Posted by: israelembassysa | December 7, 2010

Israel Fire Relief Fund

Israel Fire Relief Fund

If you would like to contribute towards Israel’s rehabilitation efforts after the fire, Please click on Fire 2010 Relief or Pretoria IUA

Posted by: israelembassysa | December 3, 2010

Update on Carmel

Update on Carmel

British, Greek, Cypriot planes join battle to contain Israel’s worst ever wildfire – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

Posted by: israelembassysa | December 3, 2010

The Carmel Tragedy

 The Carmel Tragedy

Fire rages in the Carmel range in the north of Israel (Photo: Reuters)
Fire rages in the Carmel range in the north of Israel (Photo: Reuters)

Forty lives have been lost and many injured in a fire raging on the Carmel mountain range in northern Israel. A national disaster has been declared.
The Israel Foreign Ministry is in contact with almost all European countries, and with Middle Eastern states regarding assistance in extinguishing the blaze. A number of nations have sent fire-fighting aircraft as well as equipment and supplies to help control the flames.

PM Netanyahu: “This blaze is unique; it is a fire on an international scale. I spoke earlier this evening with the President of Cyprus, and the Prime Ministers of Greece and Spain. As a result, ten aircraft are en route to Israel: Four planes from Greece, four planes from Spain and one helicopter and one plane from Cyprus. I will soon speak with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and will request more planes from additional countries.  Aircraft are coming but it will take time.” 

Israel’s deadliest fire leaves 40 dead – Israel News, Ynetnews.

Obama offers help as fire ravages Israel’s north – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

Fire disaster: World offers help, Turkey sends planes – Israel News, Ynetnews.

Posted by: israelembassysa | December 3, 2010

Annual conference of heads of religions in Israel

  Annual conference of heads of religions in Israel


Communicated by MFA Spokesman’s Bureau

On Thursday, 25 November 2010, the Council of the Heads of Religions and Religious Denominations in Israel will hold its annual convention at the Domus Galilaeae International Center, near the Mount of Beatitudes in the lower Galilee. The Council is comprised of the chief rabbis of Israel, heads of churches, the head of the Druze community, the head of the Islamic Appeals Court, and heads of other communities such as the Baha’i, Ahmadiyya, Samaritans, Copts, Ethiopians, and Assyrians.

This year’s conference is particularly significant considering the meeting of the council members with Pope Benedict XVI, scheduled to take place at the Vatican on 13 January 2011. This historic meeting constitutes official recognition by the Vatican and the Pope of this forum and its importance in conducting the dialogue and relations among the various religions in Israel.

The theme of this, the Council’s fourth, convention, is freedom of religion and worship in Israel. During the convention, the film “Faith”, which deals with religious freedom in Israel, will be shown, with a discussion afterwards about the role of religious leaders.

Posted by: israelembassysa | December 2, 2010

Excerpt: Harper’s speech on Israel, anti-Semitism

Harper’s speech on Israel, anti-semitism


Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010

The following is excerpted from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s speech on Parliament Hill Monday to a gathering of international parliamentarians and experts attending a conference on combating anti-Semitism:

Two weeks ago I visited Ukraine for the first time. At the killing grounds of Babyn Yar, I knew I was standing in a place where evil – evil at its most cruel, obscene, and grotesque – had been unleashed. But while evil of this magnitude may be unfathomable, it is nonetheless a fact.

It is a fact of history. And it is a fact of our nature – that humans can choose to be inhuman. This is the paradox of freedom. That awesome power, that grave responsibility – to choose between good and evil.

Let us not forget that even in the darkest hours of the Holocaust, men were free to choose good. And some did. That is the eternal witness of the Righteous Among the Nations.

And let us not forget that even now, there are those who would choose evil, and would launch another Holocaust, if left unchecked. That is the challenge before us today.

In response to this resurgence of moral ambivalence on these issues, we must speak clearly.

Remembering the Holocaust is not merely an act of historical recognition. It must also be an understanding and an undertaking. An understanding that the same threats exist today. And an undertaking of a solemn responsibility to fight those threats.

Jews today in many parts of the world and many different settings are increasingly subjected to vandalism, threats, slurs, and just plain, old-fashioned lies.

Let me draw your attention to some particularly disturbing trends.

Anti-Semitism has gained a place at our universities, where at times it is not the mob who are removed, but the Jewish students under attack. And, under the shadow of a hateful ideology with global ambitions, one which targets the Jewish homeland as a scapegoat, Jews are savagely attacked around the world – such as, most appallingly, in Mumbai in 2008.

