Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chemiotherapy versus Grad Missiles

This from a friend of mine at working at a local hospital

No doubt, you have heard the news reports that Palestinian terrorists in Gaza are once again firing short and long range missiles into Israeli cities. Totally unprovoked.

Yesterday, I happened to be visiting friends in the southern city of Ashdod and we were enjoying a quiet afternoon meal in their home when the air raid sirens began their ominous shrill. Immediately, twelve of us huddled into their bomb shelter that doubles as a walk-in cabinet and we waited in absolute silence (as Israelis do) to hear “the boom”. Hear it we did as a long-range grad missile landed not terribly far away. It was time to head back home to the north.

During that drive, we listened intently to the news while additional barrages of grads were launched against Israeli civilian population centers.

Today in the hospital, I was leading a group of visitors from England on a tour of our School for Hospitalized Children. I introduced the group to Arrif and his fifteen year old son, Mohammed. They come from Gaza. They have been ‘living’ in Emek for ten months as young Mohammed is being treated for severe facial cancer. Arrif speaks fluent Hebrew and I conducted a simultaneo
usly translated Q&A session between him and the British visitors …

Q. How do you feel here, among the Jews of Israel?
A. Perfectly normal and at ease. Grateful – so very grateful.

Q. What does your family back in Gaza say about Mohammed’s treatment here?
A. They are amazed and they send their sincere gratitude. They cannot believe what has and is being done for Mohammed and me.

Q. Do you know that missiles are again being fired from Gaza into Israeli cities?
A. Yes. I am ashamed. The politicians and extremists are not “the people”. We only want to live a normal life alongside you.

Many ask, considering the asymmetrical vortex we are caught in … why do you help ‘them’? The answer is simple – because that is who we are.

It’s chemo vs grads. You decide what and who is the problem.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"One of the Biggest Israeli Exports will be Medical Clowning"

The International Conference on Medicine and Medical Clowning is currently taking place in Jerusalem.

The goal of the conference, organized by Dream Doctors, is to attempt to touch upon major issues involved in the process of forming clear professional definitions of Medical Clowning from viewpoints of different groups and people all over the world. The conference comprises various workshops on clowning and the use of medical clowning as a unique means of intervention.

“I’m learning that we are definitely a part of a very big, global community,” Wellington Santos, a medical clown from Brazil, told Arutz Sheva. “It’s very important that we all cooperate to take this to the next step.”

Paul Miller, AKA Pauly the Clown who works at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, said that despite his hospital being in third place as far as pediatric institutions are concerned, it only has a few medical clowns who work a few hours a week. He noted he was surprised to see how big and important Medical Clowning is in Israel.
“I think medical clowns will be one of the biggest Israeli exports,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

Hagar Hofesh, a medical clown with Dream Doctors, said that in Israel, the clowns work very closely with doctors and nurses, something which is not the case in other parts of the world. She added that she believes that other places in the world could learn from Israel when it comes to this field.

“There are parts of the world where the experiences are the same as in Israel, but we also heard some clowns say that when the doctor comes into the room, they leave, or that they would not participate in certain procedures,” she added.

“Today, I actually got to scrub in and escort kids to the operating theater,” Miller said. “And we don’t do that in the United States, so it was fascinating.”

Is Anyone Listening?

The following statements made by Hamas officialdom spells out without any misunderstading, their position vis a vis the conflict with Israel. Is anyone really listening and taking note?

The position of the Palestinian Authority is very weak and it is foreseeable that in the not too distant future Hamas could take control of the West Bank. Abbas currently relies on the Israel forces to keep Hamas in check in the West Bank.

And even if an agreement with the PA was finalised, would Hamas, if they came to power, honour the agreement?? Unlikely.

Hamas' Position (with thanks to the The Meir Amit Intelligence and TerrorismInformation Center)

Khalil al-Hayeh, a member of Hamas' political bureau, was strongly critical of Mahmoud Abbas' application the UN and of the Palestinian Authority for preventing terrorist activity on its territory. He also denied that Hamas had removed its offices from Syria and called on the Syrian regime to make haste and carry out reforms in response to the demands of the Syrian people. His main points were the following (from a program organized by the Palestinian Journalists' Forum and called "Political Bulletin," website, October 6, 2011):

• Mahmoud Abbas' application to the UN endangers the future of the PLO, which represents the Palestinian refugees, and their future. That is because recognition of a Palestinian state might lead to the cancellation of the refugees' "right" to their land. He said that "we agree with everything that harms the occupation and defines it as criminal, but this step incurs many risks..."

