Did Bibi Call Overweight Israeli Eurovision Winner a Cow?

Netanyahu’s second tweet.

When overweight singer Netta Barzilai became the first Israeli to win the Eurovision contest in 20 years, Twitter users were shocked to read that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had tweeted, “[Netta], you’re a cow!”

How did that happen? Netta is known for finishing her performances with the words, “Kappara aleichem!” (“Atonement for you all!”). When Natanyahu said “kappara alaich!” (“atonement for you!”), Microsoft Translator read kappara as keparah – “like a cow.” However, the translation was still wrong, as keparah alaich means “like a cow on you.”

Absurdly, after Netta was declared winner, the prime minister tweeted, “Netta, at kappara amitit,” using kappara as an adjective, which could be correctly read in Hebrew as “Netta, you’re like a real cow!”

However, Netta never seemed to question Netanyahu’s intentions, as the two met shortly after her return to Israel and performed Netta’s “chicken dance” together:

Microsoft has seemingly fixed Translator since the incident, as the word kappara is now translated as “sweetheart” when used as an adjective.

Held annually since 1956 with 63 countries participating over the years, the Eurovision is watched by about 200 million people worldwide each year. As Israel won the contest, it will host the Eurovision next year. Participating 41 times since 1973, it was Israel’s fourth win overall, after the wins in 1978, 1979 (in which the contest was held in Jerusalem for the same reason) and 1998.

Netta’s song, “Toy,” carried a feminist message, was sang almost entirely in English (The only Hebrew line was “Ani lo booba” – “I’m not a doll.”) and used internationally famous names such as Wonder Woman and Pikachu:

Six Israeli Freedom Songs for Passover

Passover is a great time to listen to songs on the subjects of slavery and freedom. With all due respect to George Michael’s “Freedom” and Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go,” Israeli music is filled with beautiful songs on these subjects and should not be ignored.

If you do not understand Hebrew, fear not: This article includes six of the best Israeli freedom songs, translated into English as accurately as the differences between the two languages allow.

[Read more…]

Maccabiah: US Futsal Team Seeking Financial Help

U.S. Maccabiah futsal team.

Among the athletes participating in the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel in July, the U.S. delegation will include a futsal team. Futsal is similar to soccer, but played on a field the size of a basketball court with five players on each side.

Last year, at the Pan American Maccabi Games in Chile, the team came fourth, losing the bronze medal in penalty kicks to the host after a 3-3 draw.

At the 2013 Games, the team included four players from Greater Philadelphia, in addition to Coach Michael Monheit. Practicing in King of Prussia, the current team only has one local: goalkeeper Ethan Clearfield, who played in Chile as well.

The team is trying to raise $10,000 to ease the burden on the players. Monheit said that “for a number of players the competition and experience will not be possible” without this help:

For many of them, it will be their first trip to Israel and it will be a visit that will change their lives. I assure you, this will be the most significant connection in each of their lives so far to their Jewish heritage.

Currently, the team has raised about $2,000. Monheit said that “every dollar counts towards making it possible for these players to be able to join the team.”

5 Video Games to Play This Summer

Summer is at its peak, and it is a great time to turn on the air conditioner, sit on the couch or chair, and play games on your favorite platform until the evening.

The PlayStation 4 Console and Xbox One have been with us for a year and a half, and have a great selection of games by now. They both can be found for less than $400. Graphically, the PlayStation 4 is the superior console, but some prefer the Xbox One as they want to play specific exclusives.

If you have a decent PC from recent years, a video card that costs about $200 can make it a gaming machine superior to both consoles, if you know someone who knows how to install the card.

This article will cover some of the best games available for all three platforms right now. [Read more…]

Netanyahu Forms Right-Wing Coalition, Considers Adding Labor

Less than two hours before the official deadline, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, informed President Reuven Rivlin that his party, Likud, had reached coalition agreements with four of the five other right-wing parties in the Knesset.

netanyahu bennett

Netanyahu (right) with Habayit Hayehudi’s leader, Naftali Bennett, after reaching a coalition agreement.

