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Israel… in brief: What’s new in Israel?

What’s new in Israel?  Here is a brief look at some of the stories unfolding in Israel today, courtesy of the JointMedia News Service.

More oil, gas discovered off Israel’s shore
Two energy companies have found 128 million barrels of oil and 1.8 trillion cubic feet of gas under shallow water about 15 miles northwest of Tel Aviv. “This is good news — we found high quality oil inshore, which can be extracted,” said Haim Gavrieli, CEO of IDB Holding Corp. Ltd, according to the Jerusalem Post. “A previous well there produced 500 barrels of oil a day. In other words, we have an oil target in commercial quantities that can meet Israel’s energy needs for 18 months,” he added.

On Iran: Netanyahu criticizes call for more talks
Exposing a rift with Israel, President Obama on Sunday, April 15 insisted that the U.S. has not “given anything away” in recently renewed nuclear talks with Iran. His assessment, delivered at the close of a Latin American summit in Colombia, came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said the U.S. and world powers had given Tehran a “freebie” by agreeing to hold more talks next month.Netanyahu said the decision to reconvene at a later date means Iran “has got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation, any inhibition.” Obama said Iran has “got some of the toughest sanctions that they’re going to be facing coming up in just a few months if they don’t take advantage of these talks.”

Israeli technology gets U.S. funding
The U.S. government is co-funding Israeli trials testing a new way to immunize plants and make them less susceptible to disease.
“When you get a flu shot, it is thanks to the field of immunology that was developed 100 years ago… There is a distant parallel to this in the plant world, but the vulnerability of plants to pests is much greater,” said Dotan Peleg, CEO of the company developing the technology, Morflora. “To make them resistant to disease, their DNA has to be modified, either by way of the classical breeding tools of cultivation or by genetic engineering.”
Morflora is comprised of six scientists whose research is now conducted parallel with research in Jerusalem laboratories and other studies in the Florida-based U.S. Department of Agriculture facility. “We are apparently the first company in history to succeed in applying the immunization revolution in plants,” Peleg said.

Israeli woman wins top science scholarship
Dr. Naama Geva-Zatorsky of Israel’s Weizmann Institute has been awarded a two-year $40,000 postdoctoral scholarship and the title of “Europe’s top young researcher” by L’Oreal and UNESCO. The scientist is conducting research in the field of probiotics, or healthy bacteria. Zatorsky won the scholarship as part of a program that is intended to help female scientists start their careers. Only 15 women around the world win the fellowship each year. “The world needs science, and science needs women, especially now,” said L’Oreal Israel CEO Nava Ravid, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Claire Danes and ‘Homeland’ return to Israel
Award-winning actress Claire Danes will arrive in Israel next month for the filming of the second season of “Homeland,” the U.S.-adapted Israeli drama on the life of released prisoners of war. Danes made her debut appearance in Israel last year for the shooting of the show’s first season. The production team, comprising some 20 people, will attempt to recreate the success of the first season, viewed by an average of 4.4 million people per episode. The show’s advance team has already begun putting the final touches on the visit by booking hotel rooms and surveying filming locations. A source at the show told Israel Hayom that Danes is set to get a suite at a Tel Aviv hotel.

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