Thursday, October 11, 2018

From Ian:

Israel’s DC envoy snubs J Street, other left-wing Jewish groups
Since taking his post as Israel’s ambassador to the United States in 2013, Ron Dermer has refused to meet with J Street, a liberal Middle East advocacy group. He has likewise not engaged with other left-leaning Jewish groups often critical of the Netanyahu government.

Liberal Jewish activists told The Times of Israel that the envoy’s unwillingness to speak with them is further evidence of the splintering relations between Jerusalem and the American Diaspora, and the growing partisan divide over Israel in the United States.

“He may deeply disagree with our views, but they are representative of the majority of American Jews on Israel and a viable solution to the conflict,” Jessica Rosenblum, J Street’s senior vice president of public engagement, told the Times of Israel. “And it’s not just a majority of American Jews, but a growing majority.”

Recent polling has shown that Democrats and Republicans are diverging on their views about the seemingly intractable conflict. The Pew Research Center found in January that 79 percent of Republicans “sympathize” more with Israel than the Palestinians, compared to just 27% of Democrats — of whom about an equal percentage supported Palestinians more. In the last election, 71% of US Jews voted Democrat.

Beyond J Street, which has sent multiple written requests for a meeting since Dermer assumed his post six years ago, and for him to address its galas and conferences, the ambassador has not met with other leading left-wing Jewish groups, including the New Israel Fund or Americans for Peace Now, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Those groups, however, have not sought a meeting in the frequent and persistent way J Street has.

A source with Americans for Peace Now said a meeting was initially scheduled years ago, but Dermer then had to travel out of town. Since then, the organization has not “pursued it diligently,” the source said. But neither was any engagement initiated on the ambassador’s end.

Despite repeated requests, Ambassador Dermer declined to comment for this report. In public comments, Dermer has highlighted the importance of bipartisan support for Israel.

Dermer’s predecessor, Michael Oren, who held the post from 2009 to 2013, regularly met with J Street and other progressive Jewish organizations.

“Generally speaking, every ambassador sees his job in a different way,” Oren told The Times of Israel. “I saw myself very much as the ambassador of the people of Israel to the people of the United States. I don’t want to speak for Ron, but my sense is he’s more sort of the prime minister’s ambassador.”

Marc Lamont Hill Moves From Justifying Terrorism to Promoting It
Several months ago, CAMERA wrote about the self-promoting CNN commentator and Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill, pointing out his bigoted anti-Israel disinformation campaign and defense of Palestinian terrorists.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism provides new evidence that Lamont Hill has progressed from being a radical, anti-Israel propagandist and justifier of terrorism to one who directly promotes Palestinian violence and terrorism against Israelis.

Lamont Hill was one of the advertised speakers at a conference by a leading BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) group that was held on September 28-30, 2018. In an audio recording of Lamont Hill’s remarks there, he can be heard using his anti-Israel propaganda to advocate for violence.

He repeatedly urges his audience not to “romanticize nonviolence, ” and concludes that “we have allowed this nonviolent thing to become so normative that we’re undermining our own ability to resist in real robust ways.”

Lamont Hill previously justified the kidnappings and murders of three Israeli boys in 2012, saying:
This starts with occupation. There’s an apartheid state in Gaza. There’s an apartheid state in the region. That’s what we need to talk about. That’s what starts as resistance. It’s not terrorism.

He bemoaned Israel’s employment of the Iron Dome air defense system to intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells fired into Israel, because, he lamented, “it takes away all of Hamas’s military leverage.”

And he labelled the call for Palestinians to reject hatred and terrorism “offensive and counterproductive.”
Boycott-Israel activists disrupt Holocaust film in Berlin
Two activists from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign disrupted the presentation of an Israeli Holocaust film in Berlin last week, prompting Israeli security officials to evict the protesters as the audience booed the stoppage caused by the BDS people.

