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Updated: 1 hour 14 min ago

‘Rock stars’ of the IDF: Israeli soldiers go on tour to educate the masses

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 12:00am
By CATHRYN J. PRINCE for The Times of Israel


Groups seek to put a human face on the Jewish state while countering misconceptions and anti-Israel activists


The questions come fast and furious for Israel Defense Force reservists Keren and Haitham, who goes by the nickname Tom.

“How do you show your support for Israel on campus?” “How does training and combat affect you?” “Do you have to live in Israel to show your love for it?”

About 40 students sit inside the book lined beit midrash, or study hall, of Hebrew High School of New England (HHNE). They have more questions than time allows. Still the pair does their best to answer each one clearly, concisely and completely.

This is the second to last stop on a nearly three-week long Israeli Soldiers Tour, or IST, through New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Along the way the two, whose last names have been withheld for security reasons, met students at University of Hartford and cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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Who's behind the coolest new feature on the iPhone X?

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 12:00am
by Benyamin Cohen for FromtheGrapevine 


Apple turned to its R&D center in Israel for their new Face ID technology.


The wait is over. Apple unveiled the highly anticipated new iPhone models at an event streamed around the world.

Called the iPhone X, it marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone's debut in 2007. While there are many new whiz-bang features on the phone, one in particular caught our attention: Face ID. The new technology is an infrared face scanner that will unlock your iPhone simply by looking at it. (Die-hard From The Grapevine readers will recall that we predicted this back in the summer of 2015. OK, so we were off by two years. We're not perfect.)

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Disasters know no borders - MEFF joint international exercise

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 12:00am
From Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority collaborate in MiddleEast forest fires exercise.

 

 

The overall goal of the exercise is for participants to exchange knowledge and attain common capacities, to effectively respond to disaster situations, especially along and across mutual borders.

 


The Middle East Forest Fires (MEFF) joint international exercise taking place today (Tuesday, 24 October 2017), is conducted under the sponsorship of EU member states: Italy, France and Spain, and held in participation and under the positive cooperation of Jordan, Israel and the PA.

The joint exercise, supported by the European Commission's Civil Protection Exercise program, aims to preserve lives and natural resources, regardless of nationality and/or borders.

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Israeli woman unites Hebrew and Arabic in a unique new typeface

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 12:00am
by Green Prophet Guest in Cities


An Israeli designer with roots in Haifa has developed a new script that bridges a basic cultural divide between Israeli Jews and Arabs.

Liron Lavi Turkenich (pictured below), instructor of graphic design from Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art, was raised in a Haifa, a city with a blended ethnic population where Hebrew and Arabic are spoken. A Hebrew speaker, it occured to her several years ago that she had never paid attention to the Arabic letters on bilingual road signs. Instead, she was “just looking at Arabic as decorations and not letters with content – and in fact, kind of ignoring the Arabic,” Turkenich told NoCamels. (Green Prophet has written about the hypnotic visual affect of Arab calligraphy on non-Arabic readers, as example in this story about Tunisian-French artist eL Seed.)

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Massive section of Western Wall and Roman theater uncovered after 1,700 years

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 12:00am

By AMANDA BORSCHEL-DAN for The Times of Israel



Sought for 150 years, the remarkable discovery of the small theater changes archaeologists' perceptions of Roman-conquered Jerusalem after the fall of the Second Temple



Archaeologists are one step closer to solving the riddle of what took place in Jerusalem following the destruction of the city by Romans in 70 CE.


Israel Antiquity Authority archaeologists announced Monday that for the past two years they have been excavating and exposing a massive eight-meter deep section of Jerusalem’s Western Wall, unseen for 1,700 years.


And in the course of their work, which has been quietly proceeding directly beneath Wilson’s Arch — the area immediately adjacent to the men’s section of the Western Wall — they unexpectedly discovered a small Roman theater. The dig has not encroached under the Temple Mount.


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Israeli company unveils revolutionary artificial cornea

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:00am
By Nicky Blackburn for Israel21c


CorNeat Vision develops new nanotech solution that could one day help restore sight to millions who have gone blind due to diseases of the cornea.


An early-stage Israeli ophthalmic medical devices startup has developed a revolutionary artificial cornea implant that holds out hope to millions of blind and visually impaired people suffering from diseases of the cornea.

The nanotech-based solution by CorNeat Vision of Ra’anana is a synthetic cornea that uses advanced cell technology to integrate artificial optics within ocular tissue.

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10 of the coolest biotech companies in Jerusalem

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 12:00am
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c


Amazing new technologies for beating conditions including breast cancer, ALS and obesity are under development in Israel’s capital city.


Tel Aviv may be Israel’s high-tech capital, but the heart of life-sciences innovation lies in Jerusalem.


Jerusalem’s life-sciences cluster includes three innovation centers and 140 biomedical companies. About two-thirds of those companies are involved in biopharma (making drugs from living sources rather than chemicals).

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Afterlife snack: Jar of toads popped open in 4,000-year-old Canaanite tomb dig

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 12:00am
By AMANDA BORSCHEL-DAN for The Times of Israel


Excavation just outside Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo gives window into funerary rites with unexpected remains of decapitated frogs and not-local myrtle and date pollen



A 4,000-year-old Canaanite “burial kit” has been found to include an afterlife snack pack of nine decapitated frogs. Discovered in a salvage excavation near Jerusalem’s Biblical zoo, a set of intact jars and their contents shedsnew light on funerary rites of the Middle Bronze period — and give a window into an ancient recipe for toad.


