream brings together their best-in-class technology with our stylish design signature to offer a premium product for our consumers worldwide.”
KitchenAid’s first product, the stand mixer, was introduced in 1919 while its first dishwasher was brought to market in 1949.
With such an iconic portfolio, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said, “Our unique platform will enable KitchenAid to provide its large and loyal consumer base with the many benefits of home carbonation. We look forward to leveraging the combined strengths of our two brands to advance the category and reach an even broader global audience.”
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Acclaimed Iranian director to visit Jerusalem for international film festival

Iranian director to Israel

The Jerusalem Film Festival, which kicks off July 4, will screen Makhmalbaf’s most recent film, ‘The Gardener,’ about a man from Papua New Guinea who tends the Bahai gardens in Haifa.

The award-winning Iranian film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf is scheduled to arrive in Israel in two weeks as the Jerusalem Film Festival’s honorary guest.
Makhmalbaf, one of the leading figures in the new wave movement of Iranian cinema, has been a sharp critic of the Iranian regime in recent years. He has directed more than 20 films, in addition to his work as a producer, screenwriter and editor.
His most recent film, “The Gardener,” is scheduled to be screened at the Jerusalem Film Festival, which kicks off on July 4. The movie, which was partly filmed in Israel, was first screened at the recent International Film Festival Rotterdam.
“The Gardener” follows a man from Papua New Guinea who tends the Bahai gardens in Haifa, where he deals with the role religions play in politics and in fomenting war and peace. It was filmed by Makhmalbaf’s son Maysam Makhmalbaf.
The Jerusalem Film Festival will also screen several of Makhmalbaf’s other movies, including “Gabbeh,” “Kandhar” and “Salam [Hello] Cinema.”
The film festival runs from July 4-13.
Makhmalbaf was born in Tehran in 1957. As a young man he was involved in underground Islamic activity, for which he was imprisoned for four years. He was released after the Islamic Revolution.
"Mohsen Makhmalbaf's latest film "The Gardener" at Busan & Beirut International film festival"
'The Gardener', Mohsen Makhmalbaf's most recent creation, was filmed in Israel in the cities of Haifa and Jerusalem. 'The Gardener' will premiere at the 17th Busan International Film Festival, to be held October 4 - 13, 2012. Following Busan the film goes on screen in Beirut Film Festival on the 9th of October 2012 in Lebanon. 
The film illustrates the clash between two Iranian generations regarding their perspectives on the positive and negative effects of religion on society. Makhmalbaf and his son, Maysam, represent each of these generations.
'The Gardener' is also an exploration of the principles and beliefs of the Baha'i Faith, a religion that originated around 170 years ago in Iran and counts today with millions of followers throughout the world.
"Many of us Iranians," says Makhmalbaf, "know more about religions and schools of thought from Indian, Chinese, or Japanese origin than religions that have grown out of Iran. Maybe this has been willed by censorship. 'The Gardener' is an attempt to break this censorship."
" باغبان فیلم جدید محسن مخملباف در جشنواره پوسان و بیروت "
فیلم باغبان آخرین ساخته محسن مخملباف که در شهرهای حیفا و اورشلیم در کشور اسرائیل ساخته شده است در شانزدهمین دوره جشنواره پوسان که از ۴ تا ۱۳ اکتبر ۲۰۱۲ در کره جنوبی برگزار خواهد شد، برای اولین بار به نمایش درخواهد آمد.
این فیلم همزمان در جشنواره بیروت امسال در روز ۹ اکتبر به نمایش در خواهد آمد.
موضوع این فیلم جدلی است بین دو نسل ایرانی بر سر نقش مثبت و منفی ادیان. محسن مخملباف و پسرش میثم هر کدام نقش نسلی را در باغبان بازی می کنند.
فیلم باغبان در عین حال سیری است در اندیشه و آئین بهائی. دینی که حدود ۱۷۰ سال پیش در ایران آغاز شد و در سراسر جهان گسترده شد و اکنون میلیون ها پیرو دارد.
محسن مخملباف می گوید:‌ بسیاری از ما ایرانیان از انواع اندیشه ها و آئین ها و ادیان هندی، چینی، ژاپنی با خبرتریم، تا از اندیشه ها و آئین هایی که خاستگاه شان ایران بوده است.
شاید سانسور، این چنین خواسته است. فیلم باغبان برای شکستن این سانسور است.

