Friday, May 08, 2015

From Ian:

Joel Pollak: Never Mind the Bomb--Israel Is Looking Fantastic
True, the headlines are dominated by one crisis after another, internal and external. The riots by Ethiopians angry at police brutality. The mounting threat of a nuclear Iran. The Palestinians’ refusal to discuss peace. The near-collapse of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition.
And yet from a broader perspective, the country is thriving as never before, and maintaining a relentless day-to-day optimism in the face of its many challenges.
This past week, I returned from a whirlwind five-day trip to Israel, where I covered a conference on law and terrorism organized by Shurat HaDin, a legal advocacy group that sues terrorists on behalf of victims and their families. It was, somewhat inexcusably, my first trip back to Israel in nearly eight years. And the changes were remarkable—the result of a rapidly growing economy, an increasing birthrate, and vastly improved national security, which enables everything else.
The changes were most noticeable in Jerusalem. Eight years ago, security guards and fences were still ubiquitous around every restaurant and café. If you wanted to go out to eat, you had to be prepared to subject yourself and your belongings to a thorough search, because terrorists had made a habit of blowing themselves up in places of public accommodation.
Now the only place that still has the same level of security is the bus station—and even that is more relaxed.
The reason public life has become safer and more convenient is that the much-reviled security barrier—the so-called “wall,” which is actually a fence for most of its length—actually worked.
Let’s Call it Red-Washing
Israel has sent one of the largest aid teams to Nepal after the recent devastating Earthquake. Over 250 doctors and experts in search and rescue were dispatched to the region. Israel’s ability to respond with such a massive and effective force is not only due to decades of experience on the battlefield, but it also expresses a centuries-old tradition of Jewish devotion to the medical arts.
The great Jewish Physicians of the medieval period are more widely known for their written works in poetry and philosophy. Their ranks included Yehuda Halevi and Moses Maimonides.
And the tradition continues today where Israel is a leader in medical innovation the world over and is currently providing emergency care not just in Nepal but also on the Syrian front, where its field hospitals are overwhelmed by the non-stop stream of victims from Syria’s civil war.
And yet despite these life-saving efforts, I suspect the critics of Israel will find a way to malign the Jewish state. Positive stories about Israel’s acceptance of gays are labeled “pink-washing”, Israeli green technology, including organic farming, solar energy and water conservation – all desperately needed in the world today – are dismissed as “green-washing”. So, here’s to a new term: “red-washing”, because no matter how you paint it, Israel won’t stop providing medical aid wherever it is needed.
Giving voice to Muslims who support Am Yisrael
As busloads of frum Jews flocked to the funeral of Zidan Seif, the Druze policeman who sacrificed his life to protect Jews in the Har Nof massacre in November 2014, our community proudly and openly showed its support for righteous gentiles. Just as we reach out to those who make the ultimate sacrifice, we have an obligation to educate ourselves about those who promote peace – especially those Muslim leaders who are striving for a peaceful Islam. These leaders are on the front lines of an intellectual battle; they are defending the Jewish claim to the land of Israel, and defending the Jewish people as authentic “people of the book” – deserving of respect and protection. They are doing so at personal sacrifice and even risk from their less appeasing brethren. And they deserve our attention.
This article is a first in a series. I will be introducing you to Muslim leaders who support the Jewish people. We need to know this information because, as Jews, we are enjoined to respect the righteous among the nations, and surely to lend support to those who wish to support us. Many prominent Rabbanim have been active in dialogue with Muslims:

As the Nakba Comes to Washington, a Wasted Opportunity
It’s still early in the life of the Nakba Museum, but at this point, the entire project looks to me like a wasted opportunity. Arguing that Israel bears a degree of responsibility towards Palestinian refugees is one thing; trotting out the same tired Arab League propaganda points is something else entirely. And however many Jews with doubts about Israel might be attracted by the museum, the vast majority will shun its message and everything it stands for.
The Nakba Museum could still be an exciting venue, both online and offline. It is ideal for an exhibition about the ongoing suffering of Palestinians in Yarmouk and elsewhere in Syria, the vast majority of whom are experiencing actual displacement for the first time in their lives. It might even host a seminar about the wholesale movement of populations in the wake of World War II, from the Sudetenland to India and Pakistan, and thence to British Palestine.
