Monday, August 31, 2020

From Ian:

Jonathan Tobin: Why they scrawl ‘Free Palestine’ on synagogues
The impulse to spray paint “Free Palestine” on Jewish sites is an injustice not just because it is vandalism, but also because the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has nothing to with a synagogue—and certainly not one on in the Midwestern United States. Blaming American Jews for the grievances that some may have against Israel, regardless of the merit or lack thereof of such complaints, is also a form of anti-Semitism.

Nevertheless, the connection between the BLM movement and anti-Israel sentiment is an undeniable fact. So it is hardly surprising that when demonstrators began marching through a residential neighborhood in Kenosha chanting and threatening people in the dead of night, one participant would choose to scrawl “Free Palestine” with a can of paint in the driveway of the Beth Hillel Temple.

Should such incidents influence American Jewish attitudes towards the BLM movement or impact black-Jewish relations?

No matter what is done by BLM marchers or said in the platform promulgated by the movement to support intersectional critiques of Israel and backing for BDS, there is nothing that will shake the overall Jewish commitment to the cause of social justice and equal rights. Despite well-founded concerns about the BLM movement itself, sympathy and support for efforts to fight to save black lives and to create a more just society will always have overwhelming Jewish support.

Still, Jewish groups can and must make clear to their African-American counterparts that they will not accept a situation in which anti-Zionist agitation, which is inherently anti-Semitic and often threatening to Jews, is tolerated—let alone encouraged. Where insults and threats happen, violence often follows, as we saw last year in the spate of anti-Semitic attacks on Orthodox Jews in the Greater New York area by African-Americans.

Yet just as concerns about racism do not justify violence or attacks on property, there should also be a clear understanding that acceptance of anti-Semitic lies about Israel or its American supporters cannot be tolerated. Those who allow themselves to be so taken up by the outrage propping up the BLM movement to rationalize or excuse vandalism like “Free Palestine” must realize that this undermines that cause. It also obligates Jews and those who claim to speak for them to stand against their efforts.
Melanie Phillips: The free world's craven and hypocritical fifth column
Even now, the British government is obsessed with meeting the Palestinians' demands; even now, it is perpetuating the falsehood that Israel is not legally entitled to apply its sovereignty to the disputed territories.

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, couched his tepid welcome for the United Arab Emirates' historic decision to normalize relations with Israel as a welcome for Israel's suspension of its sovereignty plan.

Raab reportedly came to Jerusalem to try to persuade Israel to drop this plan altogether. Quite apart from their malice and shamelessness, the Brits simply haven't grasped that the issue for the region is no longer the Palestinians (as if it ever was). It's now Iran.

It is fear of Iran that fueled the UAE deal. The Gulf states understand that they need Israel and the United States to neutralize the threat of Iranian regional hegemony. And they are deeply concerned that if Joe Biden becomes president, he will become Obama mark two, reinstating the JCPOA and again paving the way for an Iranian nuclear bomb with international approval.

Clearly, this concern is shared in Jerusalem, so much so that it's prompting some to wonder whether Israel will attack Iran before November's election.

Trump's resumed sanctions have weakened the regime. The assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the strategic genius of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps' Quds Force, was a blow from which it has not recovered. There also has been a series of unexplained explosions in Iran's sensitive weapons infrastructure.

So there's never been a more promising opportunity to deliver a decisive blow against the regime, preferably by reimposing draconian sanctions. But there's also never been such a dangerous time, with rising tensions and increasing Iran-backed attacks across both the Lebanese and Gaza borders – and with this wounded regime perhaps determined, if it believes it is indeed going down, to take Israel with it.

Such a time demands a unified resolve among those trying to stop this evil. And standing up against it are the United States, Israel, and the Gulf states.

But on the other side stand the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, supporting Russia and China in shoring up a regime that has waged a 40-year war against the West, intends to wipe Israel off the map, and is getting ever closer to possessing the nuclear weapons that it thinks will enable it to do so.

