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Monday, January 28, 2008

Finally! Jewish Google Founder To Visit Israel

It looks as if Google's Jewish founder Sergey Bin will finally be seeing the holy land for himself (if he has not already).

(Ynet News) Google co-founder Sergey Brin has accepted President Shimon Peres' invitation to attend a conference he is organizing and is due to arrive in Israel this coming May, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Sunday.

Hundreds of statesmen, businessmen, artists and physicians from all over the world are expected to take part in the conference, which will focus on "how Israel and the Jewish mind can contribute in the medical, scientific and ecological fields".

Sergey Bin is a multi-billionaire who is famous for founding the company Google (which is dominating the holy land as the number one site). He is planning on taking his family on a site seeing tour of Israel, although I would not be surprised if he decided to stop by and say hello shalom to the Tel Aviv office.

Google is already one of the most successful Internet companies of all time, and to the dismay of its rivals is already the number one site in the holy land.

While Sergey Bin will probably not consider making Aliyah to the holy land, perhaps he could show some commitment to the Jewish state by purchasing a house...or two...dozen...while he visits. ;-)

Nirosoft: Turning Bad Water Into Fresh Water (Video)

"Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink."

~The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
(by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Note: Video at the bottom. Image Credit Israel 21st Century.

Despite the fact that water covers 70% of our planet, this vital liquid is a scarce resource due to our inability to "digest" salt water.

While we have developed ways of purifying salt water through a process called desalination, this often can be an expensive (or tedious) endeavor, especially for third world countries or medium sized corporations.

That is unless you purchase a desalination unit from Israel's Nirosoft, which has found an inexpensive and simple way of purifying water from salty or polluted oceans and streams.

(Israel 21st Century) "Desalination is cheaper than melting ice," said Mino Negrin, managing director and founder of Nirosoft, which simulated the environment at the Davis Station in its R&D labs.

The company's self-contained desalination unit provides up to 100,000 liters a day of purified, desalinated water. Its Lego-like portability makes it easy to ship by air. "We can produce drinking water from almost any source - sea water, rivers and lakes, brackish groundwater, estuaries and lagoons," said Negrin, who hopes to visit the Antarctic Station sometime this year. [...]

Lack of an energy source is not a constraint. The Israeli company has shipped containerized, self-powered units easily transported by small trucks, to supply drinking water to villages in disaster areas in Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia. Water produced meets the most stringent World Health Organization quality standards.

While Nirosoft has helped out medium sized nations as well as island countries, they may find a large demand coming from China who has yet to figure out a way to quench the thirst of its billion plus population.

Hopefully Nirosoft will be able to meet global demand, as their technology could potentially help make water droughts a distant memory of the past.

NASA To Honor Ilan Ramon's Memory (Israeli Astronaut)

It looks as if NASA officials will be visiting the holy land in order to honor Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut who tragically perished on board the Columbia Shuttle.

(Ha'aretz) A delegation from NASA will arrive in Israel on Sunday for a six-day visit to participate in memorial ceremonies taking place for Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, who died in the the Columbia space shuttle crash five years ago.

The delegation, comprised of astronauts Sonita Williams and Michael Lopez and NASA scientists, is expected to take part in the third international space conference in Herzliya, visit schools and universities, and meet President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

NASA visited Israel last year in order to honor Ramon's memory, which hopefully helps his family (as well as the Jewish nation) recover from the tragedy that ocurred five years ago.

Hopefully Israel will consider sending another astronaut to space, as it would help to not only honor Ilan's memory, but also elevate the country once again as a space faring nation.

Israel: Hydrogen Powered Cars Becoming A Reality?

(Image Credit:

With hybrid cars already the rage in Israel, one would wonder why any company would pursue yet another "green machine," especially since the government is already pushing for electric.

But with hydrogen being one of the most abundant elements in the universe, any scientist would be out of their mind to completely ignore it as a fuel source--especially for cars.

(Globes Online) An Israeli-Russian-German venture, C.En, headed by Prof. Dan Eliezer, has recently completed a design and test program that aims at producing a safe and lightweight hydrogen tank for use in cars.

One of the biggest technological and economic challenges delaying the development of cars operated by hydrogen is the problem of safe and lightweight storage of hydrogen in the vehicle. C.En conducted more than 120 experiments over three years, which demonstrate that it is viable to store twice the amount of hydrogen than current solutions, providing a 600-km range with a 60-liter tank that weighs 50 kg, including the hydrogen.

