Friday, January 25, 2019

From Ian:

Prof. Deborah Lipstadt: Yes, Jeremy Corbyn IS Fuelling Anti-Semitism
In her new book, Anti-Semitism Here And Now, Professor Deborah Lipstadt devotes several pages to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn: "Jeremy Corbyn's record in politics is deeply rooted in firmly held ideological beliefs. Fundamental to his political philosophy is an automatic - critics might call it knee-jerk - sympathy for anyone who is or appears to be oppressed or an underdog."

"It is doubtful that Corbyn deliberately seeks out anti-Semites to associate with and to support. But it seems that when he encounters them, their Jew-hatred is irrelevant as long as their other positions - on class, race, capitalism, the role of the state, and Israel/Palestine - are to his liking. Alan Johnson, the former moderate Labour MP, aptly described Corbyn as someone who does not 'indulge in anti-Semitism himself. It is that he indulges the anti-Semitism of others.'"

"Even though the EU and the U.S. have classified Hamas and Hizbullah as terrorist organizations, Corbyn has described them as 'friends,' attacked the notion they were 'terrorists' and invited them to meet him at Parliament....In 2010...on Holocaust Remembrance Day, he hosted an 'Auschwitz to Gaza' event in Parliament at which repeated comparisons were made between Jews, Israelis and Nazis."

"So, in answer to the question: Is Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite? My response would be that that's the wrong question. The right questions to ask are: Has he facilitated and amplified expressions of anti-Semitism? Has he been consistently reluctant to acknowledge expressions of anti-Semitism unless they come from white supremacists and neo-Nazis? Will his actions facilitate the institutionalization of anti-Semitism among other progressives? Sadly, my answer to all of these is an unequivocal yes."
Melanie Phillips: The dirty little secret of the 'diversity' agenda
The reason for this moral collapse is the shift in political gravity that has taken place on the left in which positions previously shunned as marginal and unacceptable have now become mainstream.

Support for “Palestine” has transformed what has never ceased to be a genocidal agenda into a presumed liberation movement and the signature progressive cause.

Black power, once seen rightly as a hateful, anti-white, violent revolutionary movement is now an accepted narrative in America’s black community. This would undoubtedly have horrified its great and visionary leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Contrary to the poisonous travesty published a few days ago by The New York Times that vilified Israel and wickedly suggested that King would today be its foe, he actually said: “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews. You are talking antisemitism.”

Tragically, the mainstreaming of black power has now also mainstreamed black antisemitism, just as the championing of “Palestine” has mainstreamed hatred of Jews.

This shift that has taken place to an anti-white, anti-West, anti-Jew agenda is denied largely because it is so closely associated with “diversity” – that is, black people and Muslims.

The sheer terror of being tarred as racist or Islamophobic causes such circles not only to deny this is happening, but to hurl accusations of racism or Islamophobia at any who point it out.

Black power demagogues like Farrakhan whip up black-on-white race hate wherever they can. Preying on America’s guilt over its terrible history of slavery and anti-black bigotry, this anti-white racism threatens to unstitch America’s social fabric.

In 2014, the Investor’s Business Daily described how the “radical Muslim Brotherhood has built the framework for a political party in America that seeks to turn Muslims into an Islamist voting bloc.”

Social inclusion has meant embracing not just the unconscionable but a dagger at the throat of Jews, America and the West.

Marc Lamont Hill: Prominent Progressives Secretly Share Views Endorsing Palestinian Violence
A former CNN pundit fired for comments endorsing Palestinian violence against Israel doubled down in a podcast released Thursday, claiming his views were mainstream among progressives.

Marc Lamont Hill was fired by CNN after he called for "a free Palestine from the river to the sea" in a November speech at the United Nations. Hill spoke with Mehdi Hasan on his Intercept podcast "Deconstructed" in a segment called "What You Can't Say About Israel."

During the segment, Hill made clear he stood by his comments. "I think I was right," he said.

"If I had a dollar for every progressive member of Congress, for every progressive faculty member, for every progressive cable news or otherwise TV commentator who sent me a private message saying, ‘I agree with you,'" Hill said, "I'd have so much money."

Hill claimed other progressives are afraid of backlash for publicly embracing the slogan.

"You can almost hear the whispers in the message, ‘I agree with you, but, you know, stay strong, but this is why I don't say anything,'" he told Hasan.

