Wednesday, July 20, 2016

From Ian:

Foreign min. chief challenges Abbas: Tear down terror monument
The Director-General of Israel's Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, has released a video slamming the Palestinian Authority for building a monument to honor the terrorist who planted a bomb which killed 15 Israeli civilians in the center of Jerusalem.
The monument to Ahmad Jabarah Abu Sukkar, who masterminded the 1976 attack, was unveiled at an official PA ceremony earlier this month.
In the video, Gold - who was shopping nearby when the bomb went off, described what he saw that day.
"It was a Friday and I was doing my shopping innocently, until all of a sudden I heard this incredibly loud explosion. I turned around and I saw bodies strewn everywhere."
In the attack, a refrigerator filled with explosives was detonated in the heart of Jerusalem. 15 people were killed and over 60 people were wounded. Abu Sukkar was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years, but was released from prison after 28 years as part of a "goodwill gesture" from Israel to the PA in 2003.
He was a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council and an adviser to the PA Chairman Yasser Arafat on prisoners' affairs. He died of a heart attack in 2013.
The decision by the PA to honor the terrorist proves Abbas is not serious about wanting peace, Gold contended.
"That's the education the Palestinian Authority wants to give to its children," he said.
"The way it is now, we're not gong to be able to get very far in any kind of negotiation, because negotiation requires a culture of peace and not a culture of death.
"So I'm hoping that Abbas, who heads the Palestinian Authority - who heads the Fatah movement - will tear down that monument."
Palestinian monument honoring murderer of 15 Israelis must be torn down

Top Trump advisor to ‘Post’: Settlement annexation legitimate if PA continues to avoid real peace
Israeli annexation of settlements in the West Bank could be viewed by a Trump administration as a legitimate way for Israel to move forward if the Palestinians continue to avoid a real and genuine peace deal, David Friedman, a senior advisor to Donald Trump, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Speaking as the Republican Party convention entered its second day in Cleveland, Friedman, who advises Trump on matters related to Israel, said that in his view, settlements in the West Bank were not illegal and were not the real impediment to peace with the Palestinians.
“The impediment to peace is very clear in both of our minds and that is the failure of the Palestinians to renounce hatred and renounce violence,” Friedman said. “Everything else is barely important.”
Friedman, a Manhattan-based attorney and president of the American Friends of Bet El Institutions who serves as an Israel advisor to Trump alongside Jason Greenblatt, told the Post that in his view annexation of the settlements would be a legitimate way for Israel to move forward.
“If there is no agreement with the Palestinians, Israel has to move forward and maybe there is another path and a better path that is not a two-state solution and obviously under those circumstances that [annexation D.Z.] is certainly an option,” he said “I don’t know when or if that would be implemented but it’s certainly not a third rail in terms of options. It is certainly a legitimate possibility.”

US air force vet who smuggled plane to fledgling Israel dies at 92
Nathan “Gino” Narboni, a veteran of the French Air Force who volunteered to fly a combat plane during Israel’s War of Independence and also served in the US Air Force, has died at the age of 92.
Narboni died July 16 at his home near San Antonio, Texas.
Narboni, who was born in a Jewish community in what was then French Algeria, was the son of a prominent physician and had planned to attend medical school.
He joined the French Air Force in 1943 and trained in the United States as a pilot on a B-26 bomber. World War II ended before he could serve in combat, however.
In July 1948, at the age of 25, Narboni secretly flew a cargo plane into the new State of Israel, evading an embargo set up by the United Nations and the United States, and became a part of the Mahal brigade comprising volunteers from abroad. Mahal included some 4,000 Jewish and some non-Jewish volunteers from the US, Canada, South Africa, Britain, France, Scandinavia and approximately 20 other countries.
“Why did I come to Israel in 1948? I was not brought up in a religious atmosphere, but my family and I felt strongly about our Jewish heritage,” Narboni told The Jerusalem Post in an interview published in June 2014. “I had a skill that Israel could use, so I decided to volunteer. Today, I am still attached to Israel.”
