Tuesday, July 02, 2019

From Ian:

Dublin's Anti-Israel Boycott Bill: Bad for Ireland, Worse for the Palestinians, Terrible for Everyone
The chief government figure opposing the bill is Foreign Minister Simon Coveney. Coveney argues that Ireland risks its standing in the European Union because the bill is legally unsound. He is correct. A Brussels-based EU trade official warned the Irish government that "the bill would be in contravention of EU competence on trade matters," as the EU Commercial Treaty demands uniformity in member-state trade policies.

Irish politicians who passed it would likely be regarded as racist, particularly in view of the German Parliament's recent resolution to designate BDS (the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel) as anti-Semitic.
In addition, there could be "potentially huge losses of US tax benefits for US companies with subsidiaries in Ireland, if the Bill is passed into law. This could potentially lead to major US companies pulling out of Ireland, and for other companies who were considering relocating, to not do so."

The bill may also may well hurt Ireland's effort to secure a position on the UN Security Council (UNSC) in the 2020-2021 vote by regional member-states in the General Assembly. Canada and Norway are competing with Ireland for the two seats allotted to the UNSC's West Europe/North America region.

[The] legislation... will harm the interests of Palestinians -- an estimated 30,000 of whom are employed by Israeli businesses in the West Bank... The Ireland Israel Alliance also accuses the bill's supporters of hypocrisy, and cites their failure to condemn analogous situations in which Irish firms invest in international companies that do business in other occupied territories around the world.

Germany: Some Hate Speech 'More Equal than Others'
Although the "military arm" of Hezbollah is prohibited in the EU, the "political arm" is not, which means that in Germany, Hezbollah is free to engage in "non-military" activities -- such as fundraising.

On the one hand, the federal police conduct countrywide raids on middle-aged Germans who post their thoughts on Facebook, while on the other, members of openly lethal terrorist organizations who espouse nothing but hatred towards a specific ethnic group, the Jews, are not only allowed to march in the heart of the German capital... but are free to organize and fundraise for their purpose.

That participants in the anti-Semitic Al Quds march have been allowed to flaunt their hatred for nearly four decades now, while middle-aged Germans are having their apartments searched for anti-Semitic and racist messages on Facebook, exposes a disturbing double standard in the application of the law.

At the very least, it shows that German authorities appear to harbor extremely selective views of what constitutes hate speech, based, it seems, on nothing more than the identity of the group that voices it.
BDS Spreads Through Community Organizations and K-12
In all these cases — as with the ongoing crackdown by YouTube and Facebook on “extremism” — institutions are shaping the information environment in pervasive and tendentious ways. In the process, Jewish history is redefined as an infinitely elastic metaphor while inevitable protests and corrections are regarded as parochial Jewish efforts to “claim” history. Conversely, any critical treatment of Middle Eastern history or Islam is “Islamophobic.” The specific effect is to cast Israel as the universal villain and Palestinians as the universal victim.

The extent to which BDS has helped normalize antisemitism was demonstrated at Cambridge University, where statements by former Indonesian Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir, including about Jews’ resentment over being accused of having “hook shaped” noses, and “Can you imagine the Israelis taking over Cambridge and calling it Israel? How would you like that?” were met with polite laughter. Similarly, at an Intelligence Squared debate in London, the resolution that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism passed by a substantial margin, much to the satisfaction of an Islamist who participated.

Ironically, progressive vilification of Israel and its supporters, especially Jews, is expanding at the same time that neo-Nazis in the US and Europe are explicitly expressing support for BDS. A recent study showed that neo-Nazis in the US are increasing active in online forums dedicated to BDS and regularly share all manner of antisemitic materials without reproach.

Similarly, neo-Nazis in Germany have begun using the phrase “Israel is our misfortune,” a sentiment that converges with the German Green Party’s explicit support for BDS. The crossover between the two streams was seen recently when a founder of the Green Party spoke at a neo-Nazi event. This comes as the German Parliament voted to condemn the BDS movement as antisemitic. To date, however, progressives have not rejected or repudiated neo-Nazi support for BDS.

Underlying this convergence are longstanding if understated alliances between extremist figures such as David Duke and Louis Farrakhan. While logically consistent (at least partially) from the neo-Nazi perspective, progressive tolerance for the convergence is more difficult to explain. One historical parallel from the 1960s, when elements of the German far-left converged with neo-Nazis over shared antipathy toward Israel and Jews, hints that a similar process may be underway today globally. Whether this will be self-marginalizing remains unknown but the corrosive impact on mainstream political discourse and social attitudes is already apparent.



The Roots of the Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace Lobby (*kind of satire)
I have been going through the archives of the pro-peace, pro-Jewish state (later Israel) lobby, and I’ve found some interesting fundraising letters that offer insight into the thinking of the early advocates of this slogan.

In November 1917, the lobby was formed to rally liberal Jewish support for the Balfour Declaration’s call for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. To distinguish itself from other Jewish organizations, the new group said it would lobby to ensure the United States supported Balfour’s insistence that nothing be done to “prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

In 1936, the lobby asked for donations to help it persuade members of Congress to tell President Franklin Roosevelt that he should support British immigration quotas to limit the number of Jews who could go to Palestine, in order to mollify Palestinian Arabs who claimed they were being displaced, and were reacting with violence.

In September 1938, the lobby asked members of Congress to sign a letter urging Roosevelt to join his British ally, Neville Chamberlain, at a meeting with Adolf Hitler in Munich to discuss how to avoid war and achieve peace in Europe.

Less than two months later, the lobby sent a message to its followers expressing outrage over the pogroms against Jews in Germany and Austria, but raising questions about whether the actions of some of the Jewish communities had provoked the response.

In the interest of peace, the lobby called on Roosevelt to pressure leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine in 1939 to accept the British White Paper, which called for the creation of a unitary state in which the Arabs would be the majority, and would impose restrictions on land acquisition by Jews, limit Jewish immigration to the country’s “economic absorptive capacity,” and make it contingent on Arab consent.

*Interestingly, the lobby’s funding apparently dried up during the period from 1949 until 1967. I could find no calls for the end of Jordanian and Egyptian occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, nor could I find any demands for a Palestinian state in those territories to achieve the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”
UK-based 'Muslim Scholars' Demand 'Fascist' Israel Returned to Arabs, Want Jerusalem as Caliphate Capital
Twenty-six “Muslim scholars” based in Britain have called for “fascist” Israel to be returned to the Arabs, and expressed their hope that “Jerusalem will be the capital of the Islamic Caliphate when it returns, Allah willing.”

5Pillars, which describes itself as “The largest *regulated* Muslim news site in Europe & the Americas” — but has been described by Lead Commissioner for the Commission for Countering Extremism Sara Khan as “Islamist” — published the open letter on its website, and invited “Any Muslim scholar who would like to sign this open statement” to get in touch.

The statement, which 5Pillars say was “spearheaded by Shaykh Asrar Rashid from Birmingham”, asserts that the signatories “do not recognise ‘Israel’ as a legitimate state.”

“‘Israel’ must return the entirety of Palestinian land,” they demand.

“Palestinians have no link to the holocaust and the crimes of the Second World War against the Jewish people.

“We condemn the continued fascist Zionist oppression which has cost the Palestinian people their freedom, homeland and lives for over seventy years.”

The signatories insist that Islam “does not promote anti-Semitism and Arabs are also a Semitic people”, and claim that Islamic rulers treated Christians in the region with benevolence “until the Zionist occupation ended the mutual tolerance that had existed for over a millennium.”

