Thursday, December 17, 2015

From Ian:

Rather than carry Israelis, Kuwait Airways drops NYC-London route
Kuwait Airways is eliminating service between New York and London after the US Department of Transportation ordered the carrier to stop refusing to sell tickets to Israelis.
Namrata Kolachalam, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, announced the airline’s decision, USA Today reported Tuesday.
On September 30, the department announced that the airline had acted illegally when it refused to sell a ticket to Eldad Gatt, an Israeli citizen, in 2013. On October 29, the department ordered the airline to “cease and desist from refusing to transport Israeli citizens between the US and any third country where they are allowed to disembark,” USA Today reported, citing a letter from the department’s assistant general counsel for enforcement.
The newspaper reported that Kuwait Airways explained its refusal to sell Gatt a ticket by saying it needed to comply with a Kuwaiti law barring citizens from agreements “with entities or persons residing in Israel, or with Israeli citizenship.”
'Breaking the Silence is a personal affront to every Israeli'
Breaking the Silence (BTS) has justly been getting kicked around within the Israeli political system following a damning report published by Im Tirzu, that included the organization of former IDF soldiers among ‘foreign agents”. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has revoked any contact between the organization and the IDF, while Education Minister Naftali Bennett has stopped any and all contact between Breaking the Silence and any schools.
Dr. Yoaz Hendel, head of the Institute for Zionist Strategy, spoke to Arutz Sheva about the problems inherent in the organization.
“Firstly, I would like to say that I agree in theory with the fact that we all want the IDF to be a moral army. The issue with BTS is not the cases that they are bringing to light per se, but rather that they are creating a warped picture of the IDF. They take exceptional cases and make them out to be rules that apply across the board, and that simply isn’t true.”
Every army finds itself from time to time in difficult situations of a complex moral nature. The same holds true for the IDF. But what offends many in Israel and around the world, is when an army is vilified because of a handful of incidents. “BTS finds the one exceptional incident that happened, and claim that this is how the entire military behaves at all times. I find that insulting,” said Hendel.
Ex-ICC prosecutor praises, but doesn’t endorse, Israeli report on settlements’ legality
The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court this week praised Israel’s Foreign Ministry for the recent publication of a report arguing that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are legal under international law.
While not endorsing the report’s content, Luis Moreno Ocampo, who was visiting Israel this week, said a thorough discussion about the settlements’ legality was sorely needed and could be beneficial to all sides involved.
Earlier this month, the Foreign Ministry, under the directive of Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, published a report arguing that Israel has “valid property claims” to West Bank territory, as “Jewish affinity” with the region dates back thousands of years. The document, authored by the ministry’s legal adviser, also seeks to refute the claim that settlements violate the Geneva Conventions and thus constitute a war crime. The effort to portray Jewish settlements in the West Bank as illegal “ignores the complexity of this issue, the history of the land, and the unique legal circumstances of this case,” the report concludes.
Many Israelis scoffed at the report, doubting its effectiveness in a world where there is near-total consensus about settlements’ illegality. But Moreno Ocampo, who in 2003 became the ICC’s first chief prosecutor and held this role until 2012 when he was succeeded by Fatou Bensouda, praised the ministry’s attempt to present Israel’s point of view.
“That’s perfect. That’s exactly what they had to do,” he told The Times of Israel Tuesday in Jerusalem. “I never read the report. But I think that this is the way to do it: you explain your opinion.”

Ban Ki-Moon admits UN anti-Israel bias
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon admitted that the UN is biased against Israel, UN Watch exposed Wednesday night, in never-before-seen footage of a 2013 session with students participating in Rishon Lezion College of Management’s Model UN program.
"There is some bias against Israel, [the] Israeli people, and government," Ban stated.
"Israel is a member of the United Nations," he qualified. "Thus, Israel must be respected equally with all other 192 member states. Israel is 193."
Then, however, he seemed to backtrack.
