Take A Pen - to the new website
Take A Pen - to the new website


The world needs more joy! In Israel we have it too!!!

Most of the news published about Israel in the world deal with sad items such as terror, violence and death. This is an important but rather small part of life in Israel. In reality people in Israel do their jobs, build families and live their everyday lives with a special Israeli 'joie de vivre'. On these pages you'll see pictures and stories of this side of Israel, remarkable news your local media may not bring you, and may eventually even have a good laugh... 


Warren Buffet's Visit to Israel

29th September, 2006
Warren Buffett is considered to be the most successful stock-market investor
and the second richest man in the world, after Bill Gates. He is also known as "the Oracle of Omaha." His insurance and investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway, has purchased 80% of the shares of Iscar Metalworking - an Israeli company -- for US$4 billion, his largest investment ever outside the US.
He recently visited Israel to inspect the company. After the visit, stepping out of his private jet, he told reporters that he was "deliriously happy" with the purchase and Iscar is now his "pride and joy." He continued, "This is a company that started with absolutely nothing and, against the odds, has now become a valued, trusted, important supplier to virtually every major industrial company in the world. We tip our hats to the people who enabled this to be done."

Iscar was founded in 1952 when Stef Wertheimer, a young and ambitious entrepreneur who had fled with his family from Germany to Israel in 1937, opened a small metal cutting tools factory in Nahariya. Today Iscar is the second largest metalworking tools manufacturer in the world.

Wertheimer has handed over the reins to his son Eitan. He now focuses on using his business acumen to promote peace in the Middle East through four of his industrial parks. Each of his parks has an integrated Israeli and Arab workforce.

"Industry is a tool to make peace by creating jobs," said Wertheimer during Buffett's visit. In parting, Buffett replied, "This is a great place to find brains... there's a wealth of talent here. Imagine a city of seven million people in the US with this kind of talent ...Israel is no more dangerous than the US... Berkshire Hathaway is going to be here forever and so is Israel and the United States."

Warren Buffet is considered the best odds maker in the world. If he says and does so, it follows that Israel is a good place to visit and invest.

Ten recent Israeli Success items

The following is a small random sampling of ten positive items about Israel, from great technological innovations developed recently in Israel to simple good news, which no doubt had a bearing on Warren Buffet's perceptions and decisions:

US Marines repeats order from Elbit

Elbit received $ 50 million order to supply US Marines with vehicular defence system before the end of 2006. Last year's order amounted to 70 million dollars.

Xerox invests in Israel

Digital printer giant Xerox Inc. is making its first investment in Israel. Xerox is buying Israeli start-up XMPie Ltd. for $50 million, after a long period of co-operation between the two companies. "XMPie" develops variable data publishing (VPD) products, offering a complete platform for printing, data control, interface, document design, data access and data retrieval, the transfer of data between different electronic media (printing, Internet, e-mail, and cellular messaging), and e-commerce.

Gene that withstands salinity discovered

Israel has been a world leader in agriculture in semi-arid regions, for decades.  Recently, researchers from Israel's Institute of Evolution identified a gene that could revolutionize agriculture and help alleviate world hunger. This gene will make crops salt tolerant and enable the growth of crops such as wheat in a warm desert region. The goal is to develop a battery of salt resistant genes to be used for crop improvement, extremely important for agriculture in semi-arid areas.

Technion develops herbicide-resistant plants

Herbicide-resistant plants have been engineered by scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in collaboration with a Hebrew University team. The results were published recently in Nature Biotechnology. Herbicide-resistance in commercial plants is highly desirable as it allows novel herbicide management options, eliminating the weeds only, particularly those closely related to the crop.

 Eliminating the possibility of Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals

Israeli firm "Cross ID" marks medication packages invisibly using a new, super-secret method. This is an important step in today's time of Internet pharmacies.

