Friday, June 26, 2015

From Ian:

Sarah Honig: Zilch, zippo, nada, gurnisht, bubkes
Fledgling Israel found itself pitted against immense odds but, despite them, Ben-Gurion didn’t bow to pressure – American or otherwise.
He mounted the Knesset rostrum yet again on December 13 to repeat what he had enunciated a few days earlier: “We cannot assist in the forcible separation of Jerusalem, which would unnecessarily and unjustifiably violate the historical and natural rights of the Jewish people.”
He assertively stressed that “the State of Israel has had, and will always have, only one capital—eternal Jerusalem. This was so three thousand years ago and so it will be, we believe, to the end of time.” Ben-Gurion then put to the plenum’s vote his proposal to transfer the Knesset and the government from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It was approved.
Washington, however, sternly disapproved and still disapproves. Although the General Assembly’s resolution was ignobly consigned to history’s rubbish bin, the US Embassy never budged from Tel Aviv.
Israel was incalculably weaker when it dared to stand up against sinister designs to install foreign overlords in Jerusalem. There literally wasn’t enough food to feed the population.
We clearly and painfully weren’t the world’s darlings even when we fought for our very lives merely three years post-Holocaust.
During their entire long UN-flouting invasion of newborn Israel, the Arabs were actively aided and abetted by the Brits. The UN, which didn’t impede the Arab assault, found nothing better to do than send observers to keep tabs on “illegal” Israeli moves. The Americans chillingly slapped an arms embargo on the terrifyingly endangered Jewish state.
Yet embattled little Israel didn’t cower.
Gaza Flotilla NGO Funded by French Government
One of the NGOs behind the latest anti-Israel flotilla to Gaza is funded by the French government, Arutz Sheva has learned.
The Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine) is among the groups supporting the Freedom Flotilla III, which seeks to directly defy the Israeli government's blockade of the Hamas-ruled enclave.
On Friday the Platform announced that the latest boat to join the flotilla, The Marianne of Gothenburg, had set sail from Sicily and was set to join four other vessels carrying some 70 anti-Zionist activists en route for Gaza.
Among those on board will be former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, Spanish MEP Ana Maria Miranda Paza and Arab-Israeli MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List), whose planned presence has triggered widespread controversy in Israel.
But another potentially controversial aspect of the flotilla that has been largely overlooked is the role played by European government-funded NGOs.
Nearly half of Israelis see Iran deal as existential threat
US President Barack Obama has failed to persuade Jewish Israelis that the deal his administration is seeking with Tehran will prevent it from becoming a nuclear power, according to a Geocartography Institute poll.
Some 48.5 percent of respondents said the proposed deal was a threat to Israel’s existence, while 22% said they did not, according to the poll taken last month. The rest of the respondents said they did not know or were divided between the two options.
When asked whether they trust Obama to maintain Israel’s security, 44.5% said they did not and 21.9% said they did. The rest of the respondents said they did not know or answered with the Hebrew phrase “kacha-kacha,” meaning “yes and no.”
Just 7.4% of respondents said they would advise Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept the Iranian nuclear deal as is.

For Iran's Nuclear Intentions, Look to Its Constitution
Unlike constitutions of all other nations of the world community, Iran’s gives its government an extraterritorial reach. This constitutional “long arm” mandates global exportation of the same Islamic Revolution that brought the mullahs to power in 1979. Allah’s call to them is: how goes Iran, so too must go the rest of the world.
The extent to which the mullahs take this mandate is underscored elsewhere in their Constitution.
As does our own, Iran’s Constitution provides for the succession of its top leader in the event his term is unexpectedly cut short. Like ours, it cites death or incapacitation of its top official (for Iran it is the Supreme Leader) as two causes for triggering the succession clause. But, it is the third cause cited that is most telling.
An otherwise unimpaired Supreme Leader is required to surrender authority upon arrival of “the Mahdi.” Article 5 of the Iranian Constitution places full power in the hands of a faqih, or legal scholar, but only “during the Occultation of the Wali al-Asr (may God hasten his reappearance).”