Britain, France, and Germany now risk becoming a shocking fifth column in the defense of the free world.
The End of the UAE Boycott Is a Blow to BDS
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel suffered a major blow this weekend, when the UAE revoked its 1972 decree to boycott the State of Israel. Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, effectively tore up the decree as part of the nascent Abraham Accord signed with Israel.

Even though Israel has powered through the Arab boycott — becoming a regional economic superpower — the UAE’s symbolic move is a message in a bottle: we are open to Israel for business. The end of the boycott effectively implies normalization of trade and commerce between the two nations. UAE citizens, in other words, may soon find “Bamba” — an Israeli snack food — in their supermarkets.

This, of course, is an affront to the traditional mandate of most Arab nations since Israel’s inception, if not before. The Khartoum Resolution of 1967 set the stage for a steadfast political and economic boycott of Israel. It was at this summit, following Israel’s shocking victory in the Six-Day War, that the Arab League declared the now infamous “Three Nos”: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.

The boycott unified Arab states in the region and at the United Nations. Anti-Israel resolutions intensified and became the norm. But Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 and then with Jordan in 1994 weakened the Arab alliance — and with it, its boycott. Still, there was no love lost between Israel and its new “friends.” It was a cold peace, and trade and commerce between them was minimal.

The boycott movement re-intensified with the failure of the Oslo Accords and the onset of Palestinian terrorism against the Jewish state.

Terror failed to bring down Israel. The Palestinian leadership turned to promoting an intensive defamation and boycott campaign in an attempt to criminalize Israel, called BDS. The campaign was linked to labeling Israel an “apartheid state,” and it falsely drew parallels with apartheid-era South Africa. Across the West, students on university campuses lobbied for BDS and tried deceiving the international community by calling Israel a racist state.



An inside job: How a UK engineer helped the Irgun break into Acre prison in 1947
A major pre-state prison break operation by a Zionist militia that freed 250 inmates from a British jail has been exposed as an inside job, according to a report Sunday that cited the family members of the Jewish architect and engineer who built the prison.

According to The Guardian, the Zionist architect, Peres Etkes, handed the entire building plans of the prison in Acre to the Irgun paramilitary group, enabling the legendary 1947 storming, which is seen as a major event that weakened the British Mandate and led to the creation of Israel.

The Irgun operation at the Acre prison, built on the ruins of a 12th century crusader fortress, was well-planned. Fighters seized adjacent Turkish baths and managed to blow a hole in the wall, while others threw a grenade in another part of the prison as a diversion. At least one attacker was disguised as a British engineer.

During the operation, 16 people were killed, including 7 Irgun members. The freed prisoners were both Arab and Jewish, including 27 incarcerated members of the Irgun and the Lehi militias.

Until now, it wasn’t known what brought about the success of the highly sophisticated operation.

Etkes was a Russian-American Jew employed by the British forces, whose real mission, according to the report, was to help establish a future Jewish state.

His niece Aliza Margulis was quoted as saying the architect told her the secret in the 1950s. He told her he had shared the plans “because the prison was like a fortress, and unless they had the map, there was no way to get out.”

It was unclear from the story why the details were only being published now.

Gil Margulis, Aliza’s son and Etkes’s great-nephew, said: “I was reading the history and people keep saying, ‘How did they do it? How did it happen?’ Sometimes you need a little insider information. Well, they had a lot of insider information – they had the exact plans. They actually had the plans of the whole prison from the guy who made it.”

Gil Margulis said he has recently been researching Etkes’s life, 50 years after his death. He said he found his memoir, although it ends before the Acre prison break.
Yisrael Medad: Clarifying Herodotus on "Palestine"
Every Arab and pro-Palestinian will quote Herodotus to "prove" that the "original" name of this country called Eretz-Yisrael was "Palestine".* You can read:

The name “Palestine” first appeared in Herodotus’ 5th century BCE histories to describe the coastal area of the Levant where the Philistines lived

So the name did not start with the Romans and Herod but from a Greek text.

