ADVOCACY UPDATE
In This Issue
Justin Bieber Prays the Shema Before Hitting the Stage
90,000 tourists expected for Christmas
Israel and Singapore to develop new nanomaterials
Storm uncovers Roman-era statue in Israel
Kiefer's Challenge
Deep Purple coming to Israel in spring
Netanyahu agrees to discuss core issues in indirect talks with Palestinians
Canadian Jewish Congress slams 'white privilege' thesis
RANT
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90,000 tourists expected for Christmas


Israel's Tourism Ministry is preparing for the expected arrival of 90,000 tourists for Christmas, about one third of them pilgrims. Christmas in Israel is celebrated over a two week period by the different churches.

By the end of 2010 the ministry anticipates that 2.4 million Christian tourists will have visited the country and that the total number of tourists for the year will reach 3.45 million tourists - 26 percent more than 2009 and 14% more than 2008, Israel's previous record year. Of these, 2.8 million stayed more than one night, the remainder being one-day visitors and cruise passengers.

The tourists and pilgrims are expected to visit the holy sites and participate in the masses to be held in Bethlehem and Nazareth.

Most pilgrims visit Bethlehem, the Western Wall, Christian sites in Jerusalem such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives and Capernaum.

The traditional Christmas Mass will take place at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth on Friday December 24, following the colorful youth parade that takes place in the streets of the city.



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Israel and Singapore to develop new nanomaterials


Israeli scientists are collaborating with counterparts in Singapore to develop new nanomaterials to enhance the efficiency of existing energy and water management technologies.

Israel-Singapore nanotech
The staff involved in the CREATE centers. From left to right: Prof Shlomo Magdassi, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Dr Su Guaning, President of Nanyang Technological University; Teo Ming Kian, National Research Foundation (NRF); Dr Tony Tan, Chairman, NRF; Dr Francis Yeoh, CEO NRF; Prof Shankar Sastry, UC Berkeley; Prof Robert Marks, Ben Gurion University.

About 14 hours of fly time separate Singapore and Israel, yet the two countries have much in common. Two prominent Israeli academicians, Hebrew University (HU) of Jerusalem Prof. Shlomo Magdassi and Ben-Gurion University Prof Robert Marks, look forward to spending a year on this island republic off the Malay Peninsula, in the framework of a five-year collaboration.


Magdassi and Marks are partnering with Prof. Ma Jan of Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to head up a new research center focusing on energy efficiency, as part of Singapore's National Research Foundation Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) program.


Scientists from the three universities will work together to develop new nanomaterials to enhance the efficiency of existing energy and water management technologies.

"The idea is to advance basic research on applied orientation to create licensing startups," says Marks, a 49-year-old American-born biotechnology expert. "We'll be trying to create and commercialize new tools to help clean and monitor the water better, and to harvest better energy and conserve it."



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Storm uncovers Roman-era statue in Israel


JERUSALEM (AFP) - A massive storm that battered the eastern Mediterranean caused the collapse of a cliff in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, revealing a rare Roman-era marble statue, officials said on Tuesday.

"The big storm earlier this week caused the cliff to collapse and a statue from Roman times was found by a passer-by," said Yoli Schwartz, spokeswoman for the Israel Antiquities Authority.


The white marble statue of a woman, which weighs about 200 kilogrammes (440 pounds) and stands 1.2 metres (nearly four feet) tall, has been removed from the site by the authority, which is studying it, she said.


The statue was missing its head and arms, apparently from earlier damage, but had "delicately carved sandals," Schwartz told AFP.


The storm that hit the eastern Mediterranean earlier in the week with winds of over more than 100 kilometres per hour (62 miles per hour) whipped up enormous waves, some as high as 12 metres (40 feet), that caused widespread damage.

While the collapse of the cliff in Ashkelon led to the discovery of the statue, the storm also endangered other important archaeological sites along the coast.


