Monday, June 22, 2015

From Ian:

Netanyahu Warns Jewish World: The Threat is Growing
Speaking at a conference of the Jewish Agency in Tel Aviv on Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu described the largest dangers to the Jewish people.
The prime minister said the number one threat against the Jewish people is a nuclear armed Iran, warning that the Iran deal being discussed becomes "worse by the day," even walking away from previous interim agreements including inspections on military nuclear sites.
He also spoke about the terrorist proxies of Iran acting throughout the Middle East, as well as the Islamic regime's brazenness regarding their goals to destroy Israel.
Other threats against the Jewish state discussed by Netanyahu included the BDS movement, pushing to boycott and economically attack the Jewish state.
 War of words poses real threat
The main reason international forums are used as the primary arena against Israel, however, is that they provide anti-Israel groups an opportunity to present their vision of an Israel-free world to all, which is the way they believe is should be.
This is why those who truly want to fight for a peace based on the right of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples to self-determination in their homelands should be the ones leading the fight against the BDS movement.
If the world supports the notion that Zionism and Israel are the epitome of evil, then clearly the Palestinians cannot be expected to negotiate with it. After all, evil must be eradicated, not accepted in the name of peaceful coexistence.
Moreover, if justice for the Palestinians justifies the ethnic cleansing of Jews, and if the vision of global redemption includes an Israel-free world, then surely the Palestinians cannot be expected to agree to a permanent resolution of the conflict that would include recognizing Israel's right to exist as the Jewish homeland.
Peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will be possible only when both parties realize the other side cannot be defeated, and therefore they must reluctantly compromise and accept each other's independent existence. Those fostering the Palestinians' illusion that Israel and its Jewish sovereignty can be defeated, if not through an Arab boycott and terrorism then by global isolation and public diplomacy onslaughts, only push peace farther away.
The fight for peace is one of many facets and stages. At this time, the fight for peace requires fighting the BDS movement.
Anti-Israel Activists Harass Israeli TV Presenter in London, Interrupt Live Broadcast (VIDEO)
Anti-Israel activists interrupted a live television broadcast from London with chants calling for the destruction of the Jewish state as Channel 10 correspondent Miri Michaeli attempted to report on a conference late last week.
While Michaeli updated viewers on a speech from Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog at the London School of Economics (LSE) on Friday, two protesters stood up close alongside her holding up large Palestinian flags and aggressively chanting “free free Palestine” and “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free.”
An LSE student who uploaded footage of the incident on Facebook applauded the journalist for standing her ground.
“So following Isaac Herzog’s excellent speech at LSE, this poor but admittedly tough news anchor from Channel 10 withstood disgraceful intimidation from two men surrounding her without even flinching,” the student wrote. “Israeli women are not to be messed with. Respect.”



Former Muslim Extremist Defends Israel: 'To Be Free From Hatred Is Incredible'
There was a time when Kasim Hafeez wished for the destruction of Israel but now, as a defender of the Jewish state, he was honored Thursday with the Speakers of Truth award.
“Speaking out for the truth is not Islamophobia,” Hafeez declared to the crowd. “Don’t let the truth be compelled by this Islamophobia cause that’s been used to shutdown any criticism.”
Growing up as a British Muslim, Hafeez used to blame Israel for what was wrong with the world. Born to Pakistani parents, he was indoctrinated in his teens to become anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic. That was, however, before a series of chance encounters that led Hafeez to seek the truth about the people and country he hated the most.
Now, as a defender of the Jewish state, Hafeez was honored alongside Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. Louie Gohmert at a dinner in Washington D.C. hosted by the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).
“When you stand up for what’s right, when you stand up for Israel, when you stand up for Israel, you will see amazing things happen, things in the world,” Hafeez continued. “For everything I’ve been through, the bad days, how my life is now is so, so much better, to be free from hatred is incredible.”
JPost Editorial: US policy on Iran
How are we to understand these conflicting messages? On one hand, President Obama is bringing to bear all of his influence to convince Americans, Saudis, Israelis and others in the region and elsewhere of the importance of reaching an agreement with the Iranians. And the Obama administration has shown a willingness to facilitate reaching a deal by abandoning its redlines – such as the demand that Iran reveal the history of its nuclear weapons program.
On the other hand, the US State Department acknowledges that Tehran continues to support terrorism around the world. Could it be there is a connection between Iran’s continued aggression and the US’s conciliatory approach to Iran? After all, the Iranians have no reason to believe that the Obama administration’s assurance that “all options are on the table” is anything but an empty mantra.
Tehran has not been forced to face military or even diplomatic retribution from the US for remaining a leading state sponsor of terrorism. If anything, the Iranians have learned from the very different fates of Libya and North Korea the importance of obtaining nuclear weapons as quickly as possible.
While Washington helped overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after he gave up his nuclear program, the White House has avoided a military confrontation over North Korea’s nuclear program.
Harmony and consistency must be brought to US foreign policy. This will only happen when Congress, on a bipartisan basis, insists that Iran stops supporting international terrorism and the administration reassesses the merits of the nuclear arms agreement currently being negotiated with Tehran.
Don't Trust Us: Tell Washington to Oppose Obama's Nuclear Deal with Iran


Iranian diplomat: US needs deal more than we do
France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Saturday that he would meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday to assess where Iran stands ahead of the final round of talks on its nuclear program, beginning later that week.
The bilateral meeting, on the sidelines of an EU foreign ministers' summit in Luxembourg, will be followed by a meeting between Zarif and all the European parties negotiating with Iran.
"Toward the end of next week the ministers will go [to the talks], so I'd like to have an explanation and conversation to see where the Iranians are," Fabius told reporters in Cairo.
Iran reached a framework nuclear deal with the U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany on April 2 in Lausanne. The parties are aiming for a final agreement by June 30 under which Iran would restrict its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
"There will be a deal, Americans need it more than we do. This deal will help both countries," said an Iranian official, who put the chances of reaching a final deal at 70%.
Britain says no nuke deal if Iran doesn’t show flexibility
Britain on Monday urged Iran to show more flexibility in talks on its contested nuclear program as an end-0f-June deadline looms after years of tortuous negotiations with the West.
“There will need to be some more flexibility shown by our Iranian partners if we are going to reach a deal,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said.
“I think the serious negotiations are now getting underway and over the next week, I hope to start to see some progress,” Hammond said. “We are pushing hard to get there now.”
Hammond was speaking as he arrived for a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg where he will also hold talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Iran lawmakers ban nuclear inspectors from military sites
With some lawmakers chanting "Death to the America," Iran's parliament voted to ban access to military sites, documents and scientists as part of a future deal with world powers over its contested nuclear program.
The bill, if ratified, could complicate the ongoing talks in Vienna between Iran and the six-nation group — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — as they face a self-imposed June 30 deadline. The talks are focused on reaching a final accord that curbs Iran's nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.
Of 213 lawmakers present on Sunday, 199 voted in favor of the bill, which also demands the complete lifting of all sanctions against Iran as part of any final nuclear accord. The bill must be ratified by the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog, to become a law.
The terms stipulated in the bill allow for international inspections of Iranian nuclear sites, but forbid any inspections of military facilities.
Iran’s Abuse of Minorities About to Get Much Worse
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s 1979 Islamic Revolution ushered in what Khomeini and his supporters promised would be an Islamic democracy, but what in reality would quickly reveal itself to be a repressive dictatorship. The outline for Khomeini’s philosophy of government was no secret. In 1970, he published a book, Hokumat-i Eslami (“Islamic Government) which fleshed out the parameters and workings of a government based on the idea of guardianship of the jurist. He infused his reading of Islamic history and philosophy with religious hatred. Hence, he declares in just the second paragraph of the book, “From the very beginning, the historic movement of Islam has had to contend with the Jews, for it was they who first established anti-Islamic propaganda and engaged in various stratagems, and as you can see, this activity continues down to the present.” Later in the text, he declared, “If the rulers of the Muslim countries truly represented the believers and enacted God’s ordinances… then a handful of wretched Jews (the agents of America, Britain, and other foreign powers) would never have been able to accomplish what they have.”
