Wednesday, June 17, 2020

From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: Assassinating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Though obfuscated by the noise of the Black Lives Matter movement, King's lifelong dream—that his children "one day [will] live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character"—has become his successors' nightmare.

Yes, the sad fact is that BLM members and supporters now scoff at such a notion, even while paying lip service to King as a paragon. Indeed, if they weren't in the process of renouncing his philosophy, Professor Klein would be hailed for his moral stance, not persecuted and placed on leave.

Nor is the aspiration of an America that puts character over color the only aspect of King's ideology that the current climate has eradicated. His views on Israel, too, are ignored or denied by BLM anti-Zionists and their Jewish fellow travelers.

In a letter to Jewish Labor Committee national chairman Adolph Held on Sept. 29, 1967, less than four months after the Six-Day War, King denounced an anti-Israel resolution introduced at the Chicago Conference of New Politics.

"If I had been at the conference during the discussion of the resolution," he wrote, "I would have made it crystal clear that I could not have supported any resolution calling for black separatism or calling for a condemnation of Israel and an unqualified endorsement of the policy of the Arab powers."

He went on to say, "Israel's right to exist as a state of security is incontestable," adding, "It is not only that anti-Semitism is immoral—though that alone is enough. It is used to divide Negro and Jew, who effectively collaborated in the struggle for justice. It injures Negroes because it upholds the doctrine of racism which they have the greatest stake in destroying."

How King would have reacted to the way in which black and Jewish radicals are distorting the spirit of the joint effort that he had championed is anyone's guess. Though their endeavor does involve "struggle," it bears no resemblance to "justice," certainly not where color-blindness and Israel are concerned.

Three years after its establishment in 2013, BLM and an alliance of more than 60 affiliated groups issued a policy platform labeling Israel an "apartheid state" that perpetrates "genocide" against Palestinians, and therefore should be subjected to a complete academic, cultural, and economic boycott.
Jonathan S. Tobin: Why can’t you get canceled for anti-Semitism?
Handler’s ability to survive this incident with her career intact shows that myths about Hollywood being controlled by the Jews are nonsense. It’s also likely that most Jews in the entertainment industry are either so cowed by the Black Lives Matter movement that they wouldn’t dare to act against her or actually agree that anti-Semitism shouldn’t disqualify Farrakhan from being considered a respected voice.But the pass for anti-Semitism doesn’t just exist in the arts.

In early 2019, newly elected Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) made a splash by engaging in anti-Semitic incitement against Jews and Israel with accusations about AIPAC buying congressional support for Israel with “the Benjamins,” coupled with charges that supporters of the Jewish state were guilty of dual loyalty.

While many on both sides of the aisle condemned her remarks, when push came to shove, congressional Democrats refused to censor her. While at the same time Republicans were punishing Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for remarks that seemed an endorsement of white nationalism, Omar was rewarded with a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, where she could pursue her vendetta against Israel and support for the anti-Semitic BDS movement.

More than that, she got a pass from the same cultural forces that are canceling dissenters from the BLM mantra by being treated as an honored celebrity. Nor has that changed, since during the past two weeks she has made the rounds of the Sunday-morning talk shows, where hosts like CNN’s Jake Tapper fawn on her.

The practice of shaming, shunning and silencing those with unpopular or even offensive views is antithetical to democracy and the free exchange of ideas. That is especially true when it involves actions or statements that are not actually racist.

At the same time, it says something truly ominous about our society and culture that questioning the BLM movement—even while avowing that, of course, black lives matter—can destroy a career, while endorsing anti-Semites and even engaging in Jew-hatred is not considered a big deal. We already know that the consequences of giving anti-Semites a pass can lead to horror. Apparently, those who pose as the supposedly enlightened guardians of our culture have either forgotten that or no longer care about it.
When ‘Cancel Culture’ Is Right: Racists and Antisemites Shouldn’t Have Online Platforms
As questions about racism surround us about film and TV projects — and the presence of hate speech on mass-media outlets — the issue recently hit very close to home for me in the form of antisemitism.

