The Shmooze

Diabetic? Try a Therapeutic Dip in the Dead Sea

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Ester Inbar, via Wikimedia Commons

For many, going down to the Dead Sea to bathe in its mineral-rich waters is a sweet treat. Now, researchers are finding that just the opposite is true for diabetics — which is a good thing. A preliminary study has shown that diabetics who immersed themselves in the uniquely salty water were able to significantly reduce their blood sugar levels.

While it is too early to say that Type 2 diabetics will be able to replace their insulin shots or medications with relaxing dips in the Dead Sea, the researchers from Ben-Gurion University and Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva are pleased with their findings thus far.

They used a sample of 14 individuals of varying ages with Type 2 diabetes and had them each take a 20-minute dip in a pool filled with water taken from the Dead Sea. The scientists found that the diabetics’ blood glucose levels dropped by 13.5 percent when they were tested immediately upon leaving the water. An hour later, the subjects’ blood sugar levels went down even more.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Martha Stewart, Israel, Diabetes, Dead Sea

‘Israel’s Best Friend’ Dogs Trained To Attack

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Just as we are getting word that the IDF is training West Bank Settlers to handle possible confrontations with Palestinians following the expected vote in the U.N. General Assembly in favor of Palestinian statehood, a rather disturbing video has surfaced about another defense force, the IBF.

IBF stands for Israel’s Best Friend, a non-profit organization that trains dogs for what it calls a “Civilian Attack Dog Unit,” and the “K9 Jewish Legion.” According to the video and the description posted with it on YouTube, the dogs’ mission is to defend Jews specifically against Arabs and Muslims.

That’s a whiff of racism, along with some dog poop, that you smell. As many believe, racism is learned behavior, and it appears that even canines can be taught to be racist.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Dogs, IDF, Israel, Israel's Best Friend, Racism

Glenn Beck Wraps Up Visit With Rally Near the Western Wall

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

It featured a shofar and showtunes, and unfolded without incident.

Glenn Beck wrapped up his much-debated trip to Israel today with a rally near the Western Wall, where the former Fox News star entered to the blast of the shofar in what at times resembled a religious ceremony. “This is the throne of the Lord,” Beck said of the setting, where 1,700 supporters gathered to hear him express support for Israel and the Jewish people. The audience included both Israeli and American right-wingers, among them settlers and GOP presidential candidate Hermain Cain. Attendees reportedly paid $5,000 for the show, which took place under tight security and was broadcast, according to Beck, at 1,400 venues on four continents.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Glenn Beck, Alan Dershowitz, Israel

Katy Perry Angers Fans With 'Pray for Israel' Tweet

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

It seems that some Katy Perry fans have proven they can turn “Hot N Cold” at the mere posting of a tweet. While some were getting hot under the collar, others were now giving their once-favorite singer the cold shoulder.

Why? Because, as conservative writer, columnist and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin wrote on her blog today, Perry offered a sympathetic response Monday to a fan in Israel who asked her by Twitter to pray for Israel (presumably because it was under a missile attack from Gaza at the time). “I am! My prayers are for you guys tonight, SHALOM!!!…@katyperry #prayforisrael please pray with us.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Twitter, Michelle Malkin, Katy Perry, Israel

Israeli Pop Star Margol’s Mug Shots Leaked

By Renee Ghert-Zand

According to a report by Israel’s Channel 2 News, someone is going to be in big trouble. And it’s likely going to be someone working in the Israeli Prison Authority.

Apparently, someone has leaked mug shots of Israeli singer and celebrity Margalit Tzanani (often referred to in the Israeli press by the nickname Margol) taken at the time of her arrest last week on the suspicion that she blackmailed, threatened and extorted her manager. The possibility that she was also involved in fixing the outcome of the Israeli “American Idol”-style show “Kochav Nolad” has been batted around in the press since her arrest.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Margalit Tzanani, Kovhav Nolad, Israeli Prison Authority, Israel

Jon Voight Visits Terrorism Victims at Soroka Hospital

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

He’s known to many as the father of superstar and international do-gooder Angelina Jolie, but Jon Voight is also recognized as a longtime supporter of Israel. The actor made a Chabad-sponsored trip over the weekend to Israel, surprising victims of last week’s terrorist attacks and the ongoing missile barrages from Gaza with a visit to Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva.

