Monday, May 11, 2020

From Ian:

The Pogrom That Started the Palestinian Arab-Israeli Conflict
In 1920, reality struck the Yeshuv (The Jewish community in Palestine). Many who believed hitherto in the possibility of a bi-national state in Palestine between Arabs and Jews were shocked by the ferocity of the Arab hate and violence. Even those belonging to ‘B’rith Shalom,’ the group of intellectuals who believed in a bi-national state, realized after 1920, that it was a conflict between two national groups over the same land.

Leaders of the Yishuv in Mandatory Palestine realized that counting on the earlier existing Ha’shomer (armed guards) had little effect and wasn’t enough. Chief among them was Eliyahu Golomb, who was the architect of the Haganah, the underground military organization for the defense of the Yishuv between 1920-1948. Golomb convinced Ben Gurion (founder and future first Prime Minister), then a leader of the Labor Zionist movement, and subsequently the General Secretary of the Histadrut, the Zionist Labor Federation, that the Ha’Shomer was too weak for the needs of the community.

The subsequent violent encounters with the Palestinian Arabs forced the Yishuv, the Haganah, and later the Jewish State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to understand that survival depended on a strong military force. Golda Meir, the late Israeli Prime Minister, put it best when she said, “If the Arabs put down their guns there would be no more fighting. If the Israelis put down theirs, there would be no more Israel”

What then has changed in the 100 years since the pogrom of 1920? Not much, albeit, Palestinian Arab terror is no longer an existential threat. The Palestinian Arabs aim however remains the destruction of the Jewish state. Moreover, the same notion that existed in 1920, that the Jews are a religious group and not a national one that deserves sovereignty, still holds. To the extent that peace agreements have been signed between Arab states (Egypt and Jordan) and Israel, they were based on the recognition that Israel is too powerful to destroy. But it is not a recognition of Israel’s legitimate rights of self-determination in its historical homeland. Both the Arab states and the Palestinian Arabs recognize that what the Jews built in Israel cannot be erased. Thus, Israel’s relations with the Arabs in the territories or the wider Arab world is not based on love and understanding but rather on mutual economic, military, intelligence-sharing, and environmental interests.

A century after the beginning of the Palestinian Arab - Israeli conflict in 1920, Palestinian Arabs anti-Jewish and anti-Israel religious (Islamic) and nationalist elements of hostility, and refusal to compromise remain unfortunately, essentially the same.
Where Black Nationalism Meets White Supremacy
In the last decades of the 20th century, black nationalist, anti-Semitic messaging has also found a receptive audience on college campuses throughout the country. At Wellesley, for example, one professor used The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews as a textbook and when he was accused of promoting bigotry in the name of history, he subsequently published The Jewish Onslaught, an attack on his critics whom he perceived were Jews. At Kean College, Khalid Muhammad, a disciple of Louis Farrakhan, accused Jews in a college lecture of being “bloodsuckers.” Invited by a black student group, rapper Professor Griff of Public Enemy told his audience at Southern Connecticut State University that Jewish doctors injected black babies with AIDS. These examples provide a sample of how anti-Semitic black nationalist rhetoric is being mainstreamed into academic programs that have as their stated objective the fostering of multicultural understanding.

In recent years, black nationalist spokesmen on college campuses have continued to verbally attack Jews while also using the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) to give a sheen of legitimate concern over specific Israeli government policies to mainstream their hate-filled beliefs. In using the boycott movement to attack Israel, they have found commonality with neo-Nazis and far-right extremists while gaining access to young and impressionable students. When student organizations are criticized for bringing such bigoted speakers to campus, they respond that freedom of speech requires hearing the “other side.”

In comparing BDS to the boycott in South Africa during the apartheid era, black nationalist groups have found a wider audience for their transhistorical anti-Semitic hate while cloaking it in the language of normative anti-racist politics. While one can argue about whether BDS is inherently anti-Semitic—there are perhaps a majority of BDS supporters who are sincere in support of the Palestinian cause without being anti-Semites, many of them Jewish, especially within academia—it is clear that BDS has also become a nesting place for black nationalists, neo-Nazis, and far-right extremists who use the movement to spread anti-Semitic ideas that they believe to be universal truths, and which are hardly dependent on specific Israeli government policies.

