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.
12.20.13 at 11:38 am | Since I live in Israel and am very passionate. . .
12.17.13 at 12:22 pm | Pro-Israeli activists waited years for the day. . .
12.17.13 at 7:30 am | BDS, the best of Hanukkah, TripAdvisor awards,. . .
12.16.13 at 11:12 am | Since winter here is rather short, and lasts a. . .
12.13.13 at 11:36 am | Since I live in Israel and am very passionate. . .
12.10.13 at 12:55 pm | What you are about to read sounds like a big. . .
12.16.13 at 11:12 am | Since winter here is rather short, and lasts a. . . (424)
12.17.13 at 12:22 pm | Pro-Israeli activists waited years for the day. . . (138)
12.17.13 at 7:30 am | BDS, the best of Hanukkah, TripAdvisor awards,. . . (52)
December 7, 2012 | 12:38 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 | 10:22 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 | 10:30 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.
November 28, 2012 | 10:45 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Last week, we all witnessed what is called: Media War. The media war in unannounced and it doesn't end with a truce- it is an ongoing battle with social networks and websites as the battlefield. It occurs when two sides of a conflict of sort compete for the public's attention through the various media. During Operation Pillar of Defense, the Media War was very noticeable, and many of us took part in it, trying to expose Hamas' lies and supporting Israel. But it did not start last week. It is an ongoing process in which, so far, Israel is on the losing side…
I remember hearing about the Gaza war (also known as Operation Cast Lead) for the first time: It was December 2008, and I was on a vacation in London. While riding the train, observing the passengers and playing the common game of trying to guess their story, I noticed an old man reading the daily newspaper. It was folded, so I was able to read one of the articles. The title said "IDF in bombing in Gaza.” There was a dramatic photo of a Palestine woman crying, kneeling and raising her bloody hands towards a ray of light; a dead body of a child was lying beneath her. Next to the picture, there was a quote by the mayor of Sderot, a city in Israel that is constantly under the attack of missiles, which said, "I'm proud to be an Israeli." I couldn't stop thinking about what I had just read. It looked bad. It made the IDF and the Israeli people seem like despicable murderers.I couldn't believe the vicious act I had just read about. I started thinking about other people, non-Israeli people. It only made sense that their first reaction to this article would be to feel sorry for the poor woman, and to condemn the mayor of Sderot. In the next few days, this described attack was the center of public discourse
Having been born and raised in Israel, I had constantly been protected by soldiers. Throughout my childhood, I admired the IDF. After serving in the IDF I can say from firsthand experience that the army does not attack without purpose- they are the Israeli Defense Force. Unfortunately, the media oftentimes provides a skewed perspective and portrays the IDF as aggressors. While I myself was aware that there was surely much more to this attack than what the news reported, I kept in mind that the average British citizen knows only what he hears and reads. I can't begin to explain the despair we feel every time we watch the international news. It hurts to know that some people receive only partial information.
Our hands are tied when in comes to the greatest war of all: the media war. Our army may be one of the strongest, most powerful armies in the world, but we are helpless when it comes to media publication.In the age of instant messaging where whoever publishes last- doesn't count, people don't care about the circumstances. They're only looking for the results. We are always in a hurry, and need to get as much information as possible as quickly as possible. The newspapers compete for readers, and so they choose headlines that will capture our attention. Even thought the body of that article about the Gaza War was neutral and showed what lead to that attack, I'm sure most people will never know. We don't have time. We read headlines, and that's that
I'm not trying to make excuses, and I’m not saying that every decision made by the Israeli government is the right one. I'm just saying that it's natural to feel sorry for the little boy standing in front of a big tank. It's the easiest thing to do. But have you ever stopped thinking what brought that tank over there? Have you ever noticed the boy is holding a stone in his hand? Have you ever taken a moment to try and think what is not shown in the photos you see? Maybe there are hundreds of kids holding stones and standing in front of that tank. Maybe those kids threw stones at innocent people. Maybe some were killed and that tank came to stop this killing. Maybe those young kids are protecting a number one target of a terror organization. Maybe not. We'll never know.
Remember that headlines and pictures are meant to target readers’ emotions- they don’t always show the full truth. As Karl Popper once said, "Put everything to question. Things will be true only when no one can question them anymore." Since you can't see beyond the limits of what you are shown, or look into five different websites at a time, all I can recommend, and beg you to do, is this: Whenever you hear or read about something that seems to lack explanation, check yesterday's news. It may help you see things more clearly...
