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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Improve Thy Skin With Vitamins Via Microcapsules?

(Image Credit: Tagra)

Idan Harpaz of Tagra Biotechnologies has developed a microcapsule that may revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry.

(Israel 21st Century) Tagra has developed a micro encapsulation system that delivers active materials to the skin when they are needed. This is the brave new world of skincare, and also has applications for the dental, and pharmaceutical industries. [...]

Harpaz pours out a capsule mixture onto the table. It has the look and texture of a very soft powder. He rubs it between his fingers. "You can rub it all you like now but the capsules won't break open. Once you put them into a cream, however, they become soft and flexible. Once you rub them into the skin they break and release the active material," he explains.

Skin care businesses will probably love this invention since it will allow their products to maintain a much longer shelf life (as far as vitamins within the cream are concerned) although doctors may find this product to be quite useful in treating certain skin allergies.

Note: More information about Tagra can be found over here.

Israel Baseball Cards Now Available

(Image Credit: Jewish Major Leaguers, Hat Tip: Life in Israel)

It looks as if fans of the Israel Baseball League can now collect cards from their favorite players--as long as they are one of the 42 players selected for print. ;-)

The Jewish Major Leaguers has released a limited edition highlighting the most influential players of the game from various teams.

(Israel Baseball League Press Release) The Israel Baseball League set includes 42 player images, grouped as “Top Draft Picks,” “First to Sign”, “Israeli Prospects,” “College Stars” “International Stars” “Managers”, “League Leaders (the founders) and a brief history of the league. The “Managers” card includes ex-major leaguers Art Shamsky , Ken Holtzman, and Steve Hertz. The set also features cards of top players grouped by team. [...]

“Baseball cards are part of the excitement when you root for a team or root for a league,” said Larry Baras, founder of the IBL. “These will be fun and interactive for kids and their parents and make for terrific gifts. We’ve been asked about whether we will have cards almost since the day we launched the league.”

The card set cost a whopping $15 (plus shipping and handling) and may be worth a fortune 20 years from now when they become collectibles. Readers can order the baseball cards by visiting this link, although if one prefers hats then the IBL store can hook you up.

Note: Much Sadness. Tel Aviv beat the Blue Sox. :-(

Turkey Views Israel As Its Closest Friend

(Image Credit:

Despite the recent elections putting what some see as extremists in power, Turkey's ambassador went on to reassure the Jewish public that not only would Israeli-Turkey relations will continue to remain healthy, but also informed them about Turkey's view of the Jewish state.

(Ynet News) The Turkish ambassador told the panel that "Israel is so important to Turkey... it is at the very top of Turkey's foreign policy," Erdogan said. "We see Israel as our number one county that we trust, it plays a very important role in our considerations."

During his address, Tan sought to reassure Israeli concerns about the results of the Turkish events, and alay fears that Turkey was embarking on a process of Islamification.

He described questions by Israelis on whether they could continue to visit Turkey as "ridiculous," declaring: "Whatever party comes into power doesn't make any difference on our principle stance of seeing Israel as a close and friendly ally."

Turkey seems to be popular vacation spot for many Israeli's, as it is not only fairly close, but very affordable for many citizens as well.

Turkey is also one of the few Muslim countries that Jewish citizens can safely visit, although that may have something to do with the fact that Turkey is a secular democracy.

Israel To Eucalyptus Groves: Our Bug Can Save You

Many countries will be thanking Israel as researchers discovered a natural way to combat a pesky wasp from hurting eucalyptus groves. Scientists traveled half way around the world in order to locate this wasp natural predator, in order to thwart the rising tide of damaged eucalyptus leaves.

(Ha' Several nations have already turned to Israel for information about this natural adversary. David Brand, head of the Jewish National Fund's (JNF) Department of Forestry and Development, says, "Six years ago, two species of wasps were discovered to create galls [abnormal swellings of plant tissue], thus damaging eucalyptus leaves: the Leptocybe invasa, which damages new leaves, and the Ophelimus maskelli, which damages mature leaves. Both wasps subject eucalyptus trees to continuous attack." [...]

