WIZO'S PUBLIC RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
NEWS FROM ISRAEL (that your media does not report)
As we go to press a new president is being elected in the United States. This election takes place against
a backdrop of a world recession which is reaching every corner of the globe. It is highly likely that the
new President will be devoting much of his efforts to improving the economic situation in the US rather
than concentrating on the Middle East.
Here in Israel the election campaign for a new government is starting in earnest.
Contenders will be out and about endeavoring to persuade the electorate to vote for
All this is happening at a time when Iran continues to develop nuclear facilities which could endanger
not only Israel - whom Iran has threatened to annihilate - but also the entire free world. Iran remains the
prime supporter of the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas - situated to the North and South of this
tiny country. It was Hezbollah that showered Katyushas into Israel from Lebanon in the summer of
2006 resulting in a mass exodus of Israelis from the North. It is Hamas that is responsible for Kassam
attacks in the south that have made life intolerable for the residents of Sderot and the Western Negev.
Whilst the UN introduces sanctions against Iran (to persuade this country to halt its nuclear
development) these are so weak as to make little difference. Iran’s President Ahmadinajad repeats time
and again that he wishes to wipe Israel off the map. Europe’s reaction is somewhat disappointing. As
you will read on page three whilst the German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a supportive
speech to Israel’s Knesset the truth of the matter is that money comes before morals. We witness
Germany’s extensive business links with Iran which continues to increase. An Austrian company (with
the support of the Austrian government) has recently signed a massive deal with Iran. Austria is to build
a gas pipe line from Iran to Austria. This will bring millions of dollars to the fundamentalist Iranian
leadership. Switzerland too cannot run fast enough to complete massive business deals with Tehran.
Challenging times requires a leadership that is capable of facing the challenges. As we move towards
elections here we can but hope that those who will be chosen to govern will have the courage to face
these hurdles with wisdom and fortitude.
We take heart in the knowledge that, despite an economic world depression our WIZO chaverot
will continue to build the human infrastructure that contributes to a strong and healthy tomorrow
for the State of Israel. In strengthening Israel we simultaneously give strength to every Jew in
Together we will be able to face the challenges!
The war in Lebanon may have ended two years ago, but that hasn't stopped the UN from exploiting the
conflict to besmirch Israel. In a move that harks back to the double standards, Secretary-General Ban Ki-
Moon is reportedly set to demand that Israel reimburse Lebanon and Syria for damage caused during the
war against Hezbollah.
Yes, you read that correctly. The UN wants Israel to pay for having the gall to defend itself. According
to the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, Ban has prepared a report that he will present to the upcoming General
Assembly in New York. Based on calculations made by the World Bank, he will insist that Israel cough
up approximately $1 billion in "compensation" for material and environmental harm to Lebanese society
This is a sequel to one issued last fall by Ban, in which he called on Israel "to take the necessary actions
toward assuming responsibility for prompt and adequate compensation to the government of Lebanon."
Even for a body with such a long and remarkable record of anti-Israel hyperbole, the UN has
outdone itself this time. Ban's insistence that Israel pay the aggressors for damage done during a
war they provoked is both morally obscene and intellectually obtuse.
If the Lebanese authorities allow their sovereign territory to be used as a launching pad for attacks, as in
2006, they bear responsibility for what ensues, including any damage
caused as a result of Israel's actions taken in self-defense. You don't
need to be a moral philosopher or international legal scholar to figure
that one out.
Make no mistake. The UN's attempt to compel Israel to pay for
bombing Lebanon has nothing to do with justice and everything
to do with a political agenda, painting Israel as the unreasonable
assailant rather than the innocent victim.
If Ban nonetheless insists on pressing forward with the issue of compensation, let's have a real
debate. We can start by working out compensation for the thousands of rockets, mortar shells and
other projectiles that were fired at Israel from Lebanese territory during the war. Let's add to
that the loss in income from the drop in tourism, the calling up of reserve units and the
displacement of thousands of families throughout northern Israel. Then there is the pain and
suffering inflicted on soldiers and civilians who were wounded and killed, as well as the mental
and psychological trauma endured by countless Israelis throughout the 33 days of conflict.