“Jerusalem will be the capital of the Islamic Caliphate when it returns, Allah willing,” they conclude.
MEMRI: In Call For Campaign Funds For U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar – Who Has Met With Turkish President Erdogan – Turkish Pro-Government News Outlets Declare: 'Ilhan Omar Laid Out The U.S.'s Lies In The Middle East One By One!'
In an article about U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), the manager of the Turkish state-run news channel TRT World's Research Centre, Dr. Tarek Cherkaoui, encouraged readers to donate to Omar's campaign fund. The article, written for the English-language website of the Turkish pro-government daily Yeni Şafak and published April 1, 2019, was titled "Media Flak Directed At Ilhan Omar No Surprise At All."[1] At least seven other Turkish media outlets ran the same article, in both English and in Turkish. It should be noted that U.S. federal law prohibits foreign nationals from donating to political candidates.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) meets with Turkish President Erdoğan during the 2017 UN General Assembly.

Turkish News Outlets Call For Funding For Omar
In his article, Dr. Cherkaoui wrote that "donating money to Omar's campaign fund would be an adequate way of denying powerful organizations the power to censor alternative voices."[2] The article, which originally appeared in Yeni Şafak, was also published, with the same call for funds, on both the English- and Turkish-language websites of Turkish state-run news wire Anadolu Agency,[3] the website of the Turkish state-run TRT World's Research Centre,[4] and the Turkish news websites TimeTurk,[5] Haksöz Haber,[6] TürkHaber,[7] and Fikriyat.[8]

It is difficult to calculate the reach that this call has had among Turkish readers, but Yeni Şafak's Turkish-language website is one of Turkey's most popular news websites,[9] and, as of September 2018, its Turkish print edition had a weekly circulation of 111,622.[10] Given Omar's popularity in Turkey, and that the article was published in Turkish as well as in English, it is likely that some Turks have sought to donate to Rep. Omar's campaign fund.

Turkish Foreign Minister Phones Omar To Congratulate Her On Election Wins; Omar Meets With Erdoğan In New York, And With Turkish Consul General, Participates In Istanbul Conference

According to diplomatic sources, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu phoned Rep. Omar in November 2016 to congratulate her on her election victory,[11] and again congratulated her on her win in November 2018.[12]

In September 2017, Rep. Omar met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when he was in New York for the UN General Assembly.[13] President Erdoğan's party, the AKP, tweeted about the meeting from its official Twitter account.[14] On July 1, 2017, Omar tweeted that she had met, the previous day, with Turkish Consul General in Chicago Umut Acar for lunch and a tour.[15] The tweet linked to a Facebook page that has since been removed.
Academics Pen Letter to US Holocaust Museum, Seeking Retraction of Condemnation of Ocasio-Cortez Analogy
More than 140 academics wrote an open letter to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, calling for the retraction of its condemnation of US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) saying in an Instagram video that the United States is “running concentration camps on our southern border,” in reference to the Trump administration’s policies regarding illegal immigrants.

“We are deeply concerned about the Museum’s recent ‘Statement Regarding the Museum’s Position on Holocaust Analogies,’ ” stated the letter sent on Monday to museum director Sara Bloomfield, which was published in The New York Review of Books. “We write this public letter to urge its retraction.”

The USHMM posted on its website last week that it “unequivocally rejects efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary. That position has repeatedly and unambiguously been made clear in the Museum’s official statement on the matter—a statement that is reiterated and reaffirmed now.”

“The Museum further reiterates that a statement ascribed to a Museum staff historian regarding recent attempts to analogize the situation on the United States southern border to concentration camps in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s does not reflect the position of the Museum,” it continued. “The Museum deeply regrets any offense to Holocaust survivors and others that may have been engendered by any statement ascribed to a Museum historian in a personal capacity.”
Are Jewish Democrats Leaving the Party?
President Trump has made the claim that the Democratic party has become anti-Israel and anti-Jewish. Washington correspondent Shayna Estulin sits down with two political strategists -- Republican Matt Brooks and Democrat Aaron Keyak -- to discuss whether there is a 'Jewish Exodus' happening within the Democratic party.


Anti-Israel Group Messes Up Donation Collection After Becoming Nonprofit
The anti-Israel organization IfNotNow became a tax-exempt organization permitted to engage in political activities last week, and it almost immediately erred in its initial donation collections.

