Wednesday, April 06, 2016

From Ian:

Isi Leibler: The United Nations sanctifies evil
The United Nations has progressively become dominated by Islamic nations and tyrannies and increasingly sanctifies evil. Just last week, on March 24 in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) concluded its session by passing five resolutions condemning Israel. This followed a series of blood libels accusing the only democratic country in a region surrounded by barbarism of engaging in a policy of deliberate murder of Palestinian children.
Indeed the UNHRC has passed more resolutions condemning Israel over the past decade than all resolutions criticizing other governments combined.
This, despite the fact that countries leading the charge against Israel are themselves engaged in horrific human rights violations. And despite the fact that in Syria, Israel’s neighbor, hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions are trying to flee the country as President Bashar Assad’s army and Islamic State (ISIS) butcher entire communities.
The reality is that the UN, with its subsidiaries, has morphed into an evil body dominated by Islamic nations, tyrannies and rogue states whose policies it legitimizes.
Freedom House, the independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy, maintains that 80 percent of UNHRC members are “not free” or only “partly free.” In this degenerate body, Saudi Arabia was elected last year to chair a key human rights panel.
The UNHRC has consistently appointed fiercely biased anti-Israel rapporteurs and commissioned numerous reports to demonize Israel and accuse the Israel Defense Forces of engaging in war crimes.
This week the United Nations outdid itself. HonestReporting takes a careful look at their UNbelievable activities, and their effects on women's rights, human rights, and Israel.

Cruz's father: America was founded on the Torah
In his speech, Pastor Cruz told PJTN supporters that his son is the "strongest supporter of Israel on Capitol Hill," and promised that he "will continue to support Israel unconditionally."
He also countered replacement theology, by which some Christians believe they are the new Jews and that God has abandoned the Jewish people. PJTN has made fighting replacement theology and anti-Semitism one of its key goals.
After calling replacement theology heresy, Cruz said his son "will not fund the United Nations, until they stop supporting BDS and anti-Semitism.”
"Israel is the only country in the world with a title deed from the Almighty!," emphasized Pastor Cruz, noting on the divine promise to the Jewish people.
Laurie Cardoza-Moore, president and founder of PJTN, embraced and thanked Pastor Cruz at the end of his speech.
"Pastor Cruz is a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people within the Evangelical world," she said. "We need more people like him today, when more and more of our brothers and sisters are embracing heretical forms of anti-Semitism like BDS and replacement theology."

Legal Insurrection: When Does Anti-Israelism Turn Into Anti-Semitism?
On March 28, 2016, I gave a lecture at the University of Chicago Law School, When Does Anti-Israelism Turn Into Anti-Semitism. The lecture was sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and the Louis D. Brandeis Center, Inc.
The video is embedded below and includes PowerPoint slides, which also are embedded below.
After laying out the background on the rise of anti-Semitism tied to the gross demonization of Israel by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, I discussed the Sharansky 3-D Test, and the State Department guidelines, as to when anti-Zionism crosses into anti-Semitism.
The Chicago Law School recording system failed. Fortunately I also recorded the lecture with a handheld recorder — it took a lot of work to clean up the audio file, but I think it came out well.
For additional analysis, I recommend Miriam Elman’s post Fighting The Hate: When Does Anti-Israel Become Anti-Semitic?, and a book by Ken Marcus (founder of the Brandeis Center), The Definition of Anti-Semitism.
Here is the lecture, in full. Your tuition bill is in the mail.

The Religion of Colonialism
At Israeli Apartheid Week, campus haters claim to be fighting “colonialism” by fighting Jews. Columbia University’s
Center for Palestine Studies, dedicated to a country that doesn’t exist and which has produced nothing worth studying except terrorism, features diatribes such as Abdul Rahim al-Shaikh’s Palestine Re-Covered: Reading a Settler Colonial Landscape”. This word salad is a toxic stew of historical revisionism being used to justify the Muslim settler colonization of the indigenous Jewish population.
Colonialism is CPS’ favorite word. When Israeli social workers remove abused children from Muslim homes, that’s colonialism. Israeli farms are a form of environmental “colonialism”. When non-profits aren’t representative enough, it’s the fault of the “Israeli settler-colonial regime.” If it rains on Thursday, it’s caused by “colonialism,” preferably of the “Israeli Zionist colonial settler regime” variety.
