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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Google Israel Beating Walla! At Its Own Game

It looks like the search engine giant can safely hold onto its crown as the largest internet company in the holy land. After reporting unprecedented earnings for the first quarter, it looks as if Israel has officially become Google territory, at least as far as advertising goes.

(Globes Online) The sources add that in the first half of 2007, Google Israel's revenue reached $25 million, an amount identical to its revenue for all of 2006. It is estimated that Google Israel's revenue will reach $45-50 million by year's end. [...]

These figures have made Google Israel into the largest internet company in Israel, beating out Walla for the title. Walla's first quarter revenue was NIS 27.1 million.

After previously being dethroned by Google, Walla! had decided to fight back by launching its own pay-per-click advertising system in order to recapture lost ground to the Google wonder.

Despite being a little late in the game, Walla! is probably determined to overtake the internet Goliath, although if that ever happened Google would probably buy them out.

Video: Shamoon College Wins "Green Competition"

It looks as if a university in southern Israel has won the Green Campus Award, which is a prestigious honor given that the school was competing against 60 other universities around the nation.

Regardless of politics, everyone can agree that preserving our environment is an important priority for the human race, and it looks as if the Sami Shamoon Collage of Engineering is helping to instill that belief within its local community.

(One Jerusalem) According to Wolfson, Shamoon is the only Israeli college to offer courses in Green Engineering, which cover sustainability, green energy, green buildings and green architecture. Wolfson commented, "Our hope is that, along with the knowledge the students gain, will come a feeling of obligation to deal with environmental issues, both as students and in their future professional lives."

With campuses in Beer Sheva and Ashdod, Shamoon College has extensive outreach initiatives to train parents, primary school students and teachers, and army officers about the importance of protecting the environment. The local towns benefit as well - non-Shamoon students can take a Shamoon course called "Chemistry and the Environment", and college students lead environmental activities for the community and for grade schools in Beer Sheva and local Bedouin villages.

Note: Here is a short video highlighting what Shamoon College has to offer to potential students thinking about attending (especially those considering making Aliyah).

Oral Insulin Anyone?

(Image Credit: Israel 21st Century)

When it comes to diabetes, patients afflicted usually have two options in order to maintain their insulin at healthy levels. They can either choose to stick to a specific diet, or (painfully) opt for needles.

But now it seems as if a Jewish scientist may make it possible for those suffering from diabetes to simply treat the disease as one would treat a minor headache.

(Israel 21st Century) The Oramed Insulin Capsule is an orally ingestible soft gel insulin capsule that the company believes will help Type 2 diabetics reduce the dependency on insulin shots and even prevent them from needing them at a later stage of the disease.

The capsule has been specially engineered to protect the insulin from the destructive effects of gastric juices. The insulin it delivers goes straight to the liver, which stores insulin and controls the dose being delivered to the body, and from there is sent out into the bloodstream.

According to Dr. Miriam Kidron, this capsule has the potential of helping the body by allowing the person's liver to control the level of insulin administered in the blood stream, instead of injecting random amounts via needle.

This allows the body to avoid becoming insulin dependent, which seems to be a drawback of using a needle to maintain healthy insulin levels.

Note: The company producing this is called Oramed, and you can find more information about this revolutionary drug over here.

BIRD Foundation To Improve US-Israel Cooperation

There seems to be a unique foundation whose sole purpose is to help improve the economic ties between the land of opportunity and the holy land. Both the Israeli government as well as their American friends may be thinking about doubling the financial support for this group, which can only benefit both economies.

(Globes Online) "Doubling the BIRD Foundation's capital will enable the foundation to double its activity, in other words, to increase the number of ventures that we will be able to support, increase investment in each venture, or decide how to combine the two options," [Dr. Eitan Yudilevich] said.

The BIRD Foundation supports joint ventures by US and Israeli high-tech companies by finding strategic partners in the two countries and financing the development of joint products. Over the past 30 years, the foundation has funded 740 projects, which have generated $8 billion in direct and indirect sales.

What makes this foundation unique from an "investors club" is the fact that businesses receiving funds are not required to pay back the money in the event of failure.

This encourages businesses with innovative ideas to flourish, resulting in cooperation between the two nations. Of course, if these companies are successful, the royalties they earn go back to the BIRD Foundation who then can take the funds for further investment, or to help out other industries.

