In honor of Israel’s 65th birthday
Apr. 11, 2013
Sofer , THE JERUSALEM POST
In honor of Israel's 65th birthday
April 11, 2013
65+1 new reasons why I love Israel 2013... in no particular order
1. Young aboriginal leaders of the Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba, Canada,
came to Israel to learn "how an ancient people can maintain their heritage while
embracing the modern world, and in so doing achieve selfdetermination."
2. We Israelis talk with our hands, so a start-up
called Pointgrab is developing technology so our computers understand our hand
3. We like to
talk, period. Six heads of the hush-hush Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) star
in a movie that reveals secrets of their careers. Even the director said he was
startled that they agreed.
4. Intensity. We're ranked first by Bloomberg in "research and development
researching, we each drink about 4.5 kilos of coffee per year. The new Cups Tel
Aviv app will make that easier, offering all the coffee you can drink at a fixed
6. Mobileye Inside:
Luxury European BMWs and Volvos will now protect themselves with Israeli
We still surprise the pundits. The famous, foreign Israel experts wrongly
predicted our election results.
8. Whenever we have a few weeks of relative peace,
our minds and hearts shift quickly from security to social issues.
9. We are the first to arrive to help at a foreign
catastrophe, yet it took us 50 days to form a government and no one seemed in a
10. The first
decision our new government made was to help Holocaust survivors.
11. Our government coalition is made up of two
parties with "home" in their names. There's also one with future, and one with
critically acclaimed US TV series based on an Israeli series is called Homeland.
13. An Academy Award-winning director is about to
film his first TV pilot here. It's called Tyrant.
14. The Syrian leader is also called "tyrant." We're
taking in medical patients from his country, even though they're officially the
15. Kibbutz Dan is
exporting caviar in a market once dominated by Iran.
16. Overheard recently: "Meet me at the corner of the
Palmah and the Hebrew Brigade."
17. Don't try to outsmart Israel-developed WatchLock.
It sends an "I'm being picked" text message to the owner anywhere in the world.
18. When an Israeli won the gold medal for disabled
rowers in Italy, no recording of "Hatikva" had been prepared for the ceremony.
So she took the mike and sang the song (beautifully) herself.
19. Prize-winning Kharta the cow produced 18,208
liters of milk after getting post-traumatic stress treatment. She lives on a
kibbutz near the border with Gaza.
20. The illegal foreign workers come mostly from
countries that prohibit them from traveling to Israel. They don't believe the
propaganda. Neither do we!
21. Despite the ban, Iranians find ways to listen to Rita, the Israeli star
singing in Persian.
Israel is exporting sugar to Holland for Dutch chocolate, and to Morocco for
23. We don't
beat them on the field, but we send the architectural simulation system to build
soccer stadiums in Brazil.
24. Israeli Boris Gelfand is among the top world chess champions. He was born in
sixth-graders from the Ma'aleh Hatorah school in Ma'aleh Adumim took first place
at the seventh annual MindLab Olympics international championships, a "thinking
games" competition for children from 10 countries.
They're also good at Torah.
26. Israel has won first prize in the Mindlab
competition for seven years.
27. Bank of Israel chief Stanley Fischer turned down
28. A sign on a
moving truck: Hamovil Ha'artzi, the National (water) Carrier.
29. Says the international advisory committee from
MSNBC: Israel is a paradise for prisoners.
30. Despite the threat from Iran, 2012 was the best
year ever for tourists.
Even our most biting satirical show is called A Wonderful Country.
32. Yes, we care. Israeli scientists have brought the
aptly named Yarkon bleak fish back from the brink of extinction.
33. Autumn signs on the city buses say "Shana tova" –
"Have a good year."
president carries an organ donor card.
35. Flying high. A skirt-wearing religious woman
passed the elite pilot's course and became a navigator despite pressure that "a
religious girl couldn't do this."
36. The world junior tennis champ is a 12-year-old
from Ramle, who learned the game in a center for kids from the periphery.
