Sunday, April 05, 2020

  • Sunday, April 05, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

IfNotNow posted a tweet on Friday that is so bad, on so many levels, that I dedicated an entire episode of EoZTV to it.

Watch as I discuss it with Mrs. Elder:

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Saturday, April 04, 2020

From Ian:

Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Rabbi Marvin Hier: The corona pandemic and peace in the Middle East
The rapidly unfolding global tragedy of the CoronaVirus pandemic sheds the light of reality as to why Peace in the Holy Land remains a far-off dream: Israel is confronted by Palestinian leaders who for decades refuse to accept the legitimacy of their Jewish neighbors. They teach their children in word and deed to embrace death over life.

The threat against Israel from Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists has been guided and exacerbated by their paymasters in Tehran whose leaders believe the Jewish state uses “demons”. That regime as well has proven over and over again it also doesn’t give a damn about the lives of its people. For these thugs hate always trumps hope.

But all this doesn’t mean we have to accept that tyrants and terrorists will always dictate the narrative.

We recall that just a few short months ago, we prayed and danced in a Synagogue just across the Gulf from Iran. It was the first minyan in Bahrain’s capital since 1948. (The authors are pictured in the video).

We watch in awe and wonderment as frontline-medical and scientific personnel– Jew and Arab– work and pray side-by-side in Israel’s hospitals, alongside their ambulances, united in the struggle to defeat the unseen enemy that has stolen the joy of this year’s Passover, Easter and Ramadan and that threatens each and every one of us.

So, we tell our friends and ourselves to stop feeling helpless and hopeless.

At this year’s Passover Seder or before it, we should be teaching our cooped-up children to always identify- not with bigots or bullies- but rather with the unsung heroes who selflessly strive to save us and all humanity from the 11th plague.
Israel’s virus death toll rises to 43 with deaths of three more people
Israel’s death toll from coronavirus rose to 43 Saturday, with 7,589 people diagnosed with COVID-19.

Two women were reported to have died of the virus in the morning: an 88-year-old woman at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital and a 67-year-old woman at Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center. A man, 76, died at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon close to noon.

The 88-year-old woman was the fifth victim to come from the Mishan assisted living facility in the southern city of Beersheba.

She was later named as Holocaust survivor Dr. Nelia Kravitz, who worked as a physician at Soroka Medical Center for 20 years.
Dr Nelia Kravitz, who died after contracting the coronavirus at the Mishan assisted living facility in Beersheba.(Courtesy)

“It was not possible to contact the Mishan facility, and only later were we informed she was transferred to Soroka. We said goodbye to her over the telephone,” Kravitz’s son Micha told the Kan public broadcaster.

The Health Ministry said Saturday morning that 115 patients were in serious condition, with 98 on ventilators. At least 427 Israelis have recovered from the disease.
Noah Rothman: The Rise of the Immunity Caste
How does this all end, you (and everyone else) ask? Well, the miserable realists answer back, it doesn’t—not until there’s a vaccine, at least.

Given the skyrocketing unemployment rate and the prospect of GDP contraction of between 20 and 30 percent, “for the foreseeable future” is palatable only to those who concern themselves exclusively with public health. If you’re in the business of ensuring there is a society left to reactivate after this initial lockdown has passed, getting people safely back to work is both a priority and a conundrum. How do you reignite the nation’s economic engine without jeopardizing the public and, ultimately, damaging the economy further? The answer to this riddle has some Western political leaders contemplating a fraught stopgap measure: immunity registries.

The advent of approved serological tests that can determine whether someone contracted this unique Coronavirus and developed the antibodies that presumably render them immune to future infection has opened this avenue up to policymakers. Apparently, they’re taking it.

The German government plans to introduce “immunity certificates” to COVID-19 survivors that would allow license holders to reenter society. The U.K., too, will reportedly provide residents who test positive for Coronavirus antibodies with “immunity passports,” liberating recipients from lockdown. For some American policymakers, these seem like worthy models to follow. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for example, has repeatedly entertained slowly reopening society to “people who can get antibody tests.”

