Friday, June 09, 2017

From Ian:

UNRWA uncovers Hamas-dug tunnel under school in Gaza
The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees uncovered a tunnel belonging to Hamas under a boys’ elementary school in the Gaza Strip, according to a statement released by the organization on Friday.
The tunnel was discovered by workers of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on June 1 under the school, which is part of a compound comprising other schools in the Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip near the city of Deir al-Balah.
The tunnel, between two and three meters underground, passes under the Maghazi Elementary Boys A&B School and the Maghazi Preparatory Boys School, and was built both eastward into the Palestinian enclave and westward toward the security fence with Israel, according to UNRWA.
“The discovery was made during the summer vacation, at a time when the schools are empty, and in the course of work related to the construction of an extension of one of the buildings,” UNRWA said in a statement, adding that the tunnel “has no entry or exit points on the premises nor is it connected to the schools or other buildings in any way.
The agency said it condemns “the existence of such tunnels in the strongest possible terms,” adding that it was “unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way.”
“We demand they desist from any activities or conduct that put beneficiaries and staff at risk and undermine the ability of UN staff to provide assistance to Palestine refugees in safety and security,” the agency said.
Hamas member killed, 6 wounded in clashes with IDF soldiers near Gaza border
A Hamas fighter was killed and six were wounded during clashes with IDF troops on Friday near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
“Aeid Jumaa, 35, was killed and six other Palestinians were wounded during clashes along the Gaza border (with Israel) north of Jabalia,” the Hamas-run Interior Ministry’s spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
The terror group issued a statement saying that Jumaa was one of its members.
The group said he was killed by Israeli gunfire, a charge the IDF could not confirm.
An Israeli army spokeswoman, contacted by AFP, said hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators had burned tires and been throwing stones the length of the security fence between Israel and Gaza.
“Our forces had to arrest suspects to prevent damage to the security fence,” she said, but was unable to confirm the casualties from gunfire.
UK Board of Deputies' '10 Commitments' include Palestinian State
British Jewish leaders urged both candidates for British premiership to support Palestinian statehood and get Jewish votes in return, Israel National News has learned. Israeli members of government, most of whom strongly oppose this request have expressed their displeasure privately.
The Board of Deputies is considered the main representative body of British Jews. Yesterday, the Board distributed an email linking to videos sent to the Jewish community by the two prime-ministerial candidates, Conservative candidate Theresa May and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The Board’s email explains the video messages were “sent in response to the Board of Deputies'...10 Commitments we have asked all prospective parliamentary candidates to sign up to” - that is, before trying to get the Jewish community's vote.
The “10 commitments” drafted by the Board of Deputies were obtained by Israel National News. They mainly relate to “issues of concern to Jewish voters” such as kashrut, Shabbat observance, anti-Semitism, Holocaust remembrance, faith schools and culturally sensitive youth and social care services.
However, “Commitment 5” insists that the British leaders accommodate their Jewish constituents by advocating for a “viable” Palestinian state.



Fifty Years Ago, Israel Saved Western Civilization In The Middle East
The euphoria that swept Israel after its victory in 1967 gradually turned to ambivalence over what they achieved. Barbaric states glory in subjugating others—witness the way minorities are treated in the region. But free societies chafe at the burden of overlording others; free societies are not made for this work.
That is why Israel has always, even before the final battle was over in each of its wars with the Arabs, been planning for peace by preparing to withdraw from territory it rightly won in battle against aggressors. In the last two decades it has twice proposed withdrawing from 97 percent of the territory it occupies in exchange simply for recognition of its right to exist and security guarantees. But its offers have been rejected as often as they have been made. In fact, the position of its enemies has never changed since 1948: Israel must be wiped from the map and all Jews driven into the sea.
So here is a nation-state that has repeatedly proved magnanimous in victory, with the patience of Job, but in return it gets only hostility and existential threat. Because of its political culture, economic might, and wise statecraft, it has all it needs to win the next war, yet it does not want a next war. It wants only peace and harmony with its neighbors so it can share with them the fruits of its culture—born of Western Civilization—and all the prosperity and human flourishing that flow from it.
