Category Archives: Israel

First Lady Michelle Obama and Sara Netanyahu Meet Over Tea

Posted by: Audiegrl


YNet News.com~While her husband met with President Barack Obama, Sara Netanyahu held her own Blair House rendezvous with the US’s First Lady, Michelle, on Tuesday.

The tête-à-tête was scheduled to last a half an hour but, like their husband’s meeting, it ran longer – for an entire hour.

During the meeting, Michelle Obama commended Sara Netanyahu on the work she does as a psychologist in the service of the public.

The first lady also knew of Avner Netanyahu’s achievements in the National Bible Quiz, and even where Sara’s older son, Yair, serves in the army.

The two ladies also discussed the Soccer World Cup, and Michelle said her daughters both play soccer. She added that the World Cup was helpful in teaching her children, and Americans as a whole, about the countries of the world.

At this stage the presidential dog wandered in and both of the ladies patted him.

When the Netanyahu couple arrived at the presidential guest house in Washington, a bouquet of flowers awaited them together with a card from the first lady, in which she expressed hope that the relations between the two countries would grow even closer.

Though the president and the prime minister were meeting for the fifth time, the rendezvous was a first for the two ladies.


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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at AIPAC: Israeli Building Hurts Peace

Posted by: Audiegrl

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pauses while speaking during the 2010 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference March 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton spoke to the pro-Israel lobbying group about the relationship between the United States and Israel and issues facing the Middle East. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images North America)

AP~New Israeli construction on land claimed by the Palestinians threatens peace efforts and undermines America’s ability to help end the Arab-Israeli conflict, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a leading Jewish organization Monday.

Israel’s recent announcement of new housing in east Jerusalem exposed differences between the U.S. and the Jewish state that others could exploit, Clinton said. Her remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee were friendly, but contained a blunt account of a severe diplomatic breach between the close allies over what the United States sees as the provocative and shortsighted expansion of Jewish settlements and other housing on land claimed by Palestinians.

Clinton defended the Obama administration’s strong criticism of a recent large housing announcement because she said it hurt attempts to launch peace talks in which the United States will be the intermediary.

We objected to this announcement because we are committed to Israel and its security, which we believe depends on a comprehensive peace,” Clinton said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the group Monday evening, and was seeing President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

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In this handout image supplied by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton March 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by GPO/Getty Images North America)



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Vice-President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden Visit the Middle East

Posted by: Audiegrl

Jordan King Tells Biden Israeli Settlements Threaten Peace

Vice President Joe Biden (3rd L), meets with Jordan's King Abdullah II (3rd R) at the Royal Palace on March 11, 2010 in Amman, Jordan. Biden's currently on tour of the middle east which has so far seen him meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Getty Images Europe)

AFP~ Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Thursday told visiting US Vice President Joe Biden that Israel’s new settlements plans threaten peace efforts and could lead to more regional violence.

The king renewed Jordan’s condemnation of Israel’s decision to build new settlements in east Jerusalem,” a palace statement quoted the king as telling Biden at a meeting.

He said “such unilateral actions, which are internationally rejected, threaten the peace process and put the entire region at risk of getting into a new cycle of conflict,” according to the statement.

Achieving peace in the Middle East requires a leading US role. The entire world is paying the price for the troubled peace process,” said the king, whose country, a key US ally, signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.

Israel said on Tuesday it would build 1,600 new homes for Jewish settlers in mainly Arab east Jerusalem, and the announcement coincided with a visit by Biden to the disputed holy city.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly apologized to the vice president on Thursday in a bid to defuse the row over settlements, which prompted a Palestinian boycott of indirect peace talks.

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82nd Annual Academy Awards ~ Oscars® ~ Best Foreign Language Film

Posted by: Audiegrl

Ajami
Ajami(Israel) Directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani

Click here for complete coverage of Ajami, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

El Secreto de Sus Ojos
El Secreto de Sus Ojos(Argentina) Directed by Juan José Campanella

Click here for complete coverage of El Secreto de Sus Ojos, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

The Milk of Sorrow
The Milk of Sorrow(Peru) Directed by Claudia Llosa

Click here for complete coverage of The Milk of Sorrow, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

Un Prophète
Un Prophète(France) Directed by Jacques Audiard

Click here for complete coverage of Un Prophète, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

The White Ribbon
The White Ribbon(Germany) Directed by Michael Haneke

Click here for complete coverage of The White Ribbon, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…
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Academy Award® Nominated: Ajami ~ Israel

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl and Geot

Written and directed by a Palestinian and an Israeli director, Scandar Copti (a Palestinian born and raised in Ajami) and Yaron Shani (a Jewish Israeli), Ajami explores five different stories set in an actual impoverished Christian-and-Muslim Arab neighborhood of the Tel Aviv – Jaffa metropolis, called Ajami.

Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood is a melting pot of cultures and conflicting views among Jews, Muslims and Christians. Back and forth in time, and through the eyes of various characters, we witness how impossible the situation actually is: the 13-year-old Nasri who lives in fear; a young Palestinian refugee called Malek, who works illegally in Israel; the affluent Palestinian Binj who dreams of a bright future with his Jewish girlfriend and the Jewish policeman Dando who is obsessed with finding his missing brother. The many characters played by non-professional actors lend the story the feel of a documentary.

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Credits

Directors/Screenplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani
Producers . . . . . . . . . Mosh Danon, Talia Kleinhendler and Thanassis Karathanos
Cinematography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Boaz Yehonatan Yacov
Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti
Production Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yoav Sinai
Costume Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rona Doron
Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rabiah Buchari
Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Matthias Schwab
Production Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inosan Productions

Cast includes: Fouad Habash (Nassri), Nisrin Reihan (Ilham), Scandar Copti (Binj), Elias Sabah (Shata), Shahir Kabaha (Omar), Hilal Caboub (Anan).

Reviews

IMDB member from Israel
Ajami is the first full length feature film directed by two young Israelis Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani. They have produced an extraordinary film which features five separate stories set in Ajami, a poor Arab neighborhood situated in the city of Tel-Aviv/Yafo. The many characters are played mostly by non professionals, i.e. are not working actors, and the result gives a documentary feel to the film. Amazingly the level of acting is very high and ensures that the film is completely believable and absorbing from beginning to end. Perhaps the only drawback is the limited time available to develop each main character. The viewer wants to know more about them and their lives but time is limited. The film shows a part of Israeli society rarely shown in Israeli films (Arab Moslem and Arab Christian families living in Ajami) and the makers are to be commended for their achievement in showing a rather hidden side of our society.

Did You Know?

This is the ninth nomination for Israel. Previous nominations were for Sallah (1964), The Policeman (1971), I Love You Rosa (1972), The House on Chelouche Street (1973), Operation Thunderbolt (1977), Beyond the Walls (1984), Beaufort (2007) and Waltz with Bashir (2008).

One Nomination

Best Foreign Language Film ~ Israel

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Origins and Traditions of Hanukkah

Hanukkah (also known as Chanukah, Hanukah, Hannuka and the Festival of Lights) is an eight-day Jewish holiday that usually takes place between late November and late December. It commemorates the victory of the Maccabees, a Jewish rebel army, over the Syrians in 165 B.C.E., as well as the subsequent re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem. Jews around the world celebrate with eight nights of merriment. Traditions include lighting the menorah, exchanging gifts and enjoying treats cooked in oil.

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The History of Hanukkah

Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and nights, starting on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar (which is November-December on the Gregorian calendar). In Hebrew, the word “Hanukkah” means “dedication.”

The holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jews’ 165 B.C.E. victory over the Hellenist Syrians. Antiochus, the Greek King of Syria, outlawed Jewish rituals and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods.

In 168 B.C.E. the Jews’ holy Temple was seized and dedicated to the worship of Zeus.

Some Jews were afraid of the Greek soldiers and obeyed them, but most were angry and decided to fight back.

The fighting began in Modiin, a village not far from Jerusalem. A Greek officer and soldiers assembled the villagers, asking them to bow to an idol and eat the flesh of a pig, activities forbidden to Jews. The officer asked Mattathias, a Jewish High Priest, to take part in the ceremony. He refused, and another villager stepped forward and offered to do it instead. Mattathias became outraged, took out his sword and killed the man, then killed the officer. His five sons and the other villagers then attacked and killed the soldiers. Mattathias’ family went into hiding in the nearby mountains, where many other Jews who wanted to fight the Greeks joined them. They attacked the Greek soldiers whenever possible.

Judah Maccabee and his soldiers went to the holy Temple, and were saddened that many things were missing or broken, including the golden menorah. They cleaned and repaired the Temple, and when they were finished, they decided to have a big dedication ceremony. For the celebration, the Maccabees wanted to light the menorah. They looked everywhere for oil, and found a small flask that contained only enough oil to light the menorah for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days. This gave them enough time to obtain new oil to keep the menorah lit. Today Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days by lighting candles in a menorah every night, thus commemorating the eight-day miracle.

