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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Obama to Dine with Miss Israel

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Ethiopian-born Miss Israel, who was crowned only two weeks ago, will dine with President Barack Obama at President Shimon Peres’ official residence next week, Army Radio reported Wednesday.

Obama’s staff invited Miss Israel, otherwise known as Yityish Aynaw, who also was an officer in the IDF.

The appearance of a black Jewess, from Africa no less, dining with the first black American president, who has roots in Kenya, is a PR dream for Israel, which finally will get enthusiastically positive media coverage.

Aynaw will also have plenty of good copy for the herds of journalists who will be covering President Obama’s three-day visit.

Her relatives in Israel brought her from Ethiopia when she was 12 years old.

The Ethiopian community has suffered prejudice in Israel, particularly but not only from Russian Jews, whose culture and tradition are the antithesis of that of Ethiopians.

Like many Ethiopians, whose Jewish beliefs are deep-rooted, she was told that milk comes out of faucets and gold coins are in the streets of Israel.

After being named Miss Israel at the age of 21, she said that Martin Luther King Jr. was one of her heroes because “he fought for justice and equality, and… I want to show that my community has many beautiful qualities that aren’t always represented in the media.”

Correct politics probably had a part in her winning the beauty competition. Former Miss Israel winners have included a Russian immigrant and an Arab. Pageant director Iris Cohen told the Tablet, “I think she was not the most beautiful, by classic beauty, [but] she stands on the stage and you cannot ignore her.”

Now decked out in dresses far more fancy than the ones she sold in a store, she speaks her mind.

Unlike previous foreign-born pageant winners and many new immigrants from Ethiopia who adopted Hebrew names, she told Tablet, “I was born sick, but my mom believed I had a future,” and she explained that Yityish is Amharic for “look,” or as Aynaw explains, “looking toward the future.”

“I’d never change my name,” said Aynaw. “Ever.”

Rice’s Failure in Rwanda Precludes her from Becoming Secretary of State

Monday, December 10th, 2012

That Susan Rice either willfully misled the American people on the Benghazi attacks, or lazily absorbed intelligence briefings without the least bit of personal involvement, is obvious. That she was covering for the Obama Administration in denying a terror attack just weeks before the election is speculative but likely. That she does not, therefore, deserve to become Secretary of State is arguable.

But what is not arguable is that she deserves to be denied the post for a different reason altogether: Rwanda. What emerges when taken together – Rice’s weak response in Benghazi, blaming the murder of four Americans on a stupid video, and her shameful lack of action in the Rwandan genocide – is a career diplomat of singular weakness, lacking the spine or muscularity to assert American moral influence in the world.

Rice was part of Bill Clinton’s National Security Team whom in 1994 refused any involvement whatsoever in the Rwanda genocide leaving more than 800,000 men, women, and children to be hacked to death by machete in the fastest genocide ever recorded. The Clinton Administration had just been spooked by the Black Hawk down incident in Somalia and wanted no further foreign entanglements. But the lengths to which they went to deny assistance to the Tutsis, with Rice being central to the decision-making process, will forever live in infamy.

But not content to insist on American non-involvement, the Clinton administration went a step further by obstructing the efforts of other nations to stop the slaughter. On April 21, 1994, the Canadian UN commandeer in Rwanda, General Romeo Dallaire, declared that he required only 5000 troops to bring the genocide to a rapid halt. In addition, a single bombing run against the RTLM Hutu Power radio transmitting antenna would have made it impossible for the Hutus to coordinate their genocide. But on the very same day, as Phillip Gourevitch explains in his definitive account of the Rwandan genocide, We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We will Be Killed with Our Families, the Security Council, with the Clinton Administration’s blessing, ordered the UN force under Dallaire reduced by ninety percent to a skeleton staff of 270 troops who would powerlessly witness the slaughter to come. This, in turn, was influenced by Presidential Decision Directive 25, which ‘amounted to a checklist of reasons to avoid American involvement in UN peacekeeping missions,’ even though Dallaire did not seek American troops and the mission was not peacekeeping but genocide prevention. Indeed, Madeleine Albright, the American Ambassador to the UN, opposed leaving even this tiny UN force. She also pressured other countries ‘to duck, as the death toll leapt from thousands to tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands… the absolute low point in her career as a stateswoman.’

In a 2001 article published in The Atlantic, Samantha Power, author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning A Problem of Hell and arguably the world’s foremost voice against genocide and who currently serves on the National Security Council as an aide to  President Obama, referred to Ambassador Susan Rice and her colleagues in the Clinton Administration as Bystanders to Genocide. She quotes Rice in the 2002 book as saying, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November congressional election?” Rice’s subordination of a human tragedy of epic proportions to partisan politic interests mirrors the current allegations of why she denied a terror attack in Benghazi. Rice then joined Madeline Albright, Anthony Lake, and Warren Christopher as part of a coordinated effort not only to impede UN action to stop the Rwanda genocide, but to minimize public opposition to American inaction by removing words like “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” from government communications on the subject.