 

The new coalition will only include 61 of the 120 Knesset members: Likud’s 30, Kulanu’s 10, Habayit Hayehudi’s eight, Shas’s seven and United Torah’s Judaism’s six. The leader of the remaining right-wing party, Yisrael Beytenu (six seats), Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, had decided to quit the government and not join the coalition.

Netanyahu will remain both prime minister and foreign minister, allegedly because he considers offering Yitzhak Herzog, leader of the Labor Party (24 seats in a list shared with Hatnuah), to become foreign minister. Herzog recently vetoed his party’s proposed decision of never joining the new government.

Netanyahu Celebrates Decisive Victory in Israeli Election

Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to stay Israel’s prime minister for the third consecutive time and fourth time overall, as his party, Likud (“unity”), will have 30 seats in the 20th Knesset — more than the entire left-wing bloc.

march-17-2015-5-tips-for-not-understanding-israeli-elections1

Cartoon courtesy of The Cartoon Kronicles @ http://cartoonkronicles.com/

 

The left-wing Zionist Camp alliance of the Labor Party and HaTnuah (“the movement”), will have 24 seats. The exit polls of the three major Israeli TV channels predicted 27 seats each to the Zionist Camp and Likud, but the only other Zionist left-wing party, Meretz, (“vigour”) will only have five seats, while one needs to be supported by 60 Knesset members to become prime minister.

Right-wing party Habayit HaYehudi (“the Jewish home”), which promised to support Netanyahu, will have eights seats.

New and moderate right-wing party, Kulanu (“all of us”), led by Moshe Kahlon, who quit Likud in 2012 after decades of activity due to differences with Netanyahu on social issues, will have 10 seats. Kahlon is expected to support Netanyahu if the latter appoints him minister of finance.

Haredi parties Shas (“Sephardi guards”) and Yahaduth HaTorah (“Torah’s Judaism”) will have seven and six seats respectively, and are expected to support Netanyahu. The third Haredi party, Yachad (“together”), will be eliminated.

Another right-wing party, Yisrael Beytenu (“Israel our home”), will have six seats.

Center party Yesh Atid (“there is a future”) will have 11 seats.

The non-Zionist Joint List of three Arab parties will have 13 seats.

The participation ratio in the election was 72.3%.

Netanyahu Mocks Political Rivals in ‘Bibi-Sitter’ Video

Courtesy of The Cartoon Kronicles @ cartoonkronicles.com.

Courtesy of The Cartoon Kronicles @ cartoonkronicles.com.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, mocks his rivals in the coming Israeli election in a video ad that shows him as a responsible babysitter, or “Bibi-sitter,” unlike his rivals.

The 2oth Knesset elections are scheduled for March 17. The main rival of Netanyahu’s party, Likud (“unity”), is the Zionist Camp alliance of Isaac “Buji” Hertzog’s Labor Party, and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah (“the movement”).

In the video, Netanyahu mocks Hertzog as an irresponsible negotiator: Hertzog granted Livni a rotation agreement, meaning each of them will serve as prime minister for two years if the Zionist Camp wins the election, even though Hatnuah was a risk of not getting the four seats required to enter the Knesset before creating the alliance with the Labor Party.

The parents who ordered a babysitter comment that if Hertzog was babysitting their kids, he would have given away their house by the time they returned.

Netanyahu also mocks the fact that the Zionist Camp is Livni’s fourth party in nine years, after Likud, Kadima (“forward”) and Hatnuah. In the video, the parents doubt Livni’s ability to stay in the same place for two hours. Netanyahu says that by the time they return, “she’ll have moved to the neighbors.”

The video concludes with the parents returning home and saying “Shalom” (“peace”). Netanyahu responds, “Not unconditionally!”

Civil Rights Arrive in Pennsylvania: State Rep. Brian Sims Interview

Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims (D., Philadelphia), the first openly gay candidate to win an election to the state General Assembly, made headlines last week with the passage of a resolution for recognizing the Human Rights Day.

In an exclusive interview with the Philadelphia Jewish Voice, he shared his plans for the next few years, a surprising Jewish connection, and a few thoughts on the House speaker, Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler County).

Q: Where did the idea for the resolution on the Human Rights Day come from?

I had known of the Day for 15 years, since I heard of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Last month, after the U.S. ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, invited me to speak on advocating for civil rights at local events in honor of the Day, I decided to propose a resolution for recognizing this day in Pennsylvania.

