In the news

Taglit mega event; new explosive detectors; car accidents; 23% tourism increase; find out what has been going on in Israel.

Taglit Mega Event (photo credit: Courtesy)
Taglit Mega Event
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Taglit mega event In January, a huge convention was held in Jerusalem with all participants on TAGLIT programs (Birthright-Israel). Among the many speakers present was Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was warmly welcomed.
Tourism recordsIn November 2010, 310,000 visitors entered the country, a 23 percent increase over November 2009. Since the beginning of 2010, 3.18 million tourists have visited Israel. The number reached 3.45 million by December 31. This is a 14% increase over 2008’s maximum.
Another record broken in November was an all-time high of 2.6 million tourists who stayed in Israel for at least one night. During January-November 2010 more people stayed overnight than in all of 2008.
November also saw 438,000 one-day visitors (52% more than in the same month in 2009 and 33% more than in 2008).
Cruise ships brought 151,500 visitors, doubling numbers from the last few years. “The success of the Tourism Ministry’s marketing activities and, as a result, the increase in incoming tourism, has a direct effect on creating thousands of new jobs in Israel. It also brings hundreds of millions of dollars into the state,“ Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov said.
“Tourists who return home happy and full of experiences from their visit become ambassadors for Israel and their actions join those of the ministry in improving Israel’s image overseas. They present the country as an attractive, interesting and fun tourism destination.“
Road deaths up this year Also in November, the death of a 48-year-old man in a collision raised the number of road deaths for 2010 to 350. The 2010 road toll then passed the total number of deaths in 2009. Or Yarok, an NGO that fights car accidents, blamed the government for cutting budgets and failing to set targets.
“We have already long since passed the target threshold of road accident fatalities that the government set in its national plan to fight traffic accidents.“ Or Yarok director-general Shmuel Aboav said that unfortunately, the ongoing cuts in the budget to fight road accidents have set back the trend of reducing traffic deaths, which have only increased over the last decade.
The EU has an ambitious target to reduce accident deaths by 50% over a decade. In Israel in 2005, a Knesset committee set a clear target of reducing the death rate by 30% by 2010 to below 360 deaths a year and below 300 by 2015.
Many Israelis are careless on the road. Awareness about road safety is not so high and that must be changed. Or Yarok is a great place to do it. Log on to their web site and help if you can.
New security sensors We heard about the large x-ray machines that see your bones, but Israeli scientists might have a better plan for detecting explosives. Within days of finding out about the al-Qaida explosive printer sent from Yemen, Tel Aviv University said that its researchers have developed a powerful electronic sensor. This sensor is able to detect many kinds of explosives.
The nanotechnology-based sensor is fast and more sensitive and reliable for detecting explosives than even sniffer dogs are. Professor Fernando Patolsky of the Sackler School of Chemistry headed the research team.
The development interests many scientists and security companies around the world. Patolsky said that existing methods of detecting explosives such as TNT are very expensive, take too long and need experts or laboratory analysis.
“There is a need for a small, inexpensive, handheld instrument which can detect explosives quickly, reliably and efficiently,” he said. The new sensor can be moved from place to place by hand and can detect explosives from afar. Do we still have to be x-rayed?
Something to be proud of?
An international survey company called Marketing Research has issued a report that shows that Israelis spend 9.2 hours a month on social networking sites. That puts us in the infamous second place in the world! Russian users are the most active on these networks, and Turkey comes in third.
In Israel the average time per user spent on social networks, as written before, is 9.2 hours a month. This figure is more than double the global average time spent on social networks, which is 4.5 hours a month.
The survey also found that 34.5 million internet users in Russia visited a social network site at least one time a month on average during the past months in 2010, which is 74.5 percent of all internet users in the country. The average time per user spent on social networks in Turkey is 7.6 hours a month.