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We have received a message from RABINO CARLOS A. TAPIERO Vice-Director General & Director of Education Macabi World Union, here I transmit them 


" Tu[1] Bishvat, Medinat Israel & The transformation of the Jewish People"

Dear friends,
We are getting closer to Tu Bishvat – the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shvat: the festivity which celebrates "the New Year of Trees ", meaning the renewal of the natural cycle in the Land of Israel, represented by the flowering of the shkediah - the almond tree during the peak of the Israeli winter. This is a day of great joy in Medinat Israel, when children and young Israelis turn en masse to plant trees throughout the length and breadth of the Land of Israel - the most forested country in the world, with a rate of forestation much above the local wood consumption.

If you would ask most Jewish communities about the meaning of Tu Bishvat a hundred years ago, only a few of the very knowledgeable Jewish scholars could describe some of the characteristics of this celebration, referring basically to the times of the Mishnah, about 2000 years ago: "1st of Shvat is the New Year of the trees, according to the Rabbinical School of Shamai; the Rabbinic School of Hillel says: it is on the 15th of Shvat."[2]
But the establishment first of the Yishuv (pre-Medinat Israel), and then of the State of Israel, brought Tu Bishvat to the central stage of the Jewish people because of the very existence of our renewed National life in our Ancient Homeland. This very, very secondary celebration of the Jewish calendar turned to be crucial to the new-old Jewish State… because it provided with green to a land that had been devastated especially by the Ottoman Empire.

This new-old life, this returning to the Promised Land, posed new challenges to the Jewish leadership. Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook[3], the first Chief Rabbi of the First Zionist new City, Tel Aviv, when asked about Tu Bishvat, shared the following anecdote:
During a Tu Bishvat ceremony (1924), Rabbi Kook was at the establishment of Magdiel, a new townlit in the Sharon area. He was so overcome with emotion that tears flowed from his eyes and his face turned red and bright. Rabbi Kook was offered a hoe for planting a tree – and, to the surprise of everybody present at the ceremony, he refused to use it. Instead, he began digging with his bare hands… When asked about that odd decision from someone so admired by the growing Yishuv, Rabbi Kook provided the following explanation: “Since the planting of a tree in the Land of Israel is an act of holiness[4] and not just an agricultural chore, it is preferable not to use a tool which stands between the person doing the planting and the Holy Land he is cultivating”.
Of all the beautiful things the National Jewish life brought to the people of Israel in their Land and in all their Diasporas, Tu Bishvat is an example of resignifying and providing new sense to some forgotten traditions that were relevant as long as we lived in the Land of our Inheritance. It did not lose its holy dimension: on the contrary, it deepened it, and gained, too, the benefit of honoring ecology, establishing forests and glades, and bringing back to life the hills and valleys of the Land of Israel… with our own bare hands!
That was the reason why 450 of our finest future educators – the Bekeff Hadrachah Program coming from FACCMA and all its associates in Argentina – started their one-month educational program in Israel just few weeks ago by planting with their bare hands trees in the State of Israel, a holy and very practical way to reclaim back our Heritage.



May we, in this Tu Bishvat, root our souls with our renewed commitment to the Land of Israel and the State it comprises, for a present filled with a profusion of all manner of fruits and the promise of future growth and development.
Tu BiShvat Sameach!
Chazak ve'ematz!
Deputy Director-General & Director of Education
Maccabi World Union

[1] The name Tu BiShvat is a Hebrew Date: the 15th Day of the month of Shvat. In Hebrew alphabet numerology, the letter Yud stands for 10, so for example 11 is Yud-Aleph; 15, however, is not Yud-Heh because that would form one of the names of HaShem. Thus 15 is formed from Tet (9) & Vav (6).
[2] Mishnah, Rosh Hashana, 1: 1.
[3] 1863-1935.
[4] "When you enter the land [of Israel] and plant a fruit tree ..." - Vaikrah (Leviticus) XIX, 23.


Photos courtesy of MWU




The 7th Cybertech Global event began today at the Expo Tel Aviv conference center. Thousands of participants from around the world have made their way to Israel setting a new record of 20,000 participants from 94 countries in one of the largest technological events in the history of the nation.


