Monday, July 20, 2015

From Ian:

UN Watch: Hamas-linked UK group celebrated kidnapping of teens, today set to win UN status
UN Watch revealed today that the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), a Hamas-linked group vying to win UN status today, celebrated the Hamas kidnapping of three Israeli teens, cheered Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, and threatened “punishment” for PLO President and Hamas rival Mahmoud Abbas.
Tweets from the official account of Tarek Hamoud, executive director of the London-based PRC, include:
1. PRC Cheers Hamas Kidnapping of Israeli Teens
Above: On July 14, 2014, two days after the Hamas kidnapping of three Israeli teens, PRC posted this symbol of three fingers to cheer the abduction of the boys who were later discovered to have been murdered.
A group that celebrates kidnappings violates the peace and human rights principles of the UN Charter and should not be granted NGO status.
[UPDATE: PRC chief Tarek Hamoud has just deleted this tweet today after this blog post was published.]
PMW: PA honors murderers of civilians
Palestinian Authority heroes:
The synagogue murderers
(Two terrorists who murdered 4 worshippers in a synagogue and a policeman, 2014)
Rabbi Yehuda Glick's shooter
(Terrorist who tried to assassinate the rabbi, 2014)
Terrorist who participated in kidnapping and killing
The Savoy Hotel terrorists
(Eight terrorists who took hostages and killed 7, 1975)
The Palestinian Authority continues to present murderers as heroes to the Palestinian public. One of the two killers who murdered four worshippers in a synagogue with butcher's knives and guns and later a policeman last November in West Jerusalem, was honored as a "Martyr" in recent reports in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and WAFA, the official PA news agency. The attack was referred to as "the synagogue operation":
"Large and reinforced occupation army forces invaded Jabel Mukaber today [July 1, 2015] after 3 a.m., and evacuated the home of Martyr (Shahid) Uday Abu Jamal (one of those who carried out the synagogue operation in November last year) [parenthesis in source] where the Martyr's father, mother, three brothers and sister reside." [WAFA (the official PA news agency), July 1, 2015]
Official PA TV also presented this killer in a sympathetic light, stating that his children were "served pain to drink" by Israel since their father, the killer, was "assassinated." PA TV did not mention that the "assassination" occurred as Abu Jamal was murdering innocent people praying in a synagogue:
Isis or al-Qa’eda? The Arab states have chosen the devil they know
Things are now moving fast. A relationship is evolving and formal talks between the Arab states and al-Qa’eda may soon take place without the West at the table. It’s a strategic decision: the Arabs regard an extremist victory in Syria as inevitable so they have decided to go with al-Qa’eda as the lesser of the two evils — especially if that evil is willing to resist Iran. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, since he came to the throne in January, has pursued a far more aggressive policy toward Iran and Syria. For the US and Europe it will be extremely difficult in terms of domestic politics and national security to strike a relationship with al-Qa’eda, but ultimately that may be the only choice, especially if the West’s Arab allies are going ahead.
Just a few years ago, the ‘war on terror’ was defined as extinguishing al-Qa’eda. Now, for many of our Arab allies, it means shoring up al-Qa’eda and praying that they’re not as bad as had once been believed. One thing in all this murky double-dealing is clear: the US and Britain are paying a bitter price for refusing to remove Assad when they genuinely had the chance four years ago. Acting has its risks, but failing to act has its consequences too — as we will all now find out.

Michael Oren’s Critics Refuse to Address His Arguments
Earlier this month, after publishing his book Ally – My Journey Across the American-Israel Divide, Ambassador Michael Oren spoke at the Free Library of Philadelphia to a packed crowd.
Oren gave comprehensive answers, and apologized for the length of his responses to probing questions asked by Middle East Forum founder Daniel Pipes. Shortly into the Q&A, at 8:40 pm, the fire alarm rang and the guests and speaker were escorted out of the building.
The abrupt end of the event was symbolic of the efforts of many Liberals in the U.S. to cut off questioning when anyone attacks the Obama Administration.
