Wednesday, July 13, 2016

From Ian:

Administration Defends UN-Funded, Anti-Israel Textbooks for Palestinians
U.S. taxpayers provide nearly $400 million a year to a United Nations program that critics say sends anti-Semitic, anti-Israel textbooks to schools for Palestinian refugees.
An elementary school textbook calls the 1948 establishment of Israel a “disaster,” and a high school text tells of the “End of Days” when “Muslims fight the Jews,” among other examples in a report from the Center for Near East Policy, a pro-Israel research institute based in Jerusalem.
The agency—the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA—has come under scrutiny for years for supplying Palestinian schools with textbooks containing violent, anti-Israel references.
The Obama administration, however, defends the textbook program. A State Department spokesman told The Daily Signal that the books are part of “an education that instills respect for and appreciation of universal human rights and dignity of all persons.”
The program serves nearly 500,000 students in about 700 schools in the Palestinian territories, using the Palestinian Authority’s curriculum, according to the State Department.
The watchdog group UN Watch released a report last year accusing some of the Gaza-based U.N. agency’s employees of making anti-Semitic comments and celebrating violence on Facebook, providing 10 specific examples.

U.S. Imam: “Muslims Have The RIGHT To Take The Property Of FILTHY Christians And Jews”
Meet Abu Ammaar Yasir Kazi. He’s not some crazy Imam in the Middle East. He’s a college professor at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, who was described by New York Times Magazine as “one of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam.”
In lectures to students at this American college, he blasts those in his class as being filthy and impure. He then steps up his vitriolic diatribes, by tearing into Christians, where he compares them to feces and urine, saying they are the “most evil of evils.” He then instructs his students that they should engage in jihad and fight all unbelievers until they convert to Islam, and that those who refuse to convert, should have their lives and property taken. “Property” which according to Islam, includes taking women as sex slaves.
"Gangster Islam" in Europe
"Gangster Islam," a crime wave packing prisons and overtaking Europe, is a problem the mainstream media will not report. Ordinary Europeans -- for fear of being called "racist" or even being imprisoned for "hate speech" -- are afraid even to talk about it. Timon Dias, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, discusses the issue in our latest video:




My Time With the Netanyahu Brothers
Times Insider delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how news, features and opinion come together at The New York Times. In this piece, Jeffrey Gettleman, The Times’s East Africa bureau chief, shares what it was like for him to travel back with Benjamin Netanyahu — in mind and body — to Entebbe, Uganda, where the Israeli prime minister’s older brother was killed in 1976 leading a raid that rescued 100 hostages being held by terrorists.
As I was putting together the story, I realized how profound the Entebbe legend had become. In those 90 minutes, Israel entrenched the image of itself, at least in some quarters, as a mythic land full of scholar-warriors who could overcome awesome odds and accomplish good.
Maybe Entebbe made Israel feel invincible. When I considered what the Israelis had to work with at the time, I could see why. The intelligence had been spotty. Israeli military planes could barely fly that far. The whole thing had been thrown together fast, on a shoestring budget.
Still, Yoni and his team had pulled it off.
Several of Israel’s most important leaders since were connected to that raid: Mr. Netanyahu, of course, but also Shimon Peres (a future prime minister and president, he was the defense minister at the time); Yitzhak Rabin (nearly two decades before his assassination, he was the prime minister who gave final approval for the Entebbe raid, and he had awarded Yoni a medal in cadet school years before); and Ehud Barak (an important military planner who went on to be prime minister and, later, Mr. Netanyahu’s minister of defense).
But one of the most important conversations I had for this story was not with a Netanyahu or a statesman. It was with Sara Guter Davidson, an 81-year-old Israeli who had been a hostage at Entebbe. She said she had been shocked when, among all the gunfire and explosions outside in the African night, she had heard people speaking Hebrew.
Every year, she visits Yoni’s grave.
“Many soldiers have died in Israel, but it is a different feeling with Yoni,” she told me.
She paused and added, “He died for us.”
Anti-Facebook bill brought to Knesset
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan took their fight against Facebook to a new level on Tuesday, publicizing a proposed bill for removing terrorism-promoting content from the Internet and various social media platforms.