I’d even dare to suggest that they include in that list the 800,000 Jews from the Arab world who lost their homes and livelihoods following Israel’s creation—another hidden “nakba” that the Arab states, having first violently agitated against their Jewish populations, now depict as a Zionist plot to rip the Jews away from their loving Muslim neighbors.
Some histories, it seems, are more memorable than others.
Britain’s Archbishop of Canterbury Calls on Christians to Fight ‘Horrendous’ Violence Against Jews
The head of the Church of England called on the Christian community to acknowledge and fight the “horrendous” violence perpetrated against the Jewish community, the UK’s Jewish News reported Wednesday.
“Within the Christian community we need to stand against our own tendency, when exhibited over many centuries, to violence; violence against each other and above all violence against Jewish communities in horrendous and horrible ways going back well over a millennia,” said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
Speaking at the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ annual dinner in London, Welby called for the development of an “ideology” to counter the beliefs of those he called “radicals,” though the archbishop failed to elaborate on who those radicals are.
“If we don’t do that we leave all the good arguments in the hands of the radicals,” he said.
The archbishop also apologized for the actions of Church of England vicar Stephen Sizer, who in 2014 attended an antisemitic conference in Iran, where conspiracy theories such as Israel’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks as well as the dominance of the “Zionist lobby” over the U.S. and the EU were presented.
US airstrike kills al-Qaeda leader who claimed Charlie Hebdo attack
A US airstrike in Yemen last month killed the senior al-Qaeda official who appeared in a video claiming the deadly January attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo, a monitor said Thursday.
Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, who was killed in the April strike along with his eldest son and other fighters in the port city of Mukalla, also appeared in al-Qaeda videos claiming the holding and death of US hostage Luke Somers, SITE Intelligence Group said.
The announcement of his death came in a video posted Thursday on Twitter by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — which Washington considers the international terror network’s deadliest branch.
The air raid appears to have been carried out overnight on April 21-22, when witnesses in Mukalla said an apparent US drone strike on a vehicle parked near the presidential palace in the city killed six suspected al-Qaeda militants.
SITE described Ansi as “a senior AQAP official and military strategist.”
Danish buses torched, tagged with anti-Israel graffiti
Danish police said Friday that four city buses were destroyed in a pre-dawn fire and a fifth was vandalized with anti-Israel graffiti at a bus depot in Copenhagen.
Investigator Jens Moeller Jensen said police suspect arson and are investigating possible links to a decision last week by city transit officials to remove bus ads by a pro-Palestinian group calling for a boycott of Israeli goods.
“In paint was written ‘Boycott Israel – Free Gaza’ on at least one of the buses,” police spokesman Las Vestervig told local newspaper BT.
He said “there could be a political motive. We consider this one theory … but we cannot link it to anything for now.”
Don’t Let BDS and Palestinians Turn Soccer Into a Political Football
On 6 December, 2001, at an International Commission of Jurists session on the boycott of Israel held at the United Nations in Geneva, Jibril Rajoub physically threatened me. With his fist at my chin, and despite my visible UN pass, he hissed “Dirty Zionist, out!”
When I asked his name, he responded, “call me Mr. Palestinian terrorist.” As the only Jewish representatives, I and my colleague remained in the room. We detected, perhaps as a result, a shift to a more moderate tone among the speakers.
Like a bad penny, Rajoub is back as the President of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), now with his fist at the chin of Joseph (Sepp Blatter), President of FIFA, demanding “Israel, out!”
BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) as a political football is the direct antithesis of the beautiful game.
The New Israel Fund is Beyond Defense
Israel has enough enemies; Hamas is rebuilding its tunnels, Hezbollah is believed to have a network of underground passageways even greater than Hamas, and the fear of Iran achieving nuclear capabilities puts the threat level at an all time high. Antisemitic activities are on the rise in Europe and French Jews are looking to leave their country for the relative safety of Israel in record numbers.
Yet the New Israel Fund and its grantee Breaking the Silence would have the world believe what the radical Islamists have been selling – that Israel is evil and Jews are the root cause of death and mayhem. It simply is not true, but truth is not as powerful as perception.
If there was any doubt about the intentions of the New Israel Fund before, this latest attempt to discredit the IDF and position a nation trying to protect its people as the aggressors should make it very clear.
