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Friday, April 25, 2008

What CNN Forgot To Tell Me About Israel

Darnell Clayton is a non-Jewish American was surprised to see how modern Israel was after a brief visit of the country when he was a teenager.

He currently resides in the US, and highlights some of the innovative (and interesting) technologies pouring out of the Jewish state over at

A long, long time ago, in a place not so far away, I was a 16 year old naive punk who pretty much believed that he knew everything he needed to know about life (and then some).

Back then your view of the world came mainly from three sources--family, friends and television.

It was during that time I had the opportunity to partake on a journey to visit Israel, which was according to friends and family a place full of angry people, war, and a few holy sites (after all, two major faiths were founded there).

Since none of my friends and family had ever visited Israel, I had to turn towards CNN (and other media outlets) for advice on what Israel was all about.

While they had no war news to broadcast about Israel at the time (as it was during the Clinton "peace talks"), the media outlets did highlight the many "angry faces" there, not to mention a few ancient holy sites.

As there was no current war going on, I decided to at least visit the holy land while it was "still safe."

After arriving in Israel (with a group of other teenagers and adults), the first thing I noticed was how normal everything looked. Except for the fact that half of the signs were in Hebrew, you probably would not have realized that you were half way around the world in another country.

Whether you were walking the streets of Tel Aviv, or running along the never ending beaches (which were surprisingly clean of litter by the way), Israel pretty much mirrored what one would expect from a country guided by what some would call "western values."

Heck, Israel even had a McDonald's (which was perplexing as I knew most successful restaurants do not set up shop inside war zones).

Most Israeli's that I encountered (if not practically all) were very helpful, friendly, and "slightly geeky" as it seemed that everyone man, woman and child had a cell phone (this was in the era when beepers were all the rage in the US).

Throughout my 30 day stay in the holy land, the only problems that I encountered was when I found out I had to pay a shekel to use the public bathrooms (all I had was paper cash on me) and that my love of Falafels was bigger than my wallet.

Oh, and there was that Dead Sea mud dilemma, as one of the girls who went with our group found out that the mud has a habit of turning blond hair green (I kid you not!!).

While many of my friends and family in the US were disappointed about the lack of adventure from visiting a "dangerous country," I came away with a broader perspective about Israel, the media (or rather what they filter), and a huge craving for some juicy Falafels (which thanks to Google I can now enjoy in America).

The 60 Bloggers project is co-production of and the Let My People Sing Festival. It is published daily for 60 days to celebrate Israel's 60 birthday.

Hebrew Name For My Facebook (80,000 Installations And Growing)

While there are many cool Facebook applications to checkout (such as Wipeer), one that may appeal to many Israeli's (and those aspiring to learn Hebrew) is Jacob Richman's My Hebrew Name, which recently surpassed 80,000 installations.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find my Hebrew name (which is דארנל if you sound it out phonetically), although hopefully I'll be able to "add it to the list" in a future version, despite its English origin (hint, hint).

JDate Named As Honoree For Webby Awards

(Hat Tip:

JDate, a site dedicated towards helping Jewish singles find their perfect match has been selected as an honoree for the Webby Awards, which is basically like the Oscars for internet sites.

(JDate Press Release) JDate, the leading online community for Jewish singles, has been selected as an Official Honoree for the Social Networking category in the 12th Annual Webby Awards, the leading International award honoring excellence on the Internet. Of the more than 10,000 entries submitted from 60 countries and all 50 states, JDate was among the less than 15 percent recognized as an Official Honoree, a distinction that acknowledges work exhibiting remarkable achievement.

"The Webby Awards honors the outstanding work that is setting the standards for the Internet," said David-Michel Davies, executive director of The Webby Awards. "JDate’s Official Honoree selection is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its creators."

Congrats to the team over at JDate, as well as to the many couples who have found true love through the site.

Note: The rest of the honoree's can be seen over here.

Kosher Silicon Valley, With A Medical, Agricultural Twist

Pentium III chip mounted on a motherboardImage via Wikipedia To those who only glimpse the Jewish state through an average media portal, the holy land at best is a place full of ancient religious relics or at worst a region full of conflict.

But what many of them may not realize is that Israel is actually a land full of innovation--affecting the world both in cyberspace, as well as offline.