Knowing that I risk this same attack by defending Michael Oren, I also expect that I will alienate my friends on the Right by sharing that I wrote a letter to President Obama praising him for his efforts to save the auto industry, help rebuild our economy, and pass health care reform.
These words of gratitude to the President preceded a request to reconsider his drive for a deal with Iran that would actually enable that country to build nuclear weapons.
Ambassador Oren wanted his unique insights to be part of the debate during the critical decision making time on the Iran nuclear deal. His book, he commented, was not a light beach read. But he wanted his book to make a difference – and he didn’t want to wait until the Fall (which is generally seen as a better time to publish).
Instead of engaging with Oren’s arguments, the Left wing in the U.S. is simply attempting to discredit the person of the former Ambassador, and the unique insights of his four years in the halls of decision making. They want to “shoot the messenger” rather than deal with real concerns.
IDF Blog: Three Hezbollah Attacks the World Can’t Forget
Today, we commemorate 21 years since the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The attack, committed by the terror organization Hezbollah, was the largest in Argentina’s history and claimed the lives of 85 people. This incident was not the only time Hezbollah extended its destructive force to implement its terrorist ideology. Below are some of the deadliest terror attacks the terror organization perpetrated across the world.
March 17, 1992: Bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, Buenos Aires. At 2:42 pm, a car packed with explosives drove to the front of the Israeli Embassy. The embassy, a church and another building were all destroyed by the explosion. 29 people were killed, among them 25 Argentineans and 4 Israelis. 242 people were injured.
July 18, 1994: Bombing of the AMIA (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At 9:53 am, a van loaded with 275 kgs of explosives smashed into the Jewish Community Center building. The explosion destroyed the building entirely, killing 85 people and injuring 300.
July 18, 2012: Burgas Bus Bombing, Burgas International Airport, Bulgaria. 151 Israeli tourists had just landed in the country and boarded the buses that were to take them to their hotels. Suddenly, one of the buses exploded when a suicide bomber detonated his bomb. 6 people were killed – 5 Israelis and 1 Bulgarian, and 36 were injured.
Argentinian prosecutor memorialized on 21-year anniversary of AMIA bombing
The eldest daughter of Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor who died mysteriously in January, helped mark the 21st anniversary of the Argentinian Jewish center bombing he was investigating.
Iara Nisman, 15, appeared on stage and lit a candle Friday at the ceremony in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The organizer was the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, the Jewish organization whose headquarters in the Argentinian capital were bombed in 1994, killing 85 people and wounding 300.
“My sister Kala and I ask for help finding the truth about what happened to my dad, because he cannot defend himself and there are some detractors of his work,” Iara Nisman said in a written message read aloud on stage by a journalist.
“We invited Iara to join the ceremony, and she accepted with bravery and honor. It’s not easy for a kid; she shows maturity,” Luis Czyzewski, whose 21-year-old daughter Paola was killed in the bombing, told JTA.
While the bombing has never been resolved, Iran is widely believed to be responsible for it, along with the bombing two years earlier of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.
Because the anniversary of the bombing falls on Saturday, which is Shabbat, the ceremony was held a day earlier, on Friday, in front of the rebuilt Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina headquarters. Approximately 5,000 people attended.
Argentine Jews reject dialogue with Iran on Jewish center bombing
Argentine Jewish leaders on Friday renewed denunciations of a government plan to work with Iran to investigate Argentina’s worst terrorist attack.
The 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) killed 85 people and remains unsolved. Family members of the victims commemorated the 21st anniversary of the attack Friday, a day before the July 18 anniversary.
Former Iranian officials have been on an Interpol capture list for years, but Argentine prosecutors have never been able to question them. Iran has long denied any role in the bombing.
“We ask the government to take courageous stance and intensify the demands so that the accused Iranians can someday face justice,” Ariel Cohen, president of the federation of Jewish communities, said at the event held at the reconstructed Jewish center.
Argentina struck a 2013 accord with Iran to solve the attack, but Jewish groups have criticized it, saying Tehran has failed to turn over suspects. The joint “truth commission” was approved by Argentina’s Congress but it has not been implemented because two Argentine courts ruled it unconstitutional, and it’s now under review.