So she does persist, because the only other option is national suicide were it to accede to its enemies’ demands (and acceding to United Nations’ demands would simply slow-walk its enemies’ demands). It is in the interests of the United States and all civilized nations to support her, help her find a way to peace, and above all stop attacking the only thing in the Middle East that can improve life there.
Six-Day War: The biggest excuse in history
For 50 years, this war has been serving as an excuse. It’s easier to blame a specific historical event which ended within six days than recognize human nature. Where is the nature? Somewhere in Afghanistan, with about 100 dead people last week. Muslims who exploded on other Muslims in the name of a primitive dogma which claims that you are allowed to kill even people like you. All in the name of Allah.
Look around. Most Israelis next to have grown up into the results of the Six-Day War. The security, the economic prosperity, the Gush Emunim and Peace Now movements, the peace talk rounds, withdrawals and temporary agreements. Fifty years is a long time and few remember what happened earlier. Most people have grown up into a fabricated political dispute which serves as an excuse for almost everything taking place here. The “occupation” as a code word, ignoring the fact that the Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded in the Seven Arches Hotel three years earlier to liberate the 1948 “occupation”; ignoring the background and roots of the conflict; ignoring the strategic meaning of a state whose eastern border is in the 1967 lines.
To understand how the Six-Day War turned into the biggest excuse in history, let’s jump forward to 2048—the celebration of the State of Israel’s first 100 years. More than any other Jewish state which ever existed. Benjamin Netanyahu will no longer be prime minister, I promise. The tribalism which is being nurtured devoutly by some of the coalition’s politicians will become moderate—otherwise, we won’t get there. The Israeli-Arab conflict will still be in full force. The hatred, the incitement, the poverty and the backwardness will keep spreading in Arab states. Technology will solve security problems from the south and from the north, but it won’t change human nature.
I’m starting with the future, because then it will be easier to address the Six-Day War in its proper place. From a distance of 100 years, the history and civics books will define the first quarter of the century as the survival quarter, followed by the absorption quarter, the technology and development quarter, and finally—the quarter no one knew how to plan.
The Astonishing Israeli Concession of 1967
The astonishing, untold story of the battle for Jerusalem was how ill-prepared Israel was for the most mythic battle of its history: The paratroopers' conquest of east Jerusalem and the Old City, including the two sites holiest to Judaism, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Few battles with such fateful consequences were as haphazard and unplanned.
Even more astonishing was the Israeli decision, at the moment of victory, to concede sovereignty over the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site.
Colonel Motta Gur's half-track led the attack into the Old City, crashing through the massive bronze doors onto the Via Delarosa, then turning left and onto the Temple Mount. Gur rushed up a flight of stairs leading to a large plaza - the golden Dome of the Rock and the silver-domed al-Aqsa. Gur radioed headquarters: "The Temple Mount is in our hands." He wasn't just making a military report, but staking a historic claim. The focus of centuries of Jewish longing, the place toward which Jews prayed no matter where they lived, was now in Israeli hands.
The brigade's chief communications officer retrieved an Israeli flag from his pouch and asked Gur whether he should hang it over the Dome of the Rock. "Yalla," said Gur, go up. Two officers climbed to the top of the building and victoriously fastened the Israeli flag onto a pole topped with an Islamic crescent.
Except then the flag was quickly and unceremoniously lowered. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, watching the scene through binoculars from Mount Scopus, urgently radioed Gur and demanded: Do you want to set the Middle East on fire?
It is, in retrospect, an astonishing moment of religious restraint. The Jewish people had just returned to its holiest site, from which it had been denied access for centuries, only to effectively yield sovereignty at its moment of triumph.
For all the pain many Israelis feel in being denied the right to pray at what is, after all, Judaism's holiest site, every Israeli government, including on the political right, has upheld the status quo.
Legal Insurrection: Six-Day War Day 4 — Egypt and Jordan Defeated
On this fourth day of the war pitting Israel against a coalition of Arab armies, the Jewish state has managed to avert near certain annihilation.
Israel’s defense forces are now fully in control of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank)—important territory from both a historical and strategical standpoint.
Along with the eastern front, the IDF has also neutralized the threat from Egypt in the South. Israel’s advance to the Suez Canal has tonight finally convinced President Gamal Abdel Nasser to accept a cease-fire.
It’s an unprecedented outcome, but this war isn’t over yet.
