Global Peace Index

Global Peace Index

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love, mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”Talmud

The Global Peace Index measures each year the national peacefulness of a country based on  perceptions of criminality, security officers and police, homicides, incarceration, access to weapons, intensity of internal conflict, violent demonstrations, violent crime, political instability, political terror, weapon imports, terrorism impact and deaths from internal conflict.

I’ve done blogs about it before rating the safest countries and the not  safest countries to visit.

But what really shocks me  is that the US  is a slacker when it comes to promoting positive peace. It is rated 103 on a list of 163 countries. This means that there are are a 102 countries that are safer to visit and live in than the US. Our performance  number is lowered because of the number of people in our prison system and our involvement in conflicts overseas.

There are the usual but many were surprising to me. Uganda is rated 101. Uganda is safer to visit than the US – apparently. Jordan (where I just was) is much safer at 96. Angola, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Gambia, are all in the nineties. Haiti, Burkina Faso Peru, Cuba, Bangladesh  and Paraguay  have a rating in the eighties. Liberia, Benin, Oman and Senegal are in the seventies. Nicaragua, Argentina, Mozambique, Lesotho, United Arab Emirates, Bosnia and Herzegovina are in the sixties.  Madagascar is above Italy  which is rated 39. Chile and Botswana are in the twenties.

According to the data, we are further away from World Peace then ever with the Middle East dragging us down. 

The most peaceful countries continue to improve their rating while the least peaceful ones are getting worse. Violence and conflict are escalating.  The world continues to spend enormous resources on creating and containing violence but very little on peace.

In case you just woke up from a coma, the world is less peaceful this year than it was last year.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ten Reasons To Visit New Zealand

Ten Reasons To Visit New Zealand

“Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain” Maori Proverb

Waiheke Island  is one of my daughter’s favorite places. I have heard about it for a while and can’t believe I will be there. The island has art galleries, boutiques, coffee places and some excellent vineyards for wine tasting.

Take at least part of one of the great walks in New Zealand. They are  a group of popular walks through areas of some of the best scenery in the country, ranging from coastlines with beaches to dense rain forests and alpine terrain. The tracks are maintained to a high standard, making it easier for visitors to explore some of the most scenic parts of New Zealand’s backcountry. The walks range from 32 kilometres (20 mi) length to 82 kilometres (51 mi) in length and take between 3 and 6 days to complete..

See the Maori  in Rotoroa. I loved the movie “Whalerider” (I will probably see it again before I go) and I am so interested in their culture.

Take a helicopter ride to a glacier. So with all my traveling I have never been on a helicopter or a glacier. A lot of firsts here. Franz Josef or Mount Cook?

Whale watching in Kaikoura. We do have whales in California but Kai means food  and Koura means crayfish ( which i love) so i am there. Whales, seals and dolphins are among my favorite sea creatures.

If you are a Hobbit fan, visit the Lord of the Rings movie set.

New Zealand is an adrenalin junkie’s paradise and well-known for zany adventures.. There is bungee jumping, zip lining, sky diving, rock climbing, mountain biking, scuba diving and  jet speed boats. I may not seem like an adrenalin junkie but you never know. 

Hiking in Milford Sound. There is epic movie worthy scenery and nothing that can hurt you (ie. no snakes, bears, mountain lions, scorpions, disease carrying insects, etc).

Take an outdoor geothermal bath in one of the many natural hot springs on the North Island.

Have a Fergburger in Queenstown. it is another best burger in the world with everything hand-made and fresh produce every day. There are twenty different kinds  from the regular (beef,bacon and avocado)  to the Codfather (cod), Sweet Bambi  (venison)and Bun Laden(falafel). It is a true hole in the wall, crowded for the twenty-one hours a day they are open.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Things To Do In Sydney, Australia With A Little Help From My Friends

Things To Do In Sydney, Australia With A Little Help From My Friends

‘Their cities are safe and clean and nearly always built on water. They have a society that is prosperous, well-ordered, and instinctively egalitarian. The food is excellent. The beer is cold. The sun nearly always shines. There is coffee on every corner. Life doesn’t get much better than this.” Bill Bryson

Hang out at the beach. My favorite is to take the ferry to Manly Beach, The beaches are wide and beautiful there – great options for food too. Sydney is famous for world-class surfing.  There is a beach for everyone. NM

Stroll along the busy wharfs of Circular Quay, listen to the Aboriginal street artists and enjoy the views of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Walk further until you reach the Opera House.  I recommend booking a tour in advance of this amazing building. If not, just continue around the Opera House for some surprising and spectacular views of this marvelous piece of architecture. My favorite thing is to sit in the cafe outside and have some Australian coffee (flat white) and enjoy the view.JZ

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I love having brekkie (breakfast) at the  Carriage Works Farmers Market on the weekend in Everleigh. This weekend market is known for its range of seasonal produce, including organic and biodynamic foods from farmers and producers from across New South Wales. Some standouts are Billy Kwongs, Bourke Street Bakery,Ritual Coffee and Bird Cow Fish. TO

