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Sunday, June 29, 2008

How Israel Can Get The iPhone (Work In Progress)

(Image from Bring the iPhone to Israel Facebook group)

Despite the fact that Apple is launching the iPhone in countries like Egypt and Jordan, the holy land has been left out completely, which is unusual seeing how tech savvy Israelis are.

Regardless at who is at fault for why the Jewish state was missed (whether its Apple's fault, or the phone carriers), Israelis--both geeks and normal people non-geeks--need to ban together and talk to Apple (perhaps a second email to Steve Jobs will do) as well as two of the major phone carriers--preferably Cellcom and Orange Israel (note: I'll explain why below).

Also talking to i-Digital (the current Israeli Apple distributor) would be good as well, as Apple would probably want someone representing their brand outside of the telecom industry.

  1. First off, Israeli users need to be willing to put their shekels where their mouth is--that is sign a new petition with users saying they are reserving 669 ILS (which is about $199 USD) in order to purchase the iPhone.

    Since most companies are always looking for ways to make an extra profit, a petition like this would be sure to grab their attention (if not media headlines) and would "miraculously" spark negotiations with Apple.

    Of course, in order to get this to work, you need a lot of people signing up and committing to the iPhone purchase (perhaps at least 10,000) if Apple is willing to sell it in Israel.

  2. Second, contacting the local Israeli mobile phone companies would help out as well. My advice would be contacting Orange Israel and Cellcom. But why these two?

    Orange is already a major carrior of the 3G iPhone, and is already bringing the iPhone to a host of countries including Egypt and Jordan. Israeli's should politely ask the company to consider including Israel to their list as well (note: and do not forget to mention the petition of the many Israeli mobile users ready to purchase the iPhone if available).

    Orange can be contacted on their main page over here (Orange Israel can be reached over here) or users can simply email the company over at [at]

    Cellcom would be a decent alternative as well, mainly because they could actually help bring Hebrew to the iPhone (perhaps by hiring this geek).

  3. Third, Israeli's should announce that they are willing to accept the iPhone in its current glory in English. Say what?

    While having the iPhone in Hebrew would be nice (without jailbreaking it), reality is that Apple may be nervous about releasing a product without it being completely debugged 100% (one of the differences between it and Microsoft).

    By accepting it in English, Israeli's could prove to Apple how strong the iPhone is in the holy land, which could inspire the company to develop a version later on in Hebrew (to the joy of millions everywhere).

    After all, Apple seems to be releasing the iPhone in English to both Egypt and Jordan (note: I could be wrong about this, so correct me if this is not the case), so Israeli's should accept something similar within their own country.

While this will not bring the iPhone to Israel overnight, hopefully these three steps will at least help the Israelis acquire one before the end of the year is out.

If anybody has any other suggestions, ideas, criticisms or whatever, feel free to leave your opinions in the comment section below.

Good News! A Vaccine For Melanoma! (Thanks To Israeli Scientists)

Professor Tamar Peretz and Dr. Michal Lotem, from the Hadassa Medical Center have come up with a unique vacccine for Melanoma, a skin cancer that can cause death in a patient. 

(Israel National News) Israeli scientists have developed a method of vaccination against melanoma, a type of skin cancer often caused by over-exposure to sunlight.  The vaccine is prepared by removing cells from a melanoma growth. The vaccine is designed to prevent recurrences of the disease amongst previous suffers and to increase chances of survival for current ones.
Even though this may not be considered a major disease (at least against the general population) its good to see Israeli medical scientists taking one more plague off the list.

As far as the other cancerous diseases are concerned, Israeli scientists are hard at work finding new ways to kill these cells in various labs across the country.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Video: Affordable Solar Power Via Bright Source Energy?

(Hat Tip: Israel 21st Century)

With rising gas prices around the world affecting everything from food costs to transportation, many countries (ranging from the US to South Korea) are looking towards solar energy to help offset their dependence upon foreign oil.

