Wednesday, November 15, 2017

From Ian:

Why Many American Jews Are Becoming Indifferent or Even Hostile to Israel
All told, the two Jewish communities of the United States and Israel constitute some 85 percent of the world’s Jews. Although other communities around the globe remain significant for their size or other qualities, the future of world Jewry will likely be shaped by the two largest populations—and by the relationship between them. For that reason alone, the waning of attachment to Israel among American Jews, especially but not exclusively younger American Jews, has rightly become a central focus of concern for religious and communal leaders, thinkers, and planners in both countries.

True, other concerns have lately encroached: concerns in both countries, for instance, over the Trump administration’s still-developing stance toward the Israel-Palestinian conflict and, in the U.S., over a seemingly homegrown series of anti-Semitic acts of vandalism and bomb threats against Jewish institutions (most of the latter exposed as the work of a disturbed Israeli Jewish youth). But the larger worry—American Jewish disaffection from Israel—remains very much in place, and its reverberating implications were underscored during the waning days of the Obama administration, when by far the greater portion of American Jews stayed faithful to the president and his party even after his decision to allow passage of an undeniably anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations.

What explains the growing distance between many American Jews and the state of Israel? Two recent books ventured answers to that question, and both authors basically agreed that the problem lay with Israel, a country that had fallen out of sync with the progressive movement of history. To Michael Barnett in The Star and the Stripes, while most American Jews embrace “a political theology of prophetic Judaism” and exhibit “cosmopolitan longings,” Israel is “increasingly acting like an ethnonational state.” To Dov Waxman in Trouble in the Tribe, the movement of the Jewish state in an “increasingly illiberal” direction has forced young American Jews to “turn away . . . in despair, or even disgust.” Making a similar point was a newspaper column by the veteran Israeli diplomat Alon Pinkas, aptly titled: “Sorry Israel, U.S. Jewry Just Isn’t That into You.” The reason, wrote Pinkas, was “the reality of decades of Israeli occupation” of Palestinian Arabs, compounded by “the dismissive, inconsiderate, and [at] times arrogant Israeli attitude toward [American] Reform and Conservative Jews.”

Not everyone has laid the blame on Israel, to be sure. Arguing explicitly to the contrary, Elliott Abrams in Mosaic located the source of the divide not in Israel’s policies or political culture but rather on the other side of the equation: the changed makeup of American Jews and American Judaism. Specifically, he pointed to the loosening of once-powerful communal bonds, as evidenced by the high rates of intermarriage and the move away from Jewish religious affiliation. In a published response to the Abrams essay, I added another factor: the gradual erosion of communal memory, especially of the Holocaust era and the history of the state of Israel itself.
Evelyn Gordon: The Red Cross Destroys the Laws of War Making War More Deadly
The International Committee of the Red Cross, self-appointed guardian of the laws of war, has embarked on an exciting new online project: destroying the very laws it ostensibly seeks to protect. Of course, the ICRC would put it differently; it would say it’s teaching the laws of war. The problem is that the “laws” it teaches aren’t the actual laws of war, as codified in international treaties, but a made-up version that effectively denies countries any right of self-defense against enemies that fight from positions inside civilian populations. And it is thereby teaching anyone unwilling to concede the right of self-defense that the laws of war should simply be ignored.

When Israel Hayom reported on the “Don’t Be Numb” project last week, it sounded so outrageous that I suspected reporter error. But the project’s website proved even worse.

The website has four sections – “behavior in war,” “medical mission,” “torture” and cultural property.” But the big problem is the first one, which consists of three questions users must answer correctly to receive a “medal of integrity.”

Question number one: “You’re a military commander. The enemy is hiding in a populated village across the front line. Can you attack?” The correct answer, according to the website, is “no.”

This is simply false. The laws of war do not grant immunity to enemy soldiers simply because they choose to hide among civilians, nor do they mandate avoiding any military action that might result in civilian casualties. They merely require that civilians not be deliberately targeted (the principle of distinction), that reasonable efforts be made to minimize civilian casualties, and that any such casualties not be disproportionate to the military benefit of the operation (the principle of proportionality).

