Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Moshiv HaRuach u'Morid HaGeshem

Such a good start. Please remember, no matter what pursuits you may engage in, it's all up to G-d. Such a pivotal industry for so many reasons, the only thing we can do is hope and pray for the right conditions.

From Israel National News:

Israel's farmers are very satisfied with the rains that fell this past winter in Israel.

Giora Mishol, a farmer from Kfar Mordechai, told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew website on Wednesday of the wheat which reached new heights this year, the likes of which he cannot remember for years.

Despite the joy, Mishol noted that the amounts of rain that fell were not great. "Usually the average per year is 450 mm, and this year we received only 350 mm," he said. "The orchards received theirs but we still expect some more rain in April. If we get two weeks of rain it would be great and would save us from spring irrigation."


I must say, this is horribly stupid. To bring in more business, lets tax the hell out of it. It's almost as if businesses in Israel have to lobby together to get a fair shake in Politics. How American of them...

From YNetNews:

State imposes new taxes on gas finds

Knesset adopts controversial law that could double royalties, taxes on profits from two major natural gas fields discovered off Israel's coast. PM Netanyahu: Bill will move Israel closer to energy independence

The Knesset on Wednesday adopted a controversial law that could double royalties and taxes on profits from two major natural gas fields discovered off Israel's coast.

The Israeli parliament passed the bill by a vote of 78-2, in a move Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said would "move Israel closer to energy independence."

Gas Field

Delek: Israel to get natgas by 2013 / Reuters

Conglomerate's controlling shareholder Yitzhak Tshuva says natural gas from Tamar field to arrive as scheduled despite uncertainty created by government tax plan
Full story

The bill was massively opposed by oil companies, which have recently discovered two major offshore gas fields, Tamar and Leviathan, 130 kilometers (80 miles) off the northern port of Haifa.

Before those discoveries, Israel collected relatively paltry taxes and royalties, around 30%, on exploitable natural resources.

The low fees were intended to encourage local and foreign companies to take on the expensive work of exploring for gas and other resources, and are far less than those levied by many nations.

Faced with the prospect of missing out on massive windfalls from Tamar and Leviathan, the government convened a commission to draft new measures.

Under the changes, combined royalties and taxes on company profits from exploitation of natural resources will be raised from around 30% to between 52% and 62%, depending on various qualifying factors.

Netanyahu welcomed the law and praised lawmakers who, "despite pressures, voted in a huge majority for this law that safeguards the public interest," a statement from his office said.

The new fees could also be applied retroactively, prompting firms involved in uncovering the fields to launch a vociferous campaign against any increase.

Among the loudest voices against the new tariffs is US firm Noble Energy, which holds 39.6% of the rights to Leviathan.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

B'Ahavat Yisrael

This isn't going to be a real post in the sense that I will be analyzing something. but this is as real as it gets. I just stumbled across an organization that does incredible stuff. B'Ahavat Yisrael (With Love of Israel) has amazing endorsements and does phenomenal work.

Please support them any way you can. Whether by money or by man power or just anything you can do. If someone could put me in touch with the founders, I would love to speak to them both on and off this website.

Again, that is B'Ahavat Yisrael. Go there, Subscribe to their website. Read their stories and get involved.

Finally, some real commentary.

I guess we'll have to see how this goes.

With all of the unrest in the Middle East, the idea of even visiting Israel is scary for some. As I was speaking to a friend yesterday, he mentioned that during the Second Intifada in 2001, he felt places were empty. I know many post High School students stayed home and, as a result, many Yeshivos and Seminaries suffered greatly, even shut down.

And that was just because of the happenings in Israel. Imagine what people must think now. Syria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and so on, are all fighting what are basically civil wars. What possible side effect would this have on the economy in Israel, not to mention everything else.