But you can’t colonize colonizers. The Muslim population in Israel is a foreign colonist population. The indigenous Jewish population can resettle its own country, but it can’t colonize it.
Not even if you accuse Jews of being a “super-double-secret settler colonial regime.”
Muslims invaded, conquered and settled Israel. They forced their language and laws on the population. That's the definition of colonialism. You can't colonize and then complain that you're being colonized when the natives take back the power that you stole from them.
How To Revive Jewish Support For Israel
All for None, None for All
What most Jewish kids do learn at Hebrew school (and from their parents) is that Judaism embraces universal human culture. Naturally, they proceed to ask themselves, “If Judaism embraces universal human culture, why do we need Judaism?”
None of this is to say that AIPAC—and other organizations that lobby on behalf of Israel—are ineffective in their legislative campaigns. It is to say, however, that they’re misspending resources aiming to sway young Jews. That’s because insufficient energy is being dedicated to figuring out what ails Jewish millennials.
In turn, no number of glossy booklets praising Israeli innovation—from microchips to cherry tomatoes—will win young minds. Likewise, no amount of slick films highlighting Israeli humanitarianism—from aiding Syrian refugees on Lesbos to assisting flood victims in Missouri—will win young hearts.
Until the pro-Israel crowd gets serious about the corrosion of Jewish identity, it will always find itself in a reactionary posture, and its endeavors to galvanize mainstream Jewish support for the Jewish state will increasingly prove in vain.
The Historic Betrayal of the Palestinians
Why, throughout its history, have the Palestinians been the victims of so many irresponsible leaders who harm their own constituents?
Historically, the Palestinian "liberation organizations" have had no ideology or motivation beyond the destruction of the State of Israel. They are proxies of the countries funding them, instead of acting in the authentic national interests of the Palestinian people.
Instead of bringing jobs, water and better education -- as they promise when they stand for election -- some Arab Israeli legislators sell out their people for a few crumbs of headline attention. They parrot the Iranian line, with no regard for the needs of their voters. Iran just wants to get its foot in the door.
With the generous "help" of our Palestinian leaders -- and especially with the "help" of the treacherous Europeans who keep on enabling them -- any real help for the Palestinians looks more distant than ever.
Speaking in Two Languages With Father Naddaf, Christian Champion of the IDF (INTERVIEW)
Hebrew is Naddaf’s stronger tongue, and English is mine — despite my 12 years of Hebrew-language classes in American Jewish day school. But despite having his interpreter at my disposal, something about Naddaf’s simultaneously commanding and soothing presence encourages me to not only ask him some questions in my choppy Hebrew, but to also try my best to comprehend his Hebrew responses rather than relying on Barak’s translations.
But why does the language issue matter? Naddaf, who visited Houston to address the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Texas Region gala on March 28, is best known for his efforts to bolster Arab Christians’ integration into Israeli society through their voluntary enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). For Israeli Jews, by contrast, national service through the IDF or other avenues is mandatory. Naddaf’s pro-IDF stance is often accosted by Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, so much so that the pastor’s son was physically assaulted for that reason in December 2013. Yet Father Naddaf has pushed on with his IDF recruitment efforts, and upon meeting him in person, it’s clear that he exudes Israeli pride. What language other than Hebrew, then, would have been appropriate for this interview?
When Naddaf co-founded the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum in 2012, the average number of Arab Christians enlisting in the IDF was 35 per year. That number skyrocketed to 150 in 2013 and continues to increase annually, albeit at a slower pace year to year, Naddaf says.
JPost Editorial: Solidarity with Marseille
In a letter to the president of the Jewish community in France, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to calm French Jews’ worries over plans to close the Israeli Consulate in Marseille.
“My government remains fully committed to the Jews of France,” Netanyahu wrote in response to a letter sent to him by Roger Cukierman, president of the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities.
“This decision does not diminish the strength of ties and solidarity of Israel with the Jewish community of Marseilles,” Netanyahu wrote.
We beg to differ with the prime minister.
Closing Israel’s diplomatic mission in Marseille now, at a time when the community’s Jews are facing a wave of Islamist-motivated violence, would inevitably weaken the strength of the ties and the sense of solidarity the Jews of Marseille feel with Israel. It would also convey a message of defeatism and retreat. If anything, now is the time not to just talk about ties and solidarity, but to demonstrate Israel’s commitment to provide diplomatic services to Marseille’s Jews by strengthening the Israeli diplomatic presence in the city.