Syria is still relentlessly bombing from the north. There’s been no decision to retake the Golan, but it’s clear that Israel will soon need to stop these attacks to relieve the beleaguered communities in range of Syrian artillery.
Sinai Fighting: 10,000 Egyptians Dead
After a quick advance during the night, IDF soldiers have reached the Suez Canal. All approaches to the West were blocked and Egypt’s armed forces attempting to reach the canal were ambushed and attacked in the Gidi and Mitleh passes.
On the way to the canal, IDF armored forces defeated the Egyptian Armored forces in a battle that we’re now learning resulted in thousands of Armored Corps casualties on the Egyptian side. Many thousands more Egyptian soldiers are now stranded in the desert—with no access to supplies.
'Never again' forgotten
Israel's lightning victory astounded the world. If that was not enough, the unthinkable happened.
Normally the victors set postwar conditions for the defeated countries, but this time something unique occurred: Israel, the victor, pleaded for peace.
Satirist Ephraim Kishon summed it up with his caustic remark, "So sorry we won," directing his words not only at the Arab countries but at the West whose "never again" slogan proved to be hollow.
Yes, Israel, the victor, pleaded for peace, but the defeated countries rejected it! The Khartoum Conference of 1967, attended by eight Arab heads of state, resolved "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel." Instead, the oil-rich countries would fund the rebuilding of the defeated armies in turmoil.
And so began the contentious occupation. To date, the Palestinians will not agree to recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jews.
Those who choose or profess ignorance about the occupation would do well to educate themselves about the occupation's origins, but more importantly, why it continues.
There Were Once Jews Here
There were other Jewish victims across the Middle East. While in Tunis researching a book on Jews of the Arab lands, I met with elderly Jews who vividly remembered that week in ’67, when a country that had treated them exceedingly well became simply unrecognizable.
They recalled how mobs took to the streets, targeting Jewish shops for destruction. They attacked the magnificent Grande Synagogue, whose enormous towering Jewish star was a testament to how tolerant Tunisian culture once had been.
The marauders turned their wrath on, of all places, the Kosher butcher shops on the Avenue de Paris, attacking them with odd ferocity and dragging carcasses of meat from the stores to the sidewalks. It was, I was told, a particularly gruesome sight.
Many Tunisian Jews left then and there, abandoning all they owned—homes, furniture, clothing. The expression I heard was “la clef dans la verouille“—they had left their key in the lock.
And Libya—yes, even Libya once had an important Jewish presence—was especially brutal to its Jews that week, who tried to barricade themselves in their homes to avoid the angry mobs. “Jewish stores, homes, synagogues were burned and destroyed. People were violated and killed,” and two families were murdered (except for one survivor who wasn’t there), said Vivienne Roumani, a Libyan Jew who made the 2007 film, The Last Jews of Libya. Later that month many of the Libyan Jews were evacuated to Italy. It was no longer possible for them to remain safe in Libya.
And that is how a Jewish presence that dated back 2,500 years, effectively ended, says Roumani, a native of Benghazi who left Libya in 1962.
Perhaps that is why, whenever a supporter of the BDS movement targeting Israel insists they are “only” anti-Israel not anti-Jewish, I cast a cold eye, recalling how bogus that distinction turned out to be for Jews of Arab countries. It is as false now as it was 50 years back.
AEI Podcast: ‘Viewpoint’: The Six-Day War’s 50th Anniversary, Part 3 with David Makovsky
In this episode of ‘Viewpoint,’ AEI’s Danielle Pletka sits down with David Makovksy, the Ziegler distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who has spent a career working and fighting for peace in the Middle East. In this interview, he dives into the diplomatic and military events of the neighboring Arab nations, United States, Israel and Palestinians surrounding the Six-Day War, and offers his thoughts on the future of the Middle East peace process.
The Six-Day War, otherwise known as the June War, between Israel and its neighbors, Egypt, Jordan and Syria, marked a turning point in how Arab countries would see the Jewish state for the next half century, and had lasting implications for US-Middle East relations more broadly. Despite being heavily outnumbered and out-armed, Israel won the war, which lasted from June 5 – 10, 1967. Israel seized control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from Syria. All of these, besides the Sinai Peninsula, remain disputed territories today.
