Oznia, a blog of Israel things

~Israel Reaches for the Stars and Discovers New Ones by nachman18
February 29, 2008, 6:00 pm
Filed under: science/nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Over the past decade, 10 new solar systems, besides the one we live in, have been discovered. Recently, this number was increased by one when Israeli astronomers from Tel Aviv University’s Wise Observatory at Mitzpe Ramon assisted in finding a new solar system.


The new solar system closely resembles ours, in that it includes planets of relatively close weights to ours, spread out in a similar way to ours. However, the newly discovered solar system has a central star about one-half the size of ours, and several planets one-half the size of their corresponding planets from our solar system.

Past solar systems have been discovered by measuring their central stars’ “wobbly paths,” which are caused by the surrounding planets’ gravitational pulls. However, this new solar system was located using a technique related to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Scientists were able to use planets’ mass as a magnification device to follow far-away light sources.

The finding was first reported about in Science, a major science journal.


~Israeli Team Enters U.S. Basketball Hall of Fame by danisraelle
February 27, 2008, 2:10 am
Filed under: sports | Tags:


Israel’s championship-winning basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv is to be honored for its accomplishments at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in the United States, the Web site Israel21c.org reported. The exhibition opens in May and will coincide with Israel’s 60th birthday. Maccabi Tel Aviv, which won multiple championships in Israel and Europe, will be the first Israeli team to be presented in an exhibition at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Hall of Fame sees millions of visitors every year who come to honor the greats of the basketball world. Part of the Maccabi Tel Aviv display will remain as a permanent exhibition in the Hall of Fame, a testament to the strength and competitiveness of Israeli sports worldwide.

~Has the World Forgotten Gilad Shalit? by shaynaschor
February 22, 2008, 2:26 am
Filed under: politics | Tags:

“In the heart of the ocean swam a small, gentle fish.” So begins a tale written by a young Israeli boy in 1997. The naive fifth grader spoke from the hope in his heart when writing the story “When the Shark and the Fish First Met.” His unconditional morality and tremendous ethical beliefs are apparent in every line of the four-page book: the shark and fish, two enemies, meet one day in the sea and decide that, instead of fighting, they should play together. The parents of each are appalled by the idea, and the friends are separated. After a significant period of time, they meet up again and, as each rediscovers the benefit of the other’s company, they fight the animosity they were once taught and work together to relay the newly learned lesson of tolerance.


The author is Gilad Shalit, a name that might sound familiar; the now 21-year-old soldier was abducted in June2006 and is currently being held captive by Hamas in Gaza. Israel received a letter from him in September of 2006, another a few months ago, and a voice recording as well. There is a general optimism that he remains alive, but talks for negotiations are less positive. As I see it, the conflicting of two of the country’s policies is stopping him from being freed: Israel has a commitment to every soldier, promising to do anything and everything in their power for the safety of the individual; but at the same time, Israel remains extremely reluctant to negotiate with terrorists and, judging by the recent actions of Gazans, rightfully so.

So what should Israel do? The decision is far from easy; it’s been 604 days since Gilad’s kidnapping and the ongoing troubles lead his close family and friends to believe that the world has forgotten. I find that “the proof is in the pudding.” The irony to me is that the best way for the government to resolve the issue is to read Gilad’s book. The resounding message of partnership and acceptance he leaves the reader with is, in my opinion, the answer Israel has long been searching for.

1. Read more about Gilad Shalit

2. Read the full story “When the Shark and the Fish First Met”

3. Listen to this voice recorded message from Gilad while in captivity.

~Israel and…Facebook? by jpachefsky
February 13, 2008, 5:26 pm
Filed under: arts/culture, politics | Tags:


Being your average high school junior, Facebook plays a big part in my life. My Facebook profile is the first thing I check when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I check at night before I fall asleep. Not to say that I am addicted, but it helps me stay in contact with people who I have met, and my friends all over the United States and Israel. As many “Facebookers” know, within this past year or so, Facebook has added many different applications. Personally, I find about 98% of these applications totally irrelevant and, for lack of a better word, stupid. Among the Bumper Stickers, Graffiti Walls, and the Top Friends boxes, I have finally found some substance in several applications and groups.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Facebook is quickly becoming a tool people are using to protest a cause. The article refers to groups that support Sderot – a small city that is being bombarded with Kassam Rockets from the Gaza Strip. Other groups are being formed daily with new pro-Israel ideas: “I Support Israel in the War Against Terrorism”, “I.D.F – support our brothers”, and “‘The’ Top Ten Reasons why I support Israel” to name a few. These three groups are amazing outlets for information regarding Israel.

Shimon Peres, Israel’s 84 year old President, has tapped into this amazing tool to combat anti-Semitism. According to Ynetnews.com, at a recent youth conference at Yad Vashem (Israel’s Holocaust Museum), Peres gave a speech about how we should never forget the Holocaust and how we need to combat anti-Semitism. When one of the attendees asked how he could get involved, the President responded by saying, “Who here has heard of Facebook? You can fight anti-Semitism using social networks, like Facebook.”

Being the next generation of people to run the world, this is a very important issue. We need to do whatever we can to reverse the effects of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel thoughts, comments, and ideas. Social networks, such as my beloved Facebook, can be an important tool that we can use to help us combat such hardships today, and in the near future.

~Typing Israeli style for the lost American by aklionsky
February 13, 2008, 5:23 pm
Filed under: arts/culture | Tags:

I went to a Jewish day school through 8th grade, and had a great teacher who taught me enough Hebrew to carry on a decent conversation.This gave me a unique opportunity to speak in Hebrew with the kids and counselors from Israel that I met at camp, but which posed a dilemma after camp ended: how should I stay in touch with my new friends? Calling Israel is pretty expensive (although check out skype for cheap calls!), and letters take forever. Because I wanted to improve my Hebrew, I didn’t want to send emails in English, which meant I had to find an easy way to type in Hebrew.

Years ago my family had gotten a Hebrew typing program, complete with Hebrew letter stickers to place on the corresponding keys of the keyboard, but they’d been long lost. So after doing a bit of googling, I found this great website, that allowed me to view an on-screen keyboard, and to click on the buttons on the screen in order to type in Hebrew. After typing, which can take a while when you’re first getting used to the orientation of the keys, you can simply copy and paste the text to wherever you want it–a word document, an email, or anything else. And then, once you’ve become accustomed to the orientation of the keys, you can add Hebrew as a language to your computer or download a program, and learn how to type in Hebrew!

Hebrew keyboard layout