News Highlights May 2014


     1. The Kibbutz Movement – the second 100 years.

 2. The Israelis.

  3.  Israeli Towns.

  4.  Israeli Kibbutzim.

  5. Kibbutz Enterprises.

     6. The U.S.A. plan for the West Bank.

     7. Israel at the World Cup.

     8. The Virtual Periscope.

     9. The Indigenous People of Israel.

     10. Finding Your Dream Job.

     11. Best Actress in Monte Carlo.

The Second 100 years

After many years of declining numbers Israel's kibbutz movement is staging a revival, with many potential members wanting to join privatized kibbutzim or the relatively few unique collective communities.

The total kibbutz population of about 143,000 is the highest in its 104-year history. More people are now joining kibbutzim than leaving and the addition of working-age adults and young children is helping to redress the balance of an ageing population.

Most kibbutzim have implemented reforms so as to become commercially viable. Privatization with differential incomes and home ownership has increased the attractiveness to newcomers reluctant to commit to pure communal principles.

Increasing numbers of families are attracted to kibbutz living by the quality of education, environment, space and security. The kibbutz enterprises also provide thousands of job opportunities.

For more than 20 years there have been attempts to regulate construction and growth on kibbutzim. In recent years there has increased difficulties and construction was suspended several times due to various government claims. The kibbutz movement will not accept collective punishment. We will work together to ensure proper and fair conduct.
The kibbutz movement wants to be at the center of development and construction. The housing crisis severely affects the younger generation's chances to build a life and we want young families to be able to build a life on kibbutzim. The kibbutzim wish to build tens of thousands of apartments which will both create affordable housing for our children and for the many thousands who seek to join a modern day kibbutz.

An Arrangement must be found to allow construction, development growth, employment and decent living hundreds of kibbutzim across the country. We need to remove the bureaucratic obstacles created by the government.

The Knesset Finance Committee is discussing a budget of an amount of NIS 170 million to upgrade infrastructure in outlying areas. The idea is to rehabilitate the kibbutzim and moshavim that are in real distress.

Back in 1952 Ben Gurion asked a dairy worker to get permission from his kibbutz to take up the position of Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Defense. The dairy worker was just 29 years old but Ben Gurion believed that he was important for the country. The worker approached his kibbutz and a vote was held at a general meeting whether or not to allow a kibbutz member to work outside the kibbutz. That was the way the kibbutzim operated in those days. The members of Alumot voted in favor and the dairy worker, Shimon Peres, was granted leave to serve the country as Deputy Director General of Defense. Shimon Peres was instrumental in building Israel's Defense industry including its nuclear capacity. He also served in numerous ministerial posts including that of Prime Minister. He is of course Israel's current President.

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 established 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. Kibbutz enterprises diversified over the years and now cover almost every type of business and account for about 8% of Israel's economy.

The Israelis – Shafi Goldwasser

Shafi Goldwasser has made fundamental contributions to cryptography, computational complexity, computational number theory and probabilistic algorithms. 

In 2013, Professors Goldwasser and Micali were awarded “the Nobel Prize in computing,” the Alan M. Turing Award presented by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).  Named after the British mathematician who defined the mathematical foundation of computing and helped break the German Enigma code during World War II, the ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society.

Goldwasser and Micali created new mechanisms for how information is encrypted and secured, work that is fundamental to today’s communications protocols, Internet transactions, and cloud computing.  The ACM credited them with “revolutionizing the science of cryptology” and with developing the gold standard for enabling secure Internet transactions.

Goldwasser is the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and a Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.  She leads the Theory of Computation Group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

Israeli Towns – Metulla


Metulla was founded in June 1896. Most of the founders were immigrants from Russia.

At the end of World War I, Metula was in the area of French military occupation. The 1920 boundary agreement between Britain and France stated that Metula was to be under British control, but it was not until 1924 that the change to British control was complete. During the intervening years, the residents of Metula took part in elections for the Lebanese parliament.

In modern Israel, Metula is known as a wealthy town popular as a tourist destination, especially for Israeli schoolchildren during summer vacation.

During the 2006 Lebanon War, Metula became a ghost town as its population temporarily fled to escape Hezbollah rocket fire. The town was hit by 120 rockets during the war.

The Good Fence was a border crossing from Metula to Lebanon opened in 1976 and closed in 2000 after Israel's withdrawal of Lebanon. The border crossing allowed the population of southern Lebanon to find jobs in northern Israel, access health services, attend school in Israel, and transport goods.

Winters are usually cold and wet, with an average annual rainfall of 900 mm, while summers are warm and dry. The river Nahal Ayoun has its sources in Lebanon, about seven kilometers north of Metula.

