Monday, November 23, 2020

From Ian:

Yisrael Medad: Finally, Pollard is free - opinion
Twenty years later, writing for Ynet, Eitan Haber, Yitzhak Rabin’s speechwriter, wrote that right-wing politicians “turned Pollard’s cell into a pilgrimage site. They made political capital on his broken back and threw him to the dogs and to prison after using him.” If anything, it was left-wing politicians that stymied endeavors for his release.

The last significant success the lobby had was when then-interior minister Ehud Barak agreed to authorize the granting of Israeli citizenship to Pollard. The passport came a bit later from Haim Ramon who had replaced Barak.

IN 2011, I sat in a hotel room with Morris Pollard, Jay’s father. We went over the past decades of activities, and he shared with me his thoughts. He even left me with a copy of a summary he had with him of his thinking on the affair, on how it was handled and what the proper course should be.

Foremost in his mind were the incomprehensible attitude of American authorities toward his son; the suggested charge of “treason” that had been tossed out by the prosecutor; the in camera appeal to the judge; the prison treatment; and the less-than-forthcoming positions of certain Israeli officials. But he would not lessen his determination to work for his son’s release. Unfortunately, he died soon after. His son did not receive permission to attend the funeral.

Jonathan is free now. His burdens with his wife’s illness are great. He has much to make up for. I hope he will do that in Israel.

Professor Alan Dershowitz on Ex-Spy Jonathan Pollard

Former PM Olmert to 'Post': Don't let Pollard make aliyah, it'll anger Biden
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert criticized former agent Jonathan Pollard on Sunday, saying he should not be welcomed in Israel. Interviewed by Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz at the Maariv newspaper’s business conference on Sunday, Olmert cautioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against holding a festive ceremony for Pollard when he moves to Israel soon.

“With all due respect, I would prefer that he not move to Israel,” Olmert said. “We don’t owe him anything. He was a spy who worked for a lot of money. He was not a ZiontistZionist volunteer who came and sacrificed his life. He was an American who loved Israel and worked for a lot of money, spying for Israel.”

Olmert said the information Pollard provided Israel helped the Jewish state but in retrospect did more harm than good.

“His spying was beneficial, but when taking a full account, the damage caused to Israel’s interests as a result of revealing his involvement was the harshest in the history of US-Israel relations,” Olmert said. “The danger of increasing this damage has not ended. If the prime minister will act like he does and have a festive welcoming ceremony for Pollard, we will pay a heavy price when there will soon be a new administration in America.”

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman also criticized Pollard on Sunday in an interview with KAN Radio.

“I recommend we celebrate less because of American public opinion,” Olmert said. “I suggest we lower our level of excitement, because it doesn’t help with the American defense system, which sees the Pollard affair as an unacceptable incident that violated acceptable codes between Israel and the US.”

Joshua Washington: Black and Jewish communities stand together against hate
You don’t have to look far to see hate and division tearing apart our communities. But it’s our own fault. We otherize people who appear different from ourselves. People who look differently, speak differently, vote differently—these people are our enemies, and so is anyone who might dare to suggest that we try to see past these differences. The problem with this tribal logic is that no one has ever accomplished meaningful change alone.

Racial tensions in this country are as high as they have ever been in the modern era. The only way we can create meaningful change is by coming together with those who appear different from us and recognizing what we have in common. Bridging this divide is exactly what the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (IBSI) is focused on.

IBSI is dedicated to strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Jewish people and people of African descent through education and advocacy. We condemn divisive rhetoric claiming “Zionism is racism,” defend Israel’s right to live in peace with its Arab neighbors and seek to help cultivate a mutually beneficial Israel-Africa alliance. The Jewish people have long been an indispensable ally in our fight for civil justice. We must stop playing identity politics with our lives.

During the 1960s, the Jewish community came out in droves to march with our brethren. Their voices joined ours in demanding equal rights and equal justice for black Americans. We have been held down by our necks in this country for over 200 hundred years, but the Jewish people have been persecuted across history. They know our pain and our struggle and they have not stood by silently while we fought for breath. That is why it is so disheartening to see fringe groups exploiting the Black cause to take cheap shots at Israel.

Groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and other anti-Israel organizations are trying to co-opt the black struggle for their own political purposes. Their mistake was thinking that the black community is either dumb or gullible. We know what we’re fighting for. The demonization of the Jewish people—who have been unrelenting in their support for the black community—is counterproductive to our cause.
Julie Burchill: One thing I'll say about Trump – he does love Israel
Anti-Semitism these days is not the Right-wing, sniggering golf-club brand of old, but a right-on reboot popular with students and singing stars. Observing the spectacle of those non-Muslim women hijabing-up for the march, the liberal Muslim feminist Asra Nomani revealed that she had voted for Trump because she could not stomach four more years of apologism for Islamism in the White House. She ended up getting abuse from white feminists who accused her of “normalising white supremacy.” That the Jewish vote has stayed Democratic despite the outgoing administration’s unprecedented cheerleading for the Jewish State could be seen as a vote for hope that the Democrats will do the decent thing.

Of course, we’ve had our own bit of bother about who our Jewish population can trust with their vote; traditionally Labour voters, only 7 per cent of them voted for Corbyn in last year’s election. It’s often a case of holding one’s nose and hoping for the best for this most world-weary yet can-do minority. Boris seemed a good bet, in 2018 attacking the UN Human Rights Council, calling the permanent anti-Israel fixture, “disproportionate and damaging” and vowing to vote against these resolutions if they persisted.

Yet at the current sitting of the UN General Assembly, 17 of the 24 resolutions attack Israel; as the commentator David Collier wrote this week: “Looking around at the state of the world, any sane person would have to wonder how it is possible that Israel warrants almost 75 per cent of the UN’s time.” Yet this week “we” voted twice against Israel, siding with dictatorships like Syria and North Korea against the only democracy in the Middle East. Earlier this month, the UK voted for five out of six anti-Israel resolutions in a single day!

Best to look on the bright side; to give the Democrats credit, they’re far fonder of dramatic interventionist wars than Trump was. A few years of that and they’ll find themselves demonised once more - while Israel will still be there, with open arms and bottles of wine in need of naming.

Are the American Media Legitimizing Terror Attacks in France?
"In certain districts and on the internet, groups... are teaching hatred of the republic to our children, calling on them to disregard its laws. That is what I called 'separatism' .... If you do not believe me, read the social media postings of hatred... that resulted in Paty's death. Visit the districts where small girls aged three or four are wearing a full veil, separated from boys, and, from a very young age, separated from the rest of society, raised in hatred of France's values". — French President Emmanuel Macron, Financial Times, November 1, 2020.

"I am for the respect of cultures, civilizations, but I am not going to change my law because it is shocking elsewhere". — Emmanuel Macron.

According to a US journalist, Thomas Chatterton Williams, "'knife attack' as a description of beheading is so euphemistic that it is in fact a form of violence against language itself".

It seems that the Anglophone media live in a world deaf to reality and based on imaginary victimization; they see racism where there is none, and they do not even know what to name it when it appears in the French streets to behead a teacher.

It is apparently, however, out of the fear of being called a "racist" -- not even of being murdered like Samuel Paty -- that they choose self-censorship. Not to appear as cowards, they call it "respect".... Are the American media, one wonders, expecting any reciprocity?

It is no coincidence that, in the name of "diversity", the American media in the last year have hunted and bullied journalists such as James Bennett and Bari Weiss, who resigned from the New York Times.
Malaysian hatemonger Mahathir curses French even more than Jews
“Jews are the first but not the last.” This is a rather common expression used to warn societies at large that they are also vulnerable if there is major incitement or aggression against Jews. The statement is very general in nature. Therefore it is advisable to provide from time to time concrete examples.

Mohamad Mahathir is a powerful extreme antisemite. He was prime minister of Malaysia from1981 until 2003 and again from February 2018 until March 2020. Much publicity was given to his reaction to recent Muslim terrorist acts in France. On October 16, a Chechnian Muslim beheaded a French teacher. This was followed a few days later by a Tunisian Muslim murderer killing three people in a Nice church.

Mahathir then wrote in his blog: "Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past." Both Twitter and Facebook removed the posts containing this remark as it glorified violence.

Mahathir claimed that the text was quoted out of context and followed it up with a further statement; "I am indeed disgusted with attempts to misrepresent and take out of context what I wrote on my blog,” He said critics failed to read his posting in full, especially the next sentence, which read: “But by and large Muslims have not applied the ‘eye for an eye’ law. Muslims don’t. The French shouldn’t. Instead the French should teach their people to respect other people’s feelings.”