Time and time again, we see that the problems in a neighboring Muslim country often spill out into anti-Israel rhetoric. However, this time seems to be a bit different. This time, at least as we are seeing in the news, we are seeing a huge uprising against the despotic regimes that have been egregiously killing their own citizens, imposing 40 years worth of martial law and other ideals of complete totalitarianism. What concerns me about these civil uprisings, however, is the move to prominence of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and other radical groups that function well in the Muslim world. Civil strife is the breeding ground for extremism and as soon as that dictator is deposed, the possibility of an extremely radical ruler is very plausible.

Being that Israel is the kid that is bullied on the playground, the emergence of a newly crowned radical country, once tolerating of Israel, can flip around and turn on the existing treaties extremely fast, looking for anything to void the treaties to gain World Opinion.

What would this do to the economy and the overall well being of Israel? I am not talking about the diplomatic side of Israel. It seems to me that courting said world opinion is on the top of their lists. But what about the citizens, the tourists, the businesses, the business relationships with other countries, import and export? These are extremely scary times for the heartbeat of a democratic state.

The uncertainty war and terrorism is constantly hanging over the head of Israel. but when its already wild neighbors are throwing a party, the feelings are running hot. I remember seeing an article online about Syria. I don't recall if the article was an opinion piece or if it was actual journalism, but I remember reading that Syria was thinking about starting a war with Israel just to take the focus off of the impending civil war that was about to explode in the country. Opinion or Fact is moot. It is constantly on the minds of Israelis and Jews worldwide.

With this constant uncertainty, Israel is still surviving economically. It almost seems at times like it is a miracle of miracles. Maybe it is. Or maybe the actual support of Israel and its inhabitants isn't being reported fairly or even at all. Politically, Israel is a lightning rod for all sorts of problems. Economically, however, is a different story. As I have written about previously in other articles, massive multi-national companies are partnering with Israeli companies, such as the Proctor and Gamble / Teva Pharmaceutical partnership to develop over the counter drugs for every country other than America is amazing. Considering that in America it is a multi-billion dollar industry, imagine the gains it could have worldwide. This is only one example of the type of business rolling into Israel.

Real Estate in Israel is a booming industry as well. Many articles recently, before I started writing, spoke about the increase in interest and action in buying and developing real estate in Israel. That being said, Stanley Fischer, the current Govenor of Bank of Israel and a leading economist in Israel, did say he worried that the increased interest in buying and developing in Israel was a bubble, something that the United States knows about very well. Time will tell. But with the increased numbers of new Olim (immigrants) to Israel from all over the globe, it seems very hard to believe that it will actually be a bubble.

This part of a chart was taken from the Israel Agency.

These statistics come end in 2009. But, adding up from the year 2000, the overall amount of Olim equals 279,963 people. Being that in 2010, the estimated population is 7,653,600, that is a fairly large number. I don't think we need to worry too much about bubbles popping.

The chart does have a decrease in the number of immigrating people. There can be many factors to this. Besides for the negative news that is seen over the world over, people also worry about how they are going to live. How are they going to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads. This is the reason this website was started. We only see the negative reactions of Israel. The positives are merely a back seat to the latest bombing, the latest worry, the latest diplomatic attack from the UN. But, if we can bring out the positives of Israel, showing true professionals that not only is Israel a great place to live, but a great and lucrative place to do business, we can start seeing those numbers go back up. Job creation will breed Immigration.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I know I should be offended, but...

Fischer Cheers Jump in Hareidi-Religious Work Studies

As I have said before, this is not a political blog. I have my views and I am more than willing to share them with people. When it comes to religion, I am fairly right-wing. I would, in many cases, be considered Hareidi. When I see headlines like this, I do get very frustrated.

Part of my frustration comes from people, who in the course of being the "progressive, open-minded" people have completely shut out a way of life that I adhere to because its TOO different. G-d forbid people should live as they want. When it doesn't adhere to their "open-minded" lifestyle, its extreme and dangerous and radical.

That being said, the other part of my frustration, however, comes from my co-religionists. I believe that Kollel system is incredible, and if I could, I would seriously be in it now, studying Torah all day and night. It is my passion and it is my life. Unfortunately, my reality is not so. I, like many others, have to work. Many times, in many communities, work is a four letter word and the mere mention of any post high school education is heretical. But, at least in America, there are options. Landers College, where there is a mixture of Beis Medrash and College. Yeshiva University, a very well known and respected institution. Yeshiva Shor Yoshuv, (of which I am extremely affiliated, so I am biased) an extremely warm place that gives an option to attend college in the afternoons and nights.

In Israel, as far as I know, there hasn't been much success in institutions like this. But why not? Is it against halacha (Jewish law) to provide for your family? In today's economy, one does need to have some formal training. Places that can give Certificates or Associates/Bachelors. It is extremely important to be able to give communities what they need to succeed. Its impractical to ask a Rabbinical student to attend mixed gender classes and/or attend classes that philosophically they don't agree with for the sake of "broadening their minds."  Giving options suited to a community is, and will always be, the most effective way to educate and promulgate a lifestyle, still centered around Torah and G-d, but supplementing that with good, honest work. I believe that it was the Chofetz Chaim who broke down what a man's day should look like: One third Torah, one third work and one third personal needs. (If this is incorrect, please correct me.)

I hope that these programs succeed and give every community their own special attention. This will give Israel, and wherever Jews are, a huge advantage in the job market.

Tax Break for First Time Home Buyers in Israel

From the Jerusalem Post:

This is going to be short, but sweet. Israel is making it easier than it already is to buy your first home in Israel. New Olim, Future Olim, Sabras...get out there and buy. Go to places you can only dream about. It just became so much easier.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Over-the-Counter Israel

Teva and Proctor and Gamble create a partnership for OTC medicines.

I don't think I have to explain how huge this is! As the article says, Teva is well known for its pharmaceutical products while Proctor and Gamble has a huge OTC market. Plus, with the brand name of Proctor and Gamble, Teva can open up huge new markets worldwide.

Hopefully this can lead to new real estate purchases in Israel. As well as construction. Ultimately leading to many more private sector jobs to boost and already exploding industry in Israel.


New Technological Research and Development in Israel!

EMC Corporation is going to be investing more money into their already existing operations in Israel. Read article here. For those who are looking for a job in these fields, go to their website and apply!!! If this means you have to make Aliyah...well...get crackin! What are you waiting for?

The Research and Development field for all things IT and Technology is an ever expanding field globally, but especially in Israel. Some of the finest minds in the working world have found their way to Israel. This is a huge opportunity for the Jewish people to help Israel become the leader in this industry! When other companies catch wind of this...the possibilities will be endless. They will be knocking down the doors of Israel to set up shop there.

On a personal note, I think support call centers will be springing up in Israel very soon. For the most part, Israel is a tremendous mixing pot of all nationalities. Companies like Dell outsource their  support centers to India. The problem is that no one can understand the accents and the language barrier is often not broken. It results in mistakes and money lost. Whereas in Israel, a center can be opened in a particularly Anglo part of Israel, for example. Former Americans speaking to Americans. No accents, no getting lost in translation. The results in less money lost. And this can be done with many other countries. Russians helping Russians, Ethiopians helping Ethiopians. That is the absolute beauty of Israel. We are all family and we can use our specific talents, things that make us individuals and can help us excel. It would provide a family with the much needed support and Israel with the much needed income.

As I have said before, helping Israel become self sufficient should be a top priority. Production, Goods and Services, Tourism. There is so much out there to make Israel stand out as a leader of countries. There is also so much out there for Jews to make some serious parnassah (livelihood) all while supporting Israel. All we need is to get out there and do it.

Israel and Argentina

Failing Relationship?

Is this the end of a political relationship? I happen to know a lot of Israeli beef comes from Argentina. Maybe its time for a budding entrepreneur, or perhaps an already existing one, to set up a kosher slaughterhouse in Israel that can do business with, not just Israel, but surrounding countries that actually have Jews in it.

