a different side of Israel

Tag: blog (page 1 of 4)

Mofaz refuses debating

The Kadima primary is just a few weeks away, and there are currently 4 candidates. Avi Dichter, one of the candidates, suggested having a televised debate, where the candidates can voice their opinions on the urging matters of the Israeli society. However, Minister of Transportation, Shaul Mofaz refuses to participate in such a debate, making the suggestion virtually pointless. Mr. Dichter is very unpleased with Mofaz’ refusal, and he may even push to have a 3-way debate instead.

As I’ve previously mentioned here on the blog, political debates do only good, no matter the political context.

The Power of Green People

I’m always amazed at the power of Little Green Footballs. How come a blog that has almost no original content in its posts (as of August 2008), and is closed to new registration, gets hundreds and thousands of comments so quickly on each new post?

Little Green Football Post

Do I find it extremely peculiar? Absolutely.

Am I envious? You betcha!

Little Green Football Touchdown

Johnson, what is your secret?

Communist Lawyer to Bid for Tel Aviv Mayorship

Human Narration on

Dr. Dov Khenin is a respected Knesset member and is currently co-chairing the Knesset’s largest lobby, the Socio-Environmental Lobby. He’s a prominent member of the Israeli Communist Party (nowadays part of the Hadash political party).

This morning Dr. Khenin announced he’s joining the race for the mayorship of Tel Aviv. The municipal elections are set to take place on November.

City for All

This is big news for the residents of Tel Aviv, and although Dov and his Hadash party may not have much influence in the national arena, they have rather good chances to make a big impact in this seaside metropolis.

Jewish Bloggers Convention

Human Narration on

Aussie Dave, Batya and Carl report in their blogs about the First International JBloggers Convention, set to take place Wednesday, August 20 from 5pm to 9pm (Israel time) in Jerusalem.

The event is organized by the Nefesh b’Nefesh organization in collaboration with the WebAds company.

An Israeli Convention

Unfortunately, the Nefesh b’Nefesh website appears to be currently inaccessible from parts of Israel (it cites a DNS error), so I couldn’t learn about the full details as yet. When I do, I’ll publish a follow-up post.

Press the banner below to learn the full details:

JBloggers Banner

Photo by Yehuda Boltshauser

Signs of Summer

Summer is the annual time of beach goers. Racquets, ice lollies, and bikinis — there’s plenty to look out for. But there are also several things to look out from.

Beach in Tel AvivJelly fish is a known annoyance along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Those sting-inflicting cold-blooded animals migrate northward around this time of year, and according to recent reports, they’re well on their way at the moment.

Another menace that signals the onset of summer is the appearance of snakes. There has been news of numerous snake bites in recent weeks, which resulted in several people hospitalized in critical conditions, especially in the northern parts of Israel.

In case you get bitten by a snake, don’t panic and run. On the contrary, you’d want to slow down your blood circulation, so that the venom couldn’t spread too fast to vital organs. However don’t lie down flat, as you’d want the bitten area to be lower than the heart. Here are a few common tips about treating snake bites anyone should be familiarized with before going out on a field trip.

And if you do go out on a field trip in Israel, we’ll be glad to feature your travel story and your photos on our blog. You may contact us at for any contributions, comments, or questions.

Picture by NRG

Israeli Blogosphere

Human Narration on

Israel DailyVoices Badge
Social Rank is a fascinating web venture, launched by Indonesian company MindValley. The company created an algorithm that scouts the web for interesting blogs, ranks them according to relevance and popularity, and features them on theme-centered portals.

For example, Journalism Daily centers top journalism-related blogs, while The Comic Watch is a blogging hub for comic strips lovers.

Each portal has its own team of volunteers that nominate a bunch of community-leading blogs within the designated domain. Once an initial list of related blogs has been chosen, the Social Rank crawlers follow the links from these blogs to other domain-specific blogs and add them to the pool as well. Then the algorithm begins to assign these blogs — and the individual posts within these blogs — an SR (Social Rank) score, in a similar manner to how Google assigns each web page with a PR (Page Rank) score.