Based on video footage of the disruption, The Jerusalem Post was able to identify one of the BDS activists as Ronnie Barkan, an anti-Zionist from Israel, whose conduct Berlin’s intelligence agency classified in an August report as antisemitic.

Barkan did not immediately respond to a Post press query regarding his activity and the name of the second activist. He did, however, acknowledge on Twitter that “In case you were wondering what was being screened while we disrupted the event.” The activists can be seen on a video holding a sign that read, “No culture in whitewashing Apartheid.”

The nearly two-minute video of the disruption by Barkan and his co-activist was posted on YouTube by the pro-Israel Germany-based group Aktionsforum Israel. The group wrote under the video that BDS attempted to sabotage a film about the Holocaust on October 4.

“This recalls the speech from Bjoern Hoecke with the culture of forgetting,” the group wrote. “Both BDS and parts of the Alternative for Germany [AfD party] as well as the NPD [neo-Nazi party] have a problem with this topic.”

Hoecke, an AfD politician, slammed the memorial in Berlin to victims of the Nazi Holocaust as a “monument of shame.”

'Israel has exclusive rights to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria'
A new government publication states, for the first ‎time, that Israel has an exclusive right to Jerusalem ‎and Judea and ‎Samaria. ‎

The book, titled "Israel's Right as of Jerusalem and ‎Judea and Samaria," is a compilation of materials ‎and lectures first presented at a Jerusalem Affairs ‎and Heritage Ministry symposium last year, which was ‎attended by some of the world's leading jurists and ‎diplomats. ‎

The symposium, led by Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage ‎Minister Zeev Elkin, was held as part of the ‎ministry's international program to bolster ‎Jerusalem's status as Israel's capital.‎

The book has been printed in several hundred copies, ‎to be distributed in Israel's missions worldwide and ‎to top foreign diplomats, jurists and leaders of ‎public opinion.‎

The ministry said this was the first time a book ‎dealing with the issue of Israeli sovereignty over ‎Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria has been published.‎

‎"For years, we have had to tolerate the false ‎message that Israel's very presence in reunified ‎Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria are a violation of ‎international law," said ministry Director General ‎Ran Yishai. ‎
Yisrael Medad: Again, Is "Palestine" Really Part of Syria?
As Foster concludes this chapter in his study

Today scholars want to know when a Palestinian identity first emerged, but they seem much less interested in determining what people themselves in the 1920s and 1930s actually cared about.

And then makes sure we are clear about the facts and how Arab historians today interpret them

while Khalidi is right to point to the existence of an incipient Palestine loyalty in the 1914-1923 period, he grossly over exaggerates both its importance for the people who felt it and its prevalence in the general population. The historical works would seem to support what Salim Tamari has described as a kind of “cultural nihilism” – the idea that Palestine was not particularly important or distinct apart from its Bilad al-Sham context, at least in the 1920s and also in the early 1930s...not a single book was written on the history of Palestine out of sheer passion and love for Palestine until the 1930s. As we stated previously, this is in complete contrast to the city histories – all of which seem to have been written out of the authors devotion and love for the home town. Continuing along to the 1930s, regional, Arab and Palestine histories remain roughly equal in number until 1936, at which point the conflict among the British, Zionists and Palestinians reached a breaking point with the outbreak of the General Strike in Palestine in the Spring of 1936, the first phase in a 3-year long revolt, today known as the “Great Arab Revolt.” Only then did interest in Palestine soar and come to dominate historical writing, alongside with Arab histories.

My take from this is that my outlook remains unchanged from when I first began blogging on this aspect: for Arabs, Palestine was a region, not a country. It was not a separate geopolitical entity except as part of Syria. Local patriotism was a result of the clash with Zionism which had a 3000-year history of a concrete conceptualization of what the Jewish homeland's borders were and which the Arabs did not possess.