"Israel should have for all equal rights [sic], equal representation - that is a firm principle of the UN."
Despite this, he assured students that he had allegedly encouraged all UN member states to stop discriminating against Israel.
New Video: UN Chief Admits UN Bias & Discrimination Against Israel

House Overwhelmingly Passes Hezbollah Sanctions Bill
A bill that seeks to impose mandatory sanctions on banks that knowingly conduct business with Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 425 – 0 on Wednesday, The Hill reported. The proposed legislation is now heading to the White House, where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it.
The measure would direct the Obama administration to report on the Lebanon-based terror group’s drug trafficking and organized crime activities, as well as outline its global support networks
It would also require the administration to determine any telecommunications companies that contract with Al-Manar, a TV station affiliated with Hezbollah.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Obama worked closely with members of Congress to draft the measure, which is titled the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015.
Analysis: The Different Stages of Iranian Support for ISIS
Recent reports that Iran is supporting ISIS through its funding of Hamas are a reminder that the Islamic Republic has long backed the powerful jihadist group and its predecessors in a variety of ways.
In 2012, the United States Treasury Department exposed the extensive financial ties between Iran and al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the terrorist organization that evolved into ISIS. The generous support Iran afforded ISIS in its formative years was part of a broader alliance that the Islamic Republic established with al-Qaeda over a decade ago.
As AQI metastasized across Iraq and eventually became ISIS, Iran sought to position itself at the vanguard of the global effort against the terrorist group, claiming that it was dedicated to beating back its advances. However, Iran and its clients, particularly Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, have notably failed to dislodge ISIS from any significant territory. Former U.S. military intelligence officer Michael Pregent observed in May that Iran and its allied militias in Iraq did not extend themselves to fight the terror group, and concluded that “Iran needs the threat of ISIS and Sunni jihadist groups to stay in Syria and Iraq in order to become further entrenched in Damascus and Baghdad.” A month later, U.S. officials similarly charged Syria with bombing non-Islamist rebels “in support of ISIL’s advance on Aleppo,” which helped the terror group push back Syrian opposition factions that were fighting Assad’s regime.
Monday’s Ynet report on Iran’s ongoing financial support of Hamas, which the Gaza-based terrorist group partially uses to fund ISIS’s affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula, shed more light on Iran’s strategy of using its proxies to bolster ISIS. Last week, a senior U.S. treasury official revealed that Assad is the biggest purchaser of oil from ISIS. Reports surfaced that Iranian agents were also directly selling weapons to ISIS in exchange for oil last year.
Experts say Hamas and ISIS cooperating to fight their new common enemy: Egypt
Hamas and Islamic State in Sinai have been cooperating in the smuggling of weapons, demonstrating that while Hamas is a nationalist Islamist movement, it also has common roots from which to build a functioning relationship with jihadists.
“Over the past two years, IS Sinai helped Hamas move weapons from Iran and Libya through the peninsula, taking a generous cut from each shipment,” according to a Washington Institute for Near East Policy report on Tuesday by Ehud Yaari, a Lafer International Fellow at the think tank.
Yaari, a Middle East commentator for Channel 2, points to a secret visit by Islamic State’s military leader in Sinai, Shadi al-Menai, to Gaza this month to hold talks with Hamas’s military wing.
Both Hamas and Islamic State trace their origins back to the Egypt Muslim Brotherhood, founded by Sheikh Hassan al-Banna.
Analysis: Zarif Lies About Results of IAEA Probe, Shattering Moderate Veneer
The recent vote to close the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation into Iran’s illicit nuclear work prompted Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Islamic Republic’s chief nuclear negotiator and foreign minister, to boast that the “fabricated problem” of Iran’s military nuclear program had come to an end.
“Despite its pitfalls,” Zarif said, “the report by Mr. Amano clearly indicates that there has been no deviation from peaceful purposes in nuclear materials thus confirming that Iran has always abided by NPT [Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty] and its program has always been peaceful.”