As stated on the Wikipedia page:

  • In the Netherlands, halal slaughter includes some pre-mortem stunning. The Netherlands is one of the countries that introduced legislative protection for shehitah.
  • Spain allows ritual slaughter for sheep and goats but not for cattle.
The implications of such a company basing itself in Israel would be outstanding. The 12 countries, 13 including Israel, can be supplied by such an operation. Muslims in these countries, as much as I don't want to admit it, would by these Kosher meats because they consider Kosher meat something that would fit under the Halal guidelines. And as the Muslim population grows in Europe, Africa and other places, such an operation would become very popular and very lucrative.

Regarding how it would affect the Israeli economy, you can only imagine the amount of jobs it could produce locally. Besides for competent shochtim (Ritual Slaughterers), it would employ laborers, book keepers, CPAs, scientists (as far as I know, scientists are kept on hand to administer certain anti-biotics and vitamins to a herd.) The list can go on and on.

To go even further, the development of the land to be able to support such an operation would become a hot money maker as well, returning back to the beginning of the Aliyahs in the late 1800s. Cleaning up land and making it viable to feed and support livestock on such a scale could, peripherally, become a big boost to the agricultural industry. Or even just to the import/export industry of Livestock and its related supplies.

Let's get started on this. It is so important to become a self sustaining economy. We can't rely on Argentina and others of their ilk to keep our little country afloat. We must do for ourselves. And, if this operation is done inside the non-contested areas (which I think is silly to begin with. Yesha, or Yehuda and Shomron, are just as much a part of Israel as Tel Aviv or Tzfat or Eilat) the government will have no choice but to use their resources to help maintain business, flocks and a major part of their budding economy. But this isn't a political blog. There are plenty of those, and I support them greatly. As I hope they will, and do, me. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What Immigrants Can Offer

YNet Article: New Olim Seek Work in the Public Sector

While this particular piece is on Olim (immigrants) who would like to work in Politics, the same standards can and do apply to Olim in other fields and industries.

In 2008, Nefesh b'Nefesh started a program that pushes Physician's to make Aliyah,

"In response to figures released by the Council for Higher Education's Planning and Budgeting Committee, suggesting that in the next ten years, Israel will experience a serious shortage of doctors, Nefesh B'Nefesh is teaming up with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption to bring an increased number of western doctors to Israel. According to the report, due to a projected population increase – especially among the elderly – coupled with the noticeable trend of doctors leaving the medical profession, the current ratio of 3.5 physicians for every 1,000 Israelis is predicted to plummet to less than 2.5 per thousand in the next few years."

These numbers do say a lot about the economic structure and struggles of Israel. Many doctors leaving the profession means one of many things. Either there is too much stress, not enough money in the profession or there just isn't the opportunity out there for a doctor like there is in the Western world.

Any of the medical Olim coming from America or the UK would barely have to look for work. Hospitals are looking for staff, offices are looking for physicians. What better reason is there, for a doctor, then job security?

Peripherally, just looking at the medical field, there is a ton of opportunity for non-doctors as well. Real Estate developers and investors can build new hospitals and clinics, especially in the less developed parts of the country. Healthcare IT groups can begin integrating Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems into new and existing offices. The production and import of durable medical goods could spark an entirely new wave of business into the country. With new business and real estate development in Israel, it could lead to a plethora of new jobs for Olim and Israelis.

This type of business development can be played over and over again with every industry. And with every new Oleh comes a fresh perspective. More can be done to help every Oleh and Israeli find a job. Gvahim has the right idea and I hope that they can and do succeed. I just hope that the people they help remember that government is not the answer, people are. And the only way to bring people is to bring a livelihood.

Three Business Articles

As promised, this blog will be bringing a lot of good news about the Israeli economy. The goal is to help boost, even if it is completely unnoticeable by either company or Israel itself. It is extremely important, in the face of an almost completely negative view of only the reactions of Israel, that the positive, proactive things are also brought to light.

