Wednesday, November 27, 2019

From Ian:

David Singer: Knifing Netanyahu Could Sink Release of Trump Peace Plan
Trump will seemingly not release the final details of his deal unless he first receives Arab assurances to bona fide negotiate with Israel in translating those details into binding commitments to end the long-running conflict.

Trump will not release his deal only to find it is dead in the water because no Arab negotiators will sit down with Israel.

Trump is interested in winning – not losing before he even jumps out of the starting gate.

Trump will need to now be satisfied that any new Israeli Prime Minister possesses the same views as Netanyahu on the issuesTrump has already identified as integral elements of his deal:
• extending Israeli sovereignty toJewish towns and villages in Judea and Samaria,
• declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s eternal capital
• recognising Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights

Trump will now also need to be assured that any new Israeli Prime Minister will not call on Trump to renew America’s payments to UNRWA and UNESCO, to reopen the PLO Embassy in Washington or resume funding to the PLO.

Netanyahu’s uncertain political future and the absence of Arab negotiators ready to stand up and be counted – could see Trump’s deal being put on the political back burner until Trump’s bid for re-election for another four years is known on 3 November 2020.

Knifing Netanyahu introduces yet another wild card that could sink the release of Trump’s deal – leavingthe failed leadership of the PLO cheering and heaving huge sighs of relief.

The Tikvah Podcast: Eugene Kontorovich on America and the Settlements
On November 18, 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a momentous announcement: The United States does not consider Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria—the West Bank—illegal or illegitimate. The conventional wisdom, of course, is that Israeli building in the territories it captured in 1967 is a violation of international law. But after a process of many months, the Trump State Department has decided to return to an understanding of the Geneva Convention once embraced by the Reagan Administration, and to recognize that the status of Israeli building in Judea and Samaria is a political and diplomatic question, not a legal one.

In this podcast, Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver is joined by one of the world’s foremost scholars on Israel and international law. Eugene Kontorovich is a professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, a director at the Kohelet Policy Forum, and author of of “Pompeo Busts the ‘Occupation’ Myth,” published in the Wall Street Journal on November 9, 2019. In this conversation, he makes the case for the legality of Israeli settlements and explains how an erroneous and hypocritical interpretation of international law became the conventional wisdom about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Traditional Rabbi Group Blasts House Democrats Over ‘False And Misleading’ Letter On Israeli ‘Settlements’
On Tuesday, a prominent politically and religiously conservative Jewish organization took 106 House Democrats to task for signing a “false and misleading” letter with respect to the Trump administration’s recent unilateral decision to declare that so-called Israeli “settlements” are legal. The group, the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), identifies as “the largest rabbinic public policy organization in America” and “represent[s] over 1000 traditional Orthodox rabbis in matters of public policy.”

As The Daily Wire reported last Monday, “the Trump administration … revers[ed] an Obama-era policy and now does not view Israel’s settlements in [Judea and Samaria] as a violation of international law.” “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained at the time.

Led by Jewish Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), 106 House Democrats responded to Pompeo with a scathing letter that issued strong legal and policy objections to the Trump administration’s bold move. “If the U.S. unilaterally abandons international and human rights law, we can only expect a more chaotic and brutal twenty-first century for Americans and our allies, including the Israeli people,” the tendentious screed concluded.

CJV responded with a powerful letter of its own that systemically picks apart Rep. Levin’s own missive. “The signatories demonstrated an alarmingly callous attitude towards Israelis, their self-determination, and their human rights,” said Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, CJV eastern regional vice president, in a press release accompanying the letter. “Jews were ethnically cleansed from towns in Judea and Samaria in 1929 and 1936, and then driven out entirely by Jordan in 1948 — yet the signatories claim that the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits them from moving back. It is hard not to read that claim as unsympathetic to Jews and history.”




JPost Editorial: Praise be the Dutch
While the Dutch vote is largely symbolic and does not compel the government to act, Israel hopes the resolution will help guide government policy so that at least Holland will refrain from labeling the products.

“I hope that in case the Dutch government fails to persuade the EU to implement only if applicable to all territories in dispute, they will adopt their own recommendation and not implement a discriminatory resolution,” tweeted Israel Ambassador to the Netherlands Naor Gilon.

The day after the Dutch motion, the Dutch parliament again took a principled stand, voting to halt all aid to the Palestinian Authority.

In explaining the decision, the parliamentarians cited where payments being made to the PA were ending up: that the Dutch funds going to the PA were being used to pay convicted terrorists and their families a monthly stipend – and they wanted no part of it.