Voight told reporters who met up with him at the hospital, on his way to cheer up the critically wounded victims, that this was his third visit to the country, and his second to the South. He specifically mentioned that he had been in Sderot last time and had to take cover there when an alarm sounded, so he knows what the security situation for residents of the Negev is like.

The actor emphasized that Israel needs friends, and that he thought that the U.S. should be Israel’s best friend. He has been a vocal advocate for Israel, having appeared at a rally in Los Angeles last year condemning Turkey’s role in the Flotilla incident, and having written a letter to President Obama accusing the Administration of abandoning Israel.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Soroka Hospital, Jon Voight, Israel, Gaza, Chabad

Michele Bachmann’s Letter From the Kibbutz

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

The Shmooze experienced a twinge of guilt last month when it poked fun at Michele Bachmann’s mispronunciation of “chutzpah” during an interview on Fox News. Yes, her use of the word may have been a shameless attempt at pandering to Jewish voters. But was it really fair to expect a Protestant from the Midwest to know Yiddish?

In the case of Bachmann, at least, the answer turns out to be yes!

The GOP presidential candidate spent time on a kibbutz during the mid-’70s, but apparently didn’t absorb much in terms of the local language. (No, Yiddish isn’t the language of Israel, but “chutzpah” has certainly made it into the local lexicon.) In a letter, Bachmann conceded that the locals had better language skills, admitting she “[felt] so stupid” next to Ziva and Hagar, young kibbutz residents who “can speak English so well.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Ziva Yellin, Michele Bachmann, Kibbutz, Israel

Underground Speed Dating for Tu B’Av

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Léon Bazille Perrault's "Cupid's Arrows," via Wikimedia Commons

There was romance in the air in — or, rather, below — Jerusalem earlier this week on Tu B’Av, often referred to as the Israeli Valentine’s Day. Youth for Jerusalem, an organization encouraging young, secular Israelis to stay in or move to Jerusalem, hosted a speed dating event last Sunday evening in Zedekiah’s Cave, an ancient quarry site underneath the Old City.

Many of the 60 or so attendees were game to meet successive dates for only a few minutes each, in the hope that the timeless atmosphere would lend them luck for this very contemporary mating ritual.

Famous early dwellers of the city, like King David and King Solomon for instance, were not lacking for (multiple) wives (or concubines), so shouldn’t a young Israeli today be able to find at least one soul mate in the same location?

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jerusalem, JDate, Israel, Dating, Tu B'Av

A Widow's Ongoing Quest To Expose BBC’s ‘Anti-Israel Bias’

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Fiona Paveley is not letting her late husband Steven Sugar rest in peace, and she thinks that is exactly what he would have wanted her to do. In fact, she believes that he — and she — will ultimately rest easier if she does not give up the legal battle against the BBC that Sugar was waging while he was alive.

For six years, Sugar, an attorney, fought to have the BBC publish the contents of a 20,000-word internal report about its news coverage of the Middle East, which he was sure was full of information pointing to an anti-Israel bias within the organization.

Sugar died from cancer in January at the age of 61 after losing his bid to have the report disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act at the Informational Tribunal, High Court, and Court of Appeal levels. His wife is taking the case to the Supreme Court.

The BBC has spent more than $440,000 to keep the contents of the report, written in 2004 by BBC journalist Malcolm Balen at the request of the company’s news director, from going public. It fears that a decision against its position on this report could lead to a slippery slope of more demands for disclosures, and more cost to the BBC to fight such demands.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Israel, BBC, Fiona Paveley, Anti-Semitism, Steven Sugar

Four-Year-Old Wasn’t Deported From Israel, After All

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Late last night, a 4-year-old girl named Ofek and her mother, Nancy, were taken off a plane at Ben-Gurion airport just as it was getting ready to take off for the Philippines. The two were not tourists planning a vacation to the Far East, but rather a family set to be deported from Israel. An eleventh hour legal stay allowed them to get off the plane and live — at least a bit longer — in Israel.

Her mother entered Israel on a legal work permit, and Ofek was born in Israel. The little girl’s first language is Hebrew, and she has never set foot in the country of her mother’s birth. However, because she has not yet finished kindergarten in the Israeli school system (the 4-year-old is set to begin pre-kindergarten this fall), she does not have the right to stay in Israel, according to Interior Ministry policies.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Immigration, Israel, Sarah Netanyahu

Christian Palestinians Moving Back to Holy Land

By Renee Ghert-Zand

There’s no place like home when it comes to the Holy Land. These are the sentiments of millions of Jews, but also of the many Christian Palestinians now choosing to return there after having lived abroad.

