Tuesday, March 31, 2020

From Ian:

Caroline B. Glick: Israeli sovereignty and Gantz's bad faith
The coalition talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz are being held behind closed doors. A lot of contradictory information is being leaked about the issues on the table and about the form of the deal for a unity government being hammered out.

But all the leaks are consistent about one aspect of the discussions.

Gantz and his colleagues oppose applying Israeli law to the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. This state of affairs is both surprising and disturbing.

It is surprising that Gantz opposes applying Israeli law to the areas, which are home to half a million Israelis because just two months ago, Gantz pledged to support the move.

On January 27, the day before US President Donald Trump published the details of his peace plan, he presented them to Gantz at the White House. The plan, which includes US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the Israeli cities, towns and villages in Judea and Samaria assumes that Israel will apply its legal code, and through it, its sovereignty to the areas immediately after a new governing coalition is sworn in.

According to a senior official who participated in Gantz's meeting with Trump, "Gantz committed in the Oval Office that if he became prime minister, he would form a government of people that would support the deal."

For President Trump and his team, the implications of Gantz's statement are straightforward. Since both Netanyahu and Gantz, (the two candidates for prime minister), support implementing the deal, the administration expects Israel to apply its laws to the areas immediately after the next government is sworn in.
David Singer: Gantz Trojan Horse threatens Israel as the Jewish National Home
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has paid a high price for the National Unity Government being forged with Benny Gantz - by agreeing to Gantz becoming Israel’s Prime Minister in 18 months’ time without going to an election.

Netanyahu had run out of time to explore other options – having had that decision foisted on him by two extraordinary High Court of Justice cases ordering the Knesset Speaker – Yuli Edelstein – to convene the Knesset contrary to the Knesset’s own rules and procedures. Compliance by Edelstein would have unleashed a train of events that would have caused havoc and instability at a time when unity was sorely needed. Edelstein resigned.

It is indeed a miracle that Netanyahu convinced Gantz to break up Blue & Whtie and rescued Israel from this rapidly escalating political and constitutional crisis at the same time as Israel is coping with the ravages of Covid-19.

Gantz’s courage in dumping his partners in Blue & White – Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon - when any hope of averting the crisis seemed lost and just as the doors of the Knesset were shortly to open - was praised by the Right but condemned by Lapid and Ya’alon in bitter and derogatory terms.

Gantz’s new found short term ally – Yisrael Beyteinu’s Avigdor Liberman - was left high and dry – ruing his stupidity at having missed three opportunities in the last 12 months to be in Government with Netanyahu - making demands he absolutely refused to compromise on during negotiations with Netanyahu. Liberman was relegated to the Opposition benches with his six colleagues – a kingmaker no more.

Forgiven was the havoc caused when Gantz started to flirt with the Joint Arab List – the bloc comprising 15 members from the four Arab political parties - who endorsed Gantz to form the next Government - persuading Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to regrettably give Gantz first try to do so.

Joint List’s objectives include dismantling Israel as the Jewish National Home.

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that Israeli jets targeted the Al-Shayrat airbase in Homs with more than eight missiles.  An explosion was heard believed to be caused by anti-aircraft defenses while intercepting these strikes.

Syria's news agency SANA quoted a military source as saying that "at 20:25, Israeli warplanes over Lebanon launched a group of missiles towards eastern Homs, and the air defense forces immediately confronted the enemy missiles and intercepted a number of them."

Al-Modon said that there were three air strikes  that targeted a cell with Iranian militias are present. There are also warehouses where Iranian militias transferred weapons and ammunition to it during the past days.

Nice intelligence, as always.

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On Sunday, after I noted that as of Friday the two New Jersey towns with the highest religious Jewish populations also had the highest number of coronavirus cases, I tweeted that I was very concerned about what would happen in Lakewood this week:

While the vast majority of religious Jews in Lakewood have been taking the social distancing guidelines seriously, there have been reports up through yesterday of some Jews ignoring the rules and continuing to hold gatherings - yesterday for a bat mitzvah on a lawn and a school bus filled with kids  caught traveling (this was not true), and another school caught with 35 people inside.

Teaneck, on the other hand, has been - to all reports - taking the rules very seriously since March 12.

So, sadly, Lakewood has just zoomed past Lakewood and other New Jersey towns with a hundred new cases in just 24 hours.

Here is the chart mapping five communities with significant numbers of Orthodox Jews - Toms River is essentially a suburb of Lakewood and Clifton a suburb of Passaic, with the Jewish community traveling in the same social circles.

Teaneck's curve shows social distancing works.

Lakewood has been more lax and we are seeing the results now - and they will get much worse in the future. The Lakewood incidents are fueling a huge increase in antisemitism online, so much so that the governor of the state has denounced it along with anti-Asian bigotry.

Jews are dying today because too many on their community laughed off the risk since it became apparent that shuls and schools would have to close. 

Within days, it will become common knowledge that the hotbed of coronavirus in NJ is in a town most people never heard of that is filled with religious Jews. The very name Lakewood, instead of being synonymous with Torah learning as it is now, will become associated with the few Jews who decided that they can ignore the government and their own religious leaders, and thereby endanger everyone else.

This minority that think they are above the rules is hurting all religious Jews in the United States. It is a massive chilul Hashem.

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  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
(This post is the top one on my site today, scroll down for other articles)

During the current pandemic I've been working harder than ever to get timely, original information out to you.

Besides the usual array of articles that you won't find anywhere else, I've been working overtime to make posters, videos, webcasts, and cartoons. I've been fighting the lies from the anti-Israel community and embarrassing the politicians who repeat their lies.

And this is only in the past couple of weeks!

My tweets made an astonishing 7.8 million impressions in the first three months of this year.

I still have expenses in running this site, and I want to pay my great columnists and amazing linkdump editor more that I have been (which is more than virtually every Internet site pays their writers - nearly all of them don't pay a dime.).

