U.S. Envoy: Anti-Zionism Is a Form of Anti-Semitism
- Sam Sokol (JTA
The State Department's new envoy on anti-Semitism, Elan Carr, told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Thursday that anti-Zionism is a form of contemporary anti-Semitism, to vigorous applause.
Carr, 50, is a Hebrew-speaking former Los Angeles prosecutor who served with the U.S. Army in Iraq.
"My office was created by law and designed to protect the Jewish people throughout the world. Think about that," Carr said.
"The world's greatest power is focused, by law and design, on protecting the Jews. It's something not to be taken for granted."
French Jihadist Linked to 2015 Paris Attacks Killed in Syria
Fabien Clain was killed Wednesday in a coalition air strike on the Islamic State in Syria, France Info
reported on Thursday.
Authorities identified Clain as the voice in an Islamic State video claiming responsibility for the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks in Paris that killed 129 people and injured 350.
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Could Israel Have Prevented the Rise of Hizbullah in Lebanon?
- Lee Smith (Tablet
It's common to meet veterans of Israel's first Lebanon war in 1982 who believe that they backed the wrong actors - had they only sided with the Shiite community, then Hizbullah never would've found a foothold in Lebanon.
But believing that Lebanon's political fate was within Israel's grasp is a delusion.
As Tony Badran, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has explained, Iranian activists loyal to Ruhollah Khomeini seeded Hizbullah in the mid-1970s.
There was nothing that Israel could have done to prevent that.
Daily Mail Corrects Claim Western Wall Is Judaism's Holiest Site
- Adam Levick (UK Media Watch-CAMERA
A Feb. 13th article in the Daily Mail
included the claim that the Western Wall in Jerusalem "is the most sacred location for Jews."
This is not accurate. The Temple Mount is the most sacred location for Jews.
The Western Wall is merely the most sacred place where Jews are currently permitted to pray.
Simulators Revolutionize Surgeon Training
- Eytan Halon (Jerusalem Post
"We're leading a revolution in how physicians are trained," said Ran Bronstein, vice president of 3D Systems, which has been pioneering the development of three-dimensional and virtual reality-based medical and surgical simulators.
"Pilots have been using simulators for many years. But there are more physicians than pilots....This is one of the nice applications of virtual reality, using it to train and impact the healthcare community."
Bronstein has headed the development of state-of-the-art simulators for more than two decades with Simbionix, the company he founded, which was acquired for $120 million in 2014 by California-based 3D Systems.
At the company's Tel Aviv offices, developers wearing virtual reality headsets perform invasive spine surgeries, endovascular operations, endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures, and robot-assisted operations.
Nearly 5,000 of the company's simulators are now installed in facilities across the globe.
One particularly demanding requirement is the need to mimic the unique bodies of each patient.
"In 2007, we started to develop a breakthrough technology: patient-specific simulation, no longer using a generic case but analyzing MRI and CT scans and automatically transporting them into the simulator," said Bronstein.
New Non-Invasive Bladder Cancer Test Transforms Invasive Follow-Up Process
- Eytan Halon (Jerusalem Post
Israel-based cancer diagnostic company Nucleix is transforming the nature of follow-up monitoring for bladder cancer with the Bladder EpiCheck - a urine test.
The majority of patients who survive non-muscle invasive bladder cancer require frequent follow-ups, generally involving an unpleasant and costly cystoscopy procedure under sedation or general anesthetic.
U.S. Hackers Fail to Crack Israel's Cyber 2.0
- Eytan Halon (Jerusalem Post
Israeli cybersecurity company Cyber 2.0 offered a $100,000 cash prize this month to any U.S.-based engineer that could successfully hack its platform.
While hundreds arrived at the company's event in Atlanta, they all failed.
Unlike existing cyberattack prevention systems, Cyber 2.0 says its system is based on an unbreachable mathematical chaos model.
The system has thwarted all those who have attempted to hack it since January 2016.
