Tuesday, April 21, 2015

From Ian:

'Meaning of independence is the ability to defend yourself'
At 8 p.m. Tuesday night, a one-minute siren will sound throughout Israel to mark the start of Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism. A total of 23,320 Israelis have fallen in battle or been killed in terrorist attacks since 1860, when Jews first moved outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.
In the past year, 116 Israeli soldiers were added to the list of the fallen, including 67 who were killed in Operation Protective Edge last summer and 35 disabled IDF veterans.
There are 553 Israeli soldiers whose places of burial are unknown, including most recently Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, whose body was seized by Hamas last July.
On Tuesday night, the traditional Memorial Day opening ceremony will be held at the Western Wall, with President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot in attendance.
On Wednesday, around 1.5 million Israelis are expected to visit military cemeteries across the country, from Kiryat Shmona in the north to Eilat in the south. At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, a two-minute siren will sound throughout the country.
JPost Editorial: Unique remembrance

Of course, the day was set aside to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that the world’s only Jewish state continues to thrive and to comfort those whose loved ones are no longer with us.
But Remembrance Day is also a time of introspection.
Defense of Jewish sovereignty in Israel is a two-pronged challenge. One aspect consists of the physical protection of the Jewish people from its many enemies. Jewish power must be brandished through a strong army that is well-equipped with the most advanced weaponry. Maintaining a technological edge over the nations that inhibit the region is essential to deterrence.
Even mutually assured destruction – that element in the balance of powers that prevented a nuclear Holocaust during the long years of the Cold War – might not deter religious fanatics like the apocalyptic Shi’ite mullahs presently running Iran. But in general, it is safe to assume that as long as Israel’s enemies are cognizant of Israel’s unparalleled military advantage, they will refrain from aggression.
However, keeping a technical advantage over neighboring nations and terrorist organizations is not enough, and is ultimately tied to more fundamental aspects of Israeli society. Israel’s astounding technical innovation cannot be divorced from Israel’s unique character.
Latma: We'll be the Judge, episode 10

Commencing Memorial Day, PM says Jews have no future without Israel
The event marked the opening of some 28 hours of commemorations and ceremonies nationwide to honor the 23,320 soldiers and victims who died in the nation’s defense or in terror attacks. They are remembered by 16,760 bereaved families in Israel.
In the 142 years since the 1873 death of 23-year-old Jerusalem seminary student Aharon Hershele, the first name on that list, “the battlefields almost haven’t changed,” the PM said at the Yad Lebanim ceremony.
“The enemies have changed, but as our enemies’ threats to destroy our home grow, so grows our determination to defend this home,” he continued. “This spirit that surges within us has not ebbed with the passage of the years. It only grows stronger. We saw this spirit last summer in Operation Protective Edge — what courage, what camaraderie, what unity, what sacrifice.”
Over the past year, 116 people were added to the list. Sixty-seven of them were killed during Operation Protective Edge.
Netanyahu spoke about the Diaspora soldiers, such as Max Steinberg, who fell in Operation Protective Edge last summer.
“We saw lone soldiers who came from the Diaspora to serve Israel and the Israel Defense Forces, and fell in battle. They left a family and a comfortable life abroad and chose to enlist as warriors. They said, ‘This is our home. We have come to protect it.’”
“My brothers and sisters, grieving families, the cords that bind us to this land and country are strong and eternal…. The blood of our loved ones is soaked in its earth. And when the pain waxes, and the agonies of loss intensify, we find comfort in the fact that these sons and daughters died for the noblest of causes: to ensure the survival of this nation. I say ‘the survival of this nation,’ because there is no future for the Jewish nation without the State of Israel. And it has a future, if we are wise enough to protect our state.”
Ben-Dror Yemini: The enemies of commemoration
As always, the days between Holocaust Remembrance Day and Memorial Day for Israel's Fallen Soldiers are another opportunity to censure the memory. The explanations repeat themselves: Education for nationalism, separatism, fascism, bla bla bla. "The education minister's initiative to teach the Holocaust in kindergartens" is presented again as an example. The lie is repeated 1,000 times, and it wins.
The simple truth is that the Education Ministry wanted to adopt an educational initiative of Yad Vashem, whose main goal, among preschoolers, is to nurture respect for the other and the different. But to hell with the facts. Here's another opportunity to claim that Israel is a fascist country.