In the end, eight African nations, fed-up with American inaction, agreed to send in an intervention force to stop the slaughter provided that the U.S. would lend them fifty armored personal carriers. The Clinton Administration decided it would lease rather than lend the armor for a price of $15 million. The carriers sat on a runway in Germany while the UN pleaded for a $5 million reduction as the genocidal inferno raged. The story only gets worse from there, with the Clinton State Department refusing to label the Rwanda horrors a genocide because of the 1948 Genocide Convention that would have obligated the United States to intervene, an effort that Susan Rice participated in.

Mercer: For a Good Life, Try Vienna, Avoid Baghdad

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Vienna retains the top spot as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Survey. Zurich, Switzerland, and Auckland, New Zealand, follow in second and third place, respectively, and Munich is in fourth place, followed by Vancouver, which ranked fifth. Düsseldorf dropped one spot to rank sixth followed by Frankfurt in seventh, Geneva in eighth, Copenhagen in ninth, and Bern, Switzerland, and Sydney, Australia, tied for tenth place.

Here’s another common denominator to all the cities above: these are all cities I won’t be caught dead living in. Two of my favorite cities barely made the cut: New York City came in 44th and Tel Aviv 99th. I didn’t see Jerusalem anywhere in the survey, although it could be tucked away in the full list, which you have to buy (not gonna’ happen).

New York came in 30th on the Infrastructure Ranking list (seriously? with the longest and most complex subway system in the world?) and Tel Aviv 58th – hey, ahead of 72nd spot Abu Dhabi!

In the Americas, Canadian cities still dominate the top of the index, with Vancouver (5) retaining the top regional spot, followed by Ottawa (14), Toronto (15) and Montreal (23). Calgary ranks 32nd on the overall quality of living ranking.

Honolulu (28) is the U.S. city with the highest quality of living, followed by San Francisco (29) and Boston (35). Chicago is at 42 and Washington, DC ranks 43rd.

In the Middle East and Africa, Dubai (73) and Abu Dhabi (78) in the United Arab Emirates are the region’s cities with the best quality of living. Port Louis in Mauritius (82), Cape Town (89) and Johannesburg (94) follow, and along with Victoria in the Seychelles (96) and Tel Aviv (99), are the region’s only other cities in the top 100.

The Middle East and Africa have 15 cities in the bottom 20, including Lagos, Nigeria (202); Bamako, Mali (209); Khartoum, Sudan (217); and N’Djamena, Chad (218). Baghdad, Iraq (221) is the lowest-ranking city both regionally and globally.

Title: Not My Kind? I Don’t Mind!

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Author: Hindy Jacobs
Publisher: Israel Bookshop Publications

When the Fine family (not related to the Feiners from Alone in Africa!) move into a new neighborhood, the twin siblings named Nesanel (again, not related to Nesanel Feiner) and Nechama set out on a very important mission – finding friends to rescue them from their boredom. They went to a window and started looking for someone to play with. Naively, Nechama and Nesanel thought that a friend is someone exactly like them, so they had no luck in their search. They went to a grocery for snacks, but got lost on the way. A girl who Nechama previously saw from her window and didn’t want to be friends with showed them the route. The twins were ready to make a purchase, but then they discovered that they lost the money their mother had given them. The pattern continued and kids that Nechama and Nesanel rejected helped them out. Not only did Nesanel and Nechama find friends, they also learned what a friend really is.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed” is one of the lessons we learn from Not My Kind? I Don’t Mind! Children can also expand their social horizons after absorbing this book.

The illustrations in this book are done in a very creative way – in a fascinating modeling clay format with a drawn background. I would recommend this book for children ages five and under. I know because my cousins were swiping it from me the whole Sukkos, and they are five and under.

Title: Alone in Africa

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Author: Avigail Sharer
Publisher: Israel Bookshop Publications

Alone in Africa, by Avigail Sharer, is an original adventure story about three siblings named Nesanel, Penina and Chezky Feiner, who are, well, alone in Africa. Except they aren’t entirely alone – they have animals and two battling African tribes to keep them company.

It all started when the three Feiner kids were flying from home in London without their parents to visit their grandparents in South Africa. The airport-provided chaperon was a rookie teenager who didn’t know what to do when the airplane made an emergency landing in the jungle. The kids became separated from the other passengers, who were driven away by military Jeeps to the airport. That is how they became “alone in Africa.”

They were found by an African tribe named the Lulu was who thought that Nesanel was a prophet named Gift of G-d. The other children escaped, but Nesanel was kept. When Nesanel attempted to escape, his plan was foiled when he was captured by a different African tribe named the Bakayas, who were at war with the Luluwas. There was a rescue attempt by Penina and Chezky, but was it successful?

I liked Alone in Africa for a number of reasons. The plot was fast-paced and full of twists and turns; at one moment they were wandering through the jungle, the next moment they were captured. My personal favorite part of this book was the idea of a non-poisonous, poisonous frog (when you read it you’ll know). The story is also very informative about survival skills. I would recommend Alone in Africa to potential jungle explorers of ages 9-10 who are ready to tackle a chapter book of over 230 pages.

Israeli Innovation Could Make Water Drinkable in Africa

Monday, August 13th, 2012

In a world where freshwater resources are becoming increasingly scarce, Israel–a country that is two-thirds arid–has become a leader in developing the necessary technology for making salt water potable.