In theory, this would seem to be the best of all the terrible options before policymakers. And for a nation with a history of codified social stratification, it might work. Germany’s experience is amenable to imposing these temporary stations on individuals. Class is an unseen but ubiquitous force in Britain, too. But the United States does not have a similar experience with social castes. Its class structure is permeable; indeed, the country’s national identity is predicated on transcending the categories into which we are consigned by conditions beyond our control. And this new class—the immune—is permeable. But public health officials aren’t going to like how the public goes about penetrating this stratum.

Friday, April 03, 2020

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: For Israel, recognising another enemy is second nature
In mid-March, however, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally realized from the Italian death toll that Britain was heading for a similar catastrophe, he abruptly changed course and started to impose social-isolation rules. Yet even now, Britain hasn’t restricted flights from China, Italy or other hot spots.

Israel took a different approach from the start because it’s a very different kind of society. Unlike the pampered West, Israel permanently lives in a state of potential emergency and existential threat.

From its experience of decades fending off attacks from physical enemies, Israel is geared to be proactive against threats to national security. Despite its famously dysfunctional politics, it doesn’t flinch from taking desperately difficult decisions in order to save lives—like shutting down much of its economy.

More deeply still, Israel views every unnecessary death as a national tragedy. It would be unthinkable for Israel to do what Britain did at the start—flirt with the idea that it could sit out the threatened epidemic, until enough people had been infected to provide “herd immunity” protection, because those most likely to die in this process were “only” the old.

In stark contrast, because the duty to protect the whole population is built into Israel’s DNA, the same military and security forces that fight a physical enemy have been deployed to battle COVID-19.

So the fabled Israeli spying agency, the Mossad, was instructed to scour the world, including countries with which Israel does not enjoy diplomatic relations, to obtain virus testing kits and other essential medical equipment.

Accordingly, the Mossad has reportedly brought in from undisclosed locations some 500,000 testing kits, which are essential to offer a safe route out of lockdown by starting to get people back to work. Other such Mossad shipments over the past few weeks have included thousands of respiratory and surgical masks, protective overalls and, most important of all, dozens of ventilators.

Senior officials told the Israeli TV show “Uvda” that, by this weekend, the operation would bring to Israel another 2 million masks for medical staff, 2 million protective overalls and visors, and a further 180 ventilators. One Mossad officer described this as the most complex operation he had ever dealt with.
Caroline B. Glick: Coronavirus lessons for the coalition talks
It is hard to know how Iran and the other states in the region will look when this pandemic has passed. But it is safe to assume that they will be less stable than they were when it first hit.

This returns us to Israel which entered the crisis with a strong economy and an advanced, well-funded and functioning health system.

The coronavirus and the chaos engulfing our neighbors tell us two things. First, we need to preserve and strengthen the bonds that hold us together as a nation. Social solidarity is the vital foundation of all national efforts in times of crisis.

The second lesson is that in a world and region plagued with uncertainty and instability, we must do everything we can in the spheres that we do control to minimize uncertainty and maximize stability.

A week ago, Israel almost lost it all. Last week Israel was on verge of internal unrest and chaos the likes of which we hadn't seen since the 2005 expulsion of ten thousand Israelis from their homes and communities in Gaza and northern Samaria. Indeed, the social cleavages that emerged since last month's election foretold an even greater disaster than the crisis we experienced back then.

The fact that three former Israel Defense Forces chiefs of general staff were willing to work in concert with the Joint Arab List placed a question mark over the future of our society and state.

