Good News, Israel

Compliments of Anglo Raananna Real Estate

Quote for the week

    “ Israel is a nation that dwells alone”

(From the words of Bilam who came to curse Israel and remained to bless them. [We could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps Bilam was right but read on to find that he actually wasn’t. Quite the reverse in fact])

· How do you start describing people like David and Ziva Shapiro? Angelic? Saintly? They’d balk at both terms because that’s not how they see themselves and quite frankly both terms are inadequate to qualify and quantify what they do. Making Aliyah in 1990, in 2001 they established a multi disciplinary therapy center, Merkaz Rakefet, for children with a wide range of difficulties. The center has grown from a one roomed, limited operation to a large dynamic facility with 40 professional staff members, funded almost entirely and managed by the Shapiro’s, attending to the special needs of about 2000 children a year. To answer our question, they are a couple with a deep and abiding love for their fellows and a profound need to help, a need that transcends the daunting difficulties that confront them and that is GN that is better than good.

· Israel’s economy is one of the “happy stories” in the world today, and the country isn’t in need of fiscal stimulus [read: government bail outs] like some countries we know, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said Tuesday. But who is Mr Krugman we hear you ask? Well, besides being a Nobel Laureate and holding professorships at Princeton and LSE, he was voted 6th out of the world’s top 100 intellectuals and according to IDEAS/REPEC (a ranking of Economists), his work has made him one of the most influential scholars in the field, in the world, and he is among the 12 who are most widely cited. So in short, when he talks people listen. Israel, said the good professor, was one of the small number of advanced countries, such as Canada and Australia that were able to weather the crisis well. Part of Israel’s success, he continued, was due to a “boring” banking system, which wasn’t engaged in any “wild stuff.” But in all humility we’ve been telling you this all along though it’s nice to have it reinforced by someone with a CV like Krugman’s.

· Looking after our kids is the most difficult job we’re ever likely to have and so we felt it was really GN when we heard that the Ministry of Health has instituted a compulsory course in effective parenting for all mothers giving birth in Israeli hospitals. Designed to assist mums [and dads] in preventing and dealing with potentially harmful accidents to their infants the tuition includes hands on experience under the guidance of specially trained nursing staff at the hospital, an instructive video, to be screened 24/7 in all hospitals and follow up contacts a week after mother and the new addition have returned home. A wonderful idea for mums and babies.

· And after that item about ensuring domestic tranquility a large leap forward into the space age. Ofek 9 was launched on Tuesday and is up their relaying pictures of down here, right now. We’d like to bring you a list of its exact capabilities however they’re a closely guarded secret, but what we can tell you is that of the seven countries with these scientific wonders whizzing around the globe, Israel is second only to the US in terms of the technical wizardry that they display. We have ten of them in space, all of them working to a carefully coordinated plan. No 9 can clearly identify an object 70 cms [26 inches long] and track its movements. It has a radar camera that enables it to operate in fair weather and foul. And from the point of view of Israeli pride it is blue and white. Yes folks, Ofek 9 was built in Israel and all of its components were made in Israel. It was constructed at Israel Aerospace Industries and the camera was made by an Israeli company. What is it imaging? Well, we’ll leave that to your imagination. How do we do it?!!

· The Mondeor it isn’t. Wimbledon it will never be. What is it? It’s flag football, an elegant, genteel form of the bone breaking, body bruising original and Israel has international representation in the sport but not only that they excel and have just had another strong international performance that saw them finish in second place at Big Bowl IV in Walldorf, Germany. The Israeli stars – most of them modestly attired, religious young ladies – finished the three-day tournament with an overall record of 5-2. And to quote the 70’s rock song; If you ain’t seen flag football, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

· And while we’re giving the ladies credit where credit is due we’d like you to meet Ruth Arnon an immunologist with a worldwide reputation who has headed the department of chemical immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, and was dean of the biology department. She is an adviser to President Shimon Peres on scientific matters with her scientific research focusing on the development of advanced vaccines, cancer and parasitic diseases. She and a colleague developed Copaxone, a block buster drug prescribed for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. She is a recipient of the Israel Prize and a member of the French Legion of Honor and now she has become the President of the Israeli Academy of Science, the first lady to hold that illustrious [and it is] position.

· While we’re in amongst the presidents, Israel assumed the revolving presidency, in Berlin, yesterday, of the pan-European Eureka program one of the biggest collaborative research and development initiatives in the world. Israel has been a member of Eureka since 2000, and Israeli companies participate in over 10% of the organization’s projects. As president we will host five events here in the Holy Land during the coming year for members. Eureka will approve 150 new projects in this its 25th anniversary year and Israel will be participating in 23 of them. So the news from Europe is GN.

· The number of millionaires in Israel , those are the folk with assets of $1m net and not including their home, shot up last year by 42.7% to 8419 from 5900 the year before. That puts us just behind those economic power-houses, Singapore and India but way in front of the rest of the world where the average increase in millionaires was only 15.5% [only? Well it’s all relative we suppose]. There were 83 multimillionaires – assets above $80m according to the folk at Merrill Lynch and who would want to argue with them. An interesting point is that their increased wealth was partly driven by high growth in the market capitalization on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, which rose by 40 percent, now that’s GN.

· Germany’s relations with Israel have been featured in the media this week and here is some of the GN – Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel paid us a visit. We didn’t let him into Gaza [of course, he could have gone through Egypt but he wouldn’t so he didn’t] and for all that he said that, and we quote… “[W]e want to advance new joint cooperation projects with Israel in Africa, in areas such as water management, where both countries can share great capacities and experience. Germany also would like to advance multiyear trilateral projects with Israel and the Palestinians in Tulkarm and Jenin,” And that’s not all, Israeli author Nava Semel’s book, Beginner’s Love was among ‘The Best Seven’ books, a German Radio award, for young adults and David Grossman was awarded the German Publishers Association Prize worth $30200 for his literary contribution to understanding and describing the plight of the ‘other’. So all’s well that ends well.

June 25, 2010 | 3 Comments »

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  1. And to quote the 70’s rock song; If you ain’t seen flag football, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

    I must have missed that song. It seems like a bad rip-off of Bachman Turner Overdrive. Who recorded it? April Wine? The Edgar Winter Group? Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods?