Saturday, November 21, 2020

From Ian:

Anti-Israel UN Resolutions are literally dumbfounding
Do United Nations diplomats ever read the numerous anti-Israel resolutions put in front of them? Or do they automatically raise their hand in a five-decade automatic knee-jerk reaction?

I ask because I read some of the conditions of a recently approved stab at Israel on 18 November 2020.

This draft resolution had to do with treating Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria and our capital, Jerusalem, as if they belong to a non-existing country and that Israel has no right to our ancient land and our homes.

This draft resolution passed with a 156-6 majority. The minority countries were Israel, the United States, Canada, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Nauru.

Why do tiny Pacific islands seem to possess more common sense than all the European countries, or even Australia and New Zealand?

Again I ask, did the diplomats that approved the motion read the wording before they raised their hands? Or were they following official guidance from their capitals?

This was a resolution that has been approved annually for decades, so perhaps they can be forgiven for overlooking the wording. Wording that talks about recognizing Palestinian “sovereign rights” to the “natural resources” of the 'West Bank' and east Jerusalem.

What sovereign rights does a non-existing country possess?

As they refer to the so-called 'West Bank', could they be indicating that this territory belongs to Jordan, a country that once claimed this land as theirs? After all, the term “West Bank” refers to the other side of the River Jordan.
Trump’s core righteousness shines through Pompeo's anti-BDS and pro-Jews in Yesha speech
Beyond that, Secretary Pompeo stated that any entity that continues supporting “BDS” — calls to boycott, divest from, or to sanction Israel — will be deemed outright anti-Semitic and will suffer the full ramifications of American financial and other pressure for that hatred banned by our laws.

The thing about “BDS” — a movement founded and created by Arab terrorists and their supporters in Europe and America, and fostered throughout American campuses by Jew-hating Leftist professors and their ignorantly moronic student minions who do not know the difference between the Mideast and the Midwest — is that the same haters and criminals who would boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel never advocate BDS against a China that religiously persecutes and imprisons its Uighyur Muslim minority, suppresses and crushes freedom in Hong Kong and throughout its Communist mainland, and that knowingly criminally exported to the world the worst pandemic of the past hundred years. Imagine that: no BDS against China, but BDS against Israel.

There can be no clearer example of outright virulent Jew-hatred than that: applying one standard — tolerance and gleeful acceptance — for Communist murderers, international criminals, tyrants and dictators who persecute religion and speech . . . and simultaneously applying a completely different standard — zealous hatred and brutal economic warfare — against Jews.

BDS is the anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred of today. Obama and His Fraudulency went along with it and never stood up to it. By contrast, Trump and Pompeo — with no conceivable political benefit to be accrued, only the motivation of common decency — now have placed the force of American law to crush it

Trump’s and Pompeo’s decency and friendship never will be forgotten. That 83 percent favorability among Orthodox Jews will stand in good measure for the next Trump presidential term, whether it commences by court orders in January 2021 or by popular and electoral vote four years from now. His Fraudulency will be gone before we know it. The Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria — now 800,000 strong and growing by leaps and bounds every day — is eternal.

And this was written before Jonathan Pollards' parole restrictions were not renewed.


Netanyahu, Rivlin welcome end of Pollard’s parole, await his arrival in Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday welcomed the termination of Jonathan Pollard’s parole and said he looked forward to welcoming the former US Navy analyst, who served 30 years of a life term for spying for Israel, was freed on parole five years ago, and completed his parole period on Friday.

“The prime minister was committed to his release for many years and worked tirelessly for his return,” read a statement from Netanyahu’s office, released nearly 24 hours after the Justice Department’s decision, which was handed down after the Sabbath began in Israel.

President Reuven Rivlin also said Israel was “waiting for him and his family at home” and wished him “a new life in health and peace.”

“We felt his pain all these years and felt a responsibility and an obligation to bring about the release of Jonathan Pollard.” President Reuven Rivlin in a Rosh Hashanah message to Jews around the world, September 17, 2020 (video screenshot)

Pollard, who served 30 years in prison for providing sensitive intelligence to Israel, made a public appeal to Netanyahu last year and asked him to intervene on his behalf to urge Trump to commute his parole, so he could care for his sick wife.

Netanyahu thanked Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer “who handled the contacts responsibly and sensitively with the American administration,” the statement added.

“The prime minister looks forward to Jonathan Pollard’s arrival in Israel soon and wishes to strengthen him and [his wife] Esther, along with all Israeli citizens,” it said.


