Saturday, October 31, 2015

From Ian:

Islamic State in Egypt claims it brought down Russian plane; 224 dead
The Islamic State terror group in Egypt claimed responsibility for bringing down a Russian passenger plane on Saturday carrying 224 people. Russian authorities, however, rejected the claim.
IS in Egypt, Wilayat Sinaa (formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis) published the claim of responsibility hours after the plane, traveling from from the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh back to St. Petersburg, crashed in the Sinai Peninsula with 217 passengers and 7 crew members on board.
“The soldiers of the caliphate succeeded in bringing down a Russian plane in Sinai,” said the statement in Arabic circulated on social media. “More than 220 Crusaders were on board. All were killed, praise God.”
“Know, oh Russians and those allied with you, that you have no place in the land of Muslims…and the dozens of victims that you kill ever y day with your raids in the land of Sham [Syria] will be the cause of all your future misery. And know, also that we will kill you just like you kill us,” a statement in French said.
IS later issued video footage purportedly showing the plane being hit.
IDF coordinating with Russia, Egypt to help locate Russian plane crash in Sinai
An IDF spokesperson said Saturday that the army is coordinating with both Russia and Egypt to help locate the remnants of a Russian plane that crashed in the Sinai earlier in the day.
The IDF sent out surveillance aircraft to comb the area where the plane is believed to have crash landed. The IDF added that it would be ready to offer further assistance to Russia and Egypt if necessary.
In addition, Magen David Adom offered 30 of its ambulances and its air lift helicopters to assist Egyptian first responders following reports that there were still survivors at the crash site.
However, it was later reported that no survivors were found at the scene.
Reports: IAF targets Hezbollah assets in Syria
The Lebanese and Syrian media said Saturday that Israel Air Force warplanes have attacked targets in Syria linked to the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah. Reports varied, however, on the exact targets and location of the strikes.
According to a report on the Lebanese Debate website, six IAF jets carried out the strike over the Qalamoun Mountains region of western Syria, and targeted weapons that were headed for Hezbollah, Channel 10 said.
Syrian opposition groups, for their part, claimed Israeli planes had attacked targets in the Damascus area, in two strikes in areas where Hezbollah and pro-Assad forces were centered.
Syrian media, however, said that Israeli warplanes hit several Hezbollah targets in southern Syria.
Israel’s defense establishment declined to comment on the reports of the strikes, which would be the first since Russia boosted its involvement in the Syrian civil war.
A Victim of Palestinian Terror: Richard Lakin
On October 13th Richard Lakin got on a bus in Jerusalem. Two Palestinian terrorists boarded the bus and attacked the passengers with knives and a gun. Two Israelis were killed in this attack and Richard was severely wounded. He died of his wounds 2 weeks after the terror attack. Richard's wife and his granddaughter share their memories of him and recall the series of events from the scene of the murderous attack:

PM Benjamin Netanyahu: 'In no way did I intend to absolve Hitler of his responsibility for the Holocaust'
I wish to clarify my remarks about the connection between the Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini and the Nazis.
In no way did I intend to absolve Hitler of his responsibility for the Holocaust. Hitler and the Nazi leadership are responsible for the murder of six million Jews. The decision to move from a policy of deporting Jews to the Final Solution was made by the Nazis and was not dependent on outside influence.
The Nazis saw in the Mufti a collaborator, but they did not need him to decide on the systematic destruction of European Jewry, which began in June 1941.
Still, the Mufti was one of those who supported the Nazi goal of destroying the Jews. He conducted his activities from Berlin during the war, disseminated virulent anti-Semitic propaganda on behalf the Nazis, recruited Muslims to the SS, demanded that after conquering the Middle East the Nazis destroy the Jewish national home and vigorously opposed the emigration of Jews – even children – from the Nazi inferno, knowing full well that this would seal their fate.
My remarks were intended to illustrate the murderous approach of the Mufti to the Jews in his lengthy contacts with the Nazi leadership. Contrary to the impression that was created, I did not mean to claim that in his conversation with Hitler in November 1941 the Mufti convinced him to adopt the Final Solution. The Nazis decided on that by themselves.
The interpretation of my remarks as though I absolved the Nazis of even one ounce of responsibility for the Holocaust is absurd.
Bassam Tawil: Muslim Blood and Al-Aqsa
We all know perfectly well that Al-Aqsa mosque is in no danger. Ironically -- I am ashamed to admit it -- thanks to the Israel Police, Al-Aqsa is the safest mosque in the Middle East.