Israeli people, and Jewish people abroad, publish a vast range of stimulating and engaging blogs. This is why Social Rank designed a distinct portal specifically for Israel’s hottest blogs. It is called “Israel’s Daily Voices”, and One Jerusalem succeeds regularly in gaining a top position with their listings.

The web site is still in Beta phase, and sometimes the pages do not load properly. Nevertheless, I find it to be very useful and user-friendly, and it has helped me to discover other Israeli blogs which I enjoy reading, such as Dry Bones.

New HooQs out on Alpha – Online VJ’s Needed!

The new version of Hooqs is out and let me tell you its fantastic. The new system still in Alpha allows users to create content channels viewable online and on mobile. Read the brief that appeared on their blog:

HooQs is a user centric service where users create and share media channels for mobile devices. Channels are created and edited online using the HooQs Studio. Video clips and audio tracks can be fetched from the open internet and uploaded from personal computers. Each channel is accessible on the web as well as on every internet connected, media enabled mobile phone. Forwarding to mobile phones worldwide is easily done for free from HooQs. Registered users get access to Clips4U – a personalized video feed based – and can easily build their own personal mobile portal. Everything is free, no installation required anywhere.

Anyway, if you are a video content fanatic and would want to start your own channel, publish and monetize your own content then this is the place. Take a look at the new Studio and the great features that you have available. This content will of course also be viewable on all mobile platforms…
Continue reading

Shin Bet Blog

Shin Bet BlogIsrael security agency has launched a new blog in which four employees, identified by their initial letters, tell about their work as Shin Bet agents. Sounds intriguing? By what I’ve read and heard so far, the blog is not too exciting (to say the least).

This move is unexpected, considering the legendary reputation of this secret agency. I was very curious to hear what motivated this rare initiative. It appears that shin bet is interested in marketing itself as a standard high-tech company, while fighting its intimidating image. This move is a part of a bigger campaign aiming to attract program engineers and other high-tech professionals from Israel and across the world.
The lives of the Shin Bet employees as described online seem completely normal. That is the message Sin bet wishes to convey.

One of the bloggers, Y, tells the readers that his first priority is his family. “You don’t stay at work if u don’t really have to”, admits Y, who only wants to return home as early as he can. If you are looking for patriotic slogans, search elsewhere. It looks like working for Israel’s intelligence agency is not the James Bond stories that one might imagine. I personally prefer the myth, and by judging readers’ commentary, I’m not the only one!

While the official website has been recently translated into English and Arabic, the blog is only available in Hebrew. Don’t be too disappointed though: who really wants to read a blog by a boring high-tech employee ?…

Unusual bird found in Tel Aviv

Sudanese GooseI never expected to see what I saw when exiting the Tel Aviv Central train station Wednesday afternoon. Arriving at Arlozorov Street to catch a bus west, I suddenly saw a large, duck-like bird hopping on a grassy area near the street. I was so taken back by the sight of such an unusual looking fowl being in a place where normally only pigeons and sparrows are, that I took a few moments to watch it. The duck-like creature was actually larger than a wild duck, which I presumed it was. Another person took a photo of it with his cell phone, which I could not, since mine doesn’t have a suitable camera. I soon found out why the “duck” was hopping – it didn’t have a left foot; only a stump that looked like it was hatched that way. I tried to approach it to throw it some of a bagel I had with me, but the bird didn’t seem to know that this was food. It must have been truly a wild creature that must have strayed off course in the process of migration as we are now in the waterfowl migration season.

The bird must have been exhausted, and it tried to take off and fly. After a few tries, one of which caused it to crash land almost in front of a departing bus, it finally did get airborne and it circled the area and flew to a large park across the street, where I presume it again landed.

Upon returning home later that night, I looked it up from my recollection of its appearance and was surprised when it turned out to be known as an Egyptian Goose, also known in Hebrew as an “Avaz Sudani” (Sudanese goose). It must have flown all the way from its usual winter home, somewhere in Africa, and was going north in the spring migration. How or why it chose to land in the middle of Tel Aviv is anybody’s guess, and its decision to land where it did must have been the result of sheer exhaustion.