But let's quote Herodotus, I:105:
The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine

and
Thence they went on to invade Egypt; and when they were
in Syria which is called Palestine
(ἐνθεῦτεν δὲ ἤισαν ἐπ᾽ Αἴγυπτον. καὶ ἐπείτε ἐγένοντο ἐν τῇ Παλαιστίνῃ Συρίῃ)


But that continues so:
and as they retreated, when they came to the city of Ascalon in Syria,

Is "Palestine" a separate country or a region and is it in Syria?

In III:5, we read,
Now by this way only is there a known entrance to Egypt: for from Phenicia to the borders of the city of Cadytis belongs to the Syrians who are called of Palestine, and from Cadytis, which is a city I suppose not much less than Sardis, from this city the trading stations on the sea- coast as far as the city of Ienysos belong to the king of Arabia, and then from Ienysos again the country belongs to the Syrians as far as the Serbonian lake

Obviously, the geography of then is not continguous today. That 464 BCE text filtered down to the Romans.
Harvard to Welcome Chief Palestinian Rejectionist
Erekat: Molder of Young Minds?

How can someone who has repeatedly gone on record with outright lies be trusted by Harvard to teach the truth to the “best and brightest?” Why would Harvard entrust Erekat with shaping the minds of these future leaders?

And finally, while Erekat cloaks himself as a diplomat and is treated by the media as a moderate Palestinian voice — having appeared on the BBC, CNN and even the more conservative Fox News — he is, by contrast, an extremist who said in a 2014 Al Jazeera interview that violence against Israelis is a Palestinian “right” and that he “cannot accept Israel as a Jewish state.”

Perhaps Harvard was influenced by the media’s embrace of Saeb Erekat. Accordingly, news outlets should seriously begin considering the consequences of giving Erekat a platform. At the very least, they should call him out for the litany of lies and anti-Zionism that he has disseminated.

Journalistic integrity hinges on Saeb Erekat no longer being portrayed by the media as a moderate .

Given his history of lies, rejectionism, and extremism, the Kennedy School of Government should either rescind their offer for Erekat to serve as one of its fellows for this year, or at the very least balance his ideology with another fellow representing the pro-Israel camp.

Tomorrow’s leaders should be presented with a true, fair and balanced perspective about conflicts so that they may develop their own opinions.
Associated Press profile on Al Sharpton forgets to mention the times he incited anti-Semitic riots
MSNBC’s Al Sharpton enjoys a position of power and privilege in elite society, which is really something to behold considering he helped incite anti-Semitic riots in New York City in the 1990s.

“Decades later, Sharpton still insists: No justice, no peace,” reads the headline to an especially soft-glow profile published this week by the Associated Press.

It adds, “Sharpton — once dismissed by some as a fraud, a jester — is still standing. He reaches multitudes on television and on radio. The man who helped popularize the 1980s cry, ‘No justice, no peace,’ is putting himself at the center of a new wave of activism, in a new millennium.”

Absent from the Associated Press's love letter to the cable news host is any mention of the fact that “No justice, no peace” was the same slogan that Sharpton chanted in 1991 as he incited anti-Semitic riots in New York City, where violent agitators also chanted, “Kill the Jews!”

You are not going to read about that in the Associated Press's profile.

In July 1991, then-City College of New York professor Leonard Jeffries delivered an address wherein he accused “rich Jews” of financing the slave trade and controlling Hollywood so they could “put together a system of destruction for black people.”

Sharpton, naturally, defended Jeffries’s remarks, telling critics at the time, “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”

Exactly one day after he challenged Jews to come and fight him, a Jewish motorist accidentally struck and killed a 7-year-old black child in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, sparking an anti-Semitic riot in which Jewish rabbinical scholar Yankel Rosenbaum was stabbed to death, as noted by my Washington Examiner colleague Phil Klein.

