Tuesday, December 29, 2015

From Ian:

Wiesenthal Center ranks top 10 worst outbreaks of anti-Semitism in 2015
The Simon Wiesenthal Center ranked the European Union’s labeling of settlement products higher than incidents of Palestinian and Iranian incitement and threats against Israel in its annual 10 worst outbreaks of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism around the world in 2015.
Presented to The Jerusalem Post on Monday, the list enumerates what the organization believes are the worst occurrences of hate against Jews and their state over the course of the past year, which it characterized as of one of “unprecedented explosions of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatred.”
“Our Top Ten this year shows how pervasive anti-Semitism has become around the world. The 10 examples selected by the Simon Wiesenthal Center are tragically indicative of burgeoning threats and challenges to the Jewish people not encountered since the end of World War II,” the organization said.
Leading the list at No. 1 was the hatred that inspired Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife to murder 14 people in a shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California, earlier this month.
Caroline Glick: Dani Dayan and the challenge to Israeli democracy
Given Brazil’s importance as a market and as a defense partner, Israel needs a serious ambassador posted to Brasilia capable of advancing relations. In Dani Dayan, Israel has such a representative.
Dayan is a native of Argentina. He knows Latin America better than career diplomats.
Dayan was an early hi-tech entrepreneur. He led his company, Elad Systems for 23 years, building it from a small information technology firm into a 500-employee company with an annual revenue stream of NIS100 million. Given his business background, Dayan’s ability to promote Israeli-Brazilian trade is self-evident.
Dayan is a political pragmatist. When he served as the leader of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, he made it his goal to demonstrate to the wider public that the communities are an integral part of Israel. As the council’s representative to the international community, Dayan worked tirelessly to combat the delegitimization of Israel as a whole and of the Israeli communities in the areas. In a sphere where Israel has precious little to show for its efforts, Dayan’s public diplomacy efforts stood out.
In light of this, when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed Dayan to serve as Israel’s ambassador to Brazil in August, the appointment was not seen as controversial. Rather it was widely viewed as a sign that Netanyahu is keen to expand Israel’s bilateral ties with Brazil and more generally, that Israel is interested in seriously advancing its ties to Latin America.
This apparently was bad news for the EU- and US-financed radical Left. For many years radical leftists have made no effort to hide their interest in maintaining and expanding Israel’s international and economic weakness. As they see it, the stronger Israel is, the less vulnerable it will be to foreign pressure to make further concessions to the PLO.
And so, after the government approved Dayan’s appointment, fringe leftists associated with EU- and US-funded political NGOs set out to scuttle the appointment.
Free Beacon: 2015 Man of the Year: Cpl. T
In the Israeli media, the anonymous IDF soldier was identified simply as “Cpl. T.” Other outlets dubbed him “The Terminator.” Whatever his name, the 19-year-old IDF rookie proved himself to be an international hero after he slayed three knife-wielding Palestinian terrorists in a nine-day span last fall.
On Oct. 17, two Palestinian fanatics with knives attacked an Israeli in Gush Etzion when they were put down by bullets from Cpl. T.’s gun. Nine days later, Cpl. T. smoked another terrorist who tried to stab a fellow soldier at a nearby bus stop.
The IDF released few details about Cpl. T., but said he had only been in the military for eight months and was in the “Kfir”—or “Lion’s Club”—brigade. The group is “the youngest and largest brigade in the Israel Defense Forces,” according to the military.
While the young soldier has been lauded for his quick instincts and good aim, Cpl. T. says he was just doing his job.

Free Beacon: 2015 Man of the Year: Howard Stern
Howard Stern, the longtime King of All Media, became a Lion of Judah in 2015 when he took on notorious anti-Israel activist and Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters for his support of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
Stern, who hasn’t been shy about flexing his pro-Israel bona fides on the air, ripped Waters a new one in October after the aging rock star lashed out at singers who perform in the Jewish state.
“He’s gotta shut up, Roger Waters,” Stern said at the time. “What is with Roger Waters and the Jews?”
