Thursday, March 26, 2015

From Ian:

Brainwashed in Berlin
At a book opening in Jerusalem to promote his recently translated Catch the Jew, Tuvia Tenenbom spoke about how he came to write his book and his experiences as “Toby the German,” a best-selling German journalist.
Not revealing that he was Jewish, he was able to meet pro-Palestinian advocates, like Haaretz’s Gideon Levy and Arik Asherman, head of Rabbis for Human Rights, as well as NGOs like B’Tselem and Peace Now, where he uncovered the real story: a huge, foreign-funded propaganda machine to demonize Israel.
As “Toby” he also became friendly with Jabril Rajoub, the top Palestinian leader in the Hebron area. Had Arafat been alive, “Toby” would no doubt have met with the top terrorist himself.
Tenenbom spoke about rampant anti-Semitism throughout German society, editors who refused to publish what he had discovered in textbooks and on the street, and what he concluded was an attempt to camouflage “anti-Semitism” by substituting “anti-Israel.”
That explained, he said, why European governments, churches and institutions so generously funded anti-Israel NGOs. (h/t
Peter Beinart’s Israeli Democracy Problem
Last week after Israeli voters once again rejected the candidates and the policies that he believes would be best for them, writer Peter Beinart had a temper tantrum. Instead of accepting the verdict of the democratic process as did the leaders of Israel’s loyal opposition, Beinart wrote in Haaretz that American Jews must begin a campaign aimed at invalidating the votes of Israelis and to begin a “pressure process” that would force them to bow to his demands that they make unilateral concessions to the Palestinians that the overwhelming majority of the citizens of the Jewish state believe are, at best, misguided. I wrote here that this rant showed Beinart’s contempt for the democratic process, and that the premises of his argument–that Israel had not taken “risks for peace,” that “the election was not fought in the shadow of terror,” and that the Obama administration had not exerted pressure on Israel–were not so much mistaken as blatantly false. In response he wrote yesterday in Haaretz to assert that I was mistaken about the obligation to respect democratic elections as well as to claim that I was a hypocrite because I had not supported efforts to prop up Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government. But his response not only fails to address the substance of my criticism; it is as disingenuous as his original argument.
Beinart does not trouble himself to account for his staggeringly mendacious claims about Israel’s past attempts to negotiate peace or his comments about the threat from terrorism. Beinart shoves three Israeli offers of statehood to the Palestinians by non-Likud governments from 2000 to 2008 that they rejected, as well as their stonewalling during the talks last year, down the memory hole. With his no “shadow of terror” remark, he does the same for last year’s war with Hamas in which thousands of Hamas rockets rained down on Israeli cities and the fact that any Israeli schoolchild knows that the only thing preventing another campaign of suicide bombing is the West Bank security barrier, not forbearance by Hamas or Fatah killers. As for the last six years of President Obama’s sniping at Israel’s government, that is also too insignificant a detail for Beinart to notice. (h/t NormanF)
PMW: Boy on PA TV: Goal is "to boycott Israeli products and fight the Jews, kill them"
PA TV reporter: "Instilling the culture of boycotting occupation products in the hearts of children ‎and adolescents was the goal that led the [PA] Ministry of Education to place this issue at the center of ‎all school activities throughout the homeland... Through creative activities, [students] expressed ‎different views about support for national products and resistance through boycott.‎"
Boy participating in the theater contest at a school in Hebron: "I came to rehearse the play in order to boycott Israeli products and fight the Jews, kill them, and ‎defeat them. The goal is to boycott Israeli products.‎" ‎[Official PA TV, March 22 and 25, 2015]‎

Mordechai Kedar: Bittersweet Impressions from a USA Lecture Tour
However, the controversy is not limited to Netanyahu's speech, it is much broader than that. The Left liberal groups who attended my lectures made no secret of their hopes of unseating Netanyahu and gave me the impression that they had a hard time identifying with an Israel governed by the Right. The events of last summer's Protective Edge operation in Gaza only made those feelings more extreme. On the other hand, traditional audiences had a hard time accepting the possibility that Israel would submit to White House pressures on so many issues and wanted the operation to end with Hamas forced to leave Gaza.
