Wednesday, April 22, 2015

From Ian:

Natan Sharansky passionate about bringing persecuted Jews to a safe haven
One doesn’t have to be very vigilant to realize European Jews are in crisis mode. The tragic May attack at the Jewish Museum in Belgium where four people died; the grisly shooting at the Hyper Cacher market in France in January that claimed an additional four lives; and repeated incidents of beatings, harassment and vandalism of Jewish sites point to one alarming trend: Anti-Semitism is on the rise and EU officials are scrambling to find ways to combat it.
Given everything he has witnessed in his storied career as a politician, statesman and human rights activist, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky is not panicking when faced with such a grim reality. His observations are measured and his solutions – he hopes – are realistic.
“I believe the biggest challenge is anti-Semitism coming back to all these areas in the free world,” he said during a frank discussion with the editors of The Jerusalem Post earlier this month. “I think, while people know about it and write about it, they underestimate its power.”
Sharansky said current European anti-Semitism stems from two sources. The first is classical anti-Semitism – where the undercurrent of nefarious anti-Jewish sentiment has always had a presence on the continent. The second, and perhaps more worrying, comes from liberals who oppose Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians. As the European protests during the Gaza war last year demonstrated, he said, anti-Israel rhetoric can turn anti-Jewish within the blink of an eye.
NGO Monitor: Promoting the "Naqba Narrative"
In advance of Israeli Independence Day, NGO Monitor has documented a number of Israeli NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that mourn the establishment of the state of Israel as a “Nakba” (“catastrophe” in Arabic) and actively promote a Palestinian “right of return,” which, if implemented, would effectually mean the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state. Such efforts are made possible by the extensive funding provided by foreign governments, mainly European.
These NGOs similarly refer to all Jewish aspects of the state of Israel as inherently racist, thereby denying the Jewish right to self-determination and misrepresenting the robustness of Israeli democracy.
These goals fundamentally contradict the two-state framework backed by the international community, including their European donors.
NGO Monitor's detailed research shows that the following NGOs promote divisive campaigns that fundamentally reject the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state:
In France, there’s no hatred for any group equivalent to that of Jew hatred
Seven thousand Jews left France in 2014. France is reaping what she sowed. For many years, pro-Arab French politicians and media willfully misread the normative anti-Semitism of all Arab societies as a by-product of the Middle East conflict. Intent on relativizing what has always been a one-way hatred, French elites demoted Jews from their appropriate status of French nationals, as Ashkenazi Jews have been for more than 200 years, into a “community of immigration,” falsely accusing them of “communautarisme” (disloyalty to French republicanism), and shamelessly mischaracterizing Muslim anti-Semitism as a problem of “the two communities,” both in need of “inter-religious dialogue.”
Post-Second World War anti-Semitism has been a serious problem in France since the 1980s, when it was imported from North Africa, where it was endemic. Yet it was, until a few years ago, actually a government policy, in collaboration with France’s pusillanimous media, to ignore hundreds of acts of anti-Semitism so as not to “throw oil on the fire” of Muslim rage.
Valls’ nuanced reframing tells us France is not prepared to tackle the root cause of its only existential hate crisis. So French Jews can choose: a continuing siege existence in a nation whose fear of its alienated Muslims trumps solidarity with its integrated Jews; or a new home in Israel, under external siege to be sure, but a nation where Jewish lives are privileged over political correctness.
French Jews at least have a choice. The rulers who created the conditions that are forcing the choice don’t. They’re stuck in France. Who will be better off in the end?



Shmuley Boteach: The Lie of Israeli Apartheid
Last week I received a call from Washington Square News, NYU’s student newspaper, asking me to respond to the charges of 130 New York University professors who signed a petition calling for a boycott of companies doing business with Israel, since the Jewish State has now become apartheid South Africa.