 

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Kiefer's Challenge

The German artist Anselm Kiefer has once again taken New York by storm. Ensconced at the prestigious Gagosian Gallery, Next Year in Jerusalem, his latest show, has met with reviews ranging from the gushing to the grudgingly respectful.  To Roberta Smith, the veteran New York Times art critic, the massive exhibit, which closes December 18, is "possibly the best [Kiefer] has ever mounted in the city," even as Smith also comments, more caustically, that it amounts to "middlebrow art as catharsis, spectacle with a message."


Indeed, Kiefer's trademark subject matter of heavy-handed German angst and guilt may no longer be cool enough for the art journals and chat rooms. But the show and its provocative title carry a special message for Jews, and for Jewish artists. 


 

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Smoke on the Water...in Israeli?



Legendary rock bank to return to Holy Land in May for two concerts in Caesarea



About two years after its last visit to Israel, legendary rock band Deep Purple will return to the Holy Land on May 14 for a performance at the Caesarea amphitheater. Ynet has learned that the band is likely to hold another concert in Caesarea on May 15.


 

Gillan conquers audience in Caesarea (Photo: Hagai Aharon)


Deep Purple is currently in the midst of a concert tour in France. Lead singer Ian Gillan said recently that the group was planning to release a new album next year, followed by a concert tour.


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Netanyahu agrees to discuss core issues in indirect talks with Palestinians

UN Mideast envoy: Credibility of countries sponsoring Israeli-Palestinian peace process is at stake.

By Avi Issacharoff, Akiva Eldar, Barak Ravid and The Associated Press

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed to visiting U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell on Tuesday that Israel would agree to discuss all the core issues in the indirect negotiations that are expected take place with the Palestinians over the coming months under American mediation.

Up to now, Netanyahu had refused to negotiate borders, settlements or the status of Jerusalem before the issue of security arrangements was resolved.
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U.S. envoy George Mitchell and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu



Despite Netanyahu's expressed willingness to deal with all core issues, sources close to the prime minister said he is most eager to deal with the refugee issue, with recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and security arrangements in a future Palestinian state. Nonetheless, the expectation is that borders and security arrangements will be the first two issues to be tackled.


 

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Canadian Jewish Congress slams 'white privilege' thesis

Watch video here

A University of Toronto masters' thesis about Jewish 'white privilege' and victim identity is "a cry of anguish" on the part of its author and shouldn't be considered academically sound, the Canadian Jewish Congress said Friday.

In a video posted on its home page and on YouTube Friday, the CJC further waded into the fraught debate surrounding Jenny Peto's thesis, which earned her a master's degree from the university's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Len Rudner, who is an OISE alumni, read "all 107 pages" of the thesis entitled The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education and dismayed that his alma mater appears to have lowered its academic standards since he attended in pursuit of his bachelor of education.

"I always thought that a thesis had to do with learning, with exploring new themes, with discovering things," he said in the video. "In actual fact, Ms. Peto's thesis is really 107 pages of confirmation bias."


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RANT

Brrr... It is freakin cold! You think by now I'd be used to this weather but... nope! Every year around this time I regret my decision for choosing Montreal as my home. I close my eyes and I imagine myself on a beach and the sun's warmth... but there's a problem. I'm FREEZING! Maybe my imagination sucks. I choose to believe that it's the climate that sucks. What good has ever come from weather like this? Now you skiers and snowboarders are probably hating me right now but I say... go on vacation to do your skiing. Don't make an entire city suffer so you can have 4hrs of fun a week. You know what it is? SELFISHNESS! People who love winter are selfish! Plus winter brings uniformity. It's like we all wake up in morning, put on our boots and our Canada Goose jackets and roam the streets like we are a cult planning a revolution. You're probably thinking "boy, is this guy bitter?" I'm actually not. I'm done exams and off to Israel. I'm proposing a solution... How about we all just meet on the beach in Tel Aviv (skiers are welcome too). Who's with me?
 

- The Advocate