Monday, December 25, 2017

From Ian:

Christmas Eve 1944: How singing ‘Silent Night’ saved American POWs during the Battle of the Bulge
The story was told in 2011 by Keith Ginther of Montana, and was republished on his death in July 2014 by The Great Falls Tribune:
Quiet, dependable, faithful rancher Keith Ginther died Sunday in Choteau. His passing brought to mind this story, which we featured Christmas 2011. I had known him for many years in a vague sort of way. He never had much to say. And then at Christmas one year, he suddenly started talking. He seemed shocked later by all he’d reveled [sic] but proud to have told his story, too. — Kristen Inbody

Here’s an excerpt from his story (emphasis added):
In December 1944, Ginther became one of the 23,000 Americans captured or missing by the end of the Battle of the Bulge, Germany’s final and ultimately unsuccessful offensive on the Western Front.

He began a 150-mile march into Germany 67 years ago this month. He remembers feeling humbled in defeat, even more so as the POWs met German artillery pulled by horses or one truck pulling another on its way to the front….

The column of POWs passed through a countryside devastated by war and damaged by Allied bombing. At one village, the POWs had to clear rubble so German artillery could pass through. An American bomber pilot joined the prisoner ranks.

“The people seemed to be more hostile to airmen, whom they blamed for being bombed,” Ginther said.

Germans harassed the downed pilot. They’d rush the sides of the column, trying to grab him.

The villagers were starving, exhausted and angry.

When the hostility was at its worst, all the prisoners had reason to be afraid — though none so much as the captured bomber pilot.

Yet at that moment, an American in the ranks began singing “Silent Night.”

“Pretty soon the Germans were singing ‘Silent Night’ too, so it calmed things down,” Ginther said. “Halfway through the first verse, you could hear the German words, too.”

If not for the song, which for one moment brought a measure of peace to a one small corner of Germany, “I don’t really know what would have happened,” he said. “The guards would have tried, I guess, to protect him.” (h/t MtTB)
From Jerusalem on Christmas Eve, Netanyahu Offers Christians Personal Tours of Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to play tour guide to Christian pilgrims on Sunday in a Christmas Eve message relayed from Jerusalem.

In a video he posted on social media — titled “Merry Christmas from Jerusalem, the capital of Israel!” — Netanyahu described Israel as a haven for its 2-percent Christian minority.

“We protect the rights of everyone to worship in the holy sites behind me,” he said, standing in front of the Jerusalem skyline.

Netanyahu named several Christian pilgrimage sites in Israel — including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City — which would take visitors “in the footsteps of Jesus and the origin of our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

“For those of you who come to Israel, I’m going to take a guided tour. In fact, I’ll be your guide on this guided tour,” Netanyahu said. This would happen Christmas next year he said, without going into the logistics.

Muhammed Yusoff Rawther: One Malaysian, standing with Israel
Arutz Sheva received the following letter several days ago:

With the recent developments in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, I have penned my thoughts on the matter from a Malaysian perspective, for your kind consideration to be published as a piece.

Thank you for your kind indulgence.
Penang, Malaysia

One Malaysian, standing with Israel

As the crowd of peace loving brethren from the religion of peace made their way outside the mosques in Penang and Kuala Lumpur after Friday prayers, an ugly and ironic truth dawned upon me. On the podium constructed specially for the protest, community leaders and politicians alike rose above the sea of protesters to reveal their true colours.

With chants like “death to America” and “down with Israel”, they did not for a second hesitate before the utterance of hatred, anti-Semitism, racism and sheer stupidity.

It then occurred to me, Malaysians are either too afraid, or have so become numb to such ridiculous rhetorics, that none have emerged forward to provide the counter narrative in defence of a democracy in the midst of tyrannical rule and political suppression.

