Saturday, April 02, 2016

From Ian:

Hamas finally acknowledges holding 4 Israelis, including bodies of 2 soldiers
Hamas on Friday publicly acknowledged for the first time that it was holding four Israelis: two Israeli citizens who crossed into Gaza on their own accord and the bodies of two soldiers killed in 2014’s Gaza war.
The group published photos of the four: slain soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, 29-year-old Avraham Mengistu, and a Bedouin-Israeli citizen whose name has not been released for publication.
Hamas denied reports in recent days that Israel and Hamas may be nearing a prisoner swap for the four, with a spokesman for the group claimed the reports were misdirection by the Israeli government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Netanyahu is lying to his people” and “deceiving the families of the captive soldiers,” spokesman Abu Obeida said in a statement.
“There are no talks or negotiations relating to the prisoners. The enemy will not get information about the four without paying a clear price before and after the negotiations,” he added.
On Monday the London-based daily Asharq al-Awsat quoted a source in the Gaza-based Islamist group as saying that though there were currently no direct negotiations between Hamas and Israel, international mediators were trying to broker a prisoner swap.

What’s Palestinian Peace Education?
Hroub is also part of the narrative of his wife’s motivation for teaching peace since she conceived it as a reaction to seeing her husband shot by Israelis and experiencing the terror of her children. But I haven’t seen her mentioning the terror felt by her husband’s victims and their families in any account of her receiving the prize.
Today, Omar Hroub is an official with the Palestinian Authority and, according to most of the coverage of his wife’s honor, supports PA President’s policies. If so, he is no supporter of peace since the PA has spent the last year supporting the “stabbing intifada” and fomenting exactly the kind of religious-based hatred against Jews that his wife’s curriculum is supposed to be combating.
But even if we leave the husband out of the discussion, a New York Times feature published today that includes an account of a visit to Hroub’s classroom gives us a taste of what Palestinian peace education means.
When most observers think of Middle East peace education, the assumption is that the students are taught the sorts of things that are a routine element of most Israeli schools: respect for the other side and their culture and language, the importance of non-violence and recognizing the rights of all ethnicities and faiths even in the midst of a struggle between two peoples for their own separate national identity and sovereignty in one land. It’s a difficult thing to teach in a country where violence and hatred against Jews is being promoted by the other side and there are those that resist the message. But despite the claim that Israel is becoming more intolerant, the rarity of incidents of anti-Arab violence, and the generally tolerant nature of Israeli society at a time when their nation is under assault from a wave of terror testifies to the success of its peace education curriculum.
But, in the Hroub classroom, peace education isn’t about how to get along with Israelis and Jews. It’s about teaching the children how to peacefully disagree with each other and their teacher. That’s a good thing for them to learn, especially at a time when so much of Palestinian popular culture and official media encourages violence. But it is not the same thing as promoting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Did the WH Censor Audio of French President Saying 'Islamist Terrorism'?
It appears that the White Houses website has censored the audio portion of a video with President Francois Hollande uttering the phrase "Islamist terrorism."
MRC reports:
The White House briefly pulled video of a press event on terrorism with Pres. Obama, and when it reappeared on the website and YouTube, the audio of Hollande’s translator goes silent, beginning with the words “Islamist terrorism,” then begins again at the end of his sentence.
Even the audio of Hollande saying the words “Islamist terrorism” in French have, apparently, been edited from the video.

In the transcript of the remarks, Hollande says the words "Islamist terrorism," but the audio of the text bolded below is missing. It's the only place without audio.
“We are also making sure that between Europe and the United States there can be a very high level coordination.
“But we're also well aware that the roots of terrorism, [Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we're doing within the framework of the coalition.] And we note that Daesh is losing ground thanks to the strikes we've been able to launch with the coalition.”
Obama: Iran agreement 'a substantial success'
President Barack Obama on Friday boasted of the nuclear deal that world powers reached with Iran last year.