U.S. Firm Qlik Buys Israel's Attunity for $560 Million
- Shiri Habib-Valdhorn (Globes
U.S.-based data analytics firm Qlik will buy Israeli company Attunity for $560 million.
Attunity provides cross-platform data streaming capabilities to support a shift to cloud and real-time analytics.
Google to Acquire Israeli Start-Up Alooma for $150 Million
- Eytan Halon (Jerusalem Post
Google intends to acquire Israeli data migration start-up Alooma, the companies announced Tuesday, in a deal worth $150 million.
"The addition of Alooma...allows us to offer customers a streamlined, automated migration experience to Google Cloud," Google said.
Israel Prepares for Locust Swarms
Israel is preparing for locust swarms, the Ministry of Agriculture reported on Tuesday as a wave of locusts in Saudi Arabia might reach Israel.
Crop protection service teams in the ministry began preparations for the probable locust's attack.
The last time locust swarms invaded Israel was in 2013, when early preparations prevented major damage to agriculture.
See also Locust Swarms Imminent in Egypt, Saudi Arabia
- Julia Altmann (Media Line-Jerusalem Post
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that an infestation of desert locusts in Sudan and Eritrea is rapidly spreading along both sides of the Red Sea towards Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- Israeli Spacecraft Begins Journey to the Moon - Gigi Sukin
The first privately built lunar lander, made in Israel, is on its way to the moon. It successfully deployed after launching at 8:45 p.m. Thursday off Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and is expected to land on the moon's surface in April. The U.S., the former Soviet Union and China were the only countries to successfully land spacecraft on the lunar surface. This lander - named Beresheet, meaning "in the beginning" in Hebrew - is the first to be entirely financed and built by the private sector.
See also Israeli Spacecraft Deploys Landing Legs after Launch (Jerusalem Post)
See also How Israel's Moon Lander Got to the Launchpad - Kenneth Chang
It started in 2010 with a Facebook post: "Who wants to go to the moon?" (New York Times)
See also NASA's Role in the Israeli Moon Mission
NASA installed a small laser retroreflector aboard the lander to test its potential as a navigation tool. The agency also provided images of the Moon's surface to help the engineers identify a landing site for the mission. NASA will also use its deep space telecommunications network to transmit images and science data home to SpaceIL. SpaceIL will provide NASA with scientific data from the spacecraft's magnetometer. (NASA)
See also Space: The Voyages of the Starship Beresheet - Itai Green (Times of Israel)
- U.S. to Leave 200 American Peacekeepers in Syria after Pullout - Karen DeYoung and
The U.S. will leave "a small peacekeeping group" of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a U.S. pullout, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Thursday. A U.S. official said the 200 would be "split down the middle" between Syrian Kurdish-controlled areas in the northeast of the country, and the Tanf garrison in southeast Syria.
France and Britain, which also have troops in Syria, had rebuffed a U.S. request to leave forces there to continue operations against militant remnants and to patrol a "safe zone" along Syria's northeastern border with Turkey unless some U.S. troops remained.
- U.S. Envoy Urges Tighter Business Ties in West Bank between Israelis and Palestinians - Rami Ayyub
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Thursday urged deeper business ties between Israelis living in the West Bank and Palestinian businessmen. "There are many, many Palestinians that would like to be freed up to engage in business ventures with Israelis, and they're entitled to that opportunity," he told a forum to encourage such business links. Thousands of Palestinians work in Israeli communities and industrial parks in the West Bank, often in manufacturing or construction jobs which offer higher wages than similar jobs in Palestinian cities.
Haldun al-Husseini, a Palestinian garment manufacturer from Jerusalem, says business with Israelis is key to improving the Palestinian economy. "Most of my business comes from Israelis," he said. "If we don't work together, we will not improve Palestinian lives." (Reuters)
See also U.S. Ambassador David Friedman: In the Bible, Isaac and Ishmael Reconciled Their Differences - Tovah Lazaroff
U.S. Ambassador David Friedman told the Israeli-Palestinian International Economic Forum in Jerusalem on Thursday: "There is far more that unites us than divides us," adding that in the Bible, Isaac and Ishmael reconciled their differences. "Obviously, we should do no less."
