MK embraces technology to unite Jewish world (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 04/11/12)
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Chairwoman of the Knesset Subcommittee for Israeli Relations with
World Jewish Communities Einat Wilf (Independence) is embracing new
technologies in an attempt to bring the Jewish world closer together.
Wilf believes there is a need for a new contract between Israel and
Jewish people that would recognize globalization and use technology
to connect Jews around the world, calling a meeting of her
subcommittee on the issue.
As such, Wilf is leading by example, using online tools to allow
people abroad to participate in discussions in the Knesset. During
the Knesset´s winter session, she hosted the first committee meeting
using webinar technology.
People from New York, Paris, Munich and other cities watched the
meeting on their computer screens, sending questions and comments
from their computers or phones.
Wilf also brought Jewish demographer Steve M. Cohen to a meeting in
the Knesset, without flying him to Israel. Instead, Cohen testified
to and took questions from the subcommittee via Skype, while he was
in the US.
While the Knesset has arranged video conferences in the past, use of
Skype was free for the committee, using the building´s Internet
connection, and did not require any special equipment.
The Independence MK has also used technology to participate in
meetings abroad, giving a virtual lecture in Professor Arthur
Brenner´s Jewish Studies class at the University of Albany, in New
York in February.
Brenner said the lecture was a great success, and has encouraged
other professors to follow suit, explaining that that they can have
an MK lecture and answer questions from their students, free of
Wilf has also found Skype a useful diplomatic tool, helping her meet
members of other parliaments. For example, Wilf initially spoke to
Northern Ireland MP David Mcilveen over Skype, and has since met him
in person several times in Israel and visited him in the UK last
month. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/11/12)
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