INTERNET TRAVELLER By Hilary Ostrov C.W.*


For all the joy that surfing the net can bring, despite the vanished barriers of time and space, my mouse and I were somewhat hampered in our search for timely topics for the Yom HaAtzmaut issue of the JB.

What's a poor Internet Traveller to do? It appeared as though all the Web weavers in Israel had taken a long holiday. This was confirmed when I listened to the news from Artificia (I chose the English version, but I could have listened to it in Hebrew). It seems that over 800,000 people visited nature sites throughout Israel during the Pesach holiday. I revisited some of my favourite haunts! The Jerusalem Post was fairly up to date and is offering a CD-ROM (that you can order on-line of course) which contains "Every event, place, name, fact, opinion and analysis [the Post] has published since October 1988."

A recent addition to the array of on-line news from Israel is Globes Publishers' The Arena, billed as "the first and largest business Web site to create on-line interaction among Israeli and international business. It offers non-stop financial information and opportunities designed in a serious professional manner."

Does Arena live up to its billing? Well, the page is very aesthetically pleasing (even with the presence of ads - in Hebrew and English). And I didn't mind the Real Estate ad of Dennis Barak whose tasteful graphic link gave me a choice (albeit with no less hype - did you know that "businessmen all over the world see Israel as the Hong Kong of the Middle East? ") An unsolicited e-mail I received from another Israeli Realtor, touting "the most luxurious real-estate touristic (sic) project in Israel," did not induce me to visit the Web site.

Israel seems to be in the vanguard when it comes to adopting the latest techno-glitz and Web wizardry! One Israeli site that may well be indicative of the Web of the future is Oblisc.

The latest fad in Web page design is known as the Java Applet. Oblisc takes full advantage of this to make their Web site move - both literally and figuratively! And not only do they offer a constantly changing billboard, but there's a bonus for Tetris players: just one click takes you to Tetris, and you can play this Applet to your heart's content - on-line or off!

In my early post-modem (pre-Web) days, I had slidden down the slippery slope of Tetraholicism. I really thought I had recovered and would be able to resist the Tetris temptation. But if this column misses the deadline, I know that it will be an uphill battle from now on to keep my mouse away from the Oblisc bookmark. Billboard or not, how can one concentrate on one's wordprocessing - or even serious net surfing - when Tetris is but a click away?!

It was difficult, but I did tear myself away from Tetris long enough to read the words of Hirsh Goodman in the Jerusalem Report.

As Israel enters her 49th year, Goodman reminds us of the tragic losses of the past four months, and the "omnipresent yet invisible enemy" of this new war. International sympathy, he says, is dissipating into "tacit condemnation." He concludes: "If Israel has ever been in need of a hug, the time is now. Perhaps this is a war that is hard to see and understand. But never has the time for encouragement been so ripe."


*Hilary Ostrov is a Chartered Webaholic, who lives in New Westminster, BC. When not busy "surfing the net", she is a consultant and educator who offers Internet "driving lessons", hypertext authoring and design of World Wide Web "Home Pages", and computer-related training. She can be contacted via e-mail (hostrov@telus.net) or telephone (604) 525-3055

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Copyright © 1996 Hilary Ostrov

This article was submitted for publication and appeared in the The Western Jewish Bulletin, Vol. LXIII, No. 16

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