US energy experts in Israel to learn about green technology

Prominent American energy sector figures to meet leaders of Israeli companies on cutting edge of alternative, clean energy solutions; Ramallah visit also scheduled

A delegation of America’s senior decision-makers in the energy sector is currently visiting Israel (June 17-24) to investigate best practices and potential collaboration in the field of renewable and alternative energy.

The week-long visit, organized by Project Interchange, an educational institute of AJC, will showcase Israeli advances and is intended to establish strategic partnerships, foster professional cooperation, and encourage information-sharing between US energy specialists and their Israeli counterparts.

The delegation features some of the US energy sector’s most prominent figures, including Mark Brownstein, Chief Counsel, Energy Program, Environmental Defense Fund; Scott N. Paul, Founding Executive Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing; Brian Wynne, Chair, President, Electric Drive Transportation Association; Stephen Walz, Director of Energy Planning, Northern Virginia Regional Commission; Jorge Junquera, Advisor to the President and Senior Vice President, Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico; and other top energy experts from government and the business world.

“Israel is on the front lines in the fight for energy security and against the worst consequences of global warming,” Brownstein said. “Some of the world’s leading clean energy ideas and technologies were born in Israel, and I am looking forward to learning about ways Israel and the United States can work together to accelerate a global transition to a low-carbon, clean energy future.”

The energy specialists will meet with leaders of Israeli companies on the cutting edge of alternative and clean energy solutions, including solar, electric car, wave and renewable energy technologies. The delegation will visit sites showcasing ground-breaking Israeli technologies, such as the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Sde Boker; BrightSource Energy, Inc.’s Solar Thermal Development Center in the Negev Desert at Dimona; the water desalination plant at Ashkelon; and SDE Energy Ltd., developer of a technology that produces electricity from ocean waves.

Paul said he is “very excited to see what is happening in Israel on clean energy and electric vehicles. Israel is a nation that has moved forward very aggressively on a clean energy economy by necessity. Some of those lessons can certainly be applied to the United States. This visit will spark ideas, cooperation, and better understanding. I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Participants will benefit from expert briefings on a range of complex political, societal, and strategic issues facing Israel, Israel’s global and regional relationships, and Israeli humanitarian efforts around the world.

The delegation is also due to visit Ramallah, learn about Palestinian society and visit Rawabi, the first planned Palestinian city now in development; learn about Bedouin society and meet with the co- executive director of the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development; and visit a Jewish settlement, all to better understand the complexities facing the region.

Project Interchange Executive Director Sam Witkin noted, “Israel has historically had a dearth of natural resources, and therefore its alternative and efficient energy industry has been a priority. In creating this seminar,

“Project Interchange is showcasing leading aspects of Israeli alternative energy industry-wide progress to America’s leading energy decision-makers, creating opportunities for them to engage with their Israeli peers and collaborate for the betterment of all,” he added.

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PM tries his hand at Google-doodling

Netanyahu and Google exec Eric Schmidt exchange gifts.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu became the first world leader to draw a Google-doodle when he presented an original sketch to Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt on Tuesday.

Netanyahu presented Schmidt with a Google logo that he had drawn based on suggestions he had received from Israelis. Staying true to the theme, the ideas were submitted to the prime minister over the internet.

Schmidt said that Prime Minister Netanyahu was the first leader in the world to have drawn a doodle for the Internet firm.

This is not the first famous doodle Netanyahu has done recently. In May, the prime minister took time to sketch a picture of Jerusalem’s Old City to mark Jerusalem Day.

According to a press release, Israel’s prime minister said the doodle was composed of “an Israeli flag, a man sitting under an umbrella in the sun and the crystals discovered by the winner this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Prof. Dan Shechtman.” Netanyahu explained the logic behind the sketch, saying “This is Israel – science, sun and Google.”

Google often gussies up and modifies its search page logo to mark special events.

Schmidt presented Netanyahu with a present symbolizing the Dead Sea Scrolls project, of which Google is a prime leader, as he gave the prime minister a framed picture of the Isaiah Scroll.

“This is the past and this is the future,” Netanyahu said referring to the two presents on the table.

Story via Times of Israel

Hamas renews rocket fire from Gaza; 40 missiles explode in southern Israel

After many months of refraining from rocket launches at Israel, Hamas claims responsibility for 10 Grads fired within a single day.

Hamas has launched a barrage of rockets toward southern Israel on Tuesday afternoon, after months of restraint on behalf of the Gaza rulers.

Seven rockets exploded in open areas in Eshkol Regional Council on Tuesday afternoon, after four rockets were fired at Hof Ashkelon and Sha’ar Hanegev regional councils overnight Monday. More rockets were subsequently fired, but caused no casualties or damage.

There were no reported casualties or damage.

Hamas took responsibility for the rocket fire overnight Monday, and announced on Tuesday afternoon that its military wing had fired 10 Grad rockets toward Israel.

The rocket fire marks an unusual move for the group, which has been avoiding launching rockets toward Israel for many months now.

Following the attack, communities near the Gaza border were put on heightened alert. The residents were given instructions to remain at a close distance to a bomb shelter.

In the past 24 hours, the Israel Air Force carried out several air strikes in the Gaza Strip. Overnight Sunday, Israel attacked a military compound in southern Gaza.

On Sunday morning, a terrorist cell crossed the border from Egypt into Israel and detonated an explosive device which ended up killing an Israeli citizen who was working on the construction of the Israel-Egypt border fence.

On Monday evening, the IDF carried out strikes in several locations in Gaza, and Palestinian reported that five people were wounded. Shortly afterward, the IDF carried out two more strikes and killed four Palestinians.

Story via Haaretz