Classified Proposal in Iran Talks Mirrors Nuclear Deal with North Korea
The offer to Iran shares many elements with the unsuccessful 1994 agreement with North Korea. In it, the United States promised to help build two 1,000-megawatt light-water nuclear power reactors for civilian use if North Korea tore down a 5 megawatt reactor and plutonium producing plant that could only be used for creating atomic weaponry.
The deal fell apart after North Korea admitted in late 2002 that it possessed a clandestine uranium enrichment program and declared that it had “nullified” its agreement not to pursue nuclear weapons. In late 2003, the U.S.-sponsored Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization announced that it was suspending construction of the reactors because North Korea failed to meet “the conditions necessary for continuing the…project.”
North Korea eventually tested an atomic bomb in 2006. Wendy Sherman, who helped negotiate the Korean deal during President Bill Clinton’s presidency, is currently the lead negotiator in the Iran nuclear talks.
Kerry to Zarif: For deal, Iran must give answers on historical nuclear work
The damage control went beyond the daily State Department briefings, during which reporters grilled new spokesman John Kirby on this issue for days. Kerry, officials told Reuters, called Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to make sure he did not think Washington was letting Iran off the hook.
"Kerry called Zarif and told him the past does matter and the US was insisting that the PMD (possible military dimensions) issue be resolved in the negotiations," a Western source close to the talks told Reuters.
An Iranian official said Kerry spoke to Zarif twice in recent days.
"There were two calls from Kerry to Zarif, during which he corrected his stance ... He told Mr. Zarif that he had been misunderstood and the past activities are important and should be clarified," a senior Iranian official told Reuters.
"Also he said that Iran should come clean on the past activities. This is an issue being discussed."
A senior US official confirmed that Kerry had spoke to Zarif but denied there had been any shift in the US position on the need for Iran to come clean about its nuclear past. "The US has consistently made clear our position on PMD, and it has not changed," the official said.
French FM: Khamenei’s Statements Move Us Towards a “Bad Deal”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that recent comments made by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “do not seem to go in [the] direction” of supporting a “robust” nuclear deal, Reuters reported Wednesday.
“France wants a deal but wants the deal to be robust, a good deal, but not a bad deal,” he said at a news conference alongside Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
“A certain number of statements do not seem to go in that direction. France reaffirms that it wants a solid accord, but at the same time must stress the firmness of its positions.”
Fabius cited limitations on Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity and research, rigorous verification systems, including for military sites, and restoring sanctions immediately if Tehran reneged on its obligations as key elements of a deal.
Massive Rally in Times Square to Demand 'Stop Iran Now'
A large rally against a nuclear Iran is to be held at the center of New York City's iconic Times Square next month.
The rally, entitled "Stop Iran Now," will be held on July 22 at 5:30 p.m., and will feature speeches by former CIA Director James Woolsey, former Congressman Allen West, former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, actor Tony LoBianco, Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, and others.
The timing of the rally means it will come after a June 30 deadline on talks has already passed - although that deadline may be extended, according to US officials. However, it will come within the month-long period Congress has to debate the deal and vote on whether or not to back it.
Participants in the rally will call for a return to the original demands set out for an Iran deal, including "unfettered inspections of all known and to-be-uncovered military/nuclear research sites/facilities at any time, unannounced," as well as a surrender of enriched materiel and elimination of virtually all centrifuges.
It also calls to reinstate all sanctions against Iran, and to support the provision demanded by Congressmembers Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and Grace Meng (D-NY) to supply Israel with full-size bunker-destroying ordnances as a deterrent against the Islamic regime.
US Slams Iran for 'Inhuman' Rights Abuses
The US State Department raised the ire of Senators by ignoring the Iranian terror threat in its 2015 World Threat Assessment, but it has now finally released an annual human rights report Thursday that slams the Islamic regime for its horrific breaches of basic rights.
The report, released ahead of a June 30 deadline next week for talks on Iran's nuclear program, accuses the regime of "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment" of its citizens, noting the widespread usage of callous public hangings.
A full four months have passed since the report was required by law to be published, in a delay critics say was intended by the administration of US President Barack Obama to avoid tensions with Iran ahead of the nuclear deal.
