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SDM Celebrates Israel at Canadian Music Week

Posted on:
May 6, 2014
Events, SDM News
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Follow SDM as we celebrate Israel at CMW! We will be bringing in live coverage of events and exclusive interviews throughout the week!

VIDEO: IDF Vets Form Band to Battle PTSD Through Rock

Posted on:
May 5, 2014
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This week is Mental Health Week in Canada. One mental health issue that is felt by many Canadians and Israelis alike is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A group of nine Israeli veterans have found a unique method of dealing with PTSD: through rock. Each band member had suffered injuries, and subsequently met through an organization that helps soldiers recover and handle PTSD. Six years later, these nine veterans are releasing their first album on iTunes.

To hear the band members’ stories, read more at Times of Israel.

New Canada-Israel Research Partnership to Identify Molecular Drivers of Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

Posted on:
April 29, 2014
Equality, Science
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A significant, multi-year commitment by Sylvia M. G. Soyka, director, and the Board of Trustees of the SMGS Family Foundation to the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University (CFHU) announced today will be used to launch an international research project in pancreatic cancer to identify molecular drivers associated with metastasis. This will improve understanding and clinical management of a fatal disease. Researchers at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Sheba Medical Center in Israel and at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) in Canada will work together to uncover the molecular landscape of pancreatic cancer and the underlying pathways that are driving the disease.

Pancreatic cancer remains the most deadly common solid tumour in developed countries. Approximately 80 per cent of patients present with advanced disease, are not eligible for surgery and have extremely poor prognosis. These advanced forms of pancreatic cancer have generally been understudied. Advances in combating this aggressive disease require detailed molecular analysis of tumours to uncover the pathways driving tumour growth and dissemination. The ultimate goal of this collaborative effort is to discover new biomarkers for detection and diagnostics and potentially to find new targeted therapies that will improve patient outcomes.

Researchers based in Toronto and in Israel will continue to identify incident cases of pancreatic cancer and build a powerful research infrastructure. They will focus on augmenting their existing large bank of biospecimens and data from patients with early stage tumours by collecting material from patients with more advanced disease. OICR will use state-of-the-art technologies for high-throughput molecular analysis of tumours (e.g., DNA, RNA and protein activity), and its platforms will provide the support for extracting molecular data. Researchers at IMRIC will use the collected patient specimens to conduct detailed molecular analyses and experimental studies.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring together world-class researchers from Canada and Israel, all of whom are experts in the field of pancreatic cancer research,” said Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of OICR. “This partnership could lead to important new insights into one of the most deadly cancers.”

“Sylvia Soyka’s philanthropic dedication and determination to make a difference in the area of pancreatic cancer research serves as a role model and inspiration to those of us who are fortunate enough to be touched by her vision and focus. The SMGS Family Foundation has acted to make Sylvia’s vision a reality,” said Merle Goldman, Executive Vice President, CFHU.

“Pancreatic cancer remains the most deadly type of solid tumour in the developed world, with overall survival of less than five per cent,” said Dr. Steven Gallinger, Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital and Director of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Initiative at OICR. “By better understanding pancreatic cancer at a molecular level, we can develop the critical new personalized tools needed to detect, diagnose and treat pancreatic tumours sooner, and potentially improve the lives of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the future.”

“We are extremely excited about this new partnership. It opens a whole range of possibilities for tackling a terrible disease, for which we currently have very few tools. The partnership will allow us to bring together a unique combination of research approaches, cutting edge technologies, and clinical data and material. Importantly, it opens new avenues for scientific interaction,” said Dr. Ittai Ben Porath, Chair of the Grafstein Cancer Network for Cancer Research.

“My father, Alex U. Soyka, was a remarkable and vital man who spent six weeks downhill-skiing and was not yet retired at the age of ninety. He did not die of old age; he died of metastasized pancreatic cancer three months to the day after formal diagnosis. It is a privilege to be able to pay tribute to the man he was by supporting this team of dedicated, skilled and passionate researchers,” said Sylvia Soyka.

“I extend my congratulations to all the researchers involved in this international partnership, and I am delighted that Ontario researchers are playing a key role in such an important international initiative to help those facing pancreatic cancer,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation.
:: DigitalJournal.com

Harmony in a Land of Milk, Honey and Pucks

Posted on:
March 14, 2014
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Harmony in a Land of Milk, Honey and Pucks

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Midway through the opening period of a youth game here Sunday night, Daniel Haim Lonkry knocked in a rebound. In the second period, his teammates Fadi Haj and Adam Ayoub added goals to tie the score, 3-3.

The three teenagers play for a hockey team from northern Israel, and if that does not seem remarkable enough, consider this: Lonkry is Jewish, Haj is Christian, and Ayoub is Druse, a member of a religious group that grew out of Islam.

The players and their 21 teammates are visiting the Washington area this week as members of the Canada Israel Hockey School, which opened five years ago to help the sport expand in Israel.