We have seen all this before. And we have no excuse to be complacent. In fact we have a duty to take action. And for all of us, that starts at home.

In Canada, we have taken a number of steps to assess and combat anti-Semitism in our own country. But of course we must also combat anti-Semitism beyond our borders, – an evolving, global phenomenon. And we must recognize, that while its substance is as crude as ever, its method is now more sophisticated.

Harnessing disparate anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-Western ideologies, it targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland, Israel, as the source of injustice and conflict in the world, and uses, perversely, the language of human rights to do so.

We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is. Of course, like any country, Israel may be subjected to fair criticism. And like any free country, Israel subjects itself to such criticism – healthy, necessary, democratic debate. But when Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack – Is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand. Demonization, double standards, delegitimization, the 3 D’s, it is a responsibility, to stand up to them.

And I know, by the way, because I have the bruises to show for it, that whether it is at the United Nations, or any other international forum, the easy thing to do is simply to just get along and go along with this anti-Israeli rhetoric, to pretend it is just being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of “honest broker.” There are, after all, a lot more votes, a lot more, in being anti-Israeli than in taking a stand. But, as long as I am Prime Minister, whether it is at the UN or the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israeli mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are, in the longer term, a threat to all of us.

Earlier I noted the paradox of freedom. It is freedom that makes us human. Whether it leads to heroism or depravity depends on how we use it.

We are free citizens, but also the elected representatives of free peoples. We have a solemn duty to defend the vulnerable, to challenge the aggressor, to protect and promote human dignity, at home and abroad. None of us knows whether we would choose to do good, in the extreme circumstances of the Righteous. But we do know there are those today who would choose to do evil, if they are so permitted. Thus, we must use our freedom now, and them and their anti-Semitism at every turn.

Our work together is a sign of hope, just as the existence and persistence of the Jewish homeland is a sign of hope. And it is here that history serves not to warn but to inspire.

As I said on the 60th anniversary of its founding, the State of Israel appeared as a light, in a world emerging from deep darkness. Against all odds, that light has not been extinguished. It burns bright, upheld by the universal principles of all civilized nations – freedom, democracy, justice.

By working together more closely in the family of civilized nations, we affirm and strengthen those principles. And we declare our faith in humanity’s future, in the power of good over evil.

Posted by: israelembassysa | October 28, 2010

Web Conference

Daniel Ayalon

Image via Wikipedia

DepFM Ayalon to Hold Live Web Conference – Tue 2Nov10 20:00IST (GMT+2)

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon will be holding a live web conference on Tuesday, 2 November 2010 at 8PM Israel time (GMT+2). In the conference, Mr. Ayalon will be fielding questions relating to Israeli foreign policy issues and recent regional developments.

Questions may be emailed prior to the conference to and will also be taken on-line during the conference at

The live conference can be accessed at:

The recorded conference will be made available after the event at the following sites:

Posted by: israelembassysa | October 25, 2010

AngloRaanana Update

Jerusalem of Gold



Anglo Raanana Update of the Week

Quote for the Week
“You go to the Middle East if you´re looking for oil and you wouldn´t even stop in Israel, but if you´re looking for brains, energy and integrity, Israel is the place to be.”
Warren Buffet – (Financial Wizard and Entrepreneur Extraordinaire)

