Monday, July 03, 2017

From Ian:

No One Does Anti-Israel Bias Quite Like the U.N.
Unsurprisingly, Falk is equally fixated on the supposed crimes of the Jews. In a blog post about the Boston Marathon bombings — he seizes every opportunity he can get — he repeated the old canard that Israelis control American foreign policy and insist on war. “The war drums are beating at this moment in relation to both North Korea and Iran,” he wrote, “and as long as Tel Aviv has the compliant ear of the American political establishment, those who wish for peace and justice in the world should not rest easy.”
For those who refuse to see the meaning or history behind portraying a global power as “compliant” to the Jewish state, Falk goes further. He has vulgarly compared the Israeli government to the Nazis: “Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not.” And he once wrote an article entitled: “Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust.”
You read that right: The man who for six years investigated Israel on behalf of the international community sees the Jews as the Nazis and the Palestinians as the Jews of Germany. The realization that Falk was probably appointed to investigate Israel not in spite of these views but because of them helps explain why the U.N. treats Israel the way it does.
Back in 2011, when he was still the sitting U.N. special rapporteur, Falk chose to write a blurb in praise of the anti-Semitic book The Wandering Who, by (ethnically Jewish) holocaust denier Gilad Atzmon. Atzmon writes in the book that “The history of Jewish persecution is a myth, and if there was any persecution the Jews brought it on themselves.” The book calls the credit crunch the “Zio-punch” and blames the media, which “failed to warn the American people of the enemy within.” Falk’s blurb, placed on the book’s front cover, calls the work “a transformative story told with unflinching integrity that all [especially Jews] who care about peace, as well as their own identity, should not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.”
With U.N. officials like that, the “Israeli apartheid,” and “ethnic cleansing” reports almost seem to write themselves.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Breaking the silence deserves Israel Prize for manipulation
Op-ed: The organization’s director says soldiers’ testimonies of war crimes are not being investigated. But when the Military Advocate General wanted to investigate the few testimonies that do point to a suspected offense, Breaking the Silence demanded protection of sources.
Breaking the Silence director Yuli Novak is furious about the investigation against the organization’s spokesperson, Dean Issacharof, who stated that he had committed a war crime of beating a Palestinian until he bled. Why is he being interrogated of all people, Novak complained. There are, after all, hundreds of other testimonies.
I checked the “testimonies” Novak was referring to. And not just any testimonies, but the department of “selected testimonies,” which are supposed to be the most serious and severe ones. One of the testimonies deals with a three-year-old toddler who was left under the bed during a search using live ammunition. He wasn’t hurt. “We were shocked by it,” said the soldier who gave the testimony, adding that “it emphasized the procedures.” It’s definitely unpleasant and definitely sad, yet I had trouble understanding where the crime was and what exactly should have been investigated.
I went on to another testimony, which claims that the IDF ignored the ban on using the “neighbor procedure” (the use of non-combatant Palestinian neighbors and relatives to help arrest wanted suspects). It’s unclear when the incident happened, as an interim order was issued against the procedure in August 2002, and the High Court ruled against the procedure in 2005. But the claim that the IDF ignored the order is slightly odd. In 2007, for example, the Military Police conducted an investigation against Major-General Yair Golan, who served as deputy Judea and Samaria Division commander at the time, for violating the ban on the “neighbor procedure.”
Jonathan A. Greenblatt (ADL): Anti-Semitism Is Creeping Into Progressivism
And regarding the LGBTQ community, we were proud to stand against discrimination of HIV/AIDS patients decades ago and, more recently, to champion marriage equality. We continue to fight housing and workplace discrimination targeting people based on who they love or how they self-identify their gender. And while great progress has been made in recent years, we continue to resist efforts to turn back the clock under the guise of religious freedom.
On the other hand, when hatred comes from individuals in those very communities or organizations for whom we advocate, we are duty bound to raise our voice. In recent times, anger over specific policies of the Israeli government has been used by some activists to excuse broad anti-Semitism directed at members of the Jewish community. In some cases, we have seen painful rhetoric unfold on college campuses or outright exclusion of self-identified Jews from progressive circles simply because of their faith. All of it is inexcusable.
At ADL, we work with various communities not only because it is the moral thing to do but also because our freedoms are bound to theirs. That said, even as we fight alongside other groups on issues of mutual concern, we should not sacrifice our principles, and we will forcefully denounce those who would slander our community and resort to stereotypes.