The far-left group of Jewish activists formed a 501(c)4 and wants to use its platform to push the 2020 Democratic field to further denounce Israeli treatment of Palestinians. A new fundraising email showed it was off to a rocky start; the young progressives apparently didn't send the right link.

"We made a mistake," the new fundraising email reads. "Organizing a movement is hard, and organizing a moment trying to influence our politicians requires us to abide by a different set of tax laws when it comes to donations."

The email then provides the "correct donation link" to support its efforts to ask Democrats about "Israel's military Occupation," with occupation capitalized for histrionic reasons.

"In order to do this political work, we had to register as an entirely new 501(c)4 organization, and we had a mix up on our back end with regards to the donation link," the email went on.
J Street’s first ‘Birthright’ alternative trip arrives in Israel
"Let Our People Know" arrived in Israel on Tuesday, for the first of its kind ‘Birthright’ alternative trip. Sponsored by J Street, it is free for 40 American Jewish students.

The students will visit the Galilee, Yad Vashem, the Dead Sea and the typical heritage sites of Jerusalem – just like normal Taglit groups. But they will also have the chance to meet with Israeli settlers and Israeli/Palestinian peace activists while visiting Ramallah and Hebron.

“American Jews want to visit Israel – and we want to develop a deeper understanding of what life is like there. That means meeting with both Israelis and Palestinians, and learning what life is like for those living under occupation,” said J Street U board member Zachary Spitz on its website. “While Birthright and similar organized trips currently fail to provide these important experiences, we want to provide a model for the kind of truly educational Israel trip that our generation needs.”

Back in March, J Street U asked its members to sign a pledge to only participate in trips to Israel that include, "meetings with both Israelis and Palestinians and that show participants how the occupation impacts daily life in the West Bank," according to a statement on the group's website.

The organization says that it hopes this trip will serve as a model for other educational trips in the future.
After entry, Germany bars talk of PFLP terrorist with Hezbollah ties
The German government permitted Khaled Barakat, a senior member of US and EU designated terrorist organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to enter the federal republic in 2018 but pulled the plug on his speaking engagements in June.

According to the 2019 Ministry of Strategic Affairs report "Terrorists in Suits," Khaled Barakat is "a PFLP Central Committee member in Lebanon, arranged for [Mustapha] Awad to begin his military training in 2015 in Lebanon with Hezbollah, a terrorist organization designated by the US, Canada and the Arab League (excluding Lebanon and Iraq), the Netherlands and Japan. The military wing of Hezbollah is recognized as a terrorist organization by the European Union, UK, France and New Zealand. Awad also took part in a 2015 meeting in Germany with PFLP operatives, during which they discussed how to revamp the organizations activities."

The report noted that "Mustapha Awad – a PFLP operative trained by Hezbollah, who was recently sentenced by Israel to one year in prison for transferring funds between countries for terrorists and maintaining ties with terror organizations. Awad is an activist in the North American-based NGO Samidoun, which works in close coordination with the PFLP for the release of imprisoned Palestinian terrorists and supports the BDS campaign."

An antisemitic left-wing website in the US reported on July 1 that the German authorities banned Barakat from speaking. It is unclear why the German authorities allowed Barakat to enter the country. The Jerusalem Post sent media queries on Tuesday to the German interior and foreign ministries.




Todd Sampson's Body Hack show on the Gaza Strip is slammed for bias and 'manufacturing drama' - and coming under the influence of militant group Hamas
Ahron Shapiro, a senior policy analyst with the Australia Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, said fixers that guide visiting reporters in Palestine are commonly associated with the militant group Hamas, which governs the territory.
'He gave a clue to who she was because of a title that she uses,' he told the Sky News Outsiders program on Sunday.
'What's important to know is that Hamas does not let any journalists come into Gaza without having a handler.
'This person will take them around, will give them information if they ask for it but they're really there to make sure they see the right things and that they get introduced to the right people, and her fingerprints are all over this.'