Metulla has approximately 1,500 residents.

Israeli Kibbutzim – Beit Hashita

Beit HaShita was founded in1928 by members of the "Kvuzat HaHugim" of the HaMahanot HaOlim movement from Haifa and Jerusalem. The kibbutz was named after the biblical town of the same name, where the Midianites fled after being beaten by Gideon (Judges 7).

Beit Hashita served as the basis for the 1981 English language book Kibbutz Makom, which described the kibbutz society.

The kibbutz has been privatized and today has a population of approximately 1,000. Many of the member families of the kibbutz are secular; therefore the kibbutz is defined as a secular kibbutz.

Beit Hashita is Israel’s leading pickling factory. Since its establishment in 1938, the factory has developed increasingly, and the Beit Hashita brand name has become synonymous with quality pickles and product variety.

 Beit Hashita’s pickling factory was among the first industrial initiatives in the Jezreel Valley in general, and within the kibbutz movement in particular.

The kibbutz members decided not to surrender to the seasonal fluctuations in the agriculture industry, and they built a factory to provide themselves with employment during the months in which agriculture has lesser demands.

Thus, ten years after the inception of Beit Hashita, kibbutz members began pickling olives and cucumbers in the newly established pickling factory. Over the years, more vegetables were added to the pickling repertoire: assorted vegetables, hot peppers and pickled eggplant and cabbage. At the same time, Beit Hashita began producing an increasing variety of pickled cucumbers and olives.

In 1998, Osem purchased 51% of the factory’s shares and merged Beit Hashita with the Asis Company.

Since 2004, Beit Hashita has been fully owned by Osem.

The rate of consumer preference for Beit Hashita products is the highest in the industry.

85% of consumers of pickled goods claim that they intend to buy Beit Hashita products.


Kibbutz  Sedot Yam has sold 5.5 million CaesarStone shares for 930 million shekels.

Caesarstone  has a market cap of $ 1.7 billion. Kibbutz Sedot Yam  has sold 5.5 million shares  at a value of approximately $ 268 million (930 million shekels). The sale reduces the kibbutz's  percentage ownership from   51%  to about 35 %.
The kibbutz wants to convert some of its shares into cash, enrich its reserves and indirectly also the current accounts of the members of the kibbutz.

The company reported the results of the first quarter of this year  and recorded an increase of 23.5% in revenues to $94.4 million, compared to revenues of $76.4 million last year. The net income on a GAAP basis is approximately $ 13.3 million, compared to $10.5 million last year.

CaesarStone has also raised its revenue forecast for 2014 to a total of $420-430 million compared to the previous forecasted amount of 410-420 million. The company also raised its forecast for annual EBITDA to $108-113 million compared to the previous forecast of $104-109 million.


Caesarstone Sedot Yam manufactures engineered stone surfaces. Its products, which are sold in 42 countries around the world and are a more affordable alternative to granite surfaces, are used as interior surfaces in both residential and commercial buildings. Common uses of Caesarstone's products include kitchen countertops, vanity tops, tiles, and sinks.

The USA Plan for the West Bank.

The Americans who built the failed Iraqi army have drafted a security plan for the West Bank as well.

The Iraqi army has collapsed like a pack of cards upon the occupation of Iraq's second biggest city, Mosul, by al-Qaeda and the Jihad.  

The Americans built this army, trained it and have invested tens of billions of dollars in it in the past decade. But its thousands of soldiers have escaped without fighting, leaving their shoes and clothes behind, as well as advanced American military equipment, an airport, hospitals and prisons – all the disposal of the al-Qaeda terror.

The jihadists are only 60 kilometers away from the capital of Baghdad, and they will aspire to reach that city as well. Al-Qaeda fighters are Sunnis, while the Iraqi army is comprised mostly of Shiites – and so the Shiite puppet regime established by the Americans in Iraq  is collapsing.


And now, after al-Qaeda's takeover of the Sunni cities in western Iraq, it has also seized control of the northern Mosul. This Salafi "state" joins the Salafi state of Syria, and the soon-to-be Salafi state of Jordan – and so the Western illusions are collapsing and international borders are erased.


By attacking Iraq, America and its allies ignited the fuse that created a humanitarian disaster for millions of unfortunate people.

The U.S.A has also designated a security plan for Israel when the West bank is handed over to the Palestinians. It is widely believed that jihadists will take over the Palestinian state in a matter of hours.

The moment the Israel Defense Force withdraws from the West Bank the jihadist groups will enter in its place and brush aside the government of Abu Mazin and his army like what has already happened in the Gaza Strip. That will create a major security headache for Israel.