One company in called Luz II (a subsidary of BrightSource Energy) is developing a unique way of harnessing the power of the Sun in the Negav desert of Israel.

If successful, Luz II could enable large scale cities powered by solar fields instead of oil and gas (which often pump pollution into our skies).

Hopefully BrightSolar Energy subsidary will be able to make a break through, as their success (along with others) could enable all of us to enjoy a greener tomorrow.

Israel Gearing Up For 2008 Beijing Olympics

With the 2008 Beijing Olympics quickly approaching this August, it looks like the Jewish state will be sending 38 athletes to represent Israel as it competes against the world.

( Guy Starik yesterday became the 38th athlete who - assuming that nothing untoward happens between now and August 8 - will represent Israel at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

The veteran marksman was awarded an honorary place at the Games by the International Practical Shooting Confederation, thanks to his remarkable achievement at the Grand Prix event in Munich last month - where he scored a world-record 600 points. As a result, Starik was given a ticket to the 2008 Games - which will be his fourth in total.

Athletes who are able to secure the gold medal for Israel will be awarded 500,000 shekels (or $140,000 USD) while silver and bronze will receive $70,000 USD and $47,000 USD respectively.

The full list of athletes can be found over at Haaretz, although unfortunately it looks as if Micky Cobrin did not make the final cut. :-(

Update (6/29): It looks as if athletes who do not win any medals (but come in close, like 4th place) will be receiving bonuses as well.

More Millionaires Living In Israel?

Even though the higher number does not--or rather should not be an abosolute indicator on the average wealth of the general population, its good to see that some of the more affluent are taking up residency in Israel.

( The number of millionaires in Israel grew at twice the average world rate in 2007, according to the World Wealth Report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini. Moreover, the analysts found more than a subtle taste for "green" developing, if not always for the loftiest of reasons.

The number of millionaires in Israel jumped 13.6% - by 1,000 persons - to a total of 8,200 by the end of last year. The number of multi-millionaires grew by 12%, to 97. The report defines a millionaire as an individual with liquid assets of at least $1 million, excluding primary residence and consumables. The definition of a multimillionaire is a person who has at least $30 million in the bank.
While this may spur a few conspiracy theories regarding Jews, its a healthy sign regarding not only Israel's present economy, but also its future (hint: they are there to stay in business to the dismay of their enemies).

Nicolas Sarkozy (French President) To Visit Israel

It looks as if Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France will be visiting the Holy Land this coming Sunday.

(Israel National News) French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife are due to arrive in Israel Sunday afternoon for a three-day visit. Sarkozy will visit the Dead Sea, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and the Knesset. He is expected to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Aviva and Noam Shalit, parents of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
Relations between Israel and France have been steadily improving over recent months, with the two nations expanding their friendship within the realm of business.

With Europe now aboard the "we love Israel" train, the tiny Jewish state is finding the world to be a lot more friendlier than it was a decade ago.

Non-Geeks Rejoice! Israel's Wix Now Open To The Public, a company whose product allows users lacking "code moneky skills" to build flash webpages (and widgets) is now open to the public!

(TechCrunch) Wix, the browser-based designer that lets users create Flash-based widgets and full-scale webpages, has launched in public beta. The site specializes in creating colorful Flash pages without requiring any coding[.] [...]

One of the common concerns about Flash websites is that they don’t play nice with search engines, leading to lower page traffic. Wix says it can get around this by generating an XML map for each of their sites that is SEO friendly. Since the launch of its private beta, the company says that they’ve seen a surprisingly high number of users using the designer to create full-fledged sites rather than basic widgets, which makes this search optimization especially important.

While many people are using Wix to create widgets for their webpages (mostly on MySpace), one professional company called IDU Biometrics (previously reviewed over here) is using Wix to spice up their webpage to make it more attractive towards investors.


Wix seems to be thrilled with the feedback they have received thus far, although what is really impressive is the way the site allows users to easily create a flash website from scratch.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Israeli Tech: Secure Thy Stuff, Via Eye Ball Motion?