WikiLeaks Cable: Saudis Funded Group Linked to Iran Proxy Hezbollah
Saudi Arabia, a Sunni country, provided financial support to a charity foundation that has been linked to Iran’s proxy Hezbollah, a Shia terrorist group based in Lebanon, according to an Arabic-language cable released by WikiLeaks.
“One of the cables reveal[s] that the sister of a well-known Shia cleric approached Saudi Arabia for donations,” explains Global Voices Online, citing the information released by WikiLeaks. “Al-Sadr charity foundation is named after Mosa Al-Sadr, who is the founder of the Lebanese Shia party AMAL, a group closely affiliated with [Hezbollah].”
Global Voices Online did not say when the cable was written.
“Despite the widely used narrative of the Sunni-Shia conflict in the Middle East, the kingdom’s decision was to provide … the foundation with financial support without publicizing it,” the organization continues. “That indicates that they’re trying to create alliances with ideological rivals. The sectarian divide is more a matter of conflict of interest unlike what a lot of media outlets try to portray.”
Senator: Obama Favors Iranian Oil Over US Oil
The lead Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is accusing President Barack Obama of harming U.S. oil producers by allowing Iran to export oil to global markets while simultaneously not repealing the federal ban on American oil exports.
“We are letting Iran export its oil to markets that we prevent our own companies from accessing,” Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said after releasing a report arguing Iranian oil sanctions shouldn’t be lifted without allowing U.S. companies to export oil.
Recent months have seen a bipartisan effort to lift 1970s-era restrictions on exporting U.S. crude oil. Murkowski and North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, introduced legislation earlier this year to lift the federal ban on oil exports. The Obama administration, however, has not done much to lift the oil export ban.
In the meantime, the Obama administration has made a concerted effort to come to an agreement with Iran over the fate of its nuclear program. Part of that deal would be easing economic sanctions on the Islamic nation in exchange for allowing the international oversight of its nuclear program.
US national anthem censored on Iranian TV
Iran and the United States faced off on the volleyball courts over the weekend. The two countries’ teams played two games as part of the Volleyball World League tournaments in Tehran. Before the games kicked off, the countries' national anthems were sung, as per tradition at international sports events. Volleyball is extremely popular in Iran, and the games were broadcast live on public television. However, viewers didn’t get to hear the US anthem – it was cut out.
This act of censorship is easy to see when you compare two videos of the game. The first video shows what was broadcast on one of Iran’s public sports channels. While the US anthem, the “Star-Spangled Banner”, is being played, you can see the American athletes singing along with their hands on their hearts. However, the sound is cut. Instead, you just hear an Iranian commentator talking about the game.
In a second video of the match filmed by a spectator, you can hear the US anthem loud and clear.
In Goodwill Gesture to Iran, Obama Executes Salman Rushdie (satire)
Hoping to create goodwill with the Iranian regime and boost the chances of a deal over Iran’s nuclear program, President Obama announced Thursday that his administration has executed British novelist Salman Rushdie, potentially eliminating a key sticking point in negotiations.
“The Iranians have made their opposition to Mr. Rushdie’s continued existence clear for the past 26 years,” Obama told reporters. “That kind of consistency is what we’re looking for in a regional ally, and it would have been inconsiderate for my administration to ignore it.”
President Obama pointed out that Mr. Rushdie’s death was called for in a 1989 fatwa, while a similar fatwa issued decades later banned the development of nuclear weapons.
France to extradite suspect in Brussels Jewish museum attack
A French court authorized the extradition to Belgium of a suspected accomplice of Mehdi Nemmouche, the alleged killer of four people at Brussels’ Jewish museum.
The Appeals Court of Aix-en-Provence near Marseille on Wednesday ruled to extradite 28-year-old Mounir Atallah based on a meeting he had with Nemmouche a month before the May 24 2014 shooting, the news site reported.
Atallah denied any complicity in the killings, although he admitted to meeting Nemmouche in Marseille.
“Yes, he called me and he asked: ‘Can I come and see you?’ I said yes,” Atallah, who met Nemmouche, a French national, in prison in 2010, told the judge during proceedings on his extradition. “I saw him, I offered him something to eat.”
