a different side of Israel

Tag: News (page 1 of 17)

Medical Histadrut Permits Over-the-Counter Ritalin

RitalinThe Ethics Committee of the Medical Histadrut (Federation) will now be permitted to sell the psycho-stimulant drug that treats attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Ritalin (Methylphenidate) without a doctor’s prescription.

Professor Esther Shohami, a lecturer and researcher in the pharmacological department in the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine, is critical of the decision.

She told Yediot Achronot:

“A person who does not need Ritalin and only takes the medication to improve performance could cause certain things that were hidden inside him to erupt…There are people who arrive at the emergency rooms with psychotic seizures.”

The head of the IMA’s Ethics Board, Professor Avinoam Reches said:

“Everyone has the right to make the most of themselves so long as it doesn’t hurt or endanger others…Though a person may not suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, if Ritalin helps him concentrate then it is allowed. It is the same for memory-improvement drugs. If they help a person with slightly worsened cognitive skills then there is no reason not to give them to him…”

Reches stated, however, Israel will not assist in paying for the drug unless medical need has been proven. Students who need extra help during exams will have to pay the full price for Ritalin, and will not receive financing from their HMOs.

ISRAEL: Anat Not Cool…Do Non-Partisan Journalists Differ?

Graffiti in Israel
In an embarrassing moment for IDF intelligence, the Tel Aviv District Court has several days ago, cleared for publication the report that a journalist from Israel was accused of leaking top-secret information without authorization in an attempt to compromise the State’s security and possession of classified intelligence.

Anat Kam, 23, a reporter for the Walla news website, leaked secret documents which she had stolen from the army, where she served in the office of then-Central Command Chief Yair Naveh.

Kam’s attorney Avigdor Feldman claimed that she acted out of moral motives and not in an attempt to compromise state security and henceforth forwarded the materials to a journalist and not to “hostile elements”.

The public relations expert serving Kam, Nissim Duek, said:

“There is a very big gap between the media talk and the facts which will be revealed in court. The fact is that the court decided to place Kam under house arrest, despite the State’s motion to arrest her and allowed her to keep working as a reporter…Kam was exposed to documents together with hundreds of other junior soldiers, how is that to be explained if those were indeed so classified. How can one explain the fact that she was arrested over a year after the article’s publication? The security elements are trying to paint her as an enemy of the state and she is not.”

In November 2008, Uri Blau of Haaretz reported that the IDF had held discussions which revealed that the army ignored High Court rulings in regards to assassinations of Palestinians; and that the assassinations were carried out following orders given by the Northern Command, “even in cases in which the wanted terror suspects could have been arrested.”

Kam was arrested by the Shin Bet in December 2009, 13 months after the article was published, following an investigation sanctioned by IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and the then-Attorney General Menachem Mazuz.

Kam had burned the files onto a CD and uploaded them onto her personal computer after her release from army service. She then offered the classified material to another journalist, though not resulting in any published reports.

In September of 2009, Blau, through his attorney, handed the Shin Bet some 50 documents which he had received from Kam, as well as his computer, which was destroyed. However, the investigation discovered that Kam had copied and transferred more than 2,000 documents to the Haaretz reporter.

Some of the documents were of detailed plans for past and future IDF operations, combat doctrines, defense plans of Central Command, summaries of meetings between senior IDF officers, information on the deployment of IDF forces and lists of ways to deal with a possible heat up in the territories.

Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin referred to the affair as the most severe in Israeli history, considering the damage it might have caused to the country’s security.
Diskin defined the documents as “highly classified” saying:

“If these documents, even part of them, reach enemy hands or foreign intelligence agencies, this could cause serious, ongoing security damage and danger to IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens…You don’t need to be an expert in information security to understand how much dangerous information there is here.”

Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalist Judith Miller addressed the affair in her blog, saying that Blau was staying in London in order to avoid the Shin Bet:

“What is being called the ‘Anat Kam affair’ has produced its own anomaly: Since details about the inquiry have begun spilling out into the non-Israeli press, Israelis can only gossip about what the non-Israeli media are reporting. Violating such gag orders in Israel can result in severe financial penalties for Israeli newspapers and magazines and jail for editors and other media executives…Israel, like the United States at the federal level, also has no shield law that protects journalists from being forced to reveal the sources of their stories… “

Topolanek You Dog

The Czech Republic’s former prime minister, Mirek Topolanek announced his resignation as chairman of his conservative political party last month after coming under fire for his comment about Jews, gays and the Catholic Church.
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek
Topolanek was reported to have said about the Czech Transport Minister Gustav Slamecka,

“He is a homosexual who ‘gives in’ when he faces a serious problem”.

Regarding Prime Minister Jan Fischer, he said,

“He’s simply a Jew; he’s not gay and he gives in even sooner.”

In addition to this vulgarity, Topolanek accused the Roman Catholic Church of “brainwashing” their believers.

