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Opinion leader bloggers from abroad came to get to know Israel for a "once in a lifetime" visit, initiated by students from the Technion and the University of Haifa.

The five were hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, and visited the tourist sites in Israel and Israeli hi-tech companies

The bloggers who came to the once in a lifetime 2.0 project and their hosts - students from the Technion and Haifa University
The bloggers who came to the once in a lifetime 2.0 project and their hosts - students from the Technion and Haifa University

If you haven't noticed, we are in the middle of a war - a worldwide propaganda attack by parties seeking to damage our legitimacy and eliminate the State of Israel, at least from a media point of view. One of the leading and popular weapons in this attack is - the Internet.

An initiative of about twenty selected students from the Technion and the University of Haifa, called: - "once-in-a-lifetime-2.0", tries to combat this phenomenon, by turning to indirect means of communication - blogs. This year, the Israeli students took an active part in a leadership program for public diplomacy, called: "StandWithUs Fellowship", which works in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Student Union in Israel, and trains every year about 150 leading Israeli students to become unofficial ambassadors of the State of Israel. During the past year, the Israeli members of the project made direct and personal contact with 5 leading bloggers around the world, in an attempt to convince them to come on a unique and exciting "once in a lifetime" journey in Israel. A journey through which the Israelis hoped to show the bloggers what the "real Israel" is, in contrast to the one they are used to seeing on television in their countries, through the lens of anti-Israel propaganda in the global media.

"We are a group of students who study at the Technion and Haifa University in a wide variety of fields, including: engineering, medicine, economics, communications, and more. We wanted to make intelligent use of the many tools we received during the year in the "Stand White Us" program and address a young and influential target audience around the world, who are socially involved like us, and may have a great influence in their country. This week we launched our personal advocacy project called: "once-in-a-lifetime-2.0", hoping to help improve the image of the State of Israel in the world, through social networks," says Keren Melmud, a member of the program, who was part of the team for locating the bloggers and building the schedule and the content of their visit to Israel as content team leader. The Israeli students contacted 5 leading bloggers in various fields, and took care of every detail behind bringing them to Israel, including recruiting sponsors and sponsors, such as the Ministry of Tourism, in order to give the bloggers a "once in a lifetime" experience, so that at the end of their "crowded" visit around the country, To tell the world in their blogs the true story of the State of Israel... as reflected through their eyes, in real time during their visit to Israel.

"You can read a lot of written material about Israel on the Internet, or in newspapers, but there is no real substitute for getting to know the people and the country up close," says Chris Richardson, a 29-year-old Australian blogger, currently living in London, one of the five bloggers who came to Israel as part of the project. Once in a Lifetime 2.0″. His travel blog is exposed to over 75,000 readers a month. Until a year ago, Richardson worked as a salesman, sitting in a cubicle, answering phones. Today, he owns a travel blog that receives about 75,000 views a month. In his blog, which bears the name: "" - he writes about his personal experiences from his travels around the world, mainly for the European and Australian audience.

Kaustova Katdar, also known as "BIG K" - founder and CEO: CRAZY ENGINEERING - is the link that connects the Technion, as his blog is especially popular with engineers all over the world.

"Big K", is a 29-year-old electrical engineer from India, who has two blogs: the first, and the main one, deals with inventions and new ideas, - and receives over 800,000 views per month from 180 different countries around the world.

"BIG K", lives in the geographical center of India, in the city of Nagpur, which according to him is becoming a high-tech city. From there he manages an international website that serves as a community of engineers from 197 countries, and we have 112 registered members, all of whom are engineers or engineering students from all disciplines of engineering.

What did you know about Israel before your visit to Israel?
Katdar: "Before I came to Israel, I knew very little about it, and mainly what was written about it in the world press, which mainly covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the ongoing conflicts and wars between the parties. I had the opportunity to write about some technology companies, such as Amdocs, but not beyond that. I decided to come here without prejudice, and learn about the State of Israel myself. After spending several days here, I already felt "at home", I realized that there are a lot of things that I would not have imagined were here, if I had not come. The trip opened my eyes to a completely new Israel.