The bill would empower courts to order social media providers like Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter to remove content that is in itself criminal as well as constitutes a danger to personal, public or state security.
It would also give the state vast powers that it does not possess in standard proceedings. The state could potentially seek a court order for removal without giving notice to the social media platform, introduce classified evidence and introduce evidence that would not normally be admissible.
It was unclear what would be the basis of such unusual powers, but the ministers emphasized the uniqueness of the problem and that the content removal was not a criminal proceeding (where removing standard defenses might be more serious because it could end with a jail sentence).
On June 22, the ministers had instructed their respective ministries and the police to formulate the new bill. The expected principles of the bill were advertised on the same occasion as starting with the state issuing a warning letter to Internet, domain name and social media providers who indirectly host or could potentially remove the content as site administrators. If the providers removed the terrorism-promoting content there would be no further action.
If the content is not removed, the bill would allow the state to request the courts to order the providers to remove the content.
Facebook closes Hamas leader's account
Facebook closed Hamas Politburo member and Khaled Meshaal confidante Ezzat al-Rishq's Facebook account for the seventh time on Tuesday.
Rishq condemned the closing of his account, tweeting, "I condemn Facebook's administration for closing my personal account for the seventh time in a row, and I consider the [decision] bias in favor the occupation and its dictates and against the struggle of our people for the sake of freedom.”
On Monday, the NGO Shurat HaDin filed a law suit against Facebook in a US district court. In a press release, the director of Shurat HaDin, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said Facebook has bears responsibility for allowing Hamas leaders to use its platform. “This lawsuit should be no surprise to Facebook, which has knowingly provided its social media platform and services to Hamas, its leaders, and affiliates for years.
“Facebook must now be held accountable for its role in facilitating Hamas’s terrorist activity, including the terror attacks that injured and killed the victims in this lawsuit,” she said.
Reporting Facebook Pages: If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again
It’s a case of been there, done that, with a lot of us trying and failing to get Facebook to take down an antisemitic page. If you’ve reported a page filled with antisemitic memes and posts, you already know the drill. You fill out a report, and then a few hours or a day or so later, Facebook sends you a message telling you that said hate page doesn’t “violate our community standards.”
This, of course, leads you to the idea that Facebook has no standards, or at least, none where Jew-hate is concerned. And of course, one can also assume that the big legal guns who penned those community standards, wrote them in such a way that no antisemitic page would ever find itself in violation of said standards.
The converse to this, is that no anti-Muslim meme or comment or post is ever not found in violation of these same community standards, because that would just not be politically correct.
Michael Lumish: Nothing Left # 107
Michael Burd and Alan Freedman have these exceedingly interesting individuals up for conversation today.
You should definitely give it a listen.
The guys have been generous enough to give me five minutes per week to have my say in the world and we'll see what we want to do with it.
This week, as part of my series concerning the failures of progressive-left Zionism, I focus on the tendency among hard-left Jewish Zionists, like those of the J-Street variety, to blame Jews who building housing for themselves and their children beyond the "green line" for Arab-Muslim refusal to make peace.
I think that we need more in the way of Jewish community radio, which is precisely what these guys are up to in Melbourne.
The last Nazi Hunter, Efraim Zuroff: 'People call me "Mr Holocaust." You need a sense of humour to do this job'
On a sunny morning in May, in the week of Yom HaShoah, the day on which Israel observes the remembrance of the Holocaust, Efraim Zuroff, the man known as ‘the last Nazi hunter’, was sitting in his office in Jerusalem, lamenting the fact that he was ‘all of a sudden one of the most in-demand people in Israel’.
There were press interviews and lectures to be given, articles to be written on Holocaust distortion, the status of the search for this Nazi war criminal or that one to be updated, and the rise of anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States. ‘Which I have to tell you is terrible.’ He shook his head. ‘Terrible…’
In the 35 years that he has been the director of Nazi war-crimes research for the Simon Wiesenthal Center (the organisation’s headquarters are in Los Angeles), Zuroff has been responsible for tracking down and bringing to trial many of the last remaining Nazis, and, increasingly, keeping alive the memory of the Shoah and its six million victims.
