Tuesday, July 07, 2015

From Ian:

EU official who negotiated on UN Gaza resolution is married to UN inquiry team member
A European Union official involved in negotiating on behalf of the EU over the text of Friday’s UN Human Rights Council resolution that condemned Israel for last summer’s Gaza War is married to a staff member of the UNHRC commission that investigated the war.
The link between EU policy officer Jérôme Bellion-Jourdan, who was tasked with reviewing the Gaza war report and helping advise EU representatives on how to vote on it, and McGowan Davis Commission staffer Sara Hamood was known to the EU but not made public.
David Harris, the head of the American Jewish Committee, protested what he called a “conflict of interest.” Harris told The Times of Israel on Monday that he took particular exception to the failure of the EU to disclose the marital connection between one of its key officials involved in dealing with the UNHRC report and a UNHRC staffer who worked for the commission.
Only on Tuesday, in response to a Times of Israel question, did the EU publicly acknowledge the connection for the first time. It denied there was a conflict of interest. (h/t Yenta Press)
9 Successful Anti-Academic BDS Strategies to Defeat Academic BDS
In recent weeks and months, I have watched academics, students, major donors and Israel advocacy organization leaders in Israel and in the Diaspora try to counter the growing menace of both overt and silent academic boycotts. Several well meaning, but misguided, efforts are apparent to me, as one who had significant success in helping Israeli scholars and academic institutions thwart academic boycotts from Europe, Canada, South Africa and elsewhere the mid-2000s, long before American Jewish leaders believed there was a crisis.
I would like to share some successful strategies based on successes of the past, prior to BDS reaching America’s shores, to the relative newcomers to this struggle, since this has been an ongoing international struggle since 2003 when a UK faculty union first started boycott campaigns against targeted Israeli universities. My suggestions fly in the face of the way most big donors and mainline Jewish groups operate, but these are ways which have deflated academic BDS before and could once again be successful.
1) Develop anti-academic BDS strategies around academic principles and not ideological pro-Israel strategies. There is precedent for this from such prestigious groups as the American Association of University Professors whose anti-academic boycott position is articulate and clear as well as the statement crafted by Alan Dershowitz, myself, Nobel Laureates Steven Weinberger and Roger Kornberg and a committee of distinguished academics serving the now-defunct, but very successful, SPME BDS Task Force which was signed by 44 Nobel Laureates.
Clinton issues missives against Israel boycott movement
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton expressed concern regarding efforts to boycott Israel in letters to Jewish leaders, calling for legislative action to support the Jewish state.
Writing to Israeli tycoon Haim Saban and Jewish communal leader Malcolm Hoenlein, Clinton asked for their help in devising a plan to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
“I am seeking your advice on how we can work together […] to reverse this trend with information and advocacy,” the former secretary of state wrote in identical letters last week.
Clinton said she was concerned by attempts to compare Israeli policies to South Africa’s apartheid regime, which was successfully boycotted by the world community in the 1980s in a campaign seen as an inspiration for Israel boycott advocates.
“Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world — especially in Europe — we need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people,” she wrote.
Hillary: George Soros is NO Friend of Israel
While Hillary Clinton is claiming that she will be better for Israel than President Obama was, its noteworthy that George Soros, the world’s most dangerous billionaire donated $1 Million this week to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC dedicated to supporting Hillary Clinton in her Presidential bid. Soros is someone who has long supported causes which are harmful to the State of Israel.
Soros is a prominent donor to J Street, and made a speech in front of the Jewish Funders Network where he said “European anti-Semitism is the result of the policies of Israel and the United States.” He has said that “America is the gravest threat to world freedom” and generally stands against many Western interests.
Let’s review further what George Soros did during World War II which has sparked controversy, courtesy of an interview on ‘60 Minutes’
Former United States Senator Joe Lieberman has said that Soros’s views on America are “so negative, so critical, and so often anti-American.” Simply, this man who is a major funder of Hillary is no friend of Israel. Hillary must dis-associate from the world’s most dangerous billionaire.

Disregarding Reality, Yet Again: The Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry Report
The report by the Commission of Inquiry appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine the events surrounding Operation Protective Edge was published on June 22, 2015. As expected, the report criticizes Israel, concluding that its military operations violated the laws of armed conflict and expressing concern regarding the possible commission of war crimes.
