Monday, April 15, 2019

From Ian:

How and Why Hamas Founded CAIR
Controversy broke out last week concerning remarks Congresswoman Ilhan Omar made at a gathering of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Last week also marked the fifth anniversary since CAIR—widely regarded by American journalists and politicians as a legitimate representative of U.S. Muslims—successfully pressured Brandeis University into canceling its plans to grant an honorary degree to the apostate Muslim and women’s-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. At the time, Andrew McCarthy responded with an updated version of a chapter from his 2010 book, in which he explained how Hamas operatives created CAIR.

When 25 [Hamas] members and supporters gathered at a Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia on October 27, 1993, they were unaware that the FBI was monitoring their deliberations. The confab was a brainstorming exercise: how best to back Hamas and derail the Oslo Accords while concealing these activities from the American government? . . . In the U.S., Hamas was [by this time] perceived as the principal enemy of the popular “peace process.” . . .

That was where [a] new organization would come in. . . . The new entity’s Islamism and Hamas promotion would have to be less “conspicuous.” It would need to couch its rhetoric in sweet nothings like “social justice,” “due process,” and “resistance.” If it did those things, though, it might be more attractive . . . and effective. A Muslim organization posing as a civil-rights activist while soft-pedaling its jihadist sympathies might be able to snow the American political class, the courts, the media, and the academy. It might make real inroads with the . . . progressives who dominated the Clinton administration. . . .

Despite its Hamas roots and terror ties, the most disturbing aspect of CAIR is its accomplishment of the Muslim Brotherhood’s precise aspiration for it. Thanks to its media savvy and the credulousness of government officials and press outlets, which have treated it as the “civil-rights” group it purports to be rather than the Islamist spearhead that it is, CAIR has been a constant thorn in the side of American national defense.

Jonathan S. Tobin: The City of David and the problem with dividing Jerusalem
A few weeks ago, archaeologists announced the discovery in Jerusalem of clay seals from the 6th century BCE that appear to have belonged to one of the courtiers of King Josiah mentioned in the biblical book of Kings. The discoveries were the product of ongoing excavations of an area known as the City of David, thought to be the main part of Jerusalem in First Temple times. Persistently denying all of the facts of Jewish history in the land of Israel, pro-Palestinian activists have condemned the excavations as the work of “settlers” trying to undermine their claims to Jerusalem. Jonathan Tobin writes:

Critics of the City of David Foundation, [which oversees the excavations and the concomitant preservations efforts], are also against its activities because they believe that the area should be part of a future Palestinian state. They say that the development of the site and the digs are part of an effort to prevent a redivision of Jerusalem that would enable the Palestinian Authority to put its capital in the city. . .

[T]he effort to delegitimize the work at the City of David points to a basic problem: . . . if you’re going to deny Jewish rights to the place where King David and his descendants ruled their ancient kingdom, then you can deny them any place in the country. And that is what Palestinians have continued to do. Their effort to treat the City of David or even the Western Wall as linked to Jewish myths rather than to the beginning of Jewish civilization is inextricably linked to their refusal to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders might be drawn.

Nor can it be argued that in a two-state solution, the Palestinians could be trusted to safeguard historical sites such as these. Just this week, evidence surfaced of ancient tombs in the Jericho area—territory that is governed by the Palestinian Authority—being looted by local Arabs. This is a commonplace occurrence throughout the [Palestinian-administered] territories; the region’s ancient Jewish heritage is being systematically destroyed by those out to make a profit or whose main goal is to eradicate the abundant evidence of the ancient Jewish ties to this land.

The only way to protect the heritage of the City of David is to ensure that it and the rest of Jerusalem remain under undivided Israeli authority with the right of Jews to live in their ancient capital undiminished. Any other solution isn’t a path to peace, but something that will only further encourage the history deniers of the Palestinian Authority to keep fighting their war on Jewish history.
Eyes and ears on Poland
Poland will be very much in the news over the coming month due to ongoing celebrations of the 100th anniversary of its independence, commemorations of the 76th anniversary Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a poster exhibition at the Vitrina Gallery, Holon Institute of Technology (HIT) featuring several of Poland’s leading graphic artists. The upcoming Polish Constitution Day reception will be hosted by Polish Ambassador Marek Magierowski and his wife, Anna, who will also mark the 15th anniversary of Poland’s accession to the European Union, and, of course, the much-lauded Tulia female quartet who will represent Poland at Eurovision.

IN POLAND and in Bund circles around the world, the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is commemorated on its Gregorian calendar date, which this year coincides with both Seder night and Shabbat. Although the Bund is neither Zionist nor religiously observant, in Israel and elsewhere this year, the commemoration was nonetheless brought forward.

In Warsaw, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, under the baton of Gabriel Chmura, will pay tribute to the musicians of the Warsaw Ghetto in general and the Warsaw Ghetto Orchestra in particular, at a special concert to be performed at the Polin Museum of the History of the Jews of Poland on Thursday, April 18. Reports from Warsaw indicate that the concert has been sold out.

Chmura, who was born in Wroclaw, in 1946, and migrated with his parents to Israel in 1957, has returned to Poland, where he is a popular figure in musical circles.

He studied piano, composition and conducting at the Tel Aviv University Music Academy, and later in France, Austria and Italy. He won a number of international competitions and has worked with orchestras around the world. In 2001, he was appointed artistic director of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, but continued to tour abroad. Another feather in his Polish cap came in 2012, when he was appointed artistic director of the Poznan Opera. He is also the leading guest conductor of the Krakow Philharmonic and in 2013, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Wroclaw Academy of Music, and in 2017, he was conferred with Poland’s highest artistic award, the Gloria Artis Gold.

MEMRI: International Union of Muslim Scholars, Which For Years Has Encouraged Jihad, Calls On The West To Prohibit The Discourse Of Hate
In the wake of the massacre perpetrated by an Australian right-wing extremist in two New Zealand mosques on March 15, 2019,[1] the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) called on non-Muslim countries to ban the dissemination of hatred against Islam. A statement published by the IUMS on the day of the massacre, which was read out by its head, Dr. Ahmad Al-Raissouni, urged non-Muslim countries to "prohibit the dissemination of hatred and alarmist messages against Islam, [because] these racist crimes are among the results of [the dissemination of such hatred]."[2]

In an interview on Al-Jazeera TV, Al-Raissouni held all Western countries responsible for the New Zealand massacre, because the organizations which orchestrate campaigns against Islam and Muslims operate openly in those countries. He added, however, that the real issue is no longer the anti-Islam movements and organizations, but states that take action against Muslims, adding that, "in Western countries today the spirit of a Crusader war against the Muslims is reawakening."[3]

It should be noted that, since its establishment in 2004, the IUMS – and especially its founder Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, who headed it until recently – has disseminated a discourse of hate which includes the encouragement of jihad and terror attacks.

It should is also be noted that the IUMS is supported by Qatar and Turkey. In an interview he gave on Al-Jazeera in November 18, 2018, after he replaced Al-Qaradawi as the head of the IUMS, Al-Raissouni revealed that Qatar has supported the organization since its inception and that Turkey now funds it as well, and said: "There is nothing wrong with that and we don't hide it. On the contrary, we are proud of it and we urge all the countries to follow in the footsteps of those two."[4]

MEMRI has dealt extensively with the extremist ideology preached by sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi, which includes antisemitic and anti-Christian discourse and encourages jihad and terror attacks. Dr. Ahmad Al-Raissouni has also voiced anti-Western sentiments on more than one occasion. In a 2015 article, he claimed that ISIS was created by "elements hostile to the Arabs and the [Sunni] Muslims," namely the West in general and the U.S. in particular, as well as Syria, Iraq and Iran. He added that the ostensible war on ISIS benefits the Western countries because they make vast profits selling arms and training military personnel.[5]
New York Times Conceals Democratic Leadership’s Condemnation of Ilhan Omar Tweets
The New York Times yesterday covered up the Democratic leadership’s condemnation of antisemitic tweets by Rep. Ilhan Omar, falsely casting concerns within the party as limited to only “some Jewish Democrats.” Glenn Thrush, a Washington D.C., correspondent for The Times reported yesterday (“Pelosi Requests Security Review to Protect Ilhan Omar After Trump Tweet“):
The attacks on the congresswoman [Omar] have provided Democrats with a rare opportunity to unify around Ms. Omar, whose previous comments about Israel have been interpreted as anti-Semitic by some Jewish Democrats in Congress.

