2. Israeli Cities.
4. Jerusalem Light
5. Haredi Soldiers.
6. 70 CE Siege of Jerusalem.
of Canterbury Visits Israel.
Park in Beersheva.
Expectancy and Health.
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 the unique form of
total kibbutz population of about 143,000 is the highest in its 102-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
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
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.
The organic food market in Israel is worth billions of
shekels every year. Over 90% of the organic produce is for export. The
main export markets are Western Europe. Germany is the largest customer of
Israeli organic produce. In Israel there are more than 200 organic organic food
producers and manufacturers. The Domestic organic market is also very
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
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 – Ada
Ada E. Yonath is the director of the Helen and
Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly of
the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2009, she received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry becoming the first Israeli
woman to win the Nobel Prize and the first woman in 45 years
to win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
Yonath was born in Jerusalem. Her parents, Hillel and Esther
Lifshitz, were Zionist Jews who immigrated to Palestine
from Łódź (Poland) in 1933 before the establishment
of modern Israel. Her father was a rabbi and came from a rabbinical
family. They settled in Jerusalem and ran a grocery, but found it difficult
to make ends meet. They lived in cramped quarters with several other families,
and Yonath remembers books being the only thing she had to keep her occupied.
Despite their poverty, her parents sent her to school in the upscale Beit HaKerem neighborhood to assure her a good education. When
her father died at the age of 42, the family moved to Tel Aviv. Yonath was accepted to Tichon
Hadash high school although her mother could not pay the tuition. She gave
math lessons to students in return.
In 1968, Ada
earned a Ph.D. in X-Ray crystallography at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
She has one daughter, Hagit Yonath, a doctor at Sheba
Medical Center, and a granddaughter, Noa.
Yonath accepted postdoctoral positions at Carnegie Mellon University (1969) and MIT (1970).
In 1970, she established what was for nearly a decade
the only protein crystallography laboratory in
Israel. Then, from 1979 to 1984 she was a group leader with Heinz-Günter Wittmann at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. She was visiting
professor at the University of Chicago in 1977-78. She headed a Max-Planck Institute Research Unit at DESY in Hamburg, Germany (1986–2004) in parallel to
her research activities at the Weizmann Institute.
Yonath focuses on the mechanisms underlying protein biosynthesis, by ribosomal crystallography, a
research line she pioneered over twenty years ago despite considerable
skepticism of the international scientific community.
For enabling ribosomal crystallography Yonath
introduced a novel technique, cryo bio-crystallography, which became routine in structural
biology and allowed intricate projects otherwise considered formidable.
At the Weizmann Institute, Yonath is the incumbent of
the Martin S. and Helen Kimmel Professorial Chair.
Safed is a city in Northern Israel. Located at an elevation of 900 meters
, it is the highest elevation of any city in Israel. Due to its high
elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters. Since
the 16th century the city has remained a center of Kabbalah, also known as Jewish mysticism.
Due to its good climate and scenic views, Safed is a
popular holiday resort frequented by Israelis and foreign visitors.
Legend has it that Safed was founded by a son of Noah after the Great Flood.
Safed has been identified with Sepph, a
fortified Jewish town in the Upper Galilee mentioned in the writings of
the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus (Wars 2:573).
It is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud as one of five elevated spots
where fires were lit to announce the New Moon and festivals during the Second Temple period.
A Hebrew printing press was established
in Safed in 1577 by Eliezer Ashkenazi and his son, Isaac. It was the
first press in the whole of the Ottoman Empire. In 1584, there were 32
synagogues registered in the town.
After the expulsion of all the Jews from Spain in 1492,
many prominent rabbis found their way to Safed, among
them the Kabbalists Isaac Luria and Moshe Kordovero; Joseph Caro, the author of the Shulchan Aruch and Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, composer of the Sabbath hymn "Lecha Dodi".