Operation Mole Cricket 19 (1982) - a Personal Story
35 years ago today, the Israel Air Force destroyed over 80 Syrian planes and at least 14 Surface to Air Missile batteries in just two hours.


UN Watch: U.S. & UK were only countries U.N. investigated on freedom of assembly
Mr. President, If I understand correctly, of all the countries in the world, the only two that were visited and investigated over the past year, by this council’s former expert on freedom of assembly, are (a) the United Kingdom, and (b) the United States.
The former expert’s visit to the UK was his second in three years, and he recommends more visits to the UK by the experts on education and religions.
Now, UN Watch believes that every country must be held into account, democracies and non-democracies alike. Personally, when I spent three years in the U.S. as an attorney, I represented plaintiffs who sued the U.S. Air Force and the New York State Prison system, on claims of racial and religious discrimination. Every country has blots on its system; none is immune.
Having said that, I would like to ask the Special Rapporteur a question: What is your methodology for deciding which, of the UN’s 193 member states, to investigate?
The U.S. and the UK, with all their flaws, still have some of the world’s most robust institutions of internal criticism, including an independent judiciary, a free press, elected representatives, and a free civil society, who have already voiced and acted upon the critiques contained in these reports.
Therefore, would the Special Rapporteur consider that the UN might help more human beings by focusing its limited time and resources on governments that possess none of these vital institutions of democracy?
Michelle Malkin: YouTube Banned Me, But Not The Hate Imams
One of the many maddening takeaways from the London Bridge jihad attack is this: If you post videos on YouTube radicalizing Muslim viewers to kill innocent people, YouTube will leave you alone.
But if you post a video on YouTube honoring innocent people murdered by barbaric jihadists, your video will get banned.
I know. It happened to me in 2006. Eleven years later, the selective censors at Google-YouTube still can't competently distinguish terrorist hate speech from political free speech. Islamic hate preachers such as Ahmad Musa Jibril, whose bloodthirsty rants against non-Muslims reportedly inspired the London Bridge ringleader, have flourished.
Meanwhile, other anti-jihad and conservative content creators have been throttled, flagged, demonetized and kicked off the site since the P.C. hammer first came down on me.
My two-minute clip, which I titled "First, They Came," spotlighted authors, editors, politicians, and other targets of Islamic intolerance and violence. Among those featured in the video on radical Islam's war on Western free speech: Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker murdered by jihadist Mohammed Bouyeri for his outspoken criticism of Muslim misogyny; Salman Rushdie, whom the Ayatollah Khomeini cast a fatwa upon after he published the "blasphemous" "The Satanic Verses"; Oriana Fallaci, the fiery journalist put on trial in Italy for "defaming Islam;" and the editors of the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper, who faced death threats for publishing cartoons of Mohammed, which prompted violent riots and terror plots around the world.
I contrasted the plight of those killed with the hordes of Muslim protesters in London's safe spaces fearlessly waving their signs demanding that the faithful "Behead all those who insult Islam" and "Exterminate those who slander Islam."
Netanyahu to Incoming US Jewish University Students: ‘Go Against the Lies, Tell the Truth About Israel’ On Campus
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently urged a group incoming American Jewish university students to “go against the lies” and “tell the truth about Israel” on campus during a meeting in Jerusalem organized by the American Jewish Congress (AJC).
Netanyahu told five alumni of the AJC Leaders for Tomorrow (LFT) high school advocacy program to “confront people who are swept into positions that defy facts, knowledge, and common sense” and “combine conviction with fact” when advocating for Israel.
“You have nothing to hide,” Netanyahu said. “You have everything to be proud of.”
The students had the opportunity to question the prime minister about Israel’s standing in the international community and his experiences as a long-term leader of the country.
One student asked Netanyahu about his position on Jerusalem, to which the premier responded, “We are the only people that view Jerusalem as their capital.”
“[O]nly under Israel, only in the last 50 years since Israel became the sovereign power over the religious sites, all three faiths [Judaism, Christianity and Islam] have had unimpeded access to their holy sites and unfettered ability to practice their faith,” he continued.
Petition Tells London Mayor Sadiq Khan to Ban Anti-Israel Al-Quds Day March
More than 3,000 people have signed a petition urging London Mayor Sadiq Khan to ban the annual Al-Quds Day march through the streets of the capital. Failure to do so would “call into question” Mr. Khan’s commitment to fighting anti-Semitism, petitioners argue.
