Good News Friday

Apologies for not having posted much recently, but the short winter Fridays combined with being extremely busy with our Emunah Purim project has left me little time to blog.

However the Purim project is now ready to go, so here we go with another Good News Friday post.

Apple in Israel

This week’s installment starts with some good news on the hi-tech front, as we learn that Apple CEO Tim Cook arrived in Israel this week to inaugurate Apple’s new Research and Development Center:

Apple Computers CEO Tim Cook arrived in Israel yesterday, and today inaugurated the company’s new R&D center in Herzliya Pituah. Cook spoke to the employees for an hour, telling them, “Trust me – there will be an Apple store in Israel.” He answered questions and posed for selfies with several employees.

Apple CEO meets with Shimon Peres

The company will have 800 employees in its new center, some of whom are currently in Herzliya Pituah (in the offices of the former Anobit) and some in Ramat Hahayal (in the offices of the former PrimeSense). These offices will also house Apple’s representatives in Israel, including its sales and marketing departments. Apple is renting the 12,500-sq.m. offices from Bayside Land Corp. Ltd.(Gav Yam) (TASE: BYSD1).

Apple will put the employees from the companies it acquired in Israel in the new building. Apple acquired flash memory company Anobit in early 2012 for $390 million and movement sensor development company PrimeSense in late 2013 for $300 million, as well as hiring 150 laid off Israeli employees of Texas Instruments.

This is great news for Israel’s hi-tech sector in general, promoting Israel’s “brand” as a leader in hi-tech and digital technologies. Of course this is also excellent news for the hundreds of laid-off employees who now have new employment. And I’m sure all Apple’s devoted fans in Israel (of which I confess I am one) are delighted too!

Kol hakavod to Apple and its CEO for recognizing Israel’s leadership in this field and opening the R & D Center. May it grow from strength to strength.

Bamba, the iconic Israeli peanut snack loved by children (and adults)

My next item (h/t Reality) is not so much good news as very interesting news – though it is certainly good news for Israeli peanut snack Bamba as it has been discovered that early exposure to peanuts can actually prevent peanut allergies rather than exacerbate them:

For years, parents of babies who seem likely to develop a peanut allergy have gone to extremes to keep them away from peanut-based foods. Now a major study suggests that is exactly the wrong thing to do.

Before you even start any kind of introduction these children need to be skin-tested” to prevent life-threatening reactions, said Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, an allergy specialist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

The main finding — that early exposure to a problem food may keep it from becoming a long-term problem — should change food guidelines quickly, she predicted.

“Isn’t it wild? It’s counterintuitive in certain ways and in other ways it’s not,” she said.

Researchers at King’s College London started this study after noticing far higher rates of peanut allergies among Jewish children in London who were not given peanut-based foods in infancy compared to others in Israel who were.

The results at 5 years of age:

—Among children with no sign of allergy on the skin test: Only 2 percent of peanut eaters developed a peanut allergy versus 14 percent of abstainers.

—Among children with some reaction to peanuts on the skin test: Only 11 percent of peanut eaters developed an allergy versus 35 percent of abstainers.

Fascinating! This study just goes to prove what all Israeli parents have known for decades: Bamba is food – and healthy food at that. Just ask Israeli children!  🙂

I’ll finish this week’s installment with two excellent posts from Israellycool – always a great read with plenty of snark and packed with interesting news items.

Pro-Israel rally

The first item is a first-person account of a liberal  American who says “I support Israel because I’m a liberal“. The fact that this should be a counter-intuitive claim speaks volumes about the degree of anti-Zionism in the world today:

I support Israel because I am a liberal.

In college I was a pretty typical hippie. I ate kale salads, bought local and organic where possible, listened to obscure alt/rock indie bands, and supported and participated in initiatives that sought to help the environment, promote aboriginal rights, reduce the influence of multinational corporations on government policy, and increase the minimum wage. I went to protests and gay pride parades, and even participated in a drag show and a feminist working group. I’m staunchly pro-choice and supportive of many social welfare policies and equal rights for gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals, many of whom I include among my closest friends.