Memorial Day for Israel's Fallen Soldiers receives a similar welcome. In Israel, it should be noted, death is not a cause for celebration. No one gets caught in illusions about 72 virgins. Families don't set up a tent and hand out candy for their son becoming a shahid. The direction is completely different: In their death they willed us life.
But don’t worry. Those who suggest that we erase the Israeli memory are usually those who preach in favor of raising awareness of the Nakba. They are not very good with facts nor with logic. This isn't a matter of left or right. The enemies and disrupters of the memory belong to a small minority, which is highly involved in the public discourse. And that's a shame. In the left, let there be no doubt, there are much more sane voices, and even a connection between memory and commemoration and helping people in distress.
French, Danish Jews killed in terror attacks to be honored in special Memorial Day ceremony
The Jewish Agency's annual Memorial Day ceremony will honor the victims killed in the anti-Semitic attacks committed in Paris and Copenhagen this year.
The ceremony, which will take place Wednesday morning at the Agency's Jerusalem headquarters, will memorialize Israel's fallen soldiers, the country's civilians killed by terrorist activities, as well as the 200 Jews killed in anti-Semitic attacks outside of Israel since 1948
In its 2015 incarnation however, the ceremony will also include the unveiling of a memorial column inscribed with the names of the victims killed in the Paris Hyper Cacher supermarket, Phillipe Braham, Yohan Cohen, Yoav Hattab in Paris as well as Dan Uzan, who was killed at the Great Synagogue in Copenhagen.
Valerie Braham, the widow of Phillope Braham, as well as Sergeot Uzan, father of Dan Uzan, will provide a special address.
Israeli flags fly high in Amsterdam as part of solidarity campaign
On April 8, the European Jewish Association launched a solidarity campaign to fight anti-Semitism in Europe and one pastor in the Netherlands has already taken heed of the call.
Last Saturday, Stan Kamps, a Canadian-born pastor of an English-language baptist church in the Dutch city of Almere, took to the busy Amsterdam streets with members of his church and a large Israeli flag.
"I have not always gone out with an Israeli flag but this last Saturday we did. We met many people from Israel and spoke with them and also informed many others of the facts regarding the land of Israel," Kamps wrote via email. He said that during the day, the group walked around the busy downtown area with Israeli flags, handed out literature about Israel and its history, and spoke to people on the street in an effort to dispel myths people might have about the country.
The inspiration to take part in the campaign came after reading a Jerusalem Post article about anti-Semitism faced by Holland's Chief Rabbi Benjamin Jacobs, saying that in recent years it has become commonplace for people on the street to yell anti-Semitic epithets at him.
On Israel’s Memorial Day, One Man’s Quest to Channel the Trauma of Terror Victims Into Something Positive
In 2002, Jacob Kimchy’s father died in a Hamas suicide bombing in his hometown of Rishon LeZion. Thirteen years later Kimchy is still struggling with the loss, including nightmares that have him screaming in middle of the night. Nevertheless, he has embarked on a journey to help other terror victims overcome their traumas as Israel on Wednesday marks Yom Hazikaron, the national day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.
“I met victims of trauma that would not share anything,” said Kimchy. The pain builds up inside the victims, “it’s like a poison. It kills you and eats you slowly. The other way is to open your heart, to open your mouth, to express and to share, and to do.”
“In the psychological world there’s something called Post-Traumatic Growth” and it presents another path for victims of trauma, said Kimchy. It involves taking what happened and turning it into “something bigger.” It can then become something more positive in their own lives.
Shalom Yohai Sherki Recognized as Terror Victim
Shalom Yohai Sherki, who was murdered in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem last week, was on Monday officially recognized by the State of Israel as a victim of terrorism.
A spokesman for the National Insurance Institute, Chaim Fitoussi, told Arutz Sheva that Sherki’s name would be entered into the list of citizens who were killed in acts of terrorism and has been recognized as a terror victim by the authorities.
Sherki’s family was updated of the development by representatives of the National Insurance Institute, said Fitoussi.
Sherki, 26, was initially injured when a Palestinian Arab driver deliberately rammed his car into a Jerusalem bus stop. He was taken to hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries. Another victim, 20-year-old Shira Klein, was seriously injured in the attack.