Facebook buys an Israeli company

American Technology company buys an Israel Technology company

Sephora Executives in Israel

I've also seen that clothing store H & M has opened not one, but FIVE stores in Israel.

Keep 'em coming!

On Boycotts

It seems that the Left wing (and I don't mean Democrats or Liberals) has disregarded American law yet again. In 1977, the Export Administration Act was put in place to stop the boycotts of Israel. The anarchistic side of the Left has been garnering support from everywhere they can.

This is a list of musicians who refuse to come to Israel:

Snoop Dogg
Elvis Costello
The Pixies
Santana (Unconfirmed)
Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd fame)

What reason would they have to NOT play in Israel? People like Elvis Costello can't be selling that many records. It's really a shame that they can't see the forest from the trees.

To offset this, many musicians have played in Israel. When a major musician comes to Israel, it brings money into the local and greater economies. Besides for buying the tickets, more money is spent on food, transport, parking and even more locally, shops within view of the venues. This list of musicians should be lauded for their support of Israel (even if you don't listen to them):

Diana Krall (who happens to be the wife of Elvis Costello)
Elton John
Rod Stewart
Mark Knopfler (One of the greatest guitarists ever, in my opinion)
Matisyahu (as if this was even a question)
Paul McCartney
Linkin Park
Bon Jovi
Justin Bieber
Deep Purple
Depeche Mode
Paul Simon
Bob Dylan
Rage Against the Machine (The played in Israel two days after I left in 2000)
Eric Clapton
Frank Sinatra

I've made this list long for a reason. I couldn't find any other big name bands that are boycotting Israel. But, the list of those who will bring their music into Israel is much much longer. I couldn't bother looking any longer for more bands. You are more then welcome to comment with bands I have not mentioned.

Its important to remember this: When you are looking to support Israel, it doesn't mean that you have to just support products made in Israel (although you should buy anything that comes from Israel). It also means that a support of products and services and arts that don't kowtow to an overwhelmingly anti-Israel bias in most Mainstream media outlets and the Anachronistic, left wing Radicals.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Only in Israel

Today we have seen yet another act of cowardly terrorism against unsuspecting, innocent civilians in the name of "fighting the oppressors."

When are we, and by we, I mean Jews, Americans, the World, going to wake up to the harsh reality of an Islamic rule in this world: If you are not a Muslim, you are not worth living. Sometimes they will pity you and let you live. Sometimes not.

We saw two weeks ago a horrific murder of the Fogel family. Five members of the Jewish people snuffed out. Why? Because they live on the wrong side of an imaginary line that the world doesn't believe should even be there. What did Hadas Fogel do? She was 3 months old. Her only crime was being a Jew.

What did the people at the bus stop do? They, as Jews have done for thousands of years, live in Jerusalem.

What about the graves of over 100,000 people buried on Har HaZeisim/Mount of Olives? Those bad, horrible people should be ASHAMED of themselves for dying and being buried in what is regarded, and has been regarded for many, many years, as the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people.

In 1967, when Jordan was in control of Jerusalem, nothing Jewish was holy. The Western Wall was a trash heap, Har HaZeisim was desecrated. Where is the public outcry? Not just outside of the Land of Israel, but inside as well.

And yet we see in the global media, Israel is the aggressor. Israel is "occupying" territories. Since when did a formation of a country become "occupying?" When Israel won all of the wars since 1948 and took land, legally I might add, it was pressured to give it back. And it did. Because, in the court of world opinion, Israel was in the wrong, even though they were attacked.

The harsh reality is scary. People don't want to hear it. But Jews think it. Jews feel it. Every day. When we see the news and we see the reactions. It is not that Israel shouldn't exist. It is a land, no bigger than the size of New Jersey. Normally, it was filled with Bedouins, Jews and some other nomadic people. It's not that Israel shouldn't exist. It's that Jews exist. We are the thorn in everyone's side. Historically speaking, Muslims have run us out of Muslim countries. Christians have run us out of Christian countries. And the world, for those groups, didn't change. For the Jewish people, we have been on the run since the destruction of the Second Temple.

