Israel has always been one step ahead of the technological world; from the contemporary communication of IMing and text messaging to the life saving radiation-free cancer devices, Israeli scientists have been at the top of their class for the past sixty years. It is, then, no surprise that they have come through yet again in developing methods of sustainability, with plans of action that are essential for our modern world. Realizing the immanent threat of climate change and the immense effect our actions have on the environment,Israel has become a leading force in the worldwide efforts to achieve eco-friendliness and partnership with the earth. A team from the Israeli Institute of Technology is working on the efficiency of non-polluting powered cars. More than 85% of the country’s waste is treated in an environmentally sound way. Israel has the highest number of solar power heaters per capita. An Israeli company was the first to install a large-scale solar power plant in California’s Mojave Desert. These are just a few of Israel’s many eco-accomplishments to date, and, make no mistake, they are just beginning; plans of the world’s largest solar power plant to be built in the Negev as well as tax breaks for residents of “green buildings” suggest their best efforts are yet to come.
Many haven’t heard the words “The Establishment” spoken in serious context for decades. More of us haven’t heard such a thing in our lifetimes. But the fact of the matter is it is both real and powerful. The Establishment often refers to the alliance of entrenched government, Capital and in some cases, the Military.
We have a two-party system, meaning that in the vast majority of cases the voter is picking between two candidates who may seem quite similar. In fact, as little as six months ago, a plurality of Americans identified themselves as independents. Therefore, to the average American, neither of the democratic or Republican candidates are particularly appealing. Since we have an Electoral College system, the vast majority of districts will never even see a third party with serious chances. This is the first element of the Establishment, entrenched government. Over 96% of congressional incumbents are re-elected and those from only the two mainstream parties.
The second element of the Establishment is Capital, or more familiarly, big business. Since most common voters don’t specifically agree with either party platform, candidates on either side must work hard to sway them with advertisements, rallies, and forms of electioneering. This costs enormous amounts of money, which can often not be raised through grassroots efforts. Despite recent campaign finance reform laws, the power of donations and support from large companies is mostly intact and helps weed out candidates who are too seriously interested in labor, environmental, or income tax laws, to name of few of the key issues. Though the power of business over government is often exaggerated, the degree to which those companies affect public policy cannot be overlooked.
Filed under: arts/culture, movies/television, music, opinion, politics | Tags: posted by ksbeck90
I think this video, featuring the song “Hatikva” by Subliminal depicts and emotes the struggle of our brothers in Israel that we in our secure and smug lives can easily forget to consider. It also express the intense, complicated political feelings of Israel.
Subliminal’s song, (a very popular one at that,) which I have translated into English (below) highlights the calamities of war which Israel wants not have to take place but the peace talks just mean nothing in this unfortunate age of terror: Our job is just to follow the dream and try to make things better. We are an eternal nation that has endured much in history, but, as Subliminal notes, nobody to date in history of the innumerable that have attempted have succeeded in obliterating the Jewish people, although too many try with unceasing determination. We must remain strong despite these challenges – that is the Israeli strength, the Israeli mentality and mindset that we in our comfortable lives might forget to remember.
Keep reading for a translation of Subliminal’s The Hope:
Bibi Netanyahu, the leader of the opposition to the government could not be more correct in his criticism of Israel’s policy of giving weapons freely to the Palestinians, as reported in this article on the ynet website. The atrocities in Gaza and the calamitous disaster that befell Sderot consequently should be enough proof. Do we really want to arm those people who may very well be attacking us from the West Bank in a possible third intifada?: May that never befall us.
It’s also kind of remarkable that in ignoring what might sound like a good PR move and trusting only safety, Bibi has gotten himself good PR from those who also understand the dangers to Israel that arming the Palestinans poses. If they are going to attack Israel, let them pay for arms themselves; otherwise they have no needs for these arms, anyway.
Filed under: movies/television, politics, religion | Tags: posted by ksbeck90
Having grown up in a generation where the State of Israel was a given and having been too young to fully comprehended the intifada at its worst, I found myself increasingly more alarmed for the well-being of the State of Israel. Just look at this video:
For those who need translation, basically Nasrallah, echoing the words of Achmidenejad is calling for a total obliteration of Israel which he believes is very possible and he is threatening to stimulate such destruction. Of course, this can easily be viewed as empty threats but I fear he may know well that words without actions are meaningless. If Hezbollah has really accumulated weapons: should we be afraid? I mean, look at the following who support this radical!
Too bad in this country, it isn’t really newsworthy. This Zionist for one is starting to get more concerned for the clashes that seem to lie ahead.
Next time you’re watching TV and the new MacBook Air commercial comes on, make sure to turn up the volume! Why? The commercial for Apple’s sleek new laptop features a song by Israeli singer and songwriter, Yael Naim. “New Soul,” the song featured on the commercial, is an upbeat, animated song. Currently, it is one of the top-selling songs on iTunes, Apple’s online music store.
Naim, although just recently heard of in the U.S., has been singing and songwriting her whole life. After completing her Israeli Military Service as a member of the Israel Air Force Orchestra, she released her first album, “In a Man’s Womb,” in 2001. Her latest album, titled “Yael Naim,” was released in France in late 2007 and is to make its debut in the U.S. in mid-March.
According to one news article, Naim herself is surprised that Apple chose one of her songs for their new commercial. She said that while she was writing the song, which was recorded on a single computer in her Paris apartment, she never thought that it would reach so many people and obtain such commercial success.
Filed under: arts/culture, religion | Tags: Budapest, Herzl, Hungary, Israelis, posted by aklionsky, Synagogue, Theodore Herzl
I recently returned from a 10 day exchange trip with my (public) high school to Hungary. A few months ago I’d read that Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism, was born in Budapest, Hungary and that next to where he was born stands the Dohany Utca Synagogue (The Great Synagogue). I knew that, however difficult it might be to get a group of non-Jewish, public school students to see this, I was going to make it happen: there was no way I was going to be so close to where Herzl was born without seeing it.
We walked over to the synagogue, and everyone was in awe. The Synagogue itself is beautiful. It was built in the 1850s and seats 6000 people–it has two levels of balconies for women. The shul also owns 28 Torah scrolls.
The actual apartment where Herzl was born is no longer standing, but there is a plaque–with writing in Hungarian, Hebrew, and English–on an outside pillar of the shul that says “Here was the house where Theodore Herzl was born.”
It was such an amazing feeling to be where Herzl was born, and speaking with the Israelis that I met walking around the shul just goes to show that the Jewish community really is connected around the world.