Saturday, June 04, 2016

From Ian:

Incitement rife in Palestinian textbooks
In almost every study conducted by researchers looking into incitement in Palestinian textbooks, materials have been found which breach the Palestinian Authority's pledges to halt anti-Israel incitement in schools.
Researchers have been surveying Palestinian school textbooks frequently over the past few decades to see if they have inciting material, such as the non-recognition of Israel as a sovereign state or the glorification of terror attacks and terrorists.
The schools researched in the various surveys are all public schools under the control of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Ministry of Education.
It turns out that in the vast majority of Palestinian textbooks, Israel isn't on any maps in any form. Israeli cities within the 1967 Green Line - such as Acre, Haifa, Nazareth, Jaffa, and others – are presented as being Palestinian cities. There are only a few schools which use textbooks that show a difference between PA controlled areas and Israel.
The IMPACT-se group looks into the issue of what governments teach their children and put in their textbooks worldwide in an attempt to determine how peaceful and tolerant a society is. They also looked into the school curriculums in the PA.
According to Chairman Marcus Sheff, "we looked for characteristics of peace and tolerance. We investigate education systems all over the world. We search using objective criteria written by UNESCO, and use these criteria to rank the peace and tolerance in children and in the society itself. There is a definite and clear correlation between the level and peace and tolerance and political violence in a society."
PHOTOS: PA President Abbas’ Dedication Of Street In His Name Backfires
A West Bank municipality’s decision to name a street after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has backfired, with street signs vandalized and a great deal of abuse on social media.
Abbas dedicated the street in the town of Bir Zeit last week with pomp and circumstance.
The naming of the street was “a token of appreciation for [Abbas’] efforts to better the lives of the Palestinian people and his efforts to realize the dream of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,” the municipality said in a statement.
Less than a week later, the sign was vandalized and Abbas’ name erased from it. The official media ignored the incident, but it went viral on social media, accompanied by many comments ridiculing the President, some of them accompanied by a picture of the tweeters raising their middle finger.
“The youth of Bir Zeit couldn’t stand that sign for more than a week,” Beesan wrote.
“We congratulate our great leader, the liberator of Jerusalem and the crusher of the Jews, Mahmoud Abbas, for the naming of a street in Bir Zeit after him,” Dr. Khalil Awadi wrote ironically.

Michael Lumish: Israel is Insane # 2: Criminalizing Unauthorized Marriage?
Writing in the Times of Israel, Amanda Borschel-Dan tells us:
There are criminals sitting in the Israeli Knesset: legislators who have either performed weddings outside the state’s religious authority, or who have personally been married in such ceremonies.
The Jewish state is one of the only places in the world where it is illegal — with a potential jail term of two years — for Jewish couples to marry as they wish.

I am speechless.
Two years in prison for Jewish couples to marry outside of the state's religious authority?
I have to tell you, if Israel intended to make a law designed specifically to alienate secular Jews then they could not have done a better job then in enacting this unjust legislation.
This law gives fodder to western-left Israel-Haters while, simultaneously, pushing secular Jews out of the pro-Israel community.
TV report: Netanyahu ‘said yes’ to regional peace efforts in call with Kerry
In a telephone conversation with Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “said yes” to new efforts led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia for regional progress toward peace, an Israeli television report said.
The call was made on the eve of Friday’s Paris peace summit, and was a factor in the summit’s vague concluding communique, which Kerry helped negotiate, and which did not set a firm date for the international peace conference Paris wants to host by the year’s end, the Channel 2 report said.
Netanyahu also spoke by telephone with France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault hours after the summit ended, and told him that France and its allies would best advance peace prospects if, rather than pushing their own initiative, they pressed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas into resuming direct talks with Israel, a source close to the prime minister said. Netanyahu also told Ayrault that France’s bid to host an international conference could wind up complicating regional efforts that might actually have a chance of making progress, the source said.
