Kosher Highlights

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Kosher Highlights Are Up!

For those of you wondering, the Kosher Highlights roundup has been posted over at Israpundit.

Feel free to check it out, and let me know if you want a story/blog post included in the next round. Cheers!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Note: IsraGood And Kosher Highlights Belated

For those of you reading, Kosher Highlights (formally known as Kosher Thursdays) on Israpundit will be delayed until after the Christmas holiday.

You can check out the previous highlight over here.

Also posts on IsraGood will resume after Christmas.

Until then, here is a funny video (in Hebrew) that I came across while surfing YouTube. Enjoy!

Update (12/28): Corrected some grammar.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Israel And The US Partner For Clean Energy

(Image Credit:

With many nations looking for ways to reduce the gas price hike that has afflicted much of our planet, it looks as if the United States is teaming up with Israel in order to explore new ways to produce clean, green energy.

(Globes Online) The US Senate has approved cooperation with Israel in clean energy - the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act - as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. [...]

Israeli sources in Washington predict $20 million in allocations a year over the next five years for joint US-Israeli energy projects. The US Department of Energy and Israel's Ministry of National Infrastructures will formulate an agreement and settle related issues.

The Energy Independence Act includes financing grants for the production of energy from biofuel, biomass, wind, ocean waves, and geothermal sources. Projects will include joint basic research between US and Israeli academic institutions and applied research projects between companies from both countries.

This new bill (which will probably be signed into law, if not already) may help the US and Israel to finally gain their energy independence upon foreign oil.

Israel already has the lead when it comes to developing clean technology, which includes everything from turning fungus and cow manure into energy to building better solar houses to even recycling nuclear waste into energy.

With the help of US funding, America and Israel may not only be able to help themselves become energy independent by relying upon cleaner technologies, but also half of our planet as well.

Sovereignty Is Sweet! Jerusalem To Add 10,000 More Apartments

It looks as if the Israeli government is finally realizing that Israel, not the international community should dictate where Israeli's build their homes.

While some may wonder what Bush may say about this when he visits the holy land, it is certain that Israeli's will be glad to know that they can finally build on lands they owned before the modern Jewish state was birthed.

(Israel National News) The new neighborhood, in an area near the Kalandia checkpoint and the Separation Wall which includes the area of the abandoned Atarot Airport, will contain more than 10,000 apartments, making it the largest Jewish neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem. The zone is included in regions which were annexed to Israel following the Six Day War, and is part of lands which were owned by Jews before the establishment of the State of Israel. Boim is awaiting permission from the Israel Lands Authority (ILA) for the project. The ILA says it plans on approving a permit.

Hopefully construction of these apartments will begin soon, as many of these residents are probably anxious about moving into their new (long overdue) homes.

Update (12/28): Sadly, it looks as if these homes will not be built due to US pressure.

60,000 Christians To Visit Israel This Christmas

(Image Credit: Government Press Office, via Ynet News)

With tourism already booming in the holy land, it looks as if the Jewish state will have to prepare for an additional 60,000 pilgrims from the Christian faith this Christmas season.

(Ynet News) Some 60,000 Christian pilgrims are expected to arrive in Israel for the Christmas holiday, the Tourism Ministry reported Tuesday. This is an estimated 50% increase compared to last year.

Until the end of the year, about 1 million Christian tourists are expected to visit the country, half of them pilgrims. This figure represents a 30% increase compared to 2006.

The Israeli government is probably working with local businesses to ensure that their spiritual guests enjoy their stay in the Jewish state.

These pilgrims entrance will definitely help out the Israeli economy (especially the hotels industry) as well as expose new minds to the other side of Israel--especially the beaches.

United Nations Interested In Israel's Agricultural Expertise

(Image Credit:

While the United Nations is not known for siding with Israel on every issue, one area they seem to be seeking Israel's advice on has to deal with agriculture.

With the United Nations determined to slash 50% of the world's poverty and global hunger by 2015, the organization known for passing resolutions against the Jewish state is now refusing to pass up the chance to learn from their Jewish member.

(Israel 21st Century) The Israeli-sponsored resolution, "Agricultural technology for development," calls on developed nations to share their expertise and experience with the Third World. [...]