37. Miss Israel came to Israel from Ethiopia when she
was 12. She's an orphan, brought up by her grandparents.
38. Said beauty queen served as an officer in the
39. The winner of the
first season of The Voice Israel singing competition made aliya from Canada a
few days before competing. The winner of the second season is an Israeli Arab
40. How's this
for popular fall offerings on the Jerusalem calendar? Ten different lectures on
41. For sale at
my supermarket: special washing powder for tzizit. For sale at the tourist
shops: sky-blue tzizit with authentic snail dye.
42. For sale at fine jewelers: a Star of David made
from ancient rubble from the City of David's archeological site.
43. For sale in Jerusalem: bathing suits for modest
women. The manufacturer has Jewish and Arab customers, and received an order
recently from Qatar.
Archeologists recently found the 2,700-year-old temple of a community that lived
in Motza, west of Jerusalem.
45. A property developer recently advertised for an
entire community to move into a housing development west of Jerusalem: Motza.
46. In a country where many citizens grew up without
democracy, we get a holiday on Election Day (and deserve it).
47. An Arab friend and I are swapping Hebrew and
Arabic Dora the Explorer DVDs to improve our family language proficiency.
48. The light rail stops are written in Hebrew,
Arabic and English.
Patient arriving from Moscow at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem
instead of the US: "The care is good and everyone speaks Russian."
50. Land of opportunity: The new head of the
emergency room at Hadassah is the oldest of 11 children and grew up in a Galilee
village here. His father only finished fourth grade and his mother never learned
to read or write. He and three of his siblings are doctors. (He speaks Russian,
51. The cook-off in MasterChef Israel involved a German immigrant who converted
from Catholicism to Judaism, a hijab-wearing Israeli Arab nurse and a very
religious Jew from a family with 14 children. It was the most popular show of
52. No tempter of
Eve, this serpent: The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology's Snake Robot
crawls under wreckage to find trapped people.
53. When locusts arrived before Passover, it wasn't
just an agriculture problem as in other countries. Here everyone connects them
to the Ten Plagues in the Bible.
54. Israel's submission to the Academy Awards, the
film Fill the Void, was made by an Orthodox, head-covering woman, and offers an
insider's view of the dilemmas facing people who don't have TVs or go to the
55. Celeb chef
Shaul Ben-Aderet learned to cook when his Iraqi grandmother babysat for him. She
didn't have a TV, so she kept him busy cooking.
56. You might not find Borat in Kazakhstan, but you
will find a branch of the Israeli café Aroma. There are 10 Israeli Castro shops
in Thailand. Go figure.
American immigrant and cryptography expert Prof. Shafi Goldwasser won the Turing
Prize, the "Nobel Prize" for computing. In addition to her work on complexity,
she's a co-inventor of the theory of zero-knowledge proofs.
58. Who would have guessed all that heat and
unrelenting sun would be a benefit? Kibbutz Ketura is turning its sunshine into
microalgae antioxidants and fields of energy.
59. Tel Aviv Greeters – offering a free tour of the
Tel Aviv they love – include hip youngsters and cultured senior citizens.
All for free.
60. On US President Barack Obama's recent visit, he
saw robots carrying matza. Do they also seek out hametz?
61. When the presidential car broke down, Moti Towing Service came to the
62. Even a
missile-weary, skeptical population like ours can enjoy a feel-good presidential
63. We're still
honoring the Righteous Among the Nations. Yad Vashem recently recognized a
Wehrmacht soldier who saved Jews in Poland.
64. I keep getting this message on email, and it's
not code: The irises are blooming in the Galilee.
65. Fifty thousand Israelis reputedly live in India,
but the lost tribe of Bnei Menashe Jews from northeastern India are coming home.
They trace their Jewish roots back 2,700 years.
66. When explaining the Holocaust to a
kindergarten-age grandchild, I could end with, "... and now we have a country of