I was searching for stand-up comedy options on TV via Tubi — a service offering movies, TV shows, and other content — when I noticed a listing for a program featuring Owen Benjamin, a notoriously antisemitic comedian whose videos have been banned by websites such as YouTube for their hateful content.

Among the videos he has created in the past are ones making light of the Holocaust, and others purporting to imitate stereotypically Jewish manners of speech.

Why is Tubi showcasing this personality?

This is important to ask, given the wave of movements to ban films, statues, and other works glorifying slavery and those who have benefited from it — along with individuals involved in the oppression of populations. My feeling is that these mandates, if conducted in a just way and by the proper authorities in a safe and expeditious fashion, are absolutely justified.

But such directives should be extended to works celebrating antisemitic individuals too — and there’s a surplus of movies, paintings, etc. that warrant further scrutiny.

Take Banksy’s “anti-Zionist” (read: antisemitic) graffiti or Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Maybe one even could look at David Lean’s Oliver Twist, which features a performance by Alec Guinness as Fagin that was widely criticized by Jewish groups at the time of its release because of elements such as a highly exaggerated prosthetic nose affixed to the actor. Or Alexander Payne’s Downsizing, which posited a future in which Israelis were miniaturizing Palestinians to render them helpless.

How will the debate rage around this, and where do we draw the line?

.Coronavirus cabinet meets as new daily cases reach 299
Trains will finally return to Israel’s railways on Monday after the coronavirus cabinet approved the renewal of services under tight health restrictions on Wednesday evening.

In addition, the ministers decided that cultural events will be permitted with crowds limited to 250 attendees, or 500 attendees if approved by the director-general of the Culture and Sport Ministry. They designated the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa, Rahat and Arara as “red zones” with high levels of infection, where schools will now be closed and gatherings limited to 10 people.

The meeting held at the Foreign Ministry took place as official data showed that Israel had recorded its largest number of daily cases in two months.

Some 288 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry reported Wednesday evening, bringing the total number of active cases to 3,993.

At last count, 19,783 cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in Israel, and the death toll was 302.
Hadassah doctors crack the cause of fatal corona blood clots
A research team at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem has discovered what they believe causes coronavirus patients to become seriously ill and even die. They also say they have a way to treat the cause before it’s too late.

At least 30% of patients with coronavirus develop blood clots that block the flow of blood to their kidneys, heart and brain, as well as the lungs, according to international research.

Hadassah researchers discovered that the patients who form these fatal clots have an increased level of alpha defensin protein in their blood, explained Dr. Abd Alrauf Higavi, who directs a lab at Hadassah and has been studying blood clots for 30 years.

“Patients with mild symptoms have a low concentration of alpha defensin,” he said. “Patients with strong disease symptoms have high levels. The people who die have very high levels.”

The Hadassah team studied more than 700 blood samples from 80 patients who were admitted to the medical center during the first peak of the coronavirus outbreak in Israel. The results show that alpha defensin speeds up blood clot formation, which can cause pulmonary embolism, heart attacks and stroke. In addition, when blood clots form in the alveoli, whose function it is to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules to and from the bloodstream, this can lead to respiratory distress and eventually intubation.
De Blasio, Cuomo are making children bear the worst of the lockdowns
Videos circulating on social media recently show New York City Parks employees welding shut a playground in the heart of Hasidic Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We have seen footage of the New York Police Department and NYC Parks Police in Boro Park shepherding Hasidic children out of a park and locking it shut behind them.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands are allowed to protest in Brooklyn, while a maskless Mayor Bill de Blasio poses for photo-ops, ignoring the social-distancing guidelines his administration ruthlessly enforces against Jewish children and families.

The hypocrisy is stunning — and appalling.

Is it too much to ask for consistent leadership in the Big Apple? Is it too much to ask that our mayor enforce policies equally, across the board? Is it too much to ask that the mayor practice what he preaches or even set an example, instead of scurrying after the most popular position of the week, gung-ho about lockdowns two weeks ago — and gung-ho about mass protests today?

And why are our children becoming the victims of this whiplash-inducing virtue-signaling?