“Where do you want the Jews to go Roger?” Stern exclaimed. “Where do you want them to go? You want them to just go back to the concentration camp? What is it you want, f*ck head?”
The rant was praised by the Jewish state’s defenders and prompted a larger conversation in the media about the anti-Semitic undercurrents of the BDS movement, which seeks to wage economic warfare on Jews.
MEMRI: Egyptian Political Scientist Amr Hamzawy: Egypt Needs A Frank Discussion About The 'Displacement' Of Egyptian Jews In The 1950s and 1960s
In his October 13, 2015 column in the Egyptian daily Al-Shuruq, Egyptian political scientist Amr Hamzawy wrote about the culture of the Jews of Egyptian extraction and their continued "love for the homeland that was." Clarifying that he was writing from a purely human perspective and setting aside questions of Palestinian-Israeli politics, Hamzawy called on his fellow Egyptians to open a frank discussion about the country's expulsion of its Jews in the 1950s and 1960s.
The following are excerpts:
"The Years Following The 'Displacement' Held For Them Precisely What They Had Feared When Their Ships Left The Shores Of Egypt: The Trip Was One-Way, With No Return Tickets"
"It is an odd thing, these people who were forced to leave Egypt in the 1950s and 1960s. They left it knowing no other homeland, and most of them did not know their final destination. The majority came upon safe havens in which to stay, settle down, and work, in a number of European countries and in the United States.
Egyptian Jewish antiquities uncared for as community dwindles
Current Egyptian Minister of Culture: "There is nothing called ‘Jewish books in Egypt,’ the books scientifically should be classified as Arabic, Persian, Turkish, etc.”
Hundreds of Jewish books stored in Cairo’s Sha’ar Hashamayim Synagogue, some dating back to the 17th century, are not being properly cared for, Egyptian media reported Monday.
“The books are very important and rare. Some books are handwritten while others were donated by dignitaries,” Mohamed Hosni, a Hebrew language professor at Ain Shams University, told The Cairo Post. “There are some books [so fragile they] cannot be touched lest they deteriorate.”
The Jewish Heritage Library in Egypt was established in the Cairo Synagogue in 1988, during former president Hosni Mubarak’s tenure, noted the report.
Sweden: Rapes, Acquittals and Severed Heads
Some 30 Muslim men thought that the woman was in violation of Islamic sharia law, by being in Sweden unaccompanied by a man. They thought that she should therefore be raped and her teenage son killed.
Two Swedish citizens were convicted by a Gothenburg Court of joining an Islamist terror group in Syria and murdering two captives. Video evidence showed one victim being beheaded. "Every night when I have gone to bed, I have seen a head hanging in the air." — Court Chairman Ralf G. Larsson.
Sometime during the night, the victim was awakened by the Iraqi as he raped her. The woman managed to break free and locate a train attendant. At first, the woman did not want to call the police. "She felt sorry for him [the rapist] ... and was afraid he would be deported back to Iraq."
One week after Sweden raised its terror alert level to the highest ever, the police raised another alarm -- saying their weapons are simply not good enough to prevent a potential terror attack.
Report: Bataclan Terrorists May Have Been Targeting Devout Christian Singer
In an interesting development in the Bataclan theater terror attack in Paris six weeks ago, the UK's Daily Mail is reporting that the terrorists may have been partly targeting the lead singer of the band performing there that night, who is a devout Christian, gun owner, and Trump supporter.
Investigators are unearthing new details of the terror attacks across Paris on November 13. According to information from the judicial enquiry, Eagles of Death Metal singer Jesse Hughes, 43, apparently may have been a specific target of the Islamic terrorists at the Bataclan, where he and his band were performing for a crowd of more than a thousand concertgoers.
​Just after the shooting began and the California-based band ran offstage, one of the killers reportedly shouted, "Where's the singer? Where are the Yanks?" He then started playing a discarded xylophone, as other members of the ISIS cell searched for Hughes and his bandmates, who narrowly escaped the attack.
