Tuesday, July 24, 2018

From Ian:

There's Nothing Wrong with a Jewish State
Considering the enormous fuss it created, you'd have thought the law passed last week by Israel's Knesset fundamentally changed the nature of the state. But the law changes virtually nothing. The new law is an enunciation of the basic principles on which Israel was founded. When David Ben-Gurion, the country's first prime minister, read the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, he said that those assembled "hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, to be known as the State of Israel."

70 years after its founding, Israel continues to pass "Basic Laws" as part of the ongoing construction of its constitution. The Jewish state law is therefore merely a statement of national purpose rather than legislation that purports to alter the existing legal structure of Israel's government.

Unlike every other nation in the region, Israel remains a democracy, in which all of its citizens have equal rights under the law, including voting rights and representation in the Knesset. Many Arabs and minorities serve in government, particularly in judicial and diplomatic posts.

While the country's founding document and other basic laws guarantee equal rights for all, the purpose for which Israel was created was to give expression to the right of the Jews to self-determination in their ancient homeland.

The constitutions of many other countries make clear that they exist as vehicles for a national idea. The only thing that is really unique about Israel's insistence that it is a Jewish state is that it is the only one on a planet with dozens of states that are avowedly Muslim, Christian, or associated with another faith.

The reason why so many Israelis believed that such a law was necessary has more to do with the refusal of the Palestinians and their foreign enablers to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders were drawn. The desire of so many to deny Israel the right to express its Jewish identity is exactly why a majority of the Knesset felt it necessary to remind the world that their country is the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Forward: Everything You’ve Heard About Israel’s Nation State Bill Is Wrong
This law has been in the works at least since the early 2000s, a time when two major forces arose that threatened the Zionist project as it was historically understood. The first was the rise of “post-Zionism,” a small but passionate intellectual-political movement that explicitly repudiated the idea of a “Jewish state” and sought to transform the country into a “state of all its citizens” by stripping it of any connection to Jewish history, peoplehood, or symbolism.

The second, more important factor was the “constitutional revolution” led by then-Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, which recognized earlier Basic Laws as having constitutional status, and which culminated in the passing of two new Basic Laws (Basic Law Human Dignity and Liberty, and Basic Law: Freedom of Employment) that established the core rights of Israeli citizens, Jewish or not.

These basic laws were not at all a bad thing. The fact is, Israel is both a Jewish state and a liberal democracy, and basic freedoms must be protected for all.

But defenders of Zionism correctly noted that such laws would have to be balanced with similar protections of Israel’s flag and anthem and the original vision of the country as not just a refuge for oppressed Jews but also as the embodiment of the aspirations of the Jewish people.

Much of what we see in the law is the direct result of the big debates that happened back then—debates I was directly involved in.

The bottom line is that Israel is the Jewish State, and this law tells us what that means, just as other Basic Laws tell us what goes into its democratic foundations.

You can freely dislike the idea of an ethnically or historically based democracy for a specific people. But know that it’s not fascism, it’s not the rise of ethno-national-populist-alt-right-MAGA-Bannonism. That’s just a category error—one that a lot of people really want you to make right now.

Israel’s Nation state bill reflects rather, the constitutional reality of nearly every European democracy, and European democracy has always been a little different from American democracy.

If you have any interest in understanding what’s really a fascinating and historic development in a country far away, the one I actually live in, tune out the noise.
Druze minister gets death threats over Jewish state law, amid community protest
Communications Minister Ayoub Kara has been warned by state security services of death threats made against him by members of the Druze community following his vote in favor of the controversial Jewish nation-state law last week.

Following the threats, the unit of the Shin Ben security agency responsible for the safety of government ministers is considering increasing Kara’s security detail, Hadashot news reported Sunday night.

Kara, Israel’s second ever Druze minister, confirmed that he had received both online and physical harassment from Druze activists including against his wife and son.

He said that he planned to file a police complaint Monday.

On Sunday, Israeli Druze leaders, including three Knesset members, petitioned the High Court of Justice against the Jewish nation-state legislation, saying it was an “extreme” act that discriminated against the country’s minorities.

