Scroll down to read in this ‘Better News from Israel Section – July 21, 2008 :


1)          Jewish Film Festival Poster:

2)          Israeli doctors treat Iraqi children with heart diseases –‘Beyondimages

3)          Despite concerns, Israel a vibrant country By David BRUMER

4)          Weird, Human and Funny from Israel:  Shot by own side, healed by enemy - Telegraph

5)          Warren Buffet's Visit to Israel  

6)          Ten recent Israeli Success items

7)          Good News and 'Bad News' about Israel and Liverpool -

8)          Warren BUFFET Thinks ISRAEL Is Best Place to Invest!


10)      Gaza patient in Afula hospital

11)      RA'ANANA – the "SAFEST CITY" in the MIDDLE EAST

12)      “The Economist”: Israel is 23rd for quality of life 



1)   Jewish Film Festival Poster – see above!


2)   From: Beyond Images

Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2007

Israeli doctors treat Iraqi children with heart diseases


Top Israeli doctors screened 40 Iraqi children with heart disease at a one-day cardiology clinic which they set up in the Jordanian capital of Amman on 9 October.


The children made the journey from Iraq, accompanied by their parents. They were aged from a few months to 14 years, mainly from Sunni Arab families. Two were taken to Israel for potentially life-saving treatment.


The project was organised by the Israeli group Save A Child's Heart (, and achieved in cooperation with the Red Crescent hospital in Amman


Said one parent: "I am grateful to the Israeli doctors and to their country for helping us out. The Israelis are not our enemies.... Many Muslims have wrong ideas about Israelis...."


Read more :

Click here for newly-published Briefing 204 on the Beyond Images website.  


3)    Despite concerns, Israel a vibrant country
(Last updated October 9, 2007 5:08 p.m. PT)

Having just spent the past three weeks in Israel, I'm happy to report that, rumors to the contrary, Israel is alive and well and thriving.
Israel is a country about the size of New Jersey. Space is at a premium, and so is security for this small expanse of land. That was brought home to me during a three-hour "Intellicopter Tour" around the country, provided by The Israel Project, an international non-profit that educates the media and the public about Israel.
We took off from Herzilya airport, on the Mediterranean coast just north of Tel Aviv. Flying east, we were at the edge of the West Bank within minutes, hovering over Tulkarm and Qalqilya. Unknown to most Westerners is the fact that at this latitude, Israel's waist is at its most narrow, spanning just nine miles (several miles less than the distance from the University of Washington to Microsoft in Redmond).
The coastal plain, where 80 percent of Israelis live, is literally minutes by foot from the West Bank. From the skies, it is much easier to understand why Israel started construction of its Security Barrier in 2002, a year that saw 450 Israeli deaths attributable to terrorism. Often referred to as the Wall, more than 95 percent of the 800-kilometer barrier, when completed, will actually be constructed of chain-link fence.
In Qalqilya, the barrier is in fact a concrete wall. This is because Qalqilya sits on a hill above Highway 6, a major north-south artery for Israelis, and until the construction of the wall there, Israeli motorists were vulnerable to Palestinian snipers. The majority of the concrete portion of the barrier is in Jerusalem, where a fence would be impractical in such a densely populated locale, given that the fence requires a buffer zone on either side for motion detection and army patrols. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the barrier has been enormously successful in stopping terrorism and saving lives. In areas where the security barrier is completed, attacks are down 90 percent.
Flying southwest from Jerusalem, we touched down in Sderot, a development town in the south, only a few kilometers away from the Gazan border. Sderot has borne the brunt of the Qassam missile attacks, with more than 2,000 landing after Israel's full withdrawal from Gaza in August 2005. Although unsophisticated and inaccurate, the Qassams are a very effective weapon of terrorism for the precise reason of their unpredictability. And when on target, they are deadly weapons. The newer Qassams have a range of up to 12 kilometers (7.5 miles), putting the Ashkelon Power Plant in their sights. To date, Israel has not come up with an adequate response, in part, because to strike back at the launching sites would endanger Palestinian civilian lives, something Israel is loath to do.
I came away from the helicopter tour with a renewed appreciation for the security dilemmas Israel faces, especially with the radical Islamists of Hamas now holding the full reins of power in Gaza, and vying for control of the West Bank. To see with one's own eyes the very real security risks that this tiny country faces (not to mention the threats on the northern borders from Hezbollah and Syria, compounded by Iran's long-range missile capabilities and nuclear ambitions) gives one pause.
Israel must balance her citizenry's security needs with ordinary Palestinians' human rights. And Israel's Supreme Court has on several occasions overruled military dictates, for example when the security barrier has been deemed encroaching on Palestinian villages.
Despite those concerns, Israel remains a vibrant, prosperous society. Construction is booming, the high-tech sector is burgeoning and people are out at parks, beaches, cafes and cultural centers.
From the magnificent Baha'i Gardens in Haifa (home to the holiest shrine in the Baha'i faith) to the Druze village of Daliat al-Carmel to the streets of Rehovot (home of the world-class Weizmann Institute for Scientific Research), Israelis of all ethnicities and amazingly diverse backgrounds are dancing, studying, dining and doing it all with a great zest for life.
It is said that great wines are produced from vines that are most stressed and must dig deep into the Earth's surface in search of nourishment. The few grapes those vines produce make the finest of wines. And so it is with Israel, a people who must dig deeply within their greatest resource -- themselves -- to meet the prodigious challenges that this amazing land presents, and in so doing create the modern miracle that is Israel.