“We can’t strike a deal with the murderers,” Cohen said.
The New Yorker: Death of a Prosecutor
Over the years, the case, known by the Jewish organization’s acronym, AMIA, had exposed the flaws of Argentina’s judicial system. The presiding judge was indicted for trying to hijack its outcome, as were some of the country’s highest-ranked politicians. Iran’s leaders scoffed at Argentina’s demands to extradite the accused, and even issued a warrant for Nisman’s arrest. Nisman persevered, pressing the Iranians at every opportunity. From the beginning, he had the unstinting support of Argentina’s Presidents—first of Néstor Kirchner, who chose Nisman to supervise the prosecution in 2004, then of Cristina, who succeeded her husband in 2007. Every autumn, she travelled to New York and denounced the Iranian regime before the United Nations. Whenever Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, entered the main hall to speak, Argentina’s diplomats, under Kirchner’s orders, walked out.
And then, in early 2013, Kirchner, known for her erratic manner and ruthless political acumen, made an extraordinary about-face. Following months of clandestine negotiations, she struck a deal with the Iranian government that would, she said, finally break the deadlock over the AMIA case. The deal called for the establishment of a “truth commission” that would allow Argentine judges to travel to Tehran and possibly interview the suspects.
While many Argentines applauded Kirchner’s diplomacy, Nisman told friends that she had betrayed him by making a deal with the Iranians. Secretly, he embarked on another investigation, of Kirchner herself. On January 14, 2015, Nisman released the results, accusing the President of engaging in a criminal conspiracy to bury the AMIA case. “The order to execute the crime came directly and personally from the President of the Nation,” he wrote. Amid a public outcry, Nisman was summoned to testify before the Argentine Congress. He told friends that he’d begun to fear for his life, but he was determined to see the case through. A few days before his scheduled appearance, he sent a text message to a friend: “On Monday I am going in strong with evidence!”
Former Argentine President Barred from Leaving Over AMIA Probe
A judge on Wednesday barred former Argentine president Carlos Menem from leaving the country, ahead of his trial over alleged obstruction of the investigation into the deadly bombing of a Jewish community center in 1994, AFP reports.
The attack, which killed 85 people, was the deadliest ever on Argentine soil, and also left about 300 people injured.
The Center for Judicial Information, the official mouthpiece of Argentina's federal justice system, said the travel ban applies to "anyone being prosecuted next month for crimes related to the investigation into the attack on the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA)."
"We bar anyone being prosecuted in connection with irregularities in the investigation of that attack on AMIA from leaving the country," justice officials said, according to AFP.
About a dozen defendants, including Menem, as well as the former head of intelligence, Hugo Anzorreguy, face charges that they took part in a cover-up of the probe into the attack.
An August 6 trial date has been set in the case, the report said.
If BDS Supports Tolerance, Why is it Trying to Suppress Free Speech?
Artists play in Israel for the same reason they play everywhere else. Of course they want to be compensated for their work, but they also want to connect with their fans. They want to realise their unique ability to challenge us, make us think, bring us together, create a universality, and provide a bedrock for peace.
Success is not an anaesthesia. It does not make one immune to the pain and public humiliation of slander. The bigger the artist, the bigger the media storm and the more widespread the false accusations. To assume artists have no feelings is to disregard their humanity.
In addition, although conversation often focuses on high-profile celebrities, it is the less well-known artists who can end up bearing the brunt of the BDS effort. Tour dates and sales mean a great deal to them and their families. Threats to their careers, implied or explicit, strike home and BDS callously exploits this vulnerability.
When an artist suddenly embraces the BDS message after a torrent of public pressure, it is not much different than conversion by the sword. Art is integral to the human experience. It is a connective tissue between people and places.
It simultaneously reflects the world in which we live and serves as a vehicle for change. It is a flower we cultivate for future generations. BDS strategy seeks to intimidate artists and it strives to keep the rest of us distracted with each power play, each drama, every wave of activity they create, so that we don’t have time to look down at our feet and see that the beach upon which we all stand is slipping away.
