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Archive | 2010 | November | 25

VIDEO: American football in the Holy Land

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November 25, 2010
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About the League

It has now been four years since the dream of tackle football in Israel really took hold. What began as a group of 25 enthusiastic and energetic Sabra athletes playing without pads in the Tel Aviv Sportek has grown exponentially into a thriving community of more than 600 players country-wide, with the demand for and interest in our sport growing stronger every day.

Our parent non-profit body, American Football in Israel, is the government-recognized federation for our sport in the country. As well, our unique partnership with the Kraft family, owners of the NFL’s New England Patriots, has allowed us to cultivate a strong relationship with one of the greatest football organizations in the world. This bond will prove invaluable as we continue to spread the fundamentals of football and teach the principles of sportsmanship, team unity and competition to new and old fans and players of the game.

From four initial teams, to five the next year to seven last season, the IFL has steadily and consistently grown with a big-picture eye on the future. This fall, the league will continue to mature and showcase the expansion of this great and exciting game to the Israeli market as we introduce two new teams to our senior league as well as kick off our brand-new high school developmental league, IFL High.

Creating pockets of football throughout the country at both the youth and senior levels will allow us to extend our reach and exposure through grassroots initiatives and higher media coverage. It is our dream that within the next 10 years, football will join soccer and basketball as a top-tier sport in Israel, to the extent that every child will consider it a viable option to play from a young age.

It is the unique ability of football to inspire and encourage people to higher levels of personal and professional achievement, growth, maturity, and respect for each other that makes it so rewarding to be involved with in any capacity. The past three seasons have produced innumerable memorable moments. With all of our help, the future will no doubt produce even more enthralling memories as the IFL continues to unite people across this great nation. Please join us for what promises to be an incredible journey!

CNN VIDEO: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/sports/2010/11/11/flower.israel.american.football.cnn.html

IFL WEBSITE: http://www.ifl.co.il/

FACEBOOK FANPAGE: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Israel-Football-League/173594899318744?v=wall

PICTURES: Israelis and Palestinians join together to pray for rain

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November 25, 2010
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Forecasters are predicting a dry winter and expect precipitation to fall below the 30-year average.

Amidst the stalled peace negotiations and continuous regional turmoil, Israelis and Palestinians are uniting around the need for rain in the region, with groups gathering to pray for a wet winter.

Forecasters have predicted drier than average winter months – December through February – and expect precipitation to fall below the 30-year average.

“We use the term ‘a little below average,’ but it could be more than 20 percent below average,” said Dr. Henia Berkovich, Director of the Israeli Meteorological Service.

On Tuesday, over 30 Israeli, Palestinian, and Druze women took part in a silent walking meditation dedicated to bringing rain to the area. Women came out to the Haas Promenade in Jerusalem with umbrellas for the walk.

Earlier in the month, Jewish and Muslim worshippers gathered near a water spring in the West Bank village of Walajeh to pray for rain.

Jews and Arabs making Middle Eastern ‘Country Music’

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November 25, 2010
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It was the Arabic songs performed by this mixed Jewish-Arab group that were the real treat of the evening.

There are one-storey houses and one-storey songs, too. What’s a one-storey song? You’d know if you attended this week’s terrific performance by Jish, an ensemble made up of Ehud Banai, George Samaan, Salem Darwish and Gil Smetana, at the 11th International Oud Festival.

It’s a song that’s lyrical and free of frills, it has an earthy feel to it, evoking dewiness and sounds of dawn. From what Banai used to call “the digital street,” they’ve already disappeared.

But in the Galilee, where the connection between Banai, Samaan and Darwish was made, one-storey songs are still to be found. And if they disappear from there, too, they will remain in the memories of the members of Jish, offered up in a straightforward and captivating way, like strings of rough but precious musical stones.

Imagine a great country show in Nashville, move it to the Middle East, replace the banjo with an oud, and Mary-Beth with Amara. That’s how a performance by Jish sounds, and the way it looks, too. Four not-so-young men sitting side-by-side – no demarcation lines drawn to set the star apart from the others – playing instruments that are beaten and strummed. It’s what you call Galilee country music at its best.

Jish’s performance at the festival (its fourth in a tour that began in Samaan and Darwish’s hometown of Rama, then traveled to Haifa and down to Tel Aviv and made its way Tuesday to Jerusalem ) included Arabic folk songs, songs written by the Lebanese Rahbani brothers and Banai’s own songs in one-storey versions.

Since Samaan’s rough oud playing is an acquired taste, the first songs sounded a bit too basic, but by the fourth and fifth, an Arabic folk song featuring a proud and challenging young woman (in some ways reminiscent of the Israeli 1980s rock bank, Minimal Compact ), the show got on track and stayed that way through the end, sometimes galloping forward but mostly progressing comfortably.

