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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A New Way To Treat Ulcers?

It looks like a new Israeli startup has discovered a new way to treat ulcers, which may lead towards happier patients suffering from a painful disease.

(Israel 21st Century) But the woman called 'Tammy' by everyone from new acquaintances to long time employees of the company she founded four years ago - HealOr - doesn't let the friendly atmosphere in her office interfere with the task at hand: the Israeli company's development of groundbreaking products to treat three sorts of chronic wounds: diabetic, venous and pressure ulcers. [...]

"We've admitted up to date 13 diabetic patients into the study, and the patients are all responding to the treatment. We accepted only patients who have unsuccessfully gone through standard care in wound-healing clinics. Our trials have shown that 80% of the wounds achieve closure between three weeks and three months. We've shown this in animal models and now in clinical trials on humans, we've seen a dramatic effect on wound healing behavior."

That is quite impressive! Unfortunately this treatment seems to be available only in Israel for now. Ironically, it seems that they have received so much publicity that they thought it was time for an overhaul of their site.

It will be interesting to see how their treatment progresses further along, and hopefully within a decade (hopefully less than that) this treatment will be available worldwide, as it would be a direct testimony to how Israel is making the world a better place for all.

Israeli Company Helps Out Floridians With Hurricanes

A company called Klil Industries has been helping out "the sun shine state," with a product that may help Floridians secure their homes in times of stormy weather.

(Globes Online) Klil Industries (TASE: KLIL) will be the first Israeli company to sell anti-hurricane paneling to states in the US. The company recently clinched its first sale worth an estimated NIS 2-3 million to the State of Florida, and it claims that the product, which was developed specially for the US market, could have potential sales of $5 million a year. Klil now plans to test its product in Florida's neighboring states, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee, which are also affected by hurricanes.

Florida in the states is known for three things: NASA, hurricanes and beautiful beaches. Although the first and the last two are what make Florida attractive, the hurricanes can be rather unfriendly (as my relatives can testify to).

Hopefully this upcoming season we will see less hurricanes, but if we are unfortunate enough to face a few storms, I may have to forward some of these panels to my cousins down south.

Lost World War Two Art Returned

It looks like three pieces of Jewish art has been returned back into kosher hands after having been stolen during world war two by the Nazi's.

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency) The drawings to be given back by the Courtauld Institute of Art, valued at up to $23,519, are attributed to 17th-century painters Giuseppe Bibiena and Carl Ruthart.

A third drawing, by 17th-century painter Frans van Mieris the Elder, is being given by the heirs to the institute in an act of good will.

The Courtauld, which never contested the heirs' claim filed a year ago, said it wasn't aware of the paintings' origins when it obtained them through a 1952 bequest from Sir Robert Witt.

Much thanks to the London Art institute for helping out the families regarding this situation. It's amazing how much art the Jews produced before (and sometimes during) the second world war.

It's good to see these paintings, some valued in the thousands of dollars (or shekels), be returned to their families (and hopefully we will see more of this in the future).

Lampshades Made Out Of Food?

I like the thought behind the idea, and the design looks semi-futuristic, but I am not to sure if I would have these items in my room, especially with pets around.

But these lampshades, are designed from a food I don't enjoy on the dinner table--squash.

(Israel 21st Century) Shuli Levin's lampshades look so good you could almost eat them. But rather than cultivate the squash-like gourds that grow outside his studio in Bnei Zion, a moshav north of Ra'anana, for food, the intrepid Israeli industrial designer transforms their fibers into hip, cutting-edge eye candy for the home.

The 33-year-old former kibbutznik, carpenter, and exhibition designer's business-conscious idealism combined with his novel use of raw material, ecologically and socially conscious manufacturing process, put him at the forefront of innovative Israeli design now beginning to command the world's attention.

On a side note, these would make interesting conversation pieces, and could end up inspiring a "house trend." Either way, this approach to house furniture is just another way of Jews thinking outside of the box.

Note: I wonder if one could make these out of pumpkins?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Spiritual Rock And Roll, Anyone?

His name is Ovadia Hamama, and although I have heard similar things done by American artists, (with Christian songs) it's not everyday that you hear someone taking Jewish prayers and putting them to a modern beat.

(Ynet News) It is Israeli rock in the deep meaning of dealing with spiritual issues relevant to Israeli reality. It is Jewish rock because of the ancient prayers sung in a modern way that only accentuates their beauty, and because of the creation of new prayers, including some that would be gladly embraced by the godless, and because of the encouragement to fulfill the Jewish calling to "get up and change the world." [...]

Hamama sings about the connection between heaven and earth, thought and feeling, melody and lyrics in the fascinating song "Isaac Wasn't Blind". Another song is titled "The World Is Beautiful". This is not a new-age type of admiration. Hamama is not blind to the hardships, but he insists on the beauty.

His music sounds fairly good, although I think Sabbah sounds a lot better (just my opinion). You can listen to a sample of Hamama's music over here, and if you enjoy his music, I would recommend buying it as it would help support Israel.

The Amish Love Kosher Food?

Well, sort of--kind of--not really. Although the Amish have strict dietary laws (which are very close to Orthodox Jews) they decided to market Kosher food as it was healthy for the wallet, if not for the body as well.

(Israel Today) "It provides opportunities for our business here in the US and abroad, and satisfies the needs of the growing numbers of discerning consumers who seek kosher products," said Don Alarie, vice president of Amish Naturals sales and marketing.

Amish Naturals, Inc. was branded with the "triangle KTM Parve" for kosher as it announced rabbinic approval of its organic pasta line. going kosher is a move forward in introducing its line of pastas.

"It provides opportunities for our business here in the US and abroad, and satisfies the needs of the growing numbers of discerning consumers who seek kosher products," he said.

With Americans becoming health conscious (mainly because of our "living large" appetites), anything healthy is quickly becoming attractive.

The Kosher food market in the states is already making billions of dollars, and it's only a matter of time before Wal-Mart starts selling Kosher food products in its stores within a couple of years.

NY Mayor To Visit Israel To Honor Father

I forgot to post about this, but New York Mayor Bloomberg is either going to be visiting Israel fairly soon, or is actually in Israel checking out the sites as I type.

(New York Daily News) Mayor Bloomberg will travel to Israel next week to announce that a new station of the Israeli emergency medical service in Jerusalem will be named after his late father, City Hall said yesterday.

The facility for Magen David Adom, the country's national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service, will be named the William H. Bloomberg MDA Jerusalem Regional Station.

Speaking of Magen David Adom, these guys have done an excellent job during the Lebanon war, helping the injured in northern towns such as Haifa, not an easy thing to during a time of crisis.

With more politicians visiting Israel, especially presidential hopefuls, Americans (and westerners) will be encouraged to not only visit Israel, but get to understand the culture a little bit better as a whole.

Update (2/22): It looks like Bloomberg has arrived.

Unemployment Going Down In Israel?

That is good news to hear.

(Israel National News) Statistics showed 0.08 percent fewer Israelis – 206,000 -- were looking for jobs as compared with figures a year ago.

With all that has been happening in Israel, the fact that more Jews are finding jobs is definitely a good sign. Hopefully this trend will continue and convince more Jews to make Aliyah (as the nation could definitely use their help and energy).

Israeli Movie Flick Dominates Venezuela?

It looks like the Israeli's have done it again! First they conquered Iran (at least the people's hearts) and now they are doing it again in Venezuela!

