Axl Rose due to arrive this year after ceaseless shuffling of band members since last show in 1993
Guns and Roses are coming to Israel, the latest in a steady stream of aging rock musicians most recently represented by Rod Stewart, Elton John, and the ensemble Blondie.
Ynet has learned that the band plans to perform twice, on December 18 and 19, at the Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv.
Producers have been trying to secure a performance by the group for two years now. Last year rumors abounded regarding their possible arrival, but they remained unconfirmed until now – though Israeli producers have yet to release an official statement.
Guns and Roses last performed in Israel 17 years ago, at Hayarkon Park, but the band has since altered drastically, with Axl Rose the only remaining link to its golden past. Since its breakup in the mid-90′s,
members have been sacked and replaced unceasingly.
Last year the group finally released an album, ‘Chinese Democracy’, but the tour ran aground when members were again replaced. In the past few months, however, the band has been touring Europe, and appears ready to make a stop in Israel.
MEL LAZARECK RECEIVES HISTORIC UNPRECEDENTED APPOINTMENT FROM GOVERNMENT OF MANITOBA
LAZARECK NAMED SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR MANITOBA TO ISRAEL FOR ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS
On Tuesday October 5, 2010, business and community leader Mel Lazareck received a very special and historic appointment on Tuesday October 5, 2010 from the Government of Manitoba—he has just been named Special Representative for Manitoba to Israel for Economic and Community Relations.
This is FIRST TIME that such a special appointment has ever been made in Manitoba [and quite possibly in Canada ] and reflects the deepening relationship and ongoing partnership between Manitoba and Israel particularly in the area of water technology, agriculture and other areas of mutual interest.
Premier of Manitoba Greg Selinger presented Lazareck a certificate of his special appointment in a ceremony in the Premier’s office. Present at the ceremony were Lazareck, his wife Karen, Erez Rotem, JNF-KKL Emissary for Manitoba-Saskatchewan and Alberta, Premier Selinger and a number of the Premier’s advisors. Lazareck is serving his third year as president of the Jewish National Fund for the Prairie Region.
In a statement, Premier Selinger said “We are recognizing the outstanding work Mel has done to build a strong relationship between Manitoba and business and non-profit organizations in Israel,” the premier said. “This appointment will help us support those activities.”
Premier Selinger added, “Manitoba and Israel have common interests in clean energy, water quality and conservation. These interests provide the opportunities to share knowledge and strengthen our education and economic relationships and partnership.” said Selinger.
Lazareck told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, “Our government is making a statement in trying to develop the mutually beneficial relationship between our province and Israel.”
“I am a volunteer,” said Lazareck, noting that he is not an employee of the government and does not receive any funding.”
“I’m doing this as a volunteer for the benefit of Manitoba and Israel…This is something for me that has been ongoing, in that there’s common areas of interest [between the two] in water technology and agriculture and probably to some extent could involve tourism as time goes forward.”
Lazareck said that there are also partnerships between Israeli universities, “such as Hebrew U And Ben-Gurion U in the areas of science, health and exchange programs and he’d like to see these continue to grow.”
Lazareck also referred to the dedicated work of Christine Melnick, Minister of Water Stewardship who has been at the forefront of developing Manitoba’s relationship with Israel.
Karyn Lazareck told the Winnipeg Jewish Review just after the ceremony that “We knew about this a little bit beforehand. It is very exciting. The [business] cards Mel received form the Premier are even printed in English [on one side] and Hebrew [on the other side].”
Erez Rotem who was at the ceremony told the Winnipeg Jewish Review “I felt very privileged to be invited to attend the ceremony, and I can not think of anyone more deserving to be given such a special designation. Not a lot of people know about the full breadth of contribution of Mel to this community and the relationship between Manitoba and Israel and we at JNF are very fortunate to have him as our president.”
Karyn Lazareck said, “I think that the Premier wanted to make this appointment before the upcoming mission to Israel, which begins in a few days.” The Lazarecks are leading a sold out mission of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg to Israel which is being joined by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. The premier, Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick and Innovation, Energy and Mines Minister Dave Chomiak and leader of the opposition Hugh McFadyen and Conservative Candidate for River Heights Marty Morantz will be travelling to Israel on the mission from Oct. 10 to 15.The ballet will be performing in Israel (for more on this see related story by clicking here.)