Julio Iglesias headed to Israel again

 Julio Iglesias in Israel in 2009  Photo: Merav Yudilovitch

Julio Iglesias in Israel in 2009 Photo: Merav Yudilovitch

Year and a half after charming Israeli audience in Tel Aviv, Spanish romantic to perform at Caesarea amphitheater on August 10

A year and a half after filling up Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena, Julio Iglesias is returning to Israel to add a romantic touch to our musical summer.
The Spanish singer will perform for the first time at the Caesarea amphitheater on August 10, alongside Russian musician Alexander Kogan. The two have performed together several times in the past two years.
Iglesias, who will turn 70 this summer, was born in Madrid and is considered one of the greatest Spanish singers of all times and one of the most successful in the history of music around the world.
He began his career in sports, as a soccer goalkeeper for Real Madrid Castilla, but turned to music after a car crash. His musical career was launched in the 1960s, and he rose to fame in the 1970s thanks to a series of kitschy ballads which became huge hits.
Iglesias has sold more than 300 million copies of some 80 albums. Over the years, he recorded songs 14 languages, but always made sure to return to his Spanish origins. In April 2013, he was named the most popular foreign singer in China.
Iglesias has eight children. The most famous one is singer Enrique Iglesias from his first wife Isabel, who he married in the 1970s. He has five children with his current partner since the 1990s, the Dutch ex-model Miranda Rijnsburger.
He has visited Israel several times, most recently in December 2011. In his 2009 visit, he revealed to his audience that his mother was Jewish and that he understood the State of Israel’s difficulties. His concerts were packed during every visit.
“I always like returning to Israel,” Iglesias said in an interview to Yedioth Ahronoth. “I like the warmth and love the people here give and like to sing my greatest love songs with them. I have to spend more time here. I hope that after my concerts, people here go back home and make children. It will be good to have more nice Israelis.”
Iglesias will be brought to Israel this time by Tal Sherf in cooperation with Concerts International. Ticket prices are expected to range between NIS 300-750 (about $83-207).

The Land of Milk and Zombies


The zombies are taking over the world. And Israel, in all of its diverse glory, is the last civilization left standing. That is the premise of the upcoming Brad Pitt movie, World War Z. For the first time in a long time Israel is being accurately portrayed as a strong, good-willed nation in this highly anticipated feature film. (

World War Z TRAILER #2 (2013) - Brad Pitt Movie HD
A U.N. employee is racing against time and fate, as he travels the world trying to stop the outbreak of a deadly Zombie pandemic.

Top US comedians joke for Israel

Dennis Regan performing in Jerusalem (Photo: Yissachar Ruas)
Dennis Regan performing in Jerusalem (Photo: Yissachar Ruas)

Some of America’s best comics bring laughter to Jewish state to raise funds for Koby Mandell Foundation, which assists families and children who are victims of terror

For Avi Liberman, an LA-based comedian who has performed on such shows as CBS’s “Late Late Show” with Craig Ferguson and appears frequently on Comedy Central and E!, Israel holds an important place in his very busy schedule.
The Israel-born, Texas-raised comedian visits Israel twice a year, bringing with him some of America’s best comics on a bi-annual comedy tour of the country. The comics perform to raise funds for the Koby Mandell Foundation, which assists families and children who are victims of terror.
Liberman himself has arranged widely acclaimed Stand Up for Israel comedy tours since 2001, following a visit during the Second Intifada, where he discovered that many of his old friends were not going out because of terrorist attacks.
“I wanted to give people a night out, so that they could laugh a little bit during that very tense time,” Liberman says. Subsequently, the LA comedian began organizing successful comedy tours across Israel to help boost morale.
“There are two important elements to these tours,” Liberman elaborates in an interview with Tazpit News Agency. “First, these top-tier comedians get to do something important for the community here. They don’t just come to tour and see the sites, but they actually perform their material to audiences for an important cause.”
“And while the comedians are here, they also get to see the positive side of Israel,” Liberman explains.
“It is important that Israel get some good press. Many times, I encounter comedians who think of Israel in the context of war. There is obviously a lot more to this country than those kinds of headlines,” he says.
“It’s difficult to get comedians to come on these trips,” Liberman admits. “But when they do agree to come, they are just amazed by what they see and encounter.”

