Friday, June 17, 2016

From Ian:

Has Abbas' Internationalization Strategy Set the Palestinians on the Path to Statehood?
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas travelled to Athens in late December to thank the Greek Parliament for recognising the ‘State of Palestine’. Abbas hailed the Greek Parliament’s decision and declared: ‘This is a grand Palestinian-Greek wedding.’ The Palestinian leader frequently travels to European capitals these days. In the past year, he has lobbied European Union (EU) officials in Brussels, courted the support of United Nations (UN) officials in Geneva, and sought the backing of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Glad-handing foreign dignitaries at UN offices in New York or Europe is part of a calculated strategy by Abbas to shift the Palestinian focus to the international arena. However, it has cost Abbas dearly at home. Palestinians, though overwhelmingly supportive of Abbas’s efforts to join international bodies such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), still think the aging Palestinian leader should resign.
Abbas’s quest for European recognition has come amid a downturn in relations with his Arab neighbours. A major crisis erupted between the PA and Jordan when Palestinian officials failed to coordinate with their Jordanian counterparts at the UN Security Council (UNSC) in December 2014. Saudi Arabia hosted a delegation from Hamas, Abbas’s Gaza adversaries, in July 2015. Egypt, though nominally in support of Abbas’s never-ending crusade against Hamas, regularly hosts Abbas’s top rival in Cairo.
Palestinian foreign policy in the Abbas era has largely focused on prioritising symbolic victories over pragmatic ones. Winning a vote at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 2012, or joining a host of international organisations in 2014 and the ICC in 2015, have done little to change the daily reality for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. These symbolic victories have convinced Abbas of an area of strength in the international community that isn’t necessarily there. His plans for another push at the UNSC and a possible international conference – as referenced in a meeting with Israeli journalists in January – are unlikely to win back a disillusioned people or please his neighbours.
US House okays funding boost for Israel’s missile defense
Under the shadow of a presidential veto threat, the House of Representatives passed a defense appropriations measure Thursday that included $635.7 million for Israel’s missile defense programs.
While the White House has offered conflicting explanations for its opposition to increased missile defense support for the Jewish state, pro-Israel groups on Thursday continued to criticize the administration’s reticence to accept the extra funding appropriated for Israel by the Republican-controlled House.
The massive $576 billion defense appropriations bill for the upcoming fiscal year included $268.7 million in research and development funding for US-Israel cooperative missile and rocket defense programs; $25 million in research and development funding for US-Israel directed energy activities, such as laser technologies, to combat missiles and rockets; $72 million for procurement of the Iron Dome rocket defense system; $150 million for procurement of the David’s Sling missile defense system; and $120 million for procurement of the Arrow-3 missile defense system.
The amount allocated to Israeli missile defense programs exceeded the sum requested by the Obama administration by over $400 million.
Former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff: Until Middle East Stabilizes, Withdrawal of Israeli Military From Judea, Samaria, Jordan Valley Would Be ‘Irresponsible’
A former deputy chief of staff of the Israeli army said that any decision to withdraw the IDF from Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley before the situation in the Middle East stabilizes would be “irresponsible.”
This was among many assessments made by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yair Naveh during an interview with Israel Radio’s Esti Perez on Thursday.
Naveh also explained why he was, and still is, critical of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014.
“[Israel] was playing on a different field from Hamas,” Naveh said. “We were trying to achieve a military victory, while Hamas was seeking political gains.”
Under such circumstances, he said, when two sides are after different goals, the whole notion of deterrence becomes irrelevant.
“What is clear to me is that Hamas’ main objective is preserving its survival as an organization.”
Therefore, he said, “In any confrontation with the group, past or future, it is its survival that Israel has to threaten. And it has to be made to understand that it is not immune…We certainly shouldn’t have said, as we did during the war, that we have no intention of harming its rule in Gaza.”

IDF hero's widow to Israeli envoy: Challenge PA incitement at UN
Yael Weissman, the widow of IDF hero Yanai Weissman, met with Ambassador Danny Danon at the Israeli Mission to the UN this week.
Yanai, who was on leave from his military service, was murdered in a terrorist attack on a supermarket in the Binymain region last February.