From his own songs, Banai chose mainly those that in one form or another address the complex relations among the children of Abraham.

Most were lovely, but it was the Arabic songs that really hit home. “Hala,” for example, with its echo of Greek music, or the fabulous number depicting, if I understood correctly, a conversation among street laborers that includes the unforgettable line “Yalla, workers, let’s go through the gate of God together.”

Banai did not speak between songs, and for good reason: There was absolutely no need for commentary. Only at the beginning of the encore did he tell a story about how, as a soldier at the beginning of the 1970s, he walked from Kfar Saba to Qalqilyah in the West Bank, caught a taxi to Nablus, also in the West Bank, and from there continued on to Jerusalem.

The story led to a perfect encore: “Sweet Knafa” played beautifully (Samaan exchanged his oud for a violin ), “An Evening of Roses” in Arabic sung by Samaan and Darwish, and for the finale, a great rendition of “Esther” with all the musicians, except for Smetana, singing and drumming (Banai beat on his guitar ).

Hidden gem

Smetana, incidentally, was the hidden gem of the performance. If the music were entirely one-storey, his bass provided the groundwork, the basis for everything. Rather than make do with a supporting role, he played melodic patterns that were wonderfully creative, moving freely between Arabic music, Jamaican beats, and even a bit of rock’n’roll.

Given his exemplary thoroughness and humility, it was possible to imagine him at rehearsals staying in the room to work on his part while Banai, Samaan and Darwish went out for a smoke. Next time he can certainly join them.

Source: Haaretz.com

ATTENTION!!! – Sex and the city: Tel Aviv

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November 25, 2010
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Local version of HBO’s hit series ‘Sex and the City’ in casting stages

Casting has begun for the Israeli version of HBO’s hit series “Sex and the City.” Young actress Neta Plotnik has been chosen for the lead role and will be playing the local version of columnist Carrie Bradshaw, Ynet has learned.

Plotnik, 27, has acted in the musical drama Danny Hollywood and the online series “The Truth Warriors.”

Producer and actress Noa Tishby has been reported as being considered for the lead role, however the collaboration did not pan out.

The comedy series, produced by Globus Group, will revolve around the lives of three friends in their 30s living in Tel Aviv. It has yet to be sold to a broadcasting network.

The first two episodes are currently being filmed, each costing some $200,000.

The company will then begin negotiating an broadcasting contract.

Globus Group had no comment on the report

Source: Ynetnews.com

Israel, India to sign free trade agreement

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November 25, 2010
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Finance minister says deal will open up ‘endless opportunities’, though Israeli market may soon be flooded with cheap goods

A new world of opportunities is set to open up before the Israeli entrepreneur. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz announced Thursday that Israel was set to sign a free trade agreement with India.

Speaking at a trade convention in Shefayim, Steinitz said the agreement would exempt many import and export ventures from VAT in both states.

Israel currently has free trade agreements with the US, the European Union, Jordan, Egypt, and many of the Latin American states. It is the only country to have such an agreement with both the US and the EU.

The state has so far refrained from signing such agreements with China and India due to fears that the tiny market would become swamped with cheap goods. But recent complaints by entrepreneurs that the Western market was unresponsive, due to the economic crisis and other issues, caused the Finance Ministry to reconsider.

Steinitz is set to visit India in February in order to sign the agreement, which does not require government approval.

“The giant Indian market is full of endless opportunities for Israeli companies, of which many are already active there and can now expand their market,” Steinitz said.

Officials at the Finance Ministry added that the abundance of cheap goods that will most likely flood the Israeli market were “the agreement’s downside”, but that the advantages outweigh its weaknesses.

Last August the Indian market became second on the list of Israeli exporters’ top aims. Nearly a billion dollars worth of goods were exported there in the past quarter, a 102% rise from the previous year.

Source: Ynetnews.com

VIDEO: Virtual Tour of the Weizmann Institute of Science

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November 25, 2010
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The Weizmann institute of science, is located in Rehovot in Israel, having been was established in 1949. It only offers study at the postgraduate level and is presided over by its president Daniel Zajfman.

Having a selective subject range allows the institute to lead research in many areas of its subject range of biology, biological chemistry, chemistry, computer science, mathematics and physics.

Over the Weizmann institute of science’s short existence it has managed to run up a fine list of alumni and faculty, including two leaders of israel Chaim Weizmann (a chemist by trade) and Ephraim Katzir (a biophysicist). Other notable people include the physicists Mordehai Milgrom and Haim Harari.