Thursday, July 31, 2008

Haifa Fueling Israel's Transition from Agriculture to Hi-Tech

It has now been announced that the city of Haifa together with a non profit organisation "A Computer for Every Child" is distributing 120 computers to the homes of immigrant Ethiopian children. the computers will be installed shortly after the children and their parents undergo training courses in how to use them. this is part of the on-going action progfram to help absorb and strengthen this community in Haifa.

There seems to be an amazing potential in these children and in order to further help in their studies, a group of Anglos, many former teachers of English, are devoting their time to assist Ethiopian kids in attaining levels of English to allow them to go on to University

A recent visitor to the Haifa Technion reported that "this location has fueled Israel's transition from agriculture to hi-tech. The economy is booming and optimism permeates the air. "

He goes on to report that "Haifa which is a mix of Route 22 near Boston with Silicon Valley, a large touch of San Diego's biotech labs, and you get a feel for Haifa is. Combine the wellspring of brainpower, the determination of the Technion's faculty and students and the huge investment of capital from around the world, and you get a location in which every major corporation searching for tomorrow has a building, a lab and a staff.

Do you want to look into the future? Look no further than the labs and classrooms of the Technion. We witnessed time-lapse photography through electron microscopes that disclosed the secrets of cancer cells mutating; patches allowing the regeneration of bone tissue; nano robots that cruise through the body delivering medication; computerized face-recognition programs that can pick a terrorist out of a crowd; embryonic stem cells morphed into a biological patch to fix a diseased heart; and the list goes on and on. "

This investment in educating for the future must ultimately strengthen the country and its potential in the future. Surely, our Palestinian neighbors should learn from this and educate their children for peace not jihad.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Willingness to Help the Palestinians is NO Guarantee of Safety

A friend’s husband yesterday visited the man who lost his leg in the bulldozer attack on Tuesday.

The injured man was rushed to Shaare Zedek Hospital where his leg was amputated below the knee. The patient has said that he is determined that he will continue to lead a normal life, including participating in the sports that he loves.

The injured man gave the following report of the incident, the sting is in the last sentence.

"I was driving slowly on King David Street when I felt a large bump and knew some idiot had rear-ended my car. I got out to tear the driver off a strip when I saw a huge bulldozer hurtling straight for me. I knew immediately that this was a terror attack and that I had two choices, either to get back into the car or to run for the sidewalk; in that split second I chose the sidewalk. As the bulldozer shovel lifted my car the teeth caught my leg and I fell. I didn't lose consciousness and called my wife begging her to save me, then I called a friend who is an orthopaedic surgeon knowing I would need one. Little did I know at the time that the terrorist is a member of the Abu Tir family, several of whom I represented as their lawyer".

Such is the continued hatred being inculcated into generations of Palestinians through all academic institutions and the media. There is no planning for peace only non stop indoctrination on the need to eliminate Israel – so just how any peace agreement can be implemented beggars the imagination.

Incidentally, many years ago, the son of good friends of ours here in Haifa, felt very strongly for the need to help the Palestinians. By the way, he was a lawyer – yes “was”. On a routine visit to the Gaza Strip he was sitting in an office dealing with people who wanted his help when in burst a gang of terrorists and hacked him to death with an axe.
The moral is quite simple; moderates, people who want to help and create an environment of peace have no guarantee of safety as far as terrorists are concerned.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Durban ll - review of racism "around the world"

Since racial hatred has animated some of the worst atrocities in history, one would think that an opportunity for nations to come together and seek solutions to racial tensions would be welcomed. So says Ken Connor

Think again. The upcoming United Nations Durban Review Conference in Durban, South Africa—billed as an international effort to achieve racial reconciliation—is likely to make a mockery of any bona fide attempt to overcome racial discrimination.

The Conference, scheduled for 2009, will review the international progress made in response to the "
Durban Declaration and Programme of Action" released by the first Durban conference in 2001.

Among those countries attending the 2001 conference were China, Columbia, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Two of these countries (Syria and Cuba) are on the U.S. State Department's
top ten list of worst human rights violators, and China was only just dropped from the list in 2008. The United States and Israel quickly saw that they were going to be the scapegoats of the conference, and not surprisingly, they withdrew their delegations a few days into the conference.

