Archived Post

Israel Updates 10/20

Posted by Rebecca Glanzer on October 20, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

Shas Undergoes Reforms, Broadening Support Base

Minister Aryeh Deri – leader of the orthodox Shas party– has announced a series of reforms that will broaden Shas’ support base and unify factions within the party, transforming Shas into a “moderate social party.” Deri hopes to harness the mass display of mourning that has arisen over the passing of Shas’ spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, into electoral support. Reforms would appeal to younger and more moderate voters–a constituency that is key to securing Shas’ place in the next government coalition.

Obama to Ease Economic Constraints on Iran

After the well-received Geneva talks this week between Iran and six world powers, the Obama administration plans to alleviate some financial pressure on Iran by steadily unfreezing Iran’s overseas assets “without rescinding the sanctions.” The administration hopes this relaxation in economic pressure will allow more room for negotiations. However, the proposal runs in contrast to those by many Members of Congress, who hope instead to ratchet up sanctions against Iran in a bid to halt its nuclear enrichment program.

Israeli Startups: Following Waze’s Success

Many Israeli startups are now following in the footsteps of Waze–the Israeli tech company snatched up by Google for $1 billion this summer–.and are netting huge investment increases for the second quarter in a row. Collectively, Israeli startups have garnered $660 million in funding from investors. Funding is coming in waves from big companies such as IBM, Qualcomm, and even Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli.

Israel Ships Artists to US Colleges

Ten Israeli artists are teaching classes at American colleges through the Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artist Program as a means of spreading awareness about genuine Israeli culture in the United States. One such artist is the famous novelist Dror Burstein, who will be teaching a Hebrew literature class at Clark University. The group is diverse, with participating artists ranging from filmmakers to writers to dancers. The executive director of the Israel Institute, Ariel Roth, spoke deeply of the program, saying “these artists provide a window into the heart of Israel.”