Following the war, Narboni flew as a pilot for Israel’s national airline El Al before eventually returning to his medical studies.
How Milton Viorst is distorting Menachem Begin’s legacy
Contrary to Viorst’s assertion that Begin was somehow the instigator of a new anti-peace Israel, when Begin agreed to hand over the Sinai Peninsula to Anwar Sadat, he demonstrated his commitment to peace as an ideal, even at the cost of giving up a key territorial asset. This can be placed in contrast to the famous statement from the previous Labour government that: “Better to have Sharm al-Sheikh without peace, than peace without Sharm al-Sheikh”.
While comparing Begin to his mentor Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Viorst claimed that “Jabotinsky had respect for Arabs and their nationalistic feelings. Begin never had that.” Again, the agreement signed by Begin and Sadat proves this wrong. While the previous left-wing governments of Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin never addressed the question of the Palestinians in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, it was Begin, who saw these areas as inseparable parts of the Jewish homeland, who attempted to provide for Palestinian autonomy in the first part of the framework agreement with Egypt. Unlike Golda Meir, who had famously stated “there is no Palestinian people,” Begin was the first prime minister to recognize that the Arab inhabitants of the territories liberated in 1967 had legitimate individual rights.
Finally, Viorst’s assertion that Begin signified the end of “traditional Zionism” deserves closer examination. What is “traditional Zionism” after all? If he means the classic Herzlian idea of creating a Jewish state in which all citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish, enjoy full civic equality then Begin was the man to restore traditional Zionism, not to end it. He liberated the Israeli economy from state control and ended the authoritarian grip over almost every aspect of Israeli government and society by one party which had existed since 1948.
In a special booklet produced by the Israel Democracy Institute, Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer, the former chairman of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, declared Begin as “a democrat and a liberal par excellence, one who consistently upheld human rights even when he felt that they conflicted with national security.” Professor Aharon Barak, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and a hero of Israel’s human rights community, lauded Begin as the Israeli prime minister most committed to the supremacy of law and human rights.
I would have expected a scholar of Milton Viorst’s standing to pay more attention to the facts, and less to his own prejudices.
Hamas turns Gaza terror tunnels into summer tourist attraction
The Gaza-based Hamas terrorist group appears to branching into the field of local tourism, turning underground tunnels constructed to carry out cross-border attacks on Israeli communities into the latest summer attraction for Gazan youth.
Video footage posted to Facebook by Afaq, a pro-Hamas media outlet in Gaza, shows lines of children walking through the tunnels decorated with posters of Hamas operatives apparently killed by Israel. In one shot, a guide wearing a florescent yellow jacket can be seen directing the children.
According to the post, the tunnel tours are taking place in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City, and form part of a Hamas exhibition displaying weapons and methods used in the “resistance” against Israel.
“Afaq media enters a tunnel created by the Qassam Brigades during a weapons exhibition in Shejaiya on the anniversary [of the war],” reads the text introducing the video, referring to Hamas’s armed wing. The exhibition was said to be “open to any citizen or media for videos and publishing.”
‘Arab world won’t go for Israel's diplomatic blitz, and Netanyahu knows it’
Hailing Israel’s still clandestine yet growing ties with Arab states has become a standard talking point in Benjamin Netanyahu’s speeches. The Arabs realize that the world has changed and that Israel is not longer their enemy, the prime minister routinely argues, and although these contacts remain covert they could potentially become a catalyst for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Common wisdom used to say that as soon as Israelis solve their conflict with the Palestinians, they could make peace with the entire Arab world. “This is without a doubt always valid,” Netanyahu said earlier this month, “but more and more I think that this process can also move in the opposite direction; that normalization or the promotion of relations with the Arab world can help us to advance a more realistic, more stable, more backed-up peace between us and the Palestinians.”
The only problem with this strategy is that it will not work, and Netanyahu knows that it will not work. That, at least, is what a leading expert on the Arab world told The Times of Israel recently.
