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60 Years of Excellence

April 1, 2008
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David Ben-Gurion was voted by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 people who shaped the 20th century. He provoked such awe and respect that when depicting the God-like “Guardian of the Universe” for the “Green Lantern” comic strip, the artist used Ben-Gurion as his model.

Golda Meir, as fourth prime minister of Israel in 1969, was only the third woman in the world to be elected to lead her respective country and has been the only American citizen to be prime minister.

Teddy Kollek was the longest standing mayor of Jerusalem for 28 years (1965–1993). He is credited with building many institutions in Jerusalem, including the Israel Museum. As mayor, he presided over the reunification of Jerusalem after the 1967 War.

Eli Cohen is one of the most celebrated Israeli spies of all time. While posing as a Syrian Arab, Cohen successfully gained the confidence of many Syrian military and government officials. He was discovered in January 1965 and publicly executed on May 18.

Moshe Dayan, was perhaps Israel's most well known general, served as Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces during the Suez Crisis (1956), defense minister during the Six-Day War (1967), and foreign minister in 1977 as a major contributor to the Israel–Egypt Peace Accords.

Natan Sharansky arrived in Israel in 1986 as the most famous refusenik, who spent many years in Russian gulags because of his Zionism. He epitomized the yearning of Soviet Jews to make aliyah (immigration to Israel),so they could lead a life free of oppression and express their Judaism. He served as various ministers in the Israeli Cabinet from 1996 to 2005, when he resigned in protest over the Disengagement.

Ilan Ramon became the first Israeli to enter space on January 16, 2003. He was also one of the pilots who destroyed the Iraqi nuclear facility in 1981.

Israel—Unique among the Nations

Israel is home to the lowest point on earth in the DEAD SEA.

Israel has more museums per square capita than anywhere else in the world.

Israel’s population comes from 120 different countries.

In Israel, you hear the only spoken language that was reincarnated after 2,000 years.

Israel’s Shrine of the Book Museum in Jerusalem houses the oldest Jewish manuscripts in the world.

Israel boasts over 500 different bird species and is a major stop for many birds' migrations.

Tel Aviv has one of the finest examples of Bauhaus architecture in the world and is now a United Nations World Heritage site.

Israel is the only foreign place that truly feels like home!

Shining Stars

“Four thousand years of Jewish heritage, over a century of Zionism, and more than half a century of modern statehood have contributed to a culture which has already created an identity of its own, while preserving the uniqueness of 70 different communities. A largely immigrant society, Israel's creative expression has absorbed many different cultural and social influences,” states Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Web site. This is evident at every festival and holiday, as their music, songs, dance, and literature express Jewish joy and sorrow.

While there are hundreds of well-known Jewish authors, musicians, singers, etc. around the world who have enriched the cultural arena, our short list of acclaimed “stars” includes only Israeli Jews, of which there are many more we could list.

Shmuel Yosef Agnon won the first Nobel Prize given to an Israeli, for literature, in 1966.


Chaim Topol played the loveable Tevye in “The Fiddler on the Roof,” first in theatre and then in the film version in 1971.

Yehuda Amichai (1924–2000) is considered the greatest modern Israeli poet, who had a love for people, for the Torah (Gen.–Deut.), and Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel), and most of all a love for the City of Jerusalem. His poems have been translated into 30 languages.

Naomi Shemer (1930–2004),issometimes called the First Lady of Israeli Song. She is known best for “Jerusalem of Gold,” which, after Israel’s national anthem “Hatikvah” and liturgical music, is the most famous song in the Jewish world.

Esti Mamo is the most prominent Ethiopian model in Israel and has appeared in ELLE and Vogue magazines.

Achinoam Nini is Israel's leading international concert and recording artist.Noa (her professional name) has recorded numerous songs in Italian, French, Spanish, Galician, English, Arabic, Hebrew, Thai, Hindi, and Yemenite. Her songs include Jewish folk songs, Arabic pop songs, and Jewish and Christian prayers translated into Hebrew and English.

Rana Raslan was the first (and so far the only) Arab–Israeli Miss Israel, chosen in 1999. Though she claims to be a secular Muslim, she said, “I am totally Israeli, and I do not think about whether I am an Arab or a Jew.”

Much of the material on this page was gleaned from www.israelcelebrates60.com: Go to this site to learn more about Israel’s excellence.


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