The reality is that as long as the country is divided along racial and political lines, black nationalist organizations will continue to find fertile ground to recruit the likes of those in the Monsey and Jersey City attacks without being accountable for inciting hate crimes against Jews, the LGBT community, and other vulnerable groups. There will continue to be more attacks by lone wolves, whether Grafton Thomas or Dylann Roof, who are infected by the bile of not only black nationalist but also white extremist organizations. Which raises the question as to why the leaders of hate group organizations are not held criminally responsible for promoting violence through their websites and Charlottesville-like marches. Unless and until we strengthen hate crime laws against those who encourage violence against Jews and other groups, then the Farrakhans and David Dukes of this world will continue to recruit followers through social media while messaging anti-Semitic canards on an everyday basis.

Black nationalism represents one component of a growing war of hatred against worldwide Jewry and Israel. In our country, the road to Monsey and Jersey City is not too distant from the road to Charlottesville.

American Jewish useful idiots
"Jewish political intelligence is an oxymoron." Never forget that maxim when you walk into a gathering of Jewish/Americans. Be prepared to be amazed at their ferocious arrogance tempered with an unwillingness to hear you when you're recognized as a Conservative.

It's a fact that about 72% of this group are of the Democrat persuasion and infused with a suicidal zeal for the destruction of their own people. Their fanaticism and supportive compliance with their haters, a genetic mutation fostered by 2000 years of being treated like dirt in every nation in which they sought refuge, has led them to bend their knees to their oppressors, groveling to seek acceptance as "one of them."

Of course, they have been, time after time, looked down upon as useful idiots. And when the time comes, as in the past, bet on it, they will once again be treated as shifty, sly, deceptive, money hungry traitorous Jews. With no other country to seek refuge in, this next time, they may even, once and for all...... be made to disappear.

Did I hear you say, "What about relocating to Israel?" Understand that these same 72% of Jews who currently support all the Israel-hating voices emanating from the new leadership of The Party, will revel in the destruction of the Jewish homeland. Look at the astounding growth of such Jewish-infused groups such as J Street, Americans for Peace Now, T'ruah, Jewish Voice for Peace, Rabbis for Obama, The Center for Middle East Peace, If Not Now and Jewish Professors Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Barry Trachtenberg and more than a host of others, all of whom are targeting the very existence of Israel by indoctrinating their students with a hatred for that land.

You can see the trend.

Naturally, all of the above groups and professors are adored and used by the Democrats to garner support for their candidates, all of whom march lock-step with The Party's leader. For eight years that was Reverend Wright-nurtured President Barack Obama. Now the lead Democrat Presidential candidate is Joe Biden, who recently promised to welcome back into D.C., the terrorist supporting Palestinian Liberation Organization's Embassy, opened by Obama in 2009 and kicked out by President Trump in 2018.



34 new virus cases confirmed in 24 hours, with total of 4,690 active cases
The Health Ministry announced Monday morning that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen to 16,492, an increase of 34 over the past 24 hours and 15 since Sunday night.

Six people died over the past day, taking the country’s death toll from COVID-19 to 254.

Seventy-three people are in serious conditions; of those, 64 are on respiratory ventilation, according to the ministry. A further 48 people were defined as being in moderate condition.

The number of active cases continued to decline, falling overnight by 47 to 4,690.

The latest tally came a day after Israel announced just 14 new cases in the previous 24 hours, the lowest number recorded since the Health Ministry began publishing daily updates on the spread of the virus on March 11.

Sunday, however, also saw a sharp drop in coronavirus tests conducted. After the daily number had consistently been over 8,000 for a week, there were just 2,982 tests on Sunday and 3,649 on Saturday.

Israel has the lab capacity to test up to 15,000 people for COVID-19 daily but demand has gone down, as fewer suspected cases show up to have swabs taken, the Health Ministry said last month.

Israel on Saturday evening marked two weeks since more than 200 virus cases were last recorded in any 24-hour period.

It also marked one week since there were more than 100 new cases in any single day.
1,300 French Jews Have Died of Covid-19
At least 1,300 members of France’s Jewish community have died of COVID-19, the country’s Jewish burial service said.