The annual event, organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, is seen as a profoundly anti-Israel rally by members of the London Jewish community and is due to take place on Sunday 18 June.
It will go ahead in the shadow of news that terror attack fears have forced organisers of Britain’s largest pro-Israel event to scrap plans for this year’s edition of A Night to Honour Israel.
Last year’s Al-Quds Day rally saw a heavy presence of Hezbollah flags, the standard of an illegal, proscribed, antisemitic terrorist organisation, held aloft by marchers as police allowed them to go on undisturbed through London’s central business district to the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square.
Mr. Khan has previously refused to back a request for Hezbollah to be a designated a proscribed organisation.
The online petition seeking to end this year’s march originates from grassroots group North West Friends of Israel.
WATCH ‘Israel and North Korea agree to transfer Palestinian Prisoners ’
A new pro-Israel initiative is leading the way in combating anti-Israel and antisemitic incitement online. With the use of satire in the form of BDS News, self-proclaimed 'fake news', and a powerful social media presence, the Ministry led organization is on a mission to change how the world views Israel.
"Campus street questionnaire: The Anti-Israeli incitement around the world in the past few years has created a new phenomenon. University students, being exposed to half-truths and complete lies, published daily by anti-Israel activists; have started believing the most outrageous, random tales about Israel even when we are talking about Palestinian prisoners exchange between Israel and North Korea..."
Lesson 1 in Fact checking: Ben Gurion & Israel-North Korea Relations


Democratic Rep. Pocan a No Show At Anti-Israel Forum He Sponsored
Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan (Wis.) was a no show at an anti-Israel forum on Capitol Hill that he was responsible for orchestrating, according to those present for the Thursday morning briefing, which centered around criticizing Israel.
Pocan, who originally sponsored the event anonymously before the Washington Free Beacon disclosed his identity, was not seen at the forum, despite it being customary for members of Congress to personally appear at the events they help organize.
Pocan reserved official Capitol Hill space for a forum backed by several anti-Israel groups that support boycotts of the Jewish state.
News of the event sparked ire on Capitol Hill and among pro-Israel supporters who saw the event as a propaganda effort aimed at defaming the Jewish state.
Despite calls for the event to be canceled, it went on as planned Thursday morning.
The forum, "50 Years of Israeli Military Occupation & Life for Palestinian Children," included several speakers known for criticism of Israel and support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, which has been called anti-Semitic in nature.
BBC’s terminology double standards on display again
On several occasions in the past we have documented the difference between the terminology used by the BBC in its coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict and in its coverage of the Western Sahara conflict (as well as others).
Another example of that double standard appeared in an article published on the BBC News website’s ‘Africa’ and ‘Middle East’ pages on June 5th under the headline “Ecowas agrees to admit Morocco to West African body“.
The BBC’s account of the story includes the following:
“Morocco’s application [to join ECOWAS] comes after it rejoined the African Union in January.
Morocco left the continental body in 1984 after it recognised the independence of Western Sahara.
Morocco regards Western Sahara as part of its historic territory and has spent much of the last three decades trying to strengthen ties with Europe at the expense of relations with Africa.”

Even for the BBC (which generally uses the term ‘disputed’ to describe the status of Western Sahara) that is remarkably tame language. As we see, the corporation did not find it necessary to include any of the accompanying comment concerning legality or ‘international law’ that is standard in reports concerning Israel and no information is given regarding the absence of international recognition of Morocco’s annexation of the territory.
UKMW prompts Times of London correction – reminds editors of difference between fact and opinion
We spend a good deal of time communicating with editors, not only attempting to prove that their claims about Israel are inaccurate, and also cautioning them to carefully distinguish – in their coverage of the region – between facts and opinions. The accuracy clause of Editors’ Code in the UK includes a section (iv) on this principle.
The Press, while free to editorialize and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
It is in this spirit that we tweeted the following to Times of London concerning a piece titled “UN will not shame Saudis over child deaths” which included a paragraph about the UN’s decision not to include Israel on a list of countries who “commit grave violations of children’s rights”.
UKMW lodged an official complaint with editors, per the section of the accuracy clause noted above.