(Jewish Exponent) But perhaps a sampling of innovations that originated in Israel conveys the story more powerfully. Beginning with modern drip irrigation -- an agricultural technique that has been replicated around the globe -- Israeli innovators soon left soil behind and moved directly into cyberspace. They created the Pentium III and Centrino microprocessors; the computer program that became AOL Instant Messenger; the first mass-market firewall that protects a system from viruses; and an ingestible camera that allows doctors to peer inside a patient's insides without making an incision.

Whether its creating oral insulin, terrabyte DVD's, flying cars, purifying water or even finding ways to create energy from seaweed, Israel is quickly establishing itself as the land of innovation.

Note: Did I mention that Israel is close to bringing us hydrogen powered cars? ;-)

Welcome To Eilat! (Israel's Future Solar City)

(Image Credit: Thomas Springer via Wikipedia)

Eilat, a city located in the southern half of Israel is often known for its beautiful skies and cloudless days, not to mention

But it looks as if the tourist town may receive a new title in the future, as it prepares to demonstrate to the world that communities can be powered by "green" energy.

(Israel National News) The Infrastructure Ministry has announced a mammoth project that will supply Eilat with almost of its needed electricity by using a solar power station. Approximately 3,000 acres will be set aside for the project. Ministry officials said that there are very few cloudy days in Eilat that would require using electricity from the Israel Electric Corp. (IEC).

Israeli's seem to be very comfortable harnessing the power of the sun, exploring new and innovative ways to improve solar technology, not to mention helping other regions ranging from California to Korea.

Adopting solar energy should help Israel deal with the rising demand of energy, which may help convince other nations that going green is in fact a good idea.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wedding Bells Ring For Shanghai Jews

It looks as if China's Jewish community was able to finally celebrate a wedding in an ancient synagogue that had been closed since the days of World War Two.

( A glass was smashed, and a cheer went up. After months of careful negotiations with the Chinese government, Shanghai's Jewish community celebrated a revival last month as a historic synagogue opened for its first wedding in about 60 years.

Shanghai has special meaning for the global Jewish population after it took in tens of thousands of Jewish refugees during World War II. The city's Jewish community and the foreign community at large soon faded away, however, after the communists took over in 1949 and heavily restricted both business and culture. [...]

But China's largest city is regaining its cosmopolitan reputation as the country continues its dramatic rise, and the Jewish community of foreigners now numbers more than 2,000.

Even though China and Israel are officially friends (at least culture wise), the country still does not truly recognize freedom of religion, a liberty many in the west take for granted.

Either way, this is a good step for China, who has found a way to maintain strong ties with the Jewish community ever since providing a safe haven for them during the days when Jewish persecution was rampant throughout the globe.

(Image Credit: My Dream Wedding)

Moody's To Israel: We Like What We See

As Israel's economy continues to make impressive strides despite the global recession affecting our planet (especially in the real estate and automobile industry), it looks as if Moody's has finally given the tiny Jewish state the recognition it deserves.

( International ratings agency Moody's raised Israel's foreign and local currency bond ratings from A2 to A1 late last Thursday. This is the highest rating ever granted by Moody's to Israel. Moody's said Israel's competitive advantage in high tech and its relatively high standard of living, as well as its sophisticated financial markets and government institutions show Israel is no longer a developing country. If it was not for Israel's relatively high debt and its special security situation, its credit ratings would be even higher, explained Moody's. In addition, Moody's raised the foreign currency ceiling for bank deposits to A1, too. Moody's has now fallen in line with S&P and Fitch, who both upgraded Israel at the end of 2007. (Moti Bassok)

This is good news for Israel, as news like this encourages investors to take a second look at the Jewish state, especially with the global economy in a state of "flux" (due in part to the collapse of the American housing market).

(Image Credit:

Famous Song Writer Celebrates Israel At 60

Music makes the world go round--or so they say as one can testify to the success of Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez and even Madonna.

But what some people may not realize is that one guy who has helped arrange some of the verses for these artists is releasing an album aimed at celebrating the Jewish state on its 60th birthday.

(Jerusalem Post) It's a familiar position for the 46-year-old, Florida-based Dermer, one of America's most successful songwriters and producers. But instead of working on one of his Latin-pop mélanges for Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez or Madonna that have won him Grammy nominations and Gold records, Dermer is arranging the verses for a song that's part of his new CD, Israel@60 - We Are Strong. [...]