The French chevra kadisha, the Jewish term for those who provide Jewish burial services, reported the figure this week after declining to disclose any numbers since the outbreak of the pandemic in France in March, the Makor Rishon daily reported Friday.

Hundreds have been flown to be buried in Israel, according to the report, and some estimates speak of 2,000 Jewish fatalities.

Among the French Jews who contracted the virus and recovered was Joel Mergui, the president of the Consistoire group that provides religious services for Orthodox Jews.

The numbers show that the French Jewish community has been the worst hit in Europe by far. The United Kingdom has recorded 372 Jewish deaths. France has about 500,000 Jews, double the number of the U.K. community.

In France and the United Kingdom, the numbers of COVID-19 fatalities rely on the number of Jewish burials held. It does not include those who were Jewish but did not have a Jewish burial.

According to the 1,300 tally, Jews make up about 5% of the 25,897 COVID-19 fatalities recorded in France. That statistic means that French Jews’ share of the death toll is six times larger than their share of the population.
Coronavirus: French Jews see rise in antisemitism, increased solidarity
On Monday, France will start to gradually release the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus outbreak that has caused over 26,000 confirmed deaths and infected some 140,000 people.

As Robert Ejnes, executive director of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF), explained to The Jerusalem Post, Jewish institutions are also working to prepare the exit strategy for synagogues, schools and all the facilities that represent the pillar of the Jewish life in the country, amid worries related to a documented rise in antisemitism connected to the emergency and the expected economic crisis.

“After the beginning of the pandemic, we created a crisis management unit to respond to the needs of the community, including offering psychological support and assisting the sick and the bereaved families,” Ejnes explained.

Together with the CRIF, the task force includes representatives of institutions such as the Unified Jewish Social Fund (FSJU), the Children Aid Society (OSE), the Casip-Cojasor Foundation for social action and the Israelite Central Consistory of France.

About 500,000 Jews live in France in a population of 67 million people. Since no data based on religious affiliation is collected, it is difficult to know how many Jews have been infected or have succumbed to the coronavirus. Estimations published by the Israeli paper Makor Rishon varied between several hundreds to 2,000.

Ejnes pointed out that unfortunately, the CRIF special team working on monitoring antisemitism in France has been registering an increase of antisemitic discourse on the internet.
2 arrested for allegedly ripping face masks off Jews in Brooklyn
Two people were arrested for allegedly ripping face masks off of identifiably Jewish people in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City.

The suspects have not yet been identified or been charged, NBC New York reported Monday morning.

The couple were later identified as Paulo Pinho, 35, and his wife, Clelia Pinho, 46, of Queens. They were arrested on a charge of aggravated harassment as a hate crime, the New York Post reported.

They stopped their car after noticing a group of Hasidic Jews on the corner, and got out while shouting what police described as anti-Semitic slurs, and complaining that many were not wearing masks or practicing appropriate social distancing. They then tried to remove the face masks of several men.

Video posted on Twitter by Belaaz shows police and crowds gathering late Sunday night after an incident.
ADL slams NYT for saying Israeli defense research best known for work on killing
The Anti-Defamation League on Sunday condemned The New York Times over an article about the Israeli Defense Ministry’s work during the coronavirus pandemic, saying the paper used “sensationalist, degrading and demonizing language.”

The letter to the paper, penned by CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, joins similar criticism from Israel’s envoys in Washington and New York over the article published Thursday.

The report, about Israel’s dozens of teams, from a variety of backgrounds, all working toward defeating the coronavirus, was headlined “Israeli Army’s Idea Lab Aims at a New Target: Saving Lives,” and began: “The Israeli Defense Ministry’s research-and-development arm is best known for pioneering cutting-edge ways to kill people and blow things up, with stealth tanks and sniper drones among its more lethal recent projects. But its latest mission is lifesaving…”

“Wow. That’s sensationalist, degrading and demonizing language. Would The Times use the same verbiage to describe the US Department of Defense?” wrote Greenblatt.

