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May 27, 2016 / 19 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘israeli’

2 Israeli Companies Bioprint Stem Cell-Derived Tissues

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Nes Tziona, Israel, based Nano Dimension Ltd., a leader in the area of 3D Printed Electronics, on Wednesday announced it has successfully lab-tested a proof of concept 3D Bioprinter for stem cells. The trial was conducted in collaboration with Accellta Ltd., a company headquartered in Haifa, Israel, that has developed proprietary technologies for the unique production of high quality media, stem cells, progenitors and differentiated cells for drug discovery, regenerative medicine and research.

The feasibility study, conducted in the second quarter of 2016, confirmed that the combined knowhow and technologies of the companies enabled printing of viable stem cells using an adapted 3D printer.

“3D printing of living cells is a technology that is already playing a significant role in medical research, but in order to reach its full potential, for the field to evolve further, there is a need to improve printing speeds, print resolution, cell control and viability, as well as cell availability and bio-ink technologies,” said Amit Dror, CEO of Nano Dimension. “By combining our high-speed, high precision inkjet capabilities with Accellta’s stem cell suspension technologies and induced differentiation capabilities led by a world-renowned group of experienced engineers and scientists, we can enable 3D printing at high-resolution and high volumes.”

The companies will consider the formation of a new entity for these future solutions and do not intend to invest significant capital directly to expand this activity. Such funds would be raised by and for the use of the joint entity.

3D bioprinting enabled by the two companies’ technologies, means that Nano Dimension and Accellta have the potential to accelerate high fidelity and high viability manufacturing of living cellular products. Accellta’s unique, robust and reproducible suspension-based cell culturing systems produce billions of high quality stem cells per batch and represent a transformative step in terms of stem cell production. Accellta’s technology can deliver large quantities of high quality cells which can be an enabler for printing even large and complex tissues and organs.

“Accellta and Nano Dimension have joined forces in this initial trial to evaluate and adapt the joint potential of our technologies. We hope and believe that this will bring the mutual capabilities and knowhow of both companies to create 3D bioprinting solutions that combine a high precision, high-throughput printer with dedicated bio-ink technologies, derived from stem cells,” said Dr. Itzchak Angel, Chairman and CEO of Accellta. “By enabling high precision 3D bioprinting and differentiation of stem cells into required tissues, our combined technologies have the potential to enable vast areas of development. We are very excited about these initial results and what the future holds.”

The market for 3D bioprinting is expected grow rapidly over the next decade, from $481 million in 2014 to an anticipated $6 billion in 2024. Developments in these emerging fields are progressing at a swift pace, and the healthcare industry is clamoring to participate. The technology has tremendous value for areas such as pre-clinical drug discovery and testing, cosmetics safety testing, toxicology assays, tissue printing and ‘organs on chips’.

Advanced 3D inkjet technology, the core competence of Nano Dimension, enables rapid printing of complex multi-material objects such as those needed for next generation bioprinting. Nano Dimension’s novel capabilities, developed for its state-of-the-art 3D printed electronics technology for printed circuit boards (PCBs) may pave the way to other advanced multi-material printing domains such as 3D bioprinting.

JNi.Media

Israeli Elementary School Children Take Pictures from Edge of Space

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

A group of ambitious students and parents from the Yigal Alon elementary school in Hod Hasharon, a bedroom community just east of Tel Aviv, last week shot a meteorological balloon 15 miles up, almost reaching the edge of the earth’s atmosphere, and collected images and complete flight data.

The project, dubbed “Aiming High,” was initiated by Yuval Erez, a parent who works as aeronautic engineer for military manufacturer Elbit. He managed to infect with his enthusiasm the school head, a group of parents, and 33 students, and together they “simply conquered space,” as a local newspaper put it with superlatively unabashed pride.

