Sunday, May 03, 2020

05/03 Links: World Health Organization lies about Israel on coronavirus; The Palestinian Refugee Scam; Top Israeli judoka raises quarter million shekels to help fight virus

From Ian:

World Health Organization lies about Israel on coronavirus and other health issues
Trump recently suspended U.S. funding of the WHO. America is by far the largest donor to the agency and was scheduled to give it $894 million during the current two-year funding period.

The president said Thursday that “the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China.” He could have also added that the WHO has operated like a PR and propaganda agency for the enemies of Israel – the only democracy in the Middle East.

A year ago, WHO member countries voted 96 to 11 – with the U.S. in opposition – for an annual resolution blaming Israel for “health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syria Golan.”

While one might expect the WHO to be apolitical, it – like nearly every other U.N.-associated organ – is used by Israel’s enemies as a platform for viciously attacking the Jewish state. What may be even more disturbing is that democracies that should know better – including France, Belgium and Sweden – joined in the unjustified condemnation of Israel.

As U.N. Watch noted, out of 21 items on the WHO agenda, the only one focused on a specific country applied to Israel. This targeting of Israel has been going on since at least 2000.

U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer noted that “anyone who has ever walked into an Israeli hospital or clinic knows that they are providing world-class health care to thousands of Palestinian Arabs.”

It will not be surprising if this year the WHO adopts the usual Israel-bashing resolution and falsely accuses Israel of preventing Palestinians from getting treatment for COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus.

In fact, Israel is doing a great deal to help the Palestinians contain the coronavirus outbreak that first apparently arrived in the West Bank in Bethlehem.
NGO Monitor: BDS Group Makes a Mockery of Global Pandemic
On April 20, 2020, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) published a “fact sheet” titled “Coronavirus under Israeli Apartheid.” The document promotes numerous allegations originating with Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which, since their original publication, have been removed, have been proven false, or are simply outdated. This failure to utilize factual and accurate information and make reasonable policy recommendations demonstrates that the purpose of this document is to demonize Israel and not to advocate for Palestinian health.

A core component of the “fact sheet” is the intersectional claim that Israeli policies “embody” something called “#CoronaRacism,” drawing false parallels between Palestinians and minority communities in the US and the UK. BNC also negates the responsibility of Palestinian actors for healthcare and ignores the diversion of resources by Hamas and other actors to weapons, tunnels, and terror, instead of public infrastructure in Gaza.

Distortions in the document include:
“Epidemics … are disproportionately violent to populations burdened by poverty, military occupation, discrimination and institutionalised oppression.” — Letter in The Lancet, March 26, 2020: The document opens by quoting a letter to The Lancet, which was, in fact, removed by the journal shortly after its publication. The letter was written by a group of anti-Israel activists, including repeat offender Mads Gilbert, and attacked “Israeli oppression and international complicity.” Ironically, the since-removed letter calls for Palestinians to “return” to Israel precisely when Israel was suffering from a much higher rate of infection than Gaza. The authors shamefully declare “no competing interests,” hiding their years of virulent anti-Israel advocacy behind a pledge of scientific objectivity.

Palestinian communities in Israel are “likely to become epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak” due to deficiencies in testing, information and health services: BNC links to an opinion article published on March 31, which provides no citations to back up its allegations, and is in any case, outdated. Reality over the ensuing month showed the prediction to be false: Jewish communities, in particular Ultra-Orthodox areas, were the epicenters in Israel, whereas Arab communities were relatively unaffected. Indeed, Haaretz now features an “update” in the article, linking to an April 2 piece titled “Israel ramps up coronavirus testing in Arab cities where infection rate relatively low.”
Corona doesn't stop the NIF from trying to harm Israel
People of Israel, fear not – while the world, including Israel, deals with corona virus, record level unemployment and what the “new normal” looks like, the radical, extremist New Israel Fund and their grantees continue to apply pressure on the Jewish State.

The goal of the New Israel Fund – an organization which continues to openly advocate a boycott of the Jewish State – is to create a “New” Israel, this, despite the fact that Israel is only a 72 year old country.