Beat this if you can! We’ve mentioned that Israel is a hi-tech super power and that includes such weird and wonderful things as nano-tech, bio-tech, clean-tech etc. and when the achievements in these areas, in this tiny country, with a total population smaller than that of Greater London are as amazing as they are [see quote for the week above] then you tend to get a little blas?. But even we were mightily impressed by the following: There’s an organization called GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and it’s all about cellular phone technology. Well, said organization presents awards to the industry that are held in very high regard – the awards that is – and for this purpose they divide the world into four; the Americas, [North and South]; Asia Pacific [India, Singapore, Korea etc.]; EMEA [Europe, the Middle East and Africa] and…Israel – in a class of its own, bursting with innovation in this vital field!   
The TASE isn’t doing that badly either. On Monday the benchmark TA-25 Index rose 0.4% to reach a new record high of 1,259 points at the close. So you’d expect some of what investors call profit taking, which is what happened and the Index dropped on Tuesday and Wednesday as people converted shares to cash, only to surge back on Thursday, finishing the day and the week on yet another record high of 1272.25 with a turnover of NIS2bn for the day. The other indexes followed suit and the mavens are saying that the bears are hibernating and the bulls are behaving as if they’re at Pamplona.   
Delegations from 26 of the 33 OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development] member states began arriving on Tuesday evening of this week for an OECD Tourism Conference in Jerusalem with a special focus on sustainable, environmentally-friendly tourism. Founded in 1961 and based in Paris, the Tourism Conference is held once every two years and this is only the second time that these countries will be meeting away from home base. Perhaps it’s fitting that the Organization has given this honor to its newest member, – we’ve only been an OECD State for a few months – Israel, But there’s also no getting away from the fact that it’s a significant vote of confidence in us, our economy and our tourist industry, which…   
Has registered a 27% rise over last year, a pretty good year to start with, and we seem to be racing towards three million guests by December, a number that does have a certain magic about it.    
British Airways chooses 10 destinations out of the hundreds it has on offer every year and designates them as ‘Top Cities” and Tel Aviv is right up there with the best of them. The Big Orange’s selection comes in the wake of being chosen by National Geographic as having one of the top ten beaches in the world so no wonder that all of this is happening against the backdrop of a tourist boom that Israel is enjoying right now [see the figures in the item above]. 
Jerusalem has always been a top tourist attraction for its sites, holy to all three religions and as recently as a month ago Travel and Leisure Magazine rated it as one of the top destinations in the Middle East but now website, TripAdvisor that boasts more than 40 million travel reviews culled from tourists all over the globe, ranks it as one of the ten top go-to places in the world not for religious pilgrimage this time but… wait for it, culture and sightseeing and that places it together with London, Rome, Paris and well, you can guess the rest.   
Last week [in GN 15 10] we said about the Chilean miners that, quote : “They’re not Israeli and if they’ve heard of Israel they’ve never been here [it would be a nice gesture if one of our hotel chains would offer them a spell of R&R in the Holy Land]” Unquote. Our superstar Minister of Tourism, Mr Stas Misezhnikov must have read GN because this week he said: “It would be a great honor for us to welcome you as our guests in the Holy Land. This December, Christians around the world will celebrate Xmas. During that time, we welcome tens of thousands of pilgrims and we would be pleased to offer you this uplifting and extraordinary experience at no cost.” Just by the way 58% of our visitors last year were of the Christian faith.   
“Business activity continued to expand in the third quarter of 2010, at a pace similar to that since the beginning of the year,” says the staid and conservative Bank of Israel in its Companies Survey for the Third Quarter of 2010. It adds, “Expectations are that activity will continue to increase in the fourth quarter” and perhaps most significant of all, the business community is displaying optimism and confidence re the future. And just to prove our point “Israel offers incredible investment opportunities, and I say this as a major investor in the Israeli economy through The Arison Group.” Said no less a person than Shari Arison, still one of our favorite business people, in a speech at the New York Stock Exchange to mark the fourth annual Israel Day [Yes, that august institution has an annual day honoring the State of Israel]. 
Business, hi-tech, scientific discoveries, they’re exciting stuff but how did it all start? Well if we can take you back to pre-state days it was the Jewish farmer, inevitably a kibbutznik, who was the man or the woman of the hour simply to be overshadowed in time by business… etc. But two things have happened in the past couple of weeks; one is that agricultural crops are back in the news with amazing developments in the quality and types of produce and predictions are that revenues in 2010 will reach NIS26bn way up on 2009 and the other is that the kibbutz, that so many had written off as going the way of the dinosaur has roared back on the 100th anniversary of its birth, somewhat altered in ideology but still producing bananas, avocados and a lot else. So GN salutes them both, the collective farm and the farmer, vibrant, productive and providing that touch of romantic nostalgia that makes life interesting. 
Israel’s national under-19 team got its qualification campaign for Euro 2011 off to a flying start this week by beating Armenia 3-0. Two goals in the first five minutes, one after just two minutes and the second, three minutes later, gave Israel a lead that never looked like being threatened. Drawn in the same group as Spain, Lithuania and Armenia, the team has a way to go yet and it will be GN if the first match is the shape of things to come.