"To hold the Palestinians hostage to a political solution, when humanitarian and business efforts are right in front of us, is a grave mistake and a grave disservice to the Palestinian people."
"We all recall the Oslo Accords of 1993. There was an increase in terrorism four-fold. Why? Because pieces of paper do not make peace. Relationships make peace. Investments make peace. That is the kind of peace that is enduring. The Palestinian people deserve better. Enough of the endless political bickering that has brought nothing but misery. Let us work together for all our people. Let us make real peace with each other."
Palestinian businessman Ashraf Jabari of Hebron said, "The average American has no idea that Palestinians work with Israelis and that countless Palestinians want to work with Israelis." Palestinians are fearful to express this in public, he added. (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Netanyahu on Lunar Spacecraft Launch: We Are a Small Country But Huge in Achievements
Prime Minister Netanyahu attended the launch event of Israel's first lunar spacecraft at the Israel Aerospace Industries control room early Friday. He said:
"We are a small, but huge, country - huge in initiatives, huge in its ability to do things, huge in achievements. There are four countries that have launched spacecraft to the moon. One is 800 times larger than us, one is 500 times larger than us and one is a little less....This only shows who our people is, what our people is, with very deep roots in our heritage, with aspirations to reach higher and higher." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- IDF: Hamas Promises Gaza Children NIS300 ($83) If Injured in Border Riots - Adam Rasgon
Israeli security forces have recently noticed Hamas sending children as young as eight years old to the front lines of riots along the Gaza-Israel border, the Israel Defense Forces said on Thursday.
They have also heard operatives on loudspeakers promising children at the border NIS300 ($83) if they get injured.
(Times of Israel)
- Accounts of Hamas War Crimes Submitted to ICC - Hanan Greenwood
33 testimonies of IDF combat soldiers were submitted to the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Thursday as proof that Hamas carries out war crimes. The testimonies describe how Palestinian children are used as human shields and ambulances are used to transport weapons.
One testimony described an incident at the Gaza border riots last summer. "A terrorist threw a grenade at our jeep. As soon as he realized he had been seen, he grabbed a child and held on to him tightly, so we wouldn't fire at him." (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
- Iran and the Palestinians Lose in Warsaw - Prof. Eyal Zisser
The Warsaw conference for peace and security in the Middle East was an important step toward curbing Tehran's expansionist aspirations and terrorist subversion. Arab countries, mainly Gulf states, didn't hesitate to partake in the summit alongside Israel in the regional fight against Iran.
The Arab willingness to stand beside Israel at the conference further evidences the fact that the Palestinian question has lost its prominence in the Arab world and no longer prevents the advancement of relations between Israel and the Arabs. Yes, the Arab street is still hostile toward Israel, but it is willing to accept relations with it.
Similar to Turkey and Iran, Israel is viewed in the Arab world as a non-Arab entity and therefore as deserving of suspicion. This won't change even if Israel and the Palestinian Authority come to an arrangement. Yet, it is instructive and fascinating to discover that so many countries in the Arab world prefer relations with Israel over relations with Ankara and Tehran. The writer is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.
See also Regional Realignment - Editorial
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's participation in the American-hosted Middle East summit in Poland was nothing short of historic. Israeli and Arab leaders have previously participated in similar international forums, but when the Israeli leader would enter the room or take to the podium to speak, traditionally the Arabs would walk out. Not this time.
On Thursday, Netanyahu sat next to Yemen Foreign Minister Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi. When it was Netanyahu's turn to speak and his microphone didn't work, Mekhlafi offered his. It might not be peace, but considering that Israel and Yemen do not have formal diplomatic relations, it was a moment to remember.
- Correcting Misperceptions about Anti-BDS Laws - David E. Bernstein
I've seen much misinformation and bad legal analysis regarding state laws that require state contractors to certify that they do not boycott Israel or those who do business with Israel, otherwise known as "anti-BDS laws."