Today we sacrifice both our sons and daughters on the altar of empty slogan -- lies such as "Al-Aqsa mosque is in danger," in the vain, blasphemous notion that omnipotent, omniscient Allah needs us to die as martyrs for his sake.
Muhammad's hadith says one drop of Muslim blood is more valuable than the Kaaba in Mecca, so the same must be true for the stones of Al-Aqsa, which is less holy to Islam than the Kaaba.
The hypocrisy and politicization of Islam has led our sheikhs deliberately to misinterpret verses in the Qur'an, and in that way we disrespect the words of Allah. There are clerics present Islam as a hideous religion bent on murder and paganism, and on sanctifying the stones of Al-Aqsa mosque more than the lives of faithful Muslims.
The Qur'an promises the Children of Israel that they will return to the land of Israel from the four corners of the earth... so we should have greeted their return as living proof of the words of Allah and the realization of the prophecies of Muhammad. Instead, we fight the Jews, which means we fight the wishes of Allah.
The Qur'an tells us that the Jews are the chosen people and the inheritors of the land, so why do our religious leaders deny it and refuse to admit that the Qur'an does not name or even hint at "Palestine" or "Palestinians?"
Will Jeremy Corbyn condemn Gerald Kaufman’s comments about ‘Jewish money’ influencing the Tories?
Yesterday, after a recording of the remarks was made public, four of Britain’s prominent Jewish organisations – the Board of Deputies, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust – expressed their outrage and demanded that Sir Gerald’s comments be investigated. Today calls for his resignation will grow, but as of now he has remained silent. The Spectator has requested comment from Sir Gerald’s office, but has yet to hear back. When asked by The Jewish Chronicle about the allegations that Israel had fabricated stabbing attacks, Martin Rathfelder, Sir Gerald’s election agent, merely asked in turn: ‘Is it untrue?’ Here, again, we see the classic conspiracy theory mindset at work: the impossibility of contradicting the argument presented as clear proof of its legitimacy.
Sir Gerald’s host, the Palestine Return Centre, is a proscribed terrorist group in Israel, with links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and has been dubbed Hamas’s political wing in the UK, although, the group denies any Hamas links. But even the Palestine Return Centre has distanced itself from his remarks, saying that they cross the line between criticism of Israel’s foreign policy and what might be interpreted as anti-Semitism. That is a distinction Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – friend of Hamas, Hezbollah and hate preachers – has often made to contextualise his own support for the Palestinians. Now he has the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that such a distinction is not a smokescreen by unequivocally condemning Sir Gerald’s speech and calling for his immediate resignation.
AUDIO: Gerald Kaufman MP's "Jewish money" slur

Edgar Davidson: The "Official Jews" response to Kaufman: pathetic and inadequate as I predicted
With no rational way to defend the ongoing tsunami of unprovoked attacks by Palestinians/Muslims against Jews in Israel, the antisemites and their friends in the media resorted to a simple lie: "there were no such attacks, and in fact Israel is deliberately killing Palestinians and planting knives". Hence they have created the latest blood libel against Jews.
As I noted in my report on Dave Collier's scoop about Gerald Kaufman, the most serious aspect of Kaufman's speech was not the 'Jewish money buys influence' lie (that Kaufman has stated many times before) but the above blood libel - that incredibly has now become part of the public narrative, with the odious Amnesty International buying into it. At the end of my article I said:
What's the betting that the "Official Jews" only focus their complaints on the Jewish money aspect (because criticism of that is accepted in all 'respected liberal circles') but ignore the far more damaging blood libel (because that, after all, means defending Israel and calling out Palestinian lies, which in not accepted in any liberal circle)?
Well, with the exception of a very good and clear statement by Jonathan Arkush of the Board of Deputies, Britain's 'official Jews' have responded exactly as I predicted. Where they have raised a complaint they have chosen to completely ignore Kaufman's blood libel. The statement from the CST manages to give a detailed report of Kaufman's speech but completely avoids any mention of his claims about Israel even though that was by far the dominant part of the speech! The statement from the Jewish Leadership Council talks about "all the old-fashioned anti-Semitic trope" but also without mentioning the blood libel. All of the Jewish MPs who have made statements about it have also ignored the blood libel.