I gave them the following quote: “Any professor who calls Israel an apartheid state is guilty of ignorance, moral blindness, and an assault on the sacred memory of Nelson Mandela, who they are of necessity comparing to Yasser Arafat. Mandela was a man of peace who brought together people of different races in harmony and equality. Arafat is the father of modern international terrorism. And Hamas, whom polls show would win an election in the West bank, is dedicated in their charter to the genocide of Jewish people wherever they may be found.“
The comparison of the Palestinians, rather than the Jews, to black South Africans, has become a regular and deliberate distortion that degrades the peace, harmony, and reconciliation that black South Africans have shown in comparison with innumerable Palestinian terror groups committed to Israel’s annihilation.
Anti-Israel PLO Ally Hosted for Meeting At White House
An anti-Israel activist who served as an expert witness on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in a recent terrorism trial was hosted for a meeting with senior White House officials, according to visitor logs released by the Obama administration and media reports.
Michael Sfard, an anti-Israel activist who has reportedly been paid by the PLO to serve as an expert witness in terrorism trials against it, met in December 2014 with a senior White House National Security Council (NSC) member for a meeting about the Middle East, according to the logs and reports.
Sfard, a lawyer, serves as the legal council for the left-wing Israeli group Yesh Din, which advocates lawfare, or the practice of trying Israeli officials for so-called war crimes when they travel abroad. Critics have dubbed the lawfare movement anti-Israel in nature.
Sfard is the latest in a string of officials and voices openly hostile to the Israeli government, including pro-Iranian ones, who have recently been hosted at the White House.
The Obama administration found itself embroiled in an international controversy earlier this year after the Washington Free Beacon reported that staffers linked to team Obama were behind a massive effort to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israeli in that country’s March election.
Michael Lumish: So, Just What is a “Palestinian,” Anyways?
They were one of the rivals for regional dominance competing with the ancient Israelites along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea over one thousand years before Jesus of Nazareth walked the land.
They were, needless to say, not a people from the Arabian peninsula and were in no way the forebears of those who conquered the Land of Israel in the seventh century.
This is to say that the ancient enemy of the Jews, the Philistines, are in no way related to the contemporary Arabs who have, for some reason, taken a Latin name that refers to a Greek people.
Furthermore, Palestinian-Arab authorities sometimes claim to be either descendants of the Philistines or descendants of the ancient Canaanites or descendants of the little known ancient Jebusites.
New Zealand Seeking UN Resolution on Israel-PA Talks
UN Security Council member New Zealand is working on a draft resolution to revive long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), AFP reported on Tuesday.
France has begun consultations on a text that would outline the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, but Ambassador Jim McLay said that New Zealand's friendship with Israel and the Palestinian Arabs means it could make a contribution.
"New Zealand wants this Security Council to focus on a practical outcome -- and we have been working on a text that might serve the purpose of getting negotiations started," he said, according to AFP.
The ambassador emphasized that the timing was right to move forward, after the Israeli elections and before the United States becomes embroiled in the campaign for the presidency in 2016.
McLay added that New Zealand was open to supporting the French initiative "if it has a chance of succeeding," but he made clear that action was needed soon.
Scottish parliament discusses recognition of Palestinian state
A Scottish parliament debate on Monday on the recognition of a Palestinian state as a means to revive peace negotiations drew sharp condemnations from Jerusalem. Noting that the debate took place on the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day, one Israeli official called the discussion “pointless” and “shameful.”
The parliament in Edinburgh did not vote at the end of the poorly attended session, but most speakers expressed support for the motion, several of them criticizing Israel for running an “apartheid” regime and “inhumane” policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians.
The motion, proposed by Glasgow MP Sandra White, stated that the parliament “believes that the recognition of the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel based on 1967 borders could be a stimulus to securing a negotiated two-state solution in the Middle East and notes the opinion of many Israelis and Palestinians living in Glasgow, the rest of Scotland and beyond that resolution through peaceful means is the only option.”
Fmr. NY Prosecutor: Evidence Suggests Argentina, Iran Struck Deal to Cover Up Iranian Involvement in ’94 Bombing
There is evidence that the Argentine government struck a deal with Iran to cover up the Islamic Republic’s involvement in the 1994 AMIA bombing, former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau told the Foundation for Defense of Democracies last Wednesday.
“It is hard to fathom a government’s willingness to cover-up the murder of its citizens, but that such a deal was reached between top officials in Argentina and Iran seems clear,” said the long-time New York prosecutor.