(Ynet News) The critically acclaimed Israeli film 'Walk on Water', the story of an Israeli Mossad agent has taken Caracas movie theaters by storm.

The movie's success was reported several days ago by popular Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, which ran a banner headline in the culture section of the paper.

Sources at the Israeli embassy in Caracas noted that dozens of the city's residents told them they had seen the movie and that they had
enjoyed it immensely.

It seems in our day in age, media influences the world a lot more than cold, hard, facts. Hopefully more of these films can be made that can highlight the kosher side of Israel, something you don't always see on TV (especially in the US and Europe).

Monday, January 29, 2007

Israel Popular At The United Nations?

It's not every day an Israeli ambassador is greeted with applause at the United Nations. But today was not an ordinary day for Israel, as the UN takes the time out to reflect upon the horrible tragedy over half a century ago that caused over 12 million lives to be lost, half of them Jewish.

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency) Hundreds of Holocaust survivors and their families gathered at the world body for its second annual day commemorating victims of the Shoah.

"I vow that as long as there is an Israel – and I vow that forever there will be an Israel - you are not alone," [Israeli Ambassador Dan] Gillerman told survivors, his voice rising. "You are safe. And today, here in this hall and around the world, the whole of the civilized world is vowing this vow together with you."

"As long as there is a United Nations, Israel is not alone," responded the U.N.'s undersecretary-general for communications and public information, Shashi Tharoor, who presided over Monday's event.

On a lighter note, if one is actually able to view the UN forum (which is usually half empty, regardless of the speaker) was filled to the brim! Not only were there diplomats, but there apparently was a musical by a local yeshiva choir as well!

This is a healthy sign for Israel, that despite the arguing that surrounds the tiny Jewish state, there are many who do not want to see a repeat of the Holocaust.

Astronauts Visit Israel To Honor Ilan From Columbia

Two Astronauts, one from NASA and the other from the Canadian Space Agency have decided to take a trip towards the holy land in order to pay their respects and appreciation for Ilan, the Israeli astronaut who died in the Columbia explosion.

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency) Joseph Tanner from NASA and Steve MacLean from the Canadian Space Agency were scheduled to take part in memorial events this week for the Columbia crew.

"When Ilan was in space, we all felt the excitement and uniqueness of his task," said Rona Ramon, the astronaut's widow.

"Space captures the imagination. I am glad to be with Steve and Joseph today, who are good friends who continue to perpetuate Ilan's memory."

I personally remember hearing the explosion of the shuttle when I was in Texas, as it was fairly early in the morning and very loud (it sounded like someone blew up a gas tank down the street).

Although both Israel and the US mourned the loss of Ilan and the crew, it is good to see astronauts still honoring his memory, along with others who risk their lives to bring a greater understanding of our universe.

Judaic Law Environmentally Friendly?

Here is an interesting article showing a side of Judaism within the religion that many people may not be aware about.

( [I]t is interesting to note how pervasive environmental legislation is in Jewish law with the consequence that one who follows halacha to the fullest, would, if only from repeated exposure, develop a highly refined environmental consciousness. [...]

Ancient wars were fought using different raw materials than those we use today. For us rubber, plastic, and various metals are the crucial elements. In ancient times it was wood. Fuel, siege engines, arrows and spears, all needed this critical element to function. While not all types of wood were good for all purposes, all wood could be helpful to the war effort in some ways. War is, undeniably, a time of great need, and great danger. Nonetheless, biblical law prohibits use of wood from fruit trees even under battlefield conditions.

The article quotes Deuteronomy 20:19-20 which probably could be applied to the wars of today, as modern warfare can have evil side effects on environment (let alone the people involved in them).

Perhaps this explains why Israel often tries to be environmentally friendly, regardless of the impact on the shekel (or dollar, yen, pound, etc.).

Video: An Israeli Movie Playing In Iran?

(Note: Watch video below, then read the explanation)

What makes this more interesting is not the fact that it talks about Palestine, the Lebanon war and Israel, but that the Persian nation is allowing this film to be played despite its obvious Jewish viewpoint.

(Ynet News) Israeli-Iranian history was made when an Israeli director received an invitation to participate in the annual Iranian film festival in Tehran this week.

The film, an Israeli-German collaboration titled "More than 100[0] words", follows Israeli photographer Ziv Koren over a two-year period, as he documents different aspects of the Middle East conflict. [...]

Avital's initial reaction to the invitation was that there was no way he would send his movie to Iran after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent statements and the second Lebanon war.

"Afterwards, things Iranian friends told me in Berlin started to sink in, that there's another side to Iran, and that many Iranians oppose the current regime. After hearing about the students' rally at the University of Tehran, and that they prevented Ahmadinejad from speaking, I decided there is no reason why I should keep them from seeing the movie," explained Avital.

Although Avital will not be able to attend the Tehran festival in person, his film may have a greater ability to speak to Iranians than the worlds current political leaders.

Update (2/2): It looks like Iran has banned the film.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Israeli Citrus Farmers Profit From Crazy Global Weather

With the recent storm activities happening around the world, many countries are finding their breakfast tables less fruity than usual (assuming they eat breakfast that is).

If it were not for our kosher friends with kosher thumbs, the world may have had to decide whether or not orange juice (or even grapefruits) was worth the price at the grocery store.

(Israel National News) Japan, a major importer of citrus, has renewed its imports from Israel, ordering 800 tons of oranges a week. Earlier this month, China signed a contract to buy $50 million worth of oranges, grapefruits and pomelos a year from Israel.

Following the California crop failures, Spain and Morocco, both major exporters to the European Union decided to sell to the US instead, for a higher profit. European nations were therefore forced to increase their imports from countries like Israel. Traditionally, 68 percent of Israeli citrus exports are channeled to Western Europe, mostly the UK, with 19 percent sent to Russia and 9 percent Italy.

News like this makes me thirsty all of a sudden. Unfortunately I just discovered that I am out of orange juice. :-(

Recyle Thy Tires, It's The Law?

Israel has recently passed a law requiring used tires to be recycled instead of disposed of as garbage in the dumpster.

(Globes Online) The Knesset has passed a used tire recycling law. The law, which was proposed by Michael Nudelman (Kadima) and the Ministry of the Environment will come into force in six months time and it will also apply to national bus company Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society Ltd., government organizations and the Ministry of Defense.

Under the law, tire manufacturers and importers will be responsible for collecting tires that can no longer be used and hand them in for recycling. Businesses selling and repairing tires will be required to store them in a manner that will prevent water accrual and environmental hazards. The law will also require them to regularly return scrap tires to importers and exporters, to avoid amassing large scrap tire dumps.

These tires were basically becoming a major problem in Israel, as people were handing them off to our favorite pal nature in order to solve our tire woes. Since the tires were being found in open spaces and water sources (which mosquitos love), the government decided to take action.

End result? Israel is turning another problem into an environmentally friendly solution.

Oh, Israel, Israel, so concerned with taking care of our planet. What would we do without you?

Note: Perhaps this is why a Kuwaiti suggests the nation hire Israel's Environmental Minister.

Do Men In Israel Live Longer?

Perhaps it's time I seriously started thinking about moving over there (or at least revisiting it again).

(Israel National News) A new research study shows that Israeli men have one of the longest lifespans of those in developed countries. The average Israeli man can expect to live 78 years, higher than in other developed countries except for Iceland, where the average lifespan is 79.2 years, and Japan, Switzerland, Sweden and Australia, where men live a few months longer than in Israel.

