a different side of Israel

Category: Technology (page 5 of 5)

Internet in Israel, start ups in Israel, venture capital in israel, Israel hi tech, israel technology, tel aviv university, technion, weitzman institute

End of the Tank in Modern Warfare?

Losses so far sustained by Israeli armored forces in it’s incursion into Lebanon has many military analysts believing that heavy tanks and other armored vehicles are on their way out in modern warfare. In a previous posted article: A Hill Too Far? , it was noted that Israeli ground forces are facing the reality of fighting a very resourceful ‘street savvy’ enemy who are not only fighting on their ‘home pitch’ but in terrain very unsuited for heavy armor that is better adapted for fighting on more level surfaces.

The Hezbollah are already claiming to have taken out no less than three Israeli Merkava tanks, using a variety of anti-tank missiles, including Russian made Matis-M and French-made Milan missiles. Both of these are touted as being among the best anti-tank missiles in use today. This is not the first time that Israeli Merkava tanks have been destroyed by what have often been called “irregular militia fighters”. Palestinian fighters were able to take out at least two of these tanks in Gaza by planting large explosive charges and luring the tanks to roll over them before setting them off. The Merkava, and its Merkava II successor, have been reputed to be among the best designed fighting tanks in the world, as good, if not better, than the American made M1 Abrams Battle Tank.

The rocky, hilly terrain that consists of more than two thirds of Lebanon’s geographical makeup is difficult at best for heavy armor, including large 155 m/m mobile cannon, to move about easily; making them easy prey for militia-men who easily blend into the landscape and are able to fire their missiles and then disappear before being located by attack helicopters flying overhead. Tanks used by American and British Coalition forces in Iraq, while initially successful in their lightening sweep through mostly flat terrain in March/April 2003, have recently suffered substantial losses from “insurgent forces” using similar missiles and roadside explosive charges. These fighting tactics are very similar to those used by Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. Tank and other armor losses are having an increasing effect on the morale of the US led Coalition forces, with car-bomb and other types of attacks occurring almost daily in Iraq; and in ever increasing numbers.

The problems of armor units in modern warfare brings to mind a historical similarity in which heavily armored knights in the 14th century were killed frequently by lone enemy soldiers carrying newly developed matchlock muskets. Though calvary units on horseback continued to be an important part of military forces until the 20th Century, the romantic symbol of the knight, with his complete suit of body armor; and mounted on his likewise armored trusty steed, became a relic assigned to the annuls of history – like Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

The tank had already become a questionable piece of military hardware when mighty German Panzer Battalions, including the fearsome King Tiger II tank, proved too cumbersome to be effective enough in various combat conditions, not unlike those found today in Southern Lebanon. World military ordinance experts are no doubt studying the experiences of tank warfare in both Lebanon and Iraq, in order to determine whether this costly piece of military hardware may be on its way out in the ‘hit and run’ tactics of modern warfare; not unlike the armored knight in days of yore. the Israeli Mobile Video Content Site Launches is a new Israeli video site (Beta) created by Cellcom (mobile carrier) for its users. Cellcom users can now upload clips from their cell phones to this site. Here is number one viewed clip, you may recognize the name :)
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Safer Sex: Condoms Found to Block Cancer Causing Viruses

By Maurice Picow

It’s not just HIV/AIDS that people should be concerned about these days, when romantic interludes occur. A recent finding by an independent medical research organization, has found the regular use of condoms during sexual intercourse helps prevent the occurrence of cervical and other kinds of female genital cancers. The research findings concluded that use of these latex protection devices prevented vaginal warts and similar growths from forming as compared to test cases where partners had sex au natural. In fact those using condoms on a regular basis, female partners contracted these vaginal growths less than 50% of the time. The growths, found to be caused by certain viruses, were discouraged from forming due to condoms, proving that rubbers, though less enjoyable, are still one of the best bets for preventing disease, not to mention pregnancy.

The study, conducted among students at the University of Seattle, in the U.S. state of Washington, found that regular use of condoms during sex was even better than a use of recently introduced vaccine alleged to protect women against four different strains of human caused papillomavirus. Mr. James Allen, president of the American Social Health Association, said the “the findings are definite” in regards to the effectiveness of condoms.

Not only do condoms protect women against cancer, but for years now, their use has been proven to not only protect against fatal virus such as HIV/AIDS, but against other types of sexually transmitted diseases as well. Before the outset of AIDs in the early 1980s, use of condoms had already been proven to be invaluable for protection against a variety of diseases, including syphilis, gonorrhea, and others like herpes, a very common sexually transmitted disease which, though not fatal, can stay with those who contract it for life, flaring up from time to time, and making it’s victims literally miserable.