Note: Readers can visit the foundation over here.

Sudanese Refugee Enjoying Life In Israel

While the world debates how to intervene in the situation in Darfur, it looks as if Muslim refugees have found an unusual sanctuary in an unlikely nation--Israel.

(Baltimore Sun) Five years after he fled his Darfur village, and after jail spells in three countries, Ibrahim has found refuge in an unlikely place: a kibbutz in Israel.

The young Muslim is one of about 440 Sudanese refugees working in Israeli hotels and on farms while the government seeks to place them in a third country. [...]

Ibrahim said he feels isolated, because he speaks only Arabic and can't communicate with his kibbutz employers. But he does feel safe.

"Israel is nice," he said. "No one will hit you in the street or yell at you. I had to come all this way before I could find someone to treat me this way."

Despite the fact that Ibrahim official comes from what Israel regards as an "enemy nation," the Israeli government has extended hospitality towards refugees like Ibrahim, as they hash out details on where his future home will be.

Israel is currently attempting to find ways to relocate these people abroad (in Europe of all places) although the Sudanese refugees may be better off remaining in the Jewish state--at least until things calm down in Africa.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Aaron Pribble Joins Israeli Baseball League

(Image: Aaron Pribble spinning a baseball, Credit: IJ photo/Alan Dep, via Marin Independent Journal)

If you have never heard of Aaron Pribble before, that is because he has never played for the MBL (although he has pitched for independent teams before in the US and France). But it looks like Pribble will be getting a chance to make history by playing for the Israeli Baseball League (IBL) this summer.

(Marin Independent Journal) But next week, Pribble embarks on another fantasy baseball trip that tops them all. He's leaving to play in the new Israel Baseball League. Seriously. It's a legitimate startup league and Pribble is a legitimate professional player, having pitched for independent league teams from Rohnert Park to San Angelo, Texas, and even for a team in France.

"More than anything I think it's going to be a great adventure," Pribble said of his upcoming stint in the six-team IBL. "That's the way I'm looking at it."

Ironically Aaron's former baseball coach was the one who "pushed" Aaron to try out for the IBL. Aaron at first thought his former coach was pulling his leg, but after visiting the IBL website and jumping through several hoops, he found himself playing with the Israeli big boys.

Israel initially started the IBL in order to help make the holy land feel more like home for those who committed Aliyah (not to mention give citizens another subject to talk about besides politics, etc.).

If the IBL shows potential, hopefully the MBL would consider adding the team to its various network, as it would help boost tourism for both nations on either side of "the Atlantic pond."

Free Laptops For Jerusalem Kids

It looks as if more of our future world leaders will have some much needed exposure to a tool most westerners already take for granted.

(Israel National News) 70 Jerusalem children received a free computer this week as part of the "A Computer for Every Child" project. The children, in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, first finished a 60-hour introductory course on computer use.

The "A Computer for Every Child" project gives computers, basic computer training, and Internet connection to children whose families cannot afford to buy the technology for them.

This is a great idea although I wonder whether or not those laptops are wifi capable as that would allow the kids to get online? (with parental permission of course!)

Several corporations seem to have endorsed this project (including Microsoft) and for those of you who are curious, you can find more information regarding the project over here.

Israel Could Make 800 Million At Paris Air Show

While Israeli companies are out there "strutting their stuff" to the world, Globes is reporting that these corporate firms could generate an enormous amount of cash from contracts--$800 million to be exact.

(Globes Online) 11 Israeli companies from the defense and security sectors will be exhibiting in the Israeli pavilion at the 2007 Paris Air Show opening tomorrow at Le Bourget. Israel is considered a leading defense exporter, and it is ranked fourth in aviation and defense technologies exports after the US, Russia and France.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the air show, Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute chairman David Arzi said the 11 Israeli companies exhibiting at the Paris Air Show could sign as much as $800 million in new contracts there.

Israeli companies competing in the air show include:

As the air show started yesterday, there are no final numbers as to how much these companies will generate. Either way, it will be a great way for Israel to display their more technological side to not only Europe, but the rest of the world.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Electrical Fields To Kill Brain Cancer Cells?