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jerusalem gets entertainment hub

Some businesses open on Shabbat (Photo: Eli Mandelbaum)
Some businesses open on Shabbat (Photo: Eli Mandelbaum)

With both kosher and non-kosher restaurants, initiators of cultural and culinary center at site of former Ottoman railway station in Jerusalem hope it will bring different types of Jews together

In the old days, trains left from this station for Damascus, Beirut, and Cairo. Today, its organizers hope the cultural and culinary hub it will bring different types of Jews together.
In a unique twist, some of the businesses at the site will be kosher and therefore closed on Shabbat, while others will be open. According to Orthodox Jewish law, it is forbidden to do any “creative activity” on the Sabbath, including driving a car, cooking, and spending money.
“We must remember that there are different populations in the city,” city councilor Ofer Berkovitch of the Hitorerut (Awakening) party told The Media Line. “There are Jews who are religious, Jews who are non-religious, Arabs and tourists. Everyone must have the opportunity to observe Shabbat as they want.”
In 2009, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s decision to open a parking lot in the city on Shabbat sparked weeks of riots. More recently, there have been demonstrations against a multiplex theater in another part of Jerusalem that wants to stay open on Shabbat.
But at the First Train Station, Fresh Kitchen, which has yet to open, and the yogurt bar Re:bar are clearly marked kosher, while Adom, a trendy restaurant that moved here from the center of town and offers shrimp and oysters, is clearly not kosher.
“Now it’s 50-50 or 60-40 to the kosher side and it’s perfectly okay,” Noam Rizi, one of the owners of Adom told The Media Line. “It’s like all of Jerusalem. I don’t think it’s an issue if some businesses are open on Shabbat.”
The First Station complex is in southern Jerusalem, near the expensive neighborhoods of the German Colony and Baka. It is just off the new bike path that cuts through the city. A large wooden deck will house a wholesale produce market, as well as offer free events like midnight movies over the summer.
“We’re surrounded by a very varied population here so this complex which is under private entrepreneurship tries to approach all of the people,” Noa Berger, the First Station marketing manager told The Media Line.
“The businesses are aware of the character of the complex. Everyone in Jerusalem is aware and so far it’s been received positively that we have both kosher and non-kosher places. We don’t see it as a problem – we see it as a blessing.”
The building was originally an Ottoman train station that opened in 1892, and served for decades as Jerusalem’s main train station.
“I took a train from Jerusalem to Haifa 50 years ago when I was in the army,” Yonatan Avrech, who has come from Kibbutz Yagur near Haifa with a group of friends to tour Jerusalem told The Media Line. “I think it should be open on Shabbat. Not everyone can come on weekdays.”
At the festive opening, there were street performers and troupes of Israeli dancers. Fathers maneuvered strollers along the large wooden deck as kids ate healthy fruit pops or splurged on ice cream. There were funky toys for sale including huge hoops to make soap bubbles and, of course, train memorabilia.
“This is such a lovely addition to Jerusalem,” Noomi Stahl, who had come with her family, told The Media Line. “It’s got such a nice feel to it.”
Berkovitch, 25, said he hopes that the complex will help stop the emigration of young secular Israelis from Jerusalem.
“A lot of my friends are leaving Jerusalem and one reason is that they can’t even find a place to have coffee out on Shabbat,” Berkovitch said. “If people want to keep the pluralistic character of Jerusalem there must be activities for secular people as well.”

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Chief of Staff and Soldiers Congratulate the IDF on its 65th Birthday

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65 years ago today, the Israel Defense Forces was born. Watch our Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and soldiers from the frontlines mark 65 years of protecting the people of Israel and their country's borders. Happy Birthday, IDF!

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Israeli mind behind new Intel processor

Intel Israel

Parts of Haswell processor, which is making its way to nearly all new computers around the world, developed by team of 80 Israelis in chip giant’s Haifa, Yakum centers. New Intel CEO to visit Israel on Thursday, meet with local employees

