Monday, February 20, 2017

Politics and Business: Oil and Vinager

Food is a fast growth sector in Israel, here government and business differ in opinion: imports are important
Local economic and global trade trends are changing enough to tear traditional government to business relationships. Israeli businesses relied on government to support and promote local industries around the world. So business and government worked together in making contacts around the world. Yet some changes are pushing the two apart. The changes are fast and slow, slow in the construction and banking sectors, but fast in technology and security sectors. Israeli government wants to promote local business, a balance between manufacturing, service and public workforce. Yet business and industry wants flexibility and the ability to move quickly as opportunities appear. This usually translate into moving jobs from manufacturing to service sectors. Today it also means moving workers or jobs from here to a foreign country. The movement of people out of Israel and even worst into Israel is not welcomed.
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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Getting the Most of Tel Aviv in a Short Visit

Winter (January) sunset on the Tel Aviv promonade (walk along the Medeterennian) - © 2017 D-A Vider
When coming to Tel Aviv on a business or family visit, take an extra day to experience something special. Israel is one of the most misunderstood place on earth. I remember an American Ivy League professor visiting Tel Aviv. She was so afraid to leave the hotel for security reasons. Told of horrific violent acts by Israeli Defense Forces soldiers (IDF) and the Apartheid treatment of Israeli Arabs, she chose to avoid street life and stay in her hotel. A friend asked me to simply take her on a walk along the beach so she can see the city. After an hour of seeing bathers, from bikinis to burkas, she wondered what the city really felt like. In two hours her preconceived notion of the horrific stories told in the US diapered (some was obviously mass media impressions). A friend (Sam the man, from previous blog posts) just reminded me of a very similar story. One of his old friends came to see why Sam was living here after having a perfectly great upper-middle class life in Ohio. My advice? If you are in Tel Aviv and can add a day to your trip, see the city for yourself. If you have seen Jerusalem or came for business outside the city, don't let this opportunity pass you by. 
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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Quiet Asian Connections

Japanese doll in the Haifa Japan museum / 
If you shut your eyes and use hearing and smell, a few places here will not seem like Israel. Sometimes Tel Aviv streets can be mistaken with another European city. London and Moscow come to mind first. But Paris, Berlin, Rome or Amsterdam would also be good guess. The languages you hear mix with the local Hebrew, Arabic and Russian in a symphony of voices. More Russian and English is heard in cafes and shops at popular spots than the local Hebrew. Shops and cafes are (unfortunately) styled in "western generic" format carrying internationally branded products. This acceptance of Israel as an appendage to western Europe is old news. But recently we see small groups of Chinese and South Korean joining the mix. There are also a few Thai and Singaporeans and the tilt toward the east becomes a real tourist trend. Unlike westerners the few Asian tourists and business visitors are quiet in their manners. Some seem to wonder what has happened in Israel the last few decades. Some are focused on their pilgrimage or technology tasks. Here to see ancient sites or the latest high technology products. Maybe even steal a peek at the incredible start-up machine. 
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Monday, December 5, 2016

Crane Migration Through Israel


Crane migration through Israel is somewhat of a hidden secret. A few tourists or business travelers make it to this biannual bird ritual. Yet Israelis flock to see the migration in spring and fall. To some this is an annual family event. This is as close as you are going to come to seeing animal migration in nature. If you ever wanted to see a massive migration, from rain deer in the arctic circle to elephants and buffalo in Africa, this is a sure way to get a taste of nature's fierce power. Seeing thousands of birds at one place taking off all at once is simply amazing.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Winter Cranes in Hula Bird Sanctuary


Israel is a stopping station for migrating birds. Large cranes and pelicans from Europe migrate to Africa in the spring and fall. The Hula bird sanctuary is Israel's largest park to see this amazing natural phenomena. This time a year there are thousands of cranes at the sanctuary. In a field next to the ponds, we say thousands of cranes eating and quacking. The noise seems like a crazy conversation between a pair of birds, only multiplied by a thousand. 
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Monday, November 28, 2016

Hula Bird Sanctuary: in for the winter


Pelicans migrate through Israel in the early fall and spring. By September and October they are usually settled here or gone to the Nile delta in Egypt or further south in Ethiopia and eastern Africa. Israeli wildlife authorities and the state's agriculture department manage the Hula bird sanctuary. Actually the direct management is done by the Keran Kayement Le'Israel (KKL - JNF) who owns the land proper.
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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Sarona Park: Summer Music Memories


Fall came late this year. Up to mid-November Tel Aviv weather was unseasonably warm. Sarona park, the newly built shopping and eating commercial park on Kaplan street is attracting people with live events. Up to October local bands put on early evening (7 - 9 PM) concerts. I can't say these were Tel Aviv's finest performers. Yet the combination of a warm night, nice park setting and food all around in this part of town did the trick. The last days of September and early November a German style Oktoberfest turned out to be the last outdoor entertainment event.
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