November 26, 2012
This week from Israel
Israeli archaeologists uncovered an ancient well in the Yizra'el Valley, in the northern Galilee region. The well dates back to the Neolithic period (about 8,500 years ago), and is believed to have been part of an ancient farming settlement. Several artifacts were found in the well, but the most unique findings were skeletal remains of a young woman and an older man. The reason why their remains were inside a well is unclear.
Guests from 100 cities in Germany visited Israel last week for a conference celebrating Israeli-German sister cities. Sister cities (i.e. Holon/Berlin, Tel-Aviv/Cologne) share a partnership of common cultural and economic ties. The conference took place in Jerusalem last Sunday and Monday, and the Israeli and German delegations who met there discussed issues of shared importance. The conference opened with a fancy gala event that was attended by Israeli president Shimon Peres and German ambassador to Israel Andreas Michaelis.
Stevie Wonder just called to say he supports the IDF. The musical legend will perform at this year’s “Friends of the Israeli Defense Force (FIDF) Gala,” an annual event benefiting Israeli soldiers. The event is scheduled to take place on December 5th at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. It will be hosted by Cheryl and Haim Saban, with more than a thousand members of L.A.’s Jewish community expected to attend. Considered to be one of FIDF's biggest and most meaningful events, the gala raises millions of dollars each year.
Four Israeli life scientists were among the 22 selected by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) to be part of its prestigious Young Investigator Programme. The program identifies some of the most promising young researchers in Europe. In addition to the high recognition, Israelis Ron Milo, Jacob Hanna, Itai Yanai and Raz Zarivach will each receive a €45,000 grant. The three-year program provides academic, practical and financial support during the early years of the researchers’ independent careers.
And the Oscar goes to…A group of students from Nofey Golan High School in Katzrin won first place at the International Student Film Festival in Hollywood, California. The film Einey Shaked (“Behind Her Eyes”) won Best Foreign Drama, beating 200 other films made by teenagers from all around the world. The 17-minute film tells the story of a close relationship between two young girls, put to test after a sexual assault. The movie critiques how authorities deal with cases of rape and sexual assault, where the victim is often the one placed into question instead of the perpetrator. Two of the student filmmakers lived out their dream: walking on the red carpet in Hollywood.
Hockey is back! After being absent for 16 years, hockey will make its comeback at this year’s Maccabiah Games. Also known as the “International Jewish Olympics,” the competition will feature hockey for the first, and only, time since 1997. The games are scheduled to take place during July 2013 in Metula, Israel, and they will feature teams from all over the world competing in a variety of sports. Four countries will be represented by hockey teams: Israel, the United States, Canada, and France. Mike Keenan will be coaching Canada. Keenan had previously led the NY Rangers to the 1994 Stanley Cup championship, and led both the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals.
Many years ago, a wise person (may have) said, “Don't get involved in politics you understand nothing about." Well, I guess Kim Kardashian missed that statement. Last week, the reality star’s Twitter account turned into one big political mess… During the IDF Operation Pillar of Defense, Kardashian posted from her Twitter account: “Praying for everyone in Israel." This tweet caused controversy, and people unsupportive of Israel gave her a piece of their minds. The reality star quickly deleted the post, replacing it with: “Praying for everyone in Palestine and across the world.” This tweet (you guessed it!) was less-than-popular with Israel supporters. This second post was also promptly deleted, and was followed by a longer statement by Kardashian in her web site’s online blog: "I want to own up to and explain that earlier today I sent out two tweets about saying prayers for the people in Palestine and Israel and after hearing from my followers, I decided to take down the tweets because I realized that some people were offended and hurt by what I said, and for that I apologize. I should have pointed out my intentions behind these tweets when I posted them. The fact is that regardless of religion and political beliefs, there are countless innocent people involved who didnt [sic] choose this, and I pray for all of them and also for a resolution. I also pray for all the other people around the world who are caught in similar crossfires." Oopsy daisy…
A Polish film, based on one of the most controversial episodes of WWII, was released in Poland last Friday. Poklosie ("Aftermath") was directed by Wladyslaw Pasikowski and features a cast of famous Polish actors. It tells the story of the 1942 Jedwabne massacre of Jews by their Polish neighbors, a nightmare event in which hundreds of Jews were burned alive in a barn. The film was inspired by the book Neighbors, written by Polish-American historian Jan Tomasz Gross, which sent shockwaves across Poland after its publication in 2000. The date of the massacre has entered Poland’s remembrance calendar.
And I know it's been several days now, but one last time, I want to say: THANK YOU!