Tuesday, June 12, 2018

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: -Palestinians: No Place for Gays
On June 8, an estimated 250,000 people attended the Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv. Tourists from all around the world came to Israel to watch and participate in the event. The theme of this year's event is "The Community Makes History" -- a reference to the LGBT community in Israel.

Meanwhile, as the Israelis were celebrating tolerance on the streets of Tel Aviv, their Palestinian neighbors were busy doing precisely the opposite: they were demanding that people should be fired for producing a television comedy about gay people in the Gaza Strip.

The controversial program, called "Out of Focus," has drawn strong condemnations from Palestinians, who are now calling for punishing those responsible for "insulting Arab and Islamic values."

In Palestinian and Arab society, homosexuality is denounced and stigmatized. Homosexuality is illegal under Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip, and dozens of gay Palestinians have fled to Israel out of fear of persecution and harassment. In the West Bank, the laws of the Palestinian Authority also do not protect the rights of gay Palestinians.
Expert_ Palestine fails international law test for statehood at ICC
Experts need to continue to press back on the International Criminal Court’s recognition of Palestine as a state, because “there is still time and room to counter this,” international law scholar Andrew Tucker told The Jerusalem Post.

Tucker and Matthijs De Blois of The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation held a press conference along with NGO Monitor and its legal expert, Anne Herzberg, on Thursday night to discuss their book Israel on Trial: The Role of the UN and the EU in Lawfare and the Delegitimization of Israel, which advocates for Israeli positions on a range of international law issues, including dropping the ICC war crimes probe of Israelis.

Tucker said while he recognized that the ICC Prosecution and the ICC’s legislative body – the Assembly of State Parties – recognized Palestine as a state in 2015, enabling it to ask the ICC Prosecution to probe alleged Israeli war crimes, he said a party could file a motion with the ICC’s Pretrial Chamber to veto the ICC Prosecution’s acceptance of Palestine as a state.

If Palestine was ruled not to be a state by the ICC Pretrial Chamber, then the ICC Prosecution’s probe of Israelis would likely fall by the wayside.

While Tucker would argue numerous points for why Palestine fails the test of international law for statehood, he emphasized the Palestinian Authority’s inability to effectively govern the West Bank and Gaza as a single state.

MEMRI: Arab Writers On Renowned Historian Prof. Bernard Lewis (1916-2018)
Following the death of preeminent historian and Middle East researcher Prof. Bernard Lewis of Princeton University, many articles were published in the Arab media about his activity and his attitude towards the Arab and Islamic countries. Most of the articles expressed opposition to him and his ideas, but quite a few praised him, stating that he possessed profound knowledge and a rational approach, that he was always an enlightening lecturer and was sympathetic towards Islam, and that he was one of the most important historians of the modern era. These writers also rejected claims by his critics, who stated that Lewis, as a Jew, had contributed to the alleged Western plan to partition the Arab world and to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, even while acknowledging that the Arab world had been disintegrating since the dawn of Muslim history.

The following are collected quotes from articles in the Arab media about Prof. Bernard Lewis:

Praise For Prof. Lewis: One Of The Most Important Historians Of The Modern Era
Lebanese journalist Nadim Qutaish told of his 2005 meeting with Prof. Lewis at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, and stated that it was Lewis who coined the term "clash of civilizations," not political scientist Samuel Huntington as is commonly thought. He wrote: "[Prof. Lewis] praised Islam for its legacy of tolerance and of recognition of the other, and called it 'one of the world's great religions... [that] has given dignity and meaning to drab and impoverished lives."[1] Such a statement is inconsistent with Lewis's reputation in the Middle East as a hater of Islam and the Muslims... and particularly not with his role in giving cultural weight to the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq, which was made without taking Bernard Lewis's opinion into account...