Due to be released in time for the state's 60th birthday celebrations next month, Israel@60 consists of songs Dermer co-wrote with his BMI award-winning songwriter wife, Robin, and features a collaboration with Gronich, as well as the voices of various groups of Israeli youth whom the Dermers recorded at sites throughout the country on a recent 10-day visit. The finished CD, supported by the Jewish Agency, Israir Airlines and the Daniel Hotels, will be available on iTunes and Amazon, with proceeds earmarked for several Israeli charities.

While there is no specific release date for Lawrence Dermer's upcoming album, I would not be surprised to see some of his work receive attention from both the international and local media.

(Image via

Note: Once his album launches, I'll review here on IsraGood (not to mention consider adding it to my iTunes collection).

India Looking At Israel For Oil Solutions?

India, a nation composed of over a billion people is trying to find ways of not only meeting its increasing energy demand (via oil), but also find a way to counter the rising cost of importing the stuff as well.

In order to help curb that demand, they are gazing towards the Israeli's in order to help them meet demand.

(Globes Online) The paper says, "India is gazing at Israel for a passage to energy security in the age of high oil prices, a move that will give Asia's fastest growing economy easy access to the abundant Russian, Caucasian and Central Asian crude as an alternative to volatile West Asian supplies but will perhaps also raise hackles of pro-Arab political elements at home." [...]

"The pipeline will also open an easier maritime door for oil from Algeria and Libya where India is pushing hard to get acreages and term supplies. The pipeline company executives told the ministry officials that using the Israeli link will also allow Indian refiners to use very large crude carriers and save in shipping costs. The majority of the Indian oil shipments now come in smaller vessels, classified as 'Suez Max', as they have to cross the Suez Canal which cannot take big carriers."

India is not the first company to consider going the "Israeli route," as Azerbaijan has also contacted Israel about doing something similar.

While the deal is still in its infancy, it should help strengthen the bond between the two countries, who already see each other as important allies residing in a rowdy eastern neighborhood.

(Image Credit: AP, via CNBC).

Jerusalem To Receive Prestigious Hilton Hotel

Often known throughout the world for their style and class, the Hilton Hotels corporation is planning on building one of their hotels within Jerusalem.

But instead of establishing one of their regular building inside the holy city, Hilton is instead going to erect a prestigious brand that has only been constructed in three countries.

(Globes Online) IPC Jerusalem Ltd., a joint venture Hilton Hotels Corp. and IPC US REIT (TSX:IUR), controlled by Canada's Reichman family, has signed a management agreement to manage Jerusalem's Palace Hotel under the Waldorf Astoria brand. IPC is investing $100 million in renovating the historic building, which will have 220 rooms and suites and 30 residential apartments in an adjacent building. [...]

Hilton Hotels has 2,645 hotels worldwide, including two in Israel. The Waldorf Astoria brand, named for the original legendary hotel in New York, is the Hilton's most prestigious brand. There are five Waldorf Astoria hotels in the world, four in the US and one in Saudi Arabia. The decision to establish the brand in Jerusalem is a vote of confidence in Jerusalem by Hilton.

With tourism in Israel rising (especially over the holidays), Hilton's addition to Jerusalem should help compliment Israel's capital (that is, if you can afford it. ;-))

Monday, April 21, 2008

Another Way To Celebrate Israel (Via 60 Faces)

It looks as if the Consulate General of Israel (located in New York) is promoting a new way to display the face of Israel to the world--literally.

( The Consulate General of Israel in New York, in cooperation with the Salute to Israel Parade, has initiated a banner campaign entitled, "Faces of Israel." Beginning May 4th, in honor of Israel's 60th birthday, banners will line New York's Fifth Avenue from 46th to 97th Streets. Each banner will feature the face of an Israeli citizen and be topped with a display of Israeli and American flags.

Users can visit for a preview of the faces highlighted thus far, which includes everything from models to music stars (not to mention a few non-Jewish Israeli's as well).

They are still looking for more faces, so if you think you can make "the cut," feel free to apply over here.

(Image Credit: 60 Israelis)

Israel Tech: Find Your Facebook Friends, Offline?

One of the greatest things about social networks like Facebook is that it gives users the ability to connect with friends (both old and new), not to mention easily communicate with each other without maxing out the phone bill.

Unfortunately for many people (if not most), social networks only work if one is connected to the world wide web. WiPeer (previously reviewed on IsraGood) may have developed a "solution" around this by allowing users to connect with friends over short distances, even when both of you are offline.

