Posted by: israelembassysa | September 6, 2010

AngloRaanana Israel Update

Israeli tennis player Dudi Sela at the Israel ...

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AngloRaanana Weekly Israel Update

Quote for the Week
“It is not a case we are treating; it is a living, palpitating, alas, too often suffering fellow creature.”  John Brown (We haven’t been able to ascertain quite who he is but he obviously got it right as far as the Israeli doctors in the second item below are concerned)

  • First, an apology; last week we wrote “a bronze went to Judoka, Yael Arad in [the] 1992 [Olympics]”. Of course Yael, still one of our favorite athletes, won a silver medal and we demoted her. Unforgivable. Thanks to our readers for pointing this out.
  • Here’s a heart-warmer to start. Three weeks old, weighing 2.6 kilos [just over five and a half pounds], the first-born son of a young, very young Bedouin couple from the middle of the Negev desert and he was born at Soroka University Medical Center with a massive, life threatening congenital defect that resulted in his abdominal organs moving into his chest cavity preventing his lungs and heart from functioning properly. Soroka doesn’t have the equipment to cope so Baby Elkranawi took his first trip, to Sheba at Tel HaShomer. Nobody was sure that he would make it but he did. The expert team of four specialists – two of them brought back from their mid-year break – operated and then hooked him up to a quarter of a million dollars worth of magical machinery that kept Baby Elkranawi alive for those critical, few post operative days. Now, our doctors are not in the habit of blowing their own shofar, there’s no need, their deeds speak for themselves but just this once they did. The Head of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Prof. Paret had this to say: “He’s a very sweet baby, and his parents are very grateful. Where else in the world would medical teams bother to save a newborn from the middle of nowhere and suffering from a congenital defect like this – and give him the absolutely best treatment available to save him? “He will be sent home next week and be a healthy child,” he said. “He will not need any special treatment or equipment as he recovers.” Where indeed. True heroes, bless them.
  • August was a very good month for vehicle deliveries in Israel, despite the summer vacations, sweltering heat – and no clunker program. Preliminary unofficial figures show nearly 19,000 new vehicle deliveries. The figure is in line with the monthly average of recent months, and is another step toward the record deliveries expected for 2010. Is this GN? We’ll leave it to you to decide. Is it the sign of a booming economy? It certainly is.
  • And the best news emerging from an economy firing on all cylinders comes to us courtesy of our favorite government department; The CBS: Surprise, surprise, unemployment in Q2 dropped sharply to 6.2% from 7% in the quarter before. That means 27 000 more people are employed and that makes Israel one of the OECD countries with the lowest unemployment figures – and we’ve just joined that illustrious group. The new guy showing the way! What a chutzpah! But isn’t that what we’re famous for? Just by the way this is approaching the unemployment low point of 5.9% in the summer of 2008. GN doesn’t come better.
  • The Tamans, a family of expatriate Egyptian Jews have made a donation of millions of dollars to the Sheba Medical Center [see above] for a cardiac research facility, opened officially this week. Among the topics slated for these scientists to develop are the use of stem cells for regenerating damaged hearts, the engineering of cardiac tissues and potential cures for all the diseases that the human heart is heir to. It shouldn’t be more than two or three years before patients start reaping the benefits.
  • Winners all and not only in the sciences: Israeli violinist Itamar Zorman took first prize at Tuesday’s 12th Ludwig Spohr International Violin Competition in Freiburg, Germany. The panel of judges awarded the 24-year-old the 20,000-euro prize for his rendition of a Mozart concerto. Zorman beat out a field of 30 competitors from a dozen countries to claim the prize. And…
  • Israel won three medals at the International Olympiad in Informatics, hosted this year in Canada. Israeli medalist Gal Dor, 16, will begin 11th grade next year, but has already managed to complete an undergraduate degree in mathematics at the Open University, and is continuing towards a masters at Bar-Ilan University. Daniel Hadas, 16, also a medal winner, is currently completing his first undergraduate degree at the same time as he finishes his matriculation exams. The third winner is Rotem Lis (18) also busy with his first degree. How do they do it we hear you ask? Well, we don’t know but it would seem that in most cases it has a lot to do with genetic pedigree. And that’s not all for this week…..
  • Friends of the Earth Middle east – no, we’d never heard of them either – but there you are; they are a Palestine, Israel, Jordan organization that promotes cooperative projects to protect the environment in the region and they have just won the 2010 Anna Lindh Foundation’s Mediterranean Dialogue Award. It must be obvious to all that this type of dialogue and working together generates benefits way beyond sustaining the environment, as important as that is. Not finished yet…..
  • On the sports field: Israel’s 1st Football XI beat Malta 3 – 1 with a hat-trick by captain Yossi Benayoun, in the opening match of their Euro 2012 campaign.
  • Wednesday was a good day for Blue and White Tennis at the US Open in NY. Shahar Pe’er advanced to the third round by beating Pauline Parmentier 6–2; 6-3 and Dudi Sela moveed to the second round with a win in straight sets  against Xavier Malisse 7-6; 7-5; 6-2.
  • Last week saw our Men’s Basketball side advance to the Final Sixteen of the EuroBasket Championships for the tenth year in succession.
  • Earlier the same day, Israel’s women, not to be outdone, also secured their place in next summer’s EuroBasket tournament, their third straight European Championship.
  • Meanwhile worlds away, Israel and European Taekwando champion, Bat El Geterer will come home with silver from the 2010 Combat Games in Beijing. As we said, winners all.    
  • Another month another record and Israeli mutual funds have done it again scaling a number of peaks along the way. First, net capital raised was the highest so far this year, amounting to NIS 3.2 billion. Equity and debt mutual funds raised a net NIS 2.85 billion during the month, the highest amount since November 2009. The second record broken in August was the aggregate assets under management, which exceeded NIS 150 billion and that’s a lot of money by anybody’s reckoning.
  • The Israel Consumer Confidence Index rose by 5.1 points in August. July’s survey had already begun to show signs of optimism, and the August figures seem to confirm it. Probably the most significant single question as an indication of positive thinking in the survey is “What will the status of the economy be in six months?” and here the number of upbeat responses rose again in August as they had in July. Why are we not surprised, why should we be seeing as all the hard data show a very robust economy indeed and that’s GN to end this week’s GN.

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