In another part of the one-hour program, which aired last week, Sampson caught a ride in a speedboat a short distance from the Gaza coast at the northern end of the Palestinian territory.
'It's quite nerve wracking knowing that there's drones above us and the navy there and everyone's looking at us. From here it looks like a war zone,' he told viewers.
'That is like sniper fire, man. It's ricocheting off the water.'

Mr Shapiro said that section of the program had misled viewers by claiming he was with fisherman when he was in fact in a speedboat racing towards the Israeli border.

The scene was filmed near Israeli's Zikim beach, a popular holiday spot that is also a terror target.
'The Israeli navy is there to prevent infiltrations. They've been terror attacks,' he said.
'Israel cannot play around and they send warning shots his way, unsurprisingly.
'I find it difficult to believe Sampson wouldn't be aware that he would receive warning shots in boats that were racing towards the border but they knew that there would be warning shots.
'There's a bit of manufactured drama there.'
Twitter suspends Egyptian actor who tweeted ‘lets kill some Jews’
Twitter suspended the account of an Egyptian actor and writer who tweeted, “Now lets kill some Jews.”

Hesham Mansour’s tweet appeared Monday morning on his feed, which has over 800,000 followers.

In June the television actor wrote “All negativity in the world, caused by jews. All terrorism in the world, caused by jews. All depression, darkness, also jews.”

As of Monday afternoon his account was suspended. Twitter explained that the company suspends accounts that violate the its rules, which prohibit tweets that promote violence, “threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”


Western New York High School Teacher Avoids Disciplinary Action After Remarks Praising Hitler
A social studies teacher at a high school in Whitesville, NY, has escaped disciplinary proceedings over a lengthy statement in his school yearbook in which heaped praise upon Adolf Hitler, after local officials said the comments about the Nazi German leader were “incomplete” and “mistakenly taken out of context.”

Asked by student writers compiling the yearbook for the Whitesville Central School District to name his favorite person from history, Jeff Acor — who was recruited by the school district at the start of the academic year — gave the answer “Adolf Hitler.”

The Nazi dictator “did many great things for Germany and their youth before the infamous Holocaust,” Acor was quoted as saying in the yearbook.

Among other comments attributed to Acor was the sympathetic observation that Hitler “outed and faced hardships early in life which a lot of people can relate to.”

Acor ended his encomium to Hitler by saying, “Adolf is arguably the greatest public speaker in the history of the world. Adolf made many great strides to make Germany a world super power.”

Despite the detailed nature of the quotes, Whitesville School Superintendent Laurie Sanders sought to actively shield Acor from criticism.

Speaking to a local news outlet last Thursday, Sanders said that Acor’s statement in the year book had been “incomplete, resulting in the description of a historical figure being mistakenly taken out of context.”
Adidas apologizes for tweet calling for gassing of Jews
Adidas has apologized after trolls took advantage of an automated promotion it was running to send out tweets from the sneaker manufacturer’s official account calling for the death of Jews.

The problems started after Adidas’s British subsidiary launched a campaign in which users who retweeted an ad would have their Twitter handle automatically placed on the back of an image of a soccer jersey that would be shared to the firm’s more than 832,000 followers.

The automated nature of the campaign meant that Adidas was initially unaware when users generated content on its account with usernames such as @GasAllJewss.

“@GasAllJewss This is home. Welcome to the squad,” Adidas wrote in a subsequently deleted tweet.

The tweet remained up for hours until it was noticed by Adidas.

“As part of our partnership launch with Arsenal we have been made aware of the abuse of a Twitter personalisation mechanic created to allow excited fans to get their name on the back of the new jersey,” a spokesperson told The Guardian. “Due to a small minority creating offensive versions of this we have immediately turned off the functionality and the Twitter team will be investigating.” (h/t MtTB)
Germany extends Holocaust compensation to survivors' spouses
The organization that handles claims on behalf of Jews who suffered under the Nazis said on Tuesday that Germany has agreed to extend compensation to their surviving spouses and to increase other payments, taking the total to be paid out in 2020 to around $1 billion.