The threat to freedom of expression anywhere is a threat to that freedom everywhere. BDS is creating a handbook for the repression of artistic expression in democratic societies. The world looks away at great peril.
Report: EU to Start Labeling Settlement Products Soon
In a few months, the EU will enact its plan to label products made in the Jewish towns and villages of Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem, the Financial Times reported Sunday.
Apparently, over the past three years, the European Commission has delayed issuing proper technical guidelines on the labeling of the Jewish-produced goods, fearing that the move would “backfire” over in Israel.
But now, according to the report, the EU has decided to put aside pressing issues such as the collapsing economies of Greece, the Ukraine, Spain and Portugal, and focus its efforts on issuing a directive which Brussels “insists is a purely administrative document.”
David Walzer, Israel’s ambassador to the EU, described the initiative as “a European attempt to politically pressure Israel on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by using economic means of questionable legality.”
Walzer argued the labels are an attempt by “to de facto determine the boundaries of Israel while it is up to the parties involved to decide,” and warned that “nothing good or constructive can come out of going down that road.”
But the EU foreign ministers, slated to meet in Brussels on Monday, are planning to reemphasize their decision to start “full and effective” labeling of goods from Jewish settlements. This is in accord with a letter signed in April by 16 foreign ministers, including France and the UK, telling EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to make clear that products from Jewish settlements are illegal.
Hillary Clinton and Anti-Semite Max Blumenthal: Don’t Ignore the Association
It has not been a good month for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Not only is Bernie Sanders coming up on her in the clubhouse turn, but Hillary’s recently exposed emails reveal praise for professional anti-Semite Max Blumenthal. The likes of this sort of praise have not been seen since the notorious David Duke commended Blumenthal for exposing the evils of Zionism despite his Jewish name and Jewish face.
In all fairness, Hillary’s praise was for Blumenthal’s earlier book, “Republican Gomorrah,” where Max showed that his contempt for Christians could rival his contempt for Jews. We should remember that Max’s father, Sidney Blumenthal, has been a longstanding, trusted advisor to the Clinton brand. And Sidney has had no hesitation in publicly and actively defending his son’s most recent anti-Semitic screed, “Goliath.”
This is not Hillary’s first rodeo with an anti-Semitic theme. Immediately after Suha Arafat (Mrs. Yasser) publicly launched an anti-Semitic blood libel at a public forum, accusing Israeli soldiers of shooting Palestinian children for their body parts, Hillary was out the gate to give Suha a warm hug, as if affirming the veracity of her statement.
Jewish liberals, in lock step with Hillary’s own convoluted explanation of this outrage, rendered this exquisite rationale for Hillary’s behavior—Mrs. Arafat must have lectured in Arabic, and Hillary did not understand what she said. Clinton would eventually go that route and try to save face and blame it on a mistranslation in her ear. Nonetheless, “in the Middle East,” Mrs. Clinton said, “a kiss is a handshake.”
I doubt if most Jewish liberals will bother to read Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath” because to do so would confront them with the political dissonance that is easily avoided by studied ignorance. Max’s book is obsessed with comparing the Israel Defense Forces to the Nazis and replays every canard about Israel that could be heard at a chapter meeting of the Muslim Brotherhood.
IsraellyCool: Max Blumenthal’s Latest “White” Lie
Last week, in the wake of news Hamas had captured an Ethiopian Israel, pathological Israel hater Max Blumenthal embarked on a Twitter rant to show how racist Israel is against “non-White” Israelis.
Max Blumenthal
Unlike Mengistu, the 3 teens were white Ashkenazim, easily relatable to Jewish Israelis. One reason for the #bringbackourboys campaign.
Leaving aside the fact Blumenthal is a cheerleader for Hamas who kidnapped the poor man to begin with – and does not seem bothered by their racism – he is also once again lying.
Here is a photo of the three murdered teens Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel.
As you can clearly see from the photo, Eyal Yifrach (on the left) was no “white Ashkenazi.”
Berkeley's Israel Innovations Fair
There is so much we can learn from Israel, the "start-up nation". Until the recent discovery of natural gas this tiny nation was without appreciable natural resources for most its 67 years. Yet through the tenacity, creativity and drive of its people, Israel has accomplished much.