So, please donate to EoZ. You can use PayPal for a one time donation, or you can use the sidebar on the main blog site to subscribe and donate automatically every month. Alternatively, you can subscribe and become a patron through Patreon. Or you can send me an Amazon gift card.

Thanks again for all your support, and wishing all of you health and happiness and a wonderful upcoming holiday season - together while apart. 

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From Ian:

‘Science will conquer this’: Inside the race for a coronavirus treatment
In a small lab on the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Professor Shy Arkin and his team of three are “throwing chemicals” at some of the proteins that constitute the coronavirus, hoping that one or more of them will stick.

Or at least that’s the kind of non-scientific language Arkin helpfully uses to describe the frantic research that is taking place in his and thousands of other labs around the world, in the battle to counter the pandemic that has gradually brought much of human endeavor and interaction to a near-halt.

In whichever constrained environment this article finds you, therefore, you’ll be pleased to hear that he’s optimistic. The virus, Arkin acknowledges, is particularly devastating among the elderly and other high-risk groups. But social distancing is at least a partially effective interim measure, buying time for the scientific community to come up with a real solution. And that solution, he is confident, will be found.

Arkin is among the scientists who feel they have something of a head start in the race to stop the pandemic, having spent close to two decades studying the components of influenza and SARS 1, the current COVID-19’s “remarkably similar predecessor,” which killed 774 people in 2002-3. And he says that at least some of COVID-19’s two dozen or so components are proteins that are known to be “drug-able” — that scientists have been able to inhibit.

The particular race in which his and all those thousands of other labs are frantically engaged is to test some 6,000 chemicals — drugs that are already approved as non-toxic to humans — against the virus’s constituent compounds: “You throw chemicals at it… If one of the chemicals inhibits a component, and that component is crucial to the virus, the chemical is immediately a potential antivirus drug.”

Sounds simple? Well, yes and no, as this interview attempts to make clear.

It was conducted on Sunday, first in Arkin’s office and then, briefly, in his small lab — one of the very few places on the university campus still working. We kept the obligatory two meters apart as we spoke — a task that became slightly more difficult when we entered the lab, and two members of his team showed me some of the testing process.

The Times of Israel: So, how goes the search for a coronavirus treatment?

Prof. Shy Arkin: We’re working in frantic mode. We’re a small team, and we are serving chemicals against a component of the virus that we identified many years ago.
British-Israeli Project Aims to Identify Anti-Covid-19 Drug
Teams at the Weizmann Institute for Science in Israel and the Diamond Light Source laboratory in Oxfordshire outlined their current findings and research plans in a discussion hosted by Weizmann UK on Thursday. Weizmann Vice President for Public Affairs and Resource Development Roee Ozir said, "We have probably somewhere between 20 and 30 initiatives of talented and creative scientists who are trying to push their research very quickly and look for remedies as soon as possible."

Dr. Nir London, who is leading the team at Weizmann that is searching for a drug candidate, said they are seeking to develop an anti-viral drug which will target protease, one of the 30 proteins that are essential for the activity of the virus. The Weizmann Institute and its international partners are seeking to conduct multiple stages of its research concurrently and thereby shorten the research cycle.

Weizmann has pioneered a form of research that is "completely open and shared in real time with the entire scientific community." To find the compounds that are able to inhibit protease, "instead of following up on only a few tens of compounds, we aim to follow up on 500 to a 1,000 compounds in parallel and so drastically shorten the timescale," London said.

The team published the data that they had gathered online and issued a "call to arms to medical chemists around the world" inviting them to submit proposals for which compounds might be best placed to bind to the coronavirus. "Within a few days, we got hundreds of proposals from medicinal chemists all around the world....Our premise is that if there is a safe compound which shows efficacy against the virus, humanity needs to know about this fast."
World Health Organization insists coronavirus not an airborne disease as experts raise possibility
The World Health Organization doubled down on its claim that the COVID-19 virus is not transmittable by air even as some experts suggest it is possible and as Western officials recommend that doctors and nurses take precautions.

“FACT: #COVID19 is NOT airborne,” WHO declared in a Saturday fact-check tweet. "The #coronavirus is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks.”

But a study in the United States suggests otherwise. Carried out by more than a dozen health experts working with the National Institute for Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories, the study released this month found "aerosol … transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is plausible, since the virus can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for hours.”

One of the authors of the study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Jamie Lloyd-Smith, a UCLA professor and infectious disease researcher, told the Los Angeles Times that singing may have spread virus through the air at a church in Washington state, where a choir rehearsal in early March was deemed the cause of a fatal coronavirus outbreak.

Polly Dubbel, a county communicable disease manager, told the Los Angeles Times that airborne transmission at the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church was “all we can think of right now.”

She told the Washington Examiner: “It was a group of approximately 60 people just singing in close proximity to each other for over an hour — they weren’t eating, they weren’t shaking hands, they weren’t engaging in any other high-risk activities — and that’s all we know.”

One early March study in Singapore also suggested "that small virus-laden droplets may be displaced by airflows and deposited on equipment such as vents.” A non-peer-reviewed study out of China stated that the intensive care unit, the cardiac/coronary care unit, and general patient rooms in one Wuhan hospital and the patient hall inside another “had undetectable or low airborne SARS-CoV-2 concentration.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent disinfection guidelines state “based on what is currently known about the virus … spread from person-to-person happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet).” The guidance adds that “this type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets, but disease transmission via infectious aerosols is currently uncertain.

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

I just found this 2018 report from the UN that describes the laws that discriminate against and hurt women under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

I do not remember a single news article about this report when it was released. The taboo against saying anything bad about Palestinian rule is very deep - there are more international journalists in Israel and the territories per capita than anywhere else on Earth and yet they hardly ever report anything that puts Palestinians in a bad light.

Here are the Palestinian laws that the UN found problematic for women:

Domestic violence: Palestine has no domestic violence legislation.

Marital rape: Marital rape is not criminalized.

Abortion for rape survivors: Abortion is prohibited in the West Bank by the Jordan Penal Code (Articles 321–325) and in Gaza by the Criminal Code of 1936 (Articles 175–177).