The second question was, “What if you know for a fact that many civilians would be killed? Can you attack?” Since the ICRC had already ruled in the first question that attacking populated villages is never permissible, I’m not sure what purpose this question served; it would only make sense if the answer to the first question had been “yes” and this were a follow-up meant to explore the limits of the license to attack populated villages. But let’s ignore that incongruity and examine the question on its own merits.

The ICRC’s answer, of course, was “no.” But the correct answer is “insufficient information.” As noted, the laws of war don’t prohibit civilian casualties as collateral damage of a legitimate military operation. They do, however, require that such casualties not be disproportionate to the military benefit, and the question doesn’t supply the information necessary to determine whether this attack would be proportionate. For instance, how many civilian casualties does “many” actually mean – 10? 100? 1,000? Even more important, what price will your own side pay if it doesn’t attack? For instance, how many of your own civilians might be killed if you don’t stop the enemy’s rocket and mortar fire?
The Moral Case for High-Tech Weapons
Spurred by the digital revolution and pressured by Western moral standards about protecting innocent life, advances in battlefield technology have fundamentally changed the way we fight wars. Armies can now use pinpointed weapons to minimize civilian casualties. They can fire missiles at a single apartment in a crowded building, can identify the car of a terror cell leader and monitor it until it passes into an isolated area and be destroyed with a drone, and can use cyber tools to remotely disable weapons systems without ever dropping a bomb.

In short, precision weapons offer a more moral way to target enemies and their military assets, especially when non-state fighters use urban settings and civilians to shield themselves. These weapons, and their wise employment on the battlefield, are developments we should largely praise and sustain, even as important questions remain about how to employ them lawfully and about the true extent of their reduction of civilian casualties.

Many of the weapons that make precise combat possible have their origins in Israel. The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower, penned by Israeli journalists Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot, recounts how and why the small state has developed such advanced weaponry. The book largely takes the form of narrative ­­nonfiction rather than an essay or a policy report, telling a series of stories about how “Israeli chutzpah” grew the country into a military technology hub.



Citing Holocaust, Karl Lagerfeld says Germany is taking in Jews’ worst enemies
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel evoked the Holocaust this week in criticizing Germany’s open borders policy toward Muslim refugees, saying Berlin was taking in Jews’ “worst enemies.”

The Hamburg-born Lagerfeld sparked controversy when he lashed out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying, “You cannot kill millions of Jews and then take in millions of their worst enemies afterwards, even if there are decades [between the events],” according to a translation by the The Times.

Lagerfeld, 84, made the comments during an appearance on a French talk show on Canal 8.

“I know someone in Germany who took in a young Syrian who spoke a little English,” he said. “After four days, do you know what he said to the [German] lady? ‘Germany’s best invention is the Holocaust.’”
Spanish court suspends anti-Israel boycott in Seville
A Spanish court has suspended a city council’s anti-Israel boycott, according to an announcement issued by nonprofit organization The Lawfare Project on Tuesday.

Last week, a district court in Seville, southern Spain, issued a writ of interim injunction against the City Council of La Roda de Andalucia, halting its boycott of Israeli products as well as its decision to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.

The decision was hailed by The Lawfare Project in Spain, which initiated legal proceedings against the city council, as a “serious loss” for the BDS movement, and stated that it paves the way for further legal action against the enforcement of BDS policies.

The Lawfare Project is a US-based think tank and litigation fund that strives to protect the civil and human rights of pro-Israel and Jewish communities around the world.

The La Roda City Council announced its participation in BDS in August 2014, and has since been enforcing it by inspecting machine-readable barcodes from every item purchased in public tenders, and returning any product found to be Israeli-made.

La Roda Mayor Fidel Romero is a visible proponent of the boycott, and in 2014 said his town hall was likely the first in Spain to implement the boycott as an institution, and encouraged others to follow suit.

In January 2016, he appeared at the BDS Forum held in San Sebastian, where BDS leader Omar Barghouti and Riya Hassan, Europe campaigns officer of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, introduced the boycott strategy for Spain.
FIFA issues furious message to the Palestinians
Two weeks have passed since the World Football Association (FIFA) announced that it was rejecting the Palestinian petition to disqualify Israeli teams that play in the West Bank. The drama, however, seems far from being over.