The students were divided into work groups, each led by a parent, Erez related, “and we started to meet for activities every Friday after school. The aim of the project was to teach the children different things, the kind they don’t learn at school; to show them that if you have a dream and you designate a target, even if it looks unattainable, like flying a documentation device to the edge of space and retrieving it, it is attainable.”

Weather balloon (illustration)

Weather balloon (illustration)

“The group purchased the technical equipment, with adjustments made by the mechanical team that built the box,” Yuval continued. The Styrofoam box, weighing 42.3 ounces, “was installed with two GoPro type cameras, a black box to record the full flight data, location respondents so we could locate the box after it landed, and a radio transmitter.”

The launch had to be coordinated with the Civil Aviation Authority and Air Force Intelligence, lest the unidentified balloon be treated as an invader and shot down prematurely.

The edge of space (Illustration)

The edge of space (Illustration)

The launch took place at the Megadim beach, north of Atlit, off the main highway to Haifa. The weather balloon, filled with helium (courtesy of the Maxima company which provided the expensive gas free of charge), reached the height of about 15 miles and blew up above Nazareth. The box parachute opened and the tiny spaceship landed in the orchards between the communities of Kinneret and Alumot, on the shore of Lake Kinneret.

“The balloon launch was not problem free,” Erez recalled. “The wind was too strong, and when the balloon was being inflated, the tether was torn and it escaped and flew a few yards off. We figured out the malfunction and the second launch was a success.” The balloon rose at the rate of 18 to 21 ft. per second, he said, and “we received flight data and stunning images from the side camera, showing the blue stripe between the black outer space and the white atmosphere at the edge of space. We even managed to get a selfie of the balloon, and shots of the moment the balloon exploded.”

And just to save our learned readers the trouble of writing a knowing comment regarding the Karman line, which commonly represents the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space, at an altitude of 62 miles, and not 15 miles — well, we also knew that one.

JNi.Media

Ethiopian MK Meets Visiting African Women, Advocates Merging Israeli Tech with ‘Fertile African Soil’

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) on Monday met at the Knesset with a delegation of prominent women from several African countries, including women from academia and education, as well as members of parliament, members of political parties and one journalist.

The African delegation is visiting Israel as part of the UN Women initiative, established in 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. UN Women – Africa, one of the largest branches of this initiative, works to “support regional gender-responsive measures to promote women’s leadership and participation in politics, government, business and society and to influence regional and national legal frameworks and policies to increase women’s leadership and political participation.”

MK Neguise noted that the 20th Knesset includes a record number of women members, and encouraged his guests “as leaders in your countries, to continue with your activity.”

Neguise, an Ethiopian Israeli, told the women that as MK he works to strengthen relations between Israel and Africa. To this end, he recently established the Lobby for Relations between Israel and African Countries, which he heads. Neguise also chairs the parliamentary friendship groups of Israel and Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Rwanda.

“I believe that the meeting between Israeli technology and the fertile African soil can effect change in Africa and strengthen the ties between Israelis and Africans,” Neguise told the delegation members, pointing out Israel’s advanced capabilities in the fields of irrigation, desalination, solar energy, medicine, education and tourism. “If we develop cooperation in these fields, both Israelis and Africans will benefit,” he promised.

Neguise, who serves as chairman of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, noted the importance of Jewish immigration to the strengthening of Israeli society, and said part of the committee’s duty is to advance equal opportunities for recent immigrants in education, employment and housing. He noted that part of the challenge stems from the fact that 90 percent of Ethiopians who immigrated to Israel came from rural areas, “so there are economic, cultural and professional gaps.” In order to narrow these gaps, he said, Israel provides after-school classes for Ethiopian students, vocational training for adults and housing assistance for immigrant families.

While in Israel, the African delegation members are taking part in a leadership course organized by Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, a division of the Foreign Ministry. The course is being held in cooperation with Singapore.

Click here for a list of the African delegation members.

