Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kishon River

This Article was written, beautifully, by Abigail Klein Lichman at Israel21c.org, Please Follow them! What a great website. Note to the proprietors: If you see this article on my site and it bothers you that I have put it up, please contact me and I will take it down immediately!

I am not really going to be adding much to this article. Whatever I add will be now. The pictures and the article really speak for themselves.

Israel has so many things that draw people to it. Tourism, Business, History, Religion. All are good. There is a niche tourism market out there that panders to people who love the outdoors, the environment. Personally, growing up in a Suburban neighborhood in Seattle, an extremely "Green" city, I love the outdoors and one of my draws, initially, to Israel was to see the beautiful scenery. This article really speaks to me as an outdoors lover and I hope it speaks to you too. Enjoy!


Kishon River:From poison to pristine




The Israeli government is launching a massive rehabilitation and cleanup project to transform the polluted waterway and its banks into a haven for nature-lovers.
Kishon River
Photo by Kishon River Authority
A massive clean up campaign will transform the Kishon River into a 'green lung' for the Haifa metropolitan area.
Not long ago, the Kishon River at the eastern tip of the Mediterranean Sea was so toxic it couldn't support any life form. Today, fish and aquatic plants are returning, but much work remains to be done to turn the 43.5-mile river and its banks into a "green lung" for the Haifa metropolitan area.
This is the goal of a recently announced $56.5 million Israeli government project to clean up the water and develop a 148-acre recreational center along its banks.
The first stage is to begin this summer, says Dr. Yishayahu Bar-Or, deputy director general for natural resources at the Environmental Protection Ministry and head of the steering committee for the project. This stage involves dredging up "a thick layer of sediment accumulated over the past 30 or 40 years, polluted with hydrocarbon residues from oil refining procedures, plus heavy metals from fertilizer industries."
At its worst, the river was "absolutely dead -- even bacteria were not able to live there, because it was more acidic than Coca Cola," he tells ISRAEL21c.
Over the past five years, the ministry analyzed the sediment and explored options to deal with it. "After long consideration and tours of several European countries to see what they are doing in similar situations, we decided that the optimal approach is a biological treatment for hydrocarbons and then a secondary treatment for the heavy metals, to be determined later," says Bar-Or.
Kishon River wildlife
Photo by Kishon River Authority
Already birds, fish and even turtles are returning to the river.
The steering committee, which includes academics, industry experts and officials of environmental non-governmental organizations, decided it's best to pile the dredged muck -- expected to weigh half a million of tons -- at a 74-acre site near the river. Once it reaches a certain moisture and is aerated, natural bacteria will move in to begin degrading the oil residues - possibly with help from compost-like substances to accelerate the process. Afterward, the heavy metals will be easier to tackle, according to Bar-Or.
"The actual process of degradation should take place in three months or so, based on what we saw in Europe," he predicts. "However, you cannot treat the whole pile at the same time, so it will take two to three years altogether."

A landscape architect will make sure the site looks aesthetically pleasing and will eventually transform it into a park - "needless to say, safe for the public," stresses Bar-Or.
How a stately river turned toxic
The Kishon, one of Israel's largest and most important rivers, flows through the Jezreel Valley, passing through the Carmel hills on its way to Haifa Bay. This ancient waterway is mentioned in biblical accounts of the prophets Deborah (Judges 5:21) and Elijah (1 Kings 18:40).
In the late 1930s, petrochemical refineries built on the Kishon River bank by the ruling British authorities to support war efforts dumped their toxic waste into the water. Later on, municipalities in the Haifa area started discharging untreated or partially treated sewage into the river as well. On top of that, says Bar-Or, "In the 1970s, chemical fertilizer industries started contributing their share to the lethal cocktail."
Kishon River green
Photo by Kishon River Authority
At its worst the river was dead – not even bacteria could live there – today it's a different story.
The pollution was so bad that Israeli Navy personnel who had trained in the river during the 1970s and 1980s claimed that a disproportionate number of them developed cancer later in life. As the result of a lawsuit last summer, 92 divers will be compensated for expenses related to diseases that may be connected to the Kishon toxins. The navy's diving unit offers regular health screenings for all former members, too.
The situation finally took a turn for the better in 1997, when the Environmental Protection Ministry issued strict dumping guidelines to all industrial polluters. Prodded along by watchdog groups including the Zalul Environmental Association and the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, the ministry used millions of dollars from polluters to build waste treatment plants and also built facilities to treat urban sewage from greater Haifa.
Experts from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Ministry of Agriculture's Volcani Institute helped devise the current rehabilitation plan, which is being shared with delegations from several other countries.
"We had visits here from two or three [foreign] companies that deal with sediment rehabilitation and treatment," says Bar-Or. "One of my goals is to make this unique experience available to all experts interested. We will publish all our findings, and perhaps allow university students to follow the project as it progresses."
The fish are jumping
"Since 2001, the quality of the water has improved significantly," says Bar-Or, "enough so that fish, fowl and turtles have returned along with rich flora. Even species considered extinct are reestablishing there. The Kishon has a much more attractive look today. People go there to take pictures before weddings, and you can see fish jumping from the water in the background. But still, a lot needs to be done in and around the river."

