Tuesday, May 19, 2020

From Ian:

European Parliament condemns PA textbooks that promote hate and violence
The European Parliament passed three resolutions that condemn the Palestinian Authority for using school textbooks that promote hate and violence.

The resolutions were passed Thursday as amendments by the Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control in a budgetary report, according to the EU Reporter, and passed by a vote of 402-263, with 13 members abstaining.

Among the issues covered by the budgetary report, which was dated March 3, is the use of EU funds transferred as foreign development assistance.

One of the resolutions calls on the European Commission to make sure that “no Union funds are used to finance textbooks and educational material which incite religious radicalization, intolerance, ethnic violence and martyrdom among children.”

The resolution adds that the European representatives are “concerned that problematic material in Palestinian school textbooks has still not been removed and is concerned about the continued failure to act effectively against hate speech and violence in school textbooks.”

Money allocated for textbooks should “be used for drafting and teaching curricula which reflects UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence, and non-violence,” the resolution said.
Jerusalem Day 2020: Examining the city's developing ecosystem
On Friday, Israelis will celebrate "Jerusalem Day," marking 53 years since the city's reunification in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War. This year, Start-Up Nation Central, in partnership with the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Ministry for Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, is sharing insights and data about the unique technological ecosystem which came about in the capital of Israel and the role that the Jerusalem ecosystem is playing in the global fight against COVID-19.

Jerusalem is usually thought of as a city with rich history and culture, comprised of old neighborhoods, narrow passageways and exotic fragrances. One might not expect that alongside its rich history and culture, Jerusalem has evolved in recent years and has become a magnet for entrepreneurial activity and cutting-edge innovation.

According to Start Up Nation Central, there are currently 405 active companies in the Jerusalem ecosystem, a 102% growth since 2012. In 2019 alone, $233.5M were invested in Jerusalem-based companies and start-ups, a 21% increase from the year prior.

While most Jerusalem-based companies are considered "small-medium" with 92% of them having under 50 employees, many of Israel’s largest tech exits originated in Jerusalem. The best example of this is Intel’s acquisition of the Jerusalem-based company Mobileye for $15 billion.

"This proves there are ecosystems developed outside of Israel’s Center that can function, prosper, and be part of the economic growth in Israel's periphery," says Wendy Singer, Executive Director at Start-Up Nation Central.

There are several factors that help prosper a culture of innovation and success in Jerusalem. First, is the city's diverse population – secular and religious, Jews and non-Jews, men and women, Israeli-born and new immigrants. Diversity and inclusion are two values highly cherished by technology companies around the world, understanding that the more diverse team a team is, the more diverse ideas are conceived. It should come as no surprise that diverse companies perform better. Drawing on the city’s diverse demographic makeup, there has been a movement to train and integrate the Israeli Arab and ultra-Orthodox communities into the tech sector, thereby creating an innovative model being studied by foundations and governments in other countries.

Second, is the presence of world-ranked academic institutions like the Hebrew University for Life Sciences and Computer Sciences, and Bezalel Academy for Arts and Design or Hadassah College. There is a strong leaning in the city towards the Life-Sciences, of which Jerusalem’s students constitute over a quarter of all students in Israel studying this field. The nexus point between technology, design, and science, results in great creativity and human capital, attracting the eyes of global audiences.
Jerusalem divided: 1947
During the war, my father, Mordecai Chertoff, was an editor at the Palestine Post and simultaneously, a member of the then illegal Haganah. A godsend to the army, his press credentials gave him the freedom to move about the city with unfet­tered access to almost every location. Referring to his press pass in a letter to his parents during the summer of 1947, he wrote that his “little green book is almost armor-plate.” Mordecai used this freedom to visit and sketch British positions and sensitive security points, especially within Bevingrad. There are many such sketches in the Haganah Museum (although I did not find any that were definitely his work).

The third dimension of the complex situation in Jerusalem was the frequent curfews imposed by the British on the Jewish neighborhoods, usually following attacks by Jewish underground groups. From January 1, 1946 through October 20, 1946 Jewish Jerusalem was under curfew for 57 days. This includes the dusk to dawn curfew following the bombing of the King David Hotel (16 days) as well as other curfews, some lasting 22 hours/day.