We agree. We can only hope that other European countries follow the Dutch lead, both in calling out the EU court’s discriminatory ruling, and refraining from helping the “pay-for-slay” policy of the PA.
Lyn Julius: Arab States Are Claiming the Heritage of Their Expelled Jews
The Iraqi and Egyptian cases are symptomatic of a larger problem. Since 2004, the United States has been bound by law to impose import restrictions on archaeological and ethnological material that constitutes a country’s cultural heritage, and has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) to this effect with Algeria, Egypt, and Libya, and passed a law affecting Syria . In January 2018, the International Council of Museums released a “Red List” for Yemen aimed at protecting Hebrew manuscripts and Torah finials from leaving the country. All but 50 Jews have fled the country, taking what possessions they could, but even these ultimately could be returned to Yemen.

“These MOUs claim to be about [stopping] looting, but their broad scope and limited evidence of success suggests their real impact is providing a legal vehicle to legitimize foreign confiscations and wrongful ownership claims. … The MOUs are based on a flawed premise. It is the heritage and patrimony of 850,000 indigenous Jews who fled their homes and property under duress,” said Sarah Levin of the California-based Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA).

It is understandable that the international community should wish to prevent the looting and smuggling of ancient artifacts and their sale on the international art market. That is how Islamic State financed much of its conquest of northern Iraq and Syria. But there is a distinction between theft for financial gain, and legitimate salvage of Torah scrolls or books taken by fleeing Jews to be used for prayer.

Eight Sumerian artifacts sold to the British Museum were recently sent back to Baghdad. But the Iraqi-Jewish archive does not belong to some long-extinct civilization—some of the owners are still alive.

International law is based on the outmoded assumption of territorial sovereignty. It needs updating, specifically to resolve the tug-of-war between minority and national heritage, where the minority has been persecuted and displaced.
How a tolerant UAE is welcoming Jews into the country
Dubai: “The fact that, for the first time in centuries, a new Jewish community established in the heart of the Arab world is nothing short of historic. This represents, in a way, its own call to prayer and I speak on behalf of the Jewish community, it’s our responsibility to answer,” said the newly-announced Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community of the UAE, Yehuda Sarna, during a speech on Tolerance Day on November 15.

For centuries, Jews and Arabs have peacefully co-existed. They’ve done business together, lived as neighbors and even married one another. Even the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him, was married to a Jewish woman. Her name was Safiyyah Bint Huyayy.

From the time of the prophet until the early 20th century Jews and Arabs mixed together. From Baghdad to Beirut and Cairo as well.

Many young Egyptians, myself included, had no idea that in the early 1900s, Egypt was home to around 80,000 Jews, who lived alongside Christians and Muslims in a flourishing multicultural society.

By 1948 most left or emigrated when the Israeli-Arab conflicted started.

Today, Jews living in Muslim countries have been reduced to a very small portion of their former population sizes. Iran, Turkey and Morocco are currently home to the largest remaining Jewish populations in the region, with some Jewish families residing in Bahrain and Egypt. (h/t Zvi)
Alan M. Dershowitz: Trump and Netanyahu: Both Being Investigated for Made-Up Crimes
The most striking similarity is that both are being investigated for actions that their legislatures have not explicitly made criminal.

Politicians always seek good coverage and many vote with that in mind. Some even negotiate good coverage in advance of voting. That is why they have press secretaries and media consultants.

Nor could a reasonable statute be drafted that covered Netanyahu's alleged conduct, but not that of other Knesset members who bartered their votes for good coverage. That is why no legislature in a country governed by the rule of law has ever made positive media coverage the "quid" or "quo" necessary for a bribery conviction, and that is why the bribery indictment of Netanyahu should not be upheld by the courts.

[I]t is simply not a crime for a President to use his power over foreign policy for political, partisan or even personal advantage. Imagine Congress trying to pass a law defining what would constitute a criminal abuse of the foreign policy power, as distinguished from a political or moral abuse.... Presidents have even engaged in military actions for political gain.

The central aspect of the rule of law is that no one may be investigated, prosecuted or impeached unless his conduct violates pre-existing and unambiguous prohibitions. Neither Congress nor prosecutors can make it up as they go along, because they, too, are not above the law.
Isi Leibler: Netanyahu – in the national interest, please step down now
Setting all this aside, unless Netanyahu steps down immediately, we are headed for a third round of elections. With the indictments, the Likud could lose a significant number of seats if some of its traditional supporters either abstain or vote against it.

On the other hand, if Netanyahu stood down, the Likud could elect a leader in the hopefully forthcoming primaries and swiftly form a national-unity government with Blue and White, the majority of whose members already support the Likud’s basic policies related to defense and the settler blocs.

Clearly, should we fail to get our act together and form a unity government, history will condemn all Israeli political leaders for promoting themselves ahead of the national interest. Aside from political issues, we also face military confrontations with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. If we are forced into a military confrontation without a government, chaos could emerge – and much of the international community, including the United Nations and the Europeans, would pontificate that a non-elected “right-wing” government has brought this upon Israel. The only real support we could have would be the Americans, but in the absence of a real government, this, too, is likely to be weakened.