Ayrault reportedly initiated the call in order to update Netanyahu on the session. The prime minister also told the French foreign minister that he opposed Paris’s idea of setting up working groups to discuss core issues such as security arrangements for a peace accord. “Israel will deal with its own essential security needs,” Netanyahu said, according to a senior Israeli source.
Dore Gold, the director general of the Foreign Ministry, told The Times of Israel earlier this week that Israel was hopeful that improved ties with Arab states would ultimately yield Arab pressure on the Palestinians for substantive progress.
Netanyahu to French FM: Direct talks better than peace summit
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday spoke to French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, in the wake of the international peace summit that was held in Paris.
A diplomatic source said that Netanyahu reiterated Israel's positions and stressed that it would be better if France and its partners would encourage Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas to accept Netanyahu’s invitation to sit down for direct negotiations.
Netanyahu also stressed in the conversation with Ayrault that the French peace initiative could harm regional efforts which have the potential to succeed.
During Friday’s summit, which was not attended by Israeli or Palestinian Arab representatives, the international community committed to try and push Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks under a French-led initiative.
Indirect peace talks between the two sides collapsed more than two years ago, and Ayrault warned that the diplomatic void meant the prospect of a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict was in "serious danger", according to AFP.
Erekat hails French initiative, rejects direct talks
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) secretary-general Saeb Erekat hailed Friday's international meeting on the Middle East peace process held in Paris as a "significant step" on the path to peace.
"The Paris meeting is a very significant step and its message is clear: if Israel is allowed to continue its colonization and apartheid policies in occupied Palestine, the future will be for more extremism and bloodshed rather than for coexistence and peace," he said in a statement quoted by AFP.
Erekat also rejected Israel’s call for direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), saying Israel had failed to abide by previous commitments.
"The multilateral approach of the French Initiative is needed in order to provide us with a clear mechanism of implementation and monitoring," he said.
During Friday’s summit, which was not attended by Israeli or Palestinian Arab representatives, the international community committed to try and push Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks under a French-led initiative.
Bennett says he backs Palestinian autonomy ‘on steroids’
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett said Saturday that while he vehemently opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state, he does back the formation of “a Palestinian autonomy on steroids.”
The education minister told Channel 2’s “Meet the Press” that such an agreement would include imposing full Israeli rule over Area C, which constitutes over 60 percent of the West Bank.
Bennett has previously spoken of a “Stability Plan” in which Palestinians living in areas A (under full Palestinian control) and B (under joint Israel-Palestinian control) would govern themselves, without Israeli interference, but without true independence. Area C, which houses all Israeli settlements, would be annexed to Israel. The tens of thousands of Palestinians living in that region would be offered full Israeli citizenship, under the plan.
In the interview, segments of which were aired on Thursday, Bennett said he was not opposed to holding talks and pursuing diplomacy with the Palestinians but warned that he would topple the Likud-led government if necessary in order to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Saudi calls on Israel to accept 2002 Arab peace initiative
The international conference held in Paris on Friday seeking to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has concluded with a call from Saudi Arabia to adopt the 2002 Arab peace initiative, which would lead to normalization of ties between Israel and Arab states.
"The Arab initiative from 2002 is the best proposal for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," said Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, which is considered one of the more pragmatic Arab nations.
The Arab peace initiative, also known as the "Saudi initiative," called on Israel in 2002 to withdraw from the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It also called for an independent Palestinian state to be established with East Jerusalem as its capital and for a "just solution for the refugee issue." In return, all Arab states will normalize their relations with Israel and declare the end of their conflict with it.
Israel provides ICC with information on 2014 Gaza war
Israel has transferred information on its 2014 conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, a prosecutor with the ICC said Friday, but Jerusalem issued a hasty clarification noting that it does not recognize the court’s authority.
According to the Walla news website, the handover of information marks Israel’s first cooperation with the ICC on its investigation of alleged war crimes by Israeli troops and settlers and Palestinian militants during what is known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge.