This does not mean we need absolute ideological alignment with every prospective partner. But it does mean that we need to draw lines in a clear manner — and demand that our allies observe those fundamental values that we also seek to live by: equality, fairness and respect for all.

Modi Is Coming to Jerusalem
Since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP party came to power in May 2014, his administration has shed its predecessors' reservations about regular public discourse regarding India's ties with Israel.
Modi's trip to Israel on July 4 is not planned to be "balanced" with a visit to the Palestinian Authority, indicating that India has freed its relations with Israel from its historical commitment to the Palestinian issue. Indeed, India has modified its voting pattern at international organizations by refraining to join the automatic majority against Israel.
India and Israel display high levels of threat perception and share a common strategic agenda. They are both involved in protracted conflicts characterized by complex ethnic and religious components not always well understood by outsiders.
Both face weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the hands of their rivals. The two nations share a common threat: radical offshoots of Islam in the greater Middle East. Moreover, India fears the Pakistani nuclear arsenal might ultimately fall into the hands of Islamic radicals.
Initially, Russian failure to deliver promised weapons at expected prices and/or schedules led India to turn to Israeli companies to upgrade its aging Soviet platforms, such as its Mig-21s and T-72 tanks. Today, Israel is India's third-largest arms supplier.
India and Israel represent two ancient civilizations. They share a British colonial past and were the first to become independent (in 1947 and 1948, respectively) in the post-WWII decolonization wave. Both were born as the result of messy partitions and have maintained democratic regimes under adverse conditions ever since.
PM Modi's historic visit celebrates 2500 years of Hindu-Jewish ties
As Prime Minister Modi comes to Israel on the 4th of July, 2017, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel, for a stand-alone trip, decoupling the India-Israel relations from Palestine, it is important to understand the depth, history and evolution of the Israel-India relationship. While the visit has many dimensions, the most important aspect is not the joint development of arms, not the prospect of free trade agreement but rather the shared values and historical ties.
Hindus and Jews have shared a history which goes back 2500 years. The first group of Jewish sailors, came to India as traders in around 562 BCE and settled in India. Some say it could have even been earlier during King Solomon's reign (around 957 BCE, when the first Temple was being built). Jews came and settled in India while they were in charge of the flourishing spice trade that existed between India and Europe. Those were the happy times.
Thereafter Jews seeking refuge, escaping the Roman genocide, came down to Cochin right after the second Jewish temple was destroyed in 70 AD. Be it the Bene Israelis (Jews who had settled in the Konkan region of India) or the Jewish community in Cochin or the community of Baghdadi Jews in Kolkata, the Jewish communities in India never had to relinquish their culture and religion. Unlike the pogroms against Jews in Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordon, and nation after nation in the Arab world, not a single attack happened against the Jewish community in India.
The Hindu kings of India treated the Jewish community as equals. In fact, in around 1000 CE, legendary Hindu emperor from Kerala, Kulasekhara Bhaskara Ravi Varman I (962-1019 CE) received Jewish leader Joseph Rabban and presented a set of copper plates granting the community 72 property rights equivalent to the ruling nobles of Malabar region in India. In the plates the rights are mentioned "as long as the World and Moon exist". The Hindu Kings gave the Jewish community land rights and the community even served in the King's army. The community representative was also made head of powerful trade bodies and was conferred trade rights called Anjuvannam.
Modi: Israel is perceived as a technological powerhouse
It is not every day that one meets a prime minister representing 1.2 billion people, one considered a superstar at home and abroad. Maybe that is why the meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi felt so special.
Modi is set to arrive in Israel on July 4 for what will be a historic visit: the first to this country by a sitting Indian prime minister. Despite the disparity in the sizes of the two countries, the relationship between them is one of equals, as far as he is concerned.
Modi is a different kind of leader. With sky-high popularity among Indians, he can say what he wants and push for the reforms he seeks. He has tried to move India forward and make it a global leader. For him, the path to achieving those goals passes through Israel. This should be a badge of honor for all Israelis. He knows Indians love him, but he also knows that he must not fail. That is his big challenge.
When I arrive at Modi's official residence, I discover that the man who always looks tough in front of the cameras is a friendly person who knows how to smile. He takes immense pride in his success in pulling himself up by the bootstraps after being born into poverty.
Exuding confidence, Modi shares with me a local dictum he uses as his mantra: "Sarvajan Hitay Sarvajan Sukhay, Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas." Loosely translated, it means, "In the interest of all, for the benefit of all, together with all, development for all."