David Brumer is a geriatric social worker and psychotherapist. Visit his blog, BRUMSPEAK, at , for more in-depth dispatches from Israel, September 2007.
© 1998-2007 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

4)   Weird, Human and Funny story from Israel:

Shot by their own side, healed by the enemy
By Charles Levinson in Ashkelon, Sunday Telegraph

Last Updated: 12:55am BST 10/06/2007


In the Gaza Strip's Jabaliya refugee camp, Aref Suleiman was raised on Palestinian struggle against the Jewish state. Today he lies in an Israeli hospital bed, his body riddled with Palestinian bullets, his wounds tended daily by Israeli nurses.

For the 22-year-old Mr Suleiman, who was shot five times point blank by Hamas militants last month during a renewed bout of Palestinian infighting, this is not the Arab-Israeli conflict he learnt about as a child growing up in Gaza's desperate, rubbish-strewn alleys.

"Palestinians shoot me and Jews treat me," he laughs bitterly. "It was supposed to be different."

The Barzilai Hospital sits on a sandy hilltop above the Mediterranean Sea in the southern Israeli port city of Ashkelon. In recent months, five Palestinian rockets have landed in the grassy dunes that encircle it, just six miles from the Gaza Strip.

Barzilai, however, has become a rare bastion of civility in an increasingly hate-filled conflict and a unique meeting ground for two peoples who otherwise have little direct contact.

Wounded Palestinians who get permission from the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli army are allowed into Israel to seek medical treatment that is not available at Gaza's rudimentary clinics. Here, Israelis and Palestinians meet their erstwhile foe, in many cases for the first time in their lives.

Mr Suleiman, who was only 15 when the second intifada erupted in 2000, had never been to Israel or met an Israeli. Suleiman, a guard in the Palestinian security services who was a devoted follower of the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

As he flirts with the Israeli nurses who bring him lunch, check his wounds and blood pressure and empty his bed pan, Suleiman seems, at least for the time being, to have forgotten historical grievances.

"The Jews are like honey, like flowers," he says theatrically. "They wash me, clean me, and change my gown every day. Even in my home, my own family wouldn't change me every day."

"Here, everything is beseder," he adds, using the Hebrew word for "okay".

For the young Israeli nurses, most from nearby communities that live in constant fear of the Palestinian rocket fire, the cultural exchange flows both ways. The Palestinian patients they treat put a human face on the conflict. Nurse and patient can even find a shred of common cause now that the Islamist Hamas movement, which has killed dozens of Israelis in suicide bombings, is locked in a deadly power struggle with the more moderate Fatah movement.

Victims on both sides of the war's de facto frontline are treated side by side here. Five doors down from Mr Suleiman, Ludmilla Visiptzky, 60, awaits her third session of surgery to patch up the shrapnel wounds she suffered when a Palestinian Qassam rocket struck her home in mid-May.

Both confined to their hospital beds, the two patients have had little contact, but each knows the other is within shouting distance. Meanwhile Nurse Kokhava Kohi, says gleefully of her patient, Mr Suleiman: "He's going to go home and shoot Hamas in the head," - as if that alone would justify her daily ministrations.

*Information appearing on is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright

**Quoted in Take A Pen’s website ,  in the ‘Better News from Israel’ section


5)    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

5. 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 todays 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



6. Good News and 'Bad News' about Israel and Liverpool -10Aug2006


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



7.  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.



8. 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. 


9. Gaza patient in Afula 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


10.  RA'ANANA – is the "SAFEST CITY" in the MIDDLE EAST.


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.


11. “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] - - 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)