“The Israeli Defense Ministry’s research and defense arm is in fact critical to Israel’s defense and security. In the face of murderous regimes like the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, and a reign of terrorism from Palestinian suicide bombers, tunnels and homemade rockets targeting civilians,” he said, noting that “Israel’s military has unfortunately had no choice but to innovate again and again over the years to protect its people from harm.”
Republican Jewish Coalition will support primary challenger to Rep. Steve King of Iowa
The political action committee of the Republican Jewish Coalition is supporting a primary challenger to Rep. Steve King of Iowa, whose record includes inflammatory comments condoning white supremacists and anti-Semites.

Supporting a challenger to a sitting Republican member of Congress is a “rare step” for the Republican Jewish Coalition, the group pointed out in announcing the move. But it said it had stopped backing King years ago.

King was removed from two House committees in 2019 after he told a New York Times reporter that he wondered why the term “white supremacist” had become offensive. The previous year, he met with members of the far-right Freedom Party, founded by a former SS officer, in Austria after participating on a trip to Poland sponsored by a Holocaust education group. And Jewish leaders in Iowa condemned King for expressing anti-immigrant rhetoric similar to that of the shooter who killed 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in October 2018.

“We have made it clear for some time that Rep. King does not represent the values of the Republican Jewish Coalition or the Republican Party,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a statement. “We commended the January 2019 decision by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and the House Republican Steering Committee to remove Rep. King from his committee posts.”
Meet Antone Melton-Meaux, Ilhan Omar’s primary challenger who wants to end divisive politics
The mediator and Hebrew translator has the endorsement of Pro-Israel America in his Minnesota election bid

If there’s one thing missing in Washington, according to Antone Melton-Meaux, it’s people willing to work to find common ground amid opposing viewpoints. Melton-Meaux’s background as a mediator, he believes, has primed him to take on the challenges of a divided Washington. But first, he’ll have to face a different challenge: unseating one of the most well-known freshman members of the 116th Congress.

“I understand the power of listening, the power of taking in information from both sides and working to find creative solutions that work,” said Melton-Meaux, who is challenging Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) in the Democratic primary for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district. “I see myself as a bridge-builder and we desperately need that at Capitol Hill.”

In 2012, during a Jewish Community Relations Council meeting in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Melton-Meaux delivered a Dvar Torah, expounding on the connections between Leviticus 19 and Matthew 26, which calls for all people to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” He added: “If there was ever a time when Jews, Christians, and all people of faith need to be reminded that we share a common bond, the time is now.”

Melton-Meaux’s message appears to be gaining traction in the district. Local activist and civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong penned a column in the Star Tribune last week touting Melton-Meaux’s credentials and declaring, “the Fifth District deserves a leader who will put our interests first, and one who will be accountable and transparent.” Melton-Meaux also received the endorsement of civil rights icon Josie Johnson.

Melton-Meaux alleges that his opponent, who has risen to prominence as a member of “The Squad,” has not worked to find common ground with others, including many of her Jewish constituents.

“Omar has made statements that have been reckless and harmful to the Jewish community,” Melton-Meaux told Jewish Insider. “I have spent time with the Jewish community and have met with Jewish leaders, and there’s a deep sense of betrayal by her actions and displeasure with the way that she has handled herself in the process with regard to the residents in this district.”
Berlin Jewish rep against antisemitism rebukes diplomat for BDS support
Sigmount Königsberg, the representative on combating antisemitism for the Jewish Community of Berlin, took a senior German diplomat to task on Monday for his defense of an alleged antisemitic academic who supports BDS and has minimized the Holocaust.

“And in addition to the apologists, the head of the cultural and communication department of the Federal Foreign Office, @AA_Kultur, must be counted,” tweeted Königsberg.

The Twitter handle @AA_Kultur is for Andreas Görgen, who issued a series of tweets in favor of the South African-based academic Achille Mbembe in April. Mbembe has called for the “global isolation” of Israel; he enabled the boycott of Israeli academics from academic conferences in South Africa.

Mmembe has endorsed Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) actions against Israeli Jews.

The Jerusalem Post first broke the story about Görgen’s pro-Mbembe tweets.

With over 10,000 members, Berlin’s Jewish community is the largest local Jewish community in Germany. There are 105,000 registered members of Germany’s Central Council of Jews – the umbrella organization for local communities.