On Sunday, August 30, an Israel Innovations Fair will be held at the David Brower center in Berkeley, showcasing some of the new technologies that have emerged from this "start-up nation". Sponsors include AFMDA, Contra Costa Bridges to Israel, Israel Ideas, The Arava Institute, StandWithUs, American Technion Society and the Jewish National Fund.
California Lawmakers Approve Legislation Urging UCs to Adopt State Department Definition of Antisemitism
A Jewish watchdog group that monitors antisemitism on college campuses welcomed news on Friday that the California senate approved legislation calling on the state’s public universities to adopt resolutions condemning antisemitism, as it is defined by the State Department.
“We commend the California Assembly and Senate for recognizing the alarming and frightening rise of antisemitism on campus and using the State Department definition to properly identify and address it,” said Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder of the Amcha Initiative, which was established in response to the recent uptick in antisemitic incidents on college campuses countrywide over the past few years.
“A critical step to fixing [the problem of antisemitism] on campus is for students and faculty to accurately comprehend contemporary antisemitism. We need a school-wide standard, a universal tool, for understanding antisemitism and preventing it. We look forward to working with the University of California to formally adopt the State Department definition of antisemitism across all 10 campuses,” said Rossman-Benjamin.
The State Department definition of antisemitism includes violence against Jews or stereotyping Jews as a group or collective. But it also includes efforts to demonize Israel or hold it to a double standard, or to delegitimize the Jewish state’s right to exist.
The UC regents are expected to discuss the issue of antisemitism on campus during their meeting late next week.
One Day We Hope To Categorize An IDF Target As Military By Amnesty International (satire)
We human rights organizations bear a tremendous responsibility when it comes to exposing and publicizing information on the situation in conflict zones. That is why Amnesty set clear rules and goals for its data gathering and analysis processes. We do not always achieve those goals, but the unmet goals still serve as a beacon, a guiding light toward which we aspire. One of these days, we might even classify a target hit in an Israeli strike as military.
An organization can dream. Usually this organization’s dreams involve the international community taking up pitchforks and torches – figuratively, of course; those are so crude in the modern idiom – against a particular offender of our sensibilities, but that does not mean it is our only dream. We dream of an end to imperialism, or at least Western imperialism; we dream of equality, at least for Muslim majorities; and we dream of the day that we can, without fear of upsetting our colleagues, categorize an attack on Hamas fighters as targeting a military site.
It is a difficult feat to manage under current circumstances, but that does not mean it will forever remain impossible. As long as the site of a Hamas or Islamic Jihad position coexists with, or is very close to, a civilian or religious site, our rules dictate that we define the position as a non-military facility. That can be a home, of course, but the same non-military designation applies equally to schools, mosques, playgrounds, bridges, roads, basements, medical centers, warehouses, beaches, and many other locations. If the IDF were to strike a position that was not also one of these other types of facilities, we would not hesitate to categorize the strike as hitting a military target. Perhaps one day we will have such an opportunity, but, alas, that has not happened yet.
Top Israeli Diplomat: Media Has Pro-Palestinian Bias
One of Israel’s most experienced and respected diplomats has attacked the Norwegian media for its “one-sided” pro-Palestine “activist journalism.”
Raphael Schultz, who was sent to Norway last year, wrote in an open letter citing what he called “a large selection of articles, leaders, opinion pieces etc. were published last week in relation to operation Protective Edge starting… They all had a lack of professionally(sic) around them, just as in last year’s coverage. It was a totally one-sided coverage.”
Schultz, described as “one of the best” in the Israeli foreign service, succeed Naim Araidi, who was forced to resign in February last year following allegations of sexual harassment by female employees at the embassy.
His letter is titled “A lesson not learned” and claims that the Norwegian media had recognised its coverage was biased in the aftermath of last year’s conflict in the Gaza strip.
“Unluckily today, one year later, it looks as if the conclusion is forgotten and the lesson has been lost,” he wrote.