 In Iraq, with tens of thousands of trained soldiers, the Americans failed – so how could they expect Palestinian soldiers to stand up to the well trained and motivated jihadist fighters.

The West Bank is already filled with thousands of jihadists, who are only waiting for an order to storm the Palestinian Authority – an artificial entity which they don't accept and never will.

 American and European style democracy cannot succeed in the Middle East and North Africa as the people have deep roots in their tribal past and religious beliefs and are not willing to compromise on anything.

 Without strong dictators controlling these countries they are likely to fall apart and at best disintegrate into tribal and religiously controlled areas.

 Diplomatic agreements may have been relevant decades ago, with stable Arab regimes, but today, when everything around us is falling apart, talking about an agreement – not to mention peace agreements – is a risky business as the Palestinian partners to peace will be bulldozed by the jihadists in less than a day.

 Israel off the field, but behind the scenes at Brazil World Cup

Israel may not be officially represented on the field at the World Cup, but several Israeli companies are playing a prominent role behind - and in some cases above - the scenes.

Tel Aviv-based Ceragon, for example, has been helping Brazil update its wireless infrastructure for both the World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

With Brazil committed to full 3G coverage by 2018, the company has made inroads into the crowded market over the last four years, racking up $200 million in sales.

Heading into the Fifa games, Ceragon equipment accounts for 30% of the wireless infrastructure in Brazil. In other words, nearly a third of all tweets, Facebook updates, Instagram photos and other social media uploads at the games will go through Israeli equipment.

“One of the reasons for our great success in Brazil, especially as the country prepares for the World Cup, lies in simplicity and ease of installing our equipment,” said Amit Anchikovsky, Director of South America Operations for Ceragon.

Wireless infrastructure, he said, was far easier to install than fiber-optics on Brazil’s diverse terrains.

Israel will also have a security role in the game.

Security Company RISCO, headquartered in Rishon Letzion, will provide security management at the new 44,000-seat Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba.

The group will be coordinating “hundreds of security IP cameras deployed in the stadium and its surroundings, lighting systems, gates, and PA system” through a command and control center.”

The $537 million stadium is one of 12 built for the event around Brazil.

“We are honored to have been selected to provide the security solutions for the Arena Pantanal for the 2014 World Cup and thereafter. Our professional teams are currently working together with the System Integrator, to ensure that all integrated systems work together seamlessly and efficiently to assure a successful and safe mega event,” said Michael Isakov, Managing Director RISCO Security Management Solutions.

Israel will also provide security from above. In March, Elbit systems won a contract with the Brazilian Air Force to supply its Hermes 900 drone for the games. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, which Elbit says calls “a unique solution for intelligence missions, border protection, perimeter control of infrastructure and critical site,” will hover 30,000 feet above the games gathering security intelligence.

Ra'anana-based NICE Systems will also play a security role. On Monday, it announced that "a large city in Brazil" had tasked it with carrying out its security, linking 24 government agencies to real-time video surveillance. Operators will be able to monitor and manage security at the stadium, hotels, roads, transit system, airport, and other locations, NICE said.

Until Israel can get a team into the World Cup, it can at least take comfort that some of its companies are partaking in the roughly $11 billion Brazil has poured into the games.

תחתית הטופס

Technion Engineers develop Virtual Periscope

Prof. Yoav Schechner, of the Technion’s electrical engineering department, and colleagues developed the virtual periscope.

 ‘Up periscope!” may become an outdated order thanks to a team of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers who have developed a new technology for viewing objects above the water’s surface without the need for a periscope poking its head above the waves. The researchers modeled their virtual periscope on technology used by astronomers to counter blurring and distortion caused by layers of atmosphere when viewing stars.

The technology behind a submerged “virtual periscope” was introduced in a presentation at the IEEE International Conference on Computational Photography, held in California earlier this month. Prof. Yoav Schechner, of the Technion’s electrical engineering department, and colleagues developed the virtual periscope, which is called “Stella Maris” (Stellar Marine Refractive Imaging Sensor).

The heart of the underwater imaging system is a camera – a pinhole array to admit light (a thin metal sheet with precise, laser-cut holes), a glass diffuser and mirrors.

The rays of the sun are projected through the pinholes to the diffuser, which is imaged by the camera, beside the distorted object of interest. The image is then corrected for distortion.

“Raw images taken by a submerged camera are degraded by water-surface waves similarly to degradation of astronomical images by our atmosphere. We borrowed the concept from astronomers who use the Shack-Hartmann astronomical sensor on telescopes to counter blurring and distortion caused by layers of atmosphere,” explained Schechner. “Stella Maris is a novel approach to a virtual periscope as it passively measures water and waves by imaging the refracted sun.”