Sharpton himself led marches in the streets, where demonstrators chanted, “No justice, no peace” and “Kill the Jews!”




German Jews Condemn Far-Right Coronavirus Protest Outside Reichstag in Berlin
Germany’s Jewish community reacted with dismay over the weekend as hundreds of far-right demonstrators attempted to storm the historic building in Berlin that houses the country’s federal parliament.

As nearly 40,000 activists descended on the German capital on Saturday for a protest that decried coronavirus restrictions as a globalist plot, violence broke out at several junctures during the demonstration, with police making over 300 arrests.

Some demonstrators wore yellow Star of David symbols marked with the word “Corona” — a deliberate appropriation of the Nazi persecution of the Jews that has been widely denounced as antisemitic.

Toward the end of the day, hundreds of right-wing extremists charged onto the steps of the Reichstag, where the German parliament, the Bundestag, hold its sessions. Many brandished the discarded red, white and black flag of Imperial Germany — a symbol favored by the far right because of post-war Germany’s ban on the swastika and other Nazi symbols.

“We are dismayed and deeply concerned about yesterday’s images in front of the Reichstag building,” the Central Council of Jews in Germany declared on Twitter, in a post that included the hashtag “#Nazisraus” — “Nazis Out.”
Dozens of NY Jews protest outside UN against China’s persecution of Uighurs
Dozens of Jewish New Yorkers gather outside United Nations Headquarters for a rally in solidarity with the Muslim Uighur community being persecuted in China.

An estimated 1 million Uighurs and members of other Muslim minority groups such as Kazakhs are held in Chinese-run prison-like detention centers — many for indefinite terms — amid reports of harsh treatment and poor living conditions.

Speakers read testimony given by survivors of the Chinese detention camps and lead chants of “never again” that are repeated by the crowd.

“We’re here to say ‘wake up from your sleep,’ Congress [and] pass meaningful legislation…Each of us [must also] wake up from [our sleep], wake up from your sleep [anyone] who loves the oppressed, for we were oppressed in the land of Egypt,” says rabbinical student Hody Nemes over a megaphone.
Guardian op-ed promotes dishonest 'pinkwashing' charge against Israel
A Guardian op-ed by Mark Gevisser accused Richard Grenell, the gay former US ambassador to Germany who’s now the Trump campaign’s senior adviser on LGBT outreach, of “pink-washing“, (“How Trump’s chief pink-washer is setting back LGBT+ equality”, Aug. 28th).

The piece, in an effort to provide international context to the charge against Grennel, turns to Israel in the following paragraph:
Israel uses its pro-LGBTQ+ policies to garner support in the US and western Europe, and to promote itself as a beacon of tolerance in a hostile neighbourhood. By promoting gay rights, activists claim, Israel “pink-washes” its human rights abuse of Palestinians.

However, the pinkwashing accusation against Israel is nothing more than an ad hominem attack disguised as a counter-argument. The reason why ad hominem attacks are considered logical fallacies is because they question the motives of your opponent – which is irrelevant to the argument – in order to deflect attention away from the issue being debated.

Since pro-Palestinian activists can’t possibly refute the argument that Israel’s record on LGBT rights is dramatically more progressive than in ‘Palestine‘, they pivot instead to the putative motives of Israeli and pro-Israeli activists who boast of the country’s tolerance towards sexual minorities.

As pro-Palestinian activists rarely focus their efforts on peace, but, instead, on demonising Israel as a uniquely malevolent force in the world whilst painting Palestinian aspirations as intrinsically progressive, any information which contradicts this moral binary must be obfuscated.

The fact is that the Palestinians are among the most homophobic people in the world. As this graph illustrating a 2014 Pew poll demonstrates, only 1 per cent of Palestinians believe homosexuality is morally acceptable.
BBC reports on Corona in Gaza include context-free portrayal of blockade
None of those reports informed BBC audiences that the restrictions imposed by Israel on the entry of goods and materials to the Gaza Strip are confined to dual-use items: i.e. those which can be used for the purpose of terrorism.