Critics accused Mbembe of trivializing the Holocaust and arguing that the Jewish state is worse than the now-defunct racist apartheid system in South Africa.

Felix Klein, the German government’s antisemitism commissioner, said that Mbembe “has been criticized in the past for the revitalization of the Holocaust.”


PreOccupiedTerritory: Campus Israel Advocate Confounds ‘Progressive’ Opponents By Identifying As Anti-Zionist (satire)
A student activist in California’s state higher education system has confused and stymied anti-Israel groups at his school by wielding one of their own political culture’s chief weapons to silence criticism and dissent against them.

Stephanie Morris, 20, recounted in a weekend interview how she has exploited the incoherent and self-contradictory principles of the progressive movements on campus to stem what used to be a tide of virulent anti-Israel activity and rhetoric: she invokes the progressive rule by which each person’s self-declared identity deserves respect and may not be questioned, declaring herself an anti-Zionist, then defending Israel and shutting down those who oppose her by screeching at them that they are oppressing her by denying her identity and her lived experience.

“I’m not sure how long this success will last,” admitted Morris, a sophomore pursuing a degree in psychology. “The far-left toolbox doesn’t have many tools, and the ‘oppression!’ cry is their go-to tactic for silencing opponents. It might take a few weeks or months for them to adapt, but intelligence isn’t one of the tools in that box, at least on this campus, so we may be good for a while longer.”

COVID-19 restrictions have played a part in decreasing the anti-Israel activity on campus at Davis, but Morris has taken her approach to the online communities where the anti-Israel and antisemitic activists operate. “Just the other day I got into the equivalent of a shouting match with a Jewish Voice for Peace guy who tried to ‘inform’ me of various poisonous ideas in defense of Palestinian terrorism, and I was able to turn it around on him with my ‘lived experience’ of being a genderqueer of color who feels zer safety compromised by his mansplaining what ‘anti-Zionism’ is, as if I have to accept his definition, which is the product of patriarchal systems of oppression. I think he deleted his account.”
In Haaretz, Eva Illouz Falsely Claims ‘Illiberal Democracy’ Israel Curtails Internet Use
While the emergency orders have curtailed some court activities, the courts have not been shut down, and thus references to the “closure of courts” or courts “reopening” are inaccurate. On May 7, the Judicial Authority released an announcement about the expansion of activity which will begin on May 12 within the framework of the extension of the emergency decree until May 17.

In a March 21statement, Chief Justice Hayut made explicitly clear that the courts continue to function throughout the country, providing essential services to the public. Her statement emphasizes that the courts are not closed, and adds: “The reduced activity of the courts due to the coronavirus crisis until now – and everything necessary will be done in the future as well – to ensure that everything first and foremost will be carried out according to her opinions and decisions.” (CAMERA’s translation.)

It is worth adding that courts across the United States – a country which, according to Illouz, “showed how extreme its notion of freedom can be” – have either shut down or curtailed activities.

Latst month, CAMERA UK prompted correction at The Financial Times after the media outlet falsely report that Israel’s courts had been shut. The commendably Editor’s Note states:
An earlier version of this story stated incorrectly that Israel had shut down the courts in response to coronavirus. This has been corrected. Court activities have been curtailed but not suspended.

CAMERA has contacted Haaretz editors to request correction of the fallacious assertions that the Knesset and courts closed, and that Israel restricted Internet use. Stay tuned for an update.
Facebook content oversight member reportedly linked to Muslim Brotherhood
A member of Facebook's new oversight board, which will have control of the content moderation process for the social media platform, has in the past expressed support for the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and media reports.

On Wednesday, Facebook announced the first 20 members of its oversight board, which has been handed the final say on what user-generated content the platform removes. Among the members are Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman, who was awarded the accolade for her role in the Arab Spring.

However, she also appears to have links to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been proscribed as a terror organization by several countries including Saudi Arabia, Russia and Bahrain. The Muslim Brotherhood has stated that its aim is the establishment of a state run under Sharia law. It is also the precursor to Hamas.

When Karman won the peace prize in 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood's official website, Ihkwanweb, put out a statement congratulating her and recognizing her as a member of a Muslim Brotherhood branch.