Fully free, Pollard to head ‘home’ to Israel when wife’s health allows — lawyer
Jonathan Pollard plans to move to Israel as soon as his wife’s health allows it, his lawyer said, after the US Justice Department on Friday terminated the parole of the American Jew convicted of spying for Israel.

“Jonathan and Esther plan to come to Israel, but they cannot do so immediately, due to Esther’s chemotherapy treatments,” Eliot Lauer told the Kan public broadcaster.

Pollard served 30 years in prison for providing sensitive US intelligence to Israel, and was released in 2015 under strict terms of parole.

“They plan to leave for Israel as soon as her condition allows,” he added. “They plan to come home.”

Asked to describe Pollard’s reaction to news of his parole ending after five years, Lauer said it was “hard to think of any feeling other than great happiness.

“After five years of dealing with irrational [parole] restrictions, and 30 years in difficult conditions in prison, being released and being a free man and being able to travel to Israel, brings such joy for him, for Esther, and for me,” he said.

“To this day at noon, we had not heard a single word from the Department of Justice. We were optimistic, but there was no certainty about it,” Pollard’s attorney added.

The Friday decision brought to an end a saga that once threatened Israel’s close military cooperation with its main ally and created one of the most serious rifts between Jerusalem and Washington in recent decades.
Jonathan Pollard's lawyers: All restrictions lifted, parole terminated
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night that the Israeli health system was ready to facilitate the Pollards' aliyah.

"We will do whatever it takes in terms of medical treatment," Edelstein said. "I am sure everyone in the Israeli health system will cooperate with the necessary treatments to enable the Pollards to come home. It is so clear to me that they will get the best medical treatment."

The Pollards are expected to move to Jerusalem, where Esther lived before she joined her husband in New York following his release from prison five years ago. Hadassah Medical Center director-general Ze'ev Rotstein said "We are open to all. If she choose to be treated in Hadassah we’ll do it with all our heart!"

Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog told The Post on Saturday night that the Agency was ready to facilitate Pollards' aliyah when they are ready.

Pollard, a former intelligence analyst for the US, was detained in 1985 for spying for and providing top-secret intelligence to Israel and served 30 years of a life sentence before he was paroled five years ago. He is the only American in US history to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally, and the only one to serve more than 10 years in prison for the crime.
Operation Torch and the liberation of 400,000 Jews
Starting in November 1942, Operation Torch liberated 400,000 Jews during the Holocaust in France.

Today, it is difficult to visualize the Arab countries of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco as part of France during the Shoah.

Thus, Europe’s French possessions, called “Overseas France,” were part of Europe. Hitler defined Europe as “the European nations and their colonies.” The European Holocaust Research Infrastructure appropriately states the Holocaust occurred in “Europe, including the North African colonies.”

Indeed, following the 1940 French-German armistice, Field-Marshal Henri-Philippe Pétain, the head of the new French Vichy regime, governed the southern part of France and French North Africa as unoccupied territories, while most of the northern part of Metropolitan/continental France came under direct German military administration.

Yad Vashem and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum acknowledge that French North Africa was an integral part of Vichy France. Therefore, during the Shoah in France, 700,000 Jews (300,000 in metropolitan France and 400,000 in Vichy North Africa) came under the German sphere of influence, because Pétain decided to collaborate with Hitler.

“In the name of France and state antisemitism,” and to solve “the Jewish question,” collaborationist Pétain enacted two antisemitic Statut des Juifs (October 1940 and June 1941) to be applicable not only in metropolitan France, but also in Vichy North Africa – one people, one destiny. Persecuted by the same pro-Nazi ruler, the Vichy Jews living on France’s both sides of the Mediterranean Sea suffered the same fate. They were identified, counted, ostracized, isolated, systematically discriminated, objectified, diabolized and deprived of their civil rights and property – the preparatory measures that laid the foundation for an annihilation. The bureaucracy and the machinery to implement the “Final Solution” were set for them.
Col Kemp: Liberal elites love overseas aid, but it’s guns and hard power that guarantee Britain’s global role
This week’s increase to the defence budget of £16.5 billion over four years will give the British armed forces a much-needed shot in the arm after decades of deep cuts by successive governments. This cash must come from somewhere as we confront the economic devastation wrought by coronavirus. One source is the overseas aid budget where the Government has signalled a likely reduction.