Slain Palestinian teen added to Israel’s terror victims monument
Muhammed Abu Khdeir’s name has been added to the Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, the national cemetery, as Israel gears up to observe a day of mourning for fallen soldiers and victims of terror.
On Tuesday, Abu Khdeir’s name also showed up on the government’s online database of terror victims, next to an Israeli flag overlaid with a picture of the Blood of the Maccabees flower, which has come to symbolize the country’s fallen. The database is compiled by the National Insurance Institute, Israel’s social security agency, which determines who qualifies for the stipends allotted to terror victims.
Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror attacks begins Tuesday evening and will last until Wednesday evening, when it will fade into Independence Day celebrations.
In an apparent revenge attack in early July 2014, three Jewish Israeli men allegedly abducted the 16-year-old Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, beat him with tire irons and burned his corpse in a forest outside the city.
Abu Khdeir’s father, Hussein, said that he wasn’t informed of the move to include his son on the memorial, and that he opposed it. In an interview with Ynet, he said that all he wanted was for his son’s killers to be punished. “That’s the most important thing to me — not the honor bestowed on my son,” he said. “My son is gone. My son was burned and we burned along with him. I want justice, not honor.” Hussein Abu Khdeir also noted that his son was not an Israeli citizen.
CAMERA: Times of Israel Corrects Regarding Arab Victims of Terror
CAMERA's Israel office prompts correction of a Times of Israel headline and article which wrongly reported that Muhammed Abu Khdeir is the first Arab killed by Jews to be included in a monument for terror victims on Jerusalem's Mount Herzl national cemetery.
About the Jerusalem teen who was brutally murdered last July, The Times of Israel's headline originally stated: "In first, Arab slain by Jews added to terror victims monument."
In addition, the article had reported:
Hagai Admon, director of Mount Herzl, told The Times of Israel that, to the best of his knowledge, Abu Khdeir was the first Arab citizen killed by Jews in a hate crime to be added to the Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial.
A brief search reveals that there are at least two more Arabs killed by Jews whose names appear on the Har Herzl memorial. They are Michael Bachut, 55, of Shfaram, shot to death on Aug. 4, 2005 by Eden Natan Zada (plaque 63 on the memorial) and Hamis Eyob Tutnaji, 32, of Shuafat in Jerusalem, murdered by Jewish passengers in his taxi April 23, 1985 (plaque 50).
In addition, Muhammed Abed Rabba, 23, of Tsur Bachar, in Jerusalem, killed April 25, 2002, by Israeli soldiers who mistakenly thought him suspicious, also appears on the Herzl memorial for terror victims (plaque 72).
PMW: While Israel mourns terror,‎ the PA celebrates terror
While Israel mourns its terror victims and fallen soldiers on Israel's Memorial Day (Wednesday), the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, both headed by Mahmoud Abbas, continue to celebrate, honor, and present as role models those responsible for terror.
14 terrorists who murdered a total of at least 160 people were honored by the PA this month. Abbas personally honored 4 Palestinian terrorists. He cited "the first Martyr," "the first [male] prisoner" and "the first female fighter prisoner," all of whom he awarded with "decorations of military honor, in admiration of their militant pioneering role." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 17, 2015] He also honored arch-terrorist Abu Jihad, who the PA credits with orchestrating attacks in which 125 were murdered. Abbas was the patron of a rally held in Abu Jihad's honor. Abbas "expressed his pride" in Abu Jihad "for his significant national role." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 3, 2015]
Ibrahim Hamed, killer of 46, and other mass murderers glorified on PA TV

Tuvia Tenenbom: Undercover With the Israeli Left
Below is an excerpt from author Tuvia Tenenbom’s latest novel, Catch the Jew! The book recounts the adventures of Tuvia, posing as a foreign journalist in Israel and the Palestinian territories, as he tracks the activities of left-wing and anti-Israel organizations.
On the next day I again join the ex-Jew Itamar and the Italians. Today they go to Yad Vashem, and I wonder how they’ll feel at the Dead Jews’ Museum.
Itamar is leading the tour but he’s not just a tour guide, he’s also an educator and as we walk from section to section in this museum Itamar does his best to turn the WWII story into a contemporary one. He achieves this admired goal by making comparisons between then and now. If you are perplexed and don’t know what this means, let me be clearer: between yesterday’s Nazis and today’s Israelis.