The statement, dated October 9, 2011, read: "Dr. Abdul-Rahman Ba-Fadel, president of the parliamentary bloc of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform (YCR), Yemen's Muslim Brotherhood, congratulated the Yemeni political activist Tawakkul Karman, member of the YCR, for winning the Nobel Peace Prize."

Karman herself has also made public statements in support of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A new Palestinian Authority committee and a Corona loan get no BBC coverage
Just as it has not found the Palestinian Authority’s formation of a committee designed to enable the continuation of payment of millions of dollars to terrorists newsworthy, the BBC has also to date ignored an additional story relating to PA finances.

“Israel will reportedly begin transferring a loan of NIS 800 million ($228 million) to the Palestinian Authority on Sunday to help offset financial losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The government notified the High Court of the transfer on Thursday, the Israel Hayom daily reported, saying the funds will be transferred in several installments over the coming months.

According to the report, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had directed him to provide the PA with the loan.

The move was said to be made in coordination with Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat.”


Interestingly, while in late April the BBC had no qualms about advancing a narrative concerning a “West Bank economy, weakened by decades of military occupation”, it clearly has considerably less interest in informing its audiences about the Palestinian Authority’s terror supporting financial priorities and a loan from the country it claims is ‘occupying’ areas that have been under exclusive PA control for decades.
BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – April 2020
The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during April 2020 shows that throughout the month a total of 72 incidents took place: 41 in Judea & Samaria, 30 in Jerusalem and inside the ‘green line’ and one in the Gaza Strip sector.

In Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem the agency recorded 60 attacks with petrol bombs, six attacks using pipe bombs, one arson attack, one stabbing, two incidents of rock throwing and one vehicular attack. In the Gaza Strip sector one shooting attack was recorded.

Four people – three members of the security forces and one civilian – were wounded throughout the month. On April 22nd a member of the security forces was wounded in a combined vehicular and stabbing attack near Ma’ale Adumim and on April 28th a 62 year-old woman was wounded in a stabbing attack in the central Israeli town of Kfar Saba.

The BBC News website did not report any of the incidents which took place during April.

Since the beginning of the year visitors to the BBC News website have seen coverage of 7.66% of the terror attacks against Israelis which actually took place.
Ukrainian police official requests list of Jews in the city of Kolomyya
A Ukrainian Jewish group accused the nation’s police force of “open antisemitism” after a high-ranking police official requested a list of all Jews in the western city of Kolomyya as part of an inquiry into organized crime.

The official request to the head of Kolomyya’s Jewish community is dated Feb. 18, 2020, according to a photograph of the document that Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, shared on Twitter Sunday.

“Please provide us the following information regarding the Orthodox Jewish religious community of Kolomyya, namely: The organization’s charter; list of members of the Jewish religious community, with indication of data, mobile phones and their places of residence,” read the letter.

The letter was signed by Myhaylo Bank, a high-ranking officer in the national police force who handles organized crime. The letter did not explain his unit’s particular interest in Kolomyya’s Jews.

The head of the city’s Jewish community, Jacob Zalichker, declined on Feb. 25 to provide the requested information, adding that his community would comply only when presented with a court-ordered warrant.

“It’s a total disgrace and open antisemitism,” Dolinsky told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “It’s especially dangerous when it comes from a law enforcement agency that we have to fight the very thing it is perpetrating.”
Israel, Greece and Cyprus can do more together
The beginning of 2020 found the leaders of Israel, Greece and Cyprus together in Athens. Prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as well as President Nikos Anastasiadis, signed a provisional agreement for the construction of the East Med pipeline to transport natural gas from the Levantine Basin to Europe. At that time, the project looked difficult but feasible.

Four months later, the landscape is completely different. The COVID-19 crisis has impacted on the interest of several energy companies in continuing with their drilling operations in the Eastern Mediterranean. Some have already announced the postponement of their plans for later.

The question that cannot be answered now is whether the fall in energy prices will have long-term consequences or only temporary ones. It is certainly positive that a joint venture between Greece’s public gas company and Italy’s Edison announced at the end of April that they were seeking to short-list two contractors to build part of the pipeline. Expectations should be rather low though.

Another critical parameter is to what extent the US will practically reaffirm its commitment to the Israeli-Greek-Cypriot partnership. Although priorities of the State Department do not change overnight, the US has entered a complex and intense pre-election period because of the pandemic.