Massive damage to eucalyptus trees compelled a team of JNF-funded scientists to launch research three years ago to identify the pest's biological adversaries. Professor Zvi Mendel of the Agriculture Ministry's Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), Dr. Alex Protasov, Dr. Zion Madar, Nitza Sapir and David Brand traveled to Australia to find the wasp's natural enemy. There, they were assisted by Dr. John La Salle and Joe Krycer, a member of JNF-Australia. "It was like finding a needle in a haystack," Brand says, "because there are dozens of pests and dozens of predators."

This pesky wasp was threating eucalyptus plants in not only Israel, but India, Greece, Italy, Thailand and South Africa as well. Once it was determined that the predator only attacked that specific wasp (or rather its eggs), Israel received the green light to release it into the wild.

They are already seeing positive results and other nations are asking for this bug as well, as a loss of eucalyptus leaves translates to loss of income for many businesses.

Israeli Cinnamon: The New Anti-Virus

(Image: Michael Ovadia mulling on his Cinnamon stick. Credit: Israel 21st Century)

A prominent scientist has discovered an ancient yet hidden secret to fighting common viruses in people as well as animals.

(Israel 21st Century) "There is a passage that explains how the High Priests - the Kohens - would prepare a holy oil used on their bodies before they made a ritual animal sacrifice," recalls Ovadia. "I had a hunch that this oil, which was prepared with cinnamon and other spices, played a role in preventing the spread of infectious agents to people."

Taking his hunch to the laboratory bench, Ovadia's initial experiments proved to be true - his savory cinnamon extract was able to quickly and effectively immunize chicken embryos from the Newcastle disease virus - one which costs the poultry industry in the US millions of dollars a year.

Further studies on Avian Flu H9, Sendai virus, the HIV virus, and Herpes Simplex 1 also achieved positive results. Not only was the extract able to neutralize the viruses, it also showed for selected viruses that it has the potential to immunize against them as well.

Before one rushes to the nearest Star Bucks or Wal Mart for "something sweet," they should be warned that this type of cinnamon is very different from the one users will find in their stores and coffee shops.

Michael Ovadia is using a special type of cinnamon that must be "purified" as large doses can prove to be fairly toxic (despite the fact that one can eat this in its natural state).

Either way, this is good news for patients suffering from incurable diseases (such as HIV) and hopefully his research will lead towards a cure of some of these deadly plights.

Microsoft Launches Hebrew Version Of Hotmail

One of the world's largest tech company has decided to launch a Hebrew version of hotmail for its Jewish audience.

(Globes Online) MSN Israel has launched the beta Hebrew version of Microsoft's new "Windows Live Hotmail" on the MSN Israel portal. The new service is being launched simultaneously in 36 languages, serving 280 million users worldwide, according to figures released by Microsoft. An estimated 20 million people worldwide have already tried out the beta version of Live Hotmail.

This is great news for Microsoft, although a little late as Google already has email services in Hebrew. Microsoft's entrance will hopefully spur more companies to make their services "Israeli friendly," as citizens of the holy land have had a lot of influence within the tech sector.

How Do You Say Aliyah In French?

(Image Credit: Eli Elgarat of Ynet News)

It looks as if 600 Jews from France will be departing their mother country in order to begin a new life as an Israeli in the holy land.

(Ynet News) Around 600 new immigrants from France are expected to land in Israel on Wednesday as the result of a joint effort of AMI (Aliyah et Meilleure Integration) and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

This year has seen a 10 percent rise in the number of new immigrants from France compared to the previous year, making 2007 a record year for French aliyah: More than 3,000 olim are expected to come to Israel, as opposed to 2,900 in 2006. This is a 35-year record.