“In Israel today, Africans are being put into concentration camps,” Itamar says, referring to illegal Sudanese and Eritrean immigrants.
I’ve heard about various problems and issues with those Africans, though I have never heard about them being put into concentration camps. But, to be fair, I write a note for myself to meet these Africans and to also check whether there is forced labor or crematoriums operating in Israel.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Defending the Right to Offend
This article is based on Ayaan Hirsi Ali's speech in Berlin on April 19.
It is nearly 10 years since a Danish newspaper published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, unleashing a storm of protest by Muslims around the world, and exposing a rift in Europe between true believers in free expression and those prepared to appease religious zealots. At around that time, I came to Berlin to defend the right to offend. Sadly, that right is less secure today than it was in 2005.
Think only of the massacre of the Charlie Hebdo staff in Paris on January 7, and the gruesome shootings of the people in the Jewish deli that same day. And then consider the bewildering comments by the American cartoonist Garry Trudeau in a speech he gave ten days ago, in which he condemned "free speech absolutists" for not using "judgment and common sense." By publishing "crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons," Trudeau declared, "Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech." He even criticized the French authorities for arresting "Muslims who had foolishly used their freedom of speech to express their support of the attacks." Would he have preferred them to arrest Stéphane Charbonnier, the editor of Charlie Hebdo?
I am a free speech absolutist. Perhaps the biggest tragedy in the West today is the fact that freedom of speech is no longer a right that we can take for granted. It is now a privilege available only to those with armed security.
Those who want to silence the debate on Islam -- on what is explicitly done in the name of Muhammad, and according to the instructions of the Quran -- are not only threatened with physical assassination, but must also endure systematic attempts at character assassination. (h/t Alexi)
We Need to Start Taking Anti-Semites at Their Word
When a University of Oklahoma fraternity sings a racist chant, we take them at their word. When LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling makes racist comments, we take him at his word. When racist emails of Ferguson officials are leaked, we take them at their word. As we should. Perpetuating racist discourse merely normalizes and reinforces racist behavior and structures. This is true for any system of prejudice and hatred.
Why, then, are anti-Semites so rarely taken at their word? Some Iranian officials broadcast their intention to use a nuclear weapon to wipe Israel off the map. But many still believe they will use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes if we negotiate properly. The Hamas charter states that it is each Muslim’s responsibility to kill Jews. But some still assert that Hamas terrorizes Israeli citizens merely as a political statement for their own domestic consumption. Last week, both Bosnian and Dutch soccer fans, on two separate occasions, sang chants about burning and killing Jews. Plenty dismissed that as “boys will be boys.” This week, two New York high school students were photographed underage drinking, wearing tee shirts with a swastika and the word “Auschwitz.” Just hooligans looking for attention.
On American college campuses and in the greater international community, those who espouse the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people are regarded as having humanitarian concerns. Their calls for violence are ignored. Campus champions of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel often chant, “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free!” demanding the expulsion (or worse) of millions of Jewish and Israeli citizens out of the land of Israel. But we are supposed to believe they are only interested in justice for Palestinians.
The Myth of the Religious-Zionist Settler
The Religious Zionist community in Israel often claims the settlement movement in Judea and Samaria as its crowning achievement. Indeed, the movement has been so successful, that it seems to them a vindication of the Religious Zionist stream itself, proof that the skull-capped pioneers are truly the heirs to their kibbutz predecessors.
There is much truth in this belief, and it would be no exaggeration to say that the settlement of Judea and Samaria was the main contribution of Religious Zionists to the state. In the 1970s and 1980s, dozens of settlements were established throughout the region by Gush Emunim and its settlement company 'Amana', and it's hard to imagine the present Jewish map of Judea and Samaria without their contribution. The idea that a settler is by definition a Religious Zionist is an accepted trope throughout Israel and the world.
This trope serves both Religious Zionist settlers and their enemies. Rabbis and spokespeople for Religious Zionism constantly emphasize the contribution of their community to settlement, the state (and eventual Divine Redemption), and the left finds it convenient to tag everyone across the Green Line as a wide-eyed messianic lunatic.
But this picture is greatly exaggerated, with a few kernels of truth used to prop up an untenable myth. While the contribution and presence of Religious Zionists among settlers is undeniable, their part in both is smaller than many assume it to be.