Q: Was it realizing that you were gay that brought you to the civil rights area?

I have first learned of civil rights through feminism. Both of my parents were lieutenant colonels in the Army, so I grew up with a very strong woman and two very equal parents.

Being part of the gay community was one of the reasons that I ran for the House. Pennsylvania has no LGBT rights laws at all, so a lot needs to be done. Both Republicans and Democrats in the House and the State Senate support such legislations.

Q: Has your being gay hurt you in ways that legislation could have prevented?

Not very often. To my fortune, I live in a city with many laws that protect my rights. In other areas of Pennsylvania, you can get fired from your job or kicked out of your house, and even get bullied just for being gay.

Q: Were you surprised last June, when the speaker of the House, Daryl Metcalfe, did not let you speak on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, saying that it would be “an open rebellion against God’s law”?

Yes. I knew that he did not like me personally, and did not have respect for the House and its members, but I was surprised by the reason for which he did not let me speak.

Anyone can believe in anything they want, and have any motivation for their activism, but “God’s law” has no place in the Government and its voting.

Q: How has being elected changed your lifestyle?

I have always been very busy: Before being elected, I was the president of Equality Pennsylvania, and active in five more civil rights organizations. Now I am just as busy, but have a whole team that helps me.

In the little spare time that I have, I carry lectures, to teach the public on subjects such as saving money and public safety.

Q: What are your plans for the elections to the General Assembly next June?

I will run for the same office again. I need several more years to take care of all of the issues in my district (the 182nd House District, Center City).

Q: Do you have any connection with the local Jewish community?

When I worked as a lawyer, each and every one of my bosses was Jewish. They all understood what it meant to stand up and be an advocate for your community, so working as a lawyer had been connecting me with the Jewish community as well as with the lawyer community.

Last October, politicians from Pennsylvania held a diplomatic trip to Israel, but I could not go. A similar trip is planned for next March, and I would like to join it.

“Israeli Rock Godfather” Arik Einstein Dies at 74


“You Can’t (Leave Me)” by Arik Einstein’s band, the “High Windows.”

— by Amir Shoam

The iconic Israeli folk singer and comedian Arik Einstein passed away suddenly at the age of 74.

Einstein introduced entire genres, including rock, to Israeli music. Imagining Israeli music without him is like imagining the NBA without Michael Jordan. He will be missed.

More praise for this Israel entertainment legend and videos of his music and comedy follow the jump.

Parody of Israeli immigration

Shawn Evenhaim, Chairman of the Israeli-American Council commented,

We are sad to hear about Arik Einstein’s death and send our condolences to his family, friends, fans, and to all Israelis. Einstein is an Israeli cultural legend and probably the greatest Israeli singer of all time, and we’re sure that every Israeli who lives in the U.S. today shares in the sadness of his passing. A major icon of Israeli culture has left us, but his memory and songs will stay with us forever.

International Bible Quiz parody

Song on Soviet invasion of Prague

Soccer: Maccabi Close to Europa Round of 32 After 4-2 Over Frankfurt


Barak Yitzhaki against Frankfurt.

— by Amir Shoam

Maccabi Tel Aviv made a big step toward the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 today, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 4-2 in Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv.

With this win, Maccabi is second to Frankfurt in Group F, having previously lost to Frankfurt 0-2, beaten French team Bordeaux 2-1, and drawn 0-0 with Cyprus champion APOEL. After playing twice against each of its group rivals, the top two teams in each group will advance to the next round.

More after the jump.
Europa League, formerly the UEFA Cup, is the second-most important European club competition, consisting of champions of average leagues, and average teams of big leagues, such as Frankfurt, that finished sixth in the German Bundesliga last season.

Israeli midfielder Eran Zahavi scored first in the 14th minute. Two goals by striker Barak Yitzhaki in five minutes enlarged Maccabi’s lead to 3-0 by the 35th minute.

Croatian striker Srdan Lakic scored for Frankfurt in the 63th minute, and German midfielder Alexander Meier brought his team back to 3-2 with a penalty kick four minutes later. In the fourth and last minute of overtime, Zahavi scored a penalty kick of his own to set the final score.