‘People sometimes call me Mr Holocaust,’ he said, his eyes scanning the growing list of emails popping into his inbox. ‘My brother-in-law phones me on Yom HaShoah and says, “Happy holiday!”’ He laughed. ‘You need a sense of humour in this job.’
How the United Nations Indirectly Funds Hamas
The United Nation Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Western governments funnel critical financial support to a Hamas-tied “charity” organization in disregard of its known history.
Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) is an international organization based in the United Kingdom that maintains offices around the world, including Gaza and the West Bank. IRW operates, ostensibly, as an international relief and development charity. Their website’s mission statement reads, “inspired by Islamic faith, we have been striving to make the world a better and fairer place.” Apparently, making the world ‘a better and fairer place’ includes financing Hamas.
According to investigations carried out by the Israel Security Agency, IRW has played a central role over the years in channeling money to this terrorist organization. Based on Shin Bet’s findings, Israel’s Defense Minister declared IRW illegal on June 19, 2014 and banned it from operating anywhere in Israel and the West Bank.
This should hardly have come as a surprise to any impartial observer. As long ago as 2006, the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs had designated IRW a terrorist front, noting that “IRW provides support and assistance to Hamas’s infrastructure.” That same year, on May 10th, Israeli police arrested IRW’s Gaza coordinator, Iyaz Ali, who admitted he was aware that “. . . several of the organizations supported by the IRW in Judea, Samaria and Gaza were indeed identified with Hamas.”
Ladies, Boycott "Always"
As you would most probably guess, I'm past the age of needing "Always" and similar products. But I must admit that in my day, that was the brand I frequently bought. A few days ago, a friend tipped me off about the fact that "Always" supports UNESCO. Yes, that means that every time you buy a package, you're supporting an international organization that downplays and denies the Jewish connection to our holiest sites. UNESCO also accepted Palestine, sic as a member since 2011.
What a sorry state of affairs when women have to choose their sanitary napkins according to politics!
And even worse... Did you notice the blue P&G logo?
Always is a product of a very large company that makes other iconic products like Pampers, Tampax and Tide! If you have any of these at home or see them in a store, please check to see if they, too, give some of their profits to UNESCO or a similar type of NGO. Please comment with relevant information.
Human rights group complains about Toronto teacher for praising terrorist on social media
The Toronto-based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC), a non-profit human rights organization committed to countering racism and antisemitism, has been in contact with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic school board to express its concerns, after CIJnews reported about the speech of a Toronto teacher at the pro Iranian Al-Quds Day rally (July 2, 2016) and her postings on Facebook in support of the Palestinian struggle.
During her speech at Al-Quds Day rally, the speaker said: “Glory to the martyrs. Victory, freedom to the prisoners and liberation for the Palestinians. From the river to the sea Palestine will be free.”
“These comments are now even more profoundly disturbing, as these new details have come to light. The speaker has also been found to have made several social media posts in support of Palestinian terrorists, raising questions in regards to her employment as a teacher in Canada,” FSWC’s statement reads.
CAMERA Prompts Christian Science Monitor Corrections on 'Palestine,' 'New' Settlements, Jerusalem
CAMERA yesterday prompted a series of corrections in The Christian Science Monitor's Global News Blog on items ranging from incorrect usage of "Palestine" terminology and an erroneous reference to "new Israeli settlements" (there are none) to the mistaken location of meetings between the Egyptian Foreign Minister and the Israeli prime minister. (The meetings were in Jerusalem, Israel's capital, not Tel Aviv.) CAMERA commends editors for taking quick steps to set the record straight on all of the issues.
One prominent erroneous item was the July 6 headline stating: "Why new Israeli settlements draw ire."
As noted in CAMERA's Snapshots blog last week, the recent construction approval now drawing ire is for homes in the well-established settlement of Maale Adumim and for built up neighborhoods in Jerusalem beyond the Green Line. There are no plans for any "new Israeli settlements."
Following communication from CAMERA, editors commendably corrected the headline, which now accurately states: "Why new building in Israeli settlements draws ire."