The Israeli government envisions the Kishon as a magnet for water sports enthusiasts. Walking, running and biking paths along the river belt will be enhanced, and the long-range plan includes building a public amphitheater as well as a tourist-oriented nursery, fruit orchards and produce market.
The Environmental Ministry is working in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Kishon Drainage Authority, the Kishon River Authority and petrochemical and fertilizer manufacturers along the river bank. Mayors of the towns bordering the river promised to finance 10 percent (about 20 million shekels) of the cost of the clean-up.
That's because the results will significantly upgrade general quality of life for Greater Haifa and its northern suburbs, according to a statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "The ability to leave the city for open spaces is what maintains quality of life. City residents, families, young people and children must have their ‘green lungs.' We will invest hundreds of millions in cleaning the muck from the Kishon River and in rehabilitating it."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yehoshua ben Nun

Read Full Article on Arutz 7:





There is something very surreal about praying by the graves of our ancestors. The connection from present to past helps us internalize ideas and helps us more towards the future. Gershon Mesika, the head of the Samaria Regional Council brought this idea into light by saying “When he [Yehoshua ben Nun] had to conquer the land, he did not hesitate and think 'What will they say,'”

What will they say? The world's fiery hatred for Israel would call these words incitement. Maybe it is, I don't know. But I hope it is. I hope it does incite people to think about Israel. I hope it does incite people to move to Israel. I hope it incites the government of Israel not to let another Gaza happen and to not pander to the anti-Israel sentiment in the world. Obviously, Israel does have to listen a little bit. They have to be seen as a country who cares, but Israel still must be strong. Kicking its citizens out of their houses to make room for terrorist regimes is insanity.

Seemingly, come September 2011, the PA has decided it will go for broke and declare a state. In the non Arabic speaking public, they say the state will be Gaza and the West Bank. In the Arabic speaking public, they say the state will include all of Israel, killing and deporting the Jews from the ancestral homelands. Many things can be said about this, including that the "West bank" refers to the West Bank of Jordan. Since Jordan no longer has reign over Israel, if the PA would like to set up a country, let them do it in a country that legally "belongs" to them. If the Jordanians will take them, which they wont.

Today, the battle for settlement of Israel has gone way beyond the biblical and historical importance and moved into the 21st century, where settlement means survival for a recognized, sovereign country. Finding a spot to call home in Israel is no longer just idealogical, it means living on eggshells. Careful to live, careful to work, careful to move about in your home. Fear of terror, fear of murder, fear of kidnapping has become a reality in a democratic country, and yet the rest of the world says the Palestinians are in the right and it will be alright for them to declare a state.

Shocking, I know. But you shouldn't be too shocked. This is nothing new. Since the inception of the State of Israel in 1948, the rules never applied to Israel, only the rest of the world. When Israel won land in 1967, they were strong armed to give it back. The Golan Heights is always being spoken about in the Syrian press about being stolen from them. Even in Lebanon, they decry they stealing of the Shaba'a Farms in the North of Israel. Do they forget that they attacked a UN recognized entity because they didn't agree with them? So why does the UN back their ideals now? Because in the UN, an overwhelming amount of charges and Propositions have been brought against Israel, more than all Muslim countries combined.

So how do we, as the Jewish people and non-Jews who recognize the importance of the State of Israel, help this extremely important cause? Israel doesn't just stand for the Jews today, it symbolizes the struggle between the Extremist Muslim mentality against the civilized world. If Israel were to fall into the hands of Extremists, who knows what will be next? The UK (which it kind of has already. Certain cities in the UK are already propping up Sharia law on a governmental level), France, Australia, the US?

By supplying the people in Israel with the money, supplies and land that they need to grow and to strengthen their country, it can help insure the safety of Israel as well as the rest of the Western world. I've written many times about One Israel Fund, which helps with Security in Yehuda and Shomron. I've spoken about the Israel Land Fund and Ateres Cohanim / Jerusalem Reclaimation Project, and I will write more on these incredible endeavors later. Also, smaller projects like the Israel Longhorn Project, which help the ranchers in the North of Israel replenish their herds that are attacked daily, mutilated and murdered by Arabs to drive the ranchers off of their land.