Hanukkah Traditions

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The Menorah
On each night of Hanukkah, the menorah is lit to commemorate a miracle which occurred after the Jews proclaimed victory over the Syrian armies in 165 B.C.E. When Jews came to rededicate the Temple-which had been defiled by the Syrians-they found only one small flask of oil with which to light the menorah. This flask contained only enough oil for one day, yet the lamp burned for eight days (by which time a fresh supply of oil was obtained).

  • In Israel, the Hanukkah menorah is called the Hanukiyah
    Menorahs come in all shapes and sizes. The only requirement is that the flames are separated enough so that they will not look too big and resemble a pagan bonfire.

  • Ancient menorahs were made of clay. They consisted of small, pearl shaped vessels, each with its own wick, which were arranged side-by-side.
  • Today’s menorah, which stands on a base from which the branches sprout, resembles the holy Temple’s menorah and started to appear towards the end of the Middle Ages.

Latkes at Hanukkah

Classic Potato Latkes

Classic Potato Latkes

The most popular themes throughout the Hanukkah dishes are the use of oil. The oil reminds us of the oil which burned eight days instead of one. Latkes are potato pancakes made from grated potatoes mixed with eggs, onions, and flour, then fried in vegetable oil. The texture is crispy on the outside and tender within. They’re served hot and often dipped in apple sauce or sour cream. The Maccabbee soliders ate latkes made from cheese, vegetables, or fruits which were brought to them on the battlefields. However, they didn’t eat potato latkes, as potatoes weren’t available until the 16th century.

Hanukkah Dreidel
The dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter inscribed on each side. In America the letters stand for “A Great Miracle Happened There“. In Israel the letters mean “A Miracle Happened Here“. Each player receives a given number of coins or candy pieces. Before spinning the dreidel, each player puts a fixed proportion of the amount received into the “kupah” or kitty. Each player in turn spins the dreidel. When the dreidel falls, it will fall on one of the 4 letters. According to the letter, the following will happen: Nun – no win / no lose Gimmel – take all (from the kitty) Heh – take half (from the kitty) Peh or Shin – lose (what you deposited) The game continues until players have run out of ‘funds’ or it is agreed to stop (anyone losing all funds is out of the game). The dreidel game was popular during the rule of Antiochus before the Maccabees’ revolt, a time when soldiers executed any Jews who were caught practicing their religion. When pious Jews gathered to study the Torah, they had the top ready in case they heard soliders approaching. If the soldiers appeared, they would hide the holy scriptures and pretend to play with the dreidl. In Israel the dreidel is called a sivivon. The yiddish word “dreidel” is derived from the German word “drehen“, or “turn“.

Sufganiyot – Hanukkah Jelly Donuts
Sufganiyot, fried foods recall the oil that burned in the temple

Sufganiyot, fried foods recall the oil that burned in the temple

Sufganiyot are jelly doughnuts without the hole. They’re dropped into hot oil without being shaped and come out in odd, funny shapes, then covered in powdered sugar and/or cinnamon. Sufganiyot are particularly popular in Israel, where they are sold on stands in the streets over a month before Hanukkah begins. Some great recipes can be found here.

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Helpful Information and Related Articles

The White House Hanukkah Celebration 2009
Hanukkah Food and Entertaining
Hanukkah Decorating
Hanukkah Gifts and Cards
Hanukkah Games and Songs


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Al Arabiya: PM Netanyahu tells Assad he’s willing to cede Golan

posted by GeoT

Benjamin Netanyahu

Could Israel and Syria be on the verge of a breakthrough in their exchanges on the peace process? According to the pan-Arab satellite television station Al Arabiya, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has relayed to the Syrian President Bashar Assad, through French President Nicolas Sarkozy, an expression of interest on renewing peace negotiations.

The same report says that Netanyahu expressed willingness to withdraw from the Golan to the borders of June 4, 1967. Netanyahu also reportedly stressed that he is interested in a meeting with Assad, without preconditions.

The Prime Minister’s Bureau yesterday denied reports that Netanyahu had relayed a message to Assad. However, political sources in Jerusalem said yesterday that Netanyahu is also examining the possibility that France will replace Turkey as a mediator between Israel and Syria.

Bashar Al-Assad

In recent days the Syrian president has made a number of declarations on peace with Israel. Earlier this week he warned that if negotiations fail this would lead to “resistance” as an alternative.
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