IS leader linked to Paris attacks ‘mastermind’ said killed in Syria
An Islamic State leader with “direct” links to the alleged ringleader of the Paris attacks was killed in an airstrike in Syria as he was plotting additional attacks, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
Baghdad-based US military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told reporters that Charaffe al Mouadan had been killed on December 24.
“He was a Syrian-based ISIL member with a direct link to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Paris attacks cell leader,” Warren said.
Warren added that al Mouadan “was actively planning additional attacks against the West.”
Belgium arrests 2 for planning end-of-year terror attacks
Two people have been arrested in Belgium on suspicion of planning attacks in Brussels during the holidays, the federal prosecutor’s office said Tuesday.
The investigation revealed “the threat of serious attacks that would target several emblematic places in Brussels and be committed during the end-of-year holidays,” the prosecutor’s office said.
A source close to the investigation said the Belgian capital’s main square, thronged this time of year with holiday shoppers and strollers, was one of the suspected targets.
“On the Grand Place, there are a lot of people, as well as soldiers and police who are patrolling, as well as a police station nearby,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized by the judge conducting the investigation to make public statements.
Bensoussan in hot water over 'mother's milk' remarks
Georges Bensoussan, historian and editorial director at the Holocaust Memorial in Paris, is at the centre of a firestorm accusing him of 'incitement to racial hatred'.
A group of left-wing intellectuals, including the controversial academic Shlomo Sand, lodged a complaint against Bensoussan with MRAP, a French anti-racist movement. Bensoussan may be called to face a tribunal.
During a TV discussion broadcast on 10 October 2015, Repliques, Bensoussan commented that France cannot hope to integrate its Maghrebi immigrants unless it recognised that these immigrants imbibe antisemitism 'with their mother's milk'.
Bensoussan, whose family comes from Morocco and who authored an 800-page volume on the uprooting of Jews from Arab countries Juifs en pays Arabes: le grand deracinement 1850 - 1975 in 2012 , claims that he was paraphrasing the words of a 'brave' Algerian sociologist, Smain Laachar." Everyone knows it but nobody will say it," Laachar had declared of Arab/Muslim antisemitism.
Wife of Bataclan Terrorist: 'Proud' of Her Husband and 'So Happy'
Emails published in the French daily newspaper Le Parisien reveal that the wife of one of the Bataclan terrorists said she was “proud” and “happy” of his participation in the Paris terrorist attacks last month.
The French site The Local reports that Samy Amimour, 28, was one of the three terrorists who killed 90 people at the Bataclan theater. Investigators discovered that three days after the massacre, his wife Kahina, 18 and pregnant with his child, emailed an old friend in France saying:
“Did the attacks shock you? LOL."
LOL. These people are monsters. She continued:
"I encouraged my husband to leave in order to terrorize the people of France who have so much blood on their hands... I’m so proud of my husband and to boast about his virtue, ah la la, I am so happy."
So happy. She had also sent threatening messages to the friend prior to the attacks:
Paris suicide bomber's mother 'proud' he only killed himself
The mother of Bilal Hadfi, the youngest of the Islamist terrorists who staged the deadly Paris attacks on November 13, has said she is "proud" that her son did not kill anyone else when he blew himself up outside a soccer stadium.
In an interview Sunday with Belgium's Maghreb TV - which is popular among immigrants from North Africa - Fatima Hadfi said she had visited the site outside the Stade de France stadium where her son detonated his explosive vest, according to the Associated Press.
He was one of three suicide bombers who launched the attack on the stadium during a Germany-France friendly match, which was attended among others by French President Francois Hollande. However, while the explosions terrified people inside, the bombers only succeeded in killing one other person, after they were prevented from entering by security.
In the same interview, his mother claimed she had no idea he had even been radicalized until she received a phone call from him from Syria. She said Bilal had led her to believe he was going to Morocco for a vacation, and lamented that she had not paid close enough attention to her son.
Fatima blamed extremists for recruiting her 20-year-old son by taking advantage of his sense of discrimination in Belgium
Palestinian Authority rejects possibility of Turkish rule in Gaza
The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday rejected the possibility that Turkey would subjugate the Gaza Strip to its rule.