Israeli women live longer then their mates, although it is about the same as the rest of the civilized world. The article credits this to the number of doctors in the region, but I think the real reason lies with those mysterious bar mitzvahs.

IMF Forcasts Israeli Economy As Improving

For financial geeks like me this is interesting (if you are not the type, then please skip over).

(Israel National News) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its growth forecast for Israel to 4.5 percent, slightly higher than predicted several months ago. It also forecast that inflation will return to the 2 percent level targeted by the Bank of Israel and the Finance Ministry.

And all of this despite the conflict.

For those of you who want to check out Israeli companies, and how they are doing, Google Finance has some pretty interesting stats (if you are a financial geek like me, that is).

Iraqis Learn From Holocaust Museums In Secret

After Iraqi's were able to remove a brutal dictator of their own (with coalition support) they now want to set up a museum reminding the world of the atrocities of the worlds ugliest dictator Saddam Hussein.

(Ynet News) Members of an Iraqi organization planning to perpetuate the memory of thousands of Saddam Hussein's victims secretly visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington and the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem last year, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily revealed Tuesday.

The report noted that a special team of Iraqi exiles has for the past year been recording testimonies of survivors who managed to escape Saddam's atrocities. [...]

It also became known that the 30 members of the Iraqi memorial team met with Jewish film director Steven Spielberg, who is also documenting Holocaust survivors' testimonies.

Why they had to do this in secret I'll leave for you to guess.

I think this is a good thing for Iraqis and it may help bring the Jewish state and the Arabian/Kurdish state just a little bit closer together. I am not sure how many people Saddam killed, but some estimate it is as high as 8 million souls.

It will be interesting to see how much this Iraqi museum parallels the Israeli and American Holocaust ones, although I wonder if they will credit either of them for helping out via consulting.

Related Kosher News:

Update: Forgot to mention this article as well.

Israeli Startup Hooks Up American Superbowl

No, they are not selling hot dogs, chips or that favorite beverage that is fatal when mixed with driving.

This Israeli startup is hooking up the media (aka the MSM sports edition) with the ability to "communicate."

(Globes Online) One of the biggest sports events of the year is the Superbowl, which attracts millions of television viewers around the world. An entire industry has grown around the event and handsome profits can be made. One company cashing in is Israeli start-up MobileAccess Ltd., which has developed wireless communications for media coverage within buildings.

MobileAccess isn't releasing details on how big this deal is, although the rumor mill estimates it worth up to $2 million (which is a lot of shekels).

Note: I wonder if they would consider hooking up some sport bloggers as well?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Google Beats Walla As Top Israeli Site

It looks like the search engine king has struck again! Okay, so this is old news if you are in Israel, but many people may be surprised that Google was able to maintain its position as the top site against home-grown Walla from Israel.

(Globes Online) In general, the latest survey shows no upheavals. Israel's top three websites maintained their positions, with Google Israel growing even stronger and surpassing the 80% exposure rate. The popular search engine had an exposure rate of 82.7%, higher than in July. The exposure rate of Walla Communications Ltd. (TASE: WALA) rose slightly to 70.1%. Third ranking site, news site Ynet has an exposure rate of 55.2%, down from 56.2% in July.

Google has been making some serious inroads into Israel, with their purchase of iRows last year to complement their Docs & Spreadsheets online suite.

With Google seemingly dominating everywhere they go, will Walla end up becoming the new Yahoo?

Jew Saves White Separatist From A But Whoopin

Gee, it looks like one race hating man is going to radically change his views about the world or is going to be extremely ticked off.

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency) Jon Goldberg, head of the Atlantic Jewish Council, was attending Jared Taylor’s Jan. 16 speech on the costs of racial diversity and integration in North America.

Aside from Goldberg, only protesters and journalists attended Taylor’s speech.

The masked protesters shouted obscenities at Taylor, then shoved him into a hallway, at which point Goldberg intervened.

Color me skeptical, but I doubt Taylor would do the same thing for Goldberg if the situation were reversed. Although this event happened in Canada, I felt that Goldberg's reaction reflects the heart of Jews living both at home (in Israel) and abroad.

America's Future Presidents Line Up To Kiss Israel?

Regardless of whether they are a Republican or a Democrat, a liberal or a conservative, God fearing or poll fearing, man or woman, white, black or attempting to be black, it seems that every candidate running for the White House presidency is doing everything they can to gain Jewish favor nation wide.

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency) It's a Washington ritual as reliable as the cherry blossoms, if nowhere near as pretty: Midterm congressional elections are over and aspirants for the most powerful job in the world are throwing their hats into the race for the U.S. presidency.

Another ritual within the ritual is lining up Jewish support, and this year is no different. Some candidates are acting immediately: This month, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plucked Jay Zeidman, President Bush’s popular Jewish outreach official, to lead his Jewish campaign.

Sometimes it’s even sooner than immediately: For the past two years, Ann Lewis, who has been prominent in Jewish causes since she served as the Clinton administration’s deputy communications director, has been sounding out Jewish support for Clinton’s wife, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Other pro-Israeli candidates include:
  • Senator Joe Biden of Delaware (Democrat)
  • Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas (Republican)
  • Senator Barack Obama of Illinois (Democrat)
  • Newt Gingrich (Republican)
  • John Edwards (Democrat)
  • Senator John McCain of Arizona (Republican)
  • Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico (Democrat)
  • Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (of 9/11, a Republican)
  • Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut (Democrat)
  • Former Governor Mitt Romney of Massechusettes (Republican)
  • Former Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa (Democrat)

All of them seem eager to gain public support from the American Hebrews, with several having actually visited Israel in the flesh. Although this upcoming election is sure to be a rough one (as Hillary can probably tell you), Israel will have an ally in the oval office.

Lenny Kravitz To Fly Away To Israel?

(Hat Tip: Isrealli)

He still has not decided whether or not he will play in Israel (everyone is hoping that he does, including me) although he will be making a short trip to the holy land this summer to visit some friends.

(Ynet News) Singer Lenny Kravitz, one of America's most popular rock stars, has announced he will make his first visit to Israel in the summer, Israel's leading newspaper reported Thursday.

The 42-year-old singer will visit as a tourist, and has not decided if he will perform here during the visit.

During the Jewish-African American reception earlier this week, Kravitz told Israel's consul general in New York, Aryeh Mekel, that he will be arriving in Israel in the next two-to-three months to visit friends in Tel Aviv.

His journey through the holy land will probably be "on the down low" although if people press him hard enough, he might throw a free concert while in Tel Aviv.

Boycott Against Israel Increases Israeli Imports?

(Hat Tip: Solomonia)

Huh? I thought boycotts kinda hurt people's economies, especially an anti-Israeli one.

(The Norway Post) One year after the Socialist Left Party (SV)launched its boycott of goods from Israel, the import of Israeli goods has increased by 15 per cent.

In 2006, Norwegian firms imported Israeli goods worth NOK 650 million.

This is an increase by NOK 80 million, or 15 per cent from the year before, the strongest increase in many years.

This is shown by figures from Statistics Norway (SSB).

I guess their are some Norwegians out there who don't mind supporting their local Jew. ;-)

Israeli Show On HBO?

(Hat Tip: Isrealli)

I don't really watch HBO (in fact I barely watch any TV as YouTube is much more fun) but it seems that one Israeli television show has caught the attention of HBO.

