Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Israel equips Indian women entrepreneurs to win globally

It is now reported that Asia will overtake the USA and become the second biggest trading partner for Israel in this year. Initiatives such as the one outlined below are leading more and more businessmen to develop trade ties with Asia.

Vijeta Uniyal April 6, 2014,
Vijeta Uniyal is an Indian-born Entrepreneur living in Germany. He is Contributing Editor to The Commentator and Fellow at Lawfare 

Since the dawn of time, Jews and Indians have traded with each other. The ancient Jewish scriptures describe how once every three years the merchant fleet of Tarshish came back laden with gold, silver, ivory and exotic animals during the reign of King Solomon. Modern linguistic evidence points to India as the destination of these voyages. For centuries Jewish merchants and communities were welcomed on Indian shores. In 10th Century C.E. a powerful South Indian King even granted special privileges to Jewish trading community of the port city of Cochin – comparable with modern day tax exemption and free-trade zone.
It was therefore but natural that, when India formalized her relations with the Jewish State in 1991, Indians and Israelis started to trade – as if they were making up for the lost centuries – taking the bilateral trade from $200 million in 2001, to over $6 billion in 2013. As steady but irreversible market reforms unfetter India’s entrepreneurial potential, young Indians look more and more towards the Start-Up Nation for inspiration and collaboration.
In the wake of economic boom in sectors like IT, Telecom, Pharma and Bio-Technology – India did see increase in number of women employed in new sectors of economy. However, women continue to face serious challenges in rising up to leadership positions in Corporate India.
Now an Israeli initiative wants to give Indian women entrepreneurs the tools to break through these glass ceilings and acquire world-class leadership skills. The Bonita Trust, The Israel Asia Center, and Sofaer International MBA at Tel Aviv University have joined hands to offer a scholarship program specially tailored for Indian women entrepreneurs.
The scholarship offers a unique opportunity to women entrepreneurs, by covering full tuition fee at Tel Aviv University’s International MBA program and participation in the prestigious Israel-Asia Leaders Fellowship, along with a chance of getting seed funding for an Israel-India venture after successful completion of the program.
According to Rebecca Zeffert, Founder and Executive Director of the Israel-Asia Center, “This (scholarship) is a fantastic opportunity for a young Indian female entrepreneur to develop and receive support for her own Israel-India venture in the ‘Start-Up Nation’, to meet business and government leaders, acquire valuable leadership and business skills, and tap into and build partnerships with one of the world’s leading and most exciting hubs for innovation and technology.”
In keeping with the expectations of the Indian and Asian students, who still value well-structured and demanding curricula, Sofaer International MBA offers a rigorous core curriculum, but in addition to that, also allows participants be creative and choose from a wide-range of elective courses, offering greater control in shaping the program to fit individual career needs. Israel-Asia Leaders Fellowship Program adds to this management training experience by providing the right contacts, skills-sets and support network to build partnerships with Israel in their chosen field. Aimed at build leadership, the program gives fellows opportunities to speak at notable events and write for domestic and international media.

For the new generation of budding Indian women entrepreneurs rearing up to take on the challenges of Corporate India and break through the glass ceiling, this experience won’t just change their lives, but holds a greater promise of transforming mind-sets and breaking news grounds in India.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Helping the Unfortunates in Haifa

Here in Haifa, there are many opportunities for assisting those who are in unfortunate circumstances. We have two pet projects:-

a)    A center for children with learning difficulties http://www.haifacenter.org/en_default.asp

b)    A sheltered home for battered women

Now the two projects have converged thanks to the local Rotary who made it possible to provide a series of emotional treatments to women in one of the shelters in Haifa for battered women. In this home there are a number of women from the Arab community who have to escape the potential dangers of "honour" killing.

The center's expert therapist used art to help women discover their inner world and express hidden feelings. In some cases Dyadic Therapy (mother-child) took place. Mothers reported increased self-awareness, self-confidence, and empowerment preparing them for life outside of the shelter. To quote the therapist: “This was the first time I worked with this population, and as much as I gave to them, I gained myself”. It is hoped to continue these treatments in the future

In a second innovation in the center, it is known that many children have difficulties when starting school. The demands and atmosphere in a classroom are completely different to those in kindergartens, and often pose a challenge to small children – with rules and instructions, and sitting at a desk for hours carrying out a range of new tasks - many Grade 1 pupils find themselves out of their depth.

