Tuesday, July 30, 2013

From Ian:

Israeli Instant Harness used in miners’ rescue
Israeli rescue equipment helped workers save the lives of at least eight trapped miners in South Africa on July 28, after a nightmarish three-day ordeal underground that left three dead, allegedly at the hands of an armed rival illegal mining crew.
The Agilite Instant Harness was used by Riga Rescue volunteer Graham Holmquist to lower a South African police interpreter down into the shaft to communicate with the injured miners regarding the procedures to follow.
The product is designed for scenarios where military, police, fire, rescue personnel or hikers unexpectedly require a harness, without needing to carry a rappelling harness with them at all times.
Times story suggesting unequal pay between Jews and Palestinians at SodaStream is “a lie”.
The final passage of course suggests that SodaStream pays Palestinians less than they pay Israeli Jews. So, I decided to take a trip down to SodaStream’s corporate offices at Airport City (with a colleague) to ask the company’s CEO Daniel Birnbaum about the allegations. While we spoke for over an hour about many aspects of company operations, here’s a short clip of my question to him about the charge of a disparity in pay.
We also asked Birnbaum about the claim made in the story that the company gets tax breaks for locating across the green line. Birnbaum categorically denied that SodaStream gets any special ‘West Bank’ tax breaks beyond the tax incentives any Israeli company gets for locating in the periphery of the country (such as in undeveloped areas, like the Negev).
Finally, we were curious about the Times interviewee, Faiz Abedy, and wanted to ask the Palestinian a few follow-up questions based on the responses he purportedly gave to Philp. Remarkably, Birnbaum told me that, after thoroughly checking SodaStream employee records for a Faiz Abedy, no such employee actually exists. (Note that the reporter didn’t say a word about the name being a pseudonym)
US Jewish Group Runs BDS 'Summer Camp' to Teach Boycott Tactics
The NGO Monitor group accused JVP of seeking to sow dissent among American Jewish campus groups by holding provocative campus events that have caused numerous splits in Jewish organizations on campus. Among its supporters are well-known anti-Israel activists, including linguist Noam Chomsky, Broadway playwright Tony Kushner, and actor Wallace Shawn.
The group's latest gambit, NGO Monitor said, was a “summer camp” for campus activists to train them in the most effective methods to conduct a BDS campaign against Israel. The camp promises to train participants to identify Israeli products in stores, how to prepare an anti-Israeli product campaign, how to recruit other BDS activists, and how to lobby the community to join in the boycott.
BBC’s Bell suggests Maccabiah Games are racist
Participation in some international sporting events is conditioned on geography – for example the Pan-American Games, the All-African Games or the Pacific Games. The right to take part in the Commonwealth Games depends on historical and cultural alliances and in the Youth Olympic Games participation is limited by age. The Pan-Arab Games are open to athletes from predominantly Muslim Arab countries.
As far as this writer is aware, it has not occurred to the BBC to imply to its audiences that controversy surrounds – or should surround – any of those sporting events due to the non-inclusion of participants who do not meet their specific criteria.
Jordanian King Pledges to Fight "Judaization of Jerusalem"
The Hashemite monarch also expressed his willingness to “support the steadfastness of Muslim and Christian Jerusalemites and to preserve their legitimate rights in the city,” according to a statement from the Royal Court, published Sunday in The Jordan Times.
According to the statement, Abdullah said that Jordan “will not spare any efforts, whether political, diplomatic or legal to protect the city, highlighting the Kingdom’s historic role in securing the holy sites."
Medical NGOs Guilty of "Malpractice" in Arab-Israeli Conflict
A new study released by NGO Monitor has found that several highly influential medical NGOs (non-governmental organizations) active in the Arab-Israeli conflict consistently violate their self-proclaimed moral principles.
“These NGOs, despite claiming medical professionalism, impartiality, and universality as part of their mandates, have politicized medicine, using the rhetoric of "health" as a means to demonize Israel and discriminate against Israelis,” charged the NGO Monitor watchdog organization.
Report: Bomb Parts Used in Burgas Attack Smuggled in From Poland
The detonator and remote control used in the Burgas, Bulgaria bus bombing last year that left five Israelis and the bus driver dead were smuggled in from Poland, Bulgaria’s Trud daily reported Monday, citing investigators.
The as-yet-unidentified bomber and two accomplices smuggled in the components on a train from Warsaw on June 28, 2012, the Trud daily said.
Scuffles on war criminal Priebke’s 100th birthday
Erich Priebke celebrated his 100th birthday as protesters scuffled outside his residence with a young man described as a relative of the Nazi war criminal.
Police presence was strong Monday in the neighborhood where Priebke is serving a life sentence under house arrest for his role in the 1944 mass killing of 335 Romans, including some 75 Jews, at the Ardeatine Caves south of Rome.
Simon Wiesenthal Center Condemns Finland’s Juha Kärkkäinen, Tycoon Publisher of Antisemitic Free Newspapers as a ‘National Danger’
Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a condemnation Monday of Juha Kärkkäinen, the owner of Finland’s Kärkkäinen department stores and publisher of Magneettimedia, an anti-Semitic free newspaper, in an open letter to Finnish President Sauli Vainamo Niinistö.
SWC’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, wrote that Magneetmedia publishes screeds by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke and anti-Semitic Oregon Pastor Ted Pike in a free format that panders to the lowest-common denominator, Jew hate, encouraging ordinary Finns who read the reports to embrace ethnic hatred.
Peres attends opening of Latvia museum honoring WWII Jew rescuers
President Shimon Peres has taken part in the ceremony to open a museum honoring a couple who saved some 50 Jews from extermination in Nazi-occupied Latvia.
The museum in downtown Riga, Latvia’s capital, is located next to the property once owned by Zanis Lipke, a port worker who together with his wife hid Jews in an underground pit measuring some 9 square meters (90 square feet).
Mexican émigré to Israel harnesses people power
Look closely at the blue lines of the huge Israeli flag that won a Guinness world record for most artists working on the same installation, and you’ll see they’re composed of fingerprints — 28,267 prints, to be exact. One of them belongs to Javier Gelbwaser.
This 35-year-old Mexican immigrant to Israel believes that collective art can unleash a powerful force for good.
When he was chairman of the Jewish Student Union in Mexico, he arranged for Jewish schoolchildren to handwrite 70,000 names of Holocaust survivors for a digitized display now on exhibit in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, among other places.
Then he gathered 10,000 kids to construct a peace mural from 40,000 Mega blocks, representing the 40,000 Jews of Mexico. Each child inserted five wishes for peace into the building blocks.
Oz, Boteach and Sharansky discuss Jewish values in Jerusalem
A full-capacity crowd gathered Monday evening at the capital’s newly launched Jerusalem Press Club to hear a panel discussion among luminaries Dr. Mehmet Oz, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky about Jewish values and their impact on society.
Oz, known as “America’s Doctor,” and Boteach, who has been called “America’s Rabbi,” arrived in Israel together with their families on Sunday for a weeklong visit sponsored by business mogul and philanthropist Sheldon G. Adelson.
Dr. Oz Travels to Israel