The report is also critical of Hamas and other organized armed groups in Gaza, and raises similar concerns about their actions. In comparison to previous reports (such as the Goldstone report, which examined Operation Cast Lead), the new report is carefully worded. Still, it is also extremely critical of Israel, and again reflects a clear lack of consideration of the actual realities of warfare, drawing conclusions based on pronouncements that are factually and legally dubious. This approach is problematic for Israel, which will find itself vulnerable to public criticism and perhaps even legal action based on the report’s contentions.2 The report is also worrisome for all other countries engaged in warfare in populated areas against enemies that do not distinguish themselves from the civilian population.
During Operation Protective Edge, the IDF fought against a semi-state organization (Hamas) and other armed groups that employed an intentional strategy of systematic violation of the laws of armed conflict, including indiscriminate firing at Israeli civilians and the use of Palestinian civilians and civilian objects (e.g., schools, hospitals, and mosques) as bases for their military activity.
UN Unfairly Rages Against Israel
The latest U.N. report is in the arsenal of contemporary rhetoric. It is a useful and handy service that will aid in the public debate, however wrongheaded it may be.
On the streets of Paris are protestors arguing that Israel must be censored, isolated, condemned. This echo returns to the corridors of the U.N. General Assembly. And this is what Israel is obliged to redress.
Some would argue — and I am among them — that truth will set you free. Needless to say, there is truth amid the miasmic propaganda. The question is how to release it and who will listen.
So many minds have been made up about the Palestinian question that truth is a casualty of continued lies and those lies become thought of as truth.
I have tried to debate detractors of Israel who are unwilling to hear evidence that challenges a mind set. This is not merely a closed mind; it is an environment intent on destruction of Israel. Hence any tactic is acceptable, any lie dismissed. Emotion rules.
The latest U.N. report that advertises itself as “even handed” is anything but fair. There is a moral gap between those that want to protect their people and those who intentionally put noncombatants in harms way. For those who need additional fuel for their flame of indignation this report delivers. For those who care about truth, this U.N. report is another in a long line of provocative and false allegations against the state of Israel.
Making sense of Germany’s vote against Israel in the UN Human Rights Council
Asked by The Jerusalem Post on Monday why Germany voted against Israel, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry wrote, “Germany led intensive negotiations with EU states in the United Nations Human Rights Council over the draft of the resolution. Thereby important changes of the content of the resolution could be reached, for example, a restriction of the follow-ups to the report of the fact-finding commission.”
The spokeswoman said the “Foreign Ministry stands in a close and constructive exchange with the Israeli Embassy.”
However, the London Jewish Chronicle reported on Monday that “Benjamin Netanyahu’s office then began a series of phone calls to some of Israel’s key allies, including Angela Merkel, making the extraordinary request that they vote against Israel and against Israel’s public opposition to the resolution.”
Chronicle editor-in-chief Stephen Pollard, author of the article, confirmed to the Post that a UK source had said Netanyahu’s office asked Germany to support the resolution. According to the Chronicle, “Highly placed Whitehall sources have revealed that the Israelis regarded Friday’s UNHRC vote as being the lesser of two evils. Although accusing Israel of war crimes, it also held Hamas responsible, and marked a significant watering down of the original resolution put before the council.”
When asked where Israel urged Germany to vote for the Gaza resolution, a spokeswoman for Israel’s Embassy in Berlin referred to a statement from Israeli officials on Monday: “Israel informed the members of the UN Human Rights Council that it strongly opposes the resolution adopted on Gaza, as was widely reported in its official statements. At the same time, Israel asked members of the council to ensure that the proposed draft would not be made even worse.”
German and Israeli critics hammered away at the Gaza report because of its one-sided attack on Israel. Philipp Mißfelder, a leading Christian Democratic Union part MP in the Bundestag , told the Post on Monday, “Germany should not have supported the UNHCR report covering Operation Protective Edge.
Experts Say India’s Abstain Vote at UNHRC Consistent With Lean Toward Israel
India’s abstention from a U.N. Human Rights Council vote to adopt a condemnation of alleged Israeli war crimes was another mark in the South Asian country’s warming relations with the Jewish state, experts in India said, according to the The New Indian Express.
Commentators in India described the country’s decision to abstain — it was one of only five countries to do so — as “dramatic” and an “unprecedented achievement for Israel,” according to the report. As a leader of the major U.N. voting bloc the Non-Aligned Movement, India was always seen as a reliable supporter of the Palestinian cause, it said.
