Sunday, February 03, 2019

From Ian:

PMW: PA chooses terror promotion and rewards over US aid
As of January 31st, the US administration ceased all its aid to the Palestinian Authority. In response, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Chief Negotiator, said:
“Hundreds of Palestinians will be losing their jobs as a result of the U.S. decision to terminate all USAID projects in Palestine. An additional step in a series of punitive and unethical measures, carried out by the Trump Administration, against the people of Palestine to pressure its leadership to compromise on our inalienable right to self-determination.”
[Website of the State of Palestine PLO Negotiations Affairs Department, Feb. 2, 2019]

Upon closer examination, it becomes clear that Erekat, on behalf of the PA, is once again distorting a very simple fact.

In reality, it is not the US that has made any such decision. Rather, it is the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, which has positively decided to reject all of the considerable US aid to the Palestinians. It has done so by actively choosing to continue its ”Pay for Slay“ policy, whereby the PA squanders hundreds of millions of dollars annually to incentivize and reward terrorism and terrorists including convicted murderers and the families of dead terrorists (so-called “Martyrs.”)

American veteran Taylor Force was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist while touring Israel. When the US understood that the PA pays the family of the murderer of Taylor a monthly allowance, it passed the Taylor Force Act (TFA, passed March 2018). According to the provisions of TFA, most of the US aid to the PA became contingent on the PA abolishing its ”Pay for Slay” policy.

Instead of heeding the call of the US administration, the PA made a positive decision to waive the US aid and continue its ”Pay for Slay“ policy, with Abbas declaring that the PA prioritizes rewarding terrorist prisoners rather than taking care of the rest of the Palestinian population:
Pierre Rehov: Pay for slay


Dozens of Hamas, PFLP members hold senior positions in pro-BDS NGOs: gov't
There are more than 100 links between the internationally-designated terrorist organizations Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) with NGOs promoting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, some of which receive funding from European states and philanthropic funds, a new report by the Strategic Affairs Ministry has found.

More than 30 members of Hamas and PFLP hold senior positions in BDS-promoting NGOs, the vast majority of whom have been in prison for terrorism-related crimes, including murder, and maintain active ties with the terrorist groups.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the research “reveals the true nature and goals of the BDS movement and its connection to terrorism and antisemitism.”

“When people talk about the goals of the BDS movement, they don’t bother to read official statements from its leaders,” Erdan lamented. “If you do, it becomes clear that the goals of its leaders are the same as those of the leaders of Palestinian terror organizations. BDS rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state within any borders. They want to see Israel wiped off the map.”

“Promoting boycotts is [just] a different means to achieve this goal,” he added.

One such example is Laila Khaled, a PFLP member infamous for hijacking two civilian planes in 1969 and 1973, who was found to have planned terrorist attacks in Jerusalem as recently as 2011, and called for “armed struggle” against Israel last year. She continues to actively fundraise for BDS organizations in Europe and South Africa.

Another example is Rani Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and also a PFLP operative. His organization releases weekly reports calling to boycott Israel and received $1.5 million of European funding in 2014-2017. Sourani and Iyad al-Alamo, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights’ legal department, provided legal aid and advice to Hamas as recently as 2017. (h/t Elder of Lobby)



The New Jewish State Law and Israel’s Future
A distinguished panel of analysts — Peter Beinart, Einat Wilf, Eugene Kontorovich, Sayed Kashua, and Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein — explore the New Jewish State Law and its implications for Israeli democracy.

In passionate, thoughtful, intelligent discussion, they explore the complex issues of reconciling Israel as the state for Jewish people along with ensuring complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, regardless of religion, race, or sex. Global perceptions, as well as Jewish identity, the state-sanctioned Orthodox Rabbinate, and more, are addressed. This challenging discussion aims to bring greater understanding and insight into these most pressing questions about the future of Israel and the Jewish people.
The New Jewish State Law and Israel’s Future




Turkey's President Erdogan says he will use 'all means available to end Israel's occupation of Palestine' as he meets Israeli Arab leaders before welcoming the King of Jordan on state visit
Turkey's president said today he will use 'all means available to end Israel's occupation in Palestine' at a meeting with Arab deputies of Israel's parliament, the Knesset - shortly before hosting a dinner for King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan - whom Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an 'anti-Semitic dictator' last December - added that he will 'not turn his back on the Palestinian cause'.