Why shouldn't Syria, Lebanon and Iran be made to pay for their sponsorship of Hezbollah and the
damage it wrought? And while we're on the subject of liability, the UN might wish to consult its
lawyers. After all, UNIFIL troops in southern Lebanon have lethargically presided over repeated
Hezbollah arms build-ups while doing little to stop them, despite the requirements of UN Security
You can't have it both ways, Ban. You can't invoke principles of fairness and equity and then
demand that Israel be made to pay while ignoring the other side's culpability. (Jpost.com Opinion)
Israel's public rebuke of Germany's pro-Iranian behaviour constitutes a dramatic break in diplomatic
protocol between the two countries. The revelation that the Federal Office of Economics and Export
Control (BAFA) had given the green light to a 100 million-plus-euro deal enabling the engineering firm
Steiner Prematechnik Gastec to build Iran three plants for converting natural gas to liquid fuel, prompted
Israel's Foreign Ministry to issue a scathing indictment of Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration.
Israel's growing frustration over Germany's undercutting of the international effort to pressure
Iran to end its nuclear enrichment program was most evident when
MFA Director General Aaron Abramovich charged the Germans with
invoking soggy excuses to justify the deal's legality. "We told them it's
not just a question of whether these or other sanctions formally apply.
There should be intent, especially on the part of a leading country like
Germany, to end all commercial dealings with Iran."
A shift in Germany's Iran policy is clearly under way. In 2007, when Merkel
learned of a firm's plan to build a high-speed railway in Iran, she said: "I consider German assistance in
the construction of the Transrapid, in a country whose president constantly announces that he wants to
destroy Israel, to be completely unacceptable." The Merkel of 2008 seems less likely to rein in German
firms that are strengthening Israel's number one enemy. Following the news of the gas-technology deal,
she suggested not that it be scotched but that future deals be reconsidered. Merkel was now retreating
from a confrontational approach. Might it be that the chancellor, who faces an election contest in 2009,
is currying favor with the German business sector, a traditional base of Christian Democratic Party
Merkel's coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), has remained surprisingly quiet. Perhaps
because Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is embroiled in his own pro-Iran scandal, having
invited and funded former Iranian deputy foreign minister Muhammad Javad Ardashir Larijani to speak
at a conference in Berlin. Larijani, speaking, not far from Berlin's memorial to the Holocaust, denied that
event, and called for the "Zionist project" to be "cancelled."
Germany's Left Party, third largest, remained, like the SPD, inert. Jan Korte, a Left MP serving on the
German-Israeli parliamentary group, said, "We are demanding a clear explanation as to whether State
Secretary Hartmut Schauerte became involved as a lobbyist for a liquid gas deal between a German firm
and Iran, "no business between German firms and Iran may be linked with any threat to Israel."
German critics, as well as those in Israel and the United States, are starting to question the sincerity of
Merkel's much-praised speech in the Knesset in March, asserting that the preservation of the Jewish state
is one of Germany's national security interests. The government-approved applications to conduct
trade with Iran, has grown by 63 percent in the first half of 2008, as compared with 2007, with the
actual volume of trade growing by 13.6 percent in the first quarter alone. A total of 1,926 business
deals were given the green light. How many additional natural gas-to-liquid fuel transactions took
place remains a government trade secret.
As a reporter for the Israeli press, I receive proclamations from German politicians asserting Israel's
right to exist. Should this not be taken for granted? Media reporting and Israeli political anger were
required before Chancellor Merkel expressed displeasure about the liquid gas contract, illustrating the
tenuous nature of German-Israeli relations. Germany still lacks a home-grown national consciousness
that Israel's security is "non-negotiable." Internal German political and civil society pressure to draft
and enact legislation to radically restrict German trade relations with Iran would fill the "special
relationship" with genuine meaning.
Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based independent journalist (Haaretz.com)
Eitan Green's film "It all Begins at Sea" won the Innovation Award at the Montreal World
Film Festival. The film, a drama with comic elements, is based on events that occurred
during Green's adolescence. Like Green, fellow Israeli documentary filmmaker
Hilla Medalia is up for three Emmy award nominations for her film To die in
Jerusalem. Medalia is up for best documentary, best score, and outstanding achievement in
investigative journalism. The film tells the story of two women: one the mother of a
Palestinian suicide bomber and the other, the mother of a young Israeli girl killed in the same
attack. (Ynet.com) (Israel21C)
Israeli Start-up Company is one of 20 finalists in Google Challenge
Israel's TuneWiki is one of 20 winners in Google Inc. Android Developer Challenge.