The lawmakers came from across the political spectrum — from the coalition, MK Hamed Amar of the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party and MK Akram Hasson of the centrist Kulanu party, and from the opposition, MK Salah Sa’ad of the Labor party, currently represented in the Knesset by the center-left Zionist Union.

All three served in Israel’s security forces and have been active in Zionist organizations.
Russia: Jewish State Law ‘greatly complicates’ Mideast peace
Moscow on Tuesday said a newly passed Israeli law defining the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people “greatly complicates” efforts to restart peace talks with Palestinians, joining a chorus of international condemnation for the controversial legislation.

Russian Foreign Ministry official Artyom Kozhin told reporters the newly passed law “does not serve the cause of peace and promotes a degree of tension ‘on the ground, [and] greatly complicates efforts aimed at accelerating a meaningful peace process between Palestinians and Israelis.”

Kozhin reiterated Moscow’s support for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in “accordance with international law and relevant UN resolutions.”

The law, passed by the Knesset in a 62-55 vote early Thursday, enshrines Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people” in its quasi-constitutional Basic Laws, defines the establishment of Jewish communities as being in the national interest, and defines Arabic as a language bearing a “special” status in the state, effectively a downgrade from its de facto status as a second official language in state bodies.

Critics in Israel and abroad have fiercely derided the legislation as unnecessary and discriminatory against the country’s non-Jewish populations. Arab citizens account for some 17.5 percent of Israel’s more than 8 million population and have long complained of discrimination.
Erdogan: ‘Spirit of Hitler’ apparent in ‘fascist’ Israel’s nation-state law
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday branded Israel the “most fascist, racist state” in the world after Israel’s Knesset passed a new law defining the country as the nation state of the Jewish people.

“This measure has shown without leaving the slightest room for doubt that Israel is the world’s most Zionist, fascist and racist state,” Erdogan said in a speech to his ruling party.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly responded to Erdogan’s comments, saying Turkey is now living under a “dark dictatorship.”

In one of his toughest recent verbal onslaughts against Israel, Erdogan claimed there was “no difference between Hitler’s obsession with the Aryan race and Israel’s understanding that these ancient lands are meant only for Jews.”

“The spirit of Hitler, which led the world to a great catastrophe, has found its resurgence among some of Israel’s leaders,” he added, referring to Germany’s Nazi leader in the lead-up to and during World War II and the Holocaust.

Around six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

The Turkish leader warned the bill would lead the region and the world to “blood, fire and pain” and promised to stand with Palestinians. He also called on the international community to stand against Israel.

Fred Maroun: The anti-Zionist lexicon: What they really mean
Anti-Zionists have developed a lexicon that is meant to make them sound decent and honest, but a translation into common English uncovers quite a different meaning. The following are common phrases that they use, followed by what they really mean.

“Abbas wants a two-state solution”: Abbas wants two Arabs states: one that is 100% Jew-free, and another that he can flood with descendants of Palestinian refugees.

“End the blockade of Gaza”: Let the Gaza terrorists have easier access to weapons.

“End the occupation now”: Give more land to terrorists so that they can attack Israel more easily.

“From the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free”: The destruction of Israel is our goal.

“I am anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic”: I’m an anti-Semite, but I won’t admit it.

“I don’t support Likud’s Israel”: I don’t support Israel.

“I hate Hamas but…”: I don’t hate Hamas.
Why withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council was the right thing to do
The definition of insanity, as they say, is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. And yet critics insist that the United States shouldn’t have withdrawn from the U.N. Human Rights Council.

We’re running away, they claim. Turning our back on human rights abuses. Showing that we don’t care.

On the contrary. Nobody has tried harder to make the Council work than the United States.

We have talked, debated, argued and negotiated. We have pressed for years to get the Council to actually stand up for its stated ideals — to spotlight abuses and bring relief to persecuted people around the globe.

Yet time and time again, we’ve been disappointed. We’ve seen the Council not only remain silent in the face of abuses, but allow membership to some of world’s worst abusers — all while showing an unseemly obsession with vilifying Israel.

When such a state of affairs prevails year after year, should you keep thinking things will magically improve if you stay the course? Can you be blamed for trying a different tack?

No. But somehow, at least to the Trump administration’s vociferous opponents, the answer is yes.