The Israeli ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon, even tweeted Israel’s explicit appreciation of India for Friday’s abstention, saying, “We appreciate votes by members of @UN_HRC, including #India, who did not support yet another anti Israel bashing resolution. We thank them.”
Indian reports over the weekend said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had received a phone call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the night before the vote, though the details of their conversation remains unknown.
MEP on UN Gaza Report: Biased from its foundation

Sisi to US Jews: Israeli-Palestinian peace would make Mideast safer
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told a delegation of American Jewish leaders in Cairo on Tuesday that the Middle East would be a safer place if Israel and the Palestinians came to a peace agreement, Israel Radio reported.
Sisi received a group of representatives of the American Jewish Committee, one of the most established Jewish advocacy organizations in the United States.
The Egyptian leader told the delegates that an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty would “pull the rug out from under” the motivating causes of terrorism in the region and help dry up the pool of potential recruits.
Egyptian authorities on Monday arrested 13 members of the Muslim Brotherhood on suspicion of planting bombs around the Suez Canal to disrupt shipping, security sources said on Monday.
The waterway, the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia, is a vital source of hard currency for Egypt, particularly since the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak and scared off tourists and foreign investment.
The Judean People's Front: Zionism, the Confederate Flag and the Stigma of Racism
One day after America's 239th Independence Day, a new poll was released announcing that Israel is losing major support among Democrats and therefore "can’t claim bipartisan US support." According to the Times of Israel report, "three quarters of highly educated, high income, publicly active US Democrats — the so-called “opinion elites” — believe Israel has too much influence on US foreign policy, almost half of them consider Israel to be a racist country, and fewer than half of them believe that Israel wants peace with its neighbors." Since Israel's founding over 67 years ago, it has enjoyed broad support from across the American political spectrum and though in Europe support for Israel from the Left has been consistently dropping for years, this was not the case in America.
Until now.
This is incredibly disturbing to say the least. The main reason why Israel and America share such a close relationship is because the two countries share the same values leading to a majority of Americans supporting Israel. This new poll reaffirms that most Americans continue to support Israel (68% say the US should support Israel v. Palestinians), but the stark decline in support from Democrats and the Left indicates that unless something is done, this majority will continue to decline. Then Israel will become a partisan issue of Right v. Left as it is in Europe.
The main reason for this is that the more time goes on without a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians, the more time the Palestinians have had to convince the Left to accept its narrative and reject Israel's.
This is not a new endeavor as Israel's enemies have attempted to smear Israel and the Zionist movement with charges of racism well before Israel declared independence. The "greatest success" this slanderous movement had was UNGA 3379, the infamous 1975 "Zionism equals Racism" resolution.
 Combating Anti-Israel Boycotts
Most boycotters have no commitment to fairness and regard the idea with derision. Against them, one has to use tactics that fall under the rubric "this is going to hurt you more than us." Anti-boycott operations have used this approach sporadically with remarkable success. But the approach needs to be conceived more systematically and implemented far more widely.
Such strategies can be summarized under at least four headings: lawfare, counter-boycotts, digging up dirt and self-harming. On the other hand, some Israeli ministerial decisions inadvertently facilitate boycotts; this area, too, needs to be considered.
What nobody involved has noticed is that to get Israel's natural gas flowing to Europe may contribute more to combating BDS than everything else together. But that prospect has been deferred to the indefinite future.
Israeli-Belgian musician is asked to sign on to Israel boycott
An Belgian-Israeli musician says he was pressured to sign an open letter declaring he supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
According to an entry Monday in the Slipped Disc blog, Nathan Braude, principal viola player for the Brussels Philharmonic and professor of viola at the Royal Conservatory Ghent, was sent a request to sign the letter in support of the boycott initiative by a professor at Ghent University, along with a list of those who had already signed.
The blog entry in Slipped Disc, which was written by the esteemed British commentator Norman Lebrecht, noted that the request was sent by emeritus professor Dr. Herman De Ley, “of the Philosophy and Moral Science (sic) department of Ghent University.” He added a link to the website of BACBI, the Belgian Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
“The imputation behind the demand is quite clear,” Lebrecht wrote. “It declares: we know you are an Israeli. If you want to continue working with us here in Belgium, we expect you to boycott your country of origin. That’s the morally scientific thing to do. After all, Daniel Barenboim supports the [boycott movement].”
Braude wrote to the dean of Ghent University upon receiving the letter, which he has not signed, according to Slipped Disc.