In 1837 there were around 4,000 Jews in Safed. Today
Safed has a population of approximately 35,000 , 43.2% of the
residents are19 years of age or younger, 13.5% between 20 and 29, 17.1% between 30 and 44, 12.5%
from 45 to 59, 3.1% from 60 to 64, and 10.5% 65 years of age or older.
Safed has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cold,
rainy and occasionally snowy winters. The city receives 682 mm
(27 in) of precipitation per year. Summers are rainless and hot with an
average high temperature of 29 °C (84 °F) and an average
low temperature of 18 °C (64 °F). Winters are cold and wet,
and precipitation is occasionally in the form of snow. Winters have an
average high temperature of 10 °C (50 °F) and an average
low temperature of 5 °C (41 °F).
The city has 25 schools and 6,292 students. There are
18 elementary schools with a student population of 3,965, and 11 high schools
with a student population of 2,327. In 2011, Israel's fifth medical school
opened in Safed.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Safed was known as Israel's art
capital. The artists colony established in Safed's Old City was a hub of
creativity that drew leading artists from around the country.
Safed is home to a large Kabalistic community, and
prompted a visit by Madonna in 2009 who is a Kabalistic student.
Seeds of Peace
Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf gave a press
conference in Jerusalem, where he was appearing as a guest of the Jerusalem
Film Festival to present his latest film, The Gardener, as well as hosting a
retrospective of his films.
Courage is used often to describe all kinds of people who have overcome some
kind of obstacle, but Makhmalbaf has truly taken a great personal risk in
coming to Israel at this moment. Asked how he felt to be here, he mentioned
that he had been here before. The Gardener is a documentary he made in Haifa
with his son, Maysam, about the Baha’i Gardens and the Baha’i faith, whose
believers are persecuted in Iran.
“I’m happy to be here with you,” he said. “To come from my country to your
country has a great symbolic meaning... There are many reasons for us to feel
friendship and peace, and there is really not one reason for us to fight.”
Makhmalbaf, who has made dozens of acclaimed and award-winning films, both
features and documentaries, including Kandahar (2001), Gabbeh (1995), and Time
of Love (1990), added, “I am one of the first Iranian filmmakers to come to
Israel and that is an honor and I am proud of that.”
He said that all his films and all his books (he has published more than 30)
are banned in Iran, and spoke about the thousands of “good politicians, artists
and writers who are in prison in Iran.” He now lives in Europe with his family,
many of whom are filmmakers themselves. In addition to his son, Maysam, his
daughters, Hana and Samira, have made many films, as has his wife, Marzieh
It’s clear that Makhmalbaf did not make the decision to leave his homeland
lightly, though. After publishing articles critical of the religious
establishment in Iran, “they sent terrorists to kill me.” He left Iran when
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power, and he described this president as simply a
“microphone” for the religious leadership.
He says that he hopes the new president will be better, and urged the
Americans, “If the government [in Iran] is a little bit better, the response of
the Americans should be a little bit better.”
Much of The Gardener consists of conversations between Makhmalbaf and his son
about the nature of religion and whether it inevitably leads to hatred and
oppression. Asked what kind of conversation on these subjects he would have
today if he could speak to his younger self, Makhmalbaf recalled how he
attacked policemen in a protest against the Shah’s regime when he was 17 and
served time in prison.
“I made a film about that, A Moment of Innocence.
When I made the film, I cast the policemen, and they played out the story of
our younger selves. When I was 17, my idol was Che Guevara. When I was 13, it
was Gandhi. Now I prefer Gandhi. Our goal is holy, but democracy is not the
goal, it is the way, not the end in itself.”
He spoke with amazement of seeing an ultra-Orthodox man speaking with great
animation on a cell phone here. Asking what we would call a “Jewish mullah” – a
rabbi, he was told – he said, with a touch of astonishment in his voice, “Here,
you can have religion and your own point of view.”
He has seen as many Israeli films as possible, and mentioned being particularly
impressed by Amos Gitai’s Kadosh, a film about the religious community.