Speaking at a nuclear summit in Washington and quoted by The Wall Street Journal, Obama highlighted the benefits the deal would bring to Iran’s economy.
“It will take time for Iran to integrate into the global economy, but Iran is already beginning to see the benefits of this deal,” he said, an apparent response to complaints from Tehran that the deal hadn’t delivered promised economic relief after years of international sanctions.
Obama called the agreement “a substantial success” and said that Iran has made “real progress” on living up to its obligations to scale back its nuclear program.
The comments come one day officials in Washington said that the Obama administration is considering easing financial restrictions that prohibit U.S. dollars from being used in transactions with Iran, sparking anger among Republicans as well as some Democrats.
IS ‘madmen’ would gladly use nukes, Obama warns summit
More cooperation is needed to prevent the Islamic State group’s “madmen” and other extremists from getting a nuclear weapon, US President Barack Obama warned Friday as global leaders met in Washington.
The threat of terrorists of using nuclear material in a “dirty bomb” — or even obtaining an atomic weapon — has loomed large over the summit, punctuated by revelations that IS members tracked a Belgian nuclear scientist on video.
“ISIL has already used chemical weapons, including mustard gas, in Syria and Iraq,” Obama said, using an acronym for the IS group.
“There is no doubt that if these madmen ever got their hands on a nuclear bomb or nuclear material, they most certainly would use it to continue to kill as many innocent people as possible.”
Ben-Dror Yemini: Leahey's dangerous letter
US Senator Patrick Leahey, a Democrat, called for an investigation of Israel following suspicions of "serious violations" of human rights and extrajudicial killing. These demands are in conjunction with a law—which Leahey himself sponsored—which only permits US aid to countries who uphold the values of human rights. Ten Democratic members of the US House of Representatives signed on to Leahey’s letter.
While Israel has been reveling in polls which continue to show that the American public generally supports Israel, it is also worth it to pay attention to what's happening on the fringes.
Human rights organizations and the intellectual elite are beginning to move away from Israel, and their hostility is becoming more and more open. The charge is always "human rights.”
Leahey's letter cites the cases of four Palestinians who—according to Amnesty International—were illegally executed. One of them is Sa'ad al-Atrash, who tried to stab IDF soldiers outside the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Amnesty International claims that he didn't have a knife and that he didn't commit any attack, and based their findings on one unsubstantiated claim.
This is interesting, as al-Atrash said himself that he was going to commit an attack, and even posted a picture of himself on Facebook—knife and all—before he went and did it.
PM asks Kerry to back Israel on ‘extrajudicial killings’ allegations
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the phone on Friday, and asked him to publicly state that the US is aware that Israel does not carry out extrajudicial killings.
Netanyahu had already responded harshly to a letter to Kerry from a US senator asking President Barack Obama to investigate claims that the Jewish state has carried out such killings.
In the February letter by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, co-signed by 10 House members, Leahy asked that the president look into claims of “gross violations of human rights” by Israel and Egypt.
On Wednesday the prime minister responded to the letter, saying: “The IDF and security forces are not murderers. IDF soldiers and Israel Police officers protect with their bodies, in a moral manner, themselves and innocent civilians from bloodthirsty terrorists set on killing them.”
LISTEN: Breitbart’s Aaron Klein - Only A ‘Demented Mind’ Like Leahy's Can Make Human Rights ‘Violations’ Charges Against Israel
During a radio interview on Wednesday night, Breitbart’s Jerusalem Bureau chief Aaron Klein slammed what he called the “demented mind” of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for writing a formal letter asking Secretary of State John Kerry to probe claims that Israeli security forces have committed “gross violations of human rights.”
“This is completely outrageous,” stated Klein. “These accusations are ridiculous. They are offensive… Israelis are living right now in a nightmare situation, in basically a thriller movie almost where you never know, at any moment a Palestinian can just pull out a knife and kill you.”