American-Israeli freelance journalist Michele Chabin reports in the National Catholic Register that recent statistics show that for the first time in a long time, more Christians are moving to Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories than are leaving them. Palestinian Prime Minister Salem Fayyad “credited improvements in Palestinian civic society, governance and infrastructure for much of the reversal,” Chabin wrote.

Economic hardship and the difficult times of the Second Intifada drove many Christians, especially young ones, to seek a new life in countries in Europe and North America. The common belief has been that as soon as a young person gets his or her academic degree, he or she looks to leave for the West.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Chabin, Christian, Israel, Palestinian, Prime Minister Salem Fayyad

Israel’s Tourism Ministry Courts Martha Stewart

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

They’ve arranged visits by Chilean miners and “House” stars, and now the busy bees at Israel’s tourism ministry have their eyes on Martha Stewart and Oprah.

As part of a new push to bring celebrity visitors to Israel, the ministry has created a special “hospitality unit” to woo famous foreigners, Yediot Aharonot reported recently. The Israeli newspaper says the unit now has its sights set on the two daytime TV stars, and is working hard to secure a visit by Oprah, who theoretically might film the trip for OWN, her struggling new cable network.

The prospects might be better, at least in the short term, with Stewart. The tourism ministry was apparently tipped off that the TV host has been invited to visit friends in Israel next month, and has reached out in hopes that she might film episodes of her show during the trip.

“Negotiations with Stewart are taking place behind the scenes,” Yediot reports, playfully envisioning scenes of Stewart cooking on Masada, or sharing interior-design tips in front of the Western Wall.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tourism, Oprah Winfrey, OWN, Martha Stewart, Israel

Female IDF Soldiers Suffer More Stress Fractures

By Renee Ghert-Zand

A study of women soldiers in Israel has found that for the IDF to attract more women to combat roles, it is going to have to make changes to more than just the design of military gear.

The IDF thought that it had eliminated the problem of women soldiers getting stress fractures by designing a new, lighter vest with narrower straps especially for them. But just a couple of weeks after the introduction of these new vests, a study on the integration of women into combat units has been released, showing that women soldiers suffer disproportionately higher numbers of stress fractures from the physical exertions required of combat soldiers.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Soldiers, Israel, IDF, Women

Israeli Court Allows Egg Extraction From Dead Teen

By Renee Ghert-Zand

For the first time in Israel, a court has ruled that the eggs of a deceased woman may be extracted and saved. The decision by the Kfar Sava Family Court this past Sunday was in relation to the case of the late Chen Aida Ayish, a 17-year-old from the Sharon region, who died of severe injuries sustained in a car crash. She was declared brain dead last Wednesday.

Ayish’s family agreed to have her organs harvested for transplant, and requested from the court that the eggs be extracted from her ovaries at the same time. The eggs were frozen, and the court has issued no further decision as to their possible future use.

The family had initially requested that the eggs be fertilized with sperm taken from another dead body, but the court rejected that request. Ayish’s parents have made no specific statement as to why they wanted their daughter’s eggs extracted, but it can be inferred that they may be hoping to produce a grandchild from them at some point.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Israel, Fertility, Chen Aida Ayish, Artificial Insemination, Kfar Sava Family Court, Organ Donation

Roseanne Barr: Israel's Next Prime Minister?

By Nathan Burstein

Forget the usual slate of Israeli politicians - the country’s next prime minister could be Roseanne Barr.

Wikimedia Commons

So says the comedian, who announced her unlikely candidacy on yesterday’s “Tonight Show.” After announcing that she would also seek the American presidency, the former “Roseanne” star added the Israeli premiership as a “two-fer.”

“I’ve got to solve all the world’s problems,” she told Jay Leno.

To cheers from the audience, the former TV star outlined her U.S. agenda, which includes eliminating taxes and legalizing marijuana.

Barr, on the show to promote her new Lifetime reality series, didn’t elaborate on her plans for the Middle East. That’s probably a smart move for her candidacy, since the comedian, who has a Jewish background, has treated the issue with something less than nuance in the past. In December 2008, shortly after the start of Israel’s Gaza war, she declared that the country “is a NAZI state” on her blog.

