Thursday, January 07, 2021

From Ian:

Sometimes, the Palestinians are just an excuse
Unfortunately, though, there's such a thing as the truth, and the truth is that the body responsible for public health both in routine times and in times of crisis in the Palestinian Authority is the PA itself. Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, Israel has assisted the PA, for humanitarian reasons but also our own interests, providing coronavirus tests, medical equipment, as well as training medical staff. Of course, none of this is mentioned in the article. Nor is there any mention of the fact that the PA prided itself on having ordered millions of vaccines from China and Russia. Nor is there any mention that the PA, which claims to be financially strapped, consistently pays salaries to murders, prioritizing them over the sick. This year, it went even further and paid them three months in advance. Nor is there any mention of the Israeli government's efforts to encourage vaccination among Arab Israelis. Indeed anything that might put a hole in the theory is left out. The article, by the way, is accompanied by an image of a Haredi man being inoculated in Ashdod. If you're promoting an anti-Semitic blood libel, you might as well take it all the way.

This phenomenon is nothing new. It is part of an effort to prove the moral decay of the Jewish state, and it sometimes seems that the Palestinians are just an excuse for the slander. The article in question does not provide a comparative overview or describe the levels of the outbreaks in either the PA or the Gaza Strip, both of which are from catastrophic levels. In fact, the situation in the Palestinian territories is much better than in the UK, where The Guardian is published, and even Israel, which is now experiencing the third wave of the outbreak. No, the author does not seem to care much about the Palestinians, much less the truth. There is only one objective: to vilify Israel.

The ritual goes something like this: "Human rights" organizations that are usually funded by European governments publish lies about Israel. A journalist reports these lies without challenging them at all, and the lie goes on to defame. The article in question is still on The Guardian's website and has already gained traction among those who celebrate Israel's defamation. The far-left Jewish group J Street, which claims to be pro-Israel, rushed to echo the sentiments of the piece but was later forced to take them down following criticism of the move. The Israeli public needs to be more aware of these lies, even when they are made in English, and not accept them as a mandate from heaven. This happens all the time, and it is our obligation to speak up and protest when we are trampled on.


Stephen Pollard: How anti-Semitism is being fostered on campus Academics set the tone and agenda for much of university life
However awful 2020 was, there was at least one upside: the end of Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as Labour leader. Not that this means the party’s anti-Semitism crisis is over. If only.

The new leader does seem sincere in his desire to decontaminate the party. But however committed Keir Starmer and his allies may be to expelling members, it’s a bit like painting the Forth Bridge. Kick one out and another will emerge.

The problem runs deep. But the problem isn’t Labour per se. The party was never the origin of anti-Semitism in British politics. Members didn’t wake up one morning and decide that because Jeremy Corbyn was leader they would start to hate Jews. The anti-Semitism was latent. It was within them, inculcated and maturing over years. Mr Corbyn gave them a feeling that it was ok to say certain things publicly, but the real issue is why they harboured such anti-Semitism ideas in the first place. And the blame for that lies with academia.

Campus anti-Semitism is the hidden story of the past few years. A Community Security Trust report published last month recorded 123 university incidents in the past two years. Indeed, such is the scale of the problem that, as editor of the Jewish Chronicle, I constantly hear parents and prospective students saying that they will not consider some universities because of their reputation for anti-Semitism.

This is anti-Semitism that hides in plain sight; it is recorded and is a major topic of discussion within the Jewish community. But there has, until very recently, been little focus on it from elsewhere — as if somehow those responsible are merely overgrown kids getting a bit too overheated in debates over the Middle East.

But this is a complete misunderstanding of the real problem. Far from it being the preserve of students, campus anti-Semitism often emanates from, is propagated by and is defended by academics and the university authorities themselves. When examining problems on campus the focus should be primarily on academics, not students.

Take what happened at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). It was reported last week that the university has agreed to pay £15,000 — the cost of his tuition fees — to Noah Lewis, a former student who had to withdraw from his course because of what he called a “toxic, antisemitic environment on campus”.

SOAS’s first ‘investigation’ recommended that Mr Lewis be paid £500 to cover a few expenses. Mr Lewis appealed, and the independent panel set up to consider his appeal was withering in its judgment, arguing that the first panel had simply ignored the student’s broader complaint about the environment at SOAS.
Whom the Jewish Left chooses to mourn is sadly revealing
Whom a Jewish organization chooses to publicly mourn can be very revealing.

On December 20, Esther Horgan, mother of six, went out for a jog in the forest adjacent to her home town of Tal Menashe. Early the next morning, she was found dead. Based on the circumstances of her death, the Israeli police immediately said they suspected it was a case of Palestinian Arab terrorism.

But the police weren’t yet certain. So I didn’t expect any American Jewish organizations to start issuing statements.

On December 24, the police announced they had arrested a suspect in Esther’s murder. He is a Palestinian Arab who was previously imprisoned for terrorist activity.