With 60,000 Jews, Marseille is home to Europe’s second largest Jewish community. It has also suffered a wave of anti-Semitic violence. In recent months there have been three stabbings of Jews, perhaps inspired by the knifings on the streets of Israel perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists.
French Jews said to be pulling their kids from state schools
The head of the French Jewish community’s umbrella organization said many of France’s Jews question their children’s future in the country, and parents are pulling students out of state schools.
In an interview with Vice News published on Tuesday, the director general of CRIF, Robert Ejness, said anti-Semitic attacks spiked in 2015 and are expected to remain high in the coming year.
“The numbers for last year were very high, over 900 anti-Semitic attacks, and we believe this year will not be better,” Ejness said from the Le Marais neighborhood of Paris, a center of the Jewish community.
He said attacks ranged from insults or graffiti scrawled on buildings to physical violence.
French Jews, he said, “are very worried.”

One post at a time, Jewish Brussels bombing survivor shares his healing
In the days since Islamic State suicide bombers attacked the Brussels airport, survivor Walter Benjamin has been plugging away on Facebook from his hospital room, sharing his story, telling loved ones not to worry.
He has met the king of Belgium, the queen and the country’s chief rabbi — but it was an airport technician who made the biggest impression.
Hassan Elouafi stepped over corpses at the airport to hand Benjamin a telephone so he could call his mother and tell her he was alive. At a time when many Muslims are being demonized because of the actions of a few, Benjamin feels the need to tell Elouafi’s story.
“Hassan cried in my arms and told me, ‘I am so happy to see you alive.’ His name is Hassan, he is a Belgian Muslim, father of four children, technician at Brussels airport. THIS MAN IS NOT A TERRORIST,” Benjamin, who is Jewish, wrote in one Facebook post. “He acted as a normal human being. He is a Mensch. I will plant a tree in Israel for him, his wife and his children.”
In a daily recounting of his convalescence, the 47-year-old matchmaker for a dating agency has become the voice of the wounded, offering a firsthand look at the suffering and triumphs of those who survived the March 22 bombings that killed 32 others.
Through all this, the survivor who lost a leg in the attack is trying to heal — physically and spiritually — as he reaches out to persuade others that hating Islam is not the answer.
Swedish-Jewish Activist ‘Not Surprised’ Israeli Teacher in Malmö Told to Seek Employment Far From School Children ‘Who Hate Jews’
Hernroth-Rothstein, well-known in Sweden for her pro-Israel activism and both personal and public battles against antisemtism in Europe, was responding to a story that appeared in the Hebrew news site nrg about “A,” a decades’-long Israeli ex-pat who claimed she was let go from her position on the grounds that she would be hated by both Swedish and Arab children.
According to nrg, “A” posted on Facebook a description of her experience with the principal of the school where she had only begun working in February.
“Listen, ‘A,’ you know that I’m on your side,” she recounted her employer saying to her. “And it’s really unpleasant for me to say this to you, but I think that problems are liable to arise here as a result of your origins.”
“A” said he explained, “It won’t be easy for you here. Most of the Swedish pupils are racists. They hate everybody, but especially Jews, so it could easily be that you will be getting it from them and the Arab pupils. I suggest you seek employment elsewhere, far from schools. And you know that I’m telling you this because I care about you.”
Charlie Hebdo is condemned as 'bigoted and racist' for latest editorial suggesting that the fear of being labelled Islamophobic is stopping criticism of Muslims and aiding terrorists
Satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo has been branded 'bigoted and racist' after the latest issue wrote that the fear of being labelled Islamophobic is 'aiding terrorists'.
An editorial column in its latest publication called 'How Did We End Up Here?' suggested that terror attacks, such as recent ones in Brussels and Paris, happened due to direct and indirect contribution from all Muslims.
It also added that too many people were scared to speak up about wrongdoing due to Islamophobia saying terror attacks happened as they were the 'last phase of a process of cowing and silencing long in motion and on the widest possible scale.'
Charlie Hebdo is known for its controversial content and the editorial comes just over a year since 12 people were shot dead at the magazine's offices in Paris in January 2015 by brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi.
It prompted the hashtag 'Je Suis Charlie' as an act of solidarity against the shooting, which also saw two million people take part in a protest march in Paris days after the attack.
Why Are Oberlin’s Students So Silent About Anti-Semitism?
However, this campus double standard on free speech is far from limited to the confines of Oberlin.