While electric cars and hybrid cars may bring down the cost of energy, both will ultimately be dependent upon foreign oil (the former via power plants). Hydrogen on the other hand may be the key towards helping Israel (and perhaps the world) to become energy independent.

Kosher Highlights Is Up!

Since I have not had enough time to post here this past week, I published the latest highlights about Israel over at Israpundit.

Normal posting should resume on IsraGood later on this week (thanks mainly to Google Calendar) so hopefully I will be able to highlight even more great stories about the holy land.

Also, if any readers would like to see their story/article mentioned in the next edition of Kosher Highlights over at Israpundit (whether yours or one that you stumbled across online), simply email me at IsraGood [at] Gmail [dot] com and I will link to it in the next round.

Now stop reading this post and check out the latest highlights about the holy land. You won't regret it. ;-)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Kosher Highlights: Jewish Cowboys, Glowing Bacteria, And Israeli Doctors Recommending Hugs?

(Note: For some strange reason Israpundit seems to be down on my end. I'm publishing Kosher highlights here, and republish it on Israpundit when I can regain access to it.)

Update: Israpundit is back up for me! You can visit the post over here.

Perhaps I should consider publishing in a different browser (I may consider using Opera as Firefox eats up too much memory, and IE seems slow on Wordpress).

With all that is going on in politics (in the US as well as Israel), sports (note: Go Patriots!!) and work, here are some of the stories that you might have missed while ranting at the TV for whatever reason.

It looks as if Israel is offering Jewish doctors from the US, Canada and U.K. a $60,000 package deal if they choose to make Aliyah. I am not sure whether or not the doctors will consider moving (as many already make a fortune where they live) although their support would be very much appreciated in the holy land.

Speaking of doctors, it looks like Israeli doctors were able to save a mans life in JFK Airport, as well as help out a Kenyan kid needing surgery. Since we are on the theme of "helping thy neighbor," it looks as if an Israeli news agency is attempting to save a 12 year old girls life by paying for her medicine.

Meanwhile it looks as if the Fellowship of Israel and Black America (FIBA) has already kicked off, while the LA Times has an article about the true friends of Israel.

Speaking of friends, did you know that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a passionate supporter of Israel, and that his holiday is celebrated in Israel, as well as America?

Those were some of the major headlines that stood out, and here are the rest broken down by categories.

Health & Science

It looks as if glowing bacteria could help determine if your water is safe to drink, while Israeli doctors have found a simple way to help premature babies strengthen their bones.

Meanwhile Israeli science is shedding new light on memory loss, as well as cancer research, while Israeli doctors are recommending hugs as great medicine. If you think that is good news, you may be thrilled to hear that afternoon naps may not only help you work harder, but stay healthy as well.
Rounding out this section is news that Israeli doctors are looking at desert plants for future cures.

Business & Technology

It looks as if Yahoo! is (finally) taking a second look at Israel, forming alliances to counter Google as well as considering buying out an Israeli company called FoxyTunes.

Meanwhile Google's Blogger (aka Blog*Spot) is embracing Hebrew and TechCrunch highlighted 15 Israeli companies visiting the Golden State (California), which cause a bit of a stir for those wondering why Israel is highlighted so much in the tech industry.

Moving on, it looks as if the Jewish dating site JDate is up for sale (for a lot of cash) while Peres was interviewed by Wikipedia News.

For sports lovers out there, it looks as if a new Israeli startup may shake up sports television while Israel has setup a presence within Second Life.

Governent & Environment

China is strengthing ties with Israel, while the Jewish state may play a critical role regarding an oil pipeline stretching from the middle east, to the far east.

Meanwhile Israel's Tel Aviv promoting electric cars by building "charge spots," while hybrid love (for cars) is spreading throughout the kosher state. This may be due in part to a new "green tax incentive" Israel is considerding, although it probably has to do more with modern Israeli thinking.

Ending this section is news of a solar powerplant hybrid that may make green energy more feasible for today.

Randomness & Humor

A Rabbi appeared on Jay Leno's show with a funny joke to share, while a Jewish violinist has found herself in hot demand within the hip hop/rap music industry in the US.