That is like a red rag to a bull, including to those who argue that military capability will be bought at the expense of strategic influence overseas assistance provides. We should of course do what we can to support under-developed countries. But the soft power-hard power argument doesn’t stand up and as we don’t have unlimited resources for both, military power must win out. The concept of soft power is vague, unquantified and necessarily unfocused. The aid that supposedly buys it is too often squandered in a morass of corruption. While it has political benefit, as a tool of either strategy or policy, soft power lacks significant utility unless national interests converge.

Soft power is far more attractive to liberal policy establishments than the hard power of coercive force. But it doesn’t cut any ice with those who would do us harm. How effective was soft power in preventing Russian aggression in Eastern Europe or poisoners in Salisbury? How much influence does it buy with China and its imperialist expansion in the South China Sea or industrial-scale theft of intellectual property? Did French aid to Turkey, which has been one of its top ten beneficiaries, give pause to President Erdogan when he insulted President Macron and appeared to incite attacks against France? A direct example is the Taliban campaign in Afghanistan. Instead of being persuaded by soft power to support our efforts against jihadists, the government of Pakistan pocketed our aid payments while spending profusely on funding, supporting and harbouring terrorists who were trying to kill our soldiers.

Intelligence, coercive diplomacy and military power, on the other hand, have direct utility in the defence of our national interests, in deterring conflict, and in global influence from which flows economic benefit. This also remains true for our relations in Europe, especially post Brexit. And Britain retains its special relationship with the world’s greatest superpower. Those that deny it often do so to denigrate our global standing. Marching shoulder to shoulder with the US in every conflict since Vietnam has not only given us influence in Washington DC, but in countries around the world who recognise Britain’s value as a conduit to America.


New York Times Falsely Claims Pompeo Is First Secretary of State to Visit Golan
The Trump administration’s foreign policy leadership and the current New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief may both be in their last few months in the job, but they are going out with a bang, as the Times keeps inaccurately characterizing what Trump officials are doing.

The outgoing Times bureau chief, David Halbfinger, has a byline from Jerusalem over a news article reporting about Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s visit to Israel. “In another first for a U.S. secretary of state, Mr. Pompeo flew in the afternoon to the long-disputed Golan Heights, along Israel’s frontier with Syria,” the Times reports.

It’s not accurate to characterize a visit to the Golan Heights as a “first for a U.S. Secretary of State.”

A simple check of the Times archives turns up a report of a visit to the Golan in 1993 by Warren Christopher, who served as secretary of state during the first term of the Clinton administration. The Times reported then:

“At a briefing site on the Golan Heights, Gen. Yitzhak Mordechai, commander in chief of Israel’s northern command, spread out large maps and, using a pool cue, gave an impassioned lecture on Israel’s geographical vulnerability and the importance of the strategic plateau, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war, for the country’s security. Mr. Christopher’s question — where were the borders before Israel occupied the territory? — left Israeli officials puzzled. Was it a trick of some sort? Did Mr. Christopher really not know where the pre-1967 borders were, or did he somehow want to draw attention to what Israel used to be?”

The Times reported in 1991 that then-Secretary of State James A. Baker III also toured the Golan by air. “Mr. Baker took a helicopter tour to allow the Israelis to show him how narrow the country was within its pre-1967 boundaries — 10 miles wide and five minutes by helicopter. He also got to see the Golan Heights from the air, as well as Israeli settlements in the West Bank,” the Times reported in a front-page news article in 1991.




Rashida Tlaib, BDS supporter, to speak on JVP antisemitism panel
After an announcement that US Congresswoman Rep. Rashida Tlaib will participate in a panel on antisemitism along with others previously accused of antisemitic or anti-Israel statements, event host Jewish Voice for Peace is drawing criticism for their selection of speakers.

In addition to concerns over previous statements made by the participants, critics are concerned by the identity of the speakers, only one of whom is Jewish.

Tlaib, a Palestinian-American politician who has faced accusations of antisemitism and is known as a fierce critic of Israel and supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, was strongly criticized on social media after tweeting a statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) that failed to mention Jews.

Marc Lamont Hill, also a panelist, has been accused of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish statements when he called for “a free Palestine from the river to the sea” in 2018 and described Mizrahi Jews as an “identity category” that had been detached “from Palestinian identity” in 2019. Another panel participant, Peter Beinart, has said that he is willing to let go of the idea of a Jewish state, but says the new country could still be a “Jewish home.”. Beinart also wrote a column titled "Debunking the myth that anti-Zionism is antisemitic" in the Guardian in 2019.