Palestinian attempts West Bank stabbing, is shot dead
Palestinian armed with a knife tried to stab Israeli guards at a crossing near the West Bank city of Jenin on Saturday morning, and was shot dead.
The Hebrew-language Maariv website said that the man approached the Gilboa (or Jalama) crossing, heading in the direction of Israel when the incident occurred. No one else was injured in the attack, the report said. The checkpoint is manned by private security guards alongside IDF troops.
Israel’s Ynet news website said that a security guard spotted the attacker during an inspection at the crossing, while the attacker was apparently hiding in nearby bushes near a taxi rank at the entrance to the site. The attacker then ran at the guard brandishing the knife. The guard called several times for the man to stop, and opened fire when he refused to do so.
The attacker was later named as Mahmoud Talel Nazal, aged 17, from the village of Kabatiyeh in the northern West Bank, Channel 10 television reported.
Why can’t I find Baruch Goldstein Street on WAZE?
Baruch Goldstein Street vs Muhannad Halibi Street
The conflict in Israel is often referred to with, or represented by, terms such as: violence on both sides; extremists on both sides; David and Goliath; apartheid Israel; oppressor and oppressed; occupier; excessive force
These terms are value judgements and support positions that people wish to take in the conflict. The terms help justify one’s view on what is going on, and they help justify any action, or inaction, a party may take in the conflict.
These terms are used by the media, human rights activists, the BDS and their ilk. And these terms lead to a situation that denies the basic reality:
The concept of assigning blame equally to both sides is morally repugnant
There is no moral equivalency
The leadership on one side condemns terrorist attacks and certainly does not glorify attacks on civilians. To that side’s political leadership, it makes no difference how desperate a person or a community may feel…..The killing of children, women and civilians will never be tolerated and will never be glorified.
The day I find Baruch Goldstein Street on Waze is the day I start seeing the violence as justified.
The day I stop seeing streets like Muhannad Halibi Street is the day I see peace as inevitable.
PA buries 5 Palestinians killed carrying out attacks on Israelis
Riots erupted Saturday afternoon at Ayush Square near Hebron as the funerals were taking place, Channel 10 television reported. Thousands of people turned out for the funeral procession, packing into the streets of the city.
Despite cabinet opposition to the move, Israel transferred the bodies of five to the West Bank on Friday, while local residents gathered to mark the occasion.
The Palestinian baby who died Friday allegedly from inhaling tear gas fired by IDF troops near Bethlehem was also to be buried Saturday, the Ynet news website said. Eight-month-old Ramadan Muhammad Thawabteh was to be laid to rest in home village of Beit Fajjar. The IDF said it was investigating the incident.
The transfer of the five bodies took place Friday night at the Tarkumiyah crossing in Hebron, Ynet reported, where the Palestinian Authority held an official ceremony for their return.
Iran Unleashed
Last week, the Obama White House moved to ensure Hezbollah’s ability to point 100,000 missiles at Israel. That’s not how they would describe it, of course. But it was the Obama administration—as U.S. officials are quietly letting on—and not Russia that invited Iran to participate in talks in Vienna to resolve the Syrian civil war. By doing so, the White House legitimized the Islamic Republic as a “stakeholder” whose interests in Syria must be respected. But of course, Iran has only one interest in Syria, which is to protect its ally, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, whose regime facilitates the transfer of missiles to Hezbollah.
The administration admits as much. As the head of the State Department’s Bureau of Near East Affairs, Anne Patterson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, “What [Iran is] looking for is a Syria that protects their interests and particularly their access to Hezbollah.”
Why doesn’t this seem to bother the White House? Hezbollah is a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization. Its primary campaign is against Israel, while it threatens other regional actors traditionally regarded as American allies, like Saudi Arabia. It has plenty of American blood on its hands, as well. From the 1983 bombings of the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut to the Iraq war, Hezbollah has targeted U.S. military and diplomatic personnel for more than three decades.
Can the IAEA Solve Parchin Mystery?
The fascinating aspect of this latest report is that it came after a visit to the site by IAEA head Yukio Amano and his team that was supposed to satisfy critics of the deal. At the time of his visit in September, the IAEA confirmed the August reports about recent construction but nothing was said about missing equipment. But now we know that a “containment vessel,” which is a specially designed chamber to test nuclear equipment including triggers to detonate a warhead that was previously known to be at Parchin, was not there in September.