“It showed the pure human being in this community,” he said.
Asked about filmmakers who influenced him, he mentioned Satyajit Ray, as well
as Federico Fellini and Vittorio De Sica.
Asked about portraying reality on screen, he said, “Reality is our mother. We
could go crazy without reality.
That’s why politicians put us in prison, to cut us off from reality.... My
younger daughter showed me something that said if you change one thing in your
reality, if instead of having bread and cheese for breakfast for example, you
take something different, you change yourself, and that’s when creativity
He is happy about the digital revolution in film, with some reservations.
“Before this, cinema was in the hands of the rich and the powerful. Now
everyone has the power of film in their hands.
As he spoke about filmmaking, he mentioned that although he had no trouble
shooting The Gardener in Haifa, some of the footage he shot was confiscated at
the airport. While a less generous person would have opened the press
conference complaining about this, Makhambalaf dismissed it with the
philosophical attitude that has enabled him to continue creating in spite of
great odds: “When you have the goal of peace in your brain and your heart, you
go on. I am happy I made this film, and happy that I am showing it here.”
Jerusalem Light Rail extension
The Jerusalem Regional Planning Committee
approved a NIS 1.1 billion allocation from the Transportation Ministry’s budget
to extend the Jerusalem Light Rail line to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center.
According to the ministry, the extension will take two years to complete and
add more than 21.9 kilometers to the light rail’s current route – resulting in
a total of 36.2 kilometers of tracks.
The railway currently travels from the northern neighborhood of Neveh Ya’acov
to Mount Herzl, west of central Jerusalem.
Transportation Minister Israel Katz hailed the expansion on Thursday, noting
that it was part of a joint effort between the ministry and the Jerusalem
Municipality to provide more efficient transportation solutions to the
“The public transportation system in Jerusalem is going through a revolution
that can be an example to other cities in the country,” said Katz.
“In a few years, hundreds of thousands of Jerusalem residents, and the many
visitors who visit the city, will enjoy a pleasant and safe ride on the light
Katz said the extension was due in part to accommodate the high volume of
visitors and staff at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center.
“Every day about 30,000 people visit the Hadassah hospital, in addition to the
thousands of hospital employees,” he said.
“Railway transport will make the hospital more efficient and help visitors
driving there save money collected from all vehicles entering the hospital.”
The ministry has already begun preparatory work to extend the line, including
the construction of new stations, and it plans to purchase dozens of new
coaches, which Katz said will allow the light rail to transport roughly 250,000
Katz said the ministry is modeling the system after those in European countries
that have significantly cut down on traffic and pollution by creating efficient
and convenient railways.
“Soon we will buy more cars in order to meet the many demands of the light rail
network and we intend to build light rail lines similar to those in Europe,” he
Total expenditures for the project are expected to reach NIS 4 billion.
IDF Haredi pre-military academy
The first Haredi pre-military academy to be
funded by the Defense Ministry will open this August in the Jordan Valley.
News of the establishment of the Hararei Tzion academy came amid heightened
tensions surrounding the issue of Haredi enlistment in the IDF, as well as an
attack against a Haredi soldier carried out by a mob of ultra-Orthodox men in
Jerusalem. Brig.-Gen. Gadi Agmon of the IDF Manpower Directorate noted that the
army has received 80 complaints of physical violence and verbal abuse, in which
Haredi soldiers have reported that tires of their vehicles have been slashed,
graffiti has been sprayed at their homes, they have been spat on and stones
have been thrown at them.
Graduates of the academy will serve as combat soldiers in the Netzah Yehuda
Battalion of the IDF’s Nahal Haredi unit.
“We are right now in the middle of a gradual and historic process in which the
number of young Haredi men enlisting in the IDF is continually increasing,”
Ya’alon said regarding the opening of the new academy.