COVID Deals Blow to Saudi Arabia’s G20 Summit Ambitions
When Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and a leading US ally, took over the G20 presidency in December 2019, hopes in the kingdom were high.

A global summit would help rehabilitate the country on the international stage and turn the world’s attentions to key reforms launched by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to open up the kingdom and diversify the economy.

But instead of hoped-for photo ops in opulent palaces, this year’s summit is mostly virtual due to COVID-19, dealing a blow to the prince’s ambitions in a year of global economic downturn.

Though circumstances are far from ideal, “the show must go on, and Saudis have to make the most of the meeting,” said Robert Mogielnicki, a resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

Top of the Group of 20 major economies’ agenda is a COVID-19 action plan and measures to stem the pandemic’s impact on global economies, including debt relief for the poorest countries.

Saudi Arabia’s reputation has been battered since 2018, with a global furor over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the war in Yemen and the continued detention of women’s rights activists arrested that year.
Gaza rocket fired at Ashkelon, hitting empty warehouse
Terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket at the southern city of Ashkelon on Saturday night, striking an empty warehouse, officials said.

The projectile struck a warehouse in the city, causing damage to the structure, according to municipal officials. There were no immediate reports of injuries, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

The attack came at roughly 9:30 p.m., setting off sirens in Ashkelon and the industrial zone just south of the city, an area where tens of thousands of people live, the Israel Defense Forces said.

No Gaza group immediately claimed result for the attack.

Last Sunday, two rockets were fired at central Israel from the Gaza Strip. The two projectiles struck open areas, causing neither injury nor damage.

The Hamas terror group sent messages to Israel that claimed the rockets were fired accidentally, set off by lightning during a thunderstorm, an explanation that the IDF has apparently accepted.
PA arrests political activist for criticizing security coordination
Palestinian Authority security forces on Friday arrested Palestinian political activist Nizar Banat shortly after he criticized the PA’s decision to restore relations, including security coordination, with Israel.

Palestinian journalist Aseel Sulieman, meanwhile, denied on Saturday that she had been suspended from her job at a private radio station after also strongly criticizing the PA over its decision to restore the ties with Israel. She also denied that she and her family had received threats from the PA security forces, or that she had been summoned for questioning.

Sulieman, who hosts a radio show, accused the PA of “trampling on the blood of our martyrs and prisoners.” She also accused the PA leadership of “prostration” before Israel.

The radio station removed the video from its website, a move that triggered rumors that Sulieman has been suspended, or fired.

The decision to renew the ties was announced last week by Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the General Authority for Civil Affairs.
Top Democratic senator opposes reentering Iran deal under previous terms
Democratic US Senator Chris Coons has said he will not support reentering the Iran nuclear deal without agreed limitations on Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its support for belligerent proxy groups throughout the Middle East.

Coons, seen as a potential pick for secretary of state in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, told Reuters the deal would “need a path forward for limits on their missile program and their support for proxies before I would support reentering the [accord]. These need to happen at the same time.”

Biden has said he would seek to reenter the 2015 deal that US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.

As Biden prepares to enter office in January, recent days have seen representatives of several Mideast nations voice their opposition to an American return to the deal in its previous form.

Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer said Monday that it would be a “mistake” for the incoming administration to reenter the accord.

“I think it would be a mistake and hopefully he will look at the Middle East as it is, he will see the benefits of [the normalization] process, of how he can continue that process, and I think to not go back into the same deal,” Dermer said during a panel with his Emirati and Bahraini counterparts in Washington.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani on Wednesday also urged the incoming administration to consult with its allies in the Middle East before renegotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.
Iran has a new warship packed with drones and missiles
Iran unveiled a new ship over the weekend called the Shahid Roudaki. It is part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and was given a spotlight at Bandar Abbas port near the strategic Straits of Hormuz on Thursday. The ship is so interesting to Iran watchers that the United States Naval Institute ran a story about it.

On its surface this is just a transport ship, but Iran has crowded its deck with all sorts of weapons to show off what it can do. According to aerial photos and description the ship has been packed with multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) that are mounted on fast boats. There is also an advanced 3rd Khordad air defense system and helicopters, as well as drones and anti-ship missiles. It’s a floating armory, or a floating “bazarr” as one report noted.

