Archive for the ‘Good News!’ Category

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Israel is the Silicon Valley of the Mediterranean

March 16, 2008

In other words: Israel’s Technology Creates an Investment Goliath

Yes, ladies and gents, as many of us here in Israel know (and few of us outside of it know), Israel is a powerhouse when it comes to technology and medicine. It is third only to the US and Canada in terms of number of companies listed on Nasdaq (75!!!), well ahead of England, China, and Germany.

For those of you who don’t know (again, probably most of you), Israelis have invented much of the technology used today such as instant messaging (ICQ), firewall security software, Intel wireless computer chips, numerous medicines, and miniature video camera capsules to examine internal organs. Other Israeli inventions: the cell phone (invented by Motorola, with it’s largest R&D center being in Israel), most of the Windows NT operating system, voice mail technology, and VOIP technology.

More Israeli patents are registered in the US than from Russia, India, and China combined, despite the enormous population disadvantage (about 7 million in Israel vs. 2.5 billion combined in the other 3).

Click here to read about Israel’s robust economy in this great Fox Business article.

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Israeli Singer Yael Naim Wins Award

March 10, 2008

French-born, Israeli-raised Yael Naim won the Album of the Year award in France. Naim, who served in the Israeli army as a soloist in the Air Force Orchestra, has recently become a household name in the US when her song, New Soul, was chosen for the Macbook Air commercial. It is currently the most downloaded song in iTunes.

The album, her second, is not available yet in Israel, but I did hear the song on Galgalatz yesterday – I can see why it would be chosen for an Apple ad.

Congrats to another successful Israeli!

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Israeli Film Wins First Prize at Cinequest Film Festival

March 3, 2008

Congrats to Amit Sargosi, director of the Israeli film Adon Hazman (The Time Catcher) who won first prize this weekend at the 48 Hours Film Project in San Jose, California.

As part of the competition, initiated by independent filmmakers Mark Ruppert and Liz Langston, participants are randomly assigned a line of dialogue, genre, a character, and a prop, all of which must be utilized in the film they create. They have 48 hours to complete the entire project from top to bottom.

60 cities from all around the world were represented in the competition, including filmmakers from Tel Aviv. over 200 movies from all around the world were entered into the competition.

According to Ynet,

Sargosi’s ‘The Time Catcher’ tells the story of the final 15 minutes in the life of as man who can foresee the moment of death for every living creature around him, including his own. The move was filmed at the Carmelit in Haifa, and stars Sharon Zuckerman and Noam Rubinstein.Director Amit Sargosi is a self-educated filmmaker who never attended film school. He directed episodes of the Israeli series “Eretz Nehederet” and “The Israelis”, and is currently working on a new television project.

This is yet another win for Israeli film making. Last month Israeli film “Lemon Tree,” directed by Eran Riklis, won the audience prize at the Berlin Film Festival, beating 51 films and setting a new voting record.

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90 Turkish Journalists and Editors to Come to Israel in Hasbara Campaign

February 28, 2008

A delegation of 90 journalists and editors from the Turkish media will arrive in Israel on Sunday, in an initiative by construction company Yilmazler to increase awareness and Israeli-Turkish relations, according to Ice.co.il (sorry, it’s in Hebrew).

The delegation will include representatives from the important dailies in Turkey, including Sabah, Star, Turkish Daily News, and Reuters in Turkey, as well as representatives from TV stations and agencies including TGRT, Channel D, ATV, Show TV, Dogan, and Cihan. They will be joined by representatives from dozens of weekly magazines such as Economist, Tempo, and Aktual. The journalists will be the guests of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will visit Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

The owner of Yilmazler, a Turkish business man named Ahmet Raiz Yilmaz, has been working tirelessly for years to assist Israel-Turkish relations. The company has had many building projects around Israel and is the only Turkish company to be operating in Israel for 13 years. Among others, it built the square Azrieli building in Tel Aviv.

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Israeli TV Format Picked Up by CBS – Pilot Ordered

February 28, 2008

Exciting news! CBS has ordered a pilot based on the successful Israeli TV show The Mythological Ex (direct translation from Hebrew- האקס המיתולוגי). If picked up, this will be the first Israeli series to be broadcast on network television in Israel.

Preceding this show are several other formats, among them In Treatment, which is in production and currently broadcast on HBO.

The fact that CBS ordered a pilot is even more impressive considering the fact that they announced they will be reducing the number of pilots taped due to the writers strike. Casting has already begun, even though the script itself has yet to be written.

It’s important to note that although a pilot will be taped, this is no guarantee that the show will be picked up by network. Generally speaking, Hollywood studios only tape additional episodes after the pilot has been approved.

