Tuesday, January 16, 2018

From Ian:

US withholds $65 million from UN agency for Palestinians
The United States sent $60 million to keep the UN relief agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) in operation but withheld a further $65 million while it urged others to pay more, a State Department official said Tuesday.

“There is a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of UNRWA, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded,” the official said.

The official told AFP the decision to withhold some funds was meant to encourage more “burden-sharing” by other members.

“The United States has been UNRWA’s single largest donor for decades. In years past, we contributed some 30 percent of UNRWA’s total income,” he said.
US President Donald Trump, left, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas pose for a photograph during a joint press conference at the presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)

“Without the funds we are providing today, UNRWA operations were at risk of running out of funds and closing down.

“The funds provided by the United States will prevent that from happening for the immediate future.” (h/t Elder of Lobby)

MEMRI: Kuwaiti Columnist: Stop Funding For Racist UNRWA Until It Dwindles And Dies
In his January 10, 2018 column in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan, 'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq supported the criticism voiced by U.S. President Donald Trump about the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and Trump's decision to cut its funding. Calling UNRWA a "biased and racist organization" that "perpetuates the problem of the 'Palestinian' refugees," that succumbs to Hamas's dictates, and that strives to destroy Israel, Al-Hadlaq called to stop all funding and aid to this organization until it crumbles and disappears.

Al-Hadlaq is known for his uncommon positions on Israel and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which are reflected in many of his articles. For example, in past articles he wrote that Iran, rather than Israel, is the Gulf countries' real enemy;[1] that Hamas is a terrorist organization whose "reckless" rocket attacks on Israel kill innocent people, [2] and that Israel has the right to defend itself from Palestinian knife terrorism.[3] In a 2017 interview on the Kuwaiti TV channel Al-Rai, he even stated that Israelis are not occupiers but rather "a people that has returned to its homeland."[4]

The following are excerpts from his column:

"Everybody agrees with the harsh [but] reasonable criticism leveled by U.S. President Donald Trump at UNRWA, for it is a biased and racist organization that perpetuates the problem of the 'Palestinian'[5] refugees and the narrative of the so-called right of return, an organization whose role is apparently to work towards the destruction of the state of Israel. Hence, the U.N. should stop funding this organization until it crumbles and disappears.

"On January 5, 2018, a few days after President Trump threatened to stop future aid to the 'Palestinians', the U.S. froze $125 million in funding for UNRWA... and announced that the funding would not be renewed until the Palestinians stopped being stubborn and resumed negotiations with Israel... [It should be noted that] the U.S. grants $300 million annually to the U.N. Refugee Agency.

"The terrorist Hamas movement, which supports the Persian Iranian regime, rejected [UNRWA's] curricula on human rights.[6] This caused a grave crisis between the Hamas government and UNRWA, following which the latter suspended these curricula in its Gaza schools... Hamas's complaint was that these curricula address everyone's human rights, including those of the Jewish and Israeli people, and contravene the culture and rights of the 'Palestinian' people. There are no signs on the horizon of any solution for this broad crisis that developed between the terrorist Hamas government... and UNRWA...
UN defends Palestinian refugee agency as US aid cuts loom
United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday that the work of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which helps Palestinian refugees, "is critical" and that if the United States or any other donor cuts its contributions "we will have to find other sources."

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States may withhold future aid payments to UNRWA over what he called the Palestinians' unwillingness to talk peace with Israel. The U.S. is the largest donor to the agency, with a pledge of nearly $370 million in 2016, according to UNRWA's website.

Dujarric said UNRWA has a mandate from the U.N. General Assembly to foster the "human development" of Palestinian refugees and serves "some of the most marginalized population in the Middle East."

He said the agency's health, education and humanitarian help "is a force for stabilization in a very volatile area."

Across the Middle East, millions of people who depend on UNRWA are bracing for the worst of the cuts go through, as they could also add instability to struggling host countries already coping with spillover from other regional crises.

UNRWA was established in 1949 and covers registered Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank.

The U.N. General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, as more than 5 million people now rely on it for services including education, health care and food.