(American Technion Society) Imagine you're stuck in an airport during a delay, and (gasp!) you don't have an Internet connection. Thanks to a new Facebook application developed at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, you'd still be able to use your laptop computer - sans Internet - to detect Facebook friends (and friends of those friends) who have also installed the application, making it possible to network, chat, share files and directories, play collaborative games, or actually meet face-to-face.

According to scientists at the Technion, there are two components to the application, dubbed "Peersonalizer": a Facebook application and a module inside the free, downloadable WiPeer software ( developed by lead researcher Professor Roy Friedman's team last year. [WiPeer makes direct wireless (WiFi) communication between computers possible - without intermediary devices (such as Internet routers) - at distances of up to 900 ft.].

The article goes on to elaborate that this technology could potentially be applied to the iPhone, which would delight Apple fans everywhere (note: this author included).

Users can check out the Facebook Application, although hopefully these guys (as well as gals if any work there) will consider creating a version for Google's OpenSocial, in order to tap into the other social networks around the world.

Aquaguard: Reducing Water Costs For Cities And Neighborhoods

Stream Control, an Israeli company operating in the water tech industry may have developed a way to help reduce the costs of pumping water to homes by finding a way to thwart water leaks--before they start.

(Israel 21st Century) Water moves through the underground supply pipes, available for use instantly when people turn on the tap. So what does the water do when it doesn't get used? It just sits there - and gets "pushed" from behind as more water from the reservoir seeks to move forward through the system. This increases the water pressure, stressing the pipes - and encouraging leaks at the pipe joints and at other weak "stress points". [...]

"Our product is connected to the municipal water system at a neighborhood pipe 'branch,' regulating the pressure flow into that branch pipe which serves the neighborhood residents," Avitbul says. "Depending on household demand for water flow, Aquaguard will regulate the pressure, matching pressure with demand. In places where we have deployed it, Aquaguard has reduced leakage by at least 30%."

Aquagaurd has already been deployed in Jerusalem with promising results, and according to the article they are already seeking to expand throughout Europe including Italy, Germany and Spain.

While the technology is not cheap (it costs about $10,000 per unit), cities may be able to save money in the long term instead of having to acquire the necessary funds to cover the loss via taxes from "generous citizens."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happy Passover! (From IsraGood)

Whether you reside in the holy land or elsewhere, I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Passover over the next week.

In the meantime, here is a questionnaire from to test your depth of this holy festival.

Note: For those of you still looking for some kosher news regarding Israel, I'll be posting some more stories throughout the week.

Of course you could always subscribe to Kosher Highlights, which displays even more news (although I would recommend using a site feed as you may receive multiple updates within a day).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Only In Israel: Google And Microsoft Are Friends?

While the two internet giants battle it out worldwide, both have been taking an increasing interest in the Jewish state, with both Google and Microsoft buying out various startups, respectively.

But despite the heated competition between the two, it looks like geeks from both sides of the aisle can come together and actually accomplish some good for the world--for free.

(Globes Online) Google Israel has started a new tradition, with the opening last week of the company's first engineers' conference. The meeting, which was initiated by engineers at the Google R&D center in Haifa, is a professional conference designed to enable engineers from similar fields to meet one another and share their knowledge. The event included lectures by Google Israel staff on technology-related issues and Google applications.

The event, which coincided with Microsoft Israel's Tech Ed conference, was attended by around 100 engineers and high-tech executives from various companies, including Microsoft Israel itself.

Hopefully both Microsoft and Google will consider doing more events like these in the future (in both Israel as well as overseas) as both companies have a lot to offer the world--especially if Microsoft purchases Yahoo! (something I am not too thrilled with).

Muslim Mosque Celebrates Israel By Painting Itself Blue And White?

This is probably something that you do not hear about everyday! It looks as if a Muslim Mosque located A-Taibeh, Israel has decided to celebrate the Jewish states existence by repainting itself to reflect the nation's national colors.

(Israel Hasbara Committee) In a gesture to Israel and its 60th anniversary the residents of the Galilee Israeli-Arab village of A-Taibeh painted the dome of their mosque blue and white, the national colors of the Jewish state.

"We are residents of Israel. Our religion encourages love and closeness among nations. Jews, Muslims, we are all cousins, right?" the Israel Hebrew daily Maariv quoted A-Taibeh Mayor Hisham Zuabi as saying this week.

