Jewish Journal

Backstreet Boys and Jay Leno visiting, the IDF improving and more…This week from Israel

by Noga Gur-Arieh

May 12, 2014 | 12:20 pm

Independence Day celebrations on Israel/ Taken by Talia Garber.

Celebrating 66 years of independence

On Tuesday, Israel celebrated its 66th independence day with 24 hours of celebrations that started on Monday night. The streets of every city were colored in blue and white, fireworks lit the sky and famous artists performed on stages set in various location. On Tuesday, many Israelis headed out to the national parks for the traditional Independence Day barbecue. At the same time, President Peres marked the country's 66th year by honoring 120 outstanding soldiers and singing songs, the IDF opened its bases to the public, the IAF held an aerial display across the Israeli sky and contesters from across the world competed at the International Bible Contest.

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The very best of us

Independence Day celebrations came to an end Tuesday evening with the Israel Prize ceremony held at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem. Israel honored its greatest minds, activists and artists, handing out the prize, considered Israel's highest honor, to a number of prominent Israelis – including Adina Bar Shalom, daughter of former chief rabbi and Shas' deceased spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, for her work on promoting higher education for ultra-Orthodox women. 

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Remembering them all

On Tuesday, Israelis bowed their heads in memory of the 23,169 men and women, Fallen Israeli Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism. The night before, a nRememberew application named ing Them All was released and distributed for free by the Defense Ministry on its IDF memorial site. The app lets users scan the memorial stones at Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery and bring up an information page on the soldier buried there. The app uses pictures, text and video to help Israelis learn the personal stories of IDF soldiers who fell in battle defending the country.

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Top 10 apps for touring Israel

In the first three months of 2014, a record number of 776,000 tourists were lucky enough to enjoy the unique beauty of Israel. Now, you can take their word and come visit, but before you do, make sure you download some of these tourism applications to you smartphone, so you can get the most out of your trip.

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More Orthodox men join the Israeli workforce

Moshe Friedman is a Haredi man, who decided to blend in and join the Israeli workforce, something that many of his fellow members of the Ultra- Orthodox sector choose not to do. Three years after founding his video company, he co-founded a new initiative to place more Haredi employees at Israeli technology firms. The program, run by the Israel office of the telecommunications giant Cisco Systems, launched last year and already has placed 100 Haredi employees at companies such as Google and Intel.

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Was King David’s Citadel found?

An Israeli archaeologist claims he has found the legendary citadel captured by King David in his conquest of Jerusalem. This discovery awakened a longstanding debate about using the Bible as a field guide to identifying ancient ruins. The archeologist, Eli Shukron, who excavated at the City of David archaeological site for nearly two decades, says he believes strong evidence supports his theory.

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Welcome to Israel, Boys!

On Wednesday, many young women across the country screamed. Loudly. The Backstreet Boys, the world's most successful boy band, confirmed their performance in Israel this summer. The band will visit Israel as part of the "In a World Like This" concert tour, named for its latest album, which was released in 2013.Barring any last-minute surprises, the vocal harmony group is expected to perform at the Ra’anana Amphitheater on July 29.

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Yad Sarah to make military cemeteries more accecible

The Israeli voluntary organization Yad Sarah will make available its Nechonit vans at no cost to take the disabled and elderly who are unable to walk to and inside four major military cemeteries on Remembrance Day for the Fallen and Victims of Terrorism on Monday morning. At the request of the Defense Ministry, the organization will accept calls from relatives and close friends who want to attend the memorial services for their loved ones.

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Improving the IDF with apps and video games

Soldiers in TILT, the IDF’s Interactive Learning Technology Section unit, develop interactive games, videos and apps to help medics and emergency medical soldiers and reservists learn or refresh their field medical skills. What started as an idea of one soldier became an important instrument to improving the Israeli Defense Forces’ performances. In the year and a half since it was established, TILT has produced over 150 projects, including dozens of videos and several games, and the unit is working on a new website that will make it easy for medics to become familiar with medications, pharmaceuticals and treatments used in the field via 50-second viral videos

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Jay Leno to visit Israel for the first time

Comedian Jay Leno, who hosted "The Tonight Show" for 21 years, will visit Israel for the first time on May 22, when he will emcee the first Genesis Prize award ceremony in Jerusalem. During the ceremony, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will receive the $1 million award from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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