“To take the one democracy in the Middle East that goes beyond what any other Western country does to ensure against civilians being killed, and to actually single that population out and that country out for alleged human rights violations, this takes a very demented mind, indeed.”
LA Times Dubs Palestinian Stabber a "Protester"
Readers have expressed concern after the Los Angeles Times has described a Palestinian assailant who stabbed an Israeli soldier as a "protester."
The article, which appeared online yesterday and in print today, begins with a description of Fatah Sharif as follows:
When video emerged last week of an Israeli soldier apparently shooting a wounded Palestinian protester in the head, killing him instantly, the condemnation was almost instantaneous — from within and without Israel.
Only in the seventh paragraph do readers, or at least those who make it that far, learn that the man is not a protestor but a would-be killer. Sharif "is one of two Palestinian men stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier at the Gilbert checkpoint in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron," the report eventually admits.
CAMERA has contacted the newspaper and called for a correction to the egregious mischaracterization.
Report: German Federal Intelligence Service spied on Prime Minister's Office
The Prime Minister's Office had no response Saturday to a Der Spiegel report alleging that the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has been spying on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.
According to the German weekly, the BND also spied on the interior ministries of Austria and Belgium, the UK Defense Ministry, the US State Department, and other departments within NASA and the US Air Force.
The report joins a number of others in recent months alleging friendly countries spying on one another.
For example, in December the Wall Street Journal reported that US National Security Agency eavesdropped on phone conversations between top Israeli officials and US lawmakers and American-Jewish groups.
According to the paper, White House officials believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Netanyahu's campaign against the nuclear deal with Iran. (h/t Yenta Press)
US ‘concerned’ over Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes
The United States is “concerned” with regard to ongoing demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, a spokeswoman for the US State Department said Friday, adding that such actions cast serious doubts over the Israeli government’s commitment to achieving a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict in the region.
“These actions are indicative of a damaging trend of demolitions, displacement and land confiscation,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told a State Department briefing, according to Reuters. “They also call into question the Israeli government’s commitment to that two-state solution.”
Since the beginning of 2016, Israel has demolished, on average, 29 Palestinian-owned structures per week, three times the weekly average for 2015, according to data presented earlier this year by Nickolay Mladenov, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process.
The IDF regularly destroys West Bank and East Jerusalem homes it says have been built without permission from Israeli authorities.
Israeli Navy sinks suspected smuggling boat off of Gaza coast
Israel's Navy sunk a suspected smuggling boat that was approaching the coast of the Gaza Strip overnight on Saturday, an army spokesperson said.
The IDF spotted a suspicious fishing boat loaded with sacs approaching Gaza from the direction of Egypt and called for the vessel to stop. The IDF fired warning shots in the air and in the water but the boat continued on its course. The Israeli forces noticed that the crew began to throw the contents of the boat overboard and then the crew itself jumped into the sea. The boat continued moving at which point the IDF opened fire and sank it.
On Friday it was reported that Israel was planning to ease some of the restrictions placed on fishing operations off the coast of Gaza, AFP cited the head of the Palestinian fishing union as saying.
According to remarks by Nizar Ayyash, the move set to take effect on Sunday afternoon will see the distance fishing vessels are permitted to travel extended from six to nine nautical miles off the coast of southern Gaza.
Renewed fighting in Lebanese Palestinian refugee camp kills one
One man was killed and others injured late on Friday in a Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon as a dispute between rival political groups escalated into gunbattles.
Gunfire erupted again in Ain al-Hilweh camp on Saturday morning and continued throughout the day despite efforts to mediate a ceasefire, a Reuters witness said. Rocket-propelled grenades were also being fired.
Two men were shot dead in the camp on Monday amid tension between members of the mainstream Palestinian faction Fatah and a hardline Islamist group.
Fatah member Hussein Othman was killed in Friday's fighting between groups of armed men, Lebanon's National News Agency said.