Sexual harassment in the workplace: Sexual harassment is not criminalized by the Labour Code.

Honour crimes: Mitigation of penalty Laws allowing mitigation of penalties for ‘honour’ crimes were repealed in 2011 and 2018 in the West Bank. However, the government in Gaza has not applied the reforms.

Adultery: Adultery is an offence in Gaza and the West Bank. In the West Bank, Article 282 of the Penal Code criminalizes adultery

Human trafficking: Palestine does not have comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation. Some provisions of the Penal Code of Jordan apply to trafficking in the West Bank.

Sex work and anti-prostitution laws: Prostitution is prohibited by Articles 309–318 of the Penal Code in the West Bank and Articles 161–166 of the Criminal Code of 1936 in Gaza.

Sexual orientation: Homosexual conduct between consenting adults is criminalized by the Criminal Code of 1936 in Gaza, with a penalty of up to ten years of imprisonment. The Penal Code 1960 in the West Bank has no similar prohibition.

Marriage and divorce: The personal status laws for Muslims require the husband to maintain the wife. A wife owes obedience to her husband. A husband can divorce by repudiation (talaq). A wife has the right to divorce on specified grounds. She can also apply for a khul’a divorce without grounds if she forgoes financial rights.

Male guardianship over women: Muslim women require consent of a wali (male guardian) to marry. There are some weak legal protections for women under guardianship. Women can seek permission from the court to marry if the guardian withholds consent without a legitimate reason.

Minimum age of marriage: The Muslim personal status laws set the minimum legal age of marriage as 15 years for girls and 16 years for boys in the West Bank, and 17 years for girls and 18 for boys in the Gaza Strip. The ages can be lower if a judge allows it (with a guardian’s approval in the case of the girl).

Guardianship of children: Fathers are the sole guardians of children.

Custody of children: After divorce the mother has custody up to a certain age, but automatically loses custody of her children if she remarries. Inheritance Sharia rules of inheritance apply to Muslims. Women have a right to inheritance, but in many cases receive less than men. Daughters receive half the share that sons receive.

Polygamy: Polygamy is permitted.

Legal restrictions on women’s work: Some legal restrictions exist on women’s employment in certain industries that do not apply to men, such as mining.

This list is even worse once you realize that "Palestine" signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) with no intent to actually implement any of its rules, and part of the Palestinian government in Ramallah denounced the idea of equal rights for women.

And yet we never hear a word from today's feminists - most of whom are against Israel and support a Palestinian state that would continue its official discrimination against women.

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  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
The BDS Movement is clearly not happy about the coronavirus pandemic.

Not because it has the potential to kill hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. Of course not. Their concern is that the pandemic is distracting the world from what is really important: hating Israel, the great moral imperative of our time.

So they have set up a webinar, during the month of what would have been "Israel Apartheid Week" on campuses, to try to ensure that their mindless troops don't get distracted by minor issues like trying to keep themselves or loved ones safe.

Security! Racism! The Wall! Solidarity! Pandemic! Surely one of those keywords or the photo will attract people to listen to yet more rabid hate for Israel!

Here's the description:
For Israeli Apartheid Week 2020, Rebecca Vilkomersen and Khury Petersen-Smith will explore the concept of security and the racist ways it is deployed, and examine solidarity as a counterpoint. They will discuss the relevance of these concepts during this time of a global pandemic, and share strategies for nonviolent resistance against racism, in keeping with this year’s Israeli Apartheid Week theme, United Against Racism.
The ironies are too many to count. As the entire world tries to secure itself from a deadly virus, BDS wants to argue that security is racism - and the only reason they say that is because Israel emphasizes its security, so it must be wrong.

As a counterpoint, they suggest "solidarity," yet they are against Israel cooperating with Palestinians to fight the pandemic. (You can be sure they won't say a word about how the EU fragmented itself as each member country chose to defend itself rather than the continent.)

Finally, they claim they are against racism when the entire raison d'être of BDS and this seminar is to instill and strengthen a crazed, illogical hate against the Jewish state - an irrational hate that is psychologically identical to hate for people of color or gays.

If someone wants to waste an hour of their lives, I'd love to know how many people actually show up for this - and how many people in the "Palestine Time" timezone.

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  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
The New York Times has an article about how countries are restricting freedom in the times of the pandemic - and what it says about Israel is quite inaccurate.

 "Israel’s prime minister has shut down courts and begun an intrusive surveillance of citizens."

In reality, Israeli courts have not been shut down. The Justice Minister together with the Courts Administration authority have postponed all non-essential hearings. The courts are still open.

The surveillance is of mobile phone metadata finding where potentially infected people have traveled. It is not much different than correlating the data from ubiquitous security cameras.

And neither measure was done at Netanyahu's order. The limits on what court cases will be heard were carried out by the Justice Minister and Courts Administration. The surveillance was ordered by the Government (i.e., by vote of all the Ministers), in consultation with Attorney General, and approved by the Supreme Court (which has not been closed either.)

What this shows is that the Leftist tropes of an autocratic Bibi have become accepted by the media.

Moreover, the article is biased by what it doesn't say. The only Arab nation it mentions is Jordan:
 In Jordan, after an emergency “defense law” gave wide latitude to his office, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said his government would “deal firmly” with anyone who spreads “rumors, fabrications and false news that sows panic.”
But autocracies like Syria and the Palestinian Authority don't need new laws to limit speech. Palestinians have arrested journalists under an "electronic crimes law" that forbids saying anything the government doesn't like. Syria has detained doctors who dare say that they have seen cases of coronavirus that the regime does not admit. Police in Lebanon have dismantled protest tents. Egypt expelled a journalist that said things not to the regime's liking. Morocco passed a new law limiting what could be said on social media, similar to Jordan's law.

But the New York Times decided that Israel was the autocracy where citizens' human rights are threatened. These Arab regimes who really are using the emergency to grab more power are barely worth mentioning.