PMW: "Santa Trump" gave Muslim and Christian sites to Israel in PA daily cartoon
The above cartoons are examples of the continued Palestinian Authority attacks on US President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital earlier this month.
The cartoon of Trump dressed as Santa Claus giving the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to Israel, represented by a soldier with an Israeli flag on his helmet, was printed in the official PA daily. [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 14, 2017]

Fatah's cartoon shows Jesus chasing Trump out of Jerusalem with a whip in a scene from Christian tradition in which Jesus chases out the merchants and the money changers from before the Temple. In the background are four name tags of American banking companies: "Citi[bank]," "Wells Fargo," "JP Morgan Chase," and "Goldman Sachs." The text on the cartoon says "Jerusalem is not yours to give to anyone." Fatah repeated this in its tweet, adding the hashtag #HandOffJerusalem. [Fatah Twitter account, Dec. 18, 2017] (h/t Elder of Lobby)

The night the UNRWA stole Xmas
According to UNWRA, “The original story of Christmas began over 2,000 years ago with a family from Palestine seeking refuge.”

Believe it or not, their e-mails to supporters with these alternative facts were sent this month in order to promote their pro-Palestinian Arab political agenda and to raise funds for Palestinians. It is a cynical and brazen piece of propaganda using the ultimate Christian story in order to raise money for Palestinian Muslims.

Jesus a Palestinian? I am sure you haven’t heard that one before. He actually was Jewish and if he tried to get into PA controlled Bethlehem today, his chances of survival would be minimal.

Mary and Joseph refugees? I am not sure that seeking a room at an inn is quite the same as fleeing war or famine but UNWRA is re-writing history here so they aren’t too worried about insignificant details - like facts.

From Palestine? Palestine (Syria Palestina) is the name given to Israel by the Romans at least one century after the death of Jesus and over 400 years before the birth of Islam. Muslims first came to the Land of Israel when their armies left the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century C.E. to try to conquer the world.

UNWRA is using Christianity and a distortion of truth to make a political point and to ask for donations.
Palestinians exploit Christmas for anti-Trump protests
Drawing on stories of the annunciation of the birth of Jesus, Christmas is universally viewed as a time of peace and goodwill to all.

But for many Palestinian officials and anti-Israel protesters, the holiday season is also the perfect occasion to appropriate Christmas themes, symbols, and rituals in order to conduct political warfare against Israel.

This year, in addition to the traditional rock-throwing Palestinian Santas, the tactic of anti-Israel and anti-U.S. protesting has also involved the outright denial to Christian Palestinians their Christmas celebrations.

As a result, Christmas in the Palestinian-run territories has been pretty bleak, with the seasonal earnings of Christian merchants jeopardized and the kids being punished and deprived of their holiday.

It shows that nothing is sacred. Even the joys of childhood are expendable and must be sacrificed in order to advance the Palestinian political agenda.

Except that I’m not aware of any occasion when a Muslim holiday was restricted or muted on account of a dispute with the U.S., Israel, or any other country. For example, to the best of my knowledge Ramadan’s Eid al-Fitr festivities have never been canceled by Palestinian leaders, and it’s hard to believe that anyone would ever think of doing that for a political purpose or as part of a political protest.

So maybe some things really are sacred.
Tamimi Terrorist Family Claims B’Tselem Arms Them With Cameras & Training
The elder Tamimi was just interviewed by Israel’s Channel 13 television network about his film-making and how it might be impacting on his child.

It turns out that Bilal Tamimi is actually a volunteer for B’Tselem. He explained to Channel 13 that he is a coordinator, and is in touch with the organization whenever he has photos or video footage to give to the NGO.

“Or we contact them if we need anything else in order to take photos or to film,” he said. “Usually our contact person with the NGO works in Ramallah. We don’t communicate directly with B’Tselem.”

Asked if Ahed’s mother is also a volunteer with B’Tselem, he replied, “Yes, she worked as a volunteer with B’Tzelem, she usually photographed [Ahed] when she was [with] the soldiers.”

The interviewers asked Bilal Tamimi if he isn’t afraid to put children at risk, in front of soldiers.

“Usually we don’t put children in front of soldiers,” he claimed, “The soldiers come to stand in front of children.”

Moreover, Tamimi went on to say the NGO has taught the Pallywood family exactly how to handle scenarios with the soldiers.

“B’Tselem gives us more than one course on how to deal with that; how to hold the camera, how to behave with the soldiers, how to work with these situations,” he said. “Now I have the experience where to be, how to stand and deal with the soldiers.”
'Palestinian" ingenuity
Let nobody accuse the 'Palestinians' of lacking ingenuity. They have given so much to the world...

And this doesn't include other novel acts committed before they called themselves 'Palestinians' like massacring nurses and doctors (13 April 1948, 78 killed in Hadassah hospital convoy) as well as being 14 years ahead of the Nazis in ethnic cleansing Jews from an entire town when they murdered/expelled the entire Jewish community from Hebron in 1928.
...their only regret is that it was other Islamic terrorists who came up with such wonderful inventions as the shoe bomb and the underwear bomb.

NGO Monmitor: Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat: Abusing Public Funds to Perpetuate Conflict
  • This report analyzes the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (the “Secretariat”), its funding to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and their activities, as well as developments regarding the Secretariat’s management and funding. This report will further highlight legislation and funding reviews concerning government funding to NGOs that have been launched in Switzerland and Denmark.
  • Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands established the Secretariat and jointly fund Israeli and Palestinian NGOs through this mechanism. From 2013 to mid-2017, the Secretariat had a projected budget of $17.6 million from, and, as of July 2017, had transferred at least $14 million to NGOs.
  • Through the Secretariat, these governments support highly politicized NGOs that are involved in various anti-Israel activities, including the whitewashing of violence and terrorism, legal warfare (“lawfare”) against Israeli officials, BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns, advancing a “1948 agenda,” exploiting the false “apartheid” analogy to discredit Israel, and even promoting antisemitic propaganda. Some of these groups also have alleged ties to terrorist organizations.
  • Four funding recipients have links to the PFLP terror organization.
  • Fifteen of 24 core funding recipients support BDS campaigns, constituting 56% of core funding.
  • The Secretariat is managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) and an international consulting company, NIRAS.
  • Secretariat Manager Mustafa Mari has shared and quoted Facebook posts that echo classic antisemetic rhetoric.
  • The Secretariat Manager and other Secretariat employees earn exorbitant salaries, that far exceed average wages for professionals in the West Bank.
Click to Read the Full Report in PDF Version
New Jersey bans business with Danish bank for Israel boycott
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced on Wednesday at a menorah-lighting ceremony that the state has divested all of its investments from the Danish bank Danske due to its boycott of Israeli companies.

“We are pleased to share that this week our organization secured a major victory in New Jersey in the fight against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel and/or Israeli entities,” the Israeli-American Coalition for Action wrote. “This win was achieved by a new department in the IAC for Action, which is focused on enforcing anti-BDS legislation at the state and local level.”

“The IAC for Action has started a new and unique initiative, working closely with state and local governments to ensure that anti-BDS legislation is implemented efficiently and effectively once it is signed into law,” the pro-Israel group said. “Our recent activity in New Jersey and across the country has made clear that the information about companies engaging in BDS will be shared with the relevant authorities, who will face the legal consequences of their discriminatory activities.”

Dankse, the largest bank in Denmark with a customer base of over 3.5 million people, blacklisted two Israeli defense companies, Aryt Industries and Elbit Systems, from its customer investments.

Thomas Hyldahl Kjærgaard, the bank’s head of responsible investments, told the Post at the time that “Danske Bank does not boycott Israel or Israeli companies as such, and we do not take part in the so-called BDS campaign targeting Israel.”
French children's magazine: Israel not a real country
A French children's magazine claimed that the State of Israel 'does not exist', according to the head of the French umbrella organization for Jewish organisations.

The most recent edition of the monthly Youpi magazine includes a map of all the countries in the world. The magazine, which is aimed at children aged 5-8, states: "There are 197 countries, like France, Algeria or Germany. There are a few more, but not all other countries in the world agree that they are real countries (for example the State of Israel or North Korea)."

Francis Kalifat, the president-elect of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France, the umbrella organization for Jewish organisations in France, condemned the magazine for questioning Israel's existence. "To say that Israel is not a 'true state' is a grave lie in the face of history ... Israel's existence is an internationally recognized truth."