"Lewis never ceased to amaze, and to present questions challenging conventions. His most alarming question was: 'Most Muslims are not terrorists. But why are most terrorists Muslims?' Truly, why?"[2]

In an article titled "Bernard Lewis, Engineer of the Partition of the Middle East," Saudi journalist Muhammad Al-'Adadi wrote: "Lewis opposed the invasion of Iraq, and said so in more than one interview in the press and on television." Criticizing the argument that Lewis had contributed to the alleged plan to divide the Arab world, he wrote: 'The Arab and Islamic world has been dividing and crumbling since the meeting in the hut of the Banu Sa'ida, to this day,[3] [and this will continue] tomorrow, and this precedes Lewis, America, and Israel by centuries. This is because Islam provides fertile ground for the exploiting of its texts by all the political powers fighting [out of] lust for power and for control of the ummah [Islamic nation]. The most salient example of this is the Sunni-Shi'ite divide, which is nothing but the direct result of a blood feud over the seat of power between 'Ali and A'isha, and then between 'Ali and Mu'awiya, between Yazid and Hussein, and so on,[4] throughout Arab and Islamic history, to this very day...
The Origins of Western Scholarship of Islam Show What Edward Said Got Wrong
In his widely touted 1978 book Orientalism, the literature professor Edward Said argued that the entire history of European (and by extension, American) scholarship about Arab and Muslim lands was inextricably tied up with the West’s effort to exercise political and economic power over these lands and their peoples. As a result, Said claimed, all academic study of the Middle East was inherently tainted—unless, that is, it supported his own radical political opinions. Alexander Bevilacqua’s recent book The Republic of Arabic Letters, on European writing about Islam in the 17th and 18th centuries—before Western colonization of Muslim lands—gives the lie to Said’s premises, as Benedikt Koehler writes in his review:

[I]f personal agendas framed Western engagement with Islam, these bore no resemblance to the attitudes Said imputed. The Republic of Arabic Letters backtracks to the emergence of modern Islamic scholarship in the 17th century and finds no guilty secrets lurking at the origin of modern academic engagement with Islam and the East. Bevilacqua offers many surprising discoveries. One of them is that robust modern scholarship on Islam was shaped in an ostensibly improbable source, namely, the Vatican.

The pioneers of modern Islamic study excelled as scholars, diplomats, and explorers, but, for all that, were often denied recognition. The Roman friar who translated the Quran, Lodovico Marracci, had the pope’s backing for his undertaking, but Marracci spent less time on translating the Quran than on getting his translation into print, because he needed the bureaucracy of the Vatican to grant him permission to publish and such permission was not forthcoming. But he persisted, and after the Latin version appeared in 1698, George Sale translated the Quran into English in 1734.

Meanwhile in Paris, Barthélemy d’Herbelot and Antoine Galland in 1697 exhibited the secular culture of Islam in the Bibliothèque Orientale, an encyclopedia that contained 8,000 entries drawn from original, often hitherto unpublished Islamic sources. The energy of Galland was boundless—he went on to showcase Arabic belles lettres by producing the first translation of One Thousand and One Nights, using a manuscript he had acquired on one of his tours abroad. . . .
Israel, the never-ending Dreyfus Affair Part I
In 1894 Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish French artillery officer, was arrested, charged and convicted of selling French military secrets to Germany. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island in French Guiana. In 1896 evidence came to light that the real culprit was a French major called Ferdinand Esterhazy, but high-ranking military officials suppressed the evidence and acquitted Esterhazy after a two-day trial. The French Army then accused Dreyfus of further crimes based on falsified documents. Word of the cover-up began to spread, especially after Emile Zola penned his famous letter, J’accuse, in a Paris newspaper in 1898. The entire country was split between those in favor of Dreyfus’ innocence and those who held he was guilty.

A new trial in 1899 led to another conviction and a ten-year sentence, but Dreyfus was given a pardon and set free. Eventually the charges against Dreyfus were shown to be fabricated and in 1906 Dreyfus was exonerated and reinstated as a major in the French Army.

But the Affair, as it came to be known, had torn the country apart and his reinstatement did little to persuade those who considered him guilty to change their opinions.