Speaking of America, it looks as if six Israeli cowboys are riding across the country to help raise Israeli awareness, while the manager for the NY Mets visited Israel recently, as well as Jewish actor Jamie-Lynn Sigler (who starred in the HBO serious The Sopranos).

Thanks for reading another edition of Kosher Highlights, brought to you by Darnell Clayton of Stay tuned for the next edition of Kosher Highlights, and any readers would like to see their article or blog post mentioned in the next round, they can email me at IsraGood [at] Gmail [dot] com. Shalom!

Saturday, January 19, 2008 Embraces Hebrew (Plus Others)

(Image Credit: Google/Blogger)

It looks as if the Google boys and girls at Blogger have finally embraced Hebrew--or more correctly making the site friendly towards Hebrew, whether it be template layout or coding.

But instead of just making it an Israeli thing, they have also included the languages of some of Israel's neighbors as well.

(Blogger Buzz) We are excited to announce that Blogger is now available in three more languages: Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian! [...]

Besides localizing the Blogger interface into these three languages, we have right-to-left templates and have added new toolbar buttons for bi-directional text editing in the post editor.

The effort was worth it, however, and we’re tremendously happy to be a part of the growing Arabic-, Hebrew-, and Persian-language blogging communities.

This should help make it easier for Israeli bloggers (not to mention Arabian and our Persian friends) to post their thoughts online, as well as show off their template designs via Blogger (aka blog*spot).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Yahoo! To Purchase Israel's FoxyTunes

After previously forming alliances with Walla!, it looks as if Yahoo! is deciding whether or not to buy out FoxyTunes, a company based in Israel.

(TechCrunch) Rumors popped up here in Silicon Valley that Yahoo is in negotiations to buy Israel-based FoxyTunes.

The Foxytunes core service is a Firefox plugin that allows users to control their favorite media players from the browser. It has a small but loyal following, who also use their tangential services (an email/blog signature tool and FoxyTunes Planet, a site that aggregates music information).

Since Yahoo! already is investing its resources into music, FoxyTunes makes a perfect purchase for the media/tech giant. While Google still holds the reigns as the champ in Israel, hopefully Yahoo!'s entrance can shake things up a bit in an already competitive market place.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Israel: Test Thy Water Using Glowing Bacteria?

(Image Credit: CheckLight)

Water, water everywhere, but is it safe to drink?

That is the question citizens often ask their respective governments, especially if their is a water contamination crisis. Unfortunately it seems that in order to verify if the H2O is "good to go," one must spend some serious money, not to mention the lag time waiting for the lab results to come in.

Fortunately it seems one Israeli company called CheckLight is setting out to change all of this by using some of the tiniest creatures to warn us whether or not the water from our facets is safe to drink.

(Israel 21st Century) Luminescent bacteria glow at night on the beaches in Costa Rica and the Mediterranean Sea. Now an Israeli start-up has developed a novel and economical solution that uses these unusual micro organisms to help keep drinking water clean and safe. [...]

When the bacteria are placed in drinking water that contains harmful chemicals, they glow a warning signal, which can be read by a machine measuring light intensity. [...]

"We can go out to the water source and test on the spot. You will know in 15 minutes - the time it takes for the bacteria and sensors to respond to any number of contaminants in the water. Our system detects them at low concentrations, and very quickly," she explains.

These tests could help governments save millions of dollars as CheckLight's system is both inexpensive and fast. According to the article, the United States is already considering using this to test their water supplies, and it would not be surprising to see other nations contacting CheckLight in the future as well.

Video: Tel Aviv To Become Electric Car Heaven

It looks as if Israel's largest city after Jerusalem is going to be embracing a cleaner future by helping to promote the use of electric cars.

(Globes Online) The Tel Aviv Municipality is joining Shai Agassi's electric car venture, Project Better Place. Deputy Mayor Pe'er Wisner said today that municipality had undertaken to launch a pilot scheme with charging points for electric cars, whose production has not yet begun, to be set up across the city. Five charging points will be built initially, and once the project is completed there will be 150 points in city car parks, outside public buildings, and on city streets. Under the plan, battery replacement points will be located at the city's entrances. [...]

Wisner called city residents to close their eyes and imagine how quiet the bustling Ibn Gvirol Street would become once electric cars were on the city's streets.

