7. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Tel Aviv municipality has the force

Just by the monument on the last article are some steps to visit the government offices in Tel Aviv.

Look closely through the glass doors

Didn’t get a clear shot of this, but these government offices have the opening credits to Star Wars : A New hope on the steps scrolling up as the escalator takes people down.   Very neat, who says that council offices have to be boring?

The awesome ‘Death Star PR’ blog has some better pics of above building here http://deathstarpr.com/2011/12/stair-wars-the-escalator-strikes-back

1. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – coastal city of oranges

2. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Graffiti and wall art

3. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Whales and hovering trees

4. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Independence day and a concrete stable

5. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Rabin

6. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Odd ball shops

7. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Tel Aviv municipality has the force

Skype and voice over IP services in Ethiopia banned

This apparently is my 500th blog post, wow.    I have never really had much of an opinion about control of the internet by governments, until I saw this yesterday;

Ethiopia bans Skype; 15 years of jail time possible

This is very sad as I have a close friend who used to live in Israel who is of Ethiopian origin who has gone back there.   The above article mentions 700,000 out of 84m people, (less than 1%) have internet access.

Last time I called him on Skype a few months ago I missed his call, then he was offline as  the internet connection was too unreliable for me to call him back, so I rang him from my Skype account to his mobile using some credit which worked pretty good.   So this is a good solution although can’t remember how much I spent last time.

With violence at a high amongst believers in Ethiopia, its sad that cutting off a cheap form of communication makes things harder for families on either side there.  Foreigners should be careful what they say on the phone to friends there as its likely all calls are monitored.

There is only one ISP in Ethiopia and its owned by the government, there is an interesting wiki article here about the laws of the web in the north eastern African state.

This really awful for African Jews in Israel who almost certainly still have family and friends back there.   Israel has 1.5% Jews of Ethiopian descent, and there are many more who want to come back soon.

Note to anyone in Ethiopia who has any type of computer, especially Christians doing ministry projects out there, get yourself a free piece of software (Windows or Mac) called Truecrypt to encrypt drives (internal or external) on your computer, if you are worried about any information which is sensitive in case a computer is seized by any form of hostile government.

A blogger who writes on Ethiopia mentions more on this here: http://transformingethiopia.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/new-telecom-crime-bill-grossly-criminalising-individual-liberty-at-stake/#more-5785

 

Pastor Uman from Uganda speaks about attack on his life visits Jerusalem

Last week I went to an event at Christchurch put on by Christian Friends of Israel which is in the old city in Jerusalem, to hear an African man speak who is visiting Israel.  Hes an ex-Muslim who knows Arabic and studied the Koran, accepted Jesus in the early 90s and runs a church in Uganda, he also supports Israel, and because of his belief in Jesus, he has had no less than nine attacks on his life, more recently resulting in deliberately someone tipping a bucket of acid on him scarring up horribly and losing sight in one eye.

Hes in Israel to give his testimony as well as receive specialised surgery to rebuild his face which is costing in the region of $128,000, in which the government of Israel paid $100k of it.

Pastor Uman Mulinde wears a kind of surgical stocking on his face, and one of his ears is shriveled, but he still speaks confidently, and is awaiting three more surgery sessions here in Israel, and his survival and determination serves as powerful witness to the doctors and surgeons in Israel treating him.

A little oddly perhaps, there wasn’t that many people I knew at the meeting, this might sound strange but actually the body of believers in Israel is quite small, so its like most people know most other people, both foreign Christians involved with probably at least 50 ministries here as well as local Israeli believers.

On the screen a little later there was a shocking picture of a pile of charred bodies, probably in excess of 100 of Ugandan Christians murdered by Islamic terrorists in this country in their church.   An awful tragedy perhaps necessary into giving Christians in western nations a sense of urgency into praying regularly for protection of those in danger, and for the hearts of those to be changed causing violent attacks.