In the coming months, millions of people around the world will sit down in front of new computers and type on their keyboards in English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Swedish, Russians and a variety of other languages. This information, on nearly all of these computers across the world, will be sent from the keyboard to the heart of the machine – a small piece of silicon which serves as the computer’s mind and originates in the Israeli city of Haifa and Kibbutz Yakum.
Chip giant Intel considers its main development center in Israel as one of the company’s most important sites in the world.
More than 8,000 people are employed at Intel’s development centers in Haifa, Jerusalem, Petah Tikva and Yakum and in its Kiryat Gat plant, and the Israeli workers are traditionally deeply involved in the development of the company’s advanced processors, which can be found in almost every computer in the world. So it’s no surprise that Intel’s new processor, Haswell, which was officially launched on Tuesday, was partially developed in Israel.
The new Haswell processors are designed both for laptops and desktop computers, and present a series of improvements in different areas. According to the company, the processor allows over nine hours of active use on laptops, compared to 6.5 in the previous generation.
Like Intel’s previous leading processors, parts of the new processor were also developed by Intel Israel, by an 80-member team in the company’s centers in Yakum and Haifa.
The group focused on energy-saving solutions, and so the processor can continue to hold data in standby mode. Even while in sleep mode, the computer is still connected to the Internet and can download emails.
“The work was fascinating,” said Shlomit Weiss and Uri Frank, senior engineers at Intel’s development center. “We felt we were bringing the processor new abilities which each of us would want in our own computer.”
Meanwhile, Yedioth Ahronoth has learned that Intel’s new CEO Brian Krzanich, who was only appointed a month ago, will arrive for a first visit in Israel on Thursday. Krzanich is expected to meet with local employees to hear about their work.
This will be one of Krzanich’s first visits outside the United States since taking office, stressing Intel Israel’s importance in the eyes of the company’s global management.

Israeli art in heart of Tehran

Tome Bookshtein

Photographer Tome Bookshtein surprised to learn that pictures she took in Tel Aviv are displayed in art gallery in Iranian capital

Iranian art lovers, who flocked to the international photography exhibition presented last month at an esteemed art gallery in Tehran, had no idea that two of the pictures presented in the exhibition were taken in Tel Aviv – by Israeli photographer Tome Bookshtein.
So how do Israeli works of art make it to the heart of the Iranian capital? It all began when Tome Bookshtein, a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, took pictures of buildings of the Histadrut labor federation in Tel Aviv, in a bid to express the social aspects hiding behind the buildings.
Bookshtein’s work drew the attention of contemporary art curator Sharon Tuval. For the past year, Sharon has been collecting pictures of women photographers from all over the Middle East for the exhibition “Individual Journey to Poetry,” which he created together with Austrian photographer Sini Coreth.

‘Anonymity cancels any option for dialogue’

The exhibition, which was initiated by the Austrian Foreign Ministry’s Cultural Forum, presented the work of eight women photographers from Israel, Iran, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Oman, China, Japan and Austria. After the exhibition was displayed in Vienna and at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa, the Austrian Foreign Ministry sent it to Iran.
The owners of the Tehran art gallery agreed to display the Israeli photographer’s work as well, as long as they could write “anonymous photographer” instead of “Tome Bookshtein, Israel” so as not to get in trouble with the Ayatollah regime.
“We couldn’t believe it. We’re so happy that Israeli works of art are being displayed at such times in the heart of Tehran,” said Tuval.
“I never expected to present there,” added Bookshtein. “It’s a shame that the Iranians didn’t mention my name and where I’m from. Apart from the fact that I would have loved to get credit, the anonymity cancels any option for a dialogue and slightly misses the point: Promoting a social and gender-related dialogue that will also reflect on political awareness.”

Tel Aviv's Gay Pride Parade

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Tel Aviv's 2013 Pride Parade takes place on June 7th. The participants will enjoy live music and the parade is followed by a huge beach party.

So, what's it like? Watch this footage from last year's Parade (held in June 2012) to get a sense of the fun

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Israel hosts Euro U21s amid tight security


UEFA holds firm against calls from pro-Palestinian activists to move tournament away from Jewish state, which is staging its most important international sporting event in 45 years

Israel stages its most important international sporting event in 45 years on Wednesday when the hosts kick off the Euro Under-21 football championship amid tight security following a politically-charged build-up.
European soccer’s governing body UEFA has held firm against calls from pro-Palestinian activists to move the tournament away from Israel, who are the weakest of the eight teams competing, because of restrictions on the movement of their athletes.
Israel start their campaign against Norway, who coach Guy Luzon surprisingly believes are the toughest team in Group A ahead of usual favorites Italy and England.
“I don’t fear any player in any opposing team… we don’t know any of the players in the England, Italy or Norway teams we are concentrating only on our own team,” said Luzon, who will take the helm at Belgium’s Standard Liege next season.
Local pundits had assumed that beating Norway, who ousted France in qualifying, would be Israel’s best chance of picking up three points but Luzon suggested otherwise.
“Norway are no weaker than Italy and England even though they might not have the same reputation, but to my mind Norway will beat both England and Italy,” he added.
Underdogs Israel should be helped by the large home support and hot, humid conditions of about 30 degrees Celsius.
Many of the teams in the June 5-18 tournament will field full internationals, some of whom play for top European clubs. The lesser known players will try to impress coaches and scouts at an event considered a shop window for the future of the game.
The format sees two groups of four teams, with the top two contesting the semi-finals ahead of the final in Jerusalem. Holders Spain, Germany, Russia and Netherlands are in Group B.
Those who have top players on show include Spain, with Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Benfica striker Rodrigo, Germany, who have Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Lewis Holtby, and England with Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson.
The tournament is the most important sporting event Israel has hosted since the Paralympic Games in 1968.