The relevant IAEA report, while deeply flawed, said nothing of the sort. In fact, the agency concluded that Iran had engaged in “a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” This is certainly not an indication of “peaceful purposes.” While the decision to end the IAEA probe effectively allowed Iran’s efforts to develop a nuclear bomb go unpunished, the report’s findings clearly indicate that Iran grossly violated the terms of the NPT.
Significantly, while the IAEA’s judgment only extended to Iran’s declared nuclear activities, former IAEA deputy director general Olli Heinonen argued that the agency’s findings also indicated the existence of a parallel, covert nuclear program.
'IAEA admitted Israel was right Iran tried to build bomb'
In 1992, Dr. Asculai returned to Israel and became heavily involved in the deliberations leading to the conclusion of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). He authored "Verification Revisited: The Nuclear Case", published by the ISIS Press. In 2002 he joined the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (now incorporated into the Institute for National Security Studies). He has since published several papers dealing with WMD non-proliferation in general, and Middle East issues in particular.
Iran, for its part, has always denied this. However the IAEA report now states very explicitly, that Iran was lying and working on a PMD nuclear weapon.
“The report was submitted, and everyone nodded, and no one did anything about it. Nothing was said. It was accepted as is, and then people said let’s move on. It is absurd,” said Asculai.
Asculai compared the situation to a common criminal. “It is similar to a criminal who comes to court claims that he is not guilty for a crime that he has committed. Then the prosecution proves that he is guilty and he still gets off scot free, because the judges don’t want to deal with it.”
Asculai said that the United States in particular doesn’t want to do anything about it, and that their negligence and apathy is dangerous. “This precedent paves the way for anyone to develop nuclear weapons,” he explained.
“This entire episode verifies what Israel knew before. That on the issue of Iran, there are very few countries that we can depends on. Some people call it an appeasement issue, and I think that they may be right.”
Kerry welcomes end of UN probe of Iran's nuclear weapons
The top American diplomat, Secretary of State John Kerry, on Tuesday welcomed the UN nuclear watchdog's decision to close its probe into whether Iran had developed nuclear weapons in the past.
In a written statement quoted by Reuters, Kerry said the decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board would allow it to focus on the implementation of the July 14 deal between Iran and the West.
"Closing the (Possible Military Dimensions) agenda item will in no way preclude the IAEA from investigating if there is reason to believe Iran is pursuing any covert nuclear activities in the future, as it had in the past," Kerry said, according to Reuters, adding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) improved the agency's ability to monitor Iran.
"Today’s resolution makes clear that the IAEA’s Board of Governors will be watching closely to verify that Iran fully implements its commitments under the JCPOA," he added . "We will remain intensely focused going forward on the full implementation of the JCPOA in order to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program."
Iran: We will continue developing missiles
Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said Wednesday that Iran would continue its research, development and production of missiles and other military equipment, irrespective of UN resolutions.
“Since day one of the endorsement of the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed between Iran and five world powers), our different tests have not [been] postponed even for a single day, hour or moment; rather we have not even felt any doubt about declaring them,” Dehghan told the Fars News Agency.
Dehghan’s statement came a day after UN sanctions monitors said that Iran had violated a Security Council resolution in its October test of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile.
The Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Iran said that the launch of the Emad long-range missile was in violation of Security Council resolution 1929, which prohibits the Islamic Republic from carrying out any military activity related to the use of ballistic missiles. The Iran nuclear deal, signed in July, also bars the country from developing missiles “designed to carry nuclear warheads.”
McConnell, 36 Republican Senators Urging Obama to Keep Iran Sanctions over Missile Test
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and 35 other Republican senators signed a letter urging Obama not to lift sanctions on Iran, saying its recent ballistic missile testing showed “blatant disregard for its international obligations.” According to Reuters, the letter says it would be “a mistake to treat Iran’s ballistic missile program as separate from Iran’s nuclear program.”