Young, sexually active couples, often think that using birth control pills is enough, if they only practice sex together and not with other individuals. This new study, participated in by female students between the ages of 18 and 22, has put new light in preventing female genital cancers, one of the most deadly cancers in women. While this new study is very reveling, it does contradict earlier studies made in which use of condoms during sex was inconclusive. Use of condoms while reducing the risks of contracting HIV/AIDS, does still not eliminate the possibilities of becoming infected, however, and the research panel still recommends that couples undergo full HIV/AIDs testing before become sexually active.

Israeli youth are at one of the worst risks, due to widespread non-use of condoms, although available virtually everywhere, and in an almost endless array of varieties, including many types that are designed to improve sexual enjoyment; and even some with flavors! And, as the prices for condoms have decreased proportionally in recent years, there’s simply no reason not to use them; except of course, selfish male “machoism”.

The next step, according to the panel, is to induce the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require condoms sold in America to include warnings that non-use of condoms will increase risks of cancer in women. The bottom line: better be safe than sorry, even if it’s less fun!

iPod use popularity Overrides Beer!

Adolf Coors and Anheiser Busch would turn in their graves if they found out what American college students considered to be the most popular thing these days. That’s right, beer drinking, that perennial past time for college students, has been overridden, at least temporarily, by a multi-media device known as the iPod. The device, created and manufactured by Apple Computer, ram-rodded by its phenomenal CEO, Steven Jobs, appears to be “the in thing” by American and many international college students as well. A visit to campus watering holes will show you that in many instances, students frequenting these places will be fingering their iPods instead of a beer stein or pool cue.

A recent market research study conducted in the U.S. State of New Jersey, indicated the 71 per cent of participating students were using these devices, now considered as most popular these days. This phenomenon has not happened since the introduction of the Internet, insofar as replacing ‘suds’ (or sex) as the pastime of choice among American college students.

Just what is an ‘iPod’ anyway, and what can you do with one. From a technical standpoint, an iPod is a portable multi-media player that Apple originally designed to store and replay all kinds of music as per request; sort of like a ‘mini-napster’ that you can carry around with you like a ‘palm computer’. The present line of iPods, now in their 5th generation, also includes video playback possibilities; and a model known as the iPod Nano has a color screen – like a mini TV. ‘Pods are now considered the world’s best selling digital audio player, containing ‘bundled’ software that allows uploading music, photos, and iPod music videos, known as iTunes. The device even has a ‘juke box’ application allowing it’s user to play a multitude of tunes at the choice of the user, virtually eliminating the desire to put those quarters into jukeboxes at neighborhood bars.

Apple’s phenomenal success with this device is no less phenomenal than the fortunes of Steven Jobs himself. Creating one the worlds first personal computers during the late 1970’s and early ’80s, he was later unceremoniously kicked out of Apple by his own boardroom, but came back more than ten years later to once again take over leadership of a company that had been almost pushed aside by PC’s that used software developed by Job’s nemesis, Bill Gates of Microsoft. Apple’s new innovations, especially with laptops (with the ‘help’ of Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and the City), continued to the first iPods, which came out just after the beginning of the Second Millennium.

Israeli ‘high tech jockies’ are also going ‘badoodles’ over this device, and ‘Pods can be seen nestled by their owners’ computers at work, as well as in local pubs and coffee houses.

While iPods will not permanently replace suds (after all, one must drink occasionally), they will definitely be in use by the young, and not so young, and will be popular for as long as new uses are created for it. Who knows, maybe the ‘feelies’ imagined by British writer Aldous Huxley in his 1932 futuristic novel, Brave New World, will become a new iPod ‘accessory’ as
well. Go for it Steve!

Web World: 71% of All Israelis Surf the Internet

By Maurice Picow

Internet in IsraelIt’s not the Beach Boys, but the Internet that seems to be the most popular thing in most Israeli homes nowadays. A recent survey conducted by the marketing survey firm TIM, part of TNS Tele-Survey, reveals that nearly 71% of all households in Israel are connected to the WEB. The study went on to show that of the ones who ‘surf’ regularly, 55% of men and 45% are women. Median ages of these web surfers are 30-49; and after age 50, the percentage drops off considerably (25% for those over 50). The study also indicates that education and financial circumstance also play an important role in who surfs the internet as well as which ‘on-line’ connections they use.

