News Highlights July 2010
The First 100 years
The year 2010 is the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of Kibbutz Degania, which was the first kibbutz to be established in Israel.
President Shimon Peres opened the official centenary celebrations. Shimon Peres paid tribute to the contribution of the kibbutzim to the development of Israel.
As part of the celebrations the kibbutzim have organized a treasure hunt and thousands of people are active in searching for the treasure, especially as there are big prizes on offer including a new car and air tickets for a journey around the world.
The kibbutzim formed the backbone of the country before Israel gained independence in 1948 and during the first few years after independence. There was an experienced infrastructure in place because of the kibbutzim and many notable persons from kibbutzim took part in the political and defense organizations as the new state came into being. The kibbutzim were also the bread basket of Israel providing a large percentage of the country's food needs.
The kibbutzim formed a large part of Israel's economy and even today nearly ten per cent of the country's economy is derived from kibbutz enterprises.
Cooperation between Jews and Arabs in Israel is an integral part of life and one recent term of office is a good example of this cooperation.
An Israeli Arab woman student recently completed a double term of office as students' association chairperson of a leading educational institution in Jerusalem.
She was chosen twice by Jewish and Arab students to serve as chairperson of the important student body.
Mervat Hakroosh stated that it is not easy for an Arab woman in Israel to lead the students' body of a major institution. She claims that her upbringing in a mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood in Acre helped considerably in her demanding position.
Mervat claims that a better education is needed so that people can understand the different cultures in the country and this in turn can bring about change and progress.
She stated that she is proud of the contribution she made to the educational institution and enjoyed the extra challenge of coming from a minority group.
More than 100 Jews from around the world met online for a brainstorming session which lasted for a few days. The aim was to produce concrete ideas to move Israel forward socially, culturally and economically.
These sessions have been running for five years now and the results have been encouraging. Jewish and other communities around world have been exposed to another side of Israel and not only the widely reported incidents that happen in and around Israel.
Other countries have been exposed to the rich culture and advanced technologies of Israel, which has brought about a better understanding of Israel.
There are many examples of people coming to Israel to experience the country and its people first hand. There are also many examples of Israeli music and art being well received in some countries of the world.
These brainstorming sessions have also resulted in many joint initiatives in the fields of music, art and business which has meant that Jewish communities and others around the world can be positively involved in the advancement of the Israel and in some of the crucial issues that face the country.
An Israeli archaeological team is uncovering a building in Hazor in the North of Israel dating back to the Bronze Age some 3,800 years ago.
A significant find of two tablets has been unearthed written in a language similar to that written at the time of Abraham.
The tablets contain laws pertaining to the relationship of slaves to their masters and are written in one of the earliest languages known to man. The laws were written with a reed on the clay tablets. The tablets also depict laws relating to various interactions in society and the punishment that had to be meted out for breaking the law. The laws written on the tablets are similar to those that have been found in the past covering the codes of conduct in Babylon.
Israel is literally covered with many archaeological digs that in many cases have uncovered significant finds and proved some aspects of the bible and the history of ancient Israel. Archaeology is also a hobby in Israel and thousands of hobbyists have uncovered remnants of Israel's past.
The Future of 400 Children
For several years Israel has turned to overseas workers for agriculture and for tending the elderly and the sick. Many of these workers have given birth to children in Israel.
There has been a long standing debate about the future of children born to the foreign nationals. These children have grown up in Israel and have not experienced the very tough conditions experienced in the countries of their parents' birth.
After a lengthy debate in Israel's Parliament, The Knesset, the government voted to allow 800 children to remain in Israel and for another 400 to be deported. There was uproar on both sides about the decision, some saying that all should be deported and others saying that only 400 should go.
The sad faces of the children outside the government offices in Jerusalem have prompted a lot of sympathy for these children.
The kibbutz movement has stepped in and is drawing up a plan to try and absorb these children into as many kibbutzim as is possible.
Overseas Volunteers in IDF
Each year hundreds of Jews of all ages from around the world come to Israel to serve as volunteers in the army. Many of them have no intention of ever living in Israel, but they wish to make a contribution and get a feel of the Israeli experience.
The volunteers are assigned to groups of 20 to 30 people and are sent to various kibbutzim throughout the country. They undergo a preparatory program of a few months and then are drafted into the sections of the army best suited to their abilities.
Many of the volunteers are children of Israelis who emigrated from Israel and who feel the need to be connected to their roots. Some volunteers are children of people who made Aliyah and who returned to their countries of origin. Their children had the chance of getting a feel of Israel and later on they decided to return here to be part of the Israeli experience.
College of Alternative Medicine
Kibbutzim are constantly on the lookout for new and profitable business opportunities so that they can ensure a sound economic future for the members for generations to come.
A kibbutz in the north of Israel has come up with the idea of establishing a college for alternative medicine, as this branch of medicine is widely accepted in Israel.
The innovators of this project believe that the direction and concentration of their branch of medicine is different to that of the many other institutions already existing in Israel. They believe that this difference is the added value that the project brings to the kibbutz and to Israel.
The project will also take advantage of the large number of botanical species in the area that can be used for medicinal purposes.
In addition the college will offer the study of Chinese medicine and Shiatsu.
The kibbutz hopes that this business venture will eventually be a respected member of its well known and successful group of business ventures.
Advances in Agriculture
Israel has been praised by the international community for its many scientific and technological advances in the field of agriculture.
A research institute has been operating for the past ninety years and is dedicated to advancing agriculture in all its forms.
Agriculture in Israel is highly scientific in many areas and this serves to provide the country with top quality produce and also with many new technological innovations.
Israel and the kibbutzim have provided the world with hundreds of new systems, ideas and technologies in the field of agriculture.
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