In other words, I lean left. Quite left, in fact. That’s why I support Israel.

Yes, you read that right. I support Israel because I am a liberal.

I’m a feminist, environmentalist, queer ally, activist, and Zionist. Those terms are not mutually exclusive – in fact, they complement each other and are the very antithesis of hypocritical.

I’m done taking sides. I chose to align myself with the humanitarian side, the side that would make a better life for Israelis and Palestinians alike. I choose to align with Israel, as that is the pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian way to go.

The “White ain’t Right, Strong is Wrong” mentality has infected my fellow lefties like a virus, and has stifled all critical thinking, probing, and intellectual curiosity.

Although Jews have consistently, without a doubt, been through the ultimate proverbial meat-grinder, with entire civilizations trying to wipe us out at every turn, we should define ourselves by our successes and our triumphs. And, due to the above reasons, I see Israel as the greatest triumph of all.

That’s why, as a progressive and a liberal, I wholeheartedly support Israel.

Go and read the whole thing. What a wonderful article, what courage to be so un-PC in today’s climate. And what an amazing morale-boost for Israel. Kol hakavod to the writer, Alexandra Markus.

And to conclude, as I promised, in the spirit of Purim in which the wickedness of Haman is “repaid back on his head” and the events were turned upside-down in the Jews’ favour, here is a simply hilarious post from Israellycool on the woes of anti-Semite and anti-Zionist British MP George Galloway, who tried to promote himself on Twitter, and received a cold shower of mocking tweets in response:

It was supposed to help George Galloway in his re-election bid: a Q&A session on Twitter promoted by his buddies at Iran’s Press TV.

What transpired was a huge PR fail for Galloway.

Here are just a selection of the questions he received (including some from yours truly)

Galloway was not a happy bunny, and his sorry tale of woe concluded thus:


Enjoy the schadenfreude!

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

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4 Responses to Good News Friday

  1. Pete says:

    the “toilet paper” Tweet to Galloway was hysterical!

    Pete, USA

  2. Pete says:

    Anne … I hate to “go serious” on your Good News Friday essions!

    Bibi’s speech is coming up pretty quickly now. I don’t know the run-up in the media coverage in Israel. Here, the articles are generally against the speech. The prevailing theme is that PM Netanyahu will only succeed in further angering Pres. Obama, and contributing to party politics in the USA. It appears that some politicians will choose not to attend Bibi’s speech, especially the Democrats … who now have their own axe to grind because they think that the PM snubbed them (by turning down the pre-speech meeting).

    Setting aside all of the Washington DC drama … I understand that PM Netanyahu wants to make a clear and strong statement. I hope that he keeps it non-partisan, in reference to US politics. I think that he will. BUT I do not think that Bibi (or Israel) can simply count on the “opinion polls” to generate a favorable review of this speech. Israelis may stand solidly behind Bibi, but Americans are LOW on credibility for speeches about action and war. Therefore, if Bibi is tring to make a strong impression with this speech – he will need to “play a strong card”. In other words, he is going to have to say something, or reveal something, that explains very clearly why he has a strong concern. And it needs to be something NEW … he can’t simply re-hash the Red Line speech that he gave at the UN.

    We will see what happens.
    It will be interesting.

    Pete, USA

  3. Reality says:

    great post as always! The funny thing about Bamba is that in good old UK we were taught thatearly exposure to tomatoes ,strawberries, peanuts can cause allergies. Here in Israel ,babies are often started of with pureed tomaotes as their first food. I was shocked! But I don’t know of one child with tomato allergy ,so obviously there is something to this.
    Kol hakavod to apple too.
    I LOOOOVE SCHADENFREUDE!!! I was laughing myself silly over those tweets! He had it coming to him
    Shavua tov -Purim is on its way so maybe this week after Netanyahu’s speech there will be a “venahafochu”(turning around of the situation -like in the famous Queen Esther story we celebrate over Purim)

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