(h/t YM and A)

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Monday, March 30, 2020

From Ian:

Ronald Lauder: Coronavirus Fight Should Bring Us All Together, Not Divide Us by Promoting Hatred
In frightening and uncertain times - like those we are facing now with the coronavirus - some people all too often and dangerously look for and unjustly blame scapegoats. Holding Asian-Americans responsible for the coronavirus merely because it originated in China is deeply offensive and a genuine threat to them. Such scapegoating is terrifyingly familiar to my community, the Jewish people. And we are also being targeted now.

When the bubonic plague swept through 14th century Europe, Jews were held responsible. Thousands of innocent men, women and children were viciously slaughtered, and entire Jewish communities were wiped out. Needless to say, all that Jewish blood did nothing to stop the plague. Now, messages and images implying that Jews are exploiting positions of power in politics, finance and health care to spread the virus have emerged.

It is vital that the Jewish people and all Americans take an unyielding stand against any and all efforts to vilify any individual, community, people or nation for the crisis unfolding around us. This is a moment for coming together in a globally shared experience as we recognize what we have in common. We are all in this together. We will not allow COVID-19 to rob us of our civility, our pride in our nation's diversity, and our ability to build a more perfect union across the many communities that call America home.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn are fighting COVID-19 – and antisemitism
Last Saturday, Yidel Perlstein, chairman of Community Board 12 in Borough Park, Brooklyn, started to feel sick. By Tuesday, he tested positive for coronavirus.

“I’m like a little supermarket. Everything hurts, and every day I get out of bed in the morning, I go to the bathroom, and I think I’m doing better,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “Then I start getting dizzy and weak. I go back to bed, just wait for it to be calm at night and go to sleep. And this has been going on like that every single day.”

“They told me I’m better off staying home as long as I can instead of going to the hospital, which is overcrowded,” he said. “It is better to stay away for as long as possible. So far, I don’t feel any better than last week. It is probably worse.”

“My message is straightforward,” Perlstein said. “If you would have gotten [the coronavirus] and you would know how painful it is, you would have rather stayed home for six weeks than going out and getting it, even with the light case.

“People have no idea. People cannot relate to how painful it is and how you could just lay in bed like you’re almost dead for days and days – and there’s nothing to do.”

New York State has some 60,000 cases and nearly 1,000 people who have died from coronavirus, the largest number in the US by far. Most of the patients, some 33,000, live in the New York City metropolitan area. The new situation affects the sizable Jewish population there, forcing synagogues, schools and yeshivas to close.

Some “99.9%” of the synagogues are closed, as well as schools and most of the stores, Perlstein told the Post.

Netanyahu limits all gatherings to 2 people, except for family members; demands ‘lockdown Seder’
Netanyahu says there are “particular groups” in the country not adhering to emergency directives — “deliberately breaching and even showing contempt” for the rules– and that he therefore ordered security forces to step up enforcement in areas with a high number of violations.

He stresses that most Israelis, including those in the ultra-Orthodox community, are acting responsibly. The “extremist groups” who are flouting the rules, he says, endanger themselves and everybody else, and are trampling on the principle of “love thy neighbor.”

“There won’t be gatherings of over two people who are not from the same nuclear family,” he announces.

Additionally, he says no kind of prayer will be allowed even in open areas — “pray only on your own” — and that religious events should be restricted as much as possible.

Even weddings must be restricted only to immediately family, he says. Funerals remain limited to 20 people, and circumcisions to 10 — all while maintaining two-meter social distancing.

Netanyahu also calls on Israelis not to visit family during the Passover holiday.

This year’s Passover Seder will be “the lockdown seder” — with only the nuclear family attending. “Don’t visit relatives on the eve of the festival either,” he stresses.

“These same restrictions apply as relevant to all faiths,” he notes.

  • Monday, March 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
The pandemic gives us a chance to highlight one of the most ridiculous demands by BDS (and by many Palestinians and Arabs themselves) against "normalization" with Israel.

In order to fight the coronavirus, everyone has to work together. But working together with Israel violates one of the core BDS principles, of being against "normalization" with Israel.

By BDS' definition, normalization is "the participation in any project, initiative or activity, in Palestine or internationally, that aims (implicitly or explicitly) to bring together Palestinians (and/or Arabs) and Israelis (people or institutions) without placing as its goal resistance to and exposure of the Israeli occupation and all forms of discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people.”

Therefore, a meeting last week between Palestinian doctors from Jericho and Israeli experts on how to fight the coronavirus would be a violation of the BDS demands. And so is all the other cooperation between Israelis and Arabs on fighting the pandemic.

How absurd that a movement supposedly meant to help Palestinians would prefer that they not cooperate against a worldwide threat! But there you have it - BDS doesn't care about Palestinians.

And Israel does.

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  • Monday, March 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
The current pandemic has reduced the number of terror attacks and riots in Israel and the territories to nearly zero.  In fact, today is "Land Day," a major event that is usually marked with mass anti-Israel rallies, and this year the Palestinians can do virtually nothing.

Hamas, which is built on a culture of glorifying death and "martyrs," has very little to talk about without physical attacks.  So its top story on the Al Qassam Brigades website is about the "martyrdom" of someone who just died of injuries from a car accident four years ago.

Al-Qassam Brigades said in its military statement that the Mujahideen Muhammad Issa Baraka from Khan Yunis, died today, Saturday 4 Shaaban 1441 AH corresponding to 3/28/2020 AD, as a result of his injury in a traffic accident 4 years ago.

"To go to his Lord after a blessed life full of giving, jihad, sacrifice and bond in the way of Allah, we count him among the righteous martyrs who are pure and do not commend ourselves to Allah."

We ask Allah to accept him in the martyrs, and to accommodate him in his spacious gardens, and to provide his family with beautiful patience and good consolation, and we belong to God and to Him we shall return.
Pity poor Hamas who needs to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find new "martyrs" to praise.

