News Highlights October 2009
The First 100 years
During Succoth Kibbutz Degania, the first kibbutz in Israel, starting planning for the centenary celebrations.
Next year will be the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the first kibbutz in Israel.
Several events and activities will be held throughout Israel to celebrate this very important milestone.
The celebrations will bring esteem to the more than 250 kibbutzim spread out throughout Israel.
From China to Israel
A group of seven young Jewish Chinese men made Aliyah to Israel in the past month. They are from the Jewish community which has inhabited the banks of the Yellow River for more than 1,000 years.
The new immigrants will spend their first few months in Israel learning Hebrew at an Ulpan at a religious kibbutz in the North of Israel.
The Jewish population of China has dropped over the years to only about a thousand people and the new immigrants said that given the chance, at least half of those would immigrate to Israel.
Iranian armaments intercepted
The Israeli Navy intercepted a freighter about 150 km's from Israel's Mediterranean coastline. The captain claimed that he was carrying only civilian cargo, but the navy decided to board the ship and undertake an inspection. After the initial inspection it was decided to tow the ship into Israeli territorial waters and to conduct an intensive search.
The more detailed search revealed a massive cargo of armaments enough to wage a war for a whole month. The cargo was destined for the Hezbollah in Lebanon so that they could use the armaments for a new war with Israel.
Notwithstanding the success of interception of the ship, it is believed that the Hezbollah has already accumulated a massive amount of military hardware and all this right under the noses of the UN peace keeping force who are supposed to monitor such activities.
A new early warning system
The defense force has announced that the civilian population will receive much more accurate information during future wars.
Sensors that detect incoming rockets will now be able to send immediate messages to the cell phones of all civilians who live in the area where a rocket is predicted to land.
The new system will give civilians more time to react and take cover and especially those people who are in the direct line of fire of any particular rocket.
A very important advantage of the system is that only persons in the immediate danger area will be alerted rather than the present system where hundreds of thousands of civilians are sent scurrying for shelter during a general air raid warning.
The new air raid warning system is expected to be operational within two years.
Citrus Fruit makes a comeback
After years of relative stagnation the citrus industry is making a comeback with new strains of citrus fruit, including mandarins, which have been developed by kibbutz agriculture.
The new mandarins are also profitable as they ripen just at the time that there is a shortage in Europe and producers are able to reap the benefits of higher market prices.
Approximately 220,000 dunam of land is under citrus cultivation and this is expected to yield about 800,000 tons of citrus fruit. Some 300,000 tons of the produce is expected to be exported.
Everyone has a chance
150 people live in the Kishurit community where they can lead relatively normal lives.
All members of the community are either mentally or physically challenged and would find it difficult to integrate into a society where members of the community do not have mental or physical challenges.
The community is organized and run according to kibbutz values and a kibbutz has been reestablished next to the community so that parents and family of the challenged community can be close to their children and families.
Israel and the Diaspora
The largest Diaspora community by far is that of the USA with a Jewish population slightly greater than Israel itself.
This major Jewish community is reflecting on the future and the widening gap between Israel and the Diaspora.
The two communities have different priorities. The American community is struggling to preserve Jewish identity which is under threat from continuing assimilation. Israel on the other hand is struggling with the very poor press it receives in the world and the threats of countries in the region.
Both communities are trying to assist their members better understand one another by arranging for youth visits in both directions.
For many years the kibbutzim have tried to educate people from other countries about the real Israel and also about kibbutz life. It is hoped that these volunteers will act as ambassadors for Israel in many foreign countries.
One very satisfied Philipinian resident of Israel recently showed her enthusiasm for Israel and made history by creating the largest Israeli flag ever made. The flag was laid out over an area of six dunam so that an airplane could photograph the flag for the Guinness book of Records.
A Taste of Culture
The Kibbutz Symphony Orchestra opened its new season as concert goers rushed for season tickets.
A South Korean violin soloist with the Kibbutz Symphony Orchestra opened the new season with a performance of a Beethoven violin concerto.
During this season the orchestra is expected to give 120 concerts throughout Israel.
This year the Orchestra will also perform in front of thousands of elementary school children as schools are showing a growing interest in classical music.
Overseas readers are invited to provide us with feedback regarding our monthly news bulletins.