The Joint Arab List is an alliance of parties that rejects Israel's right to exist. Its members work openly in the Knesset, in the courts and in the international arena to delegitimize the Jewish people's right to self-determination and to undermine Israel's ability to defend itself from external attack and internal subversion. Blue and White's willingness to work with the alliance called into question the Israeli Center-Left's commitment to the continued existence of the Jewish state.
The Tikvah Podcast: Moshe Koppel on How Israel’s Perpetual Election Came to an End
With the recent agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief political rival, Benny Gantz, a governing coalition is at long last beginning to emerge in Israel. After three national elections in a single year, the Jewish state will soon have a regular cabinet and resume the work of government. It couldn’t have happened at a better time. The coronavirus pandemic will have significant effects on Israel’s politics and economy, while Israel’s citizens continue to live under threat of attack from enemies in the Gaza Strip, Syria, Lebanon, and Iran. And questions remain about what will become of the Trump peace plan, especially with American elections just a few months away. In this podcast, Jonathan Silver is joined by Moshe Koppel, chairman of the Kohelet Policy Forum, a member of the Department of Computer Science at Bar-Ilan University, and one of Israel’s leading conservative political activists and policy experts. They analyze the causes of Israel’s political crisis, explain how it finally came to an end, and probe the larger significance of these recent events in Israeli history. Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.
This global health crisis and Passover
A special message from [Australian] Prime Minister Scott Morrison for an out of the ordinary Passover.

Scott Morrison writes:
Passover is a time when we remember the journey of the Jewish people. A journey from slavery to freedom. It is a tradition dating back several millennia that has inspired Jewish communities around the world through the best of times — and the very worst, too.

At a time when we face great challenges, the festival of Passover has special meaning. This year it has a poignancy with many grandparents and grandchildren not able to be with each other for the Seder.

We are distancing from each other this year, so that next year and beyond, all our family members can gather and share the seder together.

This global health crisis that we face is a once-in-one-hundred-year event.

It requires all of us, no matter what our faith, to do our duty as citizens.

All of us have a role to play in keeping our community safe: employers, nurses, doctors, teachers, scientists, friends, family and neighbours.

The Jewish people have shown they can endure the most trying of circumstances, and such resilience gives me great confidence that our nation will also get through this.

I am very behind in my book reviews, and I need to write them before I forget the books!

Pumpkinflowers is a truly great book. It tells the story of the tail end of Israel's first Lebanon war, from first person perspectives of the soldiers who were defending one specific unremarkable hill in Lebanon, named Pumpkin, that was deemed critical at the time.

Friedman is an excellent storyteller and a really great writer. It is clear that he is also a fantastic researcher as well, in putting together sources to build a seamless story, especially in the first section of the book.

That section describes Avi, a soldier at the Pumpkin who was sent there soon after what was known as the Pumpkin Incident, where Hezbollah attacked the soldiers there and for a brief time put up a Hezbolah flag - and then publicized it. It was an early example of how a militarily meaningless action can become a great victory in the public relations war, and it showed how warfare itself is changing.

Avi's story is told in his own words and ends in a very unexpected and heartbreaking way which highlights Friedman's considerable writing talent.

The second part of the book is Friedman's own story as a young soldier at the Pumpkin.  Here he really has a chance to show off his talent of observation. It is the story of the mundane, highly regimented life of low-level soldiers, following orders to obtain objectives they cannot possibly understand, with weeks of boredom punctuated with occasional dangerous and deadly incidents.

Yet it is much more than that, because that story of the soldiers at Pumpkin is the story of Israel in Lebanon at large, at a point where no one wanted to talk about it. This was during the Oslo process and people were intoxicated at the idea that peace was possible. The low level Lebanon quagmire was an embarrassing sideshow, yet there were real actors in that show, some who died way too young.

In the final part of the book, Friedman narrates his final visit to Pumpkin, coming as an American tourist to Lebanon a few years later, trying to understand what it all meant.

I'm not doing the book justice in this review. Just read it.

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  • Friday, April 03, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

The point I am trying to make is that while people can argue endlessly about how there are theoretical differences between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, the rage that Jew-haters and Israel haters exhibit are absolutely identical. Antisemites and anti-Zionists are equally irrational, equally obsessed and equally wrong.

If racism and antisemitism are wrong because they are examples of irrational hate, then that same hate is immoral in any context. While the Israel haters would argue that they have justifications for their obsession, so do antisemites, racists and xenophobes.

There's no difference.