Yael, who was in New York with her baby daughter Neta, presented Ambassador Danon with a letter asking that he convince world leaders to condemn the Palestinian incitement which motivated the fourteen and fifteen your old terrorists who murdered her husband.
“I feel that it is my duty to call on the rational leaders of the world to unequivocally condemn the murder, and horrific incitement, coming out of the Palestinian Authority,” Yael wrote in her letter.
Ambassador Danon thanked Yael for her initiative and pledged to continue to demand at the UN that world leaders condemn Palestinian incitement.
“We are working tirelessly at the UN and we continuously demand that world leaders take concrete steps in battling this ugly phenomenon,” said Ambassador Danon.
“It is unacceptable that money donated by the nations of the world ends up funding incitement in the media and Palestinian Authority public schools,” he continued.
Terror widow: They're letting PA celebrate my husband's murderer
Neta Lavi, the widow of terror victim Nehemia Lavi, is finding it difficult to look at pictures of her husband's murderer's parents.
Muhannad Halabi's mother and father were recently photographed while making victory gestures on Wadi Street in Jerusalem's Old City, at the site where Nehemia Lavi was murdered.
Halabi stabbed and killed Lavi, along with an IDF soldier Aharon Bennett, nine months ago.
"The situation, and the fact that they are not treating the root of the problem, is very painful for me. They aren't dealing with the root, which is incitement, and they are handing the area over to the murderers. How is the name of the murderer, who murdered two people and wounded a woman and children, going around as a national hero? And they're letting it happen here in Israel."
According to Lavi, the fact that the Palestinian Authority has named a road after the murderer says it all. "There are things that we can prevent. Letting the mother of the terrorist come to the Old City and be photographed like this is something we can prevent. We need to enforce the law and bring them to justice.
Neta Lavi continues to uphold her husband's legacy and tries to help other families. "We are also occupied with memory and pain, but we are not drawn to it. We try to raise ourself up and to push the cart forwards. To do all sorts of actions to make things better; that help us as well as others in similar situations. Many people have asked to hear about my husband, who was a rabbi at Yeshiva Ateret Cohanim and the pre-military academy in Beit Meir.
Analysis: Israel on thin ice with the ICC
The IDF legal division’s decision to clear Lt.-Col. Neria Yeshurun of criminal charges of illegally ordering the revenge shelling of a pharmacy in Gaza during the 2014 war, without having filed an indictment, puts Israel on thin ice with the International Criminal Court.
Military Advocate-General Brig.-Gen. Sharon Afek decided to clear Yeshurun late Tuesday, despite his being recorded in July 2014 telling his soldiers on the radio that they were shelling the pharmacy (or residential building, according to recent information received byThe Jerusalem Post) as revenge for the killing of one of their comrades the day before.
That is no easy decision to explain to the world.
Afek said that Yeshurun’s actions were unethical and censured him, but that available evidence did not meet the high standard for filing a criminal case.
In January 2015 ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda started a preliminary probe of alleged war crimes in the 2014 Gaza conflict in which 73 Israelis and around 2,000 Palestinians were killed (50-80 percent civilians) and may still decide to launch a full criminal investigation.
Report: At Least Four Arab Countries Voted for Israel to Lead UN Committee
At least four Arab nations voted in favor of Israel’s successful and historic candidacy to head a major United Nations committee, the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi reported earlier this week.
Committee chairs are normally approved by consensus, but Danon’s candidacy, sponsored by the Western Europe and Others group of UN members, was protested by Arab and Muslim-majority countries. Danon was nonetheless elected in a secret ballot on Monday to chair the UN General Assembly’s Sixth Committee, which deals with issues of international law. All 193 UN member states were eligible to vote, and Danon received “ayes” from 109 ambassadors. That number may have included Arab states that formally opposed his appointment — according to the Al-Quds al-Arabi report, “diplomatic sources say that at least four Arab countries supported the Israeli candidate.”
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Permanent Observer to the United Nations, complained that Israel won the election “only thanks to the efforts of the U.S., Canada, and Australia, which used all manner of blackmail and threats to guarantee a vote for Israel.” Mansour, who does not represent a full UN member state and therefore cannot vote, threatened that because of objections to Israel’s new UN role, “the Sixth Committee will grind to a halt.”