I have included a picture of what it looks like in case someone else reading this blog may have seen it too. I can only hope that maybe it was seen by enough people to be reported to the Nature Parks Authority and maybe was caught and taken to Safari Park to be cared for until it can continue it journey. Or maybe it might like its new home here and decide to stay.

In any case, I’m sure you’ll agree that this was something unusual and out of the ordinary for a mid-week afternoon in Tel Aviv.

Fitna Removed

I heard lots of talk about Fitna the Geert Wilders film about the Koran and its broadcasting recently on the Internet. You will notice that the movie was removed from LiveLeak with a statement saying something about threats and fear being the cause for the removal.
I tried to visit the movie website but nothing was there…


After the story about Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s black supremacist, anti-semitic, troofer pastor (“Jesus was a poor black man who lived in a country controlled by rich white people…”) broke this week in the mainstream media, many Americans and non-Americans are scratching their heads, mumbling to themselves, “Really?”

The Wright story comes on the heels of Samantha Power– a “humans right expert” and former top adviser to the Obama campaign– calling Hillary Clinton “a monster,” a term she’d previously reserved for brutal dictators like Milosevic and Saddam Hussein.

A closer look at these Obama advisers showed their more frightening sides: Samantha Power, who vehemently condemns the invasion of Iraq, once said that the US should invade Israel in order to force a peace settlement between us and the Palestinians. Nice.

Obama’s connections with the former leader of the American terror group the Weather Undergorund, Bill Ayers, are well established and go un-denied by the campaign. Likewise with his connection to radical PLO supporter Rashid Khalidi, who now takes cover under the flimsy umbrella of Columbia University.

Obama sat on the board of a Chicago charity called the Wood’s Fund with Bill Ayers. During the boardroom tenure of Obama and the former terrorist, the charity funded an organization called the Arab American Action Network, which happened to be founded and run by none other than Rashid Khalidi’s wife.

Obama and his lever-pullers (including those in the media) have fired back saying the group was a “local” charity that helped “local” people improve their “local” lives. The claim looks silly in the face of photos of Barack and Michelle Obama sitting next to the academic Palestinian crusader Edward Said at AAAN fund raisers.

But here’s the rub: Obama was aligned at the time with an Arab intellectual with ties to the PLO; he fund raised directly and indirectly for an organization called the Arab American Action Network; he was tutored by an anti-Semitic, anti-white preacher who carries on a global oppressor-oppressed narrative as if it’s scientific fact; he hired a “human rights” expert who made statements in support of an American ground invasion (!) of Israel.

Any of these associations on their own could be dismissed as benign and passing. Together they leave us asking only one question: Have we been Obama’d?

A Tale of Two Scumbags: Spitzer and Katsav

SpitzerJust what does the guy who looks like he just ate a very bitter persimmon have to do with the former President of the State of Israel? Well, it appears that both of them had to resign over a few “problems” concerning women; that’s what! Elliot Spitzer, who just resigned his position as Governor of the State of New York, was nailed by U.S. Federal officials for being involved with prostitutes. This is despite the fact that he was a former prosecuting attorney and won the governorship over a campaign to fight organized crime, of which the world’s oldest profession is definitely a part of. Spitzer, seen standing at a press conference with the future ex-Mrs. Spitzer, confessed that he had been “consorting” with high priced hookers for several years. Some of them, especially a young nymphet named “Kristine” ( actually Ashley Alexandre Dupree), were charging Spitzer fees amounting to as much as $4,500 for a two hour romp.

All together, the now Ex-New York Governor is alleged to have spent more than $80 Grand on these gals, some of which may have come from the State Treasury. What complicates this matter even further is that Spitzer, A Democrat, is a close friend and confidant of Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, who just happens to the a U.S. Senator from New York. In fact, Mr. Spitzer was one of a group of super delegates whose votes might be crucial for Clinton to push her past Barack Obama and be elected her party’s candidate for the Presidency.

