The chief of staff to the rescue…again

Top soldier and his security aide tend to car accident victim until paramedics arrive

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz in action during a live fire exercise for battalion commanders on the Golan Heights, September 4, 2012. (photo credit: Shay Wagner/IDF/Flash90)

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz in action during a live fire exercise for battalion commanders on the Golan Heights, September 4, 2012. (photo credit: Shay Wagner/IDF/Flash90)

When Magen David Adom paramedics arrived at the scene of a car accident on Road 4 north of Ashdod Saturday night, they were surprised to find that somebody had beaten them to the punch.

“From afar, we saw flashing lights and thought police had arrived before us,” MDA paramedic Ravit Martinez told Yedioth Ahronoth. “But when we got closer, we saw that they weren’t police cars, but civilian security vehicles that had closed off the area safely.”

It turns out that IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz had been on the way home from dinner when he passed a car that had collided with the safety rail. He and his security attaché stopped to evacuate the driver from the car and began giving him medical assistance until paramedics arrived. Gantz was not in uniform.

“When we arrived they gave us the details of the crash and the first aid they’d administered to the injured man,” the paramedic said. “I tapped the shoulder of one of them, a tall, sturdy guy who was standing next to me, and asked him to help me lift the injured man onto the stretcher. He said ‘no problem at all’ and helped. I was focused on work and didn’t really pay attention to the person I was talking to. Only afterwards in the ambulance did I realize that the person who was helping me so much there was the chief of staff.”

The IDF said in a statement: “That is exactly what an officer is expected to do when he arrives at the scene of an accident. Even if he is not in uniform, it is on him to do all that he can to help.”

This isn’t the first time that Gantz has been in the news for Good Samaritan actions.

In December 2011, he was eating at a restaurant in Ra’anana when a woman had a stroke and fainted. He and his security detail administered first aid until paramedics arrived.

A year later, Gantz ordered his helicopter to turn around in order to evacuate a paratrooper who had been injured during a routine drill in the Jordan Valley.

This past July, Gantz, who was at sea in a navy vessel, changed course and then worked side-by-side with the IDF’s rescue unit to pull an F-16 pilot and navigator to safety after they ejected when their fighter jet malfunctioned off the Gaza coast.

“If the chief of staff finds the time, we’d be very happy to see him volunteer with us on a regular basis,” joked MDA spokesman Zehi Heller. “He certainly displayed resourceful and exemplary citizenship.”

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President launches new Q&A app on FB

Shimon Peres invites Facebook followers to submit questions which he will personally answer

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President Shimon Peres launched a new social media application on his Facebook page Monday, urging readers and followers to submit their questions to him, without specifying the limits to the genre of queries people are invited to send. It’s safe to assume they will be moderated.

The project, which sets a deadline of October 31, is called “You ask, President Peres answers.”

Peres’s office indicated that the questions with the most “likes” will personally be answered by the president in writing and/or video messages.

The application “creates a direct link between President Peres and people all over the world who are interested in the State of Israel,” his office said in a statement announcing the new initiative.

As of Monday, the president had just over 182,000 followers on Facebook. Throughout his presidency, he and his team have remained avid social media users, publishing pictures, statements, videos — and even a music jam titled “Be my friend for peace” featuring the nonagenarian — on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

His online presence is dubbed “Peres 360,” which creates “transparency and accessibility to the president through social media,” his office said.

Pope to visit Israel next year

Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a personal friend of Pope Francis, says the pope has raised the possibility of visiting Israel in March 2014 • “We are planning to visit Israel together in the coming year,” Skorka says.

 While the exact date is not yet known, Pope Francis will visit Israel in 2014, likely in March or July. The trip has not yet been coordinated with Israel's Foreign Ministry. In May, President Shimon Peres invited Pope Francis to visit Israel, and the pope responded that he intended to. Two weeks ago, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) met with Pope Francis and also invited him to visit Israel. The pope told Edelstein that he was considering coming in July to mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's historic 1964 visit to the Holy Land. Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a personal friend of Pope Francis, said that in a recent conversation the pope had raised the possibility of visiting Israel in March. "We are planning to visit Israel together in the coming year," Skorka said. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said, "The Holy See announced that he plans to visit Israel."


While the exact date is not yet known, Pope Francis will visit Israel in 2014, likely in March or July.

While the exact date is not yet known, Pope Francis will visit Israel in 2014, likely in March or July.

The trip has not yet been coordinated with Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

In May, President Shimon Peres invited Pope Francis to visit Israel, and the pope responded that he intended to. Two weeks ago, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) met with Pope Francis and also invited him to visit Israel. The pope told Edelstein that he was considering coming in July to mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s historic 1964 visit to the Holy Land.

Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a personal friend of Pope Francis, said that in a recent conversation the pope had raised the possibility of visiting Israel in March.

“We are planning to visit Israel together in the coming year,” Skorka said.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said, “The Holy See announced that he plans to visit Israel.”

 

Facebook buys Israeli mobile analytics firm Onavo

Tel Aviv-based company announces lucrative sale, which is estimated at somewhere between $150 million and $200 million • Onavo offices to be used as first Facebook headquarters in Israel, company’s 30 employees to join social media giant’s staff.

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Onavo, a Tel Aviv-based mobile analytics company, announced Monday that it has been acquired by Facebook. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the deal is estimated to be worth between $150 million and $200 million.

According to reports in Israeli financial media, the company’s 30 employees will join Facebook, which plans to use Onavo’s offices in Tel Aviv as its first headquarters in Israel.

Technology website TechCrunch defined Onavo, which was founded in 2010, as developing “consumer-facing apps to help optimize device and app performance and battery life on iOS and Android devices,” as well as “an analytics business for mobile publishers to chart how well its own apps are performing, and to chart that against apps of its competitors.”

Onavo has so far raised $13 million in venture funding from investors including Horizons Ventures, Sequoia, Motorola and Magma Venture Partners.

Facebook confirmed the deal was inked in a statement quoted by technology website AllThingsD: “Onavo will be an exciting addition to Facebook. We expect Onavo’s data compression technology to play a central role in our mission to connect more people to the internet, and their analytic tools will help us provide better, more efficient mobile products,” the statement said.

“We are excited to announce that Facebook has agreed to acquire our company,” Onavo co-founders Guy Rosen and Roi Tiger said in a statement posted on the company’s blog.

“Three years ago, we started Onavo with the goal of helping today’s technology consumers and companies work more efficiently in a mobile world. We developed the award-winning Onavo mobile utility apps, and later launched Onavo Insights, the first mobile market intelligence service based on real engagement data. Our service helps people save money through more efficient use of data, and also helps developers, large and small, design better experiences for people.

“As you know, Facebook and other mobile technology leaders recently launched Internet.org, formalizing Facebook’s commitment to improving access to the internet for the next 5 billion people — this is a challenge we’re also passionate about.

“We’re excited to join their team … and we are incredibly proud of the talented team we have assembled and, recognizing this, Onavo’s Tel-Aviv office will remain open for business and will become Facebook’s new Israeli office,” the statement said.

This is Facebook’s third acquisition of an Israeli company: the social media giant bought Israeli startup Snaptu in 2011 for $70 million, and in 2012 it acquired Face.com, an Israeli company that develops facial-recognition technology for $100 million.

Facebook’s latest acquisitions are in line with the company’s desire to enhance its hold on mobile interface technology.