Morgenthau, who served as the Manhattan District Attorney from 1975 until 2009, was at FDD to receive the first annual Nisman Award for Courage.
The award was created in honor of Alberto Nisman, the late Argentine prosecutor who had been appointed 10 years ago to investigate the attack on the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. The 1994 bombing killed 85 and injured hundreds of others and is believed to have been carried out by Hezbollah under directions from the Iranian government.
Nisman was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in his apartment on Jan. 19, but forensic evidence has indicated that the death was not a suicide. He died just hours before he was due to present congress with evidence that Argentine President Cristina Kirchner had agreed to grant Iran impunity for the bombing in exchange for favorable trade deals.
“According to Nisman, and according to revelations that have come since his death, this was a sordid deal cooked up in backrooms and bedrooms, involving huge transfers of money between Iran, Venezuela, and Argentina, all at the expense of the innocent men, women, and children who died at the hands of Iranian-backed terrorists,” said Morgenthau.
Tennessee General Assembly Becomes First State Legislature to Condemn BDS
The Tennessee General Assembly on Tuesday became the first state legislature in the U.S. to formally condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
Senate Joint Resolution 170, initially passed April 9 by the Tennessee Senate in a unanimous 30-0 vote, was approved by the Tennessee House of Representatives in an overwhelming 93-1 vote on Tuesday, with Democratic State Representative G.A. Hardaway the lone dissenter.
The resolution, which is expected to be signed next week by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, declares that the BDS movement is “one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitism and advocating the elimination of the Jewish state,” adding that BDS activities in Tennessee “undermine the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, which they are fulfilling in the State of Israel.”
Furthermore, the resolution states that the BDS movement and its agenda are “inherently antithetical and deeply damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy and human rights for all the peoples in the Middle East.”
WikiLeaks: Natalie Portman Organized J Street Discussion at Height of Gaza War
Actress Natalie Portman sought to get involved amid last summer’s 50-day violent conflict between Hamas and Israel, organizing an “intimate” discussion at her home led by J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami.
An email published by WikiLeaks last week shows the actress invited then-Sony Motion Pictures Group Chairwoman Amy Pascal to attend what Portman said she hoped would be a “productive” discussion.
Portman said she wanted to discuss the conflict and plan “possible next steps forward.”
It would appear that Pascal, however, did not share Portman’s sense of urgency. “Send regrets that I am on holidayBut [sic] Would have wanted to come,” she wrote back.
Hamas-linked charity can't use taxpayer funds for legal defence: Federal Court
Federal Court has dismissed a bid by the terrorist-linked charity IRFAN-Canada to have taxpayers cover its legal costs.
The Mississauga, Ont. charity is challenging Canada's decision last year to list the group as a terrorist entity for allegedly funnelling $14.6 million to Hamas between 2005 and 2009.
IRFAN is fighting the designation in court but says the government put it in a "catch-22" last November by barring it from raising new money.
IRFAN asked the attorney general to foot the bill.
Federal Court judge Anne L. Mactavish's decision, released Tuesday morning, said IRFAN refused to provide detailed financial statements.
"The jurisprudence clearly puts the burden on the party seeking (the) order for advance costs," the judge ruled in Ottawa.
The Canada Revenue Agency revoked IRFAN-Canada's charity status in 2010, saying the group donated $14.6 million in cash and goods to a dozen groups owned or controlled by Hamas.
Islamic Jihad Comes to Campus
The world is witnessing a resurgence of global anti-Semitism not seen since the 1930s and the “Final Solution.” In the Middle East, Hitler-admiring regimes like Iran, and Hitler-admiring parties like Hezbollah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, are openly planning to finish the job the Nazis started. Even in America, until now the most hospitable place outside of Israel for Jews, the atmosphere is more hostile than at any time in the last 70 years.
