Israel now officially bans the import, marketing and sale of any cosmetics, toiletries or detergents whose manufacturing process involves animal testing.
The Knesset originally passed the law in 2010. The new regulations take effect on January 1, 2013.
MK Eitan Cabel (Labor), who serves as head of the Knesset’s Animal Rights Lobby, promoted the legislation, which states that “Israel will no longer allow the import and marketing of cosmetics, toiletries or detergents that were tested on animals.
“Animal testing in the Cosmetics Industry inflicts horrific suffering on these animals. Each product requires between 2,000-3,000 tests, and animals die in agony.”
The law makes certain exceptions for items produced for medicinal products, which are not categorized as drugs; and follows the guidelines set by the European Union, which enacted a similar ban in 2004.
MK Cabel said that the law represents “A true revolution in animal welfare in Israel. We’ve come a long way in the last Knesset term and this law in the pinnacle of our efforts.
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“A kid last week said to another kid, ‘I have two moms,’ ” recalled Idan Netzer, who oversees the center’s preschool, which opened in November. “And the other kid said: ‘So what? Daniel in my kindergarten has two moms too.’ ”
It’s been a big year for gay parents in Israel. In May a committee of the Health Ministry recommended that surrogacy be allowed for gay men. (Currently they can only travel abroad for that option.) A month later organizers of Tel Aviv Pride, one of the city’s largest annual events, splashed images of two real-life gay fathers and their children on publicity materials and a banner next to Town Hall, making them the faces of the festivities.
But the societal change really hit home with the premiere in November of “Mom and Dads,” a series on the cable channel Hot. This comic drama, starring three of Israel’s most popular actors, is about a gay couple raising a child with a single woman.
If that sounds familiar, it might be because the basic premise, on the surface at least, bears a striking resemblance to the American show on NBC, “The New Normal,” which just landed in Israel as well, appearing opposite “Mom and Dads” on another big cable network, Yes. While the American show mines laughs from outrageous characters and snarky one-liners, “Mom and Dads” focuses on the complex dynamics of the parental triangle, layering their insecurities and complicated emotions with wry humor.
The shows may be fighting for viewers, but they’ve already won the battle for acceptance. For the most part Israeli society, which has made long and quick strides in gay rights in the past two decades, has reacted to the baby bump and the programs about it with nonchalance. Even the country’s sizable religious segment has merely shrugged at the series.
“As soon as the gay community became a parental community, I think acceptance by society became smoother,” said Doron Mamet-Meged, founder of Tammuz, a business that helps couples, the majority of them gay men, have children via surrogates in India.
One reason may be a heavy cultural focus on making families, and the subtle social pressure (and not-so-subtle familial pressure) to procreate that stems from tradition as well as modern Jewish history.
The population balance between Jews and Arabs has political implications, so demographics are an Israeli obsession. In building families gay parents contribute to the national project of maintaining a Jewish majority. “For Israelis it doesn’t matter how you make a family,” said Mirit Toovi, who heads Hot’s drama department and gave the green light to “Mom and Dads.” “If you make a family, you’ve done the right thing.”
Avner Bernheimer, a creator and writer of “Mom and Dads” who also wrote the breakthrough gay Israeli film “Yossi & Jagger” in 2002. Mr. Bernheimer said that while his father accepted him when he first came out, it wasn’t until he had a child that he really felt embraced. “I think it was easier for him to have a gay son with a grandchild,” he said.
Mr. Bernheimer pitched “Mom and Dads” in 2007, when he and his partner were in the process of having a child with a single female friend. The show, in large part, dramatizes their experiences.
“It was the easiest sale ever,” he said of the pitch. Gay characters had appeared on Israeli TV by then, but not gay families. This was pre-“Modern Family,” so there wasn’t precedent. Tellingly, Israel skipped over the party-boy phase (“Queer as Folk”) and the professional bachelor phase (“Will & Grace”), seemingly uninterested in a gay bedroom until a crib arrived.
