Tuesday, May 19, 2015

From Ian:

Isi Leibler: Curbing the self-loathing Jewish defamers of Israel
The demonization and delegitimization of Israel by Jews funded by anti-Israeli groups abroad is neither an academic exercise nor an exchange of views. It is an act of sabotage, endangering the state and as pernicious as sabotaging IDF weapons depots. It would not be tolerated in any other democratic country, particularly one surrounded by neighbors fanatically committed to its destruction.
It is indisputable that the objective of Breaking the Silence is not merely criticism of Israeli policies.
After all, self-criticism, sometimes even extending to masochism, is a central feature of Israel’s robust democratic ethos. However, Breaking the Silence, a small group of disgruntled delusionary Israeli leftists backed by massive overseas funding, is unashamedly demonizing Israel throughout the world and undermining its government. It sends out emissaries to vilify Israel among Jewish and non-Jewish groups, particularly at universities. It is shameful that, purporting to uphold freedom of expression and maintain dialogue, some Hillel bodies even provide platforms for their representatives to defame the IDF.
To besmirch a nation by falsely portraying its soldiers as craven murderers undermines national morale. It is in this context that the proposal mooted by Ayelet Shaked, now justice minister, to require government approval for overseas NGOs to sponsor Israeli political bodies has considerable merit, despite the shrieks that democracy would be undermined.
Just as individuals can resort to legal means to remedy defamation, the state must also defend itself from demented citizens engaged in defamation of their country. This applies especially to Israel, the sole democratic oasis in a region in which barbarism is rampant and whose right to exist continues to be challenged by its neighbors.
One man goes against the flow and challenges the majority view of Israel’s role in the Middle East
One man goes against the flow and challenges the majority view of Israel’s role in the Middle East.
IT’S ALWAYS easier in life to go with the flow. Follow the crowd and keep your head down well beneath the parapet. That’s what most people do, regardless of whether or not they agree with the direction the flow is taking them.
One man who most certainly goes against the flow and challenges the majority view of Israel’s role in the Middle East, however, is Colonel Richard Kemp. The 55-year- old former commander of British forces in Afghanistan is possibly the highest profile non-Jewish advocate of Israel when it comes to defense matters and the manner in which the country’s various security services and intelligence agencies go about their work of protecting a nation surrounded by enemies.
Kemp first made headlines around the world in October 2009 when giving evidence to the UN Human Rights Council examining the controversial Goldstone Report. South African Judge Richard Goldstone had accused Israel of “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity” during the war in Gaza earlier that year.
“Of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes,” Kemp stated. “There have been mistakes by the British, American and other forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error. But mistakes are not war crimes… Based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare.”
Eugene Kontorovich: Illinois passes historic anti-BDS bill, as Congress mulls similar moves
The Illinois House just joined the state’s senate in unanimously passing a bill that would prevent the state’s pension fund from investing in companies that boycott Israel. Gov. Bruce Rauner has pledged to sign the historic “anti-BDS” bill.
The significance of the bill cannot be underestimated. European countries have in recent years been whispering dark threats in corporate ears about the “legal and economic risks” of doing business with Israeli companies. The vagueness of these warnings is a testament to their legal groundlessness. But such scare tactics could not help but affect, at the margin, corporate decision-making. Now, the EU will – if it is honest – have to warn businesses of the legal and economic risks of consciously refusing to do business with such Israeli companies.
More generally, the Illinois bill is part of a broad political revulsion over the long-simmering BDS movement (“Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” – the strategy of economic warfare and delegitimization against Israel). While BDS has gotten most of its successes with low-hanging fruit like British academic unions and pop singers, the anti-boycott efforts are getting an enthusiastic reception in real governments, on the state and federal level. And that is because the message of the BDS movement – Israel as a uniquely villainous state – is fundamentally rejected by the vast majority of Americans.
Indeed, a wave of anti-BDS legislation is sweeping the U.S. The most high-profile so far are the bipartisan amendments to congressional bills for Trade Promotion Authority. They establish the “discourage[ing]” of boycotts as one of the U.S.’s many goals in trade negotiations with European countries.



Illinois state house passes anti-BDS legislation
Illinois lawmakers unanimously passed a bill that bars state pension funds from companies that participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.
The bill passed the state’s House of Representatives on Monday by a vote of 102-0. The state Senate had passed the measure unanimously as well, 49-0.