But The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem later issued a statement responding to the comments by the prosecutor at the ICC, and insisted that Israel does not accept the authority of the court to discuss the matter of the IDF’s conduct during the 2014 war.
“There is no change in Israel’s position. As known, Israel does not recognize the court at The Hague as authorized to discuss the matter. As previously published, Israel is conducting a dialogue with the office of the prosecutor on the matter of the court’s lack of authority.”
The probe, which the ICC classified as a preliminary investigation, pertains to 66 reports of alleged crimes said to have occurred since June 13, 2014 in and around what the court defines as “Palestine” — a term it applies to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority’s West Bank, as well as East Jerusalem.
UN Secretary-General Blames Israel for Palestinian Terror
In a report released on June 2, 2016, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon blamed Israel for the slew of Palestinian shootings, stabbings, and car ramming attacks terrorizing Israelis since October 2015. The report, "Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan," does not even mention Palestinian incitement to terror and hatred fueling the violence. The "humiliated"? The perpetrators, not their Jewish victims fighting back in self-defense since 1948.
In the words of the report, "Tensions and violence erupted in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in October 2015, in the context of prolonged occupation, settlement expansion and settler violence and in the aftermath of clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, with Palestinians perceiving Israel as trying to change the status quo at the holy sites. On 26 January 2016, in his remarks to the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, the Secretary-General highlighted the growing frustration felt by Palestinians, linked to Israeli actions that were chipping away the viability of a Palestinian State and the ability of the Palestinian people to live in dignity; in a briefing to the Council on 22 October 2015, his deputy referred to the stifling and humiliating occupation that had lasted almost half a century."
Report: Hezbollah digging tunnels, placing rockets on border for next conflict with Israel
Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah is preparing for its next conflict with Israel by digging terror attack tunnels, tracking IDF movement and positioning its large arsenal of rockets along the northern border with Israel, Lebanese daily newspaper as-Safir reported Saturday.
The report comes as a flurry of articles are being published marking the 16 anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon, in which the two countries were in engaged in the so called South Lebanon Conflict from 1985 to 2000.
"Resistance fighters are watching, making preparations and digging tunnels so enemy soldiers and settlers are losing sleep", the newspaper said.
"Observations of advanced electronic infrastructure and night-vision goggles are closely watching the border fence, which are able to transmit real-time information," the report added.
The newspaper noted that the "preparations are being established so Hezbollah fighters can participate in combat at any moment."
The report additionally addresses the terror tunnel infrastructure Hezbollah is creating along the northern border with Israel, taking notes from their jihadi militant counterpart Hamas.
The paper describes the level of sophistication the tunnels are being built with, saying that they include underground ventilation systems which prevents moisture from damaging equipment.
Ramallah fumes at Jordanian meddling in question of Abbas’s successor
Surprising an interviewer from a well-known Palestinian website two months ago, famed Palestinian man of letters Sari Nusseibeh said the concept of a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation should be reconsidered.
The idea of a confederation has been almost completely discredited in recent years — a process that began with a 1988 announcement by the late King Hussein of Jordan that he was giving up his claim to Palestinian-controlled territories.
The comments by Nusseibeh, the president of Al-Quds University, were thus widely perceived among Palestinians as an irrelevant example of his unusual musings and doings, such as his ill-fated 2003 peace initiative with former Shin Bet chief and ex-Labor MK Ami Ayalon.
The remarks did spark some dialogue, in particular among some of the older generation and the more affluent tiers of Palestinian society – the business people and merchants. Ultimately, however, it is clear that the Hashemite royal family has no interest in reviving the initiative.
Israel to ease West Bank, Gaza movement during Ramadan
Israel announced Friday it was relaxing restrictions on the movement of Palestinians to and from the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The measures, similar to those of previous years, were announced by COGAT, the unit which manages civilian affairs in the West Bank under the auspices of newly appointed hardline Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Up to 500 people from the Gaza Strip will be allowed to attend Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem over the holy month, set to begin on Monday.