This is part of what I term "Palestinianism" which is the fabrication, caused by competitiveness with the challenge Zionism confronts the local Arabs, of a history, an identity and a geography.
The 1973 War: Comparing the Hebrew and Arabic Wikipedia entries
It is the Yom Kippur War for Israelis. It is the October (Tishrin), Ramadan or Freedom War for the Egyptians. Fought 45 years ago, it retains an importance in both societies far beyond many other wars. In Israel, the 1973 War is a source of both contention and pride; in Egypt it is a source of pride, and even more importantly, a source of justification for Egypt’s decision to opt out of war-making against Israel ever since.

Nearly a half-century later, it is important to note how the war is remembered and understood by the chief protagonists. A comparison between the well-written and well-documented Wikipedia entries on the war, one in Hebrew and one in Arabic, is a good way to gauge the basic assessments of the war in Jewish and Arab societies.

The comparison is only valid if of course the two entries are not mere translations, which they clearly are not. This can be easily ascertained by the many sources they cite. The Hebrew entry cites works in Hebrew and English including sources such as the memoirs of Sa’ad al-Din Shazli, the Egyptian chief-of-staff, written in Arabic and subsequently translated into English. The entry in Arabic cites sources in English and Arabic including sources written in Hebrew and subsequently translated into English. The Arabic entry includes one source in Russian.

Both entries then suffer the same deficiency that they were written by experts who did not know the language of the protagonist, which is clearly characteristic of many of the scholarly works on the war and an obstacle to achieving objectivity.
War on Want loses Paypal facility
Paypal has stopped providing services to the UK Charity War on Want. This follows UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) pointing out to Paypal that War on Want appeared to have close links to a terrorist organisation, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

UK Lawyers for Israel and The Lawfare Project recently submitted a complaint to the Charities Commission, detailing the various links between the charity and the PFLP terror group. In particular War on Want works closely with the Palestinian NGO Addameer. Addameer describes itself as a “Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association”. It is an official affiliate of the PFLP.[3] The full complaint to the Charity Commission may be read HERE: War on Want Complaint to Charity Commission

Paypal was one of the payment methods offered to the public on War on Want’s “make a donation” page. However, if anyone tries to donate using Paypal now, they are met with an error message.

Caroline Turner, director of UK Lawyers for Israel commented: “I am pleased that Paypal has responded to the evidence it has now seen regarding War on Want’s association with groups linked to terrorism and has ceased to assist War on Want in obtaining donations. I hope that the Charity Commission will now look carefully at War on Want’s activities and associations.”

Thanks to NGO Monitor for their information on Addameer.
A Culture of Discrimination? University of Michigan Faces Scrutiny for Educators’ Anti-Israel Bias
The University of Michigan is again under fire for anti-Israel sentiment, as a pro-BDS instructor rejected a Jewish student’s request for a letter of recommendation to study in Israel for a semester, just a few months after an associate professor refused to do the same for student Abigail Ingber.

In August, associate professor in the American Culture Department John Cheney-Lippold wrote to Ingber via email: “As you may know, many university departments have pledged an academic boycott against Israel in support of Palestinians living in Palestine. This boycott includes writing letters of recommendation for students planning to study there. … For reasons of these politics, I must rescind my offer to write your letter.”

He is now undergoing disciplinary action.

But the problem is bigger than Cheney-Lippold, as further evidenced by a second, nearly identical incident that affected another Jewish student.

Last week, a graduate teaching instructor reneged on her promise to write 20-year-old junior Jake Secker a letter of recommendation to study abroad for a semester at Tel Aviv University.

“I’m so sorry that I didn’t ask before agreeing to write your recommendation letter, but I regrettably will not be able to write on your behalf,” Lucy Peterson said in her email to Secker. “Along with numerous other academics in the US and elsewhere, I have pledged myself to a boycott of Israeli institutions as a way of showing solidarity with Palestine.”