Someone once said that "locks only keep the honest people out." While this may be true, it has not stopped companies from developing, new ways to protect information, valuables and buildings away from the hands of thieves and spies.

Despite the fact that most (if not all) security mechanisms have some flaw that allows an individual to break in without authorization, one Israeli company thinks they may have developed a "fool proof system."

(Israel 21st Century) Unlike passwords, fingerprints, voice ID, or scanning your retinal markings, ID-U [Biometrics] has found a novel way to create an identification platform based on the complex journey your eyes take when they watch a moving object. Using sophisticated algorithms, your web cam and a computer screen, ID-U has developed, in its words, a "fail-safe method" for identifying one person from the next.

The application is based on the fact that the eyes of each person exhibit their own characteristics when moving. Says Daphna Palti-Wasserman, an engineer, to ISRAEL21c: "The science in it is that the eye movement is a complex motion constructed from a number of parameters including anatomy, physiology, eye structure and chemistry."

According to IDU Biometrics, this system would be so secure that not even your twin brother/sister would be able to pass themselves off as you.

The company is currently seeking investors, as well as a future client (according to Israel 21st Century they are trying to woo PayPal and Ebay).

Note: With millions of people purchasing web cams, why doesn't IDU Biometrics pursue a partnership with Microsoft/Apple in order to help provide greater security with PC/Macs?

EU To Israel: Lets Be Business Partners

After waiting over a year for a response, it looks like the European Union will be finally upgrading its ties to the Israeli state, a feat some thought the Jewish state would never see (at least with Europe's perceived political climate).

( The European Union, turning aside Palestinian objections, has announced upgraded relations with Israel in the form of a range of steps involving commerce, the economy, and academic ties as well as improvements in the diplomatic dialogue between the sides. [...]

In the economic sphere, Israel will join European agencies and working groups with the aim of bringing the Israeli economy closer to European standards, and to help Israeli companies more easily contend with the European commercial market, particularly in the fields of high-tech and aviation.

Europe is also talking about having European universities recognize degree's by Israeli's across the Mediterranean, which would help out aspiring doctors, lawyers and IT professionals gain the extra expertise (as well as potentially networking with their new European friends).

Note: Looking back "in hindsight," one probably should have realized this was inevitable, especially with Europe courting Israel before (with France and Germany leading the way).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Using Molecules To Kill Cancer Cells? (Israel)

(Image: Prof. Shimon Gatt (left) and Dr. Arie Dagan at the Hebrew University Laboratory. Credit: Sasson Tiram, Hebrew University)

While most doctors around the world use chemotherapy as a way to fight tumors in cancer cells, it looks as if a few scientists are using molecules to destroy these dangerous cells--without hurting friendly neighboring tissue.

(Israel 21st Century) A new weapon in the fight against cancer may soon be added to the global arsenal. Two Israeli researchers were awarded the Kaye Award for Innovation last week, for having designed synthetic molecules that succeeded in reducing and even eliminating the growth of human malignant tissues in mice, while having no toxic effects on normal tissue.

The underlying principle of the new therapy is inducing cell death in the abnormal cells through the use of sphingolipids, a family of complex lipid molecules involved in the signaling pathways that mediate cell growth, differentiation and programmed cell death (apoptosis). This means, in layman's terms, that the next generation of cancer drugs could reach the long sought-after goal of forcing rogue cells to die.

Israeli scientists have already developed alternative ways to fight cancer ranging from electrical fields to even freezing tumors, as well as a "colorful way" of detecting cancer within the body.

As far as the molecular method goes, more research will need to be done to ensure that this treatment is safe for humans, but if effective it could lead to a whole new way of combating one of Earth's oldest known diseases.

Israel's Walla! Makes Gains Against Google

After being dethroned as the number one site in Israel, it looks as if Walla! may be making a comeback against its chief rival, Google.