And so it was that the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, came to The Heritage Foundation recently to elaborate on the reasons the U.S. withdrew.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make. The U.N. was founded in the ashes of World War II “for a noble purpose — to promote peace and security based on justice, equal rights, and the self-determination of people,” Ms. Haley pointed out. Unfortunately, thanks to the presence of many members who utterly reject this purpose, it often falls short of this goal.

The result? Well-meaning members hoping to build consensus adopt a position of neutrality. Resolutions are watered down. And, Ms. Haley added, “Moral clarity becomes a casualty of the need to placate tyrants.”
EU member states should follow the US and leave the UNHRC
Disagreeing a priori with any decision of US President Donald Trump has already become almost a part of European political culture. However, I consider this kind of thinking completely false and on the level of a stubborn toddler. If we want politics to be meaningful, we need to learn to distinguish.

When Trump decided to leave the Paris Agreement, I considered it to be a serious mistake and altogether very bad news for the global climate. However, I consider his decision to leave the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) very positively. Why? In short, because this body no longer fulfills its original mission. I will explain in detail.

Bias of UN against Israel

Not only is the UNHRC historically affected by bias against Israel, forgetting misdemeanors of various dictatorships, but so is the entire UN. Even then-secretary general of the UN Kofi Annan admitted in 2006 that the supporters of Israel frequently feel that: “Israel is often judged based on standards that are not applied to its enemies.” And what is important, it is especially often true in some of the UN bodies.

This bias began in the first post-war decades, when the number of independent states increased – mostly outside the Western world – and thus also the UN’s membership. Consequently, free and democratic Western countries were pulling on the shorter end of the rope. Especially since the 70s, after the Six-Day and Yom Kippur Wars, the Arab bloc had already shown clear attempts to use the UN as a tool for enforcing their anti-Israel policy. A similar policy was also mutually promoted by the Soviet bloc and a number of so-called “neutral” countries.
Moving antisemitism vote would leave Labour Jewish MPs facing prospect of Rosh Hashanah meeting
Jeremy Corbyn's request to move a crucial vote on antisemitism to after the summer break would leave Jewish MPs facing the prospect of being asked to attend a rescheduled meeting on Rosh Hashanah.

The Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) will meet on Monday night for the last time before parliament's summer recess and Labour MPs are due to debate a motion that would force the party’s national executive committee (NEC) to vote on incorporating the full internationally accepted definition of antisemitism into their own official rulebooks.

If passed, the vote would put Labour MPs at odds with the party leadership, who pushed for the NEC to adopt different guidelines - without a vote - that omit key examples of how criticising Israel can be antisemitic.

But on Sunday Mr Corbyn said he would prefer the PLP debate to be "delayed until September" so more people could attend.

"I also think MPs should get full notice of that issue," he said. "Obviously the parliamentary party is quite free to debate it but, as with all functions of the Labour party, ultimately, standing orders must be approved by the national executive committee and that cannot happen until the autumn.”

But it has now emerged that the only PLP meeting scheduled to take place September would be on September 10. Rosh Hashanah begins on the previous night.

MPs return from their six-week summer break on September 4, which is a Tuesday, and with the Labour Party conference taking place later in the month in Liverpool, September 10 is the only Monday that month the PLP could meet. (h/t Zvi)
Berkeley City Councilperson Cheryl Davila nominates Hatem Bazian to be her Emergency Stand-in
In a discussion on helping children get through disasters, Fred Rogers related this story. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

The Berkeley City Council is currently in the process of nominating 'helpers"- emergency stand-ins for the Council, in the event of catastrophe. Berkeley City Council representative from District 2, Cheryl Davila has nominated Hatem Bazian, a contributor to her election campaign, for this role.

Hatem Bazian's history of inflammatory, divisive rhetoric make him completely unsuited for this position.

Listen to Hatem Bazian 's own words. Hatem Bazian has called for an intifada- a violent uprising- in America. He attempted (and failed) to organize a blockade of the Israeli consulate in San Francisco.

He has promoted violence. "The only language the slave master understands is the language of violence". He has promoted harassment of our elected officials "We need to translate our strength into the harassment of the political leadership." He has used social media to spread anti-Semitic memes.
IsraellyCool: Sprung! UK Co-op Supports Boycott of Israel Proper, Despite Official Denials
The Co-operative Group in the UK goes to great lengths to clarify they do not boycott Israeli businesses – just those in the so-called “settlements.” (i.e Judea and Samaria)

Unfortunately for the Co-op group, they fail to realize that lies catch up with them.

Robert Cohen, their head of executive external communications (yes, he seems to be Jewish) has been rather sloppy on social media. Here he is endorsing a boycott of Israel, and not just the so-called settlements:


Not that this is surprising. Cohen has made clear his support for the boycott of Israel, even speaking this year at Israel Apartheid Week on the subject.

Note “It’s kosher to boycott Israel.” NOT “It’s kosher to boycott the settlements.”
British Open heckler shouts ‘Free Palestine’ at Tiger Woods
A heckler who shouted “Free Palestine” at Tiger Woods was ejected from the British Open.

On Sunday, Woods was on the backswing of his final tee shot when the heckler twice shouted about 'Palestine,' according to British media reports. After the drive, the American golfer dropped his club and shouted “No!”

Woods was chasing his 15th major title — his first since the 2008 U.S. Open — and had the lead halfway through the final round before faltering and finishing three strokes behind the winner, Francesco Molinari.

“People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be,” Woods told reporters following the tournament. “But that was too close to affecting the game of play.”
French Court Rules Rape Charges Remain for Oxford Scholar Tariq Ramadan
Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan will face charges of raping two women despite an appeal for the matter to be dropped, a source close to the inquiry said.

Swiss-born Ramadan is an Oxford University professor whose grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement. He has been held since February on charges that he raped two women in France.

Investigative judges have already denied several requests for bail for the “perverted guru” before the latest was rejected, as AFP reports.

The most recent appeal came in February when he was denied bail by a court of appeal which ruled he was not only a flight risk but may again engage in the same type of behaviour he is indicted for.

More than 100,000 supporters of Ramadan have signed a petition to have him immediately released and over 100,000 euros have been raised on the French crowdfunding platform CotizUP.

Supporters of Ramadan claimed last year on social media that the allegations were a “Zionist plot” before he was arrested in January by French police.
Michael Lumish: This Week on Nothing Left
It is a very special week as this show marks the 200th episode of Nothing Left. Michael Burd and Alan Freedman started in April 2014 and during that time have brought you approx 300 guests from the conservative side of politics, with a few from the other side who did agree to speak with them.

This week Nothing Left speaks with commentators Rowan Dean from the Outsiders program on Sky News, and columnist Andrew Bolt of the Herald-Sun who also presents his Bolt Report on the same network.

The fellahs chat with Hayley and David Southwick (together) on their Israel advocacy work and hear from Isi Leibler in Jerusalem, and in between they reminisce about some of the guests and highlights over the past 4yrs.
BBC News website readers get yet another dose of Assad’s propaganda
Readers were not informed of the research – including by BBC Trending – which has shown how conspiracy theories concerning the ‘White Helmets’ have been spread.

Another notable aspect of the report was its knee-jerk use of the BBC’s favoured ‘Israel says’ formula:

“The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said they were acting on a request from the US, the UK and other European nations.”

Seeing as by the time this article was published officials from the UK, the US, Canada and Germany had acknowledged their countries’ role in the operation’s organisation, the BBC’s use of the phrase “the Israel Defense Forces said” is obviously superfluous.

As we have had cause to note here all too often in the past, the BBC’s ‘public purposes’ oblige it to provide accurate and impartial “news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them”.

Members of the BBC’s funding public may well be asking themselves why – yet again – their public service broadcaster is generously amplifying conspiracy theories no different from those put out by the regime controlled news agencies of Syria and Russia.
Inaccurate BBC WS radio portrayal of Israeli legislation
As noted here previously, the lead item in the July 19th edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘World Update‘ concerned legislation passed hours beforehand by the Israeli Knesset.

The programme’s webpage uses the title “Israel: An Exclusively Jewish State”. Presenter Dan Damon introduced the item using the same term.
Damon: “We begin though with the news from Israel. In the parliament there – the Knesset – a vote on the future of that country’s self-determination: a controversial bill defining the country as an exclusively Jewish state. The law downgrades Arabic as an official language. It says Jewish settlements are in the national interest. Israel [sic] Arab politicians have denounced this new law as racist.”