KatsavNow for the other guy. No need to say much about him as Mr. Moshe Katsav, former President of the State of Israel, has been mentioned numerous times on this web blog. Katsav’s crimes are far worse than Spitzer’s who only faces misdemeanor charges for consorting with prostitutes, should he be arraigned at all. Katsav refused to resign his post when first implicated for a number of serious sex offenses which included rape, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse; as well as perjury and extortion. In order to get off the hook, Katsav cut a deal with the State Attorney, Manny Mazuz, in which Katsav would plead guilty to much lesser crimes, pay a modest fine and compensation to some of his alleged victims, and formerly resign his post. He finally did resign about two weeks before his term of office officially came to an end.

Both of these guys are now considered as real jerk-offs and scum bags by people in their respective countries. The question is how low a public official can go while holding the people’s trust. Obviously, they can go a hell of along way!

Meet Evan

Meet Evan Fallenberg, an American ex-pat living in Israel, who is now becoming discovered on the world Jewish literary scene. Fallenberg, formerly of Cleveland Ohio, has been living in Israel for some years now, and resides in a small suburban community outside the coastal city of Netanya.
A translator by profession, Evan began to make a name for himself by writing superb English translations for Israeli authors who produced literary works only in Hebrew. One such work, entitled A Pigeon and a Boy, by writer Meir Shalev, won the 2007 Jewish National Book Council Award in the U.S.A. for outstanding Jewish fiction. Evan competed his first novel, entitled Light Fell, which was published by Soho Press in January, 2008. Even though the book has just been released, it has already received excellent reviews by such periodicals as Haaretz, The Miami Herald, The Forward, San Francisco Chronicle, and his home town’s Jewish newspaper: The Cleveland Jewish News. He has also been interviewed by La Bloga, one of Latin America’s most popular web blogs.
I had the opportunity to attend a literary group meeting in Tel Aviv recently, and Evan Fallenberg was the guest speaker. He read some excerpts from his novel which is based on a very intimate relationship between two deeply religious men who left their wives and a total of nine children in order to be together. Although this kind of topic is not fully acceptable by many, especially those in the Orthodox Jewish Community in Israel and elsewhere, the sensitivity and poetic manner in which Evan describes the love these two men have for each other, is even more poignant and touching that the recent Academy Award winning film Brokeback Mountain. So well received is this novel, despite its relatively short “exposure” time on the book market, that the word is out that it may be even in the process of being considered for either a film or television miniseries.
Since many of us attending the meeting are aspiring authors, Evan’s advice concerning having works published was taken in enthusiastically by all in attendance. One bit of advice that I picked up on was that in order to have a literary or commercial work published, the writer must first be sure that the book is “ready for publishing”. This includes having others read the finished manuscript and give their opinions on it. Also, it is important that the author feels that the book is really superb, as how can one expect to have a work published if not liked by the one who wrote it?
Light Fell is definitely only the beginning for this very personable guy who appears to have a bright future in the literary world. In addition to his translating and work and novel writing (he is well into writing his next novel already) Evan conducts literary workshops and writing retreats for aspiring authors.

Israeli Version of “Survivor” Premieres with Animal Abuse

Survival IsraelAs I am writing this, the first episode of the Israeli version of the hit tv series “Survivor” is being aired on Israeli television (channel 10).

Having bought the rights to the show, it is so far a fair imitation of the original series, this one shot on the Caribbean Islands.

So far, survivors were split into groups and challenged to jump off a boat in the middle of ocean and get the game started.

What they were asked to do was swim to rafts filled with tools necessary for survival, grab as many as they can and swim back to their new individual boats.

So far so good.

What I didn’t see coming, however, was a couple of cages with live chickens amongst the items on the raft.

The participants of each group swam to and jumped on the cages trying to get a hold of them first, causing the chickens in the cage to panic. That was already a huge shock to me (because anyone who knows me knows how sensitive I am to animals) but if that wasn’t enough, the struggle over the cages caused them to open, the chickens fell into the water hysterically trying to swim and the contestants continued to fight over who gets the chickens!

The whole thing was just 30 seconds of chaos: people yelling, chickens panicking, water splashing, feathers flying…

At that point, I just burst into tears and ran out of the room leaving my husband in shock.

He knew how long I had been waiting to see the Israeli version, with all the promos and publicity the show has been having – but I couldnt help it! I just started crying in disbelief.