During the two-hour talks at the Presidential Mansion in Istanbul's Tarabya neighbourhood, Erdogan said: 'We will continue to share all means in our disposal with our brothers,' Turkey's pro-government Daily Sabah reported.

Erdogan, whose party has roots in Turkey's Islamist movement, said his aim was to restore peace in the region before thanking the Israeli Arab deputies for 'representing the will of the Palestinian people in Israel's parliament'.

The Turkish president regards himself as a champion of the Palestinians and has twice recently held summits of Muslim states to denounce the recognition by the United States of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

But analysts note that behind the rhetoric, economic ties remain strong, with trade robust and both sides interested in the export of Israeli energy resources to Turkey.
Balad chair: We are ‘part of the Palestinian national movement’
Jamal Zahalka on Saturday opened his party’s primaries by declaring that Balad “is not part of the Israeli left, but is an inseparable part of the Palestinian national movement,” the Kan public broadcaster reported.

Zahalka, who is chairman of the Arab party but is not running for reelection, also called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to lift sanctions on Hamas in Gaza and to end security coordination with Israel. He also condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “a war criminal responsible for the deaths of thousands,” according to Kan.

The Balad chairman criticized Netanyahu rival and Israel Resilience leader Benny Gantz, saying the former IDF chief of staff holds views which are as extreme as those of the prime minister, and only criticizes Netanyahu on matters of corruption.

Zahalka also slammed MK Ahmad Tibi, without mentioning his name, saying that those who split the Arab Joint List faction will be “punished” on election day.

MK Ahmad TIbi of the Joint (Arab) List speaking at Ben Gurion airport on September 3, 2018. (Screen capture: Ynet news)

The event in the northern city of Nazareth opened with a rendition of the Palestinian anthem and heard greetings from former lawmaker Azmi Bishara, who left Israel in 2007 as he was being investigated for allegedly spying for Hezbollah, and ex-lawmaker Basel Ghattas, who is serving a prison sentence for smuggling contraband to Palestinian security prisoners in an Israeli jail.

Balad currently holds four of the Joint List’s 13 seats in the 120-member Knesset.
Trump: ‘We have to protect Israel,’ shifting again on Syria withdrawal
US President Donald Trump indicated this weekend that some US troops in Syria would remain there “to protect Israel,” in an apparent shift from his earlier insistence on an absolute withdrawal.

In an interview with Margaret Brennan of CBS News, Trump was pressed to identify precisely how much of America’s force presence there would be coming home – and how quickly.

“We’re going to be there and we’re going to be staying. We have to protect Israel,” he replied. “We have to protect other things that we have. But we’re – yeah, they’ll be coming back in a matter of time.”

“Look, we’re protecting the world,” he added. “We’re spending more money than anybody’s ever spent in history, by a lot.”
Israeli officials expressed alarm in December at Trump’s surprise decision to pull all 2,000 US troops from the Syrian battlefield, where it sees Iranian presence growing ever closer to its northern border.

They have been pushing the Trump administration to maintain a presence at al-Tanf in eastern Syria, which has served as an important base both in countering Islamic State fighters as well as Iranian influence.

Trump also revealed that he planned on keeping troops in Iraq for similar reasons.

“I want to be able to watch Iran,” he said. “Iran is a real problem.”
40 UN ambassadors visit City of David
A delegation of about 40 UN ambassadors visited the City of David on Friday. They were led by Israel's UN Ambassador, Danny Danon.

The ambassadors met Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, Israel Priza laureate David Be'eri and Vice-President of the City of David Foundation Doron Spielman.

Leon told Arutz Sheva: "I am excited to be here and I have no doubt that they will become our ambassadors in their countries and in the UN. I have no doubt that they are touched by the history of Jerusalem."