The split among American Jewry is all the more pronounced when the relevant statistics are taken into account: most Jews (78%) voted for Obama in 2008 and somewhat less (70%) in 2012. They provided significant funding for his campaign. Jews who opposed Obama told me things like "I can sort of understand those who voted for him the first time because of the tradition that Jews vote for the Democratic Party, but a second time?" I actually met someone who was an important figure in his congregation and who severed all social ties with anyone who voted Obama this time around. But I also met Jews who see him as the Messiah and the best thing that ever happened to America and Israel.
Another factor widening the breach in the American Jewish community is the work of liberal Jewish organizations like J Street, Friends of Peace Now and student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine., all of whom spread an obviously anti Israel message although it is concealed by pro-peace rhetoric. (h/t Yenta Press)
NGO Monitor: Amnesty’s Report on Palestinian Violations: Political Fig Leaf Without Substance
Today, Amnesty International belatedly published a report alleging that “Palestinian armed groups killed civilians on both sides in attacks amounting to war crimes” during the 2014 Gaza conflict. In the report, “Unlawful and deadly: Rocket and mortar attacks by armed groups during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict,” In 63 pages, Amnesty claims to examine “The conduct of Palestinian armed groups, including firing from residential areas and the use of indiscriminate munitions” that affected civilians in Gaza and Israel (and the West Bank).
However, this publication, like most of Amnesty’s “investigations” of armed conflict (as detailed in NGO Monitor’s analysis), lacks professional credibility and is of limited value. Its “methodology” and “fieldwork” consist of interviews, studying “relevant documentation,” and “monitor[ing] and analys[ing] public statements by the Israeli authorities during and after the conflict.”
This single “report” on Palestinian war crimes is clearly part of Amnesty’s political strategy in support for the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry (formerly led by William Schabas) and cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Amnesty played a similar central role in the now discredited Goldstone process (2009).
NGO Monitor: Leaked HoMs Report on Jerusalem - Another Example of EU Subcontracting Policy to NGOs
An article published Friday, March 20, 2015 in The Guardian ("Jerusalem at boiling point of polarisation and violence - EU report") describes how another European Heads of Missions (HoMs) report on Jerusalem was leaked, in violation of internal EU processes and diplomatic norms. The HoMs reports, written by the heads of the EU's member states diplomatic missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah, deal with central, complex, and sensitive issues of Israeli policy in Jerusalem, "Area C," Gaza, the status of Israeli-Arab citizens, and allegations of settler violence.
According to The Guardian, the latest HoMs report dealing with Jerusalem blames Israel for terrorism against Israeli civilians and calls for sanctions against Israel. The leaked report describes the emergence of a "vicious cycle of violence ... increasingly threatening the viability of the two-state solution," which it says has been stoked by the continuation of "systematic" settlement building by Israel in "sensitive areas" of Jerusalem.
As in the past, this EU report was leaked to the media where its conclusions were covered extensively in Israel and internationally. Yet, despite the leak, the report is still considered an internal document. Thus, the content of the report can affect policy makers and public opinion, but it remains shielded from public scrutiny and bypasses recognized diplomatic norms.
No Longer The UN, But UNAI- United Nations Against Israel
Israel is a leading country when it comes to women’s rights. There’s no doubt that the sky is the limit to all women here, and any woman can do and be anything her heart desires (under the limits of the still ongoing women discrimination worldwide.) If you look at our neighbors, however, you’ll see a different reality.
The ruler of terrible women rights policy is Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive, and must cover their heads and bodies when in public. In the eyes of the United Nations, however, the only country in the world that needs to be condemned for offending women’s rights is Israel.
At the closing of the 59th UN Commission on the Status of Women, this Friday, only one political resolution was passed; one that accuses Israel of mistreating Palestinian women, in all aspects of life. Once again, instead of helping those in need, such as women in Syria, Saudi Arabia or even Iran, the UN chooses to turn a blind eye to actual suffering, and dig deeper into the only liberal state in the Middle East. Since there’s no problem with women in Israel, they chose to blame it for women’s right issues in the Palestinian Authority, for the “honor killings” there and the Islamic ruling is, of course, Israel’s doing.