Trumping Israel’s Security Barrier
The Washington Post attacks presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S-Mexico border. In explaining how expensive and difficult construction of such a wall would be, they show other examples where countries have erected barriers along their borders. In describing the Israeli security barrier, they say:
“(Israel’s barrier) is made of prefabricated concrete sections interspersed with watch towers. The wall generally follows the 1949 armistice line, but it also includes several illegally placed Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Once complete, it will be 400 miles long.
However, over 90 percent of the barrier is made up of chain-link fencing. In addition, only about 64% of the fence is complete, and there is little work being done today on the project. Yet the Post’s reference (complete with a soldier on one side and children playing on the other) implies Israel has created a concrete prison, sealing off the disputed territories. Throw in a reference to “illegal Israeli settlements” and the anti-Israel bias of the article is clear.
UK’s Cameron: Jewish-centric conspiracy theories must be challenged
Conspiracy theories of a powerful Jewish cabal or a Western plan to destroy Islam must be challenged in efforts to counter radicalization, British Prime Minister David Cameron will say on Monday.
In a speech in the central English city of Birmingham, Cameron is to announce a five-year plan to tackle home-grown Islamic extremism and help communities integrate in Britain.
“You don’t have to support violence to subscribe to certain intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish,” Cameron is to say, according to released remarks.
“Ideas also based on conspiracy that Jews exercise malevolent power or that Western powers, in concert with Israel, are deliberately humiliating Muslims, because they aim to destroy Islam.”
He is also to attack views that hold poverty and Western foreign policy responsible for terrorism.
“This argument, the grievance justification, must be challenged,” Cameron will say.
Sky News asks @AsgharBukhari his views on UK plan to fight extremism
Asghar Bukhari, a founding member and spokesperson for the extremist Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK), recently claimed on Facebook that Zionists broke into his home to steal one of his shoes, in order to drive him crazy – a form of Mossad psychological warfare, or something like that.
Bukhari then doubled down on his bizarre rant, in several YouTube videos defending his views.
Though Bukhari had previously been a guest on the BBC and Sky News, you’d think that his widely mocked Zionist conspiracy theory would erode his credibility, especially on the topic of extremism.
Think again.
Sky News aired a segment today on the British government’s new plan to tackle extremism and radicalism – a five-year plan citing the need to reign in both violent and non-violent radical ideologies which “overpower moderate voices within the debate”.
Ku Klux Klan Members Shred Israeli Flag at South Carolina Protest (VIDEO)
Members of a North Carolina Ku Klux Klan chapter were caught on camera violently defacing an Israeli flag during a widely covered pro-Confederate flag rally outside the South Carolina Capitol, Vice News reported on Saturday.
Footage of the protest shows members of the chapter, known as the Loyal White Knights, furiously spitting at, trampling on, and ripping apart the Jewish State’s flag. Later in the video, one protester is seen holding up the shredded banner as two others pull at it to tear it even further. Another then repeatedly stomps on the blue and white national symbol while waving a Confederate flag.
“I’m supposed to be neutral, but I know there are millions of people who are going to be watching that who will be terrified, the symbol of their religion like that, stomped on,” the Vice reporter narrating the clip says.
The video also shows other KKK members proudly giving Nazi salutes.
Kansas Jewish sites killer argues murders were ‘necessary’
Miller does not deny gunning down Dr. William Lewis Corporon, 69, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, and Terri LaManno, 53, at the nearby Village Shalom care center on April 13, 2014. He said he felt it was his duty to kill Jewish people before he died; he didn’t know all three were Christians.
Miller spoke Friday for nearly an hour about his planned defense, explaining that the Declaration of Independence gave him the “right” to do what he did and insisting that “there is no legal way to save the white race.” His rambling presentation touched on Caitlyn Jenner, AIDS, Israel, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, British wartime leader Winston Churchill, the Rev. Billy Graham and a Jewish conspiracy he alleged was behind the sitcom “All in the Family.”
Ryan said there was no connection between the argument Miller made and the killings. In ruling from the bench, Ryan used guidance provided in the case of abortion opponent Scott Roeder, who unsuccessfully attempted to present a similar defense during his trial for killing late-term Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.
