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Coming Up This Week

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Exclusive: News headlines from the future!

July 20
  • Monday: Barack Obama arrives in Jerusalem. A new state’s witness is claiming he saw Senator Obama handing PM Olmert a fat white envelope.
  • Tuesday: Gilad Shalit’s IDF comrades disposed today of their olive uniforms after 3 long years, as they reenter civic life. Nothing funny to say about this.
  • Wednesday: In their Washington meeting, Israeli Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and his American counterpart Admiral Mullen allude at a nearing strike on Iran. Oil prices reach 150$ a barrel.
  • Thursday: Minister of the Interior, Meir Shetrit, endorses the construction of a new Arab city in the Galilee. He also promises to give away free Hershey bars every sunday until the coming primaries.

All hearts face North, not West

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According to well-informed predictions, the highly anticipated prisoner swap deal with Hezbollah is set to take place tomorrow morning (Wednesday, July 16) in Rosh Ha’Nikra – Israel’s northernmost border post along the Mediterranean Sea.

Rosh Ha
Rosh Ha’Nikra

Recent speculation, initiated by Lebanese newspapers, says that one of the two Israeli captives might be alive. Although many official reports in Israel have claimed that both Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are likely to be dead, we all hope for a miracle tomorrow.

On to a different subject… During the AIPAC convention in June, Barack Obama announced his clear devotion to an undivided Jerusalem — a message that surprised many, but was very resolute, and couldn’t be interpreted in any other way than as an affirmation of Israel’s sovereignty over east Jerusalem. However, this Sunday, the Democratic Nominee made a squeaking U-turn and retracted his AIPAC comments, saying they were “badly phrased”. As he explains: “The point we were simply making was that we don’t want barbed wire running through Jerusalem, similar to the way it was prior to the ’67 war.”

And to this I can only respond: Give me a break!

Obama plans on visiting Israel next week. I do not expect a warm welcome.

Tel Aviv might launch free bus lines

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Anyone who ever had to take a bus in Tel Aviv knows how frustrating it can be. Different lines operate in different hours, and you have to learn in advance the line’s route and which lines are available for you from where. There is no apparent master plan; routes curl, curve, and even turn backwards(!) as they progress through the city. Some suburban neighborhoods, such as Sheekun Lamed, are almost completely cut off from public transportation.

The dominating bus company within the Tel Aviv metropolis is the Dan Cooperative.

Dan Tel Aviv Bus Routes
Current bus routes in central Tel Aviv

Well, the city has been trying to persuade Dan to revamp its route architecture, and to create a crisscross pattern of bus routes — such as the ones that operate in New York and Los Angeles, and in many other major cities around the world. But Dan, which is being partly subsidised by the government, doesn’t want to lose any money over this possible revamping.

To the rescue comes Deputy Mayor Peer Visner, representative of the Green Party, who proposes having the city sponsor about 10 bus lines that would run in north-south or west-east routes, and that would offer their services for free. Such a move would likely put much pressure on Dan and force it to reconsider its resistance to this much-needed change.

Only future will tell whether the plan actually materializes in the near future or remains to be another one of these electoral promises that are being thrown around in an election year.

Israeli Knesset humbly decorates its entrance wall with Lord Acton quote

Sunday, July 13, Last Updated 12:00 GMT

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JERUSALEM, Israel — In a rare move of self-awareness and humility, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, had been decorated this morning with a bold caption in white that reads “Ko’ach Mash’chit” — a translation of “Power Corrupts” to Hebrew. It is not clear yet whether this is a very elaborate prank or part of the entrance wall’s scheduled refurbishment, which has been in planning for several months now.

Israeli Knesset

The Knesset Spokesman, Giora Pordes, was very decisive about the manner. “The white painting was certainly not approved by any official authority, and that section of the wall was quickly fixed within the hour.