Before I came to Israel, I knew that there were several leading startup companies in their field, but when I was here, I deeply understood that you really are one of the most important "high-tech centers" in the world. I discovered that you have many technological inventions that you have given to the world, such as: the first cell phone, disk-on-key, the ICQ... and in general, many things that serve the entire world today, in a wide variety of areas of life, were invented and developed for the first time in the State of Israel.

The trip was an exciting and fascinating, one-time experience for me. I met amazing and caring people, such as the students from the Technion and Haifa University, who accompanied us during the journey across Israel, many lovely people we met along the way, and I made good friends for life. Every city we visited had something different and interesting to offer. I fell in love with Israel. Despite its small physical size, Israel is "big" in the special experiences it has to offer in terms of people, landscapes, historical sites, and more."

Eunice Kong – Owner of the #1 travel blog in Singapore, which receives more than 200,000 monthly views. As a writer by profession, she said that she is excited to be the pioneer in covering Israel to Singaporeans, who until recently were prohibited from visiting Israel. Her blog is: –
Peng Yimeng - a 25-year-old Chinese blogger and famous business journalist, has two blogs that each receive hundreds of thousands of views per month. In addition, she is the chief reporter of a popular online magazine in China - with more than 500,000 views each month.
Peng writes stories about her travels around the world and business, and she also works as a reporter for CBN Weekly and Beijing News, as a business and technology reporter.

Marcelo (Marcello) Armbido – Venezuelan American blogger, and broker, 27 years old. He is originally from Venezuela, but now he lives in the United States. Works as a broker for a living, but spends most of his time traveling around the world. Marcello writes about his experiences on the travel blog

"When you become part of the story you're writing about, you take it personally. This is more or less what is behind bringing our five bloggers from four corners of the world, so that they can get to know the "real" Israel up close, and experience it for themselves", says Keren-Or Greenberg, a student at the Technion in the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, head of the PR team and a member of the project . "The ability to share with others, and to share with them the complex reality of our lives here in Israel, whether you tweet on Twitter, write in a blog, or regularly update your Facebook profile, has turned our bloggers into leaders and shapers of public opinion, which watches their journeys. Only this time, the reality presented through their visit to Israel is not that of a single individual, but that of an entire society. The Israeli Community. Our country has many and varied faces, and many layers that need to be discovered one by one. On the one hand, Israel is a country with a Jewish character, an age-old tradition, a heritage and history of many years and vicissitudes of fate, but on the other hand it has much more than that. There is advanced technology and progress here that can be seen in a variety of areas of life - in agriculture, health, science, industry, and more, there is nightlife, local and world music, and an abundance of cultural and artistic events. There is a whole life here - with all its complexity and versatility, which exists at the same time, alongside the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a life that has not been properly exposed until now.

All this and much more, we try to "compress" into 10 days full of experiences of a fascinating journey as part of the "Once in a Lifetime" project, and through which to present the 5 bloggers during their stay here, the real Israel", concludes Keren-Or, adding: "We would never have believed that a year after our first meeting as part of the "stand with us" program, we would reach the culmination of a young advocacy project, which would go online in front of over 2 million surfers, at the height of one of the most difficult periods in the history of Israeli advocacy. We hope that many of the young people who follow the bloggers will also follow them in this step, of coming to Israel and experiencing it themselves. One evening, the Indian blogger "Big K" held a conference call with his sister from India and told her about his experiences, and she was intrigued to hear more. These small moments in which we understand that the connections created can present Israel differently, in a more positive and humane light, moved us all very much. All the members of the project unanimously agree that it was worth all the time and a lot of work they invested in volunteering - building the project. In my eyes, this is the expression of the power that our group has, to make even the smallest positive change, in our country. What fills us most with positive energy and good feelings is the fact that the bloggers are interested in coming back and visiting here again as soon as possible for them, and this is really because they were fascinated by the country."

During their trip to Israel, the student team in collaboration with the "Dan Panorama" Jerusalem hotel, which hosted them, initiated a celebratory dinner, in an event that combined cross-border conversations about technology, travels in Israel and the world, and everything in between.