The Judean People's Front: What is Anti-Semitism Really?
One of the most frustrating things for a Jew to hear is for someone to say, "well, I'm a Semite (Arab or Muslim, when many of the later aren't even Semites), therefore I can't be anti-Semitic." Or "Jews aren't the only Semites; Palestinians are Semites too, so you're actually the anti-Semite."
There are two main problems with this line of thinking:
The first problem is that this fundamentally redefines what anti-Semitism means and has always meant.
Anti-Semitism does not, and never has meant hatred of Semites. It has always, only meant hatred of Jews.
It wasn't enough to simply make do with the traditional anti-Judaism that Christian Europe had been peddling for millennia. The modern, racially pure German Aryan needed a scientific, race-based term for their hatred of the Hebrew people. Anti-Semitism fit this need perfectly.
However, since most people don't know that anti-Semitism has always been used to refer solely to Jew-hatred, many Jew-haters are able to confuse them. After all, if you didn't know this, it would make perfect sense that anti-Semitism would refer to all Semites and not just Jews.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s 'Heretic' Asks Muslims: 'Whose Side Are You On?'
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an ex-Muslim activist and prolific author, has released a new book titled Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation, where she discusses strategies on how to fundamentally transform Islam as a whole for the better.
Ali, who renounced Islam and now lives under constant protection due to fatwas that demand her assassination, talked to the New York Post about her new title.
“The assumption is that, in Islam, there are a few rotten apples, not the entire basket. I’m saying it’s the entire basket,” Ali stressed, in calling for a revolution within Islam similar to the Protestant Reformation.
The Heretic author, who spent her early childhood in Somalia and was brought up in other African countries, witnessed life under Islamic rule firsthand. In 1992, she escaped to Netherlands, following her renouncement of Islam and declaration that she was an atheist.
The dangers of feeding lies to Muslim children
Australia - Victoria's Education Minister, James Merlino, called the principal's comments "reckless and dangerous," but said there wasn't much he could do because the school is "independent." The Islamic Council of Victoria spokesman Kuranda Seyit said he did not support Hallak's comments and while "everyone has a right to have their own theories and beliefs" teachers should not be confusing young people. He also made laudable comments about the need for harmony in a multicultural society.
But last year the council itself drew an explicit link between Israel's actions in Gaza and the surge of recruits to IS, without challenging the underlying premise that a geographically removed conflict largely focused on slaughtering Muslim apostates is the responsibility of Israel. Hallak goes even further than alleging Israel fuels IS and says that Israel is IS.
Neither Seyit's nor Merlino's criticisms nail the problem. Hallak isn't simply "confusing" his students with his quirky "theories," he's feeding them outright lies, sinister, not to mention racist, fairy-tales directly contradicted by evidence. The lies are indeed dangerous, even if the purveyor of those lies doesn't recognise them as such. What's our Western education system worth if independent schools are allowed the independence to represent toxic lies as verifiable truth?
And how do we dissuade young people from joining a murderous band of ideologues when there are authority figures so blinded by ideology they can't even see the problem?
IsraellyCool: Roseanne Barr: In Praise Of Israeli Democracy
All of you – you have shown the world why Israel is a great state, an inclusive state, a state where divergent opinions are shared in the process of creating just law, and correcting unjust ones.
This is what I hoped for when I supported Bibi. Israeli democracy proves that it is more inclusive than any other democracy on earth. It has communists, socialists, capitalists, labor activists, Arabs, Druze Christians Muslims, Africans, Asians, Kurds, even Bahai and atheists gays, lesbians, trans, visionaries and artists, many of whom are women who are allowed to excel and profit. It has right wing anti Zionist Jews and Zionist Jews and atheist Zionist Jews and Jews who hate Jews who don’t hate the right Jews.
