News Highlights September 2013
1. The Second 100 years
2. The Israelis.
3. Israeli Cities.
4. Israeli Kibbutzim.
5. Govenor of the Bank of Israel.
6. Legal meaning of sexual harassment.
7. Ebay and Israel.
8. Food Labeling.
9. Visiting Prime Ministers.
10. Mayor of Kiryat Malachi.
11. CBS report on Poverty.
12. Israel Sifonietta.
The Second 100 years
The 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 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.
Italy discovered the benefits of the Negev. Greengrocers in
Italy have signed an agreement for growing potatoes in winter in the Negev.
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 – Amos Oz
Since 1967, he has been a prominent advocate and major
cultural voice of a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Oz's
work has been published in some 41 languages, including Arabic,
in 35 countries. He has received many honours and awards, among them the Legion
of Honour of France, the Goethe Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award in Literature,
the Heinrich Heine Prize and the Israel
He and his family were distant from religion, disdaining what they perceived to be its irrationality. Yet he attended the community religious school Tachkemoni as the alternative was the socialist school affiliated with the labour movement, to which his family was decidedly opposed in their political values. The noted poet Zelda was one of his teachers. After Tachkemoni he attended Gymnasia Rehavia.
His mother, who had suffered from depression, committed suicide when he was 12, repercussions of which he would explore in his memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness. Soon after, at the age of 15, he became a Labor Zionist, left home, and joined kibbutz Hulda.
There he was adopted by the Huldai family (whose son Ron serves as mayor of Tel Aviv) and lived a full kibbutz life. He also changed his surname to "Oz", Hebrew for "strength". Asked why he did not leave Jerusalem for Tel Aviv, he later said, "Tel Aviv was not radical enough – only the kibbutz was radical enough". However by his own account he was "a disaster as a laborer... the joke of the kibbutz". When Oz first began to write, the kibbutz gave him one day a week to write; when his book My Michael became a best-seller, and he had become "a branch of the farm", three days; and in the eighties he had four days for writing, while teaching for two days and taking turns as a waiter in the kibbutz dining hall on Saturdays.”
His earliest publications were a few short articles in the kibbutz newsletter and the newspaper Davar. His first book Where the Jackals Howl, a collection of short stories, was published in 1965. His first novel Elsewhere, Perhaps was published in 1966. Following this, he began to write prolifically, publishing an average of one book per year on the Labor Party press, Am Oved. Oz has written 18 books in Hebrew, and about 450 articles and essays. His works have been translated into some 40 languages, including Arabic. In 1997, President Jacques Chirac presented him with the Legion of Honour.
· In 2007, he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award in Literature (Spain).
· In 2007, his book "A Tale of Love and Darkness" was nominated one of the ten most important books since the independence of Israel.
· In 2008, he was awarded the Primo Levi Prize (Italy).
· In 2010, he received the honorary fellowship from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
· In 2013, he was award the Franz Kafka Prize.
In his works, Oz tends to present protagonists in a realistic light with an ironic touch while his treatment of the life in the kibbutz is accompanied by a somewhat critical tone.
Oz is among the most influential and well-regarded intellectuals in Israel.
Oz has been considered in recent years to be a potential candidate to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Israeli Cities – Karmiel
Karmiel is a city in northern Israel. Established in 1964 as a development
town, Karmiel is located in the Beit HaKerem Valley which divides upper and
The city is located south of the Acre-Safed road,
Karmiel was one of the first cities in Israel to be established according to an urban master plan. It was built as part of the Central Galilee Development Project. Work began in 1963, and the official inauguration ceremony took place in October 1964 The first 16 families moved in at that time. A tender for the construction of Karmiel's main roads was issued in 1963, and Mekorot built a water pipe network connecting Karmiel, Rameh, Sha'ab and other nearby villages. In 1981, Karmiel was awarded the Beautiful Israel prize and the Kaplan Prize for Management and Services. Karmiel achieved city status on November 20, 1986. The first mayor was Baruch Venger, followed by Adi Eldar, who has remained in this position until today.
Karmiel is located on the Acre–Safed road, on the northern edge of the Lower
Galilee. It lies in Emek Beit HaKerem and its elevation is
Today there are four high schools, four junior high schools, a vocational training center, nine state-run elementary schools, one state-run religious school (including high school), an independent education elementary school, a school for gifted children and an educational farm, many kindergartens, nursery schools and daycare centers, as well as a network of community youth and sports centers and the international ORT Braude College of Engineering with a student body of 3,500 studying computers, electronics, industrial administration, biotechnology and other subjects. A biotechnology research and development center will also opened at the college.