The two written reports also mentioned the healthcare system:

Report 1: “An outbreak in impoverished Gaza has been greatly feared because of its weak health care system.”

Report 2: “The BBC’s Yolande Knell in Jerusalem says the outbreak has caused alarm because of Gaza’s weak healthcare system.”

However – as is more often than not the case in BBC reporting on that topic – audiences were not provided with any information on how infighting between Hamas and Fatah – along with Hamas’ prioritisation of terror over civilian welfare – has affected services such as water, power and healthcare in the Gaza Strip.

When the Covid-19 pandemic began BBC audiences were told in various reports that there were between 50 and 87 ventilators in the Gaza Strip. Yolande Knell’s statement that there are now “about 100 ventilators” in the Gaza Strip probably reflects the fact that the World Health Organisation has in recent months delivered ventilators, testing kits and additional medical equipment to the territory – unreported by BBC News – with Israel’s cooperation.


Delegitimizing Northern Kibbutz, AFP Calls It “Settlement”
Contrary to basic journalistic standards of impartiality and accuracy, and echoing radical leftist and Islamist calls to treat all Jewish presence in the Jews’ ancestral homeland as “colonialist,” “privileged” and therefore illegitimate, an AFP Arabic report mistranslated the word “kibbutz” into Mustawtana, “settlement.” The Aug. 3 article, “A company seeks to turn grasshoppers into a key means in facing global nutrition challenges,” erred:

The roots of this idea go back to Tamir’s childhood, who remembers stories about locusts completely destroying fields during the 1950s in the settlement where he grew up. [Translation by CAMERA Arabic.]

However, Dror Tamir, CEO of “Hargol,” was born and raised in Kibbutz Ma’anit, internationally recognized as within Israel, inside the ceasefire line of 1949. Moreover, even without information about the Kibbutz’s specific location, the very fact that Tamir’s birthplace was inhabited by Israeli Jews during the 1950s, as the article itself reports, is sufficient to rule it out as a “settlement,” since they were only built after 1967.

Notably, the English version of the same AFP article (entitled “Plague to protein: Israeli firm seeks to put locusts on the menu”) correctly refers to Tamir’s home community as a “kibbutz.”

To this day, the Arabic report remains in its erroneous form, even after CAMERA, and later Tamir himself, urged AFP to correct the mistranslation.
Controversy turns Seth Rogen's 'An American Pickle' sour
The movie was based on a short story by Simon Rich, and, despite its brief 90-minute running time, might have been better if it had been made into a Saturday Night Live skit.

If you watch even a few minutes of the film, which debuted on HBO earlier this month, you’ll quickly get why Rogen doubled down in Maron’s podcast on his regard for the grandparents’ take-no-guff generation – it’s the setup for the film, making Rogen’s jokes basically a bit of not particularly well disguised PR.

By the end, though, there’s simply not that much depth in An American Pickle. The time travel conceit allows Rogen to skip right over sensitive subjects such as the Holocaust, Israel, socialism and, as The New York Times’ A.O. Scott puts it, “the drama of Jewish male selfhood that preoccupied so many in the middle generations – the whole Philip Roth-Woody Allen megillah.”

Rogen has made a career of playing slacker characters, from Freaks and Geeks to Superbad and Knocked Up, so I’m not sure why I expected something more.

Still, the controversy from the podcast worked – it got me to watch Rogen’s movie. Too bad it was not much more than a sour pickle.
Outrage After Online Publication Uses Auschwitz Photo to Illustrate Story About R. Kelly Incarceration
A leading Australian Jewish group voiced outrage over the weekend after the online publication Viral Thread used an image of the Auschwitz concentration camp to illustrate a story about R&B singer R. Kelly being attacked in a Chicago jail.