I guess the terror group didn't want to waste their martyr photos:

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From Ian:

Man stabbed in Monsey Hanukkah attack succumbs to wounds
A man seriously wounded in a Hanukkah attack on a Jewish gathering in Monsey, New York, has died, three months after the stabbing rampage.

Josef Neumann, 72, succumbed to wounds sustained during the December 29 machete assault, a local Jewish group said Sunday.

“We are sad to inform you that Yosef Neumann, who was stabbed during the Hanukkah attack in Monsey late Dec 2019, passed away this evening,” the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council said in a statement posted to Twitter.

Rabbi Yisroel Kahan, who is the community liaison for the Ramapo Police Department that serves Monsey and executive director of Oizrim Jewish Council, shared the news of Neumann’s passing on his Twitter account as well.

“We were hoping when he started to open his eyes,” Rabbi Yisroel Kahan told The Journal News on Sunday night. “We were hoping and praying he would then pull through. This is so very sad he was killed celebrating Hanukkah with friends just because he was a Jew.”

Neumann was the most seriously injured in the attack and doctors had said there was little chance he would ever make a full recovery. He had been in a coma since the attack, according to NBC News.

His death came despite hopes that his condition may improve after he reportedly opened his eyes at the end of February.
16th Israeli dies of virus, Health Ministry predicts 150 critical patients
Israel's coronavirus death toll climbed to 16 on Monday after a 58-year-old man with underlying medical conditions died at the Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center, south of Tel Aviv.

The news came as Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov warned that there are likely to be over 150 coronavirus patients in a serious condition in Israel by the weekend.

"I don't see a model in which we end this situation with a small number of intubated patients or deaths," Bar Siman Tov told KAN Reshet Bet.

A total of 4,347 Israelis have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus to date, including 80 people in serious condition - among them a young man in his 20s who was hospitalized at Assuta Ashdod University Hospital - and 63 patients requiring ventilation.

Despite testing close to 6,000 people on Sunday, Bar Siman Tov said the tests were only giving authorities a "very partial picture" of the real situation.
PMW: Coronavirus and PA financial priorities
The amount the PA is paying terrorists this month could buy them 387,143 Coronavirus test kits or 465 ventilators instead

For which leaders is the payment of financial rewards to terrorists more important than supporting the needy or paying teachers?

The answer is, of course, the Palestinian Authority leaders– during the Coronavirus crisis!

Anticipating a fall in income, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh announced that the payment of the March salaries will be staggered, and every day a different group of PA employees will be paid. The order of payment is a clear indication of the PA’s priorities.

Preceded only by the medical and supporting personnel, and the PA Security Forces members, third in line to receive their share of the limited PA budget are the terrorist prisoners and the families of the dead terrorists, the so-called “Martyrs.”

“Since the wheels of production, import, and consumption have stopped, there will be a large drop of more than 50% in the PA’s revenues… The international aid will decrease because the entire world is in crisis, and therefore we will work according to an emergency austerity budget by reducing the expenses as much as possible. However, we will pay the salaries for this month [March] in full and over the course of several days in order to prevent gatherings in front of the banks, and this [will be] in the following manner:

On Sunday the salaries of the medical and supporting personnel will be paid.
On Monday to the [PA] Security Forces members.
On Tuesday to the prisoners and [the families of] the Martyrs.
On Wednesday to welfare cases and the poor.
On Thursday to the teachers.
On Friday to the rest of the [PA] public employees.
The last payment, on Saturday, will be to senior officials, to high level state employees, and to the ministers.”

[WAFA, Official PA news agency, March 29, 2020]

As Palestinian Media Watch has shown, this is not the first time the PA has clearly demonstrated its warped priorities. In 2019, when the PA decided to plunge itself into a self-made financial crisis and was forced to cut salaries to its law abiding employees, it nevertheless committed itself to paying, in full, the salaries of the terrorist prisoners and allowances of the families of the dead terrorists.

Similarly, the fact that the PA prioritizes the payment of the terror rewards over the payment of benefits to the needy Palestinians, is not a surprise. As PMW demonstrated, the PA devotes six times more of its budget to the terrorist prisoners and the families of the dead terrorists than it does to its needy.

  • Monday, March 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Rabbi Pinni Dunner recounts a story from Rabbi YY Jacobson, a famous inspirational speaker who grew up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn:

“A few weeks ago, I led a workshop for single mothers, and at the end of the session, I took questions from the women and encouraged them to ask any question that was on their mind. One of the ladies put her hand up, and this is what she asked me… it’s a crazy story.”

“A few months ago,” she said, “it was Pesach. The thing is, my ex-husband and I went through a very difficult breakup. After years in court over our kids, we finally settled on a shared custody arrangement, which means that we alternate Jewish holidays. This past Pesach it was my turn – my children were coming to me for Seder and I was so excited. I changed over my home for Pesach and prepared everything beautifully; it was going to be just me and the kids.”

“I was so happy about them being with me, that I told everyone: my family, my friends, my neighbors. Then, one hour before yomtov, I got a phone call from my ex – for some reason, the kids were not going to be coming. I almost fainted from shock and heartache. I was also so ashamed. I guess I could have called my parents, or I could have called my neighbors – and gone to them for the Seder. But how could I actually do that? I had told everyone my kids were coming! Truth is, I did not have the energy to even be with anyone. I felt completely and totally numb – dry and lifeless.”

“So I did the Seder by myself. On my own. It was the worst and most bitter Seder I have ever had. I just sat there crying the whole way through. Weeping. It wasn’t Pesach. It was Tisha B’Av. I did not have to eat Maror. I—my entire life!—was Maror. Yes, I went through the Haggadah and ate the Matzah; but the entire Seder took me 25 minutes.”

“Rabbi Jacobson, did I do the right thing? Did I fulfil my Seder obligation? Was it even called a Seder? Because it did not feel like a proper Pesach.”