(Ynet News) HBO has ordered 40 episodes of "In Treatment," a half-hour drama starring Gabriel Byrne.

Based on the popular and critically acclaimed Israeli series of the same name ("BeTipul" in Hebrew), "Treatment" centers on a therapist (Byrne) who is calm, smooth, insightful and non-confrontational with his patients but turns into a testy, self-doubting individual full of barely concealed anger when he is a patient seeing his own shrink.

Sounds like this show might be a hit in the US (Americans can relate to therapists, as Dr. Phil plays one on TV...and in real life).

I wonder if they'll get a cut on prime time or cable anytime soon?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Video: Skeetshooting In Israel

Only. If. (via YouTube)

This kinda reminds me of the other video. Having been to Palestine, I can easily say that seeing a site like this is probably unlikely.

But that doesn't mean that the possibility isn't out there.

Honey I Shrunk The Keypad Lock?

Talk about ingenious! Shrinking down keypad locks to molecular scale would be a great way to secure valuables, especially in a safe! Unfortunately, if you are a thief, you may not enjoy hearing about this.

(Israel 21st Century) The molecular keypad lock, the first of its kind, was developed by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. It operates similarly to the electronic locks on today's ATM machines, but uses a molecule in place of electrical circuits. [...]

[R]ather than the electric pulses of an electronic keypad, they consist of iron ions, acids, bases, and ultraviolet light. Shanzer's latest research on the molecular keypad was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) in December.

The only bad thing about this lock is that it takes nine minuets to open (not very convienent if you are in a hurry). But if perfected, these locks could be used to secure all kinds of governmental, corporate or personal data/items of high value.

If only they could make something similar for computers, then my life would be almost complete (geek wise, that is).

Presidential Candidate Visits Israel

Mitt Romney, a presidential candidate for 2008 (on the GOP side) is currently visiting the holy land in order to get a first hand perspective to what Israel is all about.

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency) Mitt Romney, a candidate for the Republication nomination for the U.S. presidency, is in Israel.

Romney, who just ended a term as Massachusetts governor, is addressing this week’s influential Herzliya Conference, which draws top Western policymakers to discuss the Middle East.

His trip was sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition, which seems to have endorsed him early on (to my knowledge at least).

Hopefully we see more of this activity from both sides of the political aisle.

Could Two Israeli's Save Coral From Extinction?

Their research looks very promising, although they are keeping the method under wraps until they can secure a patent for this technology.

(Israel 21st Century) In a secret location not far from the city of Haifa, Almalam and his partner Alon Efergan, a former engineer, are working around the clock raising coral for their new company - Advanced Coral Propagating Technology (ACP Tech).

The coral they produce - about 8,000 pieces of 6 cm. coral a year - is living proof that coral can be cultivated in captivity and in a closed system. It is the first large-scale operation of its kind in the world where coral are reared with no connection to nutrients in the sea.

Almalam, who is an attorney is already receiving orders "out the wazoo" as we say in the states. Hopefully their techniques (and business) can curb the poaching of coral in the oceans, as that seems to be a common habit of divers nowadays.

Update (1/26): Republished on Israpundit.

Rabbi Receives Kidney From Methodist

With organs worth their weight in gold (due mainly to a massive shortage worldwide) the fact that this Rabbi received one at all (despite being on a very long waiting list) is amazing in itself.

(Ynet News) When a New Jersey Methodist minister heard a local rabbi needed a kidney transplant, religious differences did not stop her from stepping forward to offer him one of her own.

Rabbi Andrew Bossov is one of nearly 70,000 Americans currently awaiting a kidney transplant, and is set to receive a kidney from minister Karen Onesti on January 23., at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

"I asked him how he was, he said he needed a kidney, so I said I would give him one of mine," said Onesti. "My family lives to their mid-90s and we have good kidneys."

Hopefully this new kidney will give the Rabbi more time ministering at his Synagogue, than being ministered to by his machine.

Israel Lowers The Light Bill For Its Poor

Isn't this generous of the Israeli government.

(Israel National News) The government has agreed to support a proposal by MK Sufa Landbar which would charge low-income families reduced prices for electricity. Landbar, of Israel Beitenu, explained that in the current situation, many families are forced to go without electricity for extended periods of time.

In America, if you don't pay your bills, they simply shut off your power (provided that its not winter and you are under 65). It's good to see Israel giving grace to their own, especially in these trying times.

Ancient Semitic Language Revealed At Last?

For those history buffs out there this might be interesting.

(Israel National News) Professor Reuven (Richard) Steiner, an expert in Semitic languages and teacher of Semitic literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has deciphered the most ancient Semitic texts ever discovered. The texts, which were first discovered one hundred years ago, are thought to be approximately five thousand years old.

These texts could quite possibly be the oldest writings on planet Earth. It should be interesting to see their connection not only to the middle east (of that era) but also how it relates to present day Israel as well.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Video: Follow Me To Israel (Come Back)

This video pretty much sums up the feeling of Aliyah. God bless.

Note: I was inspired by Israelii's post.

Holocaust Memorial Center Receives Ten Million Dollars

Although this is based in the US (Michigan to be specific), donations like these will help remind the world of the terrible tragedy over 60 years ago and bring some honor to the dead.

(Jerusalem Post) The Holocaust Memorial Center in suburban Detroit says it has received a $10 million (€7.8 million) gift from three brothers, allowing it to pay off most of its $13.5 million (€10.5 million) debt.

"I'm very ecstatic. I've had sleepless nights thinking about the phenomenal burden of interest payments that are $72,000 (€56,000) a month alone," center founder Rabbi Charles Rosenzveig told The Detroit News for a Thursday story. "Now we can use that money to concentrate on other areas of the center."

The money was donated by three brothers who made the gift in memory of their parents and grandparents who died in the Holocaust. The Museum is being renamed the Zekelman Family Holocaust Memorial Center to honor the contribution.

This should definately help Rabbi Rosenzveig get some sleep without having to resort to milk, cookies and some Tylenol.

Cheb I Sabbah Making Arabians Dance

If Madonna can bring the people together in the west, Cheb i Sabbah is definitely doing this in the east.

And the best part about this is he does it with style.

(Foward) For many people, the idea of a Jewish DJ being named a featured artist at venues like the Arab Film Festival or the Arab American National Museum would be a head-scratcher. For global electronica DJ Cheb i Sabbah, however, it's standard fare.

In the four decades of his accomplished career, Sabbah - born Haim Serge El Baaz - has specialized in crossing barriers between nationalities and working with artists of all religions and ethnicities. [...]

"It wasn't something we were conscious of - bringing a Jewish artist into the museum - but we wouldn't not bring a Jewish artist into the museum," she said. "We invite all people to be together, as performing arts, music and dance are ways for all of us to heal and learn about each other.

Sabbah really has some great music as you can tell by visiting his site (geek warning: heavy in flash).

I think I'm tempted to even buy some of his stuff as it would help set a great mood for a party. Unfortunately I have no clue what they are saying...perhaps I can Google a translation somewhere as it sounds like the song is done in several different languages.

Update: Reposted on IsraPundit.

Five Million Dollars Donated To Jerusalem Hospital

Here is a California doctor giving back to his field--kosher style.

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency) A California doctor donated $5 million to a Jerusalem hospital.