What makes this news really exciting is the fact that many of these individuals are composed of families, with the bulk deciding to migrate towards Ashdod, Jerusalem and Netanya (a city I have yet to visit).

President Peres will officially welcome them to their new homeland, and hopefully they will be able to trade in their french croissants for an Israeli falafel.

Update: You can find more images of Aliyah over here (thanks Jacob!).

Also Israel National News has snippet regarding a couple who survived the Holocaust deciding to move to Israel.

Norway Has A Secret Crush On Israeli Investments

(Image Credit: Kwintessential)

They say that the best way to know a person is by what they spend their money on. If that saying is true, then it seems that Norway is trying to have a secret affair with Israeli innovation while shunning them in public.

Unfortunately for Norway, her affair is no longer a secret.

(Israel National News) Norway's Government Pension Fund Global, formerly known as the National Petroleum Fund, has comne under fire for its investments in Israel. The fund has doubled its investments in Israel over the past year. In 2006 the Fund bought Israeli government bonds worth $500 million Norwegian kroners ($87.4 million).

Norway previously attempted a national boycott of the Jewish state which ironically backfired and brought in more business towards Israelis companies.

Realizing this, Norway is probably attempting to get "their fair share" of the pie (or Falafel for those in the holy land), although this latest news may indicate Europe's secret love for Israel--at least in the business arena.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Israeli Tech To Charities: A New Way To Raise Funds

(Image: Children from the Yuvalim project, which received funds from Tmura. Credit: Israel 21st Century)

Although many nations have various types of charitable organizations, most (if not many) of these not-for-profit businesses raise most of their funds by asking generous people to donate.

Well it seems as if one Israeli organization has decided to expand those options by having tech companies pledge a percentage of their equity to help the needy.

(Israel 21st Century) The concept is simple, elegant and unique - high-tech start-ups make pledges to Tmura to help the causes of youth and education in Israel. Early-stage startups usually donate 0.5% of their equity, while more developed companies contribute 0.1-0.5%. If the company succeeds, Tmura sells its share allocation and donates the proceeds to approved charities.

According to Lipner, although the organization's immediate goal is to encourage Israeli philanthropy, its long-term aim is to generate a ripple effect of social improvement. So, far the results have been more like a tidal wave. In its first five years, Tmura has donated a total of nearly $2 million to 18 non-profit organizations (NPOs).

That's fairly impressive, not to mention a smart way for corporations to give back to their communities. Hopefully this kind of spirit will spread beyond the hi-tech arena's and inspire businesses in other industries to do the same.

Israeli Kids Becoming "Net Savvy"

(Image Credit: The Redwood Motel)

It looks like many children in Israel are beginning to embrace the internet for all that its worth.

(Globes Online) TNS/Teleseker: Israel has almost 4.5 million internet users over the age of 5, 62% of the country’s total population.

58% of Israeli children aged 5-12 use the internet, according to the TNS/Teleseker survey for June 2007. The information was provided by parents.

The main internet use by children 4-8 is for games, surfing children websites, and picture coloring pages. Children aged 7-8 are already using the internet for study purposes, to listen to music, and to download songs.

Israeli children have always seemed to have a "nack" for technology, something I definitely noticed when I saw eight year olds with cell phones (that was back in the day when beepers were king).

I would not be surprised to find Israeli kids harnessing iPhone look-a-likes in the near future--unless of course the jPhone has anything to do with it.

Update: Added source link.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Bio Hug For Autistic Children

(Image Credit: Israel 21st Century)

Raffi Rembrand, an Israeli inventor, has developed a new approach to help kids suffering with severe autism. Unlike straight jackets, this device seems to be able to calm the child down without overly restraining them.

(Israel 21st Century) The BioHug delivers a mildly pulsating pressure through the use of inflatable cells placed throughout the garment and includes a biofeedback mechanism which automatically regulates the level of stimulation. [...]