How is it possible , as we head towards the year 2008, that today’s society and media STILL allows this kind of mistreatment of animals!

And for what???? For rating????

I’m not proud of my reaction. I wish I could go on watching the show as if nothing happened (just like millions of Israelis are probably doing right now). I wish I didn’t take everything so hard and get so emotionally involved when I witness these kinds of injustices…

But I do. It’s just who I am. I have always been this way and I guess I always will be.

And so I continue in my personal (and sometimes emotionally exhausting) pursuit of a better world.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Shira Tamir enjoys blogging on topics that encourage spiritual, social, environmental and global change. Her personal blog can be found at

Why, Larissa?

Continuous media attention of both Yitzhak Rabin’s murderer, Yigal Amir and his wife, Larissa Trimbobler, has made some people to wonder just who is this woman who became so interested in this man who has become Israel’s number one local villain, even twelve years after this terrible act took place. Along with this, why has she jeopardized not only her own personal life, as well as that of her children, but her career as well for a man with such a taint on his personal character.

Many may not be aware that Larissa’s acquaintance with Yigal Amir goes back much further than the aftermath of that fateful night on November 4, 1995. Larissa first met Amir when he was (would you believe) working as a teacher in Russia for the Israeli government. Following Rabin’s Assassination, she began to correspond with Amir as she shared many ideological views with him as they are both ultra orthodox in their religious practice. Larissa was married at the time to a man named Benjamin (last name not published by the media for the sake her children) and had four children from him, the eldest being age 15. Following her immigration to Israel, she continued to correspond with Yigal Amir and also began contact by telephone. Amir is normally allowed only one visit by a family member per week, plus one daily fifteen minute phone call. When their relationship became more intense, Larissa managed to convince prison authorities to allow her more contact with Yigal on the grounds that she was making a study of his behavior. She has a PHD in Medieval Jewish and Islamic History and a MA in Biology, but not a formal background in either psychology or sociology.

Following her divorce from Benjamin in 2003, Larissa Trembobler’s relationship with Amir became even more intense, and in 2004, announced that she and Amir planned to get married by proxy (they were not allowed a formal wedding ceremony). They were married by proxy later that year, with a friend of Yigal standing in for him.

The rest of the story has become more well known to the public due to the intense coverage it has received by the media, both in and outside of Israel. Following legal efforts to have herself inseminated artificially by Amir’s sperm, which they even tried to smuggle out of Ayalon Prison where he is incarcerated, they were finally allowed a 10 hour co-nuptial visit in January, 2007. Larissa has continually campaigned to have more visits with her husband, and her pregnancy with Amir’s child has been followed intensely by the press, including international news agencies like CNN. Since announcing her engagement and subsequent marriage to Yigal Amir, she lost her employment position at Open University, and has had to support herself and her children by undertaking editing and translation work. She also published a book in Russian with her ex-husband entitled: A Mirror for a Prince. She has a web-blog in Russian which is said to be gaining in readership.

At the time of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Yigal Amir was a third year law student at Bar Ilan University. He had a girl friend, Maraglit Har-Sheffi who had similar right winged views as he did. Following Rabin’s murder, Har-Sheffi was tried and convicted of conspiracy, due to her alleged knowledge of Amir’s intentions to murder the prime minister. Although she proclaimed her innocence of this crime, she was convicted and served several months in prison. She still claims that she is innocent, and many believed she was framed.

As for Amir himself, a growing movement of right-winged and religious supporters have been waging a campaign to free him from prison. While some of these supporters are saying that he has “suffered enough for his crime” others are saying that he is innocent and did not actually kill Rabin. Larissa would naturally like to see her husband gain his freedom, especially since she is about to give birth to his child – and a son at that. Prison authorities are not planning to grant him any special consideration to attend the ritual circumcision of his son; and both judicial and government authorities alike agree that Yigal Amir will never gain his freedom.

So, why did Larissa do what she did, especially in light of her own children, whose lives will be greatly affected forever by her actions? What’s more, what about the child about to be born? What will his future be, and how will this affect him? Only time will answer these questions, and many will agree that time is often a cruel mistress.

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