On October 10, Iran violated a UN Security Council resolution by test-firing Emad, a medium-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, according the Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Iran. The White House said in response to the report that it does not rule out additional steps against Iran over the illegal testing.
The UN monitoring panel said in a confidential report, as reported by Reuters, that the launched rocket could deliver a nuclear weapon. “On the basis of its analysis and findings the Panel concludes that Emad launch is a violation by Iran of paragraph 9 of Security Council resolution 1929,” the panel said.
BBC continues to promote ‘peaceful’ Iranian nuclear programme theme
Moreover, the BBC chose once again to highlight Iranian statements on the issue which the IAEA’s December 2nd report clearly showed to be inaccurate.
“Iran has strongly denied pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons programme.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif welcomed Tuesday’s announcement by the Vienna-based IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), saying it showed the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.”

Towards the end of the article readers are again provided with an equally misleading Iranian statement on another issue.
“In a separate development on Tuesday, a medium range missile test-fired by Iran in October was in violation of a UN resolution, sanctions monitors said.
A report by the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Iran said that the Emad rocket was a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
Under the July nuclear deal, Iran was “called upon” to refrain from developing ballistic missiles for up to eight years.
However, Iran said the test did not violate the agreement.”

BBC audiences are not provided with the necessary background which would enable them to put that statement into its correct context.
Putin said to host Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Soleimani
The commander of the Al-Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Qassem Soleimani, held talks in Moscow last week with President Vladimir Putin, Iran’s semi-state Fars news agency reported Wednesday.
“General Soleimani held a meeting with President Putin and high-ranking Russian military and security officials during a three-day visit last week to pursue the issues raised during the (late November) meeting between Putin and Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei (in Tehran),” Fars quoted unofficial sources saying.
Fars said Putin discussed the “latest developments in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon” with Soleimani, and referred to him as “my friend, Qassem.”
It also said that the IRGC denied the report, but noted that, since Soleimani is under constant threat by enemies including “Israeli and American secret services,” his activities are generally conducted in secret.
Iran: We infiltrated the Mossad
The semi-official Fars News Agency of Iran outdid itself on Tuesday, posting claims that Tehran's intelligence agents have infiltrated "those countries that have taken a hard line on the Islamic Republic."
The claims were made by Hojjatoleslam Gholamreza Safayee, chief of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Office for Ideological and Political Affairs.
"We have infiltrated the enemy's spy agencies," posited the senior official in Tehran on Tuesday, without given any other details whatsoever.
The article was accompanied by an image with the symbols of the CIA, the UK's MI6, and the Mossad, in a clear indication of which "hard line" countries Fars was insinuating were infiltrated.
Safayee also claimed that the "inside job" was to credit for the "capture of the executed ringleader of (the) Jundollah terrorist group four years ago," referring to Abdolmalek Rigi, who founded and led the Sunni militant group that opposes Iran's occupation of Balochistan before being executed in 2010.
Fars has a long history of far-fetched claims, such as when it reported in late October that an IDF colonel had been captured fighting for Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq.
Iran Hinting at Intervention in Nigeria to ‘Protect Country’s Shiites’
Iranian officials signaled intent on Tuesday to intervene in Nigeria on behalf of the country’s Shiite Muslim population, Iran’s pro-regime Tasnim News Agency reported.
The officials were responding to the reported death of 60 people in Nigeria over the weekend, after the Nigerian army raided Islamic Movement headquarters and arrested its leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky. The Nigerian Army said its raid was in retaliation for an Islamic Movement attack on the chief of staff’s convoy — an allegation the Islamic Movement denies.
The Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission released a statement condemning the raid as a “barbaric” attack on “the oppressed Shiites of Nigeria,” and warning that Iran would interpret it as an, “aid and companionship [sic] with [the] international terrorism,” carried out by ISIS and others.