"Israel has been recognized as a sovereign state since 1948 and by the United Nations since 1949," he said. He accused the magazine of "targeting its youngest readers" in its delegitimization of the State of Israel in an interview with i24 News.
Roseanne Barr slams 'bigot' Lorde for nixing Israel concert under BDS pressure
Roseanne Barr took to Twitter to blast Lorde after the singer cancelled a performance in Israel scheduled for next summer following pressure from anti-Israel activists.

The New Zealand music star said in a statement that "the right decision at this time" was to cancel her June 2018 concert in Tel Aviv, which was announced earlier this month.

But Barr slammed her on Twitter:

Lorde’s announcement followed calls by proponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to cancel her performance over Israel's human rights record. Lorde joins artists including Roger Waters, Lauryn Hill and Elvis Costello in boycotting Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

Lorde said that after having "lots of discussions" about the matter, "I'm not too proud to admit I didn't make the right call on this one," referring to her initial decision to hold the concert.
Report: Oxford Harbouring 'Loud-mouthed, Tory-loathing, Anti-Israel Academics Who Believe Only They Should Have Freedom of Expression'
An investigation claims to have uncovered a Left-wing cabal in British academia, after 58 academics condemned colleague Nigel Biggar for suggesting Britons should feel temper their guilt about the British Empire with a little pride.

Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at Christ Church, Oxford, as well as an Anglican priest and an adviser to the Vatican, had penned an article titled ‘Don’t feel guilty about our colonial history’ for The Times, in which he suggested the British should “recognise that the history of the British Empire was morally mixed, just like that of any nation-state, [so] pride can temper shame.”

Recalling achievements such as the Royal Navy’s long battle to suppress the global slave trade, Professor Biggar noted that, historically, “indigenous peoples sometimes chose to move into territories governed by colonial regimes, rather than away from them,” citing the “millions of Chinese [who] took refuge in British Hong Kong during the early years of Communist rule in Beijing, and especially the anarchy of the Cultural Revolution” as an example.

The professor’s call for readers to “moderate” their sense of “post-imperial guilt” infuriating the Left-liberals on social media, however, with comments denouncing him as a “bigot”, a “racist”, and even a “Nazi” pouring in.
BBC News still promoting information on Jerusalem from partisan NGOs
In recent days the BBC News website published two reports concerning campaigns at the UN directed against the US’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as announced two weeks ago.

On December 18th the website published a 533 word report titled “Jerusalem: US vetoes UN resolution rejecting Trump’s declaration“. Fifty-six of those words were used to promote the theme that the US announcement has caused Palestinian violence. Explanation of the motion presented to the UN Security Council by Egypt (including a link) was provided in 137 words and Palestinian reactions to the US veto were given 61 words of coverage. Remarks made by the US Ambassador to the UN got just 70 words of coverage and BBC audiences were not informed of the points raised in Ms Haley’s explanation of why the US vetoed the draft resolution.

Some minimal background information on Jerusalem was presented to readers in 104 words – mostly recycled from previous BBC articles in recent weeks.

“The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.

Israel occupied the east of the city, previously occupied by Jordan, in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.

The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state and its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and all countries currently maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. However, President Trump has told the US state department to start work on moving the US embassy.”

Seeing as the BBC chose to provide readers with a link to the text of the Egyptian draft resolution and given that the document states that the motion reaffirms “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force”, one might have thought that the BBC would have put more effort into explaining how “the east” of Jerusalem came to be “previously occupied by Jordan” and the significance of that fact.

The article also includes a map of Jerusalem produced by the partisan political NGO B’tselem which – among other things – portrays the Jewish Quarter in the Old City as an “Israeli settlement”.
New York Times Mangles Hebrew Translation in Op-Ed on ‘Assault’ Forgiveness
A New York Times op-ed by a journalist trying to apply Jewish traditions about repentance to what she writes was an “assault” on her by Israeli journalist Ari Shavit manages to mangle a Hebrew translation.

Danielle Berrin wrote in Saturday’s Times:

In Judaism, a religion that prizes deeds over faith, atonement is not an easy process. And why should it be? It is designed to effect nothing less than personal transformation. This is why the Hebrew word for “atonement” is “teshuva,” or return — as in a return to your higher self, a return to your essential goodness, a return to recognizing your own dignity and the dignity of others…

Judaism requires that transgressors seek out those they’ve hurt and ask forgiveness of each and every person. If rebuffed, the tradition demands the transgressor ask no fewer than three times before moral responsibility is lifted.