"The BioHug is unique among all other types of pressure-based devices for people with autism because we solve the problem of habituation," Schiffmiller told ISRAEL21c.

"Try it yourself - gently pinch your wrist - you feel it, but if you keep doing it, after a short while you don't feel it anymore. Your body gets used to it. Through the pulsation feature on the BioHug, we reduce the habituation so the sensation of pressure on the user will continue, because it's always changing."

This device is still going through the clinical rounds of testing, although it is already receiving excellent feedback from a school that helps children with autism.

More information (as well as contacting Rembrand) can be found over on this website.

Reform Jewish Denomination Encouraging Aliyah

(Image: Modi'in City, Credit:

In a surprise move, it looks as if the Reform Jewish community is actually encouraging their members to take a second glance at Israeli life.

Previously the denomination and the Israeli state have been at odds with each other (each refusing to recognize the other in some form or fashion) but it seems as if both are attempting at putting aside the past in order to focus on the future.

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency) Crowning an evolution decades in the making, the Reform movement has formed a groundbreaking partnership with a quasi-governmental Israeli agency to encourage immigration to the Jewish state.

On Monday, the movement launched a three-city U.S. tour to encourage Reform Jews to move to Modi'in, a modern Israeli city of 70,000 with a sizable Anglo-immigrant community. Its partner in the campaign is the Jewish Agency for Israel, the outfit historically charged with promoting and facilitating aliyah, or immigration, to Israel.

Although the mini-metropolis of Modi'in has only one Reform synagogue, the place has been labeled as Israel's "city of the future," which should appeal to those in the US debating on whether to make aliyah or not.

Eco Friendly Houses Anyone?

(Image Credit: Israel 21st Century)

An Israeli architect is quickly gaining fame for building homes that not only save owners money on the energy bill, but are environmentally friendly as well.

(Israel 21st Century) When Isaac Meir plans a house, he takes seemingly unconventional factors into consideration: wind direction, aridity, mean temperatures, sun exposure, angles and times of day sun might hit a certain part of the structure or what building materials might enhance cooling in summer and heat capture in winter. [...]

Meir's specialty, passive low-energy architecture (PLEA), is an internationally recognized form of development, documentation and diffusion of principles of bio-climactic design including application of natural and innovated techniques for heating, cooling and lighting.

What makes Meir's technique even more attractive is the fact that home owners do not need vast sums of money to purchase "hard technology" in order to upgrade (or construct) their homes.

Meir was even able to publish a book entitled Climate Responsive Architecture - A Design Handbook for Energy Efficient Building which seems to have been adopted as apart of one Universities curriculum in India.

Note: I wonder whether or not Meir could incorporate solar balloons with these eco-houses?

Blue Sox Kick Tel Aviv's Butt!!

It looks as if the Israel Baseball League is getting off to a great start, with the Blue Sox from Beit Shemesh destroying Tel Aviv lightening, which seemed to lack some much needed thunder during the game.

(Israel National News) The Beit Shemesh Blue Sox scored a 5-2 victory over the Tel Aviv Lightning Monday afternoon, enabling them to hold on to their first place standing. Pitcher Juan Feliciano finally let an earned run cross home plate but tossed a complete game while striking out nine.

For those of you who did not know, Israel previously launched a baseball league in the hopes of establishing stronger ties with their American friends, as well as to give future Jews a reason to move and current Israeli's a reason to stay.

Anyone desiring to see the games (and root for their favorite team) can head over to (and do not forget to check out the players blogs as well!).

Hot Air Balloons Now Legal In Israel

(Image Credit: Hot Air Balloons Over Israel)

Hot air balloons, a highlight often seen in the west, may now become a familiar site to Israeli citizens (and tourists from afar).

(Ha' A new pastime has been made legal in Israel: hot-air ballooning.

TheMarker learned Sunday that the head of the Israel Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA), Udi Zohar, has approved the first license in the country for flying hot-air balloons after a test flight last week in the Negev.

