a different side of Israel

Tag: USA (page 3 of 49)

US Elections coming to a Synagogue near you

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How the Georgian conflict might affect Israel?

KremlinThe war in Georgia heightens the tension between Russia and the US, reminding many of us of the Cold War era. How this shift in the international arena might affect the state of Israel?

Well, first of all, there’s Iran. A growing involvement of American forces in Eastern Europe would make it virtually unable to open a new front in Iran. Furthermore, Russia’s backing is essential for any UN sanctions on Iran, and such backing is already quickly evaporating as the old tensions between the superpowers come to life again.

When faced with the pressure to choose sides, Israel will surely align itself with America. This could severely affect the large Russian population within Israel, which could become disgruntled and more alienated. In addition, Russia may make it more difficult for Jews in Russia to make Aliyah, which is a vital process in maintaining the delicate demographic balance in this country.

Finally, the prolongation of this conflict will have serious worldwide economic implications, especially on oil prices and on the American currency. Are we prepared to stand the tide?

Don’t look far, stay close

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The title line above is a quote of Berry Sakharof from his famous song “Kakha Ze Le’ehov O’takh” (“This is what it’s like, loving you”). The song was written especially for the opening theme of the Israeli drama “Shabatot Ve’Hagim” (Holy days) that premiered on HOT’s Channel 3 in 1999.

The video clip that accompanied the song during the show’s opening theme was simply amazing. It showed the Tel Aviv skyline at night.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find this unique video clip, so I put up a beautifully done live performance of the song by Berry:

Communist Lawyer to Bid for Tel Aviv Mayorship

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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.

Mahmoud Darwish dies at 67

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Mahmoud Darwish, regarded as the Palestinian national poet, died yesterday at a Texas hospital after heart surgery. He is one of the main authors of the Palestinian narrative, and the one who crafted the Palestinian declaration of independence in 1988.

Whatever your political opinion is, it is a big loss for the world of poetry. From the Jewish side of the spectrum, Israel suffered a great loss not too long ago when Dahlia Ravikovitch died in August of 2005. In fact, Mr. Darwish and Mrs. Ravikovitch met more than once and highly regarded each other’s works.

Mahmoud Darwish in Tel Aviv

I hope one day Palestinian children will learn of Dhalia’s poems in school while Israeli children will learn of Mahmoud’s works. In fact, Tel Aviv has already honored both poets by including them in the “Shira Hal Ha’derech” project (translated as “Poetry to Go”), which features short poems on posters all across town.


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Here’s a quick recount of yesterday’s events:

  1. The 2008 Olympics opened in Beijing.
  2. A war erupting in the Kavkaz.
  3. Xander Jace Riniker was born 08/08/08 at 08:08, weighing 8 pounds and 8 ounces, being the 8th grandchild for his mother’s parents.

In any case, it’s time to leave the number 8 behind us. Tomorrow is the the 9th of Av — Tisha B’av — which is the annual fast day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem.

Straight to ViOD

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A new Israeli show titled “Red Band” is telling the story of a group of several aging musicians who get together after 30 years and plan to go out on a comeback tour. Two things make this show very special. First, the band members are all puppets, even though all other characters are regular humans. Secondly, the show isn’t broadcasted on any channel. Instead, it’s available for free via the VOD service of the HOT cable network.

I’ve seen 2 out of the 3 episodes that have been released so far, and I find it amusing and refreshing. Not all the jokes make me laugh, and I’m not interested in most of the characters, but so far it’s been a pleasure.

HOT\'s Red Band
  Photograph by Ohad Romano

Britney Makes Peace in the Middle East

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Britney Spears educates the public
Britney Spears educates the public

After ending a controversial relationship with a Muslim paparazzi named Adnan Ghalib, Britney Spears is moving on and is now dating one of us: an Israeli bodyguard from Ashkelon named Tsuri Lee Adeto. Since moving to LA, Tsuri has been known there as Tom Lee.

Well, the young and troubled Ms. Spears went the way of Whitney Houston and fell in love with her own minder. Apparently, the couple is already living together, and Britney is considering to pay our little country a visit during Ha’gei Tish’rei (i.e. the September holidays).

By now she’s been married to a Christian, dated a Muslim, and now playing household with a Jewish boy. Perhaps she’s trying to make peace where everyone else has been failing so far…

Chok Ha’Hes’de’rim

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Have you ever heard about Chok Ha’Hes’de’rim (perhaps translated as the Law of Arrangements)? It’s one of the most controversial laws in Israel, and in my opinion, one of the most dangerous.