(Video: Project Better Place making its point via kids)

Israel is already encouraging its citizens to use environmentally friendly vehicles, although according to some trends the Israeli population is already moving towards "greener" cars.

While electric cars may be more expensive than their gas guzzling brothers, this is a smart move for the Tel Aviv government, as it will allow the city to not only help reduce pollution, but also wean itself from dependency upon foreign oil.

Israel's Trip Touch To Make Traveling Easier?

For those of you who frequently travel the world, you may want to consider adding another site to your list.

TripTouch, a company based in Israel seeks to make it easier to travel to a foreign city (or discovering more of your own) by helping users plan out their trips, as well as discover friends along the way.

(TripTouch) TripTouch is a website for independent travelers who want the best from their trip. Everything at TripTouch is centered around your location and your personalized travel needs. TripTouch has local information, services and community all in one easy to use website.

TripTouch currently cover more than 3,000 destinations world-wide.

The site comes off as a cross between a "local version" of Lonely Planet, and the Hospitality Club. You can use the site to find inexpensive hotels, as well as where to locate a tasty snack.

TripTouch also allows users to find new friends throughout the site from different countries, which can be helpful if you want some local advice about the area you are visiting.

Note: Names marked out to protect privacy.

The only drawback about TripTouch is the basic layout (color wise), which can leave one slightly depressed. Aside from that, the site has some real potential, especially if it can leverage the local knowledge of its users, as well as attract new ones (perhaps through a Facebook App).

While the site is still in beta, users can sign up for the service for free and explore the site for themselves.

Can Yahoo! And Walla! Challenge Google In Israel?

It looks like one of Google's biggest competitors will be entering Israeli cyberspace to challenge the search engine king on the holy land home front.

But instead of challenging Google on its own strength, Yahoo! has decided to partner with Walla! in a bid to take on the digital Goliath.

(Globes Online) Walla! CEO Ilan Yeshua told "Globes", "We signed a long-term agreement with Yahoo! that enables us to use its innovative search technology. The agreement follows the launch of our search engine at the beginning of the year. The business has caught on, and succeeded, with a great many advertisers already signing up." [...]

When asked if he believed that Walla! could create genuine competition for Google, he replied, "We don’t expect to win half of the search market in Israel, but we expect to become a significant player in Israel, and we'll grab a substantial portion of the market."

While it is good to see Yahoo! wisely partnering up with Walla!, what they need to do is seek (and buy out) a few Israeli startups that can challenge the Google giant on search engine kings weaker fronts (like Froogle).

If not, Google will simply buy out companies with potential (like they did last time), leaving their competitors to settle for either the silver or the bronze.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Is Google Losing Its Footing In Israel?

It looks as if the search engine giant may be losing some of its former mojo--at least in Israeli cyberspace.

(Globes Online) Google's status as the most viewed website in Israel weakened slightly in December, according to a TIM/Teleseker which measures weekly exposure rates among Israeli websites. Google had a weekly exposure rate of 87.8% in December, compared with 90.6% in October.

According to Globes, Google's rivals (Walla! and to a degree Ynet News) have actually increased since last October (of 2007).

While Israeli companies still have to go a long ways before Google is dethroned as the top Internet site (at least in the holy land), it is encouraging to see Israeli companies may actually give the search engine Goliath a run for its money.

Israeli Science: Noon Naptimes Good For The Brain?

(Image Credit: Chief Happiness Officer)

It looks like those afternoon naps in kindergarten had some benefit after all. Israeli scientists have discovered (or perhaps rediscovered) that those "noonish" naps we all took as kids may actually help improve our productivity during work.

(Israel 21st Century) In a recent study, Prof. Avi Karni and Dr. Maria Korman of the Center for Brain and Behavior Research at the University of Haifa found that an afternoon nap changes the course of consolidation in the brain. "We still don't know the exact mechanism of the memory process that occurs during sleep, but the results of this research suggest the possibility that it is possible to speed up memory consolidation, and in the future, we may be able to do it artificially," said Karni. [...]

The researchers, who worked in cooperation with the Sleep Laboratory at the Sheba Medical Center and researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Montreal, found that the group that slept in the afternoon showed a distinct improvement in their task performance by that evening, as opposed to the group that stayed awake, which didn't exhibit any improvement.