The slogan "from the river to the sea" refers to the space between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. It suggests the formation of a Palestinian state spanning the two waters, erasing Israel entirely. Defenders of Palestinian terror organizations and those seeking a one-state solution that ends Israel's existence often repeat the slogan.

Imam Tawhidi: Is Jerusalem a Sacred Islamic City?
There is a big difference between a city being sacred in the eyes of God and it being a sacred Islamic city. For example, all prophetic tombs, birthplaces and areas where miracles took place are considered sacred in Islam, but they are not specifically Islamic locations. A sacred Islamic location is a location where a significant Islamic event has taken place by either Allah or Prophet Mohammad.

The Holy Koran states very clearly that the Holy Land, Jerusalem, belongs to the Jewish nation of Moses, the Israelites. Koran 5:20 makes it clear that God "had not given (this land to) anyone among the world" other than the Jewish nation. From this verse, and others of similar context, we understand that Jerusalem is a sacred city according to God, but it is not a sacred Islamic city, due to the fact that its sacredness was established before the existence of Islam.

Koran 17:1 reported on the Prophet Mohammad's night journey to Al-Aqsa Mosque (the Farthest Mosque). First, Prophet Mohammad traveling to a location does not make that location "Islamic." Second, there is little evidence that "Al-Aqsa Mosque" is actually in Jerusalem, and there are a large number of Muslims who believe that "the Farthest Mosque" is a reference to a mosque in the heavens, due to the fact that the current Al-Aqsa Mosque did not exist during the lifetime of Prophet Mohammad, making it impossible for him to have visited it.
Egyptian-Canadian Writer Said Shoaib: Western Imams Who Praise Islamic Caliphate Are Terrorists; Western Politicians Don't Know What Is Really Being Taught In Western Mosques
During an interview with German-Egyptian political scientist and author Hamed Abdel-Samad that was uploaded to Abdel-Samad's YouTube channel on January 14, 2019, Egyptian-Canadian writer Said Shoaib said that imams in the West embrace colonialist Islam and deceive Westerners by talking about the "greatness of the Islamic caliphate." He said that these things constitute a form of terrorism that might become armed terrorism should the opportunity present itself, and that the West has failed to realize this. Shoaib explained that this form of Islamism is being taught in mosques and in Islamic schools throughout the West, and that the natural course of such education is terrorism. Hamed Abdel-Samad added that the same Muslims who show enmity to other religions in their home countries come to the West and criticize Christians, Jews, the West, and secularism while demanding that nobody criticizes Islam. Abdel-Samad also said that the Canadian government is naïve, and he criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "romantic" fantasy that everybody should "hold hands and hug and kiss one another." Abdel-Samad said that Trudeau doesn't know what is really being taught in Canadian mosques and Shohaib said that Western politicians don't know anything about Islam. Shohaib said that "a lot of blood will be shed here in the West," and that if Western politicians fail to stop the terrorist "wave" in the West, ordinary citizens will become more inclined to elect increasingly "extreme" leaders. He added: "The main plan of the Islamists is to destroy Western civilization. They have said it themselves!"

"I Sent My Arabic Books That Are Against Political Islam To A Library Here [In Canada]... They Told Me That My Books Are In Violation Of Canadian Values"

Said Shoaib: "The imams here do something that deceives many people, especially in the West. They talk, for example, about the greatness of the Islamic caliphate. Does this constitute terrorism? It does. The [Westerners] do not realize that this is terrorism. When you embrace the notion of a colonialist Islam that raids nations, takes them over, and controls them – you are a terrorist. You are an unarmed terrorist, until the opportunity presents itself...
"I sent my Arabic books that are against political Islam to a library here [in Canada]. I was happy to find here a book of mine, which had nothing to do with Islam. I wanted to donate my books to them because they had just opened up. So I gave them two books against political Islam, but that public library rejected them. They sent me formal mail..."
Holocaust museums need radical changes
International Holocaust Memorial Day this Sunday, January 27th, is an appropriate occasion to reflect on the nature of Holocaust museums and their role in society. New museums are still being established.

Some lead to controversies. One such institution is the planned Ghetto Museum in Warsaw, Poland, scheduled to open in 2023. There is also substantial disagreement about the not-yet opened Holocaust Museum in Budapest, Hungary. Their content and approach to how history has to be told are touchy issues.

From a wider perspective, the Holocaust should be related not only to the history of antisemitism, but also to contemporary hate-mongering against Jews. For many years, the expectation was cultivated that antisemitism would finally fade away after six million European Jews were brutally murdered by the German industrial killing system.

