Work and play

Many of us may be enjoying a summer break whilst others like me are still hard at work. So I thought I’d combine the themes in this blog. Both aspects were frequent partners in last week’s news.
On the international front, the door to work in the Far East opened up considerably wider when the Israel-Taiwan Businessmen Friendship Association was inaugurated in Tel Aviv. The first step was to implement a visa-waiver arrangement between the two countries. And Israel’s Elbit systems knows the benefit of international contacts as it sold another $20 million worth of its electro-optical and night digital imaging systems to various unspecified Asian countries. 
On the other hand, over in India there was some monkey business going on. Israel’s Jerusalem zoo has provided five mandrill monkeys to India’s Tata Steel Zoo in Jamshedpurm. Israel has its own primate entertainment, courtesy of the Three Monkeys pub in Eilat which has recently undergone a complete renovation. Music, beer and their kosher Monkey Business hamburgers – sounds like a swinging place to hang around in.
Summer in the city can be best represented by Israel’s cosmopolitan metropolis Tel Aviv. This feature article describes it as one of Europe’s hottest start-up digital city. So residents and workers will look forward to 2013 when there will be adequate drinking water for all Israeli citizens. Construction plans for the Ashdod desalination plant have now been agreed which will produce 100 million cubic meters of drinking water a year. Israel will then get 75% of domestic supplies from desalination. To this we can hopefully add the water that will be reclaimed by fuel cells being developed by Israel’s Emefcy Ltd, that use bacteria to break down waste in water.
Israel''s Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) desalination
Photo by: Reuters/Nir Elias
Too much work or play can put a strain on knee joints. These can often be alleviated by Israel’s Apos’ ‘Walkright’, which attaches to shoes to strengthen the knee muscles and alleviate pain. So far Apos has treated 20,000 patients – half of them in Israel. Israelis may suffer stress at work, but trauma is far more serious and usually originates outside of the working environment. Trials at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem have proved that Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy is safe and effective in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Despite strikes and protest tents, most of the country is hard at work. There are still plenty of unfilled job vacancies, the numbers of which rose from 67,700 in June to 69,200 in July. Meanwhile Israel’s economy grew during the 2nd Quarter of 2011 with the annual GDP increasing by a healthy 3.3% compared to the Euro block’s 0.2%. There was also a welcome 0.3% fall in Israel’s Consumer Price Index to an annual 3.4%. Israel is truly right on track with the start of the Jerusalem light railway, plus the announcement of major extensions to railway lines to connect outlying towns and provide citizens with a fast commuter service to the centre of Israel.
So it’s all aboard for those setting off to enjoy the summer events. The Arad music festival is Israel’s longest-standing music festival. It comprises acts for all ages and, most importantly, all the shows in the program are free. In the Galilee you can combine music and wine with the 24th annual Klezmer Festival in Safed, and the Bein Hakramim (Among the Vineyards) festival in Moshav Meron. If only Shalom Kadosh, who is the first Israeli to join the prestigious “Club des Chefs des Chefs”, could provide the food. He has already cooked some working lunches for the heads of state of several countries, although not for President Shimon Peres, who celebrated his 88th birthday last week.
We really start to play with the next two articles. First we heard about ‘The Three Cohens’ - a globetrotting jazz family of Yuval (saxaphone), Anat (clarinet) and Avishai Cohen (trumpet) who are also excellent ambassadors for the Jewish State. Whereas here in our very own IDF, three talented soldiers Ori Wissner-Levy (violin), Tal Yahalom (guitar) and Amir Dubester (saxaphone) combine army duties with instrument practice and entertaining the elderly and children.
Players of a different category include Israel’s Young Cadets National BaseballTeam, which took the gold at the recent Tuscany Series Tournament in Italy. This was the first time that an Israeli cadet team won the tournament.
Finally, a playful event took place at Zedekiah''s Cave in Jerusalem last week. Sixty singles gathered for a special Tu B’Av speed-dating marathon to coincide with the 15th of Av traditional Jewish date for finding a partner. It would be nice to think that some may have decided that they have had enough of playing the field and would now start work on building new lives together.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.