University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald has stated on the record that “the university is prohibited by federal law from discussing student matters without the written permission of the student.”
IsraellyCool: Roger Waters Booed At Brazil Concert
Rock-n-roll BDS-hole Roger Waters has been booed at the first of eight concerts in Brazil, after the name of front runner Jair Bolsonaro’s name was included on a list of “fascist” world leaders projected on a wall on stage (which also included U.S. President Donald Trump).

Good to see Waters is beginning to grate on many more people. It is just a shame there weren’t any tomatoes nearby.
Academics’ Letter Exposes BDS Hypocrisy
There is nothing wrong with debating the Israeli policy that has seen the refusal to allow entry for Lara Alqasem, an American student BDS activist, to study at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. There has even been criticism from Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren, as well as pro-Israel columnists Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss in the New York Times.

There is something particularly strange, however, about a letter in The Guardian signed by more than 300 academics calling on the Israeli authorities to permit Alqasem to enter Israel and pursue her studies.

The letter says:

Denying entry to foreign students based on political beliefs or ethnic heritage is an attack on academic freedom. As professors who are committed to academic freedom, and as humans who reject all forms of racial profiling, we are calling on the Israeli authorities to permit Lara Alqasem to enter Israel and pursue her studies.

While it might be possible to trawl through the list of signatories to ascertain their motives for adding their support to the letter, it’s entirely possible that most are motivated not by a hatred of Israel but by genuine concerns for academic freedom.

All of them are prominent supporters of the BDS campaign in the UK and advocates for the academic boycott of Israel.

Hilary and Steven Rose even led the call for a moratorium on European research collaboration with Israel in a 2002 open letter that marked the beginning of the call for an academic boycott of Israel. Later they participated in setting up BRICUP, the British Campaign for the Universities of Palestine and PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
Conservative, Jewish NY Times columnists slam Israel for BDS ‘paranoia’
Two Jewish pro-Israel New York Times columnists have excoriated Jerusalem for what they say are “paranoid policies” over the continued detention of an American graduate student at the airport over her alleged support for the Palestinian-led boycott campaign against the Jewish state.

The column by conservatives Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss in support of Lara Alqasem reflected what analysts say is growing unease in the US Jewish community, even among staunch Israel supporters, with hamhanded policies pursued by the Netanyahu government.

Alqasem, a 22-year-old US citizen with Palestinian grandparents, landed at Ben Gurion airport last Tuesday with a valid student visa to study in a masters program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. But she was barred from entering the country and ordered deported, based on suspicions she is a boycott supporter.

Alqasem has denied she supports the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaign against Israel, and has remained in custody for the last eight days while she appeals the deportation order. Israel says she is free to leave the country should she choose to do so, but she is fighting a court battle to be allowed in. The Hebrew University is backing her.

In a joint Wednesday op-ed titled “Why is Israel afraid of this young American?” Stephens and Weiss write that by expelling its harshest critics, Israel is only reinforcing their prejudice.
New York Times Blames Israel For Alienating American Jews
The New York Times carries an article by Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss about what they say is “a growing list of visitors to Israel who have faced deportation or harassment because of their political views.”

Leave aside, at least for the moment, whether the questioning these visitors faced rises to what may be accurately described as “harassment.”

Stephens and Weiss stumble when they write, “Detaining people like Ms. Alqasem also does little to stem a worrying trend among young American Jews, who are increasingly alienated from Israel because of its hard-line policies.”

This claim that young American Jews are “increasingly alienated from Israel because of its hard-line policies” doesn’t stand examination.

When that claim was made at book length a few years ago, a reviewer demolished it. He wrote: “A whopping 82 percent of American Jews feel that U.S. support for Israel is either ‘just about right’ or ‘not supportive enough’ — and that’s just among those Jews who describe themselves as ‘liberal’ or ‘very liberal.’…Generationally speaking, there even seems to be a rightward tilt among younger Jews. Consider Jerusalem: 58 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 oppose re-dividing it. Just 51 percent of their parents and grandparents feel the same way.”