The license was awarded to Hot Air- Balloons Over Israel, the only company specializing in ballooning in Israel, owned by Moran Itzckovitc, a commercial pilot and mechanic.

The company is planning flights over the southern region of Israel, as well as the Dead Sea and last for about an hour. Breakfast before hand is included, although the price for one person to fly is NIS 1,200 (or about $280).

As of this post, the companies English site is under maintenance, although the Hebrew version is still up.

Update: Added image credit.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Jungo Gateway: An Israeli Version Of TiVO?

(Image Credit: Israel 21st Century)

An Israeli company has come out with a powerful device that may enable your computer and television to communicate on a whole new level. Called Gateway, this technology may make it easier for cyber geeks and normal people alike to record their favorite shows for later viewing without interrupting their lives.

(Israel 21st Century) The modern home is now part of the digital revolution. TVs, computers, internet, telephone, video recorders, DVD players, printers, fax machines, copiers, even your washing machine, dishwasher, cooker and microwave. They all speak the same digital language, but they don't speak to each other.

Make way for the 'gateway' - a slim-line box that not only allows all the computers in your home to talk to each other and operate cooperatively, but also provides a sophisticated software hub for extending and refining all sorts of Internet and TV services. [...]

Now use your computer to browse the gateway's Electronic Program Guide (EPG) and decide what you want to record - it will be stored in that USB storage facility. You are used to planning ahead with your video but what about the episode you missed last week, last month? No problem, Jungo's gateway software will find which of those millions of viewers did record it and then download it onto your system. You are looking at the future and it is only just around the corner.

This device seems like a cross between TiVO and KaZaa (except that this one may be legal). It will be interesting to see whether or not Jungo breaks into the American market, as they could give TiVO a good run for their money.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Neil Armstrong To Jewish Kids: Fly Me To The Moon

Neil Armstrong, the first man to ever walk upon the lunar surface not only visited the Holy Land recently, but also took time out to answer a few questions for some Israeli children.

(MSNBC) Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, answered questions from Israeli children Tuesday in his first visit to the Holy Land, showing animation and energy in discussing the feelings and justification for space travel. [...]

Asked what lasting value the flights to the moon had, Armstrong responded they showed that "the human species, all of us, is not forever chained to the planet Earth." He added, "I hope that man continues to expand his and her presence in space in the years ahead."

Armstrong had advice for youngsters who want to be an astronaut one day: "That requires getting a very good education, particularly in the fields of science and mathematics."

During the question and answer session Neil discussed his disappointment about not finding life on the moon, although he encouraged everyone, even a little girl about the wonders of spaceflight.

Neil spoke at the Space and Technology Museum which is located in Haifa, and to the dismay of reporters, declined to answer any of their questions (he must be really shy).

Future Houses To Be Powered By Solar Balloons?

(Image: Sketch of solar balloons collecting energy from the sun. Credit: Geotectura)

It looks as if an Israeli scientist has created a unique way for homes to save a few shekels (or dollars) on their next energy bill.

(Israel 21st Century) The Israeli scientist, who is shortly to complete his PhD at the Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Architecture and City Construction, at Haifa's Technion Israel Institute of Technology, has developed a new way to produce electricity using helium balloons made from fabric coated with photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. These balloons are much cheaper to build and install than existing solar panels, and also take up far less room, which is significant in an urban environment.

The balloons, which are a little like mini-Zeppelins, are connected to the ground via two cables: one to refill helium, and the other to pass the electricity to a control panel. The balloons can be connected to one another vertically, one meter apart, going up hundreds of meters into the sky.

Although Joseph Cory (the inventor) will probably find resistance towards building his balloons due to air traffic regulations, he may find his application very useful in isolated regions around the world.

If these balloons could be constructed over desert areas (which Israel has plenty of), then the kosher state may find yet another way to become energy independent from fossil fuels.