With the departure of the British and the removal of the security zones in mid-May 1948, the fight for Jerusalem began in earnest. The battle for the Old City occurred during the second half of May. During the night of May 18-19, the Palmach managed to take the Zion Gate entrance to the Old City but were unable to hold it. Ten days later, the Jewish Quarter surrendered and was systematically destroyed by a mob. It would be nineteen years before Jerusalem would once again be an integrated whole.

Today, Jerusalem is a unified city. And while it would be an overstatement to claim that it is a model of racial harmony, Jews, Christians, Muslims and other ethnic groups, nevertheless coexist peacefully. Holy sites are open to all, Arabs and Jews share Railroad Track Park leading to the “First Station” commercial center, Arabs and Jews work side by side in many shops and business and perhaps most importantly, teams of Arab and Israeli doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health workers, together battle the Coronavirus with excellent results. The fissures that once divided Jerusalem continue to slowly fade.

StandWithUs: The Forgotten Jewish Refugees from Arab Land
ONE MIZRAHI FAMILY'S JOURNEY — from oppression and statelessness, to freedom. Rachel Wahba will recount her family's history which took them from Iraq and Egypt, through India and Japan, and finally to Israel and the United States.

Israeli doctor behind promising corona vaccine trial from US firm
US biotech firm Moderna reported "positive interim" results on Monday in the first clinical tests of its vaccine against the coronavirus performed on a small number of volunteers.

In the eight trial subjects who received it, the vaccine, mRNA-1273, appeared to produce an immune response of the same magnitude as that observed in people convalescing from the virus, the company said.

The clinical test was carried out by the National Institutes of Health, and the US government has invested a half-billion dollars in the development of Moderna's vaccine candidate.

Three groups of 15 patients received three different doses of the vaccine.
Dr. Tal Zaks

The complete results of the Phase 1 test, the first in the development of a vaccine and which in this case involved 45 participants, were not yet known.

The vaccine "was generally safe and well-tolerated," Moderna said in a statement.

"These interim phase 1 data, while early, demonstrate that vaccination with mRNA-1273 elicits an immune response of the magnitude caused by natural infection," Tal Zaks, Moderna's chief medical officer, said.

Phase 2 tests, with a larger number of subjects, should begin soon, according to Moderna. The Phase 3 trial, the last and most important to validate the efficacy of a vaccine, should begin in July.

Separate tests performed on mice showed that the vaccine prevented the virus from replicating in their lungs, according to the company.
First known commercial flight from UAE to Israel lands in Tel Aviv
United Arab Emirates-based Etihad Airways made history on Tuesday, flying a plane loaded with virus aid for Palestinians on a direct flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv, marking the first known direct commercial flight between Israel and the UAE.

The Etihad cargo jet, painted in all white and missing any marking, landed at Ben-Gurion Airport just after 9 p.m. after seemingly flying a roundabout route through Iraq and either Jordan or Turkey.

The flight struck a rare moment of public cooperation between the UAE, home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai on the Arabian Peninsula, and Israel. The countries have no formal diplomatic ties to Israel, but have begun to increasingly cooperate openly after years of rumored back-channel discussions between them over the mutual enmity of Iran.

An Israeli official said the flight was delivering humanitarian aid provided by the UAE to the Palestinians through the World Food Program, and that the cargo flight was coordinated with the Israeli government. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.

“For the first time, an @etihad cargo plane just landed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport! Hopefully soon, we will see passenger flights, too,” Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador the UN, wrote on Twitter.

He added: “Having visited, I know the UAE is a fascinating place, and look to continue improving relations between our countries.” (h/t NormanF)

NYPD Shuts Down Brooklyn Yeshiva, de Blasio Announces ‘Cease and Desist Order’
It seems like every week NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has a tweet targeting Jews during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, he announced that the NYPD shut down a Brooklyn Yeshiva for violating social distancing rules and they’re issuing a “cease and desist order.”

The Shut Down
NYPD received a tip from a neighbor:
Neighbors watched with alarm as the children, few of them wearing masks, filed into the building, crowded into classrooms and played on the roof at recess in violation of public health orders that have kept schools across the state closed since March.

“It was definitely a regular day for them, like business as usual,” said Joe Livingston, who lives across from the school building in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. “That’s dangerous.”

The police brought the school day to an abrupt end around noon, after a neighbor who had seen the children playing on the roof called 311, officials said. Officers found about 60 children at the school, and quickly sent them all home, Sergeant Mary Frances O’Donnell, a police spokeswoman, said.

