Tuesday, March 17, 2015

From Ian:

NGO Monitor: University of Southampton’s Symposium on Israel’s Right to Exist: Speaker Profiles and NGO Connections
The University of Southampton will hold a three-day quasi-academic conference, “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism” (April 17-19 2015). Billed as a “ground-breaking historical event,” the forum “concerns the legitimacy in International Law of the Jewish state of Israel” and questions the legality of the “foundation and protection of a state of such nature.”
The conference aims to lend academic legitimacy to the notion that the existence of a Jewish state, within any borders, is up for legal and moral debate. Participating speakers and panelists plan to “diagnose the legal position” of Israel to enable “scholarly debate and disagreement” on the legitimacy of Israel’s existence. Such events represent the antithesis of constructive academic dialogue and peaceful coexistence.
As shown below, the vast majority of the speakers listed on the program are virulent anti-Israel ideologues who demonize Israel using labels like “apartheid,” advocate for a “one state” framework that denies the right of the Jewish nation to self-determination, promote BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns targeting Israel, and advance legal attacks (“lawfare”) against Israel in international legal bodies. The involvement of a number of NGO officials and individuals affiliated with politically biased NGOs highlight the primary non-academic, ideological nature of the event. Some of these NGOs receive direct and indirect funding from European governments, as well as from the New Israel Fund (NIF).
Colonel Richard Kemp: Protesters disown their university values
I have addressed the UN commission of inquiry on the conduct of the parties to the Israel–Hamas war. I have condemned Hamas as a terrorist organisation and recognised the extraordinary measures to which Israel has gone to avoid civilian casualties when faced with an enemy that militarises civilian infrastructure and shields its fighters with the bodies of the civilians it claims to defend. US General Martin Dempsey, the highest ranking officer in the US Army, sent a fact-­finding team to Israel and concluded the US forces had lessons to learn from the measures taken by Israel to spare the lives of Palestinian civilians as far as possible, often at the expense of its own soldiers.
By daring to defend the actions of the Jewish state and condemning Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both designated terrorist organisations, I was considered fair game for the protesters. This is indicative of a pervasive culture among certain sections of university students and staff in Britain, and clearly in Australia, where to speak objectively about Israel is to court harassment, thuggery and violence. The behaviour of the protesters and the academics was an affront to the core ideals of the university — the freedom to speak, the freedom to assemble and the freedom to engage with ideas and opinions.
This protest had clear anti-­Semitic undertones. The audience was predominantly Jewish and the protesters knew that. Often anti-Semitic abuse and hatred is dressed up as anti-­Israel or anti-­Zionist action. This resonated that way, with vicious shouting and intimidation against a group of Jews and brandishing money around invoking the stereotype of the “greedy Jew”.
As for Associate Professor Jake Lynch, shown to be so adept at conflict with an elderly woman, his value to the university and its students would be enhanced by listening to those who have seen real conflict and have risked their lives to secure peace.
Antisemitism on Campus: Has Sydney University's Jake Lynch Finally Gone Too Far?
A petition started by the Jewish student union calling for Associate Professor Jake Lynch to be sacked has already attracted over 5,000 signatures. It alleges he breached the University's code of conduct, which requires that staff treat students with "respect, impartiality, courtesy and sensitivity" and that "Lynch has a history of supporting harassment and discrimination against Jewish students." A Sydney University spokesperson commented: "The University is deeply concerned about events surrounding a protest on campus and has commenced an investigation into the incidents."
The protesters, accused of disrupting a lecture, intimidating Jewish students, filming them without their permission and shouting at them could face expulsion from the University. A professor accused of the same, and of thrusting money in the faces of a Jewish student and an elderly Jewish woman, needs to be taken just as seriously. If the professor and the other demonstrators acted so disgracefully, the University has a responsibility to protect the welfare of its students and its own reputation.

Watch CAMERA Panel on UK Media, European Antisemitism
With antisemitic violence on the rise in Europe, CAMERA convened a panel discussion in Jerusalem on March 1 entitled "Framing Israel: Framing Jews: Examining the effects of UK media coverage of Israel on European antisemitism." In light of recent polling which indicates that over 80 percent of British Jews believe that biased coverage of Israel incites antisemitism, the panelists explored how UK media coverage of Israel influences attitudes towards Jews in Europe and fuels extremism.