If it were only the mayor taking dumb stances, perhaps we could chalk it up to de Blasio being de Blasio. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn’t exactly the beacon of leadership that he projected at the outset of this crisis. On Friday, he took the confounding step of banning sleepaway camps in New York state this summer.

Egypt's Hospitals Overwhelmed by Coronavirus
The number of reported Covid-19 cases in Egypt has risen by more than 1,500 per day since Friday.

On Monday, Egypt reported 97 deaths, the most in a single day. Some Egyptian health experts say the number is much higher than officially reported.

Doctors are blaming the government for shortages of personal protective equipment and a lack of adequate safety measures.

Several hundred doctors and nurses have tested positive for Covid-19 and scores have died.

As of Tuesday, there were nearly 48,000 confirmed cases and 1,766 deaths in a country of 100 million people.

Yet coronavirus testing has been limited, said health experts, and some Egyptians may not report their illness for fear of being stigmatized.
UN Watch: Racist regimes should recuse themselves from UN debate on U.S. racism & police brutality
Racist and oppressive regimes should recuse themselves from today’s UN Human Rights Council urgent debate on racism and police brutality, says UN Watch, a Geneva-based independent human rights group that monitors the United Nations.

In testimony delivered before the 47-nation council yesterday (see below), UN Watch directed its appeal to such council members as Mauritania, which has up to 500,000 black slaves; Libya, which has up to a million African migrants treated as virtual slaves; and Venezuela, which kills protesters and has been accused of crimes against humanity.

Other council members with egregious records of racism or police brutality who approved today’s urgent debate include Burkina Faso (which initiated the session on behalf of African states), Bangladesh, Cameroon, DR Congo, Pakistan, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Qatar.

Russia, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and China are expected to be elected to the council in October.

China recently chaired the UNHRC process for interviewing and recommending the UNHRC’s next expert on freedom of speech, to be appointed in July.

HonestReporting: Why Is the Media Ignoring Racism?
When racists hijacked an anti-racist protest to attack Jews, how did the media react?

This isn't a Jewish issue. This is a human issue. And the media have a role in it.

Social media campaign condemning 'Jew-hating' professors gains traction
A social media campaign targeting professors known for sponsoring "Jew hatred," anti-Israel bias and the support of anti-Israel terror organizations at American educational institutions has "reached of 121,000" people across four universities, according to the NGO who sponsored it, the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

The campaign, which has been ongoing for the past month, has accumulated more than 400,000 impressions by Wednesday, in addition to the 121,000 person reach, according to the Freedom Center.

The campaign also encouraged students to write letters to head university officials to condemn the public "antisemitic remarks."

“The existence of these Jew-hating professors reflects not only on these individuals but on the institutions that support them,” commented Freedom Center founder David Horowitz. “The presence of an Israel and America-hating front on America’s college campuses is an ominous development and a clear threat to America’s future. Our campaign has forced the universities which shelter these abominable individuals to confront the fact of their antisemitism and hatred.”

The four professors who were targeted teach at prestigious institutions, such as Stanford University, Rutgers University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of California-San Diego. They include Jasbir Puar of Rutgers University, Joel Beinin of Stanford University, Yến Lê Espiritu of the University of California-San Diego, and Samer Alatout of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"Each of these professors was named in the Freedom Center’s recent report exposing the Top Ten Jew-Hating and Terror-Promoting Professors in America and has abused his or her academic position to promote malicious libels about Israel and the Jews and the Hamas-funded Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel," the Freedom Center said in a statement.
Honest Reporting: Viral Video: Why You Can’t Boycott Israel
Earth to BDS’ers and to Iran, no matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to boycott Israel, and your efforts are only counterproductive.

Watch HonestReporting Canada’s latest viral video to learn more.

FSU Students Tap Anti-Semite for President After Ousting ‘Bigoted’ Catholic
Florida State University's student government tapped a student who called an Israeli a "stupid Jew," among other anti-Semitic online remarks, to replace as president a member they ousted for expressing his Catholic beliefs in leaked private messages.

FSU's student senate impeached president Jack Denton for expressing Catholic teaching on abortion and transgenderism in conversations on the group messaging app GroupMe. The student government appointed Ahmad Daraldik, who created a website calling Israel's existence a continuation of the Holocaust, to take his place as student senate president.

