After all the excitement from across the sea in Britain, it’s good to be able to unwind with a Good News Friday post.
My first item emanates from Israel’s biotech industry: Israel is exporting 500 million bee to Russia to help them improve their agriculture market. The Jerusalem Post has more in “To Russia with Bugs“:
Some 500 million little critters from Israel’s Bio-bee company will head to Russia, it was announced on Sunday.
Aiming to cut dependence on foreign agriculture imports as much as possible, Russia has been investing heavily in providing farmers with financial incentives for building greenhouses as well as using chemical-free pest prevention methods.
The country has banned the import of many European Union fruits, vegetables and even flowers, ever since violent conflict broke out between Russia and Ukraine, garnering sanctions from the EU.
Bio-bee stepped in when the Russian government called with its $1 million order.
This particular order of Bio-bee insects from Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, near Beit She’an, included several types of predatory mites. Among them is the Phytoseiulus persimilis mite and the Amblyseius swirskii mite, which are intended to be a “natural pesticide” for crops of tomatoes, cucumbers and roses.
In addition, an order of Bombus terrestris – commonly known as bumblebees – will be sent to improve crop yields.
The bumblebees will also be part of a cherry pollination experiment taking place in Crimean orchards. If it proves successful, the company said it could pave the way for better cherry growing in Israel.
Good for Bio-Bee that they can benefit from the difficult relations between Russia and Europe, and of course kol hakavod to them for breeding these useful bees. Maybe this will be the beginning of a beautiful relationship!
Turning to a completely different subject, this week the Israeli gymnastics team made history, winning the Gold Medal at the European Championships, held (for a change) in Holon, Israel. Watch this stunning exercise (and apologies for the foreign-language commentary):
A huge Mazal Tov and Kol hakavod to the gymnasts who really outdid themselves, and earned themselves a rightful place at the forthcoming Olympics. I wish them continued success!
And to conclude, despite my earlier post recommending we ignore BDS, here is a great pro-active project to counter the boycott threat: An anti-BDS gift box that comes straight to your door!
Omri Akunis is tired of hearing about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns against Israel, and the start-up he leads aims to counteract the movement.
“In recent years we witness ostracism by movements and countries which result in boycotting products manufactured in Israel,” Akunis said.
His solution? A gift box of Israeli products to be delivered right to your door.
Akunis co-founded the company iBox, which offers a blue-andwhite, made-in-Israel surprise box to its customers.
“It’s a surprise box,” explains Mai Hermann Akunis – another co-founder and Omri’s wife, “you get things that you don’t know but that are something you would need.”
In 2014, a trend of “surprise box” or “subscription box” companies began popping up, offering customers an unusual deal: For a subscription fee, they would receive a box each month with surprise contents. A health surprise box, for example, might arrive with different healthy snack foods every few weeks, or a “Barkbox” could surprise with different doggy toys.
The customers never know exactly what they’ll get, but are generally promised that its contents will be more valuable than the subscription fee, fit into the appropriate theme, and let them try out new products.
For Omri, the iBox seemed a perfect next step.
“I wanted to take Israeli products, put them in a box, and simply send them to people who support Israel,” he added.
The company will target subscribers in North America, and each month send them a box of Israeli products that touch on five senses: hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting and seeing. In a promotional video a box is shown that includes in it Israeli products such as a bottle of wine and a photo calendar.
“The idea kind of rolled around from what started as the BDS and a way to fight it,” said Mai.
The company has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, and is hoping to raise $60,000 to kick off their first round of boxes.
Watch the video here:
What a brilliant idea! I’m sure the customers will love their gift boxes, and I am positive the idea will take off in a big way. Kol hakavod to Omri Akunis on his initiative, a positive, pro-active way of supporting Israel.
And with these pleasant thoughts in mind I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!