FIFA recently informed Israeli Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi and Israel's Ambassador to South Africa Lior Keinan that the Palestinians have not given up the fight and that they have decided to refer their petition to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport.

According to Tokyo Sexwale, chairman of the FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine, the Palestinians are basing their argument on a technical pretext: The request to disqualify Israel from the organization was supposed to have been rejected by a special majority of 75%, and not by a simple majority.

The Palestinian insistence on pushing forward their agenda despite FIFA's decision apparently provoked much anger among the organization's top echelon, who had a harsh message for the head of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub: "We are determined to reject your request again, even with an absolute majority."

Meanwhile, FIFA President Gianni Infantino sent UN Secretary-General António Guterres a letter saying that FIFA is tired of dealing with political issues. "We are not a playground for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Infinino said.
IsraellyCool: ADL Rips Sarsour/JVP Panel on Antisemitism: “Like Oscar Meyer Leading Panel on Vegetarianism”
Yesterday I posted about the ridiculous and offensive panel on antisemitism led by the likes of Linda Sarsour and JVP, themselves no friends of the Jews.

Now the ADL has caught wind of it, and their CEO Jonathan Greenblatt hates the idea as much as me and other reasonable people out there.

It’s just a shame he used a US-specific reference and spelled ‘Oscar Mayer’ (the American meat and cold cut production company, owned by Kraft Heinz) as ‘Oscar Meyer’ (no-one in particular) – because it took this Aussie a little bit of time to work out the comparison. But I got there in the end.


In the Wake of Controversial Panel, Another Misguided Invitation from the New School
In a follow-up tweet, Greenblatt added that “there’s not a single Jewish organization that studies this issue and/or fights this disease… would take this panel seriously, let alone the institution that put it together. It’s a sad day for @theNewSchool.”

Reached for comment, the New School had this to say:
The New School has been contacted by several individuals who have expressed their concerns about the university’s participation in a forthcoming panel discussion, titled “Antisemitism and the Struggle for Justice.” This panel, moderated by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, marks the publication of a new book, On Antisemitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice. The organizer of this event, Jacobin magazine, has planned several other public forums in collaboration with the Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism program at The New School.

The New School is founded on principles of tolerance, social justice, and free intellectual exchange. These values remain central to our mission today, and we believe that engaging in debate on a range of issues and ideas is critical to our role as an academic institution.

We understand that there are differing views on the issue of anti-Semitism. For that reason, the Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism Program has invited representatives of the magazine Tablet to organize an event to present some of these differing views on this important topic; the program has also invited to participate Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.


The aforementioned invitation arrived several moments later, to myself and other editors at Tablet, strongly suggesting that it had more to do with stanching the bleeding of a public relations problem that seriously resolving a brutal moral error. Even more insulting and infuriating is the fact that the invitation suggests that the New School sees this as a matter of balancing out two equally legitimate sides, each with its own point of view.

There ought never to be a debate between those who fan the flames of hatred and those who suffer its consequences. The New School of all institutions ought to know this, and it’s a shame that this once revered institution now peddles in the bluntest form of moral relativism rather than speak out against bigotry of all stripes.
Israel Education Efforts Are ‘Changing Opinions’ on Irish University Campuses
At the age of 18, Tal Hagin is one of the first Zionist and Israeli speakers to present his message on university campuses in Ireland. His feat comes in a country where many observers believe that the environment for supporters of Israel can be hostile.

But with mentorship and funding from the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Hagin used Israel as a case study on overcoming media bias during a speaking tour from October 23 to 27.

“I went with the hope of changing opinions, helping the students to question the media in what they see of coverage of Israel, and I was able to do that,” Hagin told JNS.org. “I could tell that people were influenced.”

But how did it all come together?

Hagin met Alan Lyne, a second-year student at the University of Maynooth, while playing online games. After chatting and finding their mutual passion of Israel education, they came together to organize one of Ireland’s first Zionist speaking tours.