Miller, who is representing himself with defense attorneys available to help, responded to the decision by calling Ryan an “egg-sucking mule.” The hearing was marked with frequent outbursts and occasional anti-Semitic remarks from Miller, who at one point called himself a Nazi.
Israel inks deal for $1b. solar power plant
Israel has signed a deal to build a multi-megawatt, thermo-solar power plant in the country’s southern Negev desert as part of a national goal to increase the use of renewable energy sources.
The NIS 4 billion ($1.05 billion) deal for the 121-megawatt plant was announced by the Finance Ministry on Sunday, Reuters reported.
A consortium of Israel’s Shikun & Binui and Spain’s Abengoa are to build the plant at Ashalim in the Negev, close to an existing solar plant.
They hope to complete the project by 2018.
The European Investment Bank and the US Overseas Private Investment Corp. are to finance the project.
Another scheme will see the construction of a photovoltaic power plant nearby, with the three facilities eventually set to provide up to two percent of Israel’s total electricity needs.
Start-up lets users control 800,000 devices — on their smartphones
If the objective of the Internet of Things is to connect and control everything online, Israeli start-up WiseSec can perhaps be called the world’s biggest IoT company. That’s because its latest gadget — the Genii — allows users to control a whopping 800,000 devices from their smartphones.
Using a clever combination of web technology, infrared beams, and Bluetooth connections, WiseSec’s system lets users connect — to the Internet — all gadgets that can be controlled with a remote control. This allows users to turn on and off lights, televisions, air conditioners, ovens, or anything else, from a distance by using electronic signals.
According to Vadim Maor, founder and CEO of Yokne’am-based WiseSec, Genii is the first smartphone-based universal remote that’s truly universal. “It not only controls hundreds of thousands of devices, but it controls them no matter where you are on the planet.”
While there are plenty of smart home solutions that let users program the start and finish of appliance cycles, or to turn devices on and off remotely, nearly all of them require users to be near the device — with their smartphone using Bluetooth or infrared to control a device. Genii does the same thing — but adds another layer to the system, that of the Internet, which is used to control the Bluetooth and infrared connections that, in turn, control the devices.
Saudi-based think tank ranks Hebrew U among world’s best
A Saudi Arabia-based consultancy, which publishes global university rankings, didn’t shy away from awarding Israeli educational institutions high spots in a 2015 list detailing the world’s best universities.
The Jeddah-based Center for World University Rankings listed three Israeli universities in the world’s best 100, and a total of seven in the world’s best 1,000 — eclipsing institutions in the Middle East and the Arab world, and standing on par with some of the best universities in Europe, Asia and the US.
Jerusalem’s Hebrew University was ranked as Israel’s best institution, taking 23rd spot worldwide — down from 22nd place in 2014. The Weizmann Institute of Science secured 39th place, and Tel Aviv University clinched 86th spot.
Rounding off the list, the Technion came in at No. 136, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev was ranked No. 349, Bar-Ilan University came in at 521, while the University of Haifa was ranked 700.
The highest-ranked institution in the region outside of Israel was the Middle East Technical University in Turkey, at No. 470.
New York to use Israeli Iron Dome tech to keep power flowing
Technology developed by the Israeli braintrust behind the Iron Dome missile defense system will help protect the electricity system in New York State from power failures.
BIRD, the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation, is providing a $900,000 grant to help the New York Power Authority and Israel’s mPrest to develop software that can rapidly detect malfunctioning power transformers before they cause larger problems on the electric grid for deployment on the NYPA transmission system.
Research assistance will be supplied by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
It was one of 10 grants that BIRD announced last week, totaling $8 million. For the BIRD Foundation, a joint Israel-US business forum that promotes partnerships to bring promising Israeli technology to American firms, it was the latest of the over 900 projects it has sponsored over the past 38 years. The money, providing up to 50% of the funding of a project, is given in the form of grants and loans, to be repaid only if the project reaches the sales stage.