As the Durban review conference (or "Durban II") approaches, many are wondering whether the United States will participate at all. The U.S. voted against holding the review conference, but has not yet taken an official stance on whether or not it will attend the proceedings. Canada and Israel have
already stated that they will boycott the proceedings, because they are convinced that the conference will be another exercise in anti-Israel propaganda.

Casting a further shadow over Durban II is the new U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) which is planning the conference. Among the members of the council are traditional human rights violators China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia. The HRC has been a disappointment since its inception in 2006. Its
stated purpose is to "[promote] universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all" and to "address situations of violations of human rights." All signs so far indicate that Durban II will be no better than Durban I.

A well-framed international condemnation of racism has the potential to transform the global discussion on race and discrimination. All countries ought to acknowledge their own shortcomings as we work to overcome racial hatred at home and around the world.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Copy Cat Attack

Once again another Arab worker, again from East Jerusalem decided to use his vehicle – a conventional tractor-digger – to attempt to kill, maim and generally wreak havoc.

Today's "copy cat" attack took place just a few metres away from the famous King David Hotel where British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was staying until yesterday and Barak Obama will stay from tomorrow.

The attacker, wearing the large white skullcap favoured by religious Moslems, is an Israeli citizen from East Jerusalem with a criminal record, and was shot and killed by a policeman who had to bring the murderous rampage to an end. In this incident 23 people were injured, one seriously but thankfully no-one was killed except the attacker.

Perhaps now the construction companies will favour bringing labour from Romania and the Far East rather than local workmen after this second attack. The residents of East Jerusalem have seen a huge improvement in their circumstances over the years which puts down the theory that if given economic security all terrorism will disappear. It has been said that "Poverty does not cause terrorism but terrorism surely brings poverty".

Is this a new phase of terror, who knows? The police have already announced their intentions to review policing in the capital.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The "Prisoner Deal"

A lot of e-mails floating around just now express the anger and frustrations at the "deal" concerning Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

However let's put this into perspective. Some writers say this will advance the terrorists cause and increase the attempts to kidnap others. Well friends, I have news for you; the terrorists have never stopped trying to kidnap Israeli soldiers, thankfully almost all have been thwarted.

1. Israel has a duty, as a nation and as a people, to protect those who risk their young lives to defend its citizens
Every Israeli soldier knows that their country will do its utmost to retrieve them should they fall into the hands of the enemy. This is an expression of Israel's deep reverence for human life and of its respect for the fallen. This principle stems from Israel's sense of morality as well as from Jewish ethics. It is a demonstration of Israel's moral and physical strength.

2. There is no comparison between soldiers who guard a border to protect civilians and terrorists who penetrate it in order to kill them
Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were serving as ordinary IDF reserve soldiers, checking a border fence, when they were abducted by Hizbullah on 12 July 2006. They were on Israeli sovereign territory conducting routine duties when seized by terrorists in a cross-border attack.

On the other hand, Samir Kuntar, the foremost terrorist of the five being released in the deal, is a heinous murderer, responsible for one of the most notorious terror attacks on Israel. Kuntar , after killing a police officer, broke into the Nahariya home of the Haran family and abducted Danny and his four-year-old daughter Einat, taking them to the beach. Danny was shot at close range by Kuntar, as his terrified daughter looked on. Kuntar then slaughtered Einat in cold blood by smashing her head against a rock with the butt of his rifle. In the gunfire battle that developed on the beach, another Israeli policeman was killed. In the meantime, Danny's wife Smadar was hiding in the home's crawlspace with her two-year-old daughter Yael. Tragically, she accidently smothered her little girl while stifling her cries to prevent the terrorists from discovering them.

3. It is morally reprehensible that Samir Kuntar, a vile child-killer, is now being hailed as a hero by Hizbullah
An organization, just like a society, can be judged by whom it chooses to idolize and to hold up as an example for its youth. Hizbullah, an extremist Islamist organization, worships death and destruction, all the while clinging to its goal of destroying Israel.