His castigation of Jews was little compared to his hatred of Baha’is. “In our own city of Tehran now there are centers of evil propaganda run by the churches, the Zionists, and the Baha’is in order to lead our people astray and make them abandon the ordinances and teachings of Islam. Do we not have a duty to destroy these centers that are damaging to Islam?” American pastor Saeed Abedini continues to be held hostage in Iran; he was imprisoned because of his unapologetic embrace of Christianity.
While apologists for Iran like to praise the Islamic Republic’s protection of minorities—here’s The New York Times’ Thomas Erdbrink and here’s Roger Cohen, also in The New York Times. To cite 20,000 Jews living in Iran is one thing; to fail to acknowledge that population has declined more than 80 percent since the revolution suggests quite another. Many Jews fled to Israel or the United States, but the Baha’is had nowhere to go. Upon seizing the reins of power, he and the revolutionary clerics following him were merciless to the Baha’is. Many were imprisoned, and some were executed. All were fired from government jobs, and their private employers were pressured to fire them. Baha’i students were forced from universities. Today, Baha’is are subject to arbitrary arrest, and even Baha’i children find themselves imprisoned.
Philip Mendes and Nick Dyrenfurth: Antithesis of progressive politics
To boycott or not to boycott? That is the strange question that has gripped sections of so-called progressive politics and the trade union movement across much of the West since the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign was launched a decade ago.
BDS advocates claim to be motivated by a desire to alleviate Palestinian suffering and end the denial of national rights to Palestinians living in the West Bank. But their analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is based on a simplistic worldview of good and bad. This caricature labels Israelis as nefarious and immoral oppressors and Palestinians as defenseless and innocent victims, and constructs superficial and false analogies between current Israeli policies and earlier South African apartheid, rather than acknowledging the real complexity of two peoples struggling over one piece of land.
Consciously or not, BDS supporters also adopt a blasé attitude to historical analogies with earlier calls to boycott Jews, from those of Nazi Germany to the Arab League boycott that began in 1948 to the less well-known banning of Jewish student societies in the West during the 1970s.
Not surprisingly, the BDS movement has scarcely assisted the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. It has clearly failed to realize its stated aims, which include ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank (and east Jerusalem), securing a right of return to Israel for Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war and their descendants, and gaining national as well as civil rights for Arab citizens of Israel. From the most elite of university campuses to rallies outside chocolate shops or debate on the floor of legislatures, the movement's major "success" has been to pour fuel on the fires of an already polarized debate.
Code Words for Genocide
The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) instituted in 2005 by “Palestinian civil Society” against Israel and its civil society continues to attract people from all around the world – including Jews and Israeli Arabs - who support the campaign without realising its genocidal objective.
The BDS manifesto makes clear that its punitive measures are to be pursued until Israel ends “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands”
These are code words effectively calling for Israel’s destruction since according to the PLO: Israel is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab home land, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation. According to Hamas, Israel is an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it.
Those who have boycotted theatre performances by Israeli groups in Barcelona, stripped supermarket shelves of Israeli food products in London, marched in South Africa to protest Woolworths stocking Israeli made goods or protested outside Max Brenner outlets in Sydney are actually supporting a racist campaign that calls for the total elimination of the Jewish State.
However the European Union (EU) – mindful of the Jew-hatred endemic in the BDS campaign - yet anxious to appease its Arab trading partners and the burgeoning Arab populations within its member countries – has targeted only the 'West Bank' – presently working to enact measures requiring Israel to label products coming from Jewish settlements there - following guidelines established on 18 July 2013.
Israel Plans to Employ Legal Strategy Against Boycotters
The initiative was sparked by a report from the international section of the Justice Ministry, which revealed that pro-boycott activists have repeatedly failed to obtain legal rulings in their favor from courts around the world.
This has lead Justice Ministry officials to the belief that there is a legal basis for suing those same activists for damage to Israeli commerce, attempted discrimination, and racism against Israel.
According to Yifa Segal, Director of the international program of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, a settler aligned law firm, the problem with Shaked’s approach is that this legal basis does not extend to lawsuits filed by the government.
“There is a solid legal basis for anti-boycott legislation; such legislation exists in several countries, including France and the U.S. But this is an issue that normally regards civilian organizations – NGOs, companies and so on – not the government,” Segal told Tazpit News Agency.
“In international relations, issues are resolved through diplomatic, not legal channels,” Segal continued. “It is highly unusual for a government to sue in such cases; it is also risky, as such a move may draw diplomatic responses that are detrimental to Israel. If, by contrast, an Israeli NGO sues a foreign NGO, no diplomatic pressure is involved,” she said.
Germany said to ‘indirectly fund’ anti-Israel church group
The German government indirectly provides millions of dollars in funding to a Christian organization which is highly critical of Israel and which pro-Israeli groups have accused of anti-Israeli bias and actions, according to a report on Channel 2 news on Sunday.
Germany, the report stated, helps finance the Bread for the World organization, a Christian group that is chiefly concerned with combating world hunger, but which is also a major contributor to the World Council of Churches.
The WCC is an ecumenical umbrella group of hundreds of churches spread across over a hundred nations, and claims to represent over 500 million Christians. It is also an organization that has spoken out harshly against Israeli policy vis a vis the Palestinians and which has come out in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) policy against Israeli settlements and companies which support Israeli settlements.
The WCC runs several programs in support of Palestinians in the West Bank, among them the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel and the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum.
United Church of Christ Proposed Resolution: Israel guilty of Crime of Apartheid
The progressive United Church of Christ is no stranger to controversy when it comes to Israel.
UCC has had close ties to Friends of Sabeel – North America, the U.S. branch of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, a Jerusalem-based non-governmental organization that leads efforts to alienate Christians from supporting Israel. We will have more on Sabeel in a later post.
Those ties included a UCC Church in Boston hosting a Sabeel conference in 2007 on finding new paradigms to fit Israel under the definition of Apartheid.
But UCC may be about to elevate its controversial status dramatically, with the 30th General Synod commencing June 24 having placed before it three resolutions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, among a total of 16 resolutions. All three of the resolutions carry the following explanation: “The Board of Directors recommends this resolution be sent to a Committee of the General Synod.”
Anti-Israel activists are treating all three as up for consideration, but whether it goes to a general vote is unclear as of this writing. UCC’s promotional material also suggests all three resolutions will come to a vote:
Why Jewish Refugees are the correct response to BDS
The man behind the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, Omar Barghouti, is a PhD student at Tel Aviv University. Yes, you read that right -- Tel Aviv, Israel, home of "apartheid" and the worst of alleged human rights abuses.
In an interview explaining the aims of the BDS movement, Qatar-born Barghouti states: "Israel's deepest injustice is the denial of the right of return to Palestinian refugees."
The BDS campaign, initiated in 2005 by Palestinian "civil society" to force Israel to comply with "international law", seems to have gathered steam in recent times.
Using the language of human rights, Barghouti goes beyond urging Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian West Bank. He is advocating, in no uncertain terms, the destruction of Israel, by overwhelming it demographically with millions of returning Palestinian Arab refugees.
BDS is old wine in new bottles: Arabs joined Nazis in boycotting Jewish businesses in the 1930s; the Arab League declared a trade boycott of Israel. The reason why BDS has appeared to gain traction is the support of "human-rights" NGOs, churches and university groups.