In two separate posts, Daraldik wrote, "f**k Israel," and "stupid Jew," as captions. He also created a website connecting the "occupation of Palestine" to the Holocaust, writing that "the Holocaust never ended, it just moved to Palestine." The website also draws a comparison between the Gaza strip—an area controlled by the Palestinian Authority and the terrorist organization Hamas—and concentration camps in Nazi Germany.

An anonymous FSU student created a petition calling for Daraldik to be removed from his leadership position. "These anti-semitic remarks are not welcomed on FSU's campus, in the United States, and most important on this Earth," the petition reads. "There is no justification for his remarks, and [he] needs to be removed from his position of power." The university's Hillel organization told the Washington Free Beacon they were concerned about the anti-Semitic claims made by Daraldik.

"These claims go beyond legitimate criticism of Israeli policies and into modern reincarnations of centuries-old ‘blood libels' that have been used as the justification for the murder of thousands of Jews over the past millennium," said FSU's Hillel executive director Dan Leshem. "We are calling on the Senate President to immediately address these issues and commit himself to learning how and why this type of discourse is so hurtful to Jews and damaging to public discourse."
Haaretz Applies Inconsistent Standards to NGOs
A news story in Haaretz's English edition yesterday applied a double standard in its treatment of NGOs ("Fearing structural collapse, Israel halts dig in East Jerusalem," page 3, and online here.)

Nir Hasson's online article cited the "right-wing, settler Elad Association." Similarly, the print edition mentions "the right-wing Elad Association."

In contrast, when the article mentioned "The archeological group Emek Shaveh" it did not identify the organization as "left-wing" even though it has a clear left-wing agenda. Why the double standard?

If the political leanings of one organization is mentioned, then the leanings of the opposing organization should also be mentioned. Alternatively, if Emek Shaveh's political inclinations aren't mentioned, then why insert Elad's?

Nir Hasson's Hebrew article does not include political descriptions of either organization.
VOA Deletes Video Which Grossly Inflated Number of Struggling Refugees in Gaza
In response to communication from CAMERA, Voice of America has deleted a video which grossly overstated the number of refugees in the Gaza Strip suffering from poverty and unemployment. The June 12 video, “110-Year-Old Palestinian Man Has Lived in Refugee Camps for 72 Years,” cited five million refugees facing these difficulties, which is more than double the number of the entire population in the Gaza Strip.
The narrator, Nisan Ahmado, erred:
Nearly five million refugees in the Gaza have been suffering for years from poverty and unemployment due to the conflict with Israel and the Islamic group Hamas. The UN, through its aid programs, offers them essential services including health care and schooling.

The total population of the Gaza Strip – refugees and non-refugees – is less than two million, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. According to UNRWA, the UN agency charged with caring for Palestinian refugees, “The Gaza Strip is home to a population of approximately 1.9 million people, including some 1.4 million Palestine refugees.” (The United Nations applies a unique definition of “refugee” in the Palestinian case, including also the descendants of refugees. The figure of 1.4 million refugees includes a few thousand Gazans who became refugees in 1948 and are still alive, along with their nearly 1.4 million offspring.)

According to World Bank statistics, in the last quarter of 2019 42.7 percent of the Gaza Strip’s work force was unemployed. Even if all of the unemployed are refugees, thereby reaching the maximum possible figure, then the unemployment figure is still significantly smaller number than the 1.4 million reported refugees, as the population is extremely young, and many are not of the employable age.

Following communication from CAMERA concerning the substantive error, VOA has removed the video.
DPA Corrects Erroneous Captions on ‘Palestinian Territories’
CAMERA’s Israel office this week prompted correction of multiple photo captions published by Deutsche Presse-Agentur which erroneously referred to disputed West Bank land where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes to extend sovereignty – in the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements – as “Palestinian territories.” The June 10 English-language captions had stated:
June 2020, Israel, Jerusalem: Heiko Maas (l, SPD), German Foreign Minister, meets Benjamin Netanyahu (R), State Premier of Israel. During his trip with the new government in Israel, Maas will mainly talk about the planned annexation of occupied Palestinian territories. Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek.Net/dpa

Florian Gaertner / / dpa Picture-Alliance via AFP

Israel captured the West Bank in 1967 from the Kingdom of Jordan, which had occupied the territory since its 1948-49 war with Israel. Prior to 1948, the West Bank, like Israel, was administered by the United Kingdom.