The survey firm, which also conducts similar studies in the USA, indicates that the higher the ‘surfer’ rises on the educational and financial success ‘ladder’ the more likely he or she will avail themselves to the marketing of products and services offered by obliging on-line companies offering everything from e-books, music, entertainment, airline tickets and vacation packages, to health products and even prescription drugs. Even more bizarre types of web marketing hype, especially for the male gender, can offer everything from penis enlargement ‘patches’ to Viagra and its generic derivatives, to potions guaranteed to make members of the opposite sex literally go crazy over some kind of ‘sex scent’ similar to that emitted by some animals (after all, we humans are animals when it comes down to the real nitty gritty).

The internet server company of choice is also determined by educational and financial clout. Folks more interested in simple pleasures and less in politics and long term investment strategies are more likely to click onto sites like Nana, YNet and similar ones offering things more appealing and less controversial to their ultra egos. After all, who wants to get bogged down in company quarterly financial progress reports or which political party gets a bigger share of the governmental budget ‘pie’. One can be connected to a site offering more sublime information such as which rock stars will be appearing next at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv or Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem. Even the email servers people use, whether from internet saavy firms like NetVision, or from the country’s still monopolistic oriented telephone company (Bezeq) which now claims to offer the best internet connection service (Bezeq Net) as well as the best cable TV programming network (HOT); with the one intention of endeavoring to keep it’s customers from choosing another alternative (if that’s not monopolistic, then pray tell me what is?).

Poor people, who are barely trying to get by on minimum salaries, and who have not gone up the educational ladder (especially those from certain ethnic groups) are least likely to ‘surf” and more inclined to engage in activities that once a larger segment of the population used to do, such as sit on their balconies, eating sun flower seeds or watermelon (depending on the season) and watching programs like “Yatzpan”, or Candid Camera (Israeli style) on the tube. Let all that high tech web jazz be done by those people driving their neat lease cars to work at Amdocs, etc.

Visit the Holy Land – Video for Tourists

For all those prospective tourists to Israel, this is an old one but still a good Summer clip.
Much thanks to KetaKeta.
Click Play…


Another Israeli Big Purchase: Microsoft Buys an Israeli Company

According to the Israeli news site “Ynet”, Microsoft International has decided to buy the Israeli company “Whale Communication” from Rosh Hahain. The deal is estimated at seventy to eighty million dollars.

The founders of Whale and owners are Daniel Shtainer, Elad Baron,
Yossi Morein and Moshe Livneh. They also own the company “Soft Link”, and will now be some of richest people in Israel. Whale was started in the Year 1998 as a local start-up company, dealing with a distant secured access to an organization’s inner network. The company since developed and started working also in Europe and in the States, but the mother branch remained in Israel.

Microsoft already informed the company’s employees about their purchase, and is due to deliver a formal massage very soon.

This move of Microsoft co-relates with its decision to turn Israel’s branch into a development center. This will lead to an expansion of Microsoft’s investments and interest in Israeli companies.

Cupid’s Arrows Missing Their Mark?

By Maurice Picow

In today’s fast paced, high tech oriented society, finding a suitable life partner is becoming more and more challenging. In modern Israel, especially for non religious females aged 25 and onwards, this ‘challenge’ is becoming an outright nightmare.

In the wake of several popular TV programs, including one entitled Take Them, Sharon, dealing with a young 30+ Israeli unmarried woman desperate to find a mate, single women are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the Israeli version of “Mr. Right”. In the case of the young woman in the ‘Sharon’ program she being exposed to no less than 25 eligible bachelors may not have resulted in her latching on to the man of her dreams, but it did result in excellent viewing ratings for the producing television station, Channel 2.

Both Israeli men and women are finding it increasing harder to meet compatible partners due to longer working days, often in the evening hours as well. While the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and local universities and colleges continue to be the ideal places to find potential mates, meeting suitable partners afterwards becomes more and more difficult. If a young woman is still single by her late 20’s, and especially early 30’s, she finds that men nearer her age often prefer younger women. “Men in this country are very ‘macho’ and self centered” one young woman named Yael was quoted as saying. “They are spoiled by their own mothers and expect a woman to not only do everything to please them (including of a sexual nature) but also to give up their (the woman’s) circle of friends and individual activities in order to cater to her boyfriend’s whims”.

Internet dating services, including JDate and Cupidon are widely used, and have been somewhat successful in helping alleviate the shortage of potential males. While many women swear by this ‘high tech’ method of meeting men, many others will not even consider it. Dangers of meeting psychological disturbed people are also one of the drawbacks of using this method.

With a higher ratio of women than men a reality in the Jewish State, the odds are definitely in the men’s favor. This factor is especially true when having children are concerned, as a woman’s ‘biological clock’ is striking 11 p.m. by the time she reaches her late 30s , while a man can be a grandfather and still be fertile (Playboy Corporation head Hugh Hefner fathered a baby girl at age 72).

While the situation regarding availability of ‘male material’ is not likely to improve, all women can do is live with this reality and not let it dominate their lives. As the old saying goes, compromise is the mother of invention, and perhaps it’s just as well to find “Mr Half-Right” than no partner at all.

Beating Swords into Ploughshares

combatants for peace_2

Recently I discovered a movement created by Palestinian and Israeli ex-combatants who have joined forces to fight for peace. Their organization is called Combatants for Peace.

From their website:

The “Combatants for Peace” movement was started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis, who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence; Israelis as soldiers in the Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for Palestinian freedom. After brandishing weapons for so many years, and having seen one another only through weapon sights, we have decided to put down our guns, and to fight for peace.

That only by joining forces, will we be able to end the cycle of violence, the bloodshed and the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. We no longer believe that it is possible to resolve the conflict between the two peoples through violent means; therefore we declare that we refuse to take part any more in the mutual bloodletting. We will act only by non-violent means so that each side will come to understand the national aspirations of the other side. We see dialogue and reconciliation as the only way to act in order to terminate the Israeli occupation, to halt the settlement project and to establish a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, alongside the State of Israel.

Last June, a group of those ex-combatants met at Beit Jala, a West Bank village near Bethlehem that borders the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Gilo, which is populated by Jewish Israelis. At the gathering, Israelis and Palestinians who had in the past fought one another, told their personal stories and discussed how they had arrived at the conclusion that violence is not the way to solve the conflict.

Excerpt from the talk given by Chen Alon, an IDF officer:

In 1987-1988, when I began chasing Palestinians, perhaps even one of you, who were throwing stones at us in the refugee camps, I was told, and also told my soldiers, that we were protecting the State of Israel…
In 2001, on my last night in the occupied territories, I demolished a house not far from here, in El Chader. Later on during the same day, we initiated a curfew over the village of Husan and I could see Arab girls, at the same age as my daughter, in the village which in fact became a jail. While looking at these young Palestinian girls on the embankment which blocked the village, I was speaking to my wife on the telephone. She was troubled, telling me that no one can bring our daughter Tamar home from the kindergarten, and that she must find a solution. The memory of my daughter and the reality of the routine and the simple daily problems had shaken me.

Excerpt from the personal story of Suliman al-Chatib, a Palestinian militant who spent 10 years in jail for stabbing Israeli soldiers:

Later on I was transferred to the Janad jail, near Shechem*, where I worked in the Jail’s library. This provided me with an opportunity to read a lot, also about the history of the Jewish people. In fact I acquired my entire education and constructed my worldview in jail. I never went to university, but I did attend the learning groups in jail every day. This is when I started having new thoughts about the conflict and the means for resolving it.
In 1997, after 10 years and 5 months in jail, I was freed. The Beer Sheva jail was my last prison. In spite of numerous difficulties, such as the separation wall, the curfews, the settlements and more, some of us, who are here today, have established the Abu Sukar Center for Peace. We believe that combatants, who personally paid a price for their active involvement in the conflict, are the ones who can significantly change the situation.


To our readers: We miss your comments!

Many of you may have noticed that we were inundated by spam in the comments for a couple of days. We tried to experiment with a system that would require reader registration, but we’ve since gone back to the old system because we realized that the anti-spam procedure was discouraging genuine commenters.

So go ahead and let us know what you think. We miss your feedback!

Israeli anti-Semitic cartoon contest

Anti Semitic Contest
A Danish paper publishes a cartoon that mocks Muslims.
An Iranian paper responds with a Holocaust cartoons contest.
Now a group of Israelis announce their own anti-Semitic cartoons contest!

Anti Semitic Caricatures Amitai Sandy (29), graphic artist and publisher of Dimona Comix Publishing, from Tel Aviv, Israel, has followed the unfolding of the “Muhammad cartoon-gate” events in amazement, until finally he came up with the right answer to all this insanity – and so he announced today the launch of a new anti-Semitic cartoons contest – this time drawn by Jews themselves!

Anti Semitic Caricatures“We’ll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published!” said Sandy “No Iranian will beat us on our home turf!” (read the rest here).

We think this is a fabulous example of Israeli irreverence. Nothing is sacred. And we like it that way.

Internet Society of Israel 10th Annual Event – Notes

The ISOC 10th annual event is winding down right now at the David InterContinental Hotel in Tel Aviv . This was my first time at this event, but I had a smoke outside with this lady from MSN and apparently the turnout was great. It seemed like a good turnout.

2006 Israel Internet Society 10th Annual Event
I thought the show was well organized and a great venue for the industry. I only attended day 1 (yesterday) and met some very interesting people. Definitely got a sense that the Internet buzz in Israel is back. Yes, it is back and it’s a little older and wiser. Hopefully we all are. The term of choice is Web 2.0 and all it means is that the we are looking at a more mature technological/business environment with multi format (text,video,mobile) shared content capabilities and better management tools. The infrastructure has improved, high bandwidth is spreading and the technologies are more readily available. The nice thing about the Internet is that even when you are way ahead of your time, way ahead is only 12 months away.

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Professor Haim Harari on Technology, Education and the new Internet Age

Some selected excerpts from the opening speech by Professor Haim Harari at the ISOC 10th Annual Event.

Professor Haim Harari, a theoretical physicist, is the chair of the Davidson Institute of Science Education. He was the president of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science from 1988 to 2001. In his career he has made major contributions to three different fields: particle physics research, science education, and science administration and policy. He lives in Israel.

Prof. Haim Harari has been using computers for 45 years. He is a well known physicist and scientist and not what he calls a professional/advanced Internet user. He makes the observation that today the gross domestic product of countries is technology based and not natural resources. He uses the following to explain the shift in global economy since the 1970’s: the gross domestic product in Germany in 2.5 weeks is equivalent to the GDP of 1 year in Iran. The gap created between countries in the new technology age in the world is growing.

Science & Technology are tools. They can be used to do good or bad. The analogy he brings is one of your own hands, you can choose to do good, caress or you can choose to hurt someone, and do wrong. The same can be said of the Internet.

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Visualizing the web with the DIMES Project and the Tel Aviv U guys

At the 10th Annual Israel Internet Society event I met a couple of great guys from Tel Aviv University, Dr. Yuval Shavitt and Eran Shir. They were showing in the main floor area of the show and as soon as I saw them, I liked them. Two guys with there faces buried in laptops, showing people this cool system (people slightly stunned), surrounded by what looks like weather and satellite images of the Internet. In short, my kind of people! I walked over and we started talking geek. It was great.

Turns out they are part of the Dimes project where they laid out a network of sensors (8,000 to date and growing) that provides an Ultrasound or EKG of the internet showing with a variety of visual tools how the web is wired. It’s an amazing thing to see the applications that display the massive amounts of data collected from their sample of volunteers. Oh, and the nice thing is that it has absolutely nothing to do with Google (Yet…).

Dimes Project Tel Aviv University

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Flash sites and search engine marketing

Flash is a dillema. There is no doubt it can deliver a powerful message and its a strong creative force. I am always amazed at some of the design studios out there and their work. In terms of search engines however Flash is a nightmare. Despite future/current initiatives that are supposed to make Flash “readable” to search engines the medium is still an unreadable black box. The Flash movie is a closed unit that can not be read. I keep thinking of ways to add custom Flash tags, maybe create a new standard for Flash content that will allow it to be indexed. I can’t help think that there is a great deal of Flash content that is not well represented in searches. Until that time Flash sites will need to rely on creative linking techniques and non-flash site components that can be read.

This is a random pick and I’ll try making it more often.
Noteworthy Flash Sites:

In terms of Flash design and using the medium to create online this brand development and design studio has an impressive portfolio. Interactive design for the stars if you please. GreatExposures Inc. is a Visual Design Studio in San Francisco, California. Their portfolio is very impressive and worth a few online minutes.

Bow Wow is a UK based Interactive Design and Marketing agency. Another great site and as a Pug owner I have to say, good choice. The perfect virtual host.

Jim Harrington is a great photographer. The site is a pleasure to navigate, simple yet powerful. It delivers the message and is a great showcase for his work. Dolly Parton, Lance Armstrong and a few of the people that Jim took pictures of. Another note worth mentioning, Flash is great when you want to protect you’re work. Although it’s possible to do just about anything online, this is still a great way to show visual content.

As an interactive advertisement, this minisite by Levis Jeans is cute. The site promotes their Princess Fit Jeans line.

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