News Highlights March 2009
A new Israeli government was sworn in at the stroke of midnight on the last day of March.
The new government is headed by Binyamin Netanyahu and is a coalition of several parties ranging from the center-left Labor Party to the smaller right wing parties. The Likud is the ruling party and is lead by the Prime Minister . It is hoped that the such a wide coalition will last the full term and take Israel forward in peace and prosperity, including peace with a further Palestinian state.
Now the world is looking to the G20 summit in the UK to find a formula for stimulating the global economy and ending the deep economic recession currently experienced by the world's 20 largest economies .Success in this area will go a long way towards assisting individual economies throughout the world.
On the economic front, the new Israeli government will have its hands full while trying to move the Israeli economy forward. This will also have a direct impact on Kibbutz industries which constitute close to ten per cent of the Israeli economy.
Some notable news items involving kibbutzim are as follows:
The Kibbutz Movement (KM)
The KM is a vital central organization that promotes the kibbutz way of life in its many varied forms.
The KM is divided into five departments – Administration, Community Affairs, Assistance and Guidance, Economic Affairs, National Goals.
Each department has several objectives, some of which are listed below:
Administration – strategy, personnel, legal, committees.
Community Affairs – education, culture, growth and absorption, health, renewal.
Assistance and Guidance – social security, assisting troubled kibbutzim, regional growth,
Economic Affairs – pensions, salaries, land and buildings, water, economic development, statistics,
National Goals – youth movements, national service, new kibbutzim.
The Foreign news channels usually paint a bleak picture of relations between Israel and other countries in the Middle East. However, in reality there are ongoing dialogs in many areas of mutual interest and also extensive trade relations.
Even Iranians do not shy away from contacts with Israelis. At the recent International Agricultural Exhibition in Paris, Israeli's and Iranians exchanged information on agricultural issues. A journalist from an agricultural magazine in Iran explained that Iran has 60 million sheep and 10 million goats. Their irrigation system is a combination of the very old from biblical times and the very modern and most updated systems.
The Israeli and Iranian farmers expressed regret that they are limited to occasional contacts at international fairs due to the reality of the political situation between the two countries.
Israel attracts several thousand immigrants each year from many countries around the world. Recently some religious families from Yemen arrived in Israel.
Some immigrants make Kibbutzim their homes and today's kibbutzim can offer immigrants a combination of capitalism and socialism. The majority of kibbutzim have opted for privatization and have become similar to moshavim or small towns while others have retained their communal identity.
A series of seminars have commenced whereby volunteers can learn about Israel and about Israeli society.
During 2008 some 1,500 volunteers worked on 35 kibbutzim for a period of several months. These volunteers came from Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Germany, UK, Sweden, USA,Venezuela and Ecuador.
During their stay volunteers are introduced to the realities and to the richness of Israeli life.
Over the years many volunteers have decided to settle in Israel and particularly on the kibbutzim where they volunteered.
Although it is rare, volunteers in border communities can be exposed to the dangers caused by border incidents. Such an incident occurred during the last two years. A monument was set up in memory of a volunteer from Ecuador who was killed by cross-border sniper fire. The ceremony was attended by the Ecuadorian Ambassador.
On the whole Israel's cities, towns and outlying areas are relatively safe and certainly safer than similar areas in most western countries.
New International Airport
The government approved a project for the establishment of an international airport in the Jezreel Valley. Kibbutzim, Moshavim and the city of Afula objected very strongly to this plan as it would disturb the pastoral nature of the Jezreel Valley. However the objections fell on deaf ears.
Large jets are expected to land on and take off from runways close to Megiddo junction and the road leading to Afula. These jets are expected to come in to land over the roof tops of Afula and take off over the kibbutzim and moshavim adjacent to the Menashe and Hazorea forests.
The 18th Maccabi Games
The 18th Maccabi Games will take place in Israel from 12th to 23rd of July.
The Maccabi Games is recognized by The International Olympic Committee and is one of the largest sporting events in the world. It is expected to attract more than 8,000 competitors from all continents.
The opening ceremony will be held at The Ramat Gan stadium near Tel Aviv and the sporting events will be held in cities and towns throughout Israel.
Approximately 60 countries from around the world will be competing in the athletics, swimming, soccer, tennis, table tennis ,waterpolo,judo,karate,volleyball,rugby,cricket,baseball,basketball,gymnastics,hockey and many other sports categories.
The largest contingent will come from Israel represented by the country's top Jewish and Arab sportsmen and sportswomen. Several athletes from kibbutzim will represent Israel and compete against some of the world's top sportsmen and sportswomen.
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