JNi.Media

‘Israeli Occupation Forces’ Commit ‘Several Violences’ and Other SJP Gems [video]

Friday, May 20th, 2016

On Thursday we received an alert from Campus Reform about activists from Muslim Student Union (MSU) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of California, Irvine, who disrupted an event run by a Jewish student group Wednesday night, chanting anti-Semitic and anti-police slogans. We watched the enclosed video and concluded, as any reasonable person would, that these are unpleasant but boisterous young people, and that society should be grateful to UCI for keeping them on campus rather than having them roam the streets.

For context, Kevin Brum, Vice President of Students Supporting Israel (SSI), told Campus Reform that the event those hooligans had interrupted was a showing of the film Beneath the Helmet, “about IDF soldiers, with personal interviews that sort of humanizes them.” He added, “One of the campus advisers for Hillel is an Israeli citizen who served in the IDF, so she has former IDF friends, and two of them stopped by. Someone posted that information on Facebook, and SJP and MSU got wind of it.”

So we went to the Facebook page of SJP at UC Irvine, and dug up their account of the event:

“Today we successfully demonstrated against the presence of IDF soldiers on campus. We condemn the Israeli ‘Defense’ Forces, better defined as Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), because they enforce Zionist settler colonialism and military occupation of Palestinian land by the Israeli nation-state. Not only does the IOF commit murders and several violences (sic) against the Palestinian people, including its use of Gaza as a laboratory for weapons testing, but it enforces militarization and policing all over the world. The United States send delegations of police forces to train in Israel by the IOF, such as the LAPD and NYPD for example.”

Then they added:

“The presence of IDF and police threatened our coalition of Arab, black, undocumented, trans, and the greater activist community. Thank you to all that came out and bravely spoke out against injustice. ‪#‎UCIntifada”

The account by the SSI (We strongly recommend a better acronym) was more factual: “Tonight one of our events was disrupted by certain student organizations. They were in violation of UC Regents Hate Speech policy and were shouting various anti-Semitic statements. The police had to escort attendees out of the event for their own safety. While it saddens us that there exist individuals who are more interested in shutting our Peace Week down, we at SSI want to assure you all that we are not backing down in the slightest. We are not going to give in to their intimidation tactics and anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

And now to the video, which puts things in perspective. What we have here is a group of loud youths who enjoy music, sunsets, long walks on the beach and screaming like mad people for half an hour or so at Jews.

JNi.Media

The Case for Israeli Sovereignty in the Golan Heights

Monday, May 16th, 2016

{Written by British-Israeli political commentator and writer Eylon Aslan-Levy. Originally posted to The Tower Magazine website}

The Golan Heights are back in the news, with concerns that a great power deal on Syria’s future might include renewed demands on Israel to return the territory to the embattled regime of Bashar al-Assad. The Israeli cabinet was helicoptered to the mountain ridge on April 17 for a special session, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that he wished to “to send a clear message [to the world, that] Israel will never come down from the Golan Heights.”

Netanyahu was right to make such a statement. Whatever the political future of Syria, Middle East regional security requires international recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Moreover, as the war-weary great powers seek a comprehensive settlement in Syria, they have a unique political and legal opportunity to do so.

With the rise of terrorism and the collapse of much of the Middle East into near-anarchy, the world is entering uncharted waters in which the normal rules of statecraft and international law offer no clear answers. The international community, therefore, has an opportunity to reinforce a troubled international order by recognizing the border between Syria and Israel east of the Golan Heights. It is vital that the international community conclusively end the ambiguity over the Golan’s fate in order to help stabilize the region in the decades ahead.
The Golan Heights is a strategic ridge abutting the Sea of Galilee. Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Six-Day War when it repelled an invasion by the Syrian army. Rejecting Israel’s surprise offer at the war’s end to return the Heights in exchange for peace, Syria launched a failed but bloody bid to recapture the Heights in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Israel formally annexed the Golan on December 14, 1981. Three days later, the United Nations Security Council unanimously declared the annexation null and void in Resolution 497, demanding that Israel rescind its decision. Responding to Netanyahu, the Security Council confirmed in April that its resolution still stands.