The beautiful walk from Bondi to Coogee Coastal winds its way along 6 km of beguiling coastal views, offering plenty of things to do along the way. The leisurely walk spans for about 1-2 hours overlooking the spectacular beaches. SR

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Watson’s Bay is definitely a favorite place for me to visit in Sydney. One of the city’s hidden gems is in the eastern suburbs. You can order some of the famous fish and chips from Sydney institution, Doyle’s on the Beach which first opened in 1885 or grab some take away from their wharf kiosk and set up a picnic in the park or along the waterfront. But what I love to do most is go for a walk around the bay to the stunningly private beach at Camp Cove. BT

As the quintessential ‘must do’ experience in Sydney, Harbor Bridge Climb should be top on your list of things to book well in advance of your stay. As Sydney’s most popular experience, be sure to secure your day climb prior to your arrival to avoid disappointment.WW

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Chinatown in Sydney is where you will find just about every Asian cuisine you can imagine: Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Cambodian, and Vietnamese. Not only that, the dishes are cheap and tasty. Friday nights on Dixon Street are crowded with locals and tourists. If you are there in October, the night noodle markets have every Asian food and entertainment. JG

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There are cool art galleries in Surrey Hills – Bret Whitely Studio and First Draft  gallery are my favorite. Also I love to run into the Museum of Contemporary Art on Circular Quay and the Art Gallery of New South Wales TM

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Whether it be AFL, rugby union or league, soccer or cricket, everyone  in  Australia has a team and everyone has a rival. Ahead of your trip, take the time to look up which games are being played while you’re in town and grab a ticket to see the action live. The heritage-listed Sydney Cricket Ground is one of liveliest arenas to watch sport in the summer. SK

Fly safe,

JAZ

The White City Of Tel Aviv, Israel

The White City Of Tel Aviv, Israel

“Less is more.” Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe

Over 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings were constructed in Tel Aviv between 1920 and 1940, by German-Jewish architects who immigrated to the region after the rise of the Nazis.

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The Bauhaus  Movement was started by Walter Gropius in Germany in 1919 as an architectural style that would represent the machine age. It is characterized by simple and sensible lines. “Form follows function.”“Bauhaus” is an inversion of the German term “hausbau,” which means “building house”. It is also called the Modern or International style.

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The majority of Tel Aviv’s examples can be found in the central White City – a UNESCO World Heritage Site protected as “an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century”. it is the world’s largest Bauhaus settlement.

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The Bauhaus Center Tel Aviv  http://www.bauhaus-center.com/ was founded in the area in 2000 to increase awareness of the heritage and encourage preservation works. It hosts a library, a shop and a gallery for exhibitions. They offer architectural tours for visitors and enthusiasts on Friday mornings at 10AM. They  also offer a self-guided audio tour and private tours in Hebrew, English, Russian, German, French and Italian.

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The tour was crowded. First we were given an overview and background of the Bauhaus movement in Israel at the Center, We walked around the streets and  boulevards and our tour guide pointed out facades and details of the many white modern buildings. My friends thought it was interesting to take a tour of their neighborhood as they live in a protected building and hadn’t seen it this way before.

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A little known fact was that in the early years before World War Two, the immigrants to Israel were allowed to take their money out if they bought German products with it. Some of the buildings are made with German materials.

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Germany is now  committed to help Israel keep an architectural legacy that recalls Jewish design pioneers who fled the Nazi regime in the 1930s. They will invest $3.2 million over the coming nine years to help save these Bauhaus-style buildings  .

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The tour is an interesting introduction to the city of Tel Aviv and a sharp contrast to the Ottoman inspired and ancient buildings of Jaffa nearby. I highly recommend this tour for anyone who is interesting in architecture or history. I’m a Bauhaus fan and learned  a lot here and saw more Bauhaus architecture than in Berlin.

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Fly safe,
JAZ

Twenty-Five Things That I Want To Do In 2017

 Twenty-Five Things That I Want To Do In 2017

“The moment you put a deadline on your dream, it becomes a goal” Harsha Bhogle

 Go to Waiheke Island because I’ve heard so much about it from my family.

Take a helicopter ride to the top of a glacier.

Meditate every day.

Do more yoga.

Go to Copenhagen.

See the sunset on the beach whenever I am home at sunset.

Go to Sydney Australia.

Drink less coffee.

Drink less Spanish Lattes and Thai Iced Coffee.  (I love condensed milk coffees)

Take more Ubers in the US.

Go To Sweden.

Be more positive.

Be better about making plans with friends.

Spend more time with my family.

See Auschwitz.

Go to Israel.

Pay more attention to politics and get more involved.

Go To Grouplove concert. (missed them so far this year).

Go to Poland.

Go to Over Film Festival in Oregon.

Be kinder.

Go to Anderson, Wakeman and Rabin again-they are amazing . Congratulations Trevor on the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame .

Think more before I speak.

Eat less sugar. (I put this one in every few years)

Fly safe and Happy Holidays,

JAZ

Things I Have Learned In Tel Aviv, Israel

Things I Have Learned In Tel Aviv, Israel

“The only thing chicken about Israel is their soup.”  Bob Hope

Tel Aviv is called “the city that never sleeps”

Tel Aviv is Israel’s second largest city in Israel.The city is the center of economy, culture and the media of Israel.