The unique technology gets around the inevitable distortion caused by the water-surface waves when using a submerged camera.

According to the Technion engineer, because of the sharp refractive differences between water and air, random waves at the interface present distortions that are worse than the distortion atmospheric turbulence creates for astronomers peering into space.

“When the water surface is wavy, the sun’s rays refract according to the waves and project onto the solar image plane,” said Schechner. “With the pinhole array, we obtain an array of tiny solar images on the diffuser.”

When all of the components work together, the Stella Maris system acts as both a wave sensor to estimate the water surface, and a viewing system to see the above-surface image of interest through a computerized, “reconstructed” surface.

The Stella Maris virtual periscope is just the latest technology developed by the researchers, who have also found ways to exploit “underwater flicker” – random change of underwater lighting caused by the water surface wave motion. The team turned the tables on underwater flicker and used the natural rapid and random motion of the light beams to obtain three-dimensional mapping of the sea floor.

The virtual periscope may have other potential uses in which they could reduce the reliance on traditional periscopes that have been in use for more than a century.

Submerged on the sea floor, Stella Maris could be useful for marine biology research when viewing and imaging both beneath and above the waves simultaneously is important. It could, for example, monitor the habits of seabirds as they fly, then plunge into water and capture prey.

“There are many ways to advance the virtual periscope,” says Schechner, who adds that while the system requires sunlight, they are currently working on a way to gather enough light from moonlight or starlight to be able to use the system at night.

Native Canadian activist says Jews are Israel’s indigenous people

Bellerose, even before his recent trip to Israel, thought history proved that Jews were the indigenous people of Israel, and that only their plight matched up with their condition of Native Canadians, Canada’s indigenous peoples.

In a recent interview during his first visit to Israel, Bellerose said that his travels and experiences in Israel only hardened and confirmed his view.

Bellerose called the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel “a good example for my people,” since, he said, Jews were in the land before Palestinians, Ottomans, Arabs in general and other post-biblical conquerors. Much like native Canadians in Canada, Jews have “sacred spots” throughout Israel.

Bellerose, 36, comes from the Metis tribe of Alberta. He founded Canadians for Accountability, a Native rights advocacy group. He is also a former player for the Calgary Wolfpack of the semi-pro Canadian Major Football League.

His trip to Israel has been coordinated by Stand With Us, and he called the experience the “trip of a lifetime.”

“Ever since I was a kid, I studied ancient history,” and that exposure fueled his desire to visit here.

He appreciated that Stand With Us helped him visit almost all of the 15 sites he wanted to visit. Seeing Caesarea, Acre, David’s Citadel and walking up to the Western Wall,” places that he had “read about as a kid,” were especially powerful experiences for him.

In particular, Bellerose said his experience at the Western Wall was “intense” and that its “sacredness as a place was palpable.”

Bellerose’s background is a synergy of native Canadian Metis culture, from his mother’s side, and Roman Catholicism from his white father’s side (though, he said, the Roman Catholicism was primary).

He added that he has mixed feelings about the historical correctness of where many Roman Catholic sites have been located in Israel, though, in any case, the “Villa della Rosa was amazing.”

His native Canadian spirituality teaches that “all lands are sacred.” He said, burial grounds have a special place, and added that he felt the same deep feeling while visiting some sites in Israel as he did when visiting his native sacred sites.

His visit to the Hebron gave him new insight about stories of settlers in the area torching Palestinian olive groves during Lag Ba’omer. He attended a bonfire party in a Jewish area bordering a Palestinian area, and he was shocked that the media manufactured a story, turning a celebratory bonfire into a tale of conflict.

He denied a photographer’s claim that he, Bellerose, was assaulted. He said that at most he was surrounded by some settler youths, implying the photographer exaggerated the tension in a merely uncomfortable situation.

He is leaving Israel with an impression that solving the conflict is infinitely more complex than what the West is prepared to understand, since the area in dispute is small and it is so difficult to divide and separate the Israeli and Palestinian sides.

In North America, “for us to go 45 minutes to a restaurant is nothing,” emphasizing that in 45 minutes one could be back and forth from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and many other Israeli and Palestinian areas.

Michael Dickson, Israel Director for Stand With Us said that Bellerose is “a plain-talking, articulate voice which counters the shrill attempt by anti-Israel activists to delegitimize Jewish rights in Israel. We support his aim of bringing this message to other indigenous peoples and to the public in general.”