Here at Christchurch inside the Jaffa gate of Jerusalem’s old city, Pastor Uman speaks abount his testimony and the attack.

He doesn’t speak to any kind of bitterness or revenge, just for the west not to be duped into accepting Islam as something that would ever compromise or be prepared to coexist with other cultures.

These days many people consider Israel to be the worst nation in the media today for accusations of ‘apartheid’ and ‘ethnic cleansing.’    Sometimes groups aiming to do “peace and reconciliation” are more there to delegitimise Israel both vocally, including sadly, some Christians and attempt to sanitize it completely from the scriptures, being completely unaware of terrible things that happen in mostly Islamic countries today.

This article from another blog explains it well:

http://www.calvinlsmith.com/2012/06/why-on-earth-are-we-wasting-time-on.html

This was a really good event that Christ Church put on, and it was a priviledge to see this brave man speak.  I don’t have a web site for him, I will see if I can find and add this later, hes still needs prayer and donations for his treatment and for his ministry to carry on.

6. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Odd ball shops

Interesting shops in Tel Aviv.

Yes this is Pork!!

And prawns!

Some things are kosher though

A humous restaurant is pretending to be a synagogue!

Vintage gear.

Although Yaffo down the road is a bit different:

These are Jaffa’s famous second hand markets.  I like trawling through car boot sales but there was nothing interesting here that day.   Although they forgot to bring stuff in, and several TVs were left out in the rain.

1. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – coastal city of oranges

2. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Graffiti and wall art

3. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Whales and hovering trees

4. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Independence day and a concrete stable

5. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Rabin

6. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Odd ball shops

5. Jaffa/Tel Aviv Yitzhak Rabin

This is the place where Yitzak Rabin was murdered in 1995,

I didn’t realise it was right outside the government offices in Tel Aviv.

This monument looks like a pond without water.

Grafitti seem to be from people sharing their feelings from the tragic loss of leader seventeen years ago.

1. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – coastal city of oranges

2. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Graffiti and wall art

3. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Whales and hovering trees

4. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Independence day and a concrete stable

5. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Rabin

6. Jaffa/Tel Aviv – Odd ball shops

 

Could Eilat be an online shopping capital of the middle east?

I was in Eilat a few weeks ago, Israel’s most southern corner and at the top of the Red Sea.

Having a teeny little airport which I think only offers flights from Tel Aviv, or drive or get a bus from the rest of country via a 300km road from Jerusalem, it is quite remote, with only Beer Sheva and a few other places in between.

Being far away and with not much employment outside of tourism, Eilat is a bit like the Isle of Wight of Israel.

I thought of an interesting idea, Israel maybe a hi-tech development nation, but its very lacking in online retailing.   As an IT person, its not so easy to go online and buy something and have it in a couple of days like you would have in the UK or US, ok part of this is due to fact this is a small country, but it is a bit inconvenient to purchase a urgently needed specialised computer part, or even a DVD easily online in Israel.

In the UK, if you buy something from Amazon.co.uk, if bought from Amazon’s own stock and not one of their third party sellers, usually your stuff gets shipped from the Channel Islands (to my non-UK friends that’s Jersey or Guernsey, part of the UK but close to France) due to the fact that goods there are VAT free, Play.com, CDwow and even Tesco’s online retailing do this too.

I am not sure how Amazon’s US operations are, but think some of the states offer no sales tax.   One of my friends from Switzerland buys his DVDs from Amazon.de much cheaper than the Swiss high street.

Eilat is also a bit unique as the retail outlets, mostly clothing are all VAT-free to encourage tourism and provide jobs there.

Something else I have noticed, and not seen this mentioned anywhere online, is that the post Office in Israel is very cheap.  I think the British Royal Mail have put the prices up by a record 25%, I estimate sending mail (packages of less than 2 kilos) is about a third of the cost of it is domestically and overseas than it is of the UK.

I salvaged the parts of a broken laptop and it cost 28 Shekels (less than £5) to mail the LCD screen (box weighed about 1.3 Kilos) I sold on eBay a couple of weeks ago from Jerusalem to Italy.