To date, even Israel’s allies remain unconvinced of its claims to the Golan. The day after Netanyahu vowed that the Heights would “forever remain under Israeli sovereignty,” the U.S. and Germany reaffirmed their position that the Golan is not under Israeli sovereignty in the first place. The U.S. State Department confirmed that it expects the fate of the Heights to be determined via negotiations—although by acknowledging that “the current situation in Syria does not allow this,” spokesman John Kirby implicitly legitimized Israel’s continued hold over the territory pending Syria’s reconstitution.

No serious observer, however, believes that Syria can be reconstituted. The Kurds declared an autonomous Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava) in March 2016, and will not surrender this freedom lightly. The Syrian opposition is against a formal partition of Syria, but the option of transforming the country into a federal state is on the table. If the country’s five-year-long civil war continues, interest in partition will likely grow, either as a last resort or recognition of an existing reality. The logical corollary of ceasefire efforts is that a de facto partition will begin to crystallize, as none of the warning parties will agree to govern together or be governed by each other. “We know how to make an omelet from an egg,” observed Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, but “I don’t know how to make an egg from an omelet.”

Any geopolitical settlement that involves redrawing Syria’s borders for the sake of regional security must also rubber-stamp Israel’s control of the Golan for the same purpose. The Heights have now been governed by Jerusalem for over twice as long as Damascus—49 years versus 22. It is time to recognize that change as permanent.
Broadly speaking, there are four key ways in which a state can cease to exist under international law. First, a state can splinter through a series of secessions, leaving behind a rump state that inherits its predecessor’s legal personality. For example, Russia is the recognized legal continuation of the USSR. Second, a state can be ripped apart by internal strife to such an extent that it is deemed to have ceased to exist and no single successor inherits its legal personality. Yugoslavia is an example of this. Third, a state can dissolve itself by agreement. Czechoslovakia, for instance, voted to divide itself out of existence. Fourth, a state can voluntarily merge or be absorbed into another state, as when East Germany dissolved itself when it was united with West Germany.

Syria could plausibly collapse along the lines of the first two possibilities: Secessions could leave a diminished core limping on like post-Soviet Russia; or the secessions could be of such magnitude that the world concludes Syria has ceased to exist, rejecting the claim that a rump Assad-governed enclave is the rightful continuation of Syria. But whatever happens, there will only be a stable border between these entities and Israel if the latter retains permanent control of the Golan Heights.

The current military situation in Syria.

The current military situation in Syria.

This Soviet-style scenario could play out as follows: Syria could experience a series of secessions, beginning with ISIS and the Kurds and extending to other rebel groups. If Damascus accedes to these secessions, betting on the survival of Assad’s Alawite minority in a smaller state, the new states’ independence would be universally recognized. In turn, the world could recognize the rump Syria as the legal successor of the old entity, including its continued claim over the Golan Heights. Indeed, the Vienna Convention on State Successions in Respect of Treaties is explicit in stating that “a succession of states as such does not affect a boundary established by treaty,” i.e., the legal instruments that created modern Syria.

Nevertheless, the promotion of new borders for the sake of regional security provides a golden opportunity to take other factors into account.

First, the Golan is vital to Israel’s security: Israel cannot risk the presence of a powerful army or jihadist guerillas along the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee. This means that Israeli possession of the Golan is vital for regional security, because a war in which the Golan is used against Israel would have regional ramifications. Considering Hezbollah’s heavy involvement in the Syrian war, anything that allows the Iranian proxy to threaten Israeli territory increases the prospects and potential scope of a regional war in which Israel will use force that many will undoubtedly condemn as disproportionate in order to eliminate the threat of incessant rocket attacks on a vulnerable population. Indeed, it appears that Iran is formulating a Plan B for Syria that involves leaving a Hezbollah-style force on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights for the day after Syria ceases to be unitary state. Jerusalem needs to control the Heights in order to minimize this threat.