This hope has proven futile, particular in the 21st century.

In 2000, there was already a substantial increase in antisemitic incidents, mainly in France. This was followed by similar developments in several other European countries. In France, we first witnessed immigrants from Muslim countries playing a major role in antisemitic incidents. This development has since become evident in a number of other European countries.

Yet, there are still those who attempt to hide the evidence of the major role of Muslims in antisemitic acts. Among the main culprits are German authorities who in their statistics attribute the large number of antisemitic incidents by unknown perpetrators to right-wingers.
50th anniversary of Baghdad hangings: I’m scared – but I must say what happened
This Sunday, 27 January marks 50 years since the hangings in Baghdad of nine Jews on trumped-up spying charges. (Dozens more Jews disappeared without trace. ) The event will be marked with special commemorations in Sephardi synagogues. It took Faiza Saigh fifty years to summon up the courage to give this account in Jewish News of the execution of her brother Daoud, 23. (With thanks to Lisette and others)

One night, me and my sister went to sleep and my father stayed up listening to the radio as always. We had a TV but most of the news came through the radio. That’s when he heard the trial being broadcast, that night, Daoud and the others confessing to spying for Israel, ‘we went here, we did this,’… They confessed and that’s when the judge ordered their death by hanging. They were killed there and then. Early the next morning, before 5am, their bodies were put in the square. It all happened so quickly.

“We heard they tortured them. It was freezing in those two winter months, severe cold, and I had a dream one night that Daoud was sleeping on a block of ice [breaks down crying]. We used to buy ice from a van in the street as we didn’t have freezers. I dreamt he had to sleep on one of those blocks. We heard they were taking their nails off. They made them confess.

“My mother never told us what happened next, but I found out what happened after she died in 2012. When my mother heard that their execution had been ordered, she didn’t think it would happen, so she went to take a taxi to the airport to fly to Basra. The son of the Cohen family, David Cohen, was told to go with her to the road to get a taxi. He was 15 at the time. He now lives in England and told me what happened. My mother asked the driver to take her to the airport. He looked at her and said ‘Lady, don’t you know? They’re hanging the spies in Liberation Square. All the roads are blocked. Where can I take you?’

At this point, David told me that my mother asked the driver to take her to the square. There were thousands of people. She went and saw the bodies, the people dancing underneath. She never told us. “She asked the Cohens to take care of things like burial, shiva, whatever needs doing, so she could return to her family. She couldn’t fly so she took a taxi all the way to Basra, five hours.
‘This is embarrassing’: Rep. Ilhan Omar opposes President Trump’s ‘coup attempt’ in Venezuela
The first thing we have to say in any post regarding Trump’s alleged “coup” in Venezuela is this: even Justin Freaking Trudeau is backing it. And second, it’s not a coup; the United States has joined with many other countries to officially recognize Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela rather than dictator Nicolás Maduro.

Freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was begged by a blue-check journalist to speak out against the Trump-led coup, has done so via Twitter:

Ilhan Omar Endorsed Somalia’s New President. Four Days Later, Omar’s Brother-in-Law Had a Powerful Job in His Administration
Ilhan Omar is now a U.S. congresswoman, however. Elected federal officials are exempted from the arduous security clearance process; they hold de facto clearances once sworn in to office. Further, Omar will likely be privy to a significant amount of classified national security information this term. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has granted Omar's request for a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Corruption … affects virtually every aspect of the Somali society: from public officials’ misuse of public goods for private gain and the solicitation of bribes in exchange for basic services to the clan-based patronage networks used to obtain employment and political appointments.” -- Transparency International, 2018

The common hyperbole for describing government corruption -- “rampant,” or “endemic” -- does not help adequately illustrate Somalia’s recent administrations. “As bad as it gets” does the job, literally: Transparency International, the massive NGO dedicated to exposing public-sector corruption, has placed Somalia dead-last among all nations on Earth in its annual “Corruption Perceptions Index” -- for 11 consecutive years. Somalia has occasionally managed to tie, though never outrank, North Korea.

Any significant involvement by a U.S. citizen in Somalia's election process would likely raise eyebrows at America's intelligence agencies.