There is something else we can all do. We can all recognize that for the greater good of our lives in these Western countries, it is extremely important that Achdus/Achdut/Togetherness be a prevailing trait. It doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a Christian. Religious or Not. Agree with the State or not. The reality is that we are in a time of our lives now that regardless of our personal feelings and beliefs, people are in danger. not just us, but our family in Israel. The keystone to America and the rest of the Western world. This is the reality and, if history teaches us anything, when we don't recognize and respond correctly to reality, we will be doomed to repeat it.

It's time to take a hint from our collective pasts. Yehoshua ben Nun didn't care what people thought. He was told to take his people into Israel, to claim their right and to settle and to prosper. His first and foremost thoughts were on G-d and his extended family. His countrymen. It's really time to stop with the pandering to anti-Semites. Terror should be dealt with a strong hand and an undying lust for peace.

Educate yourselves. Open your wallets. Put your house on the market and just go. Do what you can do to strengthen Israel, as a State and as a People.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Resilience!

Read Full Article on YNetNews.com:

Moody's is an essential component of the global capital markets, providing credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets. Moody's Corporation (NYSE: MCO) is the parent company of Moody's Investors Service, which provides credit ratings and research covering debt instruments and securities, and Moody's Analytics, which offers leading-edge software, advisory services and research for credit analysis, economic research and financial risk management. The Corporation, which reported revenue of $2 billion in 2010, employs approximately 4,500 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 26 countries. (From their website).

Moody's, a name that inspires confidence with investors world wide, has decided to not only keep the credit rating of the State of Israel at the A1 level, which I believe is the top level, but I could be wrong, but has said that it has worked hard to keep said rating and "the Israeli economy is resilient and dynamic, and the macroeconomic policy framework is coherent."

They do, however, point out two major factors that could have serious repercussions on the economy (as if they had to tell us this!) (1) The Politcal unrest around the Middle east could drive up defense spending in Israel. Money that could have gone back into its economy and infrastructure, and (2) Because of the unrest, it could drive potential investors away from the volatile region. 

Its hardly surprising that these are the two concerns. What is surprising to me (and I guess it is a slight naiveté)  that the surrounding countries would rather war with each other and spew hatred towards Israel than making and developing and growing their own economies, as well as the Middle Eastern economy. Why wouldn't they want to make more money? Instead, even the so-called "moderate Arabs" don't speak up and stand against the tyranny of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and other groups of its ilk.  There is a reason why. Because they have been empowered by the world because of their wealth of Oil. If America were to start drilling (Are you listening, President Obama?), the hate filled countries would be essentially quashed. The power struggles between the true moderates and the hysterical, violent, vitriolic sections of their religion would be put to an end. If we, I speak as a citizen of the world, not just the USA, could lessen our dependence on Arab oil, we could begin to see a shift in the geo-political forces in this region.


Obviously, this is only one step toward peace, not the only step. But it is really time to start ignoring and punishing the bratty children for their less than bearable behavior!


In the meantime, Israel keeps plodding along, growing its economy and growing its ratings in the world market. Slow and steady wins the race!

Mitzpe Yericho

Full Article Found on Arutz 7 (But also reprinted here):

Construction has begun on affordable apartments for young families in the Judean community of Mitzpe Yericho. The project was launched this week by contracting firm Hotam Handasa in a ceremony held at the site.

Laying the cornerstone were community leaders who included Bruria Francis, head of the Mitzpe Yericho Community Council, Avi Ro'eh, head of the Binyamin Regional Council, Rabbi Yehuda Kroizer, Chief Rabbi of the community, and others.

During the first phase, 100 apartments will be built as part of a development that is expected to eventually include close to 1,000 units, according to real estate agent Shelley Levine.

Home to more than 450 families, Mitzpe Yericho is located in the Judean desert, about 20 minutes east of Jerusalem along the Dead Sea, overlooking the Jordan Rift Valley and the ancient city of Jericho. The community is comprised of Jewish Torah-observant families, approximately 15 percent of whom are English speakers.

The city is also home to the Jewish Temple School, where a full-size replica of the Holy Temple is under construction. Jewish men who are Kohanim -- descendants of the priesthood order with ancestry in the tribe of Levi -- will be able to learn the laws pertaining to the rites of sacrifice at the facility.

As of late, I have been day dreaming about Aliyah (as I often do, but recently even more so). I have been doing a lot of research on different communities within Israel. I, more often than not, get sidetracked by staring at beautiful pictures of the scenery and the budding communities. I could seriously stare at the pictures all day.