Dr. Norman Levan gave the funds to Shaare Zedek for a center for humanistic medicine, the hospital said in a release.

The article is (unfortunately) short, although I wish they provided more details on how the money would be used. (yeah, I am a detail person...when I'm in the mood.

It's Jewish Blog Awareness Month?

Gee, I didn't know.

(JBlogosphere) Folks, I don't know if you knew this or not, but January is J-Blog awareness month. No you didn't know? Hmm, well, maybe that's because I just made it up right now. How do you like that? I mean, why not, I think somewhere, out there, there is some other thing happening that's supposed to accomplish the same thing, but who said there can't be more then one road to awareness.

So with that weirdly vague explanation, I officially hereby kickoff J-Blog awareness month. What I'm hoping for, is that people will recognize this new project by upping the amount of Jblog roundups they do, especially to blogs that they are just finding for the first time. Try to include one new blog, or one blog you never read before in your links.

I've already added the graphic to the side, although I did notice some HTML errors within the coding.

I think this is a good thing, along with the People's Choice Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards (formally the JIB Awards) this month.

If you have a pro-Israeli blog (or are Jewish) you should consider joining. You can visit this post for more details regarding this.

Biking For Peace, American Style In Israel

He may be no Lance Armstrong, but I'd be willing to go bike riding with Josh Spizeman any day of the week (as long as it's not at five a.m. in the morning).

(Israel Today) Josh Spizeman, a young New Yorker and a bicycle enthusiast, has decided to prove his commitment to advancing peace and understanding between Jews and Arabs by going on a two-week bicycle ride across Israel which he calls the "Ride for Peace."

The trip, which has already begun, will take Spizeman from the northernmost city of Kiryat Shemona all the way to the southernmost city of Eilat. The purpose of the trip is to raise money for "Hand in Hand," a center for Jewish and Arab education in Israel.

You can check out more info about Hand in Hand on their site. I'm really impressed by what they are doing, and for Spizeman riding for their cause. Perhaps if they can teach the kids to get along, there may be less tension in the future for both sides.

Israel And The UN Partner For Environment?

It looks like the United Nations will be partnering with Israel in order to help make the earth "a little greener."

(Israel Hasbara Committee) The Memorandum of Cooperation is aimed at strengthening the capacity of governments of developing countries as well as countries with economies in transition in the field of environment in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Israel, represented by "MASHAV" - Center for International Cooperation in Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in partnership with UNEP will focus on providing expertise and technical know-how through joint capacity building programs on environmental-related topics, including management of water resources, water scarcity, sanitation, waste management, food security and agriculture, management of dry lands, desertification and land degradation.

It's good to see the UN and Israel actually working together (a site all too rare on this planet). Hopefully more partnerships like these will develop in the future, as Israel seems to be a culture that is pro-environment as one can tell by some of the buses they ride.

Peres Using Green Trees To Promote Peace

One must give this guy credit where credit is due. Peres is perhaps the most optimistic guy in all of Israel, and he still has not given up on the peace process.

As Peres sees it, if political and military resources can not help bring about peace, then perhaps an environmental solution is what is needed.

(Israel Today) In a project that calls for the planting of 4 million olive trees in Israel and Jordan on an area of up to 50,000 acres at a cost of $8 million, the vice premiere hopes to reduce dependency on military and political means to solve problems in the region and begin using economic tools.

"We must improve the relations between the peoples," Peres said.

Peres plans on using this project to not only create more cooperation between Jordan and Israel, but also more job opportunities as well (as someone has to cut the wood in the future and export olive oil).

Israeli's seem to have a thing for planting trees, (a very good habit I must say) although I wonder if they are going to use recycled water from fish farms?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Anti-Kassam And Anti-Katyusha Defense, Anyone?

It looks like Israel is shelling out $300 million in order to protect Israeli citizens from anti-Kassam and anti-Katyusha rockets.

(Israel Reporter) The defense establishment plans to make an official decision in the coming days to invest $300 million in an anti-Kassam and anti-Katyusha defense system under development by Rafael - Israel’s Armament Development Authority. According to the plan, a combination of a laser and an anti-Kassam missile interceptor will be operational for deployment outside the Gaza Strip within a year and a half.

Originally Israel was going to contract a US company to develop an anti-missile system via lasers, but decided against the idea because their laser was "environmentally unfriendly."

The Israeli laser missile combo should help defend the homeland against another attack, although I wonder what it would look like to see one of these shoot down an enemy missile out of the sky?

Note: I'm not desiring another attack, but if G-d forbid another one happened, it would be neat to see this Israeli technology defending their homeland in the sky.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

More American Jews Seeking Aliya

There seems to be a new surge of Jews seeking to emigrate back home, which is good news for the Israeli government.

Unfortunately the only thing holding them back is some cold, hard cash.

(Jerusalem Post) Some 15,000 North American Jews would like to immigrate to Israel but Nefesh B'Nefesh lacks the funding to facilitate their coming, according to Danny Ayalon, who became the organization's co-chair this week after wrapping up his terms as ambassador to the United States.

"The potential is here" for a massive influx, he said, so his priority would be raising funds and awareness for the organization.

Ayalon said at least $45 million would be needed to bring those 15,000, all of whom have contacted Nefesh and are at various stages of the application process.

This basically amounts to about $3,000 per person, which does not include grants given to the families to help them adjust inside Israel.

Although Ayalon is heading for the states in order to find big donors, he may be more successful if he would simply initiate a "support your local jew" campaign where pro-Israeli families would help sponsor a person to make Aliya.

But regardless of the method, it's good to see more Jews deciding to move to their homeland in order to strengthen Israeli society.

Do You Prefer Israeli Or Plastic?

Despite being surrounded by hostile neighbors, Israel seems to be doing very well exporting plastics products to its Arabian cousins next store. Could demand for simple plastics be that high?

(Israel National News) Exports of Israeli plastic and rubber products to Arab countries in 2006 were up 10 percent over the previous year, totalling US $48 million, according to Dr. Ilan Tessler, chairman of the Society of Israel Plastics and Rubber Industry in the Manufacturers Association of Israel.

Ironically, the list of countries ranges from neighboring Jordan, Egypt, UAE, Garfield's Abu Dhabi and even Saudi Arabia.

Despite many opposition parties expressing outrage over the discovery of increasing economic ties with the Hebrews, perhaps this is a sign that the middle east is changing for the better.

Reposted on IsraPundit.

A New Way To Watch TV?

If you could take Google's non-intrusive ads, and combine it with TiVo, you might get TVnGO.

(Israel 21st Century) TVNGO features Internet contents formatted for TV screen (streaming movies, videos, web sites), which can be changed by the viewer with his remote control. Broadband channels and Internet contents are shifted in a seamless manner including situations when blended Internet and broadcasting show a single frame. [...]

At the same time, Merlin says that TVNGO also offers TV advertisers a new media he calls the 'Third Media' - "Non intrusive TV ads with Internet capabilities, low cost, no production cost and no time to air."

"There's nothing else like this - we've patented the technology and the advertising model. This is the first time that you can advertise on TV using overlays," he added.

Apparently this service will be free to all users as TVNGO funds itself through the ads displayed in the top left corner of the screen (which you can access via remote). If TVNGO ever finishes their second round of testing in Israel, they should seriously consider heading towards the US and Europe.

Kosher Food Valued At $10 Billion?

Americans, known for their delicious appetites have acquired a new taste recently--kosher food.

