Thursday, February 26, 2015

From Ian:

New Israel Fund Should Be Shunned for Siding With Terrorists in New York Trial
The New Israel Fund has long believed in using the legal process to harm Israel—as made evident by Mr. Sfard assisting the PLO in court during this historic trial. Additionally, The NIF contributed to the infamous Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of “war crimes” during its 2009 war in Gaza and recommended indicting it in the International Criminal Court.
While my colleague and friend Ronn Torossian recently wrote in the Observer about the New Israel Fund’s support for Jewish groups that are against the Jewish state, I want to emphasize that the hatred of this organization for Israel seemingly has no boundaries. As Naftali Balanson, Managing Editor of NGO Monitor, an Israeli non-profit noted, Mr. Sfard “is at the center of the NGO industry that exploits the rhetoric of human rights in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
An all-black jury in New York found the PLO guilty of terror—and a New Israel Fund lawyer testified for the PLO. An A-list star, Scarlett Johannson, fights against the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement—and Jewish leaders from the UJA support the New Israel Fund as the JCRC lets them march in the Israel Day parade.
Those who stand with New Israel Fund are standing against Israel. To suggest otherwise is a lie. I urge anyone affiliated with the NIF to stop supporting this organization financially.
The New Israel Fund must be ostracized by the Jewish community. An ideal starting point? Do not allow NIF to march with its banner at the annual Israel Day Parade. Don’t allow the parade to be maligned by traitors whose activities prove they stand against Israel.
If you care for Israel, walk away from the New Israel Fund. There is no other choice. (h/t Yenta Press)
For terror-hit US families, vindication and tears after legal victory against PA
In the landmark verdict handed down by a 12-person jury in the federal case tried in New York, the Palestinian Authority and PLO were held accountable for seven attacks that took place in Jerusalem between January 2001 and January 2004, killing 33 people and injuring over 400. The Palestinian Authority has vowed to appeal the ruling.
“Initially I was elated to hear the verdict, then a minute later I was crying because my son is still dead,” said Katherine Baker of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, whose son Benjamin Blutstein, 25, was killed in a bombing of a cafeteria at the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus on July 31, 2002.
“I am glad that liability has been attributed to the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, but it doesn’t change my life,” Baker said.
Mark Sokolow, a New York lawyer who, together with his wife and two of his daughters, was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, said he also felt a variety of emotions when he learned that the victims had won the case.
Why did BBC News cut the word terror from the headline of an article about a terrorism trial?
On February 23rd the BBC News website published a report on both its US & Canada and Middle East pages about the verdict issued by a New York court finding the Palestinian Authority and the PLO liable for a number of terror attacks which took place during the second Intifada.
That decidedly minimalist BBC report was originally headlined “Palestinian groups face $218m Israel terror fine in US”. By the time its third version was published some three hours later, the word terror had been removed from the headline and the article now appears under the title “Palestinian groups face $218m Israel attacks fine in US“.
Remarkably, in a report about the outcome of a court case entirely about terrorism, that word does not appear at all.
No mention in Norwegian media…
One would have thought that with the amount of money that has been pumped into the PA, followed with guarantees that no Norwegian tax money ever has gone towards paying Palestinian terrorists, this little matter would have attracted some sort of debate.
Unsurprisingly, there is very little appetite to look into the realities of the blind and uncritical of the PLO and the PA.

The Cultural Boycott of Israel Isn't Solidarity, It's Condescension
Solidarity is not expressed from behind the keyboard of your MacBook. By all means raise money, send weapons, go fight even, if you care so strongly about the cause of the Palestinians. That would be a test of your “solidarity." But to mount grandiose displays of your own moral rectitude, while refusing to think through what power relationship you are actually lending support to, is not something the rest of us should feel obliged to support. Luckily, another group of artists and art world people have mounted their own criticism of the UK boycott, gathering hundreds of signatories to their more critical questioning of the logic of the cultural boycott.