Hamas: Arab Peace Initiative 'threatens Palestinian interests'
Hamas is rejecting the Arab Peace Initiative and calling on Arab countries to stop promoting it.
Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a member of Hamas' political bureau, on Thursday said the initiative is a threat to vital Palestinian interests.
In an interview with the Al-Arabi Al Jadid newspaper, Zahar called on Arab countries not to promote the Arab Peace Initiative, explaining that it is merely a mechanism that will eliminate the idea of ​​establishing a Palestinian state, due to the fact that negotiations with Israel have proven to be a failure.
The Arab peoples, Zahar continued, should first and foremost be concerned about the Palestinians before they seek peace with Israel.
The initiative, unveiled in 2002 and re-endorsed at the 2007 Arab League summit, says that 22 Arab countries will normalize ties with Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
Israel to date has rejected the plan due to the fact that it calls for Israel to accept the so-called "right of return" for millions of descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel, effectively bringing an end to the Jewish state.
Who’s Really Driving ‘Grassroots’ Anti-Israel Activism in America?
“Israelis have to be bombed… it is wrong to maintain the State of Israel. It is an illegitimate creation” – Taher Herzallah, National Campus Coordinator of American Muslims for Palestine.
On April 19, Jonathan Schanzer, a former US Treasury Department official, testified in Congress regarding the activities of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the United States. In his remarks, he revealed shocking details about how a number of former leaders of organizations with close ties to terrorism, “have pivoted to leadership positions within the American BDS campaign.” In particular, he established clear links between the terrorist organization Hamas and leaders of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)  –  a politico-religious lobby group that boasts of being “the driving force behind activism for Palestine” in the US. But Schanzer’s testimony revealed only the tip of the iceberg. At the core of this story is not only the shadowy network of religious supremacists behind AMP, but a manipulative campaign to incite hatred among the future leaders of American society.
One of the most prominent faces of BDS in America is Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)  –  a self-titled “grassroots, human rights organization” with branches at dozens of US campuses. But while it claims to be “resisting racism,” SJP’s 2014 national conference featured a keynote speaker infamous for defending public calls to “shoot the Jew!” This discrepancy between SJP’s stated principles and its conduct is no exception: funded and closely guided by AMP and other political interest groups, SJP systematically exploits the language of social justice to promote a bigoted agenda.
In private SJP denies Israel’s right to exist, while in public they claim to support justice and peace.
BDS activists 'evict' Jews from US campuses
On a recent campus tour, members of the Reservists on Duty Israel advocacy organization discovered the extent of anti-Semitism displayed by BDS activists, who posted "eviction notices" on the dormitory doors of Jewish students, demanding that they evacuate in three days or have their property thrown out.
Students for Justice in Palestine, one of the better known campus BDS groups, is responsible for this type of anti-Semitic prosecution. The notices they posted went on to state that the Israeli military does the same thing to Palestinians.
SJP typically undertakes these types of activities during "Israeli Apartheid Week," an annual event during which activists screen films and organize protests, lectures and exhibitions that accuse Israel of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and war crimes.
"It was scary," Nadav Alkoby, a Jewish university student in Florida, told Israel Hayom. "SJP activists hung the signs on our dorm doors and on the Sabbath elevator during the exam period. It stressed everyone out and affected our ability to concentrate on our studies, which seems to have been their goal."
Indy journo on why water libel not corrected: ‘It was never reported as fact’
Yesterday, we clearly demonstrated that a report published in the Independent charging Israel with cutting off water to Palestinian towns during Ramadan was, in effect, the complete opposite of the truth. We showed that Israeli authorities actually INCREASED water to Palestinians – despite shortages caused by increased use and reduced supply – in recognition of the needs of Palestinian Muslims during Ramadan.
Not surprisingly, the journalist responsible for the article, Peter Yeung, received a good deal of criticism on Twitter. Though the following tweet (by Adir Krafman) does not reflect the more substantive and detailed criticism in our post, Yeung’s response is nonetheless quite telling.
Yeung’s claim, that the story he wrote “was never reported as fact“, is astonishing. Of course, anyone can make an allegation. It’s the responsibility of professional journalists (and their editors) to determine if allegations have merit, not merely to parrot baseless charges and malevolent smears.