Take Hamoked, an organization which since 2008 has received upwards of $720,000 from The New Israel Fund, and claims to work “for the enforcement of standards and values of international human rights and humanitarian law,” and to date has focused on defending the families of terrorists. Just this month, Hamoked sent an urgent letter to demand the authorities "stop preventing Palestinian Arabs undergoing family unification procedures who live in Jerusalem.”

Do you get it? While all those who live in Israel were restricted for health reasons to not exceed 100 and then 500 meters from their home, Hamoked – in defiance of global distancing procedures – advocated for Palestinian Arabs to be able to move “freely and without delay.” And in Jerusalem, which has one of the highest ""rates of infection in the country.

Then, a group of New Israel Fund grantees led by Hamoked petitioned the High Court of Justice “… to demand that inmates classified as security inmates, and particularly those among them who are minors, be allowed to maintain family contact with their families at this time via the telephone.” In its April 1 response to the petition, the state announced its decision to allow “juvenile security prisoners and detainees who are not held in Damun prison [where a telephone-contact pilot test is being run] to have one telephone call with a first degree relative during the next two weeks…”.

Is that what American Jewish supporters of the New Israel Fund want from the State of Israel, for Palestinian Arabs (or anyone?) to move freely while corona is endangering the world?
Surviving COVID-19: Special Interview with Eli Beer of United Hatzalah
In the first episode of Together with Rabbi Yonah we speak with the incredible and inspiring Eli Beer about his experience surviving COVID19. Eli is the President of United Hatzalah in Israel, the volunteer paramedic organization.

In this video you will hear his incredible saga of how a person dedicated to saving lives was himself saved miraculously by doctors in Miami.

This moving and powerful story of survival and his message are potent medicine during this difficult time. Eli heard the doctors in the ICU unit deciding his fate. Then he prayed to God for healing.

Eli also shares a heartwarming story about a Hatzalah volunteer helping a Holocaust survivor and much more.

Simply put, Eli’s amazing recovery is teaches us that when God hasn’t decided on bringing someone back home, that our actions, prayers and good deeds can and do make a difference.

Israel’s new daily COVID-19 infections dive below 50; death toll rise to 230
One person died from COVID-19 overnight, taking the national death toll to 230 on Sunday morning, as the number of daily infections dipped below 50.

The Kan public broadcaster reported that the 86-year-old man was a resident at the Yokra nursing home in Yavne’el, making him the 22nd fatality from that facility. It was the third death from the virus nationwide over the previous 24 hours.

According to the Health Ministry, there were just 41 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours. However, testing rates could be depressed over the weekend.

The total number of virus cases in the country was recorded at 16,193, but with a majority of those having recovered from the illness, those currently diagnosed as sick stood at 6,329.

Of those infected, 103 were in serious condition, of whom 82 were on ventilators. Sixty-six people were in moderate condition, while the rest were experiencing mild symptoms.

On Wednesday, the number of Israelis who have recovered from COVID-19 surpassed those who are sick for the first time since the start of the pandemic, a trend that continues.

Israel’s infection rate has dropped off significantly, with the number of new cases over 24-hour periods consistently falling below 200 since last Sunday evening.
Israeli Biotech Company Starts Clinical Trials of CBD-Steroid Treatment for Virus
The Israel-based biotech company Stero Biotechs has started a small-scale clinical trial at Rabin Medical Center’s Golda Hasharon Campus in Petach Tikvah on the effects of a steroid-Cannabidiol (CBD) treatment on hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

“Steroid treatment is usually the first or second line of treatment for hospitalized patients. CBD enhances the therapeutic effect of steroid treatment and treats the bio-mechanism affected by the virus,” the company said in a press release announcing the clinical trial. “The initial study will evaluate the tolerability, safety and efficacy of the CBD treatment for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 Infections.”

Ten patients will be in the clinical trial; the treatment cycle will be for a few weeks with a follow-up period of the same length. Pending the trial’s success, the company plans to expand to a multi-center clinical trial with an additional 40 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, under FDA clinical trial guidelines and regulations.

“We estimate that our CBD-based treatment can enhance the current treatment of those patients who are suffering life-threatening conditions,” said Stero Biotechs Founder and CEO David Bassa.
Coronavirus: Israeli researchers develop eight-times faster group-testing
An algorithm-based testing method which allows to accurately screen dozens of samples at once significantly reducing the cost, time and quantity of testing kits required has been developed by a group of Israeli researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, The National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev (NIBN), the Open University and Soroka University Medical Center.