Bibi listens to the people he represents, though he is often crude and overbearing, like all Jewish fathers can be – you know who you are! It’s proven that only his words, and the words of no other Israeli, can move people and bring them to the polls to vote for him, or against him. That is why people win elections, or lose them, after all.
He says what people in his base want to hear, like President Obama does, so they know that he has listened to them. He assures right wing Jews that he will never compromise their safety, because he has to say that. When President Obama promised his base that he would immediately closed Guantanamo Prison, upon his election, he had to say that or his base would not have voted for him either.
Daniel Mael: Offense Welcome: In Defense of Free Speech on Campus
Banning such events, speakers and displays is not the answer. It is a stance not only intellectually bankrupt, but one that solidifies a dangerous precedent: the intolerance of free speech.
Removing dissent -- however morally intended -- is intrinsically antithetical to education, especially at a university.
The greatest problem with the current lot of anti-Israel voices is not that they are "offensive" or "mean;" it is that what they say contains outright lies and falsehoods.
However malicious or misguided, the speech and conduct of those who oppose Israel --who cannot or will not see the difference between an open, tolerant democracy and repressive, authoritarian governments -- should be refuted, not suppressed.
The Four Anti-Zionists
In the Passover Haggadah, we read the passage of the four sons:
One of the obligations of the Passover seder, is “v’higadita l’bincha”, “you should tell it to your child”. This requires communicating and teaching one’s child using an individualized, differentiated approach. The Haggadah presents a question from each child, as well as an answer that caters to their cognitive ability and nature.
The passage of the four sons can also be applied to four categories of anti-Zionists. When one is passionate about a cause like Israel, it is tempting to paint all anti-Zionists with a broad brush and chalk it all up to antisemitism. In fact, just as not all children learn and understand in the same manner, so too not all anti-Zionists are alike, either. The parable of the four sons can provide insight into how to understand and respond to four types of anti-Zionists: the intellectual, the blatant antisemite, the humanitarian idealist, and the ignoramus. Hopefully, this individualized approach can help plant some seeds of conciliation and consideration for Israel in their hearts.
USAC President Avinoam Baral Blames Netanyahu for BDS
In a recent opinion column for Haaretz, a left-wing Israeli newspaper, USAC president Avinoam Baral attributed the victory of the anti-Israel BDS movement on college campuses to Benjamin Netanyahu’s democratic reelection as Israeli prime minister. Baral wrote:
The situation has gotten so bad, so indefensible, that, over the past year, the pro-Israel community has given up on defending Netanyahu's policies. Instead, on-campus activism consists of harmless events about Israel’s startup scene or innovative water conservation research. Even “defensive” actions by pro-Israel groups against student government BDS resolutions no longer target the foundation of the BDS movement (that there are human rights violations occurring and that the best way to stop them is to cut ties with those complicit in them), for while they often lack critical context, the citations in the BDS resolutions about Israel’s human rights violations are ironclad. When the pro-Israel camp cannot present an alternative to the cycle of violence, it is very hard to oppose loud, angry students who say they have the answer.
As president of UCLA student council, Baral has been at the forefront of recent occurrences surrounding Israel and anti-Semitism at UCLA, including the passing of a divestment resolution as campaigned by the anti-Israel Students for Justice in Palestine, a student potentially denied a position to USAC for being Jewish, and a resolution passed by USAC against anti-Semitism. The common denominator in fueling these cases seemed to be the twisted libels spread by the pro-Hamas SJP, who manipulate cover of ‘human rights’ to demonize Israel and Jewish students on campus.
French company quits Jerusalem cable car project
For political reasons, the French company SAFEGE has withdrawn from the Jerusalem cable-car project, which is largely located over the Green Line.
After two years of involvement in the project during the feasibility-study stage, the company decided to forgo any further participation, Le Figaro. The decision was made “to avoid any political interpretations,” a representative of SAFEGE’s parent company, Suez Environnement, told the newspaper.
Poma, another French company considered a world leader in cable cars, said a few days ago that it has no involvement in the project.
