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Monday, September 22, 2014

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Yom Ha-Apps-Maut

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Israel is turning 64, and with Yom Ha’atzmaut upon us, it’s the perfect time to celebrate with some made-in-Israel apps that share the best the country has to offer. Here’s a selection, most of which you can download free.

Infolive.tv: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking Mandarin? That what I heard when I first fired up this app, which presents Israeli stories that may have been missed by the world media. Like: the opera Carmen performed at Masada set in the Wild West and Netanyahu’s greetings for the Chinese New Year. (Note: After downloading, change settings for this app from French to English.) [http://bit.ly/israpp1]

Ha’aretz, Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom: The first two provide plenty of news and opinion in English about Israel and the Jewish world. The newly released Ha’aretz app requires a one-time registration. Both apps are free. [http://bit.ly/israpp2],[http://bit.ly/israpp3]. Even if you don’t speak Hebrew, it’s worth checking out Israel Hayom, which provides a gorgeous newspaper-like interface on your iPad that includes great graphics, screaming headlines and all the ads. [http://bit.ly/israpp4]

Israel Museum: Jerusalem’s Israel Museum has recently gone through a renewal, and this app is worth downloading even if you don’t have a chance to visit in the near future. The highlight is the Exhibits section, which includes photos and audio commentaries about some of the museum’s most prized pieces, including the Rothschild Miscellany, Robert Indiana’s Ahava (Love) and the Model of Jerusalem (formerly at the Holyland Hotel). [http://bit.ly/israpp5]

iTsimer: If you are planning a trip to Israel and want to do things a bit differently, consider spending time in a bed and breakfast. The Hebrew app includes photos, reviews and contact information for dozens of gorgeous “tzimmers” in the Upper and Western Galilee and in the Golan Heights. [http://bit.ly/israpp6]

Israel Nature Trails ($2.99): A great guide to download on an iPhone with information about picturesque trails throughout the country. Includes background about each trail and a photo gallery. I particularly like the GPS-enabled maps that will guide you along each path. [http://bit.ly/israpp7]

Israel Football: If you need a break from the Stanley Cup playoffs (and you can read Hebrew), check this app for the latest news about the sport that keeps Israelis glued to their TVs. Can the soccer team from Kiryat Shmonah make it two years in a row? [http://bit.ly/israpp8]

Finally, some of the best apps coming out of Israel aren’t about Israel but just demonstrate why Israeli know-how and ingenuity are popular around the world. This article from israel21c.org includes an overview of 10 top Israeli apps, including Waze, which analyzes traffic in real-time and suggests alternative routes to keep you out of a jam. [http://bit.ly/israpp9]

But my real admiration goes to the folks who participated in the recent “Hackathon,” where Israeli entrepreneurs brainstormed for two days and at the end had several ideas up and running, including “2See Israel,” an aggregator of photos of Israel found on Flickr and Picasaweb [http://bit.ly/israpp10] and “Peace Connector,” which uses Facebook “to connect people in countries of conflict simply based on shared hobbies.” [http://bit.ly/israpp11]

Yom Ha’atzmaut Samayach

Highway@rogers.com

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