As explained to The Jerusalem Post by some of the scientists involved, the method has already proven extremely successful in its first tests and is currently the object of an ongoing clinical trial at Soroka, while the Health Ministry just approved a pilot project in several centers across Israel which is set to commence soon. If everything goes as expected, the technique will then receive official approval.

“What we are doing right now is in many ways a direct extension of work we began many years ago,” Dr. Noam Shental from the Open University’s Department of Computer Science said. “In 2016 we published a paper presenting a mathematical framework for detecting carriers of rare mutations inside large populations. Six years later we managed to provide an experimental proof of concept by detecting mutations among a thousand plants of a specific kind of crop.”

Shental pointed out that the line of research was resumed after the beginning of the corona pandemic when he realized that the method could potentially be useful to identify coronavirus carries.

Dr. Tomer Hertz from BGU’s Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics explained that the testing system the researchers developed is based on the method of pooling.
The Palestinian Refugee Scam
Can history be undone? The correct answer is: of course not. Surely what happened happened, notwithstanding any subsequent discomfort with the result.

For example: Who are the rightful inheritors of Palestine? Indeed, where is “Palestine”? These questions, embedded in discussions (and inevitable disagreements) for the past century, have been thrust to the forefront with announcements by President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the planned extension of Israeli sovereignty over settlements in Biblical Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Jordan Valley.

Prompted by the centennial anniversary of the San Remo accords, a long dormant set of flawed assumptions has surfaced. Those 1920 accords, ratified by the League of Nations and never rescinded, affirmed the promise made three years earlier by British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour that “His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The San Remo agreement became, and remained, the international affirmation of Jewish sovereignty over the land west (and originally also east) of the Jordan River. But the United Nations, with its long history of discomfort often shading into overt hostility toward Israel, has yet to recognize this embedded precedent of international law.

Yishai Fleisher, spokesman for the Hebron Jewish community, recently cited, “This momentous occasion, on which the international community recognized and then ratified the inalienable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel for the first time in modern history.” But one year later, at the Cairo Conference, Great Britain excluded Transjordan from the territory comprising the Jewish national home and bestowed it as a gift to King Abdullah for his newly invented Kingdom of Jordan.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Will Abbas carry out his threat to nix agreements with Israel?
Palestinian officials are scheduled to hold a series of meetings in Ramallah this week amid reports that the Palestinian Authority is considering cancelling all signed agreements with Israel in response to the Israeli government’s plan to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.

Palestinians, however, do not seem to take seriously repeated threats by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and PLO institutions to renounce the agreements or suspend security coordination with Israel.

In the past few years, Abbas and some Palestinian officials have threatened to abandon the agreements, including the 1993 Oslo Accords, and revoke the PLO’s recognition of Israel. On several occasions, Abbas has also threatened to dismantle the PA in response to Israeli and US policies and measures towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Besides boycotting the Israeli government and the administration of US President Donald Trump, Abbas has failed to carry out any of his other threats, and he has good reason not to do so.

The PA was created by the Gaza-Jericho Agreement, pursuant to 1993 Oslo Accords. The termination of the Oslo Accords will lead to the dismantlement of the PA and its institutions, with Abbas losing his status as PA president.
How Much of Trump’s Foreign Policy Would Biden Preserve?
In some ways, one can say that time has stood still since 2017, because the Palestinians are as determined to avoid peace with Israel as they were during Obama’s eight years in office, despite his consistent efforts to tilt the diplomatic playing field in their direction. And the majority of Israelis are just as determined to avoid repeating blunders — like the Oslo Accords and Ariel Sharon’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza that led to so much bloodshed — as they were when Obama exited from the White House.

But while Biden, Blinken, and company may talk of two states and hope that they can outlast Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in office — something Obama failed to do — they may also understand that their chances of making the Palestinians negotiate seriously remain nonexistent. The constant bickering with the Israeli government that was the hallmark of Obama’s Middle East policy may return. But in practice, Biden is likely to find himself managing the conflict in a manner that is similar to that of Trump in that he is probably going to be hoping to maintain, rather than demolish, the increasingly close though largely informal ties between Israel and Sunni Arab states that look to it as an ally against the threat from Iran.