"We decided to paint the mosque's dome, the most important, dear, and holy site for us, in the national colors. We are all citizens of the state of Israel. As far as we are concerned, there is no difference here between Jews, Muslims and Christians," he said.

Zuabi added, "The goal is purification, coexistence. A Jew who enters the mosque will not feel hostility, but rather will feel at home."

Unfortunately I have been unable to locate an image of this mosque online, although if anyone within the city is able to take a snapshot of the mosque, you can email me at IsraGood [at] Gmail [dot] com and I will publish it here.

So, How Diverse Is Israel?

(Hat Tip:

(Image Credit:

In the US, Jews are often perceived to be mostly religious, Caucasian and wearing black hats with curls hanging from the side of their head.

But when it comes to reality, Americans may find Israel to be a place of diversity that rivals (if not surpasses) New York City itself.

( But there is a fairly significant paradox involved in defining the Jewish people as an ethnic group. The Zionist view of a people that includes all Jewish communities around the world (an outlook that merits trendy opposition from the left) is certainly one of the most multiethnic and multicultural national attitudes in history. When you see the Jews of Poland and the Jews of Yemen, the Jews of Germany and the Jews of Morocco as members of one people, and establish a country based on this national view, that is essentially a multiethnic and multicultural enterprise, whether or not the participants think in those terms.

After being fortunate enough to visit the holy land years ago, the item that struck me most about the Jewish state was how diverse it was.

While I did encounter Jewish citizens who wore both the hats and the curls, they were often a rarity, unless of course one was able to visit the Old City of Jerusalem.

In Jerusalem I met Ethiopian Jews, European Jews, and yes, even Chinese Jews! This encounter helped break down my previous perception of Israel, as I noticed how friendly the people were, regardless of their national, religious and/or ethnic background.

Hopefully more Americans will be able to visit Israel in the future, as it is a multicultural testament on how people from different backgrounds can live together in relative peace.

Utah College Celebrates Israel's Birthday

While most colleges focus on academics, sports, spring break (and more sports), it looks as if one school (Utah Valley State College to be exact) decided to take time to celebrate Israel existence (or rather reappearance) in the modern world.

(Daily Herald) Though their connection to Israel might seem unusual, a group of college students, state lawmakers and others got together Friday night to celebrate that nation's birthday.
On May 14, 1948, the Jewish People's Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum and approved Proclamation of Independence, declaring the establishment of Israel, according to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs's Web site. The students will be out of school by the actual 60th anniversary, so they chose to celebrate Friday.

"Happy birthday, Israel," said Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, as he addressed the group headed by the American Israeli Alliance at UVU.

As Israel's birthday approaches, we will probably see even more celebrations across the US, and perhaps even China (although they may be a little busy with hosting the Olympics and all).

Note: The blogosphere is also celebrating Israel's birthday over at, a project launched by Jewlicious and Let My People Sing Festival.

IsraGood, along with 60 other bloggers and writers will be posting their viewpoints of the Jewish state, so be sure to check out the site!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chinese Citizens Fascinated By Jews?

(Image: Section of books highlighting Jews' businesses, Credit: Ronen Medzini via Ynet News)

No matter where you go it seems that everyone has an opinion about Jewish people. Some are positive, some are not so positive.

But when it comes to the Chinese, they seem to hold a special awe for the Jewish people.

(Ynet News) Although the large majority of the Chinese have never met a Jew, the prevailing opinion in China praises and glorifies the Jews and the State of Israel. Other pearls of wisdom by the Chinese include: "Israel is small and surrounded by enemies, but manages to survive and succeed," and "China and Judaism are the only things that have maintained their character throughout history."

"Israel and China are close friends," the Chinese like to boast, showing impressive proficiency in the history of China's Jews. And indeed, the Jews owe a lot to China, which served as a haven of rest for Diaspora Jews throughout the pervious century. [...]

A common basic assumption in China and the world is that Jews have money and power. The difference is in the approach towards this assumption. While in many parts of the world the Jews' businesses and dominance are viewed with a feeling of disgust, the Chinese have developed great admiration, even idolization, for the Jewish mind.

The article in Ynet further elaborates how China became a safe haven for the Jews up until the country was invaded by Japan during World War Two.