The pro “right to murder” statement of Mahathir fits in with a problem that commentators usually do not dare to mention, even if they understand it. While a great majority of Muslims are not violent and do not agree with violence in the name of their religion Islam also leaves place in its ranks for extreme murderous positions. Simplistically stated, there is apparently nothing like the Ten Commandments in Islam. This permits positions and statements like the one by Mahathir within the framework of his religion/ideology, as well as the de-facto genocidal callings by Iranian leaders. All of this is far from the worldviews of Christianity and Judaism.
Pakistan minister deletes tweet containing Macron Nazi jibe
A Pakistani minister on Sunday withdrew comments she made earlier that President Emmanuel Macron was treating Muslims like Nazis had treated Jews in World War Two.

France's foreign minister had demanded Pakistan authorities withdraw the comments posted on Twitter by Pakistan's Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari.

She posted the remarks following a clash between Pakistan and France over the publication of images of the Prophet Mohammad by a French magazine.

The images have sparked anger and protests in the Muslim world, especially in Pakistan.

"Macron is doing to Muslims what the Nazis did to the Jews - Muslim children will get ID numbers (other children won't) just as Jews were forced to wear the yellow star on their clothing for identification," Mazari had said in a tweet linking to an online article.

Keir Starmer should purge Labour of the far-left
Second, justice for Jews is only possible if those who mistreated them, turned a blind eye to their mistreatment, campaigned for the party that mistreated them, or denied they were mistreated at all, show remorse and take steps to right these wrongs. Third, a party that fails to confront Corbynism is a party that will eventually find itself back there. It won’t be exactly the same. The dramatis personae will be different, the language new, the heroes and villains time-appropriate, but just as Tony Benn’s near-victory in the 1981 deputy leadership race held out hope to the far-left, Corbyn’s period in office will still be inspiring angry idealists for decades to come.

Failure to act — as Blair and Brown and Miliband did — leaves the door open for another 2015. It makes Sir Keir look weak at the mercy of his party, while he tries to convince us he’s fit to lead the country. It tells British Jews and everyone else that Labour will tick a few procedural boxes and have more meetings with the Board of Deputies but will remain fundamentally unchanged.

The cure may lie in the ailment itself. The far-left are forever claiming that they are being purged, so why not purge them? In drawing up a new disciplinary process, include a specific mechanism for expelling party members (from MPs down to grassroot door-knockers) who helped bring the party into disrepute by engaging in, downplaying, denying, or defending antisemitism or causing strain in Labour’s relations with the Jewish community. Remove enough of them that way — especially the more high-profiled — until a sufficient number follow in protest. Labour will be reduced in size, both in members and MPs, but it will be in a position to start over again with Jewish communal groups and the country more broadly. It would be a new Labour, so to speak.

The far-left, from which most of the antisemitism emanates, does not belong to the Labour tradition and does not belong in the Labour Party. Driving out these ideological squatters would not end Labour’s antisemitism problem — the soft-left enablers would still have to wrestle with their consciences — but it would greatly reduce it. Take a year or two, expel as many as possible, and view resulting legal costs as an investment in the party’s future. This would be an unprecedented act of contrition; it would give Jews justice; it would make Labour what it ought to be: the mainstream party of UK politics.
Why Did It Take So Long To Acknowledge Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party?
In late October, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found the United Kingdom’s Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn guilty of creating a culture of anti-Semitism through “unlawful discrimination, lack of due training, and political interference within the complaints process.” After Corbyn dismissed the findings, he was temporarily suspended. Why has it taken five years for the non-Jewish world to realize the severity of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party?

The United Kingdom is not alone in its failure to recognize anti-Semitism. The non-Jewish world often fails to condemn anti-Semitism because it has trouble recognizing anti-Semitism as a form of racism.

“Punching down,” the imposing of inferiority upon minority groups, is how racism frequently functions. The Sambo stereotype, for instance, depicts African-Americans as “simple-minded and docile,” a stereotype white slave owners used to defend the transatlantic slave trade.

Anti-Semitism, however, functions by “punching up,” fueling hate by imposing superiority and power upon an ethnic minority. Anti-Semites often project this false power onto Jews to explain away insecurities or misfortunes of non-Jews. This frame, in turn, justifies the violent discrimination towards Jews, such as hate speech, ghettoization, and — at its worst — ethnic cleansing.