Huffington Post's Entrenched Anti-Israel Bias Exposed in Documentary Film
The Huffington Post is a creature of the internet age. Named after its co-creator, media entrepreneur Arianna Huffington, it promotes itself as a balanced and credible source of news. The Huffpost boasts one of the largest worldwide audiences on the internet.
In an interview with the USC-Annenberg Online Journalism Review on May 3, 2005, Huffington stated "the news is not right-wing news or left-wing news, it's the news. And that will be the sensibility, that will basically permeate our news coverage." In an interview with Conde Nast Portfolio on Nov. 14, 2007, Huffington reiterated this point stating that the news site's "editorial stance" is "to debunk the right-left way of thinking, which has become completely obsolete."
Huffington's lofty proclamations do not reflect reality. The Huffington Post is firmly situated on the left. Much of its political content could be described as far-left. Its editorials offer far more space to leftist political opinion than to right of center opinion and its news coverage skews in the same direction.
For many years, The Huffington Post's talkbacks have been riddled with virulent anti-Zionism. Articles involving Israel or Jews routinely invite a barrage of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish invective.
“The Huffington Post’s Anti-Semitic Bias and Incitement During the Third Intifada”

Bethlehem University Does Right Thing and Removes Anti-Israel Language from Site
Earlier today, Snapshots drew attention to a section on the website of Bethlehem University, a Catholic-run school located in the West Bank that denied the legitimacy of Israel by describing Israeli cities as “Palestinian Occupied Territory.”
Fortunately, the offending passage has been removed by officials at the school.
CAMERA lauds the school for doing the right thing with such alacrity.
Former UK Labor mayor forced to resign from party after anti-Semitic row
Offensive social media posts about Jews and Israel have forced the former mayor of an English city to resign from the UK Labor party, The Jewish Chronicle reported Saturday.
Former Lord Mayor of Bradford Khadim Hussain said he is quitting Labor after it was revealed that he had uploaded several offensive posts to Facebook, including a suggestion that Israel was surreptitiously arming international terror organization Islamic State.
Hussain, 57, has also been accused of promoting a derogatory Facebook post aimed at Holocaust education. The post states: “Your school education system only tells you about Anne Frank and the six million Zionists that were killed by Hitler.”
Speaking to The Jewish Chronicle in response to the allegations, the native-born Pakistani immigrant denied he was in anyway anti-Semitic, but said after receiving no reply to a letter sent to Labor officials clarifying his alleged actions, he was "left with no choice” but to quit the party.
Republican, Democrat Spar over Ownership of Anti-BDS Bill
A first-of-its-kind bill opposing boycotts of Israel, introduced by Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), has been held up in California’s Democratic-controlled state legislature for nearly three months. Now, the state’s Jewish Caucus has introduced a highly similar bill by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica).
Allen’s AB 1552 and Bloom’s AB 2844, arguably mirror images of each other both target an anti-Israel movement called BDS — “boycott, divestment and sanctions. They will each now face the test of California’s political system — a state where the color blue reigns supreme.
Allen’s bill, AB 1552, would require California to stop doing business with companies that participate in a boycott against the Jewish state, which is California’s 18th-largest export partner, having exported over $2.3 billion in goods to Israel in 2014 alone. If passed, it would become the first bill of its kind in the Golden State.
Legal Watchdog Warns Rockefeller Fund Over Support for Hate Groups
The legal watchdog group Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center has warned the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) that its support of groups that advocate boycotting Israel could cause the fund to be “considered complicit and as a participant in these groups’ illegal activities.”
The letter laid out RBF’s questionable funding:
The BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] movement’s efforts constitute unlawful discrimination on the basis of national origin, race, and religion under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (“Anti-Racism Convention”) and numerous U.S. federal and state statutes, including New York law. Funding organizations that promote BDS raises serious legal issues for RBF. Accordingly, we strongly advise you to consider whether RBF should continue to provide financial backing to these hate groups who promote BDS against Israel and Israeli companies, individuals, and products.