Marcel Proust, in his celebrated novel Remembrance Of Things Past, documented the anti-Semitism that inflamed the right-thinking salons of Paris throughout this period. It bears rereading, or reading if one has not done so, especially by those who today consider themselves members of the now democratized cultural elites of western society. For their anti-Semitism is hardly different from that of those French cultural elites who never acknowledged Dreyfus’ innocence, except that the object of their condemnation today is not the long dead Jewish French Army captain but the Jewish state of Israel.
Israel: The never-ending Dreyfus affair, part II
One could list the litany of their complaints and demands, as if it would make any difference to the way the conflict is perceived by western elites, governments and intellectuals combined.

The self-ascribed Palestinians plunder and murder.

They falsely accuse the Jews of defiling their holy places and deliberately killing their children.

They proudly announce that should they ever get a state of their own, no Jew will be allowed to live there.

Even now they kill any Arab who sells property to Jews when they can get their hands on the person. If anybody had any illusions about what they would do were they to get their hands on a state, that person has but to look to contemporary Syria where Bashar Assad has had no compunction in killing hundreds of thousands of inhabitants of his own country. Of course, he does not recognize them as fellow citizens because they belong to a tribe outside his own Alawite clan network. He has even killed thousands of Palestinians, but on that little topic the world is also silent.

When does it speak up? When Arab Muslims under the control of the Palestinian Authority are egged on to march on Israel, as happened recently on the Gaza border, determined to cut the fence, cross the border and murder as many Jews as they can, and reclaim homes that do not belong to them.

City turns blind eye to illegal anti-Israel hatefest — again
For the second year in a row, an anti-Israel hatefest to illegally take over a City of Toronto park and University Ave. under the nose of city officials without proper permits or police support.

Saturday’s annual Al-Quds Day rally, an official event sanctioned by the Iranian regime, featured demonstrators waving the flag of the Hezbollah terrorist group and calls by Sheikh Shafig Huda of Kitchener’s Islamic Humanitarian Service for the “eradication” of Israelis.

There were also young children either surrounded or holding signs equating Zionism to Racism and other anti-Israel propaganda.

Like last year, the Al-Quds protesters — which I’m told were bussed in from outside Toronto — gathered first in the city-owned Park behind the Ontario legislature where hate-filled speeches against Israel warmed up the crowd. The protesters subsequently tied up traffic illegally marching down to the U.S. Consulate and back.
B'nai Brith files police complaint over Saturday's al-Quds 'hatefest'
Ontario’s next premier has denounced “racist” and “anti-semitic” protests that took place at Queen’s Park Saturday, and vowed it won’t happen again on his watch.

“Blatantly racist or anti-Semitic ideology should never be permitted on the grounds of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, or anywhere else in our province,” the soon-to-be 26th premier tweeted the day after the al-Quds Day rally and march which began at Queen’s Park and made its way to the United States Consulate on University Ave.

There was a Hezbollah flag on display complete with the picture of an assault rifle. There were signs calling Jewish people “racist,” partaking in apartheid and words calling for the “eradication” of Zionists.

B’nai Brith Canada is filing a police complaint.

“The annual al-Quds Day hatefest is a stain upon Toronto’s open and tolerant image,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada Sunday. “Particularly absurd is the fact that rally attendees – most of whom come from outside of the city – can shut down parts of downtown Toronto and distract hundreds of police officers from more important work, without paying any fees whatsoever.”

Does a Leading US Law Firm Support the Boycott Israel Movement?
White & Case is one of the world’s leading and largest law firms. According to their website, they have “advised on some of the largest transactions ever to come out of Israel.” They also note, “Over the last decade, we have helped Israeli companies raise over $20 billion in debt financing and Israeli companies and investors in raising over $9 billion in equity financing.”

Shockingly, a senior executive at White & Case — Oz Benamram, the company’s “chief knowledge officer” — is also an International Council Member of the New Israel Fund (NIF), an organization that supports groups that boycott Israel. Inside the Jewish state, the NIF is widely regarded as an extremist organization that is outside the political mainstream.