As we noted in our own tweet, the accuracy clause of the Editors’ Code requires that the “press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures”. Further, it demands that a “significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence…”.
Fact Check: New York Times Reporter Claims Michael Oren Advised Trump
Another Atlantic reporter, Jeffrey Goldberg, seemed more inclined to wait for more concrete evidence. "Is it confirmed that he said this?" Goldberg asked fellow reporters Fallows and Martin on Twitter, before quickly adding, "I'd like to see the tape."
It was a smart response. It turns out that the words between Tarnopolsky's quotation marks, which would later reappear between quotation marks under Roger Cohen's byline in The New York Times, were not an actual quote. This by itself is an egregious error, as quotes are considered sacrosanct in journalism and beyond.
But there was another problem, more subtle but more directly relevant than the misquote, that remained, even after Tarnopolsky eventually shared Oren's actual words. The context of Oren's statement — context missing from Tarnopolsky's quote, Martin's jab, and Fallows's quip — made it abundantly clear that Oren wasn't offering advice, but simply engaging in political analysis, as journalists, experts and pundits are routinely asked to do on news programs like the one in question.
Indeed, Oren's comments didn't appear in a vacuum. Importantly, the entire discussion was prompted by a newscaster's statement that the Orlando attack is "likely to impact on the American elections."
The conversation unfolded from there. Oren responded to this prompt by suggesting the attack will help Trump and hurt Clinton, since it is perceived as an act of terror more than a hate crime. This, he said, will play negatively on Hillary's gun control platform and positively on Trump's "Muslim ban" promise, which had already bolstered the candidate's polling numbers.
But this was an American citizen, another commentator on the program noted, suggesting that a ban wouldn't have actually prevented this attack. Oren responded that this is true also of the San Bernadino shooter, but that fact didn't prevent Trump from successfully capitalizing on the earlier attack.
In other words, Oren was saying that, politically speaking, the details didn't matter as much as the spin.
Bolstering and airbrushing BDS on BBC WS ‘Business Matters’ – part two
Notably, Hearing did not question Barghouti on the topic of BDS’s impact on Palestinians working for Israeli companies or on its stance of opposition to ‘normalisation’. His failure to make any meaningful challenge to Barghouti’s PR messaging means that audiences not only went away without any real understanding of what the BDS movement aims to bring about, but were actually left with an impression which contradicts the facts. Those aims – and insight into what Omar Barghouti really means when he says “apartheid” – were amply evident in an interview he gave a few weeks before this one.
“BARGHOUTI: In fact, most partners and supporters of BDS completely support the three planks in our BDS call of 2005, which is ending the occupation, ending the racial discrimination in Israel and the system of apartheid and right of return. So we’re not aware of partners who do not support the right of return as a basic UN stipulated right.
All refugees, be they Jewish refugees from World War II to refugees from Kosovo, have that right. This is in international law and Palestinians should not be excluded. It’s quite racist to say that the return of Palestinian refugees would end Israeli apartheid and that’s bad because? What is so wrong about refugees having the right to return home? If that disturbs an apartheid system that’s premised on being exclusionary and racist and that does not want to see people gain their rights, what’s the argument there?”

Yes – Omar Barghouti thinks that Jewish self-determination in the one and only Jewish state in the world is “apartheid”. His disingenuous reply to Hearing that “we don’t aim to end the existence of anyone or anything…” conceals the fact that the crux of the BDS campaign’s aims is to replace the Jewish state with one in which Jews are a minority.
Roger Hearing missed – or passed up on – the opportunity to ensure that BBC audiences went away from this interview with an understanding of that lynchpin fact. In his subsequent conversation with a representative from the Israeli embassy in London he did however take great care to ensure that listeners were left with one particular impression.
German court sentences former Auschwitz guard to 5 years in prison
A 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard was convicted on Friday of being an accessory to the murder of 170,000 people, according to the judge presiding over what could be one of Germany's last Holocaust trials.
Reinhold Hanning was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in facilitating the slaughter at the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
The defense had called for the acquittal of the former SS officer, saying Hanning had personally never killed, beaten or abused anyone in his capacity as a guard at the camp.