Hamas, meanwhile, has denied the report, which was first published Saturday in the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News.
The report claimed that Turkey wanted free shipping access to the Gaza Strip in order to provide aid to the Palestinians as a condition for restoring normal ties with Israel.
A government source in Ankara told the newspaper that Turkey would not back down from the demand, even at the cost of the collapse of rapprochement with Israel.
“We hope this report is not true,” said Mohamed Shtayyeh, a senior Fatah official who is closely associated with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan knows very well that the Gaza Strip is part of the Palestinian territories and not an independent republic. Erdogan also knows that President Abbas is the only address for Palestinian legitimacy.”
Agreement with Turkey 'close', says Foreign Ministry head
Dore Gold, Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, on Monday gave a rare interview to a Saudi Arabian website in which he said an agreement with Turkey on normalization of ties was close.
"An agreement is close," Gold told the Elaph news website, noting that there are intensive contacts between the two sides. "Some points have already been finalized and others are still being discussed, but things are on track."
Gold added that "the interests of Turkey and Israel at this time are finding a lot of common ground due to regional events. Things are headed in a positive direction towards a solution to satisfy the desires of both parties, but there is still no date for a final agreement to be reached."
Turkey Sets Conditions as Normalization Talks Stall
Turkey has no plans to normalize its ties with Israel unless specific conditions are met, said a spokesman for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday.
“Turkey – Israel relations will not normalize until Israel realizes the three conditions. We have not given up on these,” Ibrahim Kalin said, Reuters reported.
Turkey demands that Israel issue an apology and compensate the families of those who were killed in clashes in the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident. The third request is that Israel lift the blockade on Gaza which is intended to restrict the movement of weapons to Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
“Turkey will continue to play its role until a two-state solution is reached, and the Palestinian people have their own state. There cannot be permanent peace in the region until the Palestinian problem is solved,” Kalin said.
Turkish Kurds Demand Self-Rule as PKK-Fueled Violence Escalates
Turkey’s Kurdish population is demanding self-rule days after continued violence has killed many Turkish soldiers and Kurdish militants.
“The rightful resistance mounted by our people against the policies that degrade the Kurdish problem, is essentially a demand and struggle for local self-governance and local democracy,” declared the Democratic People’s Congress (DTK), which includes non-governmental organizations (NGO).
The NGOs met for two days in Diyarbakir, a Turkish city with a high Kurdish population.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed not to permit a separate state to form within Turkey.
“Now they are talking about separating our land in this country. With God’s permission, we will never allow a surgery on the unity of our country,” he announced.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also lashed out at the suggestion of a separate state inside Turkey. He claimed it is not “appropriate” to even talk with the HDP over such “insulting” suggestions.
Heroes in their own eyes
Every time an Israeli "academic" makes a remark that denigrates Israel, our enemies pounce on it and use it to portray Israel as a fascist state that cultivates apartheid. European academic figures are always eager to quote their self-hating Israeli colleagues because, after all, it is much harder to accuse Israelis of anti-Semitism.
A professor of pharmacology should know that a concoction of the wrong substances can spark a great fire -- one that could potentially destroy his entire laboratory. A political science lecturer with a communist worldview must keep in mind that misleading slogans caused the deaths of millions in the Soviet Union.
A legitimate debate about Israel's nature has been underway since before the state's inception. It is important to conduct this debate with patience and tolerance. Those who seek to break the rules of civil dialogue will discover that they are unraveling the fabric of coexistence.
It is true that the radical Left is fading away. That is precisely the reason behind the deep frustration felt by all those bleeding hearts who worry more about Syrian refugees than the citizens of their own country, who are being rammed and stabbed daily.
One can understand the crisis the leaders of Meretz and Peace Now are in, as they look back and see no one following in their footsteps anymore. Still, they too need to show a modicum of respect to others and love for their country, and sanctify the memory of the Holocaust.
New UK Regulations Will Prohibit Israel Boycotts by Local Councils
The United Kingdom is planning to introduce new guidelines that forbid local councils from undermining British foreign policy by waging their own boycott campaigns against other nations, The Guardian reported on Saturday.