The Mythological Ex is about a woman who goes to a fortune teller and is told that her true love is one of her exes. She proceeds to go out on dates with each of her exes in an effort to find out which one is The One.

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Microsoft Acquires Israeli Start-Up YaData

February 28, 2008

 YaData provides advanced tools for the discovery of unique customer segments. Its technology will enable Microsoft to provide its advertisers with richer targeting capabilities so they can connect with their audience more efficiently and in more engaging ways, while providing more relevant and focused ads to its customers.

The YaData team will join the Microsoft’s R&D center in Herzelia.

It’s always wonderful to hear about another successful exit for an Israeli company. Way to go!

You can read the entire press release here.

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Israel Helps Find New Solar System

February 28, 2008

On the heels of a difficult day in southern Israel, and what looks to be another one today, an international team of scientists, including astronomers from Tel Aviv University, have found a “twin” of our own solar system, reveals Science magazine.

I’m very proud of this achievement, but since I don’t understand a thing about astronomy, I am leaving you with a link to the article that appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

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I love Israel

February 25, 2008

This post is representative of why I love Israel. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m a dweeb. Whatever.

Reprinted from A Soldier’s Mother.

Even the Bus Drivers Love Them

Yesterday, while driving to a special course in the north, Elie received a phone call from one of the other participants in the Commanders Course telling him (as the soldier responsible for knowing where everyone is) that the soldier had forgotten his backpack on a bus. He was calling to tell Elie that he was going to try to catch another bus to catch up with his backpack.

Elie gave him permission simply by telling him to update him to let him know what was happening. In yet another very Israeli story -after the phone call, the soldier jumped on the next bus and explained to the driver what had happened. Soldiers get free buses and trains to almost anywhere in Israel and so they don’t hesitate or worry about the number of rides they take.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Syrians love Israel!

February 25, 2008

Okay, so I’m slightly exaggerating, considering Paula Abdul is only 1/4 Syrian.

In case you aren’t aware of the rockets being launched at Israel, specifically Sderot,  the Palestinians have been launching Qassam rockets at Israel for years now and on a daily basis. More rockets have been launched since the beginning of 2008 than in all of 2007, and they have taken lives of men, women, and children alike.

Anyway, as a launch for Israel’s 60th birthday celebrations, this Tuesday (Feb. 25)  there will be a benefit concert in Los Angeles for the city of Sderot which has had rockets launched at it literally every day. Paula Abdul will be hosting the benefit concert, and many celebs, including Sylvester Stalone and Jon Voight, and will also feature a performance by Ninet Tayeb (who I love even though I’m not 12).

10 students from Sderot have been flown in to LA as guests of honor and they got to dine with Ninet, visit LA landmarks such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the school that inspired 90210 in Beverly Hills. They will also be attending an NBA game and be given a tour of Universal Studios.

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Israel helps Iraqi children and other cool snippets of info

May 21, 2007

I try every week to give you some positive info about Israel as well – sports achievements (no one getting hurt at a soccer game sounds like a win to me!), international relations, cooperations, medical breakthroughs, etc. Many of these come from the Good News newsletter which you can read in its entirety here. So let’s get to it:

There’s a program at Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petach Tikva that performs life-saving heart surgery on children from all over the world, all expenses paid. And now five children from Iraq are here in Israel with various life-threatening problems and they will be attended to at the Rambam Hospital in Haifa. The country has done all it can to get them into surgery as soon as they can. This isn’t the first time Israel has treated Iraqis. Back in 2005, an Iraqi man came to Israel to get a birth defect in his heart fixed.

In medical news, Dr Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion in Haifa has been chosen by “Scientific American” as one of the worlds fifty leading scientists. Basicall she has produced muscle tissue in the laboratory that is not rejected when implanted in the body. This is an enormous step forward in effectively replacing damaged or injured tissue.

I will continue to update about other cool stuff as it happens when I have more info to give. Have a wonderful week!

Update: Mark Cohen of Good News Israel updates me that the oeprations took place at Rambam hospital in Haifa, and not at Schneider where the program takes place. Thanks!

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Israelis and Palestinians establish business council

May 20, 2007

As corny as it sounds, as long as people on both sides are making an effort to work together, anything can still happen. I don’t think that all Palestinians are bad and not all are against peace with us, I just think that they made a poor choice in electing the government that represents them.

Joint council to be headed by Cellcom CEO Amos Shapira and Palestinian businessman Walid Najjab of PalTel communications company

Sixty leading businessmen from Israel  and the Palestinian Authority have announced the establishment of a joint business council.

The council will be headed by Cellcom CEO Amos Shapira and Palestinian businessman Walid Najjab of the PalTel communications company.