The dig’s co-director, Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Shua Kisilevitz, told The Times of Israel on Monday that while food offerings in burials are typical of the Bronze Age, “finding toads is pretty unusual,” she said. “To the best of my knowledge, the only other place in Israel with toad find was in Wadi Ara, and dates to the Late Bronze Age.”


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New app orients visually impaired in malls, schools, hospitals

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 12:00am
By Brian Blum for Israel21c


Free text-to-speech smartphone app mimics the function of a venue’s directory board, orienting a visitor toward the proper direction.


Idan Meir thought he was building a technology to help stores sell more goods. He wound up with a product that allows blind and visually impaired people to navigate malls, universities and hospitals.

“It happened almost by accident,” Meir says, explaining the genesis for RightHear, the pioneering accessibility app he built with cofounder and CTO Gil Elgrably.

The two had created a technology to offer virtual on-the-spot coupons to shoppers based on Apple’s iBeacon technology. iBeacons are small self-powered Bluetooth transmitters that can be placed on walls and roofs in a retail location. But the business model wasn’t making sense.

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Restaurants okayed to say food kosher without rabbinate’s approval

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 12:00am
Times of Israel Staff



Landmark High Court ruling finds informing consumers about food's origins cannot be prohibited, denting monopoly by ultra-Orthodox-controlled state rabbinical body



The High Court of Justice on Tuesday ruled that Israeli restaurateurs are permitted to inform their clientele that they serve kosher food even if they do not have kashrut certification from the Israeli state rabbinate.
The Law Prohibiting Fraud in Kashrut states that “the owner of a food establishment may not present the establishment as kosher unless it was given a certificate of kashrut,” and that only official state or local rabbis may give such certificates.


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Was the oldest mug shop in history just discovered?

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:00am
by Benyamin Cohen for FromtheGrapevine 


Archaeologists have found a chalkstone vessel workshop that dates back thousands of years.


You saunter into your office break room for a cup of joe and scan the room for a usable mug. There, far in the corner, is the "World's Best Dad" cup that some co-worker left there months ago – so long, in fact, that nobody can quite remember who it belongs to. Nonetheless, it sits in the corner collecting dust. You think that mug is old? Think again.

A team of archaeologists in Israel has just discovered the remains of a rare mug workshop in the northern part of the country. It's believed to be thousands of years old. The dig site was full of chalkstone vessels – mostly mugs and bowls – that were in various stages of production.

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Jerusalem gets smart with new digital gadget library

Mon, 09/04/2017 - 12:00am
By Viva Sarah Press for Israel21c


On loan are smartwatches and laptops, 3D cameras, smart computer chips, gaming computers, tablets, and Android and iOS smartphones.


Israel’s startup community has inaugurated its first gadget library. The Jerusalem venue, called The Device Lab, has cutting-edge technologies and devices on loan for entrepreneurs and students to try out their ideas.

US colleges have long offered their academic communities the opportunity to come try out new and old technologies on an array of gadgets and computers at so-called gadget libraries.

Now, Israeli developers – new and veteran – have a library of their own in which to tinker about.

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Chinese-Israeli ed-tech startup teaches kids to code

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 12:00am
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c


Shanghai-based LeapLearner represents the first global venture built from the ground up by Chinese and Israeli cofounders.


Chinese students rank best in the world on standardized tests but don’t excel in thinking out of the box. Israeli kids aren’t great test-takers but have exceptional innovation and problem-solving skills.

LeapLearner, the first Chinese-Israeli startup, puts those qualities together in a disruptive online and offline platform to teach kids coding along with critical 21st century skills including innovation, self-learning, problem-solving, creativity and adaptability.

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Rish Lakish olive oil: A family affair

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 12:00am
By Lin Arison & Diana C. Stoll/The Desert and the Cities Sing for Israel21c


At Rish Lakish, olive picking is still done by hand unlike at most commercial olive groves.


There are countless stories in Israel of small-scale businesses that cobble together several undertakings in order to succeed. The Rish Lakish olive oil press, in the village of Zippori in the Lower Galilee, is one of these.


At the head of this family-owned business are Micha and Rachelle Noymeir, but their six children played a formative role in the establishment of their olive oil production. Their headquarters, a lovely straw-bale structure, was built by the Noymeir sons.


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Spain To Create Ladino Academy In Israel To Help Preserve Dying Jewish Language

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 12:00am
From JTA


Spain’s leading linguistic authority will create an academy in Israel dedicated to the study and preservation of the Ladino language.

The institution will be the 24th branch of the Spanish Royal Academy, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

Dario Villanueva, director of the Spanish Royal Academy, or RAE, said Ladino is “an extraordinarily important cultural and historical phenomenon” that deserved its own academy.

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Jerusalem's National Library Presents: All the World's Hebrew Manuscripts Online

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 12:00am
By Ofer Aderet for Haaretz


The new website features the world's biggest collection of Jewish and Hebrew manuscripts and should be a treasure trove for researchers


Some 70 years after David Ben-Gurion expressed his dream of gathering all Hebrew manuscripts from around the world and bringing them to Jerusalem, his vision is being realized this week with the launch of the National Library of Israel’s new website.


The goal of the site, called Ktiv, the International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts, is to collect scans of all Hebrew manuscripts ever written anywhere, from dozens of libraries, archives and collections around the world.


“This is the world’s biggest collection of Jewish and Hebrew manuscripts,” Dr. Aviad Stollman, the head of collections at the National Library, told Haaretz.


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