The directive, which will be issued early next year, will emphasize that local governing bodies must pursue policies that are consistent with the agenda spearheaded by Downing Street. It could prevent anti-Israel activists from using local councils to advance the controversial Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which aims to isolate Israel until it accedes to a number of unilateral Palestinian demands.
“Councils should not be using pensions and procurement policies to pursue their own boycotts and sanctions against foreign nations,” said a spokesman for the UK’s Department for Communities and Local Government. “We are tightening up the rules to ensure taxpayers’ and the UK’s interests are protected.”
Last month, London mayor Boris Johnson blasted boycotters of Israel during a trip to Tel Aviv, saying that he “cannot think of anything more foolish” than to boycott “a country that when all is said and done is the only democracy in the region, the only place that has in my view a pluralist open society.” That same week, Lord Robert Winston, a pioneer in the field of in-vitro fertilization, said that the anti-Israel boycott campaign consists of “mostly second-rate academics from minor universities who have never done anything.”
IsraellyCool: Anti-Israel “Activists” Memorialize Samir Kuntar
A group calling themselves Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network has created a Facebook event for a memorial in Brussels for arch terrorist Samir Kuntar.
As in the guy who bashed in a 4-year-old girl’s skull with a rifle butt.
What is also instructive is who has indicated they are going to the memorial.
Note one Joe Catron is among the names. He refers to himself as a Gaza-based “international solidarity activist” and journalist, and is a member of the ISM, which claims to support non-violence. But here he is wanting to memorialize a dead arch terrorist.
Not that it’s surprising. He has already asked Hizbullah’s Nasrallah to strike Tel Aviv with rockets, condoned the murder of the Henkins, and denied the three murdered boys had been kidnapped.
He also loves one DouchebloggerTM, who also happened to defend Kuntar.
IsraellyCool: Dickie Silverstein Donates To “Performance Artist” Who Defecated On Israeli Flag, Mocked Holocaust
It speaks wonders about Silverstein that he has decided to spend some of his hard earned begged for money supporting this atrocious human being. He must truly feel a kinship with her – being a fellow atrocious human being and all.
So if you donated to Silverstein, I hope you support defecating on the Israeli flag and desecrating the memory of those who died in the Holocaust.
I’m guessing you do.
BBC urged to hand police details of caller denouncing Jews and their “rule” over British society
A plea has been made for the BBC to hand over to the police details of a phone-in caller, after the man spent nearly 13 minutes on a radio programme denouncing Jews and their “rule” over British society.
In a phone call to BBC London’s Simon Lederman programme on Tuesday, December 22, the man, introduced as “Andy from St Margaret’s”, began by saying: “They are trying to control us more and more and more. They want to put a chip up our backsides, a ring through our noses, and a vizor for our horizons… the elite… the Rothschilds”.
The presenter, Simon Lederman, who is Jewish, started the exchange – which took place at 5am – by saying that it was a “phone-in amnesty” and that “within obvious limits”, the caller could say “whatever is on your mind”.
Immediately the caller began to complain of “Zionist Jews”, insisting, in a well-known antisemitic trope, that Jews did not come from Palestine but from “an empire called Khazaria.” He said: “Most of the Jews of the world come from eastern Europe, from a place called originally, an empire called Khazaria… The Rothschilds, the people who own the Bank of England, the people who own the Federal Reserve, they’re all Zionist Jews. The people who own corporate America, the media, you’ll find if you just do a little bit of research, they’re all Zionist Jews. We are ruled by Zionist Jews.”
BBC urged to act after caller's 13-minute anti-Semitic rant
In response to the anti-Semitic rant, the BBC was urged by the Campaign Against Antisemitism to hand over the caller’s details to police for an investigation.
“Even for the BBC this is shocking. In this broadcast the radio presenter simply allowed an ignorant racist to speak for nearly quarter of an hour while offering no counter-argument, correction or condemnation of his views that Jews control money, banks, commerce and the media. We expect the BBC to now hand the caller’s telephone number to the police,” said Jonathan Sacerdoti, director of communication at the Campaign Against Antisemitism, according to the Jewish News.