According to White & Case, Mr. Benamram provides the firm “with strategic direction on knowledge management and technology, and leads the Knowledge Management department in developing and implementing the systems and processes that enable the Firm to use its collective knowledge to benefit its clients worldwide.”

White & Case works closely with Israeli companies, issuing recent position papers on the Israeli economy. Clearly, Benamram’s involvement with the NIF is a conflict of interest.

Benamram is a member of the New Israel Fund’s International Council, which “is an advisory group established in 2002 to supplement the work of the organization’s governing Board.”
No Surprise That MESA Opposes the ‘Anti-Semitism Awareness Act’
Why does the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) — a nonprofit academic organization that says it commends efforts to “combat discrimination and harassment against Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and other students on U.S. college campuses” — oppose the latest effort to crack down on antisemitism?

In response to the near doubling of antisemitic incidents in the US for the second year in a row, Congress has drafted the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018 (AAA).

Yet MESA’s president and executive director responded with a sophomoric letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, dated June 4, 2018, warning that the law will have a “chilling effect” on free speech — and hinting that mysterious forces “outside of academia” are behind it.

Yet both the House (H.R. 5924) and Senate (S.2940) versions of the AAA do nothing more than provide the Department of Justice’s Office for Civil Rights with a way to identify and evaluate antisemitic incidents on college campuses under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which requires schools receiving Federal funds to prevent harassment based on race, color, or national origin.

MESA’s charge that the law hinders “constitutionally protected free speech and academic freedom rights at institutions of higher education” is a red herring. Free speech and academic freedom are not the same. Any academic who completes mandatory Title IX training (as I did last week) knows that the First Amendment protects speech that college campuses will not tolerate.
Municipality near Paris names street for Nakba
A municipality near Paris named a street for the “nakba” — an Arabic word that means “catastrophe” and which Palestinians use to denote Israel’s creation.

The mayor of the municipality of Bezons in the northwestern Paris region, Dominique Lesparre, unveiled the sign for Nakba Lane on Monday.

Under Lesparre, who is a Communist politician, the municipality also declared David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, a “war criminal” for “deporting” hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

Francis Kalifat, the president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, called the declaration and the street sign “false declarations, shockingly irresponsible and dangerous.

“They encourage anti-Semitic violence, which is now given false historical justification,” he wrote in a statement.
IsraellyCool: French Mayor’s Vile Act of Hatred Towards Israel
The mayor of Bezons, France (located about 8 miles from the center of Paris), Dominique Lespare, has inaugurated “Nakba” alley, to commemorate the “disaster” that the establishment of the state of Israel represents to the palestinian Arabs.

I don’t speak French but I can tell what the placard says, more or less.
“In memory of the expulsion of the 800,000 Palestinians and the destruction of the 532 villages in 1948 by the war criminal David Ben Gurion for the creation of the State of Israel”

Besides being clearly one-sided (“war criminal” David Ben Gurion?), it is also a lie. For a start, the Arabs themselves estimated the number of refugees at more than 700,000 – not 800,000. Incidentally, the figure of 800,000 more accurately represents the number of Jews displaced from Arab lands following Israel’s establishment.

But even more than that: As I have posted before, while there were expulsions (as can happen during wartime with a hostile population), many of the 700,000 Arab refugees were ordered or advised by their fellow Arabs to abandon their homes. There were also those who fled in fear.
1,500-Plus South African Jews and Christians Learn to Counter the BDS Movement
More than 1,500 Jews and Christians attended four pro-Israel events throughout South Africa focused on strengthening the local pro-Israel community, and countering BDS and Israel delegitimization.

The initiative, which was sponsored by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy and Maccabi World Union in conjunction with the Zionist Federation of South Africa, took place from June 3 to June 10 in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

Panels and discussion emphasized on working together with the local Christian leadership in raising support for Israel. At the same time, the Jewish community also provided talks and discussions on strengthening its activities and providing them with effective tools to deal with Israel delegitimization and boycotts.