According to the FBI, three-fifths of all religious hate crimes in America are now committed against Jews, while a recent Pew poll revealed that 54 percent of Jewish students have either been the subject of an anti-Semitic attack or witnessed one. The frequency of these attacks among college-aged students, moreover, is five times that of any other age group. The reason for this is obvious: Across the United States student groups associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, specifically Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Students Association, are engaged in a vitriolic campaign against Israel and those students who support its right to exist. These organizations promote the propaganda of the terrorist organization Hamas, and call for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Students for Justice in Palestine, the more active of the two groups, claims to support a left-wing agenda of “social justice,” and “universal human rights.” Like the left itself, though, Students for Justice in Palestine doesn’t stand for the rights of Palestinians in the territories controlled by Palestinians, including the rights of Palestinians to disagree with each other without being targeted by their terrorist rulers. Instead, SJP’s sole agenda is the destruction of the Jewish state.
Israel's Security Fence and the SJP Protesters
Kenyon College, a small liberal arts college in Gambier, Ohio, is the undergraduate alma mater of both Thomas Lifson, American Thinker’s publisher and me. Professor Fred Baumann has taught political science at the college for over 30 years, and is one of its most distinguished professors in a department that has had many fine teachers through the years.
In the last two years, Kenyon has been infected with the arrival and formation of the anti-Israel hate group, Students for Justice in Palestine. Last year, SJP erected an “apartheid wall” to “celebrate” the beginning of Passover in the College’s main dining hall. SJP is a big fan of in-your-face activism, and at some colleges (e.g. Temple University), this has meant slugging pro-Israel students in the face. This year, the group set up their wall at Kenyon right after Holocaust Remembrance Day (coincidental I am sure).
I spoke at Kenyon about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in February, and one SJP member, who did not attend my talk, nevertheless wrote a defamatory piece for the college newspaper, claiming I was an Islamophobe, prejudiced, and a fool, and calling for greater campus-wide action against me, whatever that means. All of this condemnation was based on hearsay about a talk he did not attend (likely from another unbiased SJP member of course), and a few articles in American Thinker that I did not write. Anyone who wants evidence of the meaning of guilt by association, would have found this article of interest.
Needless to say, the student never withdrew his article, nor apologized, though a few subsequent letters to the college paper revealed how off base, ignorant and malicious he was.
Down With Disinvitations
Who should be allowed to speak on a university campus? This question has been the subject of debate during the last few years, especially as a growing sector of college students, faculty, alumni and other stakeholders have begun objecting to commencement speakers they say they find offensive. As that trend continued to rise, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has renamed the commencement period "Disinvitation Season."
In 2014, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice withdrew her acceptance of an honorary degree from Rutgers University in the face of protests from both students and faculty, while Brandeis University rescinded the offer of an honorary degree to women's rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Last fall, students at the University of California at Berkeley objected to the comedian Bill Maher receiving an honorary degree after hearing his reservations about extremist Islam.
An honorary degree is no small acknowledgment of achievement, and every award should be rigorously thought through. But should bestowing an honorary degree necessitate that the recipient fully align with the ideas of every faculty member or student? The offer of an honorary degree is an embrace of an element of someone's body of work. The revocation of an honorary degree is the rejection of a speaker as unfitting within the institution's moral teachings or mission statement.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, hardly a man of the right, devoted a portion of his commencement address at Harvard University to talking about the problem of liberal intolerance on the modern day college campus. "[I]t has been disturbing to see a number of college commencement speakers withdraw, or have their invitations rescinded, after protests from students and -- to me, shockingly -- from senior faculty and administrators who should know better," Bloomberg said. "In each case, liberals silenced a voice and denied an honorary degree to individuals they deemed politically objectionable."
Celebrating the Disinvited
University campuses are supposed to be a place for an open exchange of ideas, but liberals on many college campuses are no longer willing to hear both sides of the conversation.
Student groups across the country have decided that a free exchange of ideas is no longer a welcome quality on college campuses—unless they agree with all the ideas being exchanged. Brandeis University, to name one, chose last year to revoke an invitation to its campus to the human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali after students labeled her a “notorious Islamophobe.”
Born out of decisions such as Brandeis’ was the first annual Disinvitation Dinner, an event held in New York City on Wednesday by the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale that celebrated those who have been silenced on liberal campuses.
Speaking at the event was George Will, the Washington Post columnist whose invitation to speak to California’s Scripps College was rescinded last year. Will said that the First Amendment has never been in more danger.