Im Tirtzu Website: All The Truth about the New Israel Fund
Grassroots Zionist student organization Im Tirtzu has launched a new website called NIF Watch.. The website claims to hold all of the reports, position papers and updates on the activities of the New Israel Fund (NIF) and the organizations it supports, which have been published over the years.
According to Im Tirtzu, it also “documents the delegitimization of Israel caused by the NIF and its partners nationally and internationally.”
Among other things, the movement states, “the site shows quotations from the directors of the NIF and the heads of the organizations it supports calling for IDF soldiers to be put on trial for war crimes, calling for boycotts and sanctions against Israel, taking legal actions in court against the State of Israel, and encouraging international pressure.:
In addition, the site highlights recently published Im Tirtzu reports, including the one tracing funds from the Ramallah-based Palestinian organization that funded the reports by Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem accusing the IDF of crimes during Operation Protective Edge. (h/t Yenta Press)
Chilling College Reports Highlight Rising Antisemitism on University of California Campuses
As the school year nears its end, two articles concerning antisemitism on University of California campuses highlighted concerns of a growing trend.
The first article, published by The College Fix on Wednesday, documents instances of antisemitism at UC Santa Barbara, such as a protest wall that condemned so-called Israeli “apartheid,” which was constructed ahead of a student vote on measures to divest from Israel.
The report from UCSB also provided chilling testimony from one student, junior Margaux Gundzik, who was present at the run-up to the vote: “In those eight hours, I was told that Jews control the government, that all Jews are rich, that Zionism is racism, that the marginalization of Jewish students is justified because it prevents the marginalization of other minority groups, that Israel sterilizes its Ethiopian women (this is obviously not true), and that Palestinians in America who speak out against Israel are sought out by the IDF and denied entrance into Israel (also a ridiculous conspiracy theory).”
The Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law co-authored a report on antisemitism across U.S. campuses in 2014, and its president, Attorney Kenneth L. Marcus, told The Algemeiner that until the BDS measure, his organization had been “hearing very little from UC Santa Barbara.”
“Unfortunately, the [boycott, divestment and sanctions] resolution … changed all of that,” he said.
The UCSB report called the antisemitism on display on campus a “microcosm of sorts, of the larger issue at hand.”
Group Says Uni Vice-Chancellor Who Criticized ‘Hitler Loving’ Student Leader is ‘Puppet’ of Jewish Funders
The vice-chancellor of a major South African university has become a “puppet” to Jewish funders and “alumni interests” after his sacking of a student government president, a prominent South African alumni group declared on Thursday.
“In capitulating to the interests of Jewish funders and alumni at the institution, Prof. [Adam] Habib has in our opinion rendered himself a puppet who has to sacrifice the academic future of student Mr. Mcebo Dlamini on the altar of political correctness,” said a statement from Higher Education Transformation Network.
The group called the decision by the university, and “particularly the Vice-Chancellor,” to expel Dlamini from the student government “erroneous and disproportionately harsh.” It accused Habib of “succumbing to the demands of the Jewish funders and alumni interests at the university.”
While ignoring an incendiary comment by Dlamini on his personal Facebook page a few weeks ago, which declared “I love Adolf Hitler,” the group said “It would be unfortunate if Wits university management now has adopted ‘Gestapo-type’ management tactics of summarily expelling students and staff merely because they hold dissenting views… in this age in our constitutional democracy.”
The Guardian promotes anti-Israeli cyber-bullying of Lauryn Hill– and hides recent failures of the BDS groups
Listing her accomplishments, the Guardian article salaciously pointed out that after recording one well-known song, Hill “decided to drop out of the public eye … [and] served a brief prison term over tax evasion”. Cyber bullying of this performer (and tax evader) achieved its goal of intimidating her. Israelis will not get the opportunity to see her perform in Israel.
The following paragraph from the Guardian report of her cancelled trip is a shocking indictment of the ability of cyber-bullies to intimidate a person; not the happy ending the Guardian apparently thinks it is:
“Activists pressured Hill to cancel, with a campaign that quoted Killing Me Softly – a cover song she is famous for – to describe Israeli policies.”
Unknown “activists” waged a cyber-bullying campaign, which the Guardian does not condemn, to which this weak-kneed individual succumbed (oh, Charlie Hebdo – where are you when we need you to stand up for personal freedom of choice and expression in the arts?).