Something does bother me quite a bit, however. I see pictures from beautiful communities like Mitzpe Yericho, and I see open buildings. Buildings that are worthy of the shanty towns that are built in third world countries. Is this what being an "idealistic" Jew means? Why is there not a more solid infrastructure in these towns and villages? If we are trying to populate and settle Israel, what draw is there for an American, European, Australian, etc., if they move from a nice house or apartment to a shanty?

Please note, this is by no means a bashing of these idealistic people, this is a warning and a wake up call to all Pro-Israel, Zionistic supporter world wide. It doesn't matter if the community is on the Left or Right Side of the Green Line, the West Bank (FYI: The West Bank was termed the West Bank because it was seen as the West Bank of the Jordan as an extension of th country of Jordan. They are not the sovereign rulers over Israel and this term should really cease to be used, but I use it because its what everyone knows) or Karmiel or Eilat or Jerusalem. Israel is under attack from both its neighbors, but also from the inside. Apologetic Israelis feel it necessary to discuss a "Two State Solution" and to "Make Peace" with people who would rather die than make friends with Israel. They feel it necessary that, when a Jew is killed praying at a Jewish Holy Site, they must point out that the Jew didn't coordinate and didn't make the proper plans (which is true and realizing the reality on the ground n Shechem, should have. In fact, people should be making a mad rush to make these plans to Shechem to overload the bureaucracy and begin to allow more travelers to the Tomb of Yosef.)

It is a very disheartening scene to see settlement of Israel become a third world endeavor. Then, I read articles like the one above. 1,000 Units in Mitzpe Yericho?! Are you kidding me?! Do you know what that could do to the community? It would make it blossom! With housing units would come more electricity, water, waste removal, schools, transportation, economy! A desert blossom! Imagine, if you will, a city developed where many of our ancestors thrived.

Like many cities in Israel, I hope that the development incorporates any antiquities found there. There is nothing more awe-inspiring than to walk down a beautiful Israeli city street and see where my ancestors one lived their everyday lives.

Please go to the Jericho Website. Donate, visit, relocate, establish Parnassah (a livelihood) for the members of this amazing community by opening businesses there and hiring locally. If you visit, make sure to attend one of their planned trips to the Shalom Al Yisrael synagogue, which I will hopefully be attending on one of my next visits to Israel.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Passover Note!

To all the people that read Supporting Our Israel:

Over the last month since I put Supporting Our Israel up, I have seen my number grow and I feel blessed to have all of you who do read, reading my rants and ideas. So thank you so much for your support of me.

In most Jewish homes throughout the world, Jews are finishing cleaning and cooking for Pesach, or Passover. We are throwing out the leavened products and about to embark on a gastronomical journey of Matzah and other foods. One of the many reasons given why we eat Matzah is because G-d took the Jews out of Egypt and we didn't have enough time to let the dough rise. Whether or not this is true is moot. We eat this Matzah in remembrance of the beginning of the forging of our nation. We came from the Hell of Egypt a people. We traveled through the desert for 40 years. We stood at Mount Sinai and received the most widely accepted religious book in the world. (Both Christians and Muslims accept the authority of the Torah, I wish that it would be remembered sometimes.) We entered Israel as a nation. Bound by rules and by a governing body. We entered our Land as a family returning home.

It is my sincere blessing to all of my readers that we should all live to see Israel as the recognized homeland of the Jews. As it is said in the Haggadah "B'Shana HaBa B'Yerushalayim-Next Year in Jerusalem." I hope to see everyone next year, in Israel, in Jerusalem in a peaceful neighborhood with peaceful neighbors and everyone is prosperous. So prosperous we don't have to worry about working or supporting Israel anymore because it just comes naturally.

I will be on a bit of a vacation until after the first days of Yom Tov end. I hope you all enjoy your Sedarim, wherever they may be. Please keep a seat for Gilad Shalit and pray for his speedy return home and also keep in mind the citizens of the State of Israel that they should have a Pesach that is free of fear and terror. We should all lean like kings at our tables this Pesach without having to worry about our lives, why should Israeli's be any different.

Chag Kasher v'Sameach!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Israel Bonds

Read Full Article Here:

Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford has just bought $10,000,000 worth of Israel Bonds for Illinois! Not only should he be praised as a smart fiscal leader, but as a true friend to the State of Israel. I am not at all versed in markets and bonds, but from this article and what I have been told, State of Israel Bonds are extremely safe investments. If you are looking to diversify your personal or company portfolio, buy some Israel Bonds.

Israel's Wine Community