In the meanwhile, Washington’s concern about the ongoing cooperation between Turkey and Russia could perhaps lead to some diplomatic maneuvering.
Israeli Drone Equipped with Inflatable Life-Rafts for Maritime Rescue
Elbit Systems' Hermes 900 maritime patrol drone has been equipped with an inflatable life-saver raft besides detection and identification capabilities as part of a new search and rescue (SAR) package.

The Israeli company delivered Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to an undisclosed South-East Asian customer recently. "Integrating detection and identification capabilities, onboard inflated life-rafts, and precision dispatch capability, enables the UAS to perform long-range maritime Search and Rescue (SaR) missions," the company said in a statement Thursday.

Adverse weather conditions and short endurance significantly degrades the SaR capabilities of manned aircraft, often preventing them from executing their missions. Capable of more than 24 hours of continuous flight, the Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol can operate in adverse weather conditions in both day and night.

Equipped with the new SaR capability the UAS can increase the number of SaR missions.

The Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol can carry up to four, six-person life-rafts that are integrated on its wings. Using an onboard maritime radar the UAS detects survivor situations. Upon detection the UAS' Electro-Optic/Infra-Red (EO/IR) payload is deployed to provide visual identification, and a rapid calculation of the drop-point is performed, enabling the UAS to dispatch life rafts from a low-altitude of 600ft to a pin-pointed location at a safe distance from the survivors. A gradual inflation process of the life-rafts is initiated after dispatch and is completed upon landing.
Wall collapse uncovers mural from Israeli War of Independence
A mural drawn by an Israeli soldier in the midst of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence was uncovered Sunday, after a wall collapsed amid construction work in the city of Mevaseret Zion, outside of Jerusalem, according to a Ynet report.

The mural was discovered on an old house formerly owned by Palestinians in the village of Al-Qastal, which was later captured by Israeli forces in April 1948 during operation ‘Nachshon.’ Following heavy losses, the village was abandoned by Arab forces and residents. The area is also the site where Abd al-Qadr al-Husseini, commander of Arab military forces in the region, was killed in battle, later becoming a popular tourist and heritage site frequented by visitors.

While construction was being carried out at the area, a stone fence collapse revealed the mural and the remains of the house to local workers. The mural bears a similarity to the front page of "Al HaMishmar,” a daily newspaper published from 1943 to 1995.

"The village of Qalunya was conquered; the Qastal is in our hands," is written on the mural, depicting a painting of IDF forces ascending a castle fortress.

Following the discovery, the mural was removed and has been placed in storage until construction is finished at the Heritage Center in Mevaseret Zion.

The Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites, an organization that manages heritage sites in Israel, is meanwhile searching for the painter or any members of his army unit.

“We consider preserving the legacy of the struggle for Israeli independence and its protection a very important value, and we will work together with the local council to rescue and preserve the discovery," said Omri Shalmon, executive director of the Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel.
New Book Reveals a Gripping True Story From Auschwitz
In his gripping new book, The Boy Who Followed His Father Into Auschwitz, Jeremy Dronfield relates the true story of the Kleinmann family of Vienna. Like much of Europe, Austria was caught in the winds of the gathering Nazi storm. Early on, its citizenry became the newfound weathercock friends of the Third Reich. There had been a time when people could sit and discuss — and even debate — their differences over a cup of coffee. But that was before the Anschluss of March 12-13, 1938, when the barbarians breached the gates of civility. And Austria opened her doors warmly to the invading horde.

In the early years of the Nazi terror campaign against the Jews, escape by emigration was still possible if you managed to obtain an affidavit from two people to sponsor you and a guarantee of financial support. Failing that, the hapless victims were imprisoned in their apartments, prior to their transfer to a death camp.

Gustav and Fritz Kleinmann, father and son, were inseparable. Together, they endured what neither man nor beast should suffer. Their story has been told a million-fold, but it is Gustav’s meticulously kept diary that bears witness to the greatest crime against humanity in history: The Holocaust.

