If You Happen To Be At The End of the World And You Are Thirsty For Some Contemporary Art

Graduates Exhibit at the Israeli Open Museum of PhotographyI would not go as far as saying Tel-Hai is located at the end of the world, more like Tel-Hai is where you stop and ask for directions to the end of the world. Located close to Israel's northern border, this historic site features the only photography museum in Israel, The Open Museum of Photography.

Currently the museum is hosting its annual exhibit consisting of works by recent graduates of Israel's leading photography institutions, including Musrara, from which I recently graduated.

Two of my art works are displayed at that exhibit: a video work called 'Things I Needed To Hear' and this photo featuring two sisters taken in Laos in 2002:

Sisters by Shahar Golan

The Open Museum of Photography
Tel-Hai Industrial Park

November 1 – December 30, 2007

Sunday-Thursday: 09:00-16:00
Friday: Closed
Saturday: 10:00-17:00

Anything Jew in the Classifieds?

Israel is a country like no other – I think we can agree on that – but whether this statement has a positive or a negative meaning – is debatable. Case in point: the following want ad:


In no other country in the world would someone publish a want ad that specifically recruits ‘No Jews’, but as you can see for yourself (Assuming you can read Hebrew – if not, you will have to take my word for it), a very popular job site in Israel clearly had no problem posting today this ad for a control room operator.

Usually businesses that advertise jobs just for Jewish people do it in a much more subtle way, for instance they might list ‘a full army service’ as a prerequisite, knowing full well that Arab citizens of Israel cannot enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, while Jewish citizens are required to serve.
But this ad is not for Jews – it is for non-Jews, and believe it or not, publishing it is probably legal in Israel.

You see, when the people who gave the world the idea of a weekly day of rest had established a sovereign state, they declared it unlawful for an employer to make someone work on his day of rest. So each Sabbath the state of Israel sends enforcement officers to venues that do business on the Jewish day of rest, only the business owners do not get fined for operating on a Sabbath, as that is legal – they are only fined if their employees happen to be Jews working on a Sabbath.
For that reason, employers who post recruitment ads for non-Jews for positions that require attendance on a Saturday would probably be impervious to discrimination lawsuits.

Oh, and about the enforcement officers working on the Sabbath? You have nothing to worry about, as all of them are ‘No Jews’.

Why I Chipped In To Buy A Pakistani Woman A New Dry Cleaning Machine

Season's Greetings, Shazia Nawaz
This is Shazia Nawaz, photographed here with one of her four children. She and her husband live in the town of Vehari in Punjab province, Pakistan. Yesterday she applied for a micro-loan of US$250 to buy a new dry cleaning machine for her dry cleaning business. Yesterday just so happened to be the day that I decided to log on to Kiva.org, a non-profit organization that transformed microfinancing into an interpersonal experience. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus’ idea of microcredit means giving the working poor small cash loans without interest, without collateral and without red tape, as Shazia and many other entrepreneurs in the developing world do not need a handout. They already run small businesses successfully and support their families, but in order to further grow their business they need a loan. Me and nine other people who read Shazia’s story online donated US$25 each and allowed the local Kiva field partner to give her the needed money. While the loans are given without any collateral or credit history checks, the percent of people who do not pay back a loan is 0.2%. The money I loaned will gradually return to my account, and I would then decide whether I want to withdraw it or loan it to someone else.

With the season’s holidays drawing near I wanted to urge you to get into the spirit of giving, and less into the spirit of buying. You can personally make a difference in someone’s life, and you could also give someone you love a Kiva Gift Certificate that will allow him to start giving. Check out this video showing how easy it is to lend with Kiva.

You can follow Shahar Golan’s loan portfolio here.

Top Annoyances Plaguing the Israeli Internet – Part 2

I have previously mentioned eight calamities plaguing the Israeli internet. I will now elaborate on five more such plagues, so feel free to freshen up by reading the previous post first.