The fundamental injustice of the BDS position becomes crystal clear if you consider that 51 percent of Israeli Jews are in Israel because the Jewish state gave them refuge from Arab and Muslim antisemitism -- persecution and pogroms such as the 1941 Farhud in Iraq.
This Arab-Muslim antisemitism was not only a consequence of the establishment of the state of Israel, it predated it; and it created the need for a country where Jews, a vulnerable but indigenous minority, could exercise a right of self-defense. Together with native Christian communities such as Copts and Assyrians, Jews in the Arab and Muslim world had to submit, as "dhimmis" , to humiliations and exactions. Although the "dhimmi" status was not always rigorously applied, Jews were at the mercy of their Muslim rulers for 14 centuries.
The Obsessive Belgian Anti-Israel Bias
Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Joël Kotek
“The obsessive Belgian anti-Israelism originates from three easily identifiable factors, as I pointed out years ago.
The first one combines the Christian anti-Semitic belief with the progressive tradition which identifies ‘the Jewish spirit’ with capitalism.
A second factor is the neurotic memory of the Shoah and its associated feelings of guilt. This is prevalent in Flanders due to their major war-time collaboration with the German occupiers.
A third factor is the anti-Semitism imported with the Muslim immigration. To obtain the votes of these newcomers and their descendants, Belgian politicians accommodate them by promoting anti-Israel policies.
"Anti-Zionism has become a civil religion in Belgium. Its credo is that the Palestinians are always right and that the Israelis are always wrong. Its bible could read that everything that happens in the Middle East is the fault of Israel.”
EXCLUSIVE: American Tax-Deductible Contributions Pay For Defense Of Arab Terrorists in Israel
A few days ago in these pages we wrote about an extreme left-wing American Jewish organization, The New Israel Fund (NIF), which has the constant agenda of harming the State of Israel through a variety of mechanisms.
The latest – as reported by Israeli media today – is that the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected a petition by an NIF-supported organization to allow the wife of Ghassan Abu Jamal who murdered five Israelis in November 2014 in a brutal massacre during morning prayers in Jerusalem to remain in Jerusalem. Rightfully, courts have ruled that the terrorists’ wife – who is not a citizen of Israel - will not be allowed to remain in the Holy City.
Hamoked- an NIF grantee - has announced they will appeal this decision in court on July 13, 2015 – and until that time Nadia Abu Jamal is not allowed in Jerusalem. The New Israel Fund opposes “collective punishment” – and Hamoked’s supposed mission is to assist Palestinians “whose rights are violated due to Israel's policies.”
Separately, Israeli courts also recently rejected a petition from Hamoked which seeks to allow “family unification between Israeli Arabs and Gaza Strip residents.”
In the past, Israel’s State Prosecutor concluded that HaMoked’s “self-presentation as ‘a human rights organization’ has no basis in reality and is designed to mislead.” This organization – which is largely devoted to the defense of Arab terrorists - as a grantee of the New Israel Fund, has received $688,901 worth of grants from them between 2008-2013.
Reply to Gaza: land of the trapped
This is the text of a letter I wrote to Kevin Doyle, author of Gaza:land of the trapped, about the printed article. Reply to the video which, at least to my mind contains worse errors, will follow in a new post.
Dear Mr. Doyle,
There doesn’t seem to be a comment facility for your Independent piece on Gaza so I am writing directly to you.
Inevitably there are errors. Gaza doesn’t have the highest unemployment rate in the world. Granted there are counting and definition difficulties but that dishonour belongs to Zimbabwe at 70%, followed by Mozambique, Djibouti, American Samoa (United States), Senegal, Nepal, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lesotho, Kenya and Swaziland all with 40% or greater unemployment.
Nor does Gaza have an exceptionally high infant mortality rate as you imply. Gaza’s population is growing at 2.5X the world average. According to C.I.A. figures the child mortality rate is 16 per 1,000 live births. This is better than 102 other states and territories in the world.