"Development has always been an issue of tremendous importance to Israel," Israeli counselor Ilan Fluss told the General Assembly. "Ever since it's earliest days of statehood and while still a developing nation, it has helped countless nations build capacities in a variety of fields around the world, including in our region, and to cooperate with our neighbors."

MASHAV initiatives include blindness prevention programs in Kenya and Nepal, the establishment of demonstration farms in Senegal and Kazakhstan, and micro-credit training seminars for women in rural India.

If this measure gains more favor, it could (finally) enlighten the world to Israel's compassionate side, an item that has often been over looked by more sensational news.

It could also open up other gateways, not just for Israeli's in the holy land, but for the world to rediscover what Israel is really all about.

Update: Centered photo.

Another Free Trade Agreement? (Israel And South America)

After seeking out Free Trade Agreements with India and Ukraine, Israel is setting its sights half a world away towards South America.

(Ha'aretz) Mercosur, the South American trade bloc, signed a free-trade agreement with Israel on Tuesday, its first pact with a country outside of Latin America. [...]

"This agreement is an enormous satisfaction that will help develop our links to the Mercosur countries," a statement from the Israeli Embassy in Argentina said. Trade between Israel and Mercosur countries neared $1.6 billion in 2006. Mercosur is comprised of full members Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, with Venezuela awaiting approval to join the trade group.

Israel already has free trade agreements with the United States, so this latest edition will hopefully position the Jewish state as "the middle man" between Mercosur and the US (who have yet to sign anything with each other).

This will also open up Israeli businesses to a "whole new market," which probably will benefit both regions over time.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Olympics: Can Micky Cobrin Win The Gold For Israel?

With the Olympics coming up shortly in less than a year, one man has decided to use his long distance running skills in order to help bring some glory to the Israeli holy land.

(Ha'aretz) An American athlete who plans to represent Israel in the Track and Field World Championships next year - and who has already set his sights on the Olympics - will be winning those medals in Israel's honor.

Micky Cobrin, a 23-year-old Jewish runner from Chicago who immigrated this week, has already topped Israeli records for the 1500-meter run. A senior at the University of Arkansas - which has one of the top running programs in the U.S. - he will be relocating here after graduation this summer and will be a member of the Maccabi Tel Aviv track and field team.

Cobrin runs a mile in 4.02 minutes, compared to the current Israeli record of 4.03 minutes, but all of Cobrin's previous times were recorded before he received citizenship.

In order for Micky Cobrin to qualify for the World Championships, he has to be able to break a four minute mile, a feat most people on planet Earth can only dream of.

Cobrin seems to have not only the passion, but the ability to give some of those Olympic runners some serious competition next year.

Only time will tell whether or not he brings back a gold medal for Israel, but either way, the Jewish state has a serious contender in one of the most watched sporting events on our planet.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Video: What Do Chocolate Coins And Hanukkah Have In Common?

(Hat Tip: Life in Israel)

Answer: Nothing really, but it looks as if they have inspired another interesting video by

Eric Schwartz, the artist behind this song (as well as the previous one) seems to be doing fairly well with making humorous songs, and has already developed a following on YouTube with over 2,000 subscribers.

Those interested in purchasing any of these songs can visit for details (as it would help him pay the bills and crank out more videos).

Israeli Doctors Helping Kenyan Kids

After previously helping out Iraqi children, it looks as if the Israeli Save A Child's Heart (or SACH) is once again helping out kids in need--this time in Kenya.

(Israel National News) The Israeli Save a Child's Heart (SACH) organization welcomed its first group of Kenyan children with heart conditions to be operated upon in Israel Wednesday. [...]

The three young Kenyan boys, Samuel (7 years old), Hastings (1 year old), and Winfred (1 year old), were accompanied by two of their mothers.

The kids arrived in Israel Wednesday, although there is no word on whether or not the Kenyan children have had surgery yet (at least on the SACH website).

The kids (according to Israel National News) will receive their operation at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, and future updates regarding their condition will be posted here.

Update (12/14): Inserted link in first paragraph.

An Israeli Version Of "Survivor?"

Israelis may soon get a taste of their own version of Survivor very soon. Channel 10 (in Israel) is launching their own version of the popular show in the holy land, which debuts this upcoming Saturday.

