AIRPORT CITY, Israel — An Israeli soldier sits in an office chair in an air-conditioned metal chamber, staring at two screens side by side.
One shows a map with a moving dot.
The other displays a video feed.
Next to the soldier are three more identical stations.
The soldier isn’t an air traffic controller but a pilot, and his aircraft is called an unmanned aerial system, more commonly known as a drone.
Welcome to the next generation of the Israeli Air Force.
Unlike most economists, Manuel Trajtenberg does not spend his days cloistered in university classrooms and think tanks, far from the public eye.
The Tel Aviv University professor gained attention in 2011, in the aftermath of massive social protests that gripped Israel, when he led a high-profile committee that recommended a series of wide-ranging economic reforms for the country.
Now, as chairman of the Israeli Council of Higher Education, the charismatic Trajtenberg has taken up a new cause: closing the education gap between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens.
BUDAPEST, Hungary – The potholed streets leading to Tiszavasvari’s rusty train station offer no clue that this sleepy town of 12,000 in eastern Hungary is considered the “capital of Jobbik.” That’s the country’s ultranationalist anti-Jewish party, whose name means “better.”
The first sign appears near the office of the mayor, Erik Fulop, the first of five Jobbik politicians elected to run a Hungarian municipality. Shortly after taking office in 2010, Fulop set up a twinning arrangement between Tiszavasvari and the Iranian city of Ardabil, and a sign in Hungarian and Farsi near the office celebrates those ties.
WASHINGTON – Next week’s annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in Washington may be as notable for what — and who — is missing as for what’s planned.
For the first time in at least seven years, neither the U.S. president nor the Israeli prime minister will be there. In addition, for the second year in a row, no mention of the Palestinians, negative or positive, appears on the conference’s legislative agenda.
Instead, the agenda will focus on the Congress enacting legislation that would designate Israel a “major strategic ally” of the United States — a relationship not enjoyed by any other nation — and on facilitating a U.S. green light should Israel decide to strike Iran. Should the measures being considered by the Senate and the House of Representatives pass, it would constitute the most explicit congressional sanction for military action against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.
On a freezing Friday night in Brooklyn, a group of 18 Crown Heights residents scurry through the crowds of Jews leaving synagogue and make their way to a second-story apartment on Rogers Avenue for Shabbat dinner.
Inside, hippie art and vintage John Lennon photos share wall space with drawings of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late leader of the Chabad chasidic sect, and a yellow “Moshiach” flag, the symbol of the movement’s messianic wing. A large glass table holds the evening’s spread: sauteed vegetables, kale salad, vegan cholent, and a challah so perfect, attendees say, that “only a gay man could have baked it.”
In 2006, aspiring Israeli singer Rami Feinstein faced a big-time dilemma: Would he sign a 19-year contract with a top talent agent and relinquish 45 percent of his future profits, or would he take a job selling cosmetics illegally at an American shopping mall?
Feinstein took the job at the mall — and it worked out better than he expected.
Not only did he make enough money to cut an album the following year, he found inspiration in the most unlikely of places. The sales pitch he used on clients at the Minnesota mall became the lyrics of “Something Amazing,” his first single.
Amy Beth Oppenheimer has spent three years living out of a recreational vehicle, showing her 2009 documentary “Faces of Israel: A Discussion About Marriage, State, and Religion in the Jewish Homeland” in a wide variety of Jewish settings, and leading guided discussions about the topics raised in the film.
Now Oppenheimer, who grew up in Leonia, will be able to drive her audiovisual educational program to more remote communities, thanks to Natan Grants for Roi Entrepreneurs. Roi is a new grant-making partnership supporting members of the global Jewish innovators network created by philanthropist Lynn Schusterman.
Oppenheimer, 27, was named one of four recipients of the inaugural $37,000 grant. Her application was chosen from a field of 45 proposals submitted by Roi Community members in 10 countries.
WASHINGTON – How essential is a house of worship to a neighborhood?
That’s the crux of a question now exercising Congress as a bill that would provide direct relief to synagogues and churches damaged by Superstorm Sandy last October advances.
The bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week by a vote of 354-72 and strong bipartisan support, adds houses of worship to those places defined as a “private nonprofit facility that provides essential services of a governmental nature to the general public.”
The Senate is expected to take up the measure soon; backers there include senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).