Los Angeles Times' Fuzzy Figures on Gaza Patients
In his article today about Gazan men receiving medical treatment in Turkey, freelance reporter Umar Farooq errs ("Residents of impoverished Gaza Strip turn to Turkey for lifesaving medical care"):
According to the World Health Organization, about 3,000 patients from Gaza with life-threatening illnesses apply each month to get treatment at Israeli hospitals, but fewer than two-thirds receive security clearance to pass through the Erez crossing.
According to monthly World Health Organization data, Farooq is wrong on two points.
1) During the most recent one-year period for which data is available (June 2015 to May 2016), about 2,000 patients from Gaza with life-threatening illnesses apply each month to get treatment at Israeli hospitals, not 3,000. In fact, the precise average number of monthly applicants during that time period is 2,048. The most applicants in any given month in the last year was 2,275 (October 2015).
2) Farooq also errs about the number of applicants who receive security clearance, stating: "fewer than two-thirds receive security clearance to pass through the Erez crossing." In the same 12 month period, the approval rate dipped below two-thirds just one time -- to 65.81 percent in May 2016. The average approval rating over the last most recent year for which data is available is 72.59 percent, or "fewer than three-quarters," not fewer than "two-thirds."

BBC News continues to cultivate its settlements narrative
The sites of the housing units proposed in this latest announcement (which is only a preliminary step before the issue of tenders) would all be included in such land swaps – Givat HaMatos/Beit Safafa, Ma’ale Adumim, Har Homa and Ramot.
One must therefore wonder why the writer of this article refrained from informing readers of that fact and instead opted for the context-free promotion of misleading polemics such as:
“Mr Kirby said: “If true, this report would be the latest step in what seems to be a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalizations of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.””
Unfortunately the answer to that question is all too clear. The BBC has once again demonstrated that it is not interested in providing its audiences with the full range of information which would enable them to reach their own informed conclusions on this topic but prefers to amplify any and every statement or report which supports its own adopted political narrative, whilst at the same time downplaying or ignoring issues such as the foreign funded PA’s incitement and glorification of terror and Hamas’ terrorism.
That of course is campaigning – not journalism.
No Voltaire: Voltaire defended free speech to the death; Aly blames freedom for Islamic terrorism
Australia - Author Paul Monk wonders why a free speech award is given to someone who neither champions free speech nor denounces the greatest threat to it:
On July 23, Waleed Aly will be presented with the Voltaire Award for free speech from Liberty Victoria. It would be rather charming were he to give a speech on that occasion reflecting on Voltaire’s play Mahomet, which depicted Islam as based on false miracles, personal ambition and ruthless fanaticism.
For some time Aly has been the go-to person for commentary on Islam and avoiding what is widely dubbed “Islamophobia”. It is safe to say he does not share Voltaire’s assessment of Islam.
Yet Voltaire remains a figure for our time, and free speech on the subject of Islam has become extraordinarily problematic. Imagine Mahomet being produced in Paris today!....
What are we afraid of, then? A world in which, from Bangladesh to West Africa, a savage version of Islam is being championed by armed groups; in which the Indonesian Ulama Council has issued fatwas denouncing secularism, pluralism and liberalism as “sipilis” (syphilis); in which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year publicly lionised historic Muslim conquests and called for the reconquest of Europe by Muslim immigration.
All these things cause unease and fear. Should they not?…
BBC News portrayal of Israeli law airbrushes political NGOs
No discussion of the topic of interference in a democracy by foreign governments is seen in this article and no mention is made of similar legislation in other countries. The rather glaring question of how groups receiving between 50 – 100% of their funding from foreign governments can call themselves ‘non-governmental organisations’ is ignored.
The article closes with unchallenged quotes from two political NGOs: ‘Human Rights Watch’ (which is not registered in Israel and therefore is not affected by the law) and ‘Peace Now’ which – despite the BBC’s description of it as “another affected group” – does not appear on the list.
‘Human Rights Watch’ is of course one of the NGOs most often quoted and promoted by the BBC. Several of the NGOs which will be affected by the new transparency law (e.g. ‘Breaking the Silence’, ‘Ir Amim’ and ‘B’tselem’) are also among the NGOs which are most frequently quoted by BBC journalists and/or provide source material for BBC reporting.
