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Oak Hammock Marsh in discussions to sign new memorandum of understanding with Israel’s Agamon Hula to further wetlands research

(l-r): Ariel Karabelnicoff, Executive Director JNF Manitoba & Saskatchewan; Nathalie Bays, manager of Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretative Centre; Larry Vickar, local businessman, philanthropist and JNF Canada National Board member, who is spearheading the renewal of the collaboration; Paula Grieef, resident naturalist at the centre; and Jacques Bourgeois, who is in charge of marketing and communications for Oak Hammock Marsh.

On Wednesday August 21, 2019, a meeting was held at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretative Centre to discuss a renewed collaboration between the Agamon Hula Valley in northern Israel and Oak Hammock Marsh (which is just north of Winnipeg).






In attendance were: Ariel Karabelnicoff, Executive Director JNF Manitoba & Saskatchewan; JNF Canada National Board member Larry Vickar – who is spearheading the renewal of the collaboration; Nathalie Bays, manager of Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretative Centre; Paula Grieef, resident naturalist at the Centre; and Jacques Bourgeois, who is in charge of marketing and communications for Oak Hammock Marsh.
The two organizations will work together to create activities and events that will deal raise awareness and educate the public about bird migration in which both the Hula Valley and Oak Hammock Marsh play important roles.
Both locations are known for their spectacular bird migrations.

A previous such agreement between the two wetlands – which grew out of the 2007 Negev Gala, resulted in wetland symposiums in 2008 and 2010.

The former twin-site treaty for the promotion of the combined development of two major bird-conservation sites – Lake Hula in Israel and Oak Hammock Marsh in Manitoba, which had been signed in October 2010 between KKL-JNF and the Government of Manitoba , expired in 2015.
That older partnership agreement was signed by KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler and then Manitoba’s Minister of Water Stewardship Christine Melnick at a ceremony held at Lake Hula Park.
It was designed to formalize cooperation on site development, scientific research, educational activities and management challenges.
The new agreement, notes Larry Vickar who arranged this partnership,, once again brings together two of the world’s major wetlands.

Oak Hammock marsh is a major stopping off place for geese and other birds on the world’s largest north-south migratory – the Mississippi Flyway, linking the Gulf of Mexico with the Arctic – while the Agmon Hula is an important link on the second longest such north-south flyway, linking the Great Rift Valley in east Africa to marshland in eastern Europe and Russia.
“With the opening of the Stephen Harper Visitor Centre at Agmon Hula scheduled for November, I approached Natalie Bays, asked her if she thought the linkage would be worthwhile and, if so, to put a proposal on paper,” Vickar says.

Ariel Karabelnicoff notes that Oak Hammock Marsh and the Agmon Hula marsh are similar ecological phenomena with similar experiences.
They have a similar history of being drained for agricultural purposes with a small portion of the original marsh preserved and restored in recent years as wetlands as a result of renewed awareness of their importance to the well-being of waterfowl and the water quality of nearby Lakes Winnipeg and Kineret respectively.

Karabelnicoff talks about the promotion of ecotourism that would benefit both sites, as well as the continued opportunities for collaborative research.

He adds that a delegation including past Negev Gala honorees and past presidents of JNF Manitoba/Saskatchewan, along with JNF donors from across Canada will be flying to Israel for the dedication of the new Stephen Harper Visitors Centre, and that Larry and Tova Vickar are sponsoring a delegation from Oak Hammock Marsh that will also be taking part in the festivities.

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New website for Israelis interested in moving to Canada

By BERNIE BELLAN (May 21, 2024) A new website, titled “Orvrim to Canada” ( has been receiving hundreds of thousands of visits, according to Michal Harel, operator of the website.
In an email sent to Michal explained the reasons for her having started the website:
“In response to the October 7th events, a group of friends and I, all Israeli-Canadian immigrants, came together to launch a new website supporting Israelis relocating to Canada. “Our website,, offers a comprehensive platform featuring:

  • Step-by-step guides for starting the immigration process
  • Settlement support and guidance
  • Community connections and networking opportunities
  • Business relocation assistance and expert advice
  • Personal blog sharing immigrants’ experiences and insights

“With over 200,000 visitors and media coverage from prominent Israeli TV channels and newspapers, our website has already made a significant impact in many lives.”
A quick look at the website shows that it contains a wealth of information, almost all in Hebrew, but with an English version that gives an overview of what the website is all about.
The English version also contains a link to a Jerusalem Post story, published this past February, titled “Tired of war? Canada grants multi-year visas to Israelis” ( That story not only explains the requirements involved for anyone interested in moving to Canada from Israel, it gives a detailed breakdown of the costs one should expect to encounter.