"Ben Gurion airport" hits record for passenger traffic

The number of international passengers reached 4.1 million, up 12 % in the first six months of 2006, compared to the 3.7 million passengers in the same time period of 2005. The number of flights also increased by 11 %, up from 28,300 in 2005 to 32,000 this year.

Israeli economy continues to take off

According to an analysis of the Israeli economy from March to May 2006, Israelis are buying more (20.3%), manufacturing more (7.8%) and exporting more (4.1%). The number of tourists increased 49.3%.

Internet solutions are in demand.

The Israeli firm "Daronet" has opened a development centre in Sri Lanka for its Asian market.

Israeli Internet for China

"Optibase" delivers streaming technologies for on-line television transmission to leading Chinese firms.

Amnesty International

In past years, A.I. routinely criticized Israel and closed their eyes to anti-Israeli terrorism. The newest edition of A.I. report on ME matters, however, labels Hezbollah as "war criminals", especially for the random rockets fired against civilians.

4.6% Growth

Despite of the war in Lebanon, positive economic growth is expected in Israel by Stanley Fisher, President of the Bank of Israel, for 2006.

Arts, culture, and sports are also flourishing, with many exhibits, concerts, and sporting events, all well attended.

Sent by Max Yas

Good News and 'Bad News' about Israel and Liverpool


 The 'bad' news is that Maccabi Haifa, the champion of the Israeli league last year, lost to the favorite Liverpool in the first leg of their two matches in the European champions' league.The match took place on Wednesday night (9 August) in Liverpool and after a surprisingly tight match the home team scored with 2 minutes remaining to win 2-1. The good news, and a much more important one, is that as the coach with the Israeli football team left Liverpool FC a crowd of real scousers gathered round the bus, joined hands and sang:

"Israel You Will Never Walk Alone" and "Come Back Again!"

-  Based on note in the Jewish Chronicle's sports page sent us by Lennie of Liverpool


Hebrew in Thailand

Young Israeli Globetrotters everywhere

 Israeli youth, boys and girls alike, most of them after the army years, are among the greatest globetrotters of the world these years. Such a large number of Israelis reach India and Nepal, South America, Japan, Thailand and what not, locals often think that Israel must be one of the largest countries of the world.

On the picture a "Floating Supermarket" in Thailand, with the whole Pricelist in Hebrew.


Warren BUFFET Thinks ISRAEL Is Best Place to Invest!

Warren BUFFET apparently thinks that Israel is best place to invest!

Some politically correct experts, some left liberal professors and of course any Israel-hater would say otherwise, but Warren Buffet - the second wealthiest man on earth -probably knows more on business.   And that is exactly what Warren Buffet DOES: his largest ever purchase of a non-American company – is Iscar in Israel.

Warren Buffett to buy 80% of Iscar

Warren Buffett, the legendary Omaha, Nebraska, investor, announced on Friday that he would purchase 80% of the Israeli company Iscar. The company's current owners, the famous Wertheimer family, will receive some $4 billion for the deal.

The deal is the largest ever purchase of an Israeli company and makes the Wertheimer family the single wealthiest family in Israel.

Buffett is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Berkshire Hatherway investment firm, which is valued on the New York Stock Exchange at some $135 billion (while Warren Buffet himself is valued above $ 40 billion) The firm owns shares primarily in insurance companies, but also in such giants as Coca Cola and American Express.

The purchase marks the largest non-American company ever purchased by Buffett.

Iscar is among the world's leading metalworking companies, producing advanced cutting tools for multiple industries. The company employs thousands of workers in Israel and owns dozens of companies around the world.

Though the deal includes Iscar's subsidiaries, it excludes Iscar Blades, the maker of airline industry cutting devices, which will remain in the hands of the Wertheimer family.

The deal is still pending approval by Israeli and American regulators, but is widely expected to be approved on both sides of the Atlantic, particularly since the Wertheimer Group's dealings with the Israeli defense establishment are conducted through Iscar Blades.