Rabbi Jacobson told me – and believe me, as a public speaker, I know exactly what he means – sometimes your most inspirational moments in a speech are not prepared. They are a gift from God. You can prepare for hours. And then inspiration drops into your lap. Right then and there, Rabbi YY Jacobson had such a moment.

“Lady,” he said, “in 1988 the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s wife died, and he was left on his own, as they sadly had no children. She passed away in February, and two months later was Pesach. Every year the Rebbe and his Rebbetzen had Seder together, but this year he was on his own, totally by himself. Who would the Rebbe conduct the Passover Seder with?”

“I recall that a young boy, Ari Halberstam – who was later tragically gunned down on Brooklyn Bridge, in 1994 – approached the Rebbe after Maariv on the first night of Pesach and, on behalf of his mother, invited the Rebbe to his home for Seder. Ari’s family lived at 706 Eastern Parkway, just one block away from ‘770’. The Rebbe smiled at Ari, and shook his head. He thanked him profusely, but told Ari he would be having the Seder in his private office in ‘770’.”

“I was a yeshiva student at the time,” continued Rabbi Jacobson, “so I am a first-hand witness to this story. In fact, the Rebbe’s longstanding assistant Rabbi Leibel Groner offered to stay with the Rebbe, but the Rebbe sent him home to have Seder with his wife and children.”

“And so, the great Lubavitcher Rebbe – the man who inspired countless people around the world for their Seders, who personally undertook to provide a meaningful Pesach Seder for Israeli Army personnel who were on duty on the first night of Pesach via his shluchim in Eretz Yisrael – had the Seder on his own. Not one other person was present. As the Talmud says: if you are on your own, you ask yourself the ‘Ma Nishtana’ questions, and then you answer them to yourself.”

“A few of us yeshiva boys did not go home that night; we waited outside in the street – and after a couple of hours, the Rebbe opened the door to welcome Eliyahu Hanavi and recite Shefoch Chamatcha. He walked outside holding a candle and his Haggadah, said the prayer, gave us a wave, and then went back inside to finish the Seder — by himself.”

“My dear lady,” said Rabbi Jacobson, “if it was good enough for the Lubavitcher Rebbe to have the Seder on his own, trust me, your Seder was perfect!”

“He could have had his Seder with 100 people, 1000 people, or 10,000 people. He personally arranged for all the army Seders in Israel to be sponsored. He was responsible for hundreds of thousands of people celebrating Pesach on Seder night, from Kathmandu to Alaska, from San Francisco to New Zealand. But at the end of the day, he went and did the Seder on his own. He didn’t need anyone else to be close to God. He didn’t need adulation. He didn’t need validation. He sat alone and relived the Exodus from Egypt.”

“I was only 15 at the time,” concluded Rabbi Jacobson, “but despite my youth, I felt sad that the Rebbe had nobody to be with for the Seder. Why did he not invite even one person to be with him? But today, after hearing your story, I may have discovered the answer—and it is just a personal feeling. As a true Jewish leader, the Rebbe wished to empower all those souls who would ever need to do their Seder alone. He wanted them to know that their solitary Passover Seder was powerful, meaningful, and real. Jewish history and the Divine presence would dwell at their Seder just as it does at a Seder that has many people there.”

(h/t David S)

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  • Monday, March 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Bernie Sanders, who has surrounded himself with anti-Israel aides, naturally doesn't know anything about Israel beyond what his aides tell him.

Which is why he parroted the talking points of rabid Israel-haters in a tweet on Sunday:

Tellingly, he links to a week-old article from the extremist anti-Israel Gisha organization.

But even the UN has admitted that Israel is not impeding any aid to the territories and praised Israel for fully cooperating with the Palestinian Authority, international NGOs and even Hamas.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, has praised the coordination between the Israeli and Palestine authorities in reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement released on Friday, the coordination and cooperation established between Israel and Palestine, with regard to tackling COVID-19, was described as “excellent”.

The Israeli and Palestinian authorities are continuing to coordinate their responses closely and constructively, the statement said, which is a major factor in the level of disease containment achieved so far.

Since the beginning of the crisis, Israel has allowed the entry of critical supplies and equipment into Gaza: examples of critical supplies include swabs for collection of samples and other laboratory supplies required for COVID-19 testing, and Personal Protective Equipment to protect health workers.

The statement also noted Israel’s cooperation in allowing health workers and other personnel involved in the COVID-19 response to move in and out of the West Bank and Gaza.
It is not only Mladenov. The UN has noted this across the board:

When even the UN says that Israel is doing everything one can expect to help Palestinians, you know that the haters are lying through their teeth.

And Bernie Sanders prefers the lies of the haters to the facts that even the UN admits.

Thank Allah he will not be the Democratic candidate.

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  • Monday, March 30, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Two news stories in Palestinian media seem s little too coincidental.

On Friday morning, Palestinian police arrested a journalist who broadcast live from Hebron. I do not know what he said, but the police officials said that he "talked about the coronavirus in a manner that spread terror and fear among citizens in Hebron."

The Palestinian electronic crime unit has been following social and traditional media to find "violations and false news that spread fear and confusion among citizens."

It sounds like this journalist warned about an outbreak of the virus in Hebron, and the police arrested him, warning the population that only official news may be published or posted.

This law sounds strikingly like the one that Syria has to block all news that the government doesn't approve of and to arrest anyone - even doctors - who speak publicly about Covid-19 cases that are not officially acknowledged.

Is that the case here? Are there people with the virus in Hebron?

Tweets indicated that Hebron went under quarantine last Thursday. Photos of deserted streets were posted o Friday. But the official media said that the quarantine started Sunday night.

Why did Hebron suddenly decide to quarantine the entire city?

The governor of Hebron, Jabreen Al-Bakri, issued a decision Sunday night to completely close the city of Hebron until further notice.

A statement issued byAl-Bakri said, "It is based on the developments of the current health situation and in order to fight this pandemic and limit the spread of the coronavirus, it was decided to take precautionary and preventive measures in the city of Hebron from Monday, March 30, until further notice.

All the entrances to the city of Hebron are completely closed and entry and exit is prohibited.