Speakers on the panel included Professor Robert S. Wistrich, Neuberger Chair of Modern European and Jewish History at the Hebrew University Jerusalem, Head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism and author of A Lethal Obsession: Antisemitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (2010); Lucille Cohen, former President of the Zionist Central Council and the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester and representative to the Board of Deputies of British Jews; Adam Levick, managing editor of UK Media Watch (formerly CiF Watch), a CAMERA affiliate and Hadar Sela, managing editor of BBC Watch, a CAMERA affiliate.
Prof. Wistrich painted a gloomy picture for the future of the Jewish community in the UK and British society in general and warned of the prospect of a small minority of alienated young radicals undermining the stability of Jews in the UK.
Camera event: Framing Israel - Framing Jews

Report: Venezuela Helped Argentina Protect Iranian Terrorists with Fake Passports
The officials interviewed by Veja claim to have been present during a conversation that took place between Chávez and Ahmadinejad, in which the latter described protecting the Iranian terrorists as “a matter of life or death” that would be pivotal in helping Iran attain nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad allegedly requested that Venezuelan diplomats help persuade the Argentine government to help Iran, both in the AMIA case and in sharing knowledge on the construction of heavy water nuclear reactors. Upon receiving an affirmative answer from Chávez, Ahmadinejad allegedly assured him: “don’t worry about the expenses this operation requires. Iran will back you with all the money necessary to convince the Argentines.”
The Veja report adds that it is widely believed that the American DEA has compiled a list of witness testimonies that ties high-ranking Chavista governor Tareck El Aissami to Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and El Aissami allegedly helped fabricate fake Venezuelan passports to help Hezbollah terrorists, including Mohsen Rabbani– the alleged architect of the AMIA attack– travel the world.
The allegations in the Veja report align with the claims present in a report by Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was to present an accusation against the Argentine government for helping protect the terrorists responsible for the AMIA bombing to Congress but was found dead of a bullet wound to the head the day before his testimony. Nisman’s death was initially ruled a suicide, but investigators have since reopened the death as a homicide case.
Police raid apartments linked to Copenhagen attacks
Danish police on Tuesday searched eight Copenhagen apartments as part of an ongoing investigation into the February 14-15 attacks that left two people dead, including a guard at a synagogue.
“We are still in the process of mapping the movements of the perpetrator and the accomplices and this morning’s raids should be seen in light of this,” police said in a statement.
“We are looking for further clues in the case.”
Some of the apartments were on the inner city neighborhood where 22-year-old gunman Omar El-Hussein grew up, according to tabloid Ekstra Bladet.
Three accomplices have been detained since February 16 for allegedly helping El-Hussein, a Dane of Palestinian origin who was shot dead by police in a pre-dawn shootout following the attacks.
Demand for Jewish guards spikes after France, Denmark attacks
On a nondescript street in the London suburbs, guards with earpieces stand watch outside a brown building with blast-resistant doors and windows.
The building does not advertise the identity of its occupants, and the guards do not appreciate loitering by individuals curious to find out.
Though it resembles a secret government facility or money vault, the building is actually the headquarters of the Community Security Trust, widely considered the best-organized Jewish defense force in Europe and one of British Jewry’s most admired institutions. With an annual budget of $7.5 million, the CST has served for 20 years as the Jewish community’s shield, research service and anti-Semitism watchdog.
In the United Kingdom, the CST has become the natural address for record numbers of volunteers who have inundated the group with applications following the slaying of five Jews in two Islamist attacks earlier this year in Paris and Copenhagen. Within weeks of the attacks, the group had dispensed the entirety of its annual budget of matching funds for community security upgrades.
'Europe's Hate Speech Laws Won't Stop Anti-Semitism'
Europe will not stem the tide of anti-Semitism by prosecuting hate speech and should focus instead on getting society to speak out against it, a US envoy said Monday in Sweden, AFP reported.
"We understand that it's often very difficult to prosecute hate speech," the American special envoy against anti-Semitism Ira Forman told journalists in the southern city of Malmo.
"So it's absolutely essential that political leaders but also society's leaders - clergy, leaders of non-profits, business leaders, just community leaders in general - when they see anti-Semitism, as well as other forms of racism and discrimination, that they speak out," he said.
Forman's trip to Malmo was prompted by its high level of hate crimes against Jews, a problem the city's former mayor Ilmar Reepalu blamed in 2010 on Jewish residents supporting Israel's policies.