The surge in gay parenthood coincides with a number of high-profile court cases between 2002 and 2009 that put the issue on the public agenda and opened possibilities to same-sex couples, like adoption and surrogacy abroad, paternity leave for gay couples and the ability to adopt the biological child of a same-sex partner.
While lesbians and straight single women have been having children for decades, thanks in part to the state’s generous policies, which provide free in-vitro fertilization procedures for up to two children until parents are 45, gay men didn’t have a way to legally expand their family tree until the recent court decisions. Since then parenthood has preoccupied gay men — more so than marriage. (Courts recognized same-sex marriage performed abroad in 2006, leading the gay community to turn its attention to parenting, trading the chuppah for the bris as its ritual of choice.)
Parenthood “is more visible, it’s more practical, more possible,” said Itai Pinkas, a former Tel Aviv City Council member who brought the court case that led to the Health Ministry committee’s recommendation and who has 2-year-old twins with his partner through a surrogate in India.
“People feel more stable about their general civil rights,” he said. “That’s an atmosphere in which you’re more likely to think about having children.”
That surrogacy has become so common is perhaps less surprising when you realize that the practice has biblical roots. Consider the story of Abraham, who fathered a child through Hagar, his wife’s handmaiden, when his wife, Sarah, was unable to conceive.
A few millenniums later companies like Tammuz are capitalizing on Abraham’s example. In February the American-based support organization Men Having Babies will hold a conference at the Tel Aviv Gay Center to introduce 10 new surrogacy agencies.
“Mom and Dads” and “The New Normal” seem to have unintentionally reflected reality rather than challenged it. “We were afraid it would be a bit niche,” Ms. Toovi said. “When we started talking about it, you saw those new families only in Tel Aviv. But now you see them all around.”
Yoram Mokady, vice president for content at the Yes network, agreed. “We thought we were brave and unique,” he said. “But maybe we weren’t.”
On Friday, the UN General Assembly passed a resoution proposed by Israel to encourage private and public sector entrepreneurship as the best way to deal with the challenges of poverty and job creation. Despite heavy Arab pressure, which continued right up to the vote, 129 countries voted in favor of the resolution. Only 31 countries voted against, and nine countries abstained. Passage of the Israeli resolution, just two weeks after Israel’s defeat in the General Assembly vote to give the Palestinian Authority non-member observer status, is considered an important Israeli diplomatic victory.
The vote was preceded by an intensive diplomatic campaign over several months by the Israeli Mission to the UN, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the ministry’s Mashav – Center for International Cooperation.
“The Israeli spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity prevailed at the UN today,” said Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor. ” As a state that was founded in difficult circumstances, we have been able to create opportunities for talented people and have become an enterprising superpower. Creating a culture of entrepreneurship can work miracles and drive economies forward. Investing in human resources is a real message that Israel conveys to the developing world.”
A review by Israel’s Mission to the UN and Mashav found that young entrepreneurs in many developing countries face bureaucratic obstacles, social barriers, and a lack of financing, even though entrepreneurship is an important tool for economic growth, improving the standard of living, and improving the quality of the environment. This is the first time in the UN’s history that it has adopted a resolution that emphasizes entrepreneurship as a means of fighting poverty. Sources at the Israeli mission say that the UN General Assembly vote was a success for the strategy of the mission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to position Israel as a source of global know-how, expertise, and creativity.
The resolution encourages governments to take an appropriate and comprehensive approach to fostering entrepreneurship, an approach that will include all the interested parties, to develop policy lines that take into account national priorities and special circumstances. The resolution says that partnerships between the private and public sectors play an important role in fostering entrepreneurship, creating jobs, and promoting investment; increasing a country’s revenue potential; contributing to the development of new technologies and innovative business models; and advancing economic growth.
The resolution calls on governments and companies to strengthen the capabilities of domestic financial institutions to aid people who have no access to banking services, and encourages these countries to adopt administrative and regulatory structures to establish to provision of financial services to such people, especially women.