The only thing that can explain the seething and manic, obsessive hate for Israel is the fact that it is the Jewish state. No one has the same hatred towards Syria or China to the point that they say that they have no right to exist. Only Israel is such a target.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
From Ian:

40 victims of coronavirus, more than 7,000 Israelis are infected
The Israel Defense Forces will provide the civilians of Bnei Brak with assistance, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed Friday, as preparations for traffic restrictions in and around the ultra-Orthodox city were put into place and the Health Ministry announced that more than 7,000 people were diagnosed with coronavirus.

By evening, the National Emergency Authority published a procedure for approving entry and exit from the restricted area on Friday.

Four more people died on Friday, victims 37, 38, 39 and 40 were all elderly people.

The ministry's report showed that some 115 people were in serious condition, including 95 are on respirators.

The government officially decided to crack down on Bnei Brak on Thursday, approving a full military-enforced closure on the city. Armed troops from the IDF’s Paratrooper Brigade began being deployed early Friday to work with the Homefront Command and Netanyahu stressed that the responsibility for enforcing these new restrictions, including enclosing the city, rests with the Public Security Ministry and the Israel Police.

Bnei Brak has more coronavirus per capita than any other city in Israel, the Health Ministry showed. On Friday, 1,061 people were diagnosed with the virus there - up 513 people in the last three days.
Israeli coronavirus fatalities are mostly elderly men, average age 79.8
Most of Israel’s coronavirus fatalities have been elderly men with underlying medical conditions, in line with global averages.

The average age of Israel’s dead was 79.8 years old as of Thursday afternoon. Of the 34 dead, 21, or 64 percent, were men, and 13 were women.

Ninety-four percent of Israel’s fatalities — all but two — are over the age of 60, in line with the average in Europe of 95%.

The vast majority of Israel’s dead had underlying medical conditions, as do most senior citizens. Israeli medical authorities rarely specify which preexisting conditions the fatalities had.

The World Health Organization said Thursday that 10% to 15% of people under 50 with the disease have moderate or severe cases.

Dr. Hans Kluge, head of the organization’s office in Europe, said recent statistics showed 30,098 people had died in Europe, mostly in Italy, France and Spain. More than half of Europe’s dead were over the age of 80.

Kluge said more than 80% of those who died had at least one other chronic underlying condition like cardiovascular disease, hypertension or diabetes.

There are more than 980,000 confirmed cases worldwide, led by the United States with more than 226,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The US has recorded over 5,100 deaths, with New York City, the US epicenter, recording 1,374 fatalities.

The number of deaths worldwide passed 50,000 on Thursday. Over 204,000 have recovered from the illness.
Netanyahu urges wearing masks outside; announces stipends for kids, elderly
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday evening said all Israelis should wear masks when out in public, and promised stipends for Passover for Israeli children and pensioners.

He also introduced strict limitations to travel in and out of Bnei Brak, the ultra-Orthodox city with one of the highest coronavirus infection rates in the country, as part of new directives to stop the spread of the pandemic.

Netanyahu, emerging from voluntary quarantine at his official residence in Jerusalem after an aide tested positive for the coronavirus, said that people who don’t have masks can use an improvised facial covering such as a scarf.

Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman-Tov reiterated that Israelis should not rush out to buy masks as they should be left for medical professionals, but can improvise with material and rubber bands.

The most important thing, Bar Siman-Tov said, was that the nose and mouth were covered.

Netanyahu also announced that families will receive a one-off payment of NIS 500 per child (approximately $140), up to the fourth child, ahead of the upcoming Passover holiday. There will also be stipends for the elderly, he said, without specifying the minimum age. He said these payments will be approved via emergency legislation, and that payments will be made directly into bank accounts, with no bureaucratic red tape.

  • Friday, April 03, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Most large companies have very specific policies against any employee giving the appearance of speaking on behalf of the company unless specifically authorized to. So while, for example, an employee is free to rant about abortion on message boards, he or she cannot associate themselves with their company in their posts. Doing so would imply that the company itself is behind these statements.