Dig back in time at Israel's Beit Guvrin caves

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At Israel's Beit Guvrin caves, you can try your hand at digging up a piece of history.

Thousands of years of history come alive in the unexcavated cave systems at Israel's Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park ( Little messages from antiquity are to be found among the buried artifacts that people are welcome to discover during supervised excavations.

"Digging down in the earth, exploring something that hadn't been touched in 2,000, 3,000 years -- it's pretty impressive," one amateur digger relates.

"It was really awesome," adds another visitor. "We first went into a really deep cave, and found some bits of pottery and bits of bone.

Says tour guide Ian Stern: "When it comes to the size of this site itself we are only touching -- if we have 5,000 caves out here, and we've been digging for 27 years -- maybe three to four percent of the material out here. There's a lot more to be found."

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Pope Francis says intends to visit Israel

Pope Francis Photo: AP
Pope Francis Photo: AP

During meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Elkin, Pope Francis says he has plans to visit Jewish state

Three months after succeeding Benedict XVI , Pope Francis has intimated he is planning a visit to Israel.
On Wednesday, the Pope met with Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin as part of Israel’s ongoing dialogue with the Vatican.
The two discussed the payment of property tax by churches in Israel. The Pope asked Elkin to push for an agreement on the matter.
The meeting was held at the Pope’s residence rather than the reception hall, at the Pope’s request. At the end of the meeting, the deputy foreign minister presented the Pope with a silver embossment of Jerusalem and invited him to visit Israel, to which he replied that he has every intention of doing so.

Sounds of Jerusalem's Old City

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Armenian, Arabic, early Christian, gospel and Jewish music resounds through the squares of Jerusalem's Old City.

A recent music festival, Sounds of the Old City, used the incomparable backdrop of Jerusalem's multicultural Old City to showcase an array of musical traditions from Jewish to Armenian, gospel to Arabic.

"Jerusalem is the melting pot for all people, and you find every nation, every religion here," says one musician on this video shot during the festival.

Sounds of music emanated around every corner as dozens of performances were offered free to the public.

As one flutist puts it: "Everyone is equal here. We are playing the same tune, the same music. There is a unity of sorts."

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From Nazareth Illit to White House

Michelle Obama

US First Lady Michelle Obama decides to include recipes of women from northern Israeli city in her national health campaign

The cooking of Shula, Hannah, Yulia, Doris, Tzipi and their friends from the northern Israeli city of Nazareth Illit is loved by anyone who has ever entered their kitchen. In fact, their food gained such popularity that it has even reached the White House.
A book of recipes from the kitchens of the different denominations these women come from will be included in the national health campaign of US First Lady Michelle Obama, “Let’s Move!”
It all began in an empowerment workshop for women in Nazareth Illit’s southern neighborhood, held in cooperation with JCD Israel’s Ashalim association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the planning and development of services for children and youth at risk and their families.
“We were a group of 12 women from different denominations, and every week one of us would present her kitchen and cook food she learned from her grandmother and mother. I, for example, brought the mujaddara (lentils and rice) my mother taught me to make,” says Mazalit Kleinerman, a mother of three.
“During the first meeting, the group cooked a root vegetable stew, and each of the women connected to her roots. Later, the women came in for a personal conversation and opened up to each other,” says Efrat Zohar-Levkovitz, a chef and the workshop’s instructor.
Several months later, Ashalim decided to put together a booklet containing the recipes written by the group of women from Nazareth Illit.
“It was very important for us to upgrade the recipes from the health aspect, so we added the nutritive values. The booklet was translated into English, and we reached the ‘Let’s Move!’ program of Michelle Obama, who expressed an interest in our program,” says Anat Penso, head of the interdisciplinary unit at Ashalim.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Israel in Space: From global competition to global cooperation

Israel in space

Israel is in the forefront of global aerospace innovations, technologies and research: building and launching satellites, developing electro-optical systems and monitoring the environment from space. The Israeli aerospace industry, now a major player in outer space, has also been working on space projects with other countries – such as the United States, France, Italy and others.