• A "program of stages" for confronting Israel is the basis for the internal Palestinian reconciliation: However, Mahmoud Abbas, he said, did not honor the "program of stages" which was the foundation for the internal Palestinian reconciliation. He said that there was "a national program of stages based on accepting a state with the 1967 borders, as well as the right of return, defending the Palestinian people and not recognizing the legitimacy of the occupier state [i.e., Israel]. It is the minimal program agreed on, because according to Hamas' program the land of Palestinian reaches from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river. We do not agree to legitimizing the occupation on one inch of that land."

• "The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades work to carry out suicide bombings within Israel, but the security coordination [between Israel and the Palestinian Authority] prevents them." He added that "the resistance [i.e., the terrorist organizations] in the Gaza Strip is protected, as opposed to the West Bank, where it is persecuted by the [Palestinian] Authority's security forces and the [Israeli] occupation."

• The internal Palestinian reconciliation: Al-Hayeh appealed to Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah to again meet with Hamas again under Egyptian or other Arab aegis to discuss the Palestinian cause. He said Hamas did not fear elections but would not agree to them "before the internal Palestinian reconciliation has been achieved."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oldest Flea Market in the World

One of the oldest bazaars in the world, the Jaffa flea market is now rapidly becoming the hottest new location in Tel Aviv, famed for fashion and food.

The Jaffa flea market is one of the oldest bazaars in the world. Whereas it used to be a place to find knick-knacks and second-hand furniture or clothing, today it is also rapidly becoming one of the trendiest spots in Israel.

Fashion designers, artists, antique dealers and gourmet chefs have all converged upon the portside area just south of Tel Aviv, making it a destination for bargain hunters and fashionistas from Israel and abroad, and even a newly desirable place to live.

"It's not exactly Soho in NY or Camden in London," says Ava Rodan of Alma Jewelry. "It's an original place where you can find really old antiques or new shops with a lovely atmosphere."

And, of course who does one see there - Jews, Muslims, Christians and others in this "apartheid state" !!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Special playgrounds for handicapped in Israel

Just because you're in a wheelchair doesn't mean you have to miss out on Israel's many nature parks and picnic areas. You don't even have to forfeit a turn on the playground swing, thanks to a host of projects in recent years to make all these experiences available to people of all ages with impaired vision, hearing and mobility.

The crown jewel is
Friendship Park (Park Chaverim), the first accessible, integrated park for children in Israel. Opened in 2005, this nine-acre area within Ra'anana City Park was planned out by a committee of professionals from Beit Issie Shapiro, an organization that develops and provides services for Israelis with developmental disabilities, with input from the National Insurance Institute, community social workers, parents of children with special needs and people with various disabilities.

Friendship Park offers play equipment designed for children in wheelchairs and with hearing and vision impairments. The pathways, surface materials and height of the base underneath each plaything were all taken into account.

Accommodations were even made for motor-disabled parents or grandparents accompanying able-bodied children at the park, says occupational therapist Michele Shapiro, a specialist in sensory design at Beit Issie Shapiro. "I was responsible for leading the design team, but the physical and social part of the park go together strongly, and both are essential to the success of the park," says Shapiro.

For video on the story go to

For the full story go to

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What did Freed Female Palestinian Terrorist say to Gaza Children?

The freeing of terrorists and murderers in exchange for Gilad Shalit raises concerns amongst the Israeli public, that, as has happened on previous occasions, 25% will return to terror. In the case below, less than one day has elapsed and we are seeing the continuation of incitement by one of the freed terrorists.

From Reuters 10/19/11

A would-be Palestinian suicide bomber freed by Israel in the prisoner swap for soldier Gilad Shalit told cheering schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip the day after her release on Wednesday she hoped they would follow her example.

"I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs," Wafa al-Biss told dozens of children who came to her home in the northern Gaza Strip.

Biss was travelling to Beersheba's Soroka hospital for medical treatment in 2005 when Israeli soldiers at the Erez border crossing noticed she was walking strangely. They found 10 kgs (22 lbs) of explosives had been sewn into her underwear.

A member of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, Biss was sentenced to a 12-year term for planning to blow herself up.

After she spoke, the children cheered and waved Palestinian flags and chanted:
"We will give souls and blood to redeem the prisoners. We will give souls and blood for you, Palestine."