The Bell 412 helicopter appears to be one of those old American helicopters that Iran has because it once had a bell helicopter Textron factory under the Shah. The 3rd Khordad system is more recent. It was used to down a $200 million American Global Hawk drone in June 2019. The six Ababil drones, noted in the photo, are part of Iran’s expanding drone arsenal. Iran used drones and cruise missiles to attack Saudi Arabia in September 2019. Iran has also sent drones to Syria and used them to threaten Israel and provided them to Hezbollah.

According to H.I Sutton, who wrote the USNI news piece, the ship has four Qader anti-ship missiles, the Iranian version of the Chinese C-802. The ship is 492 feet long and 72 feet wide. It also has a 23 mm anti-aircraft guns. “It seems unlikely that these systems would be arrayed like this in normal operations. The small boats may be a common feature, but the other systems appear only representative of her potential capability and role,” Sutton writes. The assessment is that this ship is capable of long range missions and support.
‘Soros’ squanders an opportunity with poor picture of controversial billionaire
At some point in the last five years I took a deep breath and said “Fine! I’ll look up George Soros on Wikipedia.”

I mean, I had heard of him. He was a zillionaire investor who made a fortune in the stock market, a weird corner of the universe I’ve long accepted I’ll never understand. (Roulette seems a much more honest way to gamble, but not everyone agrees.) Anyway, for some reason this particular zillionaire was one who made people very upset. From the far left, there existed the natural distrust of anyone with so much money, but from the conspiracy-primed right came intimations of a nefarious global puppet-master. Soros was Jewish, so the accusations felt like an old, familiar tune, yet there were others who called him a Nazi collaborator. Something was clearly unusual about this guy.

So, like I said, I hit Wikipedia. And though I only skimmed it, I learned more from that quick glance than I did watching the just-released documentary feature “Soros.”

The film is screening in theaters in select cites and virtual cinemas starting November 20.

Directed by Jesse Dylan (Bob’s son), this portrait of the 90-year-old Hungarian-born billionaire is not, in any way, a “real” film. It feels like one of those videos they make you watch before you look at a time share. It is an 86-minute advertisement for just how great George Soros is, and an intensely boring 86 minutes at that. While some of the Great Man’s offspring do show up to heap praise on Pop, you will not glean a single thing about Soros’s inner life, what makes him tick, or how he actually got all his money. But you will come away, so Dylan hopes, convinced that George Soros is the greatest human being who ever lived, and anyone who says different is a simpleton.

This is a shame because from where I stand, it seems as if Soros actually has done a lot of good. And his life story could be told in an interesting way. He was born in Budapest in a middle-class Jewish family. He was 13 when the Nazis occupied Hungary, and his father was able to secure false papers for the family, which he then split up for additional safety. Young George lived with a mid-level bureaucrat whose job was, at least in part, to assess homes that had been emptied. He joined on one trip to the countryside to an empty estate owned by a Jewish family, and later wrote that he was terrified his cover would be blown. This event in the young boy’s life has led to accusations of Nazi collaboration (you can watch Fox News’s Ann Coulter make such a charge in this film).

After the war, Soros (and others) learned that living in the Soviet sphere of influence was hardly a picnic either. He eventually headed to London, read the influential book “The Open Society and Its Enemies” by Karl Popper, and landed on a type of thinking based on nuance and compromise, distrusting both Fascism and Communism.
Quebec OKs Christmas, but not Hanukkah in COVID-19 holiday plan
Quebec's Legault government unveiled a plan to allow families to gather for Christmas, but when asked if similar exceptions to coronavirus regulations would be made for Hanukkah and other holidays, the Canadian province's premier François Legault said no, sparking outrage among the local Jewish community, according to Global News.

“Premier Legault has not addressed the concerns and needs of several minority groups in Quebec, including the Jewish community,” said Chief Executive Officer of B'nai Brith Canada Michael Mostyn.

“While we applaud the notion of a seven-day family quarantine in late December, it fails to allow accommodation for Jews to celebrate the eight-day Jewish holiday of [Hanukkah].”

Rabbi Reuben Poupko of Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation, a leading voice in Quebec's Jewish community, also expressed his confusion and frustration at the announcement. "It is bewildering that the government would prize one faith community over the other, and we would just hope that all faith communities in Quebec would be treated in the same manner in an equitable fashion,” he told the news division of the Canadian Global Television Network.


German Synagogue Attacked by Neo-Nazi Gunman Was Poorly Protected by Authorities, Expert Tells Trial
The trial of the neo-Nazi gunman who attempted to massacre worshipers attending Yom Kippur services in the central German city of Halle in October 2019 heard this week from an expert who asserted that the synagogue had been poorly protected by the local authorities.