On December 20, 2016, just a few weeks after her election to Minnesota's state legislature, Ilhan Omar was in Mogadishu with then-President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a favorite for re-election. He reportedly invited her to appear with him prior to the election taking place. (h/t MtTB)
IsraellyCool: ‘Shirley Temper’ and ‘Mahitler’ Named Muslim Persons of 2019
A teenage Palestinian resistance icon and Malaysian prime minister have been named the Muslim persons of the year in the 2019 edition of the Muslim 500, a list of world’s most influential Muslims.

You would have thought the Muslims of the Year would be some who had contributed positively to humanity, whether in the arts or sciences. But no, hating Jews and calling for their murder seem to thrust you in to pole position.

By the way, the Muslim 500 is run by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, an independent research entity affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan. Good to see such positive sentiments towards Jews coming from one of our peace partners.
Know Your Enemy: Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit Test
They used to call them “pea-soupers”: dense, choking fogs caused by smoke from burning coal that frequently enveloped London until the middle of the last century, leaving a person unable, according to legend, to see further than their outstretched hands. That more or less describes the situation of the British people with regard to their impending departure — Brexit — from the European Union.

Those Jews outside the United Kingdom who are following the Brexit debacle with particular interest are probably concerned that, from somewhere within the depths of this political fog, there’s the possibility that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will become prime minister. They are concerned because Corbyn has presided over his party’s emergence as — to quote Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May during this week’s House of Commons debate on Labour’s no-confidence motion in her government — “the banner under which racists and bigots whose worldview is dominated by a hatred of Jews could gather.”

I’m not going to rule out the prospect of Corbyn becoming prime minister of the United Kingdom, if only because nothing can be ruled out at this moment. But I am going to argue that getting there will require Corbyn to navigate a road more twisted and strewn with obstacles than his many adversaries around the world might appreciate.

To begin with, despite being blessed with the kind of political opportunity that most opposition leaders pray for — in this case, the crushing of May’s Brexit plan by the largest House of Commons majority against a British government in nearly a century — not one single political pundit or member of parliament gave a second thought to the idea that Corbyn might actually win the no-confidence vote the following day. And sure enough, Corbyn’s motion lost by the predicted margin, as the rebel Conservatives and Northern Ireland Unionists, who only 24 hours earlier inflicted abject humiliation upon the prime minister, came to her rescue so as not to risk a Corbyn government.
May: Corbyn sat with Hamas, Hezbollah without preconditions, but not with me
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday attacked opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn for his refusal to meet with her over Brexit, asking the Labour party chairman why he met with members of terror groups Hamas, Hezbollah and the Irish Republican Army, but not with her.

“He has been willing to sit down with Hamas, Hezbollah and the IRA without preconditions but he will not meet with me to talk about Brexit,” May charged during Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons.

In response, Corbyn said he offered to meet with the British prime minister last fall, before quoting a line previously used by Hilary Benn MP: “While the door to her office may well be open, minds inside are completely closed.”

May opened her speech at the weekly event by mentioning the upcoming International Holocaust Remembrance Day, saying: “We must all challenge prejudice and hatred,” Sky News reported.
Speechwriter for UK Labour leader linked to prominent anti-Zionists
Alex Nunns, a political activist and author who has collaborated with prominent anti-Zionist figures, was recently hired as U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn's new speechwriter, the Jewish Chronicle reported on Sunday.

Nunns is the author of a book documenting Corbyn's unlikely rise to the helm of the British Labour party.

According to the Jewish Chronicle, the new speechwriter is "a long-time cheerleader for Mr. Corbyn on social media."

Nunns also "defended the Labour leader after a video emerged in August last year showing Mr. Corbyn saying Zionists 'don't understand English irony' despite having lived in the country for a very long time," the Jewish Chronicle reported.

The Jewish Chronicle further notes that Nunns claims to have done "editorial work on other people's books, like Julian Assange's 'When Google Met WikiLeaks' and Norman 'Finkelstein's 'Knowing Too Much.'"

Finkelstein wrote the controversial book "The Holocaust Industry," which attacks Israel and U.S. Jews for cynically using the Holocaust to attract financial and political support. Finkelstein has also been accused of sympathizing with terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, as has Corbyn.
Green Party Deputy Leader Finally Apologises For Sharing Anti-Semitic Image

Green Party deputy leader Amelia Womack has now deleted a tweet depicting Israel being to blame for the failure of Venezuelan socialism. She said the image, which shows the United States as Death, wielding a scythe bearing the flag of Israel and drawing blood in four separate continents, as painting “a thousand words.” Initially she bizarrely blamed her tweet on her phone running out of battery…

Despite calls for an apology last night it took until late this morning for Womack to actually offer one. Why did it take so long for someone to convince her that maybe a pithy jokey ‘explanation’ in this instance doesn’t quite cut the mustard..?
Prof. Miriam Elman appointed Executive Director of Academic Engagement Network
Syracuse University Professor Miriam Elman has been covering the anti-Israel movement for Legal Insurrection since her first Guest Post on November 9, 2014. Since then, Miriam has published over 150 posts.