In the past, western artists often campaigned against the oppressive meddling of Western governments both at home and abroad: Carl Andre and many other American artists railed against the Vietnam War; John Berger (one of the signatories of the AFP boycott) once pledged his Booker Prize money to the radical US Black Panthers movement. British artists in the 1970s and 80s campaigned against US-sponsored military coups in Latin America, against the British government's own war in Northern Ireland, and against US nuclear weapons bases in the UK. But today, Western artists seem happier to wag their fingers at those badly behaved countries abroad rather than take their own governments to task. UK artists should look to see if their own house is in order first, and ask themselves if they really want to turn art into the agent of their muddle-headed, moral colonialism.
Challenging Double Standards
A Call Against the Boycott of Israeli Art and Society
To The Signees of Current Boycott Initiatives Regarding Israel
We are writing to you about a political issue, which increasingly causes us anxiety: how artists, and individuals affiliated with the arts address conflict in the Middle East. Over the past months topics including the occupation of the West Bank, Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, Palestinian resistance and its struggles, international solidarity and boycott movements, and criticism of Israeli policies, have been taken up in the arts arena with heightened intensity. We are deeply concerned by several aspects of how such issues are approached.
With this letter we are advocating against reductive, binary views of conflict in the Middle East. We believe in the role of art to question and resist dichotomous views. We see dialogue as a critical part of any conceivable peace resolution between Palestine and Israel, and are troubled by the tendency among international boycott movements—particularly cultural boycott movements supported by individuals in the arts—which make dialogue impossible. Such dialogue inside Palestine and Israel is difficult, and is only made more precarious by unilateral international boycott. Underlying these movements, we fear there is an upswing of anti-Semitic attitudes and attacks, which seem to convey varying degrees of intentionality. Neglecting or simplifying significant historical legacies, Israel is treated as a paradigmatic colonial power, and is boycotted in a way that no other country is. Such discrimination and double standards, whether explicitly stated or implied, demand to be addressed.
Belittling Anti-Semitism
The pan-European response to the slaughter of four Jews at a Parisian kosher supermarket in January was commendable. But let's face it—had it not been for the massacre of the Charlie Hebdo journalists two days earlier, it is doubtful that France would have taken to the streets; world leaders would not have flocked to Paris; and the French army would probably not have deployed 10,000 personnel to protect Jewish institutions. Nothing similar happened when a lone jihadi gunman murdered a rabbi, two of his children and a third pupil at a Jewish school in Toulouse in March 2012, or when another graduate of the Syrian jihad murdered two workers and two visitors at the Jewish Museum in Brussels last May.
It is only when radical Islam went beyond the murder of Jews (or Israelis) that Europeans felt outraged. This time Jewish deaths were part of a larger drama, involving a sustained assault on Western freedoms by radical Islam. But those who marched cried for freedom, not necessarily for its Jewish martyrs. Responses will now focus on the jihadi threat and will probably seek to explain anti-Semitism as its by-product.
The response to the shootings in Copenhagen last month followed a similar pattern. The attack on a synagogue, in which a young Danish Jew died preventing much worse slaughter at a bar mitzvah, was treated by the media as an afterthought.
1 in 4 UK Muslims: Violence okay over Muhammad images
A similar number, 24 percent, suggested that violence against those who publish images of Muhammad can be justified, while 11 percent felt sympathetic towards people who want to fight against Western interests.
A total of 1,000 Muslims in Britain were interviewed in the telephone poll over the course of February. The results were published Wednesday.
Over 45 percent said that Muslim clerics who preach violence against the West are not out of touch with mainstream Muslim opinion, while one in five believe that liberal, Western society can never be compatible with Islam.
German Jewish leader: Don’t wear yarmulkas in certain areas
Jews should think twice before wearing a yarmulka in certain areas of Germany, the head of the country’s Jewish umbrella group warned Thursday.
“The question is whether it makes sense to be recognizable as Jews in certain areas… by wearing a yarmulka, or whether it’s better to wear a different head covering. This is indeed a development that I didn’t see five years ago and that is a little frightening.”
In an interview with a Berlin-based radio station, Schuster said such areas include “problematic quarters,” particularly in Berlin but also elsewhere in Germany, “and districts with strong Muslim populations.”