However, former Minister of Education, Yossi Sarid, expressed his disagreement with Mr. Pordes. “I did not expect this to happen, well, ever. But there was a very similar suggestion I submitted to the chairman in 1999 regarding the inscription of Lord Acton’s famous quote somewhere within the assembly hall itself. As you can imagine, there wasn’t much support among other Knesset members, and the suggestion was quickly forgotten.

Power Corrupts on Israeli Knesset
A Closer Look

Mr. Sarid has retired from the political life by now, although he remains influential via his weekly commentaries in various Israeli media. “I don’t know whose idea this was,” he continues, “but I think it comes at a very interesting time, and I hope it’ll be left up there, because, you know, it’s just true. At the end of day, power corrupts, and we lawmakers should have the minimal amount of humility to acknowledge that, to admit that we’re human. I don’t think it shows any disrespect — on the contrary, the public will only respect the legislative authority if it shows signs of ‘I’m willing to change; I’m willing to learn from my own mistakes’.

John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (known commonly simply as Lord Acton) is believed to be the originator of the famous dictum in 1887: Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

As indicated by Mr. Sarid, the mysterious white painting appears on the eve of Talansky’s cross examination, when PM Olmert is sunk up to his neck in corruption allegations. This weekend alone, another allegation surfaced in the media regarding his flight bills at the time when he was mayor of Jerusalem.

More answers are likely to clear up in the coming days, as government officials and Knesset bureaucrats will have to face with the aftermath of this successful prank and the implications it may have on the public atmosphere.

Luck doesn’t live here anymore

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Pais (pronounced “Pa’ees”) is the name of Israel’s only Lottery organization. For dozens of years, the weekly lottery raffle had been broadcasted on Israel’s Channel 1 (“A’rutz E’had”) every Tuesday evening.

Beginning July 1, the Pais raffle has moved to Channel 10. The show’s mythological host, Irit Anavi, will continue to entertain the Israeli gamblers from the show’s new TV studio.

Israeli Pais

Fireball Seen by Thousands both in LA and in Tel Aviv

Wednesday, July 9, Last Updated 10:00 GMT

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TEL AVIV, Israel — Last night, a massive fireball crossed the Israeli nightsky at around 8pm local time (18:00 GMT), traveling in an East-to-West bearing and disappearing above the Mediterranean Sea.

Police received tens of emergency calls regarding the mysterious object starting at 8pm in the Sharon province (6 miles north of Tel-Aviv) and up to 8:20pm in Haifa (59 miles north of Tel Aviv). People described sighting a bright light descending fast towards the sea, followed by a clear trail of smoke.

Meteor Illustration“I thought this was it; the end of the world”, recounts Eyal, a Ramat-Ha’Sharon resident. “I called my wife to the window, but by the time she arrived, the object had disappeared. I’m sure it caused a tidal wave wherever it landed. I still have goosebumps all over me.”

Some people speculate the event is related to the Iranian missile test conducted last night, since there weren’t any prior reports of an expected meteor shower.

Interestingly enough, very similar accounts were received by Californian police a week ago, July 2, as a bright fireball was seen zooming past the San Bernardino Mountains. Correspondingly, the LA event wasn’t expected by astronomers as well, and the location of the debris — if such debris exist — remains unknown.

We at OneJerusalem.com are the first to expose the link between these two mysterious events. Could they both be the result of the same asteroid slowly breaking apart after being caught in the Earth’s atmosphere?

With regard to last night’s occurrence, no clear photo has been made public yet. If you happened to film the event, please send us the footage and we’ll post it here with full credits.

Ice Skating in Israel

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SnowYes, it’s possible to ice skate in Israel! And especially now, in the hot summer days, there’s nothing more refreshing than dreaming of the Winter Olympics.

The most well known ice ring in Israel lies in the northern town of Metulla, just below the Hermon mount on the northeastern border. But for many years, we had used to have a large ice ring in the outskirts of Tel Aviv as well. It was called “Ach’la-Ke’rach”, which translates to “Cool Ice” in Hebrew. However, about five-six years ago, the place was burnt to the ground. Ironically, the ice could not stop the fire.