(Image Credit: The Franklin Institute)

It looks like researchers have developed a new way to fight brain cancer without having patients go "under the knife." If proven successful, this Israeli invention may revolutionize how doctors treat this deadly disease.

(Israel 21st Century) An Israeli-developed treatment that specifically targets rapidly growing cancer cells with electrical fields shows great promise in treating patients with brain cancer. The Novo-TTF (Tumor-Treating Fields) device, invented by Technion Professor emeritus Yoram Palti, uses electrical fields to disrupt tumor growth by interfering with cell division of cancerous cells, causing them to stop proliferating and die off instead of dividing and growing. Healthy brain cells rarely divide and have different electrical properties than cancerous brain cells. This allows the device to target cancer cells without affecting the healthy cells. [...]

"This is a new general modality for treating cancer. In a way it's similar to radiation, it's physical in the same sense, but the major difference is that there are no side effects," he told ISRAEL21c from his office at Novocure's headquarters in Haifa.

Although this technology is still in "beta mode" (i.e. clinical testing) it holds much promise for those suffering from this horrible disease. Despite the fact that this technology applies strictly towards the organ we use to think with, scientists may be able to expand this technologies use towards other parts of the body.

You can find out more info regarding this technology over here, although readers may want to check out the full article for details.

Can Tel Aviv Get Enough Of Google?

It looks as if the search engine giant is opening even more offices in Tel Aviv. Google, which is currently the top Israeli site seems to be expanding its presence even further in Israel in their attempt to take over the world.

(Globes Online) Google Israel today dedicated its new offices on the 26th floor of the Levinstein Building in Tel Aviv. The offices will house the company's new R&D center, headed by Yossi Mattias, and the sales department, headed by Google Israel country manager Meir Brand.

Google VP engineering and research Alan Eustace was the guest of honor at the dedication. He praised the excellence of the company's Israeli team.

The Google Israel branch celebrated the opening by throwing a party, which you can grab the details over at Ouriel's blog (hat tip: Israelity).

Google expanse into Israel is no surprise, seeing that one of the founders (Sergey Brin) is himself Jewish. I wonder if he will ever consider making aliyah one of these days?

Could Jetrix Change The Print Industry?

(Image Credit: FPA Journal)

It looks like a new invention by Moshe Einat may enable newspapers in the future to print customized papers for users--not to mention make it easier to print books on demand.

(Israel 21st Century) Imagine a bookstore that prints your purchases while you settle the bill or a personalized newspaper that contains only the news you want to read. Such expedient printing may soon become a reality using a new Israeli technology that will enable printing 1,000 pages a minute at affordable prices.

Two researchers from The College of Judea and Samaria - Moshe and Nissim Einat - have developed a revolutionary printing technique called Jetrix, which enables simultaneous high- speed printing of an entire page of text. The technology combines printing and Liquid Crystal Technology (LCD) methods to make a page-sized printing array that emits ink instead of light.

Although this technology is still in the "experimental stage" (as Moshe has to develop a color version) this technology may help books make a comeback against their digital comrades.

If perfected, this could also enable print industries to drastically reduce the cost of printing, and ship out customized orders within a day of request.

Note: I wonder if would be interested in this technology?

180 New England Jews To Commit Aliyah!

This is good news indeed for the Jewish nation! Having lived in New England before, I can attest that Israel will be receiving some of the most brightest (and creative) minds the US has ever known.

(Ynet News) Some 180 American Jews who are about to move to Israel will attend a farewell reception, the Boston Jewish advocate reported last week.

"The surge of area residents immigrating to Israel continues, as more New Englanders will make aliyah in 2007 than any other year to date," the report said. [...]

"This is a major moment, and a huge responsibility for me," the Advocate quoted Tova Grushko, regional director of the Center, as saying.

"These are high-quality people coming from this area who are going to change the face of Israel," she added.

In the Ynet article, some of the Jews did admit moving to the Holy Land would be "daunting" as they in essence will be starting a new life, one which is very different from New England.

How ever one thing these Jews can look forward to are the warmer temperatures, not to mention the Dead Sea and beautiful beaches.

Update: My site's time settings seem to be off. Post has been corrected to reflect publishing order.

Indian Bank Opens Israeli Branch

The State Bank of India has recently opened up a branch inside Israel. Although this is not exactly "major news" (as there are as many banks in Israel as there are beaches) the purpose of this move was to help strengthen ties between the two nations.