Just last week, former Harvard University president Larry Summers wrote precisely about this double standard on free speech when it came to the topic of Israel. As he pointed out, because the exception was tied to the single Jewish country in the world, wasn’t that inherently anti-Semitic?
“The State Department has made it clear that it regards demonizing Israel or ‘applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation’ as anti-Semitism.
“This makes obvious good sense. Does anyone doubt that applying standards to African countries that were not applied to other countries or singling them out for sanction when other non-African countries were guilty of much greater sins would be deemed racism?” Summers wrote. “With very few exceptions, university leaders who are so quick to stand up against microaggressions against other groups remain silent in the face of anti-Semitism.”
Ironically, in an effort to create some superficially progressive utopia, many protesting college students may becoming more and more like the conservative leaders they oppose. That’s what Matthew worried was happening to his Oberlin peers.
“In this way, Oberlin students become just as backwards as highly conservative sentiments. They speak about acceptance and loving each other, but they think it’s OK to bash conservatives and anyone else who disagrees with them,” Matthew wrote.
Alumni Group Head: Failure to Address Anti-Semitism Harms Oberlin’s Legacy of Social Justice
Landa added that it was troubling that Oberlin’s administration had been aware of the posts for months yet took no action. She expressed further concern over the “persistent hostile campus atmosphere that Jewish students reported several months ago, which emanates from the prevalent, unbalanced and unchallenged anti-Israel sentiment being taught in many classes.”
Landa concluded by calling on Oberlin to recognize that anti-Semitism is pervading its “moral and intellectual fiber,” and on the administration to take the necessary steps to acknowledge and repair the damage done to “its legacy of academic rigor and social justice.”
Marc Blecher, a professor of political science at Oberlin, wrote last month that the school had begun to deal with the “unprecedented situation” caused by Karega’s posts.
Lawrence Summers, former Harvard president and treasury secretary, observed in The Washington Post last week that “with very few exceptions, university leaders who are so quick to stand up against microagressions against other groups remain silent in the face of anti-Semitism.”
The AMCHA Initiative published a study last month showing that anti-Israel activity on American university campuses, especially boycott activism, “correlated strongly” with anti-Semitic incidents.
Anti-BDS UK student accused of violating 'safe space' rules
A Scottish college student was accused of violating “safe space” rules and told she risked being expelled from a meeting after she spoke out against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel movement.
Imogen Wilson, 22, the vice president for academic affairs at Edinburgh University Students’ Association, told Britain’s Telegraph she was accused of making “inappropriate hand gestures” when she disagreed with claims made about her at a student council meeting on BDS last week.
Student council meeting “safe space” rules bar “discriminatory language and actions” and, while one person is speaking, forbid other participants from making “hand gestures which denote disagreement” or “in any other way indicating disagreement with a point or points being made,” the Telegraph reported.
Wilson told the publication that the complaint against her came after she “made a long and passionate speech against us subscribing to [BDS], on the basis it encourages anti-Semitism on campus. It was only after I made that speech that someone made a safe space complaint. I can’t help but think it was a political move against me.
ALERT – CUNY Doctoral Student Council to vote on Israel academic boycott
VI. Traces of Palestine Legal
The resolution leaves traces of being the handiwork of Palestine Legal, who has been pushing the canard of the so called “Palestine Exception” to free speech.
Recently, New York State passed its own anti-BDS legislation. Clearly, a resolution such as this would stand afoul of this legislation and could jeopardize state funding for CUNY, or at least for the DSC. Palestine Legal has issued statements condemning both the anti-BDS legislation and the attempt to ban SJP. Palestine Legal claims that the anti-boycott law is unconstitutional and would like to put this to the test. We’d bet they’re going to get their chance as they walk CUNY and the students leading the DSC right into a lawsuit.
VII. Conclusion – Self-Destruction
The DSC has taken itself on a path of radical anti-Israel activism that seeks to destroy the academic freedom of all students for the political purposes of groups like SJP.
The damage done to CUNY from these efforts is mirrored in the damage to the Humanities and Social Sciences in general, which have become marginalized. It is not surprising that there is a growing movement to “boycott the boycotters.”
None of this matters to the anti-Israel activists for whom pushing their agenda and usurping institutions has become their reason to be. Whether the academic boycott is adopted by the CUNY Doctoral Student Council, or more reasonable heads prevail, remains to be seen.