For Netanyahu, who has achieved so much for the state, to end his career in such a disgraceful manner is unconscionable. But politics in Israel is a cruel vocation. All good things invariably come to an end – even if, as in this case, maybe prematurely. But the security and well-being of the nation can never be subordinated for the personal status of an individual. The truth is that Netanyahu remains the best leader we have, but no one is irreplaceable, and the Likud has a number of people who could assume leadership and swiftly form a unity government.

Prime minister, the longer you delay, the greater the damage. Whatever will be, you will go down as one of Israel’s great prime ministers who laid down foundations for our long-term security, diplomatic relations and economic prosperity. Retire now for the good of the nation and in your own interest, to save your legacy and concentrate on successfully overcoming all the indictments.
Poll: Right-wing voters loyal to Netanyahu despite indictment
Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being served an indictment over four corruption counts, the Likud party under his leadership would garner more seats than under his chief challenger MK Gideon Sa'ar, a new Channel 12 News poll shows.

According to the report from Tuesday, if the deadline to form a new government elapses and the Knesset calls an early election for the third time in less than a year, Netanyahu's Likud would win 33 seats, compared to only 26 if Sa'ar was Likud chairman. Likud currently has 32 seats.

Sa'ar has called on Netanyahu to step down, saying that his indictment is preventing the formation of a new government and will lead Israel to an unnecessary election. Netanyahu has refused to step down but has agreed to a leadership race, although that is likely to take place only after a general election is called.

According to the poll, whether Netanyahu or Sa'ar is at the helm does not change much of the math in the overall Knesset, because the overall right-wing bloc would be the biggest. But in the case of Sa'ar being chairman, Likud would shed much of its strength to other parties on the Right and would get only 26 seats.
Ruthie Blum: Netanyahu indictments are shifting few Israeli voters
According to a poll released this week by Israel Hayom, 64% of Israelis say that the indictments against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Nov. 21 will not affect how they vote in the next Knesset elections. The same survey revealed that 44% of the public considers Netanyahu the leader best suited to be prime minister, compared to only 37% who feel that way about Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz. The same poll predicts that Gantz’s party would maintain the single-seat lead over Netanyahu’s Likud that it gained on Sept. 17.

The seeming inherent contradiction in terms – that Gantz is far less popular than Netanyahu, yet his party would still beat Likud by a sliver – sheds light on the Israeli political system and the predicament in which the country has been thrust since the first of what is likely to turn out to be three legislative elections in less than a year.

Ahead of the April 9 election, polls also showed Netanyahu beating Gantz as a preferred candidate for prime minister, yet indicated a neck-and-neck race between the parties of the two. When the votes were counted, the victory appeared to be clear. Though Likud and Blue and White tied, with each garnering 35 out of the total 120 Knesset seats, the right-wing bloc was much greater than the left. A government headed by Netanyahu seemed to be in the bag yet again.

Until Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, pulled a fast one and reneged on his vow before the elections to join a Likud-led coalition, that is. In spite of his personal rivalry with Netanyahu, Lieberman was viewed by himself, his voters and pollsters alike to be on the right side of the spectrum. His about-face, he claimed, had to do with his rejection of the haredi draft bill, which was not sufficiently anti-ultra-Orthodox.

The stalemate that Lieberman created prevented Netanyahu from establishing a government in the allotted timeframe and new elections were called for September.
Likud sans Netanyahu could result in Blue and White victory, poll shows
A new election is not likely to get the country out of its current political impasse, according to a poll published Tuesday, unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is out of the picture.

The Channel 12 survey found little change in the parliamentary math that has prevented the formation of a government after two consecutive elections in April and September. That changes dramatically if Netanyahu is no longer Likud’s candidate for prime minister.

According to the poll, Blue and White will once again, as it has in September, emerge the largest party, rising to 34 seats from its current 33.

Likud would come in a close second, with 33 to its current 32.

The third-largest party, yet again, is the Arab Joint List alliance, with 13, the same number as today.

The figures change a bit for the smaller parties — ultra-Orthodox factions are stable, while both the smaller left-wing and right-wing parties shrink.

Shas and United Torah Judaism got 8 each, meaning one less for Shas and one more for UTJ than the current Knesset.

On the right, New Right wins 6, while Jewish Home-National Union drops below the 3.25-percent electoral threshold to 2.9% of votes. Since the two factions together won 7 seats in September, that marks only a small change overall. On the left, Labor-Gesher drops from 6 seats to 5, while the Democratic Camp drops from 5 to 4.
At Tel Aviv rally, thousands of Netanyahu supporters urge prosecutors’ arrest
Several thousand backers of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rallied in Tel Aviv on Tuesday in support of the embattled premier’s claims that prosecutors set to indict him for graft were attempting to overthrow him in a “coup.”

“Safeguarding the country, stopping the coup,” read the main banner at the rally, which was held at the Tel Aviv Museum plaza on Tuesday evening.