Israel one of India's 'most important partners,' envoy says
The decision by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to forge closer ties with Israel -- being demonstrated in his upcoming historic visit to the country -- comes as part of his efforts to locate partnerships in the international community, according to Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon.
Carmon, who is in Israel ahead of the visit, said that Modi's past experience partnering with Israel as chief minister of the western Indian state of Gujarat, as well as the "excellent relationship he forged with his colleague Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and a belief in Israel's technological capabilities," had all played a part in the decision.
Carmon said India considers Israel to be "one of its most important partners in the field of bilateral relations" as a result of its success in ensuring security, welfare, a thriving economy and high quality of life for its citizens.
He said that through India's current foreign policy, Modi aims to implement major reforms and meet the country's many socio-economic development challenges.
Major defense deals to be signed during historic Modi visit to Israel
Israel and India are expected to sign several major defense deals during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel marking 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Modi, who is set to arrive on Tuesday in the first-ever visit by a sitting Indian prime minister, has stressed that defense will not be the primary focus of the trip. The two sides are also expected to sign number of agreements in the fields of innovation, development, science, technology and space.
India and Israel gained independence from Britain within nine months of each other, in 1947 and 1948, respectively.
India voted against the 1947 UN partition plan for Palestine and recognized Israel only in 1950, and its foreign policy was characterized by a pro-Arab stance despite Israeli military aid during its conflicts with China in 1962 and Pakistan in 1965.
It wasn’t until 1992 that the two countries established full diplomatic relations.
Islamic Relief Fails a Whitewash
Perhaps Reyhana Patel hoped that by smearing the Middle East Forum, and telling her readers about her love of "diversity ... tolerance and inclusion," she could sell Islamic Relief as a force for good. The charity's regular promotion of hate preachers and financial links to terrorist groups, however, says otherwise.
And is Patel herself really so dedicated to supporting peace and tolerance? Her social media posts and a short-lived career as a journalist suggest not. Patel has a history, it seems, of attacking organizations that oppose religious extremism. In 2014, Patel wrote an article condemning Student Rights, an British organization that works to expose homophobia, racism and other forms of extremism on campus. Without seriously addressing the group's research, Patel described the organization as "sensationalist and misleading." Sound familiar?
Patel has also defended gender-segregation imposed by Muslim student groups at Britain's public universities, and then complained that Muslim women who oppose this misogynistic behavior "seem to want to discredit and deamonise [sic] me."
Further, Patel has expressed praise for Malia Bouattia, a prominent student activist in Britain whose anti-Semitism was the subject of national media coverage. In 2011, Bouattia condemned a university with a large Jewish population as a "Zionist outpost." In 2014, she opposed a motion at a student conference that condemned ISIS on the grounds that such condemnation was "Islamophobic." That same year, a British parliamentary report concluded that Bouattia was guilty of "outright racism."
If this is the company Reyhana Patel keeps, then perhaps Nouman Ali Khan's extremism is a perfect fit for Islamic Relief Canada.
Islamic Relief was designated a terrorist organization by a pious Muslim country. Western banks have closed its accounts over terrorism concerns, and, just last month, Britain's Charity Commission starting investigating the charity for hosting a preacher who justifies killing homosexuals.
The Islamic Relief franchise is a charitable front for extremism in the West. That it has managed to build a favorable reputation is testament to the careful doublespeak of its officials. Such duplicity should not be tolerated.
Mark Latham: BLM wins Australia's Sydney "Peace" Prize
Yes, it sounds impressive — but when you hear the list of leftwing loonies who've also won this "honour," you'll see that there's nothing peaceful about any of them.
Ironically, that means BLM will fit right in...

United Church of Christ condemns Israel for treatment of Palestinian children
The United Church of Christ overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning Israel for its treatment of Palestinian children living in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and Gaza.
The vote Sunday night by delegates at the 31st General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Baltimore, Maryland, was 79 percent in favor, 13% against and 9% abstaining, according to a statement issued by the church.
The resolution calls on Israel to “exercise an absolute prohibition against torture and ill-treatment of detained children.”
It also calls on the United States to withhold military assistance from Israel over what the church says are violations of human rights in its treatment of Palestinian children. The resolution says the churches and members must learn about the plight of children in Palestine and the State of Israel.
It comes two years after the church voted to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s control of the West Bank. The church’s House of Bishops later defeated the boycott plan as laid out in several resolutions.
Daphne Anson: Antisemitism Should be Bad for the Image, Mr Peacemaker Mediator!
Now that he's no longer the vicar of Virginia Water, Stephen Sizer, CEO of the so-called Peacemaker Mediators organisation, has no diocesan overlord to rein him in.