Yet, it’s hardly just “some Jewish Democrats” who interpreted Omar’s infamous “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” slur as antisemitic. Her tweet, referring to the $100 bill, implied that Israel’s American supporters are motivated by money, not shared interests and values.
On Feb. 11, the five members of the Democratic leadership in Congress – none of them Jewish – issued a joint statement condemning “the anti-semitic comments of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.”

The signatories of this statement are Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (a Catholic), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Baptist), Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (Methodist), Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (Baptist), and Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark (Unspecified/Other (Protestant)). (Religious affiliations drawn from Pew Forum.)

Outrage Follows Announcement That Al Sharpton, Who Helped Incite 1991 Antisemitic Riots, Is Slated to Receive Honorary Degree
An initiative by a City University of New York school to give Rev. Al Sharpton a doctorate of humane letters was met with outrage on Sunday due to Sharpton’s history of racial agitation and antisemitism.

Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights Brooklyn stated that the doctorate would be given due to its recipient’s “unwavering commitment to racial, educational and socioeconomic equity.”

In response to the news, members of the local Jewish community were quick to highlight Sharpton’s central role in inciting the infamous 1991 Crown Heights riots.

“Sharpton played a lead role in inciting a modern day blood libel against the Jewish community of Crown Heights,” Yaacov Behrman, founder of the Jewish Future Alliance based in Crown Heights, told The Algemeiner. Behrman said he found the school’s plan “deeply offensive.”

“He traumatized my generation,” he added, “and never apologized to his victims. It is inexcusable and shamefully low to honor him in the same neighborhood where he incited the violence.”
Maajid Nawaz: Established Left's Obsession With Anti-Imperialism Led To Anti-Semitism
Maajid Nawaz outlines how Jeremy Corbyn's 'obsession' with anti-imperialism is what led him to support Hamas and Hezbollah and make America 'public enemy number one'.

Speaking on his LBC show, Maajid Nawaz said that an "obsession with anti-imperialism" led the Labour leader to cast his support for Hamas and Hezbollah, calling them his friends on Iranian state TV.

"It's the established left of today's obsession with anti-imperialism and anti-American as a consequence sentiment, which leads to the anti-Semitism," he said.

"The obsession with attacking Israel and delegitimising it as a state as opposed to just focussing on the government of Netenhahu and critiquing his policies.

"But the obsession with Israel, all of that comes from the anti-imperialist umbrella that has led to the creation of people like Ken Livingstone, George Galloway, and Jeremy Corbyn is one of them."
London mayor, a Muslim, joins Jewish Labour group in solidarity with community
London mayor Sadiq Khan announced Monday that he has joined the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) as an affiliate member and encouraged his colleagues and “decent members” of the Labour party to do likewise.

In a statement, the London mayor, who is a Muslim, said the party “has been too slow at stamping out appalling anti-Semitism” and decried “a depressing collapse of trust between Labour and the Jewish community,” the Jewish Chronicle reported.

“Like me, the vast majority of those within the party are devastated by how let down the Jewish community and Jewish Labour members are feeling,” Khan said. “That’s why it’s so important that we come together across the Labour movement to do whatever we can to make Jewish people feel at home in our party once again.”

Khan’s statement came a day after a leaked recording revealed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn admitting that evidence of anti-Semitism in his party may have been “mislaid, ignored or not used.”
Anti-Israel Student Group to Israeli Student: ‘Quit Complaining’ About Rocket Attacks
An anti-Israel student group at Cornell University told an Israeli student to "quit complaining" about rocket attacks from the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip in a Facebook post.

The Cornell Collective for Justice in Palestine (CCJP) made the comments in response to an article from Israeli student Shir Kidron, the College Fix reports. Earlier this month, Kidron wrote an op-ed for the Cornell Daily Sun which recounted a 2009 Gaza missile attack which hit her home and killed her dog.