Read the full story at the New York Times

PM launches negotiations to expand free trade with Israel

Posted on:
January 21, 2014
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Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, today announced the launch of negotiations to expand and modernize the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA), a cornerstone of the commercial relationship between the two countries. The announcement was made during an official visit by Prime Minister Harper to Israel.

An expanded and modernized CIFTA will enhance bilateral commercial flows by reducing technical barriers, enhancing cooperation, increasing transparency in regulatory matters and reducing transaction costs for businesses. In the area of sanitary and phytosanitary measures, a modernized agreement will provide new mechanisms to increase cooperation and resolve market access irritants more expeditiously. This initiative will also create new opportunities for Canadian agriculture, agri-food, and fish and seafood companies in the Israeli market. The first round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in Israel from February 3-9, 2014.

Quick Facts

CIFTA is a cornerstone of Canada’s commercial relationship with Israel.
The Agreement came into force on January 1, 1997, and amendments were brought into force on November 1, 2003, to implement further tariff concessions on agricultural and fish and seafood products.
Since CIFTA came into force, Canada’s two-way merchandise trade with Israel has more than doubled.

“Our Government is committed to providing Canadian businesses with the market access they need to compete and succeed internationally. An expanded and modernized trade agreement with Israel will generate more jobs and economic growth at home and in Israel, while strengthening the clos

- See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/01/21/pm-launches-negotiations-expand-free-trade-israel#sthash.tuzz5uY3.dpuf

Bank of Israel Governor nominates Canadian-born economist as Bank of Israel deputy governor

Posted on:
January 19, 2014
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Bank of Israel

Appointment, subject to cabinet approval, would for first time put women in top two posts of Israel’s central bank.

The associate dean of the economics department at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya has been nominated by Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug as the central bank’s deputy governor. Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg’s nomination, which was announced Thursday, would also include her appointment as a member of the bank’s monetary committee and supervisory council. This would be the first time that both the governor and deputy governor of the Bank of Israel are women.

Her nomination is subject to approval by the government panel on senior appointments and by the cabinet. Technically, it is the prime minister that makes the actual appointment of the deputy bank governor, on the advice of the bank governor.

This would be Flug’s first appointment to the monetary committee since she herself took office last November. Flug served as deputy governor of the central bank until her elevation following the departure of former governor Stanley Fischer last June.

Most of Baudot-Trajtenberg’s professional experience has been at Bank Hapoalim, which she joined in 1987 as an economist. Between 2003 and 2009, she was head of investor relations in the bank’s financial division. Among the other posts she held at Bank Hapoalim were head of the securities research division and head of advisory and trading services for institutional investors. She was also on the faculty of Tel Aviv University, where she lectured in macroeconomics.

Montreal-born Baudot-Trajtenberg is a graduate of the University of Montreal, Oxford University and Harvard University, where she earned a Ph.D. in economics. Her doctoral adviser at Harvard was Lawrence Summers, who, from 1999 to 2001, was U.S. Treasury secretary. In the 1980s, she advised the Canadian department of finance and helped develop a reform plan for Canada’s tax structure.

Baudot-Trajtenberg is married to Manuel Trajtenberg, who chairs the planning and budgeting committee at the Council for Higher Education. He served as chairman of the government panel that was convened to suggest recommendations in response to the social justice protests of 2011. He is also the former head of the National Economic Council in the Prime Minister’s Office.

The sense among knowledgeable observers is that Flug received Netanyahu’s blessing in advance for her nomination of Baudot-Trajtenberg. Although there have been prior nominations to the post of deputy governor that have run into trouble, it is expected she will be approved.

Assuming this happens, Baudot-Trajtenberg will join the ranks of a growing number of women in positions at the helm of Israel’s economy. In addition to Flug as central bank governor, the CEOs of three of the country’s five largest banks are women. And at the Finance Ministry, Yael Andorn serves as director general, Michal Abadi-Boiangiu is the ministry’s accountant general, and Dorit Salinger is director of capital markets, insurance and savings.

As deputy bank governor, Baudot-Trajtenberg would fill in for Flug in her absence or in the event that the governor is unable to function under particular circumstances.

Flug conducted the selection process for deputy governor under a veil of secrecy. Even senior officials at the central bank were unaware of Baudot-Trajtenberg’s candidacy until it was announced to the media. It is thought that Flug’s choice was motivated by the candidate’s education, her experience in banking and the capital markets here, and recommendations from people who have worked with her.

The term of office for the deputy governor is five years, renewable for one additional term. The salary for the post is about 57,000 shekels a month ($16,300) and is set at 90 percent of that of the governor of the Bank of Israel.

In an interview with TheMarker three years ago, when she was appointed associate dean of the economics department at the IDC in Herzliya, Baudot-Trajtenberg spoke of the importance of providing financial aid to university students in Israel so that tuition costs would not provide a barrier for capable students. She suggested that the aid be conditioned on repayment once the students are earning a living and can begin paying it back. “It’s social solidarity in which the strong help out the less strong,” she said. “As I see it, it’s a step that the Education Ministry, together with the Finance Ministry, can carry out relatively easily.”

Source: Haaretz.com