“When CAMERA heard that the one society in Ireland at Maynooth University needed support in educating their peers about Israel, and wanted to host an Israeli teenager to speak about his life and discuss biases within media coverage, it was an obvious and necessary choice for CAMERA on Campus to get involved,” said Aviva Slomich, international campus director for CAMERA, a media watchdog group devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East.
NGO Monitor: ressional Propaganda Campaign Exploits Palestinian Children
Legislation ostensibly addressing Israel and children’s rights, introduced in Congress yesterday by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), is the latest BDS strategy to demonize and impose sanctions on Israel, notes Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor. The accusations are based on a combination of false and distorted claims originating with radical NGOs, some of which are linked to terrorism,. The main source behind the bill is is a group calling itself Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP).

“Although only 10 members of Congress allowed themselves to be used by BDS groups, this campaign that consists entirely of distorted allegations about Israel’s alleged treatment of Palestinian children and invented international legal claims is built on immoral foundations,” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “Other members of Congress, as well as journalists and others interested in this issue, would be well advised to verify the NGO allegations with a credible source.”

NGO Monitor research has shown that the allegations echoed in McCollum’s proposed law originate with DCIP’s “No Way to Treat a Child” Campaign and the infamously defective 2013 UNICEF report, have no credibility – they are propaganda. Our analysis demonstrates that these campaigns simplistically misstate international and domestic law, including basic jurisdictional concepts, criminal adjudication, and juvenile justice standards. The proposed legislation repeats the same mistakes and reflects DCIP’s political and ideological goals. In addition, the bill and accompanying campaign ignore the systematic exploitation of Palestinian children for terror and confrontations with Israel.

Furthermore, Israeli treatment of arrested minors compares favorably to other Western countries and the procedures and standards employed by the military courts are identical in almost every respect to the Israeli civil justice system.
US bill would prevent funding jailing of Palestinian minors
A Minnesota congresswoman has introduced a bill that seeks to prevent the United States from funding Israel’s military detention of Palestinian children.

The legislation introduced Tuesday by Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat, has at least nine co-sponsors. It would require the secretary of state to certify annually that US assistance to Israel has not been used in the previous year to militarily detain, interrogate or abuse Palestinian children.

“The purpose of this act is to promote and protect the human rights of Palestinian children and to ensure that United States taxpayer funds shall not be used to support the military detention of Palestinian children,” the bill reads.

Among the bill’s backers are the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Arizona, and Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin.

McCollum said the bill “highlights Israel’s system of military detention of Palestinian children” and ensures the United States does not support human rights violations.
Hillel Blasts Harvard Awardee Over His Former Organization’s Support for Terrorism, Holocaust Denial
The other week, when news broke out that Nihad Awad, Executive Director and co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was honored with Harvard University’s Robert Coles “Call of Service” Award, Hillel International took the unusual step of writing a letter to Harvard’s president to protest.

“With its choice of honoree this year,” wrote Hillel’s president, Eric Fingerhut, the university “is applying its good name and reputation to a normalization or countenance of support for terror.” In the early 1990s, the letter continued, “Mr. Awad was the public relations director for the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) which published and distributed a monograph entitled ‘America’s Greatest Enemy: The Jew! And an Unholy Alliance!’”

According to an autobiographical essay published in 2000, Awad joined the IAP shortly after the Gulf War and worked for the organization through the spring of 1994 before leaving to start CAIR that summer. Sometime prior to August of 1994, the monograph referred to by Fingerhut, a shockingly anti-Semitic pamphlet containing the work of a noted Holocaust denier, was published, bearing the group’s logo on its cover.

When reached for comment by email, Awad said “I did not work for IAP in the summer of 1994, I am not aware of this particular document, and CAIR and I have a long history of challenging anti-Semitism in all its forms.” In a 2003 deposition as part of a civil case in which IAP was held partly liable for the Hamas murder of an American citizen in 1996, Awad recalled seeing anti-Semitic literature on display at IAP’s offices and ordering that it be removed.
Columbia Professor Criticized for Anti-Semitic Facebook Posts
A tenured professor at Columbia University has been criticized by students for a social media post in which he referred to "Jared Kushner's Zionist kins [sic]" who "kill and rob Palestinians," and described the Jewish White House adviser as a "creature."

Hamid Dabashi, the Hagop Kevorkian professor of Iranian Studies and comparative literature, wrote the offending Facebook post on Sunday.

