Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
1. This year, as part of the international Holocaust Memorial Day commemorated on January 27th, a new song will be released too national radio stations in Israel. This song is a co-production of holocaust survivors and popular musicians in Israel. This initiative, called 'Insights' includes a production of a song, made entirely from Holocaust survivors' messages to the next generation.
The project was dreamed and organized by 22 year old Na'ama Winetraub, as a response to what she refers to as "indifference of the contemporary Jewish and Israeli generation to their grandparents' stories and insights from surviving the holocaust." Winetraub, born and raised in Israel, is herself a third generation to holocaust survivors. She is a B.A student in brain research, and works as a personal trainer. The idea for the project came to her mind during summer break, and since then, she has been working on this project in her spare time, and on a completely voluntary basis. "The kick off wasn't easy at all," says Winetraub, " I am not well acquainted with the Israeli music scene and what was simple and obvious to studio and production personnel, was completely new and unfamiliar to me. Finding survivors who would be willing to collaborate, was also quite a challenge. I got lucky when two of my trainees, Tal Segev and Ohad Ben-Avi, who come from the local music scene, decided to join me, also voluntarily."
If you too, know any holocaust survivors who would be interested in telling their story, Winetraub and her crew would love to receive their name and contact info, as well as 3-4 sentences with the insights they wish to share with future generations.
Even though the musicians and crew work pro-bono, the studio hours where the song is being composed and recorded, cost money, and the crew would like your help: tellers and donors who are willing to support this initiative may contact Naama at: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Season two of The Israeli Film Festival on Public Television is on its way to national television in the US! All that's needed are your donations! The Israeli Film Festival on Public Television is a cultural documentary series, which serves as a cultural bridge between Israelis and Americans. The documentaries show Israelis of all backgrounds living their daily lives, as well as the very beautiful sides of Israel. What makes those Israeli documentaries special is that unlike many, they don't focus on any of the Israeli political conflicts.
Season one of the Israeli Film Festival on Public Television was a test run. The series featured three documentaries made by Duki Dror: My Fantasia, Raging Dove and The Journey of Vaan Nguyen. The films were released to all PBS stations in August 2010 and to date the films have aired 508 times on 68 stations in 42 markets covering 36% of U.S. Designated Markets including 52% of the Top 25 markets. These airings have garnered at least 2.5 million viewers. The majority of airings are in prime time and late fringe prime. These stats will continue to climb as the stations have the broadcast rights for one more year. The funding for the first season came from a grant from the Israel Film Fund of the Manhattan JCC and from personal investments of funding and labor from Cynthia Zeiden and Duki Dror.
Season Two will include thirteen, hour-long documentaries produced and directed by various Israeli Filmmakers. They will be offered through a national public television distributor and fed by satellite to all PBS stations in the United States. Each documentary will be given a three year broadcast rights period and PBS stations will be able to air them an unlimited number of times within that period. The series has an informational website with trailers for each film and local airdate information.
The goal of the project is to have the documentaries air on as many PBS stations as possible as many times as possible to gain the maximum number of viewers. In order for the creators of the project to have it aired, they need to raise 180,000$. This includes paying license fees to the producers of the documentaries, editing and formatting each for United States television broadcasts, closed captioning, satellite feed fees, public television promotional event, marketing materials and DVD mailing, a series website and the labor of the personnel to implement the project. Once all of the preparations are made, the duration of this project is three years. For further information and donation pledges, go here
5.21.13 at 12:22 pm | Muhammad al-Durrah, the little boy who became the. . .
5.20.13 at 12:39 pm | Ashton Kutcher, archeology, Palestinian reality. . .
5.17.13 at 12:33 pm | Since I live in Israel and am very passionate. . .
5.14.13 at 2:22 pm | On March 11, first time MK (Member of the. . .
5.13.13 at 12:22 pm | Hollywood in Israel, Wolf Prize winners, Wagner's. . .
5.10.13 at 12:19 pm | Since I live in Israel and am very passionate. . .
