The Education Ministry has decided to include the Israel Gay Youth Organization (IGY) in its mandatory volunteering program, Ynet learned Monday.
The ministry’s volunteering program aims to get high school students – usually 10-12 graders – involved in their local communities by assisting various social groups. Participating in the program is a mandatory requirement for graduation.
The program volunteering options for students: They can work with Magen David Adom emergency services or the Israel Fire and Rescue Services; they can tutor other students, or help in shelters, animal rights groups or youth group
The Israel Gay Youth Organization is a recognized youth group and as such was eligible to be included in the program.
A formal motion to that effect was filed with the ministry after a shooting attack on a gay youth center in Tel Aviv claimed the lives of two teenagers.
“After the attack, our youth began taking more of a stand. We saw more and more teens come out, and many more that asked to volunteer with us… Now they can finally get school credit for that,” Noa Raz, head of resource development for IGY, told Ynet.
“This is wonderful. After all these years of homophobia for the elite to legitimize something that could get you killed in the past,” Gil Meister, a high school senior from Kfar Saba, who volunteers with IGY, told Ynet.
“Before the attack, a lot of kids thought society’s attitude towards the (gay) community was cool. Afterwards, we all found out just how much hate there still was… there’s much more awareness now.”
Hana Schwartz, of the Education Ministry’s Youth Group Administration, told Ynet that the Israel Gay Youth Organization “underwent the same procedure all youth groups must undergo before they are included in the program.”
The store will be located on the third floor of the Azrieli shopping mall in Tel Aviv, and will take up more than 2,000 square meters.
The store will include departments for women, men, children, accessories, shoes and lingerie. The cosmetics department will not be included.
The international chain store is set to open just two and a half weeks after the country’s first GAP store opened in Tel Aviv, also in the Azrieli Mall.
H&M, a Swedish owned company, has already signed contracts for six more locations in Israel, including Jerusalem, Haifa, Petah Tikva, Netanya, and Rehovot.
Source: Haaretz news
Efforts to increase the number of female Knesset members have frequently been stymied by ultra-Orthodox parties, but a new bill proposed ahead of today’s celebration of International Women’s Day could change that.
Unlike previous bills, the proposal by MKs Einat Wilf (Labor) and Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), doesn’t aim to impose sanctions on parties with all-male parliamentary representation.
Instead, it offers a NIS 5.5 million payout for any party with a Knesset slate that is 35 percent female on the day the MKs are sworn in. The bill would amend a law that grants more limited funding to parties that meet that criterion.
The proposal will be valid only while female representation in the Knesset remains below 40 percent.
“The modern world strives to achieve equal rights between the sexes in every venture of life,” said Hotovely, who heads the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women. “Thus it is worthwhile to act toward a significant inclusion of women in the political field by encouraging parties that o have high percentages.”
None of the parties in the Knesset have reached the 35 percent threshold. Of the 120 seats in parliament, 23 are occupied by women. That number is expected to drop to 22 in the next few weeks once MK Yuli Tamir’s resignation takes effect. The Labor Party veteran will be replaced by Raleb Majadele.
There has not been a significant change in the number of female MKs in recent years. While women made up just 15 percent of the previous Knesset, parliaments in several other countries established quotas for female representation. They offered parties financial incentives as well as penalties for failure to meet minimums.
But in Israel, the absence of penalties could make the proposal more successful than its predecessors since it might not be thwarted by the ultra-Orthodox parties.
Shas MKs said they would consider refraining from objecting to the law.
Wilf said the bill does not seek to impose any requirements on parties.
“These type of law proved themselves overseas as an effective tool to buttress equality between the genders,” Wilf said. Earlier this decade, France passed a law that levied a fine against political parties that don’t have the same number of male and female candidates. Other countries that have instituted stringent requirements for equal representation include Argentina, Belgium, Italy, Nepal and Uganda.
Benji Lovitt’s writing and comedy routines carry a simple message: “Come visit Israel like I did. You’ll love it.”
On February 23 and 24, the American/Israeli comedian rounded out a North American tour, which included stops in Ithaca, NY, Chicago and Boston, with visits to Alberta’s largest Jewish communities, Calgary and Edmonton.
Shalom Life had the opportunity to take in Lovitt’s hilarious stand-up performance for the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, and to sit down with the rising star.
Lovitt, who writes the blog www.WhatWarZone.com, said, “It drives me crazy when people say Israel is a war zone. When people visit or move there they always say ‘What the heck was I so worried about?’ My shows are Israeli-centric and by the end of my show, people have a happy feeling about Israel and are inspired to visit.”
Lovitt’s routines, like his online articles and videos, show the lighter side of Israeli street life, security, culture and more.
‘Israel is the place you have to come to’
Crossing the Pacific is a pleasure for the young comedian, who has performed in other major centres including Toronto, Dallas, and Philadelphia, and relates well to North American audiences.
After graduating from university and working for a few years, Lovitt recounts that “Some people called me crazy for giving up my stable nine-to-five job in the dot-com sector, but I wasn’t satisfied. I felt a burning desire to return back to Israel and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life thinking ‘What if…?’ ”
His quest connected him with Young Judaea, an opening at the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta, and an eventual move to Israel, where he has lived for over three years. Many of us can relate to Lovitt’s experience in some way, shape or form. We all have a desire to make a difference, have meaning in the work we do, and meet interesting people along the way.
Lovitt’s advice: “If being Jewish means anything to you at all, Israel is the place you have to come to, if only for a visit.” He has never had any regrets with his decision. How many of us wish we could say the same?
For more information, visit www.BenjiLovitt.com
Source: Shalomlife, Ynetnews
President Shimon Peres was personally invited to attend the square’s inauguration ceremony by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, and will arrive in the French capital on March 13, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily has learned.
The square, which has a large fountain at its center, is located on the banks of the Seine River opposite the Quai Branly Museum. A statue of Ben-Gurion is expected to be placed in the square.
The idea to name the square after Israel’s first prime minister was presented to Peres two years ago, but he did not believe that it would materialize and was very surprised to receive an invitation to attend the ceremony.Peres will visit Paris not just as the president of the State of Israel, but also as Ben-Gurion’s assistant.
“President Peres has been the most famous and popular Israeli figure in France for decades,” says Israeli Ambassador to Paris Daniel Shek. “His personal connection to David Ben-Gurion makes him the natural choice to inaugurate the site dedicated to Israel’s first prime minister.”