“From our point of view, the authorities should have known that the protection was inadequate,” Benjamin Steinitz — managing director of Rias, a federal body researching antisemitism — told the Naumburg Higher Regional Court on Tuesday.

Steinitz told the court that security assessments for Germany’s Jewish communities were made at local level, and that officials often did not appreciate the Jewish community’s concerns.

In the case of the Halle attack, the local police, the State Criminal Police Office and Saxony-Anhalt’s Interior Minister Holger Stahlknecht all insisted in its aftermath that they had no advance evidence of a threat to the synagogue.

“For German Jews, the attack was not so surprising,” Steinitz said. “Antisemitism never disappeared from Germany, not even after the Holocaust.”
Polish Embassy in London Criticized Over Campaign to Rehabilitate Antisemitic Politician
Poland’s embassy in London was bitterly criticized by the country’s leading anti-racist NGO this week for promoting the legacy of an antisemitic politician who died in exile in the UK after World War II.

“We are appalled by this case of glorification of an antisemitic, pro-Nazi collaborator by officials of the Polish state,” Rafal Pankowksi — director of the Never Again organization, which campaigns against antisemitism and racism — declared in response to reports in the Polish media that the London embassy was glorifying Władysław Studnicki, a Polish nationalist politician who died in the UK capital in 1953.

During Poland’s period as an independent state between 1919 and 1939, Studnicki espoused antisemitic views similar to those of the Nazis in Germany. Deeming that Jews were “parasites on the healthy branch of the Polish tree,” Studnicki proposed the forced removal of 100,000 Polish Jews every year in a bid to bring about the “de-Judaization” of Poland.

According to a report in Vice, the campaign to restore Studnicki’s reputation is being carried out with the blessing of the Polish Embassy in London, one of whose employees is actively promoting the project online.

Agata Supińska, an embassy official, has championed Studnicki on Twitter as “one of the greatest Polish thinkers of the 20th century, who, despite the accuracy of his predictions, has not been accorded respect, and was forgotten for many years.”
Toronto suburb to rename street named after Nazi naval officer
A suburb of Toronto will rename a street named for Nazi naval officer Hans Langsdorff.

The town council of Ajax, a suburb northeast of Toronto, voted 4-3 this week to rename Langsdorff Drive after a Jewish-led campaign, according to B’nai Brith Canada, a Jewish organization that advocated for the change.

The town is named after a British ship, the HMS Ajax, that won a 1939 battle against a ship commanded by Langsdorff.

An online petition to change the name garnered more than 900 signatures. The vote to change the name came after a Holocaust survivor testified at the town council meeting.

“Taking action against the glorification of Canada’s enemies and a man who fought for the most evil regime in history sends the right signal to those concerned about the rise of hate in our time,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s CEO.
Luminar to Supply Lidar Sensors for Mobileye’s Self-Driving Fleet
Luminar Technologies, the self-driving sensor startup that is about to go public, said on Friday that it will supply laser-based lidar sensors to Intel Corp’s Mobileye subsidiary for its test fleet of self-driving vehicles.

Mobileye is one of the world’s largest suppliers of camera-based sensors used by most top automakers in their advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and also is developing high-definition maps for automated vehicles.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Mobileye is also the hub of Intel’s initiative to build a multimodal Mobility as a Service (MaaS) business that incorporates different modes of transportation from e-scooters to robotaxis.

Luminar said its lidar will be incorporated into Mobileye’s self-driving hardware and software system, which also uses radar and surround-view cameras.

In May, Mobileye acquired Israel startup Moovit, one of the world’s leading MaaS providers, and said the service eventually would include self-driving robotaxis.
Israeli scientists claim to reverse aging process
Israeli scientists say they have managed to successfully reverse the biological aging process – using only oxygen.

Recent research, led by Tel Aviv University’s Prof. Shai Efrati, together with a team from Shamir Medical Center, found that when healthy adults over the age of 64 were placed in a pressurized chamber and given pure oxygen for 90 minutes a day, five days a week for three months, not only was the aging process delayed - it was actually reversed.

Specifically, the study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Aging, focused on whether the process could reverse two key indicators of biological aging: the shortening of DNA telomeres and the accumulation of resultant senescent cells.