"There is a reason why a small gang of European Zionists could land in Palestine and in broad daylight of history steal it from under the feet of Palestinians smack in the middle of hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims—that reason throughout the recent history has had many faces and today that reason is in the shape of this contemptible coward Mohamed bin Salman [Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia]," he wrote.

"Like a rich brat teenager that [bin Salman] is he hides behind the wing of his Israeli and American protectors and benefactors, buys them with his windblown wealth, so that Jared Kushner's Zionist kins can kill and rob Palestinians even more as they enable him to slaughter Yemeni women and children apace," he wrote.

"Look at all their ignoble ugly contemptible countenances— who are these creatures, from what subterranean holes did they creep out? What are they laughing at? What colossal misery of our doomed humanity has sent a giggle through their infested abdomens?" he wrote above a photo of bin Salman, Kushner, and Ivanka Trump taken during the official White House trip to the Middle East in May.
‘Journalist’ Ayat Oraby: Mainstream or Extreme?
On October 20, 54 Egyptian policemen were killed in a firefight with “militants” in the desert, 80 miles from Cairo. Local media reported the police were attacked by the Hasm Movement, a terrorist organization that the Egyptian government claims is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Governments around the world offered statements of sympathy to the Egyptian government over one of deadliest attacks against Egyptian security forces in many years. The U.S. State Department announced that it “condemns the terrorist attack,” “[offers] profound condolences,” and “stands with Egypt at this difficult time, as we continue to work together to fight the scourge of terrorism.”

But among some Islamist activists in America, there was jubilation. In a Facebook post, written on October 20, New York-based journalist Ayat Oraby applauded the killings, accusing the deceased soldiers and police of insolence and cowardice. In another post about one of the murdered soldiers, Oraby expressed “Joy at the death of that criminal!”

Oraby accused the deceased soldiers of having previously been paid by Egyptian General (and now President) Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to murder unarmed Muslims during the infamous Rabaa massacre in 2013, during which supporters of the deposed Muslim Brotherhood President, Mohamed Morsi, clashed with Egyptian police and military.

Oraby is a prominent figure. She serves as the editor-in-chief of Noon Al-Niswa, the “first Arab American Women’s magazine.” In 2013, Noon Al-Niswa held an event to celebrate its first printed issue after being an exclusively online publication. According to another Arabic-language online publication, the event was attended by self-styled “human rights activist” Linda Sarsour, former Deputy Secretary of Energy Randa Fahmy Hudome and New Jersey state senator Barbara Buono.
Hillary Clinton Stepped In To Overturn Visa Ban for Islamist Figure Now Accused of Rape
When George W. Bush was president, his administration banned European Islamist Tariq Ramadan from entering the United States. The 2004 order came after evidence emerged he financially supported a charity that funded terrorist groups.

But in 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton overturned that ban — and personally authorized a visa request to allow Ramadan, grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, into America.

Now, the Swiss-born theologian Ramadan has taken leave from teaching at Oxford University after complaints of rape and assault filed by two French women.

PJ Media laid out Hillary's involvement in a detailed article, noting that The New York Times reported in 2010:
Six years after using the Patriot Act to revoke the visa of a prominent Muslim academic, the United States State Department reversed itself and said Wednesday that it would no longer bar the scholar from entering the United States.

The decision came in the form of an order signed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. It paves the way for the scholar, Prof. Tariq Ramadan, to apply for a new visa free of the authorities’ former accusation that he had contributed money to a charity connected to terrorism.
J Street U: Calling for Israel’s Destruction Isn’t Always Antisemitic
The pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon echoed these criticisms, saying calls for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state and the denial of Jewish rights to national self-determination “invokes age-old antisemitic tropes in a slightly newer package.”

“Most of the modern antisemites claim that the Jewish people are not a people to begin with, in order to justify that they don’t have the same human rights of other peoples,” the blogger noted.

“There is no nuance in saying that Israel should not exist,” Elder of Ziyon continued. “It demands that Jews in Israel be treated the way that Jews in all the Arab nations are treated — meaning that they would be largely expelled from the region. It is advocating ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Middle East.”