How to Tackle Foreign-Funded NGOs? Ask Britain David Gross
Yet I was disappointed that the panacea that they prescribed was to take aim at the legislative moves to bring more transparency and corporate governance to NGOs that function here in Israel. Let us take one of the bills that is making its way through the Knesset under the sponsorship of MK Bezalel Smotrich: All NGOs that receive funding from foreign governments will be considered by the law as lobbyists and as such will have to adjust their activities accordingly.
Now, this might dismay those who work for Btselem, Breaking the Silence and other similar groups, whose reliance on foreign governments is well-documented. Whether serving as advisors to the Goldstone or Schabas-Davis Reports, making baseless and unverified accusations against the IDF and other activities that only seek to besmirch the reputation of Israel, especially abroad, one wonders why anyone would think that it would be reasonable for such groups to retain charitable status.
Yet, in the interests of fairness, let us further consider the legislation itself; is it proportional? Is it an egregious overreach of the State? The simple solution would be to consider what is the case in other countries. For instance, in the UK, the Charity Commission gives the following advice:
“An organisation which has purposes which include the promotion of human rights by seeking a change in the law, or a shift in government policy, or a reversal of a government decision has (at least in part) political purposes and cannot be a charity.”
“In exceptional cases, an organisation’s purpose may be contrary to UK public policy –
e.g. a purpose which undermines national security. This would not be charitable.”
US mayors urge European counterparts to condemn anti-Semitism
Mayors from several major US cities have signed on to an initiative calling on American mayors to ask their European counterparts to condemn anti-Semitism.
The Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism initiative, which was launched by the American Jewish Committee in May at its conference in Brussels, also urges the mayors to work to stop the recent increase in anti-Semitic acts.
Among those who have signed on are the mayors from New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and Boston.
The initiative’s statement calls for the condemnation of all anti-Jewish hatred and states that anti-Semitism is not justified by the actions or existence of Israel.
“Anti-Semitism is not only an attack on Jews but an assault on the core values of any democratic and pluralistic society,” the statement says. “In a world of global communications where anti-Semitic ideas can and do spread rapidly, the impact of the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe does not stop at Europe’s borders. When the fundamental values of democracy are challenged, a concerted and principled response is required.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in an address last month to the annual meeting of the AJC’s New York Region called for an “unmistakable and consistent” response to acts of anti-Semitism in Europe.
Honest Reporting: NYT or CNN: Which is Worse?
HonestReporting’s Yarden Frankl joins VOI’s Josh Hasten to review this week’s media coverage of Israel.
The New York Times headlines the story about a Palestinian terrorist killed by Israeli soldiers he attacked in such a way as to indicate he was killed for no reason, and runs an accompanying photo of his weeping family; CNN claims the Old City of Jerusalem — which is a popular and well-maintained historical and religious site — is on the “verge of extinction” and has been for the past 33 years.
Substitute the word ‘Israeli’ for ‘Saudi’ in this market attack and imagine the UK media uproar
Yesterday, July 6th, there was a deadly attack on a market in the Middle East. Over 40 people were killed when a Saudi airstrike reportedly hit an area in southern Yemen densely populated with civilians who were trading livestock.
However, thus far, The Independent, The Telegraph and Times of London have ignored the attack. Only the Guardian has reported it, but included this rather restrained headline – which only suggests Saudi responsibility for the attack in the strap line – and a stock photo of Saudi Air Force jets from 2009:
The print edition of the Guardian ran the story on page 14.
As a recent article in The Conversation noted, “the ongoing [civil] war in Yemen is largely absent from our TV screens, Facebook and Twitter trending topics sections and the front pages of broadsheet papers.”
Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Murdered Israelis
In an Instagram and Twitter world, people expect their news in small tidbits. The major media sources have understood this and not only have taken to social media, but have their news stories include more pictures than they had previously. A review of their selection of pictures and captions provides an interesting snapshot of their views of the news.
Over a two week period in June/July 2015, seven major unprovoked attacks on Israeli Jews were committed by Palestinian Arabs. The Washington Post captured the anguish of the attacks with a picture of a grieving family which included a caption “Relatives of Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, an Israeli settler who died in a car shooting attack on Tuesday near a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, cry during his funeral.”
The New York Times had no such pictures or description of Israelis suffering. Even while reporting on the region from many different journalists on June 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and July 1 and 4
On June 27, the NYTimes made a small post without a picture in the World Briefing section in a blurb called “Man is Shot in West Bank After Opening Fire on Soldiers”.