Free Speech on College Campuses? As Long as it’s Anti-Israel
Attention parents of college students across America. Apparently, your children may not be safe.
This isn’t a warning about real physical dangers on campus, from sexual assault to random shootings. Rather, some advocacy groups say college students are at risk – maybe you’d better sit down for this – of being exposed to ideas and opinions they may not like.
It’s getting so bad that last week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) New York chapter demanded that Brooklyn College “take measures to ensure the safety of Muslim and Arab-American students” because of an upcoming speech by a harsh critic of Islam.
Pamela Geller, who has posted bus ads comparing Islamic terrorists to savages, is a polarizing figure. But her speech will be just that – a speech at a college campus. Not too long ago, such places encouraged students to “think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.”
Now, they are increasingly being called on to sanitize debate to protect the delicate sensitivities of young adult minds.
Rather than encourage students to either skip the event entirely, or to attend and challenge Geller with questions, CAIR opted to scare students, and by extension, their parents, by darkly hinting the talk would lead to violence.
It is baseless. Yet, this is no isolated incident.
Judge orders NY transportation authority to run 'Killing Jews' ad
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority to display on its buses a controversial ad that refers to Muslims killing Jews, rejecting the argument that the ad could incite terrorism or imminent violence.
US District Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan said the ad from the American Freedom Defense Initiative, referred to by both sides as the "Killing Jews" ad, was protected speech under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
The judge delayed enforcing his order by 30 days so the state-run MTA could decide whether to appeal his preliminary injunction.
Adam Lisberg, a spokesman for the MTA, said the agency was preparing a response.
The ad portrays a menacing man wearing a scarf around his head and face, includes a quotation "Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah" attributed to "Hamas MTV," and then states, "That's His Jihad. What's yours?"
Canadian Parliament Member Defends Israeli Action in Gaza in Epic Twitter Battle
In a heated exchange with a Twitter user on Tuesday, Canadian Member of Parliament Peter Kent defended Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip during last summer’s war.
Kent on Monday had posted on Twitter a photo of Operation Nemesis, a novel by Eric Bogosian. Kent recommended reading the book to commemorate the Armenian Genocide ahead of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, on April 24.
A Twitter user by the name Gerald Perkins commented on the picture on Tuesday and accused Kent of “politically using a 100 yr old atrocity.” Perkins included a link to a 2014 article published by The Guardian about casualties of the Israel-Gaza conflict. He then compared the Armenian Genocide to what he called “GazaGenocide.”
“Political / corporate elite ignored #ArmenianGenocide until expedient. Today same elite ignoring #GazaGenocide. That’s you,” Perkins wrote addressing Kent. “Look at the facts of what’s going on & not thru an ideological filter.”
The Conservative politician, who appeared to be offended by the comparison, responded to Perkins’ comment saying, “If you know your history..then + now..you know the difference!”
“Hamas responsible for Gaza tragedy: refusal to co-exist, sacrificing innocents,” he added. Directly addressing Perkins, he wrote, “I suggest you read the Hamas Charter dedicated to destruction of Israel. #StopIslamicTerror.”
CAMERA Letter in LA Times: Yarmouk Refugees and Palestinian Rejectionism
The following letter-to-the-editor by Tamar Sternthal, the director of CAMERA's Israel office, appears today in The Los Angeles Times:
Plight of the Palestinians
Re "The deepest circle of hell," Opinion, April 20
Jamal, a young Palestinian recently displaced from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria because of that country's civil war, says he wants "to return home, to Palestine." Instead of blaming "the West" for Palestinian refugees who are caught up in the Syrian war and are "not allowed home," Jamal should look to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
As reported in 2013 by the Associated Press, Israel agreed that Palestinians fleeing Syria could be admitted into the Palestinian territories so long as they relinquished any "right to return" to Israel. In response, Abbas reportedly said, "It's better to die in Syria than give up their right of return."
Guardian/AFP gets it wrong on Palestinian victims of Jewish terror
Today, April 22, The Guardian published an AFP story (Palestinian boy’s name erased from Jerusalem memorial wall), about a request by the parents of Abu Khdeir to erase his name from the memorial, which included the same error.
