Thursday, November 20, 2014

Could hostilities begin again from Gaza?

A rocket launched from Gaza fell into the Mediterranean Sea for the fourth time in 24 hours, according to the Israel military, JTA reported.

It is not known which terror organization launched the rocket, the most recently this morning, the Israel Defence Forces said.

 “Gaza terrorists are experimenting in order to increase rocket-launching capabilities,” the IDF said in a statement.

Several rockets have been fired from Gaza since the end of the summer’s 50-day Operation Protective Edge, some of which have triggered Israel’s Code Red rocket alert system.

From north to south and east to west, all of Israel may be about to go on high alert yet again.

Are you concerned?

Global hotel brands expand to Jerusalem

Israel's capital has been in the news recently for a number of mostly negative reasons. First and foremost was the terror attack in Har Nof, and before there were the hostilities on the Temple Mount that spurred Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Israel’s chief Sephardi rabbi, to urge Jews to avoid the area.

But in more positive news, there will soon be more options for tourists travelling to Jerusalem.

According to YNET , the likes of the W and Four Season luxury hotel chains are expected to follow in the footsteps of the Waldorf and bring their well-appointed suites to the city.

Meanwhile, other international hotel chains soon to be arriving in Jerusalem include Marriott, Ramada and Accor, which will run two hotels under the Ibis brand that are already under construction. Talks are also being held with the Radisson chain.

Ilanit Melchior, tourism director of the Jerusalem Development Authority, says the holy city currently has some 4,000 hotel rooms, with 2,000 more expected to within six years as part of a local and international brand expansion.

In addition, the Jerusalem Development Authority has started an initiative to extend urban accommodation units to tourists, allowing them to integrate with local residents and enjoy a cheaper vacation in Israel.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wix follows SodaStream with a 2015 Super Bowl ad

There's a long way to go until Super Bowl XLIX and many growing companies are after prime spots to showcase their offerings during the Feb. 1 broadcast.

Among returning advertisers Doritos and Mercedes-Benz, Israeli website builder Wix is getting in on the action.

In an effort to increase it's name recognition, the provider of enterprise-level development tools to small businesses will produce a 30-second spot at a cost of $4.5 million that will air during the fourth quarter of the big game.

From its humble beginnings in 2006, Wix has amassed 55 million paid users for its services and has more than 2.5 million fans on Facebook. Until now, the "Hottest Middle Eastern Startup" – so labelled by Inc. Magazine – has attracted users through conservative spends on direct response marketing. You've no doubt seen the companies sponsored ads in Facebook newsfeeds.

Vice-president of marketing Omer Shai is excited to be part of the most-watched sporting event of the year. While popular overseas, Wix's desire is to raise its standing in the minds of business owners across North America.

Along with the Wix ad, viewers will be treated to a host of new advertisements, from the makers of Loctite glue to a phone-battery extender device called Mophie.

Could Wix's ad go viral like many Super Bowl before it? Time will tell.

ADL speaks out on Nikki Minaj's new video

It's been a week since New York rapper and song writer Nikki Minaj's video for the single Only premièred, and it has drawn criticism from the Anti-Defamation League and fans alike.

The imagery in the video, as you can see from the promotional still, not only seems to glorify Nazism, it was actually intentional, video director Jeff Osborn said in a statement, though he maintains that neither he nor the video are anti-Semitic.

The YM displayed across Minaj's chest and on the red band spread across Chris Brown's cap and lapel stand for Young Money, representing Minaj's label. In the still, that's Canadian Jewish rap star Drake portraying a priest to Minaj's left.

Regarding Osborne's depiction of Young Money as a generic totalitarian regime, he says he's taken images and symbols from several countries and time periods to comment on the continued existence of such ideologies and social practices.

The ADL, however, doesn't buy it. "Nicky Minaj's new video disturbingly evokes Third Reich propaganda and constitutes a new low for pop culture's exploitation of Nazi symbolism."

Asked why the video was shot in black and white, with colour presented only in the form of the red banners with the YM logo imposed on a white background, akin to the look of a swastika, Osborne said: "The Young Money team came to me with a set of parameters in which they exactly stated: something black and white, dark, ominous, with hints of imagery like Sin City or Metalocalypse."