“The Saudis will wait for the Palestinians,” said Gregory Gause, one of the world’s foremost scholars of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf nations. “It’s very, very unlikely that you would see the Jordanians, the Egyptians or the Saudis going to Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas], and saying: ‘You have to lower your expectations about what you’re going to get from the Israelis and do a deal with them because we need Israeli cooperation vis-a-vis Syria, Hezbollah or Iran. I just don’t see that happening.”
Netanyahu must be aware that his strategy will not work out the way he publicly envisions it, Gause surmised. Rather, the prime minister professes to be waiting for the Arab states to pressure the PA in a bid to buy time in the face of growing international pressure. “He has the Americans constantly saying to him, ‘Why aren’t you doing more on the peace process?’ He goes, ‘Well, my theory is that we’re going to deal with the Arab states first.’”
To be sure, the claim that the Arab world has indicated its readiness to get closer to Israel, to a limited extent, is not entirely baseless.
After 49 years, Israel renewes diplomatic ties with Guinea
After almost five decades, Israel on Wednesday renewed diplomatic relations with the Republic of Guinea, a small, overwhelmingly Muslim country in West Africa that cut ties with the Jewish state in 1967.
Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold signed an agreement with Ibrahim Khalil Kaba, President Alpha Condé’s chief of staff, in Paris.
“This is an important closing of a circle,” Gold said, noting that it has been nearly 50 years since the government in Conakry cut ties with Israel.
“The number of countries on the African continent that still haven’t [re-established ties with Israel] is steadily decreasing, and we’re hopeful that soon this number will not exist anymore,” Gold said. “Israel is calling on the countries that still haven’t renewed diplomatic relations to follow in Guinea’s footsteps so that we can work together to the benefit of all peoples in the region.”
Israel currently does not have official relations with several sub-Saharan African countries, including Niger, Chad, Mali Somalia, Djibouti and others.
Israel is expected to announce the renewing of diplomatic ties with another Muslim African nation in the coming days.
Six years on: BBC backgrounder still misleads on Resolution 242
We noted at the time that the people who drafted Resolution 242 had given ample explanation of its wording and provided several examples.
“There are many other examples which also clarify the fact that the wording of resolution 242 was in fact deliberately very precise and intended. It is therefore unfitting that the BBC should choose to misrepresent it in this disingenuous manner and the fact that it does so clearly contravenes BBC guidelines on accuracy and impartiality as well as deliberately misleading BBC audiences.”
However, as we see, nearly six years since its original publication this inaccurate portrayal of Resolution 242 is still being promoted by the BBC and continues to mislead readers.
There is obviously no value in a backgrounder which fails to present audiences with accurate information and thus actively hinders the BBC’s public purpose remit of building “understanding of international issues”.
UN "Human Rights" Chief "Concerned" about Israeli Transparency Law - Not Palestinian Terror Attacks
On July 19, 2016, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordanian Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, expressed "concern" about Israeli legislation requiring NGOs that receive more than half their funding from foreign sources to disclose their donors, and claimed that civil society was being "attacked." But the High Commissioner had nothing to say about actual attacks against Israelis committed in the same week, including the attempted Palestinian suicide bombing on a light rail in Jerusalem on July 17, 2016, and the stabbing of 2 Israeli soldiers on July 18, 2016.
In the words of the spokesperson: "We are concerned at the passing on 11 July of the so-called NGO Transparency law by the Israeli Parliament, which could have a detrimental effect on human rights and the democratic space in the country. Given the recent attacks against civil society organizations in Israel by public officials and some specific groups, we fear that this law will have a chilling effect on human rights defenders and their legitimate and extremely valuable contribution to the human rights debate in Israel..."
PreOccupiedTerritory: Security Council Endorses Plan To Nuke Africa (satire)
The United Nations Security Council voted 12-3 today to accept a joint European-American proposal to bring the horrific violent conflicts in Africa to an end by obliterating all human life there with nuclear weapons.
Protracted civil wars and terrorism in Congo, Somalia, Nigeria and elsewhere have proved far too complex and bloody to resolve, explained US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power. “We thought we had the conflict in Congo licked ten years ago,” she said, “but government incompetence, corruption and disorganization, combined with rebel brutality and outside meddling, have made things worse.”
