Israel gets a lot of attention in the Western press, but often there’s more to Israel than what you read in the papers. See how your knowledge of the Jewish state rates in this news quiz.

June 15, 2011 saw a first for a Muslim Israeli. Jamal Hakroush made news with what first? (this one is real easy…)

A. Hakroush became the first Muslim Inspector-General in the Israeli Police.
B. Hakroush is the first Muslim to vote in Israel.
C. Hakroush is the first Muslim to graduate from college in Israel.

Answer: A. An Israeli Police officer since 1978, Mr. Hakroush told an Israeli newspaper “My religion and origin are facts I do not ignore, but I have never, in all my years of service felt discriminated against or hurt by it.” Mazal Tov to General Hakroush on his promotion. (Muslims have always voted in Israel, and have graduated in the tens of thousands.)

On June 22, 2011, the Red Cross criticized what Middle Eastern actor for violations of international humanitarian treaties?

A. Israel
B. Hamas
C. Iran

Answer: B. Hamas refused the Red Cross’s demand to provide information on whether Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier kidnapped in 2006, is still alive. A Red Cross spokesman noted “The total absence of information concerning Mr. Shalit is completely unacceptable… The Shalit family have the right under international humanitarian law to be in contact with their son.”

What steps did the Israeli Prime Minister take in retaliation for Hamas’ refusal to comply with the Red Cross’ demands over Gilad Shalit?

A. Argued that Israel no longer has to honor international standards of behavior either.
B. Stated that “we are obligated to honor Israeli law and international law and conventions, but not
beyond that” and curbed college and graduate level classes for convicted terrorists in Israeli
C. Threatened violent retaliation

Answer: B. Netanyahu’s “Gilad Shalit Bill” proposed guidelines that would curb college studies, television, and other privileges for Hamas prisoners serving time in Israeli prisons for security-related offenses.

On July 10, 2011, thousands of Sudanese migrants in Israel did what?

A. Demanded the right to use drinking fountains and sit at lunch counters throughout Israel.
B. Marched against discrimination.
C. Celebrated the independence of South Sudan at an enormous party in Tel Aviv.

Answer C. Organizers rented a wedding hall, and thousands of Sudanese refugees from all over Israel came to dance, sing and celebrate.

What long-term Israeli construction project is scheduled to be completed on August 19, 2011?

A. An enormous fence separating Israel from its neighbors.
B. The Jerusalem Light Railway
C. The largest falafel sandwich in the world, twenty feet tall.

Answer: B. This project, years in the making, will reduce traffic, cut pollution, and help tourists come into Jerusalem’s historic center without worrying about parking hassles.

On July 17, 2011, Israel’s Cabinet approved over $5 billion in spending for what type of major new construction projects?

A. Renewable energy installations, including solar, wind power and biofuel projects throughout Israel.
B. Security walls and fences
C. New housing for recent immigrants

Answer: A. Israel is on track to generate 7-10% of its energy from renewable sources within the next decade, though Israeli environmental activists are pushing the government to go even further in its pursuit of a green future.

A recent news article in the New York Times called Israel the “world capital” of what?

A. World Capital of Organized Crime
B. World Capital of Military Deployment
C. World Capital of In Vitro Fertilization

Answer: C. “Jewish and Arab, secular and religious…Israel provides free, unlimited IVF procedures (for all its citizens)”. The resulting IVF rate in Israel far higher than in any other country; it is 10 time more common than in the United States, for instance.

A recent Scientist Magazine survey had what to say about Israeli science center the Weitzman Institute?

A. The Weitzman Institute is the “best” place for scientists to work outside the United States.
B. The Weitzman Institute is the “most politicized” place to work outside the United States.
C. The Weitzman Institute is the “most stressful” place to work outside the United States.

Answer: A. The Weizman Institute, located in Rehovot, Israel, credited its great reputation to increasing levels of funding. The Weizman Institute’s budged increased 20% between 2007 and 2011, even as funding for scientific research dropped in much of Western Europe and the United States.

In July 2011, eight citizens of India visited Israel on a fact-finding mission. Why?

A. They were searching for evidence of war crimes and atrocities.
B. They are executives from India’s film industry, scouting out Israel for actors and
C. The visit was sparked by an international custody dispute.

Answer: B. The Indian film-directors are considering scripts with story-lines set in Israel, and are also considering outsourcing some animation work to the Jewish state.

On May 16, 2011, the UN’s Social and Economic Council made what recommendation concerning Israel?

A. That Israel be expelled from the UN.
B. That an Israeli charity that provides free heart surgery for children around the world be given
consultative status.
C. That the UN undertake a multi-pronged investigation into racism and violence in Israel.

Answer: B. Since it was set up in 1996, Holon-based Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) has brought over 2,600 sick children to Israel from all over the world to receive life-saving heart surgery, free of charge. It has also sponsored the training of 56 doctors and nurses from all over the world, including Africa, Asia, Europe and the Palestinian Territories.

If you scored less than a perfect 10 in this quiz, then consider visiting Israel: a diverse, fascinating country, with a lot more going on behind the scenes than many Western news outlets would suggest. If you cannot make the trip to Israel yourself, try reading up on some of these less-well known stories about the Jewish state.


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