“We are doing this not by brandishing a sword, but gradually, with tolerance, while
having recruited leading Haredi figures in the ultra-Orthodox community to help
us in this important social process, which will contribute to the IDF and
In the first stage of its operation, the academy will accept 20 Haredi youth
from around the country, preparing them for enlistment and engaging them in
religious studies and community work in the Jordan Valley.
The staff, including the director and instructors, is to be made up of Haredim
who served as officers and NCOs in Nahal Haredi.
According to a statement by the Defense Ministry, emphasis will be placed on
the participants’ Haredi identity, while at the same time giving them the tools
to prepare for army service and contributing to the state as IDF recruits and
Although the facility will be the first pre-military academy for Haredim to be
funded by the Defense Ministry, there already exists a privately funded academy
catering to Haredi youth. It is wary of publicity out of concern for its
activities and students, and thus remains little-known.
2,000-year-old siege of Jerusalem
The Antiquities Authority on Thursday unearthed
for the first time a small 2,000-year old cistern near the Western Wall that
connects an archeological find with the famine that occurred during the Roman
siege of Jerusalem during that era.
The cistern – found near Robinson’s Arch in a
drainage channel from the Shiloah Pool in the City of David – contained three
intact cooking pots and a small ceramic oil lamp.
According to Eli Shukron, the excavations
director for the Antiquities Authority, the discovery is unprecedented.
“The complete cooking pots and ceramic oil lamp
indicate that the people went down into the cistern where they secretly ate the
food that was contained in the pots, without anyone seeing them,” he said.
“This is consistent with the account provided by Josephus.”
In his book The Jewish War that describes the
Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, the Jewish scholar Josephus detailed the
resulting hunger that ensued.
In his account, Josephus, also known as Yosef
ben Matityahu, wrote of Jewish rebels who sought food in the homes of other
starving Jews confined to the city. Fearing these rebels would steal their
food, many Jews used cisterns to conceal their meager provisions, and later ate
in hidden places within their homes.
“As the famine grew worse, the frenzy of the
partisans increased with it,” Josephus wrote.
“For as nowhere was there corn to be seen, men
broke into the houses and ransacked them,” he continued.
“If they found some, they maltreated the
occupants for saying there was none; if they did not, they suspected them of
having hidden it more carefully and tortured them.”
Josephus recounted that many Jews suffering from
starvation would barter their possessions for small quantities of food in order
to stay alive.
“Many secretly exchanged their possessions for
one measure of corn-wheat if they happened to be rich; barley if they were
poor,” he wrote.
“They shut themselves up in the darkest corners
of their houses, where some, through extreme hunger, ate their grain as it was;
others made bread, necessity and fear being their only guides. Nowhere was a
The artifacts will be on display during a July 4
conference on the City of David, organized by the Megalim Institute.
Earlier in the week, the Antiquities Authority
uncovered in Beit Hanina a well-preserved section of a 1,800- year-old road
leading from Jerusalem to Jaffa during a routine excavation prior to the
installation of a drainage pipe in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood.
Canterbury Archbishop affirms Israel’s right to exist
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in
Jerusalem on Thursday that Israel had a right to exist – like every other
country – “in security and peace, within internationally agreed boundaries.”
Asked about his position on diplomatic issues, he said that “the clear policy
of the Church of England and my own personal opinion is that the State of
Israel is a legitimate state like every other state in the world, and has a
right to exist in security and peace within internationally agreed boundaries.”
“All the people in the region, without exception, from whatever background they
come from – whether Israeli, Palestinian or any other – also have the right to
exist in peace and security within properly agreed frontiers.”
The head of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion – which numbers
some 85 million adherents worldwide – held a series of meetings during a stop
in Israel during a trip to the region.
Welby met with President Shimon Peres at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem
and with the committee for interfaith dialogue of the Chief Rabbinate, and
visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum with his wife and son.
Talking to the press at the offices of the Chief Rabbinate, Welby described the
Holy Land as the center of the world and the birthplace of religion.