Obviously the claim that the law defines Israel as “an exclusively Jewish state” is inaccurate.

The same inaccurate claim appeared in the first two versions of an article that appeared on the BBC News website on July 19th.

Following a complaint from Mr Stephen Franklin in which he pointed out that the text of the law does not define Israel in that manner and that Israel’s minorities already have equal rights under the law and will continue to do so under this new legislation, the BBC Complaints department responded, citing an amendment made to the report some eight hours after its initial publication.
Danish imam charged over call to kill Jews
Danish prosecutors on Tuesday charged an imam with calling for the killing of Jews in the first case of its kind in the Nordic nation and which sparked political outrage.

Imam Mundhir Abdallah, who preaches in the Copenhagen neighborhood of Norrebro at the Masjid Al-Faruq mosque, which media have linked to radical Islam, is accused of citing a hadith or koranic narrative calling for Muslims to rise up against Jews.

“Judgement Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them,” Abdallah said in a Facebook and YouTube video post in March, according to a translation of the original Arabic provided by the US organization the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“These are serious statements and I think it’s right for the court to now have an opportunity to assess the case,” public prosecutor Eva Ronne said in a statement.

This is the first time the prosecution has raised such charges under a criminal code introduced January 1, 2017 on religious preaching.
Ritual Jewish slaughter should be ‘verboten,’ Austrian vice chancellor says
Austria’s vice chancellor and interior minister on Monday indicated that he wants to outlaw Jewish ritual slaughter, fanning the flames of an ongoing discussion in the country about the conflicting values of religious freedom and animal rights.

Ritual slaughter, known as Schächten in German and shechita in Hebrew, “should generally be prohibited without prior anesthetization, just like in other EU countries,” Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party, wrote on his Facebook page.

“And animals are not objects but creatures worthy of protection that must not be allowed to be tortured!” he added.

Strache included in his post a link to a newspaper article that lists several European Union member states where ritual slaughter is outlawed, such as Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Poland.

The article (in German) is illustrated by a map of Europe and a cartoon sheep, together with the words: “Schächten verboten.”

In the comments section of his post, Strache wrote that many things have to be “improved” regarding animal protection. “And that’s an issue close to my heart, which I want to advance!”
Like the Dreyfus Affiar: An innocent Jew released from prison in Ukraine
A tragic story has come to a happy conclusion. Israel Rifkin, a Jewish Ukrainian who had been imprisoned for years on false charges of attacking an elderly woman, was released from confinement recently. He won his release because the central witness in his case admitted to lying and framing Rifkin after having been badly mistreated by the government.

"The man, whose name is Sartzinsky, was himself a suspect and framed Rifkin. Afterwards, he admitted that he lied, but the prosecutors did not pay attention," said the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine Moshe Azman, who was involved in Rifkin's release. "Regarding the woman who was attacked, who said she saw Rifkin in her house in 2006, there is proof that he was out of the country at the time."

The head of the parliamentary friendship with Israel committee, Georg Lugionsky, a Jewish Ukrainian, was also a critical figure in Rifkin's release. "They caught a Jew from a small city, brought him to a police station and beat him so that he would admit to the crime. For four and a half years there was no judgement. The accused approached me asking for help, because they were holding him in a temporary prison in very harsh conditions. I traveled to the prison and found his health in a critical situation. I was in contact with the prison and posted bail for him, but the judge rejected the request. The chief rabbi of Ukraine also became involved, and the Jewish community rallied to his cause."

"They accused him because he was a Jew," Lugoinsky said. "He didn't do anything wrong."
Israeli startup uses army night-vision tech to help prevent car accidents
According to the World Health Organization, road traffic accidents are on track to becoming the seventh leading cause of death globally by 2030 unless some action is taken. More than 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road accidents.

Some 50% of these deaths occur at night, even though just 25% of drivers are on the road at that time, meaning that in the dark, under more difficult lighting conditions, driving is four times more dangerous than driving during the day.