Tourist shops selling shells from the Red Sea

Israel could do well and provide jobs to people in Eilat, by making it a central distribution hub to ship items locally and worldwide on the internet, and give people super value for money shopping.

Someone needs to put together a online shop template that works in Hebrew, English, Arabic and Russian and maybe more languages, so the business owner can set up and sell his stuff with minimal technical know-how and maintenance of the site apart from his stock.

Today’s online retailing in the western world means a lot of dropshipping is done, as the person selling the goods and providing customer service doesn’t have to be the same place as where the stuff is dispatched from.  I have bought a few things of small value from UK, Germany, US and China, needed for my job in Israel online, and only need to pay import duty on one item which was 100 Euros (£80)

Israel needs to continue to grow to support its expanding population (5-10 children is common) so by building economy at the bottom corner of the country makes a lot of sense, especially as David Ben Gurion was a firm believer in building in the desert.

 

Red Sea dwelling Jellyfish in Eilat

Jellyfish I think are the weirdest of God’s creatures ever.

They aren’t fish, they some completely different genus from shellfish, their transparent gloop-like elasticy of their bodies make them completely unique.

There is no skeleton or rigid structural parts to their bodies, nor do they have any obvious things like eyes and mouth.   The four ‘gland’ type things I can see I wonder is their brain, breathing, reproductive and digestion components?

These ones are everywhere in Eilat, in the top of Red Sea, and they are purply colour.   This adult one is about ten inches across, like a typical sized dinner plate.

Apparently they do sting, but very mildly like a slightly unpleasant rash.    These ones are more like inverted flowers rather than the long decorative tentacle draped lampshade-like ones people think of has been exotic and deadly.

Anyone who knows me well, knows I can’t swim.   This is always and awkward subject, as people look in astonishment and tell me its “easy” and ‘I came 1st in XYZ swimming competitions… blah blah…..”    Geez thanks people.   Shall I go up to a disabled person and laugh and say “haha!! you can’t walk!!”

I had a fear of drowning as a child, combined with the evil swimming teacher woman from hell circa 1985 when I was about 9, in addition to not seeing now how my average 5’10” frame can propel in the surface of the sea without me getting into a panic of inhaling water.   Yes – I have tried.  But prefer to admire the sea no deeper than my knees which suits me fine.

Before I got to see the incredible exotic fish here which rival the sort you would expect from being in the Caribbean or a Pacific Island, I didn’t get to visit the Marine aquarium this time, but the Jellyfish and serene stripey and mauve fish that are a complete world away from fish you see in Southern England are a real treat to see.

Cowboy bus driver in the desert

This was our driver who took us from Jerusalem to Eilat, a fairly punishing 311Km trip all the way down the Negev desert to the very south point of the country.   And I do mean a ‘point’ as that’s exactly the bottom shame of Israel’s Red Sea city tightly between Egypt and Jordan.

There is something a little unconventional about this driver’s uniform.

Stopping at a petrol station for a bathroom stop, (4 and 3/4 hours, no toilet on the bus)  made me think we were in the Nevada desert rather in the holy land.

Actually judging by his accent, this gent was a regular Sabra Israeli, ie: not an immigrant from anywhere else.  I think he likes his job as a cowboy driver across the desert.

To be honest, as we alotted seating, I was on the very back seat in the middle which is not so good for seeing scenery, it was full so there was no chance of moving later.

Actually this man reminds me of another driver, this time of a well known black GMC van.

Mr T became a Christian back before the A-Team, there is a good article here.

Athough not in the newest A-Team movie, he hasn’t aged that much, and as he is a leadership position in his current church, I think it would be good if he could lead Christian groups to Israel and hire the above chap as the tour bus driver!

I can just picture this; “I pity the fool, who follows BDS!!”  if you want to obey God, you need to pray and support Israel Sucka!!!