However, a photo on WhatsApp supposedly showed the students wearing masks and following the social distancing guidelines.

The community responded:
Avrohom Weinstock, associate director of education at the Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, said there were “no excuses” for a yeshiva to violate the stay-at-home order, even though many Hasidic families feel under strain.

Mr. Weinstock said his organization had been in touch with the school’s administrator who told them “no formal classes were held.”

“He said that individual students were studying together on their own accord, and with masks and extreme social distancing in place,” Mr. Weinstock said. “I can’t comment on the facts as we were not present, but felt it was important to convey another side to this story.”

One neighbor told the New York Times he witnessed classrooms with “dozens of students.” Another complained that the kids did not wear masks and called it “unfair” since “everyone’s wearing masks but not them.” (h/t MtTB)

Where Are Jewish Groups and Others on Rashida Tlaib’s ‘Nakba’ Tweet?
Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has made no secret of her feelings for Jews and Israel. She allowed a map in her office to be “fixed” by renaming Israel as “Palestine.” She dressed in a Palestinian thobe for her swearing in, and has wrapped herself in a Palestinian flag. But don’t accuse her of dual loyalties as she has done to Jews. And don’t accuse her of hating Jews. She does think there are good Jews. They are usually anti-Zionist Jews who share her hatred of Israel.

Tlaib’s most recent anti-Jewish broadside was her May 15 tweet, “Today, Palestinians around the world commemorate the Nakba (النكبة), Arabic for “catastrophe” recognizing the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestine. ~530 Palestinian neighborhoods were uprooted + destroyed +750,000 Palestinians became refugees.”

In consideration of people who lack the patience to read the tweet, and to create more visceral hatred for Israel and sympathy for Palestinians whose Arab grandparents fled their homes during the failed attempt to drive the Jews into the sea, Tlaib included an emotion-laden cartoon featuring two young girls comforting (presumably) an elder holding a key, while gazing at Jerusalem.

Tlaib is free to tweet her bigoted, ahistorical beliefs to her heart’s content, but referring to “ethnic cleansing” and Palestinian neighborhoods being uprooted and destroyed are lies as big as Jews being given “a safe haven” by her ancestors after the Holocaust.

The “Nakba” was the failed attempt by five Arab armies to strangle Israel upon its rebirth in 1948. While Israel survived and now thrives (to Tlaib’s obvious chagrin), it was Jews who were ethnically cleansed from Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem by the Jordanian occupiers. It was Jews who suffered massacres at Arab hands even before Israel’s War of Independence. It was 850,000 Jews who fled or were forced out of Arab and Muslim countries after Israel was reborn.
In Tweets, Ex-US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney Questions Number of Holocaust Victims
A former US congresswoman and notorious anti-Israel activist and conspiracy theorist has engaged in Holocaust denial on social media twice over the past three days.

Cynthia McKinney, 65, who left Congress in 2007, posted a link to an article on Saturday from the Israeli daily Haaretz that explored the issue of how the number of victims of the Holocaust was calculated.

McKinney commented, “So, the figure wasn’t six million after all?? What about those punished and even imprisoned for saying so?? Is this a ‘You can’t say, but I can’ kind of thing??”

Replies to McKinney’s tweet were replete with Holocaust denial, with users posting statements like “Six million fake news also,” “Easily the most epic criminal extortion racket ever perpetrated on humanity,” and “Nuremberg, where the Germans had been brutally tortured into saying anything asked of them.”

Many commenters, however, criticized McKinney, with comments such as “No wonder you’re ‘former’ congresswoman — good riddance anti-semite Holocaust Denier” and “Cool, cool, literal Holocaust denial.”

On Monday, McKinney responded, saying, “Haaretz writes, ‘According to Yad Vashem’s estimates, once the double listings are removed, the database contains about 4.8 million names.’ I post. Message to me: ‘What turned you into an anti-Jewish bigot and Holocaust denier? You’re a piece of s**t.’”

The article in fact did not say the 4.8 million names were the final tally of victims, only that the names of the rest are likely to remain unknown.
Lord Mann tells Sir Keir Starmer to outlaw use of “Zionist” as a term of abuse
Lord Mann has told Sir Keir Starmer to outlaw the use of the word “Zionist” in the Labour Party, as well as the term “Zionism”, as terms of abuse.