5.14.13 at 2:22 pm | On March 11, first time MK (Member of the. . . (255)
5.17.13 at 12:33 pm | Since I live in Israel and am very passionate. . . (253)
5.21.13 at 12:22 pm | Muhammad al-Durrah, the little boy who became the. . . (172)
December 10, 2012 | 12:30 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
* When Osher Grencel found out she was pregnant, she decided she wanted to remember every little bit of the process of her becoming a mother for the first time. Her husband, Tomer, had the most original idea. He decided to use his editing, writing and directing skills to create an original memoire of the nine month long process. He took 1000 pictures of his wife which he edited and uploaded. In the video description Tomer writes, "it was nine months of a growing belly and one month of video editing". The original stop-motion video soon became a hit in Israel and abroad. The video received massive exposure and was talked about in many newspapers and websites in Europe and in the States and the couple will even soon be hosted in Good Morning America. On their website, the couple continues uploading funny photos of their newborn.
* Canadian singer and songwriter Alanis Morissette, which I'm sure you all know, performed in Israel last Monday. The concert, which took place in the Nokia Arena in Tel-Aviv, was Morissette's second performance in Israel. She last visited in 2000, in the highlight of her musical career, and now, much like back then, she wowed the audience with an electrifying performance. Her arrival in Israel wasn't a simple matter. Prior to her landing in Israel, she received threats on her, and her son’s life from anti-Israeli organization which called on her to cancel her performance. Instead of giving in to them, like many others have done before, Morissette landed on Saturday and toured the country for a couple of days prior to her concert. She visited the Western Wall, worked on her tan at one of Tel-Aviv's beaches (yes, our December is quite sunny…) and hung out with her husband and son.
* While German Chancellor Angela Merkel disagrees with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the question of settlements, she still agrees with Israel on one of the most important issues: Neo-Nazism. Last Wednesday, Germany's government started the process of legally banning the 6,300-member Neo-Nazi political party, NPD.. This historical move will be officially approved in a week's time, after the German authorities manage to collect enough intelligence and legal information to make NPD illegal. The official reason for this decision is that this party believes in values such as racism, violence and anti-Semitism, which contradicts the German constitution. What prompted the need for such action was last year's revelation of a Neo- Nazi terror cell, which worked for years right under the authorities' noses. The members of this terror cell murdered nine immigrants and a German cop, and were later discovered to be connected to the NPD.
* According to Dr. E. Williams Colglazier, science and technology adviser to the US secretary of state, "Israel is a world leader and a model not only for small countries but for all countries." Colglazier said those words at The Chief Scientist’s Annual Conference for Research and Development, held at Airport City, as he addressed Israel's achievements in the translation of innovative success into development. Other entrepreneurs from around the world, who were present at the conference, agreed that when it comes to innovation, Israel is a role model. Colglazier also said that in the era of globalization, there is potential for rapid economic growth and to achieve this, governments need to invest in science education. Colgazier also added that Israel has managed to create an "innovation ecosystem" by providing more research and development opportunities for scientists, sometimes even through joint programs with the U.S.
* On December 1st, the Junior Eurovision contest took place in Amsterdam, Netherlands, which allows children from all over Europe to participate. The Junior Eurovision operates in a similar way to the official annual Eurovision song contest, where each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and radio and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular one in the competition. While Israel has participated in the official contest since 1973, and has won three times,, this year was the first time that an Israeli delegation was invited to take part in the Junior Eurovision.. The Israeli delegation, starring six junior singers, ages 10-14, performed a song named "Let the Music Win," and came in 8th place.
December 7, 2012 | 1:38 pm
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
This upcoming week is Hnukkah, aka: the most wonderful time of the Jewish year. The next eight days will be full fun, family-time, extremely oily food and lots and lots of holiday spirit. I know some of you see more Chistmas than Hanukkah when walking down the street, so to make your weekend more Hnukkah-like, here are my favorite versions of Hanukkah songs! Have a happy, happy holiday!!!
Hanukkah Medley from "Shirim Ktanim" (little songs)- the video tape many Israelis around my age grew up on
Candlelight/ The Baccabeats- I know you already know it by heart, so turn up the volume and start singing!
This one is not an official Hanukkah song, but it sure is awesome!
December 6, 2012 | 11:22 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Last week's Israeli- Palestinian- U.N members events dragged all kinds of critisizm. In the past week, I was exposed to various points of view and takes on the U.N vote for the Palestinian authority's resolution and on the Israeli reaction to it, and decided it would be best to present you with more opinions, other then mine. Here are the two different ways in which Alex Zusmanovich and Ron Notkin analize the current events.