And as the centenary of the Balfour Declaration draws ever closer, our old friend is keenly posting anti-Israel material.
Here's something he's dragged up from 2010.
It's sparked some lively discussion between our old mate and his friends, who include this chap Cozzens:
A skim of his Facebook page shows that Cozzens, who frequently comments on Sizer's posts, is unlikely ever to be mistaken for a Judeophile. In fact, with this unpleasant introduction, he has in the past 24 hours linked on that page to an article that invokes that antisemitic forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion".
Surely, in view of his own notorious brush with the "Israel did 9/11" trope, Stephen Sizer should long since have given a Facebook friend and commentator like this (and Cozzens is not the only one) the old heave-ho.
How about it, Mr Sizer? Surely you and the rest of the Peacemaker Mediators are not unconcerned at that body's CEO being seen in such company?
Comparing two BBC journalists’ conversations with British and Israeli pilots
Recently the BBC’s defence correspondent Jonathan Beale produced two reports concerning the use of “heavy weapons in densely populated areas” in another part of the world and the potential resulting civilian casualties.
War against IS: Have RAF air strikes killed civilians? June 29th 2017
Can civilian deaths be avoided in RAF strikes on IS? July 2nd 2017
Particularly noteworthy is the fact that – in contrast to his colleague – Beale did not attempt to provide his viewers and readers with amateur interpretations of “the laws of war” in either those two reports or in a similar one he produced last September titled “Have RAF air strikes against IS killed no civilians?“.
In all three of those reports Beale did clarify to BBC audiences that civilian casualties are most likely unavoidable.
ABC ignores editorial policy to run Al Jazeera stories
The recent decision by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE to blockade Qatar over its regional policies, including alleged support for terror organisations, Muslim fundamentalist groups and Iran, has put the spotlight once again on ABC and SBS telecasts and broadcasts of full news programs and smaller packaged stories and interviews by Al Jazeera, Qatar’s state-owned and funded global news outlet.
For years, ABC has defended its use of Al Jazeera’s English language news programming, despite mounting evidence that its use violates the editorial policy that the taxpayer-funded ABC must respect, according to its charter.
On ABC radio’s news program The World Today on June 9, Australian journalist Peter Greste — a former Al Jazeera employee who Egypt imprisoned for months as part of a thinly veiled political row with Qatar — gave further reason to question ABC’s ongoing relationship with Al Jazeera.
Greste said that he and his colleagues at Al Jazeera were not aware of any connection between the network and terrorist organisations or the Muslim Brotherhood, but that “there may be some truth in that at a higher level, a management level (there was)”.
Greste added: “It seems pretty clear from watching some of Al Jazeera’s Arabic coverage and the coverage of Al Jazeera’s Egyptian channel Mubasher (Misr) that there was a bias in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said. “Politically they seemed quite aligned with the Brotherhood.”
Will Australian Labor Abandon Support for Israel?
The South Australian Labor government used its majority to pass a motion last week that also recognised a state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, marking the first formal recognition by a parliament in Australia.
A senior Labor source said it was now impossible for next year’s national conference to not adopt the same policy, with the numbers on the floor of the national­ conference dominated by the left, which on this issue would now be supported by the NSW right.
A source close to Mr Shorten said that the Labor leader, who has been a staunch defender of Israel, now believed Labor’s unequivocal support for Israel could not be maintained...
“He did not lobby against it,” the source said. “He is smart enough to know it is happening and is allowing it to happen.”
The biggest push has come from within the NSW right, includi­ng some of Mr Shorten’s most committed supporters, who are also facing pressure within their own branches to support a stronger resolution. Mr Shorten expressed Labor’s support for Israe­l at the time of his meeting with Mr Netanyahu but had also raised the contentious issue of settlem­ents in a meeting with the Israeli leader.
“We want to see Israel safe and secure of its borders; we support the rights of the Palestinians people­ to have their own state,” Mr Shorten said at the time.
The outgoing vice-president of the Queensland ALP, Wendy Turner, welcomed the move by NSW and said that momentum was now there for the national conference to adopt the policy.... She confirmed that the Queensland conference would seek to re-affirm its resolution passed last year for a federal Labor government to unconditionally recognise a state of Palestine.
BBC Persian ‘personality’ supports Hezbullah … no one cares
How can the BBC continue employing someone who proudly parades with the Hezbollah flag?
