As always, despite any bad or depressing news in the preceding week, there are always a couple of bright spots to include in my latest Good News Friday post.
This week we start with some local politics: the Foreign Ministry strike, which was badly damaging Israel’s international standing and diplomatic capabilities, has ended with a pay agreement.
The deal reached between Foreign Ministry employees and the Treasury was a prelude to a more comprehensive agreement that is to be reached within a month. It included an clause to adjust diplomats’ wages according to the cost of living in the country in which they serve. In addition, a financial plan will partially compensate for a spouse’s loss of career and pension, as well as assist diplomats’ partners in finding employment during their time abroad. The Finance Ministry also agreed to help fund the cost of education for the children of diplomats working abroad.
“The agreement signed today is an outline of the principles that form the basis of a collective agreement that should be signed within the specified 30 days,” the Foreign Ministry Workers Union said in a statement.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin welcomed the agreement and the end of the strike.
This is excellent news for the ministry workers, the Ministry itself and for the country in general. It is just a shame that it took a full-blown strike, after months of go-slows and sanctions, to get to this stage. Israel must learn to develop proper arbitration channels for vital services such as these.
My next item comes literally from the other side of the world (from Brian of London at Israellycool): An Israeli tsunami alert system helped save the lives of thousands of people living in Chile after they suffered an enormous earthquake:
A couple of days ago Chile suffered an enormous 8.2 magnitude earthquake just off it’s coast. That’s huge. CNN and other news outlets have come up with a number of reasons why the death toll has been very low (it rose to six on Wednesday afternoon):
And the ground shaking wasn’t the only thing to worry about: the quake off shore gave a clear Tsunami warning.
“The government of Chile has been working hard to improve the awareness of people living along the coast to the threat from tsunamis and on what to do if one is approaching,” Godby said in a statement. “Several tsunami drills have taken place since the tsunami that killed an estimated 500[-plus] Chileans in February 2010 and recent earthquakes in the region have helped to keep the threat firmly in people’s minds.”
What’s the Israeli connection? Chile’s government has been bought an alert and warning system, developed in Israel and deployed it. The company is called eVigilo. I’ve had it confirmed by Guy Weiss, eVigilo’s CEO that their SMART Alert system was able to successfully alert and notify the Chilean population to prepare for evacuation.
eVigilo’s system targets alerts by geography (only people near the sea have to worry about Tsunamis) and alerts are sent to phones, radios, TV’s, computers and pretty much anything else. In Israel we have the country wide alarms too.
Just another way in which Israeli tech and ingenuity to solve our own problems gets sent out to do good in the world. I love Israel.
This is fantastic news which has quite flown under the radar. I don’t think I read this story anywhere else. Kol hakavod to Guy Weiss and the developers of eVigilo, and also to the Chilean government for having the foresight to be prepared for disaster – and for recognizing Israeli quality.
My last piece for today comes back right to the heartland of Israel – the town of Hebron where it is more usual to hear of clashes between Jewish and Arab residents. Earlier this week, local Arabs kicked out extreme-leftist protestors who were trying to ignite clashes between the two sides
Roughly 20 extreme-left activists and Arab protesters arrived at Hevron in Judea this week, but their plans to spark a confrontation with Jewish residents of the ‘Peace House‘ and IDF soldiers were upset, as local Arab residents kicked them out of the city.
The activists had arrived with cameras and the flags of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), hoping to spark clashes with Jews in Peace House, the Hevron building that in early March finally was recognized by the Supreme Court as having been duly purchased by its Jewish owners, after a six-year-long trial and a ten-year-long struggle.
To the activists’ surprise, within half an hour of starting their protest in front of the Peace House, several Arabs living in the area arrived and removed them from the area, claiming the activists were preventing them from leading normal lives in the city.
“For a relatively long period there’s been quiet and co-existence here between the Jewish and Palestinian residents, and this protest only damages the neighbors living nearby who want quiet already,” remarked a local Arab resident on condition of anonymity.
Malachi Levinger, head of the local resident’s council, said “it’s clear to us that those harming the sensitive stability in the region are the anarchists and leftist activists, who are not at all interested in peace, and in their activities sabotage the functional lifestyle in Kiryat Arba, Hevron, and other areas.”
This is the best news that has emerged out of Hebron for a long time. Perhaps it could be the glimmer of the first signs of real peace, not the faux peace which entails Israel’s surrender of its holy sites and Biblical heartland. It also proves quite clearly that the extreme leftists have a virulent political agenda which suits their needs alone. It clearly illustrates how they do not have the good of local Palestinians at heart, only the wish to destroy Israel.
Kol hakavod to those local Arabs who had the courage of their convictions, even if they preferred to remain anonymous. May their numbers multiply and may peace – a genuine peace – come quickly in our time.
On that happy thought I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!