Clearly this report does not provide audiences with a realistic, accurate and impartial view of either the new legislation or some of the political NGOs it will affect. Given the BBC’s longstanding dismal record on informing its audiences of the “particular viewpoint” of the cadre of NGOs it quotes and promotes (in breach of editorial guidelines on impartiality) that will hardly come as a surprise to BBC Watch readers.
BBC News mantra on 2014 negotiations impairs audience understanding
Despite the obvious efforts being made by the BBC to shape audience views of that particular piece of history, the fact is that this simplistic yet widely promoted mantra does not provide an accurate description of events at the time.
It does not clarify that the fourth tranche of prisoner releases (intended to be conditional on the progress of talks) was delayed because the Palestinians both demanded the release of convicted Arab-Israeli terrorists and refused to agree to the continuation of negotiations after their official deadline. It does not inform audiences that the PA reneged on a previously made commitment not to join assorted UN agencies while negotiations were in progress and that it knew perfectly well that its decision to form a ‘unity government’ with the Hamas terror organisation which rejects the two state solution would be the final nail in the coffin of negotiations intended to achieve that aim.
As has been noted here before, the Palestinian Authority made three important choices between March 17th and April 23rd 2014 (not to accept the American framework, to join international agencies in breach of existing commitments and to opt for reconciliation with Hamas) which had a crucial – and apparently pre-planned – effect on the fate of the negotiations.
While the BBC’s portrayal of the end of the 2013/14 talks was highly partial and problematic even at the time, the fact that two years on it not only fails to meet its remit of enhancing audience understanding of the issue but actively impairs appreciation of why the 2013/14 talks collapsed is obviously cause for concern.
Austria seizing Hitler's birthplace to prevent Nazi pilgrimage site
Austria's government moved on Tuesday to seize the house where Adolf Hitler was born to prevent it becoming a site of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis, and the country's Interior Minister said he wanted to tear it down.
Hitler's family lived in the house in Braunau on the Inn for only three years around his birth on April 20, 1889; but the fate of the three-story building coated in pale yellow paint has long been the subject of controversy.
A spokesman for the interior ministry said the government had agreed on a law to take ownership after the building's landlord, a local woman, had refused to sell it to the state. The bill will now go before parliament.
"The decision is necessary because the Republic would like to prevent this house from becoming a 'cult site' for neo-Nazis in any way, which it has been repeatedly in the past, when people gathered there to shout slogans," Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka told reporters before the cabinet meeting.
"It is my vision to tear down the house," he added. A commission consisting of 12 members from the fields of politics, administration, academia and civic society will ultimately decide the fate of the building.
Study: Among Europeans, Greeks Have Most Negative Attitude Towards Jews
Among Europeans, Greeks have some of the most negative attitudes towards Jews, a new Pew Research Center study revealed on Monday.
According to the study — which analyzed the ideological divides across the EU on views about minorities, diversity and national identity, fifty-five percent of Greeks have an unfavorable view of Jews.
Hungary ranked second, with 32% of its citizens expressing negative opinions about Jews. One in five or more in Poland, Italy and Spain also have unfavorable attitudes towards Jews.
The authors of the report noted that, compared to Roma and Muslims in Europe, “Negative attitudes towards Jews are much less common” and have remained “relatively stable since 2015. Additionally, “a median of only 16 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Jews in their country.”
As in past years, Europeans gave Roma “the most negative ratings among the three groups asked about.” At least four in 10 Europeans have “very or somewhat unfavorable view of Roma.” The countries with the most negative attitudes towards Roma are Italy, Greece, Hungary and France.
Israeli tech raises record $1.7 billion in Q2 – report
Israeli technology companies raised a record $1.7 billion in the second quarter of the year, up 55 percent from the same quarter last year and the previous quarter, according to the latest IVC-KPMG capital raising report.
There were 187 financing deals in the quarter, compared with the 174 high-tech financing rounds held in the previous quarter of the year.