(Globes Online) "We're bullish about the Israeli business world and about Indian-Israeli relations," said State Bank of India chairman Om Prakash Bhatt at the dedication ceremony of its branch in Israel. Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer and Israeli business dignitaries attended the ceremony. The branch is located at the Israel Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan.

The State Bank of India (BSE:500112) is India's largest bank and has branches in 33 countries. The Israeli branch is its 84th international branch. The Central Bank of India owns 59.7% of the bank.

This maneuver should help strengthen the ties between the two nations, who already have a solid relationship with each other. India already sees Israel as a "preferred ally," and hopefully we will expect more financial (and business) relationships to develop from this.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Video: JTN Launches Jewish Television Network Online

It looks as if users around the world will now have the ability to access quality "kosher" content from the comfort of their home thanks in part to the Jewish Television Network.

(Jerusalem Post) Jewish Television Network Productions, an independent production and distribution company, launched the first broadband network of its kind last week, featuring a wide range of Jewish life-related programming. [...]

Last year, JTN recognized that with the emergence of audio and video on the Web, the Internet could make the initiative viable. "It's good for the Jewish people and for the world for there to be a Jewish network, and that's why we launched," said Sanderson from his office in LA. The annual budget will be between $500,000 and $1 million.

With JTN launching an online version (broadband only), users will be able to view their favorite Jewish programs online without having to pay extra on their DirectTV bill. You can visit the site over at or click on the image below.

Note: Since this is the second video Israel News site that I have discovered, I am going to make a separate list on the sidebar.

Update (6/26): Changed image link to video.

US Congress Recognizes Undivided Jerusalem

Despite the fact that every executive branch has postponed moving the American embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, the US Congress seems to recognize the holy city as not only undivided, but Israel's right.

( With backing of pro-Israel activists on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are pushing to pass a resolution hailing Israel's control over all of Jerusalem. [...]

The measure - introduced by Rep. Tom Lantos of California, Democratic chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, and by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the committee's ranking Republican - "commends Israel for its administration of the undivided city of Jerusalem for the past 40 years, during which Israel has respected the rights of all religious groups." It also congratulates Israel for defeating its enemies during the war, and calls on the president to move the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, in accordance with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.

With elections coming up in the US, Jewish lobbyists could use this time to ask political candidates from both parties whether or not they would consider enforcing the Jerusalem Embassy Act if elected.

Most of the candidates have already lean towards Israel, with one politician visiting the holy land (a trend that needs to continue while in office).

Perhaps this would be a great question to ask the politicians on the next round of presidential debates?

China To Set Up Confucius Institute In Tel Aviv

With over 40,000 Israeli's visiting China every year, the Chinese government has decided to establish a Confucius Institute in Israel's most modernized city.

(Xinhua-China View) The institute, which is expected to open in November, will be the first of its kind in the Jewish nation.

Jointly established by Office of Chinese Language Council International of China and TAU, the Confucius Institute is a non-profit educational organization, and will provide non-degree Chinese language study programs to Israelis. Teachers are from the TAU.

Addressing the signing ceremony, TAU President Itamar Rabinovich said "the Israeli public are eagerly hoping that they could have the chance to know more about the captivating Chinese culture."

Israel is one of the few western nations that has very friendly ties with the Asian superpower, something many people in America may find surprising.

With trade between the two nations expected to increase dramatically within the next several years, it may not be surprising to see many Israeli business students picking up Chinese as a second (or third) language.

Macedonia Defeated In Euro 2008 Qualifier Match

It looks like another victory for the Israeli football (or soccer for Americans) team!

Israel played against Macedonia, and was able to score two goals in the first half of the game. Ynet brings us the details!

(Ynet News) Israel's Barak Yitzhaki - who plays for Beitar Jerusalem - scored the first goal of the game in the 10th minute. Macedonian Aco Stojkov tied the game three minutes later.

Roberto Damian Colautti (Maccabi Haifa) scored Israel its second goal in the 43rd minute of the match, sending Israel to half-time with the lead.

Israel seems to be doing very well this season, having previously shut out Estonia and (unfortunately) tieing England a few months ago.

Currently Israel ranks third in their group, behind Russia and Croatia (although hopefully not for long).