November 19, 2012 | 9:30 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Earlier today, someone posted the following on Israelife's Facebook page:"The IDF is an evil organization. Netanyahu and all the Zionist scum are evil murderers. By deception, they wage war. Do not be deceived!" In order to prove the accuracy of his statements, this person attached a video of a former IDF soldier being interviewed by the BBC back on January 6th 2009 during operation Cast Lead. In this interview, the Israeli said that what the IDF is doing in Gaza is a war crime. He also said that the IDF and the Israeli government are "killing the desire of the Palestinian people to live in freedom." This video is not fake or a fraud, it is genuine. The Israeli giving the interview is Yonatan Shapira- a well-known activist against the Israeli government.
A short You Tube search will provide you with several videos of Israelis opposing the government, claiming the IDF's way of interfering in Gaza is wrong. Similar videos presenting Palestinians opposing the Hamas are impossible to find. This fact leads some people, including the person who left the initial Facebook comment, to believe that the Israelis are under the rule of a rough government who strikes innocent Palestinians for fun and oppresses Israeli civilians. Moreover, it makes people believe that Palestinians under the rule of Hamas are living peacefully, only bothered by the occasion Israeli missile.
When I watch those videos and realize the lack of similar videos from Hamas, I come to a different conclusion. To me, the video of Yonatan Shapira represents one of the biggest differences between Israel and Hamas: Israel is a democratic country. The people here have every right to express their opinion, even it is seems non-legitimate. There, however, this freedom of speech does not exist. You cannot find a video of a Palestinian speaking out against Hamas, because they cannot do such a thing. Hamas settles in private houses and rules the citizens of Gaza with a an iron fist. It takes their money, their freedom and their voice, and anyone who even considers opposing the government- loses his or her life. The very few voices of people from the inside opposing the Hamas can only be heard from distanced western states, such as the United States. The title of Shapira's interview: "Brave Israeli Soldier Speaks Out On BBC Against the Crimes of His Government," is deceiving. He is not braver than any other Israeli, he just uses his democratic right to speak his mind. He was not executed but probably was criticized, for he is considered a minority here. Palestinians, on the other hand, don't resist, because they can't.
In the past couple of days, IDF aircrafts flew over Gaza and dropped notes asking civilians to stay safe and keep their distance from Hamas facilities. The IDF is doing all it can to hit legitimate targets without harming civilians, which is a very hard thing to do because Hamas intentionally operates within civilian areas. Hamas, on the other hand, carries no value for life, neither Israeli nor Palestinian. It aims at houses and town centers in Israel and uses Palestinians as human shields to defend itself from Israeli attack. Do not be fooled- Hamas does not care for the civilians living in Gaza because it only values death.. As more and more pictures and videos of Palestinians supposedly wounded by IDF forces turn out to be fake, it becomes more and more clear who is acting in a humanitarian manner and who is acting the exact opposite way. SHARE THE TRUTH.
Yonatan Shapira on BBC
Mosab Hassan Yousef, Palestinian and son of a Hamas founder and leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef, interviewing from the safe United States and opposing Hamas.
November 17, 2012 | 8:51 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
As missiles are being fired to and from Israel, there is a war going on in social networks: Hamas representators are posting false pictures and videos, which have been exposed as lies on Facebook walls and Twitter accountes.
For your information, here are some examples of Hamas' online lies.
Since Wednesday 703 missiles were fired to Israel.