"We do not believe in prosecuting hate speech except in the most extreme circumstances when it's encouraging immediate violence," Forman said of the American perspective. "That's one difference we're going to have with a lot of our European allies."
Brandeis’ free speech violation cannot be explained away
Universities exist to enable the free exchange of ideas—all ideas, not just conventional wisdom or ideas that everyone agrees with. Although Brandeis is not legally bound by the First Amendment because it is a private institution, it has a moral obligation to uphold the promises it makes to students regarding free expression. Just a few months ago, University President Frederick Lawrence reaffirmed that Brandeis “has an unyielding commitment to free speech and expression of ideas.” Brandeis’ motto is “Truth, Even Unto Its Innermost Parts.” Punishing people for what they say—or what they might say—is antithetical to this purpose and thus it’s fair for students to assume that they will not get in trouble with University officials merely for expressing their opinions.
It turns out, however, that disregard for free expression at Brandeis is distressingly common. FIRE has highlighted in The Wall Street Journal the harassment charge that Eli Philip ’ filed against Daniel Mael ’ after the two engaged in heated discussion following a public lecture over Facebook about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
By filing harassment charges, Philip did not create or participate in a “public forum,” to quote the editorial, where differing viewpoints could be aired. Instead, he forced the issue behind closed doors by setting Brandeis’ confidential disciplinary process in motion.
Protected by that secrecy, the University demanded that Mael respond to Philip’s complaint within two days, although it refused to give Mael a copy of the allegations against him.
Only when lawyers intervened on Mael’s behalf, pointing out that these unfair demands would not fare well either in a court of law or in the court of public opinion, did the University drop the charges. Given this history, it is hard to understand the editorial’s claim that Mael has not faced “any sort of repercussion or hindrance [sic] of speech.” Based on these circumstances, it’s clear to FIRE that the object was to silence Mael, not to promote dialogue.
It's time to treat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement with the scorn it deserves
To grasp the movement’s true character, consider BDS’s intellectual heroes. Judith Butler, an influential professor of comparative literature and rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley, has referred to Hamas and Hezbollah as “social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left.” Richard Falk, a Princeton professor emeritus was called out by Susan Rice, then U.N. Ambassador, for endorsing “the slurs of conspiracy theorists who allege that the September 11...attacks were perpetrated and then covered up by the U.S. government and media.” Independent scholar Steven Salaita (formerly a professor of English at Virginia Tech), who is now barnstorming the country for BDS, responded to the kidnapping of three Israeli teens, then feared dead, and now, of course, known to have been murdered by Hamas associates this way: “You may be too refined to say it, but I'm not: I wish all the f------West Bank settlers would go missing.”
This year, under the sponsorship of BDS, Leila Khaled traveled through South Africa to raise money for the anti-Israel campaign. Khaled is a former hijacker and present council member of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which claimed credit for the brutal murder of four worshippers and a police officer at a Jerusalem synagogue last November. Khaled capped her tour with the remarkable observation that ISIS is a “Zionist-American organization.” BDS-South Africa promptly tweeted out the claim (they have evidently since deleted it but I saw it at the time and others retweeted it).
Indeed, BDS has not distanced itself at all from such heroes and heroines, quite as if doing so might offend BDS supporters. I do not deny that people have a right to spread delusions, conspiracy theories, and death wishes, but I do wonder why academics persist in treating with respect a movement that hugs such people so hard.
Since we are dealing here with a movement that traffics in extremism, it is not surprising that the BDS movement is having a nasty effect on some college campuses. At South Africa’s Durban University of Technology, right after a visit from Khaled, the student government called for the expulsion of Jewish students, apologizing only after a public outcry.
ADL Condemns “Mounting Hysteria” About Anti-Semitism on Campus
If you thought the ADL was bad before, it’s getting worse now. The UCLA case of a Jewish student being interrogated about her Jewish associations broke into the mainstream media. Even the New York Times had a decent report on it.
So the local ADL chose to write a letter claiming that there’s no anti-Semitism on campus.
“What’s so stark about this case, however, was how unusual it was,” Amanda Susskind, the director of the Pacific Southwest Region ADL wrote from Los Angeles. “It was also uncharacteristic of campus life for Jews at U.C.L.A.”
So if you believe Amanda, it was a random phenomenon that student government representatives acted this way with no roots in anything that had come before.