Israel is in the forefront of global aerospace innovations, technologies and research: building and launching satellites, developing electro-optical systems and monitoring the environment from space. The Israeli aerospace industry, now a major player in outer space, has also been working on space projects with other countries - such as the United States, France, Italy and others.

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Fauchon food store headed to Israel


After buying Carmel Winery, Pierre Besnainou plans to open branch of Parisian gourmet brand in Tel Aviv

Have you been fantasizing about a Fauchon éclair since your last trip to Paris? Well, you’ll soon be able to buy those fluffy cream puffs and little tartlets in Israel too.
Pierre Besnainou, a French Jewish millionaire who bought Israel’s Carmel Winery with his partners, and one of Fauchon’s shareholders, wants to bring the French gourmet brand to the Holy Land.
The huge store on Place de la Madeleine in Paris, which was founded about 120 years ago, has turned into a tourist attraction and operates a café as well.
Fauchon is known for its pastries, as well as imported fruit and a large variety of delicacies such as foie gras and truffles, which are purchased by loyal customers, including some of France’s presidents. The Persian shah was also said to have delicacies flown from the gourmet food store to his palace.
Besnainou owns other food businesses in France, and is also active in the fields of communications and real estate. In Israel he is one of the owners of the Chefa catering services company.
Yedioth Ahronoth has learned that Besnainou co-founded a company with the Lagaat Baochel (“Touch Food”) Group in a bid to open a Fauchon store in Tel Aviv. Lagaat Baochel operates stores offering raw materials cooking and baking supplies, as well as cooking classes with the stars of Channel 2′s “Master Chef” show.
The company is also co-partner (50%) in the Street Food Bazaar at Tel Aviv’s Sarona compound – a music and food market which will be opened this year in a building that used to be a winery – and is considering opening a Fauchon store in a different building in the compound.
Besnainou and the owners of Lagaat Baochel visited Paris several months ago and decided that a professional team from the gourmet shop would visit Israel.

‘Price difference won’t be too big’

Lagaat Baochel founder Zvika Karouby told Yedioth Ahronoth that the plan was to open one large branch in Israel which would include a café and a gourmet food store – either in Sarona or the Ramat Aviv Mall – as well as pastry and product stands in shopping malls.
Fauchon will import the delicacies to Israel, while the pastries and breads will be made on the site, with the knowledge and guidance of the French team.
Lagaat Baochel currently has restaurants in Melisron malls in Raanana, Petah Tikva, Haifa and Rishon Lezion. “We are in talks to find a place at the Ramat Aviv Mall,” Karouby says.
Aren’t you afraid of bringing a gourmet food store to Israel at a time of economic slowdown?
“We are not alone,” says Karouby. “We have a partner who is one of the Fauchon owners, who will make sure we get attractive prices. Fauchon has excellent quality, and the price differences will not be big.
“We are confident that we are making the right move. Fauchon is not very expensive. We just saw, during the visit to France, that a macaroon costs only €1.7 ($2.2) and an éclair €2.2 ($2.85). In Israel they will be sold at up to 15% more, but the quality will be excellent and identical to the original products.”‬

Eilat Pride Parade 2013

Eilat Pride

When talking about Gay Life in Israel, Tel Aviv monopolizes the conversation, the reality is though, even small Israeli cities have thriving gay communities… One of them is Eilat!

The city of Eilat was decorated with rainbow flags this weekend, as hundreds of people arrived on Friday to participate in the annual Gay Pride parade in Eilat. The Eilat Pride Festival opens the national Pride celebrations in Israel, and is considered one of the most popular events in the city. Participants marched and danced their way to the beach party, despite the intense heat of 45 degrees. We wish everyone Happy Pride! \ כאן תוכלו למצוא אטרקציות באילת, חופים באילת, מסיבות ונופש באילת. כל אטרקציה באלית מוצגת בתמונות וסרטוני ווידאו, בואו לראות ולחוש את האטרקציות באילת הכי שוות עם רמת השירות הגבוהה ביותר. אטרקציות ימיות, באילת אטרקציות מדבריות באילת, אטרקציות לילדים ולמשפחה באילת ועוד. בכל אטרקציה שתבחרו תקבלו את הטוב ביותר, אנו מפרסמים אך ורק אטרקציות שמספקות שירות, איכות והגינות