The Android is an operating system for mobile telecommunications and software library
that Google is promoting. 1,800 companies and independent developers took part in the
competition. The winners were selected by a panel of 100 judges from companies which
are all members of the Association of companies promoting open source codes for cell
A total of $3.75 million in prizes was handed out by Google. (Globes Online)
Israeli teams ranks 4th in European bee for budding entrepreneurs
WIZO Hadassim's ninth-graders placed fourth in prestigious 2008 European Young
Entrepreneurs Awards Competition, held in Sweden. The group of four competed in Sweden
after winning Young Entrepreneurs Israel in June. The Israeli team created a start-up
company called "Shamian" (sky), which specializes in manufacturing novelty soap bars,
dubbed "soaprise." First place went to the German team, which created an instructional CD-
ROM for tourists arriving in their hometown. (Yne.com)
Israel's 9-year-old cultural ambassador
Tom Zlmanov, a gifted pianist, was sent by the Foreign Ministry, to perform worldwide concerts. His
latest tour took place in Vietnam and Thailand where he performed to more than 500
people and accompanied by the symphonic orchestra of Saigon. Several months ago, he
was sent by the Keren Hayesod foundation fund to perform in Holland and Denmark.
This is the first time the Foreign Ministry and Israeli embassies worldwide have decided
to recruit him as a cultural ambassador. (Ynet.com)
IEC joins EU bid to cut pollution
Israel Electric Corporation has signed on to a European Union program for reducing carbon dioxide
emissions at power plants. The program is examining new technologies for separating carbon
dioxide from other gases during the burning of fuels. Separating carbon dioxide will enable
manufacturers to use the gas for commercial purposes as a raw material such as ones used in
soft drinks. IEC will use nanotechnologies in filters and membranes that will separate carbon
dioxide from other gases. (Globes online)
Energy efficiency in Israel
A new Israeli company IQWind, exemplifying the spirit of the strong Israeli clean
technology movement, proposes a new solution to maintaining a constant RPM to match the
wind's temperament. It has designed a new gearbox that promises to squeeze the most
energy from both new and existing wind turbines. It will take another two years before the
gearbox goes into production. (Israel21C)
World's first solar thermal field launches in Israel
BrightSource Energy and its subsidiary Luz II have created the world's first operational thermal field in
the Negev Desert. The 12,000 square meter test site will create clean and efficient solar energy which
will serve as a testing site for five larger fields the company plans to build in
California in the next ten years. BrightSource aims to prove that clean
energy can be generated reliability and more efficiently at a lower cost then
ever before. According to the company, its exclusive technology is more
efficient than any other technology because their heliostats are cheaper to
build and maintain, there is no need for oil since the water is directly heated,
and they achieve a higher concentration of sunlight creating higher temperatures. (Israel 21C)
Israeli exoskeleton allows paraplegic to walk
Thanks to Israeli-developed exoskeleton, dubbed ReWalk, many wheelchair-bound people will be able
to stand up, walk and even climb stairs. The innovative system is based on a
wearable exoskeleton- a light support suit with motors at the joints and sensors
that detect upper body movement. ReWalk is controlled by a wristwatch-like
device worn by the user. Punching a simple command tells the exoskeleton to
stand up, walk forward or climb. (www.mfa.gov.il)
Cholera prevention program developed by Hebrew U. students adopted by International Red
A unique cholera prevention program developed by students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has
been adopted by the Red Cross in Kenya. The prevention program was found to be highly effective in
prevention and management of the disease. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and
the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (IFRC) is now preparing to
implement the program beyond the camps. The program, devised by the students, aims to increase safe
drinking water sources; promote awareness in the community about cholera prevention; improve
surveillance and reporting of cholera cases; build a centralized network for monitoring and immediate
appropriate action; mobilize rapid response teams to areas of suspected cholera cases; improve
management of patients; prevent the spread of the disease; and post-epidemic investigation and
Israeli Pharmaceutical Company says drug slows progression of Parkinson'
A drug developed by Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's
disease, has been proven to slow the progression of the illness. According to Teva, patients who took
Teva's Azilect a pill once a day at the start of a late-stage Phase III showed "significant improvement"
over patients who began taking the pill nine months later. Azilect is a joint development by Teva and
two professors from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. (Israel21C and Jerusalem Post online
Israelis discover cure for bee colony collapse-associated virus
Last winter, 36 percent of bee colonies in the United States collapsed, affecting honey production and
one- third of all food production that requires pollination- from fruit and nuts, to dairy
and beef cows. The Israeli-US company Beeologics has created an anti-viral agents
intended to alleviate the effects of the virus associated with Colony Collapse Disorder
(CCD). CCD is characterized by the mysterious and inexplicable loss of worker bees in
managed honeybee colonies. One virus associated with CCD is Israeli Acute Paralysis
Virus (IAPV). Beeologics solution is Remebee, which utilizes a mechanism called RNA (also known as
gene silencing) a mechanism that inhibits or hinders gene expression. (Israel21C)
If Tzipi Livni becomes the Prime Minister of Israel, the Israeli government
may become the first in history to have women heading each of its
branches. The head of the judiciary, Dorit Beinisch, is a prominent judge
who has served in many capacities in the Israeli legal system. Dalia Itzik
heads the legislature branch, serving as the respected speaker of the Knesset. Equally
important, this unprecedented role played by women in a democracy has hardly been
noticed in Israel and around the world. In one of the most egalitarian societies on earth,
women serve in virtually every important capacity throughout society (with the notable
exception of the military).