The largest deal in the second quarter was the $300 million raised by mobile app company Gett, which accounts for 18% of the total proceeds. Even without the Gett deal, capital raised in second quarter reflects a 27% increase compared to the first quarter of the year.
The average company financing round peaked at $9.2 million, higher than the $6.5 million and $6.7 million averages of the first quarter 2016 and the second quarter 2015 respectively, the report said.
In the first half of 2016, Israeli high-tech capital raising reached $2.8 billion in 361 deals, 35% above the $2.1 billion raised in 327 deals in the first six months of 2015.
Israel Navy launches anti-ship missile over 60 miles, striking retired Israeli ship
On July 5, 2016, the Israeli Navy successfully conducted an anti-ship missile exercise. During the exercise, Harpoon anti-ship missiles targeted the Israeli naval ship, “Atzmaut” (Hebrew for Independence), a retired Sa’ar 4-class missile ship.
The missile is a self-propelled precision-guided munition system that allows for accurate long-range strikes at sea. The Harpoon carries its own radar that can identify and hone in on the target during flight, until hitting it. It is the most advanced missile in the navy’s arsenal, assuring the highest level of accuracy.
This trial was part of a two-week exercise in the Mediterranean Sea. During the exercise, two Harpoon-guided anti-ship missiles with ranges beyond 60 miles (100 kilometers), targeted and struck the ship. The missiles hit the retired ship that sat 75 miles (120 kilometers) away from the active ship.
Pharrell cancels Israel gig, cites ‘scheduling conflict’
American hip-hop and R&B star Pharrell Williams has canceled his July 21 show at Rishon Lezion’s LIVE Park over “unforeseen scheduling conflicts,” concert promoters announced Wednesday.
Ticket holders for next week’s performance will be given a full refund starting from Sunday, July 17.
Williams’ management apologized to disappointed fans, and said the Grammy award-winning artist hopes to re-schedule a performance in Israel in the future.
Israel’s Channel 2 said the show was canceled because of poor ticket sales.
US reality TV stars Scott Disick and Kylie Jenner in Tel Aviv
After a long talked about visit to Israel, American reality TV star Scott "the Lord" Disick arrived in Israel on Tuesday night for a short visit.
Disick, a Jewish "businessman" from New York, often spoke of wanting to visit the Holy Land during his stint on the popular show 'Keeping up with the Kardashians.'
The 33-year-old confirmed his presence in the 'Nonstop City' on Wednesday afternoon by posting a picture to Instagram with the in which he is seen eating the favorite local dish shakshuka alongside 'Tel Aviv, Israel' labeled as his location.
Known for his rambunctious antics and turbulent relationship with the eldest Kardashian sister, Kourtney, with whom he has three children, Disick seemed to be more business-oriented on his trip to Israel where he was reportedly staying as a guest of the billionaire Nakash family real-estate tycoons.
In addition, sources told The Jerusalem Post that the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Kylie Jenner, was also in Tel Aviv at the Norman Hotel.
Ryan Reynolds gives thumbs up to Deadpool effigy in Israeli woods
Teens from an Israeli Scouts (Tzofim) troop constructed an enormous storage space in the shape of superhero Deadpool for a summer camp activity, but thanks to social media saw their structure go viral and even score a post from the film’s star, Ryan Reynolds.
The scouts responsible for the 17.5-meter-long structure of the superhero in a lounging pose belong to one of Tel Aviv’s troops.
After two months of planning and building matchstick models, the troop then worked for two days – from early morning through late at night – to put together their super-sized effigy of old tree branches, ropes and fabric in the Hazorea Forest.
The proud Tel Aviv scouts, ages 16 to 18, uploaded a photo of their creation to Facebook to show others. It made its way to Reynolds, and the Canadian star shared it on his official Facebook page with the caption: “Wow! Incredible. That forest is TINY.”
Tarantino Steals the Show at Jerusalem Film Festival
As dusk fell onto Sultan’s Pool amphitheatre, the venue began to overflow—not with the Herodian waters of antiquity, but with producers, directors, actors, and thousands of cinephiles, who had assembled in the the valley beneath the Old City for the opening night ceremony of the 33rd Jerusalem Film Festival. The obvious advantage of this particular open-air venue is that even if the movie selected to kick off the festival turns out to be a turkey, the views are still stunning. This year’s pick, Pedro Almodóvar’s Julieta, was thankfully no turkey.