The events in South African come amid increasing pressure from pro-Palestinian organizations pushing the BDS movement in the country, as well as from the ruling African National Congress Party, which has long been hostile to Israel. In May, South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel in the wake of the deaths of Palestinian protestors along the Israeli-Gaza border. Last December, senior Hamas figures attended the ANC’s national conference.

“The reality in South Africa is deeply disturbing, given the increasing prominence of the BDS movement within the country and the solidarity shown by the ANC towards terrorist organizations,” said Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan. “I decided to focus my ministry’s efforts on activities in South Africa in order to strengthen the local pro-Israel community and their fight against BDS and terrorism.”
Is comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa fair?
An articulate rejection of the Apartheid smear: (h/t Daphne Anson)

South Africa city councilor suspended for pro-Israel statement
The mayor of South Africa's economic hub Johannesburg suspended a senior councilor Tuesday after she made a public declaration that the city was a "friend" of Israel.

According to a video of her speech, Mpho Phalatse, a councilor in charge of health, said at a weekend pro-Israel event: "I would like to declare that I am a friend of Israel and the city of Johannesburg is a friend of Israel."

"We value you, we celebrate you, we appreciate you, feel at home..." she told participants at a conference held as part of a series of events organised by pro-Israel community and religious groups.

Mayor Herman Mashaba announced that he had decided "to suspend... Phalatse pending an investigation into the full and proper context in which those remarks were made".

Mashaba said he was "disappointed" that the councilor attributed her personal sentiments to the city on such an "emotional and sensitive" issue.

The councilor is a member of the country's main opposition Democratic Alliance which is in power in the city of Johannesburg.

The party supports a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Campus Unmasked:
Pro-Israel, Anti-Affirmative Action Official Gets Bashed

The Senate confirmed Kenneth L. Marcus as assistant secretary for civil rights in DeVos’ Education Department by a 50-46 vote, according to The Daily Caller News Foundation. Marcus served in the same position under former president George W. Bush and currently serves as president of the Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law which fights anti-Semitism on college campuses. Marcus has presented the case for why boycotting Israel is illegal, says that such boycotts are “arguably anti-Semitic,” and may breach the academic freedom of students and professors.

Rahul Saksena, who’s a staff attorney for Palestine legal, said: “Marcus’ record clearly demonstrates that his primary mission is not to protect students’ civil rights; it is to shield Israel from criticism. It’s unconscionable that the U.S. Senate has confirmed him to oversee civil rights enforcement in Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education even as Israel continues to gun down Palestinians protesting for their rights in Gaza.”

Yeah, you know, just innocent Palestinian protesters. It’s not as though Hamas launches rocket strikes and suicide attacks against Israelis. It’s not as though Palestinians get taught in school to hate and perhaps even kill Jewish Israelis. It’s not as though at least 50 of the 62 people killed by Israel during the May US embassy ceremony belonged to Hamas or Islamic Jihad, as claimed by the groups themselves.
Rob Shimshock: Pro-Israel, Anti-Affirmative Action Official Gets Bashed

UKMW prompts Telegraph correction to false Amnesty claim on ‘settler-only roads’
Earlier today, an article in The Telegraph on Prince William’s upcoming trip to the region (Prince William’s Middle East tour to include trips to family grave, Kate Middleton’s former home, and meetings with Netanyahu and Abbas, June 11) included this gratuitous and misleading quote from Amnesty International.

Leaving aside the question of why precisely an article by the newspaper’s Royal correspondent felt the need to contextualise the piece by throwing in such anti-Israel agitprop, it’s clear that the “exclusive settler roads” claim violates the accuracy clause of the Editors’ Code.

As we’ve demonstrated previously, there are not currently, nor have there ever been, “Jewish-only” or “settler-only” roads anywhere in Israel or the West Bank. There are a small number of roads in the West Bank which are restricted to Palestinian traffic, but Israeli citizens of any religious background, and all foreign nationals, can use them. So, it’s not accurate to claim that there are any such roads “which are for the exclusive use” of settlers.

