Victory for Moderation in Israeli Elections.
2. Israel to supply the city of Rawabi with Water.
3. Kibbutz Metzer and Palestinian Cooperation.
- Combatants of Peace.
5. Major Archaeological
Balloon Surveillance System.
7. A Kibbutz Volunteer.
Israel Germany Relations
9. Like all Big Cities.
Victory for Moderation
The recent Israeli
elections produced some very interesting results with a very strong showing by
Israel’s moderate parties and the decline of the extreme right wing parties.
One extreme right wing ultra- religious party did not win the minimum four
seats required for representation in parliament.
The extreme right
wing religious anti-peace party lost one third of its seats in parliament. The
secular extreme right wing party lost two thirds of its seats.
moderate Likud and Labor parties made significant gains.
The election was a
major victory for those representing social change and improved economic
conditions for Israel’s battered poor and lower middle class communities.
An economic fairness
party now holds the balance of power in Israel and will control the finances
and distribution of money in Israel. The Prime Minister will have no option but
to cooperate with this party, even though he has opposing views, if wishes to
retain his position. The new party has demanded the position of Finance Minister
otherwise there will be no deal.
Another very strong
showing was the Combined Arab List of parties that now is the third largest
block in the Israel Parliament. This strong showing will guarantee positions on
the most important parliamentary committees and thereby greatly enhance the
power of the Arab community in Israel and in the Israeli Parliament.
The elections were
also a victory for women who now hold 25% of the seats in Parliament.
between the six or seven parties that are likely to form the next government
are expected to last about three to four weeks.
Israel to supply Palestinian city of
Rawabi with Water
Israel's decision to provide the Palestinian city
of Rawabi with water is a welcome development, The State Department said.
"We are looking forward to the Rawabi complex receiving the water it needs
to function, and that deliberate electricity cuts to Palestinian cities in the
West Bank will cease," State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said. "We
support all efforts to improve the investment climate and generate greater
prosperity and opportunity for Palestinians and Israelis."
On the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to Washington, his
office announced that Israel would hook up the new Palestinian city to Israel's
water grid, and would take some of the frozen Palestinian Authority tax revenue
to pay part of its massive electric bill and ensure an uninterrupted flow of
electricity to the Palestinian cities.
The refusal to hook up Rawabi, a new Palestinian city north of Ramallah, to
Israel's water network has prevented the populating of the city and has long
been a bone of contention.
Regarding the electric bill, Israel will transfer some NIS 200,000 of the funds
it has frozen to the Israel Electric Cooperation, which – as a result – will
not cut off power to the PA cities. This week, for the first time, the IEC shut
off the electricity to Jenin and Nablus for short periods because of NIS 1.9
billion in unpaid bills.
"We encourage the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to
continue their dialogue on lasting solutions regarding electricity and water
supplies," Vasquez said.
Combatants for Peace
“Combatants for Peace” movement was started jointly by Palestinians and
Israelis, who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence; Israelis as
soldiers in the Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent
struggle for Palestinian freedom. After brandishing weapons for so many years,
and having seen one another only through weapon sights, they decided to put
down their guns and to fight for peace.
no longer believe that it is possible to resolve the conflict between the two
peoples through violent means; therefore we declare that we refuse to take part
any more in the mutual bloodletting. We will act only by non-violent means so
that each side will come to understand the national aspirations of the other
The goals are to raise the consciousness in both publics
regarding the hopes and suffering of the other side, and to create partners in dialogue,
to educate towards reconciliation and non-violent struggle in both the Israeli
and Palestinian societies, to create political pressure on both Governments to
stop the cycle of violence, end the occupation and resume a constructive
have been organizing meetings between Israeli and Palestinian veterans, in
which both sides tell about the violent actions that they have taken part in
and about the turning point which led them to understand the limits of
violence. Naturally, these meetings were fraught with many fears, however we
soon learned that despite years of fear and hatred, there is more that unites
us than divides”.
Metzer and Palestinian Cooperation
750 meters separates Kibbutz Metzer in Israel and the village of Meiser in
“We see this as a
model by which we hope to develop between as many adjacent Jewish and Arab
communities as possible.” said Mohammed
Darawshe. Anyone trying to tell you that coexistence between Jews and Arabs
can’t work doesn’t understand anything.
Many projects ay adult and youth level take place between the two communities.
The contacts are assisted by Givat Haviva, founded in 1949 and is Israel’s
oldest and largest organization working for peace, pluralism, tolerance,
democracy, and justice. Givat Haviva’s Jewish-Arab Center for Peace in Israel
won the 2001 UNESCO Prize for Peace Education for its “exceptional efforts in
the areas of peace education, promotion of peace and non-violence” and work
done for the resolution of conflicts through dialogue”.
A close ongoing working relationship promoting co-existence projects has built
up over a long period of time involving many hundreds of local youth and
educators from both the Jewish and Arab sectors.
Kibbutz Metzer was the site of a horrible terror attack in November 2002 in
which4 kibbutz residents were killed when a terrorist infiltrated their home at
night and opened fire on them in their sleep. According to Darawshe, the attack
became a catalyst for better dialogue between the two neighboring communities.