(Globes Online) Google Israel stayed the top website in May, with a weekly exposure rate of 88.7%. Walla! is in second place, at 69.6%, and ynet is in third, at 60.5%. Walla! has widened its gap over ynet and narrowed its gap with Google Israel. Nana10 took over fourth place from YouTube, with a weekly exposure rate of 33.6%. MSN Israel continues to lose ground, slipping to seventh place with a weekly exposure rate of 25.3%. NRG rose to sixth place with 25.9%.

This is good news for Walla!, which has previously aligned itself with Yahoo!, not to mention launching its own advertising network to compete against Google's AdSense/Adwords.

Whether or not we are seeing a trend here has yet to be seen (as Google has decreased before), although its good to see Israeli grown companies taking on the internet Goliath (something Microsoft may want to take note of).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Awesome! Israel Baseball League Returns From Hibernation!

(Hat Tip: Life in Israel)

After being previously canceled in 2008 due to lack of funds, it looks as if the Israel Baseball League has decided to briefly dust off the plates in order to play a quick season this summer.

(Israel Baseball League) This year, our menu will be a little different, but we think you will enjoy it all the more. The season will begin on July 27th and end on August 17th. The Bet Shemesh Blue Sox will be returning to defend their title and will be joined this year by three other teams - the Modi'in Miracle, the Netanya Tigers, and a new entrant, the Jerusalem Gold. Each time will play a 20-game regular season, culminating in a championship series. The set-up this year will be akin to the College World Series that is played each year in the U.S. Each day, there will be two games played, accompanied by on-field clinics, catch with the players, and softball games. Nonetheless, the competition and level of play at the pro level will be the same as last year, with the Blue Sox being public enemy number one for the other three teams. [...]

The IBL remains committed to bringing the highest level of professional baseball to Israel and also to developing the sport within the country itself. Its stated goal is to eventually have the majority of the players in the league be home-bred. By working with such organizations as the Jewish National Fund, the Jerusalem Foundation, Maccabiah, the Israel Association of Baseball, and the Israel Softball Association, along with local community groups, the IBL hopes to support the programs in Israel that already exist and to generate excitement throughout the country as only baseball can.

The Israel Baseball League (or IBL for short) has already impacted the global baseball league, with several players getting picked up for the major leagues already.

Note: While its good to see a new team enter the ball field (Jerusalem Lions, which may have been renamed to Jerusalem Gold), this author is still rooting for the Blue Sox!!!

Israel: Insert Drugs, Via Teeth?

Whether you like them or hate them, taking prescription drugs is a daily reality for tens of millions of individuals "roaming" our planet.

Unfortunately unless one has a built in calendar in their brain, remembering exactly when to take your medicine (not to mention the amount) can be an annoying, especially if one has a busy schedule.

But it looks as if a new device positioned between your teeth could help deliver the drugs your body needs, without heavy dependence upon the brain--or a calendar.

(Israel 21st Century) Dr. Erella Pines developed a tiny container that could be attached to the teeth to provide a continuous supply of a calcium formulation that would dissolve into the saliva and circulate among the teeth, protecting them from damage. [...]

Together with Engelberg, the Calcident inventors decided to apply the device to the slow-release delivery of pharmaceuticals. They focused first on improving the way that AIDS and cancer patients receive a drug to alleviate the severe mouth sores caused by AIDS or chemotherapy.

The current approach is to give the patients the drug, known as Clotrimazole, which sells for over $600 million a year, in medicated lozenges five times a day.

"Instead of having to constantly take the medicated lozenges throughout the day, they will simply insert the Calcident disposable container once a day," Engelberg tells ISRAEL21c.

Although this innovative device by Calcident is still going though "beta testing" (which means its not available to the public yet), doctors may fall in love with this medical feature as it would help eliminate the "oh, I forgot to take my medicine this morning" excuse from patients.

Hopefully they will find a way to deliver insulin through this device as well, as it does provide a better alternative than "the needle."