And despite the bitter denunciations of Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal coming from the Obama alumni, as well as Biden’s promise to return to it, the idea that they can simply happily revert to a policy of appeasing Tehran is also illusory.

In the years since Obama left office, Iran’s continued support for international terror and its efforts to destabilize Arab nations as part of its quest for regional hegemony have continued, even as the Iranian people persist in making clear their disgust with the misrule of the theocratic tyrants that oppress them.

Biden will need to understand that relaxing or ending Trump’s sanctions on Iran, which have shaken the Islamist regime and exposed its inherent weakness domestically, won’t make the Middle East safer. He and his team probably also know that they will be obligated to take up Trump’s quest to force Iran to renegotiate the nuclear agreement, lest they find themselves in office when Tehran shakes off its weak restrictions and finally gets a bomb with Western acquiescence. As much as Biden may claim to disdain Trump’s policies, he is unlikely to be prepared to go along with letting Iran be rearmed or further enriched and become an even greater threat.

Obama left Trump a more dangerous Middle East than Bush left him. Biden should gratefully accept the gains Trump has made in weakening Iran and would be ill-advised to try to give them back. Though Democrats may think Trump’s era will be quickly erased, they’re likely to preserve more of his foreign policy than they may want to admit.
For Israel, Biden will prove worse than Bernie
Biden, on the other hand, will not be in a position where such compromises are required. Most Democrats will support his domestic agenda, such that his insidious policies toward Israel will receive little internal pushback. While not as radical as Bernie’s positions, Biden’s flawed approach to Israel will have a much greater likelihood of being implemented.

During his eight years as second-in-command in the Obama administration, deemed by Israelis to be the most hostile to their interests in recent history, Biden routinely attacked the underpinnings of Jewish self-determination and pushed for failed policies that have proven to exacerbate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

While Zionism was founded on the idea that the Jewish people should collectively determine their fate as they saw fit, Biden is convinced that enlightened westerners lacking their lived experiences must guide their hand.

His marked paternalism towards the Jewish state was crystallized in his 2010 speech at Tel Aviv University, in which he said, “Sometimes only a friend can deliver the hardest truth” in lecturing Israelis about the settlements. A year prior, Israeli voters had brought to power a pro-settlement government. Wise Uncle Joe could see what common Israelis couldn’t, and if he had to arm-twist their democratically elected leadership to see the light and break their campaign promises, so be it.

When it ultimately appeared that Israelis wanted to decide for themselves how to deal with the Palestinians, the Obama-Biden administration attempted to tip the scales by funding political opposition, which used U.S. tax dollars and derivative work-product in attempting to unseat Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Even if friends sometimes need to deliver the hardest truth, they don’t attempt soft coups against one another.

Alleged Iranian spy was once a Balad Party member
A suspected Iranian spy arrested in March was once a member of the Arab Balad Party.

Ayman Haj Yahya was arrested in a joint Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police operation. He was indicted for spying for Tehran in April.

According to the investigation, Yahya had been in contact with Iranian intelligence officials and Khaled Yamani, an operative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist group in Lebanon.

Yahya had been a member of the hard-line, anti-Zionist Balad Party. He was head of the party branch in Taiba in the Triangle region and was a member of its political bureau.

Yahya is believed to have left the party several years ago and, according to a Balad spokesman, has not been a party member for 10 years.
Palestinian workers allowed back into Israel as virus restrictions eased
In another sign that the coronavirus crisis is receding, the Defense Ministry reopened Israel’s economy to Palestinian workers on Sunday.

Some 14,500 workers entered Israel from the West Bank Sunday morning, out of 39,000 total permits granted by Israeli authorities.

The workers are returning to jobs frozen for over a month, after the West Bank and much of Israel’s economy went into lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The jobs are mainly in construction, agriculture and industrial plants.

The move comes after Israeli and Palestinian officials reached an agreement that includes a provision that Israel will supply the workers with protective gear, including face masks and gloves.

The new permits are valid until the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which this year begins on May 23, a trial period during which health officials will track the spread of the virus to determine whether the easing of restrictions can continue.