Nemmouche told Atallah he would call him later that night, Atallah said, but never did. The two men have not spoken since, according to Atallah.
IMF Issues Upbeat Preliminary Report On Israel’s Economy
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its preliminary report on Israel’s economy on Wednesday, noting that the country’s economy is “performing well” and that the economic outlook is positive.
IMF division chief Bas Bakker presented the findings to Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon and the Bank of Israel governor Karnit Flug. The findings confirmed that Israel’s GDP is growing and “has not had the sharp post-crisis slowdown that many other countries have experienced.” The report noted that the rate of Israelis participating in the workforce has increased from 59% in 2007 to 68% today.
While the IMF commended Israel for its great economic accomplishments, the report also pointed out several economic challenges, include a fiscal deficit that “remains stubbornly high” and ongoing issues in the housing sector. The financial newspaper Globes reported that the Bank of Israel has “called for government spending cuts in order to reduce the fiscal deficit.”
JPost Editorial: BDS battle
Fighting boycotts against Israel does not only make good economic sense for the US, it is also the right thing to do.
Using bigoted tactics – economic sanctions, diplomatic gestures, rejection of research, and development cooperation – to pressure Israel to cave in to Palestinians’ demands is wrong.
Firstly, it places the blame for the ongoing conflict solely on Israel, while the Palestinians are portrayed as the victims of circumstances completely out of their control. The reality is much more complicated, which is precisely why the two sides must ultimately reach an agreement through mutual compromises and dialogue.
Secondly, sanctions that single out Israel create an atmosphere of prejudice and animosity. It should come as no surprise that in EU countries today the lines between blatant anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing are blurred beyond recognition. The distance between indicting Israel for purposely perpetuating the “occupation” and outright delegitimization of the State of Israel is not great. After all, since 1967, consecutive Israeli governments, both on the Left and on the Right, have supported maintaining settlement blocs such as Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel and Gush Etzion. Were they all illegitimate? EU sanctions and the BDS movement have created a noxious atmosphere in which support for Israel is considered a crime. Even The Jerusalem Post, a newspaper that strives to report fairly and evenhandedly on the most contentious issues and provides a platform for a wide range of opinions – including those on the Right – has been accused of inciting to violence.
Our only “crime” is that we are avowedly Zionist in our outlook.
Dutch Leftists Spare Tel Aviv from ‘Twinning’ with Amsterdam
Dutch leftists have succeeded in blocking a planned twining agreement between Tel Aviv and Amsterdam and even rejected a compromise that would have included Ramallah in the agreement.
The refusal of the pro-Arab groups to accept compromise is the perfect example of the Palestinian Authority-leftist hate of cooperating on anything with Israel.
Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan was impressed with Tel Aviv, which has becomes Israel’s showcase city for homosexuality, but the left-wing withdrew the plan after left-wing GroenLinks Green party and the Socialists refused to back the twinning because of the “occupation.”
GroenLinks leader Rutger Groot Wassink said:
As long as Israel occupies Palestine, structurally infringes human rights and continues its settlement policy. [no agreement is feasible].
Amsterdam, where Islam now vies with Christianity as the most widely practiced religion, is known for legalized prostitution and a “Live and let live” society is becoming a bit hypocritical in the face of the rapidly rising Muslim population.
Grammy-Winning DJ Banned by Arabs for Israel Collaboration
When Grammy Award-winning German DJ Paul van Dyk tapped DJs from around the world for his latest album, he called it "The Politics of Dancing 3" to show the unifying power of dance music.
But Arab countries apparently aren't interested in unifying around music - his album is unavailable in much of the Arab world, apparently due to his inclusion of Israeli DJs.
"It's quite strange that the political situation in some corners of this planet forbid this album from being released," van Dyk told AFP before a recent club set in New York.
"It's almost surreal, and it's disappointing. I really thought we had progressed further than that already," he said.
"The statement was very clear - this music brings people together, regardless of what God they believe in, or what religion they follow, or what citizenship they have."
