Good News Israel

Compliments of Anglo Saxon Ra’anana

Quote for the Week

    “Life is understood by looking backwards but it must be lived by moving forward.”

    (Soren Kierkegaard – 19th Century Danish Philosopher. It seems to sum up why Israel succeeds and succeed it certainly does).

* Now here’s another quotation worth looking at. This time by a character named Wilkins Micawber, a fictional creation by Charles Dickens in the book David Copperfield, who said, and we quote: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result? Happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result? Misery.” If this applies even today with [deceptively] easy credit available, to a family then it certainly applies to countries – think PIIGS especially Ireland and Greece – where the misery reigns supreme. So where is the GN in all this we hear you ask? It’s right here in Israel that’s where. How do we know? Because we were told on Wednesday by our favorite government department, the Central Bureau of Statistics who said and they should know, that there was a surplus of nearly US$6bn in our balance of payments account in the third quarter of 2010 and in the period April to June we earned nearly US$4bn more than we spent while in Q1 it was US$2bn. Going up all the time. In short we are a very solvent country. Mr Micawber would have said: “Ecstasy!”

* Meantime back at the TASE they’re breaking records as if there were no tomorrow. The two leading indexes on the TASE hit new highs, with the blue chip TA-25 index rising to 1303 at 12.20, a new record and then gaining 0.7% to end the day at 1,306.18 points, another new high. For the week, the benchmark TA-25 rose 0.9% and twice broke the psychological 1,300-point barrier. The other indexes weren’t going to be outdone so the broader TA-100 index representing the 100 top Companies quoted also rose 0.7% yesterday and set a new record, closing at 1,207.46 points, having gained 1.2% for the week even better than the TA25. And the Tel-tech Index was 1.62% up on the day to end the week on 243.95. What can one say? What need one say? Absolutely nothing. The numbers speak for themselves.

* Talking about breaking records, our swimmers are in Dubai, Dubai?! Yes Dubai and they’re breaking records too. After a shaky start at the opening ceremony where the team was announced as coming from a country called ISR, you know, like USA or UK or even RSA. But once the swimmers were in the water the announcers overcame their pronunciation problems and actually saying Israel seemed to get easier as time went by. So right now everything is going …well…er…swimmingly. Full score card next week.

* Now this is a man after our own heart, the formidable Governor of the Bank of Israel our very own Prof. Stanley Fischer finds Good News in places where even we would come away empty handed and blank paged. This week he mentioned the recent rise in the unemployment rate, to 6.6%, from 6% a few months ago but said that this was good news. A rise in unemployment is GN we asked in disbelief? Positive came the reply, because this rise stems from a rapid increase in the rate of participation of the population in the labor market. In recent months, more people have gone out to work. 58% compared with 56% last year. Logical? Of course! This, after all did emanate from the mouth of the person who in addition to all the other honors bestowed on him was just elected Man of the Year by the prestigious Globes Economic Forum.

* It’s compact, it’s cheap at NIS100 [approx US$27] every family can afford one, it saves money and will also save what is arguably the most precious of the earth’s commodities – water, it was amongst the winners of the Swedish Junior Water Competition and what does it do? Well it detects leaks in water systems in private homes, office buildings etc and it does it in real time, it then sends the owner an SMS and if necessary turns off the water supply and here comes the kicker folks, this wondrous device was invented and developed by two 19- year-olds – Gal Oren and Nerya Stroh of the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) Torah & Science Yeshiva High School, who are matriculating this year but – wait for it – have also graduated with Bachelor of Science Degrees. And to prove that they are not just one trick ponies, they have done years of intensive Torah study, they will be enlisting in the IDF and Gal is a Shazar Prize laureate in History for his study of the diplomatic ties between Israel and the US. He also won first prize in a writing competition for the Hebrew version of Wikipedia. We at GN salute these two young geniuses and bow deeply to their juniority.

* Everybody has heard about global warming except the Mount Hermon Ski Resort apparently, because they’ve just had 1.5 meters of snow falling at the northern end of the ski lift. And while our friends in Europe are complaining about the bitter weather, Israelis are having a ball at the resort which has never opened as early as it did this year. Perhaps the whole thing was summed up by a young teen-age lady from NY who was obviously having a wonderful time and when a TV interviewer said to her that snow must be old hat to her she replied with the sagacity of youth: “Yes”, she said. “But this is our snow.” And nobody’s going to argue with that sentiment.

* We had a fire, a conflagration actually and some very good people had their lives cut short as a result, but we saw a TV news clip with early signs of the regeneration of the forest after the abundant rains and included was a pair of eagle owls who had returned to set up home amongst the charred ruins with the sure intuitive knowledge that only animals have, that everything will return to its lush pristine beauty. We were deeply moved.

* Israel enjoyed two international coups this week; the first happened at the UN. Now for most Israelis the UN is synonymous with the distinctly non-Israel friendly General Assembly but Israeli delegations play and have always played a major role in the many committees that function under the UN banner. As a result of this Israel submitted a resolution regarding the Kimberley Process for the prevention of the sale of diamonds to finance guerilla groups in Africa that cause untold suffering to the populace at large. The resolution was passed unanimously, a feather in Israel’s international cap and having a submission to the UNGA passed nem con is certainly a first according to HE the Ambassador to the UN, Meiron Reuven.

* The second coup took place in the rarified world of nuclear physics where Israel got the official nod that it would become a member of one of the world’s most exclusive clubs, the Center of European Nuclear Research. CERN as it is known to its friends has spent fifteen years and US$10 billion on making tiny particles do strange things like bashing into one another at very high speeds a sort of very sophisticated game of conkers. All rather childish really – if you’re not a theoretical physicist that is. Our Foreign Minister, when he heard the news said: “This places Israel at the forefront of modern science.” We rather thought that that’s where we always were.

December 19, 2010 | 1 Comment »

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  1. Micawber was exiled to Australia. Will Israel’s Jews go there as well? Will the Aussies accept them? I imagine that many of them are toying with the idea. Germany? Canada? Palau, anyone?