David Collier: The academic train wreck at the University of Bath
This highlights so much of what is wrong with academia today. Complaints have been made to the university over this, but with an academic mentor and supervisor at the University of Bath that supports a boycott of Israel and probably sympathises with her opinions, I doubt much will come of it. In fact, the opposite is probably true. Aked will gain credit as having had one of the ‘Zionist’s’ attack her, she will get a few slaps on the back from her fellow activists and the university will hide behind a wall of academic freedom that is entirely irrelevant in this case. The ‘campus dogs’ will then attack anyone who criticises and everyone will go on as if this PhD candidate actually understands what academic research truly entails.
The true meaning of this, is that Jews, especially Zionists need to wake up to the fact that UK academia is a hostile environment. It is a train wreck. It is not even willing to adhere to its own rules in when and how it attacks. I personally am suggesting both publicly and privately that pro-Israelis engaged in research with academics should understand that there is a fair chance that their participation is being used to actually do them harm. Just look at how NWFOI’s single comment was taken out of context and thrown publicly into a article to deliberately discredit them and others. I know some of those I have spoken with are currently withdrawing from research and they have notified the academics to explain the withdrawal. The very least we should expect of academia, is that they should follow their own rule book. Even this it seems is a step too far for them to go.
IsraellyCool: Guest Post (Hillel Fuld): The Ultimate Israeli Palestinian FAQ
So let’s break it down. One by one. Step by step. And let’s challenge ourselves to keep our answers factual, not emotional, and as short and precise as possible.
Here we go.
“The Palestinians want a state. They deserve one. Give them their land “back” and there will be peace.”
You mean like Gaza? Not one Jew there. How did that work out?
“There are millions of Palestinians suffering from oppression. They have national aspirations.”
1947. Partition plan. A Jewish state alongside an Arab state. What happened next? Google it.
“This isn’t about antisemitism. Stop pulling that card. Israel stole land. That’s what this is about.”
Read the charter of Hamas, the group democratically elected by a majority of the Palestinians. Then come back to me. A nice snippet “The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim.”
Over 200 South African scholars pledge to boycott Israel
More than 200 South African scholars pledged support for an academic boycott of Israel.
In a declaration Tuesday, the scholars said they would not accept invitations to visit Israeli academic institutions and would not participate in conferences organized or funded by them. They will, however, continue to work with Israeli colleagues individually, if they share a commitment to the Palestinians as outlined in the declaration.
“We will maintain this position until the State of Israel complies with international law, and respects universal principles of human rights,” the statement said.
The group, which includes university professors as well as scholars at research institutes and think tanks, says it is “deeply disturbed by Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land, the intolerable human rights violations that it inflicts on all sections of the Palestinian people, and it’s apparent determination to resist any feasible settlement.”
Buy a United Church of Christ Mini Security Barrier for that special someone in your life
Are you still looking for that perfect gift for the special child in your life?
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"Breaking Down the Wall" is a 10-inch olive wood replica of the Israel's Security Barrier which has saved countless lives.
Five pieces, Mom and Dad. Its educational. It comes with prayers and stories. And stickers. Such play value for only $25.
Hungarian PM denounces plans to erect statue of anti-Semite
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced his opposition Wednesday to plans to erect a statue in honor of a World War II-era politician infamously known for his anti-Semitic views.
The statement notably comes a day after senior US State Department officials and Jewish communal leaders convened in Budapest to protest plans to unveil the life-sized statue of Balint Homan in his hometown of Szekesfehervar.
Homan was a prominent historian and civic leader widely seen as an architect of anti-Jewish laws in the 1930s. He also called for the deportation of Jews from Hungary in 1944 while part of a fascist Hungarian government installed by Nazi Germany.
In a statement issued by MTI, Hungary's official news agency, Orban neglected to make a direct mention of Homan's anti-Semitism, saying only that he would not support dedicating a statue to an official who had served when Hungary was not under sovereign rule.
“There can be arguments about reasons, extent and quality of collaboration with invading powers but the government of Hungary shall not support erecting a statue for a politician who cooperated with the oppressors,” he added.