With the expected signature of Gov. Bruce Rauner, Illinois would be the first state to legislate against BDS.
In a tweet Monday shortly after the bill passed the House, Rauner wrote, “Looking forward to signing #SB1761 making IL first in the nation to fight BDS against Israel.”
The bill requires the state’s pension system to remove companies that boycott Israel from their portfolios. The measure is an amendment to existing legislation now enforced by the Illinois Investment Policy Board mandating that state pension funds be divested from foreign firms doing business in Iran, Sudan or other countries with known human rights violations.
The not-so-new anti-Semitism in Europe
Last week, I joined over 1,000 activists, Jewish leaders and experts from around the ‎world, together with European lawmakers, Knesset members and Israeli officials, to ‎participate in the fifth Global Forum on Combating Anti-Semitism, held in Jerusalem under ‎the auspices of Israel's Diaspora Affairs and Foreign ministries. ‎
This forum was convened 70 years after the Holocaust. Yet just last year saw the highest ‎number of recorded anti-Semitic incidents since the end of the darkest chapter in ‎Europe's history. Brussels, Paris, Copenhagen, London, Berlin ... virtually no part of ‎Europe is free from this indomitable evil.‎
The only difference today is that it is not only attacks on Jews as individuals, but also attacks ‎and vilification against Zionism and the State of Israel. It is perhaps just a more "socially ‎acceptable" way, especially in some European circles, to express one's hatred and dislike ‎of Jews, and by extension, the State of Israel.‎
The forum was divided into 12 separate working groups, each representing a ‎different strand of anti-Semitism. I participated, on behalf of the Israeli-Jewish Congress, ‎in the "Anti-Semitism in the Guise of Delegitimization and Anti-Zionism" working group.‎
Let there be no ifs, buts or maybes about this -- the assault on Israel's legitimacy as the nation-‎state of the Jewish people, including by the use of false claims and malicious distortions ‎of truth disguised as acceptable criticism of Zionism and Israel, is the modern-day ‎manifestation of anti-Semitism. ‎
The facade has well and truly been lifted.‎
NGO Monitor: Analysis of the EU’s Report: “Implementation of the European Neighborhood Policy in Israel Progress in 2014 and Recommendations for Actions”
In our submission to the EU in advance of the 2014 ENP Report on Israel, NGO Monitor emphasized the negative impact of uncritical reliance on claims and allegations proffered by marginal political Israeli, Palestinian, and international NGOs. Many of the NGOs that influence EU policymaking falsely portray Israel’s self-defense measures, and make unverifiable claims, distorting international law, and fueling international delegitimization campaigns against Israel. The narratives of these NGOs and their unverified allegations should not be repeated without independent confirmation nor substituted in place of data provided by official sources.
In addition, the 2014 ENP Progress report continues past years’ repetition of NGOs rhetoric and assertions, for example, citing to the Israeli NGO Gisha. Despite the problematic nature of this organization’s agenda and claims, the allegations were repeated without independent corroboration. Specifically, the ENP document repeats Gisha’s unverified allegations of “reports” and “unofficial announcements” regarding the reduction of the buffer zone around Gaza, and statistics on “the transfer of agricultural and fishery products from Gaza to the West Bank” (page 10).
Beyond relying on NGO claims, the EU also cites the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and its “Protection Cluster” of marginal NGOs. OCHA and its NGO partners do not constitute an independent nor reliable source of information or analysis.
UNRWA and HaAretz Condemn Film “Children’s Army of Hamas” WITHOUT Seeing the Film!
In May 2014, David Bedein ​​published a book, “ROADBLOCK TO PEACE- How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA Policies Reconsidered” where chapter six documented Hamas military indoctrination inside the UNRWA schools.
Ahimeir read out the response of UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness to the film : “The accusations that UNRWA has been taken over by Hamas and is complicit in the recruitment of children, made in the commentary of this film are presented as fact without any evidence. This is because there is no evidence. I am surprised that an award winning editor can broadcast such a biased report containing these unsubstantiated allegations. What a shame he chose not to give his audience a fair and balanced portrait of UNRWA’s education work with a quarter a million children in Gaza. Why does he never show our human rights classes that inculcate a sense of universal values; our summer fun weeks with recreational activities that attempt to give a sense of normalcy despite three wars in six years; our psychiatric counseling with tens of thousands of children injured, maimed, blinded and traumatized during the conflict last summer and our efforts to rebuild the destroyed homes of countless children? That would be balanced and responsible journalism.”