The BDS movement is inherently racist, anti-Semitic, biased and prejudicial and has an extremist agenda that unfairly singles out Israel and Jews. The BDS movement’s true goal is the destruction of the State of Israel and its Jewish community. It masquerades as a human rights movement, but it is singularly fixated on Israel and Jews and ignores egregious human rights abuses everywhere else in the world since they do not feed its anti-Israel agenda.
Amid Heated Controversy, Breaking the Silence Speaks at Columbia/Barnard Hillel
Amid an ongoing controversy over whether NGO Breaking the Silence (BtS) should be hosted by the world’s largest Jewish campus organization, a BtS representative addressed the Columbia/Barnard Hillel Thursday night, The Algemeiner has learned.
But before Avner Gvaryahu, the “Diaspora Programming Coordinator USA” for BtS — a group of former Israeli soldiers and officers who accuse their comrades-in-arms of war crimes — began his lecture, he was met by protesters.
Individual students near the venue handed out flyers saying, “Breaking the Silence Does Not Belong at Columbia Hillel,” and asserting that BtS “irresponsibly demonizes the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with anonymous unverified testimonies;” that “its actions provide ammunition to Israel’s sworn enemies;” and that it “is supported by hostile anti-Israel European governments and organizations.”
The Columbia chapter of the advocacy organization Students Supporting Israel (SSI), with the assistance of a group of Israeli reserve soldiers called “Reservists on Duty,” also distributed flyers. These excerpted testimonials from members of Gvaryahu’s own IDF unit, who have accused him of spreading lies and misrepresentations that “tarnish the name” of the IDF and “fuel hatred of Israel around the world.” These testimonials appear in a YouTube video Reservists on Duty produced, as The Algemeiner reported in December.
Censorship and BDS: the Anti-Zionist War Against Jewish Independence
It is the main reason Western journalists are so obsequious in their toadying to an Islamist, anti-Zionist agenda when they report the news. It theoretically inoculates the journalist against “Islamic anger” (fatal retribution). It is an excellent way to deflect criticism and crush debate.
The first stage in any conflict is to win the propaganda war. The Palestinians and their fascist supporters in the BDS campaign have already won the first stage. The second stage is to stifle any contrary debate. Controlling academia and the press are the crucial battlegrounds. The Jewish people and their supporters are rapidly losing that second stage.
If we want to influence a person of power so that our own message may reach more people, we must display similar concerns and prejudices. Instead of “justifying” or “explaining” we must respond with our own accusations, non-stop, relentlessly and mercilessly.
We have suffered far too many centuries of Islamic discrimination and persecution to allow the past 68 years of independence to be all that the world is educated to recognizing. A wealth of historically terrible misdeeds mirrored in contemporary events in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and elsewhere are all we need, to remind the world of why Jews sought self-determination in the first place. And why people that omit that history from the current debate are not just Israel’s enemies but the enemies of human civilization.
BBC News revisits a 30 year-old terror attack – avoiding the term terror
On March 31st an article by Megha Mohan appeared on the BBC News website – including in the ‘Features’ section of its Middle East page. Titled “Inside a hijack: The unheard stories of the Pan Am 73 crew“, the article brings accounts of that September 1986 hijacking from six members of the plane’s crew and obviously most of its subject matter focuses on those testimonies of the events.
However, it is interesting to note the way in which the perpetrators of the hijacking – and their perceived motives – are portrayed by the BBC.
The terrorists’ aims are described as follows:
“The gunmen’s plan was to force the pilots to fly them to Cyprus and Israel, where other members of their militant group were incarcerated on terror charges.”
“Around four hours into the siege, the hijackers began trying to identify the Americans on board. The Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO), which they were members of, was opposed to US and Israeli policy in the Middle East.”