Hungary delays anti-Semitic statue unveiling after protests
The inauguration of a Hungarian statue honoring a World War II-era politician with anti-Semitic views was delayed after it prompted strong protests and even threats, the group sponsoring the monument said Tuesday.
The life-sized statue of Balint Homan, widely seen as an architect of anti-Jewish laws in the 1930s, was scheduled to be unveiled in the central city of Szekesfehervar on December 29 to commemorate the 130th anniversary of his birth.
But the planned event had drawn several hundred protesters — including Washington’s special envoy on anti-Semitism Ira Forman — to the monument’s building site on Sunday.
“The city of Szekesfehervar and its mayor have been subjected to serious attacks and threats which are unworthy of Balint Homan who did so much to build this city… We have decided to postpone the inauguration,” said Gabor Kovats of the Balint Homan Foundation on Tuesday.
He did not specify a new date for the event.
Why is Hungary building a statue of a World War II-era anti-Semitic politician?
Balint Homan is an important figure in Hungarian history, both for his well-respected attempts to document it as an academic and his work influencing it as a Minister of Religion and Education for two periods between 1932 and 1942. Later this month, the city of Szekesfehervar is planning to unveil a life-size statue of Homan, funded in part by a donation from the country's Justice Ministry, to mark the 130th anniversary of his birth.
However, the planned statue of Homan earned a remarkable rebuke from a United States envoy this weekend, for a simple reason – Homan espoused anti-Semitic beliefs and was a Nazi-allied political leader during a period that eventually saw more than half a million Hungarian Jews killed in the Holocaust.
"From the U.S. government perspective we feel very strongly that history and the damage that this man did to Hungarian citizens who happened to be Jewish cannot be ignored, and to put up that statue seems incomprehensible," Ira Forman, a U.S. special envoy against anti-Semitism, told Reuters.
The planned unveiling of the statue comes at a time when many are concerned that the government of Viktor Orban, Hungary's prime minister, hasn't learned the lessons of history. Orban, who first became prime minister in 1998, has become known for a reactionary stance since he was returned to office in 2010: He's sided with Russia during the dispute over Ukraine, attempted to tax the Internet, and built a giant fence to help keep refugees out of the country. At points, Orban has seemed to relish the notoriety he's received in the West – last year even saying that he hopes to build Hungary into an "illiberal democracy."
Jewish Cemetery in Poland Vandalized; Graves Covered in Antisemitic, Pro-ISIS Graffiti
Vandalas in the Polish city of Sochaczew desecrated a Jewish cemetery over Sunday night.
Slogans such as “F*** Jews” and the “Holocaust never happened” were scrawled across the Ohel HaTzadik memorial, next to others about Muslims, for example, “Islam will dominate” and “Islamic State was here.”
Another featured a Star of David hanging from a crudely depicted noose. The Jewish cemetery is apparently located right next to others gravesites for Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians and Muslims. The entire Jewish population of the town was wiped out by the Nazis in World War II.
Director of the Museum of the Sochaczew and Battlefield on Bzura, Paul Rozdżestwieński, said in a statement reported by Polish press, “As museum professionals and at the same time residents of Sochaczew, we are ashamed of such behavior and we would like to ask all residents to help organize the restoring of dignified appearance to the Sochaczew cemetery.”
Sandy Hook conspiracist harassing Jewish victim’s family to be fired
The administration of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton has begun a process to fire a faculty member who has promulgated conspiracy theories about the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre and other recent American tragedies.
According to the Sun-Sentinel of Florida, the university’s action against tenured associate communications professor James Tracy began following the December 10 publication of an oped by Lenny and Veronique Pozner, whose six-year-old son Noah was killed in the gun attack by Adam Lanza at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
The Pozners, who have been among the most vocal of Sandy Hook’s bereaved parents, wrote about the anguish they suffer due to continued harassment by conspiracy theorists who deny the attack happened, claiming that it was staged and that the parents of the murdered children were government agents who have gained financially from the event.