The Anti-Defamation Commission wrote to Viral Thread demanding that it remove the picture immediately from its August 28th story about the rapper allegedly being assaulted by a fellow inmate at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, where the 53-year-old “Ignition” singer is awaiting trial on sex abuse charges. The story has been shared more than 3,500 times.

In a statement, ADC Chairman Dr. Dvir Abramovich called the use of the photo a “trivialization, disrespect and abuse of the Holocaust taken to a new low.”

“This shockingly insensitive incident is a terrible insult to the memory of those who were slaughtered in that horrific killing centre and to the soldiers who gave their lives to defeat Hitler, and a slap in the face to those who survived,” he said.

A screenshot of the Viral Threat story.

“I shouldn’t have to say this, but the Metropolitan Corrections Center in Chicago is not Auschwitz, and it’s impossible to understand how anyone thought it was appropriate to use this image,” he added. “There can never be any justification for using the Holocaust to promote an entertainment story. Clearly, the people at Viral Thread need to be reminded that Auschwitz was the largest mass murder site in history and was the centerpiece of Hitler’s Final Solution where more than 1.1 million people (90 percent of them Jews) were gassed, shot, starved and died painfully during the grotesque experiments carried out by Dr. Josef Mengele.”
Suspects arrested in antisemitic vandalism of Cleveland Jewish buildings
A 20-year-old man, a 23-year-old woman and a 16-year-old from Beachwood, Ohio are facing charges for the painting of swastikas, and antisemitic images and words on several Jewish-owned businesses in University Heights near Cleveland in July, according to local news outlet cleveland.com.

Bo Briele Truitt, 23, was arrested about two weeks ago and charged with ethnic intimidation, inducing panic, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and criminal damaging in Shaker Heights Municipal Court, according to University Heights police.

Gabriel Truitt, 20, was arrested on Thursday and is facing similar charges.

A 16-year-old girl was also charged in the incident earlier this month in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, according to police.

"The University Heights Police Department condemns antisemitism and acts of ethnic intimidation, and we will remain diligent in our zero-tolerance efforts to prevent, investigate, and apprehend those who commit such cowardly and hateful acts," said University Heights police earlier this month.

In July, a swastika and other graffiti were spray-painted on several buildings, including a Jewish organization, in a shopping strip in a heavily Jewish Cleveland suburb.
Two haredim lightly injured in Brooklyn hit-and-run
Two Jewish men were targeted by a vehicle in a hit-and-run in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn on Sunday, according to local news sources. The two men suffered minor injuries; Shomrim and the New York Police Department are searching for the vehicle.

Video from the scene shows the black Chevrolet Camaro careening toward the two haredi men and then speeding away from the scene.

"This attempted murder in Williamsburg is a warning sign to authorities around the world. The next murder motivated by antisemitism is around the corner," said Yaakov Hagoel, vice chairman of the World Zionist Organization. "I call on governments around the world to increase the protection of Jewish institutions and the punishment for hate crimes."


Israeli House to establish first Holocaust memorial in Georgia
Pro-Israel NGO Israeli House is positioned to inaugurate the first Holocaust memorial in Georgia this September.

Israeli House announced that they intend to establish the memorial in Oni, Georgia, in cooperation with the Georgian Government and the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ), who works with the Israeli House under the auspices of the Council of Europe.

Not only will it be the first Holocaust memorial in Georgia, but it will also be the first memorial to be established in a city where there is no Holocaust history. The organization noted, however, that Sergey Metreveli - a Georgian who saved Jews during the Holocaust and was named as one of the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem - lived in Oni, and although minuscule, was the extent to which the Holocaust was evident in Georgia.

Israeli House works in hasbara - Israeli public diplomacy - educating international audiences on Israel's history and the plights of the Jewish people.
Israel’s Elbit Systems Wins US Army Contract Worth Up to $79 Million
Israeli defense company Elbit Systems said on Monday its US subsidiary won a contract to supply the US Army with gunner hand stations, commander hand stations and circuit cards for the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

The contract, worth up to $79 million, will be carried out over five years. An initial purchase order of $26 million followed by a purchase order of $12 million have been issued the contract.

