New Travel Restrictions – Might as well stay home…

New Airline Security RulesI am no security expert, but I am a relatively experienced international flyer.  I can tell you this, the new travel restrictions on flights to and from the USA make me very uninterested in flying.  I suppose that’s what the Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are hoping for as much as their more dastardly plans.

New travel restrictions placed on flights to the USA include:

1. First and last hour of flight, you must remain in your seat, legs open, no blanket, no PDA/ipod, no going to washroom, no opening the overhead compartment.

2. No GPS in flight map system so you can’t see on a map where the plane is on your journey.  Especially miserable for a 12+ hour flight.

3. No internet

4. For systems (like JetBlue) where the GPS is intertwined with the entertainment system, there will be no TV the entire flight.  How about that?

On a flight from Tel Aviv to New York, you can expect to sit for 12 hours with your hands on your lap, (legs open), no blanket, no tv, no in flight maps, and holding it in, lest you dare make a dash for the toilets.  I’m wondering if this is any better than the sea voyages our grandparents endured in a bygone era?

Silly question…what if the flight is from Hong Kong to New Jersey, and the last four hours of the filght are over the United States, will passengers be required to remain in their seats the entire time?  Why is TSA security so reactionary?  There has to be a better way!

Oleh Hadash – Will your grandchildren be USA citizens?

USA Citizenship for Ex-pats

If you are an oleh (new or old), e.g. you are an ex-pat of the United States, you probably assume your children and children’s children will be USA citizens just like you.  In reality, it’s not as simple as it seems.

Have a look at the USA State Department’s website http://uscis.gov on “Expeditious Naturalization for children born outside the United States.”

Immediate USA Citizenship
Continue reading “Oleh Hadash – Will your grandchildren be USA citizens?”

Death on the Israeli Roads – The Numbers

Worldwide Epidemic

More than 1 million people are killed worldwide, and more than 50 million are injured in traffic accidents each year. Road deaths are now the number-one global killer of people aged 10 to 24. While 965 people lost their lives in air crashes last year, more than 3,000 people die on the world’s roadways every day. 85 percent of traffic casualties occur in low- and middle-income countries… The rate of child deaths due to road accidents in South Africa is 26 per 100,000 population, compared with 1.7 per 100,000 in Europe. Someone is killed or badly injured on the world’s roads every six seconds.

Israel Statistics
As of June 8, there have been 155 road fatalities in Israel. Today is the 159th day of the year. That’s nearly one person killed per day on our roads. There has been a drop in overall traffic accident deaths as compared to recent years.

Although this may not seem like a great number; if heaven forbid there should be 360 lives lost this year, that would represent a nearly 15% drop in traffic fatalities than the average of the last five years. Israel is a country of only 7 million citizens. Let’s extrapolate that number dead to the USA with approx 303 million citizens, and that would amount to approx 15,430 traffic accident deaths.

USA Statistics
According to the USA Department of Transportation, there were approx 31,000 road fatalities on the interstate highways from Jan-Oct 2008, and that’s for 10 months, not a full year.

We may be doing better than we thought, but this stat only covers deaths. It does not include the mamed, injured, and traumatized from car collisions. Many of the injured in Israel from road accidents are pedestrians.

Hungarian Anti-Semitism

According to the Jewish Agency, Hungary today has a population of approximately 50,000 Jews. In 1910, one hundred years ago, there were nearly one million Jews living there. The Nazis killed many, some emigrated to America, some to Israel, and others assimilated during the Soviet regime.

Hungary has a total population of just over 9 million. So with Jews totalling 1/2 percent of the population, you wouldn’t figure for them to a major force in that country.  Therefore, I found it odd to see today’s headline in Haaretz:  “Proud Hungarians must prepare for war against the Jews.”

This is not a headline from some blogger world or an offbeat political commentator. This is a headline taken from Hungary’s leading Police union newspaper. Here’s another example:

After the recent resignation of prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, one of the candidates for the post was Gyorgy Suranyi, formerly the governor of the Hungarian Central Bank, a brilliant economist, and a Jew.