Judge Anke Grudda read out the verdict on Friday, the 20th day of proceedings in the four-month trial, with each day limited to just two hours due to Hanning's old age.
The trial included testimony from at least 10 Holocaust survivors, some of them about Hanning's age, who detailed their horrific experiences, recalling piles of bodies and the smell of burnt flesh in the death camp.
Boston suburb grapples with anti-Semitism, allegations of a whitewash
With demands for “transparency” and “accountability” in the school district’s curriculum, more than 100 community members attended a forum on the issue of anti-Semitism in Newton, Massachusetts, Tuesday night.
Following several months of anti-Jewish hate incidents in the Boston suburb, Newton Mayor Setti Warren assured the audience that steps are being taken to address anti-Semitism in schools and the leafy suburb at large, home to nearly 30,000 Jews. Warren asked for the audience’s help “as we flesh out what this is going to look like city-wide,” he said.
“That curricular decision has to be made by the superintendent,” said Warren of some audience members’ demand that Newton schools publicly release lesson plans with allegedly anti-Semitic content. As one of nine people on the city’s powerful school committee, Warren has been unable to move the dial on the group’s alleged lack of transparency during two months of heated debate on the issue.
Following a highly contentious April 7 meeting on the topic, last night’s gathering was marked by civility and hand-raising from a largely Israeli-American audience. Organized by several local Jewish organizations, the discussion was hosted in the Israeli American Council’s (IAC) Newton headquarters.
Opening the conversation, IAC co-chair Ilan Segev called for a show of solidarity with the people of Orlando and Tel Aviv as they recover from terror attacks. He said those attacks are “what happens when you do not fight ignorance and hate head-on.” Segev warned that the increase of anti-Semitic incidents in Newton — with its highly organized Jewish community and abundant educational resources — does not bode well for the rest of the country.
Weapons Cache and Bomb-Making Instructions Found at Long Island Home
A Long Island man was arrested on weapons charges on Thursday after police officers found assault rifles, bomb-making instructions, over $40,000 in cash and Nazi paraphernalia in his house, the authorities said.
The man, Edward Perkowski, 29, of Mount Sinai, also faces drug charges after the police recovered marijuana and mushrooms during the search.
Mr. Perkowski’s brother, Sean, 25, who also lives in the home, was arrested on an unrelated outstanding bench warrant, the police said.
“Today’s search warrant might have prevented a deadly, violent incident, like the one we recently saw in Orlando,” the Suffolk County police commissioner, Timothy D. Sini, said at a news conference in Yaphank.
Among the items the police found when they entered Mr. Perkowski’s house around 6 a.m. on Thursday was a black binder filled with instructions on bomb making, some handwritten. Six assault rifles, a handgun, a shotgun, four rifles and a stun gun, were also found, Mr. Sini said.
In a photo taken by the police at the house, a framed picture of Adolf Hitler rests next to a lineup of assault rifles.
German Jews Irate at Sale of Göring’s Silk Underpants
The Central Council of Jews in Germany is protesting this weekend’s offering by the Hermann Historica auction house of Nazi memorabilia that includes Hermann Göring’s silk underpants. CCJG president Josef Schuster told DPA the idea of “making business, without any limits, with items of Hitler, Göring and Eva Braun” in the auction was “scandalous and disgusting.”
“Such items belong in museums or archives, they should not be sold for profit,” Schuster told DPA.
Titled “The John K. Lattimer Collection — Hitler and the Nazi Leaders — a unique insight into evil,” the auction, to be conducted this Saturday, “includes for the most part objects from the world-famous collection of John K. Lattimer,” who “as a young boy … started his collection with objects of naval and aviation interest and items relating to Native American culture. In later years he collected important historical objects associated with historical figures such as George Washington, Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Lindbergh, John F. Kennedy etc.”
Talk about a brief history.
Israeli Fuel Tank Stands Up to Heavy Machinegun Fire
Aircraft and vehicles are always susceptible to enemy fire, which can rupture an integral fuel tank. Israeli firm Magam Safety has just introduced a lightweight self-sealing fuel cell able to withstand gunshots from weapons up to 12.7mm (.50 calibre).