Second, the question of the Golan’s fate needs to be settled in order to prevent future instability. Whatever entities arise east of the Golan need to know that they have no chance of reaching the Sea of Galilee if war is to be prevented. Hezbollah and Iran are likely to invoke Israel’s presence on the Heights as an excuse for further aggression, so the world needs to resolve in advance that it will categorically reject such arguments and treat the Golan border as inviolable.

Third, the residents of the Golan wish to remain part of Israel. Increasing numbers of Golan Druze are taking Israeli citizenship. If other parts of Syria are splintering off because the residents reject being ruled by Damascus, the wishes of the Golan Druze, who have known Israeli rule for 50 years now, should be similarly respected. And that is before addressing the issue of the Israeli Jews living on the Golan. The world claims that the Golan is occupied, but in an ongoing comparative study, Prof. Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University Law School has found that the international community has generally been willing to allow settlers to vote in referenda on the fate of occupied territory. Thus, the Baker Plan envisioned Moroccan settlers voting on the fate of Western Sahara and the Annan Plan allowed Turkish settlers in Northern Cyprus to vote on the island’s fate.

If the international community were to follow its own established practice, it might propose a referendum in which all residents of the Golan—Jewish and Druze—could vote to accept Israel’s annexation of the territory. At any rate, this would be far less controversial than actually delivering these Druze into Assad’s hands.

There are other grounds on which the international community could legally ratify Israel’s control of the Heights. Consider the legal principle of “effectivity,” which was eloquently articulated by the Canadian Supreme Court in its landmark 1998 legal opinion on the possible secession of Quebec. This ruling “proclaims that an illegal act may eventually acquire legal status if, as a matter of empirical fact, it is recognized on the international plane.” Addressing fears that this would encourage illegal activity, the court clarified that “a subsequent condonation of an initially illegal act [does not] retroactively create a legal right to engage in the act in the first place.” This principle gives the world the ability to conclude that, although the initial annexation was illegal, and there is no right to annex occupied territory, the effectiveness of Israel’s policy means that it should receive retroactive approval, especially in light of a fundamental change of circumstances.

It is true that international law considers the crime of aggression to be a violation of jus cogens law, meaning that states must refrain from recognizing its effects. But the Heights were not conquered in an aggressive war, and the Security Council notably rejected the idea that the annexation was aggressive in a Jordanian draft resolution on the issue. Having recently annexed Crimea, even Russia should be open to reconsidering the case for defensive conquest.

Legally and politically, the case for recognizing Israel’s control of the Golan would be solid.
That would cover a Soviet-style collapse, in which Syria splinters but leaves behind an intact core. But should Syria be officially dissolved instead, as was Yugoslavia, by the secession of various regions, a radically new legal and political reality would be created.

Consider the following scenario: If Syria experiences multiple secessions, which might include the Assad regime fleeing Damascus in favor of a coastal Alawite state, it is possible that no new state would comprise a majority of Syria’s territory or population. In this case, the world powers might declare that Syria has ceased to exist and refuse to recognize any of the successor states emerging from the rubble as the inheritor of Syria’s legal personality. “Extinction is not effected by…prolonged anarchy within the State,” explained Justice James Crawford of the International Court of Justice, “provided that the original organs of the State…retain at least some semblance of control.” Syria could soon conclusively fail to meet that test.

After the Yugoslavian civil war erupted, it became clear that the country could not be reconstituted. The Badinter Arbitration Commission judged in 1991 that “Yugoslavia is in the process of dissolution.” Then, in 1992, the Security Council decreed in Resolution 777 that “the state formerly known as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has ceased to exist” and stated that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, later known as Serbia and Montenegro, could not “continue automatically” Yugoslavia’s membership in the UN. The FRY’s claim to be Yugoslavia was widely disputed, since it did not contain a majority of its predecessor’s population or territory. In a subsequent treaty, the five successor states agreed to divide between them the former Yugoslavia’s rights and assets as sovereign equals.