AP’s false history of BDS movement
This week the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its supporters will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the supposedly grassroots launch of the BDS movement by Palestinian “civil society” organizations.
The Associated Press, through its writer Tia Goldenberg, has a lengthy article on the BDS movement. The article is receiving a lot of attention, including a Drudge link, and because it is AP is being reprinted (under varying titles) as numerous news website.
The article starts with BDS’s supposed grassroots beginnings, Boycott Israel drive gains strength, raising alarm:
Ten years ago, a small group of Palestinian activists had a novel idea: inspired by the anti-apartheid movement, they called for a global boycott movement against Israel as a nonviolent method to promote the Palestinian struggle for independence.
That narrative of how the BDS movement began is false, and demonstrably so.
The boycott call issued in July 2005 was not the result of a small group of activists getting together, it was the result of a multi-year organized effort for a global boycott of Israel, most prominently in a boycott call issued at the 2001 UN Durban Conference which was so anti-Semitic the U.S. walked out.
We have explored this history many times at Legal Insurrection. Here is the actual history of the BDS movement:
BBC censors ‘Jewish’ from IS affiliate’s claim of missile attacks
Given the BBC’s often curious use of punctuation, readers may well have concluded that the use of quotation marks around the words “occupied Palestine” signifies the use of a quote from the terrorist organisation’s Twitter account. Notably, no effort was made to clarify to readers – most of whom are unlikely to have much reason to be well versed in Israeli geography – that the area targeted in this missile attack cannot accurately be described as either ‘occupied’ or ‘Palestine’.
Not only is that point significant from the point of view of accuracy but of course the fact that an IS-affiliated group operating in Sinai regards the whole of Israel as “occupied Palestine” is indicative of the ideology underpinning the specific attack and the group’s approach to Israel in general.
No less remarkable is the fact that the BBC told its audiences about just part of the terror group’s announcement. As many media outlets – including the Times of Israel – reported:
“The IS-affiliated Wilayat Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack.
“Three Grad rockets were fired at Jewish positions in occupied Palestine,” the group said Friday evening in a statement on Twitter.”

Not Israeli positions – but “Jewish positions”: that too is of course relevant information for anyone seeking to understand this particular ‘international issue’ but for some reason the BBC elected not to impart it to its readers.
Instagram is blocking use of the Israeli flag in comments
Instagram blocking use of Israeli flag emoji “to protect the community”.They are allowing all other flag emojis, including countries like Syria.
This is the error message that Instagram users are receiving when attempting to comment with the Israeli flag emoji:
While it seems that there are some users for whom the flag is not blocked, several Instagram users have complained. Instagram has yet to respond as to why the Israeli flag is the only flag emoji blocked from comments.
CNN Claims Jerusalem’s Old City Endangered But Has No Room for Palmyra
The rise of ISIS has been a tragedy for historical sites in the Middle East. Just as the Taliban destroyed monumental historical artworks in Afghanistan in the 1990s now the new Islamic “caliphate” has taken to undertaking the same sort of vandalism in Iraq and Syria in areas that have fallen under their control. The latest example came in the Syrian city of Palmyra — a UNESCO World Heritage site that is thousands of years old where the Islamists have begun pounding precious artifacts to dust this past week only days after ancient tombs were similarly destroyed. So, as media watchdog Honest Reporting notes, it was not inappropriate for CNN to publish a list of “the world’s most endangered structures on the verge of extinction” on its website. But astonishingly, ancient Palmyra, which according to its own reporting is under direct threat at this moment, didn’t make the CNN list. Not surprising, though disappointing, is the fact that the first item on the list was “the Old City of Jerusalem,” whose preservation, it said, was being prevented by “political tension” that exists “between Israel and UNESCO. This is an outrageous libel against the state of Israel, backed up by not a shred of proof (either on the CNN or the UNESCO websites) and perpetuates the most vicious myths propagated by Palestinian groups intent on whipping up anti-Semitic sentiments among Muslims.
In terms of the omission of Palmyra from the list, it’s difficult to imagine the thought processes of those involved in creating this article. Though the piece is the work of CNN’s Style section rather than its main news division, surely even the people working there ought to be aware that sometimes the news must influence even travel features. Indeed, the hyped language of its opening would seem to betray the notion that those responsible actually watch the news:
Italy: Israeli flag at Milan expo vandalized yet again
As CFCA and Osservatorio Antisemitismo point out, this is the fifth time the flag has been defaced. The Israeli flag is the only national flag that is targeted over and over and over again.