To limit the virus’s potential spread, the workers will not be allowed to return to the West Bank each night, but will be required to sleep for several days at a time in Israel.
Ramadan TV series about a Arab-Jewish romance stirs controversy
A television series aired by a Saudi broadcaster during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has sparked controversy by offering a positive depiction of a Jewish community in the Gulf at the time of Israel's creation.

Critics say it and another series aired on the network promote normalization with Israel.

Relations between Israel and Arab Gulf states have quietly improved in recent years as they have come to see Iran as a shared threat and Arab leaders have sought to curry favor with the Trump administration. Most TV shows in the Arab world are made by private companies, but producers must heed red lines set by the region's autocratic rulers.

Umm Haroun, Arabic for "the mother of Aaron," is set in an unnamed Gulf country in 1948. At that time, Jewish communities, some with ancient roots, could be found across the Arab world.

The series is being aired during Ramadan when viewership soars after Muslims break the daylong fast. It's like the Super Bowl for advertisers – even more so this year when many people are stuck at home because of coronavirus lockdowns.

The show portrays Jews and Muslims living together in peace and even features a romance between a Jewish woman and a Muslim man. Relations deteriorate after the creation of Israel.

In the years after the creation of Israel, Jews across the Middle East faced heightened persecution and hundreds of thousands emigrated to the new state. Once-thriving Jewish communities dwindled to only a handful of elderly holdouts or disappeared altogether.
PMW: PA afraid of coming crisis following PMW letter to Palestinian banks
The Palestinian Authority is showing great anxiety in response to Palestinian Media Watch’s letter of April 20, 2020, to Palestinian banks. PMW warned Palestinian banks that on May 9 a new Israeli law goes into effect and the banks will be violating Israel's criminal law should they host bank accounts in which terrorist prisoners or their designated representatives receive money from the PA.

Numerous articles and news stories have appeared in the PA as well as Arab media across the Middle East from Al-Akhbar in Lebanon to Al-Jazeera in Qatar, in addition to the many responses from the PA itself, reacting to PMW’s warning to the banks. And there is good reason for the PA to be panicking. Should the Palestinian banks heed PMW’s warning and close the terrorists’ accounts the pipeline through which the PA disseminates hundreds of millions of dollars to financially reward terrorist prisoners will be closed. Should the banks decide to ignore PMW’s warning, the Israeli government could seize the accounts, and initiate criminal proceedings against the banks and the bank officials for serving as a conduit for rewarding terror.

PMW was able to send the warning letters to the Palestinian banks, not only because PMW has been leading the international fight against the PA salaries to terrorists since we first uncovered it in 2011, but also due to PMW’s involvement in the enactment of this anti-terror law.

Al Jazeera reported that the PA sees the new law as “dangerous”:
“The [PA funded] Palestinian Prisoners’ Club Communications Director Amani Sarahaneh … described the Israeli military order as dangerous. She said that its goal is to prevent the arrival of the monthly salaries that the PLO pays the families of the current prisoners and released prisoners.”
[Al-Jazeera, April 23, 2020]

The spokesman for the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Hassan Abd Rabbo said to the Voice of Palestine: “This law is liable to increase the tension within the prisons… it is impossible to ignore these racist measures and laws.” [Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, April 21, 2020]
International Criminal Court Accuses Israel of “Killing Pallywood Actor Three Times” (satire)
The International Criminal Court (ICC) accuses Israel of “brutally killing Pallywood’s movie star Mohamed al-Duracell three times.”

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda spoke to The Mideast Beast while finalizing the conclusions of the slightly predetermined probe concerning Israeli crimes. “Killing someone three times is a very serious crime that the ICC does not take lightly. Our human rights loving Saudi donors have also asked us to probe the obvious link between virulent Zionism and COVID-19.”

Bensouda dismissed criticism that “Palestine” does not qualify as an independent state. “Look, it clearly says Palestine on my almost-updated British Mandate 1940s map.”

Bensouda admitted that the probe was actually unnecessary due to the “massive evidence against Israel.”

“The deceased victim Mohamed al-Duracell generously offered solid first-hand testimonies from all three instances where he was brutally killed by Israel.”