The gunner hand stations enable crew members to target and fire, and work in collaboration with the commander hand stations that drive the vehicles’ turret. The circuit cards provide processing and power supply to the hand station units.
Reviving old therapy, Israeli doctors unleash lung radiation against COVID-19
Doctors at Sheba Medical Center outside Tel Aviv are set to give lung radiation to coronavirus patients after the Health Ministry approved a 30-person trial, Israel’s first for the experimental therapy.

The coronavirus pandemic has left doctors worldwide struggling with hard-to-treat lung inflammations the likes of which many haven’t seen before.

Sheba doctors believe that targeted radiation on the lungs may slow inflammation there, and prevent or reduce the effects of the pneumonia that causes many coronavirus deaths. Within days, they will start radiation therapy on the first patients.

“Low-dose radiation is extremely effective in reducing the types of inflammatory cells that invade the lungs of coronavirus patients, prevent them from oxygenating the blood, and cause failure of the systems and possibly death, and I’m hopeful that this will save lives,” Zvi Symon, the director of Sheba’s Radiation Oncology Department and the doctor behind the trial, told The Times of Israel.

“These doses won’t kill the virus itself or change the viral replication rate in the body in any way, but we anticipate they will reduce the severe inflammation in the lung that it induces and it’s this inflammation that causes patients to die from inflammatory failure,” he stressed.

“We have already seen that in animal models low-dose radiation has a broad range of anti-inflammatory effects,” Symon added.
Israeli startup to use gene-editing tools to enhance cannabis seeds
CanBreed CEO and co-founder Ido Margalit at the startup's cannabis R&D site in Givat Chen (Courtesy)

Israeli startup CanBreed said it has reached a licensing agreement to use gene editing tools to provide cannabis growers with enhanced seeds for the production of medical grade cannabis.

The Givat Chen, Israel-based firm, founded in 2017 by Ido Margalit and Tal Sherman, said it has received a nonexclusive intellectual property licensing agreement to use CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology from Corteva Agriscience and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, which hold the rights to the technology.

CanBreed has developed what it says are “stable” cannabis seeds that will allow farmers to grow cannabis from seeds as opposed to cloning, as it is done now, from branches of the plant that are rooted.

“The cloning of the branches help maintain the uniformity of DNA of the weed,” but as the plant grows, the genes could be expressed differently from those of the mother plant, explained Margalit, who also serves as CEO of the startup.

Since cannabis is a medical plant, standardization and uniformity are required, and “using clones does not serve that purpose,” he said. “The only solution to that is growing cannabis from stable seeds.”
Technion develops mapping system to assist blind in navigating cities
Researchers at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have designed a new mapping system intended assist blind pedestrians in navigating their way around busy city streets.

As opposed to the normal system already in place, which employs a network of pedestrian signals equipped with tone indicators notifying the visually impaired when the intersection is clear (accelerated tone means its safe to cross, whereas a steady tone means it's not), the Technion examined the possibility of developing software working in conjunction with the OpenStreetMap geo-database - a Wikipedia-like collaborative world map generated through volunteer edits and crowdsourced users, who can insert, edit or analyze areas they are familiar with to create the full world view.

The researchers, led by Asst. Prof. Sagi Dalyot of the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering's Transportation and Geo-Information Engineering division, published their findings in the scientific Sage journal Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science.

"While most of us take way-finding and orientation for granted, instinctively utilizing our visual channels to do so, millions of blind people around the world face challenges and obstacles when attempting to perform the most basic tasks, such as walking to the corner store or using public transportation," the study authors noted in their findings, explaining their work.

"This research aims at developing a way-finding algorithm that relies on the OpenStreetMap mapping catalog for planning accessible and safe routes specifically suited to blind pedestrians," they said.




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