They upheld our complaint and revised the sentence in question to note that it was only the opinion of former UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon that Israel had committed crimes against children, not an undisputed fact as passage suggests.
Silicon Valley Must Boot Terrorists From Social Media
It looks as though ISIS’ shrinking Caliphate may actually come to an end in Iraq and Syria in the not too distant future. This is a welcome development, to be sure, yet it will do nothing to end the threat from another front in the current war against radical Islam: the internet.
Without question, killing large numbers of terrorists is a key component in the war against terrorism — be they ISIS, Al-Qaeda, or Al-Shabab, and whether this takes place in Iraq, Syria — or what could be the next terrorism center, Libya (we now have evidence indicating that the Manchester concert bomber met with ISIS operatives there). Ensuring that these terrorist groups do not control territory robs the evil doers of R&D centers to upgrade and expand their lethal, stealth weapons.
When it comes to the internet, however, there have been only bumps in the road as terrorists, their global support networks, their sophisticated social media users, and their recruitment campaigns have taken full advantage of civilization’s most powerful marketing tools.
Each year, the Simon Wiesenthal Center publishes its Digital Terrorism and Hate Report, detailing online terrorism tutorials, tweets celebrating every “martyr,” and the glossy online magazines urging the faithful to mow down, stab, shoot and blow up the infidels, crusaders (Christians) and sons of apes and pigs (Jews).
German leader 'committed to fighting anti-Semitism'
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed her personal commitment to the fight against anti-Semitism and for the rule of law Thursday as she kicked off her Latin America tour with a visit to an Argentine synagogue. The German leader's visit to Latin America comes ahead of July's G-20 summit in Germany.
The German leader acknowledged Latin America's largest Jewish community, recalling the "terrible attacks" on the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish community center in Argentina in the 1990s. She said Argentina offered a new home to many Jews fleeing the Nazis. Merkel visited a synagogue and said afterward that its organ, recently restored with German financing, symbolizes a bridge between the two countries.
Merkel then laid a wreath in honour of Argentine National Hero General San Martin before heading to the Casa Rosada government house, where she met with President Mauricio Macri.
Since taking office in December 2015, President Mauricio Macri has instituted economic reforms and negotiated unpaid international debt as he seeks new investment in Latin America's No. 3 economy.
During the visit, Germany and Argentina agreed on fostering multilateral trade and protecting the environment from climate change.
Foundations of synagogue destroyed in 1938 uncovered in Poland
Archaeologists in Western Poland have found the foundations of the New Synagogue, in the city of Wroclaw, which was destroyed in 1938.
At the time the region was part of Germany and it was the second largest synagogue in pre-war Germany.
The archaeological digs are being conducted with the financial support of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The synagogue was built in 1865 and had four towers and over a 210-foot-high dome. The synagogue served the liberal Jewish community. It was destroyed during Kristallnacht, or Night of the Broken Glass, in November 1938. At present, on the site where the synagogue sat, stands a monument.
Archaeological works were initiated by the Bente Kahan Foundation and the Jewish community in Wroclaw. The $28,000 used for the excavations was part of the Ignatz Bubis Prize, awarded to German President Frank Walter Steinmeier. The prize is awarded to those whose public activities are characterized by the values embodied by German Jewish leader Ignatz Bubis (1927-1999). Steinmeier received the award in January 2017.
In film, survivor searches for US soldier who liberated him at Dachau
It was a simple act of kindness by a complete stranger, but it left a lasting impression on a young Polish boy escaping the horrors of Nazi death camps.
Steve Ross searched for decades for the US soldier who had comforted and fed him as the Dachau concentration camp was being liberated by Allied forces in 1945. As Ross carved out a new life in America, he retold the story countless times, carrying with him the American flag handkerchief the soldier left him.
“My father was absolutely transformed by that small act,” said Michael Ross, a former Boston City Council president and onetime mayoral candidate. “It helped him regain his faith in humanity. It shows that these things we do in life have profound consequences. That how we treat each other matters.”
Ross’ search for the benevolent soldier and his life after the war is recounted in a new documentary screened in the Boston suburb of West Newton on Wednesday evening.