At the rally, the crowds waved Israeli flags and held signs that advanced Netanyahu’s demand to “investigate the investigators.” They read, “Investigate [State Attorney] Shai Nitzan,” “Prosecutor Liat Ben-Ari to jail,” “Stop the persecution,” and “Cops — or criminals?”

Netanyahu, who was rumored to be deliberating whether to address the rally, did not appear.

Organizers chose one of the city’s smaller venues over fears that the rally would be sparsely attended. Set to start at 8 p.m., organizers took to the stage to announce the rally was delayed for half an hour because “another 80 buses” full of demonstrators “are on the way.”

Organizers had originally said that they were expecting at least 10,000 people to participate. Reports estimated turnout at 5,000.
Netanyahu Supporters Rally Against Indictment 'Coup'
Thousands of Likud party members gathered at a rally in Tel Aviv Tuesday night to show support for the embattled incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just days after he was indicted on multiple corruption charges. The demonstration, titled “Safeguarding the country, stopping the coup,” reportedly saw a smaller-than-expected crowd despite the Prime Minister's Office sending out an urgent plea for Likud activists to participate in the rally. Most Knesset (Israeli parliament) members from Netanyahu's own party and right-wing bloc also failed to attend the rally, held at the Tel Aviv Museum plaza.


PMW: Experts: Palestinian culture accepts marital rape and domestic violence; the laws don't protect women
Palestinian TV interviewed three experts on the serious problems of marital rape and domestic violence, anticipating this week’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The UN just reported that "a third of all women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.” The UN noted that violence against women often goes unreported, and UN Secretary General Antonió Guterres added that “sexual violence against women and girls is rooted in centuries of male domination."

"Violence against women and girls is among the most widespread, and devastating human rights violations in the world, but much is often unreported due to impunity, shame and gender inequality." [UN News website, Nov. 24, 2019]

According to Palestinian experts, Palestinian women also suffer from inequality and violence. Khadija Zahran, director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights' (ICHR) Legislation Monitoring Department, spoke of the different types of violence committed against women – physical violence and verbal violence or psychological violence. As part of the physical violence, Zahran spoke at length about sexual violence, when a woman is forced to engage in sexual activity against her will. Similar to the UN’s observations, Zahran pointed out that both physical and sexual violence are seen as normative behavior in Palestinian society, and that even the women themselves assume the man has this "right":


How Jews Can Fight Back on College Campuses
The conditions faced by Jews at universities has been growing ever worse as the academic left becomes increasingly vociferous in its anti-Israel sentiment and so-called “pro-Palestinian” activists have taken to targeting Jews in their protests and demonstrations. At this year’s Jewish Leadership Conference, the recent college graduates Tamara Berens and Talia Katz spoke about the lessons they drew from their experiences at the frontlines. To Berens, the pivotal moment came after a violent anti-Zionist mob prevented a former Israeli official from giving a talk to the Israel club at King’s College, London. The administration’s response? To tell the Israel club that all future speakers would have to be vetted by the Palestinian club. She comments:

The prevalence of anti-Semitism means that something is rotten in our culture. That the values on which our society is built are decaying. Anti-Semites wish to destroy not just Jews but free societies as a whole. Jeremy Corbyn could succeed in doing this in the UK. And sadly, we are seeing the beginnings of Corbynization in the United States, too.

When the administration at King’s College rewarded violence from the Palestinian society, it forfeited the values of the academy. And having successfully tested their illiberal tactics on Jewish students, the anti-Zionists spread violence elsewhere. They collaborated with a group of militant self-proclaimed “anti-fascists” who wage violence against people they disagree with, and they shut down a debate organized by the Libertarian club. Antifa broke onto campus, set off smoke bombs, and severely injured a security guard who was hospitalized.


Thus, as always, what starts with the Jews does not end with the Jews. How to respond? Berens looks to the Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky’s exhortations that Jews must never sacrifice their pride and dignity, and never allow anti-Semites to dictate the terms of the debate.

For her part, Katz explains how this might be done, urging Jews on campus not to pander to the politically correct mentality by portraying themselves, or the Jewish state, as the true victims:
The dilution of higher education by BDS
Many BDS leaders in the United States are college professors, who pursue these goals by preying on American students to recruit them into the movement. Their professional malpractice often begins when they persuade their students of the myth of “Israeli apartheid” and that they are heeding the call of “Palestinian civil society.” It continues as they replace academic rigor and critical thinking with anti-Semitic rhetoric and anti-Israel indoctrination, which, unfortunately, many of their students are ill-equipped to resist.

Despite only a generation having passed since apartheid ended in South Africa, most American students know little about it. They know even less about Israel, and, therefore, remain vulnerable in their relative ignorance. Because not all public schools are teaching critical thinking skills, students arrive on college campuses with an additional vulnerability, which makes them soft targets for indoctrination.

Indeed, students who have been taught to simply memorize information that they can access on the internet without delay are more likely inclined to accept the words of a professor in an American classroom who says, “Israel is an apartheid state,” than to study and analyze the history of apartheid or Zionism or the Arab-Israeli conflict. Rare is the professor who would encourage such study and analysis.