The German DJ, who is considered one of the founders of trance music, said he had been told that his album was unavailable in a number of Arab countries, apparently due to the inclusion of Israelis Michael Tsukerman and the duo Las Salinas.
State lawmakers refuse to support Israeli boycott
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has unanimously voted to condemn an international movement to target Israel with boycotts, divestment and sanctions over its treatment of Palestinians.
The 193-0 vote Tuesday condemned the movement as “seeking to undermine the Jewish people’s right to self-determination.”
It called the “BDS” movement “one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitism and advocating the elimination of the Jewish state.” It cited growing pro-BDS efforts on higher-education campuses in Pennsylvania and elsewhere and linked them to acts of “increased animosity and hostility toward Jewish students.”
The international movement, nearly a decade old, calls for Israel to end its occupation of territories occupied since 1967, giving full rights to its Arab citizens and allowing millions of Palestinian refugees the right to return homes within what became Israel in 1948. Critics of the movement say such conditions would undermine Israel as a Jewish majority state and that the boycotts are promoted by many opposed to Israel’s existence.
JNF creates $100 million Israel advocacy center
The Jewish National Fund has created a $100 million center for Israel education and advocacy.
The JNF Boruchin Israel Education Advocacy Center aims to strengthen Americans’ connection to Israel, JNF said in a statement.
The center was founded through an estate gift of John and Dora Boruchin of California — the largest estate donation in JNF history. The Polish-born John, who lost most of his family in the Holocaust, made his fortune in the United States in real estate, becoming one of the largest tract home builders in California. Dora’s immediate family survived the Holocaust and now lives mainly in Canada and the United States. The couple met in Russia following World War II.
“The Boruchins wanted JNF to undertake bold initiatives connecting Jewish youth to Zionism and advocating for the Jewish state,” according to the center’s chairman Mike Lederman. The initiative “comes at a critical period in history as Israel and world Jewry face serious challenges with rising anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Semitism. This center is needed now more than ever.”
Jewish Agency to increase number of ‘Israel fellows’ on campuses
The Jewish Agency will increase the number of emissaries, or Israel Fellows, dispatched to college campuses abroad by more than 30 percent in order to help combat rising efforts to “delegitimize” the State of Israel, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky announced.
“Our goal is to thwart those who seek to confuse young Jews and draw them away from Israel,” Sharansky said during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seven cabinet ministers in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
“Our Israel Fellows are doing an outstanding job of bringing young Jews to experience Israel, encouraging them to become involved in advocacy for Israel, and inspiring them to feel deeply attached to Israel,” he added.
According to a statement by the Agency, 85 fellows will be sent to 170 university campuses across North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, South Africa, and Germany, up from 65 on 120 campuses this past academic year. The 31% increase in the number of Israel Fellows and the 42% increase in campus coverage represent the program’s largest expansion since it was created in 2003, the statement added.
Israel Goes Down the Rabbit Hole on College Campuses
George Smith despises Israel. The University of Missouri (Mizzou) biology professor has called the creation of the Jewish State “a shameful chapter in Jewish history.” Smith finds humor in Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli citizens. When Sderot (Israel) resident Noam Bedein came to Mizzou to discuss the nearly 13,000 rockets Hamas has fired, killing and injuring the people of Sderot, Smith showed up and distributed fliers that mocked the attacks – justifying terrorism because the average Palestinian has to “go through a checkpoint every time he has to take a sh*t.”
But in their infinite wisdom, university officials at Mizzou felt that Smith’s decades-long history of denouncing the Jewish State and its right to exist did not disqualify him from being a fair and objective lecturer on Israel’s history. They also saw no need for him to have any formal education or expertise in Middle East studies. Smith, a scientist, was approved to teach … wait for it … “Perspectives on Zionism.”
Your eyes are not deceiving you. A class about Zionism, the belief that the Jewish people have a G-d-given right, affirmed by international law, to a country of their own and that that country belongs in the biblical Land of Israel, will be taught by a completely unqualified faculty member who calls the establishment of Israel the “Palestinian Holocaust.”
However, leave it to the students to see through a college’s progressive agenda and academic malfeasance to right a wrong.