Seen by the Palestinians and most of the international community as providing a valuable safety net, UNRWA is viewed far differently by Israel.
Should the U.S. Continue to Fund the Palestinians Regardless of Their Intransigence?
Leaving aside the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, the United States should withhold contributions to UNRWA until it implements critical reforms. In the medium term, Washington should seek to eliminate UNRWA, shifting responsibility for recent Palestinian refugees resulting from the war in Syria to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. We should also demand that the Palestinians assume responsibility for the services provided by UNRWA. That’s what sovereign governments are expected to do, and the Palestinians aspire to become a sovereign state.

Are there risks to this policy? Of course, but risks are also inherent in adhering to the same policies that have led to the deeply unsatisfactory, insecure status quo. Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all failed in their ambition to negotiate a peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. Success hinges on the Palestinians understanding that there is a cost to their intransigence.

When Ambassador Haley announced that the United States was taking names, she implied that there would be consequences for voting against the United States and rewards for supporting America. President Trump followed up and made clear that voting for the condemnation would affect U.S. decisions to provide foreign assistance:

Let them vote against us; we'll save a lot. We don't care. But this isn't like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they're doing.

America’s influence is due in no small part to the belief of other governments that the Trump administration will follow through on its promises. Failing to follow through will undermine U.S. credibility in Turtle Bay and around the world. Not every UN vote is important, but if the United States wants to influence important votes in the future, it needs to do more than take names.



JPost Editorial: Hawaii and Israel
Again, Israel’s immediate threat is not nuclear but conventional. However, Iran, a regional power with nuclear ambitions, is the prime backer of Hamas and Hezbollah. The 38 minutes of drama in Hawaii is just a taste of what Israel will face should Iran manage to achieve nuclear weapon capability and provide a nuclear umbrella to its proxies on Israel’s northern and southern borders.

More pressing than a nuclear-armed Iran, however, is the recent escalation in the South. On Saturday, the IDF destroyed a Hamas attack tunnel that ran underneath the Kerem Shalom Gaza crossing. It was the third tunnel destroyed in recent months. Since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Jerusalem there has been an uptick in violence on the West Bank, in and around Jerusalem and coming from Gaza.

According to IDF data, in December alone, 19 rocket and mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli cities and towns. This is more than half of the total number of ballistic attacks on Israel from Gaza Strip in all of 2017.

Supported by Iran, Hamas is once again prioritizing terrorism over the welfare of Gaza’s residents. Instead of focusing on turning the Gaza Strip into a viable, autonomous Palestinian state at peace with Egypt and Israel, Hamas, not unlike Kim’s regime in North Korea, devotes most of its resources toward preparation for war. Inevitably, this will lead to conflict with Israel, which cannot allow its deterrence to be undermined by Hamas.

For 38 minutes on Saturday, Hawaiians were convinced that a totalitarian dictator with what appears to be only a loose grip on reality had launched ballistic missiles. Israelis living near the border with Gaza face a similar reality on a regular basis, but instead of a Korean dictator, the aggressor is a group of nihilistic Islamist terrorists. If or when war breaks out again between Israel and Hamas we hope Hawaiians, Americans and the entire peace-loving world will know which side to support.
The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was a Zionist
“When People Criticize Zionists They Mean Jews, You Are Talking Anti-Semitism,”

Truer words were never said, and they were said by the great civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. However they weren’t said in a letter as long believed.

Martin Luther King Jr. whose life and dream we celebrate today was a great leader for civil rights. Unlike today’s “Civil Rights” leaders who seek divisiveness and handouts, Dr. King dream was a post racial society where people where judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin.

Also unlike most “Civil Rights” leaders today Dr. King was a supporter of Israel and the Jewish people. In recognition of MLK day many Jewish will post a letter supposedly penned by Martin Luther King called “Letter to a Zionist Friend,” but the story of the letter is a hoax.

The most famous line from the letter “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism,” was uttered by Dr King, just not in any letter. Over the next day or two you will read various posts containing the letter— most of the text does not contain the words of the great Civil Rights Leader. The good news however, is it does contain his sentiments.
MLK on Israel - Ari Lesser


Why the U.S. should support Iran protesters
Middle East experts often paint Iranians as an enigmatic people. Iranians are unlike Americans, to be sure. But with unemployment rates at over 30 percent, women and religious minorities treated as second-class citizens, rampant governmental corruption and no civil liberties, they are no different from any other nation that has ever rebelled against tyranny. In a country where women are relegated to the backs of buses and citizens receive unequal treatment in courts of law, Americans should pay less attention to pundits and, instead, follow the lessons of their own history.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s is a great guide. Today, America’s best Middle East expert is Dr. Martin Luther King, who said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Between war and inaction, there is much that America, and other nations with influence over Tehran, can do to prevent the Revolutionary Guards from future crackdowns against peaceful protesters. Demanding that Iran hold a nationwide referendum is, indeed, such an action.