“This is the cradle of three great world faiths, the cradle of our Christian
faith, it’s where Jesus lived and walked and died and rose again. It is the
center of the world in so many extraordinary ways,” Welby remarked in
explaining why he decided to visit the region so early into his tenure as
President Peres said when welcoming the archbishop that religious leaders have
a greater responsibility than ever before, because problems cannot be solved
with power. They can only be solved with goodwill, and spiritual leaders must
raise their voices to promote peace, love and understanding, he said.
Referring specifically to Israel, he said that the land was holy to all
religions, and that it was the responsibility of the government to guarantee
security, freedom of worship and respect for the holy sites.
“We want to introduce a brotherly sentiment,” he said.
Welby said he welcomed the president’s comments about the responsibility of religious
leaders, and especially regarded it as a duty on their part to prevent religion
from becoming an excuse for violence.
During his visits over the years, Welby said he had seen a deep hope for
improving relations between peoples but he had also detected a deep pain.
The attainment of peace, justice and security for all people in this land was a
huge challenge “when there is so much history in such a small space,” he said.
“This is a land for which we pray. Many of us love and seek the welfare of this
land. You are living in perilous times and in perilous times we need courageous
At Yad Vashem, the archbishop was presented with a Page of Testimony and
archival information regarding a young boy who, according to the Holocaust
museum, was most likely a distant Jewish relative of his who was murdered in
Welby only recently discovered that his father was born Jewish, that he had
Jewish relatives who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s, and other relatives who
perished in the Holocaust.
“This is not a place for words,” he said during his visit.
“It’s a place for tears and a place for learning and remembering, and I think
the fewer words the better.”
Welby was in Cairo earlier this week where he met Pope Tawadros II, the head of
Coptic Orthodox Church, and Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of
Al-Azhar University. He also met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh
on Wednesday and was scheduled to visit the West Bank to meet Palestinian
Science park inaugurated in Beersheba, promoting technology in the
The park, which extends over some 17 hectares in Beersheba’s Old City, hosts 11
interactive exhibitions; the central attraction of the museum is a nuclear
energy display developed in collaboration with the Nuclear Research Center and
the Israel Atomic Energy Commission.
The park will also serve as an educational facility for students from high
schools in the area; they will come several times a year with their class to
conduct experiments, guided by staff, and visit exhibits directly connected to
The goal of the complex is to “kindle interest in science and technology and
offer opportunities for acquiring science skills and knowledge, within an
innovative educational framework,” according to the Rashi Foundation.
The idea for the science park was born in 2005, as part of the Education
Ministry’s MADAROM project, established back in 1997 with Rashi to strengthen
science and technology education in the South. Another initiative that resulted
from the project is the Ilan Ramon Youth Physics Center at Ben-Gurion
“Beersheba has particularly invested in making the city and the region
attractive in recent years due to the transfer of the military there,” Leven
explained. “But we came here way before that and the idea then was really to
focus on the periphery and close the gaps.”
“There were huge educational and social gaps and our ambition was really to try
and close them, so we are practically not invested in the center of the country
where there are more resources,” he continued.
Itzik Turgeman, Rashi’s executive vice president and director-general, said
being involved in the periphery allows the foundation to “make an impact.”
“It’s not something you can achieve in one project, it’s a concept,” he said.
“There is wonderful potential in the South and the periphery as a whole, and
all we need to do is give the kids tools to become excellent.”
“In Israel, we have three main science museums: One in Jerusalem, one at the
Weizmann Institute [in Rehovot] and the Technion’s Madatech [in Haifa],” he
“The access of citizens from the South to these three science museums is very
poor so most of them don’t attend museums, and we know that museums are key
elements in exposing people to the beauty of science, of higher education.
“Knowing that kids in the South are not exposed to museums explains part of the
existing gaps,” he said.
“When you reach the point that they have a degree in science, you have
officially made an impact,” he said. “This is not a one-year project, it’s a
“Very often you find kids who have the potential, they pass the matriculation
exam at a high level but for socioeconomic reasons don’t pursue higher
education, and then they need the extra push,” Leven said.