4. Hizbullah not only poses a danger to Israel, it is also an obstacle to peace and a threat to Lebanon’s stability
Hizbullah is an Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel through violence and terrorism. Its extremist ideology rejects all peace talks and threatens the security of any pragmatic Arab party that seeks a negotiated settlement with Israel. While based in Lebanon and claiming to represent its interests, Hizbullah is oblivious to the aspirations of the Lebanese population. It should be recalled that it was Hizbullah's unprovoked abduction of the two Israeli reservists, along with its simultaneous bombardment of northern Israel, that sparked the Second War in Lebanon, to the detriment of millions of Israelis and Lebanese citizens alike.

5. The deal to return IDF soldiers doesn’t legitimize Hizbullah
Israel’s decision to return its soldiers should not be interpreted as indicating any change in Israel's policy towards this Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization. The international community must continue to recognize the danger posed by Hizbullah and its extremist cohorts to the stability of the Middle East and must support the pragmatic elements in the region, who seek to make peace through dialogue and compromise.

6. Hizbullah persists in defying the international community
Hizbullah is continuing to smuggle arms and ammunition into Lebanon, and to rebuild its missile arsenal, in blatant violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701. It trains, equips and deploys its terrorists not only in areas bordering Israel, but throughout Lebanon, intimidating both Lebanese security forces and UN peace-keepers. The international community must implement 1701 in its entirety.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Step by Step

I received the following letter from a friend of mine at the Emek Medical Center and I think it is worth repeating in its entirety

Israel is not the easiest place to live and maintain one’s optimism. Fortunately, I represent an institution that re-energizes me everyday and allows me the privilege to observe, at eye-level, people making an effort to get along with one another - despite the maelstrom of hate swirling around us. Political hatred between Jews and Arabs runs very deep and ultimate reconciliation will need to come from an equally deep place from within us all. To reach that place is a painstakingly slow process that requires awareness and the willingness to focus on something positive. There are negative, evil forces continually grabbing at the ankles of anyone trying to move ahead in a conciliatory manner. Without forward momentum, we will be doomed to repeat histories most deadly errors and remain stuck where we are.

I just met two young women who fit within the complex incomplete jigsaw puzzle that is Israel. They are "S" a 19 year old Christian Arab from upper Nazareth and "R" a 19 year old Muslim from lower Nazareth. They both have chosen to perform national service as volunteers within our hospital. National service is offered to those young citizens who do not serve in the Israel Defense Forces for one reason or another. Completion of one or two years service is rewarded by proportionate monetary grants like those offered to soldiers who complete their military service. Participants also earn a modest salary during their work period. The two young women came to us via Shlomit, Israel’s largest national service organization serving the Muslim, Christian, Bedouin, Druze and Jewish populations that assists 2,500 young people annually to serve and benefit from national service. The majority of young Arabs choose not to become part of this network, due to complex social, religious, nationalistic or other reasons, thus limiting their inclusion into mainstream Israel. That is why I am sharing the story of these two girls with you.

They learned about national service from their family and friends and, to the dismay of their peers, decided to join. Initially the girls were challenged by their circle of friends as to why they joined, but their determination to continue won the day. "R" explained, “Some of my friends stayed away from me, while others remained close. I believe in what I’m doing and it gives me more hope for the future.” "S" recalled how she was challenged by an Arab bank teller as to why she was serving and only earning 1/6 what she could earn in other jobs; “I answered him that I am helping people and that makes me feel good about myself. My parents support me and that is what is important.”

"S" is working in the adult Oncology Department as a secretary and has much contact with patients, both Jews and Arabs. It hurts her to see young and old suffering and that has made a deep impression on understanding her own mortality. The positive feedback she receives from patients and staff has proven the correctness of her decision to serve.

"R", whose mother is a nurse, is working in the EMC Genetics Institute. She wants to study medicine and her experiences here as a secretary and translator during medical consultations have provided a firm foundation upon which she plans to build. She claims that patients (Jews and Arabs) are encouraged to see a young Muslim woman working with Jews and this has given her renewed hope for the future. Despite the early social pressure that "R" experienced, she says, “If you believe in what you are doing, then others will accept it and move on.”