To encourage students to join the BDS movement, pro-BDS professors also persuade them that they are responding to a call for help from “Palestinian civil society.” According to the BDS website, the call to boycott Israel comes from “170 Palestinian unions, refugee networks, women’s organizations, professional associations, popular resistance committees, and other Palestinian civil society bodies,” who were “inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement.”

However, just as there is no evidence of “Israeli apartheid,” the website provides no information on the members of these unions, networks, or organizations that are supposedly calling for the world to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel. Additionally, nowhere does the BDS movement provide the names of its leaders. And nowhere does the BDS movement provide evidence that it has done anything to help the Palestinian people.
York U reacts: Pro-Palestinians instigate violent clash at Jewish campus event
Abagail Hamman of Rebel News reports: I went to York University in Toronto to ask students what they knew about the violent clash which occurred on campus last week when Israeli soldiers visited to discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict after being invited by a Jewish student group. In this video, students give their opinions on what happened during the violent clash which arose when pro-Palestinian protesters showed up at the pro-Israel event.


US university tells government it will do more to curb anti-Semitism
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has agreed to expand its anti-bias training and expressly forbid anti-Semitism in campus policies as part of an agreement with the US Education Department following complaints about a March conference featuring a rapper accused of anti-Jewish bias.

The university announced the changes Monday after reaching a resolution with the department’s Office for Civil Rights. The deal puts an end to the inquiry without any admission of wrongdoing on the school’s part, and without any official finding from the department on the allegation of illegal discrimination.

Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz reiterated that the university will not tolerate any form of harassment, and he encouraged students and faculty to report any problems.

“I reaffirm the university’s commitment to creating a place where every member of our community feels safe and respected and can thrive in an environment free from anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination and harassment,” Guskiewicz wrote in a letter that was sent across campus Monday.

Under the agreement, the university must add a statement to its policies saying that anti-Semitic harassment is prohibited and may violate federal law. The school’s current rules prohibit discrimination based on religion or ethnic ancestry but do not specifically address anti-Semitism.
Anti-Zionist Students in Chicago ‘Honor’ Palestinian Islamic Jihad Leader, Members Killed in Gaza
Anti-Zionist students held a “die-in” protest in downtown Chicago last Wednesday to “honor and remember” Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who were killed during recent hostilities with Israel, including an Islamic Jihad commander and other operatives who were acknowledged by name.

The rally — organized by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Chicago, a city-wide network of campus activists — sought to condemn Israeli attacks on Gaza, and “honor and remember the 36 Palestinians that were killed in Gaza last week,” the group said in a social media post on Sunday.

Dozens of people were in attendance as SJP members used a megaphone to broadcast the names of Palestinians who died amid an escalation of violence with Israel, which one speaker described as “a two-day attack on the people of Gaza, killing 36 innocent Palestinians.”

The first name read, according to a video recording shared by SJP Chicago, was of Bahaa Abu al-Atta, a senior Islamic Jihad commander who was killed by a targeted Israeli strike on Nov. 12. His assassination led to an exchange of hostilities that saw more than 450 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza at Israeli communities, and dozens of Israeli attacks on Islamic Jihad targets.


Malaysian College Student's Graduation Message: 'I Thank Hitler for the Holocaust'
A student from the University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) in Malaysia shocked onlookers and social media after giving a Nazi salute and thanking Adolf Hitler for the holocaust at his recent graduation ceremony.

The graduate, named Ibn Ruru, reportedly gave the salute to show sympathy for Palestinians in Gaza and raise awareness of alleged Jewish global dominance.

Following widespread coverage of the incident, the student took to social media to confirm he was indeed a supporter of Adolf Hitler, the man responsible for the systematic genocide of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and disabled people at the height of World War II.

Posting on Facebook, Ruru he praised Hitler’s “Final Solution” and warned that the world is “blind and deaf when Jews rule.”

“This Hitler symbol that I style on the sacred UMS stage is because the world is blind and deaf when Jews rule, as if Islamic countries are clowns for the world’s entertainment,” he wrote in Malay, adding #SaveGaza and #Pray4Palestine to the post.

“Therefore, in solidarity with Gaza and because of anger, hatred, and vengeance towards Jews. Therefore, I thank Hitler for the Holocaust.”
NBC’s Cal Perry, Israel’s Non-Existent Constitution, And Other Follies
A basic law explicitly states that an indicted prime minister may continue to serve in his post. According to Clause 18 of the Basic Law: The Government, the prime minister must step down only following conviction, involving the exhaustion of the legal appeal process, at the level of the Supreme Court. Thus, contrary to Perry’s claim, there is no legal crisis – constitutional or otherwise on that very clear point. There is, however, a different legal question that Israeli jurists are now exploring: Can a caretaker prime minister like Netanyahu continue to serve and can the President task him to form a new government? This is a much more narrow legal question which applies in the unique scenario in which Israel now finds itself.