Seven independent states and more autonomous regions eventually emerged from the former Yugoslavia.

Seven independent states and more autonomous regions eventually emerged from the former Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia dissolved despite the survival of its federal territories. The judgment that such a state in effect longer exists would be even stronger in the case of a unitary state collapsing along battle lines rather than internal boundaries, as Syria is doing now. In effect, no new state would have a strong claim to “be” Syria, and the world powers could declare that it has been extinguished with no single successor.

This would create a curious paradox or lacuna—a gap in the law. In effect, standing international resolutions would be demanding that Israel return territory to a state that no longer exists. Crucially, since none of the successor states would automatically inherit Syria’s rights and assets, none would inherit a prior legal right to the Golan Heights. Israel would have a prima facie obligation to hand over the territory, but no state in the world would have a legal claim to receive it. What would happen then?

The answer is that nobody knows. Syria’s successor states would have to justify their existence on the basis of the territories they control at the end of hostilities. They could not claim territory outside their effective control. This provides a unique window in which Israel’s claim to the Golan could be recognized with reference to its actual possession of the territory.

Such a situation would be almost unprecedented. It would be the first dissolution of a unitary, rather than federal, state in modern history, with one ironic exception—Palestine. When Mandatory Palestine collapsed into internecine warfare in 1948, the world recognized Israel’s boundaries not with reference to the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which was never implemented, but Israel’s actual possession of territory at the end of hostilities. It is true that claims to the territory by invading third parties were not recognized, namely Transjordan’s claim over the West Bank, but the ambiguity created by the unresolved question of sovereignty over this territory haunts the world to this day and remains a source of instability. By recognizing Israel’s control of the Golan, the world can prevent the emergence of another such anomaly that will only be a source of future grief.
The purpose of international law is to protect the international order, one in which states exist within secure and recognized borders. When the law provides no clear answers, it should be interpreted in the spirit of bolstering this international order. If the international community wishes to do this, nothing can legally stop it. The only way to bolster this international order and resolve the open question of the Golan is to recognize Israeli control over the territory.

From the Israeli perspective, this is obvious. Realistically speaking, there is no longer any incentive for Israel to return the Heights to Damascus. Until recently, some in Israel hoped to offer the Golan in order to seduce Syria away from the Iranian axis, a bold gamble to thwart Tehran’s push for regional hegemony. But with Iran emboldened by the recent nuclear deal and Syria now firmly under its domination, that possibility is foreclosed.

The process by which the world might recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Heights, however, will not be easy. The world needs not wait until the official collapse of Syria, but these scenarios may still be a way off, as the world powers resist recognizing the inevitable. Iran and Russia have every interest in maximizing Assad’s control over Syria, and would only write off the country as an absolute last resort. Recognizing breakaway states would raise uncomfortable questions about what is to be done about ISIS. And the current areas of control by various parties to the Syrian civil war do not neatly divide into separate, coherent entities that could be viable states.

But as surrounding states collapse further into a war of all against all, international recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan would be a bold statement in defense of the international order. Should the world fail to make such a statement, the Middle East could yet pay a heavy price for the world’s failure to let an anachronistic policy fall into desuetude.

{Eylon Aslan-Levy is a British-Israeli political commentator and writer. He is a graduate of Oxford and Cambridge, and a veteran lone soldier in the IDF. Twitter: @EylonALevy }

The Tower

Meet the New Secular Israeli: Believes in God, Keeps Shabbat

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Israel’s Channel 2 News and polling service Sample Project Panel, directed by Dr. Ariel Ayalon, have published a survey that may change everyone’s long-held assumptions about the divide between religious and secular in Israel. The survey questioned 500 Jewish Israeli respondents ages 18 to 64, and here is what they had to say regarding a variety of Jewish-related issues:

70.6% don’t eat pig’s meat.

