Wednesday, December 26, 2012


(With thanks to BIG the British Israel Group)

• There are few signs in Jerusalem to show that the Christmas season is here, apart from a few Christmas lights twinkling along the section of the Hevron Road where it leads into Bethlehem. Jerusalem Christians have, however, not been forgotten. In mid-December Mayor Nir Barkat toured the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City to give religious leaders and residents Christmas greetings and good wishes for the New Year and in the days running up to Christmas, a cheerful Father Christmas has been seen, walking along the Old City walls with a large selection of Christmas trees, inviting Christians to select one as a free gift from Jerusalem’s municipality. The Minister of tourism hosted a traditional pre-Christmas reception for the leaders of the Christian churches and communities in Israel at Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Shaananim. More Christians than ever before gathered in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve to celebrate, it was estimated that at least 70,000 people had visited the little town by the end of the day.

• According to the Ministry of Tourism, 75,000 tourists were due to arrive in Israel over Christmas of which 25,000 are Christian pilgrims. The Ministry of Tourism provided free transportation to Christian pilgrims traveling between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

• The collaboration between Israel’s Department of Health and the West Bank is little known. In 2011, 197, 713 healthcare permits were issued to Palestinians and their companions, 21,538 Palestinian children were treated in Israeli hospitals and 118 training courses took place in Israeli hospitals to provide training and support for medical teams from the West Bank. The Civil Administration, along with Israeli hospitals and donor organisations arranged various ‘fun days’ for Palestinian children hospitalised in Israel. The venues included the Jerusalem Zoo, the Safari Park at Ramat Gan, the beach at Haifa, bowling in Holon, and a trip to see the snow on Mount Hermon which was arranged by the Israeli Army Alpinist Unit.
(The Israeli Embassy, London)

• The recent heavy rains have gone some small way to relieving Israel’s water shortage, Water Authority officials calling the winter of 2012- 13 the wettest since 2004. The Jordan River is now fuller and flowing faster than it has for 20 years and since the first of the winter’s rainfalls at the end of October, the level of the Sea of Galilee, one of the countries primary sources of water, has risen by 26 centimetres. Mount Hermon received 30-40 centimetres of snow, unusual for so early in the year. In the ongoing battle to provide enough water for Israeli citizens the Israeli government together with Water Authority are building desalination plants and cleaning contaminated and obsolete wells so that water can once more be pumped from them and it is hoped that these measures will cover the water deficit within two years. In recent years, 220 new water reservoirs have been built or are in various stages of completion, thanks to these reservoirs, Israel currently recycles more water for agricultural usage than any country in the world.

• During the recent attacks on Israel by thousands of Grad Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, the efficiency of the Iron Dome system in intercepting very many of them was much praised. Few people have any idea that parts for these state-of-the-art systems were manufactured by residents of a home for people with mental disabilities. Abie, Ida and Michael have been employed by the Rafael company in the production of the Iron Dome system for over a year, as part of the company’s community outreach programme. The Hostel’s manager stated that the residents delivered highly accurate products that measured up to the company’s high standards and the Social Affairs Ministry is very proud of the project, “We believe that everyone is entitled to live and fulfill his or her potential,” said the Director General of the Ministry.
(Thanks to Ynetnews)

• India is probably the country with the largest cow population in the world yet most of its dairy farms operate using antiquated methods this, however, is about to change as Israeli kibbutz members have been called in and two Israeli companies have begun planning and constructing 10 state-of-the-art dairy farms on the subcontinent. In Hinduism, cows are sacred animals and there are specific laws for protecting them which the Israeli teams are having to consider when designing the farms. So while ideas will be introduced to increase the number of cows kept and the quantity of milk produced, the farms will contain hostels where older cows can receive special care and alarm systems will be installed to notify the farmers if a cow suffers even the slightest distress.
(NO Camels)

• Click on this if you want to know how Israel has been feeling in recent weeks.


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