“Etched in Glass: The Legacy of Steve Ross” focuses on the five years Ross spent in concentration camps to his life as a war orphan in America, his career helping at-risk youths in Boston and his successful efforts to erect the striking glass New England Holocaust Memorial in downtown Boston.
Ross, now 90 and his speech limited by a stroke, attended Wednesday’s screening with his family, the filmmakers and members of the soldier’s family.
Survivor of Nazi Horrors to Appear as 3D Hologram at UK Museum, Recall Holocaust Ordeals
Rudi Oppenheimer being filmed for the Forever Project. Photo: The UK’s National Holocaust Center and Museum.
A survivor of the Nazi horrors will appear as a hologram as part of a new project at the UK’s National Holocaust Center and Museum, the British publication Ham & High reported on Thursday.
A 3D projection of 85-year-old Rudi Oppenheimer will be on display at the museum starting this summer in connection to “The Forever Project” — a interactive program that “will preserve the voice of Holocaust survivors for generations to come,” according to the museum.
Oppenheimer was filmed over the course of five days talking about his experiences during the Holocaust and his projection will give testimony about the ordeals he faced. The hologram will also answer questions from visitors at the museum with the help of advanced digital technology that will match the questions with the most relevant answers.
The museum said in a statement on its website that the “Forever Project” enables it to “recreate the experience schoolchildren currently have: listening to and interacting with a survivor. The project will protect an experience which makes a vital contribution to children’s understanding of the events of the Holocaust and their connection to it.”
Born in Berlin in 1931, Oppenheimer was living with his family in Holland — where his father worked at a bank — when the Nazis invaded and sent them to the Westerbork concentration camp in the Netherlands and then to Bergen-Belsen in Germany. Oppenheimer’s parents died from disease in the camp, but he and his two siblings survived. He now lives in London.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Jewish great-grandson has a play on Theresienstadt
Separated by three generations, one lived through war to create a magical world of fantasy, and one was blessed to know peace but writes about an unimaginably tragic chapter of history.
Playwright and director Nicholas Tolkien, who makes his Off-Broadway debut this month with “Terezin,” is the great-grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of “The Lord of the Rings” epic and its predecessor, “The Hobbit.”
Nicholas, who keeps kosher and observes Shabbat, and his sister are the only Jewish descendants of J.R.R. Tolkien, as he tells The Jewish Week in an interview. He grew up in London, where his American-born mother and grandparents ran a vintage clothing business. Their shop, Steinberg & Tolkien, was a fashion landmark on King’s Road in Chelsea. Growing up, Nicholas spent a lot of time with his grandparents, Anne and Mark Steinberg, who lived above their store — that probably accounts for his mostly American accent.
Both of his parents are published authors — Simon Tolkien writes historical fiction and Tracy Tolkien writes about vintage fashion; his Steinberg grandmother is also a novelist and his grandfather worked in Hollywood. On the Tolkien side, he says, there are a lot of writers and folks interested in mythology. On both sides, he says, there is “massive creativity.”
Israel’s TV producers become heavy hitters in exporting shows
Six years ago, Israeli satellite TV station Yes got a pitch that sounded like a sure loser: a series about the pursuit of a Hamas terror mastermind. Much of the show would be in Arabic, hardly music to the ears of a Hebrew-speaking ­audience, and many Israelis had grown numb to the Palestinian conflict. “Who was going to watch a TV series focused on that?” recalls Dganit Atias-Gigi, who oversees acquisition of scripted dramas for the network.
Yet she found the characters—both Palestinian and Israeli—richly textured, not simply caricatures. Atias-Gigi approved the series, Fauda (Arabic for “chaos”), and it turned into Yes’s most successful drama ever. In December the show was picked up by Netflix Inc., where it has earned wide praise. “When I saw how both sides responded, my reaction was ‘Wow,’ ” Atias-Gigi says.
Fauda illustrates the transformation of Israeli television from a purveyor of treacly drama and embarrassing slapstick into a high-octane content machine. In the past few years, networks worldwide have picked up dozens of series that originated in Israel—Homeland and In Treatment among them—placing the country of 8 million among the world’s top producers of shows. “Israel is up there with the best,” says Walter Iuzzolino, who runs a British streaming service of foreign shows called Walter Presents. “Their stuff is emotionally poignant, three-dimensional, and never boring.”