Following Lauryn Hill’s Concert Cancellation, Israel Agrees to Leave West Bank (satire)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Israel will evacuate its military and civilians from the West Bank and end its blockade on the Gaza Strip Tuesday, a day after hip hop star Lauryn Hill announced the cancellation of a scheduled concert in protest of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
“As I’ve said repeatedly, withdrawing from the West Bank puts our citizens at risk and breaks our promise to God to rule over all of biblical Israel,” Netanyahu said at an impromptu press conference announcing the policy change. “However, weighed against the prospect of missing out on the chance to see That Thing performed live in concert, those are concessions we must be willing to make.”
Netanyahu acknowledged that removing all soldiers, military equipment and settlers from the West Bank in time for Hill’s scheduled May 7 appearance would be a challenge. However, there seemed little resistance from West Bank settlers, who agreed to vacate their homes immediately in exchange for tickets to Hill’s upcoming show. As of press time, the streets of Hebron were littered with settlers, suitcases in tow, donning kippot and vintage Fugees t-shirts.
Following the announcement, British composer Brian Eno said he has told his agent to schedule an appearance in Tel Aviv. Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters, however, said he would not return to the country until the Jews went a step further and relinquished their control over Hollywood as well as global politics, media and finance.
Richard Millett: Guardian columnist accuses The Sun of possible “anti-Semitism”.
Ed Miliband is Jewish. He does not advertise his Jewishness except for when he wants people to focus on his immigrant roots. His Jewishness does not seem to be an issue with the electorate and it is arguable as to how much of the electorate even realise he is Jewish.
However, there doesn’t seem to be anything remotely anti-Semitic in the use by The Sun of “pig’s ear”, “Save Our Bacon”, “Don’t swallow his porkies” (porky pies is cockney-rhyming slang for lies). Surely, it was merely a political front page to amuse and remind The Sun’s vast readership to vote Conservative in much the same way The Sun screamed of a possible Labour win on the day of the 1992 general election: “If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights?”
Labour lost that election despite being expected to win and many have credited that Sun headline for winning it for the Conservative Party.
Kahn-Harris writes that yesterday’s front page was “cruel, abusive and puerile”. He is possibly right there, but anti-Semitic? Even he has doubts.
Kahn-Harris writes widely and, usually, superbly on anti-Semitism but this column, with its accusation of possible anti-Semitism, is especially rich appearing in The Guardian, of all places, considering The Guardian’s relentless attacks on Israel and, sometimes, Jews themselves.
What is far more worrying is the allegation that Labour activists in the parliamentary constituency of Finchley and Golders Green have been telling religious Jews that the Conservative candidate Mike Freer is gay, which he is, to try to put them off voting for him. Of that the Labour-supporting Guardian seems to be silent at the moment.
Selective BBC reporting on explosions in Sudan implies Israeli involvement
The link in that Tweet leads to an article on the BBC Arabic website which also promotes the idea of Israeli involvement in the incident despite – as noted by the Deputy Editor in Chief of the Sudan Tribune – there being no confirmation of that particular version of events or indeed any other.
One obvious question which arises is why the BBC considered this story suitable for publication on its Arabic language website but not on its English language equivalent.
Another notable point is that if the BBC is going to promote the notion that Israeli planes attacked “Sudanese military installations” despite the lack of any concrete evidence to support that claim, then obviously there is also a need to include factual information concerning the history of Iranian arms smuggling to Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip via Sudan rather than just the standard ‘Israel says’-type mention at the end of the BBC Arabic report.
Al Jazeera America Is Imploding … But Who's Going To Notice?
The not so-slow motion train wreck that is Al Jazeera America (AJA) continues to roll on. The Qatar-owned cable news network is, though, the proverbial tree in a forest that implodes with no one around to hear. The implosion stories are dramatic and entertaining. They also don’t matter. AJA doesn’t matter. No one watches. The network has zero impact on the news cycle.
Allegations of sexism and anti-Semitism at a network owned by a government where Islam is the state religion?
The hell you say.
The story isn’t that AJA is imploding.
The story is that it is not a story that a 24 hour cable news network with billions invested in it is imploding.
UK Jews mull boycott of Galliano speech
Members of three London-area synagogues have threatened to boycott an event featuring fashion designer John Galliano, who was fired from Christian Dior over an anti-Semitic rant.