A new service has been started, funded by Health Services in which small groups of 5 and 6 year olds will meet with an Occupational Therapist who will prepare the children for Grade 1 and teach both organizational and graphic-motor skills, while enhancing social skills and providing emotional support before the changeover from a kindergarten to a school framework.

School principals are very excited about this new venture and are referring children for assessments, so that they will be eligible to participate in school readiness groups.

Monday, April 7, 2014

I'm a Zionist Arab; Jews are Great

Muhammad Zoabi, 16, angers his famous relative MK Zoabi by stating eloquently that Israeli Arabs should be thankful for the Jewish state.

 : 4/7/2014,  

Muhammad Zoabi, 16, an Arab Muslim from Nazareth, is causing anger in Muslim circles, and considerable joy in Jewish ones, by stating in a unique interview that he is a Zionist and loves the state of Israel.

"I really believe that I'm a lucky Arab and a lucky human being and a lucky Middle Eastern[er] that I was born in this little tiny piece of land!”, he stated. Pointing to the Golan Heights from the window of his interviewer's home, in the Israeli community of Massad, he noted how bad life is beyond the border, for Syrians.

People in Syria are being killed because they want freedom, Muhammad said. but in Israel, he explained to interviewer Susan Deane Taylor-Gol, “we are living freedom, freedom is our life! No one can take our freedom... We're the hope in the region. I think that if the Syrians and the Egyptians, and the Lebanese and the Jordanians and all of our neighbors want to have a really democratic life, they should come to us, and they are more than welcome!”

Zoabi explained that it is not easy to be a Muslim Zionist. He said that “the bad sides” of Arab culture have taken control of the society, that he has been attacked several times for his views, and that some people call him a traitor, or even “a Jew.” He added with a smile that he cannot understand how people could see the word “Jew” as an insult, when the Jews only recently emerged from a situation in which they were being ruthlessly slaughtered, to one in which they are “one of the smartest and strongest nations in the world.”

MK Hanin Zouabi (Balad) responded to Muhammad's pro-Israel Facebook page and video by saying that “the state of Israel has trained him into obedience. Sometimes, the oppressed identifies with the oppressor because he lacks pride and political awareness.”

Muhammad is unfazed by such statements and vows to “stand with the Jewish people until the last day of my life.” 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Abuse of History.

Tony Elliot - Resident of Israel and UK

It is possible to take details from history (or omit them) and distort present day reality. This is happening regarding the peace process in the Middle East at the time of writing.

Viewing Israel through the prism of contemporary history can be used to create the wrong impressions. The conflict in the Middle East needs a context. Part of that context is the historical facts.

“The past must not be consigned to irrelevance. Unbroken historical continuities contextualize current events. Nothing springs forth from a vacuum. What takes place began back there”
-           Sarah Honig  

To paraphrase:  If we ‘airbrush out’ or ‘spin’ aspects of history we lose integrity and distort reality.   

On the 13-03-2014  Secretary of State. John Kerry addressed the House of Foreign Affairs Committee. He made the point that Israel was deliberately making things difficult for the Palestinians by insisting they recognise Israel as a Jewish State. This he intimated was an un-necessary stumbling block being put before the Palestinians because their recognition had been endorsed in the 181 Resolution back in 1947. Basically he was telling Israel to stop ‘banging on about it’.

Quote  “They (Israel) keep raising it again and again as a critical decider of their attitude towards the possibility of a state and peace and we’ve obviously made it clear”

This statement is either a mistake or worse a dangerous and deceptive manipulation of historical fact. It is true that in Resolution 181 Nov29th 1947 the words ‘The Jewish state is mentioned 40 times’. However Mr Kerry misses out one important fact: The Arabs never accepted Resolution 181. Their response to Resolution 181 was to mobilise 7 armies with the intention of exterminating the Jewish people. Gen Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha articulated Arab priorities. Quote  “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre”.  That sentiment remains today.