The Jerusalem cable car project is designed to offer a low cost solution to traffic congestion downtown and around the Old City. The plan is to have the car running through four stations: neat the Old Train Station at the northern end of Emek Refaim Street in the German Colony neighborhood, outside the Old City by the Dung Gate, near the Seven Arches Hotel on the Mount of Olives, and at the Garden of Gethsemane.
Labor [Australia] defeats a pro-Israel motion in the Senate
Senator Bob Day (Family First, South Australia) and NSW LDP Senator Leyonhjelm put the following motion to the Senate for a vote this Monday, 23 March 2015:
That the Senate acknowledges, respects and values:
(a) the historical ties between Australia and Israel, starting with the Beersheba campaign of 1917;
(b) Australian trade with Israel nearing $1 billion per annum; and
(c) the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
Sadly, Labor voted down the pro-Israel motion.
Cesar Chavez on Zionism
This month we celebrate the birthday of Cesar Chavez, a friend to Israel and the Jewish people.
Following the 1974 UN Resolution equating Zionism with racism, Chavez wrote to Rabbi Sidney Jacobs of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.
From the letter, reproduced below:
The following statement was adopted by the National Executive Board of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO
The recent United Nations resolution condemning Zionism as racism is an affront to the Jewish people who have been history’s primary victims of racism.
UK Media Watch prompts correction at The Independent over wild Gaza reconstruction claim
An op-ed by Yawa Hawari published in The Independent on March 17th included quite a few wild claims about Israel and Gaza reconstruction, including this:
We have never even come across any similar claim about Gaza post-war reconstrution, suggesting that Palestinians must “surrender their house coordinates to the IOF [sic]” as a requirement for receiving building materials, and upon researching it further we were unable to find any source corroborating it.
So, we contacted COGAT (Coordinator of Israeli Government Activities in the West Bank and Gaza) to ask them about it. They responded by confirming that such information (on the purpose and location of proposed reconstruction sites in Gaza) is in fact sent, under the UN Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, to the Palestinian Authority, not to the IDF.
BBC interviewee’s group noted in terrorism study
As readers who do not confine their news consumption to the BBC may already be aware, the Times (among others) recently reported on a new study by Raffaello Pantucci of RUSI.
“One single Islamic extremist network emerges as the dominant force in big terror attacks and plots in Britain over the past 20 years, a new study shows.
The al-Muhajiroun organisation, which targets young Muslims, has been so successful in radicalising jihadists that its influence can be seen in about half of atrocities committed or planned by Britons at home and abroad. The group has been banned but gets around the law by changing its name. […]
Al-Muhajiroun was founded by Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Syrian refugee who settled in Britain in 1986 and then emigrated to Lebanon. Subsequently, its leading figure was Anjem Choudary, a radical London activist, who has 28,600 Twitter followers.”

Anjem Choudary is of course a familiar figure to BBC audiences. One has to wonder whether the findings of this study will have any effect on the BBC’s existing opinion that giving airtime to his views provides “insight” to the licence fee-paying public.
Harvey Weinstein Encourages Jewish Action Against Antisemites: ‘Kick These Guys in the Ass’
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on Tuesday night urged Jews to stand together and act against antisemites, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“We better stand up and kick these guys in the ass,” he said upon accepting the Humanitarian Award at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s National Tribute Dinner at the Beverly Hilton. “We’re gonna have to get as organized as the mafia. We just can’t take it anymore [from] these crazy bastards.”
Weinstein admitted he was moved when he read The Atlantic Monthly‘s April cover story headlined ‘Should the Jews leave Europe?‘ and a piece by New York Times columnist David Brooks about how to combat antisemitism. He said, “It’s like, here we go again, we’re right back where we were [before the Holocaust]. And the lessons of the past are we better stand up and kick these guys in the ass.”
The co-head of The Weinstein Company said he believes it is time for Jews to band together with those Muslims “who are honorable and peaceful.” He noted that while Jews must be understanding of their “Arab brothers and our Islamic brothers, we also have to understand that these crazy bastards [Arab and Islamic extremists] are also killing their own.”