Wait, wut, we’re coming up on Miriam’s 5th Anniversary at LI next November?

Miriam has established herself as one of the leading experts on the pathological nature of anti-Israel and pro-boycott groups, as well as Palestinian incitement and campus antisemitism.

By way of example, Miriam’s coverage of the disgusting blood-libelous Deadly Exchange campaign by Jewish Voice for Peace and other groups has been instrumental in the push back that is developing.

Her work for Legal Insurrection, however, is just as small part of what Miriam does. And what she does has been recognized by the Academic Engagement Network, a group of several hundred “American university and college faculty and staff formed for the purposes of opposing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, standing for academic freedom and freedom of expression, and supporting education and robust conversation about Israel in the academy. AEN also opposes antisemitism where it appears on campus.”
NGO Monitor: Episode 10: New Faces in Washington and Shifting Views on Israel
Is there reason to be concerned about new faces in Washington and their positions on Israel? How will the relationship between Israel and the US be affected? What is the role of NGOs in this shift?

Host: NGO Monitor Chief of Staff Naftali Balanson

Guest: NGO Monitor Director of Research Yona Schiffmiller
US professor fired for giving Nazi salute days after Pittsburgh massacre
A community college in Connecticut fired a business professor who gave a Nazi salute while shouting Nazi slogans at a faculty meeting days after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

Charles Meyrick of Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport was protesting perceived authoritarianism by the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system during its meeting November 2, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

The actions by Meyrick took place “just days after the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and triggered several participants to exit the facility out of fear for their safety,” said Mark Ojakian, president of the colleges and universities system, adding that his “threatening actions go far beyond acceptable discourse.”

At the synagogue, a far-right extremist killed 11 worshipers on October 27.

Paul Broadie II, the president of Housatonic CC, announced the termination on Thursday.

Meyrick’s acts came during a meeting in which the faculty from multiple institutions of higher learning had gathered to discuss school consolidation.
Airbnb faces civil rights suit in U.S. over West Bank settlement boycott
Five US citizens filed a civil rights lawsuit in California this week against Airbnb, claiming its decision to delist rental properties in settlements was discriminatory to Jews and akin to Nazi boycotts.

Two of the plaintiffs also hold Israeli citizenship and live in the Efrat settlement in West Bank, and three live in the US.

It is the second such lawsuit to be filed against the global company Airbnb in the United States since the company’s November decision not to list rental properties in West Bank settlements.

Late last year a demand for arbitration was filed against Airbnb in New York and a class action suit was also filed against the company in Israel.

The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys Mark Zell and David N. Schultz, allege that Airbnb’s refusal to list rentals in settlements solely targets “only those residential dwellings and accommodations in Judea and Samaria that are owned or managed by Jews.”

Buchenwald memorial bans German far-right AfD from Holocaust ceremony
The memorial at the ex-Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald has blocked members of the far-right Alternative for Germany party from attending Holocaust commemorations.

The memorial said AfD members aren’t welcome until they “credibly distance themselves from the anti-democratic, anti-human rights, and historical revisionist positions of their party.”

The dpa news agency reported Friday that AfD co-leader Joerg Meuthen accused the memorial of playing politics, saying “it is deeply shocking to use such an important process as the necessary remembrance of the barbaric atrocities of the Holocaust … for today’s political struggle.”

Buchenwald has previously blocked individual AfD members from attending ceremonies.

More than a dozen AfD state lawmakers walked out of the Bavarian parliament during a tribute to Holocaust victims Wednesday after a Jewish leader accused the Alternative for Germany of playing down the crimes of Nazis.

The state lawmakers stood up and walked out after Holocaust survivor Charlotte Knobloch, the former head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, called the party out by name, saying “this so-called Alternative for Germany bases its politics on hate and marginalization.”
Czech lawmakers adopt common definition of anti-Semitism
The Czech Parliament’s lower house has adopted a resolution that recognizes a common international definition of anti-Semitism.