Israel insists the Palestinians recognise the Jewish State of Israel because it is stated in the UN Resolution 181. To Israel the present day reality and the historical facts cannot be separated. Nor should they be!  What the Arabs rejected 67 years ago must be accepted today. The issue should not be ‘airbrushed’ away.  It is the central issue in the search for a lasting peace.    
Another example of interpreting history through a contemporary prism appears in Robert Fisk’s book ‘Pity the Nation’ quote:

‘……….Yad Vashem is not so much a memorial as a political statement. Its documents, photographs, dictate its theme: That the holocaust produced the state of Israel and that anyone who opposed the creation of that state is on the level of the Nazis’

The historical context tells a different story. By this statement he makes three insinuations:

1.       That Yad Vashem is more a political statement.
2.       That the Holocaust produced the State of Israel.
3.       Anyone who opposes the creation of the State of Israel is a Nazi.

1.Yad Vashem has two functions: First and foremost as a memorial to 6 million men, women and children, who were denied the right to live. Secondly as a place of study and research into the subject of genocide. To reduce Yad Vashem to the level of a political statement is an abuse of the historical facts and an insult both to the memory of those who perished and the integrity of Israel’s government.

2. The State of Israel was long in process before the Holocaust.  Mr. Frisk ‘airbrushes’ over the facts and creates a distorted picture. The vision for a Jewish homeland existed as early as 1809. A London Missionary group supported by people like William Wilberforce had an agenda which worked towards the physical restoration of the Jewish people to Eretz Israel.  
In 1895 Theodor Herzl wrote Der Judenstaat (the Jewish State).

“The Jews who will it shall achieve their State. We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and in our own homes peacefully die. The world will be liberated by our freedom, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness. And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind."

To suggest that the Holocaust produced the State of Israel is either ignorance or a deliberate manipulation of the facts.

3. Mr. Fisk’s third insinuation does contain some relevance to historical fact because, Hajj Amin al Hussieni, the grand Mufti of Jerusalem (1921-1948) actually joined the Nazis party. He vehemently opposed the creation of the State of Israel.  However Mr. Fisk uses the word ‘anyone’ to infer that Israel is in the business of stereo typing ‘anyone’ who disagrees with its politics as ‘Nazis’. Another example of a misleading interpretation.

Contemporary history needs the context of past history.  It is dangerous to pick and choose aspects of history in order to push an agenda.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Kerry Misleads the Palestinians

FACT:-   Israel never agreed to releasing pre-Oslo Israeli Arab terrorists as part of the 4th round of releases and Secretary of State John Kerry misled the Palestinians and told them that Israel had agreed to release them.

This is not something told reporters by tertiary sources. It isn't even something told on background not for attribution.

It is something that senior Israeli ministers have said for attribution. Further, they have said this in interviews broadcast on Israel Radio over the past week.

Again:  the 4th release as far as the Palestinians are concerned includes the Israeli Arabs.  And this wasn't going to happen in a vacuum.

PM Netanyahu made this clear from the start.

This is a mess caused by Secretary of State Kerry's decision to apparently make the assumption that he could easily force PM Netanyahu to release the Israeli Arabs.

But PM Netanyahu was absolutely honest in explaining that it would take very special and unique circumstances to make it possible for the Cabinet to approve the release of the Israeli Arab terrorists.

Abbas to Kerry: Please Beg Me More!

Khaled Abu Toameh  April 4, 2014 

Abbas is convinced that it is only a matter of time before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rushes back to the region in yet anther desperate effort to "salvage the peace process."
In recent weeks, according to Palestinian officials, Kerry has literally been "begging" Abbas to agree to an extension of the peace talks after the end of April.

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have concluded that the Obama Administration is prepared to do almost anything to show some kind of "victory" in the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. Palestinian demands therefore have continued to increase almost every day.

Palestinian Authority [PA] leader Mahmoud Abbas is now waiting to see what the U.S. Administration will offer him in return for refraining from pursuing his bid to join various international treaties and institutions.

In recent weeks, according to Palestinian officials, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has literally been "begging" Abbas to agree to the extension of the peace talks after the end of April.

