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Archive | 2012 | January | 11

New Father (to Blue Ivy Carter) and Rapper Jay-Z Partners With Israeli Tech Firm

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January 11, 2012
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The big Jay-Z news this week is obviously the birth of his daughter, Blue Ivy.

But employees at an Israeli tech company are probably just as excited about another development involving the rapper: He’s signed on as the spokesman for one of the start-up’s new ventures.

“There is no better face or voice that can move people to adopt a new paradigm in power delivery,” said Ran Poliakine, the CEO of the Israeli firm, Powermat Technologies, founded in 2006.

As part of the multiyear deal, Jay-Z will promote products created by Duracell Powermat, a collaboration between the Israeli company and the American battery maker. The partnership is focusing on wireless chargers for mobile devices, and is showcasing the products this week in Las Vegas.

Israeli news site Mako claims the rapper (birth name: Shawn Carter) is investing millions in the products, in addition to his promotional work.

Sounds like “mazel tovs” are in order all around.

Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/the-shmooze/149377/#ixzz1jBKuiXZ7

Two-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist Cassandra Wilson to front Holon (Israel) Women’s Festival

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January 11, 2012
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Arts, Culture
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56- year-old, two-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist has delved into numerous musical areas over last three decades.

This year’s Holon International Women’s Festival will take place at Holon Theater from February 22 to February 25. The four-day event includes a wide range of artistic fields, with Cassandra Wilson as the main draw of the program. The 56- year-old, two-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist has delved into numerous musical areas over the last three decades, including jazz, blues, pop, country music and folk. She has released over 20 albums under her own name and recorded and performed with a wide range ofartists, including celebrated jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, pop crooner Elvis Costello and R&B and soul singer Luther Vandross.

Other draws in the festival lineup include Don’t Stop Me Now, a tribute to rock groupQueen featuring such top female vocalists as Efrat Gosh, Yael Deckelbaum, Dana Berger and Dana Adini.

A new feature at this year’s festival is a documentary film slot called I Am You Are, with debut offerings form young female Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers.

There will also some acting endeavors, with a marathon of monologues by female graduates of some of the country’s top acting schools, under the guidance of Hadas Calderon. And fans of satirical humor should enjoy the The Secret Blondes performance by singer Tamar Giladi and writer Irit Linor.

For more info: (03) 502-3001 or www.hth.co.il

Source: Jpost.com

Israel’s Vexigo partners with Yahoo!

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January 11, 2012
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Technology developed by Israeli startup can analyze millions of Web pages a day, enabling Internet giant to offer targeted advertising

Vexigo, an unknown Israeli startup which was has been to raise a mere $1 million, is about to become the Web advertising solutions partner of global Internet corporation Yahoo!

The company was founded just three years ago and has been profitable ever since.

Vexigo raised its seed capital from former Alvarion CEO Tzvika Friedman and businessman David Shushan. The company developed a technology that changes the rules of the online advertising game, claims the company.

The company appears to be following in the footsteps if its Israeli counterparts, Kontera, Peer 39 and Double Verify, which made their way to the top of the semantic online advertising field matching page content to advertisements and user preferences.

However, it seems that Vexigo knows how to take the best features from each product and consolidate them into one product which gives advertisers and advertising agencies added value.

Internet giant Yahoo! recently tapped Vexigo’s advertising platform for its advertising services. The strategic partnership with Yahoo! will place Vexigo’s technology front and center of Yahoo’s advertising server network.

Vexigo will analyze billions of Web pages a day, enabling Yahoo! to offer pre-targeted ad space at a higher degree of transparency both for advertisers and website operators.

The company was founded by Amit Reshef and Koby Ram, and since 2009 both have been running Vexigo which targets surfers according to content of current page, recently visited pages and geographical location.

In order to accommodate Yahoo’s requirements, Ram recruited another 15 employees and signed an agreement with Amazon for dozens of mega-watt in server space.

‘Yahoo! on a growth curve with new CEO’
Vexigo also prevents potentially mismatching or even inappropriate display of ads. Aside from targeted advertising it offers specific deals.

“I won’t just offer you an ad for sports gear. I’ll offer you a 40% discount at the sports store around the corner,” said CEO Ram in an interview to Calcalist. “We ‘grouponize’ the Web – we take all the deals and run them through our engines and then send them off in real time to mobile phones.

“Groupon is an incredible company and there are thousands of like it which Vexigo brings together in order to offer surfers a geographically targeted deals according to their fields of interest.

Ram is unfazed by the fact that Yahoo! has known better times. According to eMarketer, Yahoo’s market share dropped from 13.3% to 11% in 2010, while Facebook and Google increased their online advertising market share.