Mr. al-Duracell, who was coincidentally having lunch with Bensouda, shared his haunting victimhood stories with The Mideast Beast. “I was crucified in Bethlehem in accordance with bloodthirsty Zionist traditions. Later, Israel bombed me with heavy food packages while I attended a peaceful Hamas Boy Scout meeting. Finally, I nearly choked on a shitty falafel at a Zionist Apartheid hospital.”
Trump Works to Disrupt Iranian Weapons Smuggling Operation With New Sanctions
The Trump administration on Friday issued new sanctions to disrupt a weapons smuggling operation run by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the country's elite military group.

The new sanctions target Amir Dianat, "a longtime associate of senior officials" of the IRGC, according to the Treasury Department. Dianat is accused of running "efforts to generate revenue and smuggle weapons abroad."

Sanctions also have been levied on Taif Mining Services, a company run by Dianat that the Treasury Department says violated "sanctions and money laundering laws." A concurrent criminal lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia alleging "that approximately $12 million is subject to forfeiture as funds involved in these crimes and as assets of a foreign terrorist organization."

The sanctions are part of the latest effort by the Trump administration to "enforce and expand" its maximum pressure campaign on Iran, as the Washington Free Beacon reported earlier this week. More sanctions are likely to be issued as the administration works at the United Nations to ensure an embargo on Iran's purchase of advanced military equipment is not lifted later this year.

"The Iranian regime and its supporters continue to prioritize the funding of international terrorist organizations over the health and well-being of the Iranian people," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "The United States remains committed to working with financial institutions, non-profit organizations, and international partners to facilitate humanitarian trade and assistance to the Iranian people."
Paper of Iran’s leader accuses Germany of terrorism in antisemitic tirade
The main propaganda newspaper for the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran published antisemitic articles attacking Germany for its ban of the Lebanese terrorist movement Hezbollah, including accusing the federal republic of support for terrorism.

The Iranian-regime controlled Daily Kayhan published an article titled “Germany blacklisted Hezbollah out of fear” on Saturday citing a commentary from the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Hussein Shariatmadari, who wrote: Berlin is effectively "in rent for the Zionists.”

He added that "We have to tell the German government and Chancellor Angela Merkel that blacklisting Lebanon’s Hezbollah is an order dictated to you from Israel and not a decision you have taken independently.”

The Daily Kayhan is widely considered the news outlet that mirrors the views of the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The Daily Kayhan wrote: “Chief editor of the Kayhan newspaper Hussein Shariatmadari ridiculed the German government’s excuses for blacklisting Hezbollah.”

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said according to the Daily Kayhan that Germany outlawed Hezbollah because it is afraid of the "child-killing” Israel.

Shamkhani tweeted that "Sellers of chemical weapons to Saddam have become human rights defenders, out of fear of their child-killing friend, [and] called Hezbollah, terrorist.”

Institutions, public figures slam Nazi slogans at US anti-lockdown rally
Numerous public figures and institutions condemned a photo from a Chicago anti-lockdown protest on Friday containing the infamous slogan of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The photo, which has since gone viral, showed a woman holding a sign with the words "Arbeit macht frei" written on it. The phrase, which translates from German into "work makes you free," is the the same phrase that infamously adorned the gate at the entrance to Auschwitz.

THE LIBERATION of Auschwitz is the opening image of 'Liberation-The First Moments.' (Photo credit: Courtesy)THE LIBERATION of Auschwitz is the opening image of 'Liberation-The First Moments.' (Photo credit: Courtesy)

The photo was taken by a local nurse named Dennis Kosuth and shared on Twitter.

"This was one of the signs at the 'Re-open Illinois' event today," he tweeted.

"She assured those that she was not a Nazi, and stated, 'I have Jewish friends.' Thank you for representing yourself and your 'movement' for what it is."

Taking to Twitter, the Auschwitz Memorial in Poland slammed the use of the phrase at the protest.

"'Arbeit macht frei' was a false, cynical illusion the SS gave to prisoners of #Auschwitz," the memorial tweeted.