A more serious error is the claim that Hamas don’t use child soldiers for combat. The figures for 500 children (provided by Hamas) includes everyone whose age was less than 18. At least some of these were Hamas fighters killed in action. The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center came to this conclusion in the same way it arrived at the civilian casualty ratio by painstakingly comparing the names of casualties as they trickle out with known members of organisations. Those same organisations have slowly been releasing tributes to ‘martyrs’. If a 16 year old prepared photographs of himself in uniform with weapons can he truly be considered a child?
Top rebel leader accuses Jews of masterminding Ukrainian revolution
Ukraine’s Jews are responsible for the Euromaidan revolution that ousted their country’s pro-Russian president last year, a senior rebel leader told an audience at a Russian university last week.
This is not the first time a rebel leader has said such a thing, with Alexander Zakharchenko, president of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic, stating in a press conference in February that the government in Kiev is run by “miserable Jews.”
During a lecture last week titled “Contemporary Ukraine as Fascist State of a New Type” at the Nekrasov State University of Kostroma in Russia, Igor Plotnitsky, who heads the Luhansk People’s Republic – a Kremlin- backed separatist enclave in eastern Ukraine – asserted that while he is not an anti-Semite, the fact that Jews are in control of Ukraine is inescapable.
“I’d like to ask the historians...or maybe the philologists, can’t choose, really, why was it called the ‘Euromaidan’? Where did the name come from? From the area [Euromaidan Square in Kiev]? Or perhaps from the people? Those same people who now make up the majority of leaders of what was once our Ukraine?” he asked, intimating that there is a connection between Jews and the revolution because the Russian word for Jew, “Evrei,” sounds like “Euro.”
Spanish village finally changes ‘Kill Jews’ name
The tiny Spanish village of Castrillo Matajudios — which means “Camp Kill Jews” — on Monday officially changed its name back to Castrillo Mota de Judios (“Jews’ Hill Camp”) following a referendum and regional government approval.
The village, with about 50 inhabitants, voted to change the name in 2014 after Mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez argued that the term was offensive and that the village should honor its Jewish origins.
Documents show the villages’ original name was “Jews’ Hill Camp” and that the “Kill Jews” name dates from 1627, after a 1492 Spanish edict ordering Jews to become Catholics or flee the country. Those who remained faced the Spanish inquisition, with many burned at the stake.
The name change was approved by the regional government of Castilla y Leon and published in the region’s official gazette.
Pope: World powers did nil when Jews were taken to Auschwitz
Pope Francis on Sunday denounced what he calls the "great powers" of the world for failing to act when there was intelligence indicating Jews, Christians, homosexuals and others were being transported to death camps in Europe during World War II.
He also decried the deaths of Christians in concentration camps in Russia under the Stalin dictatorship after the war.
The pope's harsh assessments came in impromptu remarks during a visit to Turin, northern Italy, when he told young people he understands how they find it hard to trust the world.
"The great powers had photographs of the railway routes that the trains took to the concentration camps, like Auschwitz, to kill the Jews, and also the Christians, and also the Roma, also the homosexuals," Francis said. "Tell me, why didn't they bomb [those railroad routes]?"
Holocaust artifact hunter seeks home for massive collection
Half a century ago, as a schoolboy in Massachusetts’ remote North Adams, Darrell English began collecting artifacts for his future Holocaust museum.
With a father and five uncles who served in World War II, young English amassed his first objects because “everyone brought lots of stuff home from the war,” he said. Come family reunions, the budding collector would be the recipient of “pins, patches and medals” from all over Europe, he said.
Today the 57-year-old history buff owns at least 10,000 artifacts from the war, in addition to 3,000 items related to the Holocaust specifically. From original Nazi propaganda filmstrips and posters, to parts of uniforms worn by concentration camp inmates and SS officers, his objects chronicle the transition from the Nazis’ early racial laws through the mass murder of Europe’s Jews.
In March 2013, English displayed 250 of his Shoah artifacts in what he called the New England Holocaust Institute & Museum — a 750-square foot store front in the heart of North Adams, a sleepy manufacturing town where English lives on a fifth generation farm with his wife, Mary, a retired postal worker.
