By Dahlia Fisher — April 28, 2020
This week is Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, when fans are usually applying blue and white face paint, waving flags in the air, and chowing down on falafel at a packed concert featuring an Israeli superstar. The Jewish Federation of Cleveland has solidified this tradition for thousands of local community members. It’s magic. And, we miss it. While we shelter-in-place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we came up with another way to celebrate this year. In addition to logging onto the virtual event (visit jewishcleveland.org/israel72 to get the latest info) we’re also spending the day visiting our favorite websites about Israel. We’re venturing beyond news sites like The Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, YNet News, and Haaretz so tag along to see what else Israel has to offer today and any day.
STOP! DO THIS BEFORE READING ANY FURTHER:
Turn on your Spotify account pronto to listen to this upbeat Yom Ha’atzmaut playlist to get you grooving while you browse the websites below. The music is tov (that means good in Hebrew)! Rock out to this Yom Ha’atzmaut playlist >
Now, let’s get on with the list of what we’re reading and why we’re reading it. Check it out:
Website we love: ISRAEL21C.COM
What’s it about?: This online pub “offers a vast resource of more than 10,000 originally researched and produced articles, videos, images and blogs by some of Israel’s leading journalists, uncovering the country’s rich and diverse culture, innovative spirit, wide-ranging contributions to humanity, and democratic civil society,” notes the website. But if you ask us, the best thing about this site is the easy to digest, fun format.
Favorite finds: We can’t get enough of the recent article 11 fun ways to celebrate Israeli Independence Day in lockdown with quiz links to test your knowledge about Israel!
Website we love: NOCAMELS.COM
What’s it about?: A one-stop-shop for Israeli innovation news, NoCamels.com boasts to be “the leading news website covering breakthrough innovation from Israel for a global audience.” Why the name? The website launched with the mission to counteract “the continued perception among many… that Israel is little more than a barren desert populated by camels.” In fact, Israel is known as an innovation power house in a cross-section of industries from high-tech to healthcare to agriculture.
Favorite finds: Dedicated to tech yet still capturing the interests of arts and culture lovers, content includes article like this one on LINK Hotel and Hub in Tel Aviv which “offers a tech-focused stay with no cash transactions, no reception desk, no bellboys and no concierge. Instead, guests download the LinkApp to their phones to perform a number of transactions.” Cool!
HANG ON! THERE’S MORE: Israel is said to have the largest number of start-ups per capita in the world. Want to know how a small country turning 72 years young with a population of approximately 9 million is known as the world’s Start-up Nation?
Here are three books we recommend reading on the subject.
“Start-up Nation addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel… — surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources– produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK?”
“Following Start-up Nation’s account of Israel’s incredibly prolific start-up scene, Thou Shalt Innovate tells the story of how Israeli innovation is making the whole world a better place.”
“Tech insider Inbal Arieli… gives credit to the unique way Israelis are raised in a culture that supports creative thinking and risk taking. Growing up within a tribal-like community, Israelis experience childhoods purposely shaped by challenges and risks – in a culture that encourages and rewards chutzpah. ”
Website we love: iGOOGLEDISRAEL.COM
What’s it about?: This online travel guide is where anyone can get info on “your next vacation, hunting for the perfect Israel tour, thinking of immigrating/making aliyah to Israel, looking to put in a stint at one of Israel’s famous kibbutzim, or even those of you just plain curious, this site is your reference point for all things good (and downright bad) about the Holy Land.” Traveling through this site gives authentic flavor to the diverse sides of Israel so when you’re ready to go, you’ll be able create a custom travel experience.
Favorite finds: If you’ve already been to Israel’s well-known attractions and don’t want to climb Masada for a second (or third) time, this list of 10 Crazy alternative things to see and do in Israel is made for you! Dine in darkness, get inked in one of the world’s oldest tattoo shops, skydive over four countries in one jump, and more.
HEY! GET KIDS EXCITED FOR A FUTURE VISIT: The Maltz Museum published its own children’s book to coincide with the special exhibition, Israel: Then & Now honoring Israel’s 70th Anniversary. Two years later, you can still get the book on Amazon.com. All proceeds support the Museum. Makes a great gift! Buy Ari & Abigail’s Passport to Israel >
Website we love: THESPRUCEEATS.COM
What’s it about?: This website might not be exclusively dedicated to Israeli food, but with a category for searching recipes by region which includes the Middle East and with writers like Giora Shimoni who personally generated several ahhh-mazing sounding food posts we think this is a best kept secret for Israeli cooking ideas. Side note, Giora graduated from The Ohio State University, Go Buckeyes! Topics range from understanding kosher symbols to the art of communal bread baking to mastering your own Israeli style breakfast buffet. And, let’s not forget incredible instructions to making your own halvah, a traditional Israeli treat, yum!
Favorite finds: Don’t miss the article on Top 9 Israeli Food Blogs to elevate your Israeli cooking into another stratosphere by following authentic food blogs with recipes by Israeli chefs and local contributors. Be forwarded, the blogs will pop up in Hebrew, so just opt for the English translation when prompted. It’ll be worth it if you love the taste of Middle Eastern cuisine, long for the flavors of zatar and tahini, and can’t wait to try a banana date smoothie!
Website we love: MARMELADE MARKET
What’s it about?: Israeli fashion is first rate and this online market place is similar to Etsty.com where the website says it creates “a link between local creators and independent craftsmen – and buyers looking for a unique, one-of-a-kind product. The online store enables sellers to open their own store and present their products and for buyers to search a collection of unique products according to category, brand, price, style, etc.” It’s as close as we can get to Ben Yahuda Street without being there in person. We’re hooked!
Favorite finds: We miss being able to pop into a shop and pick up something unique that reminds us of our home away from home. If you share a passion for artisan artwork and have grown tired of staring at blank walls, check out 10 Artists who will turn your home into a contemporary art gallery Reminder: to read it in English, you’ll have to select the translate option when prompted by your computer. Happy shopping!
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