Premier Selinger said today he will sign partnership agreements, help promote the Royal Winnipeg Ballet 70th anniversary tour of Israel and dedicate a park designed to promote peace as part the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg’s mission to Israel.
In January 2010, the second Manitoba-Israel Water Symposium took place in Israel hosted by the-Jewish National Fund -Karen Kayemet LeIsrael. [JNF-KKL].This second Water Symposium followed on the footsteps of the first Manitoba-Israel Water Symposium hosted by the Province of Manitoba in Winnipeg in August 2008. Manitoba’s Minister of Water Stewardship Christine Melnick was a key figure in both symposiums.
The Second Water Symposium in Israel brought together 20 water scientists, half of them from Israel and half from Manitoba, who focused on opportunities for mutual research, exchange of knowledge and promotion of joint research on water resources management.
Lazareck noted that Manitoba Institutions have partnered with Hebrew University in the field of medical and scientific partnership, and that there are other partnerships with Ben Gurion U and Technion and he looks forward to those continuing and growing.
THE LAZARECK-KOWALSON FAMILY: A HIST0RY OF ZIONISM
Lazareck told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that his family was always Zionistic.
My grandmother, Ada Kowalson [married to Max Kowlson] “was working for the benefit of the birth of Israel”, then called mandatory Palestine [under the British Mandate].”
Ada Kowalson never got to see the land of Israel , but her love of Israel was instilled in her daughter Anna Lazareck (ne: Kowalson),Mel’s mother, who spoke Hebrew fluently and “visited Israel many times.”
“My grandfather Max was a teacher at Talmud-Torah in the thirties and fourties [and owned a Hebrew bookstore on 560 Selkirk Avenue] my mother and all of her sibling were orthodox. They spoke Hebrew, Yiddish, and English.”
Jack Lazareck, Mel’s brother said “I’m just elated for my brother and his family and wish them all the best from his brother and family.”
Michael Kowalson, Lazareck’s cousin said on hearing of Lazareck’s appointment “Our family is thrilled for our cousin Mel with this very prestigious appointment. We know he will represent Manitoba well and foster many mutual beneficial relationships between the State of Israel and Manitoba. Zionism runs deep in our family and our support for Israel is unwavering. In fact, our uncle, the late Allister Stewart who was married to Esther Kowalson Stewart who was the C.C.F. Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North in the 40’s-50’s was the first MP ever to speak in support of the State of Israel in the House of Commons.”
Hugh McFadyen, Leader of the Opposition, speaking from Ottawa told the Winnipeg Jewish Review on learning of Lazareck’s appointment that “I think this is a great appointment. Mel and his family have made a great contribution to Manitoba. The Manitoba-Israel relationship is extremely important.”
Heather Stefanson, MLA for Tuxedo said of her constituent ” Mel is an exemplary member of our community and he will make an outstanding representative for Manitoba in Israel.”
Gavin Rich added, “Mel was at a program and heard Prof Danny Weihs speak and after hearing him, he made the effort to ensure that Technion would be on the agenda for the upcoming mission to Israel. Without him it wouldn’t have happened.”
Rami Kleinmann, National Director of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University said ” Mel has been committed and dedicated in working with the Manitoba Government to build new and strengthen ongoing relationships with Israel. Kleinmann also stated that this historic appointment of Mel should be the catalyst for other business and community leaders to come forth and together with Mel build a wider and more solid foundation for future endeavours. We at the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University are looking forward to working jointly with Mel to further consolidate and energize the relationship between Israel and Canada.”
Canadian Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan visited Israel for two days this week with the purpose of promoting closer commercial ties, promoting trade, investment and innovation, and beginning negotiations to expand the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
“The Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement has been tremendously beneficial for our two countries. Two-way merchandise trade has more than doubled since its implementation,” said Minister Van Loan. “Canada’s ties to Israel are very deep, and our friendship is important. Our government is building on these ties and looking at opportunities to expand our trade relationship. We are committed to creating new sources of jobs, growth and prosperity for both of our countries in the years ahead.”