“The tank we are presenting for the first time at Eurosatory is the only one of its kind that can withstand heavy machinegun fire and at the same time, is lightweight,” said Magam chairman Amit Tesler.
According to the company, these flexible fuel cells, sometimes called bladder cells or tanks, withstand even the harshest environments and weather conditions, including extreme temperatures, shocks, pressure and water. They are 75 per cent lighter than metal tanks, making them ideal for military aircraft, helicopters and drones, as well as armoured fighting vehicles and even main battle tanks (MBTs).
The customised cells are manufactured to provide the maximum safety, easy field repair or replacement.
“The fuel tanks that we have been developing and marketed for many years have been successfully embedded by dozens of customers around the world on their air, land and sea platforms, and have been battle-tested for more than 40 years in our MBTs,” Tesler said.
Israeli high-tech company extends hand to Gaza's programmers
Mellanox Technologies is looking to take advantage of a resource largely untapped by Israel's high-tech companies: Palestinians.
Nasdaq-listed Mellanox already employs a large number of Arab programmers in Israel and dozens in Ramallah and Nablus, in the West Bank. Now its chief executive is extending the outreach to Gaza, the Palestinian enclave that has been almost entirely cut off from Israel for a decade.
Working with ASAL Technologies, a Palestinian software firm, the maker of products that connect databases, servers and computers has hired four programmers in Gaza. It hopes to add at least six more in the next six months.
"From our experience in Ramallah, we think we have the potential to collaborate and make our neighbors successful," Chief Executive Eyal Waldman told Reuters in an interview.
Hiring Palestinians would seem to solve two problems. Arabs struggle to break into Israel's high-tech sector. And Israeli companies need help.
Renowned Historian Deborah Lipstadt Notes Release of Hollywood Movie About Her Legal Battle Against Holocaust Denial Comes at Fragile Moment for Jews (INTERVIEW)
Preeminent American historian Dr. Deborah Lipstadt — whose historic legal battle against Holocaust denial is depicted in an upcoming Hollywood movie — told The Algemeiner on Thursday that she “never dreamed” the film would be released during such a fragile moment for Jews.
“This movie has been in the works for a relatively long time,” she said, “My book was optioned about eight years ago, so I’m as surprised by the timing as anyone else, which speaks to the fact that we are all surprised by the tide of virulent antisemitism today.”
Lipstadt — author of Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory — made headlines in the 1990s, when she and her publisher were sued for libel in the UK by British Holocaust denier David Irving, whom she named in the book. Since the burden of proof in English courts rests on the defendant in such cases, Lipstadt and her legal team needed to prove that the Holocaust did, in fact, take place.
At the conclusion of the three-month-long trial — from January 11-April 11, 2000 — the judge ruled in favor of Lipstadt, and found that Irving, “for his own ideological reasons, persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence” to portray Hitler “in an unwarrantedly favorable light.” The judge said of Irving that he is an “active Holocaust denier; that he is antisemitic and racist, and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism.”
Soccer Icon David Beckham Says He Feels Jewish Because of His Grandfather, Who Took Him to Synagogue
Soccer superstar David Beckham revealed on Tuesday that he considers himself to be a Jew.
The British footballer shared the tidbit in a discussion at the London Jewish Cultural Center, also known as JW3. When asked by host and broadcaster Kirsty Young, “Do you see yourself as Jewish in any way?” Beckham, 41, replied, “My grandfather was Jewish, that was on my mother’s side, so yes, I do…”
Beckham then told the 200-strong audience, “I was never brought up Jewish, but like I said, my grandfather was, and every time we went to synagogue, I was part of that.”
Beckham was known to be close to his maternal grandfather, Joseph West, who died in 2009 at the age of 83. West accompanied his grandson to receive an OBE honor from the Queen in 2003 and the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player once called West his “footballing inspiration,” according to the UK’s Jewish Chronicle.
“My grandad would follow me everywhere to watch me play,” Beckham said.