The center-right party Democratic Hungarian Forum published on the front page of its newsletter a picture of Suranyi’s face inside a yellow star of David (reminiscent of the yellow patch from the days of Fascism) with the following caption: “Suranyi is actually the candidate backed by the elderly [Israeli President] Shimon Peres.”

The frightening and chilling tones of pre-WWII Eastern Europe are rearing their ugly heads yet again.  This time, there are practically little Jews left there, and yet they still pipe the same headlines – “Given our current situation, anti-Semitism is not just our right, but it is the duty of every Hungarian homeland lover, and we must prepare for armed battle against the Jews.”

Jews of the diaspora today should pop open the history books and read what are the warning signs of anti-semitism so they can draw their own conclusions on appropriate action plans to keep their families safe from the ordeals our recent and past ancestors endured.  One book that I can specifically recommend is The War Against the Jews: 1933-1945 by Lucy S. Dawidowicz.

UN Sends Jewish Goldstone to Investigate Israel Warcrimes

“A United Nations team headed by a veteran war crimes prosecutor has begun its probe into possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas militants during Operation Cast Lead. ”

Israel has not accepted this probe and questions the validity of a UN-led team, with its known anti-Israel bias.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said “This committee has been instructed to find Israel guilty no matter what and there is no point in cooperating with such a masquerade.”

Goldstone in Gaza to Probe Possible Israel Warcrimes - Source: Haaretz
Goldstone in Gaza to Probe Possible Israel Warcrimes - Source: Haaretz

The commission is headed by a Jew, Richard Goldstone, a South African judge. The irony is not lost on this author that even in this day and age a Jew and non-Israeli would be willing to lead a commission that investigates Israel in a world forum.

Israel said last week that it will not cooperate with the UN team.

Predicting the Exact Date of the Stock Market Recovery

The Stock Market, Economy, and the Jewish Blessing on the Sun.

The Jewish religion has a tradition that the sun rotates on a 28 year cycle that corresponds with the creation of the world. At the end of each 28 years, on the precise day, the sun returns to the position it first appeared at the beginning of creation 5769 years ago.

This 28 year cycle comes to completion on ?”? ????? ?’???”? which corresponds to April 8, 2009.

Here’s the Wikipedia article on this subject  Hebrew English

What does all this have to do with the world economy and stock market?

In the 20th Century, the Blessing on the Sun was made in 1925, 1953, and 1981. On January 2, 1929 the Dow Jones Index reached its peak of 307 before the crash.  It took all the way until 1953 to regain the peak after the depression of the 1930’s. The market returned to its pre-crash high in 1953 after the 28 year sun-cycle completed.   Is this the ultimate market cycle?

Is this a coincidence? What do you think?

Woman Killed in Road Accident Near Mesilat Ziyon

Dangerous road 38 claims another innocent victim

A 50 yr old woman was killed last night while crossing highway 38 near Mesilat Ziyon .  A man driving from Bet Shemesh hit her as she crossed the right near the busstop.  He pulled to the side of the road and called the Police.

As he waited for the police to arrive, on this dark and dangerous road, several cars passing after him hit the woman laying without noticing.

The residents of this small moshav have been petitioning the transportation ministry for years to change this dangerous road.  There are two busstops on either side of this major artery linking Bet Shemesh to the main Highway 1.  Often, passengers are let off on one side of the road and need to cross to other side to catch a different bus.

This Youtube video was added in March 2008, with the title “IT’S A QUESTION OF WHO AND WHEN WILL GET HURT WHILE CROSSING THE ROAD (# 38) TO ENTER MOSHAV MESILAT ZION, AND THE AUTHORITY IS DOING NOTHING!!”

You can see just how dangerous it is to cross that road during the day. Imagine how much more so when attempting to cross at night. The result last night was tragic.

We hope the authorities will take notice.

Financial Crisis to bring recession to israel

We’ve all been watching the recent developments of Wall Street with a keen eye.  How, if at all, will it affect us individually?  Will Israel be dragged into a recession as well as the rest of Europe?