66% believe in God. 20% believe in a higher power, but prefer not to use the G word. Out of those who identified themselves as secular, only 27% said they don’t believe in God.

55.5% have participated in separating the challah.

53.1% were married at the chief rabbinate.

51.4% of women, including secular women, maintain a modest appearance. Out of that group, 28% wear their skirts below the knees, 16% below the ankle, and 56% wear pants.

49.5% fast on Yom Kippur.

45.2% perform Kiddush on Friday night.

43.2% light Shabbat candles.

37.7% don’t drive on Shabbat.

38% keep family purity (avoiding sex during the menstrual period). Incidentally, of the respondents who defined themselves as religious, 9% say they do not observe family purity.

36.5% attend synagogue services on holidays.

29.6% keep kosher.

According to the survey, Israel is definitely becoming more religious. Younger Israelis are more religious than their elders: 80% of respondents ages 18-24 believe in God, compared with 57.5% of ages 55-64. And 25.9% of young Israelis say they are religious, compared with 11.5% of the older generation.

In fact, only Israelis ages 35 and up are majority secular, whereas among ages 24-34 only 48.8% say they are secular, and among ages 18-24 only 37.6% are secular. Out of the younger age group, 50.6% observe Shabbat, compared with 16.1% of their elders. 47.1% of the younger group keep kosher, compared with 21.8% of the older group. 22.4% of the younger Israelis attend synagogue on Shabbat, compared with 14.9% of older Israelis.

In fact, the only area where older Israelis are more traditional than their children is modesty.

On intermarriage, 65% of all Israelis say they would not consider marrying a non-Jew. Among the secular, 42% would not intermarry.

In some areas, however, Israelis are still more secular than religious: 62% of Israelis drive on Shabbat, and 64% use their phones on Shabbat.

JNi.Media

Newest Israelis Do Independence Day the Israeli Way

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – As Israel marks its 68th Independence Day, millions of citizens take to the streets and squares of the country to attend parties, street dancing, barbecues, or concerts open to the public. While some of them celebrate the country’s independence for the 68th time, among the joyful multitudes of Israelis are the newest citizens, recent immigrants known in Hebrew as olim.

Many of these new Israelis expressed amazement at how the day is celebrated in Israel in contrast with their native countries.

“In France people don’t care about their Independance Day, but here everyone takes out their Israeli flags and people are proud. It’s a real celebration,” Deborah Bertrand, a 20-year-old from the French Riviera city of Nice, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

Bertrand immigrated to Israel a year ago and is now serving in the IDF. “I feel enormous pride to be in the Israeli army,” she said.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 36,000 olim arrived in Israel since last Independence Day. In 2015, 7,900 French Jews immigrated to Israel, against the backdrop of a wave of anti-Semitic attacks in the country. The second largest group of olim came from the Ukraine with almost 7,000 people.

Dimitri Arutiunov, a 24-year-old immigrant from war-ravaged Ukraine, described the difference between his previous Ukranian Independence Days and the one in Israel.

“The most obvious difference to me is the fact that in Israel Independence Day is celebrated only after a Memorial Day is observed,” he told TPS.

“Before celebrating the nation’s independence, the country honors those who are responsible for it. It’s unique,” Arutiunov explained. “In the Ukraine and Russia, people don’t even know who is fighting for their country and who dies.”

Nina Rabinowitz, a 29-year old from New Jersey, immigrated to Israel just a few months ago and also noticed a distinct difference in the local Independence Day spirit.

“In the U.S. it feels like a duty or a requirement, but here in Israel it’s just cool that the whole country is celebrating,” Rabinowitz told TPS. “It feels much more like a holiday.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/newest-israelis-do-independence-day-the-israeli-way/2016/05/12/

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