“Although many of these tormentors persecute us behind anonymous online identities, some do so openly and even proffer their professional credentials in an attempt to lend credence to their allegations. In this piece we want to focus on someone who is chief among the conspiracy theorists — Florida Atlantic University Professor James Tracy,” they wrote.
Technion breaks ground on first Israeli university in China
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology laid a cornerstone on Wednesday for the first Israeli University in China – The Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) in Shantou, in the Guangdong province of southeastern China.
The new university represents a historic collaboration between the Technion and Shantou University in China, and was made possible with the support of the Governor of Guangdong Province, the Shantou Municipality and the Li Ka Shing Foundation, which promotes education and healthcare initiatives.
“The combination of the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Israel and the unbelievable scale and resources of China will result in a great partnership. Together we will create a major research institute that will help not only China and Israel, but also mankind in general,” said Technion President Peretz Lavie at the groundbreaking.
Leading the ceremony were former Israeli president Shimon Peres, GTIIT vice chancellor, Technion Distinguished Professor and Nobel laureate Aaron Ciechanover, Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ophir Akunis, Hong Kong business leader and philanthropist Li Ka-shing, and GTIIT Chancellor Li Jiange.
The Li Ka Shing Foundation donated $130 million to fund the project – the largest donation ever made to the Technion and one of the largest donations to higher education in Israel.
Report: Kim and Kanye to return to Israel for son Saint's baptism
It isn't easy "keeping up" with the internationally jet-setting Kardashians.
But, according to Wednesday reports, the reality television star Kim Kardashian and her husband rapper Kanye West are expected to travel again to Israel in the coming months to baptize their second child.
Kardashian on December 5 gave birth to son Saint, who like older sister North, is expected to be baptized in the Holy Land after the mom of two whips her body back into shape for the next couple of months, according to the Daily Mail.
In April, the Hollywood duo had their then 22-month old daughter baptized at a 12th century Armenian church in Jerusalem's Old City during a whirlwind visit to Israel.
Seminal NY punk rocker stands up against terror
After performing in Paris following last month’s ISIS attacks, Ross (The Boss) Friedman joins the Titans of Metal revue in Tel Aviv.
‘I would have played for free on a street corner in Paris if I had to,” barked a defiant Ross Friedman into the phone from his Queens home.
Better known by his stage name Ross the Boss, the 60-year-old founding member of seminal CBGBs-era punk band The Dictators had been scheduled to appear in Paris with the latter-day, reconstituted Dictators NYC, five days after the deadly ISIS attack on the Eagles of Death Metal show at the Bataclan theater. However, the French government had canceled all live performances in the aftermath of the massacre.
The Dictators NYC had been onstage in Spain when the jolting news of the Paris attacks reached them, recalled Friedman, “It was shocking, but not surprising. How could anyone possibly be surprised by it? They have declared war on us,” he said. “We decided that we were going to play in Paris anyway and we found a small venue.
Jewish Actress Mayim Bialik: Don’t Be Ashamed to Voice Support for Israel
Actress Mayim Bialik urged Israel-backers not to be apologetic in voicing their support for the Jewish state, The Canadian Jewish News reported on Wednesday.
“I think what’s important about speaking out is that I don’t even think of it as ‘speaking out,'” the Jewish “Big Bang Theory“ star, 40, told the publication. “I don’t think you should be ashamed to talk about your support for a country where Jews can have an autonomous existence.”
The mother-of-two believes “Israel” has become a “dirty word” to use, and she said it’s a shame. She explained that “although there are very, very difficult politics surrounding Israel, and I don’t agree with everything the Israeli government or the people in the State of Israel do, it’s not a dirty word to talk about a country amidst dozens of Arab countries in that region of the world.”
The actress, who speaks Yiddish and raised her children to learn the language, recently made headlines for a Facebook post in which she blasted critics who boycott her on social media because of her Zionist beliefs.