Israel is our reality. It is harsh and unforgiving and we are fighting an uphill battle. But, there are ways to help this battle. When Rabbi Shlomo Goren, in 1967, was with the IDF and went towards the Western Wall, there are incredible stories of heroism from him. He ran with a Torah Scroll and a Shofar down the middle of the street to excited and to uplift his troops. As Jews, or people sympathetic to Israel/Jews, we can take a lesson from that playbook. You don't have to run down the streets in a hail of gun fire (although that wouldn't be a far stretch sometimes).

This is how you can help: Money. Not just donating, which is nice and always a humongous help. But business. Capitalism at its finest. Show our collective enemies who is boss and make Israel stronger than ever. Buy and develop Real Estate. Establish companies within Israel to give the Israelis much needed jobs. Buy Israeli goods and services. Make Aliyah!! This is the goal of my website. This is the goal that I have set in action in my mind. There are links to help out. There will be more links in the future. There will be interviews with companies and leaders of industry. there will be city profiles for those looking to set up a business or to set up a home. There will even be, for those who are interested, Jewish art sales and Book reviews. The more you know about the reality of this extraordinary country, the more you will feel the need to stand up and make your voice heard. And the voice of Hadas Vogel and the other four of her family members, and the many other murdered Israelis/Jews living in Israel just for being Jews in Israel. What better way to honor their memories than to help their ideological goals bloom?

Another Terroist Attack

At least 25 injured, 3 seriously in J'lem bus bomb
By JPOST.COM STAFF 23/03/2011
MDA says none killed; Police say that package exploded next to Egged bus 74 opposite Binyanei Ha'uma in central Jerusalem; Netanyahu delaying departure for Moscow.
An explosion took place near a bus in central Jerusalem Wednesday afternoon.

Police said that a bomb exploded outside Egged bus number 74 at a station opposite the Jerusalem Conference Center (Binyanei Ha'uma) in the center of town.

RELATED:J'lem sanitation worker loses arm to garbage-bag pipe bomb
Israeli man, pregnant woman injured in Route 60 shooting

Magen David Adom relayed that there were 25 people injured. Three people were seriously injured. Israeli media reported that two of those were in critical condition.

Five people were moderately injured and the remainder lightly to moderately. MDA said that no deaths took place.

Police suspected that an explosive device inside a bag was left at the bus stop, which then exploded. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said that the explosive device was between one and two kilograms and contained shrapnel.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat confirmed that the attack was likely caused by an explosive device left in a backpack on the side of the bus stop.

Barkat asked citizens to open their eyes and that only then, will we be able to prevent attacks in the future.

Most importantly, he said, is to return to your normal lives so that the terrorists don't think they can win.

Large numbers of police and ambulance forces were on the scene.

Roads surrounding the scene were closed to traffic and authorities were searching the area for additional explosive devices.

The public was advised to stay clear of the area.

Despite the on-going social workers strike, which reached its 18th day on Wednesday, the Union of Social Workers gave approval for social workers in Jerusalem to provide services to those who need it following the terrorist attack in the capital.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Even KISS knows better than most...