This power attributed to Jews, like the inferiority imposed onto other ethnic minorities, does not exist. But the minority groups subjected to “punching down” are not subjected to “punching up,” making it hard for people to associate anti-Semitism with other forms of racism.

“Punching up” anti-Semitism isn’t new. The Khmelnytsky massacres in Eastern Europe in 1648–1649, for example, targeted Jews under the justification of fabled Jewish economic power, because Jews were hired by the nobility as tax collectors and estate managers. This kind of anti-Semitism evolved to produce the foundational document of political conspiracism, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” The “Protocols” not only fueled the genocidal anti-Semitism of Nazi Germany, but also that of the Soviet Union, in which Jews were depicted as all-powerful puppeteers conspiring to bring down “the state.”

Jewish Groups Applaud Revisions to California Ethnic-Studies Curriculum
Jewish and pro-Israel groups have applauded revisions to California’s proposed ethnic-studies curriculum, which were approved this week by an advisory board to the state’s board of education.

The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) voted on Thursday—the second and final day of a meeting—to adopt changes, including the removal of a widely criticized lesson that framed the Jewish community as having “gained racial privilege,” while ignoring antisemitism and white supremacist violence against Jews.

The IQC meeting included two hours of phoned-in public comment on Wednesday. A number of Jewish students stressed the importance of educating about all forms of antisemitism and the diversity of the Jewish community.

Simultaneously, anti-Israel commenters blasted Jewish groups, equated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the Holocaust and opposed efforts to make the curriculum more balanced and inclusive.

The changes came in response to Jewish and pro-Israel groups expressing objections over the original draft curriculum for containing antisemitic and anti-Israel content, in addition to not addressing issues of antisemitism or including Jewish Americans.

AP Blames Temple Mount Tensions on Jews, and Jews Alone
A recent article published by the Associated Press (AP) news agency features a spectacularly one-sided explanation of the tensions surrounding the Temple Mount. The article features subtle vilification against Jews who wish to visit the Temple Mount, implying that Jews who wish to do so are the sole perpetrators of tension when it comes to the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa mosque compound. Jewish Connections to Temple Mount Downplayed

The AP article, written by Areej Hazboun and Joseph Krauss, includes a boilerplate explanation of eastern Jerusalem, describing it thus:
The Palestinians view settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as the main obstacle to peace, and most of the international community considers them to be illegal.”

They later add that, “Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its capital.”

That, however, is not the whole story. While Israel and the Palestinians are indeed locked in a dispute over territory, with much of the world siding against Israel, Jewish claims to Jerusalem, specifically the Temple Mount cannot be reduced to a phrase as brief as “Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its capital.”

Left unmentioned is the vital background that this disputed territory encompasses Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount. Moreover, Jerusalem has only ever been the capital of a sovereign Jewish state.
British media continue to deceive on BDS and antisemitism
Following the announcement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during his visit to Israel, that the US will now regard BDS as antisemitic, the British media continued its pattern of deceiving news consumers on the movement’s goals, and why many see it as antisemitic.

An article by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Oliver Holmes (Mike Pompeo makes unprecedented visit to settlements, Nov. 19) simply promoted claims by the BDS movement that it’s “peaceful“, and then uncritically quoted two anti-Israel NGOs (Amnesty and HRW) similarly characterising BDS as a “peaceful” “civil rights” movement.

An article in the Independent, attributed to their Foreign Desk, (US to designate Israel boycott movement BDS as antisemitic, Nov. 20), included this:
BDS organisers see their movement as a non-violent protest of Israeli’s treatment of the Palestinians, modelling on the campaign that helped end apartheid in South Africa. The Israelis see the movement as an existential threat and regularly accuse its supporters of being antisemitic, which BDS movement has vehemently denied.

The Indy, as with the Guardian, also uncritically quoted Amnesty and HRW claims that BDS is simply a “non-violent” “civil rights” movement that seeks “social justice“.

Though the Telegraph’s report on Pompeo’s announcement about BDS was a bit better than that of the Guardian and Independent, their article, by Jerusalem correspondent James Rothwell (Settlement goods in US will be labeled ‘Made in Israel’, Mike Pompeo announces on Golan Heights tour, Nov. 20) also made no real effort to explain why BDS is considered antisemitic.