The United States has every reason to do what it can to help Iran’s movement for economic justice and civil liberties. Just as the 1979 revolution uncorked the menace of fundamentalism that has since ravaged the region, authentic democratic change in Iran could pave the way for a brighter future in the Middle East.
Netanyahu Visit to India – What You Need to Know
Relationships with India were established just 25 years ago, and on Middle East issues is far from being our best friend. Yet, Israel’s relations with the giant state are heating up

The deepening relationship between Israel and India is marking another important milestone.

After the historic visit to Israel of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last July, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will arrive in New Delhi today, where the two are to meet once again. In their meeting, it is expected they will discuss not only the partnership between the two countries, but also the latest developments in the Middle East.

During the visit, Netanyahu will stop at a number of sites, including the Taj Mahal and the central location of the Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008.

The important aspect of the visit though, is that Netanyahu will be the keynote speaker at the RAISINA Dialogue, the annual conference of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the ORF Research Institute. The conference will include senior representatives from 86 countries, including the Egyptian foreign minister, the Russian foreign minister and the former Swedish prime minister.

Relations between Israel and India are on a slow and protracted rise, culminating in a warm and personal friendship between Netanyahu and Modi. But this was not always the case: India opposed the partition plan in 1947 and established diplomatic relations with Israel only in 1992 – even though it had received security assistance from Israel before. Netanyahu is the second prime minister to visit the subcontinent – Ariel Sharon preceded him in 2003.
Netanyahu Says Modi ‘Revolutionizing’ Israel-India Ties, Signs Nine Bilateral Deals
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is “revolutionizing” ties between the nations as the two leaders signed nine bilateral agreements on Monday in New Delhi.

“You are a revolutionary leader in the best sense of the word ‘revolution,’” Netanyahu said, noting that Modi’s visit to Israel last summer was the first such trip by an Indian prime minister “in 3,000 years of our own sovereign existence and our history.”

Netanyahu added that “something different is happening now because of your leadership and because of our partnership.”

Modi said that Netanyahu’s visit “is a long-anticipated moment in the journey of friendship between India and Israel. Your visit is also a fitting climax to the commemoration of 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.” He added that in Netanyahu, he has “a counterpart who is equally committed to taking the India-Israel relationship to soaring new heights.”

The two leaders issued a joint statement that reaffirmed the “strategic relationship” between the countries, while also signing nine different bilateral agreements covering areas such as cyber security, space, the film industry, aviation, investment, and oil and gas exploration. The agreements kicked off work on the start of a bilateral free trade pact.
Child orphaned in 2008 Mumbai attack makes first visit to site
Moshe Holtzberg, a young boy whose parents were killed at a Jewish center in Mumbai during a 2008 terror attack, returned to that city for the first time Tuesday to visit the site of the attack with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu arrived in New Delhi for a six-day visit Sunday and will travel to Mumbai on Thursday, where he will visit the Chabad House where Holtzberg’s parents, Rabbi Gabriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife Rivkah, were gunned down as 10 Muslim terrorists rampaged through Mumbai in a three-day siege. Netanyahu is to unveil a memorial to 166 people killed in the attacks.

Moshe was 2 at the time of the attack and was carried to safety by his nanny, who found him by his parents’ bodies. Holtzberg’s parents were emissaries of the Chabad movement living in Mumbai at the time.

On Tuesday afternoon the 11-year-old boy visited the Chabad House along with his grandparents.

“We are very excited for the upcoming visit of Baby Moshe, who is not anymore a baby. But he will always remain in our heart as baby Moshe,” Rabbi Israel Kozlovsky, the head of the Chabad Trust in India, told reporters Monday.
Air India could fly to Israel - through Saudi Arabia?
Israel and India are discussing the possibility that Air India, which will soon begin direct flights between Ben Gurion Airport and Delhi, will fly over Saudi Arabia on its way to Israel and back, the Yediot Aharonot newspaper reports.