Israel and the “Apartheid” Slur
Today’s Israel-bashers borrow from this tradition when they call Israel an “apartheid” state. It is an almost trendy epithet among pseudo-intellectuals and anti-Semites on college campuses and elsewhere, who can find no more compelling social justice cause than to promote “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” campaigns against Israel. Let’s separate the facts from the vacuous propaganda.
Over a million Arabs (mostly Muslim) live as citizens in Israel, comprising some 20% of the population. They have far more civil liberties than Arabs in any other Middle Eastern country. They enjoy the privileges of a democracy, and the protections of a robust constitution. They own land, work in a thriving capitalist economy, vote, run for political office, and hold prominent positions in the private and public sector. Arabs serve as representatives in the Israeli Knesset. For more than a decade, Salim Joubran has been a Justice on Israel’s Supreme Court; he is in fact the second Arab who has served his country in this capacity. The valedictorian of the most recent medical school class at Israel’s prestigious Technion University was a Muslim woman. An Israeli Druze was recently appointed commander of the elite IDF Golani Brigade unit.
And what are the rights of Jews in the neighboring Arab states?
Out of a combined population of some 175 million in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, you would be hard pressed to find any Jews in these countries. If there are a few they number in the hundreds and are practicing their religion out of the public view. Less than a century ago there were thriving Jewish communities in Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, and Turkey. Persecution drove almost every single one of them out. Jews are unwelcome, and in some cases expressly forbidden to live in the Arab countries of the Middle East.
Guardian falsely claims that Israel launched Protective Edge to avenge teens’ murder
A Guardian video story published on March 16th (Could the Israeli left beat Bibi?), co-produced and narrated by Phoebe Greenwood, included this claim at the 1:14 mark:
In July, 2014, Israel launched a military offensive in Gaza. Netanyahu said this was in retaliation for the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.

This is simply not true. Netanyahu was quite clear that the operation was launched to stop the rockets from Gaza.
Indeed, our office was able to confirm with Mark Regev, official spokesman for the prime minister, that Netanyahu never once claimed the operation was launched in retaliation for the teens’ murder.
We’ve contacted Guardian editors, and have asked them to address this erroneous claim.
Why does the BBC continue to describe Rouhani as a ‘moderate’?
Whilst the BBC has never actually got down to discussing the nitty-gritty of Rouhani’s interpretation of ‘moderation’ and ‘reform’, two recent reports indicate that his agenda does not include human rights.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, published a report last week which includes examination of the ‘right to life’. Mr Shaheed found that the number of executions in Iran has risen under Rouhani’s presidency.
“At least 753 individuals were reportedly executed in 2014 (the highest total recorded in the past 12 years). This includes the execution of 25 women and 53 public executions. Nearly half of all executions — 362 — were for drug-related crimes (not including those drug related offenses that were also committed in conjunction with homicide crimes), which do not meet the internationally accepted threshold of “most serious crimes” required for use of the death penalty. In at least four cases the families of homicide victims provided pardons only after authorities implemented the death penalty by hanging. In these instances, authorities ceased the execution and lowered individuals after a period of suspension.”
Examining Lyse Doucet’s claim that she reported new Hamas tunnels on BBC
So yes: Doucet did “mention” tunnels. She did not, however, present BBC audiences with the comprehensive picture of the threat those tunnels posed to Israeli civilians in the summer of 2014 which would have enhanced their understanding of the actions taken by Israel and the scenes Doucet now reports with so much pathos. Given that most of the reporting produced by Doucet and her colleagues on that subject whilst the conflict was ongoing was similarly lacking that omission is obviously very significant.
But no: Doucet did not provide BBC audiences with anything which can seriously be described as meaningful reporting on Hamas’ reconstruction of tunnels since the end of the conflict in any of her many recent reports from the Gaza Strip.
David Duke Accuses GOP of Selling Soul to ‘Jewish Power’, Calls Netanyahu a ‘Crazy Jew’
Former Ku Klux Klan leader and state legislator David Duke accused Republicans of “having sold their soul to the Jewish power” in a radio interview last Wednesday.
Duke made the antisemitic comments to liberal radio host Alan Colmes during an appearance on Fox News Radio.
The infamous hatemonger was responding in particular to the open letter by 47 Republicans that warned Iranian leaders of the limited legal impact of agreements signed in the absence of Senate approval.
Duke told Colmes that the Republicans “should become a Jew, put on a yarmulke because they are not Americans, they have sold their soul to the Jewish power in this country and the Jewish power overseas.”