"A mere two seconds after I entered the shelter, I heard a loud boom, and felt my home collapse. After leaving the shelter, I saw the rocket had hit my bedroom and killed my dog Rosie. I was only 12 years old," Kidron wrote.

Kidron also highlighted that 40 percent of the children in the Israeli border town of Sderot suffer from PTSD due to the threat of rocket attacks.

CCJP responded to the article in a Facebook comment after the group Reject Radicals at Cornell linked to it.

"Palestinians have a moral and legal right to use armed struggle to shake of the yoke of occupation. If you want the rockets to stop, end the occupation. Otherwise quit complaining about how it ruined your brunch plans in Ashdod," CCJP posted on Facebook.

CNN Host Equates Trump And Netanyahu With Putin, Erdogan
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria delivered an opening statement Sunday that equated President Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Zakaria was attempting to make a larger point about the power of nationalism as a movement and, without denoting a difference between the authoritarian and the legitimately-elected among them, accused all of the leaders he listed of using fear and emotion to create a victim mentality among their supporters.

“The case for nationalist populism goes like this: ‘It is a nasty world out there. People are trying to take our jobs, undermine your security, move into your country. The cosmopolitan urban elites don’t care’ … In some variant or another, this is the argument made by Netanyahu, Putin, Erdogan, Modi, Bolsonaro, the Brexiteers, and of course Donald Trump,” he explained.

He went on to suggest that Putin’s claims that Russia had been “pushed around” by the west since the Cold War and the Chinese “obsession” with overcoming the humiliation of the Opium Wars were equal to Netanyahu’s argument that Israel deserves a place at the international table.
Arab dictators convince the Economist that they want their Jews back
Arab countries that expelled over 850,000 Jews in the decades following World War 2 now want Jews to return, according to an article in The Economist (Decades after the Jews went into exile, some Arabs want them back, April 4).

Examples of the Arabs-Jewish Spring include an online Facebook poll showing some support in Iraq for allowing (non-Israeli) Jews to immigrate, the opening of a new synagogue in Dubai, the Egyptian government’s restoration of a historic synagogue in Alexandria, and the claim by that country’s president that he’d build new synagogues if the Jews returned.

Of course, the big word in that vow is the word “if”. It’s easy to be publicly philosemitic when you have no Jews and the prospect of the Jewish community returning is close to zero. Though the article notes that critics view such gestures as publicity stunts by Arab dictators seeking Western approval, the concluding paragraph suggests the Economist journalist buys into the narrative.

Still, spikes in tension over Israel no longer spark anti-Jewish pogroms. Some Palestinian politicians still whip up anti-Jewish feeling, but many speak Hebrew and have greater awareness and understanding than before. A surprising number of researchers uncovering the Middle East’s Jewish past are Palestinian. Some even speak of a common fate with dispossessed Arab Jews. “We’re entering an age of post-colonialism,” says a Christian cleric from Cairo. “We’re again learning how to see richness in others, not threats.”

Of course, the lack of anti-Jewish pogroms may have something to do with the fact that there are very few Jews who still live in these countries!

Moreover, the article completely ignores endemic antisemitism in the region – hatred that’s not just whipped up by some politicians.
BBC’s Plett Usher continues to promote her Israel narratives
Plett Usher then bolsters her article’s core messaging to readers with a quote sourced from an organisation she once again signposts as “liberal”.

“The administration’s embrace of the Israeli government’s right-wing positions has alarmed liberal American Jewish organizations.

“What they’ve done so far tells you what they intend to lay out,” says Jeremy Ben-Ami of the J Street lobby group. “They have no intention to lay out what could conceivably resolve the conflict. Instead they will tie American government positions to those of the farthest right of Israel’s political spectrum.””

In her final section – sub-headed “What about the Palestinian reaction?” – Plett Usher qualifies the description of people convicted of violent attacks against Israelis.

“Mr Abbas is very unpopular. But on a recent trip to Jerusalem I was told anecdotally that Palestinians have at least given him credit for standing firm on their three core issues: Jerusalem, refugees and maintaining funds to Palestinian prisoners – whom the Israelis regard as terrorists – despite financial pressure.”

