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Along with high-tech, nano-technology, and start-ups, Israel has yet another in-demand product for export: the medical clown. Recently, a delegation of medical clowns from Chile came to Israel to enrich their knowledge of medicine’s most colorful treatment.


Seven months ago, veteran Rambam clown Javier Eisenberg (‘Marciano’) set off for Chile. The trip was in response to the request of Mr Alfredo Mizrahi, Director of Santiago’s Las Condes Children’s Clinic, who had the vision of introducing medical clowning to his hospital. Based on the Israeli model, these clowns would work with thousands of young patients at the clinic.


In only two weeks, Eisenberg succeeded in training a group of local medical clowns. During this time he taught his Chilean ‘students’ the tools and skills needed for the job. At the end of the training, which included work with hospitalized children, six candidates were selected to be medical clowns in their own hospital.


Half a year later, as part of an ongoing collaboration with Rambam, the Chilean participants went one step further. Earlier this month, a group from Santiago arrived in Israel. The delegation of medical clowns included Mr Alfredo Mizrahi, who had accompanied the project throughout.


For one week  the South Americans learned first-hand as they accompanied Eisenberg and other Rambam medical clowns on their rounds. The visitors also met with Rambam administrators, attended lectures, and worked with hospitalized children. In addition, the group toured different hospitals in Northern Israel to better understand the scope of the medical clown program throughout Israel.






Photo credit: Pioter Fliter



A 3,300 Year Old Coffin was Exposed Containing the Personal Belongings of a Wealthy Canaanite – Possibly an Official of the Egyptian Army


Among the items discovered – a gold signet ring bearing the name of the Egyptian pharaoh Seti I


The rare artifacts were uncovered during excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority near Tel Shadud, prior to the installation of a natural gas pipeline to Ramat Gavriel by the Israel Natural Gas Lines Company


As part of a project by the Israel Natural Gas Lines Company (INGL) to construct a main pipeline that will convey natural gas to Ramat Gavriel, the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted a salvage excavation prior to the pipeline’s installation. During the course of the work, which was financed by the INGL, a fascinating and exceptional discovery was made.  

Part of a burial site dating to the Late Bronze Age (thirteenth century BCE) was exposed in an excavation at the foot of Tel Shadud.
According to the excavation directors, Dr. Edwin van den Brink, Dan Kirzner and Dr. Ron Be’eri of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “During the excavation we discovered a unique and rare find: a cylindrical clay coffin with an anthropoidal lid (a cover fashioned in the image of a person) surrounded by a variety of pottery consisting mainly of storage vessels for food, tableware, cultic vessels and animal bones. As was the custom, it seems these were used as offerings for the gods, and were also meant to provide the dead with sustenance in the afterlife.” The skeleton of an adult was found inside the clay coffin and next to it were buried pottery, a bronze dagger, bronze bowl and hammered pieces of bronze. “Since the vessels interred with the individual were produced locally”, the researchers say, “We assume the deceased was an official of Canaanite origin who was engaged in the service of the Egyptian government”. Another possibility is that the coffin belonged to a wealthy individual who imitated Egyptian funerary customs. The researchers add that so far only several anthropoidal coffins have been uncovered in the country. The last ones discovered were found at Deir el-Balah some fifty years ago. According to the archaeologists, “An ordinary person could not afford the purchase of such a coffin. It is obvious the deceased was a member of the local elite”.

The graves of two men and two women who may have been members of his family were also located near the coffin. The discovery of the coffin at Tel Shadud is evidence of Egyptian control of the Jezreel Valley in the Late Bronze Age (thirteenth century BCE). During the period when the pharaohs governed the country, Egyptian culture greatly influenced the local Canaanite upper class. Signs of Egyptian influence are occasionally discovered in different regions and this time they were revealed at Tel Shadud and in the special tomb of the wealthy Canaanite. A rare artifact that was found next to the skeleton is an Egyptian scarab seal, encased in gold and affixed to a ring. The scarab was used to seal documents and objects. The name of the crown of Pharaoh Seti I, who ruled ancient Egypt in the thirteenth century BCE, appears on the seal.  Seti I was the father of Ramses II, identified by some scholars as the pharaoh mentioned in the biblical story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. Already in the first year of his reign (1294 BCE) a revolt broke out against Seti I in the Bet Shean Valley. Seti conquered that region and established Egyptian rule in Canaan. Seti’s name on the seal symbolizes power and protection, or the strength of the god Ra – the Sun God – one of the most important deities in the Egyptian pantheon. The winged Uraeus (cobra), protector of the pharaoh’s name or of the sovereign himself, is clearly visible on the seal. The reference to the pharaoh Seti on the scarab found in the coffin aided the archaeologists in dating the time of the burial to the thirteenth century BCE – similar to the burials that were exposed at Deir el-Balah and Bet She‘an, which were Egyptian administrative centers.