This probably explains China's and Israel's are so friendly towards each other, not only in trade but also the realm of security as well.

Hopefully relations between the ancient cultures will continue--especially since China is acquiring a new taste for Kosher food.

Microsoft CEO To Visit Israel

It looks as if Steve Ballmer is going to help inaugurate a new research and development center in Herzliya, Israel.

(Globes Online) Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer is making his second visit to Israel in May to inaugurate the company's new R&D center in Herzliya Pituah. The R&D center is part of Microsoft Corporation's [...] strategy of acquiring start-ups as well as its bid for Yahoo! Inc.

Microsoft is continuing its brisk pace of courting Israeli's, not to mention purchasing a few startups along the way.

Note: Previously Bill Gates encouraged investors to take a serious look at Israel, as Microsoft has benefited tremendously from Israeli minds.

Image Credit: GamerScore

Sad News: No Israel Baseball This Year

Despite the fact that the Israel Baseball League started out with a bang (note: I am a Blue Sox fan), it looks as if the league is considering taking a year off in order to reorganize.

(Israel National News) Ron Blumberg, who managed the Beit Shemesh Blue Sox championship team in last year's inaugural Israel Baseball League (IBL) season, said the IBL may not return to action until next year. He revealed that financial problems may force the league to take a one-year break this summer, which is the Sabbatical (Shemittah) year.

Although this is disappointing, we should all be proud that the league was launched successfully in the holy land, not to mention the fact that it helped a few Jewish players get picked up by major leagues in America.

Hopefully we will see the Israel Baseball League return in 2009 with not only a larger bank account, but also more teams throughout the region.

Italy To Israel: More Flights Please!

It looks as if Italians will finally have more opportunities to visit the holy land, thanks in part to the Ministry of Tourism.

(Globes Online) Israel and Italy have signed a new civil aviation agreement, which will boost the number of airlines from the two countries making scheduled flights between them. Two scheduled airlines from each country may make flights on the Tel Aviv-Rome and Tel Aviv-Milan routes. [...]

Minister of Transport Shaul Mofaz said that the agreement was another step in the ministry's policy to liberalize Israel's aviation market. "The substantial increase in the number of flights and seating capacity will meet the anticipated growth in demand by Israeli passengers and foreign tourists," he said.

Previously the Vatican decided to increase its number of flights towards Israel, which should help boost up its tourism even more.

60 Bloggers In 60 Days: What Will You Discover?

As the holy land gears up to celebrate its 60th birthday, a bunch of bloggers, writers and non-geeks have decided to celebrate the occasion by highlighting what they love about the Jewish state over a span of 60 days.

(Jewlicious) Well, May 8th is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel. You'll notice lots of events happening in Israel and in communities around the world meant to commemorate this historic occasion. is meant to do the same, but on the blogosphere. Consequently, we've put together a nice broad group of bloggers, some well-established, some relatively new, representing (I hope) ideological, religious and geographic diversity. Over the course of the next 60 days each will write one blog post on where they will write something related to how they feel about Israel at this momentous juncture in time.

IsraGood, along with 59 other writers/bloggers/geeks with Kosher passion will be joining with the festivities, and (for those wondering) I will be highlighting my first impression of the country after visiting when I was a bit younger (okay, like eight years ago).

Several authors have already begun posting their stories about Israel over at, so be sure to subscribe to the site lest you find yourself having to backtrack in order to catch up on previous posts.

Monday, April 07, 2008

IDF Special: Jewish Pop Star Signs Up For Service

While usually known for enlisting youth from various backgrounds, it looks as if the IDF will be adding a pop singer to its ranks.

( Maya Buskila, an Israeli pop star more than a decade past the average age of enlistment, will join the Israeli army April 13, just as the marketing campaign for her latest album kicks into gear. The singer’s enlistment, announced by her record company, will make Buskila one of the most famous — and one of the oldest — new recruits to the military, where soldiers are typically taken shortly after they turn 18. [...]

Buskila, who will release the first single off her next album after Passover, will undergo two weeks of basic training and is expected to serve as an entertainer during her two years of service.

The IDF soldiers will probably enjoy hearing some music from Maya Buskila, although it will be interesting to see if she comes up with any new music while going through basic training.

According to the article, Maya Buskila is looking forward towards her new adventure as a soldier, and although I would not be too surprised to see the IDF promoting her decision to enlist within Israel.