Following an entire night's sleep, both groups exhibited the same skill level. "This part of the research showed that a daytime nap speeds up performance improvement in the brain. After a night's sleep the two groups were at the same level, but the group that slept in the afternoon improved much faster than the group that stayed awake," stressed Prof. Karni.

Despite the evidence, I have some strong doubts as to whether managers and bosses would approve of their workers taking naps during the day. Either way, this should help convince some co-workers to perhaps take a quick nap during their lunch break may help improve their performance on the job.

TechCrunch Debate: What's The Fuss About Israel?

With the Israel Web Tour gearing up for a California visit, Michael Arrington of the mighty TechCrunch (regarded by many as the unofficial web 2.0/startup blog) highlighted 15 Israeli startups that will be visiting the sunshine state.

Unfortunately while this has caused some political debate in the comment section, others are beginning to wonder how such a tiny country the size of New Jersey is producing so many startups for the 21st Century.

Hopefully these Israeli startups will get some decent exposure in America, as they have a lot to offer to the US (at least in cyberspace).

Random: Picking Up Hebrew

With all the busyness that life throws at you, I've decided to finally bite the bullet and seriously consider learning Hebrew.

I'm signing up with Hebrew Online, although my class officially begins in March of this year (sigh).

This is exciting as it will help me to understand Israel more in depth, as well as help me navigate the country later on this year when I visit (no official date posted, although it probably will be in the fall).

I'll provide updates on how my classes go here, as this is my first second attempt at learning Hebrew, although this time I'll actually have someone who speaks it fluently to help me along.

Note: If any of you are fluent in Hebrew (whether it is your mother tongue or not) let me know as I'll probably need all the practice I can get. :-)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Kosher Highlights: Healing Mushrooms, Aliyah 2.0 And Why Israeli Boycotts Are Unhealthy?

Note: Since it looks as if is down (for the moment, at least for me), Kosher Highlights will be published here and republished on Israpundit when the server comes back up.

Update: Kosher Highlights has been republished over on Israpundit.

It has been another interesting week (plus several days) for Israel, and despite all that is happening in the political arena (which is mostly saber rattling if you ask me), the sun keeps on shining brightly on the Jewish state.

First off it looks as if Israel 21st Century (which provides highlights about Israel's tech, science and medicine) is sporting a whole new look.

Speaking of highlights, it looks as if a majority of Palestinians living in Israel prefer to stay in Israel while Judaism may officially receive its own television channel.

Also it seems that large Israeli families are on the rise while more Israeli's have made aliyah last December.

Speaking of aliyah, it looks as if aliyah version 2.0 may in a "beta test" right now.

In other news, a Kenyan runner who enraged his former country (Bahrain) for running in Israel will be running again inside the Jewish state. Perhaps his former country should learn why boycotting Israel can be a bad idea.

Those are some of the brief highlights, now here are some of the other interesting articles broken down by catetories.

Health & Environment

Prostate cancer beware! It looks as if Israeli scientists have rediscovered the healing power of mushrooms while organic kiddie clothes could become the latest fashion for toddlers.

Moving on, it looks like Israel is graciously sending over 60,000 vaccines to Palestine to combat bird flu, as well as actively passing "green laws" to discourage to use of plastic bags (which can be environmentally unfriendly).

Meanwhile it looks as if the solar power plant will finally be built in Negav, while Israeli and Singapore companies are teaming up to fight Hepatitis.

Business & Economy

Techcrunch is reporting that Hooja (a search tech company from Israel) has raised over $1 million, while also informing us that IBM has purchased Israel's XIV for $350 million.

In other good news, Israel's auto industry seems to be doing very well while Nokia Israel's sales reached a billion dollars in 2007.

Speaking of a billion, did you know that trade between Israel and Nigeria also reached a billion dollars? Did you also know that Israeli diamond exports were twelve times that amount last year?

Government & Influence

There seems to be more information out regarding Bush's visit towards Israel while India is seeking to strengthen military ties between itself and the Jewish state.

Israel is also upgrading its ties with America, as well as pondering whether or not to hook up IDF with GPS devices.

Meanwhile two Rabbis seem to be really popular in Ukraine, ranking higher than many foreign ambassadors.

Internet & Technology

It looks as if 90% of Israeli youth are hooking up to the Internet while some new Israeli technology may make laptop power cables go extinct.