Buffett added in his announcement that there would not be significant changes in the company's Israeli management. CEO Ya'akov Herpez and Chairman Eitan Wertheimer, the son of company founder Stef Wertheimer, would remain in their positions and would continue to run the company from Tefen in the Galilee.

For the International Anti-Racism Day:


By Dr Jesse Lachter  19 March 2006

 200,000 Jews and 20,000 Arabs, Christian and Moslem alike, have been living as neighbors for more than fifty years now in the beautiful Israeli port city, Haifa, and they meet all the time in their everyday life. This one was a special meeting though:

      Jewish  "Or Hadash" Synagogue Meets Ahmadiyya Moslems
Friday night March 17th, Emir Muhammad Sharif, leader of the Ahmadiyya Moslem community of Haifa, came to Or Hadash Reform synagogue in Haifa. Invited especially for the International Anti-racism Day, the meeting was facilitated by the Center for Pluralism.  Emir Sharif spoke in fluent Hebrew, also including some Arabic verses from the Koran. Immediate Past President of the Or Hadash community, Dr Jesse Lachter, translated into English for the guests from the leadership of the Boston-Haifa partnership programs. Leading the Kabbalat Shabbat services was the spiritual leader and Rabbi of the Or Hadash community, Rabbi Edgar Nof.

    Rabbi Nof is well known as being involved in open dialogue with the several religious groups of Haifa, beyond Jews including Bahai, Christain, and Moslem communities and their leaderships. Rabbi Nof and his lay leadership  have a record of devoted efforts to sustain and to nourish the peaceful atmosphere in Haifa, and of elevating the mutual respect and care of members of every community for all others.

   Emir Sharif described the origins of the Ahmadiyya Movement, begun in 1889, based on one founder whose reforms led mostly to the return to original religious texts. The later interpretations, or mis-interpretations, are seen by the Founder as having misled the religion and its followers to often misunderstand the purposes and goals of religion, and to turn towards enmity and hatred rather than religion turning people towards, and encouraging, love of the other, and mutual respect.

    Later (mis-)interpretations of the Koran are what have led to enmity, strife, war, and distortion of religion.

   Not shying away from the hard stuff, the Emir explained the concept of Jihad. The very word Jihad, he said, makes many people who misunderstand it anxious. Jihad appears in the Koran as meaning, consistently, the making of a great devoted and sincere effort. Jihad never appears in the context of war, or enmity, or sword. For that matter- the word sword, said the Emir, never appears anywhere in the Koran. The Koran describes the feeling a Moslem should have towards his fellow man and woman, being a feeling of love, as much or more than that of a mother for her child, even if that other person considers one as an enemy. 

Using the Koran as a source, an Ahmadiyya Moslem reaches conclusions of brotherhood and respect among peoples, especially for the People of the Book. Later (mis-)interpretations are what have led to enmity, strife, war, and distortion of  religion. The Emir made a clear statement, in his demeanor, his tone, his words, and his leadership in physically coming to visit Or Hadash. The Emir was most warmly and respectfully received by the hundred Jews who came that evening to pray, and to usher in the peaceful Shabbat.

   The Or Hadash and Ahmadiyya communities plan to share near future events, probably involving the youth groups as well as the adults who plan a reciprocating visit.

Or Hadash showed leadership in providing the stage for this event. The Emir,  this "Other" was seen to be personable, pleasant, peace-loving and respectful, knowledgable, and altogether a good neighbor. A quick survey of the Ahmadiyya movement using google on the internet found that this is a movement with 200 million followers in 178 countries, a movement believing in reforms. As we all know, the term Jihad is used quite differently by those in our region claiming to belong to the Islamic Jihad. What was new was the message that movements within the non-homogeneous millions of Moslems, are Moslems with dedication to interfaith dialogue, based on peace and brotherhood, and spurning warring and fighting.    

   Or Hadash has been organizing a lecture/meeting series based on the writings of Bruce Feiler of Boston, in his book "Abraham". Feiler attempts to bring closer peoples of three monotheistic religions, (within which are many movements). The togetherness is based on the goodness we know from the writings we share regarding our common forefather Abraham.