From that point on, residents in the center of Israel were left without an ice skating solution.

In 2004, Cellcom, one of the biggest cellular networks in Israel, erected a temporary ice ring in Rabin Square for two weeks. I personally remember how fun it was skating there with my younger brother, and perhaps this initiative was the thing that convinced several entrepreneurs to try and establish a new ice ring in Tel Aviv.

Two years ago, we saw the establishment of a small ice ring in Joshua Parks. However it didn’t survive long, and was forced to shut down after several months. Apparently it wasn’t profitable enough at the time.

And now, the final installment of our story…

This last September, the old Amusement Park in Tel Aviv, known as the Luna Park, inaugurated a new ice ring within the park grounds, titled iSkate. It measures 800 square meters in surface, and it operates 7 days a week. Nevertheless, admission prices are ridiculously high, at 70 shekels an hour, and when I came to check out their facility a few weeks back, the place was “dead empty”.

iSkate Tel Aviv

Will it manage to survive? Will the residents of Tel Aviv rediscover the joy of ice skating? I don’t know. Personally, I’m into rollerblading these days.

Wet Weekend

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For the fourth year in a row, Tel Aviv held its unofficial annual Water War. The event was organized by a group named Pharsh, and was inspired by similar events all over the world.

This last Friday, thousands of people arrived at Rabin Square, in the very center of Tel Aviv, just below the City Hall. Most came equipped with water guns, buckets, or simply with a mop cloth — and when the clock hit 3:15pm, the games began. There was only one rule: Drench everyone with as much water as possible and have as much fun as you want!

In order to save water, participants had been asked not to bring water from home, and to use the fountain’s water instead.

Tel Aviv Water Fight 2008
Photo by Flickr’s lamalama666

Tel Aviv is calling you tonight

In July 2003, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), proclaimed “The White City” of Tel Aviv as a World Cultural Heritage site, due the large number of buildings built in the city in the Bauhaus style.

Bauhaus in Tel Aviv

Every year since the UNESCO declaration, Tel Aviv celebrates its cultural heritage in an all-night festival all across the city. That festival, my friends, is happening tonight, Thursday July 3rd! Wherever you might stroll across town, you will encounter music performances, art displays, sporting events, and more.

Here’s a selected list of events happening tonight:

Tel Aviv University stays up all night, with free student movies, and a hip-hop concert that will showcase the famous Ha’Dag-Nahash alongside younger bands. It all starts there around 8pm.

White City celebrates in a White NightThe Banana Beach is hosting its own line of musicians. From 9pm and up to 4am, you could enjoy a fresh drink in the sandy beachside bar while listening to the Giraffes, Efrat Gosh, and Daniel Solomon. The bar will also display the movie Notting Hill on a large outdoor screen.

For all you romantic people, David Broza is holding a sunrise concert in the northern Ha’Tzuk beach. The music will start at 1am, and David himself will take to the stage at 3am. As far as I could find out, it’s all supposed to be free! And if you’d rather spend the night dancing, the southern Charles Chlore seaside park is having a wild dance party.

Jaffa Seaport, Tel Aviv’s Old Seaport, the Opera House, the Nach’lat Binyamin Market, Rothschild Boulevard — all these places will hold special events, such as public dancing, outside bazaars, and street performers.

In any case, feel free “to take it to streets” tonight, and I’m sure you’ll find something you enjoy.

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 editor@OneJerusalem.com for any contributions, comments, or questions.

Picture by NRG

Getting Lost in Tel-Aviv – Chapter 1

Tel Aviv is a marvelous city. I’ve been living here my whole life, and I still discover new things about it almost every day. There’s a lot going on under the surface: a lively music scene, ambitious infrastructure projects, countless events, and people from all over the world (I shall expand on this issue at some other time). One of my favorite activities is to stroll around the city and to discover new places that I never knew about, such as an old alley, a hidden park, or a new pub. The things I find in those walkabouts never cease to amaze me.