Just what is Ali Alizadeh’s official position with BBC Persian? We’ve seen him labelled as commentator. We have seen him labelled as Iran expert. He certainly appears often on the BBC.
Are there more than one Ali Alizadeh? It appears to be a common Iranian name including a famous footballer and an Iranian Australian academic. Decide for yourself.
The BBC has multiple non English services that are near impossible to monitor without a good knowledge of that particular language. So HT Iroon and Freedom Messenger – Ghasedane Azadi for bringing it to our attention.

Vandals deface New Jersey Holocaust memorial
Vandals defaced the Holocaust memorial at Lakewood Synagogue in New Jersey, draping it with a large antisemitic banner on Sunday.
Black letters printed on the large white canvass read "(((Heebs))) will not divide us." The word "Heebs" is an ethnic slur used for Jews, and the use of triple parentheses around the word is an antisemitic symbol known as an "echo," to highlight Jews, predominantly used to flag people perceived to be Jewish on social media, singling them out for harassment.
At the bottom of the banner is the link to a website run by an American White supremacist group, which also features on recently distributed anitsemitic flyers in the town. The leaflets feature pictures of three Jews and reference the arrest of seven Lakewood couples last week, including a rabbi and his wife, over an alleged fraud scheme.
New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino described Sunday's incident as "sickening," and said the authorities are offering a $10k reward for information about the crime and conviction.
Taking Selfies on Berlin’s “Holocaust Beach”
Berlin’s sprawling Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe consists of over 2,000 gray stone rectangles without any sort of enclosure, signs, or plaques. On one side there is a row of restaurants and postcard shops known in the German press as “Holocaust Beach.” Finding the monument an ideal place for all sorts of activities, visitors not surprisingly begin uploading photographs of themselves engaged in sunbathing, picnicking, calisthenics, and stunts. The Israeli-born Berlin resident Shahak Shapiro created a website merging these photos with actual pictures from the Holocaust. Amy Newman Smith comments:
Much has been made of the striking images: a young woman in workout gear demonstrating her strength and flexibility is paired with twisted bodies piled up in a concentration-camp building, the doorframe replacing the stele she was balanced against, her feet in the air. A man kneeling, juggling bright pink balls, is transported from the memorial to a burial pit. . . .
In part because a visitor can enter the Berlin memorial from any side, there is nothing in the way of preparation or guidance as to what, if anything, it should mean. There is an information center (which, as it happens, [the monument’s architect] Peter Eisenman strenuously resisted), but it is tucked underground, and few visitors ever make it there. . . . Care has been taken, however, to post signs warning of pickpockets.
Time is, of course, picking memory’s pocket, pilfering public memories of the Shoah, even among the Germans, even among the Jews. Memorials remain, unmoved and unchanged by this inevitable erosion of memory. Think, for instance, of the emotional impact of the Lincoln Memorial upon most of its present-day visitors. How many truly feel the rupture of that conflict, fought over the fates of four million slaves and leaving more than 620,000 dead?
British royals to visit Holocaust sites on Europe tour
Prince William and Catherine 'Kate' Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are due to visit multiple sites commemorating Holocaust victims and the tragedies of World War II during an upcoming tour of Germany and Poland, Kensington Palace announced Monday.
The royal couple's five-day trip starting July 17 will include somber visits to the former site of the Stutthof Concentration Camp in what is now Poland, along with stops at the Warsaw Rising Museum and the Berlin Holocaust Memorial.
The pair's first official joint trip to the European nations will "include time acknowledging the complex 20th century histories of each country," the palace stated. "At each location Their Royal Highnesses will meet survivors of these periods, who will describe their personal experiences."
Three Israeli Startups Make List of Cool Vendors for 2017
Empow, SafeBreach and Optimal+ were among Israeli companies cited in information technology research and advisory company Gartner’s 2017 Cool Vendors listing.
Each year Gartner releases its Cool Vendors picks based on its research into worldwide providers that are changing the digital paradigm in areas such as data science and machine learning, threat management, IoT, analytics, artificial intelligence for legal affairs, DevOps, manufacturing, cloud infrastructure, blockchain application and business and IT services.
“Cool Vendors are typically companies that are lesser well-known,” said Chief Gartner Fellow Daryl Plummer. “They’re not going to be too old, because that could suggest they’ve maybe had too many rounds of funding, had maybe even a public offering. Typically they have to be under $100 million in US revenue. They have to be compelling and offer something interesting to the market, that either shifts or disrupts the market or brings a solution to the market that’s really necessary.”