An editorial comment on the Hebrew website of the newspaper Haaretz echoed Gunness asking how it was that a “nine minute propaganda news item” could possibly be featured on a prestigious news show such as ” Roiem Olam”, and called Ahimeir’s credentials into question.
In response, Ahimeir asked why Gunness did not notice the statement in the film, on camera, of Ismal Radwan, Hamas Minister of Religion, who praised cooperation of UNRWA with Hamas, saying that “Hamas and UNRWA are directly connected”.
Gunness & HaAretz ​​never watched “Children’s Army of Hamas” before responding.
NIPPLES to stand for Breaking the Silence (satire)
After the controversy that followed their report about the conduct of the IDF during its last operation in Gaza, Breaking the Silence (BTS) will be honored with a standing ovation.
This Thursday evening will mark the inaugural gala dinner of the New Israel Palestine Progressive Liberal Egalitarian Society (NIPPLES). It is here that Breaking the Silence will be honored with a standing ovation.
NIPPLES, a newly-formed non-partisan, progressive, liberal NGO, hopes the dinner will help kick-start the organisation and establish them as an important player on the Israeli left.
“The organisation was borne out of a frustration that there wasn’t a sufficiently liberal organisation out there. We established NIPPLES to accommodate a growing number of outspoken and disenfranchised Israeli academics. We wanted to create a space for truly liberal and enlightened people” NIPPLES founder, Gideon Pappe-Hass said.
“Let’s just call a spade a spade, we’re better than people with opposite views” another member candidly explained. “We believe in progressive values, non-divisive rhetoric, freedom of speech, democracy. We straight-out refuse to engage with people that aren’t as open-minded as ourselves” he added. At the very least it’s important to bring intellectual elites together”, Pappe-Hass explained.
Who Funds the “Academic Scholarship” that Delegitimizes Israel?
Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Ofira Seliktar
“The issue of who finances the so-called ‘academic scholarship’ that delegitimizes the State of Israel, and of who supports the various campus activities against it, is extremely complex and multifaceted. The partial initiatives to study this subject are far from adequate.
“Yet we know certain facts concerning this topic. Various foundations, mainly with Arab and Muslim donors, play a leading role in funding Middle East and Israel scholarship throughout the world. Many donations are dispersed through foundations set up by royal families.”
Ofira Seliktar is professor of political science (emerita) at Gratz College, Pennsylvania, and a former scholar in residence at the Middle East Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of nine books and scores of articles on American intelligence.
Seliktar gives a number of examples. “The Saudi Prince Waleed Al Talal Foundation stands out with regard to the size of its donations in the United States. It has funded, for instance, Middle East centers in elite universities, including Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, and Berkeley.
“The Sultan bin Abdul Aziz ibn Saud Foundation is another prominent Saudi foundation. It has donated large sums of money to the Middle East center at Berkeley as well as to a number at other American universities. The Saudi Khalid Bin Abdullah, Bin Abdul Rahman al Saud Foundation has endowed a chair at Harvard University.
California Senate Resolution condemning antisemitism passes unanimously
Finally, some good news for beleaguered Jewish students in California. Its a symbolic gesture, but its a start.
State Senator Jeff Stone’s (Califonia's 28th district: Temecula) resolution SCR condemning anti-Semitism and racism has passed unanimously. The bi-partisan resolution was coauthored by Senators Joel Anderson, Patricia Bates, Tom Berryhill, Marty Block, Ted Gaines, Holly Mitchell, Richard Roth, Andy Vidak, and Lois Wolk.
Anti-Israel boycotters want US State Dept definition of anti-Semitism changed
That’s right, rather than address the anti-Semitism polluting the movement, JVP wants to change the definition.
JVP issued an action alert today and already has gathered 16,000 signatures (as of this writing) on a Petition asking John Kerry to change the defintion:
Dear Secretary John Kerry-
As Jews and non-Jewish allies, we stand with the hundreds of academics across the U.S. calling on you to change the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism. Hatred needs to be stamped out, but we won’t achieve that by demonizing those who raise their voices to oppose Israel’s human rights abuses.

This proposal is superfluous in content, as the State Department definition already makes clear that mere criticism of Israel, even the type of harsh criticism directed at other states, is not anti-Semitic.