A telomere is the end of a chromosome. Telomeres are made of repetitive sequences of non-coding DNA that serve as bumpers to protect the chromosome from damage during replication. Every time replication happens, these bumpers take a hit, making them shorter and shorter. Once the telomere reaches a certain length, the cell cannot replicate anymore, which leads to senescent cells: aging, malfunctioning cells that ultimately lead to cognitive or other age-related disabilities and even diseases, such as cancer.

Some 35 adults over the age of 64 were involved in the study and were administered hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) utilizing 100% oxygen in an environmental pressure higher than one absolute atmospheres to enhance the amount of oxygen dissolved in the body's tissues.

Every 20 minutes, the participants were asked to remove their masks for five minutes, bringing their oxygen back to normal levels. However, during this period, researchers saw that fluctuations in the free oxygen concentration were interpreted at the cellular level as a lack of oxygen – rather than interpreting the absolute level of oxygen. (h/t vwVwwVwv)
Israeli duo’s early Alzheimer’s detection test brings cure one step closer
Israeli expatriate biomedical engineers Eliav Shaked and Roy Kirshon may be far from old age but one of its dreaded curses — Alzheimer’s disease (AD) — figures prominently in their lives. As business partners in an artificial intelligence medical imaging start-up in Toronto called RetiSpec, they’ve developed a new way for early detection of AD, the main cause of dementia among older adults.

In recent years, the World Health Organization has signaled the growing scourge of dementia (attributed mostly to AD) as a global epidemic. Tied, in part, to an aging population, an estimated 47 million people around the world now suffer from AD or related dementia.

“The problem today is the point at which you diagnose Alzheimer’s,” Shaked, 37, told The Times of Israel during a recent interview with him and Kirshon at a Toronto outdoor cafe. “By then, there’s already a neurodegenerative process that’s affecting the way the person thinks and reasons, which is caused by a pathological change in the brain that started 10 or 20 years before those clinical symptoms.”

An irreversible, progressive brain disorder with no known cure, AD is one of the main causes of death among adults over 65 in the United States. In the past 20 years, deaths from AD there have increased significantly faster than those from other major causes. It now afflicts 6 million Americans and is expected to reach 14 million by 2050. The Alzheimer’s Association of Israel says around 150,000 Israelis have the disease while in Canada the current number is almost 600,000.

Given AD’s growing death toll and the massive social and economic burden of caring for millions of patients, the disease looms large on society’s agenda. That’s heightened the interest and support RetiSpec has attracted for its work to replace current diagnostic procedures for identifying AD which are costly and impractical.
Tokyo's Hello Kitty Land employs use of Israeli technology to remain open
Hello Kitty Land in Tokyo, Japan will stay open amid the coronavirus with a little assistance from Israeli technology made by Binah.ai solutions.

Tel Aviv start-up Binah.ai's main project revolves around a video-based health monitoring system using facial recognition software, which had began the early stages of its development months before the coronavirus outbreak.

However, along with the onset of the pandemic, Binah.ai decided to transition its development for use in preventing the spread of COVID-19 - as many other medical software and tech start-ups have also done as the world looks for new solutions to return to normalcy.

"The spread of the corona virus around the world has led to a sharp increase in demand for non-contact medical diagnostic technologies, with the aim of locating and preventing possible exposure to the coronavirus," said CEO of Japanese insurance giant SOMPO Innovation Lab Israel Yinon Dolev.

SOMPO will be employing Binah.ai's technology into use within the leisure and entertainment industries in Japan by motoring the health of workers amid the pandemic, hoping to filter entrances into the workplace, malls and even theme parks.
Israeli Peter Paltchik wins gold at European Judo Championships
Israel’s Peter Paltchik won the gold medal Saturday at the 2020 European Judo Championships.

Paltchik defeated Russia’s Arman Adamian to finish first in the under-100 kilogram weight class at this year’s tournament in Prague.

The Israeli beat Varlam Liparteliani of Georgia earlier in the day to reach the finals.

“My whole body hurts, the feeling is amazing,” Paltchik told the Kan public broadcaster. “In the final I told myself all the time that this is mine.”

Sports Minister Chili Tropper congratulated Paltchik on the win.

“It’s moving to see the Israeli flag on the podium,” Tropper said in a statement.

Paltchik was the second Israeli to win a medal at the tournament, after Tal Flicker received the silver medal in the under-66 kilogram category.


NBA picks up Israeli players Deni Avdija and Yam Madar
Deni Avdija, a forward on the Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv basketball team, was selected by the Washington Wizards in the 2020 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft held virtually last night.

Another Israeli player, Hapoel Tel Aviv point guard Yam Madar, was selected by the Boston Celtics as the 47th overall pick in the second round of the draft.