No babka for Seinfeld in Tel Aviv
Jerry Seinfeld will arrive in Israel on Friday, flying in his private plane to Ben Gurion Airport for his four stand-up shows in Tel Aviv’s Menorah Mivtachim Arena.
The stand-up comedian will be staying in the Dan Tel Aviv, with a view of the Mediterranean Sea and a suite filled with complimentary chocolates, petit fours, fresh fruit trays and mineral water, but no butter, carb-filled foods or breads, as requested by Seinfeld.
That could be a directive from Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica Seinfeld, a fan of all things healthy and the author of several cookbooks for kids that focus on pureeing vegetables and hiding them in kid-friendly foods.
London Israeli eatery named UK restaurant of the year
OFM Awards 2015 best restaurant: The Palomar
For the most part, they say, the food in London matches that at the mothership in Jerusalem. “When we were first talking about bringing this here,” Amedi says, “I thought it would have to be more polished and posh, more European. But very quickly I realised that what was needed here was the true self.” Layo agrees: “We quickly understood that the more authentic it was the better it would be.”
I wonder aloud whether the pre-existing presence in London of Yotam Ottolenghi’s delis and restaurants, and Honey & Co, both drawing on the Israeli heritage of their key personnel, helped smooth the way. “When bringing something like this to London, you make a decision involving the head and heart,” Layo says. “And then you rationalise it. But let’s just say there was a certain magic to the timing.” What about availability of ingredients? “I spent five months before we opened seeking things out,” Tomer says. “The fact is, in Israel you fight for good supplies of meat, here you fight for good vegetables, but we’re fine.”
They’ve also had to deal with certain expectations. “You get some people surprised that it’s not all falafel and hummus. But we don’t want to be thought of as an Israeli restaurant or a Middle Eastern restaurant. We just want to be thought of as a good restaurant.” The general view is that it is a very good restaurant indeed. “We have been fortunate enough to be full from the very start,” Layo says. And for him, the OFM award really is the accolade that means the most. “It consolidates everything because it’s voted for by the people who eat here. We do what we do for our guests. No one else.”
Aliyah to reach 'record high' of 30,000 in 2015
8,000 French Jews will have made Aliyah by the end of 2015, statistics from the Ministry of Absorption revealed Wednesday.
While that number is far below the estimated 15,000 French Jews Israel expected to make Aliyah at the end of the second year of its three-year French Aliyah program, the statistic still places French Jews at the forefront of Aliyah for 2015.
Polls in the French Jewish community in November indicated that approximately 80% are considering making aliyah to Israel. While not all will likely actually take the step, the number signifies a massive shift in consciousness and portends a huge increase in aliyah.
Ukrainian Jews are the second-biggest population to have made Aliyah in 2014, Haaretz reports, with some 7,000 Ukrainian Jews estimated to have moved to Israel in 2015; 6,000 made Aliyah in 2014.
Absorption Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) told the daily that total Aliyah is estimated to be 30,000 in 2015 - "a record high for the past decade" that he emphasized "is a window of opportunity that should not go to waste.”
Israeli archaeologists find Hebrew inscriptions on ancient slab of marble near Lake Kinneret
Hebrew inscriptions were discovered on an ancient piece of rare marble discovered by Israeli archaeologists during an excavation on the shores of Lake Kinneret.
The 1,500-year-old slab was dug up by scientists in Kursi, which lies on the eastern shore of Israel’s most important source of drinking water.
The finding confirms historians’ belief that the ancient village of Kursi was inhabited either by Jews or Christians.
“This is the first indication that there was a Jewish presence, and it reinforces the belief that the town of Kursi was where Jesus performed the 'Miracle of the Swine.'"
According to tradition, Jesus healed two men said to have been possessed by demons by pushing them into a herd of pigs.
The excavation was supervised by Prof. Michal Artzi of Haifa University and Dr. Haim Cohen in concert with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 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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