That reviewer was Bret Stephens himself, writing in 2012.
At hearing, state says student activist Alqasem never cut ties with BDS
Much of the hearing also revolved around when, if ever, Alqasem, ceased BDS her activity.

While Ben Hillel said that she had stopped supporting BDS in April 2017, state prosecutor Yossi Zadok said they had information that she had continued involvement with BDS even into 2018.

When pressed about what the evidence was, Zadok said they had information that she had previously posted her intent to attend BDS events in 2018 and later erased the posts.

Zadok implied that erasing the posts also showed dishonesty and a cover-up.

“Is this what we have come to?” Ben Hillel responded with indignation.

He said that many people post on Facebook that they might attend an event without actually attending and that many also erase prior activism posts for a variety of reasons.

According to Ben Hillel, a 2017 law allowing the state to block BDS supporters from entering Israel only applies to current BDS leaders.

Alqasem ceased being president of the Students for Justice of Palestine at her university, where he said there were only eight members and the group had little impact, over a year and a half ago, Ben Hillel said. For that reason, the state had no basis to prevent her entry now, he argued.

But Zadok responded that the state has wide discretion to prevent people from entering the country and has previously used that discretion on persons for their activities even decades before – let alone only 18 months ago. He was also adamant that the state disputed Alqasem’s story about when she had stopped her BDS activity.
Student held at airport over BDS - HR's Daniel Pomerantz on i24 News

Israel Hears Appeal From Another BDS Activist Denied Entry Into Country
An Israeli court heard an appeal on Thursday from a BDS activist denied entry into the country. This is the second known such case this month.

Isabel Phiri, a senior official in the World Council of Churches, which represents about 350 churches of various denominations, was rejected in December 2016 from entering Israel to partake in the WCC’s annual Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel.

EAPPI, whose mission is to bring thousands of volunteers to Judaea and Samaria to “witness life under occupation,” receives funds from many European governments and church groups. EAPPI also trains anti-Israel activists.

“Policy-makers and the courts will decide whether Isabel Phiri should be allowed into Israel. But there should be no doubt about the deeply problematic nature of the World Council of Churches, with a long history of antisemitism and anti-Israel hostility,” said NGO Monitor president Gerald Steinberg. “Its most grievous sin is EAPPI, for which [there] is no parallel anywhere in the world and is a vehicle for training BDS activists.”
IsraellyCool: Richard Silverstein’s Unbelievable Reaction to Report About US Student Denied Entry into Israel
His reaction? You couldn’t make it up!

Yup, because she says she no longer supports a boycott of Israel, she is a “shill for Liberal Zionism” and Israel should expel her so that Israel can look bad.

Silverstein is clearly not right in the head and seems to have boycotted his own brain cells.

The good news for him is that this does not disqualify him from continuing to appear on Iranian propaganda outlet Press TV and represent himself as a “journalist”. On the contrary – his outlandish hatred of Israel makes him a great choice as regular guest.
New Zealand BDS activists ordered to pay damages over Lorde Israel boycott
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court has ruled that two New Zealand Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists must pay damages totaling NIS 45,000 for their role in the cancellation of a scheduled Lorde concert in Tel Aviv.

On Wednesday, Judge Mirit Fohrer ruled that activists Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab must pay the damages to three Israeli minors named in the lawsuit who had purchased tickets to the concert. The suit was filed in January by attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of the Shurat HaDin NGO.

Last December, New Zealand singer Lorde announced a concert in Tel Aviv slated for June 2018. After a boycott campaign and intense social media pressure, the singer pulled out of the concert, saying, “I have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show.”

Lorde had previously responded on Twitter to an open letter written by Sachs and Abu-Shanab on the New Zealand website Spinoff. The letter called on Lorde to cancel the concert, since “playing in Tel Aviv will be seen as giving support to the policies of the Israeli government.”