'I am Charlie' exhibit forced to close in Helsinki
The Finnish Comics Society is having a hard time finding a venue for its exhibition honouring the cartoonists killed in the Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris, reports the daily Helsingin Sanomat.
The show entitled "I am Charlie", was on Monday closed for a third time amid security concerns. The display had only been open for about 15 minutes at Library 10 in the Helsinki’s main post office building.
Originally the exhibition had been on display at another library in the Arabianranta neighbourhood, but was moved last week to the Rosebud bookshop in the city centre.
In all three cases, the building owners had asked to have the show closed because of safety worries – particularly following last week’s attacks in Copenhagen.
Palestinians working for Israelis ‎‎are paid double those working in the West Bank
A survey conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) during October-December 2014, and funded by the European Union, shows that Palestinians who work in Israel or Israeli settlements are paid more than double the wage of Palestinians working in the PA-governed areas of the West Bank. In Israel and Israeli settlements, the average daily wage for Palestinians was 194.2 shekels during the period surveyed, while Palestinians working in the PA in the West Bank only earned 91.4 shekels daily. The average wage for Palestinians working for Israelis was triple that of those employed in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, who made only 66.1 shekels daily.
The results of this survey match the findings reported by Palestinian Media Watch last September, when the official PA daily lauded Israeli employers for their positive employment ethics towards their Palestinian employees.
Richard Millett: Calls for the end of Israel as racist boycott vote at SOAS proceeds.
Last night I met the SOAS Jewish Society, all four of them.
It was at a SOAS “debate” about whether to boycott Israeli universities and academics on the basis that they are complicit with Israel’s military. Once again the Jewish state was being singled out at SOAS and the SOAS Student Union was attempting to make it look all so civilised.
The panel was a mixture of SOAS staff and students. Each panelist made a submission as to whether or not there should be an academic boycott of Israel. Contributions from the audience were then taken. About 250 people attended.
Three panelists argued for an academic boycott and three argued against. However, the latter three didn’t argue against on the basis that a boycott is obviously discriminatory and racist. Instead, they argued that it would merely be “ineffective”.
2015′s First Resolution Calling for More Investment in Israel Passed by University of Georgia Students
The Student Government Association (SGA) of the University of Georgia on Tuesday passed the first college resolution this year calling for the school to invest more in its relations with Israel. The resolution was sponsored and composed by the local chapter of activist group Students Supporting Israel and is the third such resolution ever to be passed.
In the resolution, the SGA, which represents over 35,000 students in Georgia, supports the expansion of study abroad opportunities in Israel for both undergraduate and graduate students across all fields of study. The text asserts that “academic freedom and collaboration are crucial to the pursuit of knowledge,” but that the university currently offers “very limited options” for study abroad in the Middle East.
The resolution calls Israel “one of the most stable countries in the Middle East, and the country with the highest ratings in freedom, human rights, and democracy in the region.” It also argues that the Jewish state is a “global leader” in science and technology research, agricultural development and practices in sustainability.
Israel Apartheid Week Comes to Berkeley
Its Israel apartheid Week” at UC Berkeley, and Students for Just Us in Palestine (SJP) just can’t seem to think beyond the box, resorting to the same tired techniques to spread their demonization of Israel.
Yep. Mock-check points and mock-eviction notices.
In direct violation of campus policy SJP members distributed several hundred fake eviction notices under the doors in Unit 2, except for one floor, where a resident advisor barred their entry. (SJP described the incident as " the interruption of a Resident Advisor prevented us from exercising our right to free expression.")
Campus Press Circles the Wagons Around SJP
College students require trigger warnings now for anything that could conceivably disturb their tender psyches, so this surprise, graphic exposure of SJP’s darker side no doubt unsettled many. JStreet President William Baker at the University of Virginia said he was “shocked” and found the posters “disturbing.” “When I saw it I was kind of shocked,” said one UCLA student. “It’s like hate speech, directed toward this one specific group.”