During the October 9 to 10 trip, Van Loan held a meeting with Israel’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour, Binyamin Ben Eliezer, in Tel Aviv. The purpose of the talk was to discuss ways to expand the FTA. The meeting concluded with an agreement that will see officials from both countries begin dialogue to “significantly expand [the FTA's] application.”
“Expanding the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement is part of the Harper government’s broad and ambitious free trade agenda. In just four years, our government has negotiated new trade agreements with eight countries, is in negotiation with close to 50 others, and is now expanding the three first-generation agreements signed by the former government,” said Van Loan.
Van Loan also met with Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology, Daniel Hershkowitz, in Tel Aviv. They discussed ways to increase cooperation in the areas of science and technology.
During the same visit to Tel Aviv, Van Loan spoke to the head scientist from the Israeli Minsitry of Industry, Trade and Labour, Dr. Eli Opper. They talked about joint innovation programs.
“There are a great many opportunities for cooperation between Israel and Canada when it comes to the commercialization of science,” said Van Loan. “Canada and Israel can be even more effective partners in the areas of technology collaboration, research and development, and innovation commercialization. We hope to see increased collaboration that will bring significant benefits to both our countries, including future economic growth, improved health and environmental sustainability.”
Van Loan’s trip also included a visit to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., located in Petach-Tikva. There he met with President and CEO Shlomo Yanai. The Israeli company is an innovator in the pharmaceutical industry and has offices and manufacturing facilities in Canada.
During his Israeli trip, Van Loan highlighted Canada’s “competitive advantage as a business and investment destination.”
On Sunday, Van Loan visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial where he placed a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance in honour of the victims of the Holocaust.
Since the FTA came into effect in 1997, trade between both nations has doubled, leading to $1.3 billion in goods flowing back and forth in 2009. Israel is Canada’s sixth-largest export market in the region.
Israel, despite perennial fears of war, has emerged as one of the hottest – and least likely – property markets in the world: Since real estate collapsed around the globe in 2008, at least one industry watchdog lists it as the fastest-rising property market on earth.
But with global economic meltdown – and the subprime mortgage fiasco that precipitated it – still fresh in people’s minds, officials are stepping up efforts to rein in its overheated property sector. The fear is that a property bubble could shake confidence in an economy that withstood the worst of the world’s financial crisis.
In the span of months, the central bank has raised interest rates several times and the government is rallying to build new units in this land-strapped country.
“The housing market has set off enough crises, and we’re not going to let that happen in Israel,” Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said earlier this month in announcing his sixth rate hike in just over a year.
According to Global Property Guide, a trade magazine that monitors the housing market, Israeli housing prices in the second quarter of 2010 rose sixth-fastest in a ranking of 36 countries. Four of the top five, including Singapore and Latvia, were rebounding from sharp price drops. So looking at the past two years ended in June – the last period for which there is data – Israeli real estate clocks in at No. 1.
For Israel, where high-tech and science are booming businesses, the property price spike is the latest claim to fame, but it’s one officials aren’t boasting about, given ample evidence of how an imploding bubble can shatter decades of economic growth.
Examples of the danger of an overheated market litter the globe. From Dubai to Detroit, housing prices plummeted amid the global meltdown beginning in 2008. Defaults on mortgages surged in the United States while in Dubai, the one-time Arab boomtown, property prices tumbled by about 50 percent in 2009.
Amid that downturn, Israel stood firm, shielded in part by the fact that its property price gains were late in coming. While many countries were on a property high during the middle part of the decade, its market was largely stagnant.
Its banks offered nothing close to the U.S.-style subprime mortgages, and Israel’s financial market is not intertwined with the mortgage market – the main reason for the U.S. housing meltdown. Down payment requirements remained high, often equal to more than 40 percent of a house’s value.
Adding to the mix was a conservative local banking sector whose broader dislocation from the global market helped to shield Israel from the worst of the global meltdown.
What fueled the boom, however, were rock bottom interest rates and a relatively low supply of housing. The result was a nearly 30 percent jump in property prices since September 2008.
For Israelis, those gains are hard to swallow.
After extensive house hunting, Ami Kaufman and his wife stopped looking at the good neighborhoods of Tel Aviv: At $600,000 for an un-renovated, three-bedroom measuring about 1,000 square feet (100 meters), it’s simply out of reach.