The Cybertech Global events are taking place in booths 1 and 2 at the Expo Tel Aviv. Alongside the conference and as one of many special events taking place during the conference, a large number of international delegations visited the Gav Yam Hi-tech Park and the Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva.   


USA is the largest participating delegation and the country with the largest number of representatives in this year's Cybertech event. In addition, large delegations from Canada, India, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Bulgaria, Singapore, Panama, Norway and from all over Europe. 



Cybertech will take place for the 7th year, seeing participation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD), the Ministry of Economics, the Ministry of Energy and many more governmental offices. Prime-minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was a keynote speakers in past years, will send forward a message from his visit to Washington DC. Blue and White party chairman Lt.-Gen. (res.) Benjamin (Benny) Gantz will be amongst the main speakers as well as member of Knesset Nir Barkat, who formed a cyber company in the 90's and was one of the first investors with his brother in Check Point. Head of the INCD Yigal Unna will present new findings regarding Israel's cyber state. Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz will be the guest of honor in the launch of the new cooperation between Cybertech Global and the Israeli Electric corporation, led by Yiftah Ron-Tal, Chairman of the Board of the Israel Electric Corporation and CEO Ofer Bloch.


Intelligence organizations from around the world will attend Cybertech in Tel Aviv. Amongst the speakers will be representatives from leading companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Deloitte, Lockheed Martin and more. Hundreds of startups will present their product alongside large companies at the conference exhibition. China has created a large national stand at the exhibition but unfortunately some of the Chinese companies will not be able to attend due to the spread of the Corona outbreak. 


During Cybertech, the ministry of Communications will hold a meetup with dozens of communication ministers and international media platforms in order to discuss the 5G cellular topic as well as the IoT implications on the media field.   


The Cybertech event, founded in Israel, is considered the largest cyber event holder in the world with conferences taking place in New York, Indianapolis, Rome, Singapore, Africa, Panama, Tokyo and Bangkok.


Cybertech founder Mr. Amir Rapaport: The quick growth of the cyber industry and the Cybertech event as worldwide event in Tel Aviv show us the cyber field is leading an historic revolution changing the global economy and the entire human race. Israeli companies have a major role in this revolution by developing new cyber technologies, AI, Iot, communications and computers. The new record of international delegations, arriving shortly at Cybertech, shows as the fast rate of the cyber revolution. 


Photos Cybertech .






 Dozens of Israeli, Palestinian and international 11th graders at the Eastern Mediterranean International School in Kfar Hayarok yesterday (Jan 14) completed ‘marathon peace talk simulations’. The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks simulation was hosted by the Leon Charney Resolution Center, founded by Tzili Charney in memory of her late husband, and facilitated by Dr. Sapir Handelman, winner of the Peter Baker award for peace and conflict studies, who leads Israeli-Palestinian public negotiating congress assemblies in the USA, as well as in Israel and the PA.

The peace negotiation simulations, in which the students represent the Israeli and Palestinian delegations, featured two separate tracks – with one track establishing negotiations and the other working behind the scenes. 


The Leon Charney Resolution Center, which opened in September 2015, is dedicated to the history and future of negotiations, peace and learning. The late Leon Charney (1938-2016), a prominent lawyer, author, broadcaster and former advisor to, among others, President Jimmy Carter, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and President Ezer Weizman, played an important role in the Camp David Peace Accords, which led to the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Charney, who dedicated a major part of his life to back-channel diplomacy, understood that the road to peace and stability required peacemaking activities in multiple dimensions. Together with his wife, Tzili, Charney established the center in order to encourage, develop, and initiate peacemaking activities that can create the foundation for a better world.


Dr. Sapir Handelman, who will be facilitating the negotiations and teaches at Tel-Aviv University, is a former Lentz Fellow in Peace and Conflict Resolution Research at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Wayne State University, where he was a visiting professor at the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies. He developed and leads the Minds of Peace Experiment – an Israeli-Palestinian public negotiating congress – in major universities throughout the US, Canada, and in Israel and the Palestinian territories.



The mission of EMIS is to make education a force for peace and sustainability in the Middle East., while fostering intercultural understanding and promoting personal and social leadership. The students, who come from all over the world to live and study together, can choose between two international study programs - either the two-year International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program or the three-year Cambridge IGCSE, AS and A level programs.