The West bears the lion’s share of responsibility for much of the bloodshed in Africa, said Jan Grauls, head of Belgium’s mission to the UN, and must therefore assume the bulk of the burden for ending it. Though not currently a Security Council member, Belgium’s brutal, exploitative administration of the Congo in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries prompted the nation to lobby council members heavily in favor of a comprehensive solution. France, also once a colonizer of Africa and one of the council’s permanent members, aggressively took up the motion once it was introduced.
The Security Council released a statement that read, in part: “The Council has resolved to take one of its most drastic measures ever, in response to one of the most severe humanitarian crises ever. The civil wars, ethnic unrest and rampant disease in Africa cry out for a permanent solution. This decision paves the way for just such a solution, and the Council anticipates that nations with the means to participate in the effort will do so with alacrity. May the nations of the world always reach agreement this quickly when it comes to human suffering.”
Douglas Murray: The UK's Broken Labour Party
With the prospect of another Labour leadership election now gathering pace, tens of thousands more activists have joined the Labour party. It seems unlikely that they will be "moderates."
The election of an Islamist-sympathising, terrorist-sympathising, Israel-bashing hardliner at the head of the second largest party in the House of Commons undoubtedly changes the parameters of political discourse in the UK.
However solidly Theresa May's new Conservative government performs, it will always seem the point -- so long as Corbyn is in office -- that you are either for Britain or against it, for the Conservative party or against the country.
A fractured and in-fighting opposition also means that there is no meaningful, organised voice challenging the government in Parliament. That principle -- the principle on which our system is based -- needs to work well even (perhaps especially) if you support the government of the day, because the government of the day needs to be kept alert to error and on top of sensible criticisms if it is going to pass the best legislation it can for the country.
Chakrabarti Doesn’t Deny Corbyn Offered Her Peerage
Chakrabarti Doesn’t Deny Corbyn Offered Her Peerage
Shami Chakrabarti has repeatedly refused to deny she has been offered a peerage in an interview with J-TV:
Alan Mendoza: “Do you have political ambitions in the Labour party?”
Shami Chakrabarti: “Do I have political ambitions in the Labour party?”
AM: “Do you want to run as an MP?”
SC: “I don’t know. Probably not. But I don’t Know.”
AM: “Okay. If you were offered a place in the House of Lords would you take it?”
SC: “Goodness me.”
AM: “General question.”
SC: “I don’t know.”
AM: “Have you been offered a place?”
SC: “I don’t know whether I want to talk about my future ambitions at this point.”
AM: “Have you been offered a place in the House of Lords?”
SC: “You can ask the question and I’m going to evade it at this point.”
Not even a non-denial denial. What was Shami promised for the report which claimed “The Labour Party is not overrun by antisemitism”?
BBC discovers that MP’s “Israel” Facebook posts were antisemitic
Placement of a pay-walled article in a newspaper read by less than 5% of the population midweek was probably not the best advice ever given to a British politician apparently seeking to reassure Israelis but nevertheless, on July 18th the Labour MP for Bradford West, Naz Shah, had an article published in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz under the title “My Understanding of anti-Semitism Was Lacking“.
The same sentiment was voiced by Shah in an interview with Becky Milligan on BBC Radio 4’s ‘World at One’ on the same day and that interview prompted articles at additional outlets including the Independent, the Jewish Chronicle and on the BBC News website’s UK politics and ‘Leeds & West Yorkshire’ pages.
The BBC’s promotion of the radio interview included a choice of language that – given its past approach to the same story – was remarkable.
As readers may recall, when the story of Naz Shah’s offensive social media posts broke in April, the BBC refrained from informing its audiences that their content was antisemitic.
Spanish city votes to boycott Israel, reportedly loses Tel Aviv flights
A Spanish city trying to increase tourism lost a direct flight connection with Israel over its symbolic support for boycotting the Jewish state, a Spanish newspaper reported.
