• The Irish bands Dervish and Full Set were scheduled to perform in Israel next month. Unfortunately for them, but mostly for their Israeli fans, the bands’ members caved in to pressure, and decided to join the unreasonable cultural boycott on Israel.
Dervish’s Facebook page filled with posts by fans, who threatened to boycott the band itself, unless they cancelled their visit here. Here is what the band members published (spelling mistakes included): “Dervish wish to announce they will not be taking part in the Irish music concert series in Israel this June. Our original decision to participate in the concerts was, like all our tours and appearances, completely non-political. The organiser of the shows is a musician and friend of the band for many years. He has worked to bridge divides between people through music for much of his life. These concerts were organised in this same spirit. At the time we agreed to these performances we were unaware there was a cultural boycott in place. We now feel that we do not wish to break this boycott. Our decision to withdraw from the concerts reflects our wish to neither endorse nor criticise anyone’s political views in this situation. Dervish are a grouping of like musical minds, we are not a political party .Our motivation as a band has always been and will continue to be our love of music”.
More on the outcome of their cancellation: here.
• On a more optimistic note, a group of Hollywood stars are about to arrive for a tour in Israel next month. Their visit was scheduled as a part of an Israeli program aimed to improve its worldwide image. The future tourists, like Omar Epps and Paul Johansson, will visit several places in Israel, showing its various faces. They will visit Jerusalem, meet our Prime-Minister, tour the Galilee, visit absorption centers (Merkaz-Klita: a place for recent Olim), and will have a taste of Tel-Aviv’s nightlife.
• On 6.2, the International students-films festival will open in Tel-Aviv, with a very special guest appearance by Sacha Baron- Cohen. The film that will open the festival will be Cohen’s recent feature: The Dictator. Other than participating in the festival, Cohen is planning to visit his Israeli relatives.
• A group of six 13-year-olds will fly next month to the final round of an international contest for young inventors, organized by “First” - an American organization which promotes young inventors. The Israeli team will present their “cool” invention - “Freeze Stick.” It is a stick which while being fractured in the middle, can generate cold for 8 to 12 hours, which can be used for preserving food.
• A new medication based on carrot cells, which was developed by the Israeli company Protalix, recently received the FDA approval for treating Gaucher’s disease.
• Another group of students, who go to Savionim Junior High in Yahud, came in first place in an international robotics contest, which took place in Orlando, Fl, on Sunday. The Israeli junior team, “Pink Eagles,” beat 64 other teams from all over the world by presenting a robot which provides an optimal solution to food quality issues. This is not the team’s first win in the “First Lego League” contest. Last year they came in second place.
• A new study ranking states as of the world as the best places to raise children, placed Israel 54th. First place went to Norway.