Regarding the prohibition against the continued service of indicted ministers, that law originates in a Supreme Court 1993 ruling – not any non-existent Constitution – which compelled then Minister Arye Dery and Deputy Minister Rafael Pinhasi to step down following their indictments.

Perry further muddles the facts by claiming: “The idea here as you have said is as long as he stays in office he can avoid these charges.” This is inaccurate. As was demonstrated Thursday, staying in office does not mean that Netanyahu can avoid the charges. Rather, according to the basic law, he, like all Knesset members is entitled to appeal to the Knesset Committee for immunity from the charges. If the committee approves the request, then the full Knesset votes whether or not to grant immunity. Complicating matters, however, is the fact that that committee was dissolved with the elections in April and do to the failure to form a new government, it has yet to be reestablished.
Honest Reporting: What Starts Online, Doesn't Stay There
Sacha Baron Cohen delivered a powerful speech to the Anti-Defamation League about the racism that exists online and how for the first time in history, hate speech perpetrators have access to platforms that can be amplified to millions of people. Antisemitism is no exception. Terrorists have used social media platforms to spread their antisemitic views that have resulted real life attacks. Social media giants have a moral and social responsibility to do what is right, and vet all forms of hate speech.


Why “Jojo Rabbit” Fails to Make Nazism Funny
Describing the recently released film Jojo Rabbit as “a slapstick farce about a Hitler-worshiping ten-year-old surrounded by idiotic Nazis in the waning days of World War II,” Ross Douthat explains why it falls flat:

It wants to have its jokes at Nazidom’s expense, to portray Hitler as a mincing idiot and his ideology as something only a ten-year-old could possibly believe, but ultimately ends up with a pious message about the power of hatred and the power of intimacy to overcome it. “An anti-hate satire” runs the tagline on the movie’s posters, but the satire inevitably gets weaker as the anti-hate message gets stronger, until what began as a truly gonzo exercise finishes up resembling a competent Miramax drama from twenty years ago—The Girl in the Wall.

This result illustrates a plausible rule for any filmmaker intent on mocking Nazis: the closer you get to the Holocaust, the more your efforts at satire will be swallowed up. There’s a reason that [the 1960s TV situation comedy] Hogan’s Heroes was set in a POW camp, not in Buchenwald. There’s a reason that the funniest Nazi send-ups are so often sketches, bits, and memes, [such as] the play-within-a-movie of The Producers. Satire dies under Arbeit macht frei as surely as comedy falters at the gates of hell; the devil can be satirized in pieces but the reality of damnation is a different matter.

In the end Jojo Rabbit finds the sour spot. Its portrait of a boy’s redemption is far too glib to help us understand damnation, but it gets too close to the provinces of hell to justify its strong dose of froth and camp and silliness. The seriousness ultimately unravels the comedy, and then the unseriousness of that seriousness means the movie unravels itself.
UK Jewish Children Assaulted on Bus in Third Antisemitic Outrage on London Transport in Single Week
Three Orthodox Jewish boys traveling on a London bus earlier this week were assaulted by another passenger, who punched one of them and threw their hats to the ground in an antisemitic attack.

CCTV footage of Sunday morning’s incident showed the assailant running onto the 253 bus, which serves a stretch of north London where there is a large population of Orthodox Jews. He proceeded to attack a group of Jewish men who were traveling on the bus while standing up. Passengers were filmed picking up their hats and fleeing the bus.

London’s Metropolitan Police said that the incident was being investigated. “At approximately 16:30hrs on Sunday, 24 November police received a report of an antisemitic assault that had occurred on a bus in Clapton Common, E5 at around 08:15hrs that morning,” a police statement said. “Officers have made contact with the male victim with a view to progressing this investigation. ‘There have been no arrests; enquiries continue.”

The attack on the bus was the third reported incident of antisemitic behavior on London public transport in the space of a week.

Last Friday, a man screamed “Jews don’t belong here” at a Jewish couple on another London bus and showed them his middle finger, before pulling the man by his hood and the woman by her sheitel (a hair covering worn by observant Jewish women), the UK-based Campaign Against Antisemitism reported.
US House bill would help Holocaust survivors recover billions in insurance
Legislation with bipartisan support that would restore the rights of Holocaust-era insurance beneficiaries to recover billions in unclaimed payments left behind after World War II has been introduced in the US House of Representatives.

Due to federal court rulings and a failure by insurance companies to adequately publish the names of recipients and pay these claims, 97 percent of the approximately 800,000 policies held in 1938 have yet to be honored. The insurers’ unreasonable demands that death certificates and original policy paperwork be produced is all but impossible for survivors who, at the time, had just survived death camps, forced relocations, torture and death marches.

The Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act of 2019 was introduced Friday by Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Republican Representative Lee Zeldin of New York. A Senate companion bill was recently introduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen of Nevada.