Nor is this a new phenomenon for the Jewish state. When Golda Meir became the prime minister of
Israel, she may have been the first elected woman leader in modern history who was not the spouse,
child, or sibling of a prominent male leader. Meir was a Zionist pioneer who served in important
positions prior to and during Israel's establishment. Yet despite these victories for feminism
and for equal treatment of women, many feminists around the world continue to vilify Israel
and to support its sexist enemies who engage in gender apartheid. Recently, Ms Magazine
refused to run an ad by the American Jewish Congress (AJC) featuring these three prominent
female leaders of Israel and the caption "This is Israel". One reason reportedly given by the magazine
was that the ad would "cause a lot of opposition" and "create a firestorm."
How does one explain this bigotry? How does one explain the fact that Emily's List, a political group
that supports feminist political candidates in the United States, recently endorsed an African American
woman widely regarded as anti-Semitic who was running for Congress against a Jewish man who
supported virtually the entire feminist agenda? The woman, Nikki Tinker, had denounced Cohen for not
supporting "our churches". Emily's List also endorsed Cynthia McKinney for Congress despite her
being widely perceived as anti-Semitic and having a despicable record with regard to Israel and many
None of this should be surprising to British readers who are used to so many so-called progressives
being blind, deaf and dumb when it comes to Israel and its enemies. This is not generally the case in the
United States, where most liberals support Israel, though not all of its policies, and where virulent
opposition to Israel comes primarily from the extreme radical left and the extreme Neanderthal right
such as Pat Buchanan and syndicated columnist Joseph Sobran.
Those of us who support Israel must make the world aware of its contributions to feminism,
environmentalism, gay rights and other progressive causes. Criticism of questionable or wrong-
headed Israeli policies is to be encouraged, since criticism is the lifeblood of democracy. But
appreciation of Israel's accomplishments must also be encouraged. Indeed, those who refuse to
acknowledge Israel's commitment to gender equality, in a world still rampant with gender
apartheid, lose all credibility when it comes to criticizing the Jewish state.
Alan M Dershowitz is a Professor of Law at Harvard. (Jewish Chronicle)
Please visit the WIZO website at www.wizo.org
Suggested link: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs www.mfa.gov.il,
Palestinian Media Watch www.pmw.org.il, Middle East Info Website www.middle-east-info.org,
We welcome your feedback. Please email us at Brendak@wizo.org
On the 19th of September 2008, Israel's President Shimon Peres stood before the United Nations and
spoke on a number of critical issues affecting today's world.
On the Palestinians:
With the Palestinians, we plan to negotiate full peace. Both parties agree on building a Palestinian
State side by side with Israel, living in peace, security and respect.
Gaps have been narrowed through negotiations. Particularly the territorial ones. But, peace is
not just a matter of territorial compromise. Rogue politics reject peace even where territorial
dispute was resolved.
From Gaza, we withdrew completely and dismantled our settlements. Hamas responded with a
bloody takeover and turned the strip into a basis of rocket fire.
They added kidnapping to bombings, bringing strife for innocent families. From this important stage,
I call for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit.
On Iran and Ahjmadinejad:
Iran poses a danger to the entire world. Its quest for religious hegemony and regional dominance
divides the Middle East and holds back chances for peace, while undermining human rights.