Experiences from the world of technology were presented by Amos Horev - Chairman of the Association of Friends of the Technion in Israel, the leading research and science institute in Israel.
Along with Amos Horev, a fascinating man, above all else, an award winner for Israel's security, who at the time liberated the refugee camp in Atlit, the "space IL" group - representatives of Israel in a competition initiated by Google, also participated in this evening, a competition that also made waves throughout the network.

At the beginning of the evening, Omri Cohen, a student at the University of Haifa, and a member of the project, along with Michael Dixon - head of the "stand-with-us" program - Israel, showed a presentation describing the tours of the 5 guest bloggers, until that day. During their visit to the city of Haifa - the bloggers at the Technion met the Nobel laureate Prof. Aharon Chachanover, visited the Baha'i gardens, and also met with senior members of the Druze community in the villages in the north, and were thus exposed to the different cultures living together in peace, side by side in Israel. The bloggers also conducted a guided strategic tour of the Golan Heights to get to know the north of the country, and also took a dip in the cool waters of the Jordan. In Tel Aviv, the bloggers visited the project 'Hetzel Livu Shel'l', in the framework of which children from third world countries who need heart surgery are flown in, and the surgery is performed for them in Israel. The bloggers also met with people from the Israeli high-tech industry, and also visited the "Better Place" company, where they got to ride in the electric car. The bloggers also toured the "Rogozin" school in Tel Aviv, where the students - mainly children of foreign workers, were filmed for an Oscar-winning documentary film, went out for a night out in clubs, and met for an intimate conversation with the talented artist Evri Lider, who also gave them his latest new CD as a gift. who left on the same day he met them. From there, the bloggers and their Israeli companions continued to two kibbutz Tzva and Tsera - where they hosted them for Shabbat dinner and overnight, and from which they went on a tour of the Dead Sea and Masada, and also toured Jerusalem, watched a light and sound show at the Tower of David, the "Wall Tunnels", planted trees in the KKL-Junk forest in Jerusalem, and the Knesset, and had dessert On vacation in Eilat.

Amos Horev, former president of the Technion and today chairman of the Technion Association, who was the main speaker in the evening, spoke about Israel's success in becoming an engineering power, as derived from its security need. Amos Horev: "You have seen modern Israel, the Israel of 2011, but the story is different, the question is how it all started. I was born in Jerusalem in 1924, when Palestine was in the British mandate, the British mandate in 1919 also included the Trans-Jordan. I lived in Jerusalem until the war of liberation, under British rule. There was only one high school in Jerusalem. We were members of a youth movement with Zionist aspirations, and things did not go easily. Life was difficult until World War II broke out. The Jewish population in the Land of Israel numbered 400 at the time, more than 40 of whom joined the British Army in the Middle East, and later in Sicily.
Instead of joining the British army, I decided to join the Hagana, the underground that served the Jewish population. From 1941 to 1947 we managed to develop an underground army and train. I became an officer in 1943. After the UN decision on the division of the country and the departure of the British, the armies of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt invaded here, but we managed to win this war, even though we lost 10% of the population - a whole generation of young people, who could have been engineers and scientists were killed. We had 600 residents then, and there were a total of two universities here - the Hebrew University and the Technion, which educated 1,500 students. This is not enough for a country that wanted to build. We had to absorb her, we absorbed another 600 thousand people within two years, we doubled the population. We exported oranges, and some chemicals from the Dead Sea. I served in the army, I was an operations officer on the southern front. We sent the officers to study. I went to study mechanical engineering at MIT in 1950. I returned to the army and was the chief scientist. I fought in all of Israel's wars: the Sinai War, the Six Days, Yom Kippur, Lebanon.
Today, we have gone from two universities to seven, and they currently educate 160 students. Another 130 study in colleges. The Israeli high-tech industry that developed - was a result of the embargo imposed on us, this small country, Israel, suffered from an arms embargo from the moment it was born. We could not purchase any military equipment, everything was smuggled. And we had to develop ourselves, and that's why we founded an unprecedented military industry, which includes companies, such as: Elbit, Elsint, Tadiran, and more - we meet our needs. The graduates of these military industries later founded and developed the Israeli high-tech industry, which is one of the leaders in the world."