Actually, the Hebrew word for “atonement” isn’t “teshuva,” but “kapparah.” The Jewish holiday known in English as the “Day of Atonement” is Yom Kippur, not Yom Teshuva. “Teshuva” is the Hebrew word for repentance. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s a difference nonetheless.

There’s more to quarrel with in the Times‘ Berrin op-ed. The sweeping and unattributed, unsourced claim that Judaism is “a religion that prizes deeds over faith” is something of a false dichotomy. In fact the first two of the Ten Commandments are about faith. So is one of the fundamental prayers of Judaism, the Sh’ma — English translations vary, but it is a passage from Deuteronomy (6:4) to the effect of “Hear O Israel, the Lord is Our God, the Lord is One,” followed by a passage from Deuteronomy (6:5) about how “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul,” followed by another reference to Deuteronomy (11:13) about loving God and serving Him.
Coverage of Gaza amputee’s death showed the UK media at their worst
Indeed, the source of the initial accusation that the IDF shot and killed Abu Thuraya is presented in the Guardian as a statement from “Gazan medical officials”. This obfuscates the fact that those officials work for the Hamas government – namely, the IDF was accused by members of a designated terrorist organisation sworn to the destruction of Israel, not some objective bystanders. Such a claim should never have been taken at face value, or at the very least, should be presented as a claim, not a fact.

When ISIS controlled Raqqa, if the ISIS health ministry would accuse the coalition of civilian casualties, would this accusation be quoted as fact, coming from “Iraqi medical officials”?

The media is not learning the lesson from past mistakes.

Coverage of this story followed a similar pattern to media coverage of Operation Protective Edge in 2014. During that war, Hamas officials in Gaza accused Israel of atrocities, claiming that Israel was indiscriminately bombing Gaza, resulting in a high ratio of civilian casualties. UN agencies unquestioningly quoted these statistics, and Israel was accused in the media of heinous crimes. Only once the dust settled, when proper analysis could actually be done, did It become clear that the accusations were exaggerated, and the true picture made it clear that Israel had achieved historically low levels of civilian casualties. The Head of Statistics at BBC News, after analyzing the figures, warned that “caution was needed” in analyzing statistics from the war. But that warning came after the war had finished; the lies had already been propagated and spread, before they could be debunked. Caution is needed not after the fact, but in the initial reporting.

It surely should be a pretty simple rule – if the story originates with Hamas, treat it with extreme caution.

More broadly, a story should not be run simply because it fits with a narrative of Israel as aggressor. Journalists need to check their sources, and be critical and questioning (yes, even of Palestinians, and yes, even of emotive stories). In that way, and only that way, can media outlets bring fair and accurate reports to news consumers.
Guardian evokes “Jesus chasing moneychangers from the Temple’ to malign Israel
The Guardian published a review yesterday of a book about Bethlehem written by Guardian contributor Nicholas Blincoe (Bethlehem by Nicholas Blincoe review – love letter to a town on the brink, Dec 23)

Though, based on his previous polemics on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, it seems likely that Blincoe’s book will be misleading and one-sided, the reviewer, Justin Marozzi, misleads on his own accord. For instance, he erroneously suggests that the Israeli security barrier surrounds Bethlehem. Marozzi also uncritically cites Blincoe’s claim that “no Israeli leader will ever make a deal with the Palestinians”, which ignores two Israeli peace offers (2001 and 2008) which included a contiguous Palestinian state in most of the West Bank with east Jerusalem as its capital.

However, the most troubling passage is in the final paragraph of his review when he opines on what he believes is the likely motivation for Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Nor, [Blincoe] reminds us, should the world see Israeli settlements as a purely ideological movement. As the Israeli historian and one–time deputy mayor of Jerusalem Meron Benvenisti puts it, the settlements are a “commercial real estate project that conscripts Zionist rhetoric for profit”. The story of Jesus and the moneychangers somehow comes to mind.