In addition, 200 Gaza residents will be allowed to visit relatives in the West Bank during Ramadan, and 500 Palestinians from the West Bank will be authorized to visit family in Gaza, COGAT said.
Israel will also allow 300 Palestinians living abroad to visit relatives in Gaza, and 500 West Bank Palestinians would be permitted to travel out of Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.
There will be additional allowances for the Muslim holidays which follow the end of Ramadan.
State Department Won’t Reopen Investigation Into Edited Tape
The State Department said Friday that it would not revive a probe to discover who was responsible for ordering the deletion of press footage from the agency’s public video archives.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the agency had “exhausted” its efforts to investigate the incident through an earlier inquiry, The Hill reported.
The deleted section of the 2013 press briefing showed Jen Psaki, a top administration spokeswoman, acknowledging that the administration had misled media about secret nuclear talks between the United States and Iran in 2012.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R., Calif.) called on the State Department’s inspector general to look into the edit on Friday.
Toner said the agency’s watchdog could still decide to launch its own probe, but noted that any phone records potentially leading to the official responsible would already be deleted.
“In tampering with this video, the Bureau of Public Affairs has undermined its mission to ‘communicate timely and accurate information with the goal of furthering U.S. foreign policy,’” Royce wrote in a letter to State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. “This is all the more troubling given that the video in question dealt with hugely consequential nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
State Department spokesman John Kirby revealed Wednesday there had been a “deliberate request” to scrub the footage.
Psaki has denied involvement in ordering the edit.
State Department: ‘There’s a Lot of Overblown Rhetoric’ About Video Deletion
State Department spokesman Mark Toner described Friday the outcry over the department’s intentional deletion of a portion of a 2013 briefing video showing the Obama administration possibly deceiving about Iran nuclear deal as “overblown.”
Speaking at the State Department daily press briefing, Toner was defensive as he took questions from reporters about the video edit that has received great scrutiny from some in the media this week.
“I understand and I appreciate the tough questions that you all are asking us in this room, and we are doing our best [to] answer,” Toner said. “But there’s a lot of overblown rhetoric beyond this room about what happened and what transpired.”
The State Department admitted Wednesday that someone inside the Bureau of Public Affairs called a video editor on December 2, 2013, to cut several minutes of video out of that day’s press briefing during which then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki effectively admitted that the administration had previously lied about nuclear negotiations with Iran.
White House Omits Another Damaging Line About Iran Deal From Briefing Transcript
The White House omitted a potentially damaging line from the official transcript of a press briefing by spokesman Josh Earnest last month, ABC News reported Thursday evening.
On May 9, Fox News reporter Kevin Rorke asked Earnest if he could categorically state that no senior Obama official had ever lied about the Iran nuclear deal.
Earnest said, “No, Kevin.” It was followed by a brief, awkward silence before Earnest launched into talking points about the deal enhancing national security.
However, ABC reported this line did not make it into the transcript of the briefing at The transcript reads out the rest of Earnest’s comment after he made that admission, but the “No, Kevin” is not there:
Backgrounder: The BDS Movement
While the Obama administration has expressed approval of backdoor, or BDS-lite, sanctions of the kind introduced by the EU, a number of U.S. states are taking action on their own to combat the BDS movement. Some have passed legislation sanctioning companies that discriminate against Israel, notably South Carolina Illinois, and Indiana. Similar legislation is currently before the New York state assembly, as discussed by Romirowsky and Benjamin Weinthal in a widely-read New York Post oped.
As several Middle East Forum researchers and fellows have underscored, sanctions advocated by BDS and backdoor BDS activists aren't oriented toward helping Palestinians. All sanctions targeting the highly interconnected Israeli-Palestinian economy will bring down Palestinian living standards. As Romirowsky illustrates, even those that specifically target Israeli settlements "hurt the very constituency they claim to represent" by putting Palestinian laborers in the West Bank out of work.