Put away that cellphone: Israeli study highlights cancer risk
A study by Tel Aviv University has shown, for the first time, a clear connection between cellphone use and higher risk of cancer.
Although cellphones are generally regarded as potentially carcinogenic, scientific studies on the issue have been inconclusive until now, a report on the study posted Monday on Science Blog noted.
Israel’s Latest Invention: Camera Helping the Blind Recognize Objects
A new invention from Israel which falls in line with the Jewish state’s reputation as a “start-up nation,” potentially revolutionizing life for the blind and the visually impaired, will go on sale in the U.S. in September.
The device, called OrCam, works via a 5-megapixel camera that attaches to glasses and can recognize text. With the help of the user, the camera can be taught to recognize objects and faces, said computer sciences professor and the co-founder of OrCam Technologies Amnon Shashua, who is also the co-founder of the more well-known Israeli start-up MobileEye, Haaretz and Reuters reported.
Peace Through Profits? The Secret Tech Ventures That Are Reshaping The Israeli-Arab-Palestinian World
With official relations between Palestinians and Israelis still poisonous after a century of conflict, any constructive dialogue is newsworthy. But these aren’t security forces talking about joint military patrols, nor is this discussion connected to the sudden resumption of peace talks after a three-year stalemate. The group, brought together by Cisco Systems, is speaking their common language: tech management. Nearly 100 times over the past two years Israeli high-tech experts and Palestinian entrepreneurs have gotten together in the hope of making Israel’s “Startup Nation” economic miracle a cross-border affair. And it’s just one of dozens of business-driven dialogues quietly–in many cases secretly–proliferating across the Holy Land.
“The way to end this conflict is to create a very large middle class and be inclusive in how you go after it across all individuals, regardless of age, religion or gender,” says John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, the most actively involved American tech executive in a coordinated effort that includes de facto diplomats from the likes of Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. “If you can address those issues and you can get others involved, then you can have a shot at peace in the Middle East.”


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