Here’s the relevant passage from the Guardian/AFP article:
Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned to death last July, a day after the burial of three Israeli youths kidnapped and murdered by Palestinians from Hebron. Although a number of Arab names are on the wall, it was believed to be the first time the name of a Palestinian killed by Jewish Israelis had been listed.
As with the initial version of the Times of Israel article, The Guardian/AFP got it wrong. We’ve contacted Guardian editors and will update this post when we receive a reply.
BBC responds to complaint about Jeremy Bowen’s ‘Holocaust card’ Tweet
Readers no doubt recall the Tweet below which was sent by the BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen whilst he was covering the Israeli prime minister’s speech to the US Congress on March 3rd 2015.
A member of the public who made a complaint on that matter has received a response from the Complaints Director at the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit – Richard Hutt – which includes the following:
"The BBC’s guidelines do not promise that content will never offend. They do however require that where it might, some editorial justification exists. In this case, I think the informed analysis I describe above would offer that justification, and as I say I do not think this served to belittle the Holocaust in any way. While I recognise and regret that you found this offensive I do not believe it is in breach of the BBC’s standards.”
Pope Francis Warns of Anti-Semitic Trends in Europe, Calls on Christians to Show ‘Solidarity With the Jewish People’
Pope Francis on Monday signaled the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe, calling on Christians to show “solidarity with the Jewish people.”
“Anti-Semitic trends in Europe these days are troubling,” lamented the Pope. He called on Christians to be “firm in deploring all forms of anti-Semitism, and in showing their solidarity with the Jewish people.”
The pope was speaking with a delegation from the Conference of European Rabbis at a meeting that was meant to herald “the beginning of a new working relationship between the two communities to defend their shared values and strengthen inter-religious dialogue.”
The pontiff stressed that Jewish-Catholic relations had progressed in a “systematic way” over the past 50 years. He referred to a Vatican declaration, the Nostra Aetate, which half a century ago released Jews from historical charges of deicide.
ADL Commends Pope Francis's Condemnation of Anti-Semitism
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) commended Pope Francis’s consistent comments about the evil of anti-Semitism on Tuesday, after he stated in a meeting with the Conference of European Rabbis on Monday that every Christian must condemn hatred against Jews.
Speaking during a meeting with the Conference of the European Rabbis (CER), a first since the organization was founded in 1956, the pope called on all Christians to stand firm against anti-Semitism.
"The anti-Semitic tendencies and certain acts of hatred and violence in Europe are of concern. Every Christian cannot but be firm in the condemnation of all forms of anti-Semitism," he said.
He urged the two faiths to continue the dialogue that had progressed "systematically for almost half a century."
Israel’s Exelon inventor sees an end to Alzheimer’s
Dr. Marta Weinstock-Rosin, inventor of Exelon, a drug that improves memory and slows its decline in subjects with Alzheimer’s disease, is a big believer in the ability of medical science to help people live longer and better-quality lives. “It’s sad to see someone who is afflicted with a disease like Alzheimer’s,” Weinstock-Rosin told the Times of Israel. “On the other hand, Alzheimer’s is a modern phenomenon; 100 years ago you never saw people like that, because they all died of other diseases before the brain degenerated.”
And eventually, she believes, a preventive treatment will be found for Alzheimer’s and the other maladies of the brain, along with cancer, heart disease, and the other great medical challenges of the modern era. Exelon, the drug she created to treat Alzheimer’s, is just the beginning. “A young person today may live to see a time when Alzheimer’s and many of the other great challenges are preventable,” she said.
Rivastigmine, commercially known as Exelon, is one of the most important drugs to have emerged from Israeli medical research labs in recent years. In recognition of this fact, its chief developer, Weinstock-Rosin, was awarded the Israel Prize for Medicine last year for her work. In a further honor, Weinstock-Rosin was chosen this year to light of one of the twelve ceremonial torches that inaugurate Independence Day in Israel Wednesday night. The torches are usually lit by individuals who have made a significant contribution to Israeli life, with the theme this year focusing on individuals who have made “breakthrough innovations” in science, technology, business, and culture.