The BDS movement is about defaming the world's lone Jewish state, pure and simple. That is why, as Campus Watch west coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell explores in a recent article, the BDS movement has tried to shut down a program that sends American Muslims to Israel to meet with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian residents in order "to explore how Jews understand Judaism, Israel, and Jewish peoplehood."
BDS – the enemy within
The connection between the BDS campaign, Nakba Day and Tel Aviv University can be made through academics employed by the university.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders has stated that calls to boycott the Jewish State fall within the limits of free speech.
His statement comes in the wake of Israel’s annual State Comptroller’s report highlighting Israel’s abysmal failure to confront the ever-growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. Blame is placed on the Foreign Ministry as well as the new Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Relations, set up in 2013 with a hefty budget to deal specifically with BDS. This campaign is making powerful inroads, especially in the world of academia – a matter that should be of deep concern, recognizing that leadership, both national and Jewish, will evolve via campuses.
It was interesting to read the recent front-page interview in The Jerusalem Post with Prof. Joseph Klafter, president of Tel Aviv University, who expressed concern about the spread of the BDS movement and its detrimental effect on students. He noted that a BDS campaign, which started in the UK, “was initially on a small scale, but now that it is widespread in the US, it has grown to be very worrisome.” However, he felt it had not affected Israeli faculty members.
Contrary to the views of his “boss,” Israeli anthropologist Dan Rabinowitz, who heads Tel Aviv University’s prestigious school of environmental studies, feels the cold wind of isolation.
He states that many Israeli professors are being shunned at a personal rather than a university level. They experience snubs at academic conferences and struggle to have their work published in professional journals.
Gaza terror smuggling again not newsworthy for the BBC
The list of thwarted attempts to smuggle materials and goods into the Gaza Strip for the purposes of terrorism continues to grow, with the latest items including rifle scopes and drones, motors and metal piping.
As has been the case in the past, the BBC elected not to report these latest smuggling attempts. That of course means that when the BBC states (as it frequently does) that “Israel says” that the restrictions on the import of weapons and dual-use goods into the Gaza Strip are for reasons of security, audiences have an insufficient understanding of the background and the facts to be able to put that statement in its correct context.
Arrest of terror cell highlights BBC News’ faulty framing
That messaging is consistent with the BBC’s usual framing of terrorism against Israelis as being ‘explained’ by the outcome of the Six Day War. The implication is of course that if there were no “occupation of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem”, there would be no conflict and no terror.
The flaw in that framing – at least for members of the BBC’s audience hoping to enhance their understanding of the topic – is that the terrorist organisation to which the suspected planners and the perpetrator of the April 18th bus bombing belong does not share Jeremy Bowen’s view that the events of June 1967 are the root of all problems.
Hamas (along with additional terror organisations) makes it amply clear in both words and actions that Israeli disengagement from land taken in a defensive war against Arab countries (which previously occupied the same territory themselves) does bring about an end to terror and conflict because for them – as currently noted in the corporation’s profile of Hamas – the whole of Israel is ‘occupied’.
Jeremy Bowen’s annual reminder of why BBC coverage of Israel is as it is
There is nothing “away from the public gaze” about the anniversary Jeremy Bowen chose to mark by broadcasting this particular item on national radio and – as can be seen in the examples in the related articles below – Bowen does not mark that anniversary “quietly”: he in fact makes a point of recounting the story annually.
But whilst the story and its yearly narration by the BBC’s Middle East editor are not novel, it does provide some insight into why the corporation’s coverage of Israel is as it is because it reveals what lies behind the long-standing approach to that country adopted by the gatekeeper of BBC Middle East content.