Isn't that a coincidence that the same city that had news that was considered too likely to panic citizens, which was hushed up, is two days later being completely quarantined?

Is there a major outbreak in Hebron that is being covered up?

If the PA is hiding coronavirus cases, it is endangering everyone in the region. It would be an unforgivable crime. The censorship itself is bad enough, but this could be China-level censorship - we don't know.

PA president Mahmoud Abbas actually praised China for its coronavirus response last week. It looks like he is taking its lessons very seriously.

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

We are back to the Dark Ages.

They used to accuse Jews of spreading the plague by poisoning the wells. Now they are saying that Jews are spreading the plague more directly.

From YNet:

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on Sunday accused IDF soldiers of deliberately spreading the novel coronavirus among the West Bank's Palestinian population.

In the latest iteration of an ongoing and long-standing blood libel, Shtayyeh claimed, "We were exposed to testimonies that some of the (Israeli) soldiers are trying to spread the virus on car handles."

The firebrand politician cited racism as the main motive behind the soldiers' actions.

"This is racism and hatred of people who long for the death of the other. We will record this in the list of crimes [against Israel], " Shtayyeh said.
This is a despicable antisemitic statement. Which means that the usual people on the Left who hate Israel but pretend to be against antisemitism will remain silent - or will say that he is telling the truth.

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  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
I've been making posters to counter the lies from the hate-Israel crowd, but they would be far more effective if they are used as replies to the hashtags and libels that claim that Israel limits medicine and humanitarian aid to gaza.

So, use these liberally.

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  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
A tweet from Sari Bashi  of Gisha, formerly of Human Rights Watch, retweeted by Ken Roth, shows yet again the anti-Israel bias of the organization.

What needs to be compared isn't the total population of Israelis and Palestinians, but the number of people stricken with coronavirus. After all, healthy people clearly don't need ventilators.

So let's look at the numbers again, assuming her ventilator numbers are correct:

Number of Israelis diagnosed with Covid-19 (not yet recovered)  as of this writing: 4115
Number of Palestinians diagnosed with Covid-19 (not yet recovered) as of now: 91

Number of ventilators per patient in Israel: 0.53
Number of ventilators per patient in the Palestinian territories: 3.24

Which means that Palestinians have over six times the number of respirators per patient that Israel has.

If you look at the numbers of those in serious condition, things are even more skewed towards the Palestinians. There are 74 Israeli patients in serious condition - and zero Palestinians. I don't know how many, if any, people in non-serious condition need a respirator.

This doesn't mean that more respirators won't be needed for both. They are needed for the future, not the present. The numbers are increasing at a dizzying rate.  But the implication that Israel is withholding ventilators that are desperately needed is completely false. 

The anti-Israel rhetoric from so-called human rights groups is truly sick. 

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From Ian:

Third Israeli dies Sunday - 15 coronavirus victims
Three Israelis died of cornoavirus on Sunday, bringing the total number of victims to 15.

The most recent victim is an 84-year-old woman who was being treated at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The two previous victims were in their 90s.

The 14th victim is a 90-year-old woman who had been hospitalized at Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak. The 13th is a 92-year-old man who was admitted last week in serious condition to Shaare Zedek. Both had pre-existing conditions.

As of Sunday morning, 3,865 Israelis have coronavirus, coronavirus, according to the Health Ministry - 66 people are in serious condition, among them a young man in his 20s who is hospitalized at Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital.

The numbers represent an increase of 246 more people since press time on Saturday night.
Coronavirus explained: 22 questions with epidemiologist guiding Israeli response
Professor Yehuda Carmeli is head of the Department of Epidemiology at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and a professor at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. He is one of the medical professionals leading the Israeli Health Ministry’s response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The Times of Israel spoke to him at 7:30 Thursday morning, the only slot available in his busy day. We asked him a host of key questions to try to understand more about the coronavirus. Among them: How is it transmitted, is it or is not airborne, and why it is so contagious? How many people worldwide will ultimately be infected, with what consequent rate of fatalities? Why are the elderly at greater risk, and why are other age groups so much less so? Why are Israel and other countries responding in the ways that they are, and whose approaches are more and less effective? And what should the public expect in terms of the virus’ impact — not only on our health, but the disruption to our lives — and for how long?

1. Why were there “only” 3,000 coronavirus deaths in China, while in Italy, a much smaller country, we are seeing hundreds of people dying a day?
Actually not all of China was affected. In most of China there was a relatively small number of cases. There is a specific county, Hubei, that was affected and within it, the city of Wuhan. Wuhan has a population of 11 million. Also, in Italy, it was mostly the region of Lombardy, which has a population of [10 million]. So approximately the same size of population has been affected in both cases.

2. How many people will become infected worldwide if this pandemic is not checked?
There are various mathematical models that try to estimate the number of cases expected in different places. There is a saying about mathematical models that all of them are wrong but some are useful. We truly don’t know which of them is correct.

All models I have seen predict that by the end of this outbreak, which could be in several months or could be in a year or two, about 60-70 percent of the population will be infected at some point. Not all people who are infected become sick. Some don’t even notice that they have it, or have very minor symptoms.

But in the end you can take the world’s population and calculate 60 or 70 percent, and those are the numbers that will be affected by this pandemic.
Stephen L. Miller:Why was early coronavirus coverage so lazy? The media’s insatiable thirst for political correctness
The night that President Trump issued his order, Vox tweeted, ‘Is this going to be a deadly pandemic? No.’ That tweet was then deleted with a correction earlier this week. Lenny Bernstein at the Washington Post wrote on January 31, ‘Get a grippe [sic], America. The flu is a much bigger threat than Coronavirus, for now.’ The next day, the Washington Post published an op-ed titled, ‘Past epidemics prove fighting coronavirus with travel bans is a mistake.’ In what appeared to be a full court press against the president’s order, the paper published another piece on January 31, ‘How our brains make coronavirus seem scarier than it is.’ On February 3, they hit us with another op-ed headlined, ‘Why we should be wary of an aggressive government response to coronavirus’, arguing it would lead to more stigmatization of marginalized populations.