US writers festival rebuffs call to reject Israeli sponsorship
The literary writers’ group PEN American Center is refusing to drop Israeli government sponsorship from its annual festival, despite calls by dozens of members to do so.
According to a news release issued Tuesday by Adalah, a group that supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, more than 100 writers signed onto a letter demanding PEN “reject support from the Embassy of Israel” for its World Voices Festival to be held later this month in New York.
Among the signers, according to Adalah, are Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Díaz, Richard Ford and Alice Walker, and award-winning author Louise Erdrich.
According to a PEN American Center spokesperson, the General Consulate of Israel provided a small contribution to underwrite the costs of airfare, hotel, per diem, interpreters and related expenses for individual Israeli writers selected for participation by the festival.
Swastika Sprayed on Jewish Fraternity Party House at Brandeis University
Students at Massachusetts-based Brandeis University reported finding a swastika drawn on a house where the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) was hosting a party on Friday night.
Lisa M. Lynch, the university’s interim president, wrote in an email to students on Saturday that “crude graffiti involving a swastika [was] outlined in condensation on a window at a house where several Brandeis students live off-campus, and where an unofficial event hosted by a Jewish group was being held.”
Lynch called the spraying of the graffiti a “heinous act” that violated the university’s values and went against its “Jewish heritage.” During its founding era, Brandeis — a Jewish-sponsored nonsectarian school — was known for embracing Jewish students when mainstream American universities had quotas for accepting Jews.
CAMERA calls out NYTimes for anti-Israel online debate
In an online debate this week entitled "Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism?" the New York Times enabled discussion on the question of whether anti-Zionists are actually thinly-disguised anti-Semites. For an unexplained reason, the editors thought there should be an odd number of contributors, and solicited three to defend anti-Zionists and only two to oppose them.
CAMERA - the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America – has called the Times out on the event. "We’ve long faulted The New York Times Opinion section for its striking anti-Israel slant," the organization wrote. "But this week, the newspaper made its leanings even clearer."
CAMERA noted that since at least 2011, it has found in the Times a continuing "lopsided disproportion" of anti-Israel columns and Op-Eds.
In the on-line debate that began on Monday, the Times editors "stacked the deck with defenders of anti-Zionism and harsh critics of Israel," CAMERA reports.
The organization noted that the editor who solicited the unequal amount of contributors "appears proud" of having done so – for he "retweeted a post by the anti-Israel extremist site Mondoweiss that said, 'Shocker: ‘NYT’ forum on anti-Zionism tilts toward equating Zionism with racism.'"
‘Frozen’ impersonator arrested in Rio stabbing of celebrity Jewish doctor
A young woman has been arrested and charged with stabbing a celebrity Jewish doctor on a Rio de Janeiro street.
Bianca Fares, 22, allegedly attacked Fabio (Fabiano) Serfaty, a prominent endocrinologist with celebrity patients who frequently appears as a health expert on television, on Thursday night one block from a Chabad synagogue and the Midrash Jewish cultural center.
Fares is known for dressing as Disney’s “Frozen” character Princess Anna to entertain at children’s parties in Rio, the O Dia daily reported. Her boyfriend also was arrested.
Serfaty, 34, had both lungs perforated in the attack and continues to suffer from severe pain when breathing.
German Neo-Nazis rally: 'Jewish pigs can't ban anti-Semites'
Fringe nationalist groups are resurgent in Germany in the wake of the ongoing refugee migrant crisis facing Europe.
But while the migrants in question are predominantly Muslim and virtually all Arab, Neo-Nazis and other radical rightist movements in Germany aren’t limiting their rhetoric to immigrants.
Tried and true staples of German radical nationalists have also been on the rise, including defamation of Jews, rejection of the United States, and allegations of a Zionist “capitalist conspiracy”.
Last Saturday, activists affiliated with the PEGIDA nationalist movement held a demonstration in Berlin, ostensibly to protest the movement of Middle Eastern migrants into Germany.
Yet according to a report by Blick nach Rechts, the slogans and signs at the rally largely targeted Jews, with chants of “Never again Israel”.
Demonstrators held up large banners reading “Blood and oil, the face of USrael”, showing a vampire-like figure with a Star of David and US dollar sign in place of fangs. Witnesses claimed demonstrators called counter-protesters “hook nosed”.
Nazi looted artwork stolen from Jews set to be displayed in Germany, Switzerland
The aim of the exhibition is to help clear up provenance questions in the collection of the late Cornelius Gurlitt of Munich, according to the Bundeskunsthalle museum in Bonn, Germany, and the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland.