The song itself imagines what the experience would be like to sleep with Young Money's princess.

Share with us your thoughts after watching the video below.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A special message from Alicia Keys to Raichel

Known for his band's eclectic cultural mix, bringing together Ethiopian, Yemenite, Israeli and South American singers to create a unique sound, Idan Raichel is one artist we here at Heebonics can't stop writing about.

Consistently recognized as one of Israel's greatest exports, the top artist is known the world over for crossing cultural divides and promoting tolerance. He recently received a special video message from American R&B pianist and singer Alicia Keys, who honoured Raichel as he was awarded the MTV Role Model Award.

The Idan Raichel Project received the award for representing Israel around the world and for its collaboration with a long list of international artists, including India Arie, Andreas Scholl, Patrick Bruel, Marta Gómez, Farka Touré and many others.

This post was inspired by Size Doesn't Matter's report from ynet, and we felt we just had to bring it to you, our readers, too.

For more on how Raichel and Keys first performed together and to view her special message, after watching them perform in New York's Central Park, below, jump to the posting on Size Doesn't Matter from the link above.

Iggy's unforgettable bar mitzvah performance

It's clear we've entered a world where the commercialization of bar and bat mitzvah celebrations has reached epic new heights.

Back in August 2013, we told you about Sam Horowitz's bar mitzvah and how the budding performer made a spectacle out of himself by entering the ballroom of the Omni Hotel in Dallas with a dance troupe set to a track from the feature film Burlesque.

For 2014, the award for most outlandish spending on a 13-year-old's coming-of-age ceremony goes to the party for Las Vegas billionaire and MGM mogul Kirk Kirkorian's grandson, Julian. A total of $450,00 was splashed on the James Bond-themed reception at the Beverly Hills Hotel, featuring performances from current hip-hop princess Iggy Azalea and pop star Nick Jonas.

Azalea certainly heated things up during her performance of the J-Lo-collaborated track Booty when she suffered a wardrobe malfunction, splitting her pants dead centre. A few sources report the Fancy/Black Widow hit-maker modified her moves once she realized she was exposed either during or shortly after her wild hip shake.

It was certainly a welcome to manhood that Julian and the rest of his male guests will never forget.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cotler explains new/old anti-Semitism

It was by far one of the most informative sessions at last weekend's the first-ever Limmud FSU Kultura conference to be held in Canada.

MP and former justice minister Irwin Cotler captivated the audience as he outlined the five indicators of the new/old anti-Semitism, which calls for the annihilation of the Jewish state and the Jewish People. These precepts are the basis for the Ottawa Protocol, the 2010 action plan to combat hostility and prejudice against the Jewish People.

The first of the five indicators is toxic genocide converging with genocidal anti-Semitism, as in the case of Hamas and Hezbollah, whose leader Hassan Nasrallah asserts that if all Jews return to Israel, as it is said will happen when the Messiah comes, it will be easier to wipe them out.

The religious fatwas conducted by the terror groups would see the extermination of a people and its ancestral home.

The second indicator is attributing all the world's evil to Israel, which the BDS movement labels an apartheid state, a move that launders anti-Semitism.

Cotler said the first and second indicators lead to the third, political anti-Semitism, but quite honestly, I think it leads more to the fourth, which he identified as acting in ways to mask the de-legitimization of Israel.

The fifth and final indicator of the new/old anti-Semitism is the role the United Nations continues to play as a willing conduit for such hatred.

On an annual basis, Cotler noted, the UN passes more resolutions against Israel than any other member state. Out of the 25 condemnations issued most years, Israel consistently receives 20 to 22 of them, he said.

Cotler believes its far worse for Israel to be demonized with allegations of criminality by international human rights groups and, more importantly, the UN, the supposed champions of human rights, than by extremists near and far.

"To single out one singles out others. If Israel is an apartheid state, what does that say of the countries that support the only recognized democracy in the Middle East?" he asked.

"Talmud Torah neged kulam," meaning we must learn our case in order to teach our case, Cotler urged the audience.

In other words, we must re-frame the narrative with points of fact that make it clear to all that the teachings that lead to extremism are the real root cause of the Middle East conflict.