State Department Issues Strongly Worded Statement After Assad Slaughters Children In Schools and Hospitals
For nearly four years, the Obama administration has issued statement after statement, convened one meeting after another, speaking in circles about the conflict in Syria as the butcher of Damascus gassed, macheted, and aerial-bombed his own civilians.
There was no Syria plan yesterday. There is no Syria plan today. Even before Russia entered the battlefield and used relentless firepower to firmly secure its ally, Assad, as an unmovable chess piece in any future negotiations or peace talks, the Obama administration refused to act decisively. Abandoning its supposed allies on the ground, the United States retreated from the region, led astray by the false dichotomy of full-scale warfare vs. isolationism and paralysis.
Vulnerable and fractured, the democracy-oriented Free Syrian Army (FSA) was left to fend for themselves despite concrete assurances of material aid and resources. When President Obama finally announced his now-infamous "red-line," promising to strike military compounds and chemical weapons depots if Assad dared to use chemical weapons against his own people, anti-Assad opposition forces were emboldened by the American guarantee. Never has the United States made such a vow and refused to follow through. The Americans now had a stake in the conflict. Although the commitment would be reactionary in nature, U.S. threats would presumably serve as deterrents against the most extreme manifestations of warfare: crimes against humanity and genocide.
Assaults by Turkish Security Nearly Caused Cancellation of Erdogan’s DC Speech
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s speech at a prominent Washington think tank was nearly canceled on Thursday after his security personnel assaulted journalists and protesters, Foreign Policy reported on Friday.
Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution, told an unidentified Turkish official that he was prepared to call off the heavily-publicized event on account of the security detail’s violence, even though Erdogan’s motorcade was already en route to Brookings. The official then intervened with Erdogan’s personnel and calmed the situation, preventing a last-minute cancellation that would have been embarrassing to both Brookings and Turkey. However, altercations resumed as soon as Erdogan left.
According to Foreign Policy, the chaos began when Erdogan’s guards forcibly removed a Turkish journalist from the building about an hour before the Turkish leader’s speech. A Western reporter attempting to film the scene was assaulted as well, while other Turkish personnel grabbed a female journalist and threw her to the ground.
Erdogan meets with US Jewish leaders in reconciliation effort
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Jewish leaders in Washington reportedly to smooth ties as Turkey and Israel seek to reconcile.
Jewish groups in attendance included the Anti-Defamation League, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, B’nai B’rith International, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“Erdogan and the guests reiterated their willingness to strengthen cooperation and communication despite differences,” said a report Wednesday in Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper, citing “presidential sources.”
Already rocky, relations between Turkey and Israel hit a new low following Israel’s deadly raid in 2010 of a Turkish ship attempting to breach its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Reconciliation talks are ongoing.
Daily Sabah said the participants, who included top Turkish officials, discussed “recent terror attacks in Turkey and Belgium, the war against terror, Turkey’s relations with Jews, the relations between the US, Israel and Turkey, the situation in Palestine, the refugee crisis, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.”
Despite Terror Wave, Tourism to Israel Booming From North America, India, China
Despite the current Palestinian terror wave, last year saw no dip in tourism, an Israeli Tourism Ministry official told The Algemeiner on Friday.
Uri Steinberg, the North American Israeli tourism commissioner, said that “2015 was the best year ever for tourism to Israel from North America and the first quarter of 2016 is up over 2015.”
His comments were in response to a Reuters interview with Israeli Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi about the impact of terror on the industry. “For almost 70 years, we have been trying to manage tourism with things happening from time to time,” Halevi said.
Halevi also noted additional sources of growing tourism: China and India. In 2015, tourism from China to Israel grew 43 percent — to 50,000 visitors. The Tourism Ministry expects that number to double by 2018. Indian tourism rose 13 percent, with 40,000 tourists in 2015. The ministry foresees 80,000-100,000 Indian tourists visiting the country in 2018.