The announcement was made over the weekend in a joint press conference held at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East at Jordan’s Dead Sea resort.

“The idea was born due to the difficult political situation, but we have no plans or pretensions to deal with diplomatic processes,” Shapira told Yedioth Ahronoth on Sunday.

The Palestinian chairman of the council, Walid Najib, said, “We will do what we know how to do best: Take advantage of possibilities on the business and economic level.”

Source: Ynet.

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Israel launches humanitarian mission in Vietnam

May 20, 2007

A 54-member medical staff left for Vietnam last week to treat sick and poor people all around the country and provide them with financial aid.

The team set up medical camps in which some 2,500 children that have never seen a doctor before were treated. Patients in need of an operation were transferred to a city clinic, which performed all the operations free of charge.

Food, clothing and toys were also distributed among the poor children.

The week-long mission, which was greatly praised by the Vietnamese government, will come to its end on Tuesday.

You can read more about this here.

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Metal will bring peace to the Middle East

May 15, 2007

It seems that the first peaceful dialogue to follow the Second Lebanon War comes out of the music scene. Two heavy metal bands, one Israeli and the other Lebanese, met online and joined forces to perform a new song, “Everything We Are”.

“Obviously, the song deals with the last war between Israel and Lebanon, and its implications. It speaks about the silent majority around the world that does nothing while extremists spread their ideals of hatred and violence,” Kfir Gov, leader of the Israeli band, “Seek Irony” told Ynet.

Rab, the Lebanese lead vocalist of “Blood Ink”, and his family reside in northern Lebanon in an area that was mostly outside of the range of the fighting.

“I’ve been listening to this music for as long as I can remember,” Rab, the 23-year-old Christian singer, told Ynet in an email interview.

“The story my family tells is that my sister, who is a metal fan, used to put the headphones on my ears when I was just a month old. She used to put me to sleep listening to ‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd.

“I somehow grew up in this atmosphere, at age 14, I was already listening to the Scorpions and Aerosmith. Then I discovered the harder styles, and it went on,” Rab said.

Click here to read the rest of this story from Ynet.

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Since I’ve been gone

May 15, 2007

I’ve been offline for quite a few months, so I will only give an update from the past few weeks:

  • In a survey published recent an Switzerland, Israel was first in terms of investment in research and development out of the 55 most developed countries. It was also second in raising capital and second in development of IT.
  • New York Magazine named Tel Aviv as one of the four recommended cities for spending a brief holiday. They even suggested Betty Ford, the restaurant where my co-workers and I do lunch often (it’s not a rehab!)
  • Some science stuff:
    • Israeli astronomer Prof. Zvi Mazeh and his team have discovered a new planet that they named HAT-P-2b. This is especially great since Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. 🙂
    • The robotics class at Ostrovsky High School in Ra’anana won the 14th annual World Robotics Championships for the second year in a row.
  • Some sports stuff:
    • The Israeli youth team for pairs bowling won the Gold in the European Bowling Youth Championships, gold in the boys’ masters final, bronze in the boys’ team even, and silver in the all events competition.
    • The girls won a silver medal in the girls’ trio and one of the participants, Roni Aharonowitz, was the first female ever to bowl a perfect 300 game in the history of the competition.
    • Israel’s delegation to the World Swimming Championships for Disabled Youth brought home six gold medals and four silver medals.
    • Arik Ze’evi the Judoka won a bronze medal from the European Judo Championships. So did Gal Yekutial (different weight categories).
  • Some medical stuff:
    • Newsweek called Dr. Eyal Gur, head of microsurgery at Ichilov Hospital as one of the best microsurgeons in the world.
    • They also named Prof. Lior Gepstein from the Technion for developing heart tissue and pacemakers from stem cells.
    • And Dr. Shulamit Levenberg, also from the Technion, for creating muscle tissue that they body doesn’t reject.
    • AND Dr. Hossan Haick, also from the Technion, for inventing an electronic “nose” that can diagnose cancer.
  • And some good news to finish off with: The Jewish National Fund is working with the Palestinian Authoriy, Egypt, and Jordan to plawn 5 million olive trees along the common borders.

I’d like to mention that some of these items were taken from the Israel Good News Digest.

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Israeli Clothes – Now in Ramallah

November 2, 2006

The Israeli apparel chain H&O have opened their newest children store in an unlikely place: The Plaza shopping mall in Ramallah.

A source among the owners of the mall APSC said that they are planning to increase future business with Israeli companies and they believe that business can be used as a bridge for peace. “The problem starts when people have no money, and then they don’t have any education and they turn to violence and extremism,” he said. 

I’m not sure it lays down the building blocks for peace, but it certainly can’t hurt…