On January 29, in concert with the Washington Post, BuzzFeed News tweeted, ‘Don’t worry about the coronavirus. Worry about the flu.’ Just a few days before President Trump’s Oval Office address to the nation, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said on air that ‘if you’re freaked out about the Coronavirus you should be more concerned about the flu.’ And then shortly after Trump’s address, CNN’s Brian Stelter commented that ‘Sean Hannity and Fox were going to celebrate the travel ban while evading the scourge of community spread within the US.’ CNN then published online in late February that racist attacks against Asians (only of which a handful in the United States have been authenticated and documented) spread faster than the coronavirus.

This was all, of course, reflexive coverage to a president they see as an emotional and oppressive opponent. Trump has made a hobby of hitting the media over the head with whatever bat they hand to him, and it’s one of the reasons it’s hard to listen to any of their sky-is-falling coverage now. Donald Trump is going to spin his way through this crisis, just like any communications-minded president would do, and the media’s attempts to play catch-up will leave them with a public that no longer trusts them.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
In both Jordan and Syria, the government decided it was somehow better to create its own distribution channel for bread rather than let bakeries remain open.

The result? Long lines and crowds of people jostling to get limited supplies - increasing the chances for more infection.

In Jordan:
Days after a total curfew went into effect, people clamored to receive bread distributions from government trucks, the emergency hotline went offline after it apparently became overloaded with phone calls, and some reported they had nothing at home to eat.

In Syria,

The bread crisis has appeared more recently in Aleppo. Once the night curfew ends at six in the morning every day, residents in Aleppo begins to gather in hundreds in front of private and public ovens, distribution centers in the neighborhoods, and in the parking spaces for trucks transporting bread.
Gathering in the queues early seems necessary to get one bundle of bread, which is what is allowed for each person, and [soon enough] the limited quantity will be already exhausted, and the people will be forced to buy bread from the black market and special "tourist" ovens in Aleppo, and at a huge markup.

Socialist methods do not seem to be working that well.

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  • Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Daily Mail has a textbook case of media bias. In an article this morning by Ian Gallagher, chief reporter of the newspaper, it says:

Prince Harry faces a backlash over controversial plans to invite injured Israeli soldiers to compete at his Invictus Games.

Israel is under investigation for alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories and has never previously been involved in the tournament, but The Mail on Sunday understands that its inclusion in the 2022 Games was agreed in principle earlier this month. Last night, an Arab commentator said the move would be seen as ‘provocative’.

Launched in 2014, the Invictus Games for wounded or sick military personnel and veterans, are close to the Duke’s heart. This year’s competition was postponed earlier this month due to the coronavirus outbreak. It will now be held in 2022 in Germany.

Abdel Bari Atwan, a prominent Arab journalist in the UK, said: ‘It will be seen as a way of provoking Arabs by a British Royal.’ Two Arab countries, Jordan and Iraq, took part in the 2018 Games in Sydney. Both are due to compete in the next tournament.
This supposed "backlash" is from a single terror-supporting journalist.

Abdel Bari Atwan found a silver lining in the 9/11 attacks five years after , saying "The events of 11 September will be remembered as the end of the US empire. This is because all empires collapse when they pursue the arrogance of power."

He enthusiastically supported the murder of Jewish religious students in the Mercaz Harav massacre, saying it was "justified" and that celebrations in Gaza following the attack symbolized "the courage of the Palestinian nation." That is pure antisemitism.

He said  "Jihad must be directed, first and foremost, against the Israeli enemy...All our guns must be turned toward that enemy, regardless of our differences, because this is the only thing that unites us". Atwan also declared that "Arabs who do not think that Israel is an enemy are neither Arabs nor Muslims."

So much for the value of Abdel Bari Atwan's opinion about Israel. The only question is why the Daily Mail is promoting him as a sober representative of British Islam instead of the rabid, hateful antisemitic Israel hater he is.

But this is only the beginning of the Daily Mail's and Gallagher's bias. To buttress the non-existent point of an "Arab backlash," the subhead of the article headline and subhead says "Israel is under investigation for alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories."

Atwan did not say a word about this. This is wholly the Daily Mail's addition to the story.

But if being under investigation is a reason for disqualification, then the US and Afghanistan - who are also participants in the games - should be disqualified as well, as they are also under investigation by the same ICC for war crimes.

Why is the Daily Mail so concerned over Israel's alleged war crimes and not those of the other participants - including the UK itself, which has also been accused of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan? Other participants do not exactly have a stellar human rights record.

But only Israel's is considered disqualifying to the Daily Mail.

Beyond this, the Daily Mail tried a third avenue to smear Israel to justify a story that isn't a story. In paragraphs 2 and 3:

Financial backing for an Israeli team has already been sought from global charity Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), which was co-founded by London-based Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman.

Mr Fridman was named in former MI6 officer Christopher Steele’s dossier alleging Kremlin links to US President Donald Trump and the billionaire last year appeared in a Spanish court accused of corruption and helping to orchestrate the bankruptcy of a technology firm. He denied the charges.
GPG is a charity that strengthens Judaism among Russian Jews, supports UK Jewish institutions and fosters ties between Israeli and diaspora Jews. I can find no meaningful criticism of the organization anywhere, it appears to do stellar work. To try to smear Israel the Daily Mail is drawing a very tenuous link between unfounded allegations against one of GPG's founders and the Israeli team which probably seeks sponsors from a wide variety of Jewish and Zionist organizations. There is nothing the east bit immoral about looking for sponsors from GPG, and insinuating that it is wrong is simply a slander.

In short, there is no controversy whatsoever about Israel participating in the Invictus Games, but for some reason the Daily Mail has decided to manufacture one. In doing so, it has only proven that it is willing to create an anti-Israel smear based on literally nothing.

This is not journalism.

(h/t Mark Humphrys)

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