The Rashi Foundation aspires to “create qualified population to the South who
will lead the future Silicon Valley of Israel.”
“We have everything we need to make this happen in the South,” Turgeman said
with conviction. “The army which has moved down there, an excellent university
[BGU] and vast land to build on.
“When there will be hi-tech industry in the periphery, talented population will
stay there and population from the Center will prefer to leave the dense city
and go to the South or the North,” he explained.
The Carasso Science Park is part of the Gustave Leven Campus, named after the
late founder of the Rashi Foundation, which also includes hotel accommodation,
a swimming pool and a dining room.
Number of Salaries to Buy Homes Rising
The Ministry of Housing and Construction announced on
Wednesday that the situation of homebuyers is worsening in the face of rising
prices for new and second-hand homes. It says that the number of average
salaries to buy an average home rose to 135 salaries in the first quarter of
2013 from 131 salaries in 2011-12, 129 salaries in 2010, 116 salaries in 2009,
and 103 salaries in 2008.
A breakdown of homes by new and second-hand and by the
number of rooms found that 181 average salaries are needed to buy a second-hand
five-room apartment - more than 15 years of work - and 179 salaries to buy a
new five-room apartment.
It takes 150 average salaries to buy an average new
four-room apartment (12.5 years of work) and 128 salaries to buy an average
second-hand four-room apartment (10.6 years of work). It takes 7.5 years of
work to buy an average second-hand three-room apartment, and 90 average
salaries to buy a new three-room apartment.
As for mortgages, the Ministry of Housing says that the
average monthly mortgage payment was 30% of disposable income in January-April,
and that the ratio was even higher for 41% of borrowers. Buyers of apartments
costing less than NIS 1.2 million are more in debt, with 54% of them having a
loan-to-value ratio of over 60%, compared with fewer than a third of mortgage
holders of apartments that cost more than NIS 1.2 million.
The Ministry of Housing says that the average rent is NIS
3,411 a month nationwide. The average rent in Tel Aviv is NIS 5,059, 54% above
the national average, and the average rent in the Haifa suburbs in the Krayot
is NIS 2,141, 35% below the national average.
Investment in residential construction fell to 8.3% of GDP
in the first quarter from 8.7% in the corresponding quarter. "In 2005-12,
this percentage rose from 7.5% to 9%, albeit with fluctuations," says the
ministry, adding that the ratio was over 10% in the early 2000s. Investment in
residential construction was 2.1% lower in real terms in the first quarter than
in the corresponding quarter, totaling NIS 22.3 billion.
OECD: Israelis younger with high life expectancy
The good news is that Israelis are younger, have a higher
life expectancy and lower infant mortality than most other member nations in
the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. The bad news is that
Israel has fewer hospital beds and nurses per capita and lower national public
expenditures on health than almost any other member state.
The OECD disclosed this on Thursday, as part of its annual
comparative report of healthcare data. Israel has been a member of the
organization of advanced nations since 2010.
Most of the negative data on Israel involved its medical
infrastructure, while most of its positive statistics involved demographics.
From the former, it became clear that only two of the 34
OECD states have fewer hospital beds per capita than Israel.
The ratio is 1.9 beds per 1,000 residents compared to the
OECD average of 3.4. The lack of beds forces medical staffers to discharge
patients early and to follow a “warm-bed policy” of admitting patients as soon
as the existing ones can be sent home – even if they haven’t totally recovered.
There are 3.3 physicians per 1,00 residents in Israel,
compared to the OECD average of 3.2, but the local ratio has declined significantly
in recent years and will drop even more in the coming years because of mass
retirement by doctors from the former Soviet Union who arrived in the 1990s. In
most other OECD countries, doctor-to-resident ratios are increasing.