Iranian support for Hezbollah divided Lebanon. Its support for Hamas split the Palestinians and
postpones the establishment of the Palestinian State.
On this very stage, the Iranian leader renewed the darkest anti-Semitic libel
– the protocols of the elders of Zion. An attempt to bring to life one of the
ugliest plots of history. Their despicable denial of the holocaust is a
mockery of indisputable evidence, a cynical offense to survivors of the
The Iranian people are not our enemies. Their fanatic leadership is their problem and the world's
concern. Their leader is a danger to his people, the region and the world. He is a disgrace to the
ancient Iranian people. He is a disgrace to the values of Islam. He is a disgrace to this very
house, the United Nations, its basic principles and values. His appearance here is already a
Israel has shown that democracies can defend themselves. We do not intend to change. Terrorism did
not solve a single problem. It never has and never will.
If small groups of violent killers are allowed to threaten innocent masses, the world will be without
order or security. A hopeless battleground. The free world must unite to combat it.
On Global Economy and Need for Unity:
We are facing an economic crisis. The global dangers unite and divide us at the same time. Unity
offers potential of alternatives. It will direct global investments to new areas and demanding
challenges like health, security, education, and environment.
In our region, border areas can become open economic zones. Enabling free movement of people,
commodities, and ideas. Economic zones will provide a million jobs and produce billions of cubic
meters of desalinated water. We started to do so. The first steps are promising.
It is wrong to describe Israeli policies towards Palestinian Arabs as a form of apartheid. These
accusations defame the Jewish state, and also diminish the victims of the real apartheid who suffered for
centuries under arrogant, heartless colonialism, and then for decades under the brutal apartheid policies
of racial superiority, oppression and separation inflicted by the National Party. If everything is apartheid,
then nothing is apartheid.
In Israel, all citizens - Jew and Arab alike - are equal before the law. Israel has none of the apartheid
legislative machinery devised to discriminate against and separate people. It has no Population
Registration Act, no Group Areas Act, no Mixed Marriages and Immorality Act, no Separate
Representation of Voters Act, no Separate Amenities Act, no pass laws or any of the other myriad
Israel is a vibrant liberal democracy, which accords full political, civil and other human rights to
all its peoples, including its one million-plus Arab citizens, many of whom hold positions of
authority throughout the Jewish state, including that of cabinet minister, Member of Parliament,
and judge at every level of the judiciary. All citizens vote on the same voters' roll in regular,
multiparty elections, and there are Arab parties and Arab members of other parties in Israel's
parliament. Arab Israelis can express themselves and act freely as members of a transparent and
open democratic society where criticism of the government in a free press is the norm.
In 1967, as a result of a defensive war thrust upon it, Israel captured the territories known today
as the West Bank and Gaza. Since then, the status of these territories and their occupants has been
unclear. It is incorrect legally, factually and even morally to speak of an occupation that implies
there was once a Palestinian entity in these territories, and that this is now occupied by Israeli
forces. Before 1967, the West Bank was part of Jordan, and Gaza part of Egypt. It is more
accurate to speak of disputed territories. For decades Israel has tried to negotiate with various
parties to permanently resolve the future of the disputed territories, but is still in search of a
genuine peace partner to represent Palestinian Arabs.
There has never been a Palestinian state in all of history. By contrast, Israel is the third Jewish state, the
first dating back 3,280 years. Israel has strong claims to the land herself, because the West Bank was a
part of Biblical Israel in which the Jews have always lived. Israel is a tiny country, less than one quarter
of 1 percent of the size of all Arab lands, and has faced numerous and ongoing attempts by the
surrounding Arab countries to destroy it. After nearly 2,000 years of exile, persecutions and genocides,
the Jewish people are surely entitled to a tiny strip of barren country to call their own.
If there is an analogy to the South African situation, it is that Israel is like the ANC, which was forced
into the armed struggle because it had no partner for peace. As soon as the National Party came around
to wanting to genuinely negotiate, the situation was resolved. Our South African experience has
taught us that you cannot make peace unless both parties to the conflict wish to resolve it. When
the Arab world is ready to make peace, Israel will be there immediately.
The writer, Warren Goldstein, is Chief Rabbi of South Africa (www.thetimes.co.za)
The Public Relations Department welcomes its new Assistant Editor Liron Milbar and thanks
most warmly Tricia Schwitzer who was an excellent assistant editor over the past four years
Editor: Brenda Katten Assistant Editor: Liron Milbar