His decision to emphasize such a historically toxic theme in service of his anti-occupation narrative is extremely troubling. To be clear, many scholars of antisemitism trace the age-old antisemitic charge of ‘Jewish greed’ to the New Testament story of Jesus and the money changers which he evokes.

This antisemitic idea has a long history.
No BBC follow-up on story used to mislead on Gaza medical services
Readers were also told at the time that:
“The Israeli military body responsible for co-ordinating access to and from Gaza, Cogat, said it had not received any request for the twins to exit the territory.”

Three days after the BBC published that article it was reported that a hospital in Saudi Arabia had said it would treat the twin girls. A travel request was apparently submitted and last week COGAT reported that, with help from Israel, the twins and their father had embarked on the journey to Saudi Arabia.

If the BBC was interested in this story per se (and not just as a hook for inaccurate and misleading messaging concerning Israeli counter-terrorism measures) we would of course have expected to see a follow-up article.

No such BBC reporting has been seen to date.
Jewish Voice for Labour activist Beverly Krell posts death threats to former Labour Friends of Israel Chair and threats of violence to Jews
Beverly Krell, a Labour Party member based in Cheadle, and a prolific anti-Israel activist, has threatened Jews she has described as “Zio Nazis” with violence, called Israel a “leisure park based on killing Palestinians” and described Zionists as Nazis in recent social media comments, however she has told the Mail on Sunday that her social media accounts were “hacked”.

Ms Krell, who is Jewish herself but publicly shuns Judaism, lives in Manchester, a city with a large Jewish population that she described in one post as a “Zionist version of Hell’s Corner”. She is thought to be a member a group calling itself Jewish Voice for Labour which has been instrumental in disseminating antisemitic discourse and she has posted a series of antisemitic and threatening comments.

In Facebook posts circulated on Twitter by activists, screenshots show Ms Krell claiming that all Jews are bad as there was “zero difference” between Judaism and Zionism, adding, “Israel and America are the evil incarnate costing millions of lives for another coloniser project.” In a further post Ms Krell claimed that Jews see themselves as “chosen people” with a “superiority complex” and “elitism”, who treat Palestinians “appallingly” because of “white superiority”. She later claimed that both Judaism and Zionism are “white supremacist”.
‘Hitler Was a Great Man – This Ain’t Israel:’ London Van Driver’s Shocking Antisemitic Rant
A Jewish pedestrian who became embroiled in a row with a van driver in one of London’s Jewish neighborhoods found himself on the receiving end of a vicious antisemitic rant on Friday.

A video of the incident shows the man, seated in the driver’s seat of a red van, repeating the phrase “Hitler was a great man” at the height of an argument between the two on a street in the north-east London area of Stamford Hill – home to a large Haredi population.

When the Jewish motorist filming the fotage asked him to “say it again”, the man repeated: “I said Hitler was a great man. He knew what he was doing, okay?”

He continues: “You think you own the world? You don’t own the world.”

He then added, “This ain’t Israel.”

Stamford Hill Shomrim, a community defense organization, reported the incident, which took place hours before Shabbat, to the police. No arrests have yet been made.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman told the Jewish Chronicle: “Police in Hackney have received an allegation of anti-Semitic abuse against an individual in Lynmouth Road, N16 at 1830hrs on Friday, 23 December.
Largest City in Philippines Adopts Israeli Curriculum In Local High School to Improve Education
The largest city in the Philippines will implement an Israeli education model in one of its public high schools, it was announced this week.

The city of Davao signed an agreement with Israel Sci-Tech Schools — the biggest educational network in Israel — to have a local high school adopt the highly successfully I-STEAM curriculum and a program called “Excellence in Education: A Lighthouse Project.” The school’s curriculum will undergo changes to include aspects of the network’s programs in innovation, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, as well as upgrades to its science and technology labs, according to a press release.

The new educational model aims to add innovation and arts to traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education to prepare students for various jobs in the future, enhance their creativity and teach them to appreciate the importance of design. There are also aspects of the curriculum that focus on teaching students about business organization, marketing and entrepreneurship.

The Philippines is the latest country to import the I-STEAM educational model. The specialized curriculum is already being used throughout Europe, Israel and schools in the United States.
Israeli firm to build ocean wave-powered energy station in Ghana
Israel's Yam Pro renewable energy firm, which has patented onshore technology that converts ocean waves to usable electricity, has signed a memorandum of understanding to build an ocean wave power station in Ghana.