The Spain branch of El Al for months had negotiated with tourist officials from the autonomous region of Galicia, in northern Spain, over opening a direct line between its capital, Santiago de Compostella, and Tel Aviv, but the talks failed following the passage in November of a non-binding city council motion in favor of boycotting Israel, La Voz de Galicica reported Wednesday.
Tourism is a major source of income in Galicia, where 18.2 percent of the workforce is unemployed, along with 43% of workers under 25. The local government has invested millions of euros into creating new jobs in the tourist sector and attracting international tourists to the region’s attractions – including the Catholic pilgrimage route known as the Way of St. James, which passes through Santiago. It attracts more than 250,000 pilgrims and tourists annually to Santiago.
Alejandro Sánchez-Brunete, a member of the Santiago City Council for the center-right Popular Party, accused the far-left party that won Santiago’s elections last year, Compostella Abierta, of sabotaging that effort by destroying talks on opening a direct connection with Israel.
Turkey bans academics from traveling abroad
Turkey’s higher education council has banned academics from traveling abroad and urged those overseas to quickly return home, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.
Turkey has widened its massive post-coup purge from the military and police to the education sector to root out supporters of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom it accuses of orchestrating the attempted putsch.
The council asked university rectors to “urgently examine the situation of all academic and administrative personnel linked with FETO” — or the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization,” as it labels Gulen’s supporters — and report back by August 5.
It also told universities that academics who are already abroad on work or study missions should return home “within the shortest possible time.”
On Tuesday, the government suspended 15,200 state education employees and demanded the resignation of almost 1,600 deans from private and state universities over alleged links to Gulen.
Turkey blocks Wikileaks website after AKP email leak
The Turkish government as blocked access to the Wikileaks website, after it leaked tens of thousands of classified government emails in response to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's widespread post-coup purges.
The 300,000 emails from Erdogan's Islamist AKP party include correspondence, seen by Arutz Sheva, in which Gazan terrorists are advised on how best to conceal and fire rockets at Israeli civilian targets during 2014's Gaza war.
The emails span from 2010 to July 6 of this year.
In a message posted together with the first batch of the "AKP Email Archives," Wikileaks explained it had only recently obtained the material, and was releasing it early "in response to the government's post-coup purges."
The Turkish government regularly blocks access to websites - including social media sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook - over criticism of Ankara or Erdogan. On Wednesday - just a day after the emails were released - the country's Telecommunications Communications Board announced an "administrative measure" against Wikileaks; namely, blocking all access to the site within Turkey.
HonestReporting Prompts New York Times Clarification on Gaza Settlements
An otherwise good story in the New York Times, “To France From Israel: Lessons on Living With Terror,” included the following in reference to studies of Israeli behavior in the face of terror threats:
A separate study, at Ben Gurion University, found that residents close to attack sites — in this case, those living in Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip — reported a lower sense of personal threat and stress than those in two other communities, one in a Tel Aviv suburb and one in a larger settlement near the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. The research suggested that the religious fervor of the Gaza residents might have been a key factor.
HonestReporting contacted the New York Times pointing out that the phrasing of this paragraph might lead readers to assume that there are still Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip today (they were evacuated during the 2005 Disengagement).
The New York Times responded with a very minor edit (as tracked by the Newsdiffs site that monitors changes to stories in the New York Times and other media outlets) but nonetheless one that clarifies the information.
Polish mayor calls for exhumation of Jewish mass grave
The mayor of a Polish town where locals killed and buried hundreds of Jews added his voice to a growing chorus of officials seeking to exhume the bodies from a mass grave to see if German soldiers were the killers.
Michael Chajewski, the mayor of Jedwabne in northeastern Poland, told Gazeta Wyborcza late last week that he supports exhumation. His backing of exhumation comes amid an uproar over a noncommittal statement by Poland’s education minister on television saying that even though state historians and leaders have blamed locals for the pogrom on July 10, 1941, she did not know who killed the Jews of Jedwabne 75 years ago.
“Yes. I’m going to do it,” Chajewski is quoted as telling the paper when asked if he would sign a petition calling for the exhumation. “You need to determine how many people were killed and by whom to finally dispel doubt.”