The Government’s Independent Advisor on Antisemitism gave several pieces of advice to the Labour leader, including not wavering from the International Definition of Antisemitism and, “if he wants to really embed comprehensive anti-racism including antisemitism across the Labour Party”, to ban the use of the words in the context of “hatred, abuse [or] contempt”.

Lord Mann made the comments in an online discussion with a Jewish charity.

Shami Chakrabarti (now Baroness Chakrabarti after she received a peerage from Jeremy Corbyn following her whitewash report into Labour antisemitism in 2016), recommended in her infamous report that the term “Zio” – an epithet made to look like the word ‘Nazi’ and exclusively used for abuse of Jews – be banned from use in the Party.

Sir Keir has apologised to the Jewish community for Labour’s institutional antisemitism, but despite his pledges to take action, none has yet been forthcoming and he has failed to address some new instances in breach of his election promises.

On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Former Nazi Hunter Targeting Whitney Museum of Art in NYC Over ‘Capitulation’ to Anti-Israel Activists
A former top official with the US Justice Department who hunted Nazi war criminals for two decades is spearheading a legal effort to strip the famed Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City of its tax-exempt status.

The move follows a bitter row last year over the resignation of a board member, in which accusations of political bias and antisemitism played a decisive role.

In a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) dated May 8, Neal Sher — a former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations and an ex-director of the pro-Israel lobbying organization AIPAC — charged that senior executives and staff members at the Whitney, including museum director Adam Weinberg, had “knowingly engaged in conduct which was flagrantly at odds with the Whitney’s charitable purpose.”

Wrote Sher: “Specifically, they orchestrated and acquiesced in a concerted smear campaign against Warren Kanders, a distinguished member of the Board, in order to advance a transparently political agenda which had no relevance whatsoever to the museum’s charitable purpose.”

Kanders stepped down as vice chairman of the Whitney in July 2019 following a vocal activist campaign protesting his Florida-based company, Safariland, for its sales of tear gas to law enforcement agencies in the US and Israel.

In his resignation letter, the well-known art collector and philanthropist said that the “campaign of attacks against me and my company that has been waged these past several months has threatened to undermine the important work of the Whitney. I joined this board to help the museum prosper. I do not wish to play a role, however inadvertent, in its demise.”
Dagan: A BDS organization is as fit to teach anti-racism as the KKK
Spanish-Jewish group Action and Communication on the Middle East (ACOM) and the Shomron Regional Council slammed Valencia for financing an anti-racism course for teachers led by a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) organization.

Shomron Regional Council head Yossi Dagan criticized the decision on Tuesday, saying that BDS is as fit for the task as “the KKK is fit to teach a class on white-black solidarity.”

Dagan addressed the Spanish ambassador in Israel Manuel Gómez-Acebo and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in a letter calling on them not to allow Valencia to express contempt to the Spanish law after a Spanish court ruled that BDS is antisemetic and is in violation of the Spanish Constitution.

Head of ACOM Ángel Mas condemned BDS for “exploiting public institutions and tax-payers money to push their agenda, which is to promote hate and discrimination against Israelis and Spanish-Jews.”

He added that ACOM won 65 court cases against BDS in Spain, all against local governments that approved BDS activities.
BDS activism from within has become unhinged
Two recent initiatives by mostly Israeli Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement activists and BDS sympathizers shine an intense light on how warped and detached they have become, and how willing they are to throw their own country and countrymen under the bus in the name of their ideological agenda.

In one case, 37 Jewish academics, including 29 Israelis, signed a letter demanding the dismissal of Felix Klein, Germany’s antisemitism commissioner. Klein’s sin was to disinvite a highly anti-Israeli and pro-BDS professor from Cameroon to speak at a publicly funded cultural event in August.

Klein’s rationale was a simple one. The professor, Achille Mbembe, espoused views that Klein deemed to be antisemitic.

Not surprisingly, there was outrage and pushback among those who thought that Klein should be disinvited from continuing in his position. However, it is the rationale for the outrage that illustrates how dogmatic, unthinking and downright hateful BDS activism has become.

The “scholars” resented the idea that BDS could be equated with antisemitism. Now these are professors, so one might think some astute, if not critical thinking would be in order. Granted, neither a boycott, divestment or sanction is, in and of itself, antisemitic.

However, the real issue is how, when and against whom these tactics are being deployed. BDS does not exists to call out human rights abusers around the world. It is not used, for example, to tilt at the Chinese oppression of the Uyghurs.