They follow in the footsteps of Omri Casspi, selected in 2009, and Gal Mekel in 2013. Casspi played 10 years for NBA teams before returning to Israel and becoming Avdija’s Maccabi Tel Aviv teammate.

Avdija (pronounced “Av-dee-ya”), who turns 20 in January, was the ninth overall pick, the highest draft spot ever achieved by an Israeli player. He is expected to sign a three-year rookie contract worth $12.5 million.

Born on a kibbutz near the Sea of Galilee, Avdija has two athletic parents. His father, Zufer, is a Muslim Serb from Kosovo who played pro basketball in Yugoslavia in the 1980s and then in Israel. His mother, Sharon Artzi, competed in basketball and track-and-field.
Tel Aviv named among world's most wheelchair-friendly cities
Tel Aviv has been ranked as one of the most wheelchair-friendly cities in the world by London-based Truly Belong magazine.

"The eclectic city has made great strides in recent years to become fully accessible to people with disabilities. Almost all of the city’s intercity bus lines can be accessed by wheelchair and offer various technologies for the visually impaired, including bus stations that announce upcoming buses and line numbers over a speaker system," the magazine reported.

"Stringent construction codes also ensure that all new buildings must offer wheelchair access, and almost every store and restaurant in the city is equipped with ramps."

The city's municipality has worked hard over the years to ensure that the city is wheelchair-friendly to all who need it.

"Wheelchair-assisted tourists exploring Tel Aviv will find the city quite navigable," the municipality website states. "It is flat in most places, so even those without a motorized chair will find moving about to be relatively easy – in crowded places as well. A number of guided group tours have been designed especially for wheelchair-bound visitors."

Several of the city's major beaches, including Metzitzim Beach, Hilton Beach, South Tzuk Beach and North Tzuk Beach are accessible to wheelchair users and have disabled parking and facilities available.
Shalva Band to be honored with citation for firming Diaspora relations
The B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem will be honoring the Shalva Band with a special citation for "fostering Israel-Diaspora Relations through the arts" during its Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage for 2020 ceremony on Wednesday.

The citation was established in 2014 - created in memory of memory of Wolf and Hilda Matsdorf - with previous winner such as singer and songwriters Nurit Hirsh, David D'Or, Idan Rachel, David Broza and Yehoran Gaon.

The keynote address will be delivered by Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tameno-Shete, who will honor some of Israel's most prominent Journalists such as Branu Tegene and Danny Kushmaro of Channel 12 News and former Haaretz correspondent Dina Kraft.

Tegene and Kushmaro worked on a series together that covered the story of the Ethiopian Jewish community, from communities left behind after the mass migration, covering their family members and subsequent reunion in Ethiopia when able.

Kraft is receiving her award for her continued work through the United States and Great Britain, making a name first for herself as a reporter in Israel.
Life of 16th-century heiress, philanthropist and crypto-Jew hits Italian comics
The larger-than-life story of a 16th-century Jewish merchant is getting the comic book treatment in “The Wandering Jewess.”

Written by Gianluca Piredda and illustrated by Leo Sgarbi, the four-episode series is a graphic history of the adventurous life of Doña Gracia Nasi (1510–1569), a courageous woman who defied convention and fought for the religious freedom of herself and her fellow Jews in the shadow of the Spanish Inquisition.

Published in the last few weeks in the popular Italian weekly Lanciostory, the series follows Nasi, one of the wealthiest Jewish women of the Renaissance, who was forced to live in public as a Christian along with other hidden Sephardic Jews.

Piredda, a writer, journalist and screenwriter, has also found a loyal following in the American market thanks to his work on cult series such as “Airboy” and “Warrior Nun,” the latter of which has become a favorite among Netflix viewers. Robin Wood, creator of Dago, on the right, with publisher Enzo Marino in 2015. (Courtesy)

The creators of “The Wandering Jewess” mixed reality and fantasy by bringing together Nasi and “Dago,” the fictional protagonist of a popular comic strip created in 1980 by South American writer Robin Wood. Dago made his debut in Laciostory in 1983, and his adventures are now produced in Italy.

“He is a Renaissance character who has traveled the world, even arriving in the America of the Conquistadors, passing throughout Europe and Africa,” Piredda tells The Times of Israel. “He is a classic figure, typical of novels, who conquers and fascinates readers. Dago meets history and history meets Dago, as in the case of Gracia Nasi.”





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