Posted by: israelembassysa | October 21, 2010

Celebrating one hundred years of the Kibbutz Movement

Kibbutz Alonim - Kibbutz Ulpan (33)

Image by Brian Negin via Flickr

Celebrating one hundred years of the Kibbutz Movement

Have you volunteered on a Kibbutz? To celebrate the first hundred years of the Kibbutz in Israel, we urge everyone to share their experiences by posting stories and photos on the Kibbutz Volunteer Facebook Page: or on the website

Courtesy of Gilabrand at en.wikipedia

Posted by: israelembassysa | October 19, 2010


Picture thanks to Jazz Globus website


Israeli Jazz Festival

The seventh Jazz Festival “Jazz-Globus” will take place from November 24 through December 1 in Jerusalem. This has become a traditional jazz week in the national capital. Concerts will take place at the Harmony Hall in the center of Jerusalem near the pedestrian area of Nahalat-Shiva Street. More than 120 musicians and 28 ensembles will participate in festival’s eight concerts.

Not only loved by Israeli fans of jazz musicians will participate in festival, but there are new names on the festival poster. For the first time on the Israeli stage there are musicians from Bulgaria – the legendary saxophonist Anatoly Vapirov, the brilliant pianist Anthony Donchev and the percussion soloist, Stoyan Yankoulov who is remembered by many music lovers at the great performance on “Eurovision” three years ago. The festival will be opened by leading in Europe the free jazz ensemble «Priority» which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The artistic director of the festival Slava Ganelin, the Lithuanian saxophonist Petras Vyšniauskas, and the drummer from Germany, Klaus Kugel, are performing in «Priority». «Priority» gave many successful concerts in dozens of countries; however they will perform in Israel for the first time. One of the leading European pianists, Professor of the Norwegian Academy of Music, Mikhail Alperin, the world’s best jazz horn player Arkady Shilkloper, and a prominent Russian bass guitarist Anton Gorbunov are also performing at the Festival. The Festival is featuring the folk-jazz trio from Georgia «The Shin», whose debut was a huge success on the Israeli stage at the festival “Spring in Rishon LeZion” two years ago.
The majority of festival participants are Israeli musicians, such as renowned pianist and composer Slava Ganelin, veterans of jazz – Boris Gammer, Mikhail Kull and Shimon Lipkovich. Among the Israeli musicians participating in the festival are many well know performers, laureates of international festivals, frequent and welcome guests on the home jazz scene: Julia Feldman, Yevgeny Pisak, Dmitry Shurin, Yevgeny Maistrovsky, Michail Agre, Bob Yurochkin, Gershon Weisserfierer, Moshe Yankovsky; Gennady Litvak. Some of the home musicians-participants were educated in the US and well established themselves on the New York jazz club scene – Anat Fort, Yuval Cohen, Gregory Ryvkin, Robert Anchipolovsky, Yuval Tabachnik, Ivri Boruchov, Asaf Hakimi, Gilad Dobrezki.
Additional information including the festival programme can be found on the official Jazz Globus website:

Posted by: israelembassysa | October 18, 2010

AngloRaanana Update

The Knesset building, home to Israel's parliam...

Image via Wikipedia

AngloRaanana Update

Quote for the Week

“In the last half-century, over 100 completely new independent states have come into existence. Israel is the only one whose creation can fairly be called a miracle.” Paul Johnson, historian and philosopher. (We really need to be reminded of this from time to time)