Anti-BDS laws do not require anyone to "pledge loyalty to the State of Israel." They simply don't. This is a lie. Contractors must simply certify that they are not participating in anti-Israel boycotts. They are free to criticize Israel as much as they like and donate to anti-Israel campaigns or candidates.
Laws banning boycotts of Israel aren't unprecedented. Federal law has banned U.S. entities from participating in or complying with the Arab League boycott of Israel since the late 1970s. This law has been around for forty-plus years, and has never been subject to a successful First Amendment challenge. The writer is a professor at the George Mason University School of Law.
See also Anti-BDS Laws Don't Infringe on Free Speech - Ron Machol and Charles D. Pulman (Houston Chronicle)
- The Palestinian Curriculum Deception - Marcus Sheff
In recent months, the stark truth over the PA's new reformed school curriculum has been laid bare. The textbooks and materials being taught to Palestinian students are at complete odds with the values of the Western governments footing the bill for their production. Research by IMPACT-se has shown that this curriculum is replete with encouragement to violence. Newton's Second Law is taught by way of a slingshot and the image of a violent confrontation.
Nine-year-olds in grade 3 recite a poem calling for "sacrificing blood" to remove the enemy from the land. Young Palestinians are taught that jihad is the pinnacle of ambition, that martyrdom for boys and girls is a life goal, and that choosing death is better than choosing life.
A long-classified report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the Palestinian curriculum taught in UNRWA schools shows that UNRWA officials were presented with irrefutable evidence that American funds had been abused to inculcate intolerance. The officials pledged to create supplementary materials to rectify the issue but took no such action and lied to Washington about having done so.
The writer is CEO at the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Textbooks (IMPACT-se).
(Times of Israel)
- UNRWA's Hereditary Refugee Status for Palestinians Is Unique - Uri Akavia
For almost 70 years, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has created a
unique category of "registered refugee" status under which the children and grandchildren of a Palestine refugee, and all their descendants thereafter, are automatically considered "refugees from Palestine."
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is responsible for all refugees except those from Mandatory Palestine.
UNHCR does not define as refugees people who acquired new citizenship.
More than 2 million "Palestine refugees" hold Jordanian citizenship, most of whom have been born in Jordan and have lived there their entire lives.
In addition, 2/3 to 3/4 of the 1 million refugees registered by UNRWA in Lebanon and Syria have left those countries over the decades, with many
acquiring citizenship in Western countries. But UNRWA's numbers never decline.
UNHCR does not define as "refugees" people who are internally displaced, that is, who have moved within the same territory. "Palestine refugees" living in the West Bank or Gaza were in fact internally displaced since they have never crossed the internationally recognized border of Mandatory Palestine. According to the rules applied by UNHCR, these people are not refugees. UNRWA is not a neutral humanitarian organization but rather
a political actor aimed at perpetuating the Palestinian refugee problem. (Kohelet Policy Forum)
- Hebrew Origins of Palestinian Arab Towns in Judea-Samaria - Lee Bender
It is absurd to claim that the Arabs are the indigenous peoples of Israel because virtually all the place names used by local Arabs are non-Arabic in origin, and derived either from biblical Hebrew names or from later Greek or Roman names. The Romans renamed the entire region Syria-Palestina (named for the Philistines and Assyrians) after they destroyed the Second Temple so as to erase its Jewish roots. This was later shortened to Palestina, and it eventually became known as Palestine.
The region commonly referred to as the "West Bank" was known for three millennia as Judea and Samaria. Indeed, Jews derive the very name of their religion and peoplehood from the name Yehuda, the fourth son of Jacob, whose tribe settled in that region. In fact, UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (1947) referred to the region as Judea and Samaria, as do all maps published before 1948.