Singapore, a tiny heaven for Jews
A serious crisis took place in Singapore after World War II, and few Jews remained in the country: Only 150 out of several thousands, most of them Iraqi Jews from Baghdad, who lead the community to this very day. Since then, the community has grown significantly and numbers some 1,500 men and women today (including the Israelis and Jews who arrive for a short relocation period for business purposes).
Love of Israel
The community is mostly Orthodox, wealthy and very inviting. Slowly, over the years, the community grew and expanded thanks to people who arrived from all over the world, including several thousand Israelis who are sent to Singapore every year by their workplaces on missions or special projects.
The few Jews who remained in Singapore after the war stood out. For example, David Marshall, who was a successful Jewish lawyer and served as Singapore's first chief minister from 1955 to 1956. To this very day, on the anniversary of his death, many residents from a wide spectrum of the country's different religions pay their respects to him.
In 1965, when Singapore gained its independence and split from Malaysia, Israel was one of the few countries which helped the new republic. Singapore's residents are still grateful to Israel to this very day, and the Israelis are very popular in the country.
Israel Daily Picture: "The Merchants of Jerusalem" -- Are They Not Jews? Pictures Taken by a German Photographer during World War I
This series of pictures was taken in 1917 by a "German official photographer" in Jerusalem -- before the capture of the city by British forces in December, 1917.
All of them bear the same caption: "A typical merchant in a Jerusalem street market, 1917."
Nowhere in the captions are the subjects identified as Jewish, but they appear so, particularly upon examining their side curls (peyot), and they appear to be Sephardic -- Jews from the Arab world.
Soldiers from Down Under come up trumps for Israel
You may recall me saying how UK evangelicals, and in particular the now international society CMJ (Church’s Ministry among Jewish people), were at the forefront of efforts to persuade the British Government to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. This resulted in the so-called Balfour Declaration of 1917 and became a practical possibility just nine days later when General Allenby’s forces took Jerusalem from the Turks.
But without the brave ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand) forces this could surely not have happened, and the Jewish people remain forever in their debt.
Against all odds, the legendary charge of the ANZAC light horse brigade completed a victory in the Battle of Beersheba that might not otherwise have been possible and paved the way for the subsequent capture of Jerusalem, bringing the centuries-old Ottoman Empire to an ignominious end in the process.
As it happens, April 25 is ANZAC Day which this year marks the centenary of the landing on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula of Australian and New Zealand forces, who subsequently conducted a brave eight-month long campaign against fierce opposition, losing 8,000 of their men, and has since been marked as a day of remembrance for all 60,000 ANZACs who fell during World War I.
1948 – How American Jewish Pilots Helped Win Israel’s War of Independence
On May 30, 1948—fifteen days after the fledgling Jewish state was invaded by the armies of five Arab nations—Milton Rubenfeld, a former stunt pilot who served in the British Royal Air Force and the U.S. Air Force in World War II, flew on a critical combat mission that stopped the advancing Iraqi army.
When his plane was hit by enemy fire, he bailed out, landing in the field of an Israeli kibbutz. Since no one at the time knew that Americans were flying for Israel in its War of Independence, Rubenfeld was mistaken for an enemy pilot by the rifle-brandishing kibbutz members. Hands raised in the air, Rubenfeld—who spoke not a word of Hebrew—identified himself to the Israelis and saved his life by shouting what little Yiddish he knew—“Gefilte fish”, “Shabbos”, and “Pesach”!
This little-known true story is recounted by Rubenfeld’s widow and his son, the actor Paul Reubens (better known as Pee-wee Herman), in a remarkable new feature-length documentary “Above and Beyond”.
Produced by Nancy Spielberg (sister of Steven Spielberg—yes, that Spielberg) and directed by the accomplished Roberta Grossman, the 87 minute film tells the fascinating tale of the American airmen who, just three years after the liberation of the Nazi death camps, volunteered with Rubenfeld in the 1948 war.
“Above and Beyond” has won rave reviews and multiple awards on the festival circuit. Opening on January 30, it’s been screening to admiring audiences nationwide.
'Above and Beyond' Trailer (2015)


Yom Haatzmaut 2015: So Many Reasons to Love Israel!


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