Image Credit: Bernard Dichek, via Israel 21st Century

Israeli Tech Lets You See Through Walls

(Hat Tip: Stand For Israel)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be Superman? While eyes shooting lasers and flying may be a bit out of reach (unless you have a flying car with the latter), you may be able to see through walls thanks to a new invention by Camero.

( "The idea of seeing through walls has been around since the 1960s, but modern technology is now ripe enough to enable it to happen," explains Camero's technology director, Amir Beeri. "When we established the company in 2004, we intended to develop sufficiently high vision resolution to allow an untrained user to see through a wall."

Camero's unique radar utilizes Ultra Wide Band (UWB), a technology that has only come of age in recent years, and with the use of special algorithms can process data picked up by the detector to give a reasonable image of anything behind that wall. Lacking imaging algorithms, the system made by its competitor, Time Domain is able to reveal only whether there is someone on the other side of the wall.

While this technology would have obvious applications for military personal (in locating terrorists within buildings) as well as search and rescue operations, Camero's XaverTM 400 could also help scientists explore and locate hidden caves (that is if someone is willing to hike the device all the way up the mountain).

Here is a brief video highlighting more about the XaverTM "see through" technology (hat tip: Israeli Export).

And We're Back!

Its good to be back in civilization! (by that, I mean a place with a decent internet connection!).

After spending half of one week camping in the woods (with minimum to no cell signal) and most of last week in the boonies helping out family (rabbits and dears and bears--but no bars for my phone?) I can say that having broadband connection really does make all the difference (especially when you need to send a critical email!).

Anyways, I'll be posting a "recap" of stories I was able to mark up (but unable to post) so stay tuned for later on today, as well as tomorrow!



Perhaps I should invest in a satellite phone? ;-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Database For Shanghai Holocaust Refugees?

In an effort to keep the testimonies of the past from fading in the present, it looks as if a new database in Shanghai, China has been constructed which will help collect the stories of Jews who migrated there in order to escape the Holocaust.

( Shanghai's Jewish community celebrated the launch Friday of a database that will document the stories of the thousands of refugees who found a safe haven in China's commercial capital during World War II.

So far the database lists the names of about 600 of the 30,000 Jews who fled to Shanghai in the 1930s and 1940s to escape Nazi death camps and other horrors of the Holocaust.

The database will give a record of the community, where its residents came from, their stories and struggles, where they have since moved and even how they might now be reached, said Israeli Consul General Uri Gutman. The database, supported by the Israeli and Chinese governments, is housed in a museum in the city's former Ohel Moshe Synagogue.

China was one of the few nations opening the doors to fleeing Jews during the Holocaust, which is probably the reason why both nations enjoy very warm relations with each other today.

As a whole, the Chinese have had a fascination with Israelis, and it is good to see that both countries want to highlight and preserve these stories for future generations.

Note: More information about this database can be found over here.

Dating 4 Disabled (Designed By Israel)

Whether it be MySpace, Facebook, Orkut or YouTube, social networks are on the rise globally.

Although newcomers entering the scene would probably be unable to generate revenue marketing their site to everyone, they may be able to grab their "slice of the pie" by creating a site for a specific group of people.

While some companies focus on developing sites based on culture or race, one site--developed by Israelis--created a site to help the disabled find friends and ultimately a lover.

(Israel 21st Century) nterdate's founders, Yuval Katz and Daniel Brunicki, decided to focus on the disabled community out of both entrepreneurial and social concerns. "D4D was born out of our understanding that, although they surf a great deal on the Internet, the disabled population the world over was under-attended," Brunicki explains to ISRAEL21c.

"On the other hand, we had advanced Internet capabilities. So we decided to do a good deed. We view the site as a community service, and beyond that, there's also a business opportunity; there are 30 million disabled persons in the US alone. Our business model is ad-based - the site is free and we don't intend to ever charge payment - but we do intend to attract ads that are relevant to the community: services, exhibitions, etc., with a special emphasis on the US market," he adds. [...]