Edwin Black: New Israel Fund Critics See BDS Lawsuits in Wake of Israeli Supreme Court Ruling
The mood may have been cemented a month before the Israeli ruling, when prominent New York civil rights litigator Robert J. Tolchin, who in 2012 helped a Florida family secure a $323 million judgment from Iran and Syria arising from terrorism, sent a strongly worded notice to the NIF. Filled with citations from U.S. law, the letter declared itself “a warning that the New Israel Fund should under no circumstances support, publicly or privately, any boycott or similar effort against the Israeli government or the nation’s organizations, academic institutions, corporations or other entities.”
Richard Allen of JCC Watch, stated, “I certainly hope a lawsuit happens. New Israel Fund and its donors have been financing the BDS against Israel and it has been very effective. Now, they have even carved out a space for Jewish organizations to find this acceptable. But it is assisted suicide.”
Several other legal experts were skeptical that any suits initiated in Israel would ultimately prevail.
Prominent civil rights attorney, Alyza Lewin, president of the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, commented, “An overwhelming majority of the Israeli Supreme Court relied on American constitutional principles that give wide protection to free speech to uphold an Israeli law that wisely protects the Israeli economy against calls for destructive commercial boycotts.”
Three attempts by this reporter to secure comment from New Israel Fund communications director Naomi Paiss and/or her staff were unsuccessful. But in the past, the NIF has stated its activities are aimed at achieving a more democratic state.
Douglas Murray: What’s more disturbing than a group of discredited old Nazis? The Green Party
You can see Green Party’s deputy leader, Shahrar Ali, delivering a crazed anti-Israel speech at a rally in the video above: And now Natalie Bennett, the Green party’s Australian-born leader, has confirmed her stance. Bennett has told the Jewish Chronicle that she not only supports an economic boycott of Israel but a cultural boycott too. This presumably means that Bennett believes British citizens should not listen, for instance, to a performance by a Jewish pianist who has been born in the historic homeland of the Jewish people. Or visit an exhibition by a painter from Israel or receive medical assistance from a Jewish surgeon who has migrated (aren’t the Green Party in favour of open borders?) to the historic homeland of the Jewish people seventy years after the creation of the State of Israel.
I suppose that for the time being Bennett would still allow us to hear a Jewish pianist so long as the said pianist had not asserted their right to go to live in the world’s one and only Jewish state. But it is striking that the only type of migrant Bennett thinks we should boycott and disdain are Jewish migrants.
As I say – I don’t find a few pathetic old Nazis calling for Jewish boycotts to be terribly worrying. Facts and history have caught up with these people and discredited them accordingly. But Bennett, Shah and their party are hoping to gain more than one seat for their party at the election next month. A lot of people will be thinking of voting Green next month. Many of them will be fed up with the other parties or have no idea what the Green Party stands for. As I say – a few discredited old Nazis are no problem whatsoever beside these people.
UCLA Jewish Studies Program To Host Anti-Israel Activist
Cornel West, the far-left activist and proponent of the BDS campaign to economically isolate and cripple Israel, has been invited to give the keynote address at UCLA's Center for Jewish Studies' Moral Grandeur & Spiritual Audacity Conference in honor of Abraham Joshua Heschel.
A notice for the event on the school's website describes West as, "a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual," but he is also known as an outspoken critic of Israel. He told Salon.com earlier this year, "there is no doubt in my mind that the Israeli occupation is ugly, it’s vicious, it’s brutal."
"There is no doubt that Gaza is not just a 'kind of' concentration camp, it is the hood on steroids," West told Salon.
In a video of a demonstration last August in Washington posted in the Electronic Intifada website, West called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama war criminals.
Brandeis Commencement Speaker Leads Iran Cheerleader Squad
All those concerned about the dangers of Iran obtaining the ability to produce nuclear weapons have been closely watching the negotiations between Iran and the U.S. and its partners in the P5+1.
Perhaps no country has been more concerned about that danger than Israel, the nation which the Iranian leaders continue to brazenly threaten with annihilation.
It is reasonable to conclude that those who are urging the negotiators to proceed apace, to succumb to Iranian threats and demands without integrating ironclad precautionary methods are not overly concerned about the safety of Israel.