Danon showed the ambassadors a 2,000 year old Hebrew coin that was used by the Jewish rebels just before the destruction of the Second Temple.

"The relationship between the Jewish people and its eternal capital, Jerusalem, began over 3,000 years ago," he declared, "and this coin is only one of the many proofs of this. No UN decision can erase this bond, and no one can argue with this archaeology."
Iran controls new Lebanese government, Netanyahu tells visiting UN envoys
Iran controls the new Lebanese government via its proxy Hezbollah group, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, in his first public comments on the government formed in Beirut last week.

“Iran has proxies. One of them is Hezbollah. Hezbollah just joined the government of Lebanon. That’s a misnomer; they actually control the government of Lebanon. It means that Iran controls the government of Lebanon,” he told a group of 40 ambassadors to the United Nations.

Netanyahu was briefing the delegation, headed by Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon, just before they headed to Israel’s northern border to inspect one of Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels.

“It’s important to send this very powerful message just as we stop the terror tunnels coming into Israel: We will stop all the aggression, from Lebanon or from Syria or from Iran itself,” Netanyahu said.

“We are committed to preventing this aggression, and in so doing we’re not only protecting Israel itself, but also protecting our neighbors and world peace.”

On Thursday, political factions in Lebanon ended a nine-month deadlock and agreed on a new government, which saw a strengthening of the Shiite terrorist group.
Florida Cabinet Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
In a symbolic vote this week, Florida’s state cabinet passed a resolution acknowledging that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, whose office last year promised an increase in Florida’s holdings of bonds from the Jewish state, proposed the resolution to make a statement that “the interests of Israel are the interests of Florida,” and to respond to the backlash over US President Donald Trump’s decision last year to relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“While our nation has been criticized, we’ve made it clear that we remain close with our allies in the Middle East,” he said.

The move came along with Florida instituting sanctions against Airbnb because of the company’s decision last year to boycott Judea and Samaria.

Nearly 650,000 Jews reside in the Sunshine State—the majority in Southeast Florida—representing about 3.4 percent of the state’s population and growing.
European countries pressure Israel to reverse TIPH expulsion
Israel came under international pressure this weekend over a recent decision to cancel the mandate of an international observation mission in Hebron that Israeli officials have accused of systematically targeting the city's Jewish residents.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, has said privately that he has no intention of reversing his decision and reinstating the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, which has operated in the city for the past 22 years.

Over the weekend, the foreign ministers from the countries that sponsor the TIPH mission – Norway, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland and Turkey – issued a joint statement to express their regret over the decision and called on Israel to reverse it.

"The end of the TIPH mission is a divergence from the Oslo Accords. We are concerned the Israeli government is ceasing the activity of one of the only mechanisms aimed at stabilizing the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict," the statement said.

The United Nations has also called on Israel to change its position, while U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement Saturday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was "grateful" to the five countries that contributed to the TIPH presence.

Palestinians in Hebron have accused Israel of trying to rid the city of "witnesses" to its actions in Judea and Samaria by ejecting the observer force.
Turkey calls on Israel to renew Hebron observers’ mandate
Turkey has “strongly” condemned Israel’s decision not to renew the mandate of an international monitoring group in the divided West Bank city of Hebron.

“We strongly condemn Israel’s unilateral termination of the mandate of the ‘Temporary International Presence in Hebron’ (TIPH) … and expect this political decision to be reversed,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement late on Friday.

The establishment of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron was based on the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians, which called for an international observer force in the West Bank city.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday he would not extend its mandate, accusing it of bias following a number of incidents over the past year between its members and Jewish settlers in Hebron.

Ankara, however, dismissed the Israeli accusation.
New Israel Fund Grantees Continue to Accuse the IDF of War Crimes
Radical leftist Israeli organizations backed by the New Israel Fund continue to work against the interests of the Jewish state; now, some are actively promoting the prosecution of IDF officers and soldiers for “war crimes.”