The Israeli desalination company, IDE Technologies, which has been in operation for more than 40 years, has made many advances in desalination technology, installing over 400 desalination plants in 40 countries including the Caribbean Islands and United States. IDE Technologies has also won major contracts with Cyprus, India and Australia, and last year with China.

Since 2011, the Israeli-built desalination plant in Tianjin is China’s largest and most environmentally friendly desalination plant to date, running on some of the waste heat produced by a nearby power plant, producing fresh water and salt.

However, desalination plants for the most part are extremely costly for less-developed nations, as they use enormous amounts of electricity and are location-sensitive. But thanks to a recent Israeli discovery, the desalination system may become much more affordable in areas like Africa and the Middle East.

Researchers from the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Ben Gurion University of the Negev and central Arava R&D, have found a way to utilize solar energy at a fraction of the cost which can be custom-engineered for the desalination process, according to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

The new innovation uses solar energy panels to power the pumps of a desalination unit that generates clean water for crops. More importantly, the technology utilizes unique nanofiltration membranes that enable farmers to decide which minerals should be retained from the water to feed various types of crops, a method which requires much less energy. The new system is currently being tested in the Arava Valley of Israel, south of the Dead Sea, where the basin is very dry. The results thus far show that farmers can use up to 25 percent less water and fertilizer than what has usually been needed in that area.

According to Andrea Ghermandi of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Ben-Gurion University and one of the system’s creators, the current environment is forcing agricultural systems to become more economical. Ghermandi told the MFA that “the growing global demand for food and competition for resources among economic sectors compel future agricultural systems to be more efficient in the use of natural resources such as land and water.”

Another important researcher in the discovery, Ben Gurion University’s Rami Messalem explained that the” breakthrough here was to make the system more economical and we’ve done this using nanofiltration cleverly. Our system is compatible with electricity but is based on the premise that it can be used in poor countries, in places where you don’t have an electricity source—as a standalone system.”

The MFA website indicated that the new desalination system was made possible thanks to funding from Swiss philanthropist Samuel Josefowitz.

Reigniting Economic Cooperation Between Israel And Emerging Nations

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Shifting regional alliances, spurred by Europe’s economic adversity and the spread of radical Islam across Africa, has created a window of opportunity for Israel to reengage with a host of emerging African nations.

Last week, Africa’s Voices in Israel, a grassroots effort spun off from the successful America’s Voices in Israel organization (part of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations), invited six Central Bank governors from various African nations to Israel in an effort to forge closer economic ties between Israel and emerging African countries. The inaugural Africa’s Voices in Israel mission was led by prominent New York businessman Michael Landau and sponsored by the IDT Corporation.

During a meeting with Israel’s deputy minister of Finance, Yitzhak Cohen, Professor Martin Dlamini, Central Bank governor of Swaziland, encouraged ongoing cooperation between Israel and Africa. “As we are an agriculturally dependent economy, it is important for us to meet with agricultural innovators in Israel and businesspeople who would be willing to invest in developing our agricultural market,” said Dlamini. “Therefore, I am grateful to have received this invitation from Africa’s Voices in Israel to strengthen the relationship between Israel, Swaziland and my African colleagues, by creating grassroots efforts in the fields of agriculture and finance.”

Professor Eugene Kandel, head of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s National Economic Council, told the group, “Israel has a track record of overcoming adversity and turning it into opportunity. We are a perfect model for developing countries in the areas of agriculture, banking security, and water technology. We see Africa as a strategic opportunity for Israel.”

Netanyahu’s senior adviser, Ron Dermer, said, “We sincerely hope that this mission will help forge a new set of alliances between Israel and Africa. The prime minister believes that the time has come for Israel to invest in developing financial, political and security relationships with the African continent. For banks in emerging nations, our expertise in cyber security will allow you [African banks] to make a critical financial jump forward, while protecting your banking assets against cyber attacks.”

The Zambian-born Bank of Israel governor, Stanley Fischer, who has maintained a longstanding friendship with Professor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, governor of the Bank of Uganda, explained that Israel has yielded consistent positive economic growth – at a time when Europe and the U.S. have experienced recessions. “We are here to listen and offer our friendly advice to your banking systems, based on our various experiences,” said Fischer.

Tumusiime-Mutebile told Fischer that it was in Uganda’s interest that Israel and Uganda expand their cooperation in the banking, financial and agricultural arenas. Tumusiime-Mutebile is especially keen on working with Israel’s Volcani Institute of Agricultural Research, whose cutting-edge scientists showed him how to maximize the country’s crop yields through advanced agricultural technologies. This would enable Uganda to feed more people, while saving the country significant amounts of money.

Landau, the New York businessman and mission leader, told The Jewish Press, “These encounters enable Africa’s Voices in Israel to foment a variety of important agricultural, business and financial opportunities for emerging African nations who wish to tap into Israel’s unique experiences. We expect that this mission will spur larger delegations of financial and business officials from countries across Africa to come aboard and create important bonds between Israel and their governments.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/reigniting-economic-cooperation-between-israel-and-emerging-nations/2012/06/27/

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