In his speech after the vote, Prosor criticized Arab countries for opposing the resolution. “Arab countries again preferred to dig themselves a hole and fight a measure intended to help them only because Israel is behind it. The Arab Spring expressed the hopes of the citizens of Arab countries for economic and social change, but Arab countries today again demonstrated a lack of responsibility and turned their backs on the aspirations of their people. While Israel is seeking creative ways to encourage human development across the globe, Arab countries are perpetuating poverty, ignorance, and oppression,” he said.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on December 9, 2012
A new law,the Aviation Services Law, which came into force last week will ensure that passengers receive compensation for flight cancelations, major delays and changes in terms and conditions.
The law, which was passed in the Knesset in line with a proposal presented by Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) may cost airlines and tour operators a hefty sum.
The law details the alternatives and support services passengers must be offered if their flights are cancelled or delayed as well as the passengers’ right to seek compensation without proof of damage to a sum of up to NIS 10,000 ($2,480) should the passenger go to court after failing to receive direct compensation from those responsible for the flight.
The law applies to scheduled flights as well as charter flights, flights leaving Israel, including flights by foreign carriers, as well as layovers. Airlines or charter operators that fail to comply with the new law will be subject to stiff penalties which could include a ban from Ben Gurion airport.
The law states that passengers must be compensated with food and drink, according to the time they are forced to wait as a hotel room for the night if the wait is overnight or more.
Should the flight be delayed between 5 and 8 hours, the passenger can cancel their reservation, receiving in exchange for a full refund from the airline.
Moreover, the passenger is entitled to compensation due to cancellations, delays or any other major change in the terms of the ticket by the operator within 45 days of the date a request for compensation was presented in writing.
The compensation will then be paid out to the passenger in cash, by credit card or any other method agreed upon by the sides where compensation will equal 25%-100% of the ticket price in line with the flight distance.
The main event will take place at the Tel Aviv Gay Center. An inter organizational committee prepares the evening’s program.
An academic paper contest will take place for the second year running. The minister of education might be present at the awards ceremony.
An academic conference on the subject of transphobia will be held at Tel Aviv-Jaffa College.
SlutWalk – the “modest” version: Some 70 activists, mostly women, took part Friday in a protest march that started from Jerusalem’s Paris Square and ended at Horse Park in the city center. Some of the demonstrators wore risqué outfits and carried signs reading “No more harassment,” “Enough – blame the rapist,” and “I’m a proud slut.”
A police escort secured the protesters, who shouted “We’re not weak!” and “We won’t be exploited!”
Despite the opposition of the city’s Ultra-Orthodox population to the march, the demonstration concluded without event, although far from unnoticed. David Davidov, an observant resident, called the SlutWalk “a provocation. The provocative clothes of the marchers – and women in general – prompts men to attack them.”
The SlutWalk movement grew out of an incident that occurred in Canada in 2011 in which a police office said that women should keep themselves safe by “not dressing like sluts.” The first SlutWalk was held in Canada, and the idea took off around the world. The Jerusalem version – organized by Or Levy, 22 – comes on the heels of two marches already held in Israel, in Tel Aviv and Haifa.
“The women here all have a common goal. We are against harassment and want to feel safe walking in the street, no matter what we’re wearing. It’s every woman’s right to feel safe, just like men feel secure,” Levy said.
“This is not meant as a provocation against the haredim,” Levy explained. “We live in this city, so this is where we’re demonstrating. We understand the sensitivity of the haredim, and the protest isn’t against them – it’s against the men who harass us daily.”
Lily, a 28-year-old Jerusalem resident who also took part in the SlutWalk, said that “too often, we hear the victim being blamed by questions like ‘what was she wearing? Why did you drink? Why did you leave the house alone so late? The society that supposedly lets you do what you want is quick to judge.”
Passers by watched the march with interest. Lital Levy agreed that the marchers were “right,” but said that she “wouldn’t join a protest like this in Jerusalem. There are people here who are really sensitive to this kind of dress, and it offends them.”
Source: <a href=”http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4224724,00.html”>Ynetnews.com