Biss said she had planned to blow herself up at the checkpoint but her detonator malfunctioned. "Unfortunately, the button did not work at the last minute before I was to be martyred," Biss told Reuters. She said she had not yet adjusted to her freedom and arose early on Wednesday for prison roll call. "This morning I woke up in my room, wore my scarf and stood up awaiting the line-up time before I realised I was home and not in jail," she said.

Once she settles back to her routine, Biss said she plans to complete university psychology studies but added that she remained defiant in the face of Israeli warnings to act against those who return to militancy. "We will pursue our struggle and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nentanyahu) knows that. Arrests will not deter us from our strong battles and confrontation in the face of Zionist arrogance in the land of Palestine," she said.

Biss was one of 477 Palestinians freed by Israel on Tuesday in the first stage of an exchange with Gaza's Hamas Islamist rulers that ended Shalit's five years of captivity. Another 550 Palestinans will be freed in the second stage later this year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

South Sudanese Slave Sees Israel as "Heaven"

Simon Deng, a former South Sudanese slave taken by a neighbor as a young boy to Islamist Northern Sudan gave this impassion speech at Durban Watch Conference in New York on 22nd Sept.

He puts the lie to the Zionism is Racism canard of Durban III painting Israel as a pariah state. Rather as he points out it is the Arab Muslim Jihadis who have engaged in racial genocide of millions of Sudanese, whether Muslim or Christian. As he further points out it is Israel that is the ultimate destination of Sudanese refugees, as Egypt has oppressed them.

Below is Simon Deng’s Speech before the Durban Watch Conference. _______________________________________________________

Thank you for those kind words:

I want to thank the organizers of this conference, The Perils of Global Intolerance. It is a great honor for me and it is a privilege really to be among today’s distinguished speakers.

I came here as a friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I came to protest this Durban conference which is based on a set of lies. It is organized by nations who are themselves are guilty of the worst kinds of oppression.

It will not help the victims of racism. It will only isolate and target the Jewish state. It is a tool of the enemies of Israel. The UN has itself become a tool against Israel. For over 50 years, 82 percent of the UN General Assembly emergency meetings have been about condemning one state - Israel. Hitler couldn’t have been made happier.

The Durban Conference is an outrage. All decent people will know that. But friends, I come here today with a radical idea. I come to tell you that there are peoples who suffer from the UN’s anti-Israelism even more than the Israelis. I belong to one of those people.

Please hear me out.

By exaggerating Palestinian suffering, and by blaming the Jews for it, the UN has muffled the cries of those who suffer on a far larger scale.

For over fifty years the indigenous black population of Sudan -- Christians and Muslims alike -- has been the victims of the brutal, racist Arab Muslim regimes in Khartoum.

In South Sudan, my homeland, about 4 million innocent men, women and children were slaughtered from 1955 to 2005. Seven million were ethnically cleansed and they became the largest refugee group since World War II.

The UN is concerned about the so-called Palestinian refugees. They dedicated a separate agency for them, and they are treated with a special privilege.
Meanwhile, my people, ethnically cleansed, murdered and enslaved, are relatively ignored. The UN refuses to tell the world the truth about the real causes of Sudan’s conflicts. Who knows really what is happening in Darfur? It is not a “tribal conflict.”

It is a conflict rooted in Arab colonialism well known in north Africa. In Darfur, a region in the Western Sudan, everybody is Muslim. Everybody is Muslim because the Arabs invaded the North of Africa and converted the indigenous people to Islam. In the eyes of the Islamists in Khartoum, the Darfuris are not Muslim enough. And the Darfuris do not want to be Arabized. They love their own African languages and dress and customs. The Arab response is genocide! But nobody at the UN tells the truth about Darfur.

In the Nuba Mountains, another region of Sudan, genocide is taking place as I speak. The Islamist regime in Khartoum is targeting the black Africans - Muslims and Christians. Nobody at the UN has told the truth about the Nuba Mountains.
Do you hear the UN condemn Arab racism against blacks?

What you find on the pages of the New York Times, or in the record of the UN condemnations is “Israeli crimes” and Palestinian suffering. My people have been driven off the front pages because of the exaggerations about Palestinian suffering. What Israel does is portrayed as a Western sin. But the truth is that the real sin happens when the West abandons us: the victims of Arab/Islamic apartheid.

