NORTH The fifth annual “Hope Delegation” set off for Boston from Haifa last week, to represent Israel in a hasbara campaign for Remembrance Day and Independence Day. The delegation of 12 officers included new immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, as well as native Israelis.The officers were scheduled to participate in an array of events and official ceremonies, including those marking Holocaust Remembrance Day, Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Independence Day. Additionally they prepared Israel advocacy activities to conduct in Jewish schools, community centers and synagogues in Boston, as well as in non-Jewish bodies such as universities and US military bases. They were also guests of honor at the Israeli Consulate in Boston.Selected by the Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, the IDF and the Haifa-Boston Connection project, the team included officers from the IAF, navy and infantry. They spent half a year preparing for the trip. This process included lessons on Zionism and pluralism in the Jewish community, as well as an understanding of Boston’s Jewish community structure, familiarity with the partnership with Boston, and public speaking skills. Yoav Keren, a volunteer with the Haifa-Boston Connection, led the delegation.Haifa-Boston Connection director Vered Israeli said that the mission was of major importance, especially today. The delegation allows Boston residents to get to know Israeli soldiers personally and to see their human and moral side, in contrast with international media portrayals. “I see great importance in continuing this blessed delegation in years to come as well,” she said.Aircraft crashes near Safed Two lightly injured An ultralight plane crashed last weekend in Moshav Dalton, in the Safed area. The Local website reported that there were two people in the plane – the pilot, who is in his 60s, and a passenger. Both suffered minor injuries. A report of the incident was filed to the airport manager, and an investigation was opened into the circumstances of the crash. Fire breaks out at factory complex in Shlomi A fire broke out last weekend at the Agamim Coating complex of factory workshops in the industrial area of Shlomi. Four teams of fire fighters were dispatched from several stations in the North, and managed to gain control of the fire. A hazardous-materials team was also called to the scene to monitor activities. Residents of the neighborhood were instructed to stay indoors for a short period, but there were no casualties, nor was there any fear that anyone was trapped in the building. The complex was severely damaged. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.CENTER Rishon Lezion closes beach due to overcrowding The Rishon Lezion beach closed last Saturday afternoon due to an influx of visitors, Army Radio reported. The municipality advised the public not to go to the beach. Shots fired in Tira leave 2 wounded Shots were fired at two people near the post office in Tira last week, according to police. One victim suffered serious wounds, and the other suffered light ones. Both victims were evacuated to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba. Police believe the incident had a criminal context and opened an investigation.Petah Tikva woman dies after alleged attack by neighbor An elderly woman died on Saturday, two days after a neighbor allegedly hit her on the head with a hammer at her Petah Tikva home. Matana Levy, 78, succumbed to her wounds at the city’s Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus.Levy was wounded after the neighbor allegedly broke into her house and demanded NIS 5 from her in return for sweeping the staircase. She objected to paying him.She called one of her sons after the attack, in critical condition, and told him her head was bleeding heavily.MDA paramedics evacuated her to the hospital and managed to stabilize her condition, but two days later she died. Petah Tikva Police launched an investigation into the incident and are treating the file as a murder case. They have arrested the suspect.SOUTH Friends of Soroka to raise money for neonatal ward The Friends of Soroka Association will hold a fundraising event next Thursday, to raise money for a new neonatal intensive care unit at Beersheba’s Soroka University Medical Center. Every year, some 15,000 babies are born in Soroka, which has the country’s second-largest department for newborns and premature babies. The department treats more than 2,300 premature babies every year. According to data from the medical center, 1.3 percent of the infants are premature babies weighing less than 1.5 kg., 8.5% of the infants weigh less than 2.5 kg., and more than 15% of the babies suffer from serious medical problems requiring intensive care or special care. About 5% of the infants need intensive care after birth, due to being very small, having deficiencies, or having suffered from complications during the birth.The Friends of Soroka Association seeks to raise funds to build a new and reinforced neonatal intensive care unit, since during periods when the South has been under fire, the non-armored department was a dangerous space and staff was forced to evacuate babies and new mothers to protected areas.El Al team rides bikes to Eilat to support autistic kids El Al staff took part in a 620-kilometer bike ride last week to raise money for Alut – the Society for Autistic Children, and to raise awareness of autism. The bike ride takes place annually, supporting a different cause each year. Last week’s event ended with a joint ride with Alut children who live in Eilat. The El Al group included some 30 pilots, flight attendants, maintenance personnel and administration staff, who crossed the country from sea to sea – from Rosh Hanikra to Eilat – in four days.Shortly after setting out from Rosh Hanikra, the group stopped off at Alut’s Bayit Lehayim (Home for Life) in Karmiel and went on a bike ride through the city with autistic children from the hostel.They were also shown around the center, and spoke with Alut children about the center and the group living there. Accompanying the cyclists throughout their ride was a truck carrying equipment and bearing a giant banner that read “El Al cyclists for Alut children.”At the finishing line, there was a celebratory ceremony, attended by families connected to Alut Eilat, El Al representatives in the city, Avi Kandelker of the city’s Tourism Bureau, and city council member Joseph Chen.