A BBC spokesperson said in response, “The aim of the program is to discuss and debate issues raised by our listeners. This was a live phone in and the caller was challenged on his views throughout the conversation. Following the interview reaction from other listeners was also broadcast.”
The BBC has in the past come under fire for its notorious anti-Israel bias, most recently in October when, following a stabbing attack in Jerusalem, it posted a headline reading, "Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two".
The headline shocked and angered many readers who took to social media to vent their outrage and the head of Israel's Government Press Office issued a warning to the BBC following its eyebrow-raising headline.
The network later admitted that its initial headline was wrong, but refused to apologize for using it.
Telegraph misleads on Palestinian university’s martyr-themed xmas tree
The Telegraph, in a Dec. 25th story, by Raf Sanchez, arguing that putatively positive relations between Muslims and Christians in the Palestinian territories represent ‘solidarity against the occupation’, noted the martyr-themed Christmas tree in the following passage.
There are limits, however. Students at al-Quds University [at the east Jerusalem Abu Dis campus] were reprimanded when they decorated a Christmas tree with the images of young Palestinian “martyrs” who were killed trying to attack Israelis during this latest wave of violence.
However, Sanchez’s claim that the students responsible for the martyr-themed Christmas tree were “reprimanded” seems quite questionable in light of reports that the tree was revealed during an official event attended by a host of university officials, including the university president himself, Imad Abu Kishk.
Daily Express bizarrely puts Israel atop list of ‘worst places to be Christian this Christmas’
Remarkably, Israel is atop their list of worst places to be Christian this Christmas, ahead of Syria, Iraq, N. Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Gambia.
To see the absurdity of their decision to include Israel on the list at all, note how the worst persecution they could find ‘in Israel’ is Christians being told (by the Palestinian Authority, let’s remember) to “tone down their Christmas celebrations”. In Syria and Iraq on the other hand, the next country on their list, Christians face ‘abduction, torture and murder’ and ethnic cleansing by ISIS. Whilst 100s of thousands of Christians have been forced to flee ISIS-controlled territories in recent years, the indigenous Christian population in Israel has increased 300 percent since its founding.
In fact, quite tellingly, the Daily Express failed to note that the PA had to beef up security in Bethlehem, and ‘tone down celebrations’, due in part to intel indicating that Salafists affiliated with ISIS may launch an attack.
Contrary to the message conveyed in the Daily Express article, Christians are thriving in Israel – a country which represents a beacon of religious freedom in a region awash in intolerance and extremism.
Britain's three types of anti-Semitism
Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism in the British parliament and Labour Party member John Mann spoke at the British Limmud Conference Monday, addressing the issue of rising anti-Semitism in the UK and Europe to 3,000 young Jews.
Skyrocketing anti-Semitism in Britain "is a dangerous situation and very volatile, with very serious potential consequences," he said.
Mann addressed "three forms of anti-Semitism: Traditional anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism of the left and anti-Semitism from the Muslim community" - and vowed to fight them.
He also addressed a series of anti-Semitic remarks from Labour Party MP Gerald Kaufman, who accused Jews of using "Jewish money" to bribe the Conservative Party and also claimed that Israel is "fabricating" Palestinian terror attacks against Jews.
Mann vehemently condemned Kaufman as “a disgrace to parliament, a disgrace to the Labour Party and it’s a disgrace he is called the Father of the House." He vowed to speak with Labour Party chair Jeremy Corbyn over the issue.
Jewish man beaten, robbed in Orthodox part of Brooklyn
A Jewish man was hospitalized after being beaten and robbed in a New York City neighborhood with a large Orthodox Jewish population.
The attack on a 60-year-old man early Monday in the Midwood section of Brooklyn was recorded on a nearby home’s surveillance video. The New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force was notified, according to JP Updates.