I would imagine that Goldman Sachs has a similar policy.

Meet Jameel Kassouri, a senior quantitative analyst at Goldman Sachs in London. He writes frequently on Quora about his opinions on the Middle East, opinions that are misinformed, biased and false.

And he does it while identifying himself as an executive at Goldman Sachs.

And then there's this bit of antisemitism:

There is of course no shortage of ignorant people on Quora pretending to be experts. But when they attempt to give their opinions credibility by saying that they are a vice president at a major international financial institution, they are smearing the name of their company.

I don't think Goldman Sachs would be happy to know how their name is being used.

(h/t E)

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  • Friday, April 03, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Sinwar during a TV interview last night

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar threatened to kill all of Israel's Jews if Gaza does not get enough ventilators.

“If ventilators are not brought into [Gaza], we’ll take them by force from Israel and stop the breathing of 6 million Israelis," he said, as reported by Times of Israel and Arab media.

Israel has close to 9 million people, of whom about 6.9 million are Jewish. Sinwar's use of the word phrase "six million" is meant to apply only to Jews, as well as to evoke the Holocaust.

No "human rights" group seemed bothered by that.

But, at the same time, Hamas pretended to offer a deal if Israel released prisoners who are old and sick, women and those under 18. A Hamas press release said, "We can offer a partial concession on the issue of the captured Israeli soldiers, in exchange for the release of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian prisoners, the elderly, the sick, women and children."

The nature of this "partial concession" is not even hinted at. Maybe Israel can expect a fingernail or a 1 cm square piece of cloth from one of the uniforms of the dead.

Left completely unspoken is the fate of the two Israelis who are still presumed alive in Gaza,  Hisham al-Sayed, an Israeli Arab, and Avera Avraham Mengistu, an Ethiopian Jew, both of whom are said to be mentally impaired and both of whom walked into Gaza on their own where they disappeared. They are clearly not soldiers and therefore not mentioned by Hamas, although Hamas has implied that it is holding them hostage.

Under international law, the Israeli hostages and the remains of the soldiers must be released unconditionally.

Even though Hamas is not offering anything concrete or specific for the unnamed "partial concessions,"  it is congratulating itself on its humanity by even pretending to make an offer. "As a humanitarian initiative in light of the coronavirus crisis, it reflects the values, ethics and principles of this movement that values man, his life, his freedom, his dignity to everything, and the flexibility of Hamas in dealing with this situation," the press release said.

Yes, at the same time they are threatening a new Holocaust against Jews, they are telling the world how moral they are. You could not make this up.

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  • Friday, April 03, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
IMPACT-SE did a study of Saudi textbooks. 

While they say that the textbooks are much less hateful than they were in 2017, they still have some pretty bad stuff.

Here's an excerpt showing both how bad it is now and how much worse it was two years ago:

Jews Turned into "Real Monkeys" [by Allah]
The curriculum interprets a Qur'anic surah (A'raf 7:163–66), which narrates the story of one group of Jews who (in pre-Islamic times) did not respect the Sabbath and set fishing nets to catch fish during the day. The text refers to the changing of a group of Jews by Allah into "real monkeys" ruling out other, gentler interpretations that usually view this as a metaphor.

139 3. Falsehood of the deception leading to the disruption of the law of Allah, breaking limits (hudud) 140 set by Him, and performing what He forbids. The way the Jews acted when they threw their nets into the sea on Friday for fishing, and then pulled the nets out on Sunday. And they say: 'we did not do anything on Saturday [the Sabbath].' 6. Allah punished [these] Jewish oppressors by turning them into real monkeys. Tafsir 1, Grades 10–12 (Joint Track), 2019, p. 73. 

While one can find more examples of extreme anti-Jewish polemic in this Qur'anic commentary textbook, the 2017 edition of this very same book includes more such examples. In other words, there is a certain toning down of rhetoric even in pure religious polemic that mimics hate messaging.