Chattel slavery was practiced for centuries in Sudan. It was revived as a tool of war in the early 90s. Khartoum declared jihad against my people and this legitimized taking slaves as war booty. Arab militias were sent to destroy Southern villages and were encouraged to take African women and children as slaves. We believe that up to 200,000 were kidnapped, brought to the North and sold into slavery.

I am a living proof of this crime against humanity.

I don’t like talking about my experience as a slave, but I do it because it is important for the world to know that slavery exists even today. I was only nine years old when an Arab neighbor named Abdullahi tricked me into following him to a boat. The boat wound up in Northern Sudan where he gave me as a gift to his family. For three and a half years I was their slave going through something that no child should ever go through: brutal beatings and humiliations; working around the clock; sleeping on the ground with animals; eating the family’s left-overs. During those three years I was unable to say the word “no.” All I could say was “yes,” “yes,” “yes.”

The United Nations knew about the enslavement of South Sudanese by the Arabs. Their own staff reported it. It took UNICEF – under pressure from the Jewish–led American Anti-Slavery Group -- sixteen years to acknowledge what was happening. I want to publicly thank my friend Dr. Charles Jacobs for leading the anti-slavery fight.

But the Sudanese government and the Arab League pressured UNICEF, and UNICEF backtracked, and started to criticize those who worked to liberate Sudanese slaves. In 1998, Dr. Gaspar Biro, the courageous UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan who reported on slavery, resigned in protest of the UN’s actions.

My friends, today, tens of thousands of black South Sudanese still serve their masters in the North and the UN is silent about that. It would offend the OIC and the Arab League.

As a former slave and a victim of the worst sort of racism, allow me to explain why I think calling Israel a racist state is absolutely absurd and immoral.
I have been to Israel five times visiting the Sudanese refugees. Let me tell you how they ended up there. These are Sudanese who fled Arab racism, hoping to find shelter in Egypt. They were wrong. When Egyptian security forces slaughtered twenty six black refugees in Cairo who were protesting Egyptian racism, the Sudanese realized that the Arab racism is the same in Khartoum or Cairo. They needed shelter and they found it in Israel. Dodging the bullets of the Egyptian border patrols and walking for very long distances, the refugees’ only hope was to reach Israel’s side of the fence, where they knew they would be safe.

Black Muslims from Darfur chose Israel above all the other Arab-Muslim states of the area. Do you know what this means!!!?? And the Arabs say Israel is racist!!!?
In Israel, black Sudanese, Christian and Muslim were welcomed and treated like human beings. Just go and ask them, like I have done. They told me that compared to the situation in Egypt, Israel is “heaven.”

Is Israel a racist state? To my people, the people who know racism – the answer is absolutely not. Israel is a state of people who are the colors of the rainbow. Jews themselves come in all colors, even black. I met with Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Beautiful black Jews.

So, yes … I came here today to tell you that the people who suffer most from the UN anti-Israel policy are not the Israelis but all those people who the UN ignores in order to tell its big lie against Israel: we, the victims of Arab/Muslim abuse: women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, homosexuals, in the Arab/Muslim world. These are the biggest victims of UN Israel hatred.

Look at the situation of the Copts in Egypt, the Christians in Iraq, and Nigeria, and Iran, the Hindus and Bahais who suffer from Islamic oppression. The Sikhs. We - a rainbow coalition of victims and targets of Jihadis - all suffer. We are ignored, we are abandoned. So that the big lie against the Jews can go forward.

In 2005, I visited one of the refugee camps in South Sudan. I met a twelve year old girl who told me about her dream. In a dream she wanted to go to school to become a doctor. And then, she wanted to visit Israel. I was shocked. How could this refugee girl who spent most of her life in the North know about Israel? When I asked why she wanted to visit Israel, she said: “This is our people.” I was never able to find an answer to my question.

On January 9 of 2011 South Sudan became an independent state. For South Sudanese, that means continuation of oppression, brutalization, demonization, Islamization, Arabization and enslavement.

In a similar manner, the Arabs continue denying Jews their right for sovereignty in their homeland and the Durban III conference continues denying Israel’s legitimacy.

As a friend of Israel, I bring you the news that my President, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir -- publicly stated that the South Sudan embassy in Israel will be built--- not in Tel Aviv, but in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people.

I also want to assure you that my own new nation, and all of its peoples, will oppose racist forums like the Durban III. We will oppose it by simply telling the truth. Our truth.