“We engaged a number of community leaders in discussions with leaders from
Meiser following the attack. And a good number of residents from Meiser
participated in the funeral. This created a window of dialogue between the two
communities, and we capitalized on it and created some sub-groups, one of which
was children. Over the last year, six meetings were held with children from
4th-6th graders from both communities,” said Darawshe.
He said that the modest goal was for both sides to get to know their immediate
neighbor, but the response was so positive that both sides clamored for more.
Major Archaeological Find
Archaeologists say some
of the artifacts found in the cave date back to the Chalcolithic period more
than 6,000 years ago.
Some bronze items date
back 5,000 years while there are others from the Biblical period 3,000 years
ago and the Hellenistic period 2,300 years ago.
A treasure trove of rare
silver coins and jewellery that date from the reign of Alexander the Great have
been discovered by cave explorers in northern Israel.
The 2,300 year old
treasures were found hidden in a narrow niche among pieces of broken pottery
within the stalactite filled cave.
They were spotted by
three members of the Israeli Caving Club who had squeezed through the narrow
passages at the entrance of the cave to explore inside.
Silver coins dating from
the time of Alexander the Great were found alongside bracelets, rings and stone
weights (all shown in the picture above) in a cave in northern Israel by
members of the Israeli Caving Club
One of the spelunkers,
Hen Zakai, spotted something shining on the cave floor. It turned out to be two
ancient silver coins.
Alongside the coins, the
cave divers found a cloth pouch containing a handful of coins, rings, bracelets
and earrings all made from silver and bronze.
visited the cave at the weekend say the coins were minted at the beginning of
the Hellenistic Period during the reign of Alexander the Great.
They believe they may
have been hidden in the cave by local residents who fled there during the
unrest that broke out following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC.
It comes just a month
after a chest filled with gold coins was discovered by divers off the coast of
Caesarea, near Tel Aviv, Israel.
Speaking about the
latest discovery, a spokesman for the Israel Antiquities Authority said: 'The
valuables might have been hidden in the cave by local residents who fled there
during the period of governmental unrest stemming from the death of Alexander,
a time when the Wars of the Diadochi broke out in Israel between Alexander’s
heirs following his death.
Numerous pottery vessels
were discovered in the cave and some had been there so long they had merged
with the many stalactites that filled the cave.
On one side of the coins
is an image of Alexander the Great, while on the other side is an image of Zeus
sitting on his throne, arm raised as if ready to wield his fearsome lightning
Israeli Balloon Surveillance System.
US Army has named a surveillance aerostat made by Israeli defense firm RT as an
approved defense technology for purchase.
RT’s Skystar 180 balloon successfully completed the annual Army Expeditionary
Warrior Experiment (AEWE), a lengthy process used to shortlist defense products
for US acquisition.
The Skystar 180 system, frequently used by the IDF over Gaza during Operation
Protective Edge last summer, includes a miniature, multi-sensor payload made by
Israeli company CONTROP.
It serves army missions from the company to the brigade levels, according to RT.
The AEWE program, held at Fort Benning, Georgia, is used by the US Army to
encourage companies from around the world to submit production-ready devices
and products for approval.
“The selection and approval of the SkyStar 180 by the US Army is evidence of
the system’s quality and its high-level technological capabilities, and it is a
great honor for us,” said RT’s CEO, Rami Shmueli. “Our unique aerostat systems
are the only long-distance aerial surveillance system that can operate from as
high as 600 meters.”
SkyStar 180 is a small mobile balloon designed for tactical mid-range
surveillance and public safety, police, and military applications.
It can carry day and night electro-optical payloads and a communication relay,
suspended from a helium-filled balloon that is tied to the ground.
The aerostat can lift a payload of up to 20 kilograms, providing surveillance
coverage from an altitude of up to 600 meters for up to 72 hours, after which
it is brought down for a 30-minute helium refill. A two-person crew can fully
maintain and operate the system.
Last year, RT began providing the platform to the Israel Police, which used
them to help counter rioting in east Jerusalem.
The IDF’s Combat Intelligence Collection Unit uses the Skystar 180 and 300
aerostats for a variety of missions that include tactical intelligence,
surveillance, and reconnaissance.
The balloons were a common sight near the border with Gaza Strip during the
50-day conflict with Hamas and Islamic Jihad last summer.
Through the eyes of a Kibbutz Volunteer
Modern Israel is a small country (one tenth
the size of Syria) in the Middle East between the eastern shores of the
Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Israel is not all ancient and religious
sites, for Israel is also a thriving and modern nation packed full of
attractions. From the sanctity of the old city of Jerusalem to the chaos of Tel
Aviv discotheques to the dazzling corals of the Red Sea, Israel has something
For Kibbutz volunteers, depending on the job,
the day starts between 6-7 a.m. (earlier if in the cowsheds or fields) and
finishes between noon and 4 p.m. (again, varies depending on the job you do).