Hours after Abbas signed the applications for joining a number of international bodies and treaties, he received an urgent phone call from Kerry asking him to refrain from further moves that could "derail" the peace process.

Abbas is convinced that it is only a matter of time before Kerry rushes back to the region in yet another desperate effort to "salvage the peace process."

On Wednesday night, Abbas and the PA leadership received the first sign that the U.S. Administration was nervous and confused following the PA's surprise decision to join 15 international organizations and treaties.

Kerry's envoy, Martin Indyk, invited Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli Justice Minister Tsipi Livni to an emergency meeting in Jerusalem to find ways of preventing the "collapse" of the peace talks in the wake of Abbas's decision to apply for the memberships.
The meeting lasted for several hours and, according to Palestinian sources in Ramallah, Indyk and Livni "reprimanded" Erekat for surprising Israel and the U.S. Administration with the new decision.

So far, however, Abbas does not seem to be satisfied with what his emissary, Erekat, heard from Indyk and Livni. Abbas is therefore expected to step up pressure on the two parties in the coming days and weeks, if he can, in the hope of extracting as many concessions as possible.Abbas dispatched Erekat to the meeting to see what the Americans and Israelis are prepared to offer him in return for suspending this bid.

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have concluded that the Obama Administration is prepared to do almost anything to show some kind of a "victory" in the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. Palestinian demands have therefore continued to increase almost every day.

Realizing how desperate Kerry is to achieve an extension of the talks, Abbas decided that this was the right time to set new conditions, such as the release of jailed Fatah militia leader Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Sa'adat, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Barghouti is in prison for his role in terrorist attacks against Israelis during the second intifada. Sa'adat is serving a lengthy prison term for his role in the assassination of Israel's Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi.

As Kerry increased his pressure on the Palestinians to agree to an extension, Abbas added two more conditions: the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and a complete cessation of construction in settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Abbas has also made it clear that his decision to join international organizations and treaties does not mean that he is interested in a "clash" with the U.S. Administration.

Abbas is right. Of course he does not want a "clash" with President Barack Obama and Kerry. Rather, Abbas wants the two men to continue begging him not to walk out of the peace process and turn their entire Middle East policy into another blunder. He wants them to exert pressure on the Israeli government to accept both his old and new demands.

Abbas apparently thinks he is moving in the right direction, and that Obama and Kerry have no choice but to accept his demands and intensify U.S. pressure on Israel. Abbas does not want totally to walk out of the peace talks at this stage. He feels that he can still extract further concessions from the Israelis and Americans, and that his decision to join 15 international organizations and treaties has left the U.S. Administration in a state of panic that the peace talks might fail. Now he is waiting to see what price Obama and Kerry are willing to pay to avoid that scenario.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Christian Convert Attacked with Acid

Last week in Tel Aviv before returning home, I attended a lecture by Pastor Umar Kalinde where he thanked the Israeli people for their support and the doctors in particular for the wonderful treatment he received after being severely burned following an acid attack by Islamists whom objected to his conversion from Islam to Christianity.

In 2011 just after service at a Church in Namasuba, Kampala, unknown attackers threw concentrated acid into the face and back of Pastor Umar Kalinde. An attacker shouted, ‘Pastor, pastor,’ and as Umar turned to look, liquid was thrown in his face as the others poured more liquid on his back and then fled away shouting, ‘Allahu akbar ’” 

Intense pain caused him to lose consciousness as the acid ate away at his flesh. He regained consciousness at the Kampala 
Hospital to which he had been rushed. Doctors reported that the acid had not only badly damaged his skin and some facial bones, but also blinded one eye. 

Umar was flown from Kampala to Israel for specialized treatment where after two years of multiple operations he has now been to return home
Umar, who had been a sheikh (Islamic teacher) before his conversion to Christianity, said Muslim extremists opposed to his conversion from Islam, and his outspoken opposition of sharia (Islamic law) courts in Uganda,were responsible for the attack.

Umar had a fatwa declared against him demanding his death by area Muslim leaders. 

He was full of praise for the expertise of the Israeli doctors who "brought him back to life".