J Street did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
Snowballs & A Missive from British Columbia
The Duke of Westminster's son-in-law, the well-connected Dan comes from a broadcasting family: he's pompous Israel-bashing Channel 4 newspeader John Snow's nephew and BBC broadcaster Peter Snow's son. He himself presents television documentaries on historical topics.

Here's a recent photo of Dan with Israel-demoniser Professor Avi Shlaim, practically every British Israel-bashing event's de rigueur guest.

Judging from the chummy smiles, it's perhaps not so very surprising seems that Mr Snow, who calls himself "The History Guy," has been falling for and disseminating faux propaganda (in polite parlance "balls") on Twitter regarding a certain Declaration:

He soon found himself challenged. When asked whether he included Palestinian Jews in the above, he responded "Absolutely".

The questioner then observed: "Glad you clarified that, Dan because dig into the soil of Israel and you find eons of Jewish history."

To which Snow replied: "You bet. Texan soil has eons of Spanish history too but the British empire would have been behaving oddly giving it to Spain..."

Among the subsequent criticisms of Snow came this, from an international relations specialist at a UK university: 'I was more intrigued by "owned by the Ottomans" as if that's somehow a more legitimate form of imperialism than a League of Nations mandate.'

Quite so.
The IDF ‘Agent’ Who ‘Clashed’ With Protesters
Extremist anti-Israel speakers being given a platform to spew hate on campuses is, sadly, all too common. So it was the case at University College London when Azzam Tamimi and Miko Peled were hosted for a speaking event.

Hamas fanboy Tamimi has a history of support for terrorism. In 2010 he stated: “You shouldn’t be afraid of being labelled extreme, radical or terrorist. If fighting for your home land is terrorism, I take pride in being a terrorist. The Koran tells me if I die for my homeland, I’m a martyr and I long to be a martyr.” Additionally, in a BBC interview in 2004, Tamimi argued that carrying out a suicide bombing for Palestine “is a noble cause. It is the straight way to pleasing my God and I would do it if I had the opportunity.”

Miko Peled has also made comments that have widely been considered anti-Semitic. At this year’s UK Labour Party Conference, Peled indicated that the Holocaust could be up for debate, saying: “the Holocaust: yes or no” and equated Zionists with Nazis.

The Times of London covered protests against the event. Its report includes the following:

A former IDF “agent?”

UPDATE
Following the publication of this article and the personal intervention of Hen Mazzig, the text of the article has been changed from former IDF “agent” to the more appropriate “officer.”

The false equivalency between anti-Israel attackers and their Jewish student victims has not as yet been addressed.
Israeli High School Robotics Team Develops 3-D Printable Kit to Make Wheelchairs Electronic
The add-on doesn’t interfere with the chair’s folding mechanism and is easily removed so it can be attached to a rented wheelchair that must be returned in its original condition.

The Electric Wheelchair Kit was devised by “Team 1577 Steampunk” from Aviv High School as part of its participation in the regional round of the global FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). But the kids are not keeping it to themselves.

“Our idea was to release it on an open-source platform to nearly 7,000 FRC teams in the world who can become a hub for making these kits,” team member Roee Bar-Yadin tells ISRAEL21c.

The design, 3D printable programs and software are available for free online “so anyone can build it from scratch” using tools, programs and printers commonly available to FRC teams everywhere, adds teammate Yuval Dascalu.

“We have already been contacted by several people who are interested,” Yuval tells ISRAEL21c. “We encourage people to improve on our design in any way they see fit or at least spread the word to other teams.”
‘The Band’s Visit’ Is Terrific Musical Theater. Go See It.
“Once, not long ago, a group of musicians came to Israel from Egypt,” this magical musical begins. “You probably didn’t hear about it. It wasn’t very important.”

In fact, nothing earth-shattering happens in this play. But everything that matters does.