(Ha'aretz) Channel 10 has invested more than $5 million in the first 40 episodes of "Survival," Israel-style. The television show's launch is scheduled for this Saturday, after five weeks during which Channel 10 bombarded viewers with promotions that were just part of its public-relations blitz. [...]

Like the original American version of Survivor, the Israelis were "abandoned" on an isolated island. "Surviving isn't just a sport and eating cockroaches," said producer Guy Hameiri. "It involves many of our hidden human fantasies. It is the slim seam between heaven and hell."

Note: This should be fairly interesting, although I wonder if they will push the limits further than the American show? If anyone is in Israel (and has time to watch it), let me know how this goes by posting below.

iMedix: Medical Social Networking, Israeli Style

(Hat Tip: Ha'aretz)

An Israeli startup company called imedix has recently launched a site that allows users to share, rate and compare information with each other through a user friendly social network.

(TechCrunch) iMedix is a social search engine focussed on healthcare that has raised $2 million from angel investors. When you type in a search term, an auto-completed list of health and medical terms pops down to help guide your search. Type in "toe," and it suggests "wound of toenail," "tingling toe" "broken toe," "blue toes," "absence of toe," and "hammer toe," among others. [...]

So as you search, you not only find links to health articles and other information on the Web, you also find other people you can talk to about that health topic. The idea, says co-founder Iri Amirav, is not only "to change the way patients make health-related decisions, but we also want those patients to connect together with other patients. So that with one click, they can connect with others who suffer the same disease."

According to TechCrunch, the founders may plan on working in blogging within the site, although it will probably be put aside until they can hammer out a way to do it securely (after all, they are dealing with medical information here).

Note: This site might prove to be very profitable, as many other companies (including Google) are attempting to "digitalize" the medical field.

Video: Crank That Kosha Boy?

Here was a video that was featured on YouTube's homepage recently, which was created by The name of the song is called Crank That Kosha Boy (which could not have come out at a better time during the Hanukkah season).

For those of you who don't know, this song is a parody of Soulja Boy (video over here).

Note: Ironically Jews were not the only ones who enjoyed this. In the comment section, a few Muslims thought this was funny too.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Indonesia: Muslim Clerics Bring Peaceful Tidings To Israel

(Image Credit: Lonely Planet)

While there are a few other Muslim nations willing to display a friendly face towards Israel, most of the middle east has yet to warm up to the Jewish state.

Nonetheless it looks as if religious leaders from Indonesia have taken a rare step towards that path, by not only visiting the Israeli state but also wishing to present a more peaceful image of their faith towards Israel.

(Ha'aretz) President Shimon Peres on Friday hosted a rare delegation of Muslim religious leaders from Indonesia, a country that doesn't have diplomatic ties with Israel.

The clerics, who represent 70 million Muslim faithful, told Peres they came to "present the moderate face of Islam that seeks cooperation and peace with other countries and religions, and repudiates Islamic extremists," Peres' office said in a statement.

While only time will tell whether or not any fruit results from this visit, hopefully this approach will lead towards diplomatic ties between the two nations, as both countries could probably benefit economically from each other, if not politically.

Israel's Kenshoo May Be A Godsend For Small Advertisers

While advertising online may be cheaper than the paper alternative, inexperienced businesses can still waste a lot of time (and money) determining how effective their campaign is at bringing new customers.

Although large companies often have the budget to hire out SEO experts (or web savvy marketing teams), most small businesses may not have the funds to afford the marketing know how to get ahead in this "cut throat" business age.

Fortunately a company called Kenshoo may help the little guys gain an edge online, regardless of which major ad network they use.

(TechCrunch) Kenshoo [is] an Israeli startup that automates the whole process of creating and managing search-engine marketing campaigns. It is a labor-intensive activity that has given rise to an entire cottage industry. Kenshoo competes with bid-management software from all the giants in online advertising (DoubleClick, aQuantive's Atlas Solutions, and Omniture), but it goes a step beyond that to look at the quality of the campagns. It finds relevant keywords across search engines, and changes the campaigns to maximize their returns.