An Israeli startup, BrightWay Vision, has set out to change those statistics using night-vision technology that was initially developed at Elbit Systems Ltd., the nation’s largest non-government owned defense company. The startup has developed a system that extends the vision range of drivers, or the autonomous vehicles of the future, in all weather and lighting conditions.

“I started developing the technology at Elbit, where we had expertise in night vision systems and long-range observations systems for military purposes,” said Ofer David, the founder and CEO of BrightWay. Because the technology he developed was for civilian use and didn’t fit the mold of a defense company, a new company was created, in which Elbit today holds a majority stake, David said.
IDF Blog: Meet the Merkava Mk. 4 Barak
In order to improve the Armored Corps’ operational capabilities on the modern battlefield, the corps developed the Merkava Mark (Mk.) 4 Barak. This new addition will advance the Armored Corps’ operational capabilities and serve as an innovative weapon, changing the face of the battlefield. The tank’s new elements include artificial intelligence, updated sensors, and VR capabilities.

The Merkava Mk. 4 Barak will be the first tank to have a smart mission computer that will manage the tanks’ tasks. This advanced artificial intelligence will reduce the team members’ workload and help them more accurately locate and strike targets.

"The advanced defense capabilities and the use of electronic means will prepare the combat soldiers to carry out missions according to the level of urgency," said a senior official from the Armored Corps. "Along with all this, additional logistical improvements will also be introduced that will enable the tank to carry out missions that are up to 30% longer than current ones."

Perhaps the most incredible advancement is that soldiers can learn how to use the tank via virtual reality (VR) simulation. As a part of The VR sessions will allow for soldiers to partake in real exercises at all times. This means that when soldiers need to use the Merkava Mk. 4 Barak they will be more prepared than ever before.

"The helmet is called Iron View, and it will allow the combat soldiers to see the outside environment from inside the combat vehicle,” said a senior official from the Armored Corps. “The sensors will allow the combat soldiers to operate the tank in a simple and advanced way, and will contribute to its defense - both physically and technologically.”
Israel offers Greece help in battling deadly wild fires
Israel offered to help Greece put out deadly wildfires that killed dozens of people on Monday and Tuesday and ravaged resort areas.

The death toll from the fires climbed to 50 in the morning, with a Red Cross official reporting the discovery of 26 more bodies at a seaside resort, making it the country’s deadliest fire season in more than a decade.

The authorities had previously announced 24 deaths and more than 150 injuries from wildfires around the Athens region, before finding the 26 dead at a villa in the coastal town of Mati.

“Following the terrible fires in Greece, Israeli authorities have approached their peers in Greece in order to offer any assistance needed,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “At this stage, the Greek authorities are saying they have gained control of the fires. In any case, we have put crews on alert. Israel is at the disposal of Greece if it becomes necessary. Greek authorities thanked Israel for the offer.”
293 Olim from Ukraine arrive in Israel
293 immigrants from Ukraine landed Tuesday morning at Ben-Gurion Airport on three different flights organized by the Friendship Foundation headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.

Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver received the immigrants at the airport, along with dozens of volunteers who preceded the immigrants with singing and dancing.

For the first time, in order to ease and reduce the bureaucratic procedures of registering immigrants and issuing their identity cards in Israel, a number of representatives of the Interior Ministry were flown to Ukraine at the beginning of the week.

The procedure saved the Olim from a significant part of the bureaucratic process that most immigrants have to undergo after their arrival in Israel and enabled them to focus on many other important efforts, such as registering for schools, finding employment, and more.

Before the immigrants arrived in Israel, they participated in a preparatory seminar for life in Israel and a unique employment fair designed to provide employment solutions for immigrants before their arrival in Israel. After the arrival of the immigrants, the Friendship Foundation provides each Oleh with additional economic assistance in addition to the grant granted through the Absorption Basket, and closely monitors the Olim for six months, in order to ensure that they are properly integrated into Israeli society.
Netta makes her U.S. debut on the 'TODAY' show
Israeli superstar and Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai made her US debut on Tuesday morning – on NBC’s The Today Show.

“This is unreal,” Barzilai told host Carson Daly just before she performed her hit song "Toy" live on the program. “This has been an unreal experience. Every day I wake up in another country.”