Note: More info regarding this company can be found at

Israeli Diplomats Going Green

Aside from improving relations in the US, Israeli's diplomatic arm is also improving relations with nature by having senior diplomats adopt "greener" technologies.

( Israel has announced that starting this fall, it will significantly reduce the petroleum consumption of its senior diplomats in the United States by switching to hybrid-electric vehicles. The symbolic initiative, led by Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Sallai Meridor, will include Israel's embassy in Washington, its nine consulates throughout the U.S. and its mission to the United Nations, making Israel's foreign service among the first in the U.S. to significantly reduce oil demand throughout its entire official fleet.

"Reducing oil dependence and protecting the environment are key factors in improving international security," Meridor said. "We are proud to be among the first countries to take this small but symbolic step. Our hope is that many small steps taken together will lead to major policy action around the world that will address one of the most critical strategic and environmental issues facing our common future."

This is a great initiative that (hopefully) other diplomats will follow. Hopefully the government can expand this measure to all embassies around the globe, setting a new trend for the international community worldwide.

Two Shekel Coin Coming Out This Fall

(Image: Sketch of the two shekel coin. Credit: Ha'aretz)

Israel is finally scheduled to release the long awaited two shekel coin (previously reported here last year).

The coin will appear in Israeli wallets everywhere later on this fall, and may quickly become a favorite, especially among cab drivers.

(Ha'aretz) Meet the two-shekel coin, coming soon to a wallet near yours. Today the first, small, shipment of the coin arrived at the Bank of Israel for technical inspections. [...]

Before deciding to mint the new coin, the Bank of Israel conducted surveys among the public and sectors that commonly use cash, such as taxi companies and banks. It found widespread support for the two-shekel coin.

To my surprise, Israel has no mints of its own (according to the Ha'aretz) so the coins will be flown in from the outside.

With the two shekel coin making headways, I wonder what will happen with the original shekel coin?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Globes Interviews JewTube Founder

Globes has a very interesting interview with Jeremy Kossen, founder and owner of JewTube, a Jewish version of YouTube.

(Globes Online) The mega sale of online video sharing site YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion was a source of motivation for Jeremy Kossen, a young American Jewish entrepreneur from California, who yesterday launched JewTube, the Jewish version of YouTube. Kossen, who is in Israel to attend the ROI Global Summit for Young Jewish Innovators, spoke to "Globes" about the concept behind JewTube and why it's possible to be successful without re-inventing the wheel. [...]

"I've been working on this for close to two years," he says. He got the idea to use the YouTube concept to create a forum for posting video clips with a Jewish connection with the name JewTube from "GodTube," [link:] the evangelical Christian response to YouTube. "For me it was obvious that we needed to provide a Jewish response to this. I was motivated to create something that will serve Jewish communities as well."

Be sure to check out the full interview as Kossen has some very big plans for JewTube, although he has yet to figure out how to put advertising on this beast.

The site doesn't look like it has many video's thus far, but here is one video detailing King Herod's tomb.

Find this video and thousands of others at vSocial!

Video: Israeli Ingenuity Inside Apple's iPhone?

(Hat Tip:

It looks as if Apple's iPhone may have had some of its parts developed by Ceva, a company in Israel. Unfortunately, even Ceva will not find this out until it purchases and iPhone and looks inside for itself.

(Ha'aretz) Ceva is an Israeli company that specializes in developing technology for DSP processors, for the semiconductors industry.

If analysts are right in their projections and Germany's Infineon becomes the main source of chips for iPhone, then it's highly likely Israel will be represented in the device's technology. Infineon, Europe's second-biggest chipmaker, uses a lot of Ceva's telephony products, and tension is high at the company - as is optimism.

No word on whether or not Ceva will find their goodies inside one of the hottest phones on the planet, but for those of you wondering what the iPhone can do check out this video below for a taste of the future. (hat tip: Hot Air)

Can Kenaf Paper Save Our Trees?