Kenshoo seems to be doing rather well and according to TechCrunch may have secured a few million dollars in its first venture round of funding. While there is not much one can gather about the company from its site, they seem to have a few satisfied customers in TechCrunch's comment section.

Hybrid Cars: The New Israeli Fashion?

(Image: Volvo ReCharge plug-in hybrid, Credit: Reuters via Ha'aretz)

It looks like when it comes to choosing which vehicle to drive, Israeli's are thinking "green." Despite being a tiny share of the Israeli car market, hybrid cars seem to be gaining ground in Israel, which is a testament to their outlook on the environment.

(Ha'aretz) Sales figures of hybrid vehicles in the first 11 months of 2007 show a big rise in their popularity: 1,719 hybrids were sold. This is almost 1 percent of the total number of new cars sold this year, a 280 percent increase from 2006. [...]

Dror Goralnik, Toyota's sales manager in Israel, says the growth in hybrid sales points to an increasing awareness of environmental issues. "For many people it is important to drive an environmentally friendly car," he says.

Honda also credits its success to its advertising campaign, as the hybrid car has become a fashion statement, showing drivers to be concerned about the pollution they emit.

This probably should not come to a surprise, with Israel's own government considering electric cars as a way to become energy independent.

Note: Now if Israel could only figure out a way to combine an eco-friendly car with the ability to fly, then they just might dominate the auto industry on planet Earth.

East Jerusalem: Queen Helene's Mansion Unearthed

(Image Credit: Ron Peled, via Ynet News)

It looks as if Queen Helene's mansion has been discovered in a parking lot located in eastern Jerusalem.

While her mention may draw scratching heads from some, Queen Helene played a minor role in Jerusalem's history, not only as a woman who helped feed the poor, but also regarding Jerusalem's temple.

(Ynet News) Josephus and Jewish texts, Helene was from a royal clan that ruled Adiabene, a region now in northern Iraq. Along with her family, she converted to Judaism and came to Jerusalem in the first half of the first century A.D.

Helene merited grateful mention in the Mishna, the written version of Judaism's oral tradition, where she is praised for her generosity to Jerusalem's poor and for making contributions to the Second Temple, the center of the Jewish faith, which was just a few hundred meters (yards) uphill from her house. She was buried in an elaborate tomb not far away.

The discovery of Helene's mansion helps cement the idea that Jerusalem was (and still is) a Jewish city about 2,000 years ago, around the time that Jesus Christ appeared on the scene.

Hopefully Bush will take note of this, as he is planning on visiting Israel for a few days next month.

President Bush To Visit Israel?

It looks like Israel will receive a rare appearance from the US. Apparently it seems as if President Bush is considering visiting Israel next month, which should make for some "interesting interactions."

(Ha'aretz) A senior Jerusalem source said that Bush would come to Israel for two days on January 10, Israel Radio reported.

During his visit, Bush is expected to focus on promoting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in the framework of agreements reached at last week's Mideast peace conference, held in Annapolis, Maryland[.]

This visit will be Bush's first visit to Israel since he took office seven years ago. Bush visited Israel in 1998 when he was governor of Texas. In contrast, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Israel three times in the six week period leading up to the Annapolis peace summit.

While it is curious as to why the President thinks that a visit the Jewish state will change a few minds, lets pray that his trip will open his eyes, at least when it comes to Jerusalem.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Update: I'm Still Alive...Plus New Comment Software!

Hey everyone! It's been awhile since I've blogged here. I've mainly been distracted by the holiday season, plus blogging on other sites (my other sites felt neglected by IsraGood).

But don't worry, I shall return Monday night (as I'll be mostly offline during this weekend).

Anyways, I just wanted to let everyone know that I am updating the comment section on IsraGood, to give non-blogger users a bit more freedom in posting their thoughts. See update below.

I'm also going to be post a roundup of good news about Israel on Israpundit, once a week, although I'll be calling it Kosher Highlights instead of Kosher Thursdays, mainly because Thursdays are not working out for me.

Until then I wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah (or is it spelled Chanukkah?), a Merry Christmas or a Solemn Festivus (for those who do not celebrate the other two--yeah, I'm a Seinfeld freak).

Update (12/21): Google has reopened up the comment section to non-blogger users. Converting the comments back to the previous version.