Via Gazzetta del Sud:
An Israeli flag fluttering in the centre of Milan with flags of other countries taking part in the Expo universal exposition has been daubed with red paint, police said Friday. The flag already had been moved from the via Mercanti to the via Dante on the other side of the Piazza Cordusio to make it harder for vandals to damage but police said three strokes of red paint had been daubed on the flag on Tuesday.
Holocaust-Themed Turkish ‘Great Escape’ Game Threatens to Turn Challengers Into Soap
The popular real-life interactive “Great Escape” game has made it to Turkey, but the new challenge has raised some eyebrows.
The Turkish version has apparently adopted a Holocaust theme, in which participants are made to wear the striped black-and-white uniforms of Jewish prisoners and solve several puzzles and find clues in order to escape a locked chamber overseen by Nazi SS officers, Israel’s Channel 2 report on Monday.
The penalty for failure? Participants risk being “turned into soap.”
According to the report, the Holocaust-themed iteration of the escape game was launched in the northwestern Turkish city of Bursa, and the organizers promised their revelers an “unforgettable experience.”
Jewish tombstone pieces removed from Polish river
Fragments of about 100 tombstones from a Jewish cemetery destroyed by the Nazis were removed from a riverbed in Poland.
Archaeologists removed the tombstone fragments from the Warta River, located in Mstow, Silesia, on the border with the Czech Republic, Radio Poland reported Tuesday.
The discovery of the fragments, identified by Hebrew-language inscriptions and Jewish symbols, was made by a team of archaeologists from the University of Lodz.
Some of the tombstones were used as paving stones, archaeologist Olgierd Lawrynowicz told Radio Poland. He said the discovery of the fragments is a valuable source of information regarding the life of the Jewish community in Mstow prior to World War II.
'Schindler's List' producer to donate Oscar to Yad Vashem
Branko Lustig, the Croatian Jewish film producer who survived Auschwitz as a child and went on to work on the Academy Award-winning movie “Schindler’s List,” is donating the Oscar statuette he received for the film to Israel’s Holocaust museum Yad Vashem.
Lustig, 83, has won two Academy Awards, for “Gladiator” and for “Schindler’s List,” Steven Spielberg’s movie telling the true story of German industrialist and Nazi Party member Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust.
The producer said that Yad Vashem would be the appropriate place for the statuette. According to Israel’s Ynet news website, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović will visit Israel for the ceremony, to take place at an unspecified date next month, in which Lustig will present the statuette to the museum.
Lustig recently contacted Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev, offering to donate the statuette. Shalev accepted, telling Lustig that there would a ceremony to mark the donation. Lustig, whose health is declining, also asked Kitarović to be one of the guests at the ceremony. The two have been friends since she served as ambassador to the US.
Hollywood icon Jerry Weintraub dies at 77
One of the last of the classic Hollywood showmen, Jerry Weintraub built his show business empire on a Rolodex and chutzpah.
The Brooklyn-born son of a Jewish Bronx jeweler, Weintraub rose from the mailroom of a talent agency to become a top concert promoter before shifting into a decades-long career as a top Hollywood producer.
Along the way, Weintraub worked with the most famous of stars — Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, George Clooney, Brad Pitt — and was a close friend of former President George H.W. Bush. He relished his insider status, just as they savored the stories that eagerly poured out of him.
Weintraub, the dynamic producer and manager who pushed the career of John Denver and produced such hits movies as “Nashville,” ”Karate Kid” and “Ocean’s Eleven,” died Monday in Santa Barbara, California. He was 77. A publicist for Weintraub said he died of cardiac arrest.
Gal Gadot: 'Serving in the IDF prepared me for Hollywood'
Gal Gadot, the Israeli Hollywood starlet and soon-to-be Wonder Woman, spoke about her time in the IDF and how it prepared her for the jam-packed lifestyle she now leads as an actress, model, wife and mother.
“The army wasn’t that difficult for me," she told Fashion Magazine recently. "The military gave me good training for Hollywood.”
According to the Daily Mail, Gadot impressed Justin Lin, the director of the Fast & Furious franchise, because of her knowledge of weapons. Gadot also performed all her own stunts in prior films.
