Our first piece of good news comes in the glamourous shape of former super-model and now super mogul Kathy Ireland who is an enthusiastic supporter of Israel and has become something of a goodwill ambassador for some of Israel’s institutions.
In the ever-unwinnable image war, maybe what Israel needs is a Cover Girl.
I’m thinking someone tall, curvy and striking, who boasts a record number of appearances in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue (say, 13, with three covers), a role-model type who has created a billion-dollar company, someone wholesome and spiritual, with solid family values (like a doctor husband and three kids) — someone like Kathy Ireland.
More than a former supermodel, Ireland is CEO of kathy ireland Worldwide, an international branding company that has grown into a billion-dollar empire and earned her the venerable title Super Mogul. She is also a furnishings designer, a committed mother, philanthropist and, lately, a passionate and public advocate for Israel.
She first traveled to the country in 2007, on a church mission with her mother. She told me she was instantly besotted: “It’s such a beautiful place, just breathtaking,” she recalled. “I was really surprised by the beauty and just how magnificently it’s preserved. And the people are incredible, and the landscape so diverse. There’s no place like it.”
By the time she returned with her children in 2010, she had already been named an international ambassador for the Friends of Sheba Medical Center. In 2011, she was honored by the Anti-Defamation League, and last March, she earned the distinction of appearing as a keynote speaker at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual policy conference in Washington, D.C. There, she was given a precious 14 minutes to speak to the conference’s full 13,000 attendees. Her speech was a hit, covering all the major talking points — an Israel imperiled, an isolated democracy, an international pariah state — and affirmed her public commitment. “It is my personal promise to stand with Israel for the rest of my life,” she told AIPAC.
On Sept. 6, Ireland will be honored in Los Angeles by the Jewish National Fund, further cementing her role as Israel’s new post-fashion-career poster girl.
Though she eschews the term “religious” (too “man-made”), faith is what brought her to the Holy Land. It undergirds her intense passion for the country: “Israel is a global minority and the hostility and venom thrust upon this great nation is just unbelievable,” she said. But she insists that it is not faith alone, but also her belief in Israel’s humanitarian spirit that binds her to the country. “Israel is not strictly a Christian value or an American value; it is a value of humanity.”
On the topic, Ireland can sound dogmatic. Alternating between lavish praise and fiery defense, she is so on-point with her historical and political claims, it sometimes sounds as if she’s reading from a pamphlet. And her advocacy, to be sure, has deep strains of Arab distrust.
“I see bullying. I see a lot of revisionist history,” she said, earnestly. “All one has to do is look at the PLO and their own documents. This is not about land; the Arab League has 22 separate Islamic states spanning an area of 5 million square miles. Israel is 9,000 square miles! It’s not about the land, which is one sixth of one percent of the entire Middle East — it’s about a hatred that is so vile and so deep that it seeks to eradicate a people.”
Read it all for a dose of heart-warming goodwill.
My next piece of good news is the happy tidings that you may never have to clean your car again.
Cleaning the house may soon become much easier. A laboratory at the Ariel University Center in Samaria has developed a coating for a wide range of items, primarily those intended for use in harsh outdoor conditions, that protects the items from natural elements.
The material was developed in the lab of Professor Edward Bormashenko. Using nanotechnology, Bormashenko’s team created a hydrophobic material that repels water, dirt, dust and oil. Once applied, the material keeps even the most rough and sensitive surfaces clean for long periods of time.
The material could, for example, be used to keep car surfaces free of dust, or tents dry during rainstorms.
“The fact that the production cost of the material is relatively low compared to similar materials means that the sky is the limit,” Bormashenko said.
And to finish up, we have the excellent news that Israeli swimmer Inbal Pezaro has won a bronze medal at the London Paralympics.
Swimming at the S5 disability classification, Pezaro stopped the clocks at 37.89 seconds. She was preceded by the Ukrainian and Spanish swimmers.
Sports and Culture Minister Limor Livant congratulated Pezaro on her achievement. “Today Inbal proved, and not for the first time, that she’s an amazing winner and an honor ambassador for Israeli sport.
This is Pezaro’s six Paralympic medal. In Athens, she won a bronze and a silver medal and in Beijing took home three silver medals.
The Israeli swimmer also found success in various international tournaments in the past few years. In 2010, she won the gold at the 100 meters freestyle in Holland.
Kol hakavod to Inbal, and good luck to all the other Israeli athletes taking part in the Paralympics. May you go from strength to strength.
Shabbat shalom to everyone!