  One way to counter those who have mis-interpreted religion to be a road to war, is to meet with those who preach oppositely, and to learn that others are so preaching, and to spread the word that there are good people on all sides trying hard to bring about peace and brotherhood. 

   May the sincere and dedicated and devoted religious efforts of all peoples bring us closer together. May the boundaries of ignorance which foment suspicion and enmity be lowered. May reducing racism and prejudice, and enmity be the reward for all who struggle towards not doing towards others as one would not like having done to oneself. 

Snow on the Golan Heights


Gaza patient in Israeli hospital

I went to our Pediatric ICU in search of M.Z. from Gaza.  I heard that his baby daughter was flown here from Southern Israel by helicopter after our medical team connected her to the ECMO machine that temporarily takes over the functioning of the heart and lungs.  Our mobile ECMO team is the only of its kind in Israel.  I saw a large group of Arabs relaxing on the grass outside the department and asked if M.Z. was among them.  They answered me that they were Israeli Bedouins and not from Gaza.

I found M.Z. sitting
alone outside on the other side of the building ...
smoking and looking dazed.  Thus our conversation began.  After introducing myself and shaking his hand, I asked about his daughter.  "She's only one year and eight months old ... and the only one of my eight children who looks like me."  His eyes were red, tired and reflected great pain.  M.Z. told me how the little girl one day could not breathe and how he rushed her, without incident, from Gaza to Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva.  After several days there her condition rapidly and seriously deteriorated and that's when our team flew to hopefully rescue her.  M.Z. was angry at the fateful turn of events that had befallen his daughter and could only refer to Allah (God) for mercy.  He was grateful that our people were doing everything possible to save his child.

We began discussing politics and the direction our two peoples were heading.  There we were ... a Jewish grandfather (me) and a Muslim father of a gravely ill child from Gaza ... talking like old friends ... almost like family.

The mere fact that a patient from Gaza was here while our physicians fought to save the life of his little girl is noteworthy these days.  Did we solve anything? Politically, certainly not ... medically, we are hoping for the best.  Just another example of life in Israel at eye level ... far beyond the media.

Larry Rich
Israel's Emek Medical Center

Affiliated with the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Haifa, Israel
Afula 18101, Israel



In light of the frequent pessimistic critics of quality of life and personal safety in Israel it is interesting to read the results of an objective international research.

 Would you believe it: RA'ANANA – is the "SAFEST CITY" in the MIDDLE EAST.

The World Health Organization awarded this title to Ra'anana, a quiet neighbor of greater Tel-Aviv, primarily due to maintaining the safety of children and elderly at very high level, standing well any international comparison.

"The Economist” ranks Israel 23rd for quality of life
One of the reasons for Israel’s high rating is its long life expectancy and low rates of disease and mortality. 

Zeev Klein    19 Sep 2005   14:20

Israel’s quality of life is higher than that of Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Argentina, Hungary, Poland, and Mexico, but lower than that of Hong Kong, Germany, France, the UK, and the Netherlands, according to a quality of life index published by the the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

EIU put Israel in 23rd place out of 177 countries, and in 25th place in per capita GDP. Norway was rated highest on the quality of life index, followed by Australia, Canada, Switzerland, the US, and Japan.. The countries placed at the bottom of the index were China, Turkey, South Africa, India, and Nigeria. The quality of life index is based on a number of variables, including health and per capita GDP.

South Africa has fallen by 35 places to 120th place since 1990, due to the high occurrence of AIDS there, although the country’s per capita income places it among advanced Western countries. One of the reasons for Israel’s high rating is its long life expectancy and low rates of disease and mortality. 

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on September 19, 2005



Supporters of the Jewish settler movement and Israeli police officers pray together at the site of a demonstration against the disengagement plan, in Kfar Maimon, southern Israel, Wednesday, July 20, 2005.

What other nation or culture in the world has ever shown such a union even when painfully divided?

(AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)



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