Naturally, the SJP itself has declared that the posters constitute hate speech: “They rely on Islamophobic and anti-Arab tropes to paint Palestinians as terrorists,” reads the group’s statement, “and to misrepresent Students for Justice in Palestine as anti-Semitic.” In his own statement about the controversy, David Horowitz, who calls SJP the spearhead of anti-Israel aggression against Israel on American campuses, described this response as “fictional” and “typical SJP deception.”
Accusations of hate speech, of course, are the kneejerk reaction of the left and its Islamic partners in what Horowitz calls their unholy alliance to any opinion with which they disagree. This anti-rational, go-to tactic for shutting down opposition was very effective for many years, but it is becoming increasingly shrill, desperate, and impotent in the face of truth – and the truth in this instance is that SJP is a thinly veiled hate group that actively campaigns for the demonization and destruction of the Jewish state via economic divestment and even terrorism, through its support for the terrorist governments of the West Bank and Gaza.
New Bus Ads Call on Obama to Cut Aid to Israel
An anti-Israel organization on Wednesday unveiled a new bus ad that uses Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's upcoming Congress speech to call on the Obama administration to cut Washington’s aid to Israel.
The group, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), claimed in a statement introducing the new ad that Netanyahu has in the past boasted of being able to manipulate the United States.
The group quoted a statement made by Netanyahu in 2001, when he said, "I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction."
The bus ad features this quote from Netanyahu, and underneath it appears the call: “Stop the disrespect - End US aid to Israel”.
"At a time when the United States is close to a deal with Iran, Mr. Netanyahu is coming to persuade Congress to trade in a peaceful, diplomatic solution for war. This is unacceptable," charged Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid, AMP national political coordinator.
UCLA Student Vying for Student Government Asked if Jewishness is ‘Conflict of Interest’ (VIDEO)
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) student government is under fire after questioning the candidacy of a Jewish student based on her religion.
When student Rachel Beyda applied to be a member of the UCLA Judicial Board, earlier this month, she was questioned on whether her Jewishness and her participation in Jewish life on campus could be a “conflict of interest,” according to a video of the debate on the issue posted by the USAC Live! YouTube account.
“Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community. How do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?” asked Fabienne Roth, one of the students who opposed Beyda’s candidacy.
Is Racism Still a our Universities?

U. Illinois Trustees seek to throw out Steven Salaita federal lawsuit
In late January 2015, Steven Salaita filed a federal lawsuit against the Trustees of the University of Illinois and certain of its senior officers, alleging that they violated Salaita’s contractual and First Amendment rights.
The lawsuit concerns the Trustees refusal to approve a contingent offer of tenured employment after Salaita’s bizarre Twitter behavior and hateful, unhinged tweets. Those tweets led to accusations of anti-Semitism, something Salaita vigorously disputes.
Prosecution seeks 5-7 year sentence for Rasmea Odeh
The evidence supporting both the Israeli and Detroit convictions is overwhelming and from multiple sources, as I demonstrated in Rasmea Odeh rightly convicted of Israeli supermarket bombing and U.S. immigration fraud. Rasmea’s claim that she confessed to the bombing only after several weeks of sexual torture was contradicted by the fact that she confessed one day after arrest, and by corroborating evidence including a filmed interview years later with a co-conspirator.
Rasmea has become a hero to the anti-Israel activist community in Chicago and nationally, with fundraisers and national events in her honor, as well as a letter writing campaign to the Court.
The Prosecution just filed its Sentencing Memorandum (full embed below), seeking an upward adjustment from the sentencing guidelines (15-21 months) based upon Rasmea falsely testifying in court about her innocence in the supermarket bombing and defiance of the Judge’s Order that she not testify in court about supposed torture since the basis of the conviction was irrelevant to the immigration charge.
That Sentencing Memorandum contains devastating new details and evidence of Rasmea’s complicity in the bombing and her close ties to leading terrorist figures, including new video links. It will be interesting to see how the Judge reacts to this evidence, since after a pre-trial hearing on Rasmea’s claim of PTSD (which he rejected as a defense), the Judge found that Rasmea’s claims of confession after torture were “credible.” But the Judge did not have all the evidence, and the evidence shows that Rasmea attempted to dupe the court.