As reported by, “Perspectives on Zionism,” which was scheduled to be taught by self-proclaimed “post-Zionist and Nakba [catastrophe] Jew-in-law” George Smith, was nixed due to no enrollment, according to a June 10 announcement.
George Galloway's Next Stop?
Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 after an internal inquiry found that he had "incited Arabs to fight British troops," and "incited British troops to defy orders."
If Galloway were elected Mayor of London, there is also the possibility that Islamist operatives would be appointed to important political positions, further legitimizing extremist control over London's Muslims.
"I am indebted more than I can say, more than it would be wise for me to say, to the Islamic Forum of Europe. I believe they played the decisive role, undoubtedly decisive in this historic victory." — George Galloway, after his election to Parliament in 2005.
UK Nazis Invite Galloway to Address Anti-Semitic Rally
One of the main organizers of a neo-Nazi rally targeting London's Jewish community has extended an invitation to far-left politician George Galloway to address the gathering of anti-Semites, citing Galloway's stance on Jews and Israel as a common cause.
Joshua Bonehill - a fascist activist and convicted petty criminal, who initiated the so called "anti-Jewification" initiative targeting British Jews - announced on his website that he had personally invited Galloway to speak at the rally.
While noting that on most other things "George Galloway and myself are completely ideologically opposed,” seeing as “Galloway is a socialist, a mixer of race and indeed a dog in the eyes of many," he added that "in the interest of balance and his stance towards Israel and Jewry, he has been invited to speak on July 4th at Golders Green."
The date and location of the anti-Semitic rally is no coincidence: July 4 is the first Shabbat of the month, and Golders Green is at the heart of London's Jewish community.
Analysis of NYT Hebron Journal: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The Good
a) This is one of the rare occasions the newspaper has addressed Israeli good will efforts toward the Palestinians.
b) Unlike other NYT stories about Arab-Israeli relations, this article does not totally ignore the Palestinian violence that prompted Israeli security measures. The reporter notes that the shuttered shops in Hebron were once full and vibrant with life, but
c) The article also correctly notes, albeit parenthetically, that Jewish history in Hebron "is centuries old."
The Bad
The starting point of the story and headline is the 1994 terror attack on Muslim worshipers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs by Baruch Goldstein, an American-Israeli doctor who lived nearby.
Jewish residents of Hebron are repeatedly portrayed as interlopers, "settlers" who "began squatting in the neighborhood...shortly after Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 war" although this portrayal is actually contradicted by the reporter's own parenthetical reference to the centuries-old Jewish history in the city.
The Missing Information:
Hebron, site of the revered Tomb of the Patriarchs and Judaism's second holiest city, was inhabited by Jews, with few interruptions, since biblical times. The 1994 anti-Arab attack by a Jew was not the first massacre in Hebron. In 1929, rioting Arabs brutally slaughtered their Jewish neighbors, as British soldiers stood by, and put an end to the Jewish community in Hebron. In 1931, 35 Jewish families resettled in Hebron until further Arab riots in 1936 led to their evacuation. After Jordan occupied Hebron in 1948, Jews were barred from living there and from praying at the Cave of the Patriarchs. It was not until after the 1967 war, when Israeli gained control over the city, that the Jewish community in Hebron was rebuilt.
World Jewish Population Back at Pre-Holocaust Levels
A full 70 years since the end of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust, the total number of Jews in the world, including the offspring of mixed marriages, has reached 16 million - nearly the 16.6 million of 1939 before the Nazi genocide began.
The encouraging picture of population recovery emerges from a new annual report by the Jerusalem-based Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) published on Friday morning in Yedioth Aharonoth, which is to be discussed on Sunday in a weekly governmental meeting.
The report indicates that since 1945, when there were 11 million Jews in the world, the Jewish population has steadily grown. Between 2005 and 2015, the Jewish population grew by more than 8%, the highest growth percentage of any decade since the end of World War II.
In compiling the statistics the report based itself on halakhic (Jewish legal) definitions of who is a Jew for those living in Israel, and self-definition for those living abroad.