Israeli scholar and later president Yitzhak Ben-Zvi wrote in 1932 that west of the Jordan River, 277 villages and sites had names that were similar to or the same as Jewish villages in these locations during Second Temple times. Moreover, 1/4 of the 584 Arab localities in Israel and beyond have ancient biblical names. So, to counter those who attempt to disassociate the Jews from the Land of Israel and claim that they are colonizers, the proof is in the names.
- Why the Academic Boycott of Israel Is Anti-Semitic - Evan Gerstmann
Anti-Semitic hate crimes have increased sharply in the U.S. Our nation's universities should be doing their part to fight anti-Semitism, but too many are doing just the opposite by adopting academic boycotts that single out Israel while leaving in place academic programs that send students to countries that are major human rights violators. What are students to take from this other than the message that the world's only Jewish nation is the worst of the worst?
To seek to punish Israel while holding fire on many of the world's worst human rights violators is inherently anti-Semitic. It's right to shine a light on the hardships of Palestinians in the West Bank. But when doing so, if an article or class does not discuss the fact that the Palestinian Authority acknowledges that it provides cash payments to families of terrorists who kill or try to kill Israelis, then how can readers or students understand why Israel is reluctant to turn power over to that very same Palestinian Authority?
Universities should be helping students understand the complexity of the situation, not serving up simplified morality tales. The writer
is Professor of Political Science at Loyola Marymount University, California. (Forbes)
- Anti-Semitism Is By No Means an Issue Solely for Jews - Vernon Bogdanor
Britain has always been the least anti-Semitic of countries. The vast majority of voters neither knew nor cared that Michael Howard, Conservative leader from 2003 to 2005, or Ed Miliband, Labour leader from 2010 to 2015, were Jewish. I doubt if their ethnic origin swung a single vote one way or another.
The MPs who have left Labour are right to highlight the overriding importance of anti-Semitism, by no means an issue solely for Jews.
Its prevalence undermines the wider values for which not only the Labour Party but Britain as a whole has always stood.
The former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, captured it perfectly when he declared that anti-Semites are never just anti-Semites. Hitler and Stalin did not confine their hatred to Jews. Anti-Semitism, he explained, "is the world's most reliable early warning sign of a major threat to freedom, humanity and the dignity of difference." The writer is Professor of Government at King's College, London.
- Little Sleep, Lots to Do for IDF Special Operations Officer - Yaakov Lappin
Lt. R., an Israel Defense Forces' special operations officer serving in the West Bank, emigrated to Israel aged 18 from Long Island, N.Y.
Today, she serves in the Efraim Regional Brigade - responsible for securing the Kalkilya region - and works on the frontlines of the IDF's campaigns against terrorist plots, illegal weapons and terror financing. Her four years of military service have included serving in an operations room on the Syrian border and providing humanitarian relief to Syrian civilians.
"This was an incredible role," she said. "Under Israel's humanitarian assistance program, which just recently ended, I played a big part in coordinating the transfers of food and medicines into Syria, and the absorption of Syrian civilians injured in the civil war for Israeli hospital treatment. Once a week, there was a fun day for Syrian children."
Lt. R. could have completed her IDF service at this stage but chose to sign on for another year. "During the day, I coordinate activities, and at night, I oversee them from the command post, making sure they proceed correctly," she said. "I'm awake without stopping day and night."
The brigade intercepted nearly $35,000 intended for terrorists in 2018. The IDF moved the money into an account dedicated to building Palestinian civilian infrastructure and creating jobs for Palestinians. "None of it goes to Israel," Lt. R. stressed.
"I chose to be a special operations officer because it is one of the most incredible roles," she said. "We see the results of our work every day." (JNS)
- Egyptian Author: My Decision to Meet the Israeli "Enemy" - Dr. Mona Prince
Like all Egyptians, I was raised to hate Israel and Israelis. During the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, the headlines of Egyptian newspapers were regularly dedicated to updates about the Palestinian cause. The result was that Egyptians like myself adopted the Palestinian cause as our own, as if our own personal destiny depended upon it. Everything I heard made me imagine the Jews as beastly, ghost-like creatures who had nothing in common with human beings.