Until now, pension payments to Holocaust survivors had been stopped upon their death, but the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany said Berlin has now agreed to continue survivors' pensions for nine months after a death to his or her spouse.

The payment is expected to be granted to some 14,000 spouses retroactively and a total of about 30,000 people are expected to qualify, Claims Conference negotiator Greg Schneider said.

"We have survivors who have been just getting by for many years," Schneider said in a telephone interview from New York. "This extra nine months of income gives a cushion for the family of the survivor to figure out how to deal with their new circumstances."

The Claims Conference carries out continuous negotiations with the German government to expand categories of people eligible for compensation for suffering and losses resulting from persecution by the Nazis. Since 1952, Germany has paid more than $80 billion.
At Auschwitz, an exhibit takes an unprecedented look at religion and survival
Auschwitz survivor Avraham Zelcer stares intently into the camera. His rolled-up sleeve reveals the number tattooed onto his left forearm over three-quarters of a century ago, when he was deported to the infamous concentration camp from his native Czechoslovakia. Although the camp was liberated on January 27, 1945, Zelcer did not return to his Jewish faith until a year later.

It is understandable that experiencing the horrors of Auschwitz could try one’s religious beliefs. The camp claimed over 1.1 million lives during World War II, including almost a million Jews. Yet some prisoners managed to hold onto their faith. Their story is told in an upcoming exhibit at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim, Poland, which will run through most of 2020, the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation.

“Through the Lens of Faith” focuses on 21 Auschwitz survivors who discussed the role of their religious beliefs in relation to their time at the camp. Opening July 1, the project is a partnership between three acclaimed experts in their respective fields: photographer Caryl Englander, architect Daniel Libeskind and museum curator Henri Lustiger Thaler, all of whom spoke about the project with The Times of Israel.

Over three years, Englander, the chair of the International Center of Photography, shot color photographs of each survivor while they were being interviewed by Lustiger Thaler, the chief curator of the Amud Aish Memorial Museum in Brooklyn, the first museum to address the Holocaust from a faith-based perspective. Israeli-American Libeskind — a Polish-born son of Holocaust refugees, whose projects include the Ground Zero redesign and the Jewish Museum Berlin — created steel panels to encase the photos, with glass sections displaying testimony from the interviews.
Israeli tech supplies water to drought-stricken South Africa
Israel is not a country known for its immense water resources. As such, the question of water supply and availability is never too far away in the minds of many Israelis, leading to plenty of technological innovations in the field.

One major innovation in recent years has been the technology created by Watergen, which produces clean drinking water from the air, greatly aiding areas struck by disasters and water pollution. It is now being harnessed in the South African province of Eastern Cape, which like much of the country has been suffering from severe drought in the last few years.

Watergen’s technology is being deployed by the World Vision South Africa aid organization in collaboration with the Ford Motor Company Fund to produce fresh and safe drinking water to thousands of residents in the province, servicing some 3,400 households as well as dozens of early childhood development centers and schools.

The company’s GEN-350 is an atmospheric water generator that can produce up to 900 liters of water per day from the air by purifying atmospheric moisture through an internal water-treatment system. The portable unit requires no infrastructure except for electricity, which can be provided either from a power grid or a generator, as will be the case in South Africa.

“We are thrilled with this shared cooperation,” Watergen president Dr. Michael Mirilashvili says of his company’s participation in the humanitarian effort. “We share the same goals of assisting communities all around the globe.”
Ben-Gurion’s historic train car back ontrack
Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, was famously a man who eschewed luxuries. Nonetheless, his position did afford a few niceties, including a private train car. That carriage, “Number 98,” recently underwent reconstruction and is now on display at the Israel Railways Museum in Haifa.

Number 98 was built in 1922 in Britain by the Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company for Palestine Railways, the British government-owned railway company that ran all public railways in mandate territory of Palestine from 1920 until 1948.

The railway’s main line linked El Kantara in Egypt with Haifa, with branches in Jaffa, Jerusalem, Acre and the Jezreel Valley. Number 98 traveled even farther, to Damascus and Cairo.