Eating kosher it seems is not only becoming profitable for the food industry, but it also seems to be appealing to the youth as well.

(Jerusalem Post) The dollar value of the American kosher food market is some $10 billion, and the dollar value of kosher goods produced in the USA is $175b, according to a major kosher food survey conducted by Cannondale Associates.

The survey, presented last week at the 18th annual Kosherfest trade show in New York City, charted the consumer behavior of 10 million households over a period of five years.

The survey found there are 10.5 million kosher food consumers in the US, 70 percent of whom are aged 18 to 35.

The best part about this is that the market for kosher food seems to be growing in the US, with companies "seeing yearly growth of 10-15%." If the saying "you are what you eat" holds true, then this may be a huge indicator on the future direction of the US (tummy-wise that is).

Update: Posted on IsraPundit.

Could Israeli Technology Replace OPEC?

I sure hope so (as it may drop gas prices in everyones tank).

It looks like an Israeli company is turning shale and asphalt into oil, which may make Israel a (future) lucrative partner in the United States.

(Israel 21st Century) Haifa-based A.F.S.K Hom Tov recently demonstrated its patented method of extracting high quality oil and natural gas from a mixture of bitumen and oil shale rock. Bitumen - or asphalt - is the residue obtained by distillation of crude oil.

Experts predict the process will return oil at just $25 dollars a barrel and the additional natural gas produced would further boost the financial feasibility. With crude oil prices currently floating over the $50 a barrel mark, this proposed method is generating interest around the world.

"The world is looking for a replacement for oil supplies," says attorney Moshe Shahal, a former Israeli energy minister and today the legal representative for Hom Tov.

Israel has found enough of this shale within the Negev desert to "keep production going for another 70 years." Although this will not make Israel energy independent, it will allow them to reduce the demand by up to one third.

Other nations are already using this method, although Israel's technique may make it a viable option if fuel prices surge worldwide do various conflicts within the region.

The Bee Gees headed for Israel?

"Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin alive, stayin alive. Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin alive."

Sorry for that, I just had to get that out of my system.

(Israel Today) Singer and songwriter, Robin Gibb of the "Bee Gees" arrived in Israel as a guest of psychic Uri Geller and the Ministry of Tourism.

Gibb was a member of the band that was a singing trio of brothers who became one of the most successful musical acts of all time, attaining exceptional success in the late 1960s through the end of the 1970s. The Bee Gees are categorized as among the six most successful artists in the world together with Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney. The group won seven Grammies during its forty years of recording music.

Despite it being only Robin visiting the holy land, his arrival should make for an interesting tour--at least for the Israeli music industry.

Although he may consider otherwise, I wonder if he'll sing "Stayin' Alive," as it seems to be Israel's theme song.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Google Testing...

I am currently testing out a solution to a possible bug on Google that is causing the mysterious 404 error.

I'll be back...

Update: Talking with GoDaddy. I think they see my problem with the Google situation.

Update (1/15): Thanks you Google! It works!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Where Spiritual Jewish Girls Go Wild

(Hat Tip: Israelity)

Who ever said that one could not be religious and have a good time?

(Ynet News) "Dance as if no one is looking at you," reads a sign posted at the entrance of a hall where religious women meet to dance.

Once a month, dance-loving religious women from across the country meet at the Ramat Beit Shemesh Cultural Center for a treat of groove provided by the courtesy of DJ Lea Sardes.

Disco, hip hop, salsa, samba, and belly dancing are on the menu. [...]

Nurit, a regular dancer at the center spoke of her experience: "After evenings like this I feel that I am making dance steps on the street. My husband says that it fills me with enough energy for a whole week."

According to Ynet, these women seem to get a kick out of clubbin' for hours on end. They hold these dance fests once a month at the Ramat Beit Shemesh Cultural Center with Lea Sardes hosting as DJ.

I wouldn't be surprised if they hold more of these events in the future, although these dance parties may help explain this phenomena.

Unrelated Note: Dancing Rabbi's? Now that's a first!

I wish I was there. :-(

Microsoft Gobbles Up Israeli Startup

First Google gobbled up iRows, now Microsoft has purchased Secured Dimensions. I wonder who Yahoo! will assimilate?

(Globes Online) Microsoft Corp (Nasdaq: MSFT) has acquired Israeli start-up Secured Dimensions for a few million dollars. Secured Dimensions has developed a technology for the protection of applications based on Microsoft's .NET platform. This is the latest move in Microsoft's expansion of its technological activity in the Israeli market, after the announcement of its new R&D center, and the acquisition of two other companies Whale Communications, and Gteko.

What the international public may not know (but what the technology companies do) is that Israel has the largest concentration of tech firms outside of Silicon Valley. Despite the conflict, angry neighbors, etc., many foreigners continue to invest within Israel.

Even Donald Trump is eager to not only put money within the Kosher state, but visit there as well. Innovation is within Israeli blood. Unfortunately half the world wants to spill it, instead of bettering their lives by learning from it.

Helping Those In Need (Whether Muslim Or Jewish)

It seems that Jews not only help their own abroad but reach out unto their own as well.

(Ynet News) In Israel's vast Negev desert, an Orthodox rabbi is helping impoverished Arab Bedouins with money collected from American evangelical Christians.

When a violent storm swept away the encampment of the al-Amrani clan on the side of a hill near the town of Rahat on December 27, the 250-strong tribe, including 110 children, lost everything. [...]

Rabbi Eckstein heads the "International Fellowship of Christians and Jews", a non-governmental organization founded in the United States in 1983. In this role, he raises funds from the staunchly pro-Israel evangelical Christians in the US "largely to support Israel". [...]

"We have 200 projects running in Israel," says Eckstein. "Our guidelines are - help the people of Israel. All the citizens of Israel, regardless of their religion."

This Rabbi has raised $75 million in order to help better the lives of all Israeli citizens. Although they don't reach out to Palestinians (as their government is blacklisted by Europe and America) they do reach out to Arabs within the Israeli domain.

Note: I could site more cases of this, but in the argument of time you may want to check out these articles highlighting Israeli's taking care of the elderly as well as the poor in general.

Kosher And Famous?

(Hat Tip: Israellycool, Twice)

I would have never guessed that Elvis Presley and Yaphet Kotto were Jewish.

I was able to meet Presley's step brother (by marriage) a few years ago, although he mentioned nothing about his step brothers kosher roots (then again, he was talking to a couple hundred students at the time).

I wonder how many other actors we see on TV are Jewish? Besides Superman, that is...

Trade Between China To Increase Triplefold?

Prime Minister Olmert (we'll leave out politics on this post) is predicting that trade between Israel and China will increase three times over within the next three years. Who ever knew that China and Israel were strong economic parters?

(Globes Online) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert today announced the establishment of China-Israel Binational Fund for Investment in High-Tech R&D. "The establishment of this fund, together with the establishment of the joint committee for R&D investment is of extreme importance. These funds will be the catalyst for deepening cooperation," he said.

Olmert predicted that bilateral trade would triple by 2010 to $10 billion a year. Israel-China trade totaled $3.8 billion in 2006, 27% more than in 2005. "China is crying out for Israeli know-how and technology, for example in water," he said. "For China, water is as important as oil, and Israel is the leader in water desalination and recycling technologies. The hydro-technology agreement we signed will be the foundation for fruitful economic cooperation."

Olmert is not making that statement idly, as Israel is constructing a $5 million water purification facility within Inner Mongolia.