The $180 million project, signed with TATA Group owners Shapoorji Pallonji, is slated to be completed within three years. The ocean wave energy power station is scheduled to begin production at a level of 10 megawatts, and increase to a production of 150 megawatts.

According to the Yam Pro website, unlike offshore ocean wave energy companies, which require divers to construct their facilities, Yam Pro's technology is 90% land-based, making it easier to build and maintain.

Yam Pro claims that the price per kilowatt hour for ocean wave energy stands at $0.03, making it cheaper than geothermal, coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, biomass or hydropower.

Yam Pro CEOs Zeev Peretz and Laser Rothstein said in a statement that the company was "very excited" to have reached the "substantial milestone" of one of the largest engineering, procurement and construction companies in the world giving Yam Pro's technology a vote of confidence.
Israeli Traffic Management Technology Makes Commutes Safer, Faster
Speed limits, crashes and bumper-to-bumper traffic may become a thing of the past (or at least less of an annoyance) thanks to Israeli technology.

A startup called Waycare is helping to put the smarts into smart cities by monitoring everything to do with traffic flow – traffic lights, road sensors, security cameras and data sent from connected cars. Waycare consolidates and makes sense of all that data for a city’s traffic management center.

The company recently announced a $2.3 million seed round and a pilot program in Las Vegas. The results could make commuting a lot more efficient and – more importantly – safe.

“Fixed speed limits are kind of dumb,” Waycare’s CEO Noam Maital tells ISRAEL21c. “You don’t need the same speed limit at midnight as at six in the morning or if it’s raining.”

Accordingly, speed limits could be variable depending on both real-time and historical data on a particular segment of road.

How about accidents? Cities already know where and when fender-benders are most likely, but police are dispatched only reactively, Maital points out. What if first-responders could be deployed before incidents develop?
Just Like the Ones I Used to Know? Christmas Music and its Jewish Songwriters
Christmas is, ostensibly, one of the least Jewish days in the calendar. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a less Jewish day than one that celebrates the birth of a religious figure who was firmly and decisively rejected by Jews, and is traditionally celebrated with a special church mass and/or a Christmas ham. Historically, Christmas could also be a dangerous time for Jews, such as when a pogrom broke out in Warsaw in 1881 on Christmas Day.
Irving Berlin singing aboard USS Arkansas, 1944

And yet, Jews have had a major impact on Christmas and the way it is celebrated in one fundamental way: through its soundtrack.

A surprisingly high number of the most classic Christmas songs—the ones that radio stations begin playing at the end of October, and which have become an inescapable and inseparable part of the emotional experience of Christmas—were, in fact, written by Jews. Fancy roasting some chestnuts on an open fire to celebrate the holiday season? Bob Wells (born Robert Levinson) and Mel Tormé can relate. Feeling cozy in your home and, not caring about the weather outside, feel the need to declare, “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow?” Sammy Cahn (born Samuel Cohen) and Jule Styne (born Julius Kerwin Stein) understand. You’ve left your home and are now enjoying “Walking in a Winter Wonderland?” Felix Bernard wrote just the song for you. Bing Crosby’s classic rendition of “Silver Bells,” describing the quiet joy permeating the city at Christmastime, is brought to you by the songwriting duo Jay Livingston (born Jacob Harold Levinson) and Ray Evans. If you’d like something a little more romantic, Joan Ellen Javits (the niece of New York Senator Jacob K. Javits) and Philip Springer can get you in the mood with their “Santa Baby,” famously performed by Eartha Kitt.

This pattern holds true even for the most quintessential Christmas song, “White Christmas.” “White Christmas” is not only the most recorded Christmas song, the classic version sung by Bing Crosby is the world’s bestselling single. This song, which begins with the lyrics “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas/Just like the ones I used to know” and conjures up nostalgic childhood images of glistening treetops and sleigh bells in the snow, was written by Irving Berlin, previously known as Israel Beilin, a man born in a shtetl in the Russian Empire. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Top 10 Moments from Israel in 2017

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