BBC’s Lyse Doucet does ‘reporter in the rubble’ redux – part one
Doucet makes no attempt to clarify to listeners that the Gaza Strip has not been under ‘occupation’ for almost a decade or why the term “siege” is not an accurate description of the restrictions on the entry of weapons and dual-use goods imposed by Israel in order to curb Hamas’ procurement of arms. She again fails to point out the factor of internal Palestinian politics which has caused the donor countries to hold back on their pledges.
Instead, she simply ends her pathos rich but fact lacking report there.
Back in July 2014 Doucet was one of the BBC’s reporters on the ground in Shuja’iya. Then too she amplified false claims of a ‘massacre’ and avoided giving BBC audiences a realistic picture of the terrorist infrastructure in that neighbourhood.
Over six months on, BBC audiences have still not been told what really happened in Shuja’iya and it is clear from this report that the BBC has no intention of rectifying that. The political agenda which underpinned the vast quantities of one-sided reporting produced by Lyse Doucet and her colleagues in the Gaza Strip last summer is still all too apparent.
More Irish Times Hate: ‘Zionism and Anti-Semitism Overlap’
Only one day after Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland’s outrageous tweet that she was “Not interacting with Zionists anymore,” Holland’s father, prominent anti-Israel ideologue Eamonn McCann, has launched his own assault. Clearly with Holland, the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree.
McCann is well-known to HonestReporting. He has a history of demonizing Israel in the Irish media. In January 2014 he launched a vicious assault on the Jewish religion in an attack on Ariel Sharon. Prior to that, he wrote of Israel’s “downfall in the end.” In response to criticism he accuses pro-Israel activists of shutting down the conversation by making false claims of anti-Semitism. In June 2014 he addressed the kidnapping of three Israeli teens by accusing Israel of pursuing a systematic campaign against Palestinian children.
Now, writing in the Irish Times, McCann has turned his attention to the ongoing tension between Israel and the U.S. and Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for Jews, in the aftermath of terror attacks in Europe, to move to Israel.
Referring to this appeal, McCann states:
Herein lies the ideological overlap between Zionism and anti-Semitism. Both believe that Jews and Gentiles cannot live together.
CiF Watch prompts Times of London correction to false Bibi quote
However, these comments – suggesting that Israeli relations with the US have suffered due to the dispute over Iranian nuclear talks – were of course not uttered by Netanyahu. It is a quote from Amos Yadlin, the Zionist Union’s candidate for defense minister, per multiple Israeli news sources.
After contacting Times of London editors (and tweeting the journalist who wrote the story, Gregg Carlstrom), the entire passage was removed from the article. The following correction appeared in the print and online editions of the paper today:
Montreal Hate Crime Probe Starts With Death Threats and Bullets
Montreal police have launched a probe into what they are calling a hate crime after residents of an apartment house found their cars damaged and death threats in envelopes with a bullet for each. The ethnicity and religion of the owners of the targeted vehicles was not released.
The incident, which occurred in the parking garage beneath an apartment building on Côte St. Luc Road, was clearly directed at the Jewish community, however — the neighborhood in which the incident took place is known as a “Jewish area.” The vandalism was discovered late Monday night when the smoke alarm in the garage suddenly activated.
Four of the vehicles were branded with swastikas, albeit painted backwards, sprayed in red paint on the hoods. Five of the cars “had envelopes on them, and on the white envelopes there were swastikas on them,” said a resident in the building who requested anonymity. CBC News agreed not to reveal his family name. “The swastikas were huge. They covered pretty much the majority of the hood,” he said. His neighbor’s car had a smashed windshield. On the ground in front of the car lay a hatchet.
Canadian Leaders Rush to Condemn Anti-Semitic Vandalism in Montreal
B’nai Brith Canada called the incident, which occurred on Côte St. Luc Road, “extremely serious” and said it goes beyond simple vandalism.