Speaking of laptops, Dell notebooks will soon be powered by Israeli tech and the Red Herring lists six Israeli businesses among its top 100 tech companies for 2007.

Last but not least (in this section) Australian Jews seem really excited about backing this agritech fund.

Thanks for reading this latest edition of Kosher Highlights, brought to you by Darnell Clayton of If you would like to submit any stories to the next round, simply email me at IsraGood [at] Gmail [dot] com. Thanks for reading and Shalom!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Video: Why Boycotting Israel Is A Bad Idea (Humor)

Ever wonder what life would be like if the Jews never existed? Here is a humorous video from Jewlarious highlighting the setbacks to civilization if Israeli's were removed from the picture.

Note: For those of you interested in discovering how Israeli's have impacted our planet, you may want to consider purchasing Israel in the World: Changing Lives Through Innovation.

This book may not only change your perspective regarding the Jewish state, but perhaps convince you to finally visit the nation for yourself. :-)

Update: Google seems to be having trouble with uploading videos on Blogger. Fortunately I was able to locate a copy on YouTube.

Aliyah Version 2.0?

Regardless of where you live, moving can be expensive--especially if one decides to move half way around the world to a "foreign country" where the language differs from your birth tongue.

While this scenario barely describes what a Jewish individual has to consider when making Aliyah, it looks as if the Jewish Agency is considering a new way for Jews to make Aliyah, that is less risky and hopefully more appealing.

(Israel National News) In six months time, the Jewish Agency will introduce a flexible new "trial immigration" program to Jews from abroad, making them eligible for financial benefits not available to tourists, and enabling the quasi-olim (immigrants) to search for jobs and explore living options before committing to citizenship.

Jewish Agency officials say they hope to set up living quarters in Tel Aviv and Haifa for trial immigrants, and will assist with travel and living expenses.

This is probably a smart way of convincing Jews living abroad (especially the US) that living in Israel is much easier than they think.

Note: If any Jews living abroad are considering making Aliyah, I would highly recommend contacting Yael as she would have some excellent advice to share.

Israeli Beaches: Keeping It Trash Free

(Image: Zikim Beach, Credit: Itzhak Kudovitsky)

One can not truly visit the holy land without experiencing the Mediterranean waters along the coast. Unfortunately where ever there are tourists, one can usually find liter (and trash) along the way.

Fortunately it seems that Israel's push to clean up the coastlines has paid off, with a majority of beaches being declared "clean" or "very clean."

(Israel Ministry of the Environment) The final Clean Coast Index for 2007 revealed clean or very clean coasts in more than 80% of Israel's undeclared beaches. Only 2% of the beaches scored dirty. [...]

The latest index showed that more than 50% of the country's beaches are very clean, 30% are clean and only 2% (beaches in the Palmachim National Park) are dirty. Mr. Ronen Alkalay, coordinator of the Clean Coast Project in the Ministry of Environmental Protection says:"The integration of coastal cleanups by local authorities, assisted by a northeasterly wind, which cleaned the coasts and resulted in a calm sea emitting very little waste, along with the small number of visitors to the beaches, combined to bring about this favorable result - a clean coast.

Hopefully the government can keep this up as the last thing anyone wants is to step on a half torn soda can with their bare foot. Keeping the beaches clean is not only important for business and pleasure, but also for the environment as well.

Israel 21st Century Gets A Face Lift

One of my favorite news sites about Israel (one that I frequently reference here on IsraGood) has recently gone through a "cosmetic face lift" giving it a modern look to reflect the Israeli spirit.

(Israel 21st Century) We welcome you warmly to ISRAEL21c's new, enriched and vastly expanded website. Not only do we have an improved version of our traditional ISRAEL21c news service website, but we've integrated our award-winning blog, Israelity, the journal of the reality of daily life in Israel. [...]

We've created this website to make it simple and easy to share virtually anything on the site with others through emailing, adding to your website as widgets, or posting feeds to your blogs, your Facebook or MySpace pages.

So welcome to our new world, one that we hope you'll find more engaging, interesting and useful.

The site is a definite improvement over the previous version, which had just the "bare bones" of a news site, but nothing more.

While the site does boast a talkback feature, hopefully the team would be more open to a friendlier commenting service such as Intense Debate (which I briefly tested on this site).