The point about its disappearance is that, while Moniz impressed members of Congress with his assurances that equipment could pick up nuclear residue even if the deal required the IAEA to give Iran a few weeks notice of an inspection, if the facility at Parchin has been altered and vital pieces of evidence have disappeared, all talk of accountability or transparency for the deal is mere rhetoric.
Considering that the Iran deal was the most significant foreign policy treaty signed by the U.S. in a generation, a story about how Iran is already undermining compliance with its terms ought to be big news. But the media has greeted the reports about the hijinks at Parchin with a collective yawn. Of major outlets, only Fox News has chosen to publish anything about it.
Critics of the nuclear deal predicted that violations of its terms would be shrugged at by an administration that was too heavily invested in what it termed a diplomatic victory to hold Iran’s feet to the fire on compliance. Small violations would be swept under the rug or dismissed as insignificant. But Parchin is no small detail. Unless the IAEA can tell us with certainty that it knows what Iran accomplished there, the assumptions that are the foundation for the deal are flimsy guesses that shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Ahead of International Syria Talks, Israeli Minister Elkin Meets Russian FM Lavrov to Lay Out Israel’s Red Lines
Israel’s Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Strategic Affairs and Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin laid out Israel’s red lines in Syria in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Thursday, Israeli nrg news reported.
The Israeli minister, according to the report, relayed to Lavrov Israel’s three main concerns: preventing the flow of weapons to the terrorist group Hezbollah, maintaining a quiet border in the Golan Heights and upholding the ban on the use of chemical weapons.
While the meeting was scheduled in advance to discuss economic issues, ultimately it ended up happening a day before Russia headed to international talks on the Syrian war on Friday and Saturday. The Israelis used Elkin’s trip as a chance to lay out their concerns.
“Israel believes this meeting is very important in light of the Vienna meetings and what appears to be a significant improvement for the battered Syrian president, Bashar Assad, ” reported nrg. Additionally, Lavrov reportedly described to Elkin some of Moscow’s plans for the months ahead in Syria.
Palestinians: ICC must accelerate probe into ‘Israeli war crimes’
Palestinian officials on Friday urged the International Criminal Court to speed up its probe into accusations of “Israeli war crimes,” handing over a new dossier alleging summary killings and collective punishment.
A delegation led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asked ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “to expedite” a preliminary inquiry, after the dossier was handed over earlier in the day documenting new alleged crimes in the past 40 days, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told reporters.
Abbas arrived late Friday at the court for talks with Bensouda, accompanied by Maliki, an AFP correspondent said. It was his first meeting with the prosecutor since the Palestinian Authority sparked controversy by joining the tribunal in January.
The preliminary ICC probe aims to establish if there are grounds to open a full-scale investigation. It is unclear when it will be completed, but Maliki said Friday he wants the court to finish quickly.
Russia backs New Zealand’s UN bid to restart Israel-Palestinian talks
The deeply divided Security Council has not adopted a resolution on the decades-old conflict in six years.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Moscow has always maintained that the UN’s most powerful body “should get closer involved.”
“I think we should seriously look at it,” he told reporters. “I don’t see anything controversial about that text.”
The New Zealand draft resolution notes “with alarm the escalating cycle of violence” between Israel and the Palestinians. It declares that a two-state solution, achieved through direct negotiations, is the only path to peace, and it calls on both parties, backed by key international players, to take steps to end violence and incitement and rebuild trust.
The draft further calls on both Israel and the Palestinians to refrain from “provocative acts” including acts that threaten the status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem which have sparked recent clashes. It also calls on the Palestinians to refrain from referring “a situation” to the International Criminal Court.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon was very dismissive, calling the proposed resolution “destructive instead of being constructive.” He said “the only way to achieve peace is through direct talks between the parties,” which Israel has called for.
Trump: ‘Obama hates Israel, Jewish state safe with me’
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Thursday that he believes US President Barack Obama hates Israel, citing the recent nuclear deal with Iran which he said was “so bad” for the Jewish state.
“So many friends in Israel, they don’t know what happened,” he said of the agreement between Tehran and the US, along with other world powers. “They actually think Obama hates Israel. I think he does.”
Speaking during a campaign speech in Reno, Nevada on, the business magnate added: “Honestly, I think Israel is in such a massive amount of trouble because of the agreement.”
Trump vowed to defend Israel if elected president. “Israel is safe with this one,” he said, pointing to himself. “Nothing bad is going to happen to Israel.”