In the 1990s, when Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed the Oslo peace agreements, the sides agreed that the status of the West Bank would be decided in negotiations between the sides, and today its rightful and ultimate disposition remains under contention.

The The New York Times twice recently corrected after erroneously referring to the West Bank as “Palestinian territory.”

Pope Francis Honors Catholic Diplomat Who Saved More Jews than Oskar Schindler
Pope Francis declared June 17 the “Day of Conscience,” in honor of a Portuguese diplomat who single-handedly saved some 12,000 Jews during World War II at the cost of his own career, honor, and livelihood.

“Today is the ‘Day of Conscience,’ inspired by the witness of the Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who around 80 years ago decided to follow the voice of his conscience and saved the lives of thousands of Jews and other persecuted peoples,” the pope said in an appeal at the end of his General Audience Wednesday.

“May freedom of conscience be respected always and everywhere, and may every Christian give the example of the consistency of an upright conscience enlightened by the Word of God,” he said.

On June 17, 1940, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul to Bordeaux, France, set up a production line at which in the coming days he issued 30,000 visas, passports, and travel documents to help dissidents and refugees escape the Nazi occupation, after the Germans had invaded France the month before.

Of those who received the papers, 12,000 were Jews — about ten times the number saved by Oskar Schindler — in direct contravention of the infamous “Circular 14” issued by Portuguese dictator, António de Oliveira Salazar, in appeasement to Hitler. The decree stipulated that no Jews or dissidents were to be granted passage to Portugal.

“I cannot allow all you people to die,” the consul had announced to his staff several days prior. “Many of you are Jews, and our constitution clearly states that neither the religion nor the political beliefs of foreigners can be used as a pretext for refusing to allow them to stay in Portugal.”

“The only way I can respect my faith as a Christian is to act in accordance with the dictates of my conscience,” he told them.
If Piers Morgan really did dress up as a Nazi and yell “Heil Hitler” while goose-stepping, he must take responsibility and make amends
According to Guido Fawkes, the outspoken television presenter Piers Morgan dressed up as a Nazi for a party in East Sussex, likely some years ago, and yelled “Heil Hitler” while goose-stepping.

Guido Fawkes issued a photograph purporting to be of Mr Morgan in Waffen-SS uniform to substantiate its claim. The Waffen-SS ran concentration camps and was responsible for barbaric suffering and murder on a vast scale.

It appears that Mr Morgan, who co-presents Good Morning Britain on ITV, has not publicly responded to the claim.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Piers Morgan must explain whether and why he dressed up as a Nazi and yelled ‘Heil Hitler’ while goose-stepping. The Nazis inflicted unimaginable suffering upon the Jewish people, industrially murdering one third of the world’s Jewish population, as well as bringing war, death and misery on the entire world. Nazi uniform is hardly appropriate attire for a party. Mr Morgan must clarify what exactly happened and, if the claims are true, make amends.”
TikTok rife with racist, antisemitic content aimed at children – study
Far-right extremists have found a new social media platform to spread hateful content online, taking to the relatively new TikTok platform, which is primarily used by young children, a new study revealed.

The study was written by Gabriel Weimann, professor of Communication and senior researcher at the Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT), professor emeritus at the University of Haifa and guest professor at the University of Maryland, and Natalie Masri, a research assistant and graduate student at ICT – and is going to be published in the academic journal Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.

Developed by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok is a relatively new compared to the older and more mainstream social media platforms of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, having launched in 2016 in China and 2017 abroad. However, it is nonetheless one of the most popular apps around. It's the fastest-growing app and is the seventh most downloaded app of the decade with over two billion downloads. In addition, it boasts a user base of hundreds of millions of people.