Kiss's Israeli-born singer-musician Gene Simmons is shouting out loud at the string of musicians who refuse to perform in his homeland.
“They're fools,” the legendary bassist told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday, on his first return to Israel since leaving the country as a child more than 50 years ago.
Simmons described the visit as a “homecoming.” He offered a description of himself that might shock his legions of fans who know him as an American icon prone to spitting blood and sticking out his exceptionally long tongue:
“I'm Israeli. I'm a stranger in America. I'm an outsider,” he said, speaking in a hotel lobby across a valley from the walls of Jerusalem's historic Old City. “I was born here and I'm proud of it.”
Simmons had harsh words for musicians like Elvis Costello and the Pixies who have recently cancelled concerts to protest Israel's policies toward the Palestinians. Pink Floyd's Roger Waters has gone further, joining an organized movement dedicated to boycotting Israel and its exports, though he appeared in Israel in 2006.
“The countries they should be boycotting are the same countries that the populations are rebelling,” he said. “People long to be free ... And they sure as hell don't want somebody who's a ruler who hasn't been elected by them.”
Simmons, 61, is visiting Israel as part of his reality show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, which follows the adventures and musings of the rocker, his long-time girlfriend, Shannon Tweed, and their two children.
While situations on the show are generally lighthearted, he said his stop in Israel has deep personal significance. “Coming back to Israel is a homecoming,” he said.
Simmons was born Chaim Witz and spent his childhood in northern Israel before moving to America. The normally extravagant musician, known for his extended tongue, demonic makeup and stage pyrotechnics, grew subdued as he described his early life in the hardscrabble town of Tirat Carmel.
He recalled his father, a carpenter, taking his assault rifle and heading off to military service on weekends. He said his mother, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, taught him that “every day above ground is a good day.”
The family was “dirt poor,” scraping by on meagre bread and milk rations available in what was then an underdeveloped country. He earned money by selling fruits he collected from cactuses.
Simmons moved with his mother to the United States when he was eight. Although he has climbed to the highest levels of the entertainment world and lives with a former Playboy Playmate of the Year in Beverly Hills, he said he still considers Israel his home.
Over the years, Simmons cultivated an extravagant personality, often boasting of his sexual conquests and his fortune and fame. While he did not hide his immigrant roots, they were never emphasized – but this appears to be changing in recent years.
Simmons, wearing dark sunglasses and black pants, shirt and blazer, laced the interview with Hebrew phrases. “Where were you born?” he asked in somewhat halting but serviceable Hebrew.
He made local headlines during Israel's 2006 war against Lebanese guerrillas by sending a televised message to a wounded Israeli soldier, calling him a “hero.”
Simmons co-founded Kiss in the 1970s and became famous for wearing white and black face makeup, spitting fire and coughing up fake blood at sold-out performances. The group has sold some 100 million records and,four decades later, it remains one of the bestselling concert draws.
Simmons also presides over a business empire that includes his reality show, TV, game show and movie appearances, video games, books, comics and a Kiss credit card. His net worth is estimated to be in the tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of dollars.
Simmons insisted that his busy schedule has been the only reason he never made it back to Israel before.
“America allowed me to climb the highest levels of success, and I never wanted to stop. When you reach the top, you can rest,” he said.
“I've reached the top.”


Monday, March 21, 2011

Poll: 87% of Israelis Believe U.S. Jews Are Essential to Israel

A new survey conducted among the Israeli public has found that an overwhelming majority of Israelis believe that the American Jewish community is essential to the existence of Israel.

The poll was conducted by Teleseker (TNS) in advance of the Ruderman Fellows Program, a new initiative designed to educate members of the Israeli Knesset about the American Jewish community. The program, presented in conjunction with Brandeis University, will be officially launched in the Knesset on Tuesday.

The survey was initiated by the Ruderman Foundation and found that 82% of the Israeli public supports the initiative. It also found that an overwhelming 87% of the public in Israel perceives the American Jewish community as essential for the security and political existence of the State of Israel.

“The program aims to foster awareness and understanding of the richness and vitality of the American Jewish community and expose the political leaders to the variety of opinions and pluralism which characterize it,” explained Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Foundation and founder of the Fellows Program. “In light of the crucial importance of relations between Israel and the United States, and especially in light of the recent social and political changes in the Middle East, the most important thing right now is to improve understanding and communication between the leadership in Israel and the Jewish community in America.”
Ruderman pointed out some additional findings of the survey, which found that 73% of the Israeli public believes that there is much to learn from the religious pluralism in the Jewish community in the U.S. He noted that the Ruderman Fellows Program “also exposes participants to a variety of opinions and pluralism that characterize the American Jewish community.”