“You’re not dealing with a bunch of individuals who had a can of spray paint … These guys or girls planned this. They specifically set out with bullets in their pockets, with envelopes, with notes and obviously with spray paint,” said Steven Slimovitch, B’nai Brith Canada’s national legal counsel.
The Quebec government condemned the incident and Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion Minister Kathleen Weil issued a statement saying, “These hateful and racist acts are unacceptable. They do not reflect in any way the values of Quebec society and do not have a place in our society which is inclusive and open to diversity.
“We cannot denounce these only as acts of vandalism,” she continued. “They reflect prejudice and intolerance. I wish to reassure the public that we will not accept that Quebecers be subjected to threats on account of their origin or their religious beliefs.”
PreOccupied Territory: Secret Codes To Control World Economy Accidentally Tweeted (satire)
A rare mistake today by one of the shadowy Elders of Zion resulted in the temporary publication of secret codes used to manipulate the worldwide financial markets and the banking industry, resulting in a scramble to eliminate all traces of the information and wipe memories of the incident.
An Elder of Zion known even to close associates only as Fagin mistakenly let his mask slip after a meeting at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange this morning when he forgot to switch usernames on his mobile device, and would up posting a series of the secret codes to various Twitter followers instead of sending them directly to an associate who needed the updated versions to help manipulate securities. Fagin realized his error in less than a minute, but not before several contacts called further attention to the data by commenting on it or asking questions.
The Council of Elders that normally handles crises had no time to convene to address the issue, but Fagin alerted the standby team tasked with first responses to impending exposure of the International Zionist Conspiracy™ (IZC), which took immediate action. The Twitter database was wiped clean of all traces of the original post, and crews of specialists were dispatched to the locations of the users who had reacted in some way to seeing the codes. The specialists administered memory-altering drugs, and little evidence of the snafu remained.
An Island of Normalization in the Mideast?
An imploding Middle East would seem an unlikely setting for finally realizing the Zionist dream of progress toward normalization with Israel’s neighbors. So I had to rub my eyes when I read the following report: Last week, Israel and Egypt ran a joint booth at the world’s biggest apparel trade fair, in Las Vegas. In addition, they’re discussing plans to double textile exports from the Egyptian-Israeli Qualifying Industrial Zone, and also to expand the zone to other products, like foodstuffs and plastics. Given that normalization with Israel has long been anathema in Egypt, this is an astounding turnabout.
The QIZ, which the U.S. created 10 years ago in order to bolster Egyptian-Israeli peace by encouraging economic collaboration, allows Egypt to export textiles to America duty-free if Israel contributes a certain percentage of their value. But until now, Egypt has kept its cooperation with Israel as low-profile and limited as possible due to the sweeping consensus against normalization.
After all, this is a country where a leading author was expelled from the writers’ union and saw his books banned for the “crime” of traveling to Israel and writing about his experiences. It’s a country where translated Israeli books sparked such outrage that the culture minister had to defend himself from accusations of “normalization” by saying the translations were intended only to enable Egyptians to “know their enemy” and promising that the project would involve no contact with Israeli publishers, but only with the Israeli authors’ foreign publishers. It’s a country where every candidate in the 2012 presidential election vowed to either scrap or “renegotiate” the peace treaty with Israel. And none of this was long ago.
Yet now, suddenly, Egypt is running a joint booth with Israel at a trade fair and discussing ways to expand the QIZ.
Tel Aviv Hotel Selected for InterContinental Chain’s Global Showcase
The David InterContinental Tel Aviv has been chosen along with two other InterContinental hotels in London and Paris to launch a new corporate-marketing campaign to showcase the hotel chain’s brand.
On Tuesday in London, the InterContinental Hotels Group unveiled a series of experiences to showcase each of the three cities’ tourist attractions.
The David InterContinental Tel Aviv is situated on the southern end of Tel Aviv’s beachfront promenade, in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood, which is known for its burgeoning stylishness.
Through a project titled “Senses of Tel Aviv Insider Experience,” the David InterContinental Tel Aviv will be working with renowned chef Yaron Kestenboum to offer its guests a field trip exploring Tel Aviv’s local cuisine, culture, design, and overall lifestyle. Guests will also get access to the hotel’s new Tel Aviv Suite, which offers an uninterrupted view of the Mediterranean Sea and Old Jaffa, among other perks.
Apple CEO Tim Cook Tells President Rivlin: ‘We Have Enormous Admiration for Israel’ (VIDEO)
Apple CEO Tim Cook told Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday that his company greatly respects the Jewish state.
“We have enormous admiration for Israel not only as a huge ally to the US, but as a place to do business,” Cook said during a meeting with Rivlin at the presidential compound in Jerusalem. He highlighted the fact that Apple has over 700 employees in Israel and that there are over 6,000 people in the Jewish state developing applications for the company’s iOS platform.
Cook also expressed admiration for Rivlin’s efforts in advancing human rights, telling the president, “You inspire us to do good work.”
Rivlin told Cook he was honored to host the Apple CEO “knowing what you are doing for all humanity.”
“Everyone in Israel appreciates your company,” he said. “You are doing miracles for the whole world.”
Apple's Expanded Presence in Israel Focused on Chip Design
Apple may be looking to increase development of chips internally to the costs associated with relying on third-party suppliers, although it still relies heavily on vendors such as Samsung to produce chips for iPhones. Apple has acquired two Israel-based microprocessor chip design firms in Anobit Technologies and PrimeSense in recent years, and also hired several Texas Instrument engineers in Israel after the company announced some 250 job cuts at its Ra'anana offices.
Apple vice president of hardware technologies Johny Srouji is an Israeli Arab that grew up in Haifa and earned both a bachelor's and master's degree in Computer Science from Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology. Srouji joined Apple in 2008 and oversees custom silicon architecture and development covering several devices and technologies. Apple has over 700 other employees working directly for the company in Israel.
“We’ve hired our first individual in Israel in 2011 and we now have over 700 people working in Israel directly for us,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in the meeting with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday. “Israel and Apple have gotten much closer together over the last three years than ever before, and we see that as just the beginning,” he added.
IDF Blog: A Story of Persistence: How a Catholic Filipino Became an IDF Soldier
Coming from a diplomatic family, Corporal Aaron Refael’s enlistment into the IDF was more unique than most. Aaron was born to a Catholic family, originally from the Philippines, who relocated to Israel before Aaron was born. Growing up in Israel, he was determined to serve as a soldier in the IDF like the rest of his friends. Despite the difficulties along the way, Cpl. Refael fulfilled his dream and is thriving as a combat soldier in the IDF.
Like every Israeli at the age of eighteen, Corporal Aaron Refael drafted into the IDF. However, Aaron is no ordinary Israeli. Today, he serves in the IDF’s Nahal Infantry Brigade, but the process to get there was not simple.
Aaron comes from a Catholic family, originally from the Philippines, and his father works as a driver in the Japanese Embassy to Israel. He was born and raised in Herzliya and has always considered Israel his home. Aaron grew up learning about the importance of the IDF, and knew from a very young age that he wanted to take part in defending the country. “I saw how everyone serves in the military, and I also wanted to contribute,” said Corp. Refael.
Kalb’s list: Piecing together a Holocaust rescue operation
After his mother died in 2009, Dr. Mark Colb discovered in her bedroom dresser some familiar documents and photographs. He remembered most of the stories accompanying them, too.
All related to his late father’s efforts to rescue Polish Jews during the Holocaust via a land route and a smuggling operation that he had first conceived to save his fiancee and later wife – Mark’s mother, Clara Lieber.
A list of names that Colb found in their Manhattan apartment indicated that his father – then known as Ben Zion Kalb, but often utilizing the code name Ben Avraham – had saved about 150 fellow Polish Jews, mostly infants, youngsters and teenagers.
Colb believes, though, that the true number is several multiples of 150; his mother left behind in Europe many pages from the list. Judith Cohen, director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s photographic reference collection, estimated the number at “upwards of 1,000 people” he saved.
The information has prompted Colb, a physician living in Boston, to seek acknowledgement of the heroism of his father, who died in 1973 at age 63.

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