Please, help Israel and share the truth, so that people who do not read Jewish Journal can also get a better picture of everything that is going on here:
Yesterday, a picture of this bleeding baby girl was published on Twitter, presenting her as an injured Palestinian. Truth is (and a glance at the Hebrew letters on the shirt of the person carrying her), this infant is Israeli, which was hurt in yet another Hamas attack:
A couple of days ago, Hamas posted this heartbreaking image of a dead child in Gaza yesterday. Turns out the original picture was taken in Syria and posted three weeks ago:
A summary of Hamas' online lies:
This short clip is from 2008, yet just as relevant today:
November 16, 2012 | 9:36 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
I can describe the reality here, I can ask you to imagine what it's like, but no matter what I will say, it will be very hard for anyone who's not here to comprehend. In the past three days, 350 missiles have been fired to Israeli cities, most of them to southern cities. In the past 12 years, more than 12000 have been fired to Israel. As we speak, rockets and missiles are fired to Southern and Central Israel, and to Gaza. Civilians from both sides are being killed, and it is scary. It is very important to say that Iron Dome does NOT block every missile fired to our direction, not even close. Israel is under the attack of a terror organization called Hamas, and is now defending itself and the lives of Israeli citizens. What I believe will give you the best understanding of the situation here, are live testimonies from Israelis, who kindly agreed to let me translate and publish their Facebook statuses and chats with me:
Etty Daniel Levi lives in Ra'anana, which is still considered a "safe zone". Earlier today, she was listening to the radio, and wrote down her thoughts: " Just so we could make things clear- as I was driving today, listening to the radio, the broadcaster told the listeners about 15 (!!) times in ten minutes that there is an alert in 6 different cities in southern Israel, with the music playing in the background. In between songs he was reminding the listeners about how you should react when the alert sounds in your area. This is not right, and that's reality. My heart goes to the people in southern Israel and the IDF soldiers protecting all of us. Be safe everyone!"
Noam Avimor is originally from central Israel, but this October she moved down south to attend Be'er Sheva University. This week was the first time she heard the alarm notifying the missiles arrival: "The first time, I was caught unprepared. The alarm woke me up and I did not know what to do. It isn't something you can get used to. Everywhere you go you need to check for available shelters; you need to remember not to listen to loud music while walking down the street, and go to sleep with nice clothes, just in case…On Wednesday we were sitting in the classroom when an announcement came out, telling us that school is off and that we should go back to our homes. I ran to the bus station, which was packed with people trying to get on. About 30 minutes after we boarded the bus, the rain of rockets started to pour. Some friends of mine, who left a little later, had to get off the bus for a cover several times on their way home. On the way home, my battery ended, and my phone was shut down, People were worried like hell…"
Avital Sykora lives in Jerusalem, where an alarm was first heard just several hours ago. Yesterday, she posted: "Reading an article to try and figure out what my best options are for a bomb shelter, should the need arise. This is the reality we live in." Today's message was a bit different: "So now I know how to get in to my building's shelter. Holy fucking shit, shaking like all hell, heart beating a mile a minute. People saying explosion heard in the distance."
A 14 year old girl from Ashdod asked me to tell her story, without publishing her name. Her house is at the rocket range and for the past week she and her family were living in their shelter. This is her reality: "When I hear the alarms I get scared right away, because I don't know if it would fall far from us or right where we are. After a week living like this, we went to my grandmother who lives in central Israel. We went there to feel a bit safer, but now, it is hard to say what "safe" really is…We didn't want the life of fear to take over, but anything can happen. It's boring, staying inside all the time, and I wish this will end soon"
Amit Alexander Lev is a Tel-Aviv resident. Yesterday night, when the alarm was heard for the first time, he had no idea what to do: "I was in a photo exhibition in a bar, when someone said that it was announced on the radio that there's an alarm. I went outside, and heard the sound of an explosion. Everyone looked at each other, and we had no idea what to do next. I don't like this situation, and hate to think it might get worse, and that more people, from both sides, will be killed."
Gali Zemach is 14 years old girl from Kadesh Barmea: "I live in the south, but on the other side of the south, so we barely hear the alarm. However, the school I go to is at the fire range, and it is closed since Thursday. My friends from school experience this life on a daily basis for years now. It is something they are used to, and last week they tried to teach me how to keep calm. It's very stressful and scary, but I learned that I must stay calm. I think it is terrible that for some people, this is routine. I can speak to a friend on the phone, then she can tell me, in her most relaxed voice, that she needs to go to the shelter, and she'll call me back in a few- just like that…The world needs to understand that Israel did not initiate this, and not started shooting for fun. People in the south are suffering for a long time now. Missiles and rockets are part of their lives, and no one should live like this."
Amos Holin, from Herzliya in central Israel, is due to go visit soldiers is their bases in the next couple of days, and deliver them snacks, soft drinks and cigarettes: "When I was a soldier during Cast Lead operation, people came to me and did the same. It warmed my heart during very hard and confusing times, when I finally realized that I am fighting for the people of Israel, and that they support me and stand behind me at all times. Now, when I am a released soldier, it is very important to me to do the same, and show my honest gratitude for the IDF."
To end this post, here are videos that caught my eye, and explain, very simply, our reality:
Israel Under Fire: Life in the South
Prager University: The Middle East Problem
Thanks again for your support. SHARE THE TRUTH