My Jewish friends taught me something I now want to say with you.
AM YISROEL CHAI! The people of Israel lives!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Palestinian application for UN membership in a topsy turvy world

By Maurice Ostroff October 14, 2011

It is strange that no query was raised at the UN when Mr. Abbas who has been prevented from visiting Gaza since the Hamas takeover, claimed that he was speaking on behalf of the PLO which he described as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people including Gazans

This claim is sharply contradicted by Article 27 of the Hamas Charter which states that because the PLO has adopted the idea of a secular state it will not be fully accepted until it adopts Islam

In this topsy turvy world, notorious human rights abusers like Zimbabwe, Syria, Pakistan and Gadafi's Libya have been members of the Human rights Council. And now, the UN is seriously considering admitting as a member, an entity of which Hamas, which has been defined as a terrorist organization by the USA and the EU, would be a major component.

In his eloquent address to the UN on September 23, 2011 Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), president of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) called for an independent state in all the land occupied by Israel in 1967 including Gaza. But anyone with elementary knowledge of Middle East affairs must query his authority to speak in the name of Hamas-ruled Gaza or indeed on behalf of Hamas members anywhere including in the West Bank.

It is strange that no query was raised at the UN when Mr. Abbas who has been prevented from visiting Gaza since the Hamas takeover, claimed that he was speaking on behalf of the PLO which he described as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people including Gazans

This claim is sharply contradicted by Article 27 of the Hamas Charter which states that because the PLO has adopted the idea of a secular state it will not be fully accepted until it adopts Islam.

According to an Al Jazeera report, Alaa al-Rifati, minister of economy in Gaza said that Hamas has not endorsed the PLO bid for statehood because they see it as a Fatah-led initiative and Ahmed Yousef, the deputy foreign minister in Gaza told Al Jazeera, Because nobody consulted us, we, Hamas, do not take this issue seriously."

In the circumstances the UN must clarify whether it is competent to impose PLO rule over an unwilling Gaza.

Conditions for membership

The Palestinian application for UN membership cannot be properly considered until several basic constitutional issues are resolved. For example, article 5 of the UN Charter specifically requires that the admission to membership will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council, not vice-versa as being considered at present.

Since article 4 of the UN Charter states that membership is open to peace-loving states, the question arises as to whether the fractured PLO-Hamas entity can be classified as a state, peace-loving or otherwise. And since Hamas-ruled Gaza comprises a substantial component of the Palestinian entity, the peace-loving requirement is very definitely ruled out by article 13 of the Hamas charter which unambiguously declares, "Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.

In fact the PLO is also disqualified as a peace-loving entity by article 9 of its charter which declares bluntly that the armed struggle is not merely tactical, it is the overall strategy.

Contrary to Mr. Abbas statement to the UN that the PLO and the Palestinian people have renounced violence and condemn terrorism, incitement and glorification of terrorism continue to infect Palestinian society. Children continue to be taught to hate from the earliest age. See for example this clip and this

On March 9, 2011, Abu Mazen's advisor Sabri Saidam, delivered a speech in which he emphasized that Palestinian weapons must be turned towards Israel and a few days later some inspired young Palestinians did exactly that.

Recently a town square in Ramallah was named after Dalal al-Mughrabi, the leader of the 1978 bus hijacking in which 37 Israelis were killed and 71 wounded It is hardly surprising that brutal terror attacks are motivated by children attending schools named after terrorists and by popular soccer tournaments that are named after terrorists,


Mr. Abbas call for a solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194 is strange in view of the fact that all six Arab countries then represented at the UN voted against it.

According to an article in the China Worker by Aysha Zaki, of the Committee for a Workers International, many refugees, who remain suspended in Lebanon without passports, democratic rights of participation in Lebanese society, entitlement to purchase or inherit property, and banned from working in more than 30 professions, fear the statehood bid, at best, carries no weight for their plight and, at worst, places resolution 194 in jeopardy

Since Resolution 194 is a General Assembly resolution it is not binding, and only serves as advisory statements whereas resolution 242 is a biding Security Council resolution that is accepted by Israel and is the basis of the majority of negotiations.