Trudeau’s spokeswoman: Expect a shift in Canada’s policy towards the Middle East
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called Justin Trudeau on October 23 to congratulate him on his victory in the federal elections, but both sides abstained at the time from issuing any official announcement about the conversation and its content.
Talking to the Canadian Press, Kate Purchase, Trudeau’s spokeswoman, described the conversation between Trudeau and Netanyahu as a “very positive call” adding that Trudeau “explained there would be a shift in tone but Canada would continue to be a friend of Israel’s.” Rafael Barak, Israel’s ambassador to Canada, said that Netanyahu invited Trudeau to visit Israel.
On the other side, Hamdi Abu Ali, the Palestinian chargé d’affaires in Ottawa, wishes to see a turnabout in Canadian – Palestinian relations. “We hope this new government will join the international community and recognize the state of Palestine,” Abu Ali said in an exclusive interview to the Ottawa Citizen. “We are confident that Canada will start to see us as a people who want to join other nations in having their own independence and their own sovereignty.”
During the election campaign, Trudeau pledged to change Canada’s foreign policy by espousing a more “balanced” approach in the Middle East.
The Canadian Palestinian leadership which publicly sided with the “Palestinian Intifada” (also called “al-Quds Intifada” and the “Knife Intifada”), expressed its hope that the 10 newly-elected Liberal Muslim members of parliament succeed in their efforts to reform Canada’s foreign policy.
Phyllis Chesler: Jewish Professor Hounded at California Riverside Campus For Holding Pro-Israel Views
Dr. Denise Dalaimo Nussbaum, Chair of the Sociology Department, distinguished author and professor, is suing the Governing Board of Mount San Jacinto Community College for 9.5 million dollars for “assault, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, gender discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination and harassment, violation of constitutional and statutory rights of free speech and political activities, retaliation, tortious interference with law enforcement investigation, and breach of fiduciary duty.”
I think she should sue for more—far more—since this long-time tenured professor now faces a potentially dangerous and hostile work environment.
Her crime? She is a Zionist and proud of it. More importantly, she is a great believer in objective truth. This is currently out of fashion on so many American campuses when the subject of Israel, Palestine, and Islam are discussed. Dr. Nussbaum is also a feminist—and this figures in this story as well. Her love of truth, love of Zion, and love of freedom for women and minorities are anathema to those who have attacked her.
What is going on?
Pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel Brownshirts are growing more and more aggressive on North American campuses. They support “hate speech” and “blood libels” but in the name of “free speech.” They claim “academic freedom” to do so. But they behave in absolutely uncivilized ways.
Jewish Human Rights Group Ad in Guardian Compares Boycott of Israel to Nazi Boycott of Jews
The UK-based group Jewish Human Rights Watch placed an ad in the Guardian on Friday calling on British universities to distance themselves from another ad earlier this week calling for an academic boycott of Israel.
Jewish Human Rights Watch said their ad “educates the Boycotters on how their call for a boycott of Jewish academics and outright support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is sheathed anti-Semitism,” in a press release on Friday coinciding with the ad’s publication. The group said BDS was partly responsible for the apparent rise in antisemitism in Britain.
“We call upon the named universities involved in this hoodwinked attempt at anti-Semitism, to dissociate themselves from these so-called academics. We urge the universities to see the truth,” the group said.
This latest effort is part of the group’s longer campaign against the BDS movement in England. Earlier this year, the group petitioned the High Court of Justice to review a local government’s decision to boycott Israeli goods — specifically those produced in the West Bank.
Edgar Davidson: Jewish student complains about Hitler poster on Birmingham University campus - gets bombarded with antisemitic (and anti-Israel) abuse
When Jewish student Izzy Lenga complained about the above "Hitler was right" poster being put up at Birmingham University she might have expected a sympathetic response. Below is a sample of the hundreds of 'supportive' messages she got on twitter (and Britain's 'official Jews' - especially CST and JLC take note: stop deluding yourselves that antisemitism in the UK has got nothing to do with the tsunami of anti-Israel lies propagated by the media and politicians).
Rashid Khalidi Heads Pro-PLO Panel in Bashing Israel
Israel is a greater threat to America than anything emanating from the Muslim world, according to participants in an October 15 panel titled “The Future of Bipartisanship on Israel.” One of the nation’s largest Democratic Party campaign contributors, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), provided an appropriately partisan setting in their Washington, DC, headquarters for this biased panel. Columbia University professor and former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi moderated before an audience of around seventy, including Jerusalem Fund director Zeina Azzam.