Most of its users are young children and teenagers – though the app's Terms of Service specify that all users must be aged 13 or older – who use it to upload, watch and browse lip sync memes and videos.

But while many users seek only to upload humorous and entertaining memes, others use the app to spread hateful messages, with many users sharing neo-Nazi and white supremacist propaganda or calling for violence against Jews and people of color.
Polish Jews Express Support for Antisemitism Campaigner Targeted by Far Right
The Jewish community in Warsaw on Wednesday declared its support for a vocal watchdog that fights antisemitism and racism in Poland following a series of attacks on its work in recent weeks by far-right political figures.

The Never Again Association has been targeted for its objection to a new book by Rafal Ziemkiewicz — an ultranationalist TV pundit and journalist — that describes the Nazi Holocaust as a “myth” while opining that “Jews are working to earn themselves a new Holocaust or, at least, a new wave of pogroms.”

In a statement expressing support for the group, the managing board of the Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw noted that the “initiatives undertaken by the Never Again Association are particularly valuable to us.”

“Their aim is to eliminate from the social and public space publications, opinions and attitudes of an antisemitic nature,” the statement added.

Ziemkiewicz and his supporters have portrayed the Never Again Association as the local agent of an international Jewish conspiracy, with the author claiming this week that “the Jews can ban any book — this is the daily reality in which we live.”

A large number of the attacks on the group have centered on its executive director, Rafal Pankowski, who stands accused of pushing an “anti-Polish” message.
Illegitimate Children of Jews Evicted by Nazis Are German Citizens, Court Rules
A US woman born to a Jewish father stripped of his German citizenship by the Nazis in 1938 cannot be denied naturalization for being an illegitimate child, Germany’s Constitutional Court has ruled.

The court found local courts had discriminated against the woman, born in 1967 in the United States to a Jewish father and a US mother, who were unmarried.

Article 116 (2) of Germany’s constitution — known as the Basic Law — states that Germans who between 1933 and 1945 were stripped of their citizenship on political, racial or religious grounds and their descendants can have their citizenship back.

The court ruling, dated May 20 and made public on Wednesday, stated that children born out of wedlock to former German citizens are equally entitled to citizenship.

The decision opens the door for descendants of German Jews born outside marriages to become German citizens.

“If a law mandates the state to grant citizenship, this right must be fulfilled without discrimination against illegitimate children,” the court said.

Jewish campaigners said it was a “momentous judgement.”

Nicholas Courtman of the Article 116 Exclusions Group said it would have “wide-ranging consequences for the naturalization rights of descendants of German citizens persecuted under National Socialism.”

Germany last year enforced two decrees to make it easier for people, mainly Jews, who fled Hitler’s Nazi regime because of persecution as well as their descendants to have their citizenship restored.
37 Peruvian Jews Move to Israel amid Pandemic
A group of 37 members of the Peruvian Jewish community flew to Israel on a special charter flight amid high rates of COVID-19 in their native country and street riots that have broken out as a result of a scarcity of food and medical supplies.

The group landed at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport on Friday and, like all other newcomers, was forced into a 14-day quarantine. The flight was organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a nonprofit that works to build support for and facilitate immigration to Israel.

The process of immigrating to Israel is lengthy, so the group had likely planned to immigrate before the coronavirus crisis. But the Peruvian government has imposed strict lockdowns and halted most flights out of the country since March.

In addition, because of the country’s lagging economy, many citizens have taken to the streets to protest and to try to leave cities such as the capital, Lima, adding to the urgency of the immigration flight.

“We could not leave our houses due to the quarantine and the mandatory social isolation imposed by the government in order to prevent COVID-19 infections,” said Gabriel Shnaider, 20, who was on the special flight.

Schneider, who will soon enlist in the Israeli army, had been planning his immigration since 2017. His flight in April was canceled and a new date for his trip was unclear. He joined the IFCJ group as an opportunity to get to Israel faster.