The antics preceeding Almodovar’s latest film rivaled its soapiest moments. Miri Regev, Israel’s Minister of Culture and the former chief spokesperson of the IDF who spent much of the past year bickering with the country’s artists and filmmakers, was cheered when she announced a fund designed to incentivize movies shot in the south of the country. (A similar fund has been a smash hit, backing 70 productions over seven years, including Natalie Portman’s A Tale of Love and Darkness.) But Regev’s speech was often punctuated by loud booing, particularly when she invoked, seemingly out of nowhere, the recent terror wave in Israel, and the murder of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffe Ariel. “It’s so easy to tell when you’ll applaud and when you’ll boo,” she scolded the crowd. “You’re so predictable.” Later, on Facebook, she wrote that “it suddenly became clear that this elitist group [of hecklers] is a Trojan horse full of hate and contempt for the State of Israel.”
But the festival was quick to rebound with its rich selection of over 200 films from around the world, which will screen at Jerusalem Cinematheque and other venues around the city through the festival’s closing on July 17.
Saudi-based center ranks Hebrew U. number 1 in Mideast, 26th in world
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was ranked as the best university in the Middle East, according to the Center for World University Rankings based in Saudi Arabia.
The center also ranked the university 26th among more than 25,000 degree-conferring universities from all over the world, it announced in a statement Monday. Other Israeli universities to finish in the top 100 were the Weizmann Institute of Science, at 41, and Tel Aviv University, at 81, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Among the factors considered in rating the world’s top 1,000 universities were quality of education and faculty; Hebrew University placed 16th and 15th, respectively. Other categories were alumni employment, publications, influence, citations, broad impact, and patents.
Survey: LGBT Visitors to Israel Remain Longer, Spend More Money Than Other Tourists
A new survey found that gay tourists to Israel remain longer and spend 40 percent more money than other tourists, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, the survey also revealed that tourists to the Jewish state from LGBT communities abroad tend to make contact and develop relationships with Israelis through social media and dating sites prior to their arrival.
The survey – the first of its kind — was conducted during Gay Pride Week, which kicked off on May 29, by the head of the Tel Aviv Municipality’s Ir Olam (World City) and Tourism task force, to examine the entertainment and consumer habits of gay visitors from abroad.
The questionnaire was created and analyzed by Israeli researchers Dr. Yael Ram and Dr. Amit Kama and Prof. Colin Michael Hall from New Zealand. It was given to 167 tourists at information centers, the Hilton Hotel beach and at an LGBT party held at the Charles Clore Park along the Tel Aviv Promenade during Gay Pride Week. Despite the survey’s limited scope, the municipality stressed that the answers revealed a number of interesting trends.
For example, the data showed, most survey participants were returning visitors who had arrived especially for Gay Pride Week. The median age of the people polled was 39. The average stay was 6.5 nights – higher than the average annual stay for tourists, which, in 2014, was 5.4 nights.
Parents of slain teen Banki urge public to attend Jerusalem pride march
The parents of Shira Banki, the 16-year-old girl who was killed in an attack on participants in last year’s Jerusalem gay pride march, have called on the public to participate in this year’s march.
“After Shira’s murder, there were many voices saying that even though they don’t agree with the way of life LGBTQ community members live, and moreover they resist the concept of the Jerusalem Pride March, they still cannot accept violence as a legitimate demonstration of disagreement,” Ori and Mika Banki wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday.
“To all of these voices, and everyone who feels and thinks that way — we expect to see you march this year and in the years to come,” they wrote.
Shira’s parents invited participants in the march to bring flowers to place at the site where the 16-year-old was stabbed and 10 others injured by Yishai Schlissel, who had been released from prison several weeks before the parade after serving 10 years for a similar attack at the Jerusalem gay pride parade in 2005. He was sentenced to life in prison in June in Jerusalem District Court, and ordered to pay compensation to Shira’s parents.



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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

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