JB: “Sixteen years ago this week my friend and colleague Abed Takkoush was killed by the Israeli army. Abed was Lebanese from Beirut. He’d worked for the BBC since the [Lebanese] civil war started in the 1970s. Abed was in his early 50s with three boys and a wife. His business card said ‘driver producer’. He was a fixer: the kind of person without whom foreign correspondents could not function. We rely on people like Abed around the world, though he was exceptional because of his experience, his sense of humour and his bravery. He used to pick me up in his battered Mercedes taxi when I arrived at Beirut airport and accelerate away into the traffic, boasting that he was a better driver than Michael Schumacher. Istill miss him when I arrive at the airport and he isn’t there. I’ve never had the heart to delete his phone number from my contacts book.
In short, the BBC has allowed Jeremy Bowen to use this item to once again promote the unsupported, unproven and unfounded allegation that Israel deliberately targets and kills journalists/civilians. And yet, for the last decade (since the creation of the position of Middle East editor in 2006) the man shooting that accusation from the hip at every opportunity has also been the person entrusted with ensuring that BBC coverage of Israel is accurate and impartial.
That, sadly for the BBC’s reputation, says it all.
Turkish paper compares Merkel to Hitler after Germany votes to recognize Armenian genocide
Multiple Turkish news agencies on Saturday compared German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Adolf Hitler after the Bundestag earlier this week declared the Armenian massacre of 1915 a genocide.
One glaring example came from the Turkish newspaper publication Star Gazetesi, who posted a picture of the German leader with her name printed above her upper lip in block lettering, made to look like Hitler's infamous "toothbrush" mustache.
The resolution, recognizing the scope of Armenian suffering for the first time in Germany, states that the Armenians' fate exemplified "the history of mass exterminations, ethnic cleansing, deportations and yes, genocide, which marked the 20th century in such a terrible way."
It also acknowledges that the German Empire, then a military ally of the Ottomans, did nothing to stop the killings.
In response, Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday that by passing the resolution, the German parliment was making a "historic mistake".
Turkey earlier recalled its ambassador to Germany on Thursday in protest against the parliament resolution that came at a time when Europe is looking for Ankara's help in the migrant crisis.
Chrome drops app used by anti-Semites to spot Jews
Google’s Chrome browser on Friday apparently removed an app used by white supremacists to identify and harass Jews online. A link to the app’s page led to an error message and informed users: “Item not found. This item may have been removed by its author.”
As Mic reported Thursday, the Chrome plugin highlighted Jewish names with multiple parentheses, or what the “alt-right” — a fringe conservative-white nationalist movement — calls an “(((echo))).” The so-called Coincidence Detector was available free in the Google Chrome store.
The product description read: “Coincidence Detector can help you detect total coincidences about who has been involved in certain political movements and media empires.” There was even a suggestions tab to submit Jewish names to be added to the algorithm.
Chrome allows any developer to create and add an app to their store, offering step by step instructions on how to complete the process.
The plugin, last updated Thursday, was being used by 2,518 people and had a five-star rating (based on 94 reviews).
Tech Expert Says Israeli Entrepreneurs ‘Unparalleled’ in Innovation, Lack Ability to ‘Tell Their Story’
Israelis are great tech innovators, but fall short when it comes to marketing their wares, a startup adviser told Inc. magazine recently.
“Israel is the number one place for tech entrepreneurs and the quality and quantity of innovation here is unparalleled,” said Hillel Fuld, a New York native who moved to Israel to get involved in the country’s tech scene. “Israel is a fantastic environment for startups and we have some of the world’s leading R&D talent…There is a long list of Israeli companies reaching the level of global tech leaders. [But] the biggest hurdle for Israeli entrepreneurs is their ability to tell their story and going to market.”
Fuld explained that some companies focus so much on engineering and developing technology, and get so “deeply rooted” in the process, that they often lose focus on the “why” aspect of it all. He added, “Subtlety isn’t really a part of Israeli culture and that definitely manifests itself in the local marketing talent through a stronger focus on sales and less long-term marketing. Lastly, most Israeli companies often relocate their sales and marketing to the US, but that is also a trend that is beginning to shift with more local companies beginning to do their marketing locally.”
