A multi-million dollar Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) is to be opened in the central Israeli city of Raanana.
The globally-spread MTC initiative serves primarily for IT infrastructure sales, whose target buyers are medium- and large-sized companies. The centers’ engineers set up complete IT groundwork for its clients – including operating, virtualization and data systems, e-mail servers and intercompany communication. The MCTs are meant to allow Microsoft to sell a wider array of software solutions.
The corporation has opened 11 MCTs across the US in recent years, as well as 14 such centers in cities worldwide, including Paris, Munich, Beijing, Moscow and Dublin. Aside from the Raanana MCT, two centers are in the works for Toronto and Sydney.
The Raanana center is to be managed by Alex Donio, the former information technology team leader at Microsoft Israel’s sales center.
The software giant also operates a research and development center in Herzliya.
The STKI strategic analysis firm found that Microsoft Israel is the largest software provider in the local market, which is estimated to be worth $1.2 billion a year. In the software development tool market, which is estimated to be worth $72 million a year, Microsoft is only second to IBM. It holds third place in the document management market, following IBM and Ness Technologies. Microsoft trails Oracle, IBM and SAP in the analytics solution market.
The reason of his arrival is yet unknown, especially because he is supposed to make a stage appearance in Los Angeles this weekend. The rumor is that the superstar was in Syria for humanitarian help, and couldn’t help it but come and have a night of fun in Israel.
Here’s Bono’s guide to Tel Aviv bars: he was first seen on ‘The Patio’ on Hayarkon street, then went to ‘Rothchild 12’ and ‘Ha-ilka’ on Dizengoff and then to ‘ Radio EPGB’ in south Tel Aviv where he accidently ran into Asaf Zamir, Tel Aviv’s vice-mayor. The night ended with eating pizza in the van.
This isn’t the first time of Bono in Israel. It was 1996 when he paid his first visit, which was personal, with then Israeli spring-fling Eden Harel, who was a hostess on MTV Europe. The two met on the red carpet at the MTV music awards. A year after, U2 performed in Tel Aviv.
Since it seems like Bono has had a really good time in Tel Aviv last night, we have decided to recommend his bar-tour for the next time our readers’ are in town, so here it is: ‘Bono’s TLV night of fun’ (click on the picture to enlarge and print)
Members of Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel were surprised to see a Dutch tourist walking along the kibbutz paths and telling a young volunteer how to get to the dining room and what time members need to rise and shine during the fruit picking season.
Only a select few realized that the enthusiastic instructor was once a volunteer herself – who is back to recreate the kibbutz experience with her daughter.
The first time that Tanya, 53, arrived at Nir Oz was at the end of the 70s. That time around she came with a group of Dutch teens for a few months of volunteer work.
Now, 35 years later, she was once again strolling along the kibbutz paths, remembering the days when she would walk there with her friends under the admiring eyes of the local Sabras.
“We would walk around like princesses, the boys would go crazy,” she told her daughter. “I’m so excited to be back here, it takes me back to the most beautiful period of my life.”
Tanya landed in Israel with her daughter Sama, 18, who grew up listening to her mother’s kibbutz stories and decided to experience the kibbutz first hand. Tanya, as a mom and experienced volunteer decided to accompany her daughter – at least for the first stage.
“It always sounded like a dream to me,” said Sama. “From a very young age I knew I wanted to follow in my mother’s footsteps and volunteer on a kibbutz in Israel. I really want to work on the kibbutz and try new things that we don’t have in Holland and of course, to make new friends.”
During her stay in Israel Tanya will also take an active part in the farm work, offering her a great opportunity to spend some quality time with her daughter and to soak up some nostalgia from her own glamour days on the kibbutz.
“I remember we picked the lemons, worked in the fields, the laundry, the children’s house and the dining room,” she remembers.
“We got to know about manual labor and communal living but we mostly we enjoyed the freedom on the kibbutz, everything was free: Cigarettes, drinks, even the vodka.” Tanya soon found out that the free lunch aspect of the kibbutz was now over.
“They explained that everything costs money now… but that’s ok, the most important thing is that the people are the same good people they were.”
Some 30 kibbutzim take part in the Kibbutz Movement’s volunteers from abroad program. Last year over 1,200 volunteers from 30 countries came to Israel within the framework of the program.
The volunteers remain on the kibbutz for a period of between three to six months with a special Interior Ministry visa. They are each paired up with a kibbutz where they live and work while also touring the country.
An annual art exhibition intended to raise money to fight AIDS auctioned off artwork of some of the most prominent Israeli artists recently.
The exhibition, which is sponsored by Bank Hapoalim, showcased over 650 of Israel’s leading artists such as Menashe Kadishman and Yigal Tomarkin.
Over 3,600 guests were invited to the opening show. Within several hours, most of the artwork was sold. The amount of money raised came to NIS 1.5 million ($400,200).
In addition to some of the familiar artwork showcased, students from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design and Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design had the opportunity to present and auction their work as well.
“I speak for volunteers, care takers and the community when I say how deeply we appreciate the effort and hard work Israel’s finest artists made this year with their contribution to this cause and the fight against AIDS,” said Yonatan Karni Chairman of the Israel AIDS Task Force.
“The artists participating in the exhibition are our partners. They help deliver the message to the public and support many of our projects,” he said
Four years later, the high school jocks who sweated it out in pre-military academies so they could make the cut into the Israel Defense Force’s Special Operations units are now crawling through the sand dunes on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip and watching while Idan knocks rockets out of the sky hundreds of meters above their heads. Idan Yahya, 22, an Iron Dome “gunner” in the Active Air Defense Wing 167, currently holds the record for the number of rockets intercepted: eight.
People in the army describe him variously as a geek and an ace. But the geek who grew up playingWarcraft is now a highly prized soldier on the cutting edge of real war craft. He’s the Israeli army’s top rocket interceptor.
The Iron Dome is a mobile anti-rocket interception system that Israel moves around the country to shoot down the rockets fired at its civilian population centers by armed groups in Gaza and southern Lebanon. Its radar picks up launches and fires interceptor missiles at them if they’re calculated to be heading towards populated centers. The system has become increasingly important as Hamas, Hezbollah and other groups amass surface-to-surface missiles to hit the Israeli home front with, thus bypassing the Israel Defense Force’s overwhelming advantage of concentrated firepower and fighter aircraft. Should Israel attack Iran’s nuclear installations, the expected rocket reprisals from the armed groups on its borders will keep Iron Dome very, very busy.
As the war between Israelis and Arabs enters its sixth decade (or its 500th depending on who you ask), it is increasingly becoming a hi-tech rocket war. The IDF’s Director of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi in February said there were 200,000 rockets aimed at Israel from the south, north and east. And in this increasingly technological battlefield of rockets, anti-rocket interceptors, radars, control rooms, drones and drone hacking, it is soldiers like Idan Yahya (and whoever his counterparts on the Arab side are) who are making the most impact.
Computer geek, keyboard combatant, soldier, call him what you will, Idan and others like him man the controls of the latest rock star in advanced military technology. “There are a lot of flashing blips, signs, symbols, colors and pictures on the screen. You look at your tactical map; see where the threat is coming from. You have to make sure you’re locked onto the right target. There’s a lot of information and there is very little time. It definitely reminds me of Warcraft and other online strategy games,” Idan says.