The victim, whose first name is Eli, was walking down a residential street of single-family homes when a man came from behind, punched him at least four times and threw him to the sidewalk. With the help of an accomplice, the assailant then stole the victim’s iPhone and wallet. The victim was kicked in the head several times, before the assailant and his accomplice, both wearing hoodies, according to WPIX TV, fled the scene in a black car driven by a third man.
The Israeli Version of Stonehenge Fuels Mystery
Israel is filled with hundreds of archaeological and historical sites. There are caves, ancient places of worship, amphitheaters dating back thousands of years, and fortresses waiting to be explored at just about every turn.
But there’s one off-the-beaten path archaeological site that many don’t know about, and even those who do haven’t visited.
It’s called Galgal Refa’im (“wheel of ghosts”) or Gilgal Refa’im (“circle of giants” referring to a biblical race of giants) in Hebrew, or Rujm el-Hiri in Arabic (“stone heap of the wild cats”). It is one of Israel’s most puzzling and mysterious places.
With massive rock walls jutting eight feet high into the sky, this Golan Heights structure is fondly called “Stonehenge of the Levant,” as according to many estimates, it is a contemporary of England’s Stonehenge.
Birthright hosts Nancy Spielberg in Israel to honor IAF documentary
Film producer Nancy Spielberg, sister of Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer Steven Spielberg, was the guest of honor on Monday at a Taglit-Birthright Israel film event at the Cinema City movie theater near Tel Aviv.
Spielberg was invited to discuss the process of making her 2014 documentary "Above and Beyond," which recounts the story of Jewish pilots from abroad who volunteered to fight for Israel in the 1948 War of Independence, also known as the "Machal" ("Volunteers from abroad") members.
The film recounts the personal stories of the young pilots whose actions served as the beginning of the Israeli Air Force. "Above And Beyond" reveals how under-equipped and isolated the Israelis were, how desperately they needed planes and pilots, and how critical the actions of these young American men were for Israel's survival.
During the event, Nancy Spielberg met 24-year-old Ben Lichtman from Virginia, the grandson of the late American pilot Gideon Lichtman, one of the film's heroes.
The Israeli-invented device that’s saving American lives in Afghanistan
When American troops are injured in the field, the first piece of life-saving medical equipment they may come into contact with nowadays is an Israeli-invented mini-sized manual ventilator. And not just American soldiers on the battlefield; the Pocket BVM has been used to treat thousands of people at the scene of numerous natural disasters, like in the huge earthquake that devastated Nepal earlier this year.
“The US Army decided that our Pocket BVM (bag valve mask device) would fit into combat scenarios much better than traditional BVMs,” said Dov Maisel, an American immigrant to Israel who invented the unique manual ventilator with his friend and fellow United Hatzalah volunteer Akiva Pollack. “It’s really taken off since the Americans adopted it last year, and now we are working with several NATO armies, first-aid groups in Europe and Asia, businesses, hospitals, and airlines among others.”
To that latter category add El Al, said Maisel; the Israeli airline several months ago signed a contract with MicroBVM, the commercial supplier of the device, and now all El Al planes have miniature BVMs scattered throughout their cabins, so that life-giving oxygen can be provided to a patient quickly and efficiently
The story of the Pocket BVM is one of ingenuity, a drive for start-up success – and a “Jewish heart,” as Maisel puts it.
Israel First Country to Respond to Kenya’s Plea for Help; Sends Food, Supplies to Flood Victims
Israel was the first country to respond to a Kenyan governor’s plea, after his region was engulfed by floods caused by El Niño rains, a Kenyan newspaper reported on Monday.
Governor Okoth Obado said Israel donated to his Migori county in western Kenya some 100 bags of maize, 44 bags of beans, three bulls, 400 blankets, 192 gumboots, six water tanks, 200 mosquito nets and several cartons of cooking oil. Israel also donated a solar water heater to a local school, according to The Star.
Obado said the donations would “go a long way in mitigating the effects of El Niño rains.”
Ambassador Yohel Vilan made the donations in the area on Monday in what he called an unofficial visit.
Last week, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that 800,000 Kenyans have been displaced since the El Niño rains began in October. Some communities have been devastated, and 100 people have died.

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