The Never Ending Story/Ron Notkin
When the Palestinian authority went to the general assembly of the United Nations, prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi) set on his chair and thought: what can I do to strike back? He eventually decided to approve the project of another 3,000 units in Jerusalem and in settlements in the west bank in the most sensitive E-1 territories.
On one hand, I can say that it is Israel's right to build in the Jewish state. On the other hand, Netanyahu is acting like a winey kindergarten boy that a toy was taken from him. Why, Bibi? Why do you have to throw this fact in the face of the international community? The relationship with the President of the United States, Barak Obama, has gone downhill in the past four years, and the European Union members never had Israel's interests on the top of their agenda. Instead of patching the wounds, Netanyahu made this move.
True, the Palestinian recognition in the U.N's General Assembly is only on paper, and in order for a Palestinian state to be truly acknowledged, they have to get an approval of the Security Council. For now, Israel has the U.S can use their veto power if such a proposal rises. But in order to keep this veto relevant, Netanyahu must be very careful not to worsen his relationship with Obama, which are already quite shaky.
In the past week, we all read about the parade of Israeli ambassadors in European countries such as Great Britain, France and Germany, which were summoned for a condemnation due to the residential program in the West Bank. This is merely another step in a journey that began years ago, and will end in the loss of support from the international community.When we look at the political map in Israel, with the election coming up soon, I can safely say that Netanyahu will remain in office, with Liberman by his side, as his Minister of Foreign Affairs. Netanyahu is known as an easy to push button, and Liberman is the main finger pressing him. Taking that in mind, Netanyahu must be more aware of agreeing to ideas that might make things worse for the state of Israel and its residents.
The Israel-Palestinian conflict is going on since 1947. If anyone thinks that the solution is near, they are dead wrong. Israel will not accept the Palestinian request of withdrawal from vital territories, and the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, will not accept Israel's requests of compromise. The way I see it, both sides will go at it for hundreds of years. I have already come to the understanding that a solution will not come in my lifetime. Have you?
Notkin is an Israeli Journalist.
No Big Deal.../Alex Zusmanovich
Here, in Israel, we have a tendency to examine every topic worldwide by asking the question: "Is it good for the Jews?". Apparently the answer, considering the recent happenings at the UN General Assembly, is "no, because such one-sided political step from PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas, draws Israel in very bad lines, and gives Palestinians some legitimacy for their self-determinate demands."
But, and this all of us should remember, the acceptance of the so called Palestinian state as an observer to the UN general assembly, has a much more symbolic aspect, than a practical one. Basically, nothing has changed – the occupation is not over and a Palestinian state is yet to be established. Which effect this will have on the interaction between the two sides in the future? Only time will tell.
Another question we, Israelis, ask ourselves all the time is: "how come the world leaders take their side over ours?" And if we translate this question relying on the recent happenings – "how come the Palestinians had such a decisive victory in the UN?" The answer for this one is simple: people tend to take the underdog's side. And there is no doubt that considering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Palestinians are portrayed as underdogs. The bottom line is that we shouldn't ask ourselves this question, because we cannot change the reality. We can try to explain people from abroad the complexity of this conflict (I don't know, for example, how many people know that the PLO and the Hamas are two different organizations, and that what happened in the UN has nothing to do with the IDF's recent operation in Gaza,) and show them that there's no right approach or a right answer to prevent the U.N members from automatically supporting the underdog, but there is no way we can make Israel appear as the underdog in this case.
If we will take those two things in mind, we will understand that nothing drastic has happened. A Palestinian state won't establish on paper, but only on the ground. The Palestinian state can only be established with an Israeli consent, and U.N is not the one to make the call on that matter. Until that happens, be sure that most U.N members will continue to vote for the underdog.
As for the Israeli government's plan for 3,000 new residential units in the E-1 area, give me a break! We are less than two months away from the election here in Israel. It is all a political trick Netanyahu and his men pull. The approval of the plan does not mean the houses would actually be built. Besides, I believe that what the media told us in the past couple of days, about Israeli ambassadors being condemned and the world leaders criticizing Israel, is all just a exaggeration of the actual story. The media is doing what it normally does- making a mountain out of a small bump.