Finding your Dream Job – in Israel

Many immigrants left behind thriving careers and good paychecks in professions such as law, real estate and marketing to make immigrate, but how do they overcome language and cultural barriers to tackle a job market that even many Israelis find daunting?

Despite the rosy unemployment picture painted by the Central Bureau of Statistics and Israeli Employment Service, the personal experience of many is that it’s hard to find adequately paid work in the Israeli job market. For new immigrants, presumably, the task is that much harder. And yet, despite the challenges, a few individuals have left behind successful careers overseas to take a chance.

   One immigrant described how it took about eight months to find a position as an analyst at Amdocs, with the help of a career development program offered by the non-profit organization Gvahim. The program includes workshops for learning about the local job market, personal counseling from HR consultants and professionals in your field, as well as hands-on assistance from a career placement staff.

 “A good personal recommendation is worth 1,000 resumes,”

 Gvahim was founded in 2006 by the Rashi Foundation, with the purpose of placing new immigrants with higher education and work experience in high-level jobs. The organization’s executive director, Michael Bensadoun, says that the greatest inhibitor of immigration by successful professionals is the fear that they will have difficulty finding work. As a result, the Israeli economy loses high-quality manpower with work experience and international business connections.

“It varies by profession,” he says. “Some have an easier time than others. Programmers and engineers, for instance, don’t really need our help, but it’s harder in areas like law or business administration, leading many people to try their hand at entrepreneurship.”

 “For instance, we know many lawyers who brushed up on Israeli law and passed the bar exam, but they can’t even find an internship because the industry is flooded and law offices are not interested in them.”

 According to Gvahim, some 5,400 people immigrated to Israel in the last two years. About 45 percent of these can be defined as “highly skilled".

Of these highly skilled professionals, 17 percent work in engineering and the sciences, 16 percent have business experience, 11 percent studied social sciences or the humanities, 8 percent have medical training, 7 percent are lawyers and accountants, while 3 percent have experience in the public sector. The remaining 39 percent have professional experience in other areas.

 Bensadoun relates that the organization collaborates with about 400 companies across various industries to place immigrants in jobs or internships, and Gvahim welcomes queries from additional companies. So far, Gvahim’s career development program has 750 alumni, about 300 of whom have found work with Gvahim’s direct help. McKinsey and Company found that 80% of Gvahim participants are employed in high-quality positions by the end of their program.

The salaries are usually  higher and employee benefits are better in terms of vacation days and social benefits in other countries.

Gvahim offers yet another program called “The Hive” that helps immigrants and returning residents develop their start-up companies. The program offers participants a communal work space, legal and financial advice as well as help connecting with investors.


One immigrant, found her current position through The Hive. She is VP Marketing & Strategy and Co-Founder of TrulyProtect, a company that develops defenses against cyber attacks.

  “Unlike in France, I had no connections, no familiarity with workplace culture and no one to help me.” At one point, she joined Gvahim’s career development program as well as “The Hive,” where she connected with TrulyProtect, her current employer.

Mentlik says she finds Israeli employers to be more pragmatic and more “capitalistic in their mind-set.”

 “It’s easy to hire someone and easy to fire them, while in France these are drawn-out processes. Employee social benefits are relatively low in Israel.”


On the other hand she finds that there is almost no management in Israeli companies, in contrast with the strict management practices of large French companies.


“Work is less organized and it’s not always easy to know what a specific worker’s job is, which allows you to take more initiative and define your job yourself.”

 Ayelet Zurer named Best Actress in Monte Carlo Festival

Israeli series 'Hostages' wins Best International Drama Series award at 54th annual Golden Nymph Awards ceremony in Monaco, beating 'House of Cards.' Lead actress Zurer takes home Best Actor in Drama Series award.


"Hostages" lead actress, Ayelet Zurer, took home the Best Actor in a Drama Series award.


The 10-episode series, created by Rotem Shamir and Omri Givon, was broadcast on Israel's Channel 10. It tells the story of the Danon family members who are kidnapped and held hostage by four people and get caught in a political conspiracy.


The mother (played by Zurer) is a senior and highly esteemed surgeon who is ordered by the kidnappers to kill the prime minister on the operating table in order to save the lives of her children and husband.



"Hostages" beat eight other drama series at the Golden Nymph Awards, including Netflix's "House of Cards." Zurer, 45, who was named Best Actor in a Drama Series, beat Golden Globe winner Robin Wright ("House of Cards").

The win joins another international achievement for the series' creators: Even before it was first broadcast in Israel, "Hostages" was purchased for production by the American CBS network, although the ratings of the American version failed to meet expectations and it was canceled after its first season.


Meanwhile, the show's original version was purchased for broadcast in Britain and France.