German anti-lockdown protester confronted after she compared herself to Nazi resistance
A video of a German coronavirus lockdown protest has gone viral, after a security guard confronted a speaker who compared herself to a homegrown Nazi resistance fighter, Sophie Scholl.

The woman spoke on stage Saturday evening in the northern city of Hannover, and told fellow protesters: "I feel like Sophie Scholl, since I've been active in the resistance, giving speeches, going to protests, distributing flyers."

While the female protester was talking, a young security guard approached the stage, and stated her comments "trivialised" the Holocaust.

"I'm not going to be a security guard for this kind of idiocy," he said.

Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from November 23 with our coronavirus blog.

He was ushered away by police, while the protester threw down the mic in anger and stormed offstage soon afterward.

Scholl fought the Nazis with her brother and other members of the resistance group White Rose.

After distributing flyers at a Munich University, she was convicted of high treason and was executed by guillotine at age 22 by the Nazis in 1943.

At least another 13 members of the group, including her brother Hans Scholl, were beheaded by the Nazis.

German synagogue's window shattered in alleged antisemitic attack
A large concrete block shattered the windows of a synagogue in Essen, Germany, in what is being investigated as an antisemitic attack, the Hebrew website N12 reported.

A suspect was caught over the weekend on security footage throwing the block at the synagogue after being seen by Jewish community members wandering the area.

The block landed in the office of the synagogue's rabbi, Chabad emissary Rabbi Shumel Aaronhov.

"We averted a great disaster because the windows are bullet proof," the rabbi said. "It was all of course reported to the local police, who came and examined security footage, where they also discovered that a similar event took place last week, when a large concrete block was thrown at the synagogue window – though back then it didn't shatter, so we didn't notice it until yesterday."

He added that, "of course, the members of this usually quiet community are all shocked at this antisemitic incident... We expect the authorities to investigate and find those responsible for this and restore peace and order to the community."

The rabbi said it was "quite disturbing" that the culprit or culprits were still free.

Germany has seen a spike in antisemitic incidents in the past year.
Rewriting of History in Brussels at a Strange New Museum: ‘House of European History’
The Nazis wanted to exterminate a race, and Karl Marx wanted to exterminate a social class. Our guide at the House of European History (HEH) museum in Brussels is twisting her tongue as she tries to solve the task of simultaneously explaining that Communism and Nazism are the same thing, and yet somehow not. Visually, the impression of the museum’s exhibition is overwhelmingly slanted toward the notion that they are equivalent.

Towering above us in the ideologically most intense part of the museum are huge video screens tilted towards the visitor. These screens, on four islands in the room, are so large that in spite of the hall being generously spacious, they fill up the room. The spectator can feel small in their shadow. On the screens, the masses march in honor of the dictator, people are violently oppressed, and the imagery makes this museum’s point very clearly: the interwar period was marked by the very same conflict as that after the war until the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin Wall fell.

That single conflict that is posited as God’s-honest-truth-fact is between Western democracy and (any kind of) totalitarianism. The technically impressive format is meticulously balanced: two huge screens each for the horrific methods of Communism and Nazism. The similarity is indeed visually striking. Stalin and Hitler are omnipresent in the midst of terror. As a climax, the hammer and the sickle are projected at the same time as the swastika in meticulously equal format.

The first time I visited the museum, I was very surprised. The emphasis that the official guide gave to a group that followed her was that the elimination of social classes and the extermination of Jews are equally abominable. But if this was the case, then a renunciation of the French Revolution’s abolition of nobility as a class, and the liberal revolution against feudal society’s lordly classes, might also be up there.

The second time I went around the museum with their headphones on. Suddenly, symbols of Communism and Nazism are illuminated at the same time. Always together. The voice clearly stated that the two ideologies were perhaps different, something that the guide also pointed out, but in practice, the next voice, like the guide, spoke against itself proclaiming them equally genocidal.
Mastercard ranks Israel as best country for female entrepreneurs
Mastercard has ranked Israel as the best country for women entrepreneurs, for the first time in the four-year history of the rankings by the global payments firm.

In the 2020 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) Israel rose to first place from fourth in 2019.

The US, Switzerland, New Zealand came in second, third, and fourth this year, followed by Poland, the UK, Canada, Sweden, Australia and Spain in the ranking of 58 global economies.