Much has been written about the implications of resolution 242 and if we are to avoid the distortions introduced by propagandists, obviously, the most reliable source from whom to seek clarification are the persons who drafted it. In drafting the resolution, both British Ambassador to the UN in 1967, Lord Caradon, and American Ambassador, Arthur Goldberg, deliberately omitted a demand for Israel to return to the pre-1967 borders. In an interview in the Beirut Daily Star on June 12, 1974, Lord Caradon stated:

"It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967 because these positions were undesirable and artificial. After all, they were just the places where the soldiers on each side happened to be on the day the fighting stopped in 1948. They were just armistice lines. That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them, and I think we were right not to."Click here for more details

According to the article in the China worker, quoted above some Palestinians conclude that the UN bid for statehood is not in the interests of the Palestinian people, while others believe that it can be a step towards uniting the Palestinian people after a period of internal divisions.

Monday, October 10, 2011

27th Haifa Film Festival

The Haifa International Film Festival, the leading cinematic even in Israel, was founded in 1983 as the first international film festival in the country. Growing steadily in both the number of screenings and attendance, The Haifa Film Festival has earned a world-wide reputation for both the quality of its program and the friendly atmosphere.

The Haifa Film Festival is held on the beautiful Mount Carmel, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The festival brings together each year an ever-growing audience of 70,000 spectators along with hundreds of Israeli and foreign professionals from the film and television industries and premiers some 170 new films (280 screenings). 300,000 people in total take part in the activities of the festival, including the outdoor events, screenings, workshops and more, and dozens of journalists from both the print and broadcast media, from Israel and abroad, cover the event

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Who Says We are Isolated?

So often today, journalists are ready to pontificate on the Middle East with their own agendas in mind rather than reporting the facts on the ground. Far from being isolated, representatatives from many countries are happy to come to Israel to learn.

From 20 different countries, 30 men and women involved in sustainable development in their home countries are visiting Israel for a 25-day course to learn about water, energy and city planning.

The visit includes leaders from government branches, universities, development foundations and other types of NGOs, from Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, China, India, Kenya, Kyrgzystan, Moldova, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Thailand, Ukraine and Zambia.

The foreign delegates have been able to explore issues of water, waste and energy management, as well as municipal infrastructure. During their last week in Israel, they will be observing agricultural research and development and renewable energy sites in the country’s deserts.

For the full story go to

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

International Bloggers Have a Taste Of Israel

By Wendy Blumfield

With the growth of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activism on campuses throughout the world, it was refreshing to meet a group of young non-Jewish International bloggers who were on a solidarity visit with the organisation "Stand With Us."

Their hosts in Haifa, Hadassah and Stuart Palmer and some of their friends who are activists for the environment and social change, greeted the group of students on the second day of their trip to Israel. Stuart Palmer is chairman of CoHav, the International Coalition of Hasbarah Volunteers and author of the blog, Haifa Diary.

Stand With Us is an international organization dedicated to bringing peace to the Middle East by education about Israel.. Through brochures, conferences, missions to Israel and internet resources, the organization strives to stop the tide of misinformation about Israel on university campuses, in the media and in the community. Founded in 2001 to ensure that Israel is accurately portrayed and justly represented, Stand With Us, a non-profit organization, has its headquarters in Los Angeles with chapters and activities in the USA, the UK, Australia, South Africa and Europe and of course Israel..

Sitting on the Palmers terrace on Mount Carmel, the group gave their impressions of their first look at Israel.

"Every country has its own story with its own people, it is a great opportunity to exaplore this country which is steeped in so much history," commented Australian Chris Richardson. "meeting beautiful and interesting people, I felt I`d known them for years. Here I was in Israel and the media abroad says: don`t go there, it`s not safe. I want to go out see the rest of Israel and its people because I am in love already."

Asked about his first impressions of the trip, the answer was simple, "I was blown away."

"Even if you are not religious, the sight of so many Jewish men and women praying at the Wailing Wall moved me to tears," said Feng Yimeng from China while Eunice Khong of Singapore can`t wait to write her blog on the culture, food, people and scenery.

Kaustubh Katdare from India related how his family were very worried about his trip to Israel and pleaded with him to take a gun. And now he talks about his visit to the beautiful and peaceful Bahai Gardens where he met Bahais from India. "People in Delhi do not realize that the Lotus Temple is actually a Bahai house of worship."

Marcello Arrambide from South America was bowled over by Haifa. "People are curious and want to know about you and your life, not just about what we think about what`s happening in Israel. It was really refreshing to meet a people that are so genuine."

As they continue their whirlwind tour, it is fortunate that they are experienced bloggers for they want to remember every detail in their journey from the green and fertile Galilee to the harsher conditions of the Arava, visiting cities as diverse as Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.