Dronfield’s prose, at times gruesome and grotesque, accurately and meticulously details the conditions of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Mauthausen — places paradoxically shared by perpetrators and victims, tethered to a destiny bound on divergent paths. Their condition was as different as the uniforms they wore, black and white-striped tattered rags as opposed to neatly pressed SS uniforms sporting highly polished hobnail boots. The systematic dehumanization of Jews by their tormentors, transformed the victims into livestock, while the savage beasts of Germany and their European accomplices prowled the countryside hunting down their fleeing prey.

The Kleinmanns, like millions of their fellow Jews, had both their property and dignity confiscated before being tossed into the jaws of the baying hounds of the Third Reich. And the steady refrain of clanging, banging wheels of steel trains carting victims of tyranny across Europe was callously ignored by those who “knew nothing.”

In time, the Kleinmann family was cast asunder, some to England, others to the United States, and the remaining hapless ones to the camps. Fritz, ever resourceful, managed to secure a job as a skillful brick layer in one of the camps, but when he learned his father had been sent to Auschwitz, he did the unthinkable; he requested to be transferred there to be with his father.
Jerry Stiller, comedian and 'Seinfeld' actor, dies at 92
Jerry Stiller, who for decades teamed with wife Anne Meara in a beloved comedy duo and then reached new heights in his senior years as the high-strung Frank Costanza on the classic sitcom Seinfeld and the basement-dwelling father-in-law on The King of Queens, died at 92, his son Ben Stiller announced Monday.

"I'm sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes," his son said in a tweet.

"He was a great dad and grandfather and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad," wrote Ben, who followed in his father's comedic footsteps and became an A-list box office star with movies like Tropic Thunder, Dodgeball and Something About Mary.

Jerry Stiller was a multi-talented performer who appeared in an assortment of movies, playing Walter Matthau's police sidekick in the thriller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and Divine's husband Wilbur Turnblad in John Waters' twisted comedy Hairspray.

He also wrote an autobiography, Married to Laughter, about his 50-plus year marriage to soul mate and comedic cohort Meara, who died in 2015. And his myriad television spots included everything from Murder She Wrote to Law & Order – along with 36 appearances alongside Meara on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Stiller, although a supporting player on Seinfeld, created some of the Emmy-winning show's most enduring moments: co-creator and model for the "bro," a brassiere for men; a Korean War cook who inflicted food poisoning on his entire unit; an ever-simmering salesman controlling his explosive temper with the shouted mantra, "Serenity now!"

Stiller earned a 1997 Emmy nomination for his indelible Seinfeld performance. In a 2005 Esquire interview, Stiller recalled that he was out of work and not the first choice for the role of Frank Costanza, father to Jason Alexander's neurotic George.

"My manager had retired," he said. "I was close to 70 years old, and had nowhere to go."

He was initially told to play the role as a milquetoast husband with an overbearing wife, Estelle, played by Estelle Harris. But the character wasn't working – until Stiller suggested his reincarnation as an over-the-top crank who matched his wife scream for scream.
‘Year 2 of freedom’: Ancient coin from Bar Kochba revolt found near Temple Mount
The Israel Antiquities Authority on Monday revealed a coin minted during the Bar Kochba revolt that was unearthed near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The announcement of the coin’s discovery was timed to coincide with the Lag B’Omer holiday, which begins Monday evening and marks the death of second-century sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai.

The festival is usually celebrated in Israel with large bonfires, which are meant to honor both Bar Yohai and those who took part in the Bar Kochba revolt, an uprising against Roman rule in Judea in 132-135 CE.

The coin, which was found in the William Davidson Archaeological Park next to the Western Wall, is adorned with a cluster of grapes and the words “Year Two of the Freedom of Israel” on one side — declaring the rebels’ purpose — while the other side has a palm tree and the word “Jerusalem.”

Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s coin department, said of the thousands of coins found in the area of the Old City, only four have been from the time of the Bar Kochba revolt, though many more have been discovered elsewhere in the country.

He also said the new coin was the only one from that era found in Jerusalem that bears the city’s name. Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeologists Moran Hagbi and Dr. Joe Uziel speculated the coins may have been brought to Jerusalem by Roman legionaries who helped crush the revolt and saved them as souvenirs, noting Bar Kochba’s forces were never able to penetrate the city’s ancient borders.




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