Former CIA analyst and Georgetown University security studies researcher Paul Pillar (“one of the wisest people” on the Middle East, according to Khalidi) began the panel by dredging up the well-worn assertion that the U.S. suffers from its alliance with Israel. Downplaying broader jihadist motives, he claimed that the Arab-Israeli conflict is a “highly exploitable issue” that exacerbates “extremism and specifically, terrorist threats to the U.S.” American support for Israel is a “major drain on U.S. political and diplomatic capital,” he added.
Pillar defined Israeli interests in the Palestinian territories as “based on religious, nationalist, and economic reasons,” with no mention of self-defense. “When people have peaceful effective channels for pursuing their interests, they tend to use them,” he stated, implying that Palestinian terrorism is merely the result of oppression. The “denial of self-determination and democracy to a whole population shows the United States to be a hypocrite,” he maintained, as if this alleged “denial” were a policy.
Exclusive London Nightclub Shut Down After Major Brawl Sparked by Antisemitic Remark (VIDEO)
One club goer’s antisemitic comment at the celebrity London nightclub, Boujis, triggered a street brawl that has ultimately led authorities to shut the club down for two weeks, with the possibility that it will not get its license back to reopen, British media reported on Friday.
According to the exclusive club, the fight was triggered after one guest hurled insults at a group of Jews who had booked a table for the night. It spilled out onto the street, with men and women attacking one another. In video released by one club manager, “F***ing Jews” can be heard shouted and a man is thrown headfirst against a parked taxicab.
Seven people, aged 18-21, were arrested by police on the scene, according to the U.K. Daily Mail. The local licensing authorities ordered a licence review and demanded the club shut down for two weeks.
Dutch Food Authority backs ban on kosher slaughter
The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority has advised the government to ban ritual slaughter of animals, citing pain and suffering caused to them in the process.
The recommendation appeared in a report by the authority’s risk assessment bureau, the NRC Handelsblad daily reported Friday.
“Ban, from a point of view of animal welfare, the killing of conscious animals and especially cattle,” the daily quoted from the recommendation. “If the slaughter of conscious cattle continues anyway,” the recommendation’s authors wrote, then slaughtered animals must not be handled as long as they display signs of life.
In 2012, the Dutch senate scrapped legislation passed the previous year that amounted to a ban on kosher and halal slaughter because it required all animals be rendered unconscious before they are killed. Both Muslim and Jewish religious law requires animals be conscious when their necks are cut.
Israeli scientists help digitize brain
How the brain is wired has long been a question researchers would love to solve. Now, an international ensemble of scientists and engineers has digitalized a piece of the neocortex of the brain of young rats and offers a first-ever inside view of how the brain works.
The Blue Brain Project, a key part of the European Union’s 10-year Human Brain Project, has released a detailed computer representation of the microcircuitry of a small area of the rat’s somatosensory cortex, the part of the brain responsible for the sense of touch.
Using supercomputers, the 82 Blue Brain Project engineers and scientists — from institutions in Israel, Spain, Hungary, US, China, Switzerland, Sweden and the UK — simulated electrical behavior of virtual brain tissue and found that while some of the behavior observed in previous brain experiments was a match, other simulations revealed novel insights into the functioning of the neocortex.
“With the Blue Brain Project, we are creating a digital reconstruction of the brain and using supercomputer simulations of its electrical behavior to reveal a variety of brain states. This allows us to examine brain phenomena within a purely digital environment and conduct experiments previously only possible using biological tissue,” said Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Prof. Idan Segev, a senior author of the research paper, recently published in the journal Cell.
Latin Americans turn to Israel for water rehabilitation
Israel’s agricultural technologies continue to attract new interest from around the world. Most recently, 24 experts from 10 Latin America countries took part in a water resources management course run by the CINADCO-Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation and MASHAV.
The international group visited the Kishon River Authority to hear about the rehabilitation and cleanup project that is transforming the polluted waterway into a thriving nature reserve.
Kishon River authorities say the group was so impressed that interest in future collaboration in water resources management and agricultural development were raised for discussion.
The goal of the CINADCO-MASHAV program is to share Israel’s development experience and help train professionals from Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
Making the desert bloom (with fish)
Israeli company GFA says it offers a solution to the geographical and environmental constraints of fish farms: They created a way to run fish farms anywhere, even in extreme conditions like the desert, with minimal damage to the environment.