Perhaps JVP would do better to look in the mirror and see the horror show that lurks within its ranks and the BDS movement, rather than trying to play word games with definitions.
UT–Austin community rallies to ‘UnifyTexas’ against BDS
Last week, I witnessed the Student Government Legislative Assembly at The University of Texas at Austin reject a bill calling for the university to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, as a part of the global BDS movement. This hot-button issue is trending on college campuses and specifically targets Israel, the only democracy in the region and closest ally of the United States. Members of the assembly who also are part of the Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC) — a campus group promoting the global BDS Movement through campaigns, events, protests and online mobilization — introduced the bill.
BDS has no place on UT’s campus, because it unjustly defames Israel by questioning the legitimacy of the Jewish state. In fact, many on campus were not informed about the ramifications of BDS until it was brought to Student Government, never mind how it would impact key programs at UT and the student body. We have seen our brothers and sisters at schools like UC Davis, Emory, Northwestern, NYU, and more struggle with anti-Semitism. And when anti-Israel activity comes to a campus, anti-Semitic behavior tends to follow. Whether from fake eviction notices or swastikas painted on Jewish buildings, these issues are intertwined.
The UT–Austin Jewish community has deep ties to Israel. I worry that if this legislation had passed, many Jewish students would not feel safe on campus. As students and as humans, we have a responsibility to stand up against the injustice in our world, but not by causing more pain. At a time when we should be coming together for the betterment of our world, the divestment legislation divides campuses by making people choose sides of an issue they do not know much about.
Jewish Student Who Displayed Israeli Flag Targeted For Vandalism
Drexel University can now be added to the long list of campuses marred by anti-Semitic vandalism this academic year.
A Jewish student at the University who chose to display an Israeli flag on his dorm room door found this display of support for Israel vandalized with a swastika and the word “Jew” spelled out with pieces of duct tape.
“I was deeply distressed to learn of an incident that occurred in one of our residence halls, in which a student was targeted on the basis of religion with the posting of a hate symbol,” wrote Drexel president John Fry in a statement to the University community. “Whether this malicious act was a hate crime or just blatant ignorance, it is unacceptable and incompatible with the ethos of our University.”
The name of the Jewish victim of this vandalism has not been released, but according to Rabbi Howard Alpert, the CEO of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, he “was heavily involved in Jewish life on campus” and “is someone who is quite open both in the pride in which he takes in being part of a Jewish community and in his support for Israel.”
CNN and the Dubious Journalism of Assertion
In the face of criticism, Don Melvin, the CNN reporter who wrote a poorly-sourced story alleging that Israeli settlers chopped down 800 olive trees, doubled–down on Twitter.
But absent any independent verification on Melvin’s part, his report is yet another example of what media wonks refer to as the “journalism of assertion.” That’s the idea that in an age of faster and faster news cycles, reporters can ease up on verification if they merely attribute their sources.
For Melvin, that would be the Wafa News Agency, which is the official news service of the Palestinian Authority, whose activities are directly regulated by Mahmoud Abbas. To give you an idea of Wafa’s journalistic standards, it labeled last year’s Jerusalem synagogue terrorists as “Islamic martyrs.”
Although Wafa didn’t identify any sources or eyewitnesses by name, as long as Melvin can “attribute facts” to Wafa, he’s on safe journalistic ground, right?
Joshua Mitnick's Hit Piece on Ayelet Shaked
Joshua Mitnick’s piece in the Wall Street Journal on May 11, 2015 on the appointment of Ayelet Shaked as Justice Minister in the newly formed Israeli government fails to live up to the journalistic standards espoused by the Journal. Mitnick clearly disapproves of Shaked's politics and is unable to keep his political antipathies separate from his reporting. Shaked is not a familiar figure to most readers of the Wall Street Journal. In that context, the information Mitnick provides about her should be introductory and relevant to her new role. Instead, Mitnick immediately dredges up the controversy over a Facebook posting in order to discredit Shaked.
Who does Mitnick turn to? Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian official and serial fabricator of vicious lies accusing Israel of committing atrocities.
Mitnick writes,
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Ms. Shaked of "openly calling for genocide and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people."
Erekat's statement refers to a posting on Shaked's Facebook page last year written by Uri Elitzur that contained statements worded in an aggressive and extreme manner. Shaked later disavowed the posting and removed it.