Jewish heroine who fought Nazis dies in Austria aged 95
Irma Schwager, an Austrian heroine of the anti-Nazi resistance, has died aged 95, Austria’s communist party said Monday.
Born into a Jewish family in Vienna in 1920, Schwager fled Austria after the 1938 “annexation” and ended up in occupied France working with the resistance.
The young woman’s highly dangerous job was to chat up German soldiers stationed in France and try to turn them against the Nazis.
Several others doing the same were arrested and sent to Auschwitz and other camps, and Schwager had some narrow escapes including when the Gestapo raided her Paris flat.
“I don’t remember ever being afraid. The unfortunate ones who just hid ended up being deported anyway,” Schwager told Austrian magazine Profil this year.
Spain's Law on Citizenship for Sephardic Jews "Does Not Right a Wrong"
The final version of the law introduces so many hurdles to obtaining Spanish citizenship that most prospective hopefuls are likely to be deterred from even initiating the application process. Indeed, the law in its current form ensures that very few of the estimated 3.5 million Sephardic Jews in the world today will ever become Spanish citizens.
Spanish authorities -- presumably fearful that the list of Sephardic surnames could provoke an avalanche of citizenship applications -- issued an urgent notice that the government has no intention of ever publishing an official list of Sephardic names.
"All these facts lead us to conclude that the government has the clear intention that the fewer the number of applicants, the better. And the economic filter ensures that only people with high purchasing power can apply. ... Considering all of these factors, we believe that this law does not right a wrong. This law is more of a symbol, a first step, but not a law that will serve to satisfy the majority of Sephardim who would like obtain Spanish nationality." — Jon Iñarritu García, a congressman from the Basque Country.
Israeli hydrogen energy tech feted by EU
The technology shows such promise, the European Union believes, that it invited H2energy Now to one of the most prestigious tech shows in the world – the Alpine High-tech Venture Forum, sponsored by Eureka, the EU’s R&D framework organization. H2energy Now is the first, and so far only, Israeli company to be invited to the Forum, now in its 15th year.
Sonya Davidson, the company’s president and CEO, spoke to The Times of Israel about her start-up at an Ashdod tech event sponsored by TheHive, an accelerator developed by start-up group Gvahim. The nonprofit Gvahim group was founded by the Rashi Foundation in 2006, and is one its eight tech projects sponsored by Rashi.
“We’ve developed the most efficient method for the storage of energy – using just water and radio waves, believe it or not,” said Davidson. “Our technological solution is based upon water, the basic foundation of life. But there is so much more in water; it has the power to store energy, and in fact energy – in the form of hydrogen – is right there inside the water.”
H2energy Now’s system uses fresh or saltwater, which is filtered into droplets. Each droplet is “zapped” with radio waves, with a frequency that can “shake up” the hydrogen-water bond sufficiently to separate the two gases. If saltwater is used, the salt just drops out of the water, which evaporates into the two gases (one issue Davidson is still working on is what to do with the huge amounts of salt that would be generated if the system were to be widely adopted).
NFL Hall of Famers receive warm welcome in Jerusalem
Nineteen professional football Hall of Fame stars arrived in Israel this week for a week-long event headlined "Touchdown in Israel: Mission of Excellence." The event was sponsored by Jewish billionaire and owner of current NFL champion New England Patriots Robert Kraft, who accompanied the former players to Israel.
Kraft attended a festive ceremony launching the event on Sunday, held at the Kraft Stadium he built in Jerusalem. The ceremony was attended by a large crowd of players and fans.
In 1994, Kraft purchased the football team he loved as a fan, despite its lackluster record. After the purchase, the Patriots saw a steady string of successes, turning into the team with the most titles in the league, including four Super Bowl victories.
"It reminds me of the story of Moses," Kraft told Israel Hayom in an interview Sunday. "For 40 years, the team was in the desert, and the moment I bought it, it began winning titles."