"I get very close to people. I have a woman from California who's an amputee. She met someone a month and a half ago on the site. Now she just met him in person and she called me. She had a wonderful time. Another woman wrote to tell me she just went to Sweden to meet her guy. Who knows what will happen, but it's exciting!"

Even though the site does not boast the raw numbers of the bigger social networks, Dating 4 Disabled seems to be helping many of its members find true love, positive news one does not here very frequently from most social networks.

Note: It will be interesting to see how much this site changes in five years, not to mention if they will launch similar sites based upon users locations.

Israel: Play Soccor, Not War

(Hat Tip: IsRealli)

Even though many of Israel's neighboring governments lack a sense of appreciation for the Jewish state, it does not mean that her neighbors children are obligated to feel the same otherwise.

Here is a video showing both Jewish and Arab children playing Soccer (or Football) together in peace.

Note: It looks as if this event is being sponsored (or guided by) Hapoel Tel Aviv. Can anyone else confirm this?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Video: Using Horses To Help Autistic Kids (Israel)

Autism, a disease affecting millions of people around the world has many treatments, but (thus far) no cure.

While treatments can vary from therapy to medication, Dr. Ofer Komerovsky from Israel is using horses to help kids suffering from autism.

(Video: Open Space Ranch using horses to help autistic kids, Credit: Israel 21st Century)

Note: If anyone knows whether or not Open Space Ranch has a web address, feel free to let me know (as a Google search turned up nothing).

Why Birds Love Professor Reuven Yosef

(Image: Prof. Reuven Yosef, director of the IBRCE, Credit: IBRCE)

Update (7/2): Listen to this post via audio!

Imagine you are a bird, an amazing creature gifted with the ability of flight. Guided by nothing more than instinct and a "bio compass," you seek out nesting grounds you may have never seen in the hopes of expanding your species for another generation.

Unfortunately for you, there are very few "rest stops" along the way, thanks mainly to a two legged creature who has destroyed them in the name of convenience, which means that some of your flock may not be able to make the long, treacherous journey in the sky.

This was a situation facing many birds migrating over the middle east/Mediterranean area--that is until Professor Reuven Yosef (director of the International Birding and Research Center in Eilat) got involved.

(Israel 21st Century) In 1994, Yosef acquired a 64-hectare strip of wasteland garbage dump east of the expanding town. Begging soil from local earthmoving contractors to bury the tip, he built a salt lake stocked with brine shrimp and fed by nutrient-rich effluent from the local sewage works. Fresh water was piped from the city's desalination plant for a freshwater lake, and the native plants that thrived in the original salt marsh were re-seeded with help from the Jewish National Fund.

Only eight percent the area of the original marshes, the IBRCE sanctuary has slowly transformed into an irrigated ornithological paradise supporting a high density of plants and plenty of food for the birds during their temporary roost - the only food for hundreds of miles in any direction.

"Half a billion birds pass through the area every season. In the spring, they have to stop here to refuel, or may perish," Yosef explains.

The International Birding and Research Center in Eilat (or IBRCE) seems to have helped a variety of birds ranging from Arctic Terns to Grey Herons, to even the Short-toed Eagle.

Hopefully IBRCE can secure more donations as more preserves like this are needed in the region (not to mention the world).

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Israel: Curing Heroin, Opiate Addiction Within 36 Hours?

Update (7/3): Listen to this post, courtesy of Bnarrator!

(Image Credit: Karin Kloosterman, via Israel 21st Century)

Regardless whether its a friend, co-worker or family member, drug addiction can be one of the most devastating things to happen to any relationship.

For those affected by their addictions, their "drug of choice" can easily warp their worldview, and coming clean from their addiction may not only be hard on the body, but often time consuming as well (which can drive up the cost of treatment).

Fortunately it seems as if Dr. Waismann (aka "Dr. Wash"), a doctor hailing from Israel is pioneering a unique way to help addicts of not only prescription opiates, but even heroin and methadone as well.