Examples of the removed subject matter follow: 

 The Islamic nation is the best of all nations, and their greatest in status. It carried the torch of guidance, led humanity to glory and eminence, eliminated superstition and charlatanism, and established the rules of justice. It has received this in return for harsh sacrifices, the most important of which are faith in Allah, care for the guidance of Allah's creation, and the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice. For the People of the Book to drink from this benevolence, and be lighted by this light, they should only believe in Allah as God, Islam as religion, and Muhammad as messenger. And if they refuse, as a proper punishment they deserve humiliation and servility and the anger of the MightyTafsir 2, Grades 10–12 (Humanities), 2017, p. 78.

The textbook then explains that in this particular case the People of the Book are specifically the Jews. While this text has been removed in the 2019 edition, the idea that Islam is the one and only legitimate religion is presented elsewhere in the curriculum and is not meant to be merely theological, but has practical dimensions.
(h/t Alexi)

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Thursday, April 02, 2020

From Ian:

The Last Resort: The Man Who Saved the World from Two Pandemics
Scandal, anti-Semitism, and experiments on human beings – when we opened this fascinating archive to have a look at the documents contained within, we could not have imagined how this incredible tale would unfold – the story of a Zionist scientist who was determined to save the world from the plague and cholera against all odds. Introducing Waldemar Mordechai Wolff (Zeev) Haffkine.

Haffkine was born in the Russian Empire in 1860 in what is today the Ukraine. His life trajectory was determined as soon as he completed his studies in Switzerland in the late 19th century, when he decided to dedicate his life to the study of tiny organisms. At the time, Louis Pasteur was one of the best-known scientists in the field, and Haffkine decided to seek work at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. He was accepted but was given a job as a librarian, as that was the only available opening at the Institute. Bureaucracy, what can you do?

While Haffkine was working with experts like Pasteur and Ilya Mechnikov, cholera outbreaks in Russia and India emerged as a serious threat. Haffkine felt his time had come, and after tireless research, he managed to develop a cholera vaccine based on attenuated bacteria. People may have been dying in masses of a rampant pandemic, but no one stepped up to support Haffkine’s research. He decided to take a drastic step – a last resort to prove the vaccine’s credibility: Haffkine picked up a syringe full of an attenuated strain of cholera, inserted the needle into his arm, and injected the disease straight into his bloodstream. How many would have done the same?

After several days of suffering from fever and worrisome symptoms – the long-awaited turnaround arrived, and on July 30th, 1892, Haffkine reported his findings and the success of the vaccine to the Biological Society in France. But France and other European countries remained skeptical and suspicious of his methods, and refused to accept his results. At the time, European official medical establishments weren’t very enthusiastic about the idea of vaccines in general.
Holocaust Remembrance Day can still be held communally despite coronavirus
As measures to curb the coronavirus around the world keep people isolated in their homes, Jews are still able to commemorate the Holocaust together on Holocaust Remembrance Day as the social initiative project "Zikaron BaSalon" is now holding events online via Zoom.

"This year, even more than ever, we will mark Holocaust days and the heroes at home, in our private living rooms together with family members," said project founder Adi Altschuler.

In the past, Zikaron BaSalon – meaning "remembrance in the living room" – hosted events in private homes, where discussions were held on the Holocaust in attempts to keep the memories alive. Bridging the past to the present, the project has had over a million hosts in over 54 countries worldwide.

This year a website has been launched online so that hosts can hold events, since official events have been canceled, parades and tours have been stopped and Holocaust survivors have been told to stay home in order to stay healthy. "Despite all of this, it is important to hear the stories and testimonials of the survivors," said Altschuler.

On the website, special events can be found tailored to families, designed for kids and teens alike, as well instructions on how to have a Zoom meeting with grandparents or second generation family members.

As the Holocaust survivors are most vulnerable to the virus, the project will unfortunately proceed without their live testimonials, as the social initiative aims to protect them.

"It is the personal responsibility of all of us to commemorate the Holocaust Remembrance Day along with its heroes, listen to the testimonies and stories, in every way possible, even in today's reality – despite the coronavirus, so we will never forget," said Altschuler.
Coronavirus Passover: Why is this year different from all others?
As the Health Ministry strives to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic across Israel, it has issued a list of guidelines in conjunction with the Chief Rabbinate to help keep Israelis safe.