  •  They said that Governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer is one of the world’s top seven central bank chiefs, so we said [GN 03 10 10]: ‘They may say he’s one of seven, we say he’s unique’. And, sure enough, on Sunday the magazine Euromoney declared him the best bank governor in the world, during the semi-annual International Money Fund conference in Washington DC, and if that doesn’t make him unique we don’t know what does. The folk from Euromoney must have got hold of a copy of GN ISRAEL. A nice thought but probably not quite accurate. Anyway, his incredible achievements are there for all to see. Congratulations Professor Fisher.
  • Elbit Systems Ltd. has won a $68 million contract to supply components, not for the first time we might add, for pilot helmet head-up displays to the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The company will provide its most recently developed equipment for increasing situational awareness and safety for these pilots who are moving through the air at more than twice the speed of sound and where every split second counts.
  • In a new initiative, Tel-Hai College – located on Israel’s northern border – decided to award single moms living in the area with a free-of-charge academic degree, which includes babysitting services for their children and a hefty annual scholarship. These hard working ladies living in northern Israel were surprised to find ads in local media outlets that at first glance looked more like a hoax: “The Tel-Hai College calls on single mothers from the Upper Galilee to register for a free bachelor’s degree, an annual grant of NIS 6,000 (about $1,660) for each student, and a babysitting service during study hours.” Hundreds applied and forty were accepted. Now if all the other higher education institutes would follow suit… Oh well it’s a good start anyway.
  • Another day, another record down at the TASE where the TA25 index topped out at 1257 points its highest ever and the market ended the week with an increase of 3.3%.
  • 10-years ago the then Minister of Health – one of the best we’ve had – introduced a law establishing a basket of services for patients who have been treated for serious mental disorders and then rehabilitating them in the community. Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem, Dr. Michael Hogan, commissioner of NY State’s Office of Mental Health said that the program has produced “greater accomplishments” since 2000 than New York State and the entire US have achieved during the same period. Fulsome praise indeed and from an extremely reliable source. But the important thing is that these folk, who don’t always get the understanding that anyone with an illness deserves are being returned to useful and productive lives. GN indeed. And there’s GN too for those who have to remain hospitalized. The Knesset has just voted NIS150m for an upgrade on all existing facilities in the sector. A new and very welcome attitude to a section of health care that is always too low on the priority list.
  • They’re not Israeli and if they’ve heard of Israel they’ve never been here [it would be a nice gesture if one of our hotel chains would offer them a spell of R&R in the Holy Land] but nevertheless GN ISRAEL salutes all the brave, resolute and caring people involved in the magnificent human effort that resulted in the return from the shadow of death of 33 miners in the accident in their workplace in Chile. It’s a hard act to follow. Let’s rephrase that, it’s an impossible act to follow, so we won’t even try but what we will tell you is that the oil rig has arrived at our [possibly] huge natural gas/oil fields off shore, drilling has started and that’s also cause for celebration.
  • Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) has signed a $400 million contract to sell unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) to Russia’s military. The UAV deals will not only look good on IAI’s balance sheet they will also help strengthen ties with a country that is still a force to be reckoned with on the International scene, and a state that will possibly play an important role in worldwide efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear program.
  • Over a decade after his brother Nir won the world championship, Or Shinuk took the gold medal in the slalom event of the World Cable Ski Championships in Tel Aviv late last week. We looked up cable skiing in Wikipedia, we read the article and we didn’t understand a word but basically it is wakeboarding where the skier gets power from an electric cable rather than a motor boat. Back to the championships; Moshe Tzdaka won the men’s overall competition which got him a gold medal and a bronze in the slalom as well as silver in the jump. So he was up on the dais three times as well as going home a very happy man with three colors displayed on his chest. All in all a very good day for Israel.
  •  News on the job front seems to get better and better. Latest stats indicate that there was a rise of 8% in job vacancies from a daily average of 51,000 in the second quarter to 54,900 in Q3 of 2010. More jobs available with unemployment falling steadily. Sounds pretty good to us.
  • Some rather large companies have been out and about with their shopping baskets – and their check books – and they certainly haven’t bypassed Israel so here’s a summary of what’s been going on in the last couple of weeks;
    •  3M [a really large US company] has acquired Israel’s Attenti for $230m, its first Israeli acquisition.
    •  We’ve reported on this one before – AOL has landed Israel’s 5min for $65m. It is AOL’s fifth acquisition in Israel
    • Yahoo has taken over Israel’s Dapper for $55m – its second acquisition in Israel
    • Proctor & Gamble has bought ConTipi for a down payment of $15m and will pay an additional $85m for the deal if certain targets are met. 
    • Asseco Poland, the country’s largest IT Company acquired 49% of Israel’s Formula for $139m.
  • And it’s not all one way either:
    • Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. has signed an agreement this week to take over Wavestream Corporation of the US for $130 million which is really pretty good for a few weeks shopping. 
    • Israel ranks fourth in the world in hotel occupancy with 75%, following Singapore, Japan and just a whisker behind Australia.
    • The only way that three-year-old Boland, a little boy from Iraq can show his appreciation to the Israeli doctors, who saved his life by performing intricate surgery on an inborn heart defect is by lying in his bed and smiling and he does plenty of that. The Shevet Achim foundation, which cares for sick children in Iraq and Gaza, decided to fly him to Israel for the operation so off he and his mother went, arrived in Israel, the surgeons performed their magic and it won’t be long before they’re back home with young Boland ready to resume the normal behavior of a healthy happy 3yr-old. And this, dear reader is true Medicines sans Frontiers.


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