Branding itself as an “all-male Romeo and Juliet musical”, DOGS may be expected to be a light and fluffy piece of Israeli camp but it strives for something far deeper than that and, for some of it’s roughly ninety-minute runtime (about a half-hour too long), manages it.
The action of the play begins when two brothers, one of whom is gay, decided to stage Romeo and Juliet, reframing it as a way to express the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their cast, made up of friends, strangers and an Arab plumber, comes together in an explosion of what book writer Ido Bornstein describes as “sweaty, passionate Israeli manhood.” There are classic Hebrew songs updated with jazz-handy choreography (the actors give it their all but none of them are dancers), barely repressed sexual tension between some of the fighting men and, somewhat strangely, a male pregnancy. It is, at times, a bit of a mess, but mostly the play’s commitment to exploring it’s themes makes up for the confusion created by it’s storyline and translation.
Women outnumber men in biology and related sciences in higher education in Israel, a report published by the Bloomberg news agency revealed on Tuesday.
This says the report, could give women an advantage as the government and private investors put increasing amounts of money into the life-sciences industry, one of the country’s fastest growing sectors, collecting the most venture capital money in the first half of this year.
The article quotes a number of Israeli women working in the field who share their thoughts on why women have the advantage.
Daniella Nistenpover 22, a bio-medical engineering major at the university in Haifa who plans to work in bio-mechanics or bio-materials research says that when she sits down in a lecture hall for one class in neurophysiology and another in biological processes, she sees a sea of women.
This is not the case when she takes courses in the theory of electrical circuits or differential equations at the predominantly male Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. She believes it is evidence that she has picked the right career.
“It makes you feel that in the life-sciences field, a woman can make a mark,” she adds.
“Women traditionally are not the main breadwinners in the family and can afford to pursue a PhD, whereas men have more pressure to go out and make a high salary,” says Anat Cohen- Dayag, president and CEO of Compugen Ltd., which was founded by members of an Israeli army intelligence unit that designed software to break codes.
The Tel Aviv-based company uses algorithms to trawl private and public databases to discover proteins that may have the ability to treat diseases.
According to Bloomberg, Cohen-Dayag is one of three female CEOs in the Tel Aviv Biomed index. The others areKinneret Livnat Savitsky of BioLineRx Ltd., which develops clinical stage therapeutic pharmaceutical drugs, and Pnina Fishman of Can Fite Biopharma Ltd., which is focusing on treatments for autoimmune diseases and cancer.
Cohen-Dayag adds that the industry is a good fit for working mothers like herself, ‘‘Because of its academic characteristics, the culture in the industry has traditionally been more permissive, enabling more flexible hours, which has enabled women to juggle career and family.’’
Some 1,500 people gathered in Jerusalem’s Independence Park, Gan Ha’atzmaut, on Thursday afternoon ahead of Jerusalem’s 10th annual Gay Pride Parade. On Thursday morning, unknown activists painted Jerusalem’s welcome sign with the colors of the gay pride rainbow flag.
Throughout the years, parading through the streets of Jerusalem has become a battlefront between seculars and the ultra-Orthodox community. Ahead of this year’s parade, a group of right-wing extremists protested against Thursday’s event.
Police prepared for Thursday’s event with large forces, although since 2005, when three participants were stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox man, Yishai Shlisel, the annual events have been relatively quiet.
In July 2006, the gay pride parade planned for Jerusalem aroused opposition, and many warnings received by police led to the parade being postponed to November.
Marking a decade of gay pride parades in the capital, the organizers at Jerusalem’s Open House decided to walk the original route, from Gan Ha’atzmaut to Gan Hapa’amon.
“We will return to the area where three people were stabbed and we will also mark three years of the murder in Tel Aviv’s Bar Noar” gay center,” said Elinor Sidi, executive director of Jerusalem Open House.
“Jerusalem has changed a lot in the past ten years, following a decade of repeated petitions,” Sidi said, adding that it seems that Jerusalem has accepted its gay community members.
Ahead of the upcoming Jewish holiday of Tu B’Av (similar to Valentine’s Day), the Central Bureau of Statistics released a study of demographic changes in Israel indicating that the number of single men and women in their late 20s has drastically increased over the past forty years.
According to the recently released information, some 65% of men between the ages of 25 and 29 are single, compared to a mere 28% in 1970. Meanwhile, the percentage of single women between the ages of 25 and 29 has hiked over the past forty years from 13% to 46%.
Statistics show that in 2010, some 47,855 of couples got married through authorities with jurisdiction over marriage ceremonies; 35,588 of the couples were Jewish and 10,220 of the couples were Arab; 782 of the couples were Christian while 894 of the couples were Druze.
In 2010, the average age of marriage among men was 27.6 and the average age for women was 24.8, as opposed to 1970 when the average age for women was 21.7.
The average age gap between Jewish men and women in 2010 was 2.1 years, while in other religions the age gap was higher and stood at 5 years.
Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem
Statistics further showed that Tel Aviv has the highest percentage of single men (83%) and women (71%). In Haifa, 74% of men are single as opposed to 55% of women, while in Israel’s capital, 50% of the men are single and 38% of women are single.
Generally speaking, the data showed that most married respondents are satisfied with their lives, more than single and divorced respondents. Some 41% of married respondents claim that they are extremely satisfied with their lives compared with 19% of the divorced respondents.
Amongst younger respondents aged 20-39, 49% of the married respondents said that they were extremely satisfied with their lives, compared with 44% of single respondents and 22% of the divorced respondents.
Between the ages of 40 and 59, only 38% of married respondents said that they were extremely satisfied with their lives, compared with 23% of single respondents and 20% of the divorced respondents. Over the age of 60, 33% of married respondents said that they were extremely satisfied with their lives, compared with 16% of the divorced respondents.
The Tax Authority announced this week it would support a special tax on unhealthy foods to encourage healthy eating habits and help curb obesity. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry for the first time has endorsed a plan that will permit special labeling of healthy foods.
“There are countries that tax unhealthy food,” Eran Yaakov, deputy director general for finance and development at the Tax Authority told Haaretz, and the authority would like to examine the approach as one way of encouraging healthy eating. He said he would convene a committee with representatives from the health and education ministries to promote the idea of taxing unhealthy food.
According to Health Ministry data, 37 percent of Israeli adults are overweight and another 15 percent are chronically obese. Fourteen percent of Israeli youth are overweight and another seven percent are obese. It is estimated that the excess weight among Israelis costs the Israeli economy NIS 5.8 billion a year in healthcare costs.
A tax on unhealthy food, Yaakov said, should be part of an effort to curb the consumption of sugar and salt in foods and also address the kinds of food children get in school. “It’s all a matter of education,” he said, “which needs to be promoted through the schools.” He cited as a model the successful effort to educate children not to pick the cyclamen, a wildflower indigenous to Israel.
Yaakov rejected a Health Ministry proposal that revenue from a tax on unhealthy food be earmarked either for the treatment of overweight patients, or for reducing the price of healthy food. “In Israel, as a matter of policy, tax revenues are not earmarked for specific purposes. Funds collected are transferred to the state treasury and then the government decides what to invest in based on its order of priorities,” he said.
The initiative to tax unhealthy food follows a survey by the Gertner Institute, an organization that deals with health policy, in which one-third of those questioned supported a special tax on soft drinks and snacks to combat excessive weight in the country and encourage healthy eating. Fully two-thirds of those surveyed said they would support the tax if it is earmarked to fighting excess weight or to subsidizing healthy foods. The poll, it should be noted, was conducted following the outbreak of last summer’s social justice protests, which focused in part on the price of food and tax policy.
A number of countries tax unhealthy foods. In Finland and Denmark, food with high sugar content is subject to a special tax. Austria has a similar tax on foods high in saturated fat while France imposes a special tax on chocolate and other candy. Others allow the promotion of healthy foods with special labeling. [See diagram].
In Israel, the Health Ministry has developed criteria for whole-grain breads that can be labeled as healthy and will encourage consumers to buy whole-grain bread. The ministry will also for the first time allow foods with healthful special nutritional properties to be labeled as such.
The ministry has also drafted regulations that would require restaurants and cafes to label their menu items with calorie counts. Draft regulations on the subject have recently been circulated for comment by professionals prior to its submission to the Knesset’s Labor, Welfare and Health Committee. The regulations call for the calorie count to be at least as big as the name of the menu item. The number of calories would have to be substantiated by a laboratory recognized by the Health ministry.
Whole-grain bread will be the first product to get the special package designation in retail stores. The following statement will be permitted on bread that meets the required criteria: “This bread meets the recommendations of the Health Ministry for proper nutrition.” Similar labeling will also be permitted next to bread sold unpackaged in retail food stores and markets.
To earn the right to the special labeling, the bread will also have to meet maximum sodium and calorie content. The ministry is also in the process of revising regulations to require that bread labeled whole-grain contain at least 80 percent whole grain flour. The regulations are expected to take effect in a matter of weeks.
A wide range of health benefits are attributed to eating whole-grain bread instead of bread made with processed flour, including lower incidence of arterial sclerosis and cancer. Although health benefits are also attributed to diet bread, no decision has yet been made allowing this kind of bread to be labeled as conferring special health benefits.
In 2006, a task force recommended that guidelines for a healthy lifestyle be added to food packaging and the following year, the Health Ministry considered a labeling plan for foods that had been proven to be beneficial to cardiac health. Neither proposal was implemented.
“Printing symbols or statements on food packages based on their healthfulness could cause problems,” Itamar Grotto, director of public health services at the ministry explained, “because it’s not possible to label fruits and vegetables, which are considered the healthiest [food] sources, and with regard to drinks, diet soft drinks cannot be labeled as healthy for their low sugar content when the ministry is interested in promoting the consumption of water.”