Peru has the second-largest coronavirus outbreak in Latin America after Brazil, with over 200,000 confirmed cases and 5,700 deaths, according to the Peruvian Ministry of Health. Nearly half of the cases are in Lima, home to most of the country’s 2,000-strong Jewish community.
Investment in Israeli fintech industry surged to record $1.8 billion in 2019
Investments in Israeli financial technology (fintech) startups in 2019 totaled $1.8 billion, an all-time record, according to a report by Start-Up Nation Central (SNC) which tracks the tech industry in Israel. The figure represents a 107 percent increase over 2018 and an increase of 300% over the past five years.

Israel ranks fifth in global fintech investments after China, the US, UK, and India, with investment in Israeli fintech accounting for 5.1% of the global investments in this field, the report said. This makes Israel a “fintech superpower,” SNC said.

Of the fintech capital rounds raised in 2019, six were in excess of $100 million. These included Lemonade, which raised $300 million last year, and Next Insurance, which raised $250 million. This compares to just one so-called “mega-round” in 2018.

The median value of all the capital rounds in 2019 was $10 million.

An analysis of the capital sources shows that foreign investors accounted for 69% of all fintech funding rounds in 2019, compared with 57% in 2018. Foreign investors usually invest in the more advanced financing rounds, typically in growth-stage companies. In addition, Israeli fintech attracted a higher number of strategic investors, who, in addition to capital, bring knowledge, experience, and potential customers.

“The growing investment in the fintech industry is not a passing trend,” said Yair Fonarov, author of the report. He added there are over 500 fintech companies operating in Israel today.
Amazon Studios picks up Israeli autism dramedy ‘On the Spectrum’
Amazon Studios is picking up Israeli-made “On the Spectrum,” a half-hour comedy-drama about three roommates with varying levels of autism.

The show, first rewritten as a pilot in the US by Jason Katims, the writer and executive producer responsible for “Parenthood” and “Friday Night Lights,” is still unnamed. No release date has been announced.

Katims wrote and executive produced a pilot in March 2019, alongside Yes Studio’s Danna Stern. The current co-production is shared by Amazon Studios and Universal Television.

The award-winning series created by Dana Idisis and Yuval Shafferman follows three twenty-somethings on the autism spectrum as they strive to find work, make friends and fall in love while living together in Tel Aviv. The US version will move the story from Israel to someplace more familiar to American viewers.

The Israeli show won nine Ophir Awards, Israel’s top honor for television and movies, in March 2019.

The project has been mentioned as one that is close to Katims’ heart, as the father of a son with Asperger’s syndrome — a high-functioning form of autism. His own family’s journey inspired a storyline on the NBC series “Parenthood.”

The Amazon version stars Rick Glassman, Sue Ann Pien and Albert Rutecki who all identify as on the autism spectrum, and costars Sosie Bacon, Chris Pang and Joe Mantegna.
‘Fauda’ writer’s new show ‘Tehran’ gets picked up by Apple TV
Apple TV+ has picked up “Tehran,” an Israeli thriller set in the Iranian capital co-created by Moshe Zonder, a writer for the hit Netflix show “Fauda.”

The reportedly multimillion-dollar sale was brokered by Cineflix Rights and Paperplane Productions along with the show’s producers, Dana Eden and Shula Spiegel.

“Tehran” focuses on the story of Tamar Rabinayan, played by Israeli actress Niv Sultan, who is a gifted young hacker for Israel’s intelligence unit. She is drafted to join the Mossad and sent on a perilous mission to Iran, where she is ordered to hack into an Iranian nuclear reactor.

When her ambitious mission fails, Rabinayan is stuck in the land of her childhood, where she discovers her local roots and befriends local pro-democracy activists.

“Tehran aims to shed new light on the Israeli-Iranian conflict, and take on universal struggles around immigration, identity and patriotism to examine whether it is possible to become free from these restraints,” Zonder told Deadline last year.

“Tehran” is set to premiere in Israel on June 22. No U.S. release date has been announced.
The kosher chef that's driving Muslims crazy
In light of the developing ties between Israel and Gulf states, a new Jewish catering service opened in Dubai and is drawing the attention of many of the country's food enthusiasts. Elli Kriel moved to the United Arab Emirates from South Africa and decided to open a Jewish catering service in an attempt to spread the word of kosher Jewish cuisine - and the locals love it.