The carriage was originally fitted with 20 spacious armchairs and a fully equipped kitchen to serve guests. In the late 1920s it was converted into a luxury six-bed saloon coach.

Among the guests in the carriage were Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie, who fled Ethiopia after the Fascist Italian occupation, King Albert of Belgium during a visit to Tel Aviv in 1931, and the high commissioners of the British Mandate.
Cineflix buys rights to new Israeli TV thriller ‘Tehran’
The UK content distributor Cineflix Rights has signed a global distribution deal for a new Israel TV spy series, the entertainment news site Variety reported Tuesday.

The eight-part series “Tehran” is being produced for Israel’s Kan public broadcaster and is co-produced by Moshe Zonder, one of the producers of the award-winning television series “Fauda.”

The protagonist of the show is Tamar Rabinyan, a Jewish woman born in Iran but raised in Israel, to be played by Israeli actress Niv Sultan.

Rabinyan is a Mossad computer hacker-agent assigned to infiltrate the Iranian capital with the timely mission of disabling an Iranian nuclear reactor. However, when things go wrong Rabinyan is forced to go underground in Tehran.

The episodes follow the agent’s trials and tribulations as she goes rogue, including romantic involvement with an Iranian democracy activist, Variety reported.


British soldier who founded IDF parachute school dies at 97
Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom paid tribute Monday to a British army veteran who volunteered in Israel’s War of Independence and was buried in England.

London-born Tom Derek Bowden, who died at the age of 97, had fought in Palestine during World War II alongside Jewish soldiers before being captured in Europe by the Germans and forced to clear bodies at a concentration camp — an experience that helped drive him to return after the war to fight for Israel.

“Today I attended the funeral of Tom Bowden in Norfolk. He bravely fought to defeat the Nazis and ensure the rebirth of the Jewish state. Israel will always cherish his memory,” Ambassador Mark Regev tweeted.

Bowden, an Anglican, had enlisted in the British Army in 1938 at age 17. He fought in battles in Palestine before being transferred to the European theater where as a POW he witnessed the atrocities of the Holocaust firsthand at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

“When good men who did great things pass into the next life, they leave an example for this one,” columnist Stephen Daisley wrote in The Spectator.

“Bowden understood that if the modern Jewish state was strangled at birth it would indeed mean another ‘annihilation’ of the Jews,” Daisley said. “Bowden fought for Israel for the same reason anti-Semites fight against it: Israel is the home of Jewish strength and Jewish security.”
First artistic depiction of little known Exodus story uncovered in Galilee
Two new technicolor biblical mosaics were recently uncovered at a 1,600-year-old synagogue in the Galilean town of Huqoq, joining a growing collection of art, announced UNC-Chapel Hill’s Prof. Jodi Magness on Monday.

The newly unearthed mosaics include the earliest known artistic rendering of the little-known Exodus story of Elim, and a partially preserved depiction of the Book of Daniel’s grotesque four beasts, which signal the end of time. Images of Daniel’s beasts have not yet been released to the media, however, a detail from a mosaic depicting the story of Elim was cleared for publication.

“We’ve uncovered the first depiction of the episode of Elim ever found in ancient Jewish art,” said Magness.

The two new mosaics are part of a growing panoply of dazzling sacred and secular art formed from tiny colorful stones or tesserae that have been uncovered since 2012 by Magness, assistant director Shua Kisilevitz, and a team of archaeologists and volunteers.

Until now, biblical scenes have included well-known stories: Jonah and the whale, the construction of the Tower of Babel, the first spies in Canaan, Noah’s ark, and Pharaoh’s soldiers being swept up in the Red Sea and swallowed up by dozens of fish. Extra-biblical frames on the synagogue floor include a myriad of secular themes, including a zodiac, as well as a portrayal of what is arguably the first purely historical scene in a synagogue.

And now, joining the greatest hits of biblical tales is a brief narrative describing an oasis found at Elim, as described in Exodus 15:27.



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