Fuld is a co-founder of ZCast, a company that focuses on live interactive podcasting, and has worked as a mentor to help startup tech companies “tell their story, create strategic partnerships and scale their operation,” according to his LinkedIn page. He has been a contributing writer and featured guest for numerous publications — such as TechCrunch, Mashable, CNBC and Forbes — for his expertise on the Israeli tech scene.
IBM to acquire EZSource
IBM has announced that it plans to acquire EZ Legacy (EZSource), an Israel-based application discovery company, to help developers quickly and easily understand and change mainframe code based on data displayed on a dashboard.
“By adding EZSource’s technology to our enterprise DevOps and API management offerings, we are making it easier and faster for developers to modernize key applications that previously were manually intensive and many times required specialized skills,” said Ross A. Mauri, general manager, IBM z Systems.
EZSource was founded in 2003. It is a leader in enterprise application understanding and management with offices in Israel, UK, US, Switzerland, Japan and Romania.
EZSource says it has more than 40 clients worldwide including ING Life, Maybank and 7-Eleven.
Israeli Start-Up That Simplifies Online User Experience Raises $50 Million
WalkMe, an American-Israeli high tech start-up that simplifies the online user experience, has raised $50 million in its latest round of fundraising to reach a total of $92.5 million,Haaretz reported.
The latest round was led by the New York-based venture capital firm Insight Venture Partners along with existing investors including Greenspring Associates and Scale Venture Partners.
WalkMe, founded in Israel in 2011, has 270 employees in San Francisco and 160 in Israel. Its platform integrates existing software and websites to help users navigate through complicated or confusing Internet services. The start-up has seen five-fold annual revenue growth during the last two years.
Israeli Utilities to Help Romania Reduce Water Loss, Conserve Energy
Romania’s largest water utility, Raja Constanta, signed cooperation agreements with Jerusalem’s Hagihon water utility and with Israeli water-management company Utilis during a business seminar led by the Israeli commercial attaché’s office in Bucharest on May 30.
“About half of Romania’s population is not connected to central drinking water and sewage treatment networks,” said Matan Safran, the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry’s trade representative in Romania. The seminar in Constanza, held on the shores of the Black Sea, culminated six months of meetings and bilateral visits meant to identify Israeli technologies that could meet the various Romanian water utilities’ needs for treating drinking water, finding and managing leaks, conserving energy, and increasing efficiency.
According to the agreement with Hagihon, professional bilateral delegations will travel to both countries and Hagihon will help Raja Constanta prepare for various challenges – above all, the reduction of water loss. Utilis will help Raja Constanta identify underground leaks by using its specialized satellite technology.
Safran said the agreements “will create a permanent bridge for sharing information, knowledge and technology between both countries. I am certain that we can help more Israeli companies enter the Romanian market, which is in need of new technologies.”
Israeli startup presents $14,000 unhackable phone
An Israeli-produced super-secure smartphone worthy of a James Bond movie has been unveiled in London by an Israeli start-up company.
Celebrities Tom Hardy and Leonardo DiCaprio were among those present at the launch.
The Solarin Android, produced by Sirin Labs and available through Sirin’s own London store and at Harrods from June 30, offers a unique security shield activated by a security switch and deactivated by biometric ID, encrypted emails, secure calls and messaging services, and special anti-cyber threat detention and prevention software.
Tal Cohen, CEO and co-founder of Sirin Labs said in a statement: “Cyber-attacks are endemic across the globe. This trend is on the increase. Just one attack can severely harm reputations and finances. Solarin is pioneering new, uncompromising privacy measures to provide customers with greater confidence and the reassurance necessary to handle business-critical information.”
Israeli Startups Get Google Grants to Develop Accessibility Technology for the Disabled
Two Israeli nonprofits are among 30 international winners of Impact Challenge grants from Google to promote technological innovations that will make the world more accessible for people with disabilities.
Beit Issie Shapiro in Ra’anana received two grants. The first, for $1,000,000, was to develop a free product that will allow people with limited mobility to operate smartphones with head movements. The beta product, developed with the startup Sesame Enable, is now being distributed to individuals in Israel for testing before a global rollout.