And it is a six-day working week = Sunday to
Jobs include: dishwasher, fields, gardening,
cowsheds, chickens, factory, picking dates and bananas, dining room, garage,
supplying the nurseries with supplies, laundry, looking after children
(normally only the female volunteers do this work), swimming pool maintenance
(lucky to be assigned this one!) and general duties as required.
It’s not unusual to be given one particular
job on one day, and another the next... but generally the volunteers are kept
in the same jobs for at least a month. Newcomers usually start on the
dishwasher or in the dining room, and move on “up the chain” when other
volunteers join the kibbutz. So don’t feel disheartened at starting on a crappy
job; you will have a chance to change eventually.
In my two years on kibbutzim I worked in most
of the jobs mentioned above, my favorite being a gardener. I could basically
set my own hours within reason, and the boss just let me get on with it. Had my
own tractor and moped too... it was great!
Yes, kibbutzim need volunteers 365 days a
year, but obviously the summer months are most popular and competition for
places is higher. Don’t be turned off going in winter—Israeli winters are not
that cold, mainly rainy, although Jerusalem gets a bit chilly during the winter
months. Eilat is nice all year round.
Israel is considered the Holy Land for
Christians, Jews, and Muslims holding many holy sites from the biblical era.
Many tourists and pilgrims come to Israel for Holy land tours. The diversity of
sacred sites invites all religions and denominations: Christian holy land
tours, Catholic holy land tours, as well as Jewish and Muslim Holy land tours
to places held sacred such as: Jerusalem, the holy city for Christianity,
Judaism and Islam, "Sea of Galilee" where Jesus walked on water
according to Christian tradition, Nazareth, the birth place of Jesus, and many
Israel is home to a diverse population from
many ethnic, religious, cultural and social backgrounds. Of its more than 8million
population, we can find Jews, Arabs, Druze, Bedouins, Circassian and many other
minorities. After Israel was founded as a national home for the Jewish people,
many Jews from around the world have immigrated there, creating a melting pot
of different cultures and languages. The wealth of different ethnic groups
creates a beautiful mosaic of traditions, as can be seen in the language, music
and food of the people in Israel.
The official languages of Israel are Hebrew
and Arabic. English is widely used as a second language, and recently Russian
has become commonplace.
Israel Germany Relations
1,100 guests attended the naturally for Israel convention, which featured a day
of lectures on Israeli-German politics, culture, religion and environment in
three different halls. In addition, over 40 exhibitors presented their
Israel-German-related businesses and organizations at the venue. The exhibition
displayed a colorful picture of Israeli and Jewish life in Germany. Singer and
actor Moshe Becker charmed the visitors with his Israeli cabaret for which he
had prepared a one-hour German-English show with wonderful words and uplifting
music. He had also produced a heart-warming film on 50 years of JNF-KKL Germany
support which had its debut at the conference.
KKL-JNF World President Efi Stenzler opened
the event with the words: "Outside it is cold, but here inside it is very,
very warm!" One visitor made a very apt comment about the event: "It
is like visiting Israel for a day."
Israel´s Consul General Dr. Dan Shaham arrived
directly from the Security Conference in Munich to discuss successful economic
relationships between Israel and Germany.
Well known historian Professor Michael Wolffsohn gave
a critical political analysis of the past 50 years. In his opinion, the two
countries both learned from the horrid past to say "Never again" -
but for Israelis this means never again to be victims. For Germans, this means
never again to apply violence. Thus many misunderstandings arise today.
Israeli Professor Alean Al-Krenawi,
president of Achva College, reported on Bedouin society in Israel which today
constitutes about 30% of the population in the Negev.
concert by three cantors singing Shabbat songs set the impressive end to an
exciting day which was all for Israel, for mutual understanding and for raising
awareness of KKL-JNF´s various activities.
Like all big cities
Like all big cities, Tehran in Iran produces vast amounts of garbage.
But, as is often the case, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, or in
this particular instance, a child’s treasure. Mostly hidden from view, there
are groups of children in Tehran that go around the city looking through trash
cans, and separating out recyclables and other things they might be able to
For example, metal and plastic worth
70-80 toman per kilo or dry bread being sold for 40 toman per kilo. These are
just small examples of the recycling industry, where children play the roles
that their families can't.
Iran has not ratified international
conventions defining a minimum age for work, but it has set its own rules to
prevent child labor. A child in Iran cannot legally work under the age of 15.
However, there is a loophole that allows exploitation.
Most of the street children live in the
slums of south Tehran and are sent out to work every morning by their parents.
They travel to the affluent suburbs of north Tehran where they shine shoes,
clean car windshields (if they can reach) and sell an assortment of junk and
oddities: chewing gum, flowers, fortune poems, nylon socks and cheap shoes.
South Tehran is where most Iranians in
the city live, squeezed into decaying houses in narrow, twisting alleys. The
hub of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, south Tehran, is a densely populated urban
sprawl, spilling further and further south in a sea of bazaars and black
chadors. This is the district of the poor, working class and religious, where
people still flock to Friday prayers.
The office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are about a million
Afghan refugees in Iran. Most of their children do not go to school but work
instead. "In theory, Afghans are not allowed to work in Iran - at whatever
age," the UNHCR says.