Getting lost in Tel Aviv

Last week I walked across the Yarkon River, Tel-Aviv’s landmark creek, which has a beautiful park alongside its shores. I entered the Bavli neighborhood — the easternmost neighborhood in Tel Aviv that sits on the banks of the river — and followed the pathway along the park.

Napoleon HillApparently, a small outdoor cafe had opened there two-three months ago, right at the edge of the water. They lined several wooden sofas on the grass and now offer around-the-clock service. The place looks incredibly romantic.

Then I strolled on and arrived at the point where the Yarkon River divides into two separate streams: One continues to be titled the Yarkon as it delves into the Joshua Parks — while the second, smaller, sibling quickly aligns itself along the Ayalon Highway, and is appropriately titled Ayalon Creek (mind you, the creek was there before the freeway).

This is a relatively quiet area of the park, virginal and wide. If you continue across the bridge, you arrive at the ancient archeological site Tel G’risa, which is commonly known as the Napoleon Hummock. It is a beautiful place, hidden from view, even as your car shoots across the nearby freeway, and on top the hummock you arrive at a round reconstructed structure that slightly resembles Stonehenge — at least this is the association that I came across my own mind.

The city has done a superb job in redesigning the surrounding parks in recent years, and it is now possible to ride a bicycle or simply walk along the pathways all the way from the Mediterranean Sea to Tel G’risa, and even farther.

Map Picture by Walla! Maps , Tel G’risa photo by Joshua Parks

Israeli Social Workers have been on strike for 3 months now, and counting

Human Narration on BNarrator.com

(Note: I fixed the post title. The strike has been going on for 3 months, and not for merely 5 weeks, as I incorrectly wrote before.)

Ministry of Welfare isn’t funding enough social workers relative to the population’s needs. In the southern Negev desert, for example, one young woman, fresh out of university, is treating 1,000 people, and she’s not even employed in a full time position.

Does anybody care?

Photo by Ynet

Daily Israeli – Weekend Recap

New Story MarkPressure is mounting on PM Olmert and his Ministers to make a decision regarding the captive soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. After long two years, a swap deal with Hezbollah has finally been drafted, and the only thing that’s required for its immediate execution is the government’s approval. Ehud’s wife, Karnit Goldwasser, made a public appeal over the weekend and urged PM Olmert not to delay this decision any further, and to bring Eldad and her husband back home.

Israeli and American Chiefs of Staff
New Story MarkAdmiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the United States’ Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a short and unscheduled visit to Jerusalem this Saturday, meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Rav Aluf (that’s the title) Gabi Ashkenazi. This is his second visit to Israel in 6 months. As a result, oil prices crossed the 140$ mark for the first time in history.

New Story MarkMinister of Justice Prof. Daniel Friedmann continues his crusade against the High Court, this time proposing to amend the “Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty” in such a way that it will not apply on immigration and border control issues. In other words, if this amendment is accepted by the Knesset — and that’s an unlikely scenario — Israeli officials will be legally free to deport any and all foreigners, including asylum seekers, without the High Court being able to intervene in the matter. Since Israel does not currently have a Constitution, Basic Laws are the closest thing we have so far, and playing with them is a very big deal.

Photo by AP

Where’s the professionalism?

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Avraham MarselTwo weeks ago I wrote about the possibility of Leonard Cohen including Israel in his summer tour. However, the Israeli producer Avraham Marsel got cold feet and canceled the show, in fear he might lose money in the end. He claims that he could not find major commercial sponsors for the show (such as the cellular companies) and since he does not intend to invest much of his own money in the project, he has no choice but to call it a No Show.

This is absurd! After 15 years, the one and only Leonard Cohen once again hits the road in what may be his last World Tour, and there is full willingness on his behalf to come here to Israel — but due to Marsel’s lack of professionalism, many thousands (and tens of thousands) of fans are left empty handed and disappointed.

I’d bet my ticket money that Cohen is just as disappointed as we are.

Photo by NRG

This month in Video – News Podcasts – Courtesy of HooQs

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