German tax investigators found Gurlitt’s huge stash of artworks in 2012. His father, the art collector Hildebrand Gurlitt, had been hired by the Nazis to buy art for its museums or to sell for profit. The find was kept under wraps for a year, until the German investigative magazine Focus broke the story.
Since then, a task force has been investigating the provenance of the more than 1,000 works in the collection, which include paintings by Matisse, Picasso, Chagall, Beckmann, Liebermann and others. So far, two works have been returned to the heirs of the original owners.
Cornelius Gurlitt died in 2014 and left the collection exclusively to the Art Museum Bern Foundation in Switzerland. The museum said it would abide by the younger Gurlitt’s pledge to return all works identified as having been “stolen or robbed” by the Nazis.
UK author exposes the oft-forgotten horrors of a Nazi death camp for women
Lying 50 miles north of Berlin, Ravensbrück was the only concentration camp the Nazis built with the sole intention to house female political prisoners. Opening up its gates in May 1939, just four months before the outbreak of World War II, it was liberated by the Russians six years later.
Over 130,00 women passed through its gates. During its busiest period, towards the end of the war, the camp had a population of 45,000. Estimates of the final death toll are debatable, ranging from 30,000 to 90,000.
Why, therefore, is so little known about a camp that eliminated tens of thousands of women on German soil?
The wholesale destruction of evidence partially explains for this historical vacuum. In Ravensbrück’s final days, before the liberation by the Soviet Red Army, most prisoner’s files were burned by the Nazis and then thrown in the lake beside the camp.
Three Stunning Incidents Just Happened In What May Be The World’s Most Anti-Semitic Country
Messi thought he was indulging in an act of charity when he donated his black and white cleats to auction them off for the Egyptian poor. But Egyptians got very angry when MBC Masr in Egypt broadcast a TV report on the issue.
Shoes are considered an insult in Arab culture because they are in contact with dirt and touch the ground.
But it didn’t stop there. Other prominent Egyptians started to rip Messi, who is a Catholic Christian, as Jewish and Zionist.
A spokesman for the Egyptian Football Federation phoned in and said that he knew that “Messi is a Jew and that he donates to Israel.” He also claimed that Messi “visited the Wailing Wall and whatever … we don’t need his shoe and Egypt’s poor don’t need help from someone with Jewish or Zionist citizenship.”
Other reactions on social media accused Messi, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, of supporting the Israeli occupation “that is killing the children of Palestine every day,” JTA reported.
Another anti-Jewish incident was reported by pro-Israel blogger Elder of Zyon who discovered that the Egyptian news site Sout al-Omma was recycling a classic anti-Semitic blood libel.
Sout al-Omma wrote on its website that “Jews kill 10-year-old children, although if the child is younger that is acceptable, in order to drain his blood for use as an ingredient of matzah, in what it calls ‘one of the ugliest customs in the world.’(The Jews) think that making the unleavened bread (with blood) and eating it at the Passover feast is pleasing to the Lord and is a way to thank God who loves them.”
Rivlin mum on report he's seeking Putin’s help in returning master spy's remains to Israel
President Reuven Rivlin’s office refused to confirm or deny a report that appeared in Yediot Aharonot on Wednesday to the effect that while in Russia last month, Rivlin asked President Vladimir Putin to use his influence with Syria in order to return the remains of master spy Eli Cohen to Israel.
According to the report Rivlin was briefed by Israel’s defense establishment prior to leaving for Moscow. The meeting was also attended by Cohen’s widow Nadia Cohen, who for more than half a century has asked a succession of Israeli administrations to find a way to bring her husband’s remains back to Israel for burial in a consecrated Jewish grave.
To this day, Cohen is widely regarded as one of the best espionage agents that Israel ever had. Born to Syrian parents in Alexandria Egypt, he accompanied his family to Israel in 1949.
He unsuccessfully offered his services to Mossad several times before he was eventually accepted in 1961. He underwent intensive training before he was sent to Syria in 1962. Cohen performed extraordinary service for Israeli Intelligence until he was exposed, tortured, denied a defense and executed. He was hung in the main Damascus Square on May 18, 1965.
His place of burial is unknown.
Colorado man intends to build replica of Jerusalem
An unidentified Colorado man said he intends to build an expansive, full-scale replica of Jerusalem’s holiest Christian heritage sites, Christian Today reported Wednesday.