Galliano is scheduled to speak at the end of the month on a panel hosted by the three central London synagogues on the topic of religion and fashion. The event is sponsored by the chief rabbinate.
Congregants launched a petition against Galliano’s appearance, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
Christian Dior fired Galliano, a British national, in March 2011 after he was filmed making anti-Semitic statements at a Paris bar. Galliano stated his love for Adolf Hitler and told people he believed were Jewish that their mothers should have been gassed. He blamed his outbursts on addictions to drugs and alcohol.
Algerian Writer And Politician: 'Hitler Was A Genius'; By Committing Suicide, He Proved 'He Was A Man To The End
Algerian writer and politician Dr. Muhi Al-Din 'Amimour, who has held a series of senior official positions in the country, published an article on December 17, 2014 praising Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. 'Amimour called Hitler's rise from a simple sergeant to German Chancellor a "miracle," praised his success in transforming Germany into a superpower that nearly ruled the world, and called him "clever" and "a genius." He also said Hitler was "a man to the end," choosing suicide over humiliation by his enemies. 'Amimour accused "Jewish organizations" of demonizing Hitler since the 1940s to the point that he became "a global bogeyman" whose name is used as a pejorative and applied to third-world tyrannical rulers. He also accused "Zionist propaganda" of extorting European countries while exploiting their guilt over Nazi crimes.
'Amimour closed his article by expressing hope that someday the world will view Israeli leaders as it now views Hitler, and perhaps even in a worse light.
Nazi camp website hacked with child porn on WWII anniversary
The website of one the Nazis’ biggest former concentration camps was hacked with images of child pornography on Friday, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, officials said.
Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said the hacking of the website of Mauthausen near Linz in northern Austria was a “criminal, sick attack and deeply abhorrent.”
“Interior ministry experts are helping the private operator of the website as we speak to get the site back up as soon as possible. At the same time an investigation is under way,” she said.
Rivlin, Netanyahu honor Jewish WWII vets 70 years after VE day
Israeli leaders marked the 70th anniversary of the allied victory over Nazi Germany on Thursday evening, with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu honoring US, British and Russian Jewish war vets at a ceremony at the IDF tank memorial in Latrun.
May 8 marks the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s surrender to the allies in 1945, and “the victory of the free world, over the Nazi beast,” Rivlin said.
“Around one and a half million Jews served in the Second World War, around eight percent of the entire Jewish population, and around half a million of whom, fell in battle,” Rivlin said at the ceremony. “Jewish servicemen fell as submarine commanders, fighter pilots, tank and infantry commanders, in the engineers and artillery corps, riflemen and regular soldiers. In every branch of the military, of each army which fought against the Nazis, were found decorated and dedicated Jewish heroes.
Israel and Germany mark 50 years of diplomatic relations
This month marks 50 years since Israel and West Germany established diplomatic ties. It has been an understandably complex relationship, launched two decades after the Holocaust ended and 14 years after West Germany committed to reparations “both moral and material” for the genocide committed by the Nazis. (The decision to accept German money and goods was contentious among Israelis, some of whom referred to the payouts as “blood money.”)
Normalized relations between Israel and West Germany might have been initiated years earlier had it not been for objections from Arab states. But decades on, the connection between Israel and a now-united Germany — East Germany never established formal diplomatic ties with the Jewish state — has grown beyond its historical imperative, encompassing broad political, cultural, economic and military exchanges.
Here are some highlights from that relationship:
Jerusalem to Build New Production Studio to Attract International Filmmakers
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced plans to build a film and TV production studio in Israel’s capital in the hopes of attracting foreign filmmakers, Variety reported on Wednesday.
“After Richard Gere and Natalie Portman made Hollywood films in Jerusalem, and NBC filmed here last summer for the series Dig, now it’s time to move to the next stage in the development of the film industry in the capital,” Barkat said in a statement.
Portman’s directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness, a movie based on Israeli writer Amos Oz’s memoir of the same name, filmed entirely in Hebrew, was shot in Jerusalem along with Joseph Cedar’s film Oppenheimer, starring Richard Gere. USA’s television series Dig also filmed in the city but had to stop during last summer’s Israel-Hamas war. The 10-episode drama was the first U.S. television series to be filmed entirely in Israel.