Later in the interview, Duke referred to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the “Crazy Jew” saying: “The whole Congress of the United States is on its hands and knees to the ‘Crazy Jew.’”
Duke went on to tell Colmes that Republicans “should go to Israel, and if they’re not circumcised, they should get cut. Because they deserve it.”
Great Neck Schools Warn of ‘Specter of Antisemitism’ After ‘Gassing Jews’ Facebook Post
Great Neck Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas P. Dolan responded on Monday to a recent antisemitic post on a school-themed Facebook page, and linked the incident to the emerging “specter of antisemitism.”
The response follows a report in the New York Observer relating to the offensive post on the Great Neck South High School, Class of 2018 Facebook page.
The post featured what appeared to be a picture of a child, altered to appear as though the child were dressed as Hitler. The caption reads: “I’D RATHER BE GASSING JEWS RIGHT NOW.”
Great Neck Schools did not reveal the identity of the person who made the antisemitic Facebook post, but indicated that the individual was a student in another school district. Dolan assured the community that the student’s homeschool was contacted, the post removed, and the police notified.
Descendants of Holocaust Survivors Have Altered Stress Hormones
A person's experience as a child or teenager can have a profound impact on their future children's lives, new work is showing. Rachel Yehuda, a researcher in the growing field of epigenetics and the intergenerational effects of trauma, and her colleagues have long studied mass trauma survivors and their offspring. Their latest results reveal that descendants of people who survived the Holocaust have different stress hormone profiles than their peers, perhaps predisposing them to anxiety disorders.
Yehuda's team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., and others had previously established that survivors of the Holocaust have altered levels of circulating stress hormones compared with other Jewish adults of the same age. Survivors have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that helps the body return to normal after trauma; those who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have even lower levels.
It is not completely clear why survivors produce less cortisol, but Yehuda's team recently found that survivors also have low levels of an enzyme that breaks down cortisol. The adaptation makes sense: reducing enzyme activity keeps more free cortisol in the body, which allows the liver and kidneys to maximize stores of glucose and metabolic fuels—an optimal response to prolonged starvation and other threats. The younger the survivors were during World War II, the less of the enzyme they have as adults. This finding echoes the results of many other human epigenetic studies that show that the effects of certain experiences during childhood and adolescence are especially enduring in individuals and sometimes even across generations.
Most recently, a new study looked at the descendants of the Holocaust survivors. Like their parents, many have low levels of cortisol, particularly if their mothers had PTSD. Yet unlike their parents, they have higher than normal levels of the cortisol-busting enzyme. Yehuda and her colleagues theorize that this adaptation happened in utero. The enzyme is usually present in high levels in the placenta to protect the fetus from the mother's circulating cortisol. If pregnant survivors had low levels of the enzyme in the placenta, a greater amount of cortisol could make its way to the fetus, which would then develop high levels of the enzyme to protect itself.
French couple honored posthumously as Righteous Among the Nations
At 10:45 Sunday the residents of Boulleret, a picturesque village in the Loire Valley, gathered at the remembrance square. As in many other villages in France, this square commemorates the fallen in the first and second World Wars.
The mayor inaugurated a special plaque, recounting the actions of Jean and Elise Dherbier from 1943 until 1946.
Annette Waldman was four years old when our story begins. She was born in Paris, and so was her father, but the family originated from a small shtetl in Poland.
When the war broke out, Annette’s father, Isaac, was conscripted.
Her mother, Chana, was arrested by the Germans and the French police, and detained at the Drancy concentration-transport camp on the outskirts of Paris. Annette was left alone.
At first, her relatives sent her to Sully-sur-Loire, a small town hosting several such “orphaned’’ children, but Annette’s uncle felt that the place was not safe enough. He had another idea in mind. Over the years he used to spend his vacations at a little hotel in the Loire Valley. The owners, Jean and Elise Dherbier, had become his friends. He asked them if they would take in little Annette. They agreed immediately.
Tracing Jewish Heritage Along the Danube
And we all relaxed together each cocktail hour — mostly couples, mostly in their 50s to 70s, and mostly North Americans, along with some stray vacationers from England, Ireland, Australia and China — in the same pleasant lounge, with its big picture windows. Together, we admired the luxe bed linens, the Wi-Fi in every room, the bottomless free glasses of wine, the outdoor hot tub, the on-board gift shop, the minuscule hair salon and gym area, the all-inclusive pricing.