Beit Issie Shapiro also received $700,000 to develop “Makeathon-in-a-Box” in conjunction with Tikkun Olam Makers, a project of the Tel Aviv-based Reut Group. Makeathon-in-a-Box is a template for community make-a-thons, which bring together inventors and people with disabilities to build prototypes for new solutions to accessibility challenges. Prototypes that come from the make-a-thons will be open source, and featured solutions will be available for purchase on Tikkun Olam Makers’ website.
National health-support organization Ezer Mizion of Bnei Brak won a $400,000 grant for its project with Israeli startup Click2speak to develop a keyboard controlled by eye tracking.
“They Did It”: How The Economist Reported Israel’s 1967 Victory
“They Did It.” Thus ran the laconic headline of The Economist on June 10, 1967, above a grainy, black-and white photograph of an Israeli tank behind rubble. In six days, Israel had tripled in size by conquering the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Desert and Golan Heights—and the British newspaper crowed with triumph.
This Jerusalem Day, one year before the fiftieth anniversary of this historic pivot, offers a special opportunity to look back at how a major actor in the foreign media celebrated Israel’s “astonishing” and “brilliant” victory. “Nothing quite like this has happened since John Kennedy pulled the rug from under Nikita Khrushchev over Cuba in 1962,” wrote the dazzled editors. Looking back, it is difficult to believe that Western media coverage of Israel was ever so nauseatingly gushing. “Israel’s tank commanders are unusually bright and tough,” kvelled the paper’s Jerusalem correspondent. “Israel has the most intelligent [infantry] sergeants in the world.”
The Six-Day War concluded on June 10, but The Economist had already gone to print when it appeared that Israel had won a “two-day campaign,” before the final push on the Golan Heights in the final days. Indeed, the paper warned—and this as the ceasefire came into effect on all fronts—that “unless the Syrians follow the Egyptian example, they will be clobbered (and rightly) by the Israelis too.”
In assigning responsibility for the war, The Economist was unambiguous in endorsing the Israeli position. If the decision to go to war is a calculation of expected loss of life from combat versus inaction, it is “difficult to argue that they [the Israelis] were wrong” in light of Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser’s threats to commit a massacre. Egyptian and Syrian leaders, therefore, were singularly to blame for “not behaving like sane men.”
Looking forward, The Economist argued that Israel would have to cede territories it had captured. Here, the editorial line was confused. On the one hand, the editors argued that Israelis were “entitled to use their victory to get some rock-solid security within their present frontiers,” and were moreover “in a position to insist on it.” But on the other, The Economist was not talking about a comprehensive, final settlement as a condition for withdrawals. Instead, Israel should make an “initial act of self-abnegation” after receiving some basic concessions: namely, “safe[ty] from Syrian guerrillas” and “guarantees of safe access to Eilat,” either by an Israeli position at the Tiran straits or an international force that Egypt would not be at liberty to expel again.
35 years on, IAF pilots recall daring mission to bomb Saddam’s nuke reactor
Thirty-five years after Operation Opera – the Israeli air attack that destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, retired IAF officers and Mossad agents revealed hitherto unknown details of the operation on Friday.
In an expose aired on Channel 10, Col. (Ret.) Ze’ev Raz, who led the June 7, 1981 raid, said that Air Force technicians “recognized that flying to Iraq and back” — some 2,000 miles in all — was slightly beyond the range of our jets, so we used all sorts of tricks to extend it.”
The Israeli Air Force could not rely on US flying tanker planes for mid-flight refueling at the time, and Israeli refueling capabilities, then in the making, would not be operational until 1982, by which point intelligence assessments were that the nuclear reactor would go online.
The strike could not be delayed, and therefore innovative methods for making the fuel last were introduced. All eight F-16As made it safely back; even 35 years later, however, the specifics of how they did so were kept secret.

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