Rafi Barry - VP of Marketing of the Dan chain, which donated the accommodation in its hotels for the 5 Israeli bloggers and their companions, told of his personal experiences when he served as CEO of the Ministry of Tourism. "My role was mainly to promote the State of Israel as a potential place to visit and vacation. With your knowledge today, about what Israel has to offer, and with the impressive numbers of visits to your blogs, I hope, you will be able to tell the true story of Israel. A story of beauty, blue and green, amazing landscapes, fascinating people, artists and creators, scientists, high-tech people and more, and of a modern and advanced country." After that, Barry described the Dan hotel chain, as an Israeli hotel chain, which was established back in 1947, and currently operates 14 hotels spread all over the country, with about 4,000 rooms. The chain is about to open its first hotel outside of Israel, precisely in Bangalore, India. "We believe in the future of Israel as a leading tourist destination in the region", Rafi Barry concluded his words.

Other distinguished panel members, who spoke at the Dan Jerusalem Hotel in front of the five bloggers, are: Shmuel Tsurel - CEO of the National Hotel Association, Noy Elosh - a talented Israeli musician and the creator of the sought-after music video "Zanga Zanga" (about Muammar Gaddafi and the revolution in Libya), who revealed this evening the His new video clip, called: "revolution" - a day before the "Google conference" in which he participated. In addition, statements were made by Daniel Zonschein - director of the information department, on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Jonathan Weintraub - one of the founders of the "space IL" group, which is participating in the Google competition to launch a spacecraft to the moon.

Keren-Or Greenberg, head of the PR team of the "Once in a Lifetime 2.0" project, concluded: "It was important for us to bring together the five bloggers we brought to Israel with authentic Israeli figures who are leaders in their field, who can add a personal touch to an experiential trip of this kind, and shed a different and positive light About the State of Israel, in the eyes of the observer who comes from afar, and not really in the details of the Middle East conflict. This festive evening, which took place at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Jerusalem and courtesy of him, for which we thank the hotel management team from the bottom of our hearts for the excellent hospitality they gave us, was one of a number of personal events held throughout the bloggers' journey in Israel, and we were amazed by the great support we received and are very grateful for it. In Haifa, we held a welcome party at the BarKi Haifa pub, to which foreign students studying in Israel, at Haifa's higher education institutions, were invited. The singer Mosh Ben Ari came with his team to meet the bloggers for an intimate conversation at the Haifa "Basement" pub, where he revealed to them the world music he creates. The duo TYP - which is made up of Lider and Johnny Goldstein, met us in Tel Aviv, the night before the release of their debut album, which is addressed to the world population. This fascinating meeting also showed that through the use of technology, it is possible to connect different people from all over the world. The musical duo TYP do this through dance music, and an innovative website, which has become a social network for the band's fans, while we sought to do this through the "once-in-a-lifetime-2.0" project, which transformed creativity, and created human contact and not just digital - technological . We would like to thank the management of the Dan Panorama hotel in Jerusalem, the Crowne Plaza in Tel Aviv, and all the parties, organizations, institutions, businesses and people who helped us implement the "Once in a Lifetime 2.0" project, in the best and most successful way that we could have expected.

The five bloggers continue even these days to upload their personal impressions and experiences from their journey throughout the State of Israel,
• Project website:
• The Facebook page of the project:

5 תגובות

  1. Kudos to the Technion that, thanks to the students' initiative, people from abroad who don't exactly know Israel come to Israel. And it helps people see Israel from a different perspective than the world reflects

  2. The technology that enables cellular communication was invented by the Jewish Hollywood actress Hadi Lamar - she invented it for the military needs of the US Army together with a neighbor friend of hers who is a pianist musician of German origin. Hadi Lehmar was an inventor and registered several patents to her name. In the Hollywood of that time, she was considered one of the greatest actresses.

  3. Kaustova Cathedral is wrong.
    The first cell phone was not invented/developed/built in Israel but in the USA!
    But... if my memory serves me correctly it did happen with a cell phone permanently installed in the car... but - it wasn't a big deal. They just took a normal standard mobile phone in Motorola Israel (without its plastic casing), put it in a suitable box for installation and added external accessories to it.

  4. In the War of Independence, about 6,000 people were killed, which is 1% of the Jewish population at that time. Unfortunately, this is also much too much.

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