Adalah, B’Tselem, and Yesh Din are cooperating with the UN Commission of Inquiry that is examining whether Israel is perpetrating war crimes in the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria, and East Jerusalem.

Last month, Yesh Din submitted a position paper to the commission, stating that Israel’s legal position, which justifies the use of live fire in Gaza, is in the realm of a “total fabrication,” and that the terror attacks by Arabs seeking to murder Israeli civilians and soldiers are not considered acts of war.

B’Tselem and Adalah also provided materials to the commission, which is due to publish its conclusions in March. An Adalah spokesperson told Haaretz that the organization is hoping for “the intervention of forces in the international community to bring about the accountability for the harm to the Palestinians.”

The intense concern that these groups express regarding the insufficient prosecution of IDF soldiers for war crimes is starkly contrasted by their forgiving attitude towards Palestinian terrorism that kills Jews. In the position paper filed with the UN commission, Yesh Din levels harsh criticism at the Israeli Military Advocate General’s definition of stabbings and car rammings against civilians and soldiers as incidents of “genuine warfare.” According to Yesh Din, these are just “civilian incidents to which the normative response is law enforcement, not warfare.” Yesh Din also does not define the violent activities as terrorism, but rather as “attempts to cause harm.”

It is worth noting that the IDF is regarded as one of the most humane and moral armies in the world.
Israel Police thwart stabbing at Cave of the Patriarchs
Israeli Border Police thwarted a stabbing attack at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron on Sunday morning.

A resident of the city tried to enter the cave while holding a knife, according to a police statement.

The suspect, in his 20s, walked into the cave alongside a group of tourists and approached the inspection post, which is manned by Border Police. Security forces noticed the suspect’s behavior was different from others in the group and called him aside for further inspection.

Ultimately, forces aimed their weapons in his direction and the suspect removed the knife, which he had hidden in his clothes. He threw it on the floor, relinquishing the weapon to police.

An initial round of questioning revealed that the man was planning to carry out a stabbing attack.

Police said the soldiers' alertness prevented a stabbing attack. The suspect tried to enter the cave by pretending to be a tourist, and the experience and professionalism of the fighters led to suspicions, which ultimately stopped the attack, the statement said.
IDF Soldiers Save Life of Palestinian Authority Woman
A group of IDF soldiers on the way to a mission saved the life of a Palestinian Authority woman facing a medical emergency on Saturday night (Feb. 2).

The soldiers saw a vehicle standing at the Givat Assaf junction in Samaria in a strange position and decided to check it out. Numerous terrorist attacks against Israelis have been carried out at that location in recent months.

As the soldiers stopped near the vehicle, they noticed an elderly Arab woman struggling with severe breathing difficulties.

Soldiers in the unit immediately initiated first aid treatment and called for an ambulance to take the woman to the nearest hospital unit for further care.
Abbas said to block ‘settler’ supermarket mogul from peace meeting
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly refused to meet with a joint Israeli-Palestinian peace group last week unless Israeli supermarket mogul Rami Levy was dropped from the delegation.

Breaking the Impasse, a forum of Israeli and Palestinian business and community leaders that is pushing for a renewal of the peace process, met with Abbas last Thursday after agreeing to leave Levy out, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Sunday.

Levy owns a nationwide supermarket chain, including six stores in the West Bank that employ and serve both Israelis and Palestinians.

Abbas and the PA consider Levy a “settler.” The Palestinian leader was adhering to the PA’s official hard-line stance against Levy, who has irked the Palestinian leadership since his first branch opened in the West Bank over a decade ago.

The Palestinian Authority’s official television channel broadcast last month an image that equated shopping at a new mall in East Jerusalem, built by Levy, with treason.

“Do not be the occupation’s partner in the Judaization of the city,” the ad said, according to Palestinian Media Watch, an organization that monitors the Palestinian press. “Economic normalization is treason.”
Two Jordanians cross into Israel, are arrested by army
Two Jordanian nationals were arrested early Sunday after they crossed illegally into the country, the Israel Defense Forces said.

According to a statement from the military, IDF soldiers identified the two suspects overnight, after they crossed the border fence.

The troops stopped and arrested the pair near the border, the statement said, adding that they were carrying no weapons.

They have been taken for questioning to determine why they crossed the border.

The statement did not specify where along the border the incident took place.
5 Palestinians enter Israel from Gaza with knives, are arrested
The military arrested five Palestinians who crossed into Israel from the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, the army said.

The suspects were arrested as they approached the security fence surrounding the coastal enclave, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Initially, the military said the men were not found to be in possession of weapons. But upon further searches in the field, the suspects were later found to have been armed with a number of knives and a pair of wire cutters, the army said.

“The suspects did not damage the security fence,” the army said.

The five were handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.
Israel starts construction on 20-foot-high fence surrounding Gaza
The Defense Ministry has begun the final phase of construction of a 20-foot high galvanized steel fence that will completely surround the Gaza Strip, Israeli officials said Sunday.

The barrier will extend 65 kilometers (40 miles) miles around the enclave and sit atop the subterranean concrete wall Israel is constructing around the Gaza Strip to block terrorist groups’ attack tunnels from the coastal enclave.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the barriers were needed to “prevent the infiltration of terrorists into our territory,” at the start of weekly cabinet meeting.

The fence will connect to the barrier recently built out into the Mediterranean Sea from north of Gaza, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The overall Gaza barrier project is due to be completed by the end of 2019, according to the army.
Lebanese TV airs footage of Gaza sniper shooting IDF officer in helmet
A Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese news outlet on Sunday broadcast previously unaired footage of the moment a Palestinian sniper in the Gaza Strip shot an Israeli officer in the helmet last month, causing him light injuries.

On January 22, a gunman from the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group fired at the Paratroopers Brigade company commander during a riot along the southern Gaza border. The bullet struck the officer’s helmet, which saved his life.

In the video, aired by Al-Mayadeen, the officer can be seen firing his rifle from a berm across from the Gaza border. A moment later, a gunshot is heard, and the sniper’s bullet is seen striking the serviceman’s helmet, sending up a cloud of smoke and debris. He then grabs his head and takes cover.

Speaking to the pro-Hezbollah news outlet, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad confirmed suspicions that the terror group’s military wing Saraya al-Quds was behind the attack.
J Street U, SJP Chapters at University of Vermont Release Letters Slamming Hillel
The University of Vermont (UVM) chapters of J Street U and Students for Justice in Palestine released similar letters on Friday blasting the Hillel on campus for accepting funding from the anti-BDS group Maccabee Task Force (MTF), which will use some of the monies to organize a trip to Israel for students.

SJP’s statement slams the UVM pro-Israel community for “a refusal to listen to Palestinian voices,” while J Street U denounces it for an “omission and erasure of Palestinian voices.”

Additionally, SJP rebuked UVM Hillel for creating an “unsafe environment,” while J Street U condemns it for enabling “unnecessary divides.”

Another parallel between the two letters is that J Street alleges that the MTF trip “obfuscate the reality for many Palestinians by omitting the narratives of Palestinians living in Gaza and Area C of the West Bank who bear the brunt of Israeli military occupation and blockade,” while SJP charges that MTF “offers a guided tour of Israel designed to bewilder them with the complexities of the region so they will step back from any on-campus activism and ‘leave it to the experts.’”

“This insidious tactic is designed to obscure the ease of access that we all have to information in the Internet age and is rooted in a refusal to listen to Palestinian voices, many of whom have lived in occupied territory for most or part of their lives, and who share their experiences freely and fully online and on campuses throughout the country,” continued SJP.
Danon Emphasizes That Europe Needs to Up the Ante in Fighting Antisemitism
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said on Thursday that Europe needs to have “stronger actions” to combat antisemitism.

While he expressed appreciation to former Soviet satellite states such as Hungary for fighting anti-Israel initiatives in the European Union, Danon said they need to improve their attitudes towards Jews.

“When we meet them, we tell them: ‘We are grateful for your involvement. We want to continue the cooperation. But at the same time, when it comes to domestic issues, you have to take stronger action,’” he told reporters in Jerusalem. “We do expect stronger actions when it comes to antisemitism.”

Danon will lead a delegation of UN ambassadors to Poland and Israel. In the former, they are scheduled to visit Holocaust sites such as the Warsaw ghetto, Majdanek concentration and extermination camp, and the POLIN Museum.
Brazilian-Lebanese cartoonist slammed for Israel-hating cartoon
Brazilian-Lebanese cartoonist Carlos Latuff was slammed by Israeli cartoonist Uri Fink for publishing a cartoon in which members of the IDF search and rescue mission to Brazil are called "Palestinian killers."

In the original cartoon, published in English and Portuguese, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is depicted facing IDF soldiers with bloody hands and blood-soaked boots, as Bolsonaro shakes hands with the first Israeli soldier the man says to him: "Sorry were late! We were busy killing Palestinians!"

In his Instagram page, Latuff raged against the decision by Brazilian authorities to reject medical aid offered by Cuba and accept aid provided by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who recently visited Brazil.

"The same army that oppress and kill in Palestine," wrote Latuff, "wanna save Brazilian lives but destroy Palestinian ones? Hypocrites!"

Israeli cartoonist of note Uri Fink slammed Latuff on Monday when he called him " a disgrace to our profession" on social media.

"It is acceptable to criticize a nation’s policies, even harshly," Fink writes, "but when it sends people to help save lives in your country the least you can do is shut the $&@€ up!"
Exclusive: Israel, France in secret talks over access to ancient tombs
Israel and France are holding secret talks aimed at opening the ancient compound known as the Tombs of the Kings near the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel Hayom has learned.

The catacomb has been under the administration of the French Consulate in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah for the past 150 years owing to international agreements dating back to the Ottoman period.

Scholars believe the tombs date back to the Second Temple Period. Queen Helena of Adiabene, a convert to Judaism, was believed to have been buried in a special sarcophagus that was found at the site, which was subsequently put on display at Paris' Louvre museum along with other sarcophagi revealed by excavations there.

The French Jewish community along with religious figures in Israel have long asked to obtain access to the site, where according to Jewish tradition Ben Kalba Sabbua - a famous resident of the city during the Roman period – is believed to have been buried.

The secret talks have been going on for the past three years, but the French Consulate has claimed the site cannot be reopened until its renovations there are completed. That claim has been met with skepticism by Israeli authorities, who note that the renovations appear to have been going on for about a decade.
India may close $800 deal with Israel for airborne early-warning systems
India is close to approving a $800 million deal to purchase the Phalcon airborne warning and control system (AWACS) from Israel, shortly after it inked a deal to purchase additional air-defense systems from the Jewish state.

The Times of India reported that New Delhi is likely to approve multi-million deal with IAI to acquire two additional Phalcon AWACS aircraft from Israel Aerospace Industries.

According to the report, the second deal with IAI to acquire the system, is currently being studied by the Finance Ministry after it was approved by the Defense Ministry. The final approval is said to be granted by the Indian government’s Cabinet Committee on Security.
Mounted on a Russian Ilyushin-76 heavy-lift aircraft, the system has Active Electronic Steering Array (AESA) and L-Band radar with 360° coverage, and can detect and track incoming aircraft, cruise missiles and drones before ground-based radars.

The first three Phalcon AWACS were obtained by the Indian Air Force in 2009 after a $1.1 billion deal between India, Israel and Russia in 2004.

According to The Times of India, the finance ministry had objected to the high costs of the new deal and had been able to significantly reduce the costs through “extensive” negotiations with the Israeli defense giant.
UK chief rabbi says call to move Eurovision harms peace
UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has spoken out against 50 artists whose letter to the BBC last week called for moving this year's Eurovision Song Contest from Israel to a different country.

In an interview with The Daily Mail on Sunday, Mirvis criticized the letter and said that the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and its supporters don't advance peace.

"Whereas peacemakers seek dialogue and common ground, for more than a decade the BDS movement has pursued a campaign of division and demonization," Mirvis told the newspaper, adding, "Calls for the Eurovision Song Contest to be moved from Israel will ultimately harm, and not help, the cause of peace."

In a letter in The Guardian published last Tuesday, 50 artists - including Roger Waters, musician Peter Gabriel, designer Vivienne Westwood, actor Julie Christie, writer Mike Leigh and director Ken Loach - appealed to the BBC to use its influence with the European Broadcasting Union to “press for Eurovision to be relocated to a country where crimes against... freedom are not being committed.”

In response, the BBC said it was not interested in politics and that the broadcaster will be taking part in the Eurovision in Tel Aviv.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is not a political event and does not endorse any political message or campaign,” the statement read. “The competition has always supported the values of friendship, inclusion, tolerance and diversity, and we do not believe it would be appropriate to use the BBC’s participation for political reasons.
New Song by Israeli Eurovision Winner Gets Nearly Two Million Views in Three Days
Israeli Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai’s new song has reached over 1.8 million views on YouTube since its release Thursday.

The video for the song called “Bassa Sababa” — a combination of two Hebrew-Arabic slang words translated as “bummer” and “that’s cool,” respectively — portrays Barzilai as a bride who, after being left at the altar, chases her groom around a video game-like city, threatening to ram him with a horn attached to her forehead. She later turns into a pink rhino to complete the chase.

“Bassa Sababa” is the first song released by Barzilai since she took home the trophy at the Eurovision international song contest held in Lisbon in May with her hit “Toy.” In July, Universal Music Group threatened to sue the creators of “Toy,” claiming it plagiarizes the song “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. The suit was later settled outside of court, according to an August report by Israeli news website Ynet.

Thanks to Barzilai’s win, Israel was chosen to host the 2019 Eurovision contest for the fourth time. The event will take place in May in Tel Aviv and is expected to draw some 20,000 tourists. In January, Tel Aviv posted a tender for setting up a large-scale camping site at its northern Yarkon Park to house some 2,000 people for a period of about six weeks, which include the Eurovision and the Gay Pride events scheduled for June in the city.
Swedish pre-Eurovision show honors Netta Barzilai and other Israelis
Swedish public broadcaster SVT paid tribute on live TV Saturday night to the four Israeli winners of the Eurovision Song Contest.

During the premiere of the Melodifestivalen show, which selects Sweden's Eurovision contestant, the show's hosts performed a musical interval act dedicated to the four Israeli songs.

The hosts seamlessly melded together a mashup of "Toy" by Netta Barzilai, "Diva" by Dana International, "Hallelujah" by Gali Atari and "A-Ba-Ni-Bi" by Izhar Cohen. Host Sarah Dawn Finer dressed up like Barzilai at the 2018 Eurovision, while co-host Eric Saade donned a Dana International-inspired look.

The four-minute musical number gained high praise on social media from Eurovision fans around the world, many of whom are particularly fond of the Melodifestivalen show.


Celebrity chefs inaugurate new cutting-edge laser facility for burn victims
Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and I-PEARLS (Israel Pediatric Aesthetic and Reconstructive Laser Surgery Center of Excellence), broke ground for a new cutting-edge facility using medical lasers to treat pediatric burn scars, within the hospital’s MATAM-Advanced Technology Division.

Samuel Davis from New Jersey, is the founder of I-PEARLS, the Burn Advocates Network and Camp Sababa, Israel’s camp for pediatric burn survivors. He has worked closely with Prof. Josef Haik, director of Israel’s National Burn Center Intensive Care Unit at Sheba to develop the first center in the Middle East focused on non-invasive methods to heal scars.

Thousands of Israeli children suffer from a wide array of burns, leaving them with disfiguring scars and disabilities. Laser treatment can blast away thickened scars and relieve contractures.

These powerful lasers, mostly developed by Israeli companies, will change the standard of care for children with burns in Israel and at satellite centers around the globe.




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Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

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