(Israel 21st Century) Supervised by Israel's Ministry of Health, Dr. Waismann is a surgeon and intensive care doctor by training. "I use more than medicine," he says. "Heroine [sic] addiction withdrawal symptoms lead to vomiting and are terribly painful," he says. To rapidly overcome the pain aspect, Dr. Waismann puts his patients under general anesthesia for four hours and during this time he washes opiates out of their brain.

He then gives the patient a cocktail of medically approved drugs, to block the opiate receptors in the brain. The whole treatment from start to finish takes 36 hours.

Called the ANR Method for (Accelerated Neuroregulation), Dr. Waismann is at the same time able to reverse both the opiate dependency and its symptoms. The treatment works on heroine [sic], methadone, subutex and prescription opiates. While the cost of treatment is high at 8,600 Euros, Dr. Waismann also treats people with medical insurance in Israel, such as wounded soldiers who have become addicted to painkillers.

While there are rumors that Dr. Waismann is treating patients ranging from average people to celebrities (such as Amy Winehouse), Waismann is refusing to confirm the identities of the patients (to the sorrow of the paparazzi), guaranteeing privacy to individuals seeking help.

Zemanta Pixie

Monday, June 02, 2008

Israeli Science: Growing Your Own Playground?

Update (7/3): Listen to this post, courtesy of Bnarrator!

While most playgrounds on planet Earth are built for the amusement of kids, a few Israeli's are planning on creating one grown to help bring a greener awareness towards future generations.

(Israel 21st Century) Plantware's CEO Gorden Glazer sees the first home prototype ready in about 10 years. Currently the company has taken its patented methods and built park benches, playgrounds, streetlamps and gates - all from trees.

"We are not artists looking for fame," says Glazer, who is motivated mainly by environmental concerns. He tells ISRAEL21c: "We want to create a message that's accessible to as many people as possible." [...]

They understood that they had found a way for growing soft roots, roots that could be eventually manipulated into becoming specific structures.

Today with a patent on the process, Plantware, in operation since 2002, is the first company in the world to take on the challenge of designing furniture, park benches, bus stops and even city dwellings from living trees.

The idea of "growing structures" was originally conceived by Axel Erlandson, who envisioned shaping plants into weird and odd shapes.

While Plantware has been successful in creating small items such as benches, their overall goal seems to be creating playgrounds--and if successful, we may see people demanding "organic houses" in the (mid-distant) future.

Video Highlights Of Israeli Tech (And Health)

Update (7/3): Listen to this post, courtesy of Bnarrator!

It looks as if Israel 21st Century has created a video highlighting some of Israel's top start ups emerging out of the country--with some of them having the potential to revolutionize our planet (at least within their respective fields).

Companies featured are:
  • Oramed (which could bring about oral insulin)
  • iMedix (a social network making it easier to find/share health information)
  • Millenium Solar (inexpensive efficient solar technology--enough said!)
  • Argo-Housing (which could help make houses greener)
  • Mobileye (using digital technology to improve road safety)
  • ICS Motors (fuel efficient greener motors--that may be cheaper than current models)
  • Nanomaterials (producing strong material at the molecular level)
  • C-True Imaging (uses your face as a secure login)

More companies can be seen over here.

Trade: Israeli Arabian Exports Could Reach $1 Billion

Despite the fact that many of its neighbors have less than thrilling thoughts about the Jewish state (although there were a few praises not too long ago), it looks like trade between Israel and a few Arabian countries may potentially reach a billion dollars.

(Globes Online) Direct exports to Arab countries continue to grow. Exports to Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco were 45% higher in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the corresponding quarter of 2007, the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute reports. It estimates the potential of exports to Arab and Muslim countries which with Israel has no current trade relations at $1 billion.

According to Globes, Jordan and Egypt are Israel's biggest middle eastern markets, with the Jewish state trading $102 million and $40 million, respectively, in the first quarter of this year alone!