"Those words became one of the icons of human hatred. It's painful to see this symbol instrumentalized & used again to spread hate. It's a symptom of moral & intellectual degeneration."
'Jewish mass murderer': Finnish anti-Semites mark May 1
May 1, International Workers Day, was marked by two anti-Semitic incidents in Finland. Overnight ‎Thursday, a statue of Vladimir Lenin was defaced with a Star of David and the words "Jewish mass ‎murderer." ‎

According to a report by the state YLE news outlet, the vandalism was discovered during a routine ‎police patrol. ‎

The statue is located in the town of Kotka in southern Finland and was presented by the town's sister ‎city, the Estonian capital Tallinn, in 1979. ‎

Also last week, a Jewish cemetery in the nearby city of Hamina was vandalized. The perpetrators are ‎believed to be neo-Nazis. YLE reported that at this time, there was no proof that the two incidents ‎were related. ‎

A senior member of the Finnish Jewish community told Israel Hayom that "Finland is now like other ‎places. In recent months, there has been a rise in anti-Semitic incidents, in which Jews are blamed for ‎the coronavirus pandemic. ‎

‎"This is notable in online discourse and also in the stickers distributed throughout Helsinki by the ‎Nordic Resistance Movement [a neo-Nazi organization]," the official said. ‎
Chairs with fake money placed atop former Jewish cemetery in Lithuania
Hundreds of chairs with fake money on them were placed atop what used to be a Jewish cemetery in Lithuania to protest delays in plans to build a conference center on the grounds.

The display, organized Friday by tourism bosses at the decaying Palace of Concerts and Sports of Vilnius, was meant, according to the Lrytas news site, to underline how much money is being lost by the delays, which are connected to protests by Jewish groups over planned construction.

“We have been waiting for the Congress Center to be located in this place for many years, but in the face of the crisis, it is becoming critical for our sector,” Evalda Ε iΕ‘kauskienΔ—, the president of the Lithuanian Hotel and Restaurant Association, or NTVA, said of the display.

Defending History, an organization and news site that has been at the forefront of efforts to block the construction plan, condemned the display.

“This grotesque, unashamed show of money on top of the graves says it all,” the group wrote in a statement.
Intel set to purchase Israel's Moovit for $1 billion - report
American chipmaker Intel is reportedly set to agree a $1 billion acquisition of Israeli transportation app developer Moovit in the coming days.

Negotiations between the Silicon Valley and the Ness Ziona firm reportedly commenced about six months ago, Hebrew-language daily TheMarker reported on Sunday, with approximately 10% of the purchase price expected to be paid to retain workers for the next two years.

Intel already holds a stake in Moovit, after investment branch Intel Capital led a $50m. fundraising round in the company in February 2018.
Intel senior vice-president and Mobileye CEO Prof. Amnon Shashua joined the company's board of directors as an observer following the deal.
Representatives of Intel and Moovit refused to comment on the report when asked by The Jerusalem Post.

Launched in 2011, the Moovit app and website assist individuals plan and navigate their way around urban areas, using all modes of available transport. The company says it has served over 720 million users in over 3,100 cities, spanning six continents, to date.
Top Israeli judoka raises quarter million shekels to help fight virus
Top Israeli judoka Sagi Muki has raised over quarter of a million shekels, by auctioning off memorabilia, meant to aid a hospital in his hometown in the fight against coronavirus.

The judoka, who won 2019 Judo World Champion as well as 2015 and 2018 European championships, a month ago begun selling his memorabilia as part of a campaign to raise funds for the Laniado Hospital in his hometown of Netanya, to help the medical center buy more ventilators to treat seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

The most sizable donation was made by a Jewish-American donor from Florida, who bought the judo suit Muki wore during his victory in the 2019 Judo World Championship, for no less than NIS 50 thousand.

Muki and the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, had been introduced to each other by Nikol Mann-Cogen from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group that advocates for pro-Israel policies in the U.S. Congress.

The donor, apparently one of the committee’s members, insisted the suit will remain in Muki’s possession and will not be put up for sale ever again.

“He didn't understand how I could let go of such an invaluable item," said Muki about the donor. "He wanted me to know that I am appreciated by
the Jews of the world and he would donate the money only if I keep the suit ... It warmed my heart.”

He also told Muki that he has been following the Israeli champion's career for a long time and Muki's sporting achievements had a real positive impact on the Jewish community around the world.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.