Obama Lackey, Anti-Israel Propagandist Harvey Weinstein Honored for Fighting Anti-Semitism
Weinstein himself is fine with purveying anti-Semitism in films he supports. He produced and distributed Miral, an anti-Semitic diatribe straight from the Palestinian playbook. American Jewish Committee executive director David Harris said the film was a “blatantly one-sided event… the film has a clear political message, which portrays Israel in a highly negative light.” Weinstein then used his Jewish birth to defend the film, which uses every anti-Israel trope in the book. The Forward described the film thusly:
[T]he Israelis depicted onscreen — soldiers bulldozing homes and countering rock-throwing with machine-gun fire, wardens whipping political prisoners and settlers building homes in Arab population centers because, as one character puts it, “what they really want is all of Palestine” — don’t necessarily come across as the peace-seeking sort.
Weinstein, however, said that the film was wonderful:
As a Jewish American, I can categorically state that I would not be releasing a film that was flagrantly biased towards Israel or Judaism.
Could the Allies Have Saved Jews From the Nazis?
A major event took place Jerusalem last week examining in depth, perhaps for the first time, whether the Allied countries could have done more to save Jews during the Holocaust.
The event, entitled "The Allied Powers’ Response to the Holocaust," featured speakers such as Dr. Rafael Medoff of he David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, Professor Robert Wistrich of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Professor Stephen Norwood, University of Oklahoma, among others from the U.S., UK, China, Poland, and Israel – all of whom have written about the matter.
In several books, Medoff has examined the role of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in actions – or lack of them – to assist Jews during the Holocaust. Roosevelt, contended Medoff at the event, had a “problematic” attitude to Jews, and rejected nearly all proposals to assist Jews who were attempting to flee the Nazis.
Mystery after list of Auschwitz inmates found in Polish library
Historians at the Auschwitz memorial and high school officials in central Poland are trying to determine how a list of 15 Polish and Jewish inmates of the Nazi death camp made it into a school library book.
A typewritten page, stained, with edges burnt was found last month inside a 1923 Polish book on the history of warfare, during a library stock-taking at the 2nd Lyceum in Lodz, some 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the former camp.
“We have no idea how or when it came to be in this book,” school director Jadwiga Ochocka told The Associated Press.
Anti-Israel hackers promise ‘electronic Holocaust’
After threatening to send the country to “Israhell” last summer, anti-Israel hackers are promising an “electronic Holocaust” next month.
An electronic voiceover claiming to be from the amorphous hacking group Anonymous warned in a video released this week that hackers “will punish the foolish Zionist entity” for its “bombing, killing and kidnapping of the Palestinian people.”
“As we did many times, we will take down your servers, government web sites, Israeli military web sites and Israeli institutions,” the voiceover said. “We will erase you from cyberspace in our electronic Holocaust”, which the group says will take place on April 7.
Though they call themselves “anonymous,” said Daniel Cohen, a research associate at the Israel Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) Cyber Warfare program, they have conducted enough attacks against Israel for experts to get some data on their identity.
Sincerest Form Of Flattery Moment: UK Government Copies The IDF’s Talpiot Scheme
Press release from the UK Government:
Cyber First will offer both financial assistance for those studying relevant science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses at undergraduate level and include work experience with government or UK private sector firms within the field of national security. There is a guarantee of employment upon graduation. GCHQ will run this as a pilot scheme which will provide funding of £4,000 for each of up to 20 student places. It is intended that a full scheme across participating departments, agencies and industry will be implemented in 2016, building on the pilot and lessons learned.
The scheme is based on the Israeli Talpiot scheme which identifies exceptional cyber promise to create a cyber elite force who go on to great careers in government and the private sector. Israel has more high-tech start-ups and a larger venture capital industry per capita than any other country.
Saving lives by monitoring chronic heart failure at home
Chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) is the primary cause of hospitalization in people over the age of 65, affecting about 26 million people globally. The related cost in the United States alone is estimated at up to $40 billion. About half that amount stems from hospital readmissions — 25 percent of heart-failure patients are readmitted within a month, and half within six months.