Israel-Gulf States relations have been steadily improving over the past few years and it seems that the official authorities are no longer hesitant to show it. An interesting characteristic of this improvement is the positive attitude shown towards the Jewish populations in these countries. Community centers and synagogues have started opening their doors to Jewish tourists and now, the kosher kitchen is slowly gaining awareness and even praise.

Kriel was born in South Africa to a Jewish family whose main business activity was the production of food, so it didn't take her a long time to realize that was what she wanted to do when she moved to Dubai seven years ago.

After examining different options, she decided to open a catering service based entirely on the traditional Jewish kitchen. Her menu includes challah, a traditional Jewish bread, kugel, a baked pudding of sorts, blintz, a Jewish version of the crêpe, tshulnt, a traditional stew and many more.

When Kriel's family moved to Dubai in 2013, she kept kosher and avoided eating meat and dairy products together. Naturally, she cooked the food that she grew up on, and started by hosting hungry Jewish tourists at her home. "The Jewish tourists and Jewish people who live here miss the food they know from their past," Kiel explains, "it's nostalgic, a connection to a home and a heritage." (h/t Norman F)
Israeli Kids Learn Surf Safety the Australian Way

Jewish National Fund-USA raises $2.3 million on Spectacular Sunday
Over 1,000 Jewish National Fund-USA volunteers and professionals raised $1.391 million in support of the land and people of Israel at the organization’s “Spectacular Sunday” telethon held this past Sunday June 14, for a combined matched total of $2.391 million. The organization called a record breaking 60,000 supporters across the United States during the telethon and exceeded its matched fundraising target.

Spectacular Sunday was emceed by a formidable lineup of media, entertainment, and community identities including Benji Lovitt, Stella Inger, Jessica Abo, Rabbi Leor Sinai, Xander Simmons, Ilana Levine, Dominic Fumusa, and Michelle Divon, and featured a special appearance by Gal Gadot, star of Wonder Woman. A total of 52,000 viewers tuned in to JNF-USA’s live extravaganza via its YouTube and Facebook channels.

“While we were entertained by the stellar line-up of celebrities, singers, comedians, and performers who came out in support of our important work, it’s the young children and families who are building new lives in the Negev and Galilee who are the real stars of JNF-USA’s inspiring story,” said Jewish National Fund-USA Chairperson of the Board, Jeffrey E. Levine. “If only Herzl was here today, never in his wildest dreams would he have imagined so many thousands of passionate supporters coming together to realize and continue his historic vision.”

“While we were entertained by the stellar line-up of celebrities, singers, comedians, and performers who came out in support of our important work, it’s the young children and families who are building new lives in the Negev and Galilee who are the real stars of JNF-USA’s inspiring story,” said Jewish National Fund-USA Chairperson of the Board, Jeffrey E. Levine. “If only Herzl was here today, never in his wildest dreams would he have imagined so many thousands of passionate supporters coming together to realize and continue his historic vision.”
Special vessels show Jewish continuity in Israel after Roman destruction
New research offers insights on how Jewish life continued in the Land of Israel after the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans.

The use of chalkstones vessels, very common among the Jewish population during the Second Temple Period, did not stop with the destruction of city in the second century CE as previously thought, but continued in the Galilee, the new center of Jewish life, for at least another two centuries, a paper published in the May issue of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) documented.

Several types and examples of such vessels have been unearthed in Tzipori (Sepphoris), Zeev Weiss, a professor at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who co-authored the paper together with Maya Sherman, Tami Zilberman and Gal Yasur, explained to The Jerusalem Post.

“As an archaeologist studying the material culture of the Jewish society in the days following the destruction of the Second Temple, I was struck by the fact that these vessels could be found in several areas throughout the site,” he said. “We uncovered more and more evidence, including in the last season of excavations two years ago, and we were able to prove that they were in used in that period.”

The most accepted interpretation on the reason why chalkstone vessels were prevalent during the Second Temple Period is connected to Jewish purity laws. According to these laws, stone vessels did not receive impurity, while clay vessels were extremely susceptible to it and very hard to purify.
2000-Year-Old Complex Uncovered Near Western Wall

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