Ramat Gan-based Empow, a pioneering cybersecurity startup, was cited earlier this year by Forbes as one of the few disruptive technologies in the software-defined cybersecurity arena.
Israeli researchers develop new way to protect Android devices
Cyber security researchers at Ben-Gurion University have developed a new firewall program for Android phones that will repair certain security vulnerabilities found in these mobile devices.
The program, developed by Dr. Yossi Oren and his students, adds a missing layer of security in the communication between Android cell phone components and the central processing unit (CPU). The researchers developed the fix after discovering the security breach earlier this year and alerting Google to help them address the problem, according to the university.
“We are now working on fine tuning the software-monitoring capabilities and on ensuring it does not interfere with the use of the phone,” said Oren, whose lab is housed in the software and information systems engineering department.
The vulnerability pinpointed by the Oren and his team is located outside the phone’s standard storage mechanism – in the “field-replaceable units” (FRUs) such as touchscreens, charger, batteries or sensor assemblies. FRUs are susceptible to significant security breaches, including password and financial theft, fraud, malicious photo or video distribution and unauthorized app downloads, the researchers explained.
Kenya hopes Israeli tree tech takes root in remote deserts
David Ben Gurion’s dream of filling Israel’s barren hills with trees will soon extend to the remote deserts of Kenya, after Kenyan government officials and Keren Keyemet L’Yisrael/Jewish National Fund signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to exchange knowledge and expertise about planting forests in dry climates.
“Dry lands are home to 2.5 billion people, or 30 percent of the world’s population, and cover 40% of the world’s land surface,” said Professor Judi Wakhungu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Environment and Natural Resources. “They are also home to the most disenfranchised and marginalized people in the world.” About 80% of Kenya’s land is considered arid or semi-arid.
Wakhungu said large Kenyan delegations have been attending forestry conferences in Israel, especially at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, which focus on conservation and forestry in desert climates. In 2014, officials from the Kenyan Forestry Service started working with members of their Israeli counterpart, KKL/JNF, for a series of visits and meetings.
WATCH: Britney Spears Mobbed By Fans At Western Wall
Pop princess Britney Spears was mobbed by over-enthusiastic crowds while visiting the the Western Wall in Jerusalem during her first visit to the country Sunday.
Spears, who arrived in Israel Sunday morning, headed straight to the Western Wall. While there, and despite considerable security, the pop star was mobbed by rambunctious fans who even tried jumping on her, Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot reported.
“It was a huge mess, with hundreds of fans and photographers gathered around her,” the report quoted a source close to Spears as saying. “It was a real ‘Israeli celebration’; she didn’t stop an excursion during any other part of her latest tour. This could only happen here.”
The singer is in Israel for a show on Monday at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park as part of her upcoming world tour. Local music producers have been working to bring Spears to Israel since last year, and the performance will cost more than $2 million.
Frankie Valli just misses Britney at Western Wall
It isn’t just Britney Spears who’s hanging out at the Western Wall this week.
Jersey Boy crooner Frankie Valli landed in Israel on Sunday, and has been traveling around Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, despite the intense July heat.
American pop star Britney Spears also arrived in Israel on Sunday ahead of her Monday performance at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park, and headed straight to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
At the Western Wall and the Western Wall tunnels, Spears was surrounded by paparazzi and security staff who tried to keep the fans at bay. Afterward, she was unable to make it to a dinner date with Netanyahu, his wife, Sara, and pediatric cancer patients from Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, the Ynet news site reported.
Valli managed to get around without being mobbed.
He and The Four Seasons will perform Tuesday at Tel Aviv’s Charles Bronfman Auditorium, their first time performing in Israel.
From the land of the free to the Holy Land
Most Americans don’t know it, but the United States has been involved in the Holy Land for a long, long time.
Starting in the early 19th century, as travel to the region became safer — in the wake of the wars fought by the US and Europe against the Barbary Pirates (1801–1805 and 1815–1816), and the 1830 French conquest of Algeria — North Americans came to make their stamp, particularly in archaeology and specifically in Jerusalem.
Most notable of all, perhaps, was American biblical scholar Edward Robinson, for whom is named the wide stone arch that once supported a monumental staircase at the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The remains of Robinson’s Arch on the western side of the Temple Mount. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
A New Englander with proficiency in Greek, Latin and Hebrew, Robinson is known as the “Father of Biblical Geography” for his work in identifying the historical artifacts that confirmed Bible accounts. His well-known “gospel harmonies” attempted to reconcile differing accounts in the Christian Scriptures into a single narrative.

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