(Image Credit: Wikipedia)

No matter how you slice it and dice it (no pun intended), we cut up billions of trees every year just so we can communicate ideas in the physical (on paper), not to mention build houses.

With the need for trees probably expected to increase in the near future (due to human population growth), one Israeli researcher has come up with an idea to ease our dependency upon trees for paper by replacing it with a little known plant called Kenaf.

(Israel 21st Century) Israeli Professor Roni Aloni of Tel Aviv University has been working with kenaf for 30 years, and may have finally discovered the breakthrough that will spring kenaf from obscurity. He, along with Professor Adi Avni and graduate student Jonathon Dayan, has succeeded at silencing a gene in the kenaf plant, which causes the kenaf to produce 50% more fibers per crop - and those fibers are longer and of higher quality than before. "The idea was to increase quality and fiber and stem length," Aloni told ISRAEL21c.

The technology is still in the testing stage, but the hope is that kenaf will replace trees as the source of pulp for paper manufacture. Kenaf grows much faster than trees, and would therefore be a more efficient source of pulp even without genetic modifications. "The same acreage of land planted with kenaf can yield the equivalent quantity of pulp fibers from wood that takes 20 years to grow," explained Aloni.

The technology still has yet to be perfected, but the promise of what it may bring could ease our dependency upon our forests for paper. Although trees will still be chopped down due to lumber demands (as there is no cheap substitute for wood), we may see newspapers made out of Kenaf instead of trees (as we need the latter for oxygen).

Aliyah News: More Jews From North America

(Image: Immigrants arriving from the US, Credit: Niv Calderon via Ynet)

It looks as if more Jews from Canada and the United States are uprooting themselves and migrating over to the kosher state. The state of Israel has not seen these levels since the 1980's, and it seems as if more Jews are returning to their homeland.

(Ynet News) The Aliyah Department of the Jewish Agency for Israel is anticipating that immigration to Israel from North America will increase between 5 and 10 percent this year, marking the highest aliyah from North America in 25 years. In 2006, 3,200 residents of the US and Canada formally became Israeli citizens, the highest figure since 1983.

Some 300 New York area residents who will move to Israel this summer will participate Monday (July 2) in a farewell reception hosted by the Jewish Agency in Manhattan, in conjunction with the Israel Consulate, with Ambassador Dan Gillerman, Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, addressing the group. Similar farewell receptions have been held this month in Toronto, Boston, Miami, and Rockville, Maryland.

The new Israeli's range in age from toddlers to individuals in their nineties (with one being a holocaust survivor!). North America has been a hard market for the Aliyah agency (mainly because it is very comfortable here).

Hopefully more Jews will follow their brethren over the ocean and through the clouds as Israel could definitely use these newcomers advice (especially in politics!).

Bush To Iraq: Israel Is The Standard

It looks as if the President of the United States has finally declared a future goal for the Iraqi people. Although it is doubtful that the violence in the region would end (as that would be like asking for taxes to disappear) Bush seems to have settled upon what a future Iraq should look like.

And Israel is its name-o.

( President Bush held up Israel as a model for defining success in Iraq on Thursday, saying the U.S. goal there is not to eliminate attacks but to enable a democracy that can function despite violence.

With his Iraq policies under increasing fire from the American public and lawmakers from both parties, Bush went to the U.S. Naval War College here to declare progress. As the president pleaded for patience, his top national security aide went to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican critics.

Despite the fact that Israel has its own problems regarding terrorism, this has not stopped the nation from thriving in a hostile region. Israel has given much to the world, especially in the realms of health and technology, not to mention attracting internet giants like Google, Microsoft and AOL.

The tiny state of Israel leads the entire middle east region as far as innovation is concerned, and hopefully Iraq (and other aspiring democracies) would be able to attain a similar status as the Kosher state.