Israeli agriculture firms promoting more efficient irrigation in Philippines
A TRADE delegation is promoting Israeli irrigation technology that helps cut costs and makes water use by farmers more efficient.
In a news conference yesterday in Makati, Effie Ben Matityau, Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines, said Israel’s technology permits “intensive” cultivation in desert areas where water is considered a precious resource.
He cited the country’s expertise in drip irrigation to promote maximum utilization of water without sacrificing the quality and yield of agricultural produce.
Drip irrigation delivers water to the base of each plant through a system of flexible irrigation tubing, drip emitters, and microsprays to distribute carefully targeted amounts of water.
“We have to look at water as a scarce commodity. Use it. Don’t abuse it,” said Mr. Matityau, who added that technology promises “more yield with less labor, less money, less water.”
The director of Water, Cleantech and Agro -- technology Department of the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute Gilad Peled said that 70% of the world’s consumable water is used for agriculture.
‘Agricultural Superpower’ Israel to Double Number of Centers of Excellence in India as Part of Flourishing Bilateral Ties (INTERVIEW)
Israel is being hailed as an “agricultural superpower” across India, a spokesperson for the Israeli Consulate in New York told The Algemeiner, as plans to open up new “Centers for Excellence” in India were announced this week by Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture.
Shimon Mercer-Wood, who is also a former political affairs officer at the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, made the comment in response to an interview given by Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Uri Ariel to The Hindu, in which he revealed Israel’s plan to more than double its agricultural Centers of Excellence in India. According to Ariel, Israel currently operates 13 such centers and, in the next few years, that number will increase to 28. In a visit to India next week, Ariel will inaugurate a new center in Haryana.
The announcement comes as both countries seek to bolster bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture. Israel, with its innovative farming technology, has greatly influenced the agricultural sector in India, stated Mercer-Wood, adding that the Israeli drip irrigation method is a favorite of many Indian farmers. “If you go to the state of Haryana, an important agricultural state, and ask a farmer about Israel, they will say irrigation,” Mercer-Wood said.
Netanyahu loses gas battle but wins war
Listening to the rhetoric of the critics and the supporters of the High Court of Justice’s landmark decision striking down the government’s natural gas policy, one would imagine that it was a low point of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s premiership and a high point for opponents of the policy.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
To understand why, it is important to look not just at the overall result. Admittedly the High Court did strike down, or at least suspend for around a year, the gas policy.
But break down the disparate, multiple decisions and votes the High Court made on several extraordinary issues beforehand, and you will find that while opponents of the deal won the battle and will probably achieve some changes they want in the industry framework, Netanyahu won on a vast majority of the issues – and many of his wins were not obvious ones.
So let’s look at the votes, starting with the votes against the deal.
‘Gaza Girls’ spoof of Palestinian propaganda flagged as incitement in Spain
A Spanish judge recommended the prosecution for incitement to violence of a person who shared on Facebook an Israeli-made music video spoofing Palestinian propaganda.
The No. 1 Court of First Instance and Instruction of Tudela, a municipality located about 200 miles northeast of Madrid, recommended Tuesday the indictment of the unnamed resident, the Noticias de Navarra daily reported.
The reason cited was the resident’s sharing of a 2014 video titled “Kill All the Jews” by the “Gaza Girls” – a fictional Palestinian girl group invented and headed by Orit Arfa, an Israeli artist and right-wing settler activist.
Ofra’s Internet videos, many of which she stars in, include the controversial “Gaza Wrecking Ball” and “Jews Can’t Stop” — both interpretations of Miley Cyrus hits. She was among 9,000 Israelis who lived in Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip before their evacuation in 2005.
Featuring lyrics likes like “exterminate the Zionists, the world will be better for it,” and “kill the Jews, it’s our turn,” the English-language video was produced to “help Hamas out and offer a more feminist, bubble-gum version of their genocidal propaganda,” Arfa wrote in 2014.

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