There are only 4.8 nurses per 1,000 Israelis, compared to
the OECD average of 8.8 – a very serious lack. In addition, national healthcare
expenditure as a proportion of the gross domestic product is low – 7.7 percent
compared to the OECD average of 9.3%. The share of state expenditures continues
to decline as residents have to pay more out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare,
the report found. It is 60.8% compared to the OECD average of 72.7%.
Israel is third among the OECD in the rate of citizens who
have supplementary and private health insurance policies, which is an
indication that the residents don’t trust their basic health insurance to
provide the care they need (as has been shown in recent opinion polls).
At the same time, Israel is a young country, with only 10%
of the population aged 65 and older – although the percentage is constantly
growing – compared to 15.4% in the average OECD country. It also has a lot of
children – 28% under the age of 14 – the second highest rate in the OECD. Thus
the dependence ratio, showing the burden of the working public from those too
young or too old to work, is the highest in the organization of states.
The mortality rate in Israel is lower than in the US and the
UK, but higher than in Spain, Greece and Scandinavia; however, there are significant
differences in mortality rates among ethnic, religious and racial groups in
Teva is stopping filing for patents in Israel for products
developed in the country and will file for them in Switzerland instead. The
step will enable the pharmaceutical giant to benefit from tax exemptions and
incentives that are granted in Switzerland but are not available in Israel for
development, manufacturing and registering patents.
As "Globes" revealed earlier this year, Teva has
paid virtually zero tax in Israel due to the Law for the Encouragement of
Capital Investment which benefits companies manufacturing in Israel. However,
for registering patents without subsequent manufacturing, Israel offers no tax
benefits. Furthermore, production activities that are not completely undertaken
in Israel and are part of the chain that include activities by companies
abroad, are also not eligible for tax breaks.
In contrast Switzerland grants tax breaks for companies that
are only filing for patents and not manufacturing in the country and conducts a
tax breaks regime whereby products only partly manufactured in the country
enjoy far reaching tax incentives if certain conditions are met.
"Globes" has also been informed that top
executives at Teva contacted senior government officials to investigate the
possibility of establishing a similar tax break mechanism in Israel for solely
registering patents as exists in Switzerland. The possibility is being examined
but it is thought unlikely that the tax incentive will be granted.
The main reason for reluctance to introduce such a tax break
is that to create a benefit for solely registering patents without the need for
manufacturing could result in factories being transferred out of Israel.
Finance Ministry sources also explain that it is unacceptable to create tax
policies based on the needs of a single company. Teva, as reported, plans
taking advantage of the Swiss tax regime for registering patents and its
company's activities abroad, and consequently Israel will lose revenue from
Teva has a number of patents including that of its flagship
drug Copaxone for treating multiple sclerosis. Teva is also very active in the
generics sector developing treatments based on drugs where the patent has
expired. Here too in developing generic drugs Teva has registered its own
patents on the things it developed itself from the patent taken from another
Teva's problem is not the percentage of tax it pays but
rather the company's ability to maximize the tax breaks it receives. A source
that understands tax considerations said, "The problem is not where tax is
higher but what is defined as revenue that enjoys tax breaks. The definition in
Israel is very narrow. We are talking about a law regarding production in
Israel based on industrial activities in the country. When we look at global
companies like Teva with activities partly carried out in Israel but that buy
raw ingredients abroad, and some of their activities are carried out by third
parties, in such a situation the company does not enjoy tax breaks."
In other words according to the current interpretation by
income tax, the question of what is production in Israel for Teva, which is a
multinational with a chain of production encompassing countries overseas, means
it won't enjoy tax benefits for patents and developments in this international
In contrast Switzerland encourages companies to register
their intellectual property and patents and manage their supply chain in
Switzerland where production can be partly conducted. Tax break are offered
providing management is carried out from Switzerland by at least 25 employees.
"My family was very assimilated, and I guess it wasn’t
too cool to be Jewish then, so I was influenced by my surroundings of family
and friends,” says Burt Bacharach, explaining in his gruff voice from his home
in Los Angeles why he never practiced the Judaism he was born into 85 years
ago. “I was left to create a religion of my own in my mind and my heart.”