Israel jumped to first place this year thanks to an increase in its support for small and medium-sized businesses, jumping 41 places in this category, the report said. The country has set out to double the number of its female entrepreneurs within two years, and is rolling out funding and networking initiatives to do so, the report said.

“Women across the world have been disproportionally impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic – a staggering 87% of women business owners say they have been adversely affected,” Mastercard said in a statement, announcing the ranking. “Over representation in sectors hardest hit by the economic downturn, the pronounced digital gender gap in an increasingly virtual world, and the mounting pressures of childcare responsibilities are only a few factors that have left women particularly vulnerable.”

Meet the Israeli Company That Is Revolutionizing Disney’s Streaming Distribution
The video streaming industry has famously flourished during the Covid-19 era with Nielsen figures indicating an 85% leap in the number of users and a 60% increase in the number of total hours streamed since March. The revolution taking place in the broadcast world is just getting started and as lockdowns continue and movie theaters remain closed, the number of people streaming content is going to grow. More and more companies are currently choosing streaming services as their central viewing option, even at the expense of future movie theater screenings and building new media distribution and revenue models.

Israeli company Qwilt is at the heart of that revolution, capable of significantly altering the way video reaches people’s homes. The Israeli company, which is headquartered in San Francisco, recently signed a substantial deal with media and entertainment giant Disney, which will use its software solution to transfer video and improve its VOD and live broadcast continuity. Qwilt’s technology will be integrated into the Disney+ streaming service, which was launched last year and already boasts more than 75 million subscribers worldwide. Disney’s streaming service, which is considered the biggest competitor to Netflix, includes content by the likes of Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, X-Men, and The Simpsons.

“Disney is responsible for 60% of the global content and in the wake of Covid-19 Disney+ is its main tool to provide the content to the viewers. In the future, Disney will shift all of its content to streaming in parallel to the theaters and it needs a robust global internet network that is backed by us and by Cisco,” Qwilt co- founder and CEO Alon Maor said in an interview with Calcalist. “We are seeing a significant increase in use particularly on days that new episodes of popular series like The Mandalorian are released. There is massive demand during those hours, which is when our solution becomes most significant. Our technology enables any online service provider to become a video provider independently of companies like Akamai. British Telecom, Verizon, and other communication companies are also currently using our technology.”
Amid shift to work-from-home, Microsoft inaugurates gigantic new Herzliya campus
Amid the coronavirus pandemic and the shift of many tech firms to a hybrid of office work and work from home mode, employees at Microsoft have started populating the US tech firm’s new 46,000 square meter (495,000 square foot) campus in Herzliya.

The new offices will hold some 2,000 people, including sales staff and developers, engineers, researchers and employees from M12 – Microsoft’s venture funding arm.

At a cost of an estimated NIS 350 million ($105 million), the new campus is a “vote of confidence in the local talent and economy,” according to a statement released by the US tech firm.

The new campus is “another step in strengthening the strategic bond and commitment of Microsoft to the Israeli market,” said Ronit Atad, general manager of Microsoft Israel in a statement.

Microsoft has two main divisions operating locally: Microsoft Israel headed by Atad and its R&D arm led by general manager Michal Braverman-Blumenstyk.

Microsoft employs an estimated 2,300 people in Israel — 2,000 of them in R&D, working on projects including cybersecurity, AI technologies, big data and healthcare at development centers in in Herzliya, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Nazareth. Some 300 people work in sales and marketing.
Israel and India to open agriculture research institute
Qualified students in India will soon be able to earn a degree from Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev in dryland agriculture and biotechnology, hydrology and water quality, desert studies, or ecology and conservation.

The new initiative is centered on BGU’s establishment of a joint agricultural research institute in Chennai, India, in partnership with Aban Offshore, an international Indian company in the offshore drilling and wind energy markets.

“Through this partnership with Aban, we are looking forward to being able to offer the vast knowledge and experience we develop here to students in India … so that they will be able to have an impact in their home country,” said Prof. Noam Weisbrod, director of the Israeli university’s Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research.

“This new generation of local scholars will receive the tools to tackle some of the most pressing concerns of the modern world: the need for efficient and modern agriculture to optimize and improve food production and the methods and technologies to increase and improve water availability and quality, all while keeping in mind the environmental concerns,” Weisbrod said.

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