Daly asked Barzilai about some of her most memorable experiences since she won the competition earlier this year, and she couldn’t help but mention meeting Prince William in Tel Aviv last month: “He’s a real prince charming.”

Barzilai told Daly that the song “was inspired by the ‘#metoo’ movement, and this is an amazing time when women are finding their voices.” The singer, who brought her signature looper instrument with her, said that Toy also “gives power to anyone who’s been struck down, who’s been bullied – it’s to everyone who has been told that they can’t be what they want to be.”

Eurovision host city competition narrows
While the announcement of the 2019 Eurovision host city could still be more than a month away, the race to hold the competition is narrowing.

Kan, the Israeli public broadcaster, confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Monday that just three cities remain in the running to host the song contest: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Eilat.

Those three cities are the only ones that have submitted bids to Kan and EBU following the publication of the criteria, and all three are giving it their all.

The Jerusalem Municipality began touting its readiness to host the competition in a press release on Monday. The release trumpeted the city as 3,300 years old, and reunited for 51 years, before noting that it has recently hosted international sporting events including the Jerusalem Marathon and the Giro D’Italia.

The municipality has submitted a bid to host the Eurovision at the Payis Arena in Jerusalem’s Malha neighborhood. The 47,000 square-meter indoor stadium, which opened in 2014, can seat 11,200 people, and have space for 1,500 journalists, the municipality claimed.

But will the city compromise on a central sticking point – allowing rehearsals for the big finale show to be held on Shabbat?
Holocaust Survivor Leads Panel Discussion at Comic-Con About Art During World War II
A survivor of three Nazi concentration camps led a panel discussion about art and the Holocaust on Thursday at the Comic-Con International convention in San Diego, the Times of San Diego reported.

Many people were forced to wait outside the already packed room as Ruth Goldschmiedova Sax, 90, her daughter Sandra Scheller, and three others talked about comics used as German propaganda against Jews, art made by victims of the Holocaust and the Jewish connection to superheroes.

The hourlong panel discussion began with Sax describing her personal experiences in the Holocaust, and how she once saw Nazi leader Adolf Hitler from the window of her home in Czechoslovakia. Nazis stormed and raided her house when she was 11 years old.

Sax, an only child, was sent by train to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where she was separated from her parents, and then to the Oederan concentration camp, where she worked in a munitions factory and disobediently added sand to the guns so they would not fire. During her time at Auschwitz, she was forced to stand naked before the notorious Nazi, Dr. Josef Mengele, six times as he decided whether people should live or be sent to the gas chambers.

Sax recalled being “shocked and surprised” by the horrific Nazi art works that ridiculed Jews, and during the panel discussion a slide was shown of a caricature published in the Nazi publication Der Sturmer that depicted a Jew begging a German, whom he once used to bully, to now help him. Sax said about the propaganda art, “I remember being scared, wondering: How could this be? It was something we could not run away from.”
A reflection on the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls
What better time to reflect on the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls than now, soon after celebrating their 70th anniversary? This corpus of ancient manuscripts has awakened immense interest, spawned an entire new field of scholarship, and reshaped our understanding of biblical studies, the history of Judaism and the background of Christianity. The scrolls have been at the center of their share of intrigue, legal action and even humor. Exhibits such as that taking place right now in Denver, under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), are more than ample evidence of the tremendous interest in the scrolls. But how many people can actually explain what the scrolls are and what they should mean to us?
Click here to read the rest of the Jerusalem Report article (pdf)
IsraelDailyPicture: Tisha B'Av, the Day of Jewish Mourning
The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av -- Tisha B'Av -- is the day in the Hebrew calendar when great calamities befell the Jewish people, including the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem, the fall of the fortress Beitar in the Jewish rebellion against Rome in 136 CE, and the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. The day is commemorated with fasting, prayers and the reading of Lamentations. In Jerusalem, thousands pray at the Kotel, the Western Wall.

The American Colony photographers frequently focused their cameras on the worshipers at the "Wailing Place of the Jews." The Colony founders who came to Jerusalem in 1881 were devout Christians who saw the return of the Jews to the Holy Land as a sign of messianic times.

Of the dozens of pictures at the Kotel there are several of elderly men and women sitting on the ground or on low stools, customs of mourning practiced on Tisha B'Av.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 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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