Christian Zionists Are Among Our Best Supporters
Shortly after moving to the United States, I was introduced to Evangelical Christian supporters of Israel for the first time. I found them confounding and intriguing. Over the years I had read many articles about Christian Zionism, but nothing prepared me for the depth of their support for Israel and the sincerity of their love for Jews. My early education was filled with stories of Christian persecution of the Jews: the Crusades, Inquisition, pogroms in Eastern Europe, and even the wartime Pope’s indifference to the Holocaust. When I grew older, however, I discovered that this narrative was somewhat one-dimensional.
Beginning in the 17th century, many Christians, and particularly Protestants, started to feel very differently towards Jews — no longer seeing them as pariahs, but instead as the elevated “people of the book.” They even prayed for the return of Jews to the Promised Land. But this newfound love for Jews was overshadowed by strenuous efforts to convert Jews to Christianity, which resulted in most Jews rejecting Christian overtures.
Next-gen Israeli agtech turns a rooftop into a farm
On the rooftop of the Mishor Adumim industrial park in the desert between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, an acre of herbs and lettuces provide employment for about 20 people representing the entire Israeli mosaic: Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, Israeli-born and immigrants.
“We all work together and value each other’s contribution,” says Bentsion Kabakov, a religious Russian immigrant who established the Aleinu Sustainable Aeroponic Greenhouse as a prototype six years ago.
“We are convinced that no matter how harsh the political challenges are, there is always a basis for mutual respect and coexistence. At Aleinu, that’s our guiding line.”
Women in hijabs chat easily with Ethiopian-Jewish women in the packing and labeling room. Everyone from pickers to technicians works in a comfortable, air-conditioned environment and goes home at a set time every day.
In all its social, business and environmental aspects, this is truly a farm of the future.
‘Disease in a dish’ among Israeli wonders in heart research
Human cells from skin or blood can be reprogrammed to resemble the person’s embryonic stem cells and then cultured to generate cells specific to any part of that person’s body.
In the future, these patient-specific human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) could eliminate the need for donor transplants.
For now, they present an exciting new paradigm for modelling human disease and for individualizing drug testing, according to Dr. Lior Gepstein, director of cardiology at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa and holder of the Sohnis Family Chair in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine.
By adapting a Nobel Prize-winning technique from Japan, Gepstein’s lab pioneered a method to grow a patient’s own heart cells from that patient’s iPSCs in just a few weeks.
“We can use these cells for several things,” says Gepstein, who was among the featured presenters at Rambam’s 2016 annual international “State of the Heart” and digital-health summit at the end of May.
19 Israeli-led companies win 2016 Red Herring Awards
Israeli-led companies have once again walked away from the prestigious Red Herring Awards with a very big handful of these coveted innovation awards., OurCrowd, Zebra Medical Vision, Stratoscale, Shadow Technologies, Optimal Plus, moblin, Leverate, ICS2, HeadSense Medical, CropX, CloudEndure and Accellta were chosen among the Top 100 Europe winners.
On the Red Herring Top 100 America winners’ list are Tracx, enSilo, ConvertMedia, Sisense, LightCyber and MedRobotics.
Every year since 1996, the innovation magazine and news service Red Herring selects the 100 most promising tech and life sciences companies, with separate contests for the United States, Europe and Asia. Companies founded by Israelis or headed by Israelis, some of them headquartered in other countries, can be found taking part in all segments of the contest.
Red Herring editors were among the first to tip the world to the importance of companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype,, YouTube, Palo Alto Networks and eBay.
Sanusey, 4, is 4,000th kid helped by Save a Child’s Heart
Four-year-old Sanusey from The Gambia became the 4,000th child to receive life-saving heart surgery through the Israeli charity Save A Child’s Heart, the organization announced Thursday.
Sanusey suffers from a congenital heart defect that could only be corrected through an operation not available in the West African nation.
Sanusey has been in Israel for the past month, together with 12 other children from Tanzania and The Gambia brought by the charity for heart surgery, it said in a statement.
After a successful hours-long operation at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon in mid-May, the boy was reported to be recovering quickly.
“Dr. Lior Sasson and his medical team operated on Sanusey for hours,” the charity said. His older sister “Penda sat in the waiting room, crying and hoping for the best. Thankfully, the surgery was successful. Only three days after his operation, Sanusey was sitting up in bed and smiling.”

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