Although the definition by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is not binding, lower house speaker Radek Vondracek says it could help authorities deal with hate crimes.

The 2016 definition says anti-Semitism is “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.” It includes attacks against Jewish religious and community institutions, Jews and non-Jews and their property that are attacked for anti-Semitic reasons.

The resolution was adopted Friday during a session to remember the victims of the Holocaust ahead of Sunday’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The definition has been adopted by a number of European parliaments and Israel.
British soccer’s governing body charges Crystal Palace player over Nazi salute
The English Football Association on Wednesday charged Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey with improper conduct after he appeared to perform a Nazi salute in a photograph posted online by German teammate Max Meyer.

The FA alleged the gesture was “abusive and/or insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.”

The governing body added that it was an aggravated breach of its rules because it included a “reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief.”

If found guilty, Hennessey could face a five-match ban.

Hennessey was near the back of the table during a team dinner in an image posted earlier this month by Meyer on an Instagram story, which disappears after 24 hours.

Hennessey denied performing a Nazi salute, saying he “waved and shouted at the person taking the picture to get on with it and at the same time put my hand over my mouth to make the sound carry.”
‘Fake’ Hitler paintings seized before going under hammer
German police seized three watercolors presented as works of Adolf Hitler before they were due for auction Thursday in Berlin, claiming they were fakes.

The Alpine and Rhenish landscapes were dated 1910 and 1911 and were signed A. Hitler. They were offered by auction house Kloss.

Berlin police tweeted they had opened an inquiry into “attempted fraud” and “falsification of documents.”

The starting price was 4,000 euros ($ 4,500) per painting, and each carried a seal of approval by an expert attesting their authenticity.
India successfully tests ship-borne air defense system created with Israel
The Indian Navy conducted a successful trial of the maritime Barak-8 interceptor on Thursday, in the latest test of the joint Indian-Israeli missile defense system, the Indian Defense Ministry said.

The Barak-8, also known as the Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM), was fired from the INS Chennai at an incoming target flying at a low altitude, India said.

“The missile destroyed the target with a direct hit. All the mission objectives have been met,” the country’s defense ministry said in a statement.

The Barak-8 was developed by IAI in collaboration with Israel’s Defense Ministry, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization, the navies of both countries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, IAI’s Elta Group, and local industries in India.

India, which has longstanding territorial disputes with neighbors China and Pakistan, has signed several big-ticket defense deals since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.
Watch: Rafael Designing Future Battlefield Warriors – Drone Swarms
In a secret laboratory in northern Israel, the Jewish State is preparing for next-generation warfare: thousands of small drones capable of synchronized action, like flocks of birds, observing, following and finally attacking the enemy – without risking the life of friendly forces, Channel 12 reported Thursday night.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is working on the design and production of drone swarms that can mimic the behavior of flocks of birds such as starlings.

Eric, head of the skimmers division in Rafael, introduced the integrated operation of these weapons:

“We try to imitate nature, whether it’s to fly as a group or to identify targets,” he explained. “You can see how these flyers assemble together,” he added. “It’s enough for me to tell one drone to fly south and the rest would follow.”

In the lab, the drones are adapted to the modern battlefield, which includes urban areas with multiple targets, most of which are hidden inside buildings.
Israeli Travel Tech Startup Wins UN World Tourism Organization Competition
Israeli startup Refundit, which developed a platform enabling travelers to submit VAT refund requests before reaching the airport, won first place at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) start-up competition in partnership with Globalia Corporación Empresarial SA, a leading tourism group in Spain and Latin America.

The competition was held for the very first time this year in Madrid. Refundit was among four Israeli startups that made up the 10 finalist companies in the contest, aimed at identifying initiatives with innovative and sustainable technologies and projects for the tourism industry.

Founded in 2017 by Ziv Tirosh and Uri Levine, also the co-founder of Waze, Refundit developed a fully digitized, mobile solution to allow non-EU travelers and tourists to apply for their VAT refund through an app, without waiting in long lines at stores or visiting the customs counters at airports.

Refundit’s solution empowers the tourist, the retailer and the country’s economy, by making tourists’ shopping more enjoyable and appealing, the company says. “Refundit’s digitized solution also allows tax authorities to provide refund approvals online and enables them to integrate innovative elements such as Big Data, advanced analytics, AI capabilities and fraud prevention into the VAT refund process.”