Special biological filters
Based on the work of Israeli scientist Dr. Yossi Tal and Hebrew University professor Jaap van Rijn – inventor of the system – GFA has developed an on-land environment where fish can be raised, without having to exchange water or treat it chemically.
“We call this a zero-discharge system,” GFA Advanced Systems CEO Dotan Bar-Noy has said. “We use biological filters and specially developed bacteria to treat the water the fish are growing in, without wasting anything. The system can be set up to raise salt-water fish anywhere in the world – even in the desert, thousands of miles from the ocean,” he said.
Prior to the GFA solution, purification systems were based on electrical treatment systems, which are expensive to install and run, and not all that effective, says Bar-Noy. “Even when they work, the electrical purification systems are too expensive, and fish produced with those systems will cost far more than fish from the sea.”
Obama to address Rabin memorial rally in recorded message
Two US presidents will on Saturday pay tribute to slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, as Israel marks the 20th anniversary of his assassination in the Tel Aviv square where the memorial rally is being held.
President Barack Obama will address the thousands of people gathered at the event in a speech to be played on large screens.
Former president Bill Clinton, who has repeatedly paid tribute to Rabin over the years since his murder, arrived in Israel earlier this week and will speak in person at the memorial.
Major Tel Aviv streets will be closed off to traffic, including Ibn Gvirol, Ben Gurion, Frishman and Malchei Israel.
Clinton on Friday met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.
Israeli top guns taught Soviets a lesson over Egypt
The buildup of Russian warplanes in Syria has raised concerns about a possible clash with Israeli aircraft, which periodically fly over that country. If an Israeli-Russian air confrontation were to occur, it wouldn’t be for the first time.
In 1970, during the so-called War of Attrition between Israel and Egypt, Cairo appealed to Moscow to halt Israeli air attacks on its hinterland. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) had begun attacking infrastructure deep in Egypt in an attempt to force Cairo to halt shelling of Israeli troops along the Suez Canal. Responding to their client state’s request, the Soviets deployed scores of its warplanes and pilots at three Egyptian airfields.
Preferring not to tangle with a superpower, Israel initially halted its deep raids. But when Soviet planes began flying into the front-line Suez Canal zone, Israel decided to engage them directly.
The IAF command chose to lure the Soviets into combat in an aerial ambush. Israel’s best pilots were chosen for the mission. With years of combat against Arab air forces under their belts, the IAF pilots were among the most experienced in the world; between them, the 14 pilots chosen for the mission had 59 “kills.” Nevertheless, going up against the pilots of a superpower was a challenge they did not take lightly.
On July 30, 1970, the IAF dispersed some of the planes around the sky in small formations that, on enemy radar screens, appeared to be on routine reconnaissance or ground attack missions. Some were deep in Sinai, out of radar range. The bait was an attack on an Egyptian radar station by two Phantom jets.
A Conversation with George Deek, Israel’s Best Diplomat
Yesterday in Washington, D.C., I conducted an interview with George Deek, the Israeli diplomat who was profiled in Tablet in July by Israeli journalist Adi Schwartz. In the article, Schwartz discusses the talk Deek gave last year in Oslo shortly after the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge, Israeli’s summer campaign against Hamas. The video quickly became an Internet sensation. But I believe Deek’s performance yesterday at the Hudson Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank where I’m a senior fellow, was perhaps even more impressive.
I strongly encourage readers to watch the recording of the event, which is nearly one hour and thirty minutes of unadulterated Deek. It’s a real tour de force from a top diplomat and lawyer, who is also a great storyteller and one of the most original thinkers I’ve ever had the pleasure to speak with.
The nominal subject of the event was the latest wave of Arab violence in Israel, a topic that Deek, an Arab Christian raised in Jaffa, is uniquely positioned to discuss. The talk covered a wide range of topics—from the state of the Arab-Israeli conflict to the state of the larger region, including the ongoing war in Syria. Deek also spoke about his family, especially his grandfather who after fleeing to Lebanon with the outbreak of the 1948 war decided to come back to Israel—a decision that, as Deek described it, is a foundational moment for his family. Perhaps more importantly, it might be taken as inspiration not just for Arab Israelis and Palestinians, but for everyone throughout the Middle East who need to be able to imagine a different way of being in the world, especially now with much of the region in turmoil. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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