But what of Erekat, who Mitnick chose as the purveyor of this character assault of Shaked?
BBC WS radio’s partisan portrayal of ‘The Church of the Nativity siege’
Not surprisingly, the play has received rave reviews from the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) which at the time had members acting as voluntary human shields for the wanted terrorists inside the church. The ISM also provides some insight into the aims behind both the production itself and its British tour.
Despite the lack of important background information and context and regardless of the absence of any input on this story from the Israeli side, the BBC chose to present this clearly partisan anecdotal version of events as ‘history’. That would be bad enough at any time, but in a month in which BBC audiences in the UK will likely be hearing a lot about the Jenin Freedom Theatre’s agitprop, it is all the more striking that the organisation tasked with building “a global understanding of international issues” has elected to put politics before the provision of accurate and impartial information.
Robert Fisk misrepresents Stephen Harper’s views on antisemitism (Part 1)
Robert Fisk, The Independent’s “award-winning” Middle East correspondent, provides the latest example of this rhetorical dishonesty in his latest column (May 17th), which takes Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to task for his fierce opposition to anti-Israel boycotts.
Fisk makes the following claim:
Harper, who would surely be elected to the Knesset if he were an Israeli, went so far as to suggest on a recent visit to Jerusalem that merely to criticise Israel can be a form of anti-Semitism.
Fisk is almost certainly referring to Harper’s speech in front of the Knesset in January. However, a transcript of Harper’s address contradicts Fisk’s claim that he suggested mere criticism of Israel can be a form of antisemitism. Indeed, Harper was quite clear in this respect.
Harper said the following:
“No state is beyond legitimate questioning or criticism.

“Of course, criticism of Israeli government policy is not in and of itself necessarily anti-semitic.
Haaretz Errs on Arabic-Speaking Saints
In an article about the recent canonization of two Arab nuns from the Holy Land, Mariam Baouardy and Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas, Haaretz errs ("Pope to canonize two Palestinian nuns"): "They will be the first Arabic-speaking saints . . . "
As The Washington Post has made clear in a prominently placed correction, there are at least three other Arabic-speaking saints.
One of them St. Charbel Makhlouf, a Maronite Catholic priest, born Yussef Antoun Makhlouf in Lebanon in 1828. "He was canonized in 1977 by Pope Paul VI, who had earlier hailed the Lebanese Maronite saint as an 'admirable flower of sanctity blooming on the stem of the ancient monastic traditions of the East,'" Catholic News Agency reported.
On a related matter, stay tuned for a detailed CAMERA post on how the media identifies the two nuns as Palestinian, though they likely did not identify as such.
Canadian editor: Some of the nicest people I ever met are Nazis
Queried if he is running a neo-Nazi magazine, Sears wrote the Star that “neither I nor the publication are ‘neo-Nazi’... NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT! Some of the nicest people I have ever met are Nazis, but we are not.”
In an open letter to Canadian postal workers published in Your Ward News, Sears stated that the New Constitution Party of Canada, a group connected to and promoted in the magazine, “also love the Jewish people” but not the “illegitimate Zionist apartheid State of Israel that holocausts the Palestinians whose land they stole.”
The postal worker who expressed objections to distributing the magazine “obviously has personal demons that he should exorcise with his rabbi,” he added, volunteering to “sit down with him to provide counseling in the form of ZioMarxist deprogramming.”
The party and the magazine, he added, are engaged in a battle with “the parasite” for the future of Canada.
The letter was published under a cartoon of Jesus with an assault rifle slung behind his back standing next to a grenade.
Holiday Inn, Hilton hotels allegedly caught selling anti-Semitic items in Moscow
Legal action is being urged after a number of Moscow hotels, namely Holiday Inn and Hilton, were allegedly caught selling anti-Semitic and Nazi-themed items in its gift shop.
In a letter to Russian Prosecutor-General Yuri Yakovlev Chaika, the Simon Wiesenthal Center urged legal action to be taken against the items' producers and distributors.
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a federal law banning Nazi imagery.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, was the one who spotted the shocking items while in Moscow for a conference celebrating the end of the Second World War, called 'The Lessons of Victory in the Second World War/The Great Patriotic War - Seventy Years Later.' The letter notes that the items are targeted to tourists and some even cost 27,000 rubles ($590 or NIS 2,317).
One of the items he saw for sale was a Russian nesting "matryoshka" doll, painted with anti-Semitic stereotypes of orthodox Jews with big noses and peyot.