“Refundit’s solution is aimed to fix an inefficient market in which 90% of refund – some 23-billion-euro – entitled to non-EU tourists, is not returned to its owners, every year,” it added.

“We are excited by the recognition we received from the World Tourism Organization to the contribution of Refundit to global tourism economy and tourists,” Tirosh said in a statement.
Fighting BDS: Roseanne Barr visits Samaria, lauds settlers
Actress and comedian Roseanne Barr and Rabbi Shmuely Boteach visited Samaria Friday morning, planting trees and meeting with settlement leaders as the pair kick off a campaign to combat anti-Israel boycotts.

The visit to Samaria was organized by Rabbi Boteach’s World Values Network as part of the group’s new campaign against the BDS movement.

Barr, 66, met with Samaria Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan outside of the Israeli town of Peduel in Samaria, where she helped plant trees in honor of the recent Tu B’Shvat holiday earlier this week.

During her visit, Barr praised the local settlers, calling them Israel’s “front line”.

“You are pioneers. The people of Samaria are standing on the front line of the State of Israel.”

Rabbi Boteach echoed Barr’s sentiment, saying “The people who live here are heroes, they are pioneers who live here despite the difficulties, and thanks to them, the settlements have expanded and grown stronger.”

Dagan thanked Barr for her efforts to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS).

Bar Refaeli confirmed as Eurovision host despite her legal woes
Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli was on Friday named as the co-host of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, despite a looming indictment against her for tax offenses involving tens of millions of shekels.

Refaeli will host the May extravaganza alongside longtime television host Erez Tal, with Assi Azar and Lucy Ayoub broadcasting from the backstage area.

Gal Gadot was reportedly initially offered the hosting gig, but was said to have turned it down due to scheduling problems.

Earlier this month it was reported organizers were worried Refaeli may be too busy with her legal case to devote enough time to rehearsals for the show, as well as concerned about ethical and public image issues that may come with having a host under indictment.

Israel won the right to host the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest by winning the 2018 edition, with singer Netta Barzilai’s “Toy.”
Netta to perform for Jewish youth in Germany
Israeli Eurovision queen Netta Barzilai will perform as a special guest at the eighteenth “Jewrovision” – the musical contest for Jewish youth in Germany, to be held on February 2 in Frankfurt.

Jewrovision invites Jewish performers aged 10 to 19 to compete under the auspices of an overarching theme connected to Jewish heritage. As this year marks the competition’s 18th anniversary, the Hebrew word “Chai” – Life – whose numerical value is 18, was chosen as the competition’s theme. The participants, who represent 25 Jewish communities in Germany, will perform covers of famous pop songs with their own lyrics, costumes, choreography and video clips.

This year, the organizers – the Central Council of Jews in Germany, with the support of the Genesis Philanthropy Group and German authorities – expect a record 1,500 participants and 3,500 guests. Dr. Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said that Jewrovision reinforces the connection to the Jewish community and the State of Israel and encourages young Jews to creatively engage with Judaism.
In the Qumran cliffs, an expedition digs up new Dead Sea Scroll caves
A Bedouin huntsman and his dog, climbing on rocky mountainous cliffs above the Dead Sea, spotted a likely prey. The dog chased it into the mouth of a cave where inside, the Bedouin discovered jars containing scrolls with writing upon them. The find was reported to Jews living in Jerusalem, who mounted an expedition into the Judean Desert to retrieve them. They discovered many scrolls written in Hebrew script, including books of the Bible.

The year was 790 CE.

The events, recorded in a letter written by the East Syriac patriarch Timothy I in 800 CE, eerily anticipate the famous 1946 (re)discovery at Qumran of the trove of ancient sacred texts we now know as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

For a new team of Qumran excavators, who this week finished a third dig season high above the Dead Sea, the story is a beacon of hope.

“The Bedouin were not the first ones to find the scrolls in 1947,” said Dr. Oren Gutfeld, co-director of the Cave 53-Qumran Excavation.

The question is, will looters be the ones to discover any remaining scrolls?

On Tuesday, The Times of Israel joined the Qumran expedition on the last day of its three-week winter excavation of a new cave complex. Based on results from two previous seasons, the team, led by Hebrew University archaeologist Oren Gutfeld and Randall Price from the private Virginia-based Christian institution, Liberty University, believes there are more undiscovered finds that have slipped through the fingers of archaeologists — and even of intrepid looters.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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