It looks like middle eastern citizens are once again "voting" with their wallets, showing appreciation (or at least satisfaction) of Israeli products, regardless of what their political leaders might be saying.

Israel To India: How About A Million Olive Trees?

(Hat Tip: IsRealli, Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Housing well over a billion people within the country, the nation of India is looking for a "few good green thumbs" to help not only raise food, but provide a decent income for farmers.

Fortunately it seems as if the Asian giant is turning to its favorite ally in order to help plant a million olive trees in the northern deserts of the subcontinent.

(Times Online) The desert of Rajasthan in the north of India is to be planted with a million olive trees grown in Israel in an effort to transform the landscape and the fortunes of its struggling farmers. [...]

Israeli technology companies will be drafted in to lend their expertise on matters such as water recycling and irrigation. In their home country, Israeli scientists have been credited with "greening" the Negev desert, performing what has been termed an agricultural miracle.

Indian olive oil is likely to find a ready market in the West as there is a global shortage of the product amid rising demand.

This is not the first time Israel has assisted India, as the Israeli companies have previously assisted India in developing green houses.

Often known for their healing properties, olive trees may help boost India's economy by helping struggling farmers make a living outside of the traditional crop.

Note: Hopefully Israel can expand this opportunity towards middle eastern nations as it may help encourage stronger diplomatic relations (as its neighborhood is known for being a "bit rowdy"). :-)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

So, Do You Like Israel's New National Bird?

(Image: Israel's new national bird, the Hoopoe. Credit: Yossi Ashbol via Ynet)

Despite celebrating its 60th birthday, the Jewish state has lacked one item common throughout out many modern countries--a national bird.

After a brief election, it looks as if the Jewish state has remedied that problem by choosing the Hoopoe (of all creatures).

(Ynet News) President Shimon Peres announced the Hoopoe as Israel's new national bird. The Hoopoe won an election held by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, which concluded on Thursday after months of voting. 155,000 people participated in the nationwide election.

The road to choosing Israel's national bird was long but entertaining. Last December, over 1,000 bird lovers participated in a seminar held in Tel Aviv University, during which they were asked to select 50 nominees for the title out of a long list of various candidates.

That list was then narrowed down to the bulbul (Pycnonotidae), the red falcon, the goldfinch, the biblical vulture, the spur-winged plover, the honey-sucker, the warbler, the white-chested kingfisher, and the white barn owl.

According to Ynet, the Hoopoe received over one third of the votes, with 35% preferring the bird over its many rivals. While the bird is not officially kosher (at least according to some) the Hoopoe is highly praised throughout Asia--mainly for its beauty.

Note: Ynet also reported that Peres wanted the vulture to be chosen as the national bird.

Fortunately the Israeli's were wiser than him, as a vulture is universally detested by most (sane) minds, and would not have helped Israel's image in my honest opinion.

Harlem Celebrates 60 Years Of Israel

Update (7/3): Listen to this post, courtesy of Bnarrator!

(Hat Tip: IsRealli)

(Image: African American choir celebration Israel's 60th birthday. Credit: Shachar Azran via Ynet News)

While the neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan is generally known for its celebration of African American culture, it looks as if the folks from Harlem decided to show their thanks for the Jewish state by celebrating the nation's 60th birthday.

(Ynet News) The Israeli Consulate in New York staged a unique performance at the city's Apollo Theater Tuesday, celebrating Israel's 60th birthday. The main event: A concert headed by Grammy Award winning hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari, who preformed with the Big Apple's most famous gospel choirs. [...]

Ben-Ari won a Grammy in 2004 for her collaboration with American rap artist Kanye West on the hit "Jesus Walks", thus becoming the first Israeli performer to be awarded the prestigious prize.

Miri Ben-Ari has been making the rounds within the R&B movement, and readers can check out a video of Miri's performance (as well as the Harlem celebration) over at