But when we stepped onto dry land in a different city each day, with local guides and buses synchronized to meet us, each traveler could choose between a Jewish heritage tour or a more standard city tour. (Independent exploration was also an option.) And we who had booked our trips in honor of our roots would, for a few hours, explore paths haunted by ghosts.
We would step into cemeteries with tumbled headstones. We would admire the very few synagogues that remain — so beautiful in Budapest, so stately in Vienna! — and listen to tales of the hundreds more destroyed. We would peer at old photographs and study rescued personal objects confiscated from the disappeared and today reverently displayed in glass cases.
Each day we walked the streets of a Jewish heritage now effectively devoid of Jews, and we listened as guides described to us what used to be and is no more, along with tempered reports of precarious Jewish life as it exists today. Then, as darkness set in, we returned to the boat to reunite with fellow passengers who had spent the day on the cruise line’s default tour of gentile European culture.
Bronze mask of Greek god Pan unearthed in northern Israel
A bronze mask in the image of the Greek god Pan -- the first such mask to be discovered anywhere in the world -- was unearthed a few weeks ago at a University of Haifa archeological dig at the Sussita National Park in northern Israel.
According to head researcher Dr. Michael Eisenberg of the Zinman Institute of Archeology, bronze masks of this size -- larger than a human head -- are extremely rare and none have yet been found depicting Pan or any other figures from Greek or Roman mythology.
"Most of the bronze masks we know of from the Greek or Roman period are small. Even the museum curators I contacted said they did not know of any bronze masks of the kind we found at Sussita, and that it was the first find of its kind in the world," Eisenberg said.
The archeologist described the moment the mask was unearthed as surprising and exciting.
Jewish teen uses Taylor Swift song to fight Parkinson’s
Zoe Butchen didn’t know much about Parkinson’s disease the night her dad, Jeff, told her and her brother at their kitchen table of his recent diagnosis of the disorder.
“I didn’t know what it was or what it meant,” said Butchen, 14. “But I thought that there had to be some way that I could get involved.”
Inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — and the Taylor Swift song “Shake it Off” — she decided to post a video to social media of herself dancing to the hit song while challenging others to do the same in the hope of raising money for Parkinson’s research.
Last October, with the support of her family, Butchen, a freshman at Ridgefield High School in Connecticut, launched a website through which donors could give to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Pears Challenge returns to bring Israeli tech to African farmers
Most of the world’s hungry people live in Africa, many of them subsistence farmers who live on the output of small plots of land that do not produce enough food or money to support their families. Israeli farming techniques and technology could be a great help to these people – which is why, said Dr. Aliza Belman-Inbal, Tel Aviv University’s Pears Challenge for Innovation and International Development is once again recruiting Israeli entrepreneurs to develop new ideas that will help the small farmers in Africa.
“Africa is clearly the future of agriculture in the world,” said Belman-Inbal, the program’s director. “It has 60 percent of the available uncultivated arable land in the world, and with the world set to double its population in the coming decades, we are going to have to produce a lot more food than we do now. Israel has a lot of experience and knowledge in these areas, and we believe that we can contribute a great deal to improving the situation in Africa.”
The Pears program intends to focus its efforts on Kenya, a country that already has an active tech innovation scene. “There are dozens of accelerators and incubators in Nairobi – it’s sort of a Silicon Savannah,” said Belman-Inbal. “Our objective is to develop connections between entrepreneurs and developers in Israel and Kenya to develop tech solutions for agricultural needs, and deliver them to small holders in the country.”
Serial entrepreneur Jon Medved pushing the boundaries of investment
Medved characterises the companies supported via OurCrowd as having three bottom lines – an ability to generate a profit, provide jobs, and improve lives.
He cites ReWalk Robotics as an example. This Israeli-founded company develops exoskeletons that help paraplegics walk upright, and was funded twice through OurCrowd and then listed on Nasdaq last year.
While OurCrowd has been successful in sourcing global investors for Israeli companies, the model also works the other way. OurCrowd has been involved in two deals in Australia, including one with Global Kinetics, which has created a wearable device for accurately recording the tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease.
“We have been typically sourcing a lot of investors into Israel startups, but we are using this platform to now bring global investors, including Israeli investors, into Australia,” Medved says.
Monash University and BGU to Launch Joint Seed Fund and Entrepreneurship Course
Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva and Monash University of Australia have partnered to establish the Monash Ben-Gurion Seed Fund to support joint research and education programs in the areas of Sustainability, Social Inclusion and Entrepreneurship.