The legislation would validate state laws requiring insurers to publish policy holder information; establish a federal cause of action in US courts to ensure Holocaust survivors and heirs have access to US courts; and provide a 10-year period of time for cases to be brought after the date of enactment.
Posthumous honor given to Florence chief rabbi for saving Italian Jews in WWII
A posthumous award was granted Tuesday in Jerusalem to the former chief rabbi of Florence who was a leader of the Italian city’s Jewish-Christian underground rescue network during the Holocaust.

The Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jews who Rescued Fellow Jews during the Holocaust and the Bnai Brith World Center granted the award to Rabbi Nathan Cassuto, as well as honoring Matilda Cassin, a member of the underground.

The citations were presented to Asher Varadi, Cassin’s son, and David Cassuto, son of Rabbi Cassuto.

The Jewish-Christian rescue network in Florence was led by Cassuto and Cardinal Elia Angelo Dalla Costa, the Archbishop of Florence, who was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 2012.

After Rabbi Cassuto was arrested by the Nazis, deported and sent to his death, the network continued functioning.
'Hands-free' crutches stand their own for injured IDF soldiers
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) engineers participated in a joint project with Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) to develop an advanced solution to the challenges faced by injured IDF soldiers.

One of the participants of the project, 35-year-old Motti Elmaliach, suffered multiple injuries during his service in the Border Police.
“I’m suffering from several difficulties – an injury in my right leg, a damaged nervous system, and PTSD,” said Elmaliach. “I use crutches, and asked the engineers for special ones that could stand up by themselves. After a month and a half, they already had a prototype to show me.”

Dana Falnner Derech, head of IAI social services, said that “three years ago, we participated in Good Deeds Day and saw that engineers, who do very complex things on a daily basis, can develop products that will change the lives of people with disabilities. After that day I said to myself: ‘Why should we do it only once a year?’ And then I made this project. There was a huge following, and these days we’re on the second cycle of the project. We’re working with eight injured soldiers with various difficulties to which there are no market solutions that can help them, or there is one and it’s prohibitively expensive.”

According to Falnner Derech, the engineers created cheap and easy solutions for tailored needs. “Once that’s done, we put the specs on the Internet so that people all over the world who suffer from the same problems can create the devices,” said Falnner Derech. “We’re working with the TOM, which allows this platform. There are no registered patents here or anything like that, but just over 100 people [in the current cycle] who volunteer to make a change for the better in others’ lives.”
The New MMA Hotbed: Israel
For one night, at least, the Gozalis were the kings of Israeli MMA. But the competition is growing at home. The big event in Tel Aviv came courtesy of Bellator, a California-based Viacom subsidiary that counts both Haim and Aviv on its roster and has become the second biggest MMA promotion behind the Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known as the UFC. Bellator’s stable of fighters is primarily American, Russian, British, and Brazilian, but it has expanded to Israel, holding fights annually in the country for the past four years and promising to return in 2020.

Israel, said David Green, who heads Bellator’s European department, is an MMA “hotbed.”

So much so that the company signed its first six Israelis in just the past four years: Haim and Aviv, of Bat Yam; featherweight Olga Rubin and welterweight Shimon Smotrisky, of Holon; bantamweight Raz Bring, of Modiin; and heavyweight Adam Keresh, of Tel Aviv. All but Rubin won in front of the home crowd in November. The night’s program, in fact, featured eight all-Israeli matchups and one Israeli in eight other bouts, all meant to cultivate local talent, Green said.

According to Moshik Keidar, in whose Holon gym Rubin and both Gozalis work out, only “a few hundred” Israelis countrywide train in MMA. Still, he and Green said, the sport has a dedicated, increasingly knowledgeable fan base. Ego Total Channel runs round-the-clock on Israel’s leading cable-TV providers, broadcasting MMA, jiujitsu and wrestling worldwide.

“Israeli people are born fighters,” said Haim, a fourth-degree black belt. “We have to fight to live.”

But there is more than one way to fight and, even in the best conditions, a career in combat sports can only last so long. For Haim, the time had come on the night he shared double billing with his son.
How cannabis helps deliver chemotherapy directly to malignant cancer cells
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a method to deliver chemotherapy drugs used to treat liver cancer directly to malignant cells, bypassing healthy ones.

The method involves a combination of cannabidiol, one of the active cannabinoids identified within the cannabis plant, and a low dose of doxorubicin, a chemotherapeutic agent.

“Most anticancer treatments are not sufficiently specific, meaning they attack healthy cells together with the malignant ones they’re trying to get rid of,” explained Prof. Alexander Binshtok, head of the Pain Plasticity Research Group at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine and Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences. “This leads to the many serious side effects associated with chemotherapy. Eliminating cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones alone is an important step toward reducing patients’ suffering.”