“Yahoo! is on a growth curve with the new CEO which was bought in for the purpose of a future sale, among others. It’s a company that has been through a lot and is still very prominent.”

Source: Ynetnews.com

Brewing up a storm at Israel’s ultimate beer festival

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January 11, 2012
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Food, Tourism
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Come to Nokia Stadium on Wednesday, January 11, for BEERS 2012, and taste the very best and new Israel’s brewers and importers have to offer.

October may have come and gone, but beer lasts forever. That Israel has never been named among the world’s top breweries may simply be oversight. Now is your chance to taste some of the the finest local and foreign-made beers, at the BEERS 2012 festival at Tel Aviv’s Nokia Stadium.

On January 11, Israel’s best beer importers and microbrewers will put on display their newest products – some brewed especially for this event (professionals in the alcohol/pub/restaurant world are invited to take part in a special festival night of their own, on January 10).

Entrance is NIS 50, and includes five tasting coupons and free beer glass. Wander around the stadium to taste the very wide selection, buy a couple of bottles at a special price, or just learn a little about the world of beers in Israel.

Members of the professional community can register here

Where: Nokia Stadium
Yigal Allon 51
Tel Aviv
When: Tuesday Jan. 10 (for professional community) and Wednesday Jan. 11 (open to public) 4 P.M. – 11 P.M.

Israel: Wants to draw more tourists

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January 11, 2012
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Tourism
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JERUSALEM — Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov yesterday said he is targeting four million tourists to his country in 2012 after the number dropped 2,4% in 2011 to 3,36 million.

Revenue from tourism — a key driver of Israel’s economy — rose last year, however, government figures showed.

In 2010, tourism hit an all-time high of 3,44 million people visiting the Holy Land, said the Tourism Ministry and Central Bureau of Statistics.

Revenue from tourism grew two percent to 35 billion shekels (R74 billion) in 2011, while the number of tourism jobs accounted for 7,5% of total employment in Israel.

“Despite the economic and geopolitical turmoil 2011 posted record revenue to the economy,” Misezhnikov said.

“These data are an important vote of confidence of tourists in Israel and proof that the tourism industry is … one of the leading economic growth engines.”

Source: Reuters

Jacob Bekenstein wins 2012 Wolf Prize

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January 11, 2012
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Science
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Israeli physicist to receive prestigious international award thanks to contribution to foundation of black hole thermodynamics; 33% of recipients have gone on to win Nobel Prize

What do the names Avram Hershko, Ada Yonath and Daniel Shechtman tell you? They are all Israeli chemists who won the Nobel Prize after being awarded the Wolf Prize.

Will physicist Jacob Bekenstein, one of the winners of the 2012 Wolf Prize go on to win the prestigious Nobel as well? Time will tell.

The Wolf Prize is an international award granted in Israel every year for achievements in the fields of science and art, and is considered the second most important award after the Nobel Prize.

The prize has been granted since 1978 for “achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples … irrespective of nationality, race, color, religion, sex or political views.”

As many as 33% of Wolf Prize recipients have gone on to win the Nobel Prize as well.

The list of winners for 2012 was announced Monday in a festive ceremony at the Israel Museum by Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and the chairman of the Wolf Foundation.

Apart from Bekenstein, the award will be granted in May at the Knesset to Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo, Berlin Philharmonic Conductor Simon Rattle, and two Mathematicians, two chemists, and a medical researcher – all from the United States.

The Wolf Foundation said Tuesday that Domingo was the first vocal artist to ever win its prize. From 1962 to 1965, at the beginning of his career, he sang with the Israeli opera company

Prof. Bekenstein of Hebrew University’s Racah Institute of Physics will receive the prize for his breakthrough contribution to foundation of black hole thermodynamics. He discovered that black holes cannot just swallow light but also emit light.

At the time Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s greatest physicist, set out to prove Bekenstein wrong, but after exhausting calculations for several months he nobly admitted, “I was wrong, Israeli physicist Jacob Bekenstein was right.”

Since then, one of the physical laws regarding black holes has been named the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy.

Bekenstein told Yedioth Ahronoth on Monday, “I’m surprised, happy and proud. I didn’t expect to receive the award now, as there are many people in the world of science who have made great contributions.”

Wolf Foundation Director-General Liat Ben-David said Monday, “The Wolf Foundation heritage proves that each of the recipients dedicated his or her life to one thing: Excellence aimed at advancing humanity.

“Through this prize, the State of Israel salutes the crème de la crème in the fields of science and art around the world.”

Source: Ynetnews.com