- Written by Bahai Org
HAIFA, Israel, , (BWNS) — A new official website of the Baha’i Faith has been launched providing general information about the Universal House of Justice – the international governing body of the Baha’i community – and making available selected statements and letters that have been written by it or prepared under its supervision.
The Universal House of Justice is elected every five years by representatives of over 170 national Baha’i communities. The most recent election took place in April 2013, the fiftieth anniversary of when it was established.
The official website for the Universal House of Justice can be viewed at universalhouseofjustice.bahai.
To read the article online, view photographs and access links:
For the Baha'i World News Service home page, go to:
Photo Silvia Golan
- Written by USA Embassy
The United States and the State of Israel concluded an agreement on March 5 to continue support of the production of the Iron Dome weapon system.
The Iron Dome system is capable of intercepting and destroying short-range rockets, and mortar and artillery shells, and is an invaluable component of Israeli missile defense. During Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, Iron Dome was credited with saving countless Israeli lives, and was called a "game-changer" by many Israeli policy-makers. Yesterday's agreement ensures continued U.S. funding for procurement of Iron Dome systems and interceptors, and provides for significant co-production opportunities for U.S. industry. Under the terms of the agreement, $429 million will be transferred immediately to Israel to support Iron Dome procurement.
The agreement represents strategic value for both nations. Israel will obtain valuable resources to contribute to its defense and U.S. industry will receive meaningful co-production opportunities for Iron Dome components.
- Written by Israel Tourist Ministry
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: TOURISM MINISTRY INVESTED NIS 6.5 MILLION IN MAKING ACCESSIBLE TENS OF TOURIST AND NATURE SITES FOR TOURISTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS AND PRODUCED A BOOKLET OF ACCESSIBLE TOURS IN JERUSALEM
Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: "It is important for us to properly represent people with disabilities in order to make it easier for them to relax and enjoy their holiday like everyone else. The Tourism Ministry under my leadership will continue to make tourism sites accessible."
Tourism Minister Director-General Amir Halevi: "In the tender to select a company for rating hotels in Israel, we determined that the higher the degree of accessibility in a hotel, the higher the rating. These are steps that are designed to increase the accessibility of tourist sites to all sectors of the population, regardless of disabilities."
The Tourism Ministry attaches great importance to making tourist sites in Israel accessible to visitors with disabilities. In the last two years, the ministry has invested about NIS 2.5 million out of an overall investment of NIS 6.5 million in the development of accessible tourist sites including, among others, tens of nature resorts, museums and heritage, historical and religious sites.
Tourists and visitors planning their trip to Israel can now enjoy a wide range of accessible trails, and can also consult with a color brochure that details all the sites that are accessible for tourists with disabilities.
Last month, the Tourism Product Administration in the Tourism Ministry, in cooperation with the Jerusalem Development Authority published a color brochure detailing five accessible tours of the Old City. These tours will enable visitors with accessibility needs to experience Jerusalem's religious and historical sites.
The tours include:
- From Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate
- The Jewish Quarter
- Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period
- The Temple Mount Compound
- The Via Dolorosa
In each tour detailed information is provided regarding the specific accessibility at the sites, including where the assistance of a helper is needed. Some of the tours require advance booking and reservations to provide the necessary facilities for accessibility, including the use of accessible elevators and other particular arrangements specific to the site.
The booklet is available free of charge at the Israel Government Tourist Office at the Jaffa Gate in the entrance to the Old City or online at
In 2012, the Tourism Ministry produces a 22-page full color booklet in English entitled: “Accessible Israel” (http://goisrael.com/other/
The brochure, written by an experienced tour guide who specializes in tours for people with special needs, offers the disabled traveler a wide range of tour routes in the north, center and south of Israel, as well as in Jerusalem. For each tour, there is a historical introduction and useful information on each site, including how to get there and disabled access at the site. An easy-to-read legend provides information on whether the route is accessible to the following: sight impaired; wheelchairs; those with difficulty walking; baby carriages and the hearing impaired.