An inevitable part of the US’s historic $750 billion bailout package is the huge amount of paper that the government has to print.  The money has to come from somewhere, and usually that means selling more treasury notes and bills, or bartering paper with foreign governments.

With all that new money hitting the markets, you’d expect the dollar to drop in value.  However, the world economy follows the USA like a herd to a shepherd.  All the talk about Euros, shmooros…  When you want a safe currency in times of crisis, you don’t look to Europe with one of its EU members (Iceland) on the brink of bankruptcy, nor do you look to China or Japan, as they are having their own crises.  You buy dollars.  And that’s exactly what’s been going on since the US bailout plan was passed.

As a result, major and 2nd tier currencies alike have lost approx 5% in value against the US Dollar in the past week.  In Israel, the drop was sudden and major.  Two week ago, the Shekel (NIS) was trading against the USD in a range from 3.48 to 3.50.  Almost overnight, the Shekel devalued against the dollar to 3.70.  That’s a 5 percent change.

That’s very good for Israeli exporters, tourism, and for Israelis who’s salary is linked to the dollar, and for technology companies who raised funds in dollars.

That’s very bad, however, for importers, most Israelis who do not have linkage on their salary, and just about every consumer.  Prices will start to rise at the supermarket, which will in turn reduce consumption, and bring on inflation, and then recession.

Much of the strength of the Israeli economy over the past few years has been related to the strength and new found autonomy of the Israeli currency.  Breaking with the norm of the past 60 years, for example, Real estate was being quoted in Shekels.  Israelis had a new sense of pride in our national currency.

Now with this recent crisis, and the fall of the Euro as the other viable currency alternative to the almighty dollar, it appears Israel’s economy will be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Listen to Israel Radio on the Internet

I remember as a kid in Chicago how I used to walk around the house (and neighborhood) and try to find the best spot for reception on my shortwave radio. In those days, tuning in to Israel Radio was like catching an ephemeral glimpse of far away land.  At 4pm in the afternoon, I would tune in Reshet Bet and listen to the 6am Boker Tov announcement which included the incredible recital of the Shema and then the top of the morning news.

Nowadays, perhaps the mystery and anticipation are gone, but the fun is still there. Now you can listen to many thousands of radio stations around the world with a simple click of a link on your internet browser. In fact, now that I live in Israel, I listen to Chicago radio stations with the same nostalgia as I did as a kid tuning in from the other side of the world to hear the sounds of Israel.

Here are the most popular Israel Radio selections available for you to tune in live now. Simply click on a link, and your Windows Media Player will open and begin to play the selected channel.

1. Arutz Sheva Hebrew – Voice of the right of center in Israel
2. Galei Zahal – Army Radio, news, interviews, music
3. Galgalatz – Army Radio, mostly music
4. Kol Hamusica – Classical Music
5. Reshet Bet – Israel’s main news and talk channel
6. Reshet Dalet (Arabic) – news and talk in Arabic
7. Reshet Gimel – Israeli Music
8. 106FM Tel Aviv – Local Tel Aviv
9. 107.5FM Radio Haifa 107.5 – Local Haifa, Webcam of Studio
10. 88FM – Jazz Music, News

Watch Israel TV on the Internet

The internet makes it easy for you to watch live tv from anywhere in the world.

There are several Israeli TV Channels who stream their stations live, or offer daily rebroadcasts of news and other shows. When you click on the link, your Windows Media Player will open and begin playing the selected channel.

1. Channel 10 This is a very popular Israeli channel that is available on cable. The internet broadcast is usually live during the mornings and evenings Israel time.
2. Channel 1 IBA News (English) Daily rebroadcast of the half hour long evening English news program.
3. Channel 1 Mabat News Daily rebroadcast of Israel’s most popular evening news (in Hebrew).
4. Knesset Live See what’s going on at Israel’s parliament. They also offer news programs and interviews on political issues.
5. Machon Meir – Religious Classes Online. Catch a live shiur!
6. Shopping Channel TV Shop till you drop (in Hebrew).