In January, Shurat HaDin filed a lawsuit on behalf of Shoshana Steinbach, Ayelet Wertzel and Ahuva Frogel. The three all purchased tickets to see Lorde, and were refunded when the show was canceled. The suit demanded NIS 15,000 in damages for each of the teenagers, claiming that their “artistic welfare” was harmed as was their leisure time, “and above all damage to their good name as Israelis and Jews.” The lawsuit said that Lorde’s response on Twitter to the letter Sachs and Abu-Shanab penned showed a direct connection to the concert cancellation.
BBC perpetuates the narrative of perpetual Palestinian refugees
On Oct. 8th, the BBC published video segment by Paul Adams titled “After 70 years, who are the Palestinian refugees?”, filmed at the Burg Al-Barajneh “refugee” camp in Beirut, which focused on Palestinian fears that, under the new US peace plan, they’ll never be allowed to return “home”.

Here’s the six-minute segment:

Though the official UNRWA figure counts over 5 million Palestinian refugees, the overwhelming majority of these “refugees” – as we’ve noted repeatedly – are merely Palestinians descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.) of the original 711,000 actual refugees from 1948 who, unlike every other refugee population, are automatically granted refugee status, even those who have citizenship in other countries.

As Einat Wilf, co-author of the book ‘The War of Return’ observed about the fiction that there are millions of Palestinian refugees.

almost all [Palestinian refugees] (upward of 80 per cent) are either citizens of a third country, such as Jordan, or they live in [Palestinian territories] where they were born and expect to have a future…

….The remaining 20 per cent of the descendants…are inhabitants of Syria and Lebanon who are by law denied the right to citizenship granted to all other Syrians and Lebanese.

The number of actual refugees from 1948 is believed to be closer to 20,000.

As you saw in the clip, a Palestinian professor in Lebanon was interviewed who explained that Palestinian “refugees” in Lebanon – many of whom have lived in the country for generations – are truly second class citizens and are denied basic employment and property rights. Yet, note how Adams failed to draw the most intuitive conclusion from this fact: that the refugee issue – and the fact that so many Arabs of Palestinian descent identify as “refugees” – is perpetuated by Arab states (and UNRWA) who refuse to encourage the full integration of Palestinians into their countries. Nor, did Adams ask why such “refugee camps”, run by UNRWA, in Lebanon, Jordan, and within the Palestinian Authority have never been converted to ordinary cities.
Jewish supporters of Germany’s far-right AfD see party as means to counter anti-Semitism
Jews in the AfD hope to engage the party about incidents, policies and statements that have been cited as proof of anti-Semitism endemic to the party. For instance, the AfD platform forbids kosher ritual animal slaughter, which subsumes the Jewish shechitah—a target of the Muslim population.

“It’s a problem, but that doesn’t automatically make it an anti-Semitic party,” said Fuhl. “There is disagreement about it within the party, and we’ll address it.”

Other oft-cited problematic AfD statements include AfD chair Alexander Gauland calling the Holocaust a “bird speck in glorious German history,” and regional parliament member Björn Höcke saying the grand Berlin Holocaust memorial is a “monument of shame.” JAfD doesn’t necessarily see these comments as trivializing the Shoah, believing such words have been interpreted out of context or overplayed by the media.

“I prefer to be part of a party that wants to help living Jews, not dead Jews,” Fuhl said to applause.

Perhaps as an unintended consequence, the event has snaked out alleged anti-Semites. In condemning the founding of JAfD, regional AfD parliament member Wolfgang Gedeon who has been accused of trafficking in Jewish conspiracy theories, wrote on Facebook: “The AfD has adopted a positive attitude towards the real, Christian identity of the European continent for good reason. In the best case, this group [the JAfD] is completely unnecessary; in the worst case, it is a Zionist lobby organization which runs against the interests of Germany and the Germans.”