The varied routes include:
- Around the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee
- The Gilboa region
- Neot Kedumim Biblical Landscape Reserve
- Tel Aviv, including the Palmach Museum and the Tel Aviv Port
- The Old City of Jerusalem
- Mount Herzl and Yad Vashem
- Border Observation Point in the Negev
- Ein Feshka Nature Reserve and Qumran on the Dead Sea
The ministry runs a specialist course for licensed tour guides on the subject of accessible tourism. The ministry's website is also available with relevant information in A2 format for the sight-impaired.
The ministry recently organized a tour, the first of its kind, along those sections of the Gospel Trail that have been made accessible for tourists with disabilities, including Mount Precipice, Keshet forest, Kfar Kanna and the Wedding Church, Tabgha and Capernaum.
Sites made accessible by the Tourism Ministry include, among others:
- Rosh Hanikra - special bridge for wheelchair accessibility to the site
- Atlit - elevator for access to the different levels of the boat exhibition; paths and guides for the hearing-impaired.
- Masada - wheelchair accessible throughout the site, in the museum, guiding etc. Includes different models of the site for the blind.
- Hurshat Tal - wheelchair accessible paths, parking lots, bathrooms and picnic areas
- Latrun - elevator for access to the viewing levels and observation point
- Ein Shemer - Exhibits in the museum for the hearing impaired and wheelchair accessible throughout.
- Beit Shean - Accessibility for the sound and light show.
- Written by Office of the President
The prestigious award will be conferred upon Chancellor Merkel at a special ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday 25th February as part of her visit to Israel
The committee's recommendation: "Chancellor Merkel placed Germany's unwavering commitment to Israel's security at the forefront of relations between the two countries. The strategic and security cooperation between Israel and Germany has reached new heights under her leadership."
The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, will confer the Presidential Medal of Distinction upon Chancellor Angela Merkel. The medal is the highest civilian award in Israel and is being bestowed upon Dr. Merkel for her unwavering commitment to Israel's security and the fight against anti-Semitism and racism in particular through education. The award will be conferred upon Chancellor Merkel during a special ceremony (Tuesday 25th February at 15:30) at the President's Residence in Jerusalem during her upcoming visit to Israel. At the event, which will be attended by senior figures involved in Israeli-German relations, President Peres will confer the Presidential Medal of Distinction upon Chancellor Merkel and they will both deliver speeches to mark the occasion. Following the ceremony President Peres and Chancellor Merkel will conduct a diplomatic work meeting during which they will discuss the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the Iranian nuclear program and relations between Israel and Germany.
President Peres and the committee gave the following reasons for the award: "Dr. Angela Merkel, is an exceptional leader with a deep moral conviction and high ideals including in her warm relations with the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Chancellor Merkel sets a wonderful example on education against anti-Semitism, racism and hate and works tirelessly to expand the work being done on these issues with the aim of educating future generations in Germany towards equality, tolerance and acceptance of the other. Chancellor Merkel not only strengthened the diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany but also the security relations. This commitment has been exemplified by the numerous examples of Germany standing absolutely by Israel's side within the European Union and the firm stance taken by the government against the delegitimization of Israel in the world. Chancellor Merkel placed Germany's unwavering commitment to Israel's security at the forefront of relations between the two countries. The strategic and security cooperation between Israel and Germany have reached new heights under her leadership. Chancellor Merkel is a leader of vision and foresight, an outstanding personality and she has captured the hearts of the entire world. She is a leader whose values inspire hope and whose actions inspire wonder."
Background Information on the Presidential Medal of Distinction:
The Presidential Medal of Distinction is awarded to private individuals and organizations that have made unique and outstanding contributions to Tikkun Olam (Bettering the World), Israeli society and the State of Israel's image around the world, and which constitute examples of initiative, innovation, creativity and vision. The medals themselves feature the North Star to symbolize the right path and a menorah, the symbol of Israel and the continuous link between past and present. The medal is crowned with the words from Samuel 9:2 "from his shoulders and upward." The Presidential Medal of Distinction is comparable to the "Legion of Honor" (France) or the "Order of Canada."