The Tel Aviv Museum Of Art designed by Preston Scott Cohen is all beautiful light and angles.

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I loved the exhibition by David Tartakover.

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He is a famous Israeli artist who took on the county’s political history with his minimalist poster designs.

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There are over one hundred sushi restaurants in Tel Aviv…making it the city with  the  most sushi restaurants per capita after Tokyo and New York. I did not eat sushi there. It was very hot out and I was not feeling the raw fish thing. 

Jaffa is the old port city in the southern part of Tel Aviv.

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It is a big tourist attraction with Jews, Arabs, artists, galleries, a flea market (Shuk Hapishpishim), restaurants and bars all coexist in the historic buildings.

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Jaffa’s ancient past is still being excavated.Part of the fun of old Jaffa is exploring its winding streets and alleyways down to the port. 

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The port has been gentrified but  you can  see fishermen throw out their nets and  hear the call to prayer.

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It takes a little less than an hour to drive between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (43 miles).

Tel Aviv is also known as the “white city”, for some old zones of Tel Aviv, with more than 4,000 structures associated with he Bauhaus style of architecture.

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Every Tuesday and Friday, hundreds of residents and visitors make their way to the  Nahalat Binyamin Arts And Crafts Fair. 

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 Since 1987, this street fair has more than two hundred artists and craftspeople selling ceramics, jewelry, toys, wood art, blown glass, wearable art and recycled creations. There’s a committee selection process to ensure quality.

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The Carmel Market, known in Hebrew as the Shuk HaKarmel, is one of the must-sees in Tel Aviv. They sell everything from cds and clothes to fresh fruit and produce. It is one of the best places to try street food in Tel Aviv.

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Friday (when I was there) is the most crowded time to visit the market.

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Every one hundred meters in Tel Aviv there is a juice stand. They all somehow manage to make a living. In the last decade the city exploded with juice stalls. Pomegranate juice is my favorite.

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The city has thirteen official beaches.

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You will find in every declared beach, free changing rooms, toilets, lifeguard supervision and rescue station, chairs, umbrellas and sun beds for rent.

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Rescuers’ working hours are 7am -7pm.

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Tel Aviv’s climate could almost be interchangeable with Miami. Heat and humidity rule for most of the year and winters are mild.

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Eighteen out of Israel’s thirty five  performing arts centers are located in Tel Aviv.

The emblem of Tel Aviv was designed by artist Nahum Guttman in the 1950s and features seven stars to represent the seven-hour working day that Zionist thinker Theodor Herzl held to be the ideal work day.

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.Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel’s cafe culture.  Many of the cafes founded before Israel became a state in 1948 are still popular today.

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טיולים בטוחים,

JAZ

#StandWithALeppo

#StandWithALeppo

A monk was teaching a meditation class. He said “if you hear bombs in a neighboring village and your first thought  is where is my family?” Oh they are not there. Everything is ok” than continue to sit and meditate.” Vietnamese Buddhist Monk

There is a striking similarity between the Jewish refugees of World War Two and the Syrian refugees today. Then as now, skepticism of religious and ethnic minorities and concerns that refugees might pose a threat to national security deeply influenced the debate over American immigration policy. The most obvious parallel between the 1930s and today is popular opposition to the admission of refugees. It was strong then, and it’s strong now.

My parents were older. I often asked my mother why no one helped  to save the Jews from being killed in concentration camps.  She said that we really did not believe it was happening. They couldn’t comprehend that the citizens of a cultured and civilized society in modern times were putting people in ovens. It did not sound real.” We heard the rumors. The articles were written on the back page of the newspaper. If was really true, we thought it would be on the front page.”   When the mass extermination and atrocities became public knowledge, she said, ”I did not believe it at the time and had not done anything. I should have chained myself to the White House fence. I should have done something.” They did not have hashtag holocaust back then.

I am reading the heartbreaking twitter voices of Aleppo, watching the videos and seeing the Facebook messages. The words are eerily similar to the things people said in the concentration camps. The waiting to die messages come from parents, children, teachers and journalists. I have a sinking feeling in my stomach as I read the last contact messages. We don’t have the excuse that we weren’t sure it was true. Advanced technology is allowing us to watch innocent people die and is doing nothing to stop it. The world follows Mr Alhamdo, the young English teacher. His video has gone viral and millions of people have seen it. Yet, no one is saving him or his wife and little girl. I read his last message.

It does not make sense that all we can do is #StandwithAleppo. A hashtag is no solution to another humanitarian catastrophe. Big tragedies have big consequences. Are we becoming numb to all the terror in the world? #killingfieldscambodia  #deathcampsdarfur  #sarajevo #rwanda. I thought that since everyone knew what was happening in real-time, they would somehow be saved. The International community and humanitarian organizations would be able to help them. The repercussions for inaction will end up being far worse than the choice to take action would have been. The world missed yet another call from God by ignoring Aleppo. 

Fly safe,

JAZ