The first Fellows Program will be held in Boston and New York between April 3 and 8. The participants in the first round of the program are MK Avi Dichter (Kadima), MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), MK Carmel Shama (Likud), Eitan Cabel (Labor), and MK Daniel Ben Simon (Labor).
The Ruderman Fellows were selected in conjunction with a special advisory committee that included Environment Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), former Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog (Labor) and former Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter (Kadima)

Sarah Palin at the Kotel

To read the article, you can click here: CLICK HERE

The only thing I can say is: Why does SHE have to ask this question? Why are WE apologizing? Why are we afraid to take a stance in favor of US? I am a huge Sarah Palin fan. I think she will be a huge influence for Israel in the US, but I am insanely irritated that she has to say something SO simple.

Former American vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin expressed support for Jews praying openly on the Har Habayis on a visit to the Old City of Yerushalayim on Sunday, officials who accompanied Palin said.
Palin and her husband Todd arrived for a two-day visit on Sunday afternoon and toured the Western Wall and its adjacent tunnels. They will visit the Old City again on Monday, tour Gesthsemane and the Mount of Olives, and have dinner with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara at their official residence in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has already met in Jerusalem over the last two months with a number of leading US politicians considered as likely candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, including former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

World Likud chairman and Likud MK Danny Danon and Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz served as Palin’s tour guides on Sunday night. Palin was told that Jews were not allowed to pray openly on the Temple Mount and about the Arab riots that accompanied Netanyahu’s decision to authorize the creation of an exit from the Western Wall tunnels in 1996.

“Why are you apologizing all the time?” Palin asked her guides.

Palin expressed regret that she would not be able to visit Nazareth or Bethlehem during her brief stay in Israel, but promised that she would soon come back for longer.

“It’s overwhelming to be able to see and touch the cornerstone of our faith,” Palin told reporters upon exiting the tunnels. “I’m so thankful to be able to be here, and I’m thankful to know the Israel-American connection will grow and strengthen as the peace negotiations continue.”

Rabinowitz said that Palin prayed at the point closest to the Holy of Holies and left a note with a personal prayer. Unlike the incident that occurred when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama visited the Western Wall in July 2008, nobody removed her note from the Wall and gave it to the press.

“She said that she absolutely supports Israel and that America is the biggest friend that Israel has,” Rabinowitz said.

When Rabinowitz shared the story of Purim with Palin, she told him it was especially meaningful to be at the Kotel on Purim.

Danon said that Palin’s visit to the Western Wall Tunnels was very exciting.

“She really connected to the story of the Jewish nation,” Danon said. “She knows the material but there’s nothing like standing in front of those big stones and hearing about the connection. I know that she loves Israel, and after a visit like this, she has a personal connection to the Western Wall.”

He called upon Obama to make his first visit to Israel as president as soon as possible.

Palin, who was wearing a large Star of David, told Danon that she had flags of Israel “on my desk, in my home, all over the place” and that she would carry around a flag she bought in Israel.
“She didn’t go into diplomatic issues, but I can clearly say from the questions she asked in relation to our conflict here with the Muslims in these holy sites that she knows that we are right and that the Muslims are just claiming things for provocation and they’re not right,” Danon said.

One of Shelley's Wonderful Pictures

As I am still figuring out how to present this blog and sifting through future material, I figured that I would post a beautiful picture of the Kotel. I think in the future, when I post a picture of a site in Israel, I will give a brief history of it as well. I did say the future and not now. Until then, enjoy this picture...and if you have any others, send them my way and I will post them.

First Post

This is just a test. You are more than welcome to look around, but I am not done playing with this site. So you may be bored. But if you happen upon this website, and you have some constructive ideas, please get a hold of me and I will put them in place.