According to the report, the entrepreneur plans to include Jesus’ crucifixion site, Herod’s Temple and Palace, the Antonia Fortress, and the High Priest’s Palace.
He has already purchased a 700-acre plot near Colorado Springs, and intends to raise $100 million to build the Christian theme park, including a homeless shelter, which he said will take 15 years to complete, the report stated.
It remains unclear how he will garner the money necessary for the ambitious project.
2,200-year-old bronze artifacts found at biblical site
An ornate Second Temple era bronze incense shovel and bronze jug were recently unearthed at the biblical site of Magdala, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday.
The 2,200-year-old artifacts were found during excavations being carried out at the archaeological site on the western shore of the Kinneret. The town is known traditionally by Christians as the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus’s followers mentioned in the New Testament who witnessed his crucifixion and resurrection.
They were resting one on top of the another on a stone floor in a storeroom near the fishing village’s pier and likely belonged to a local Jewish family, archaeologists said.
Ritual shovels were used in Jewish cultic practice for burning incense in the Temple in Jerusalem. They are depicted in contemporary Jewish iconography as one of the articles associated with the Temple.
Kevin Costner, in Israel for ‘Criminal’ Screening, Says He Doesn’t Need ‘Permission’ to Visit
The Cinema City multiplex in Glilot, Israel, on Tuesday was the scene of the pre-premiere screening of the upcoming action film, Criminal, which stars Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot.
Criminal tells the story of Jericho Stewart (Costner), a death-row inmate implanted with the memories and skills of deceased CIA agent Bill Pope (Reynolds), in hopes he could complete Pope’s last mission—preventing a diabolical plot that could cost many lives. Other behind-the-scenes figures involved in the film are Israeli director Ariel Vromen and Israeli producer Avi Lerner. The movie debuts on April 15. Costner, 61, arrived in Israel earlier this week as the guest of Moshe and Leon Edri, who head the film’s Israeli distribution company.
Costner told reporters, “This time I’m here [in Israel] to support Ariel [Vromen]….This is his country, his parents are here, and I’m very proud of him. He’s a young man who is truly doing well.” Speaking of Gadot, Coster said she was “lovely” to work with and “a wonderful partner.”
Asked whether he was pressured by anti-Israel activists not to visit the Jewish state, Costner said, “I don’t ask anyone’s permission to travel. I’ve received lots of love here. I wouldn’t have missed that.”
Helen Mirren to present ‘Jewish Nobel’
Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren has agreed to host the award ceremony of Israel’s Genesis Prize in Jerusalem.
Organizers of the award, known as “the Jewish Nobel,” announced the selection of Mirren on Wednesday. The $1 million prize is being awarded to Israeli-American violinist Itzhak Perlman for his accomplishments as a musician, teacher and advocate for the disabled.
“Dame Mirren has been an outspoken supporter of Israel, and we look forward to the elegance and grace she will bring to the ceremony,” said Stan Polovets, the co-founder and chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation.
In a statement, Mirren said she was “honored and humbled” to host the ceremony. “My connection to Israel and the Jewish people has truly been a part of making me what I am today, and I am very excited to be returning to this great country,” she said.
Mirren is one of the few actors to have won the so-called Triple Crown of acting — collecting an Oscar, Tony and four Emmy awards over the years. She received her Academy Award for the 2006 film “The Queen.”
Benzion Netanyahu's archive donated to National Library
The Netanyahu family will donate the archive of the late Professor Benzion Netanyahu -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's father -- to the National Library in Jerusalem.
At Tuesday's cornerstone laying ceremony for the National Library's new building, the prime minister said, "I can tell you that my family has decided to give my father's archive to the National Archive." Netanyahu said the archive, which will be available for public viewing, contains materials related to his father's work as a historian and letters showing his close ties with numerous Zionist figures, including, first and foremost, Revisionist Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky.
"For our family, this closes an emotional circle," the prime minister said.
Dr. Ido Netanyahu, the prime minister's brother, told Israel Hayom on Tuesday that the family had made a joint decision to donate the archive to ensure its preservation and accessibility to researchers.
Benzion Netanyahu died in April 2012 at the age of 102. During his long life, Netanyahu played a wide variety of roles -- including Revisionist Zionist activist and historical researcher. In his research, he focused on the history of the medieval Spanish Jewish community and the history of Zionism. His major work, "The Origins of the Inquisition in 15th Century Spain," received global acclaim.

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