The law originated as part of the “1985 plan for economical stabilization”, when Shimon Peres was prime minister. Its purpose was to bypass the normal — and relatively lengthy — legislative process, via a special “package deal” that gives the current government more power and flexibility to adjust the annual budget in accordance with its immediate needs. However, this measure of emergency wasn’t abandoned as soon as Israel paved its way out of the economic crisis. In fact, Chok Ha’Hes’de’rim is still in use today, being ratified by the Knesset — in an ever puffed-up form — year after year.

Ok, but why is it so controversial? Why do so many people oppose it? Well, primarily, because it overturns countless other laws. For example, although the Knesset had passed legislation that lengthens a woman’s maternity leave up to 14 weeks, there comes the Minister of Finance with his Law of Arrangements and practically trampling over the previous law by stating in the Law of Arrangements that a maternity leave should be shortened back to a maximum 12 weeks. And this is just one example out of many. Citing budgetary constraints, the Ministry of Finance is using this unique law to temporarily cancel countless laws and regulations, but when Chok Ha’hes’de’rim is brought up again year after year, this temporary measurement becomes a permanent stain in the face of our democracy.

To put it simply, Chok Ha’hes’de’rim takes the power out of the people’s representatives and into the hands of several bureaucrats in the Ministry of Finance.

To learn more, visit this website.

The Americanization of Tel Aviv

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Something is happening in Tel Aviv, especially in the northern neighborhood of Ramat Aviv. In the past two years, one could hear much more of the English language walking down the streests of the city. The reason is the relatively high number of foreign Jewish students who arrive to study at Tel Aviv University.

Most of these foreign students reside in the students’ dormitories, located near the university in Ramat Aviv. In fact, the situation sometimes cause dissatisfaction among the Israeli students, since their American counterparts are given preference in the dormitories’ admission process. In addition, the result of having more foreign students who get admitted into highly selective faculties — such as law and medicine — is correspondingly having less Israeli students admitted to these faculties.

Nevertheless, I think all these American students add a unique flavor to the city’s atmosphere, and they strengthen the bonds between Israel and the Jewish community abroad.

Besides, it broadens the dating pool. 😉

Leave Ibn Gabirol Alone

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What’s up with the city council?! Yeterday I drove down Ibn Gabirol, Tel-Aviv’s main street, and discovered that the street has been dug up yet again. It’s probably the fifth time this year.

I understand they city is renovating the local infrastructure, but why are they redoing the same thing over and over again? Each time they open the ground, do some underground work, seriously disrupt traffic, and then close the ground as if they’re all done. But then, the whole ordeal repeats itself about a month later, and then again, and then again.

Yes, I’m a bit frustrated as you can see.

Ibn Gabirol Renovation
Photo by nivshon

Israelis socialize in English

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Walla! reports today that the number of Israelis on Facebook has reached 600,000. In other words, currently 1 out of every 10 Israelis has a Facebook profile.

Facebook Founder

Keep in mind there are many Israelis who do not subscribe to the Israeli network on Facebook or do not identify themselves as Israelis in their profile, so the real numbers may be even higher.

Jewish Bloggers Convention

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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

The Money Trail

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Lev Leviev AdJewish billionaire Lev (Levi) Leviev was born in the former Soviet Union, and is known in the Israeli public as a “Russian Oligarch”. Leviev earned his initial fortune in the diamond business, but he has since expended his financial empire to include several telecommunication and real estate companies. Among others, he controls the Russian-Israeli “Channel 9″ cable station, and the currently-in-construction first private prison in Israel.

Mr. Leviev is a religious man, and he’s continuously donating great sums of money to religious Jewish institutions — particularly the “Habbad” movement. He alone makes it possible for about 5,000 Haredi men to spend all their time in Yeshivas, and out of the labor force. The financial support he provides them is more than likely to affect their voting patterns — theirs, and their family and friends.

Knesset Member Amnon CohenIn the political arena, Knesset Member Amnon Cohen from the Haredi “Shas” party is known to be a close friend of Lev Leviev. They both belong to the Bukharan community: Mr. Cohen is the representative of the Bukharan community in the Knesset, while Mr. Leviev founded the Ohr Avner Foundation which supports the Bukharan population both in Israel and abroad.

Both The Marker and The Calcalist report that Mr. Cohen, who is a member of the finance committee, intervened yesterday in behalf of Leviev’s Channel 9, and demanded the committee perform a re-vote on a failed proposal that could have a profound effect on Channel 9’s revenues. The proposal dealt with the inclusion of Channel 9 into the free Digital TV project — a governmental initiative that plans to broadcast several state-wide channels via a cable infrastructure.

It’s amazing how much power money can buy.

Obama’s illegal child

Bamba baby
The O-Bamba baby

Obama in Israel

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