Beatrix von Storch rejected Gedeon’s message, telling JNS: “The founding of the JAfD enjoys enormous support within the party. [Gedeon’s] statements are inherently false, politically irrelevant and isolated within the party.”
Israeli martial arts group nominated for peace award
Budo for Peace – a non-profit organization that brings together youths from diverse social, religious, ethnic, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds amid martial-arts training – has been named a regional finalist in the 2018 Peace and Sport Organizations’ annual awards.

The winner will be announced at the Peace and Sport Regional Forum in Rhodes, Greece, on October 18.

Budo is a Japanese word that describes modern martial arts.

The Peace and Sport Organization was founded in 2007 by French athlete Joe Bouzo, who competed in modern pentathlon contests in four Olympic Games, winning bronze and gold medals.

Prior to his Peace & Sport global initiative, he founded a similar French organization, Rassemblement par le Sport, whose mission is to use sport as a platform for socially integrating young people who live in areas where conflict and violence are rife.

Budo for Peace was founded in 2004 by Danny Hakim, an Australian-born businessman, philanthropist and martial-arts champion.
TV's Lucy Aharish weds 'Fauda' star Tzachi Halevy
TV presenter Lucy Aharish and actor Tzachi Halevy got married Wednesday night at a small private ceremony near Hadera.

The wedding between the pair – Aharish, an Arab Muslim from Dimona and Halevy, a Jewish Duvdevan veteran from Petah Tikva – sparked a heated debate among many politicians over intermarriage in the country.

Aharish currently works for Reshet 13, and has served in the past as an anchor for Channel 2 and for i24. In 2015, she was given the honor of lighting a torch at the national Independence Day ceremony.

Halevy is best known for his role as Naor in Fauda, and was also a finalist in the first season of The Voice. Most recently, he portrayed Muammar Gaddafi in the Netflix film The Angel.

Aharish and Halevy have reportedly been secretly together for four years, though their relationship was never made public. Though news of their wedding came as a shock to many, several news outlets indicated it was known by many gossip reporters who were asked to keep it a secret.

The pair wed in a private ceremony in Elik’s Ranch, southwest of Hadera. Couples of different religions cannot legally marry in Israel.
Google uses Israel-based Waze to expand carpool service across US
Google will begin offering its pay-to-carpool service throughout the U.S. in an effort to reduce the commute-time congestion that its popular Tel-Aviv-based Waze navigation app is designed to avoid.

The expansion announced Wednesday builds upon a carpooling system that Waze began testing two years ago in northern California and in Israel before gradually extending it into Brazil and parts of 12 other states.

Now it will be available to anyone in the U.S.

Drivers willing to give someone a ride need only to install the Waze app on their phone. Anyone wanting a ride will need to install a different Waze app exclusively for carpooling.

Riders pay a small fee to chip in for gas and other expenses. It's supposed to be similar to what it would cost to take public transportation to work, according to the company. For instance, Waze typically sets a price of about $8 for a carpooling ride from San Francisco to Mountain View, California – the home of Google and other tech companies.

About 1.3 million drivers and passengers have signed up for Waze's carpooling service, the company says. About 30 million people in the U.S. currently rely on the Waze app for directions; it has 110 million users worldwide.
New fund utilizes Israeli tech to help small farmers in Africa
An estimated 5,000 Ethiopian farmers will take part in a new $14 million agricultural loan and education program utilizing Israeli agriculture technology and improved seeds. The initiative, launched by the American Joint Distribution Committee this week, joins a number of Israeli agriculture improvement programs in Ethiopia and other countries in Africa.

In the pilot program, in the southern region of Ethiopia, the JDC will offer low-interest loans to large agricultural enterprises that work with local farmers. The JDC will also offer training in Israeli drip irrigation and the use of hybrid seeds for higher yields in small places.

JDC plans to expand to other countries in Africa in the coming years.

