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Celebs, hotels, humanitarism, a billion dollar deal and more…This week from Israel!

by Noga Gur-Arieh

February 24, 2014 | 12:03 pm

Mount. Hermon / Wikipedia.

Viber? Sold!

Japanese Internet services company, Rakuten, has acquired the Israeli app Viber for $900 million. The Israeli-founded video and voice communications app allows users to make free phone and video calls within its network, and has over 200 million users all over the world. Rakuten, an electronic commerce and Internet company, is the largest e-commerce site in Japan, and one of the largest in the world.

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Fixing Rwanda’s power issues

Israeli entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz, in his capacity as president of Gigawatt Global and CEO of Energiya Global, decided to help Rwanda, a country in need, and invest millions of dollars in assisting the east African country with its power issues. After agreement with an international consortium of equity investors and debt providers, Gigawatt Global, an American-owned Dutch solar developer, is planning a $23.7 million project to address Rwanda’s power issues. The country currently has a power capacity of just more than 100 megawatts for more than 11 million people — many of whom have no access to electricity. Israel, on the other hand, has about 13,000 megawatts of power available for its 8 million residents.

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How to tweet “I love you?”

According to data released by Twitter on Valentine's Day, Israel tweeted the words “I love you” more than any other country in 2013. The data also showed that people used the site to say “I love you” in 481 million Tweets and 116 languages in 2013.

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Moments of unity

When we read about the Jews- Muslims relationship, we usually feel tension, distance and sometimes even hatred. A look closer, behind the headlines, would reveal a completely different kind of relationship. Here are ten beautiful moments of Jewish - Muslim unity, most of them captured in Israel.

See them here

 

 

Our desirable Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress- model who landed the role of Wonder Woman at the upcoming Batman vs. Superman film, was ranked 39th on AskMen magazine's Top 99 Most Desirable Women list. Gadot “beat” other beautiful women such as Sofia Vergara, Miranda Kerr and Katy Perry.

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A tale of Portman and Tel Aviv

After months of preparations, visits to every restaurant in Tel Aviv and registering her little boy in a local kindergarten, Natalie Portman has finally begun shooting her new film in Israel. Portman has been in the country for several weeks now for the purpose of shooting her first film as director, which is based on a 2002 book by Amos Oz, "A Tale of Love and Darkness.”

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Israel – a winter sports destination

Israel is well known for its warmth, both of the people and the weather. But as it turns out, it is also a winter sports destination. Throughout the years, the delights of winter sports have long been a tourist attraction with snowy Mt. Hermon as a selling point.

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Want to visit the Knesset in Jerusalem? Simply use Google!

The Israeli parliament, The Knesset, can now be toured using Google Street View! A few weeks ago, four floors of the Knesset were filmed using Google’s 360 degree cameras, and the images were made available to the public last week. Visitors are now able to see the building’s most famous sites like the Marc Chagall Lobby, take a peek at MKs’ offices, and view the Knesset floor from the Speaker’s chair.

Read more here.

 

 

The coolest Israeli hotels

Two Israeli hotels have made it into Travel + Leisure magazine's 2014 It List, which introduces the 70 most promising new hotels in the world: The Ritz-Carlton in Herzliya and Alma Hotel & Lounge in Tel Aviv. What makes them so worthy? According to the magazine, the $180 million Ritz-Carlton opening, five years in the making, has "upped the ante on luxury in Israel’s Silicon Valley, delivering a level of white-glove service that’s seldom found in the Holy Land. Alma Hotel was described as Tel Aviv’s coolest new boutique hotel, "an elegantly renovated townhouse of 15 stylized rooms, each designed with quirky objects such as leather-drum coffee tables and deer head wall sculptures made out of seashells.

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The 2,300 year- old village

A recent excavation made by the Israel Antiquities Authority, uncovered a 2,300 year-old village.  The remnants of the rural settlement were occupied for approximately two centuries during the Second Temple Period. The find was made during an Israel Antiquities Authority archaeological salvage excavation, before the start of work on a natural gas pipeline to Jerusalem as part of a national project directed by Israel Natural Gas Lines (INGL).

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