A cemetery dating to the reign of Seti 1 was previously discovered at Bet Shean, the center of the Egyptian rule in the Land of Israel, and similar clay coffins were exposed.  Evidence of an Egyptian presence was detected in archaeological surveys conducted in the Jezreel Valley in the past but the discovery of the impressive anthropoid at Tel Shadud surprised the archaeologists. Tel Shadud preserves the biblical name ‘Sarid’ and the mound is often referred to as Tel Sarid. The tell is situated in the northern part of the Jezreel Valley, close to Kibbutz Sarid. The city is mentioned in the Bible in the context of the settlement of the Tribes of Israel. Sarid was included in the territory of the tribe of Zebulun and became a border city, as written in the Book of Joshua: “The third lot came up for the tribe of Zebulun, according to its families. And the territory of its inheritance reached as far as Sarid…” (Joshua 19:10). Tel Shadud is strategically and economically significant because of its location alongside important roads from the biblical period.

The Israel Antiquities Authority is currently looking into the possibility of sampling the DNA from inside the coffin to see if the deceased was originally a Canaanite or an Egyptian person who was buried in Canaan.


Photo : Parts of the coffin’s lid after an initial cleaning. Photograph: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Photo :

The gold scarab. Photograph: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.







On March 18th, 2014, the sixth Negev Conference took place in Sderot with the participation of President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler also participated, together with government ministers, Knesset members, mayors, regional council heads and businesspeople. The KKL-JNF pavilion at the conference displayed examples of the organization's extensive activities for the development of the Negev with the help of KKL-JNF Friends throughout the world.


 The main topics at this year's Negev Conference – the sixth – which was held in Sderot, were the economic development of the Negev in the wake of the IDF bases' relocation to the south, the establishment of factories and hi-tech companies in the region, and, most importantly, how to bring young people to the Negev. Minister for Negev and Galilee Development Silvan Shalom said in his speech at the conference: "We have done a great many things in the past five years, all with the ultimate aim of bringing 300 thousand people to the Negev in the coming decade."


Read more about the Negev Conference in Sderot




50 museums and other sites open freely during Passover under the auspices of Bank Hapoalim


The project "We work (פועלים) for culture, nature and beauty", which is conducted this year for the 10th time by Bank Hapoalim, has become a tradition, wherein hundreds of thousands families in Israel enjoy free entrances to museums and other sites throughout the country.


Among the many projects initiated by Bank Hapoalim for the community and society in Israel, "We work (פועלים) for culture, nature and beauty", stands out as a unique project that nurtures the link between the people of Israel and the landscapes, culture and historical traditions of its country.


The varied sites and museums included in this project combine the present experience and culture with the history of the people and the country, and enable the Israeli public to enjoy a Passover holiday that enriches the knowledge of the children and their parents on the beauty and culture of Israel, while saving a significant sum of hundreds NIS per family.


Among the sites included in the project: Tel Aviv Art Museum, Gan Guru (גן גורו), Haifa's zoo, Israel Museum in Rabin Center, Botanical Garden in Jerusalem, Israel Air Force Museum, Haifa Museum of Israeli Art, Deer Forest (יער האיילים), Diaspora Museum (מוזיאון בית התפוצות), Menachem Begin Heritage Center (מרכז מורשת מנחם בגין), Yad Lashirion in Latrun (יד לשריון לטרון), Ramat Gan Museum of Israeli Art, Bible Land Museum in Jerusalem (מוזיאון ארצות המקרא), Design Museum in Holon, Chai-Negev Revivim (חי נגב רביבים), Negev Art Museum, Eilat Museum, and more.


All these sites will be open for free during Passover on April 16-20 (excluding Saturday). On Wednesday and Thursday (16-17) they are open the whole day; on Friday (18) and Sunday (20) they are open half a day.


The opening hours as well as additional details are provided in:



Photos Sivan Farag







Buenos Aires, 26 March 2014

The Simon Wiesenthal Center joined the Chile's Jewish Community together with concerned political leaders, in protest against the newly opened "Augusto Pinochet Nazi Art School" on Chiloé island, in southern Chile.

The school's founder, Godofredo Rodríguez Pacheco, apparently has a criminal record and made clear his political ambitions.

"We urge the Chilean government to investigate the political background ties of Rodriguez Pacheco. Pinochet's own sympathies and liaisons were amply illustrated by the protective hospitality he granted to Nazi war criminal Walter Rauff and the almost impenetrable training camp, Colonia Dignidad", stated Dr. Shimon Samuels (Director for International Relations of the Wiesenthal Center), adding, "it is encouraging that Chile's Ministry of Education has not recognized the so-called 'art-school'".

"Our Center has assisted the Chilean Parliament in passing an antidiscrimination law, which now may be applicable to this case. This is also an opportunity for us to offer our expertise in Holocaust education and advise the government in joining Argentina as a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (formerly known as the Task Force for Holocaust Education). Argentina is, so far, the only Latin American country among IHRA's 31 members", declared Sergio Widder (the Center's Director for Latin America).

For further information, please contact Dr. Shimon Samuels at +336 09770158 or Sergio Widder at +54911 4425-1306.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.