Compliments of Anglo Saxon Raannana Real Estate
Quote for the Week
“Eretz Israel is a land of signs: It shows signs of oil, signs of gas, signs of copper and many other encouraging signs.”
Levi Eshkol, Prime Minister of Israel 1963-69 (Perhaps not as elegant as some of our quotes but prophetic? Well most of the signs were pointing in the right direction and a lot more besides)
* We’ll start with an all too brief salute to our young people
* 15 year old “D’ had been suffering from Crohn’s disease for some time when her parents were told that she’d need an operation costing NIS40 000. It would be extremely difficult for them to raise that sort of money in a short time but D’s classmates were unfazed and set about the task of collecting the necessary with military precision. Within two days they had canvassed every home in the town [Sderot, as it happens] and within three they had the cash needed. All this in the week that included their end of the year exams. What can we say? This is what today’s young people look like.
* You probably haven’t heard of Alexandra and her younger twin brothers Bogdan and Pavel. These three young people all arrived in Israel from the Ukraine leaving their mother behind. Now all three are serving in combat units in the army. Alexandra hadn’t seen her mom for four years and the boys have been away for three. So the army, being just that little different from armies around the world arranged an all expenses paid visit for Nataliya –together with 36 other parents of lone soldiers – to be with their kids. A joyful reunion with the odd tear or two, it wouldn’t be Jewish otherwise.
* The pupils of Neve Oz Primary School in Rishon LeTzion were singularly impressed by the treatment received by their school mate, Omer, when he was hospitalized at Schneider Children’s Medical Center and they felt that saying thank you was just not enough. So they made hundreds of Chanukiot [eight branch candelabras for the Festival of Chanukah], set up in business in two shopping malls, sold them at ten shekel a piece and ran out of stock in no time at all. The NIS 5,000 takings were donated to the hospital as a heart warming token of appreciation for the loving and expert care given to their friend.
* A personal note; our grandson, together with his friends were drafted on Tuesday into a frontline battalion in the IDF. Were they gung-ho about it? Not really. Were they resentful about ‘donating’ three years of their young lives to the State? Not that either. They simply accept it as part of their responsibility as citizens of Israel and that, put simply, is exactly as it should be.
* Autism is an extremely difficult condition to cope with for sufferer and those involved alike but the IDF has taken up the challenge and enlisted ten autistic teenagers who will serve in uniform in the QM stores of the army. Specially chosen officers have been trained to take care of their needs and to integrate them into military life.
* What extraordinary young people! What an Army!
* Say the word boots to anybody from the UK and they probably won’t think footwear, what they’ll have in mind is the huge pharmacy chain, Boots established in 1849, with its distinctive logo. Say Walgreen in the US and your average American will hone in on Walgreen Pharmacies, established 1901 and now expanded to 7,653 drugstores in 50 states, and not on a new coat of paint for his bedroom. And, of course, there are many more pharmacy chains worldwide. But what has this got to do with GN ISRAEL we hear you ask. We’ll tell you. Prestigious Trade magazine “Chain Drug Review” has picked Israel’s Super-Pharm Ltd. as the best pharmacy chain in the world in 2010. Yes, Israel’s very own, established just over 30 years ago, with countless branches in Israel as well as in Poland, China, and Trinidad and beating out all the rest. What can one say!?
* Back in the black and flying high, El Al Israel airlines announced Wednesday that its net profit rose 245% in the third quarter of 2010, bringing net gains up to $42.5 million. Can it have anything to do with feeling just that little bit more secure traveling with an airline that gives due attention to safeguarding its passengers – non-PC profiling included but not a see through body scanner in sight? We suspect that it does.
* Haiti is still in desperate need of help and the Foreign Ministry has sent some 200,000 doses of medication against cholera to the island this week but more than that Israel has decided to set up a permanent trauma facility there and will take care of the design and building of the unit, the transport of materials, equipping it and training local staff from the crisis-ridden island to assist in treating the thousands of patients who remain in dire need of a set up like this. We said it last week and we’ll repeat it; we are ‘a light unto the nations’.
* And we don’t neglect our own either, not with organizations like Leket Israel operating around the clock. What started as a vision by a new immigrant from the US and a handful of volunteers now has thousands helping in collecting all manner of foodstuffs and distributing them to the needy. Last Friday they harvested 1,500 kilograms [1.6 tons approx] of mandarin oranges in a matter of two hours, which gives you an idea of the scope of the work that they do.
* There is no question about the fact that Israel has become a tourist hotspot and the joyous invasion of visitors to Israel in October led to an all-time monthly record in over-night stays in hotels in all our cities, 1.21 million of them in fact which is an increase of 7 percent over the previous record month, way back in March 2000. And that’s not all; national average occupancy rates reached 81%, an all-time high for any given month.
* And while we’re talking records, they threw a party at Ben Gurion Airport on Monday afternoon to welcome the 3,000,001 [how would you say that three million and oneth; three million and first and then again, does it matter?] tourist, an all time high for local tourism. Our more than welcome guest, a Christian pastor from Brazil who arrived with a group of fifty pilgrims, came down the gangway with his national flag draped round his shoulders and happily exchanged it for an Israeli flag on reaching terra firma in Terra Sancta. He was also the recipient of a Chanukah Menorah and a six day all expenses paid holiday in the Holy Land.
* OECD [the Organization for Economic Co=Operation and Development] secretary-general Angel Gurria arrived in Israel on Friday. He is visiting the country in order to attend a special conference to mark Israel’s accession to the organization in May this year. Gurria spent the weekend touring the country with the Minister of Finance and was the cabinet meeting’s guest of honor on Sunday where he had high praise – and he should know- for the Israel economy and said [why are we not surprised] that it is growing faster than in other nations within the international organization [all 26 of them] because it suffers less deficiencies and has less debt and lower unemployment rates and, we take the liberty of adding, it has Yuval Steinitz as Minister of the Treasury and Prof. Fischer as Governor of the Bank of Israel. High praise indeed and from a very reliable source.