The advisory committee for the Presidential Medal of Distinction includes retired Supreme Court President Meir Shamgar, former President Yitzhak Navon, Professor Suzie Navot, Dr. Mohammed Issawi, Rabbi Dr. Ratzon Arusi, Gil Shwed and Professor Anita Shapira.
Previous winners of the award include President Obama, President Clinton, Elie Wiesel, former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, the Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Mr. Zubin Mehta, Attorney Uri Slonim, Judy Feld Carr, The Rashi Foundation and Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz.
President Shimon Peres & Chancellor Angela Merkel Photo: Mark Neiman/GPO
- Written by Globes
is recovery around the corner?
At the conference on December 8-9, leading experts will examine the prospects for global recovery in 2014.
The 2013 “Globes” Israel Business Conference on , will try to analyze the condition of the global economy and examine whether the recovery, led by the economies of the US and Europe, is real. On one hand, US economic policy has succeeded in beating the crisis forecast that hung over it, while on the other hand, Spain and other European countries have had their first growth after years of crisis. But the threats remain, and they are great. Once again, the US has just avoided default by the skin of its teeth, and bought some relief for its economy. At the same time, it seems that the US has become addicted to “cheap money” and the helicopter of Ben Bernanke, who has decided to hand the task of initiating the exit strategy to his successor. In Europe, despite the rally in leading indices, the level of unemployment, especially among the young, remains high and dangerous, and the need for structural reform in and a and deepening of the EU are growing more urgent.
On the other side are the emerging markets, including China, India, and Brazil, which have begun to downshift. Their high growth rates of the previous decade now seem like a fleeting episode that will not be repeated. Together with the decline in growth rates, it seems that these economies desperately need thorough restructuring, which if not implemented immediately, threaten their economic achievements.
An equally important question is how these processes and movements in the global economy affect the Israeli economy, which demonstrated economic and financial soundness during the years of the crisis, but is undergoing a prolonged rise in the cost of living, accompanied by soaring real estate prices and widening social gaps between sectors of the population.
The first day’s plenum session will be opened by President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres. It will be followed by a special debate on the global economy in 2014, moderated by Richard Quest, the host of CNN’s “Quest Means Business”. The participants will be PIMCO global strategic advisor Prof. Richard Clarida, a Lowell Harris Professor of Economics at Columbia University and the US Assistant Treasury Secretary for Economic Policy in 2002-2003; former CEO of Deutsche Bank AG Dr. Josef Ackermann; China International Capital Corporation chairman Jin Liqun; and “Financial Times” associate editor and chief foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman.
The second day’s opening plenum session will discuss Israeli business sector growth, and will host former Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer, Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL) president and CEO Stefan Borgas,Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) president and CEO Dr. Jeremy Levin, and Prof. Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University, and a prominent defender of Israel.
OECD Secretary General Gurria to speak at Israel Business Conference
Angel Gurria will discuss a range of issues that will appear in the OECD report, with a focus on taxes and the healthcare system in Israel.
OECD Secretary General Jose Angel Gurria is making a special trip to Israel to participate in the "Globes" 2013 Israel Business Conference. He will participate in the first day's plenum session and will speak with Richard Quest, the host of CNN's "Quest Means Business".
Gurria will discuss a range of issues that will appear in the OECD report, which will be published close to the conference, with a focus on taxes and the healthcare system in Israel.
For further information and registration, go to Israel Business Conference .
Gurria was elected secretary-general of the OECD in June 2006, and was reelected for a second term in 2010. He has strengthened the OECD's standing as global forum on economic policy, and has modernized and carried internal reforms at the organization.
Gurria, a Mexican citizen, arrived at the OECD after a distinguished career in Mexican public service, including terms as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance and Public Credit in the 1990s.
Israel joined the OECD in 2010, after an accession process of several years. The OECD was founded in 1961 by countries in North America and Western Europe, and has expanded over the years to include countries in Asia, the Latin America, and Eastern Europe. It currently has 34 members. The OECD member states account for more than 60% of global GDP.
The "Globes" 2013 Israel Business Conference, the country's largest business conference, will be held this year under the title "The Global Economy in 2014". It is Israel's premier and most prestigious economic event.
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