No matter how long the Fridays in the middle of the summer, I still seem to get to Shabbat in a mad rush. This is why this Good News Friday post might be a little shorter than usual.
My first item was overlooked last week, but it’s never a bad time to hear good news, especially in these days when delegitimization of Israel has become fashionable: Costa Rica has become the 33rd country to launch a pro-Israel caucus:
Costa Rica launched an official Israel Allies Caucus in its parliament last week, becoming the 33rd country in the world to do so, officials present at the event said Sunday.
The caucus was facilitated by The Israel Allies Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting communication between parliamentarians and legislators around the world who share the belief that the State of Israel has the right to exist in peace within secure borders.
“The establishment of the caucus demonstrates Costa Rica’s profound support for Israel and the importance it places in its bilateral relationship with the Jewish state,” said the foundation’s Latin American coordinator, Leopoldo Martinez.
The Costa Rican Israel Allies Caucus consists of Legislative President, Rafael Ortiz and a dozen other parliament members from five different parties: Karla Prendas, Paulina Ramírez, Sandra Piszk, Juan Luis Jimenez, Juan Marin and Michael Arce of the National Liberation Party; Otto Guevara, the President of the Libertarian Movement; Gonzalo Ramirez, Abelino Esquivel and Fabricio Alvarado of the two Christian parties; Victor Morales and Marvin Atencio Zapata of the Official Party.
“For years, the solidarity and friendship between the people of Costa Rica and Israel has been very clear, but we must constantly nourish and strengthen the relationship,” Prendas, the chairwoman of the caucus, told her fellow parliamentarians. We are here to increase efforts in that direction. That is precisely the reason for this activity.”
The parliament members were joined at the launch by Tal Naim, Israel’s Consul General in Costa Rica.
Guevara said he was one of two MPs from Costa Rica who attended the foundation’s Latin America Summit on Israel in Miami in April.
“It was a wonderful and informative experience.
The foundation has an international network of parliamentarians around the world and I strongly encourage everyone to support their efforts,” he said.
How wonderful to hear that we have such good friends all the way on the other side of the world, though of course Costa Rica has a history of solid support for Israel. Kol hakavod to all the parliamentarians involved, both from Israel and from Costa Rica. May the two sides bring benefit to each other, and may we hear of many more similar caucuses.
Moving from the diplomatic to the hi-tech sector, though still with an international accent, Elbit Systems have won a $150 million contract for European infantry systems:
Elbit Systems has announced that its Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd. unit has been awarded a contract from the Dutch Ministry of Defense to supply advanced systems for the infantry soldiers in the Benelux countries – Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg.
The contract, valued at approximately $150 million, will be performed over a five-year period. Elbit Systems will serve as the program prime contractor and Thales Netherlands B.V (“Thales”) will be its main sub-contractor. Other local companies will take part in the project, providing support and immediate response to the customer’s needs.
The Smart Vest project is collaboration between the soldier modernization programs of the Benelux countries: Netherlands’ VOSS, Belgium’s BEST and Luxemburg’s COMPASS. It is the first strategic joint program of the Benelux countries, and will provide the ground soldiers with a cutting-edge system that will provide enhance survivability and safety while increasing their capabilities and effectiveness in the digital battlefield. The systems will be light-weight, modular and scalable and will interface with existing systems.
Kol hakavod to Elbit for their excellent development and for winning this lucrative contract. I’m sure these European soldiers will be very happy that they are receiving a quality Israeli product to help protect them on the battlefield.
More from the hi-tech field, Samsung is launching a startup accelerator in Israel, the first of its kind in the world:
Samsung is founding a startup accelerator in its development center in the Yakum industrial park. Yossi Smoler, head of the Open Innovation Group at Samsung Electronics Israel R&D center in Yakum, and former director of the incubators program in the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of the Economy, is in charge of the accelerator. Samsung is currently looking for 6-10 startups for its first cohort in the accelerator, which will open towards the end of the year. Registration through the accelerator’s website, www.runway.samsung.com, is slated to close on September 12. The focus is on companies in their early stages, before feasibility studies.
The accelerator in Yakum is the first of its type in the world launched by Samsung. The startup program in the US, although defined as an accelerator, operates more as an incubator with larger investments, and each cycle lasts 18 months, not six.
The article goes on to list all the other startup ventures with which Samsung is involved in Israel. We can be proud that the electronics giant Samsung sees fit to invest so much time, effort and money in Israel’s hi-tech field. Kol hakavod to Samsung and to all the Israeli industrialists involved. May they go from strength to strength.
And now back to family matters. Last week I mentioned that we were so excited for our cousins to make Aliya. Well, the great day arrived, and on Tuesday around 20 of us family members, (my siblings and me, nmy parents, my aunt and her children, nieces and children) plus some of our cousins’ friends, and friends of their son from yeshiva, all gathered at Ben Gurion Airport to wait (and wait, and wait, and wait… 3 hours in all!) with our flags and balloons and Welcome Home signs (and my dad’s bottle of wine) until they emerged from the air-side of the arrivals hall.
We burst into song, singing “Hevenu Shalom Aleichem” and started an impromptu dance right there in the hall, to the amusement and cheers of other arrivals and their families.
Watch the video here:
We wish Suzanne, Danny and the boys an easy klita (it’s all gone very smoothly so far, tfu tfu tfu!) and a very successful and happy new chapter living in Israel. Roll on the next family reunion!
And on that note I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!