Given the university’s past “sister” relationship with Al Quds University, perhaps that explains Brandeis’s willingness to offer Ambassador Thomas Pickering – the Iran cheerleader and harsh critic of Israel – an honorary degree as this year’s Commencement featured speaker.
But what about Iran’s human rights record?
Honest Reporting: HR Radio: Students, Bus Stop Terror, and Jerusalem
Listen to Yarden Frankl on the Voice of Israel
A Jewish student doesn’t like when student councils pass resolutions condemning anti-Semitism. The New York Times thinks that a terrorist was aiming for a bus stop rather than people. And an important article describes Muslim harassment of Jews on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, but leaves out important context about the issue of Jerusalem. HonestReporting’s Yarden Frankl joins Josh Hasten in studio to discuss this week’s media coverage of Israel.
Success: Times of London Removes Claim That Israel Restricts Basic Goods to Gaza
We wrote to The Times pointing out that all basic needs are allowed to cross from Israel into Gaza. There is no restrictions on access to basic needs and we provided statistics from the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) that deals with movement of goods and people through Israel’s borders with Gaza.
In addition, construction materials are allowed into Gaza through recognized mechanisms such as international organizations to prevent Hamas taking those materials to rebuild its tunnels and other terrorist facilities.
The assertion that Israel is somehow laying siege to Gaza is patently false. We are pleased that The Times evidently agreed with us as the offending sentence has now been amended and no longer includes “which restricts access to basic needs and construction materials.”
Daily Mail repeats false claim that “800,000” Palestinians have been arrested since 1967
The Daily Mail’s completely unsubstantiated claim – parroted also in a December New York Times article – that 800,000 Palestinians have been arrested since 1967 (a number alternately placed at 750,000 or 900,000) is not new. Popular blogger Elder of Ziyon fisked the story back in 2009, and traces it back to Goldstone Commission testimony from the director of the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.
Such numbers would mean that there were, on the average, “over 23,000 new prisoners a year since 1967, or 500 a week”.
Here are the relevant passages in Elder’s 2009 post(which he updated in 2011) investigating Addameer’s claim:
History is not a Strong Point with the Young in America
Novelists must learn to deal with rejection. We get rejected all the time and receive replies like “This does not fit in with our current editorial needs.” But when a publisher turns down a novel because “I found that I had to suspend disbelief,” as one of them told my literary agent, that is another thing.
For years I had an idea – a novel about the last living survivor of the Holocaust. The man would be 100 years old. He would have been a child survivor, so after working out the details and doing the math, I pegged his birth to the year 1939. When he is 100 years old we are in 2039, the near future, and that’s when my story in The Last Witness takes place. But there’s a hook. My character is living at a time when knowledge of the Holocaust is pretty meager, and that was the problem this publisher had; he couldn’t buy my premise that one generation from now ignorance of the Holocaust would be widespread.
The novel includes flashbacks about my survivor as a hidden child in a Jewish ghetto, and then being discovered and winding up at Auschwitz with his family. He is the only one who gets out.
Edmund Burke said those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, and this is what is so frightening about the current generation. Indeed, their lack of knowledge about times past is an epidemic of dire proportions.
Ceremonies mark liberation of 2 Nazi camps 70 years ago
Officials in Germany solemnly commemorated the liberation of two Nazi concentration camps 70 years ago in the closing days of World War II.
Poland’s first lady, Anna Komorowska, joined in remembrance activities Sunday at the site of the Ravensbrück women’s camp in northern Germany. Many of the prisoners came from Poland.
Komorowska, wife of Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, planted a memorial rose along with Daniela Schadt, partner of German President Joachim Gauck, and camp survivor Annette Chalut.
Elderly survivors joined black-clad Polish nuns, some of whom held red and white Polish flags. A Mass was said in Polish.
Hungarian Holocaust survivors thank American rescuers
Hungarian Holocaust survivors rescued 70 years ago from a train taking them from one concentration camp to another on Sunday paid tribute to the American soldiers who helped liberate them.
Julia Kadar, who organized a commemorative meeting in Budapest, was among those who spoke via Skype with Lt. Frank Towers, who was in Nashville, Tennessee. He had been the liaison officer of the 30th Infantry Division which liberated the train near the German village of Farsleben on April 13, 1945.