Instead, the couple is looking at a working-class area in the hope it will gentrify like other down-and-out Tel Aviv neighborhoods did. They’re hoping to find something within the year, before they’re pummeled by rising mortgage prices on top of rising housing prices.
“The problem… is demand versus supply,” Kaufman said. “Too many people want apartments. Nothing is going to stop these rises.”
“Housing supply,” says Vered Dar, chief economist at the Psagot-Ofek investment house in Tel Aviv, “was thrown out of whack by the mass immigration of some one million immigrants from the Soviet Union 20 years ago. Housing starts surged excessively in the ensuing years, leaving contractors and the government struggling to find a balance.”
“Over the past five to six years, they didn’t build enough,” she said, adding that housing was not something that could be imported to balance supply and demand.
“It takes time,” she said.
But it’s time that Israelis, increasingly, can’t afford.
Today, a three-bedroom apartment in Tel Aviv, with its beaches, balmy weather and freewheeling spirit, fetched an average NIS 2.15 million, or $560,000, in June, compared with NIS 1.73 million a year earlier, according to government statistics.
The price of an average apartment in Jerusalem, with its holy sites and mixture of ancient and new, rose 19 percent to NIS 1.55 million, or $ 403,000 at the end of June, from NIS 1.31 million a year earlier.
The prices seem out of sync with the average income in a country where the per capita GDP of some $30,000 is around the OECD average, but taxes are very high.
Parents, once able to buy their children apartments outright or give big chunks of down payments, are no longer able to do so. Even professionals are struggling to come up with the cash for housing. As a result, many find themselves simply unable to buy or are compromising on their dream houses.
The central bank’s efforts to rein in prices with interest rate hikes have provoked government resistance, with the Finance Ministry worried that Fischer’s rate hikes could hurt the economy by strengthening the shekel against world currencies and battering the vital export-oriented high-tech industry.
But officials have also not sat idle. The country’s skyline is dotted with apartment towers and cranes, and a recent reform in the government-run Israel Lands Administration is designed to free up more land for construction.
Even before that reform was enacted, housing starts were up more than 20 percent in the second quarter of 2010 from the first three months of the year. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, however, told a business conference on Tuesday that it would take up to two years to solve the supply-side problem.
Dar, the economist, has long disputed assessments that Israel was experiencing a housing bubble. She describes it as more babble than bubble because the recent boom follows roughly a decade of stagnant prices in inflation-adjusted terms.
“If prices continue to rise at the current pace, however, it will start to bubble,” she said, while predicting that price rises would taper off as supply increases and interest rates climb.
There are signs that might already be happening: Shekel-denominated prices in the second quarter of the year inched down 1 percent from the first quarter.
Co-Owner of legendary American baseball team promotes initiative to establish professional baseball league in Israel
American businessmen, including one of the owners of legendary baseball team The New York Yankees – which is worth approximately $1.5 billion – are promoting an initiative to establish a professional baseball league in Israel.
The businessmen visited Israel and held meetings with Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development Silvan Shalom and Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat, in which they asked for their assistance.
As part of the initiative, the businessmen proposed to build a baseball stadium near Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, which will serve as Israel’s central baseball hub.
Following the meeting, Barkat promised to promote the project and help find a proper location for the construction of the stadium.
Minister Shalom offered the businessmen governmental aid, if they were to build stadiums in the country’s northern and southern regions.
Officials were also examining the possibility of building a stadium in Netanya, which brands itself as Israel’s sports hub.
One of the men involved in the project is billionaire Jeffrey Rosen, who owns Israeli basketball team Maccabi Haifa.
The businessmen have also approached Israeli diplomats, and asked them to help coordinate meetings with Israeli officials that can help promote the project.
The entrepreneurs are aware of the fact that baseball is not very popular in Israel, but believe that with time it can gain a following. At first, they plan on catering to American expatriates living in Israel, who continue to follow the popular American sport.
Past attempts to import the sport have proved unsuccessful. In 2007, the first professional Israeli baseball league was established, and one of its managers was former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk.
Six teams participated in the league’s first season, but the second season was cancelled after the league suffered financial loses. Despite the failure of previous initiatives, the American entrepreneurs, who enjoy the support of The NY Yankees, want to have another go at it, and believe this time they will hit a home run.