At the ceremony, Kraft sang the Israeli and the American national anthems, and had trouble concealing his excitement.
With Disney’s kiss, Jerusalem transforms into animation prince
The Jerusalem Film Fund announced Tuesday that several long-term animation projects, including a new Walt Disney Studios television series, will be based in Jerusalem, starting immediately.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Yoram Honig, director of the Fund, which is part of the Jerusalem Development Authority. “People said it wouldn’t happen, that these kinds of studios wouldn’t come to Jerusalem, that we were just dreaming. We dreamed, yes, but we also learned from previous mistakes and now we have something unique to Jerusalem.”
The announcement marked another notch in the city’s drive to shed its reputation as a stuffy religious backwater and market itself as a creative powerhouse. The renaissance has included efforts to draw in the filmmaking industry, with the animation project the latest fruit born of that initiative.
So why is Israeli TV top of the box?
At the recent French International TV Festival Series Mania, yet another Israeli TV series drew a lot of attention. This time it was False Flag ("Kfulim" in Hebrew), a new spy thriller that will debut in Israel next October, that won the Public Prize. Focusing on an infamous Mossad operation, it was an audience favourite in Paris and shared top billing with Olive Kitteridge, the prestigious HBO series.
For those of us who live in Israel, it's no secret that our young TV industry has been a huge success story for a decade. It all began with Betipul, a psychotherapy drama, a highbrow and low budget TV series, which was made into an HBO drama In Treatment, and adapted to more than 20 versions in other countries. A few years later came the success of Hatufim, the Israeli series about three POWs who return home after years of captivity, which was turned into Homeland, about one such American soldier.
Since then, virtually every Israeli series - game-show, reality series, drama or comedy - has been acquired by an American studio and other channels around the world. From Yellow Peppers, a beautiful drama by Keren Margalit about a family of farmers raising their autistic son that was bought by Lions Gate Entertainment, through Connected, a popular reality series that documentary maker Morgan Spurlock ("Supersize Me!") adapted for an American audience; to Rising Star, a singing competition, which has been adapted in 25 territories. Some shows are sold "on paper" even before they are made let alone shown, like the thriller Hostages, a TV series about a surgeon who is given a terrible ultimatum.
 Israel's heart disease mortality rate among lowest in OECD
A report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has ranked Israel's mortality rate for cardiovascular disease the fourth-lowest among OECD nations. Japan was ranked first, with the lowest rate of mortality from heart disease.
The average mortality rate from heart disease in Israel stands at fewer than 200 deaths per 100,000 population; 161 among women and 220 among men. Israel came after Japan (171 deaths per 100,000), France (182) and South Korea (185). The countries with the highest mortality rate for cardiovascular diseases are Hungary, Estonia and the Czech Republic, with more than 500 deaths per 100,000 people.
Michael Glikson, director of the Davidai Cardiac Arrhythmia Center at Sheba Medical Center, explained that though there are "genetic differences between the various countries, cardiologically speaking, our genetics as Jews are slightly better than those of the Europeans.
"But no less important, the field of cardiology in Israel is highly advanced, and as a result accessible invasive heart attack treatment is available in almost every medical center in Israel," added Glikson.
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Best Foreign Policy is its Medical Industry
More than 150 leading medical researchers, healthcare policy makers, and philanthropists gathered recently at northern Israel’s leading medical center, Ramban Hospital, for the “From Vision to Reality” summit.
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, world-renowned geneticist Mary-Claire King and Mariita, and George Feldenkreis of Miami – the chairman and chief executive officer of Perry Ellis International, were all honored as part of Rambam Health Care Campus’ annual summit from June 7-9.
“I believe that medicine will play a major role in building peace in the Middle East,” said former President Peres.
“Rambam Hospital is a messenger of humanity. Medicine gives hope for all of us. I believe that the best foreign policy of Israel is with its medicine,” added Peres.


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