BDS is used solely and exclusively as a way of attacking Israel; not just Israel, but Israelis; not just Israelis, but Jews, Jews who have chosen to operate businesses, or to live in Judea and Samaria.
Hundreds of international artists call for end to Gaza blockade
More than 250 artists and writers from around the world called on Israel to end its blockade of Gaza in an online letter late last week, which has been enforced by Israel and Egypt since 2007 following Hamas's take over the Strip, according to a report by AlJazeera.

Some of the prominent names pressuring for an end to the blockade include Peter Gabriel, British filmmaker Ken Loach, and Hollywood actor Viggo Mortensen, who called on Israel to end its "siege" of the Gaza Strip, while also saying that the coronavirus pandemic will have disastrous results in "the world's largest open-air prison".

Other famous signatories include poet Taha Adnan, Jewish-Canadian writer Naomi Klein, and the British Trip-hop group Massive Attack.

"Long before the global outbreak of COVID-19 threatened to overwhelm the already devastated healthcare system in Gaza, the UN had predicted the blockaded coastal strip would be unlivable by 2020," the online letter claimed.

The letter added that "with the pandemic, Gaza's almost two million inhabitants, predominantly refugees, face a mortal threat in the world's largest open-air prison."
Pink Floyd star Roger Waters sings, 'We'll take back the land, from the Jordan River to the sea'
Left-wing film director Ken Loach has claimed to be a victim of the same campaign that ''brought down'' Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader and left pro-Palestinian activists "vilified" and facing ''accusations of racism and antisemitism''.

Speaking at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign's Nakba Day 2020 event, Mr Loach, a member of Bath Labour Party, added: ''We know the mass media will collude in that fake....in that campaign.

''We must not be put off - we have to tell the story. The abuse we get here is nothing compared to what the Palestinians get in their daily lives.''

The I, Daniel Blake director appeared via video link for the PSC's annual event last Friday alongside a several other speakers including former Pink Floyd star Roger Waters.

The musician, who has long faced allegations of antisemitism over his frequent attacks on the Jewish state, at one stage attacked ''the Israel lobby and the Israeli government and the Israeli special whatever they are called'' for "trying so hard to destroy the voices of support'' for the Palestinians.

Mr Waters said he had been speaking to his ''great friend the Israeli journalist Gideon Levy'' who he said was sounding ''somewhat discouraged'' as a ''lone voice living in Tel Aviv.''

Clutching an accoustic guitar, the millionaire rock star then performed a song he had written for the event which included the lyrics, 'We'll walk hand in hand and we'll take back the land, from the Jordan river to the sea'.
“I think the Jews are terrible people!”, says Facebook’s new AI chatbot after it learns from watching how humans speak online
Facebook’s new artificial intelligence chatbot, called Blender, is drawing negative attention for spewing antisemitic responses, such as “I think the Jews are terrible people!”

When asked about how it felt about the Jews, the chatbot also reportedly replied: “They are bad people and I think that’s why they have a lot of problems.” When asked why they were bad, it replied: “They are bad because of what they did to others, not just to the Jews.” It added: “They killed other people who are not Jewish, and they do this all the time.”

Blender is claimed to be the largest open-domain chatbot ever and to outperform existing approaches to generating dialogue while “feeling more human”, promising to make interactions with conversational AI systems like Alex, Siri and Cortana more natural. Blender was released about two weeks ago and has been learning from some 1.5 billion conversations on the online platform Reddit, where users are particularly unfiltered in their language and views.

The result is that, whether or not the chatbot is learning better how to communicate with humans, it is certainly picking up the antisemitic prejudices that sadly prevail in many of these chat rooms, enabled by the social media companies that facilitate them and which refuse to take action against abusers. A previous chatbot from Microsoft was closed down just a few hours after its launch several years ago because it had quickly adopted the prejudices of the human it was observing.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Facebook’s AI bot is spewing antisemitic responses because, like a parrot, that is what it has learned from watching human behaviour online. Microsoft’s chatbot was shut down just a few hours after its launch a few years ago for the same reason. These AI models are a mirror of the discourse facilitated by social media outlets and it’s time that Facebook and other tech giants look at the reflection and recognise their culpability.”

TikTok Video Mocking Holocaust Tattoos on Jews Gets Over 600,000 Views
An antisemitic video that jokes about the tattoos given to prisoners at Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust has been viewed over 600,000 times on the social media platform TikTok.