The new Jerusalem studio aims to draw more foreign productions to Israel, while working with Israel’s public broadcaster to attract local projects, Variety said. The studio is also working to set up a partnership deal with Culver Studios in Hollywood.
Microsoft Exec: Small Israeli Companies Leading to Big Tech Successes
Despite all the talk about how Israeli companies are great at exits but not at scaling up into large corporate entities, the Tel Aviv-based general manager of Microsoft Ventures Global Accelerators declared that impact matters more than size.
“Much has been written about Israel moving from a startup nation to a scale-up nation,” said Tzahi (Zack) Weisfeld at a press briefing before Think Next 2015, Microsoft’s seventh annual innovation event in Tel Aviv.
“It was an amazing year for this industry when it comes to raising funds and exits. We had great IPOs like MobileEye and Wix. But we don’t think scale is just about size. It’s about the kind of impact you make. And we see more and more small companies having an amazing impact,” he said.
Weisfeld cited Israeli examples: Equivio text-analysis software for the legal market, acquired by Microsoft last January; and Meerkat, the livestreaming service that caused a sensation on Twitter before being bumped off and regrouping recently on Facebook. WhatsApp, not an Israeli company, has achieved major scale with just 25 engineers, he noted.
Israel’s Ben-Gurion University to Develop Robots to Help Senior Citizens
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers have received a grant from Israel’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Space to develop robotic systems that will meet the needs of senior citizens.
The BGU project, titled “Follow Me: Proxemics and Responsiveness for Following Tasks in Adaptive Assistive Robotics,” will use “robotic adaptive person-following” algorithms to create robots that will adjust to specific tasks, the pace and abilities of their users, and the characteristics of their environments.
“While most person-following algorithms focus on the effectiveness and efficiency of the robot, what is unique about our approach is that we focus on the effectiveness of the human-robot interaction by introducing constructs related to proximity in human-human interaction,” Dr. Tal Oron-Gilad, a researcher in BGU’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, said in a statement.
In essence, the Israeli-developed robots will behave similarly to how humans interact with one another.
Israel to California: Here’s how to save water
As Californians struggle with an ever-worsening water shortage caused by a historic drought, they might look east for a solution — to the Middle East.
Israel, subject to intermittent droughts for decades, has pioneered a number of water-saving techniques. It long ago figured out how to grow crops in the desert and for decades has advised the developing world on how to manage scarce water resources.
Now, Israel is eager to share its latest know-how with drought-ridden states like California. These helpful techniques include water quotas, desalination plants and the reuse of household wastewater.
Six years ago when Israel was in the grips of its own dire drought, the government actually considered shipping in water from Turkey — more than 1,000 nautical miles away. Instead, the country embarked on a coordinated effort of recycling used water, desalination and education.
"Israel no longer has a water shortage," said Uri Shani, a Hebrew University professor and former director of the Israel Water Authority.
OurCrowd invests in Israeli ‘helmet’ to diagnose Parkinson’s
To celebrate Israel’s 67th birthday, Israeli crowdfunding platform OurCrowd announced its 67th investment in ElMindA, which has developed the world’s first FDA-approved neural functional assessment tool to visualize serious brain trauma and illnesses.
The technology, according to OurCrowd, is potentially a huge breakthrough for mitigating sports injuries, advancing brain research and changing the lives of the two billion people worldwide living with brain disorders.
With the ElMindA investment, OurCrowd closes out about two years of activity, so far investing over $110 million from its “crowd” of thousands of accredited investors in its portfolio companies, which span major investment sectors — including the Internet of Things, fintech, cybersecurity, medical technology, agricultural technology, big data and robotics.
Taglit-Birthright celebrates 15 years, half a million participants
Taglit-Birthright Israel is celebrating its 15th anniversary as it kicks off its summer season this week.
The trip, offered for free to young Jews around the world, has brought nearly half a million participants to Israel so far.
This summer alone, some 30,000 young people and their Israeli peers will tour Israel on the 10-day trip to the country's cultural and historic sites, officially putting the program over the 500,000-participant mark.
Taglit-Birthright CEO Gidi Mark said of the program's achievements: "Before Taglit, only 1,500 young Jewish people, mostly from the United States, visited Israel each year. In our first year, we brought 9,000 participants.
"Now, we bring 45,000 participants from around the world to Israel each year."

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