Binshtok explained to The Jerusalem Post that doxorubicin is “very effective against cancerous cells,” but it also affects heart cells and liver cells, even leading to heart failure when a patient is being treated for liver cancer.

He said that liver cancer cells express a specific protein, TRPV2, which, when activated, creates a pore or channel in the otherwise impenetrable membrane. In contrast, healthy cancer cells do not have this protein. He said that CBD can be used to open this channel, through which a low dose of the drug can be inserted to kill the cancer cells.

The drug will not enter the healthy cells that don’t have this protein.

In the future, the precision of this delivery method may allow doctors to prescribe lower chemotherapy doses and to relieve patients of some of the harsher effects of chemo.
Israeli team uses silicon chip to deliver Alzheimer’s-busting protein to brain
Researchers at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology and Bar-Ilan University have developed technology they hope will help inhibit the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was published recently as a cover story in the journal Small. It was led by Prof. Ester Segal and PhD student Michal Rosenberg from the Technion Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering with their partners, Prof. Orit Shefi and PhD student Neta Zilony-Hanin from the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Engineering.

Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, is a neurodegenerative disease whose symptoms include memory loss, speech impairment, orientation problems, and significant impairment of motor functions.

It primarily strikes the elderly, and among those age 85 and up it reaches a prevalence of some 30%. Due to the increase in life expectancy, the overall incidence of the disease has grown and it is today referred to as the epidemic of the 21st century.
El Al to trial non-stop flights to Melbourne in 2020
El Al will commence non-stop flights from Tel Aviv to Melbourne in the second quarter of 2020, the national carrier announced on Wednesday.

The flights, pending regulatory approval, will be operated on the airline’s new fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

The journey from Tel Aviv to Melbourne will take approximately 16 hours and 45 minutes, and the return flight to Tel Aviv is expected to take 17 hours and 45 minutes, El Al said. Passengers currently seeking to travel between Israel and Australia are required to stop over en route to their final destination.

“Australia welcomes El Al’s announcement that it plans to trial direct flights from Tel Aviv to Melbourne,” Australian Ambassador Chris Cannan told The Jerusalem Post.

“This is a great opportunity for more Australians and Israelis to explore each other’s beautiful countries. Direct flights would also be a game changer for increasing our trade, investment and innovation links.”
First-ever mezuzah placed at Ukraine Parliament
Ukraine’s Parliament building in the capital Kiev received its first mezuzah on Tuesday during a meeting between the president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC), Dr. Michael Mirilashvili, and the chairman of Ukraine’s parliament, Dmytro Razumkov.

Ukraine’s unicameral parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, is composed of 450 deputies presided over by a chairman.

During the meeting, Mirilashvili stressed the importance of preserving the historical memory of the Jewish community in Ukraine and “taking a firm stand in view of the increasing number of acts of violence against Jewish religious, public, and educational institutions in order to prevent further escalation of antisemitic sentiment in the country.”

According to a statement by the EAJC, the mezuzah was placed at the office entrance of the Ukrainian parliament opposition leader, Vadim Rabinovich, at the Verkhovna Rada building. Rabinovich is also the president of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress.
Ethiopian kids meet the Israelis who saved their lives
Yared runs a school for underprivileged children. Robel is a filmmaker. Betty wants to be a doctor.

Born in Ethiopia with life-threatening heart defects, they wouldn’t have made it past childhood without Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), an international nonprofit organization based at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel.

Yared, Robel and Betty are among more than 700 Ethiopians– and 5,000 children from 61 other countries — saved by SACH medical care since 1995.

Last week, they joined over 100 SACH “alumni” and their parents at a 25th anniversary reunion at the Children’s Cardiac Center in Addis Ababa.

“That was an amazing moment, to see these healthy children and young adults, all dressed in SACH t-shirts, who were once upon a time our patients,” says Tamar Shapira, SACH deputy executive director and international spokesperson.

“The most magical thing was the dancing,” Shapira tells ISRAEL21c.

“We invited a local band and when they started to play happy music, the kids started dancing spontaneously and the doctors joined them.”
On eve of Sigd holiday, Netanyahu lauds Ethiopian Jewish heritage
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday praised the Ethiopian Jewish community on the eve of one of its best-known holidays, the Sigd festival.

The holiday “expresses the covenant of the Ethiopian Jewish community with our freedom, our Torah and our land, and especially with Jerusalem. I salute your great devotion to maintaining Jewish identity in exile over so many generations,” the prime minister said.

He said the festival, recognized since 2008 as an official national holiday in Israel, “has already become part of our common national heritage,” and said his government was pursuing “an uncompromising struggle against racism and discrimination, and also over-policing, which we are constantly fighting against.”

The holiday is celebrated on the 29th day of the Hebrew month of Heshvan, or Tuesday evening, precisely 50 days after the Jewish Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur.

The two holidays are linked in the Ethiopian Jewish tradition: while Yom Kippur focuses on personal introspection and self-correction, Sigd focuses on collective atonement as a community.




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