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MK embraces technology to unite Jewish world (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 04/11/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/Sci-Tech/Article.aspx?id=265729 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 charge.

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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