Even though the legendary melodist responsible for dozens of unforgettable
songs may have renounced organized religion from an early age, millions of
fervent listeners have worshiped at Beit Bacharach through decades of hits like
“The Look of Love,” “I Say a Little Prayer for You,” “Walk on By,” “Raindrops
Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” and “This Guy’s in Love with You.”
Instead of instilling Bacharach with his Jewish heritage, his parents focused
on musical education, with piano lessons evolving into late- night jaunts to Manhattan
to see jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, and eventually a
music studies program at McGill University in Montreal, Mannes School of Music
in New York City and the Berkshire Music Center. It all led him to songwriting
and a chance to earn his Tin Pan Alley stripes at the famed Brill Building song
factory in New York in the 1950s and early ’60s, perfecting his craft and
rubbing shoulders with fellow future songwriting superstars like Jerry Leiber
and Mike Stoller and Gerry Goffin and Carole King.
“It was a wonderful time when I was working at the Brill Building. In the
elevator, you would see Leiber and Stoller or run into Phil Spector.
It was a building full of music,” said Bacharach, adding that there was
good-natured competition among the songwriting staff to produce bigger hits and
better songs, but also a fair share of nurturing and mentoring going on.
Bacharach’s songs, many of which were written with his longtime lyricist Hal
David, whom he met at the Brill Building, and performed by sultry voiced
songstress Dionne Warwick, are carefully crafted pop symphonies that hit all
the right notes from beginning to end.
But remarkably well-preserved and healthy, Bacharach is enjoying a new round of
professional activity, including a CD box set, The Art of the Songwriter:
Anyone Who Had a Heart – The Best of Burt Bacharach , and a long-awaited
autobiography, Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music , which candidly
discusses his “swinging ’60s” past, and was described by the Daily Telegraph as
“a world of broads, highballs and frequent dinners at Italian joints where
Sinatra liked to hang out.”
“I was never a performer. Before I became successful as a songwriter, I made a
living as a band leader for Vic Damone and then Dietrich,” said Bacharach.
“Later, after I became a songwriting success, I started to get offers to
perform and even go to Las Vegas for an engagement at Harrahs. But I never
thought it would lead to something like appearing with my band in Israel. You
never know where life will take you.”
Sport in Israel
Several sports are played in Israel and many are represented
at international level.
At present the main competitions in Israel are the athletics
championships and the road and mountain bike national championships and the
A decision will soon be taken about who will represent
Israel at the World Mountain Bike Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South
The Israel Cycling Federation has to decide whether there is
sufficient finance available to send a team to South Africa. If the finance is
found the team is likely to include Shlomi Hami, Israel Senior Olympic Champion
and Ronen Ellis who was recently crowned as Israel Junior Olympic Mountain Bike
The largest sporting event at present in Israel is The
Maccabi Games.The largest ever Maccabiah Games also known as “Jewish Olympics” opened in Jerusalem with nearly 10,000 athletes
coming to participate from 77 countries from all five continents.
The games caters for masters and paraplegic as well as
76 countries will be represented only by their best Jewish
athletes as this event is meant to be a gathering of Jewish sportsmen and
sports women from around the world. However Israel will be the only country
that will be represented by all its sportsmen and women regardless whether they
are Jewish or not. The best Israeli Muslim, Christian and Druze athletes will
also represent Israel.
The first Maccabi Games was held in 1932. The games are held
every four years usually one year after the Olympic Games. 2013 will be the 19th
About 40,000 people including Israel’s President and Prime
Minister as well as many foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the opening
in Jerusalem to see the lighting of the torch, the march of the athletes and
live performances by performers like Rami Kleinstein, violinist Miri ben Ari,
Canadian born Kathleen Reiter and others.
The Maccabi Games is one of the biggest sporting events in
the world by number of participating athletes.