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Important-to-Know Nose News

By Nathan Burstein

You’d think a Jewish scientist would avoid making racial generalizations about noses, but that hasn’t stopped an Israeli professor from doing just that.

Wikimedia Commons
Barbra Streisand’s famous nose with character

Abraham Tamir, a chemical engineering professor at Ben-Gurion University, has published the results of his study of nearly 1,800 noses, based on both photos of living people and works of art. (Although Tamir’s primary work focuses on other topics, he teaches a class on the relationship between science and art.)

Tamir’s proboscis probe proves (supposedly) the existence of 14 types of Caucasian noses, which include the turned-up or “celestial” nose, the Roman and the hawk varieties. MSNBC’s “Body Odd” blog notes the prevalance of “the fleshy nose, which is large and prominent,” in Israel. (In some households The Shmooze can think of, this is referred to affectionately as a “nose with character.”)

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Nose, Israel, Nathan Burstein, Ben-Gurion University, Abraham Tamir

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli City Opens First Internet Café

By Penina Kessler

It seems even the Haredi world has conceded to the necessity of the Internet – but don’t expect them to crash servers posting on FaceGlat or uploading wedding videos anytime soon.

ISTOCK

The ultra-Orthodox city of Modiin Illit is getting its very first Internet café after receiving rabbinical approval, Ynet News reports. The venture, called Gilad Net, represents the latest foray of the ultra-Orthodox into the World Wide Web, which has previously been decreed an “abomination” by some Rabbis.

What’s being served at Gilad Net represents only the most “kosher” of the Internet - Rabbinic approval for the venture was dependant on the installation of content-control filters on the café’s computers. Only certain websites, such as Gmail, Ikea, and the pages of government ministries are available for perusal. However, this limited access is more than enough for Gilad Net’s client base, owner Yehuda Weisfish told Ynet. He insists his business is intended for “people who don’t want to bring a computer into their home and don’t need Internet on a daily basis… people who need the Web to access emails, bank accounts, HMOs and government ministries.” Which means that those who want to read the Shmooze will have to go elsewhere.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Panina Kessler, Modiin Illit, Israel, Internet, Haredi

Israel's 'Tent City' Protesters Compared to Biblical Spies

By Nathan Jeffay

After almost three weeks of non-stop media attention the protesters camped out in Tel Aviv’s “tent city” have been called many things, good and bad. But likening them to the Biblical spies is a new one.

In this interview firebrand grandmother Daniella Weiss, leader of radical settlers, appears to present the protesters as the modern version of the ten spies who famously gave the Children of Israel a negative report about the Land of Israel. The protesters’ negativity echoes the negativity of the spies, she claims. They “are lamenting, people are complaining, people see all the bad sides of life instead of seeing the prosperity of the Land of Israel.”

Amazingly, in her analysis the country’s political leadership against which the protesters are demonstrating is also a modern incarnation of the spies. “Today we have a beautiful land,” she said. “Everything is prosperous, we have a good economy and all the reasons in the world to be satisfied. Yet the leaders want to cut the land in two and this influences many people.” Weiss was referring to fact that some government ministers are in favor of a two-state solution.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Nathan Jeffay, Israel, Daniella Weiss, Tent City

Israeli Entrepreneurs Flock To South Sudan

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Wikimedia Commons

Israelis are known to be impatient, and when it comes to how fast they are moving to establish business relations with the new country of South Sudan, the stereotype is holding true.

Israeli companies seeking contracts in industries such as agriculture, security, medicine and infrastructure are being welcomed by the leadership of the world’s newest nation. Under-the-radar support given to the Christian South Sudanese rebels by Israel in recent years is helping to smooth the way to the quick establishment of economic ties. South Sudanese rebel leader John Garang was even treated for an eye injury in an Israeli hospital.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tamir Gal, South Sudan, Rafi Dayan, John Garang, Israel, Business

Israeli Gangster Gunned Down at Gas Station

By Michael Kaminer

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, the old saying goes. But it meant tragic consequences for an Israeli gangster. Crime boss Francois Abutbul, whose casino-owner father was murdered in 2002, was himself gunned down Sunday at a central Israeli gas station, Haaretz reports.

Abutbul, known as “Francois the Great,” was released from prison last December after serving about half of a 22-month sentence for domestic violence, JTA reports. The “scion of an Israeli crime family” was shot by two men who approached his car on a motorcycle and then sped away.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Crime, Francois Abutbul, Francois the Great, Israel




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