Steven Harper: Flowers, Flags, Honor Guards and More

Aside
Normally, only presidents of countries and a King or Queen would have their national flags hanging on major streets for an official state visit to Jerusalem, Israel.

This week, however, Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper has received that and much more for a royal welcome.

His speech in the Knesset got several standing ovations. The Prime Minister of Canada in front of the world said that Canada would go through fire and water to stand with Israel? WOW!

photo Steven Harper, picture Prime minister Canada and Israel , image Canada Prime minister in Israel

Not only were flags and flowers put out for the Prime Minister of Canada and his wife,

image red carpet, Israel honor guard photo, picture red carpet for Canada Prime Minister

but also red carpets lined with honor guards . (Please note all pant legs for men are tucked into boots, while women wear cute little white socks. Israeli dress style does not have pants with neat, sharp creased cuffs.)

But there is more – Israel went the whole kit and caboodle for the visiting Canadians.

image sushi table, picture of sushi for reception Harper, picture sushi

A mound of  sushi at one of many food stations was just part of the repast for guests at the Israeli Prime Minister’s office for the official welcome. (Ok, I still have not recovered from shock of 10 shekel charge for water at Obama’s speech in Israel last year.)

image Israeli leaders, photo Israeli politicians, picture reception line for Harpers

For the Harpers’ visit, Israeli politicians stood quietly, waiting in a reception line,

image Israeli political leaders, photo Knesset leaders, picture reception line israel leaders

and dressed in very ‘unIsraeli’ style, with dark suits, pressed dress shirts and blue-striped ties.

image Israeli politicians, photo Israeli leaders, picture Knesset leaders

Well… almost all the men wore a suit and tie.

image Jerusalem leaders, photo Jerusalem mayor with religious leaders, picture Jerusalem political and religious leaders

For the Harpers, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat stood along with leaders of various religions, and waited in the very long reception line.

image Steven Harper with Bib Netanyahu, photo Harper and Netanyahu, picture Steven Harper in israel

First, they stood and listened to an Israeli army band play the anthems, O’Canada and Hatikvah.

image Harper and Netanyahu, photo Canadian Prime Minister in Israel, picture Prime ministers

No, the prime ministers were not holding hands as they walked the red carpet. But this visit certainly has given Israeli PM much to smile about.

image tuba, photo two tuba players, picture Israel army musicians

From red carpet welcome with big brass band

image state limo, photo Israeli limo, picture state ceremony

to official limo service into and out of the welcoming ceremony,

image Larueen and Steven Harper, photo of Steven Harper in Israel , picture Steven Harper and wife

Prime Minister Steven  and Laureen Harper have received as royal and stylish a welcome as little Israel with big heart can put on.

Israel went the whole nine yards to say thank you.

 

14th Amendment comes to Zion: Israel to fund all abortions for women 20-33 starting next year

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English: There is a prohibition on the use of ...

English: There is a prohibition on the use of federal government funds for abortion in the United States. However, some states fund abortions out of their own revenues. State funds abortions through legislation State funds abortions under court order (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CDC chart on the number of abortions in the Un...

CDC chart on the number of abortions in the United States over time through 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Soviet poster circa 1925. Title translation: &...

Soviet poster circa 1925. Title translation: “Abortions performed by either trained or self-taught midwives not only maim the woman, they also often lead to death.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel to fund all abortions for women 20-33 starting next year

Another 6,300 women are expected to have a state-funded abortion next year, at a cost of about $4.6 million.

Israel will pay for abortions for women aged 20 to 33 regardless of circumstance starting next year, health officials said Monday, adding that they hope to make eligibility for state funding universal in the future.

Until now, subsidized abortions for women of all ages were available in medical emergencies or in case of rape and sexual abuse. Women under the age of 20 or over 40 were also eligible for abortion funding even when the reason was personal.

Despite the new funding, which was recently approved as part of Israel’s state-subsidized “health basket” for 2014, women will still have to appear before a state committee before terminating a pregnancy.

The new rule opens it up for 6,300 more women to have a state-funded abortion next year, at a cost of about 16 million shekels ($4.6 million). The cost of all state-subsidized abortions is estimated at 24 million shekels a year.

Monday’s news was announced by the committee that determines which medicines and medical technologies will be added to the 2014 health basket. The health-basket committee is headed by the director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Prof. Jonathan Halevy.

“It was brought to our attention that there is a large group of women between 20 and 40 who for various reasons – financial or reasons of secrecy – do not terminate pregnancies,” Halevy told a press conference. “In the current basket we’ve approved funding for pregnancy termination for women in the 20-to-33 age group, with the intention of completing the process … and raising the age to 40.”

The committee is keeping contraceptives outside the health basket, but Halevy said this was only due to a lack of funds. “The private expense for birth control pills is low, but when we’re talking about financing for the entire population, that’s a hefty sum,” he said.

The committee’s original list came in 2.5 million shekels short of the 300-million-shekel budget for additions, so the panel tried to add a drug for children’s joint diseases. But that medicine would only apply to around 10 children, and attempts to get the manufacturer to lower the price failed. Instead, the committee expanded its original decision on abortion funding; it increased the age for funding on demand to 33 from 30.

The committee approved 83 new drugs and medical technologies for 2014, items expected to serve some 375,000 Israelis at a total additional cost of 300 million shekels, on top of the 7.8-billion-shekel budget for medicines and technologies already in the health basket. The basket now goes to the Health Ministry for approval; it also needs cabinet approval.

Cancer drugs make up 41 percent of the new additons, some 121 million shekels. In recent years this figure was 35 percent to 38 percent. Other treatments added include vaccinations, tests and support technologies.

For 2013 the committee added 88 new drugs that affected some 300,000 Israelis – an attempt to include as many patients as possible. The committee tried to keep to this philosophy this year; it began its deliberations in early October and whittled its list down from 650 drugs and technologies.

Among new items approved for 2014 are the drugs Stribild and Tivicay for HIV carriers, and six new drugs for asthma and other lung diseases. The budget has also been increased for cystic-fibrosis patients. Five drugs were approved for schizophrenia and the use of current drugs has been expanded.

Patients with severe Parkinson’s disease will be disappointed as the drug Duodopa, considered highly effective, was not added to the list. Its annual cost is estimated at 62 million shekels. The committee declined to commit 21 percent of the additional funding to a single drug. Nine drugs for diabetes were also all left off the list. The committee also did not add hormonal birth control or IUDs to the basket.

All committee decisions are unanimous. Unlike previous years, the panel finished its work in the early evening and did not stay up until the middle of the night or well into the following morning. The add-on list had been whittled down to 380 million shekels by midday Monday.