Israeli devices such as Impulse Dynamics’ Optimizer III and BioControl Medical’s CardioFit offer novel treatment options for CHF.
Here we’ll take a look at some Israeli companies developing better ways to manage and monitor this progressive condition, to improve patients’ quality of life and avoid repeated hospitalizations.
Vectorious Medical Technologies of Tel Aviv recently closed a $5 million financing round for the development of its miniature wireless hemodynamic monitoring sensory implant toward first human trials. Among the investors is the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center of the Cleveland Clinic.
Porcupine turns up 1,400-year-old lamp
Israeli archaeologists are praising a local rodent for its contributions to their field after it uncovered an ancient lamp.
A team of officials from the Israel Antiquities Authority’s anti-theft department were on a routine patrol at the Horbat Siv site in the central Emek Hefer region when they happened upon a pile of dirt next to the opening of a porcupine den.
Lying in the dust was a 1,400-year-old intact ceramic lamp with signs of use. An IAI statement said the lamp — which was dug up by the porcupine — helped archaeologists date the ruins and when the site was populated.
Gucci picks Gal Gadot for top job
Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot is set to become the new face of Gucci Fragrances, amid hype surrounding the soon-to-be-released Batman v Superman film in which she stars as Wonder Woman.
The 29-year-old will join a distinguished list of celebrities who modeled for the brand, including Natasha Foley, Raquel Zimmermann and Blake Lively.
However, on the Hollywood front, critics have panned Gadot for her gaunt physique and claimed that she was unsuitable to play the lead role in the DC Entertainment/Warner Bros film — which the actress brushed off as “empty talk,” saying that she remained unfazed by the criticism.
Global Jewish Genealogy Database Grows to 1 Million Entries
A growing Jewish genealogy database announced that it has reached 1 million entries.
The Knowles Collection, which globally links generations of Jewish families, launched about seven years ago and is searchable for free online at The database has been growing by about 10,000 names per month, with contributions of records from more than 80 countries.
Though the collection, researchers “have the chance to compare their Jewish family histories against the collections of FamilySearch, giving families more opportunities to expand, preserve, and share them,” said Todd Knowles, a Jewish genealogy specialist who founded the database.
Spain close to granting citizenship to relatives of Jews expelled in 1492
The Spanish government is on the cusp of passing a law that would grant citizenship to the descendents of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492.
On Wednesday evening, the Spanish parliament approved the law and it will go for a second vote in the Spanish senate, the parliament's upper chamber, according to a report by the Financial Times. If passed, the law would come into effect in May and the application process would begin at the end of 2015.
Around 300,000 Jews lived in Spain before the Catholic monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand, ordered Jews and Muslims to either convert to the Catholic faith or leave the country as a way to establish a purely Roman Catholic monarch.
The government of Spain officially estimated that around 90,000 people will apply for citizenship, which would also grant them a passport allowing free access to live, work and travel throughout the European Union. The government said that it does not expect most applicants to move to Spain, but rather to stay in their current countries and use the Spanish passports as a secondary one.
Turkey unveils Great Synagogue as Jewish population fades
When the domes of Edirne's abandoned Great Synagogue caved in, Rifat Mitrani, the town's last Jew, knew it spelled the end of nearly two millennia of Jewish heritage in this Turkish town.
As a boy, Mitrani studied Hebrew in the synagogue's gardens and in the 1970s, dispatched its Torah to Istanbul after the community shrank to just three families. In 1975, he unlocked its doors and swept away the cobwebs to marry his wife Sara.
"Only I am left. It happens slowly, becoming the last one," said Mitrani, 65, whose family fled here more than 500 years ago.
Now a five-year, $2.5 million government project has restored the synagogue's lead-clad domes and resplendent interior ahead of its Thursday re-opening, the first temple to open in Turkey in two generations, but one without worshippers.
It is part of a relaxation of curbs on religious minorities ushered in during President Tayyip Erdogan's 12 years in power.
Yet it coincides with a spike in anti-Semitism in predominantly Muslim Turkey and a wave of Jews moving away, say members of the aging community, which has shrunk by more than a third in the last quarter century.

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