Robert De Niro to visit Israel in June

Robert Deniro

One of greatest American actors of all time to arrive in country next month for President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday celebrations

Robert De Niro, considered one of the greatest American actors of all times, will arrive in Israel next month to attend the Israeli Presidential Conference and take part in President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday celebrations, Yedioth Ahronoth has learned.
De Niro, 70, has won two Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards, and has starred in 74 films, many of which have become box-office hits, including “The Godfather,” “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull” and “The Deer Hunter.”
He is expected to arrive in Israel on a commercial flight on June 17 and stay in the country for 24 hours.
De Niro will participate in Peres’ birthday party alongside legendary American singer Barbra Streisand, former US President Bill Clinton, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev and Prince Albert of Monaco.
De Niro has visited Israel several times in the past. The last time was in 1996, when he arrived in the country in preparation for a film dealing with the war on terror.
Some 5,000 people are expected to attend the Israeli Presidential Conference, including executives of the world’s biggest technology companies, academics, Nobel Prize laureates, artists and past and present heads of state.

Israeli, Palestinian businessmen unite

Palestinians Israelis

Nearly 200 top Israeli, Palestinian executives meet on shores of the Dead Sea to appeal to their governments to make real steps towards two-state solution

A group of Palestinian and Israeli businessmen have defied the antagonism supposedly dividing their communities, and met on the shores of the Dead Sea to appeal to their governments to get out of the current political rut, and make real steps towards a two-state solution.
Nearly 200 top Israeli and Palestinian executives convened this week at the Breaking the Impasse Initiative (BTI) meeting at the World Economic Forum in Jordan.
Organizers said they would leverage their collective business experience and influence to convince leaders on both sides to begin serious negotiations.
Yossi Vardi, chairman of International Technologies Ventures, said: “Today we are announcing the existence of this group and we make a commitment and a pledge to continue to find a solution for the two people who are living between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.
“Enough is enough. Too much tears were shed by mothers. There is no family, Israeli family or Palestinian family, which didn’t suffer.”
The Israeli-Palestinian corporate declaration came in the wake of another round of visits by US Secretary of State John Kerry to the region to restart peace talks stalled since 2010. He left last week after meeting with the leadership of both sides, but no breakthroughs were announced.
A group of Palestinian and Israeli businessmen have defied the antagonism supposedly dividing their communities, and met on the shores of the Dead Sea to appeal to their governments to get out of the current political rut, and make real steps towards a two-state solution.

Kurdish students in Iraq push for relations with Israel

Kurdish students: 'We should have the same relations with Israel'
Kurdish students: ‘We should have the same relations with Israel’

In University of Kurdistan, students debate whether to forge diplomatic ties with Israel. Debate judge tells Ynet ‘arguments focused on historical connection between Jews, Kurds, says believes can have ‘fruitful ties’

“Should Iraqi Kurdistan have open diplomatic relations with Israel?” Students in the University of Kurdistan think the answer is yes, at least that is the position that won during an unusual debate held in the university in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
More than 200 students from all of the university’s faculties showed up to take part. In the event, two teams numbering three people each faced off in front of a judges’ panel.
Susan Mandelvey, head of the university’s public relations and one of the members of the judges’ panel spoke to Ynet and said: “We see ourselves as an institution in which people can openly express their opinions.”
At the end of the debate, the judges’ panel decided that the team arguing for relations with Israel was victorious, and afterwards the audience echoed their decision vehemently voting in favor for relations with the Jewish state.
Another judge in the Erbil debate said: “The arguments of the winning team focused on the historic relations between Jews and Kurds. I also believe that we can have good and fruitful relations with Israel.”
Nonetheless, she diplomatically evaded giving further details on the character of those relations when pressed for an answer, saying “because I judged the debate I am barred from fully stating my own opinion. I need to remain neutral.”
Iraqi Kurdistan was formed in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War. Its formation was further spurred by the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Iraqi Kurds, who number around five million, enjoy the highest level of autonomy of the entire 30 million strong Kurdish population spread world wide, located mostly in Iran, Syria and Turkey.
In wake of Kurdish aspirations and independent identity, tension between the central regime in Baghdad and Masoud Barzani, Iraqi Kurdistan’s regional government president since 2005, have become common.