“We thank the heroic American soldiers for being able to live meaningful, useful lives — we are grateful for being able to grow old,” said Kadar, who was 6 at the time.
About 2,500 Jewish prisoners, including 560 children, were being taken from the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany to the Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia when they were rescued.
Poles mark 72nd anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto uprising
Hundreds of people commemorated the 72nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
The main ceremony was held Sunday afternoon in Warsaw at the monument to the ghetto heroes in front of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Polish authorities and visiting Israeli youth joined Warsaw residents at the commemoration.
Many of those on hand wore paper daffodils pinned to their clothes, symbolizing the memory of the uprising.
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, secretary of state in the Prime Minister’s Office of Poland, participated in the uprising and spoke at the ceremony. Bartoszewski, 93, was an Auschwitz prisoner and a Resistance fighter who was recognized by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel as Righteous Among the Nations for his help in saving Jewish lives.
‘Buchenwald Boys’ Celebrate 70 Years of Freedom
“We didn’t believe him; we didn’t know who he was. But then he started speaking Yiddish to us. And we knew we were free.”
On April 11, 1945, Szaja Chaskiel was liberated from Buchenwald concentration camp. He was one of 900 boys, aged 8 to 18, “born” that day, as he puts it. Uniquely bonded, they quickly became known as ‘The Buchenwald Boys.’ For 66 years a group of these survivors and their descendants in Melbourne, Australia, have celebrated this rebirth with the annual ‘Buchenwald Ball.’
This year, the night before the ball, which fell a few hours after the end of this Passover—precisely seventy years after their liberation—Szaja, now 86, retold the story of the exodus of the Buchenwald Boys from the Shoah, led by the Third Army’s Rabbi Herschel Schacter, the American liberator who addressed them in their mamaloshen. Assembled in Szaja’s living room were five other Boys who were surrounded by their descendants as well as those of the Boys who had since passed on.
Following liberation, roughly half were initially sent to France by the Red Cross and other agencies while the other group went to Switzerland. While some remained in France, many left Europe for New York, London, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and to cities in Israel and in South America. A 65-strong band came to Australia, settling in Melbourne and Sydney; today, less than twenty are still alive, and four have died in the past year.
New Galaxy S6 is Powermat-enabled
Israeli wireless charging pioneer Powermat, already the platform of choice for such global leaders as Duracell, General Motors, AT&T and Starbucks, recently announced a strategic collaboration with Samsung.
Starting with the new Galaxy S6, all Samsung devices will be optimized to work with the fast-growing Powermat network of charging hotspots. This network currently includes select US and London Starbucks locations, select McDonald’s locations, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf stores, New York’s Madison Square Garden, Delta Airline Lounges, and other American and international venues.
“We are very pleased to bring the Galaxy S6, the world’s first embedded wireless charging solution that supports any wireless charging pad available in the market,” said Peter Koo, Senior Vice President of Samsung Technology Strategy Team.
“Through close engineering together with Powermat, our customers will be able to enjoy the hassle-free, convenient wireless charging anywhere, anytime.”
Israel’s drip irrigation pioneer says his tech feeds a billion people
As the world’s population grows, governments around the world are questioning how the billions of new mouths will be fed. The answer, according to Israeli inventor Rafi Mehudar, is right under their feet – in the drip irrigation technology he perfected for water tech firm Netafim.
Now found in farms around the world, Netafim’s irrigation and watering technology is already helping feed hundreds of millions, and, according to Mehudar, “it’s the only technology that has been proven to significantly increase the supply of food. We are already saving large parts of humanity from starving, and this is just the beginning.”
Over forty years after Netafim acquired the rights to the pressure regulator, his first drip irrigation invention, Mehudar is being feted for his accomplishments with one of the greatest honors bestowed by the state – the lighting of one of the twelve ceremonial torches that inaugurate Independence Day in Israel on Wednesday night. The torches are usually lit by individuals who have made a significant contribution to Israeli life, with the theme this year focusing on individuals who have made “breakthrough innovations” in science, technology, business, and culture.
Israel is a small country, but Netafim, with which Mehudar has been working since 1972, is a company that operates on a world-wide scale. “Netafim has sold over 150 billon drip irrigation devices, which cuts down water use by up to 90%, allowing farmers to spend less on water and more efficiently use their resources,” Mehudar told the Times of Israel in an interview.