Back so soon? Good. Here are my new observations:

Webmaster Knows Best
Many websites may give you what you want, but they will do it on their terms. One example for that is the Israeli Post who will let you query about a registered parcel, but will make it impossible for you to bookmark the query in order to execute it later.
Another example is a popular cooking show that publishes its recipes online but will only let you print them out or see one recipe at a time, as their webmaster must not have heard of tabbed browsing or multi-tasking – but he sure loves his URL masking.
Other webmasters try to disable your right-clicking so that, god forbid, you would not save one of their images without prior written consent. Obviously this method does not work as each graphic file you see online is saved on your computer whether you asked for it or not.
My general feeling about this subject is that while all these companies and organizations are making use of the internet, they do not really understand its underline basis of sharing information.

If I Tell You Its Price You Will Know How Much It Costs
This is an illness well embedded in the Israeli business culture from way before the internet, but it seems the net is just another platform for companies to carry the fog of war to. For years whenever you would call a local store to inquire about a price of a whatchamacallit, the reply would always be ‘we don’t give out prices over the phone’. I always assumed the aim of this method is to lure you to the store without comparing prices first – but in this day and age, when you can compare prices in a Zap – I only have to wonder what on earth makes these shopkeepers stick with their shtick.

Storefronts And Fronts For Stores
One of the many unwritten rules of the internet is: if you are not showing it – you must be hiding it. Whether it is a website for a hotel, a college or a computer store, if you do not elaborate on the people behind the establishment, if you do not show photos of the facilities – the assumption is that you have something to hide.
Back in the days of real-life stores, you would only need to step inside to see if this is a place where you might want to do business, but nowadays when everyone can have a great website, the only way to know if you are stepping into a storefront or just a front for a store – is the ‘About Us’ section. Many Israeli websites do not list names of people, a physical address, or a photo of the place, in an attempt to disguise the fact that this ‘well established business’ is run by two fourteen year old kids who may or may not send you the USB cable you ordered, as they might be grounded by their mommy and cannot get to the post office.

While all the Israeli bloggers have jumped on the RSS bandwagon, having seen how important this syndication tool is to knowledge-seekers, it seems that most Israeli websites have no idea what RSS is. Oddly enough, while many of these websites want you to sign up for their newsletter, they are unwilling to lift a finger to facilitate the needs of those who might be interested in the content but not so much interested in divulging private email addresses in the process of getting content.

May I Freshen That For Ya?
The ubiquitous usage of automatic-refreshing of webpages might not amount to click fraud but it sure is annoying. Many news websites (example #1, #2, #3) assume their readers are morons who would not be able to refresh the page, and so they do it for them. With a single line of code, they force every one of their readers’ browsers to retrieve the page again after a predetermined amount of time (usually 5 minutes). While using this method might make some sense on the always-changing main page of the website, it makes absolutely no sense when done on pages of individual articles. For users who use tabbed-browsing and open a number of articles they want to read in different tabs, the experience of reading an article and just when you are in the middle of it having it ‘magically’ refresh itself is a pet peeve.
As many of you might be reading this in Internet Explorer, you should be aware of the fact that other browsers offer the user the option to automatically refresh any webpage he desires.

He Raised His Finger, Pointed At The Photo And Said ‘I Want To Have This!’

Readers of my blog may have been wondering about the outcome of the Bread and Roses art sale I participated in. A couple of days ago I was quite taken aback by a phone call. It was the organizers of the charity auction calling to ask for my address, as they wanted to send me a cheque. You see, this specific charity event appealed to me, as aside from actually helping people in need, which is always nice, the organizers promised that the money collected from each artwork sold would be divided and 75% of it would be donated, while 25% were promised to be paid back to the artist.

Now, while receiving money is always fun, this cheque represents the first ever artwork of mine that was sold in an exhibit, by a stranger who actually raised his finger towards the wall, pointed to my work and said ‘I want to have this!’

The sold artwork is called ‘Jaffa Gate, Summer 2006‘ and it is a photo mosaic of one of the gates in the wall that surrounds the old city of Jerusalem, created using photos of the 119 fallen Israeli soldiers during the 2nd Lebanon War. The actual print size of the work is 80×60cm, which is important as it looks different from a distance and up close. Use the + zoom option to have a similar experience: