British ambassador launches Holocaust survivors’ club in Haifa

An event marking the International Day of Faith was held in Nazareth on Sunday, in the outdoor amphitheater on Mount Precipice.

City Notes 22, 2013 (photo credit: Henry Rome)
City Notes 22, 2013
(photo credit: Henry Rome)
British Ambassador Matthew Gould officially launched the 13th Cafe Britannia Club for Holocaust Survivors in Haifa this month, the embassy announced last week. The club is one of 20 opening around the country, from the Eshkol Regional Council in the South to Bnei Brak in the Center and Migdal Ha’emek in the North.
The club serves as a cultural and social center for 100 Holocaust survivors and is open two days a week, during which members may attend sports classes, lectures, musical events, birthday and holiday celebrations, tours and other activities.
Speaking in Hebrew at the launch ceremony, Gould said: “My family is the reason I am here. My grandfather is from Warsaw and my grandmother was from Lodz. Their families were in the Holocaust. When we came to Israel, [my wife] Celia and I wanted to do something special for Holocaust survivors. This project is extremely important to us. We believe that after the Holocaust, you, the survivors, have the right to live in comfort and dignity.”
Survivor Shaul Gorka thanked the ambassador for his visit and his generosity: “I would like to thank you and your wife for everything you do for us. I was born in 1936, in Poland. After the Holocaust I came to Israel, met my wife and now I have a child and grandchildren.This is my victory.”
The Café Britannia clubs are operated by the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Survivors and the Welfare and Social Services Ministry, and are supported by the UK’s Jewish community; a grant from the Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Charitable Trust made possible the establishment of Haifa’s new club.
International Day of Faith event held in Nazareth
An event marking the International Day of Faith was held in Nazareth on Sunday, in the outdoor amphitheater on Mount Precipice that was built in honor of the visit of pope Benedict XVI to Israel in 2009. The event was attended by Tourism Minister Uzi Landau and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, among 7,000 people from around the world including neighboring countries and the West Bank.
The patriarch expressed his gratitude to Landau and the Tourism Ministry, saying: “From here and onward, we will strive for more peace, more work and more cooperation.”
“On your way home,” he told the crowd, “please speak about this event. We need your voice to invite religious pilgrims to visit the Holy Land.”
In his speech, Landau emphasized that Israel sanctifies, among other things, the values of human dignity, equality and freedom of religion. “We work tirelessly to establish strong relationships with representatives of all religions that exist in Israel,” he said.
Landau made note of the cooperation between his ministry and the Catholic Church, and expressed hope that more events will be held in the future, in full collaboration. “Under me, the Tourism Ministry will invest more efforts and resources into preserving the holy Christian sites and to meet the church’s needs in the future, too. “ Of Twal, he said that as soon as they met a month earlier, it was clear that before him stood “a true leader” who acts modestly and stretches out his hand to partners. He also stressed the importance of directcontact with and between tourists, which he said acts as a bridge between languages, cultures and religions.
“We will continue to strengthen ties with the Catholic Church and with the Vatican, for the good of interfaith relations, dialogue and tourism in Israel,” he added.
Azrieli Towers selected as second stop in global elevator start-up contest
The Canadian International Start-up Festival announced this week that Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Towers would be the second stop on Startupfest’s Elevator World Tour, after it launches at Toronto’s CN Tower.
The panel will select 100 Israeli start-ups to pitch their ideas to a group of international angel investors, in competition for an investment of up to $100,000. Each startup will have just one minute – the time it takes to ride up Azrieli’s Circular Tower elevator – to pitch their business idea.
Judges include New York City’s Jamie O’Hara, director of Grise Global Group; Montreal’s Howard Stotland, founder of STS Systems; Mayer Gniwisch, founder of; and Danny Knafo of Calidus Capital Corp, who have all founded and sold technology companies for hundreds of millions of dollars. Roy Oron, general partner of the Israeli-based Plus Ventures, will also serve as both investor and judge in the competitions.
Each start-up will pitch their idea in front of two judges, and each set of judges will pick one winner from their segment. The shortlisted startups will then pitch their ideas on stage and will participate in a Q&A session with all the judges. By the end of the evening the judges will select one winner, in a cocktail event for all attendees at the top of Azrieli Towers. As well as bagging the investment price, the winner will have the opportunity to pitch their idea at the world finals in Montreal.
“Israel is the ‘start-up nation,’ cultivating thousands of successful startups,” said Philippe Telio, founder and producer of the International Start-up Festival and Elevator World Tour. “Take the company Onavo for example, which recently celebrated a lucrative exit.
Onavo was the 2011 winner of our pitch competition at Startupfest in Montreal, and partnering with forward-thinking cities such as Tel Aviv is a part of our innovative approach to continue finding the next big thing.”
Other cities taking part in the contest include Rio de Janeiro, New York, Barcelona, Paris, Berlin, Dubai and Santiago.
Hundreds of students take part in ‘coffee protest’ at Bar-Ilan
Some 300 students at Bar-Ilan University turned out for a protest last week over the price of coffee at cafeterias on campus. Dressed up as robbers, the students gathered in front of the university’s management building, demanding that the prices be lowered in their cafeterias.
The demonstrators were equipped with signs, posters and megaphones to express their displeasure at prices of food and drink, which a survey conducted by the student union shows to be higher than at other education institutions in Israel.
Matan Bar-Noy, chairman of the university’s student union, said, “We have started an internal struggle at Bar-Ilan that has made waves and taken the struggle to the macro level, as other academic institutions are learning from us that there is another way. Other student unions are starting similar movements and together with them, we will ensure that students get fair prices on goods purchased throughout the universities.”
Gaza periphery health clinics to be made emergency-safe, thanks to Helmsley Trust
The US-based Leona and Harry Helmsley Charitable Trust has made a generous donation to reinforce Clalit Health Services clinics in the Gaza periphery, and for the purchase of armored vehicles for medical teams, Clalit announced this week. The Helmsley Trust donated a total of NIS 4.6 million to the construction of portable shelters for health clinics throughout the area, so that doctors can visit and treat patients even during rocket attacks.
The money will also be used to purchase armored vehicles and personal protection equipment, such as vests and helmets, to enable medical teams to safely move between health clinics in the area and provide medical care during times of emergency.
Michael Mishori-Deri, director of Clalit in the southern district, said: “in the coming months, we will begin reinforcing clinics that provide services to tens of thousands of customers. In times of emergency there are situations where clinics are prevented from providing medical services and are closed on instructions of the Home Front Command. The installation of safe rooms will enable medicals teams to continue to provide services as usual.”
Deri expressed gratitude to the Helmsley Fund, “for their important donation that will allow Clalit clinics in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, Sha’ar Hanegev, the Eshkol Regional Council, Merhavim, Sdot Negev and other towns in the Gaza periphery to continue to operate, even in times of emergency.”