Although the US administration’s proposal has yet to be revealed, the Palestinian Authority has already made its rejection of it amply clear. Nevertheless Barbara Plett Usher’s aim in this article is to convince BBC audiences that when it does appear, that plan is destined to fail because it ‘embraces’ the positions of “the farthest right of Israel’s political spectrum” rather than because the Palestinians have made it a non-starter.

While Plett Usher’s promotion of that narrative comes as no surprise, it is unfortunate that BBC audiences continue to be fed commentary which does little to enhance their understanding of this and additional topics from a person whose impartiality on issues relating to Israel has long been in plain sight.
‘I weighed 70 pounds’: Last Auschwitz survivors remember a living hell
“I really thought it would be my last journey… I weighed 32 kilos [70 pounds].”

Three quarters of a century have passed but all those years cannot dim the memories of Esther Senot as she recalls the horrors of Auschwitz.

As survivors of the Nazi death camp gather near the infamous “Arbeit macht frei” (work sets you free) inscription at the gate to what was once their living hell, Raphael Esrail also reflects.

“When I came, in February 1944, I thought I’d be killed that very day,” says Esrail, the 93-year-old president of France’s Union of Auschwitz Deportees (UDA).

Visiting the site of the camp at Oswiecim, Poland, with fellow deportees Yvette Levy and Ginette Kolinka, Senot and Esrail are among just a few dozen still alive to pass on their experiences to younger generations.

Of 74,000 Jews deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death complex only 2,500 returned.

“We came back — but it was an accident of history,” says Esrail, his gait unsteady but his voice still firm.

Study Shows a Third of Americans Think Holocaust Murders Exaggerated
A survey released by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, otherwise known as the Claims Conference, has revealed that a third of all Americans believe the scope of the murder of Jews in the Holocaust has been exaggerated.

The data, released ahead of Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, showed that the large swath of Americans believe that just 2 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, rather than 6 million.

In addition, 45 percent of Americans could not name any of the 40 ghettos or concentration camps erected by the Nazis, with a whopping 66 percent of millennials being unable to state the significance of “Auschwitz.”

While 93 percent of those polled said they believe students should learn about the Holocaust in schools, 70 percent said people are less concerned about the Holocaust than in the past, and 58 percent said a Holocaust or similar catastrophe could occur again.

The Claims Conference also showed that 68 percent of Americans believe antisemitism exists in the United States, with 37 percent saying neo-Nazis were present in large numbers.
Man in France stabs neighbor, says he ‘wanted to kill a Jew’
A man in northern France said he stabbed his neighbor because he “wanted to kill a Jew.”

The attack, first reported on April 8, occurred in Bourdon, a commune in the Somme department in northern France, on April 5, the French-language 20 Minutes news website reported.

The 58-year-old victim was stabbed 15 times in his abdomen and face. He was injured in the liver and gallbladder and underwent surgery, according to the report.

He was saved by a friend who was with him at the time of the assault, and came between the victim and the attacker.
Some 1,000 members of France’s Jewish community gathered outside the home of Sarah Halimi in Paris to commemorate her alleged anti-Semitic murder, April 9, 2017.

The attacker, 18, was indicted for attempted murder due to race or ethnicity. He told witnesses that he “wanted to kill a Jew.” According to the report, the victim is not Jewish.
Extreme-right Frenchman sent to prison for Holocaust denial
An extreme-right Frenchman has been convicted and sentenced to a year in prison for denying the Holocaust and was ordered jailed.

A Paris court on Monday convicted Alain Soral, 60, for publishing on his internet site the conclusions of the lawyer, Damien Viguier, in an earlier case. Viguier was fined 5,000 euros ($5,650) for his conclusions, which were deemed to have negated the Holocaust. Viguier said on Soral’s site that they were appealing the conviction.

Neither was present at the court. An arrest warrant for Soral was issued.
Denying the Holocaust is a crime in France.

Soral’s lawyer in the complex case was fined.

The International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism praised the ruling, saying the decision to impose a prison sentence on Soral, who has been convicted in the past, shows the “exceptional character” of the decision.

Sorel was last sentenced to jail in January, for insulting a magistrate and making anti-Semitic comments.

