Israel’s brain power is increasingly global and mobile, and the country is moving to keep academics at home.
Special To The Jewish Week
T el Aviv — Israeli Science Minister Daniel Hershkowitz announced recently that the country was unintentionally subsidizing the entire Western world to the tune of some $3 billion with its exported brain power.
“We have one tremendous resource and that’s our human capital,” Hershkowitz told a recent conference on education, basing his estimate on the amount Israel invests in training its academics, thousands of whom are working abroad. “But we are bearing witness to brain drain abroad.”
Israeli Arabs say the country under-serves
their community, and underestimates its value.
Staff WriterIsrael Correspondent
F lag Season is the time in the spring when Israelis remember victims of the Holocaust and military battles and terror attacks by standing in silence while sirens wail around the country.
For the vast majority of Israeli Jews, it’s a time of somber remembrance and national pride, flags, and barbecues in the park. A period of reflection cushioned by the reality of having a Jewish homeland.
Israel’s public relations problem can be fixed,
experts say, but not by clinging to the old narratives.
F irst, the good news.
Despite frustration among Jews in Israel and North America that the country is losing the public relations battle because of the recent Gaza war and its current hard-line government, recent surveys show remarkably robust support for the Jewish state.
The Gallup 2010 country-favorability rating ranked Israel fifth, trailing stalwart allies like the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Canada. Israel enjoys a favorability rating of nearly 50 percentage points over the Palestinians.
Between Israel and many younger Jews here
stands a gaping cavern. Needed: a new narrative
to bridge the divide.
A nyone checking out some popular Jewish websites a few weeks ago learned a subtle lesson about American Jewry. On “mainstream” home pages, which appeal mostly to an older demographic — affiliated members of the Jewish community — were these: travel missions to Israel (jewishfederations.org); articles about “Israel’s Ethical Defense” and media coverage of the Middle East peace process (aish.com); several essays about relations between Israel and the United States (jewishworldreview.com).
The current Israeli-Palestinian situation seems a tolerable — even a desirable — alternative,
but perhaps only for now.
The main shopping mall in Kfar Saba, a suburb of Tel Aviv, was bombed by a terrorist in 2002 during the most recent Palestinian uprising. It’s been more than seven years, but glass barriers still ring the mall’s perimeter, forcing shoppers to pass through a security check — a reminder of the uncertainty that nags Israelis even though the uprising has long since died out.
The recent exchange of letters between Elie Wiesel, on one hand, gently reproaching the White House over its Jerusalem policy, and dovish Israeli politician Yossi Sarid, on behalf of J Street, on the other, seems to encapsulate the debate American Jews are having these days over what it means to be pro-Israel in 2010.
Keeping non-haredim in Israel’s
poorest city is an increasingly difficult task.
A September 2009 New York Times travel article (“West Jerusalem Shows its Hip Secular Side”) praised the many “secular” attractions the city has to offer, from trendy new shops and restaurants to cutting-edge architecture.
While Israelis were gratified to read a positive article about their country for a change, portraying Jerusalem as a capital of tourism and not terror, many were amused by the use of “secular” and “Jerusalem” in the same sentence.
The dizzyingly complex question of sovereignty over Jerusalem.
Special To The Jewish Week
Late last month, as Israelis celebrated the 62nd birthday of the Jewish state and the 150th of its inventor, the great Theodor Herzl, a full-page ad appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. The text was penned by another esteemed Jew, the Nobel laureate, prolific author and Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel. Needless to say, his piece drew a lot of attention.
Rafi Baeri is vice president of marketing and sales at the Dan Hotels Corp., Israel’s largest luxury hotel chain. Billing itself as the “oldest and most prestigious” hotel chain in Israel, it owns and operates 13 hotels with 3,300 rooms in major cities throughout the country, including three in Jerusalem and two in Tel Aviv. The Jewish Week spoke to him recently about the tourism industry.
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