Zusmanovich is a B.A student for Communication and Political Science.
December 5, 2012 | 11:30 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Last week, the U.N. General Assembly voted to ratify the Palestinian Authority's resolution to change its U.N. observer status from "entity" to "non-member state.” In my opinion, this decision did nothing except take the peace process backward another step. This resolution’s move toward the establishment of an independent Palestinian state came as a one-sided proposal, without Israel's consent. While standing on the General Assembly stage and telling lies about Israel, Mahmoud Abbas knew he was making some people in Israel very angry. When he was comparing Israelis to the Nazis and saying how badly Palestinians are treated (while Israel supports them with millions of dollars each year)- he knew he was playing a vicious, childish game. Mahmoud Abbas tried to hit on Israel's decision makers’ sensitive spots in order to elicit a reaction that would make Israel look bad in the eyes of the world.
I was sure that Prime Minister Netanyahu and his officials saw Mahmoud Abbas' true intentions. I knew that they would congratulate the Palestinians on-stage, and then maybe consider a mild, diplomatic response for their one-sided move off-stage, announcing that the peace process would be delayed until the Palestinian leadership is willing to have a mature discussion. But then, the Israeli government approved a plan for 3,000 new residential units in the E-1 area, between Eastern Jerusalem and Maale Adumin in the West Bank. The E-1 area is particularly sensitive, and building there sends a very clear message: "if you pull tricks on us—we’ll pull harder tricks on you." By doing this, Israel's decision-makers pulled us down to the other side's low level. We could have left the U.N. vote with a superior position if we had reacted diplomatically, with Israel's leaders asking to sit down and talk. This would have been the smart thing to do, no question. This approach would have been the most reasonable one, but for some very strange reason, Netanyahu took the approach of an eight year old.
This peace process, which many Israelis and Palestinians want, has sadly turned into a children’s game. Instead of a grown-up conversation, both sides get impatient and try to get back at each other, pulling pranks and calling names. Well excuse me, Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas- in this board game, your pawns are real-life people. In your little game, there are lives at stake. I, for once, will not tolerate my representatives in the Knesset making all the wrong decisions for me. You see, it's not only the U.S. State Department and several European leaders who are mad at Israel's reaction, but half the people in Israel are mad as well. I cannot bear the thought of watching people who promise to do what's best for the people of Israel leading us to a diplomatic oblivion. The childish game Netanyahu is playing has been causing a worldwide rage, and for what?! For the satisfaction of "getting back" at his nemesis? As an Israel citizen, it hurts me to watch this harsh criticism on my country. Now, Instead of criticizing Mahmoud Abbas for addressing the U.N without talking to Israel's leaders, and reminding the world of his true intentions of conquering all of Israel, newspapers worldwide deal with Israel's childish reaction, which basically told the world we don't care much about the U.N.'s decisions.
During operation Pillar of Defense, many Israelis and pro-Israelis worldwide worked very hard in order to keep people abroad aware of what truly occurred, and not what the foreign media decided to show. The efforts turned out to be very productive, and I can confidently say the operation ended with Israel's hand on top when it came to public support. Now, our trusted leaders threw our hard work into the trash. They turned around the public opinion, right when they had the chance to keep Israel in a positive light, in our relationships with foreign state leaders and their people. Since this is the case, I have one message for both Netanyahu and Abbas: Hey there, we are the little people you are playing with. For our sake, please remember your role as the people in charge of our wellbeing. So stop the nonsense, and try to make things better here. Thank you.
December 3, 2012 | 11:25 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Last Thursday, the U.N General Assembly voted on the Palestinian Authority's resolution to change its U.N observer status from "entity" to "non-member state," (like the Vatican’s.) Despite Israel's attempts to get as many states as possible to oppose that resolution, the majority still chose to vote in favor of the resolution. The anger aimed towards the U.N started days before the actual vote, when it became clear that the resolution would pass. Many pro-Israel activists saw in this a betrayal, and a set-back in the peace process because this resolution called for unilateral recognition and did not come out of a negotiated agreement with Israel. Others said this vote, which is a step towards an independent Palestinian state, would be irrelevant because without Israeli recognition, there cannot ever be an independent Palestinian state. According to those people, the U.N vote was nothing but an attempt to provoke Israel.