We tweeted the journalist, who, to her credit, asked us to email her and present our information. After a series of emails, she conferred with editors and agreed to amend the sentence to remove the part of the quote which falsely claimed the existence of roads ‘exclusively for settlers’.
In Israel, Austrian chancellor vows to fight 'all forms of anti-Semitism'
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz vowed to fight "all forms of anti-Semitism" with determination as he met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday, promising to combat both traditional European anti-Semitism and the modern anti-Semitism being imported to Europe from the Middle East.

Kurz is on a two-day visit to Israel, his first since entering a coalition deal with the far-right Freedom Party that was founded by former Nazis but says it has left its Nazi past behind.

Israel has previously said it would not have direct contact with Freedom Party officials, accusing the party of Nazi links. Israeli media reported on Sunday that Kurz would be asking Netanyahu to end this boycott.

At a joint press conference with Kurz, Netanyahu called the Austrian leader "a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people."

"I think you demonstrated that today when you went to the Kotel, the Western Wall," Netanyahu said. "I hope that other European leaders will follow your important example."
In Jerusalem, Austria’s Kurz Says it Took His Country Too Long to Own Up to Holocaust
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who is on a visit to Israel this week, said that it took his country “too long to be honest” about its role in the Holocaust.

“To remember means also to admit the truth. At that time, many Austrians supported the system which killed over six million Jews from all over Europe and beyond. Among them, 60,000 fellow Austrian Jewish citizens in Austria alone,” Kurz said in a speech at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum in Jerusalem on Monday.

“It took Austria a long time to be honest about its past. We’ve realized that Austria was not only a victim, but also a perpetrator,” added the Austrian leader. “Nevertheless, Austria has looked away far too long and has fulfilled its historical responsibility too late.”

But Kurz said that given this history, Austrians today “have a great responsibility” to make sure the Holocaust never happens again.

AJC’s CEO David Harris praised Kurz, noting that “this is the first time since 1945 in which an Austrian chancellor says clear: We have a historical responsibility to the State of Israel and its security.”
Kansas teacher awarded for revealing Holocaust hero's story
A Kansas school teacher who with his students brought the story of Holocaust hero Irena Sendler to light, was presented in Poland with an award in her honor.

Norman Conard was presented with the 2018 Irena Sendler Memorial Award in Warsaw’s Royal Castle on Monday by Polish Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński and the founder of the Taube Philanthropies foundation based in San Francisco, Tad Taube. Conard is the first American to receive the award, which has been awarded since 2008.

Poland has designated 2018 the Year of Irena Sendler, to mark the 10th anniversary of her death at the age of 98.

Sendler, a Polish social worker, during the Nazi occupation saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto. However, after World War II she lived in complete oblivion until the discovery of her life story by Conard’s students while working on a history project on unsung heros.

In fall 1999, Conard encouraged his students from Uniontown, Kansas, a town inhabited by 247 people, to take a closer look at Sendler’s work and present their project in a competition organized for National History Day.
‘The ground is so hot it burns through their shoes’
The ground was still smoking from the hot fury of two volcanic eruptions early last week when an Israeli medical team arrived in Guatemala on Thursday night.

Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedic Tal Rabin told ISRAEL21c that the toxic gases released by the Fuego volcano made breathing difficult even through a mask. But much worse was the grim sight of body parts being extracted from the lava engulfing cars and houses up to seven meters (23 feet) high in the two villages that bore the brunt of the eruption.

“It’s horrible. People were burned alive,” reported Rabin on June 10.

“A lot of people are still missing. And I heard there are already 20 first-responders who died while trying to help. The ground is so hot it burns through their shoes. Unfortunately, the volcano is still active; it’s not over yet.”

Rabin accompanied a nurse anesthetist and six doctors from Rambam and Sheba medical centers in Israel. Sponsored by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security Council and Ministry of Health, the delegation coordinated with the Guatemalan Ministry of Health to offer assistance at two hospitals in Guatemala City, a hospital closer to the affected villages and a field hospital set up in a church.

