Chinese to be added to northern schools’ curriculum

City Notes: Weekly round-up of local news around the country.

Kids on beach 521 (photo credit: courtesy)
Kids on beach 521
(photo credit: courtesy)
Ten high schools in the North are taking part in a pilot program to teach students the Chinese language, the Local website reported this week. In a letter circulated on Sunday to school principals in northern Israel, Dr. Orna Simhon, the Education Ministry’s Northern District director, announced the launch of the initiative.
In a bid to encourage students to learn the language in secondary school, 10 high schools will be selected in which Chinese will be taught, beginning in the ninth grade. The curriculum will include the study of spoken and written modern Chinese; traditional Chinese culture; and the geography and history of the country, according to the report. The project directors are now seeking Chinese language teachers to participate in the program.
David Gorali, the ministry’s spokesman for the North, reportedly emphasized that modern Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world and that there are some one billion Chinese speakers around the world.
The program will be offered to students who have an 85 grade average and above, the Local website specified.Delegation of Canadian faith-based journalists visits Israel
A delegation of 13 editors and faith-based journalists representing the Canadian Church Press Association (CCP) traveled to Israel this week for a week-long visit to the Holy Land as guests of Israel’s Tourism Ministry. For 12 of the 13, it was their first time visiting Israel.
The group planned to visit all the sites important to Christianity and other landmarks. These include the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Mount of Beatitudes, the Sea of Galilee, Banyas, Caesarea, the Hula Valley, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and Masada.
The CCP describes itself as an organization of Canadian Christian publications offering fellowship and support to its members from many Christian denominations, “united in an effort to maintain high standards of religious journalism.”
Ahead of the trip, CCP president Pamela Richardson said, “This trip will bring gifted editors and photographers together to shed new light on the Holy Land, both its historical significance and present-day challenges. As Christians from all backgrounds, we are united by our common spiritual heritage as we walk together in the footsteps of Jesus.”
Ami Allon, consul and director for Canada of the Israel Government Tourist Office, said, “Personal traveler experiences that translate into written testimonials as a result from this trip are our best tools and help us promote the Holy Land to all Christians in Canada. We continue to build strong bridges across all Christian denominations via the media that serves this population of devoted Christians, resulting in an ever-increasing number of visitors to the Holy Land.”
Police officer injured in chase near Umm el-Fahm
A police officer was lightly injured while in pursuit of a group of suspects who refused to stop for a routine check near Umm el-Fahm in the Wadi Ara region on Friday. Police subsequently arrested three suspects, and the police officer was taken to the Emek Medical Center in Afula.
CENTER Pupils make human sign to protect TA nature reserve
Some 150 fifth graders from the Netaim school in Ramat Gan made a human sign last weekend in a call to protect the undeclared nature reserve between Tel Baruch Beach and Hatzuk (Cliff Beach).
The students spelled out a sign that read “Tel Aviv nature reserve is ours!” They decided to take action after learning of the municipality’s intention to build a park, to lay paths and to construct mini-malls and parking lots for 4,000 cars on the land, a project that would lead to the annihilation of the plants and animals in the reserve.
The children said that the coastal area was home to many plants and animals, such as foxes and birds.
“Every beach in Tel Aviv is already built up, and only this area remains as an open space for nature.
We think that the land must not be destroyed; it must not be built on,” the children stated.
Leaders of the group prepared a presentation, and some of the children wore button-down shirts and ties and held wads of cash while wielding signs that read “The beach is for the children, too” and “Not just for the rich.”
Ra’anana-based start-up triumphs with WAZE app
The Ra’anana-born navigation and traffic congestion app WAZE came out on top at the 2013 Global Mobile Awards at the Barcelona World Mobile Congress last week. WAZE Ltd. beat the likes of Dropbox, Flipboard, Sky Sports’ F1 Companion, and Square, winning the Best Overall Mobile App.
“This is a huge win for our community. Thanks Wazers, for making us number 1!” WAZE wrote on its Facebook page. “It takes 40 million drivers to make a great service that impacts the world, and that’s just the beginning. Imagine what we’ll able to do at 100 million,” the company added.
The popular app provides a GPS system that crowdsources traffic to find the most practical, least congested driving route.
Jaffa resident falls off bridge during renovation work
A Jaffa resident fell off a pedestrian bridge in Tel Aviv that he was working on renovating on Sunday morning. The worker, who is in his 20s, was injured and taken to Ichilov Hospital.
Police thwart stabbing attack at checkpoint
Police on Sunday thwarted an attempted stabbing by a Palestinian at a checkpoint near Taiba in the Sharon. The suspect arrived at the checkpoint in a car with other passengers, and a Kfar Saba policewoman and a border police officer carried out an inspection. While the officer was searching the suspect’s person, a pocket knife fell out of his pocket. The man caught the knife and tried to stab the policewoman and the border police officer, the police said. The officers gained control of the situation and arrested the man. No injuries were reported in the incident.
SOUTH Volunteers brighten therapeutic center on Good Deeds Day
In honor of Good Deeds Day – a day in which members of the public are asked to perform at least one good deed on behalf of another individual or a group – the Ruah Tova organization was expecting to receive the help of a variety of people who had offered to volunteer at Beit Yossi in Ashdod on Tuesday.
Beit Yossi, a therapeutic home for children and families, was established in 2000 in memory of Capt. Yossi Ohana, a career officer in the IDF’s Golani Brigade who died in battle in southern Lebanon in 1995. Beit Yossi uses a therapeutic model aimed at restoring hope to the lives of children and families in crisis and distress and to put them back on the path to normative lives. The therapeutic model was conceived and developed by Yossi’s sister Tamar. The house currently treats some 20 families and 45 children.
This year, in cooperation with the Ashdod Municipality, Ruah Tova launched a grand renovation project for Beit Yossi.
Many volunteers enlisted, including soldiers, police officers, students and graduates of the center. Last week, a group of soldiers from the Tel Nof air base plastered the walls of the center, and 30 police officers decorated the outdoor playground with stencils and painted the indoor apparatus. Students from the Open University also volunteered, and a professional designer and a painter helped infuse color and life into the therapeutic home.
Barzilai gets new women’s department
The renovated women’s department was officially opened last week at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. The department includes an emergency room, an ultrasound unit, an outpatient ward and monitoring facilities for high-risk pregnancies.
The department was built at the highest technological level, adopting innovative methods to maximize the comfort and welfare of the women hospitalized there.
Among other officials, Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Ya’acov Litzman attended the launch. He congratulated the employees of the medical center, noted the improvements that the medical center had made over the past year, and promised to continue to take care of the hospital if he remained in his position as deputy health minister in the new government.