Part of Lithuania’s power grid coated in Jewish tombstones
Giedrius Sakalauskas always thought there was something strange about the graffiti-sprayed, bunker-like structure in a leafy area outside the center of Vilnius.
Why build an electrical substation with granite blocks instead of regular bricks?
When he examined the building more carefully this month, he made a chilling discovery: Dozens of stones had inscriptions in Hebrew or Yiddish. “I touched the stones and I realized that they’re really gravestones,” Sakalauskas told The Associated Press.
And he had strong hunch about where they came from: Across the street there used to be a Jewish cemetery that was demolished in the 1960s when Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union. Sakalauskas posted pictures of his discovery on social media, setting off an emotional discussion about a dark chapter in Lithuania’s history that didn’t end when a Nazi occupation was replaced by a Soviet one in 1944.
Nazi hunter urges Croatia to halt pensions to WWII fascists
The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center on Tuesday urged Croatia to stop paying pensions to people who served in the country’s World War II Nazi-allied armed forces, labeling the policy an insult to their victims.
“In view of the horrendous war crimes committed in the so-called Independent State of Croatia (NDH)… such a policy is inherently mistaken,” the center’s chief Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff said in a letter to Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic.
Paying pensions to members of the WWII Ustasha armed forces is a “horrific insult to the victims, their families and all Croatians with a sense of morality and integrity,” Zuroff stressed in a Wiesenthal Center statement quoting from his letter.
The Nazi-allied Ustasha authorities persecuted and killed hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and anti-fascist Croatians.
Mossad chief: Israel must retrieve Eli Cohen’s body from Syria
Mossad Director Tamir Pardo on Monday said Israel has “an obligation” to bring the body of Mossad spy Eli Cohen to Israel from Syria for burial.
Israel on Monday marked the 50th anniversary of the Damascus hanging of Cohen, in a ceremony attended by the president, prime minister, Cohen’s widow and three children.
“Eli’s legacy, ‘Our Man in Damascus,’ will last forever. It remains our obligation to bring Eli home, to bury him in Israel,” Pardo said at the event, referencing the title of a book about the legendary spy.
Addressing the memorial, Nadia Cohen also appealed to the Israeli government to retrieve her husband’s body from Syrian soil and “bring him home.
Mothers from Muslim country reunite with children in IDF
Every year, lone Israel Defense Forces soldiers are treated to plane tickets to visit their families outside Israel.
But this year, two sergeants did not get to enjoy that perk, because their parents live in a Muslim country in the Middle East. While Israel does have diplomatic relations with that country, concerns over the potential danger to their families' lives if it was revealed that their children were Israeli soldiers made the trip too much of a risk.
The Friends of the IDF organization and the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers decided that the situation was unfair to the soldiers and their families, and through their joint "Adopt a Fighter" initiative, they flew the mothers of the two sergeants, as well as 18 other mothers of lone soldiers, to Israel as a surprise.
Sgt. D., 21, is a combat soldier in the Nahal Brigade who had not seen his mother in two and a half years, until she surprised him at a ceremony held for the soldiers.
"When I saw my mother at the ceremony, I thought I was dreaming," he said. "It was a complete surprise. I couldn't believe it was happening."
Intel opens "Internet of Things" lab in Haifa
Intel has opened a dedicated lab to focus on the "Internet of Things" (IoT) in Haifa, which will focus on smart cities, smart homes, smart agriculture and smart transportation.
IoT refers to the connectedness in everyday devices, and is largely considered among "the next big things" in the high-tech world (the terms is frequently used alongside other buzzwords such as Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing). Small, inexpensive, low-power chips in everyday objects can connect them with a central computer or mobile device to monitor and control them. Sensors can gather data to ensure the various objects work efficiently and in unison.
There are already a variety of IoT-oriented products on the market such as Nest, a connected thermostat, as well as door locking mechanisms, blinds, and windows.
"There are hundreds of IoT companies and start-ups in Israel. We believe the growth potential of the IoT market in Israel is huge and untapped and look forward to working with relevant local companies and partners to help make the world a smarter place," said Guy Bar-Ner, Intel's Director of Israel Sales & Marketing.
The Haifa lab will be the fifth "IoT Ignition Lab" Intel has established in Europe, the others being in the UK, Stockholm, Munich and Istanbul.