Israel has a long history of exporting agricultural expertise, honed by the country’s harsh desert conditions and a lack of space. The Foreign Ministry’s MASHAV program runs many opportunities for international farmers, including study and exchange programs in Israel, as well as agriculture training in many countries.

The economies of developing countries like Ethiopia rely heavily on agriculture. More than 70 percent of Ethiopia’s workforce is in agriculture, but 30% are still below the poverty line.
Israeli Dance Company Embarks on Four-Week Tour of Latin America
The Vertigo Dance Company of Jerusalem is doing a Latin American performance tour from October 7 through November 5, presenting Noa Wertheim’s “White Noise” in Mexico, Panama, Peru and Colombia.

The dance company also was supposed to perform in Nicaragua, but due to anti-government riots going on there, that stop was canceled for safety reasons. The dancers will instead use that time to extend their stays in Mexico and Panama, where they will give dance lessons to children of the Jewish communities, as well as student dancers and young dancers.

The tour was made possible with the assistance of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage Affairs in celebration of the 70th anniversary of Israeli independence.
Swedish pro-Israel flotilla to arrive at Herzliya
After years of flotillas launched from Europe to break Israel's partial blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, a flotilla has been launched in support of the State of Israel.

The Swedish ship Elida left last month in a solidarity campaign with Israel, and will arrive in Herzliya this afternoon.

The purpose of the ship's voyage, along with expressing support for Israel, is also to present to the Israelis what the activists call the "other Sweden."

There are about fifty evangelical Christians on the ship who are sympathetic to Israel. The vessel will be staying at the Herzliya port in the coming days and will be open to the general public that will be invited to board her and enjoy light refreshments and Swedish music.

In addition, the Foreign Ministry will host a delegation from the flotilla to lunch in Jerusalem. The Herzliya Municipality will also hold a special reception for the flotilla activists.
In Denmark, Rivlin pays tribute to rescue of country’s Jews in 1943
Israeli and Danish dignitaries on Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the daring rescue of more than 7,000 Jews from Denmark by boat to neighboring Sweden during World War II.

President Reuven Rivlin and Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen paid tribute to the events in 1943 in ceremonies at the small fishing town of Gilleleje, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Copenhagen.

“The rescue of the Jews of Denmark is a remarkable event in the history of the Holocaust, a bright light in the darkest time in human history. Denmark is a shining example of a country that stood at the side of its Jewish community during the Holocaust. The Jewish people and the state of Israel will never forget that,” Rivlin said.

Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany from April 1940 to May 1945, and it’s one of the few European countries whose Jewish population was largely saved from the Holocaust.

About 7,200 Jews, or 95 percent of Denmark’s Jewish population, and some 700 of their non-Jewish relatives managed to escape by crossing the narrow waterway from Gilleleje and other coastal spots to neutral Sweden in a risky rescue mission between September and October 1943.

Rivlin and Rasmussen laid wreaths at the town’s port Thursday, before attending a ceremony at Gilleleje’s 16th-century church.

Some 80 Jews were hidden in the church’s attic while waiting for maritime transportation.
Danish Jews recall desperate escape from Nazis, 75 years on
Freddy Vainer was only four years old when he and his family were forced to flee Copenhagen to escape being deported to Nazi concentration camps, but he remembers it like it was yesterday.

“My grandfather was at the synagogue on October 1, 1943, when he found out that he had to flee,” he said. That month nearly 7,000 Danish Jews made the desperate journey by boat to neighboring Sweden.

Occupied by Nazi Germany since April 1940, Denmark surrendered but retained some independence of its institutions until the end of the summer of 1943, when the Danish government was forced to resign.

At first the Jewish population seemed relatively safe, and were not forced to wear a yellow star.

But “in September orders from Berlin were being sent to deal with the so-called Jewish question,” Cecilie Banke, a researcher at the Danish Institute of International Studies, told AFP.

She said that plans were leaked from within the German authorities so Denmark’s Jewish population could be warned.
The Rescue of the Danish Jews

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