AVG Technologies Establishes Worldwide Center of Excellence for Mobile in Israel
AVG® Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG), the online security company™ for more than 200 million monthly active users, announced today the establishment of its global Center of Excellence for mobile in Tel Aviv, Israel. The new office comprises a 3,200 square meter facility, supporting more than 120 employees working across state-of-the-art mobile innovation, emerging mobile threats research, and Internet of Things technology development.
"Israel has emerged as a hotbed for mobile innovation, resulting in unparalleled opportunities to partner with innovative start-ups and develop cutting-edge mobile technologies. AVG's rapidly growing mobile customer base makes this a critical time to build robust, future-proof offerings, supporting the multiple mobile platforms and services that are so popular today," said Harel Tayeb, AVG Israel Country Manager. "The historical success of our investments in this market have laid a strong foundation for the development of our signature AVG Zen platform, growing our global mobile user base, and delivering on our mobile monetization strategy."
The development of AVG's most popular mobile product, AVG AntiVirus for Android™, was driven by the acquisition of Israeli start-up, DroidSecurity, and quickly became the first mobile security product to enter the 100-500 million downloads category on the Google® Play™ store. With over 100 million mobile users worldwide today, and growing, AVG is focused on enhancing and innovating on its mobile portfolio through a dedicated program of industry partnerships, top talent recruitment and discerning investment.
Como pays $50m for Keeprz, Checkmarx raises $84m
Como, founded in 2010 as ConduIT Mobile, is an award-winning do-it-yourself mobile app solution that helps tens of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses build customer loyalty and drive revenue. The company has 100 employees and is based in Nes Ziona.
Keeprz is an Israeli app that helps small and medium-sized businesses retain customer loyalty. Among its customers are Burger King, Coca-Cola, Burgus Burger Bar, BMW, and Cafe Joe. Its 17 staff members will join the Como team.
“We’re continuing to invest in the company because we believe in our ability to create an Israeli company that will be a global leader, and we’re proud to do this through local talent of Israeli technology,” said Ronen Shilo, CEO of Como. “Keeprz is now in the forefront of customer loyalty technology for businesses, and we believe that merging with it will allow us to preserve our leadership our dynamic sector.”
In related news, Checkmarx – a global leader in software application security – recently announced a $84 million investment from New York-based venture capital and private equity firm, Insight Venture Partners. Checkmarx provides comprehensive solutions for application security testing and application layer attack prevention.
Microsoft to acquire Israeli start-up Adallom for $320m
Microsoft is set to acquire Israeli cloud security firm Adallom, making it the company’s tenth outright acquisition in Israel, reports said Monday.
According to the Hebrew-language business daily Calcalist, the deal to acquire the Israeli start-up will cost Microsoft $320 million. Neither company responded to requests for comment.
According to the reports, Tel Aviv-based Adallom, currently with about 60 employees, will continue to operate in Israel and will expand to become Microsoft’s cyber-security development headquarters in Israel.
If the reported buyout sum is correct, it would be the most Microsoft ever paid for an Israeli tech firm, and would place Adallom among the top 25 biggest buyouts made by Microsoft. The software behemoth has made 179 acquisitions since 1987.
CT scan of charred scroll yields oldest Biblical remnant after Dead Sea Scrolls
Thanks to a high-tech solution, a charred parchment scroll discovered by the shores of the Dead Sea bearing verses from the Book of Leviticus was deciphered for the first time, archaeologists announced Monday.
The document, found during the excavation of the synagogue in Ein Gedi 45 years ago, was burned 1,500 years ago while stored inside the ark in the ancient house of worship. Since then, however, the text has been unreadable.
Using micro-CT scanners, specialists at the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Dead Sea Scrolls laboratory in Jerusalem discerned the text written on the charred scroll: verses from the second chapter of the Book of Leviticus. The results of the CT scans were sent to computer scientist Brent Seales of the University of Kentucky, who created a 3D reconstruction of the scroll.
Carbon-14 dating determined the text was from the end of the 6th century CE, making it the oldest copy of the Bible after the Dead Sea Scrolls. The IAA archaeologists noted that it was also the first time the remains of a Torah scroll were found in an ancient synagogue.

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