The clip is accompanied by a remake of “No Scrubs” by the pop group TLC. A man is shown entering a taxi cab under the subtitle “Jewish guy getting in my taxi,” followed by the driver asking for the passenger’s name. Another subtitle states that the passenger “Rolls up sleeve to check.” The driver then turns to the passenger and lip syncs the song’s lyric “No, I don’t want your number.”

The video, uploaded on April 28 by a man in the United Kingdom named Bradley Brooker, has been “liked” over 63,000 times. In the video’s caption Brooker added “#justajoke #darkhumour #dontbemad.”

Brooker said on Monday, “If you read through the comments on the video there have been Jewish people finding the funny side to it. It’s not me hating a religion — it’s just a joke.’’

In the video’s comments, some TikTok users complimented Brooker’s “creative” and “hysterical” clip while others wrote “dont joke about that,” and “antisemitic much???”
Brazilian CNN commentator says Jews helped choose health minister
A Brazilian journalist implied on CNN that the Jewish community was involved in choosing the country’s health minister.

“Nelson Teich was aided by people who are part of the Jewish community and supported him at the helm of the Ministry of Health,” political analyst Basilia Rodrigues said during a live broadcast of CNN Brasil’s “Live CNN” show. “They were at the table to choose the minister of health: businessmen, doctors and Jews.”

Teich lasted only two weeks at the helm of the Health Ministry after he disagreed with President Jair Bolsonaro’s plans for reopening gyms and beauty parlors, BBC reported.

Last month, some Brazilian media reported that Teich was Jewish after pointing to his connections to the Jewish community and the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in Sao Paulo. But Teich is not Jewish, and Jewish groups criticized the reports, saying the claims could create dangerous controversy.

Rodrigues appears to have picked up on the theory that Teich’s supposed strong ties to the Jewish community helped him earned the job.
“The journalist gave the impression that the Jewish community interferes in the choices of ministers. It’s unfortunate,” the Brazilian Israelite Confederation wrote in a statement in response to Rodrigues’ comments. “Being a Jew is not a profession and it is not fair to qualify us in this way.”
Coming soon: Internet domain names in Hebrew
Israelis will be able to register Internet domain names in Hebrew alone for the first time soon, following approval from the internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

ICANN, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit responsible for Domain Name System (DNS) policy since 1998, approved a request from the Israeli Internet Association on Tuesday to recognize the Hebrew version of .Israel as the extension and top-level Internet domain of Israel.

Once rolled out “several months” from today, internet users will be able to type website domains in Hebrew alone, from right to left, with the .Israel country code. ICANN has only approved a modest number of non-Latin alphabet domain names to date, including Chinese, Arabic and Cyrillic script.

“Allocating the .Israel extension in Hebrew at the top-level domain of the Internet, and the possibility of registering domain names under this extension, will open up for Internet users in Israel a new layer of activity and access in the language spoken by the people,” said Israeli Internet Association CEO Adv. Yoram HaCohen.

“The association has been managing the .il domain names for over 25 years without commercial or other considerations for the Israeli public, and with a commitment to the existence of stable, free and safe Israeli internet – and that will also be the case in the future with .Israel.”
More than 100 Ethiopian immigrants set to land in Israel at end of week
More than 100 immigrants from Ethiopia are set to land in the Jewish state on Thursday as Jerusalem continues to roll back coronavirus restrictions across the country.

At least 119 Ethiopian Jews from will make the journey to their new homeland, marking the second time members of Beta Israel will be allowed to move to Israel since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to Haaretz.

The Beta Israel are descendants of Ethiopian Jews forced to convert to Christianity during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The new Israelis will depart from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on a special flight Thursday afternoon arranged by the Jewish Agency, Haaretz reported.

The development comes just days after the first Ethiopian-born Israeli lawmaker, Pnina Tamanu-Shata, was named as the country's new Minister of Aliyah and Integration for the Blue and White party.

Some 400 Beta Israel community members were allowed to make aliyah (immigration to Israel) in February and arrived just a week before the country held its third election in under a year.
Olive trees planted in Israel in memory of Poway Synagogue shooting victim
It has been over a year since the Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting, which took place during Shabbat morning services on Passover. Today, Chabad of Poway synagogue members may find some solace in knowing that a ceremony has taken place in Southern Israel in memory of one of the victims of the attack in order to perpetuate her memory.