Aside from that, their new layout is very user friendly, and hopefully they will inspire other Israel news sites (such as the Jerusalem Post and Ynet News) to revamp their sites as well.

Note: Their site seems to be redirecting to (their beta site) although ".org" URL's will appear with the new look.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Organic Clothes For Your Organic Kids

(Image Credit: B Nature)

While some parents are willing to spend their last cent in order to provide safe, comfortable clothes for their kids, others are more interested in getting a bargain for their shekel (or dollar).

Now it seems as if a clothing company has found a unique way of meeting both interests--without harming the environment or the workers who create it.

(Israel 21st Century) Messer's Tel Aviv based company, B nature, designs, manufactures and markets a line of organic baby and kids clothing made from 100% color grown (non-dyed) and natural dyed organic cotton. A family owned operation, B nature has been on Israel's clothing scene for a year and recently debuted in the US retail market. [...]

"In clothing manufacturing we understood a long time ago that the West is using the East to produce products cheaply. But the entire reason I got into organics was because I wanted to make a change. To show that we can make a product and preserve human rights and give workers fair salaries and get rid of the myth that everything coming from China these days is tainted with poison or child labor," said Messer, who personally visits B nature factories in Shandoong and Canton Provinces several times yearly.

According to the article, B Nature provides not only benefits to its workers in China, but also ownership by giving them corporate shares of the business.

Hopefully this company will be able to demonstrate some of their products within the American market, as many parents their are probably seeking out safe, affordable clothing for their kids.

Trade Between Israel And Nigeria Reaches $1 Billion

(Image: Map of Nigeria, Credit: Oxford Cartographers via Commmonwealth Secretariat)

Despite being predominantly Muslim, the nation of Nigeria seems to be very comfortable trading with their Jewish counterpart--which may be a sign of the times that the middle east is becoming Israeli friendly.

(Israel National News) Israel and Nigeria now do business annually to the tune of some $1 billion, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said ahead of a meeting between Olmert and Nigerian Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, who is in Israel to raise interest among Israeli investors for projects in his country. [...]

Besides being one of the world's largest producers of crude oil, Nigeria offers opportunities in power generation, mining, agriculture and manufacturing, he said.

Israel is already helping Nigeria turn their deserts into gardens and this latest figure should help strengthen relations between the countries, at least economically.

Note: Hopefully the two nations will move beyond the status trading partners, as Nigeria could offer the Israeli Space Agency a nice plot of land to launch rockets from.

New Jewish School To Be Built In Ethiopia

(Image: Falash Mura children learning Hebrew in the Gondar compound, Credit: Uriel Heilman of

With the Israeli government winding down the Aliyah of Ethiopian Jews, a new organization called the United Jewish Communities federation (or UJC) is raising money to construct a Jewish school in the city of Gondar, Ethiopia.

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency) The school project is being undertaken by the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ), which funds aid operations in Ethiopia for the Falash Mura -- Ethiopians who claim links to descendents of Jews either by lineage or by marriage -- and has campaigned

"We're happy to have raised this issue, convened the federations and facilitated their support of this project," said Jim Lodge, UJC's vice president for Israel and overseas affairs. "Much of that money has been offered by federations, and we're in the process of getting that money to NACOEJ."

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the group has raised $350,000 to construct the school, which should help out Ethiopian Jews unable to make Aliyah to Israel.

Ethiopian Jews have been seeking ways to visit their homeland after centuries of exile. Hopefully the school will aid those left behind in the nation, as well as help improve their lives economically, if not spiritually.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Israeli Car Industry: Business Is Good!

While the auto industry in the US is going through their own trials and tribulations, the Israeli car industry is experiencing nothing but sunshine.

(Globes Online) Israel's automotive sector ended one of the best years in its history yesterday, with more than 190,000 new cars, including taxis meeting Israel's roads in 2008. Nearly all importers saw double digit growth in deliveries, across all segments in 2007, compared with 2006, with the family vehicle segment recording exceptionally strong growth, including the niche and luxury vehicle segments.

Israel's strong auto market is a bit of a mystery (note: at least to me), but it may have something to do with the new hybrid demand as well as stronger purchases by businesses instead of the typical consumer.

Related Note: Israel may once again revolutionize the world next year when their flying car debuts.