Despite living in a desert, Israel is leading the way when it comes to water technology, and have even found a way to fertilize crop from artificial fish farms.

Israeli's Build Harder, Faster Stronger Antibiotic

Okay, so the antibiotic may not be "faster" per say, but a team from the Weizmann Institute has developed one that may give bacteria a reason to worry (for their very lives).

(Israel National News) The team led by Professor Yehiel Shai developed a substance that he describes as "a sort of sophisticated soap which melts the fatty part of the germ cover, compared to ordinary antibiotics which penetrate the cell and then paralyze specific systems."

Shai said the new antibiotic substance dissolves and destroys the germ too fast for it to develop a resistance to the medication.

The new antibiotic has yet to be perfected so you probably will not be able to order it by perscription (let a lone over the shelves). However, the technique for attacking these little organisms is itself ingenious, and once perfected I wouldn't be surprised to see Shai ten years from now "rolling in the shekels."

Unrelated Update: It looks like the Israelis are also heading in the Lupus department. Cool.

Environmentally Friendly Buses

It looks like the Dan Bus service will be switching to environmentally friendly buses fairly soon.

(Israel National News) The new vehicles will be equipped with an anti-air pollution system that is designed to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide and pollutants.

Whether global warming is true or not, one thing is for sure--Israeli's are pro-environment when it comes to their technology.

Morgan Stanley: Shekel Improving Over Dollar, Euro

Despite all that has happened with the Israel over last years conflict, the shekel has steadily been improving and according to Morgan Stanley it may also be seriously undervalued.

(Globes Online) "Imbalances in the US economy and the dollar's depreciation have become an overwhelming theme in global financial markets, triggering significant shifts in portfolio allocations. However, although the dollar is likely to remain weak in the near future, our currency economics team expects it to get stronger towards the end of this year and especially in 2008. Of course, such a turnaround in the dollar's valuation and the reasons behind it would have a range of implications for Israel's economy and financial markets. Nevertheless, we do not see a major risk to our call for the shekel's continuing strength," writes Morgan Stanley analyst Serhan Cevik.

" The dollar's weakness may have been a trigger, but the shekel's appreciation is certainly not just about what has happened to the dollar. As we have long argued, the shekel is fundamentally undervalued against the dollar and even more so against the euro.

Although this news may trigger conspiracy theories about how the Jews are taking over, this probably has more to do with foreigners heavily investing inside Israel.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

What If Reality Reflected The Internet? (Iran And Israel)

Despite the friction between the respective governments, I have a feeling that relationships like these are a lot more common than some people think.

Via Google Video.

Israel and Iranian (or Persian) history go way back to the times when Cyrus freed the Israeli's from Babylonian rule and ordered them to rebuild their homeland.

From my personal chats with Iranians, most of them have a friendly view towards Israel. If (God forbid) war does happen between these nations, perhaps Israel to repay a debt by liberating Iran as they liberated the Jews.

Israeli's And Palestinians Keeping Rivers Clean

Since nobody enjoys swimming, drinking or even fishing in a polluted river, a group of Palestinians and Israelis have teamed up together in order to clean up their environment.

(Israel 21st Century) "The river was so unclean, there were dead fish, plastic bottles and other garbage floating downstream and it was a disgusting brown colour," says the director of special projects at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies on Kibbutz Ketura near Eilat.

"The tide was out, so the filthy river just stopped five feet from the Mediterranean. The sea looked so pristine and clear, but at high tide, all the filth from the river washes straight into the sea polluting it for miles around," he told ISRAEL21c.

The miserable state of the Alexander, which runs through both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, is one of the reasons why a team of Israeli and Palestinian researchers have joined forces to create a blueprint for action to restore the quality of not only the Alexander, but the 15 rivers that flow through both Israeli and Palestinian areas.

This gang was able to get a one million dollar grant from the Middle East Regional Cooperation Program (aka MERC) in order to implement their plan on cleaning up the polluted river.

Despite what you may hear on the news, Palestinians and Israelis can actually get along quite well.

Note: You can find out more info about the project by visiting the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and the Palestinian Water Training Institute.

Video: Color Me Orange

It looks like a cross between the muppets and sunny delight. Via YouTube.

If the international shipping costs were not so high, I would be tempted to go and order some of this stuff.

AI: A New Way To Be Human?

From fighting spam to communicating with their masters. Will robot intelligence eventually catch up to ours?

(Israel 21st Century) [A] Jerusalem-based start-up Linguistic Agents says it has created an application that will allow computers to understand human language - and will revolutionize the world of computers in the process. [...]

"The brain has an ability to understand language without knowing the words," he explains. "If I tell you a sentence with a word you may have never heard, through the context, you'd be able to understand 70% of what I'm saying without that word, or even understand what that word means, just by the context. That's what makes us very special."

Using the core technology of NanoSyntax, Linguistic Agents' computer scientists and programmers set out to create a technology that would mirror this process - only backwards.
This would definitely help out with translation programs online, although I can also see it being used by mega-corporations to handle their customer support lines (which may not make too many people happy).

What would be cool is if they could install this software into some dancing robots, as long as they are small (they can't be big like this guy).

Monday, January 08, 2007

Video: Some Cool Israeli Facts

(Hat Tip: Isrealii)

Here is a video highlighting some of the technological impacts this tiny Jewish state has had on our world.

You can find the video on YouTube (and I encourage everyone around to post it on their sites as well).

Fish Farming In The Desert?

(Hat Tip: Israpundit)

Although I've heard of fish farms in the US, I am quite surprised that these Israeli's were able to create one in the middle of the desert. Not to mention convince everyone to invest in this project.

Image Credit: Rina Castelnuovo from the NY Times

(New York Times) Fish farming in the desert may at first sound like an anomaly, but in Israel over the last decade a scientific hunch has turned into a bustling business.

Scientists here say they realized they were on to something when they found that brackish water drilled from underground desert aquifers hundreds of feet deep could be used to raise warm-water fish. The geothermal water, less than one-tenth as saline as sea water, free of pollutants and a toasty 98 degrees on average, proved an ideal match. [...]

"It is important to stop with the reputation that arid land is nonfertile, useless land," said Professor Appelbaum, who pioneered the concept of desert aquaculture in Israel in the late 1980s. "We should consider arid land where subsurface water exists as land that has great opportunities, especially in food production because of the low level of competition on the land itself and because it gives opportunities to its inhabitants."

What makes this story even more remarkable is the fact that scientists have found a way to reuse the water the fished were raised in (full of yucky fish waste) and irrigate farmers crops.

This not only watered the plants, but also provided an excellent source of cheap fertilizer. Hopefully they can export these techniques to third world nations, as I'm sure they would definitely appreciate it.

Jews Keep Creating, Gentiles Keep Investing

Israel is once again setting records highs for foreign investments. Perhaps its time I started getting involved?

(Globes Online) Foreign investment in Israel reached an all-time high of $21.1 billion in 2006, up from $9.9 billion in 2005 and $7.2 billion in 2004, a three-fold increase, the Bank of Israel reported today.

Foreign investment in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) securities fell by a net $143 million in 2006, after a record net $2.1 billion was invested in 2005. Net foreign investment in TASE-listed securities totaled $219 million in December 2006.

What makes this very unique is the fact that Israel has no natural resources to draw upon to create this enormous interest from the outside world.