The 30-year-old's pride in her IDF service, mandatory for all Israelis at 18, except for those who are married or have health exemptions, comes in stark contrast with fellow Israeli model Bar Rafaeli. She notoriously and openly dodged her army service by marrying a family friend in order to continue advancing in her career. Rafaeli has said in the past that she does not regret her choice, adding that "it paid off big time...celebrities have other needs."
On the subject of balancing her busy life, Gadot said that “nowadays being a woman is hard, because we have to be the best wife, best mother, best worker, best everything!”
Gadot, 30, will appear on the cover of Fashion Magazine's August issue ahead of her leading role as Wonder Woman in Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. For her, playing the superhero is a dream come true.
Samsung, Intel launch accelerators in Israel
One day after Samsung announced its intention to launch a startup accelerator in its development center in the Yakum industrial park, Intel announced the new Intel Ingenuity Partner Program (Intel IPP) initiative for nurturing and promoting Israeli startup companies.
Both international technology giants will provide mentoring opportunities for the Israeli startups and access to resources in their facilities.
“Intel IPP offers a carefully-structured collaboration process between Intel and startup companies under Intel’s leadership. The process was designed to expand the value that the companies generate from the collaboration,” Intel IPP director Roy Ramon said at the launch event in Tel Aviv. “Intel initiated the program in order to strengthen its ties with startup companies and promote them. Israeli entrepreneurs chosen to collaborate with Intel will receive wealth of opportunities for growth. We look forward to share our knowhow with them and work together.”
Intel has already chosen nine mature and early-stage companies for its first accelerator program. The tech giant is working with companies in wireless technologies, connected devices, mobile, IT, internet of things (IoT), wearables, big data analytics, perceptual computing and robotics.
Israeli desalination firm named one of world's smartest companies
IDE Technologies, an Israeli water desalination company, has been named by the MIT Technology Review as one of the world's 50 smartest companies for 2015.
IDE was ranked 18th on the annual MIT Technology Review list. Topping the list was Tesla Motors. Rounding out the top five were Xiaomi, Illumina, Alibaba and Counsyl.
"To make the list, a company must have truly innovative technology and a business model that is both practical and ambitious, with the result that it has set the agenda in its field over the past 12 months," the MIT Technology Review said.
Regarding IDE, the MIT Technology Review said the company was "offering more affordable water desalination at a scale never before achieved."
RyanAir announces 30 euro flights from Europe to Eilat
Ryanair, one of Europe’s largest low-cost airlines, intends to open three routes from European destinations to Eilat’s Ovda Airport starting in November.
“It’s about time we started flying to Israel, and we will shortly,” Ryanair chief commercial officer David O’Brian said Tuesday at a press conference in Tel Aviv.
The six weekly flights will originate in Budapest, Hungary; Krakow, Poland; and Kaunas, Lithuania, and will start at around €30, although the price will vary, he said.
The influx of new tourism to Eilat, which is not easily accessible from central Israel or Ben-Gurion Airport, may give a boost to the local economy and enhance its reputation among Europeans as a resort destination.
“Your decision comes really at the right time, and we see it as a great vote of confidence in Israel, also in Eilat, which we think can be and will be a leading destination for vacations for people all around Europe,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin told O’Brian.
Temple Mount Activist 'Survives' Dinner - With 1,000 Muslims
Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, who was savagely attacked last October by an Arab terrorist who shot him in the chest, found himself, figuratively, in “the belly of the beast” this week – attending a post-Ramadan meal in Istanbul attended by 1,000 Muslim clerics.
How did it go? “Not bad,” said Glick, who had been invited by Adnan Oktar, a Turkish cleric better know as Harun Yahya, to attend the event. Yahya currently represents a moderate view of Islam (although in the past he was accused of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial), and has published numerous books on Muslim philosophy, creationism, and other subjects in numerous languages. During the event, Yahya asked the audience to stand up and condemn violence, including the violence done to Glick.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Glick said that he accepted the invitation immediately. He said he did not fear traveling to a Muslim country, but to make him feel comfortable, Yahya provided him with a bulletproof car and two bodyguards, “things that I can only dream of getting here in Israel.”
Despite the fact that his reputation preceded him, everyone Glick met condemned the shooting, he said. “Everyone knew who I was, and they said they would pray for my health,” Glick said. “Many of the clerics said that the shooter 'injured' Islam even more than he injured me, and several recited passages from the Koran that one must respect Jews and refrain from harming them.”

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