On his website, called “Equality and Reconciliation,” Soral wrote that Jews “are manipulative, domineering and hateful.”
Israeli scientists unveil world’s first 3D-printed heart with human tissue
Scientists in Israel unveiled a 3D print of a heart with human tissue and vessels on Monday, calling it a first and a “major medical breakthrough” that advances possibilities for transplants.

While it remains a far way off, scientists hope one day to be able to produce hearts suitable for transplant into humans as well as patches to regenerate defective hearts.

The heart produced by researchers at Tel Aviv University is about the size of a rabbit’s.

It marked “the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” said Tal Dvir, who led the project.

“People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels,” he said.

But the scientists said many challenges remain before fully working 3D printed hearts would be available for transplant into patients.
Significant natural gas discovery made off Israel's shore
Greek energy producer Energean has discovered a further significant natural gas reserve off Israel’s coast, the company announced on Monday.

According to preliminary estimates, the latest discovery in the Karish North exploration field contains between 28 to 42 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas.

Publicly-listed Energean will now conduct further evaluations to further analyze resource potential and determine the liquids content of the discovery.

The newly found gas will be added to the 45 bcm already discovered at Karish, and an additional 22 bcm identified at the Tanin gas field, also managed by Energean.

“We are delighted to be announcing this significant new gas discovery at Karish North, which further demonstrates the attractiveness of our acreage offshore Israel,” said Energean CEO Mathios Rigas.

“We have already signed a contingent contract to sell 5.5 bcm of this new resource, and our strategy is now to secure the offtake for remaining volumes. We continue to see strong demand for our gas, which we believe will be supported by today’s announcement.”
Case cracked: 2,600-year-old chicken eggshells from Jerusalem put back together
It takes a chicken 26 hours to lay an egg, but it took archaeologists 10 years to crack the case of the 2,600-year-old eggshells. Until now, the ancient chicken has come before the egg: Only chicken bones had previously been discovered in excavations and these shell pieces are the first evidence of chicken eggs used in the Holy Land diet, said Prof. Zohar Amar, of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University.

Unlike Humpty Dumpty, the shells were successfully put back together recently through the use of high-tech 3-D virtual modeling. The implications of measurements garnered from this newly visualized ancient egg may well change concepts in halacha (Jewish law), according to Bar-Ilan University research released just ahead of the holiday of Passover.

For centuries, there has been an argument among halachic scholars beginning in the Mishnah (a 3rd-century CE codification of Oral Law) over how much unleavened bread (matzah) a person is required to eat during the festive first night Passover meal, or seder. The requirement is given as kazayit, or the size of an olive.

Over time, however, some European scholars unfamiliar with the fruit of the olive tree developed a workaround system based upon kebaitza, or the size of an egg. Until today, Lithuanian Jews living in Israel follow the ruling of the Mishna Berura (Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, 1838–1933) and the Chazon Ish (Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, 1878-1953), which state that the size of an olive is 1/2 to 1/3 of the volume of an ancient egg.

But what was the size of an ancient chicken egg?
Gal Gadot, and maybe Madonna, headed for Eurovision
There are 29 days until May 12, when Eurovision week opens in Tel Aviv, and so far, the biggest name announced as part of the festivities is Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who will appear at the May 18 Eurovision Song Contest.

“We’re hoping to have Madonna too,” said Yuval Cohen, director of Eurovision 2019, “but the official announcement hasn’t been made yet by us.”

Cohen said that negotiations are still taking place for Madonna, who is turning 60 and “loves Israel,” to sing two songs at the Eurovision Song Contest.

It’s just one of the many moving pieces for Israel’s hosting of the annual song contest, titled “Dare to Dream.”

The shows’ hosts throughout the week include Israeli presenters Lucy Ayoub and Assi Azar, while TV presenter Erez Tal and model Bar Refaeli will host the main song contest.

Other Israeli performers at the May 18 event will include mentalist Lior Suchard, former Eurovision singer Dana International, the Idan Raichel Projct, the Shalva Band, former Eurovision winner Izhar Cohen as a judge, musician Kutiman, and Netta Barzilai, who will open the main event on May 18.

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