The city is known for the Karmiel Dance Festival, a yearly event since 1988. The festival is usually held for 3 days and nights in July, and includes dance performances, workshops, and open dance sessions. The festival began as a celebration of Israeli folk dance, but today it features many different dance forms from all around the globe, and attracts thousands of dancers and hundreds of thousands of spectators from many countries.
The Holocaust Memorial Park is located at the entrance to the city. The bronze sculptures were made by Jewish sculptor and artist Nicky Imber (1920-1996). The sculptures are separated into three groups: Holocaust, wondering and hope; which represent the story of the Jewish people from the time of the Holocaust to the return to the holy land.
Karmiel was the first Israeli city to receive ISO 9002 certification for the quality of its services. It is one of the few Israeli cities with ISO 1410 certification for environmental standards. Karmiel has enacted by-laws to protect the environment and prevent pollution, and become a center for clean industries and advanced technology enterprises that abide by these standards.
Israeli Kibbutzim – Ma'abarot
Ma'abarot was the third kibbutz established by the Kibbutz Artzi federation and is located in the Sharon Plain, near the old road from Petah Tikva to Haifa. It was founded by graduates of the left-wing Hashomer Hatzair Zionist youth movement in Romania who organized themselves as a settlement group, and immigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1924.
Upon their arrival in Palestine, the group had to wait several years until land for settlement was made available, and they worked as hired laborers in the meanwhile. In
Ma'abarot farms approximately 3,000 dunams (3 km²) of land. Cotton is the major cash crop, and other branches include subtropical orchard, fish-breeding ponds and a dairy. The kibbutz also operates two pharmaceutical factories:
· "TRIMA", which produces medical supplies; and
· "Ma'abarot Products", which manufactures veterinary medical supplies and feed additives for livestock, among them "BONZO" dog food and "LaCat" cat food.
In addition, Ma'abarot runs a state of the art spray drying plant, which dehydrates foods of every variety. Foremost among these is "MATERNA", an infant formula which is the leading baby-formula in Israel, and the only product of its kind which is wholly manufactured in Israel.
Members of the kibbutz were very much
involved in the artistic and musical life of the country. The composer Nissim Nissimov, leading
figure in the musical activities of the Labor movement, organized in the year
Musician Geva Alon is from Ma'abarot.
Outgoing chief Stanley Fischer praises decision; opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich lauds appointment as "enlightened"; says after 2 failed attempts, PM made "the best decision"; analysts, traders welcome choice.
News of Ms. Karnit Flug's appointment as the head of the Bank of Israel has been well received.
Flug has been acting chief since Stanley Fischer stepped down in June, and, despite being Fischer's preferred choice, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid struggled through two failed attempts to fill the post before tapping her for the role.Fischer praised the decision, crediting Flug with helping him make key policy decisions during his tenure at the bank.
“I know it was not an easy decision, but I also know that along the way, the Prime Minister and Finance Minister searched for the most fitting nominee for the good of Israel’s economy,” he said.
"Even if the process was faulty and at times ridiculous, Netanyahu needed courage to backtrack from his mistake and correct it, and in the end made the best decision," Yacimovich said.
Analysts and traders also welcomed Flug's appointment.
Amir Eyal, chairman of the Infinity investment house, said he expects Flug to implement an expansive monetary policy, supporting exports and employment and following Fischer's footsteps.
As governor, Fischer bought billions of dollars to help weaken the shekel.
Though many economic analysts praised the choice of Flug for the position, not everyone was so forgiving of the drawn-out process that preceded it.
Despite the fact that Fischer gave a five-month warning before he stepped down, Lapid and Netanyahu did not produce their first choice of a successor until his final days in office. That nominee, former BOI Governor Jacob Frenkel, rescinded the offer in July when allegations that he had stolen a garment bag from the Hong Kong airport duty free in 2006 came to the fore. Frenkel denied all wrongdoing, saying the incident was a misunderstanding, but blasted the Israeli media for relentlessly hounding him over the incident.
In August, the second pick, Bank HaPoalim Chief Economist Leo Leiderman changed his mind just two days after accepting the nomination, as stories of his consultations with astrologers and alleged misdeeds during his employment at Deutsche Bank emerged.
After being overlooked for the second time Flug, who was Fischer’s favorite for the position and had garnered the support of prominent MK’s, had announced that she would resign from the bank once a new governor was in place.
Lapid and Netanyahu could not agree on a final choice. Netanyahu was reportedly persuaded to bring Flug on board after a recent phone call with Fischer.“Those who opposed Flug’s nomination pointed to her lack of international experience, arguing that it could harm Israel’s economic standing,” said Shmuel Ben-Arieh, Director of local market research at Pioneer Financial. “In my opinion, Israel’s standing was actually harmed more by the Lapid and Netanyahu’s unimaginable zigzagging in the process of picking a governor, during which the natural choice, who was finally chosen, was in front of their faces the whole time.”