Will young "S" and "R" working with the Jews in EMC change the geo-political face of the Middle East? Of course not. Will it change anything? It has for me and others. Together, we’ve taken another few steps. These young women have discovered that place deep within themselves that holds the secret to living in Israel with mutual respect and dignity.

The point being … it is possible.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Final Word on the Terror Attack and then Good News

So many words have been written about the terror attack in Jerusalem last week but before I consign it to the archives of terror attacks, I would recommend to you dear readers of my blog, a quick look at the letter written by a mother whose was present in the midst of the attack, whose car was destroyed but she miraculously escaped.

The full account is worth reading for as we often say, we witness daily miracles in our lives here in Israel. The is another story of a miracle.

The good news is that many people must have been reading this blog when I have been singing the praises of our beautiful town Haifa. It is now reported that in the first quarter of 2008 there has been a rise in tourism of over 30%, occupancy rates in the city's hotels are above the national average.

there is now talk of adding an extra 10 hotels to the present compliment of hotels which would increase the number of beds from 1500 to 4000 beds - that is a lot of tourists.

Perhaps I ought to just qualify my earlier statement that this has come about from reading my blog. I am sure the $200,000 that the city invested in advertising had something to do with it.

If you are planning a trip to Israel, do come to Haifa, it is worth it!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bulldozer Attack in Jerusalem

As is typical for the BBC, their headline on this news story reads

"Israel bulldozer driver shot dead" see

No mention of 4 killed, 45 injured many seriously, a baby thrown out of a car just before its parents were crushed to death. This is just SICK, SICK, SICK. When will the British government call the BBC to task? Probably a forelorn hope. And the British taxpayers continue to fund this corrupt organisation

The following comments are not mine but those of another e-mail writer but I think they are worth distributing as far afield as possible.

FACT Driving a bulldozer against the traffic on Jerusalem's main artery (Jaffa Road, between the Central Bus Station and the Mahane Yehuda market), a terrorist plowed into two public buses carrying passengers, overturning one of them, as well as crushing a number of cars and pedestrians. Police shot and killed the terrorist.

The following points should be stressed in the wake of this attack:

a) Terror Purposely Targets Civilians – The terrorist operating the bulldozer chose his victims deliberately - even starting his attack by motioning for a woman driver to precede him, before crushing her vehicle with his shovel. He went on to run-down pedestrians, ram two buses, and crush a number of civilian cars.

Among his innocent victims is an infant, who was injured in the attack and taken to hospital. Eyewitnesses told police that the murdered mother saved her baby, by throwing the child out the car window, just before the bulldozer crushed her to death.

b) Hateful Extremism vs. Cooperative Pragmatism – The terrorists of the region are indoctrinated from the earliest age and driven by a blind hate for Israelis, Jews and all non-Moslems, denying them their most basic rights, even their right to life. The attack took place in Jerusalem, a city which serves as Israel’s capital, yet is shared by Jews and Arabs, with freedom of movement for all its residents. While the terrorist was an Arab resident of Jerusalem, so too was the driver of the first bus he attacked. This bus driver, who serves as an example of cooperation that can be achieved between Jews and Arabs, was able to swerve his bus and minimize the damage of the bulldozer’s blade.

c) Terrorism despite Peace Efforts – The attack today comes as Israel is actively pursuing peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas. It also comes as an Egyptian-brokered state of calm was just achieved regarding Gaza, in which Israel demonstrated its desire to exhaust all efforts to achieve a halt to terrorist rocket attacks against its citizens, without having to resort to the use of force. Israel will continue its efforts to achieve peace with its pragmatic Palestinian neighbors, despite the efforts of the extremists to torpedo the process.

d) International Action is Essential – The international community must weigh in on the side of pragmatism and peace. A clear and unequivocal condemnation of terrorism must be heard, and concrete actions against terror organizations and their supporters must be taken, so that the extremists know that there will be no tolerance for their barbaric acts.