“The local doctors are doing an amazing job. We’re here to consult and to help,” Rabin emphasized.
Burgeoning footprint of Israeli agricultural technologies in India
India is home to second largest agricultural land in the world, with close to fifty-eight percent of the population directly engaged in agriculture as their primary source of employment. It is already among top fifteen agricultural exporters in the world and the government is aiming to achieve an export target of $60 billion by 2022. Towards this vision, the government has allocated a significant fraction of its annual union budget (2018-19) for undertaking multiple projects in agriculture, including projects to irrigate nearly 20 million hectares of land.

However, the adoption of technology has not been widespread and this presents a strategic area of cooperation between Israeli agri-tech companies and Indian agricultural distributors. Israel is a booming hub for agricultural startups with more 400 companies active in the sector, according to Startup Nation Central, a non-profit organization mapping the innovation ecosystem in Israel. In 2017, Israeli agri-tech sector raised about $141 million, an increase of 45 percent from the previous year. At the governmental level, India and Israel are cooperating in the form of India-Israel Agricultural Project by imparting capacity building programs throughout India, with the help of Israel’s external aid agency, MASHAV.

However, there is a pressing need of Israeli private companies and startups to collaborate with Indian partners and distributors to bring advanced agricultural technologies in India. Recently, an Israeli greenhouse company, Top Greenhouses and an Indian agricultural support company, EPC Mahindra have agreed to set up a new agricultural joint venture in India. EPC Mahindra is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mahindra Group, one of the largest business conglomerates in India active in nearly twenty key industries. EPC Mahindra is a pioneer of micro-irrigation systems in India and provides various solutions relating to irrigation and agronomic support across India. On the other hand, Top Greenhouses is one of the leading Israeli protected agriculture service providers with clients in over hundred countries. According to a filing before Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), EPC will hold sixty percent while Top Greenhouses will hold the rest. According to a 2011 policy, up to 100 percent foreign investment is permitted in agricultural sector in India.
IAI unit gets $150m contract for intelligence systems for European buyer
ELTA Systems Ltd., a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), got a contract to modernize and upgrade a national signal intelligence and an electronic warfare system for a European customer. The contract is valued in excess of $150 million, IAI said in a statement on Sunday.

The deal includes a number of fixed sites and mobile systems. As part of the accord, ELTA will supply the customer with its advanced ELI-6063 integrated signal and electronic warfare systems, together with subcontractors from other European defense companies.

The modernized system will provide air and ground intelligence for civilian and military purposes.

ELTA’s ELI-6063 is an advanced fixed and mobile ground-based integrated electronic warfare system for signal intelligence purposes. The system detects, monitors, analyzes, locates, records and jams enemy communications and radars. The ELI-6063 provides a continuous real-time flow of communications and electronic intelligence data to army units, IAI said.
Iraq’s Miss Universe visits Israel, reunites with Israel counterpart
Iraq’s representative at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant — whose Instagram photo last year with her Israeli counterpart forced her family to flee the Middle Eastern country — is visiting the Jewish state and has reunited with Miss Israel, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced on Tuesday.

“Friendly relations between Israelis & Arabs will definitely help in ushering in a better tomorrow for all of us in the Middle East,” Arabic-language spokesman Ofir Gendelman wrote on Twitter.

Iraqi-born Sarah Idan lives in the United States, but her family was forced to relocate from the Arab country after the photo of her with Israel’s Adar Gandelsman went viral last year.

At the time, she withstood considerable pressure and refused to remove the Instagram image.

In December, Idan spoke about her ordeal to CNN, recounting “scary” death threats and anxious calls to her mother back home.

Idan said she “didn’t think for a second there would be blowback” when she posted a selfie to Instagram with Gandelsman.

Both women published the joint selfie on their Instagram pages, expressing a desire to promote peace, while participating in the Miss Universe International Beauty Pageant in Las Vegas.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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