The partnership will launch with the “Technological Entrepreneurship” course, an academic course integrating theoretical knowledge with practical business activities. It will take place in both Israel and Australia, where participants will experience multicultural, multidisciplinary and team-oriented activities. Together, the teams will develop an idea for a joint venture and bring it to life.
The program is comprised of three segments. The first is a week of activities to take place in Melbourne, Australia. During this time, Israeli and Monash students (from Australia, India and Poland) will meet and work in intermixed teams to create and develop a technological business concept. This includes conducting market analyses, preparing business plans and more. In the second segment, students will continue working separately on their business concepts, in their own countries, throughout the semester.
Gilat wins largest ever contract
Gilat Satellite Networks has won a $286 million contract for telecommunications infrastructure in remote areas of Peru.
Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (Nasdaq: GILT; TASE: GILT), which is controlled by the FIMI fund, has won a $286 million contract in Peru to set up telecommunications networks in rural areas. Gilat says that the contract with Fitel (Fondo de Inversion en Telecomunicaciones / Telecommunications Investment Fund) is the largest contract it has ever won.
Fitel's regional initiative represents the complementary phase of the Peruvian National Fiber Backbone project, aimed to connect rural villages to broadband services. Within the framework of this phase, Gilat won the bids for three regional projects -- in Huancavelica, Ayacucho and Apurimac.
These projects are BOT (Built, Operate and Transfer). The fiber-optic transport networks will be built, operated for 1 year and transferred to the ministry, while the access networks based on wireless technologies will be operated for 10 years before being transferred to the ministry. Gilat will connect about 600 public institutions to broadband services.
Unitronics to build Canada's largest automatic parking lot
Unitronics Systems will receive $24 million for the Calgary project for a major hotel chain.
Unitronics Industrial Automation Ltd. today notified the stock exchange that its subsidiary, Unitronics Systems, had signed a binding letter of intent with Properties Prestige to design, supply, and build an automatic parking lot in Calgary, Canada. Unitronics will receive $24 million (NIS 96 million) for completing the project.
According to the binding letter of intent, the automatic parking system will provide 1,400 parking places for one of the world's leading hotel chains. The full agreement between the parties is due to be signed, and the project to be completed, subject to obtaining the required permits from the relevant authorities and implementation of the project by the client. It is currently believed that implementation will begin this year.
Producer Says New ’72 Munich Terror Attack Documentary Will Differ From Others
The producer of a new documentary short on the infamous terror attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics says his team will attempt to bring a new dimension to the narrative.
In an interview with The Algemeiner Dr. Steven Ungerleider said the movie will differ from other films covering the 1972 Olympics in that it will attempt to offer reconciliation, and help people “move forward.”
The film is a creation of the Foundation for Global Sports Development and will be called “Munich 1972 & Beyond.”
Ungerleider and David Ulich of the Foundation are producing the documentary. The Foundation also announced that Emmy award-winning producer Michael Cascio, and director Stephen Crisman are working on the film. It is scheduled for release in Fall 2015.
The Foundation said that its documentary is an attempt to unravel “why and how the attack happened, its aftermath, and its importance in 2015 and beyond.”
A veteran of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Ungerleider said that the filmmakers have been working very closely with the Israeli victims of the terrorists. They want to tell the “story behind the story” by featuring the people who lost family members.
“The honoring of the Israelis needs to be addressed,” Ungerleider told The Algemeiner.
A 100th birthday gift to Einstein arrives after 7 billion years
Exactly 100 years ago, Albert Einstein formulated his theory of relativity, which has had a major effect on the way scientists see the universe. Now, researchers at Hebrew University, the Open University of Israel, Sapienza University of Rome, and University of Montpellier in France, have presented the “grand old man of physics” with a birthday present – a confirmation that his theory is correct, with proof seven billion years in the making.
The scientists said the results of the team’s experiment, published Monday in the journal Nature Physics, could be a step toward resolving one of the 20th century’s greatest dilemmas – the apparent contradictions between relativity theory and the other great pillar of modern physics, quantum mechanics.
In the experiment, researchers followed the journey of photons that were generated by a distant gamma-ray burst, some seven billion light years away from earth. Those photons, data on which were captured by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, are only now arriving in our neighborhood – and they all arrived at the same time, within fractions of a second.
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