(Updated May 28)

We contacted Ms. Harel to ask whether she’s aware whether there has been an increase in the number of Israelis deciding to emigrate from Israel since October 7. (We want to make clear that we’re not advocating for Israelis to emigrate; we’re simply wanting to learn more about emigration figures – and whether there has been a change in the number of Israelis wanting to leave the country.)
Ms. Harel referred us to a website titled “Globes”:
The website is in Hebrew, but we were able to translate it into English. There is a graph on the website showing both numbers of immigrants to Israel and emigrants.
The graph shows a fairly steady rate of emigration from 2015-2022, hovering in the 40,000 range, then in 2023 there’s a sudden increase in the number of emigrants to 60,000.
According to the website, the increase in emigrants is due more to a change in the methodology that Israel has been using to count immigrants and emigrants than it is to any sudden upsurge in emigration. (Apparently individuals who had formerly been living in Israel but who may have returned to Israel just once a year were being counted as having immigrated back to Israel. Now that they are no longer being counted as immigrants and instead are being treated as emigrants, the numbers have shifted radically.)
Yet, the website adds this warning: “The figures do not take into account the effects of the war, since it is still not possible to identify those who chose to emigrate following it. It is also difficult to estimate what Yalad Yom will produce – on the one hand, anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews and Israelis around the world reminds everyone where the Jewish home is. On the other hand, the bitter truth we discovered in October is that it was precisely in Israel, the safe fortress of the Jewish people, that a massacre took place reminding us of the horrors of the Holocaust. And if that’s not enough, the explosive social atmosphere and the difference in the state budget deficit, which will inevitably lead to a heavy burden of taxes and a reduction in public services, may convince Zionist Israelis that they don’t belong here.”
Thus, as much as many of us would be disappointed to learn that there is now an upsurge in Israelis wanting to move out of the country, once reliable figures begin to be produced for 2024, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that is the case – which helps to explain the tremendous popularity of Ms. Harel’s website.

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Message from a Palestinian in Gaza to protesters: “You’re hurting the Palestinian cause”

Protesters at McGill University

A very brave Palestinian who was willing to put his name to paper and write an article for Newsweek Magazine has exposed the utter hypocrisy of all those students – and others, who have been setting up encampments across the U.S. – and now Canada, too.

You can read the article at

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The Most Expensive Israeli Soccer Transfers

Eran Zahavi

Even if Israel isn’t known as a world soccer power, it has produced plenty of talented players who have made a living in top European leagues. On more than one occasion, an Israeli international has commanded a rather large transfer fee. But who are the most expensive players in Israel’s history? The answer could be a little surprising. We took a look back to find the most expensive Israeli soccer transfers of all time.

Tai Baribo

In 2023, Baribo made the move to MLS, signing with the Philadelphia Union. The reported fee was around $1.5 million, which is one of the highest transfer fees the Union has ever paid for a player.

Omer Atzili

Throughout his career, Atzili has played for a variety of clubs, including stops in Spain and Greece. In 2023, he joined Al Ain in the UAE for a transfer fee of $2.1 million.

Maor Buzaglo

Now retired, Buzaglo was briefly the holder of the richest transfer deal for an Israeli player. After a couple of successful seasons on loan, Maccabi Tel Aviv paid $2.7 million to rival Maccabi Haifa for Buzaglo in 2008.

Dia Saba

Saba made history in 2020 when he joined Al-Nasr, making him the first Israeli player to play for a club in the UAE. At the time, it was a big deal for relations between the two countries. Al-Nasr also paid an impressive $2.9 million transfer fee for the midfielder.

Tal Ben Haim

On multiple occasions, Ben Haim has been sold for more than $1 million. First, there was his move from Hapoel Tel Aviv to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2023 for close to $1.2 million. A few years later, Sparta Prague came calling for him, spending $3.1 million as a transfer fee for the winger.

Itay Shechter

During the prime of his career, Shechter was the type of player who warranted a seven-figure transfer fee. German club Kaiserslautern paid a little over $2.6 million in 2011 to bring Shechter to the Bundesliga from Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Daniel Peretz

When Peretz was sold to Bayern Munich, it wasn’t the most expensive deal involving an Israeli player, although it was arguably the most important. He became the first Israeli Jew to play at Bayern, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world. The transfer fee for Peretz paid by Bayern Munich to Maccabi Tel Aviv was around $5.4 million.

Oscar Gloukh

Gloukh is one of the best young Israeli players right now. He already has three international goals in a dozen appearances to his name. Somehow, Gloukh is already one of the most expensive players in Israel’s history. After coming up with Maccabi Tel Aviv, he moved to Austrian giant Red Bull Salzburg in 2023 for a transfer fee of close to $7.5 million. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him top that number one day.

Liel Abada

Abada has been a part of two huge transfer deals in his young career. In 2021, Scottish club Celtic paid $4.8 million to acquire him from Maccabi Petah Tikva. However, that number was topped in 2024 when Charlotte FC of MLS paid a fee of $8 million for Abada.

With Charlotte FC, Abada competes in North America’s top league, facing teams from both Mexico and Canada. Throughout North America, sports betting has taken off in recent years. That includes betting in Canada, where there is a large collection of trusted sports betting platforms.

Eran Zahavi

To date, Zahavi holds the record for the most expensive transfer fee paid for an Israeli player. It’s fitting for Israel’s former captain and all-time leading scorer. In 2016, Chinese club Guangzhou City paid $12.5 million to get Zahavi from Maccabi Tel Aviv. That record was nearly broken later that year when another Chinese club offered $20 million for Zahavi, who turned it down and stayed with Guangzhou City.

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