There is, amazingly and mercifully, no talk of Islam, or Judaism—no mention of religion at all. The wars that made Egyptians and Israelis enemies for so long and which keep them apart to this day go unmentioned. Nor is there a word about the fractured peace that once made an Israeli invitation to a group of Egyptian musicians possible but unlikely today given Egypt’s cultural boycott of most things Israeli. There is no recitation by the play’s Egyptian or Israeli characters of their nation’s unending grievances, accusations or demands. There is no gun over the mantel, no suicide to prevent or murder to solve. But The Band’s Visit achieves something rare these days, particularly on Broadway: It explores in the most subtle, riveting way what it means to be human—what it means to be lonely, if not alone, and to wait for someone to come along, or something to happen to change one’s life, or even the scenery. The emptiness touches a musician in Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city and a bustling port by the sea, as much as an Israeli stuck in the fictional town of Bet Hatikva, somewhere in the Negev desert, a forsaken place that lacks a hotel or even a proper park.

How does the eight-member Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra wind up in the middle of nowhere, Israel? By mistake.

Those who loved Israeli director Eran Kolirin’s magnificent 2007 film of the same name may recall the source of the confusion—the Arab language’s conflation of “b” and “p,” the latter of which has no precise equivalent in Arabic. Seeking to travel to Petah Tikvah, where it has been invited to inaugurate the city’s Arab cultural center, the band mistakenly buys bus tickets instead to Bet Hatikva. That’s Bet with a “B,” as Dina, (Katrina Lenk) the café owner, explains to them. Having missed the last bus to anywhere else, the musicians have no place to stay ’til morning. Dina reluctantly offers to take them in and volunteers friends to do the same.

The Band’s Visit is about this single, singular encounter.
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Senior VP at Apple on Israel’s “Key, Critical” Contribution to Apple Products
Johny Srouji, Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies at Apple, recently spoke about Israel’s contributions to Apple products and more in a (Hebrew) interview with Calcalist.

Thankfully, the below video is in English, so all of us can enjoy learning about just how critical is Israel’s role to Apple products – and BDS-holes around the globe can learn how many more devices they need to boycott.


Amazon Goes On Aggressive High-Tech Hiring Spree in Israel
The online retail giant Amazon is reportedly in the midst of a massive hiring spree in Israel and is offering unusually high salaries to attract top high-tech talent to its new Tel Aviv-based research and development (R&D) center.

Some reports state that Amazon has offered prospective hires salaries as high as NIS 100,000 ($28,180) per month, and is typically offering salaries of around NIS 60,000 ($16,900) per month with additional bonuses, in its bid to lure programmers.

Top programmers in Israel can already earn about NIS 40,000 ($11,370) per month, which is approximately four times the average Israeli salary, according to the Jewish state’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

The average Israeli high-tech employee earns around NIS 21,000 ($5,940) per month.

Amazon’s headhunting is creating pressure on local Israeli technology firms to retain their top employees, as the country’s high-tech sector is already suffering from a shortage of programmers and engineers.
Israeli space lab docks at International Space Station
An Israeli-developed, state-of-the-art space laboratory hosting four science experiments docked in the International Space Station Tuesday after a successful launch.

The space lab, built by Israeli company SpacePharma with the support of the Science Ministry's Israel Space Agency, is unique in that it requires no physical human contact, as it is controlled remotely by researchers on Earth.

Two of the experiments to be conducted on the space lab were developed by American researchers and one was developed by Swiss researchers. The fourth experiment was developed by Israel's SpacePharma.

The experiments are the first of their kind as they are to be conducted on living biological cells - something that has never been attempted in the microgravity environment of space.
'Peace and love' as Miss Israel and Miss Iraq pose together on Instagram
In an unusual display of coexistence emanating from a divided Middle East, the Miss Universe international beauty pageant, the contestants from Israel and Iraq, which are officially enemies, posed together for selfies they posted to Instagram and Facebook.

“Get to know, this is Miss Iraq and she’s amazing,” enthused Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman in her Instagram post. “Practicing bringing world peace,” she wrote on Facebook, in time-honored beauty queen style.

“Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel,” wrote Miss Iraq Sarah Idan on her instagram post, followed by heart emojis.

Both had well over 1,000 likes on the photo-based social network as of Tuesday evening.

The warm greetings of the two women could land Idan in hot water.

A 2015 selfie that put then-Miss Israel Doron Matalon in the same photo with then-Miss Lebanon Sally Greige led to calls to strip Greige of her title. It is illegal for Lebanese citizens to have contact with the Jewish state. (h/t Zvi)



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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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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The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
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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