Most of this seems to be driven by Israeli brain power (i.e. technology, health sectors, entrepreneurship, etc.), although containing some of the world's most respected "holy sites" doesn't hurt either.

Ethiopian Jews Anxious To See Home

For those who didn't know--Jews come in all colors. It appears that some of the kosher brethren are waiting to make Aliyah; that is the right to immigrate to Israel.

Why this is taking so long is beyond me.

(Ynet News) The Gondar synagogue, its 60 benches arrayed on a dirt floor under a roof of corrugated iron, sits next to piles of garbage and a stream of sewage. Nearby is a feeding center financed by international donors. [...]

"Look at how we live," Asmare said, gesturing inside a dimly lit, one-room house he shares with his wife and eight children. "We sleep together in our beds and use the beds as a table for eating. I can't afford to feed my children, send them to school, or buy a new roof for my house. I want to leave for Israel."

While the conditions that they are in are not very fun, the fact that they desire to live in the holy land does make me very happy.

There are currently about 9,000 Jews left in Ethiopia, although some estimates run as high as 18,000. Israel currently allows 300 a year to immigrate, although there have been talks to double that amount.

I wonder if Prime Minister Olmert would consider increasing the amount? (as it would definitely help out his approval rating)

Stem Cell Research Could Aid Cancer Patients

A company from Haifa, Israel has developed a product that may aid in the treatment of cancer patients, a problem all too common in the US.

(Globes Online) Pluristem's product treats blood cancer and blood disorders through the use of umbilical cord blood stem cells. These stems cells are already being used to treat blood cancer but treatment is limited to children since the quantity of stem cells in one transfusion of cord blood would be insufficient for the treatment of adults. [...]

Pluristem's PLX-1 improves the engraftment of umbilical cord blood cells, thereby enabling their proliferation after transfusion of blood to patients. As a result, it will also enable adult cancer patients to be treated with umbilical cord blood rather than other means.

As I have relatives who have survived cancer or are fighting this evil disease, news items like these help foster the hope that a cure may be discovered in the near future.

Unfortunately for me I do not have an extra umbilical chord available, although I'll make note of saving them for my future kids (after I find the future wife).

Could Jewish Artificial Intelligence Thwart Spam?

It looks as if an Israeli company is pioneering technology that could help the world fight off a problem that is almost as old as the internet itself--spam.

(Globes Online) Researchers at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology have developed a method for inputting encyclopedic knowledge to computers in a manner that will enable the machine to simulate human logic in its responses.

The new method will help computers filter email spam, perform web searches as well as carrying out electronic intelligence gathering at a more sophisticated level than current programs.

Hopefully Technion will not make these robots too smart (as no one wants to see the rise of the machines in our lifetime).

Interfaith Group Cares For Jewish Children

An interfaith group of both Christians and Jews has raised millions of dollars in order to care for destitute Jewish children in the former Soviet Union.

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency) The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews will give $12 million to help care for thousands of destitute Jewish children in the former Soviet Union.

The gift to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, given by the fellowship and its president and founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, will help JDC expand its programs to help an estimated 50,000 Jewish children who need food, medicine and shelter, the JDC said in a press release Thursday.

It good to see groups of differing faiths come together in order to help out needy children. If only we could get the Muslims involved in something similar...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Test Post...

Can you see me?

Google To Bloggers: Shabbat And Shalom!

It looks like Google is allowing blog*spot users to migrate their weblogs onto their servers (as if enough of our life is already in their hands).

This will come in handy as I have recently purchased

(Blogger Buzz) The new version of Blogger now supports using a custom domain for serving your blog. If you already own a domain named, say, and want your blog to be served at that address instead of at a address, we can host your blog on that domain for you — for free. Your old Blog*Spot address will forward to your new custom domain, so the switch will be seamless for your readers.

I'll be taking a short break from posting as I work out the bugs of this migration. Until then, Shalom!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Those Kosher Green Thumbs...

One cool thing about Israel is that the people (at least the cool ones anyway) are very passionate about the environment. In fact, Israeli's are so passionate that they are replanting some of the trees destroyed because of the previous war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

(Israel Today) A group of 550 Jews from all over the world gathered recently for a massive tree planting event in the Naftali Mountains forest in northern Israel. A large part of the lush green forest was burned down during the war in Lebanon this summer after being hit numerous times by Katyusha rockets fired by Hizballah in Lebanon.

The tree planting event was the culmination of the "Leading Up North" project, an unprecedented project in scope, where 550 youths and students from all over the world arrived in Israel for a period of 10 days.

I guess when I get the opportunity to travel back to Israel (hopefully sometime this year) I'll have to check out this region, as well as the forests in the area.

Not to mention the falafels. ;-)

Support Your Local Jew...

(Hat Tip: Judeoscope)

Here is a snippet from a student (with Palestinian ancestry) who visited the holy land and describes his overall trip while visiting the kosher state.

(Adam Dalifallah) Israel is a fascinating country. Its people are friendly, knowledgeable, westernized -- and most of all, tolerant. They have an amazing sense of purpose and resilience in the face of daily threats to its very existence. That's something no other country really has to grapple with, and I think it takes visiting there to fully understand the feeling of what that's like. [...]

As someone who thought he knew a fair bit about Israel before going there, I came away with a sense that I really didn't know the half of it. I think it probably takes a visit there to truly appreciate the nuances and intricacies of this country.

After all the terror and the two intifadas, it was amazing to see and hear so many Israelis still so committed to peace and willing to do just about anything to achieve it. If the Palestinians and their leadership would truly recognize Israel's right to exist tomorrow, I have little doubt a state would follow very soon.

My thoughts regarding Israel exactly. But alas, most people would rather turn a blind eye to all of this. That is one of the reasons I decided to start this blog.

If You Are Ever Lost In Saudi Arabia... might want to see if you have an Israeli foreign ministry on your cell phone.

(Israel Today) The driver of the broken down bus had promised the group that another bus would come to replace the broken one and take them home, but nothing happened and the Israelis had to wait there for almost eight hours.

After hours of waiting, one of the travelers called the tour operator in Israel, who called the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. The Foreign Ministry quickly phoned the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan. The embassy quickly found a helpful hand at the Jordanian royal palace. The Jordanians quickly called the Saudi royal palace in Riyadh, who promised to take care of the urgent situation.

Although these were Israeli Arabs, it goes to show the overall heart of the Israeli government.

I wonder if there Arab brethren would have responded the same if the situation was reversed?

US East Coast Protected By Israeli Technology

Okay, so maybe not the entire east coast, but an important part of it (the it being our water supplies) not to mention a few other commodities.

(Israel 21st Century) Magal's DreamBox is a state-of-the-art, intelligent video, audio and sensors management platform - all in one box. DreamBox offers local and networked digital video and audio recording (DVR/NVR), intelligent video analysis (IVA), virtual video matrix switching, two-way audio and site security management. In doing so, the DreamBox helps high-security facilities - such as airports, seaports, train stations, refinery facilities and utility companies - increase safety and security, according to Magal CEO Izhar Dekel.

"Water supplies are particularly vulnerable to hazardous threats - ranging from terrorist attacks to accidental contamination. While traditional perimeter protection measures, such as fence and ground sensors, are not viable in this environment, risk can still be mitigated by leveraging advanced 'Intelligent Video' for perimeter protection," said Dekel.

You can visit their site for more details. It is comforting to know that these guys are defending our way of life in the states.