Why is this Passover different from all others before it?

This Passover:
1. We will celebrate in our own homes and only with our nuclear families.
2. None of our dishes or other utensils will be kashered and no hametz will be burned outside of our homes.
3. We will not hire outside cleaning help but will clean our homes on our own with store-bought bleach or other cleaning products.
4. We will order our groceries to be delivered.

“This Passover, send love remotely through Zoom or phone calls,” the ministry advised, adding that if for any reason people leave their homes, they should wear a face mask and stay two meters from anyone they encounter. The ministry said people should pray alone, refrain from taking walks in nature or anywhere more than 100 meters from their homes.

“Please obey the Health Ministry guidelines so that we can all celebrate together next year,” the Health Ministry wrote.

  • Thursday, April 02, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
(This is a Twitter thread I wrote earlier)

@nytimes observation in three parts:

1) It criticizes Israel and @netanyahu for using cell phone records to track people's locations so it can inform them if they were near someone with COVID-19 saying it is an invasion of privacy.

2) It publishes its own analysis of where Americans have been traveling during the crisis, based on billions of cell phone records. But it insists that the data they used is anonymous.

3)  Last December, it publishes an expose showing how easy it is to figure out who people are based on the same kind of cell phone data that the NYT obviously has access to.

Showing that "anonymous data" is a lie, by their own reporting.

So what, exactly, is the difference between what Israel is doing to help slow down the pandemic and what the NYT is doing to publicize how people are behaving?
Because I cannot see any moral difference between the two.

But there is one significant difference:
 Israel's surveillance has oversight, it was agreed to by the High Court and the cabinet.
The NYT does its surveillance with no transparency whatsoever.

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Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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PJL Laurens, via Wikimedia Commons
PJL Laurens, via Wikimedia Commons
Gaza City, April 2 - A pathogen responsible for tens of thousands of deaths worldwide and hundreds of thousands more with life-threatening respiratory symptoms has either ignored or remains unconscious of the guarantees of various Islamic preachers that the faithful will remain unscathed, and has ravaged those believers along with everyone else.

SARS-CoV-2, known by various other appellations such as COVID-19, The Wuhan virus, or the more general term coronavirus, has killed thousands of Muslims in Iran and other predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East, in addition to Muslims residing outside the region, such as in the US or UK. The virus has infected millions of people, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, indicating that it either does not know or does not care that Imams from Malaysia and the Philippines to Nigeria and Gaza have pronounced COVID-19 a divine weapon against the infidel that will cause no harm to loyal followers of Muhammad.

"No one seems to have told the virus to avoid Muslims," lamented an epidemiologist in Mashad, Iran. "All this trouble with the disease spreading outwards from the holy city of Qom, and the shrines there that people licked for protection, all because of that oversight. Like, even putting a Quran up on the telephone wires hasn't kept COVID-19 out of people's neighborhoods, even though many of our spiritual leaders issued guarantees that such measures would shield us. We need an inquiry into whose job it was to inform the coronavirus only to attack infidels."

After the pandemic claimed the lives of three Muslim healthcare workers in London last weekend, Imams began to suspect a more fundamental problem. "This looks a lot more systemic than simple negligence," worried a preacher at a mosque outside Paris. "I think we need to consider that the entire mechanism for sparing faithful Muslims from the ravages of misfortune and evil - be they war, disease, famine, oppression, enslavement, or indignities of all kinds - requires attention. Far too many examples just in recent memory provide evidence that divine protection for Muslims has not been implemented as we have been led to expect: conflicts in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iraq; the current pandemic; droughts that hit Africa every few years; Uighurs in Chinese concentration and forced-labor camps; and ongoing subjugation to non-Islamic regimes in India and Israel as well, just to name a few."

Specimens of the COVID-19 pathogen declined to be interviewed for this article, citing social distancing precautions.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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