Photo credit Guy Yechiely





The Philippine Embassy in Israel, in partnership with the B'nai B'rith World Center, will be holding "Safe Haven: Jewish Refugees in the Philippines", a commemorative event held in tandem with an event in New York hosted by the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York, B’nai B’rith International, and the US-Philippine Society, to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Balai Quezo


The event, which focuses on Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon's landmark "Open Doors Policy" offering safe haven in the Philippines to Jewish people fleeing the Holocaust in Europe, will feature a panel discussion with Professor Robert Rockaway of Tel Aviv University, as well as screenings of excerpts from ABS-CBN iWANT documentary, The Last Manilaners, and Star Cinema's feature film on President Quezon's decision to accept Jewish refugees, Quezon's Game.

Mr. Max Weissler and Ms. Margot Pins Kestenbaum, the two "Manilaners" still living in Israel, will attend the event as special guests.



From 1937 to 1941, President Quezon extended visas to Jewish refugees who sought to escape the growing terror of the Holocaust in Europe. This policy, which came to be known as the "Open Doors Policy", led to the entry of close to 1,300 Jewish refugees to the Philippines, where they settled in Manila - leading them to refer to themselves, fondly, as "Manilaners". This little-known part of the shared history between Filipinos and the Jewish people was first brought to light in Frank Ephraim's book, Escape to Manila, and has since become the foundation of bilateral relations between the Philippines and the State of Israel.

Balai Quezon, the Philippine Embassy's cultural center, was inaugurated in 2019 to build awareness of President Quezon's policy and its impact on Philippine-Israel relations.

Photo Courtesy: The Library of Congress.




The Israel Ministry of Defense Reveals a Breakthrough in Laser Technology 

The Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), at the Israel Ministry of Defense reveals that a technological breakthrough has been achieved in the development of lasers for the interception of RAM threats, UAVs, and ATGMs


Head of the Directorate of Research and Development in the DDR&D, Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem: “We are entering a new age of energy warfare in the air, land and sea. The R&D investments made by the DDR&D in the last years have placed the State of Israel among the leading countries in the field of high-energy laser systems. Throughout the year 2020 we will conduct a demo of our capabilities.” 



Today (08.01.2020), the DDR&D in the Israel Ministry of Defense reveals its investment in laser technology, which has led to the technological breakthrough that will enable the development of platforms to intercept a variety of threats. Based on high-energy lasers, this technology will prompt a strategic change in the defense capabilities of the State of Israel. 


As a result of the aforementioned technological breakthrough, the DDR&D has launched three programs for the development of high-energy laser demo systems in cooperation with defense industries, Rafael and Elbit Systems:


  • Development of a demo ground-based laser system to complement the capabilities of the Iron Dome (an additional layer to the air defense array)
  • Development of a maneuver platform-mounted laser system to defend troops in the field 
  • Development of a laser demo system mounted on an air platform to intercept threats above cloud covers and for the defense of wide areas 



Advantages of interception via high-energy lasers:


  • Continuous use at a low cost 
  • Higher effectiveness as a result of the use of two different and complementary technologies - kinetic air defense (via systems such as the Iron Dome), and laser platforms
  • Efficient management and decrease in the number of interceptors used 
  • Potential to intercept a variety of threats such as UAVs, drones and guided rockets in the future


Over the years, the DDR&D has invested considerable efforts in advancing powerful laser technology. Many developments, both from Israel and abroad, have been tested and proven to be ineffective. Significant achievements have recently been made as a result of the collaboration between the DDR&D, defense industries (Rafael and Elbit Systems) and academic institutions. These achievements were made possible by the development of electric source laser systems, in replacement of chemical laser technology.



The technological breakthrough is based on the precision of the laser beam. Using the new technology, the defense establishment has succeeded in precisely focusing the beam on long-range targets, including overcoming atmospheric disturbances. This technology enables the development of highly effective operational systems that will serve as an additional layer of defense to secure the State of Israel by air, land and sea.


Head of the RD Directorate Brig Gen Yaniv Rotem.

Photos Israel Ministry of Defense