Poland’s state-owned Institute of National Remembrance determined several dozen locals killed at least 340 Jews at Jedwabne, some of whom they burned inside a barn. The incident, one of at least 20 pogroms against Jews by Poles during or immediately after the Holocaust, was largely unknown in Poland prior to the 2001 publication of a book by historian Jan Gross.
Brazilian U rector apologizes for anti-Semitic public notice
The rector of a Brazilian federal university apologized to the Jewish community over a public notice seeking to hire a "racial-ethnic relations" educator required to teach Zionism as a racist concept alongside Nazism and apartheid.
ABC Federal University rector Klaus Capelle delivered the apology to Brazilian Israelite Confederation President Fernando Lottenberg and Executive President Ricardo Berkiensztat at a meeting last Friday and amended the July 14 notice.
"The modification corrects part of the notice, which, in an inappropriate way, treated in the same context political regimes and historical facts that are very different," according to a public note issued by the university.
"The amending of the text does not eliminate the need to debate the complex and controversial political and historical subjects involved. ABC Federal University backs freedom of press, thought and expression, which must underpin this discussion."
The officials also discussed adopting an agenda to strengthen ties with the Jewish community, including the need for a broad and pluralistic debate on Middle East issues, and forming ties with Israeli universities on topics such as water, physics and science.
Global forum launched to fight anti-Semitism throughout Latin America
More than 200 Jewish and Christian leaders from Israel, the United States, and 17 Latin American countries came together in Buenos Aires to launch the first Global Forum for Combating anti-Semitism in Latin America.
The religious and political leaders, who met Monday, have crafted an action plan to combat anti-Semitism in the region. The plan includes recommendations in four areas in the battle against anti-Semitism: Internet and media, education, inter-religious dialogue, and legislation and law enforcement. These recommendations are in addition to those put forward by the previous Global Forum for Combating anti-Semitism, which was held in Jerusalem in 2015.
The event was organized by the Israel Allies Foundation, the Latin American Jewish Congress, the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition and Israel’s Foreign Ministry. The organizers met with leaders and organizations from a variety of denominations in Latin America with hopes of garnering further support for the Jewish people.
Sammy Eppel, co-chairman of the Global Forum for Combating anti-Semitism, spoke at the event on the importance of understanding the heart of bigotry against the Jewish people.
“Anti-Semitism is not a problem of the Jewish people, it’s a problem of human rights, and as such should be confronted,” he said.
Elbit Systems awarded $30m surveillance system deal
Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) announced today that it has been awarded contracts worth $30 million to supply advanced thermal-imaging observation systems to a country in Europe. The systems will serve all army command levels, from the dismounted soldier to the headquarters command and will be supplied over a one-year period.
Among the systems that are being provided are Long View CR (LVCR) observation systems- (dismounted soldier long-range observation systems that are well suited for target acquisition with day and night capabilities), LOROSS systems- (fixed installation long-range observation systems) and XACT observation systems for dismounted soldier applications.
Elbit Systems ISTAR Division general manager Elad Aharonson said, “Observation systems are a vital component of the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (“ISR”) field. They enable day and night operations under all weather conditions. We are proud to have won these contracts, reaffirming Elbit Systems’ position as one of the leading providers of advanced ISR solutions, which are highly adaptable to the needs of the contemporary battlefield."
VRPhysio uses virtual gaming to help pain in neck
When Eran Orr was serving in the Israeli army he got a neck injury that he later realized could have been avoided through preventative physiotherapy to strengthen his muscles.
“Once I finished my military I realized how common these injuries are,” Orr said in a phone interview “I also realized that people just don’t do their excercises at home.”
Neck injuries are on the rise due to car accidents, sport accidents, working in front of computers, and staring at smartphones. Combat soldiers using night goggles or airplane and helicopter pilots often suffer neck injuries while on duty.
Now, as the founder and chief executive officer of a Tel Aviv-based startup, VRPhysio, Orr aims to match virtual reality and physiotherapy to help patients practice their exercises at home and speed up recovery or just prevent injuries through the use of virtual gaming.