Immigration from Russia, Ukraine jumps in 2015
Immigration from the former Soviet Union will dramatically increase in the coming year, Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky said, based on projections from the first half of 2015.
In 2015, as of June 1 some 5,904 people immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union. Only 3,698 people had done so by the same point in 2014, representing a 59.64 percent increase, according to figures from the Immigration Absorption Ministry.
If immigration from the FSU keeps up this pace through the end of the year, Israel could see some 18,000 people arrive, up from the 11,860 in 2014.
The bulk of that jump in aliyah — the Hebrew term for immigration to Israel — came from Russia and Ukraine, which have been embroiled in a military conflict since February 2014.
Queen Elizabeth makes first visit to Nazi death camp
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II made her first trip to a former Nazi concentration camp Friday, visiting Bergen-Belsen just over 70 years after it was liberated by British forces, on the final day of her state visit to Germany.
The 89-year-old queen was accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, 94, as she visited the site where at least 52,000 people from across Europe died during World War II, including teenage Jewish diarist Anne Frank.
She was due to see a memorial stone to the young girl, whose journal of her family’s time hidden from the Nazis during the German occupation of The Netherlands has been read by millions around the world.
In April 1945, British forces freed the camp in northern Germany where Jews, political prisoners and other persecuted groups were held, taking pictures which gave the world the first visual proof of the Holocaust.
The Queen is also due to lay a wreath and meet camp survivors and liberators.
BBC tells Libyan Jewish refugee's story
It's progress of sorts: the BBC has decided to show both sides of the story in its examination of the repercussions of the Six-Day War.
This World Service Witness programme tells the story of Liliana Serour, a 19-year Libyan Jew now living in Israel. In June 1967, she was caught up in terrifying riots in Tripoli. Crowds screamed 'kill the Jews'. "You could see the hatred in their eyes,"says Liliana. The family received threatening 'phone calls 20 times a day. Her father's high-level contacts with the government could not save them.
Despite the BBC's valiant efforts to show balance, the equivalence between a Palestinian Arab 'refugee' and a Jewish refugee from Libya collapses: Israel soldiers allowed the Palestinian family to move back to Jerusalem, while Liliana's family, together with some 4, 000 others, was forced out of Libya for good, because the government could not assure their safety. Today there are no Jews in Libya.
Damian Marley Visits Western Wall, Performs in Rishon LeZion
Last night, Damian Marley, the youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley, performed in Rishon LeZion, just south of Tel Aviv. The concert looked like it was a blast, too, especially when Marley paid tribute to his father with a (seemingly sped-up) rendition of “Could You Be Loved,” a completely lovable jam. The tickets cost about $70. During the performance, an image of the elder Marley was shown on a screen behind the younger one; next to him, a man held up the Rastafarian flag. Elsewhere in the crowd, a Jamaican flag is waved. And, based on the random puffs of smoke that rose from the audience, things were blazed. Right on.
And earlier, Marley visited the Western Wall (look at those incredible, ankle-length dreads!):
'In Israel, you can't help but become a Zionist'
"Islamism steals from Islam for its own totalitarian ambition," says Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a physician and Muslim intellectual who defends Israel to the world • U.S. officials can't distinguish between IDF volunteer and Muslim joining Islamic State, she says.
These last few years, I have been toying with the idea of gathering an assembly of intellectuals, political leaders and public opinion leaders to discuss the perils and prospects of Western civilization. Men and women who understand Israel's role as a dam protecting the Western world from flooding and ultimate drowning. People of truth who would be decent enough to explore the complexity of the Israeli story, who would be prepared to stand courageously by Israel and defend its just cause.
One woman I would invite to this fantasy assembly is Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a scientist, intellectual, journalist, physician who specializes in sleep disorders, and a practicing Muslim. Ahmed is an expert on, and ardent opponent of, Muslim radicalization, and a great supporter of the State of Israel.
Ahmed was born in Britain to immigrants from Pakistan. She studied medicine and went to the United States to specialize. She spent time in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere as a physician and lecturer. She now lives in the United States, publishes articles in several journals and is a sought-after commentator in American and world media.


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