Flug’s years of experience at the bank and mentorship from Fischer will doubtless help her navigate the serious challenges the economy faces, such as the taming the price of housing, navigating the still-fragile global economy, and moderating the persistent strengthening of the shekel and its effect on exporters.
“The appointment will prevent shocks at the Bank of Israel and the monetary policy,” said IBI Investment House chief economist Rafi Gozlan, who criticized the “puzzling” four-month period that preceded her nomination. “This is a direct extension of Fischer’s policy, though at this stage there is a greater emphasis on exports, and thus the exchange rates, as opposed to housing.”
Knesset panel expands legal meaning of sexual harassment
Public officials can be considered sexual
harassers even if their victims do not reject them, according to a bill
authorized for its first reading by the Knesset Committee on the Status of
Ebay and Israeli renewable energy firm deal
Israeli renewable energy firm Ormat Technologies Inc. will likely be providing
online auction giant eBay Inc. with a 5-megawatt recovered energy generation
(REG) power plant to be constructed in Utah, the companies announced on
Nelson added that the firm intended to pursue
contracts for further REG power “and to reach, and possibly surpass, our goal
to source at least 8 percent of our energy from cleaner sources by
Food labeling requirements bill
Health Minister Yael German says the
Knesset’s winter session will bring about a “revolution” in consumerism with
requirements for listing on ingredients of food products on the front of
Prime ministers visiting President Peres make history
Two visiting heads of government at individual
meetings on Thursday with President Shimon Peres, described their being in
Israel as historic. Both Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta and Peter
O'Neill, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea are the first sitting prime
ministers of their respective countries to visit Israel
Muscat mentioned the humanitarian crisis that Malta is having with the absorption of Syrian refugees and some Palestinians as well. Malta is affected by anything that happens in the Mediterranean region he stated, adding that stability in the Mediterranean is in Malta's interests. "The well-being of Europe depends on peace and stability in the Mediterranean," he said.
Mayor of Kiryat Malachi
Awake Mengistu says racism
must first be fought locally, vows to move city past history of discrimination
40% of children at risk for poverty, says CBS report
Some 31% of Israelis are close to the poverty line; Israeli rates are twice the rates of European countries.
Some 40 percent of children in Israel were at risk for poverty as of 2011, compared with 20% in the European Union, data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics reveals.
In Israel and in most countries of the European Union, children and seniors are at greater risk of poverty than people between the ages of 18 to 64, the CBS said, as part of its sixth Society in Israel Report.
Moreover, about 31% of Israelis were at risk of poverty – that is, close to the poverty line – as of 2011, up from 26% in 2001.
The EU average is 17%. People in Spain and Greece are at the highest risk for poverty in the EU.
In 2011, about 41% of single- parent families were at risk for poverty, compared to 35% in most European countries.
“The data speaks for itself,” Prof. Asher Ben-Arieh, of the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University said. “One thing sticks out particularly and it’s that the rates in Israel are twice the rates of European countries.”
Ben-Arieh, whose expertise includes child welfare, measuring and monitoring children’s well-being, social policy, children’s rights and the sociology of childhood, attributed this to “an economic policy that constantly increases the socioeconomic gaps and cuts down aid provided by the National Insurance Institute.
“The poverty line is very precise, it’s determined by a specific amount,” he added, “but for people who are one shekel above that, they are still at risk for poverty. Most of the population is close to the poverty line, and only a very few are very far from it.”
Ben-Arieh emphasized that the phenomenon concretely shapes the everyday lives of the children concerned.
“What this means is that the parents need to think twice before sending their child to extracurricular activities and they have to think twice before buying their child some expensive medicine,” he said. “The child ultimately becomes a less enriched, less healthy child: he can’t get tutoring lessons, medical treatment beyond what is provided by the basket of health services provided by the health funds. He is less involved in society, and in most cases he also had no computer or Internet and is less able to connect with the world.”
The solution, Ben-Arieh believes, is to “expand the system of assistance” by making it universal, unrelated to the family’s financial situation, to provide help for those in need and “make sure people are working.
“It’s just a question of society deciding to either take care of this or not to,” he said. “It needs to decide whether we lower the salaries of government leaders to benefit more people or not, and whether the minimum salary should be a dignified one or not.
“Dealing with poverty is the mission of the government and only the government,” Ben-Arieh said. “Whoever thinks that NGOs and all sorts of philanthropic ventures should take care of it doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”