Current Movie Crush: ‘JeruZalem’
In the interest of full disclosure, and in the name of journalistic integrity, I should say that I know nothing about this movie except for what I’ve seen in a trailer sent to me by a colleague who knows me a little too well. But what a trailer it is! American tourists visiting Jerusalem arrive just as the mouth of hell opens up and spits out agitated zombies, at which point said tourists take refuge in the world’s greatest hideout, the Old City. There’s no better place; the lime-stoned, walled-in labyrinth is so confusing, even the undead are likely to take a wrong turn somewhere en route to eating your brains.
Jerusalem, of course, is no newcomer to the zombie apocalypse, having already served as a central location in Max Brooks’s World War Z. This time around, however, the holy city is no mere backdrop; it’s the leading character, in part because the zombie uprising, the trailer informs us, is due not to some science experiment gone awry but to the wrath of God himself. The rising ghouls, then, are harbingers of the Yom Kippur to end all Yom Kippurs, although anyone who thinks flesh-eating monsters are the worst the Day of Atonement has to offer clearly never stood on line at Zabar’s on the holiday’s eve.
JeruZalem (2015) - Festival Trailer
Two American girls on vacation follow a mysterious and handsome anthropology student on a trip to Jerusalem. The party is cut short when the trio are caught in the middle of a biblical apocalypse. Trapped between the ancient walls of the holy city, the three travelers must survive long enough to find a way out as the fury of hell is unleashed upon them.


IsraelDailyPicture: Ottoman Imperial Archives Releases Important Mystery Photo of Jerusalem
The Ottoman Imperial Archives continues to digitize and post Online its massive collection of documents, photos and illustrations.
Resposible archivists and librarians around the world realize the importance of digitizing its treasures and sharing them with the world.
We will continue to present and analyze the photographs from this archive as we review and identify them, but we wanted to immediatey share this historic photograph of Jerusalem's Old City taken from the Mount of Olives.
We surmise that the photographer or owner of the photo was French from the notes made on the image to identify 16 sites numbered on the photograph. It is difficult to read the notes, but number 3, "Mosque d'Omar," and number 12, "Tombeau de David [David's Tomb]," are legible and in French.
But when was the photograph taken?
Wikipedia founder supports Israel, but keeps site neutral
In 2003, two years after the website was founded, the editors of Wikipedia faced a dilemma: How should they refer to the part-fence, part-wall Israel was building along the West Bank border?
The article’s first iteration — published amid the bloody Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising — called it a “security fence” and focused on Israeli support. Within a half-hour, another editor added a sentence about a United Nations condemnation. Later that day, the phrase “apartheid wall” appeared, using the Palestinians’ preferred term.
Following thousands of edits on the free online, crowdsourced encyclopedia, the article now calls it the “Israeli West Bank barrier” and links to a list of alternative names, from “separation fence” to “wall of apartheid.”
“The right thing to do, if you’re new to the issue, is you should be told what is this debate about,” Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, told JTA on Sunday during an interview here. “That’s a struggle. You have to be taught about those issues. You don’t want to, in an unclear way, use language that carries with it a hidden conclusion.”
Wales was in Israel — he’s been here more than 10 times, he says — to accept the Dan David Prize, an international award of $1 million given yearly at Tel Aviv University. Wales was chosen for spearheading what the prize committee called the “information revolution.”
Gaza Strip patients find help in Israeli hospital
The bedroom of Palestinian siblings Ahmed and Hadeel Hamdan looks like a hospital ward, filled with beeping machines, monitors, solution bags and sterilizing fluids.
This is where the Gaza teenagers spend 12 hours a day connected to dialysis machines. These contraptions — and their hopes for a better life — come from a surprising source: an Israeli hospital.
Hamas is avowedly committed to the destruction of Israel, which in turn considers the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip to be a hostile entity. Along with Egypt, Israel has maintained a blockade over the seaside territory to prevent Hamas importing weapons — and has fought three wars with the Strip’s Islamist gunmen — since the terror group seized power in Gaza in 2007. At the same time, the Jewish state also allows thousands of Gazans to travel each year to hospitals in Israel. This awkward arrangement, which sometimes includes security interrogations, highlights how after years of hostility, the fates of Israel and Gaza are deeply intertwined.
The Hamdan siblings, Ahmed 18, and his sister Hadeel, 15, have been regular guests at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa since July 2012.


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