On Hanukka, priest and sheikh attend ‘candle of hope’ lighting in Jewish-Arab Center for Peace

Roundup of local stories from across the country.

Shlomo Artzi (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Shlomo Artzi
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
NORTH
On the seventh night of Hanukka, people of all faiths attended a candle-lighting ceremony held at Givat Haviva Seminary, the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace, in a gesture of coexistence and interfaith cooperation.
Priest Abuna Salah Huri and Sheikh Yehiya Sarhan of Sakhne lit a candle together with Givat Haviva CEO Yaniv Sagee; local council heads from the region also attended.
“We are very proud to host an event of this kind, of real rapprochement between people, ethnic and religious groups,” said Sagee at the event’s close. “The brightest light we can wish for is the creation of a shared and equal society. I hope our guests here today will carry this message with them to their communities.”
The hanukkia used at the event was designed by artist Yuval Danieli, made for the Hanukka ceremony at the White House. It was designed with a wooden base and covered with pottery fragments found in the fields of Kibbutz Hama’apil, whose origins go back to ancient Israel, the Byzantine period and the later Arab period.
Man shot in Shfaram
A 30-year-old man was shot in Shfaram last weekend, and is in moderate condition. The suspect fled the scene in a vehicle; police suspect the incident was of a criminal nature.
CENTER
Krav Maga guru to bring annual delegation of students to Holy Land
Krav Maga master Kobi Lichtenstein is set to land in Israel on Wednesday with two Krav Maga missions from Brazil. The groups constitute just a handful of his 10,000 students; they will train in historic sites around Israel and learn about the country’s history, with visits to Masada, the Wingate Institute and the Netanya grave of Imi Lichtenfeld, the founder of Krav Maga and spiritual father of the art.
Delegation leader Lichtenstein has over the past 20 years become the guru of Krav Maga in South America, where he founded the Krav Maga Federation – recognized as one of the largest Krav Maga unions, certified by the Brazilian government and most of the continent.
Lichtenstein has trained hundreds of instructors in various locations across South America, including special and elite units of the army and police; with over 150 Krav Maga training centers across the continent. He notes that in every center, an Israeli flag stands next to the state or province flag; the roughly four-year training process includes 30 hours of Israeli history.
Lichtenstein brings an annual delegation of students and instructors from South America to Israel. He noted: “I would like people here to know the real Israel, about broad views, innovation, modernization and its advanced technology, instead of the negative image presented to them through the hostile media.”

Shlomo Artzi performs at fund-raiser for hard of hearing
Folk rock singer-songwriter Shlomo Artzi performed last week at a fund-raising event for the hard of hearing, at Zappa in Herzliya. The event was to raise money for Bekol, the organization of hard-of-hearing people in Israel, which works to integrate such adults into general society by addressing issues including legislation, accessibility and work.
To make the show enjoyable for hard-of-hearing audience members, on-screen captions and a special audio system were used.
Man seriously wounded after Petah Tikva stabbing
A 25-year-old man was seriously wounded after being stabbed on Petah Tivka’s Shaham Street last weekend.
He was evacuated to the city’s Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus; police launched an investigation into the incident.
SOUTH
Young fashionistas model designs on Sderot catwalk
Hundreds of people attended a fashion show in Sderot last weekend, which featured the creations of a group of city high-school girls who dream of making it in Israeli haute couture. Some 45 of these aspiring fashion designers have been gathering on a regular basis for over a year at Sderot’s community center to learn the industry.
The initiative is the fruit of a donation by New York teenager Sabina Stermklar-Davis, who decided to put NIS 40,000 of her bat-mitzva money toward establishing a new fashion design class for her Israeli counterparts, in the rocket-battered city bordering the Gaza Strip.
Stermklar-Davis was inspired by a similar class she takes in New York. “I wanted to give these young people a new, creative and fun outlet,” she explained. “Over the past few years, I have enjoyed learning how to design and sew clothing. In honor of my bat mitzva, I donated all monetary gifts to setting up a fashion design training program for the young women of Sderot, who have been under constant stress and attack from Gazan missiles.
“The program consists of two groups: the first, of girls my age who have an interest in learning clothing design and sewing; the second, a group of young women who would like the opportunity to develop a passion they already have into a career. Who knows? Maybe my program will end up training the next top Israeli designer!” The initiative was put into action via the UJA-Federation of New York, which runs a project for bar and bat mitzva kids, Give a Mitzva – Do a Mitzva. The class offers participants sewing and design equipment, study manuals and professional instructors. Last week’s effort showcased what the students had learned over the year, as they modeled clothes they had designed and sewed. The young Stermklar-Davis and her family flew in from New York to see the outcome of her bat-mitzva gift.
“Sabina’s project is an extraordinary and unique one that serves as a shining example for young women and other young people her age in New York, as a great way they can contribute to a meaningful cause and act as an inspiration for children of the same age who live in Israel,” said Ilan Halperin, a director at the UJA-Federation of New York – Israel Office.

11,000 packages of plastic sponges recycled to make playgrounds

Children in Ashdod, Beersheba and Petah Tikva can now enjoy new, environmentally friendly and safe playgrounds, made out of 11,000 old packages of plastic sponges.
The material was previously used to pad new electrical appliances such as computers and refrigerators, to prevent them from being damaged in transit after being sold. This practice is considered ecologically unfriendly, as the waste is not recycled due to high cost, high volume and low weight.
The Simply Green company, which works with synthetic grass and ecological products, developed a method to transform the packaging into protective layers for playgrounds, kindergartens, and public and private parks. The Shock Pad factory was established for this purpose, and began producing raw materials for the first projects of this kind.
Every month, over 1,000 cubic meters of excess plastic sponge are thrown out. The new factory receives waste directly from marketing companies and transforms it into protective surfaces for playgrounds, which until now were partly imported from abroad. According to the Simply Green company, the surfaces provide better protection for children in comparison to materials previously used.
In recent months, there has been a demand for alternatives to sandboxes and rubber surfaces, following outbreaks of disease that are thought to have originated from bacteria and animal secretion in sandboxes.

Beersheba police hold Hanukka event to commemorate city’s fallen officers

Beersheba commemorated fallen officers at a communal Hanukka lighting last week organized by city police. Forty children from the Shazar special education school attended the event at the sports community center, in the presence of police and families of the fallen, the Local website reported.
There, a soccer tournament was held between the police’s various departments: intelligence, reconnaissance, traffic, investigations; the intelligence office won the tournament, and was awarded a cup.
Children participated in a penalties competition and the winners were awarded medals by the deputy commander of the station, Ch.- Supt. Ilan Shushan, as well as representatives of bereaved families.
Speaking at the end of the ceremony, Shushan emphasized the strong ties between the families of the fallen and the Israel Police, specifically Beersheba police. He also noted that the presence of the Shazar pupils immortalized the fallen and their involvement and connection to the community, as manifested in their daily activities.