News Highlights – July 2009
Israel - A High Tech Giant
As recognition of Israel's R & D reputation in the high tech world, the country has been chosen to chair the largest international R & D networking organization. Israel is the only non-European member of the 40 countries belonging to the organization. During the one year allotted for this post, Israel is permitted to set the agenda of the organization and focus on items of national interest.
Locally, the high tech brainpower offered by the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, has brought together two organizations for a joint project. The Kibbutz Industries Association and the Technion have announced a cooperation for developing new ideas in the fields of plastics and water .The initiative will have the support of the Government's Department of Industry and Commerce.
The Divan Orchestra set up by the internationally renowned Israeli conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim, includes musicians from many Middle Eastern countries including Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, Palestine and Israel itself.
Daniel Barenboim emphasized the need for Arabs to understand the historical hardships of the Jewish people and he also stated that Israelis are never going to realize peace while there is Israeli military control of Palestinian territory.
He mentioned that he does not accept the idea that his orchestra should be used for political purposes, but agreed that the orchestra's members could create new avenues for interaction, cooperation and understanding.
The Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development has agreed on an environment - friendly tourist project that will provide much needed jobs for those living in the Meggido,Yokneam, Osfia and Daliat El Carmel municipal areas.
The green project will open the area up to tourism and be in line with the government's stated policy on environment - friendly projects.
The first 100 years
Next year will be the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the first kibbutz in Israel – Kibbutz Degania - on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Several events and activities will be held throughout Israel to celebrate this very important milestone.
Interviews are taking place at this time to appoint an overall manager of the events.
The celebrations will bring esteem to the more than 250 kibbutzim spread out throughout Israel.
The Economic Situation
Isracard and one of the kibbutz movement's organizations joined forces to form a new car leasing company for the private market. The joint venture will offer leasing over a period of three years at preferential rates similar to those available in the commercial market.
Further positive developments have been recorded on the stock market, where the value of kibbutz enterprises has increased and regained some of the massive drop in value caused by the collapse of the global stock markets over the past year.
Exports are however still suffering from the recession as the first half of 2009 recorded a drop of one third in exports as compared with the same period in 2008.
The kibbutz movement expressed disappointment with the low budget granted by the government for improvement of the infrastructure on Kibbutzim.
A figure of only 35 million shekels was granted for kibbutzim and moshavim.
The movement stated that it was hoped that the figure would be increased in the future as the amount granted was only a small fraction of the two billion shekels required for infrastructure projects.
Israel caused a major upset in world tennis by defeating Russia in the quarter finals of The Davis Cup. Israel will meet Spain in a very tough semi final.
The Maccabi games took place in July and several kibbutz sports persons did well and some earned medals. One woman swimmer earned five medals.
The Israel mountain bike track championships were held in Haifa and some kibbutz riders earned places on the podium.
One of the USA's most wanted criminals was arrested in an apartment in Tel Aviv. The 33 year old, a senior member of the Klu Klux Klan was cornered after a joint Israel Police, Interpol and FBI operation. Over a period of many months the dangerous criminal changed identities in Israel several times as well as addresses.
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