I agree with everything that has been said in the paragraph above, but I don't think that the problem is the recognition of a Palestinian state. First of all, I am not angry with the U.N, at least not anymore. I just came to the realization that this organization has failed in presenting a non-biased, balanced, objective opinion, and with that, it has failed in fulfilling it founding purpose. For me, the U.N is yet another political organization which takes the world a step back instead of taking it a step forward. Since I now fully understand that, I just ignore it. Maybe if more people will do so, it will eventually make it go away. As for a Palestinian state- I am for it. I see no reason for them not to be independent within their own territory. A separate and independent state could definitely put an end to this long, protracted conflict since it would mean that they would live on their own without any support from Israel. Why is this a win-win situation? Since they will stop complaining about how they are being treated so badly and we will be able to save a lot of money by cutting the supply and finance chord.
When I think of the fact that they are asking for a state of their own, I can't help but think about the history of the Jewish people. In just a few days we will celebrate Hanukkah- one of the many holidays celebrating our victory over a vicious enemy that wanted not only our land but also to kill us. This has been our history for over 2000 years and 64 years ago, the hunting of Jews finally stopped. It happened several months after the U.N declared Israel an independent state. From this point on we had a home and a safe haven for Jews worldwide, where they could live without being hunted for their way of life. It didn't stop people from coveting our land but now we at least had the power to not run away and to stay put to fight for our legally owned land. When I think of our story, the first thing that comes to mind is "why can't a group of people, who want to live independently as a state, have the right to do so?" Why then should there not be a Palestinian state?
The answer to that is because it doesn't end there. In this story, no one is naïve enough to believe the Palestinians will settle for recognition as an independent state in this small territory of theirs (well, except for maybe the Palestinian citizens, who really just want peace and quiet). Mahmoud Abbas does not want to settle down in peace on a small piece of land. If that was true, there would probably be peace by now because there was no actual reason for a conflict. If that was true, the Palestinian Authority would not need to address the U.N proposing a one-sided resolution. If all they wanted was to be independent, it would have happened years ago because Israel seeks peace and this would have been a way to achieve it. Besides, it is much cheaper for Israel to stop supporting the Palestinian Authority. Mahmoud Abbas had to address the U.N and propose a one-sided resolution because his definition of "peace and quiet" is the complete ownership of the land of Israel, and our return to wandering in the dessert. His speech in front of the General Assembly was aggressive, and showed no true desire for a settlement of any kind. In his speech, Mahmoud Abbas kept trying to color the conflict in black and white, by convincing the U.N delegates that Israel is the villain, and the Palestinian Authority is the victim. One way in which he did that was by comparing Israelis to the Nazis- a comparison that should never be made, and without a doubt a very hurtful saying, aimed to hurt every single Israeli and Jew.
Mahmoud Abbas played a tricky game. He purposely chose November 29th as the date for the U.N vote. On 29 November 1947, the General Assembly of the U.N voted for the partition of what was once supposed to be named Palestine into two states- one for the Jews and one for the Arabs. The Jews accepted this partition, while the Arabs refused it. They wanted the entire territory and were unwilling to settle. Sixty-five years later, the Palestinian leader returns to the General Assembly stage with a not-so-hidden statement- he wants an independent state at Israel's expense. This bottom line of his is not new. He has stated many times before that his wishes are to wipe Israel as we know it off the map and claim the territory for the Palestinians. Even though he sometimes appeared as a worthy partner for negotiations, his bottom line is no different than the ones Palestinian leaders before him held: "We will not settle, we will not negotiate. We want to wipe the Jewish state off the map."
I have no problem with an independent Palestinian state. In fact, I am for it. I want the Palestinians to have a place to belong to and call "home." I am sure many Israelis feel the same way for we have been in their place before. But when voting for a Palestinian state, the U.N is not really voting for peace or for the Palestinian people. True peace can only be achieved by conversation and negotiation, not by winning a vote at the U.N. The only way in which two states can truly exist side by side, quietly and peacefully, is when both sides would be willing to seriously sit down and talk and compromise. Leaders on both sides have negotiated before and therefore I believe they can negotiate again. A proposition to the U.N is not the beginning of a negotiation process and therefore, no vote, future or past will get us any closer to peace.