Rafael Advanced Defense Systems goes from Bollywood to Paris

June 17, 2009 - 9:05 AM by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Israeliness 

Just four months ago, co-blogger Nicky wrote about the abhorrent video that Rafael Advanced Defense Systems made for Aero India 2009. It’s a gem of a video and not to be missed. However, what was maliciously maligned in blogosphere was apparently fairly popular with the Indians. According to a comment on Wired’s Danger Room:

Regarding the “beyond-awful Bollywood-themed music video” …A friend of mine who works in Refael told me that the people from India Govt loved that clip, every minute of it. Nobody was offended. Refael presenters handed CD copies of the clip in a weapons show and everybody took one. I guess it served it’s cause but some other people around the world decided to get offended for India.

Thankfully Rafael listened to their clients and not to anonymous commenters in the blogosphere and have once again produced a much anticipated follow-up which made it’s premiere at the Paris Air Show. Unfortunately this one does not include a French troubadour singing sad French songs about chemical warfare, but rather a mime. Yes, a mime. A MISSILE DODGING MIME. The mime has a hard time dodging falling missiles (projected on the screen behind her), but thankfully Multi-Layered Air Defense Umbrella (in this case and actually umbrella) is used to protect herself from the projectiles. Not only does she protect her self, she openly mocks the missiles. Classic.

Tel Aviv hosts ‘short film’ festival

April 22, 2009 - 10:05 AM by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Movies, Pop Culture 

A scene from 'Silence' by Hovav Shoshan

A scene from 'Silence' by Hovav Shoshan

Sometimes, short is better. That’s the case anyway, with the Tres Court International Film Festival (Tres Court being French, I’m told, for very short). The Paris-based festival, now in its 11th year, presents some 50 films – many of them animation, and each of which is a maximum of three minutes in length.

The festival is being held this weekend simulatenously in over 70 cities around the world – including for the first time in Tel Aviv. And another first – there’s even an Israeli entry – Silence, by Tel Aviv University film student Hovav Shoshan. Check it out Silence here, albeit dubbed into French.

In the film, which features live actors and not animation, two young girls encounter each other in the same cramped hiding place as they try to evade soldiers, implied to be Nazis. Despite its brevity, the film manages to incorporate suspense, plot twists, violence and tenderness.

”You need to be precise in every moment and really have it detailed. There’s a short time you have to relay the relevant information. But at the same time, you don’t want to feeling you’re cramming too much in,” said the 29-year-old aspiring film maker who’s graduating this spring.

If you’re in Tel Aviv, you can catch Silence, as well as a few dozen other films on Saturday night at the Castille Building in south Tel Aviv on Rehov Alfasi. Interestingly, the organizers said that another city that’s holding the festival is Ramallah, which is holding its screening on Sunday.

Israeli chanson on the Riviera

August 6, 2008 - 5:44 PM by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Music 

Avishai CohenThe French aren’t exactly known for their love of things Jewish and Israeli.

But with music made by Israelis [] and Israel lovers gaining in popularity internationally, even the French are playing along. They’d better – some of the most interesting acts in the Israeli musical export roster are part French. Ramat Hasharon-raised, Steve Jobs-endorsed songstress Yael Naim was actually born in gay Paris. Cheeky electro pop DJ and singer Onili, who splits her time between the clubs and stages of France and Tel Aviv, was raised in Paris. Keren Ann moved there when she was 11.

Israel’s musical French connection was on display on the Riviera late July, when the 60th Nice Jazz Festival welcomed several Israel-related performers.

The three-stage, eight-night festival, located adjacent to a Franciscan monastery, the Henri Matisse Museum and Roman ruins, drew some 41,000 people to 48 performances by local acts as well as big names like Rufus Wainwright, George Benson, Diana Krall, Maceo Parker, John Mayall and Joan Baez.

As part of an extended French tour that included other festival appearances, Yael Naim was on the Nice Jazz roster, and the opening night included a performance by Avichai Cohen (pictured), the Chick Corea-affiliated, New York-based jazz bassist who hails from the Judean Hills.

Another descendant of the ancient tribe of Judean altar boys, international man of poetic mystery Leonard Cohen drew one of the biggest crowds of the festival on the night he played. The 73-year-old Herzlia High School-educated (true, that’s Montreal’s Herzlia High School) singer-songwriter who is reported to have shared a glass of cognac with Arik Sharon during the 1973 war is actually perfect for the Nice Jazz scene:

He wowed the international audience with a Nice-customized verse of “Hallelujah,” an acoustic version of the High Holiday liturgy-inspired “Who by Fire” and plenty of other favorites spanning his career. The festival grounds were packed with fans who sang along in awe, Cohen pausing at one point to warn a young lady who had climbed up one of the park’s olive trees to be careful.

In Europe, jazz festivals are often wide in scope, and Leonard Cohen’s show was well-suited for French audiences, his late-Sixties dreamy folk sound having long since evolved into a sort of post-country cabaret.

If only the reports of a mid-September Leonard Cohen Israel concert hadn’t been greatly exaggerated.

Paris in Tel Aviv

July 28, 2008 - 11:15 PM by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Business, Food, General 

It’s been a Tel Aviv kind of week, and it’s only Monday. Not that I don’t love my own city, but Tel Aviv, well, it’s urban, it smells different, it’s gritty, it’s city. And the lovely cafe where I ate tonight’s dinner deserves a blog mention for its simple elegance, well-prepared food and the piece de resistance, the pastries.

Mazzarine is a patisserie and chocolaterie on Gordon Street, off of Ben Yehuda in Tel Aviv, in what could be called Tzfon Tel Aviv, or north Tel Aviv. It’s an area that’s been coming into its own, and Mazzarine is just one of many cafes and restaurants that have been popping up in the ‘hood. What sets Mazzarine apart from its coffeehouse counterparts (and its kosher certification) is the Parisian feel to the place, with attention to detail that extends from the fabulous floor tiles and curlicued patio chairs to the delightful bakery boxes, in which one can place blue cassis or green pistachio maccaroons (bearing no resemblance to the crunchy mounds of Passover), buttery croissants or fresh loaves of bread. Who wouldn’t want to receive such a treat?


The coffee is also good, as are the salads, which couldn’t be more different than the usual Israeli-style mounds of vegetables and cheese. Mazzarine has a black lentil salad with radishes and tiny cubes of feta, or lightly dressed quinoa with finely chopped vegetables and toasted walnuts. And if you make it over there, be sure to try to leek pancakes. Truly divine.


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