Topolanek subsequently admitted that his words were misinterpreted. He called the press leak which published his comments a “provocation,” and he apologized on March 21 — the day the popular Czech tabloid newspaper “Blesk” published his comments.

Topolanek said:

“I apologize to gays — friends of mine and others…I apologize to church members — those I know and those I don’t know. I apologize to Jews — politicians and all the others…I apologize to the citizens.”

Last year he made international headlines when as prime minister of the country holding the European Union rotating presidency, he described the manner that U.S. President Barack Obama was dealing with the economic crisis as the “road to hell.”

A Snuff Film on 8 O’Clock News

A young man died yesterday after hours of excruciating pain. He and his friends accidentally wandered into a mine field in the north of Israel. A mine explosion got his leg blown up, bleeding for hours on the ground. Finally, the rescue helicopter that had come to — well, rescue him — didn’t tie his stretcher properly and he fell from a great height and died instantly.

His family and friends hasn’t had time to absorb the news. Some of them were probably not even yet notified of his fate. And the man hasn’t been buried yet! But both Channel 10 News and Channel 1 chose to broadcast the video footage in which the man is seen suffering, and then dying — all of it was captured by the camera, making a true snuff film. In addition to the extremely insensitive decision to broadcast the footage, viewers were not warned in advance that they are about to watch a real man dying… A real man who died just an hour or two ago.

Is it because the dead man was an Israeli-Arab that it’s OK to turn his death into a cheap entertainment spectacle?

I am deeply ashamed of both Channel 10 and Channel 1 for their actions and decisions last night, and I expect them to make a sincere apology and to take measures that would prevent such a thing from happening again.


Apparently Channel 2 News has added the video footage to its Mako web site. I think this too is extremely inappropriate.

Loving Yonit Levi

Yonit LeviYonit Levi is Channel 2’s anchor goddess.

She has been having a few bad days lately after some comments and gestures she made about the plight of the Palestinian population pissed off a bunch of viewers that write the talk backs on some of the news sites. In fact these hotheads went as far as putting up a petition online (now closed) calling for her dismissal and they got 35,000 signatures. Things got so bad that the people at the competing Channel 10 actually proclaimed their support and that they were standing behind her.

Apparently things got to the point that she was receiving some violent threats from a bunch of yahoos and a talk from her bosses asking her to tone down her alleged reactions. Now to be fair, Yonit Levi, is an extraordinary anchor woman. Aside from being a real hottie, she is a sharp, articulate, intelligent, very factual and professional anchor woman (you get we like her right?). She is sometimes called “The Ice Queen” for her cold, almost detached, professional approach. Personally, I think its wonderful and refreshing compared to some of the mindless, mushy twits we see on TV.

This war has received unprecedented support in Israel. Maybe as a result of the last war – that many felt was a slap in the face with the bumbling idiots that were running the show. Maybe its the fact that we had enough of turning the other cheek and getting shit on by a bunch of fundamentalist hate mongers. We feel like this is a just war and we won’t take any criticism for it.

In a post a while ago I discussed Fox News as an example of how low TV News Channels can take the news and the absurd of having to sell yourself as “Fair and Balanced” when that’s the last thing you ever will be. Yonit Levi is ACTUALLY fair and balanced and doesn’t need to sell it. She has been doing this for a long time and has been presenting the news in professional even tone, void of personal views and opinions.

In short, Yonit we love you ! Keep up the great work.

Two years without Yaakov


Two years ago, on the eve of August 24, 2006, Ya’akov Ratz’abi went missing in Tel Aviv. Yaakov was a hostel resident under the supervision of Akim, the National Association for the Habilitation of the Mentally Handicapped in Israel.

On that Thursday evening, two years ago, Yaakov, his fellow hostel residents, and several guides, visited the Tel Aviv seaside promenade, having a fun night-out. As the guides were gathering everyone on the beach to go back to the hostel, they had noticed Yaakov was missing.

From that moment on, a fervent search for Yaakov swept the streets of Tel Aviv and all neighboring cities. Thousands of people, including the Scouts, had helped Akim and the police look for Yaakov anywhere possible. The search went on for months, and the story was also featured several times in the news. However, to this day, no one knows where Yaakov is and what had happened to this delicate soul since he abruptly disappeared two years ago.

If you happen to see a tall man in his 60’s, with gray hair, who speaks clumsily, and has a large square scar on the back of his neck, please report to the police.

Go here for some more details.

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.

PhillyD.TV News About Cancer

Very fast talking but worth a listen. Cell phones, Cancer, Obama and other news.
Brought to you by PhillyD.TV


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

The Money Trail

Human Narration on

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.

Coming Up This Week

Human Narration on

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

Human Narration on

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

Human Narration on

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.

Fireball Seen by Thousands both in LA and in Tel Aviv

Wednesday, July 9, Last Updated 10:00 GMT

Human Narration on

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 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.

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

Older posts

© 2023

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