According to the report, India wants to fly directly over Saudi Arabia to shorten flight time and save fuel costs. If the Saudis agree to the move they could present it as a gesture to India rather than to Israel. Nevertheless, if Air India eventually ends up flying over Saudi Arabia, it would be an unprecedented move that would constitute a kind of normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Such direct flights will shorten the flight time by two hours and significantly increase the number of tourists between Israel and India, noted Yediot Aharonot. Shortening the duration of the flight will lower the price of the ticket and increase the competition on the route to India.

Air India operated flights to Israel about 20 years ago, but stopped them because of the lack of economic feasibility. The company's new plan is to operate flights between Delhi and Ben Gurion Airport on Boeing 787s.

Currently, only El Al operates flights between the two countries. El Al’s flights are to Mumbai and the flight route from Ben-Gurion Airport crosses the Arava, continues through the Red Sea to the south of Yemen and then turns east towards India. The flight time on this route is about eight hours.
Christian leader: Passive support is Israel’s biggest enemy
Christians supporters of Israel can not assume the UK will back the Jewish state forever, rather that support has to be renewed time and time again, a top communications manager said.

European Coalition for Israel (ECI) Brussels Representative Ruth Isaac said that those who were looking to blame the British government should realize that the biggest hurdle is not to gather support for Israel, but to make that support heard.

“It is not our enemies that we need to worry about but rather the passivity and fear among many Christians who support Israel in their hearts but do not dare to express this support publicly,” she said over the weekend at the European Coalition for Israel’s second annual ECI National Conference in London, titled “Britain, Europe and Israel – after Brexit.”

Many Christian pro-Israel supporters had hoped for a new golden age in support for Israel as the British government prepares to leave the EU, but many were disappointed that British foreign policy vis-a-vis Israel had not aligned with the pro-Israel stance of the new US administration but rather stayed consistent with the line of the European Union.

Nonetheless, the British government’s failure to back the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was a case of it giving in to the media slander, a top journalist said.

“This is not a sign of strength but of weakness and appeasement,” Simon Barrett of Revelation TV said.
While Israeli Christians Thrive, Those under Palestinian Rule Suffer
Following American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, thirteen of the city’s prominent Christian leaders, representing a variety of denominations, signed a joint letter condemning the decision. Amit Barkat explains that they did so more out of fear of the Palestinian Authority (PA) than of animosity toward the Jewish state:

Most of the political activity of the Christian community [is undertaken] in response to pressure from the Palestinian Authority. The denominations centered in Jerusalem also have churches and monasteries in the PA, Gaza, and Jordan, and additional ties throughout the Middle East. Figures in the PA successfully exploit this fact and use the Christians for their propaganda purposes to cover for the injustices they commit against Christians in Judea and Samaria.

But as much as [Palestinians] try to hide [the reality of persecution of Christians], it’s difficult to debate numbers. . . . The best example of their disappearance on the ground is Bethlehem, the city of the birthplace of David and Jesus. Bethlehem was once a clearly Christian city where Christian residents formed an 86-percent majority. Today, that figure stands at fewer than 10 percent, and the negative trend is not stopping. The situation is even worse in Gaza, where among the thousands of Christians who used to live there, only a few hundred remain under the constant threat of persecution, with serious limitations on Christian ceremonies and holidays, and effectively without rights. . .
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The shortlisted Labour candidate who shared antisemitic memes
Michelle Harris has been shortlisted to stand as the Labour candidate in Amber Rudd’s (very marginal) seat of Hastings and Rye. Her previous form with regard to antisemitism was revealed a few days ago by @GnasherJew, an account dedicated to exposing Labour antisemitism. One particularly egregious moment came in 2014 when she shared a David Icke post referring to ‘Rothschild Zionist Israel’. Here’s another example, also from 2014.

Most here would agree that the implicit parallel between the Nazis and Israelis is antisemitic. Her reference to Holocaust victims is also shocking in its moral vacuity: its meaningless characterisation of their deaths, its offensive presumption she can tell how they – all of them – would view a complex conflict, and her use of them as a weapon to attack Israelis.
Newton School Retaliates Against Students and Staff Who Report Antisemitism
Many Algemeiner readers are aware that students in Newton, Massachusetts, Public Schools (NPS) — as well as other US high schools — use anti-Israel materials as part of the class curriculum. These materials are not cited as examples of bias or compared with other materials, but are instead presented as factual.

Publications by CAMERA and other organizations, including the Jewish Telegraph Agency, Fordham Foundation, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, and Verity Educate (an academic research organization that published a 152-page report on some of these materials) confirm that the issue is widespread.

An equally pernicious problem has so far remained unmentioned, however: retaliation against students, parents and teachers who report antisemitic incidents or protest anti-Israel materials.

This is the main reason why Newton parents have been unable to make further changes to the curriculum after the removal of a widely criticized text, the Arab World Studies Notebook, from high school history classes in 2012. And as with the anti-Israel class materials, it is likely that this situation is not unique to Newton.
CBS Fake News Segment Conflates Israel’s Security Barrier With Infamous Berlin Wall
A CBS Evening News segment on Jan. 1, 2018, Protecting the border, apparently politically motivated, likely left an unwarranted negative impression of Israel among many viewers by wrongly conflating Israel's security barrier with the infamous Berlin Wall. “Whether it's here [Berlin] or the security barrier the Israelis have built between them and the Palestinians or going back to the Great Wall of China, they [the Spitzer family] see all walls as monuments to political failure [correspondent Mark Phillips].”

The segment seems to have been prompted in part by the fact that Nov. 9, 2017 marked the 28th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It had been erected in 1961, totally encircling West Berlin, by the Communist East German authorities to stem the tide of refugees attempting to flee East Berlin for the West.

CAMERA sent this message to CBS urging an on-air clarification,

We urge CBS to air a clarification to reflect the fact that the purpose of Israel's security barrier is to prevent Palestinian terrorists from murdering Israelis. It includes less than eight percent of the West Bank. The barrier was constructed in response to the “al-Aqsa intifada,” the 2000-2004 Palestinian terror war in which more than 1,000 Israelis – Jewish and Arabs, more than three-fourths of them non-combatants – and foreign visitors were murdered by Palestinian terrorists crossing unimpeded from the West Bank. The barrier's completion has contributed significantly to the roughly 95 percent decrease in lethal attacks from the area.

Furthermore, there are numerous separation barriers all over the world including the U.S. southern border wall which is slated for upgrade and expansion. Does CBS mean for these barriers to be categorized with the Berlin Wall?


CBS’ stonewalling
CAMERA's initial message sent to evening@cbsnews.com and several Evening News editors elicited no response, not even an acknowledgment of receipt. A subsequent emailing yielded the same result. It was sent to several top CBS executives including Leslie Moonves (lmoonves@cbs.com), Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of CBS Corporation.
UKMW prompts Guardian correction to op-ed claim Ahed Tamimi is a “peaceful” activist
A Guardian op-ed by radical anti-Israel activist, and Code Pink co-founder, Medea Benjamin (I am an American, Jewish and banned by Israel for my activism, Jan. 15) was full of misleading characterizations of the BDS movement. But, one counter-factual claim which immediately stuck out, and prompted us to contact Guardian editors, appears in the following paragraph:

Though Benjamin’s characterisation of Issa Armo as a “peaceful” human rights activist is (at best) extraordinarily misleading (see this piece by Petra Marquardt-Bigman for background), the claim that Pallywood star Ahed Tamimi (aka “Shirley Temper”) was arrested for her “peaceful” activism is just a lie.

As we pointed out to editors, the Guardian’s own coverage reported on the video of the Palestinian teen striking an Israeli soldier – an assault which led to her arrest. Further, the suggestion that Tamimi promotes anything resembling “peace” was contradicted in her ‘message to the world‘ video, also covered by the Guardian, which justified Palestinian stabbings and suicide bombings.

Editors quickly upheld our complaint, removed the word “peaceful” from the sentence and added the following addendum.
No BBC reporting on latest Hamas cross-border tunnel
Despite both the threat to humanitarian supplies and fuel for civilians in the Gaza Strip and the significance of the fact that the tunnel reached Egyptian territory, the BBC chose not to report the story at all.

This is the third cross-border tunnel that the IDF has destroyed in the past two and a half months. On October 30th 2017 a tunnel belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was destroyed and while the BBC reported that story, its portrayal of the structure’s purpose was ambiguous. On December 10th 2017 the IDF destroyed a tunnel belonging to Hamas. The BBC did not produce any dedicated reporting on that story and the only mention of it came in half a sentence in an article on a different topic.

Now we see that the BBC – which has long under-reported and downplayed the subject of tunnels constructed by Hamas and other terror organisations – has chosen to completely ignore the story of Hamas’ construction of a structure breaching the sovereign territory of two neighbouring countries.
Five years of BBC reports on one story show impartiality failure
Audiences heard just one view on the topic from a representative of the political NGO ‘Ir Amim’ which has received funding from foreign sources – including from the EU.

In late January 2017 Tim Franks returned to the same location and BBC audiences again heard one view of the story; this time from the inadequately introduced founder of that same political NGO.

Franks: “This is Givat HaMatos – an area of scrubland really – on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Just a couple of kilometres behind me to the south is the Palestinian city of Bethlehem. And I’m here with a man called Danny Seidemann – he’s an Israeli attorney and specialist on the mapping of Jerusalem.”

Seidemann: “Givat HaMatos is pretty unique. It’s one of two or three schemes that we call a Doomsday settlement. These settlements are in and of themselves capable of making the two-state solution impossible.”


None of the BBC’s various reports on Givat Hamatos has informed audiences that part of the planned housing units have been ear-marked for Arab residents of the adjacent neighbourhood of Beit Safafa.
Exclusive Preview: Sarah Tuttle-Singer’s new Book! (satire)
While all of you wait impatiently for Sarah’s new book on life in Jerusalem to come out, running old Daily Freier algorithms to build your own Sarah-Tuttle Singer article while trying to somehow find a way that the Israeli postal system will allow you to order the real thing from Amazon, the Daily Freier managed to steal a page of her final draft. How did we do it you ask? By patiently waiting at Crave Street Food until she got distracted by the arrival of her friend the Gay Mizrahi truck driver who always sells the best pomegranates. And we passed on this excerpt to YOU, our loyal readers. Don’t thank us. We’re not listening. So without further ado, behold a page of the manuscript!

……. seriously mixed feelings because how was I supposed to know that my Internet troll would be so cute in real life? I know, right? But anyway, let me tell you about the time my Palestinian cab driver was listening to Carlebach and OMG can I just tell you? Crave’s bathroom stocks free tampons! Hella Woke, Am I right? So then I’m just walking through Machane Yehuda rummaging through my purse for a coin for the scratch-off lottery ticket that I bought from that really funky Makolet that’s run by the totally chill lesbian Off the Derech couple who always let me use their bathroom when I have to pee. So where was I? OK so I’m drinking from my flask of Laphroaig 18 Years. The peat? OMG can I tell you about the peat? But anyway, I bought it at the Heathrow Duty Free, and the cashier was wearing full hijab. And we had an amazing moment in the checkout line that reminded me that anything is possible if we just…. wait a second. I think I misjudged the strength of the edibles that I took an hour ago and the last time this happened I ended up walking the entire ancient road from Ramle to Yafo and got these Painful blisters because I was wearing flats that were kinda too big but I didn’t have time to return them because Crave had just changed their menu and can I just tell you? Their lamb bacon? Better than the real thing. So anyway, let me tell you about the ride back. So I’m standing on the platform waiting for my train and I sneezed. Because it’s cold out. And I wasn’t wearing a coat. Don’t judge, OK? So Yeah. I sneezed. And then do you know what happened? This Haredi guy turned to me and said “Sei Gezunt”. Which was just incredible. Kind of like the time I went to Mid-Burn in the Negev and accidentally joined a cult for 6 hours before I figured out that the mushrooms must have been……
Racist, anti-Semitic fliers dropped in Virginia town
Racist and anti-Semitic fliers published by the Ku Klux Klan were delivered across a Virginia neighborhood.

The fliers were placed in plastic baggies and held down with a piece of candy on the doorsteps of homes in Leesburg, Virginia over the weekend.

One of the fliers reads “Join the United States Army and Fight for Israel.” The caricature shows an American soldier standing in front of a balding, bulbous nosed man in plaid shorts holding an Israeli flag. It also accuses Jews of controlling the media and provides a list of “high ranking Jews who control the media.”

Another flier reads “On Martin Luther King Day you are honoring a Communist alcoholic pervert.” The flier is addressed to Loyal White Knights and provides a web address for a KKK website.

Police told local media that there is no indication that any of the households who received the fliers were specifically targeted. It is believed the fliers were distributed over the weekend due to the upcoming Martin Luther King Day observance.
Gravestones vandalized in Jewish cemetery in Eritrea
Dozens of gravestones were toppled and broken in a Jewish cemetery in Eritrea.

The damage at the cemetery located in the capital of Asmara is believed to have happened in recent days, according to two Jewish news outlets that received photos of the vandalism.

The Israel-based Haaretz published photos of the smashed gravestones, reported to be the first time that the Jewish cemetery has been targeted.

“The cemetery suffered vandalism and a large number of graves were defaced,” Danny Goldschmidt, from the Aden Jewish Heritage Museum located in Tel Aviv, told Haaretz. He said that the police have not made any arrests in the incident.

The London-based Jewish Chronicle also was sent photos of the damage by an unnamed reader in London of Eritrean descent, who did not want his name published for fear of retribution against family members who remain in Eritrea.

In addition to cemetery, the site in Asmara site is home to a now-defunct synagogue. The last Jewish family left Eritrea more than ten years ago. There reportedly is one permanent Jewish resident left in the city, who has been identified as Sami Cohen and who reportedly takes care of the cemetery and the synagogue.

The last grave was dug in the cemetery in 1996, Ynet reported in 2006. There are about 150 people buried in the cemetery.
Nazi-looted art may still reach heirs of original Jewish owner
Switzerland is again at the center of a dispute over a Nazi-era art trove as the Basel Art Museum reconsiders demands it return a Jewish art historian's collection to descendants.

It rejected their restitution bid in 2008.

The museum owns 120 drawings and prints, including a "Madonna" lithograph from Edvard Munch potentially worth millions of dollars, that belonged to Curt Glaser.

Glaser auctioned the works in 1933 after losing his job leading the Prussian State Art Library in Berlin and being evicted from his home in the first wave of Nazi anti-Semitic laws.

Basel Art Museum director Josef Helfenstein has called up a task force after Glaser's heirs demanded the case be re-opened, citing unearthed documents they say underscore their claims.

"We hope it won’t be put on the backburner, so everybody forgets about it again," said Valerie Sattler, a great niece of Glaser.

Basel may announce a meeting with the family and its lawyer as early as this week, a museum spokeswoman said on Monday.

Scrutiny of Jewish-owned art sold for low prices or stolen by the Nazis is nothing new in Switzerland.
At Westerbork, virtual reality simulations ‘recreate’ the Nazi transit camp
With almost nothing remaining of the former Nazi transit camp Westerbork, visitors are turning to a simulation that “recreates” the site of Holocaust-era incarceration using virtual reality.

During World War II, Westerbork was used by the Nazis to imprison Dutch Jews on their way to “resettlement” in the east — the regime’s euphemism for genocide. Nearly every Tuesday for two years, a train with hundreds of Jews left Westerbork. Of the more than 100,000 Jews deported from the remote facility, only 5,000 survived the Holocaust.

Beginning in the 1960s, the Dutch government dismantled Westerbork, including the inmate barracks and almost every structure from the war era. Massive, highly sensitive radio telescopes were built on-site in 1970, and their operation still prevents cars from approaching the grounds. With little more to see than the former camp commander’s house preserved in a glass enclosure, visitors typically rely on tour guides and Westerbork’s up-to-date museum, located 2 miles away.

Last month, museum staff began piloting a virtual reality (VR) simulation with tour groups, in part to help visitors envision what took place at Westerbork. Inside a dimmed room with wrap-around screens, volunteers have begun using a console to explore the camp as it appeared between 1942 and the end of deportations in 1944, when Anne Frank and her family were held at Westerbork on the way to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Graffiti activists in Berlin turn Nazi symbols into art
The swastika, which was adopted by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party, is banned in Germany, where right-wing sentiment has risen due to an influx of more than a million migrants in the last two years.

Ibo Omari, who runs a graffiti shop and ‘The Cultural Heirs’ youth club, encourages young people to look out for swastikas in their local area and then creatively paint over them - after getting permission from whoever owns the defaced property.