Is Israel Car Dealer Heaven?

With the slumping market in the American auto industry, many car dealers (not to mention US politicians) may want to consider taking a second look at Israel in order to determine why the holy land is escaping the auto industry curse.

( Signs of an economic slowdown may be appearing all over, but they have not affected new car sales. In fact, Israelis are buying new vehicles at an ever growing pace. New car sales jumped 40% in the first quarter of 2008 to 61,100. March was a particularly good month with 21,553 new vehicles sold. This is a 57% rise over March of 2007. [...]

[R]ental companies bought new cars in preparation for a larger number of tourists starting with the Passover holidays, and the shekel's rise against the dollar and other currencies helped importers to increase the discounts they give to both private customers and leasing companies.

Lower vehicle taxes, which took effect this January, also encouraged purchases of new cars.

Note: Emphasis mine.

Lower taxes may have something to do with Israel's booming car industry, which has been improving since the beginning of this year.

But while some may credit a good economy or just a favorable environment, Israel may benefit from the fact that the car industry is looking to free itself from the burden of oil.

With upcoming breakthrough's in hydrogen power, not to mention electric flying cars, Israel may soon be positioning itself as a major player in the auto industry worldwide.

Israeli's (And Community) Excited Over Jewish Tennis Players

(Hat Tip:

(Image: Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich, Credit: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

Of all the sports one could become passionate over, tennis may not be the first thought to pop into one's mind.

However it looks as if three Jewish players have become super stars within the holy land, as well as within their own communities.

(ESPN) Erlich and Ram became the first Israelis to win a Grand Slam doubles title with their success Down Under, although it should be mentioned that Ram had previously reeled in two mixed-doubles trophies at majors. As for Peer, she recently made history by becoming the first Israeli player to compete in an Arab country when she played the Doha, Qatar, tournament in February, reaching the quarterfinals. [...]

Ram described the enthusiastic scene when he and Erlich returned home from their Australian Open victory as "crazy," mentioning phone calls from top government officials, rooms of reporters seeking interviews and additional perks: "We've become even more celebrities now in Israel -- we were famous but now it's become even more so. It's nice, it's part of the good thing in the sport. We go back to Israel and everything is for free now. I went to cut my hair and it was free.

Hopefully this will not be the last we see of Jonathan Erlich, Andy Ram, and Shahar Peer (previously covered on IsraGood) in the realm of tennis, as these athletes are helping to shape Israel's global perception as a more "kosher" place. :-)

Real Estate Agents May Want To Move To Israel

With the housing market doing not to well in the land of opportunity, Israel seems to be singing a different beat when it comes to its national real estate market.

(Israel National News) Forbes business magazine has rated Israel as the world's most "up-and-coming" real estate market, according to Globes online business magazine. Forbes projects positive growth in the future, stating "macro conditions in Israel favor more wealth creation, as the economy has corrected its deflation problems and grown at a 5% rate for two years."

For some strange reason, the Israeli's have been largely unaffected by the general slump occurring in the global market (something that is honestly quite baffling).

Does anybody have any good guesses as to why?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Israel: A New Way To Fix Broken Leg Bones?

Traditionally when leg bones are severely broken, doctors would need to open up the patient's leg and insert a rod with screws--a painful process as far as the patient is concerned.

But now it looks as if an Israeli doctor has come up with an alternative that may not only be less painful, but easier on their bodies as well.

(Israel 21st Century) Orthogon is developing a magnetically activated, telescopic, intramedullary (IM) orthopedic nail for treatment of long bones. Traditionally, IM nails are inert rods inserted into the bone marrow to align and stabilize fractures in the femur or tibia.

Orthogon's device magnetizes parts in the rod mechanism, so the nail can be manipulated via an external magnetic coil, allowing it to vibrate, compress or elongate the bone. [...]

Once the IM nail is implanted, patients are treated daily by placing their leg into a coil system that creates a magnetic pulse. The magnetic force inside the nail is amplified by mechanical means, in steps of 0.5 microns, to a distraction force of over 100k, forming a flexible callus tissue that is pulled incrementally.

Despite the fact that similar solutions already exist in Germany and the US, Orthogon's solution may actually be cheaper (and more effective) than its rivals (which could result in lower medical bills).

Note: Orthogon's solution is still in development (and awaiting FDA approval) although readers can check out a video explanation (flash required) of what their technology is all about.