Exclusive: BlackBerry acquires Israel’s WatchDox, to open R&D center in Israel
Canadian mobile device manufacturer BlackBerry has acquired the file sync and share platform WatchDox for an estimated $150 million, Geektime has learned.
The deal was signed earlier this week, and following the acquisition, BlackBerry will open its first R&D center in Israel, where WatchDox is based. Blackberry will offer WatchDox’s technology as a value-added service to complete its Enterprise Mobility Management. It will be offered alongside its BES12.
WatchDox is a fast-growing startup in the $10 billion security market, reportedly taking business away from the likes of EMC. It is headquartered in Palo Alto and has an R&D center in Israel.
It is a platform for enterprises that allows employees to sync and share files across many devices, but lets the enterprise track and control who is viewing, sharing, scanning and printing a file. The creator of the file can also put a time limit on access to the file. If hackers steal a file, they will see nothing but encrypted characters.
WatchDox is available as SaaS, a virtual appliance or a hybrid. Employees or business partners can transfer files from their personal mobile devices to company computers and vice versa. The enterprise can also track and audit who accessed the file and allow creators to wipe files from any device, even after they have left the network.
Teva offers to buy Mylan in $40 billion deal
Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva offered to buy Mylan in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $40.1 billion.
The potential combination would result in a powerhouse of a generic drug developer competing against rivals such as Sun Pharma. According to Bloomberg, the Pennsylvania-based Mylan “says it makes about one of every 11 drugs prescribed to Americans.”
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., an Israeli company headquartered in Petah Tikva, has grown to become the world’s largest producer of generic medications.
It offered to pay $82 per share for Mylan, a 21 percent premium to the latter’s closing price of $68.05 on Monday, and a 48.3% premium on the price on May 10, “which is the last day of trading prior to widespread speculation of a transaction between Teva and Mylan,” as Teva CEO Erez Vigodman noted in a Tuesday letter to Mylan’s Executive Chairman Robert Coury.
Australian Casino Mogul James Packer Buys Luxury Home in Caesarea
James Packer, an Australian media and casino mogul, has reportedly been looking at business opportunities in ­Israel in the technology sector and purchased a home in Caesarea, the habitat for the well-heeled and home to many of Israel’s Roman ruins. Caesarea has many luxury homes, as well as Israel’s only major golf course. While details of the transaction have not been made public, homes in the city can sell for up to $12 million, according to the Australian.
Rechovot-born Arnon Milchan, producer of Pretty Woman, L.A. Confidential and Natural Born Killers, is a close friend of Packer’s, and has been credited with Packer’s inspiration to invest in Israel. According to the Australian Business Review, Packer is looking to invest in Israel’s science and technology sector. Milchan has taken Packer to dine with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the latter’s home in Caesarea. Packer said that spending time with Netanyahu has been “a tremendous eye opener.”
The Australian Business Review’s Sharri Markson writes that it is uncertain whether Packer’s sudden interest in Israel is motivated mainly by business or personal sentiments, “He has not converted to Judaism, and it’s not clear whether his interest in the country is purely business or whether there is an element of spirituality driving it. What is clear that Packer has developed a deep affection for Israel, both for the people and the place.”
On the eve of Independence Day, Israeli population stands at 8,345,000
The Central Bureau of Statistics released its annual report with key facts and figures on Israeli demographics on Tuesday, in anticipation of Independence Day.
At the establishment of the State, 67 years ago, the population of Israel stood at approximately 806,000 residents compared to the current population rate of approximately 8,345,000 residents.
The Jewish population stands at approximately 6,251,000 residents, representing 74.9 percent of the total population. The Arab population is at approximately 1,730,000 residents, representing 20.7% of the population. The remaining approximately 364,000 residents (4.4% of the total population) are made up of non-Arab Christians, members of other religions, and those with no religion listed in the population registry.
The growth rate of the population over the past year is 2.0%, about 364,000 residents. During this time, some 176,000 babies were born in Israel and approximately 44,000 people passed away. An estimated 32,000 people moved to Israel over the course of the past year.
In 2014, nearly 75% of the Jewish population in Israel were born in Israel. In 1948, only 35% of the Jewish population in Israel were Sabras. (h/t Yenta Press)

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