“It was important to spur young people into action and to encourage them to take responsibility so they don’t just ignorantly walk past such symbols of hatred,” Omari told Reuters. “It offends the whole neighborhood if someone in our midst paints swastikas in a children’s playground and I take it personally,” the 37-year-old said, adding that they also wanted to show graffiti had nothing to do with racism.

Omari and ‘The Cultural Heirs’ decided the best way to respond was “with humor and love” so they came up with designs such as rabbits, birds and a Rubik’s Cube to cover swastikas. Sketching potential designs during a graffiti workshop in Omari’s shop, 16-year-old Philip Keilholz said he got involved as racism had no place in the cosmopolitan German capital.
Hebrew University Building Albert Einstein Museum
A former planetarium on the Edmond J. Safra Campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is to be repurposed as a $5 million museum and visitors’ center dedicated to the personal archives of renowned physicist Albert Einstein, father of the theory of relativity.

Einstein was among the founders of the Hebrew University. In 1923, a year after winning the Nobel Prize, he came from Germany to give a scientific lecture at the barely finished campus on Mount Scopus. After immigrating to the United States in 1933, he remained active as a member of the university’s Board of Governors and chairman of its Academic Committee.

Before his death in 1955, Einstein had willed his personal archives and the rights to his scientific and non-scientific writings (including his famous E=mc2 formula) to the university. The 55,000-item Einstein Archives, digitized in 2012, is housed at the Safra Campus in the Givat Ram quarter within walking distance of the Israel Museum, Bible Lands Museum and Bloomfield Science Museum.

The idea of a museum to make those archives more accessible to the public has been under discussion for years. One plan for the building was considered for the university’s Mount Scopus campus but was deemed too costly. In May 2012, the prime minister’s cabinet voted, in a non-binding decision, to build an Albert Einstein museum shaped like the physicist’s head.
‘Superfast’ sub-sea internet cable to connect Israel with Spain
A Cypriot company says its new sub-sea internet cable that will connect Israel with Spain will be powerful enough to handle up to 60 percent of the world’s internet traffic at peak time.

Quantum Cable chairman Nasos Ktorides said after signing on Tuesday an agreement to lay the cable that the $200 million project is expected to come online in 2020.

Ktorides said the cable will have 40 times more capacity than existing internet cables on the Mediterranean seabed. He said that’s enough capacity to handle as many as 80 million high-definition video calls between Asia and Europe simultaneously.

The 7,700 kilometer (4785-mile) cable will reach Bilbao, Spain, where an equally powerful internet cable now connects Spain with the US state of Virginia.
Nazareth Illit names cinema for ‘Wonder Woman’ Gadot
A cinema in northern Israel is to be named after Israeli-born Hollywood celeb Gal Gadot, star of the blockbuster hit “Wonder Woman,” the town of Nazareth Illit said Tuesday.

“We are going to name the new cinema after Gal Gadot, an Israeli actress who brings honor to this country,” municipal spokeswoman Orna Yosef said. “This is a message for our young people because Gal Gadot is an example of success, who has shown that dreams can be attained.”

The Gal Cinema, which will have two screens, will open officially on Wednesday with a showing of Israeli director Eran Riklis’s thriller “Shelter.”

Nazareth Illit was founded in 1956 adjacent to biblical Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel. Its population of 50,000 is 80 percent Jewish, with the remainder made up of Muslim and Christian Arabs.
Israel to celebrate 70th birthday with 70-hour spectacle
Israel will celebrate 70 years of independence this year, and Culture Minister Miri Regev on Monday promised a massive party, as she revealed some of the plans for the anniversary events.

“I thought it would be appropriate to implement a concept of ongoing events, beginning with the Independence Day ceremony on Wednesday and ending on Saturday evening: 70 hours of Israeli festivity that will bring citizens together across the country in varied and joyous events,” Regev said at a press conference where she unveiled the official logo for the nation’s 70th anniversary to be held under the tagline “A Legacy of Innovation.”

“You won’t be bored,” she promised.

Regev said the annual state ceremony at Mount Herzl on April 18 will be accompanied by an official song to celebrate Israel’s 70th, followed by the largest fireworks display in the country’s history.



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