Although there is cooperation between Egypt and Israel on several levels, normalization on the cultural level has a relatively long way to go. I knew I was going to face a media backlash and probably a legal backlash, but
I initiated a meeting with Dr. David Govrin, Israel's ambassador to Egypt, at the end of 2018. I did so because I believe in the future.
I believe that 50 years from now things will be different. I believe the coming generations will not think or act the way we do now. I did so to make this future possible, to help create space for literature and culture to undo the damage caused by politics.
The writer is an Egyptian academic and novelist living in Cairo. (Ha'aretz)
- The Polish Diplomats Who Rescued Jews during WWII - Cnaan Liphshiz
Growing up, Heidi Fishman, 56, a Jewish author from Vermont, knew she was alive thanks to her maternal grandfather Heinz Lichtenstern's Paraguayan passport. But Fishman begin to wonder how the passport got to her grandfather, a German-born Jew with no known ties to Paraguay. She learned last year that the passport was one of thousands of forgeries that four Polish diplomats in exile in Bern, Switzerland, had risked their lives to prepare and distribute to hundreds of recipients, with help from two Polish Jews.
The operation required bribing South American diplomats at the risk of being handed over to the Nazis by the Swiss authorities - who were on to the rescuers' game and not happy about it.
See also A Brave Group of Polish Diplomats Tried to Save My Father from the Holocaust - Menachem Z. Rosensaft
The writer is general counsel at the World Jewish Congress.
- Polish Study: Norms of Polish Society Helped Nazis Wipe Out Local Jewry - Assaf Golan
Large parts of the Polish population during the Holocaust believed helping Jews went against their local norms, a new study from the Polish Academy of Sciences shows. The study reveals that those Jews who tried to seek shelter in urban areas were less likely to survive, compared to those who escaped to the country. "Poles who chose to save Jews were essentially violating the unwritten norms of their community," the scholars wrote. (Israel Hayom)
- Remains of Hundreds of Bodies Discovered at Former Jewish Ghetto of Brest, Belarus - Cnaan Liphshiz
Human remains belonging to men, women and children as well as clothes, shoes and other personal items were uncovered last month during construction atop what used to be the ghetto of Brest, in present-day Belarus, it was reported Wednesday. Since then, the remains of dozens of additional bodies have been discovered every day.
Mayor Alexander Rogachuk said the bones belonged to "victims of ghettos," meaning Jews imprisoned there by the Nazis during the Holocaust. The Nazis killed three million civilians in Belarus, of whom 800,000 were Jewish.
- In interviews, senior Israeli military officers outlined new details about Iran's plans to turn a vast arsenal of relatively dumb rockets in Syria and Lebanon into a deadly array of precision-guided missiles. The key is a Global Positioning System (GPS) "kit" the size of small roll-aboard luggage.
- "They can put a missile on the building we're sitting in now," said a senior officer at a base in central Israel. "There's an unlimited ability to put a GPS on these rockets, it only depends on how many kits they have."
- According to a recent report by the British Israel Communication and Research Centre (BICOM), the focus is to upgrade Hizbullah's 14,000 long-range Zelzal-2 rockets.
- Netanyahu last year at the UN publicly revealed three underground sites near Beirut International Airport that he said were used to convert rockets into guided missiles. After the naming and shaming, Hizbullah did in fact shut the facilities, IDF sources confirmed. Yet, as the senior officer added, "They can open in another place tomorrow."
- It would take a trained team just 2-3 hours to convert the Zelzal into a missile: removing a middle section and replacing it with an internal navigation-guidance-control system. "You insert the GPS coordinates [of the target] and it's fire and forget," the senior officer said. "It's just like [the navigation app] Waze."
- Israeli officials are adamant that Hizbullah only possesses a handful of precision missiles at present. The concern is that Iran will move in greater force into Lebanon, upping the missile precision program.
- "If there will be an Iranian military entrenchment in Lebanon, it'll be a target for action," Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the recently retired IDF chief of staff, promised last month.
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