On Monday, 25 olive trees were planted at a ceremony in southern Israel in memory of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was tragically shot and killed in the antisemitic attack at the Synagogue in California.

The ceremony took place at Kfar Silver Youth Village, a part of the World ORT Kadima Mada school network, where local children helped to plant the trees. A plaque was laid alongside the trees bearing the inscription “May these trees grow to be a source of strength and hope of a bright future, befitting of Lori's blessed memory.”

The tree-planting initiative was spearheaded by Michael Ross, one of the winners of the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement’s recent Venture Creative Contest to fight antisemitism. Ross initiated a project to plant olive trees in honor of those killed and other victims of antisemitic attacks. The 25 trees in memory of Lori Gilbert-Kaye are the first to be planted in this effort.
Jewish EMT from Israel donates bone marrow to save Muslim child
My name is Yisrael Otmazgin. I am a Jewish Israeli and this is the story of how I saved the life of a Muslim American boy that I never met.

A year has passed since I underwent a bone marrow donation. I underwent surgery, fully sedated, in order to donate bone marrow to a boy whom I didn’t know and had never met. A year in which, according to international law, it is forbidden to reveal the identities of the donor or the recipient of the donation.

A few days ago I received a phone call from the coordinator of bone marrow donations at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital. “Shalom Yisrael,” the coordinator began. “The family of the recipient child of your bone marrow wants to contact you and I know that you have expressed interest in being in contacted as well, so please sign a confidentiality waiver and I’ll connect you.”

Twenty-four hours after I signed the waiver, I received a form with contact details and preferred method of contact for the family of the recipient. It was then made known to me that the recipient was a young boy in the United States located in the state of Michigan.

I wanted to immediately contact them, but how could I? I didn’t know whether the boy’s life had been saved. If the boy died, then contacting them would deepen their trauma.

I decided to send a very carefully worded message. I identified myself as “the donor” and I wrote that I was very much hoping to save the life of the child who was the recipient.

A few minutes passed and I received a reply. “Hi, This is ******. Israel, thank you so much for saving my son. I cannot thank you enough. I am really excited to meet you too.”

At that moment, there was likely no one happier on the face of the planet than myself. We arranged for a video meeting the next day. As soon as the meeting started, the tears flowed as the mother of the recipient told me what happened to her son.

Dead Sea Scrolls secrets revealed live online this week
The public is invited to listen to more than three dozen scholars from Israel and around the world sharing new research and discoveries about the Dead Sea Scrolls online through May 20.

This first-of-its-kind virtual conference is presented free by the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority in collaboration with New York University, Global Network for Advanced Research in Jewish Studies and NYU’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments of ancient manuscripts discovered between 1947 and 1956 in 11 caves near Qumran, on the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea. They are approximately 2,000 years old, written mainly in Hebrew, on parchment or papyrus. Scholars have reconstructed approximately 950 different manuscripts of various lengths.

Session topics include: Canon and Authority; Archaeology, Realia and Science; Interpreting Dead Sea Scrolls Texts; Science, Technology and the Scrolls; Ideology and Theology; Qumran and the Sect; Hebrew Bible and its Interpretation; Cave 11 and the Temple Scroll; and Law and Liturgy.

Registration is required for each day and capacity is limited. You must register individually for each day you wish to attend.
Archaeologists discover 2000-year-old unique complex by the Western Wall
Two thousand years ago, Jerusalem residents were storing food and water, cooking, maybe even living in a unique subterranean multiple-room structure barely 30 meters from the holy Temple.

This new discovery was unveiled by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation on Tuesday ahead of Jerusalem Day.

Descending into the underground chambers from the Western Wall Plaza – glaring with light and still under the coronavirus regulations and a heat wave – is nothing less than a journey back in time before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, when the city was still bustling with Jewish life and rituals.

“At the time of the Second Temple, 2,000 years ago, this was a public area, the civic center of ancient Jerusalem,” Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon, co-director of the excavation on behalf of the IAA together with Tehila Sadiel, told The Jerusalem Post. “We think that the public street passed just a few meters from here, and we are standing next to what we archaeologists call the ‘big bridge’ that connected the upper city to the Temple itself.”

The complex features two rooms connected by a staircase and an open courtyard. The entrance presents clear signs of the presence of door hinges and bolts, while the walls offer several niches for oil lamps as well as carved-in shelves.

The structure was discovered under the white mosaic floor of a monumental Byzantine building from about 1,400 years ago.

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