In many ways, Israel’s reputation as a high-tech startup nation (think Check Point, Waze, and Mobileye) is spreading to TV. Like Israeli tech companies, producers such as Yes, Keshet, and Hot must reach beyond their tiny domestic market to make any money. So they’ve adopted many of the same bootstrapping low-budget habits and tapped Israel’s immigrant-rich, ­melting-pot culture for ideas.
Israeli tech firm turns parked car windows into video displays
Cars windows made from 'liquid' glass could be used as screens for localized targeted information and advertising, according to an Israeli start-up.
Technology company Gauzy worked with German carmaker Daimler Benz to develop its opaque screens. It debuted the smart glass at the Autobhan Expo Day in Stuttgart in February.
Gauzy developed a method to bond sheets of flexible plastic material containing a liquid crystal layer to car windows which become clear when an electric current is passed through them, but are opaque without it.
The company aims to use its technology for smart messaging based on where the car is parked and local conditions.
"That [technology] can let passers-by know of nearby attractions, give you a lot of information...that is related and relevant to the location the car is at," explained Gauzy CEO, Eyal Peso.
The car is transformed into a video display unit that includes the opaque glass windows, a projector, and a controller that connects to the internet to help determine the location of the car and download and display relevant footage and images in high definition quality.
Israeli company showcases drone interception technology
With weaponized drones bringing a whole new assortment of security threats, several companies at the Israel Defense Exhibition in Tel Aviv this week, showcased the latest technology in neutralization and interception of the devices.
ORAD, an Israeli company based in Holon, presented the latest version of its DROM Drone Defense System, which it says can detect approaching drones at more than 3.5 kilometers away and take over the unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV’s, piloting abilities, neutralize them and land them far from the operator.
“These small remote-controlled devices have already been involved in various airborne chaos and spying activities around the world and have become dangerous to government entities and public safety,” the company stated, adding that drones which carry weapons or are used for suicide missions are a growing threat.
The Islamic State used weaponized drones against both Syrian and Iraqi forces, and groups like Hezbollah and Hamas have sent drones into Israel and are said to have been working on upgrading the group’s UAVs for use in both offensive operations and intelligence gathering.
Hebrew U ranked best Israeli school, among top 15% in world
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem maintained its position as the most prestigious institution of higher learning in Israel and placed among the top 15 percent of universities in the world, according to new rankings.
Hebrew University ranked number 145 of the 959 universities in the 2018 QS World University Rankings, representing a slight increase from last year when it was ranked number 148.
The listing, released Thursday, featured six institutions in Israel, with Tel Aviv University ranked at number 205 and the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology ranking at number 224.
American universities topped the list, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology placing first, Stanford University placing second and Harvard University placing third.
The rankings, conducted by Quacquarelli Symonds, include institutions of higher learning from 84 different countries. Universities are evaluated according to six performance indicators — academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio and international student ratio.
Over 200,000 attend Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade, some 30,000 from abroad
Over 200,000 people from Israel and abroad attended Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride Parade on Friday, packing the streets for the colorful annual event under this year’s theme “Bisexuality Visibility.”
Police said they were expecting around 100,000 people, while organizers put the figure at over 200,000, with an estimated 30,000 of them from overseas.
The parade is the region’s biggest as Israel stands in sharp contrast to much of its neighbors. Across the rest of the Middle East, gay and lesbian relationships are mostly taboo. Pervasiveness of religion in everyday life, along with strict cultural norms, plays a major factor.
Same-sex relations are punishable by death in Iran, Sudan and elsewhere.
The parade in Tel Aviv began at noon, and proceeded to the beachfront, along Bugrashov Street, Hayarkon Street, Frishman and Herbert Samuel, concluding at Charles Clore Park in the city’s south, where a party will be held into the evening. Intermittent road closures were expected throughout the area, including along Allenby, Arlosoroff and King George.
About 10 floats took part in the beachside procession, one of them depicting an ancient warship built by staff at the British embassy in Tel Aviv, the embassy website said. Britain’s ambassador to Israel is David Quarrey, an openly gay man.
L'Chayim Promo: Chloé Valdary
L'Chayim with Zionist advocate Chloé Valdary premieres Wednesday June 21 at 9pm & 12am ET, encore Thursday at 3pm ET.




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