Aussies to storm Start-up Nation in search of innovation spark
A delegation of 10 Australian startups in the field of cybersecurity and fintech will take part in an accelerator program in Tel Aviv to help boost Sydney’s position as an innovation hub in the Asia Pacific region.
As part of their activities in Israel in September, the participants will meet with Israeli startups, attend the DLD Tel Aviv innovation conference, meet with Israel-based multinationals and gain access to leaders in the venture capital industry and entrepreneurs.
The push is part of the so-called Landing Pads initiative by the Australian government to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia, as commodity prices have dropped globally and the country is witnessing a downturn in the mining sector, which accounts for a large part of its economy. Israel and Australia signed a bilateral cooperation in R&D and Technical Innovation in April, in which both countries pledged to invest $2 million into joint innovation projects with a focus on cybersecurity, agribusiness and water management.
“Australia is seeking to become a more innovative and entrepreneurial economy,” Dave Sharma, Australia’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, said by phone. “We have been blessed with natural resources, and that is both a blessing and a curse, as we have had no need to focus on emerging areas for growth.”
TBEX travel bloggers to host key conference in Jerusalem
TBEX, the world’s largest community of travel bloggers, writers, content creators and social media professionals, has announced Jerusalem as the location of its upcoming TBEX International 2017 meeting.
“Jerusalem was chosen as our first TBEX International destination because of its rich multi-cultural history,” says Patti Hosking, TBEX Vice President. “Geographically in Asia, but more economically and culturally aligned with Europe, Jerusalem is one of those special destinations that defies classification and is best explained as International. It’s a bucket list destination for many people, including bloggers, and we know that our attendees will find diverse experiences there. We’re going to see a lot of very special stories come out of our time in Jerusalem.”
TBEX holds annual conferences in locations across the world, drawing some 1,000 delegates including some of the most influential travel bloggers and leading digital content creators.
“This is an important opportunity to reach the top opinion leaders in the travel industry and travel media. Jerusalem offers conferences so much more than just the facilities for a successful event, but the opportunity to enjoy the city’s unique history, culture, culinary delights and nightlife,” says Ilanit Melchior, Director of Tourism at the Jerusalem Development Authority.
Kenyan-born Chemtai to run Rio Games marathon for Israel
When Kenyan-born Lonah Chemtai came to Tel Aviv in 2009 to care for the children of her country's ambassador to the Jewish state, she never dreamed that one day she would run for Israel at the Olympics.
Chemtai, a diminutive 27-year-old and a marathon novice, gained Israeli citizenship earlier this year through her coach, Dan Salpeter, after the two married in Kenya. They will be in Rio next month but a podium finish is not expected.
The unassuming athlete's inclusion in the Israeli team was confirmed only at the last minute after she was granted Israeli citizenship days before the deadline for her to be eligible to run for Israel.
It was a momentous day for Chemtai, who described the ceremony at which she was presented with her documents as "a great occasion."
"I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time," she told Reuters.
Chemtai, who grew up in a village in West Pokot County in western Kenya, had run shorter distances since her youth and took up the marathon only after the birth of the couple's son, Roy, who is 19 months old.
6 millennia old but ‘almost fresh,’ Masada seeds unravel barley’s origins
A new study has allowed scientists to peer thousands of years back in time via a grain of barley found in the Judean Desert.
Barley seeds, dated to 6,000 years ago, have become the oldest plant genome to be sequenced, an international team of researchers announced in a journal article published Monday. Analysis of the 6,000-year-old cereals supports the hypothesis that the key crop was domesticated thousands of years ago in the Jordan Valley.
A team of scientists from Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom and the US employed a wide array of disciplines — archaeology, archaeobotany and genetics — to study the material found in the Yoram Cave. The findings were released in the academic journal Nature Genetics.
The Chalcolithic kernels were discovered in a cavern overlooking the Dead Sea on the southern end of Masada, a mountaintop better known for Jewish rebels’ last stand against the Roman Empire in the first century CE.

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