I checked the web sites of the most prominent leftwing Jewish organizations in the United States—J Street, American for Peace Now, Partners for Progressive Israel, Ameinu (Labor Zionists), and the Association of Reform Zionists of America. No comment on the murder. Perhaps they thought that the police got the wrong man.

Two days later, the Israeli police announced that the suspect had confessed. And reenacted the crime. And described in great detail how he used a large rock to murder Esther. And it turns out she fought back.

Now, surely, there was no excuse for the American Jewish left to remain silent. Yet none of the above-mentioned groups took the few minutes necessary to issue a press release mourning this horrific murder. None of them.

Which is not to say that none of these groups haven’t publicly expressed their grief over any recent deaths. They have.

On November 28, for example, J Street publicly denounced the assassination of the Iranian war criminal-scientist who is in charge of developing nuclear weapons with which to annihilate Israel.


120,000 Moderna coronavirus vaccines land at Ben-Gurion
A delivery of 120,000 Moderna coronavirus vaccines landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Thursday, The Jerusalem Post's sister publication Maariv reported.

The shipment in question arrived on a flight from Frankfurt, Germany, aboard a Jumbo 747 aircraft from CAL Cargo Airlines. Teams from the Maman cargo company are preparing to unload the plane and transport the vaccines.

On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the first shipment of Moderna vaccines was expected to arrive in Israel the following day.

In a video he posted on social media, Netanyahu said, "We will give these vaccines to people who cannot reach the HMO, who are isolated in their homes or who for any other reason cannot reach the injection sites."

"This is the company's first shipment, and more will come. I am working to bring millions more vaccines to Israeli citizens to get out of the coronavirus pandemic once and for all," Netanyahu said.
Israel sends Palestinian Authority vaccines for ‘humanitarian cases’
Israel sent dozens of vaccines to the Palestinian Authority, a PA official confirmed on Wednesday.

The small number of vaccines were transferred to the PA earlier this week and have yet to be used.

A Palestinian official said: “The vaccines are intended for humanitarian cases, and not for senior Palestinian officials.”

KAN, which first reported on the matter, speculated that the doses would go to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is 85 years old.

PLO Secretary-General and top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat died of COVID-19 in November, at age 65.

The Prime Minister’s Office and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories would not confirm or deny the report. The PA inquired about obtaining coronavirus vaccines from Israel for the first time earlier this week.
PA Spreads Corona Libel Even as Israel Secretly Vaccinates Abbas’s Inner Circle
First, the facts: Gal Berger reported on Kan 11 Wednesday night that earlier this week, Israel secretly delivered a shipment of Covid-19 to the Palestinian Authority, as per an agreement between Jerusalem and Ramallah. The vaccines were shipped in a DHL truck (see tweet below) which suggests a large volume of the stuff. However, it appears that so far Neither Chairman Abbas nor his inner circle—the intended recipients of the vaccines, alongside “special humanitarian cases”—have been vaccinated.

And then, on Thursday, the PA Health Ministry dismissed the Berger report, and said in a statement that it had been approached by non-governmental Israeli companies that offered an initial 20 vaccinations for experimentation by the Health Ministry, an offer which was “utterly rejected by the latter.”

Again, take a look at that DHL truck – if it were only 20 vaccines they would have sent a guy on a scooter.

The PA Health Ministry said it was actively seeking to purchase vaccines approved by the World Health Organization, and that it has reached out to many companies to purchase these approved vaccines. The ministry pointed out that the vaccines will be available in the PA next February, and that they will be optional and free of charge. Two weeks ago, the PA Health Ministry announced that it would receive millions of doses of the Russian “Sputnik” vaccine in January.

The NY Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief Isabel Kershner and reporter Adam Rasgon had this to say about the situation on Wednesday: “…The Palestinian Authority, which runs its own health care system in the occupied West Bank, has asked Israel for vaccines, prompting a debate over Israel’s responsibility to the Palestinians at a time when Israel’s vaccine supplies are dwindling.”


Rashida Tlaib’s New Office Neighbor to Fly Israeli Flag
Rep. Rashida Tlaib's (D., Mich.) new neighbor in her congressional office building intends to fly an Israeli flag as a statement against Tlaib's anti-Israel stance.

Freshman Rep. Kat Cammack (R., Fla.), who has been given the office next to Tlaib’s for the 117th Congress, says she hopes Israel's flag will send a message to Tlaib, a frequent critic of Israel who has a history of anti-Semitic comments.

"[Tlaib] has some very strong opinions about Israel, and I have some very strong opinions about Israel, so I have made a pledge that I’m going to be planting the flag of Israel outside my door right next to the American flag," Cammack told a Gainesville, Fla., ABC affiliate. "I think it’ll be very helpful as she walks past it every day."

Tlaib did not respond to a request for comment before press time.

Gators for Israel, a Jewish student advocacy group, will provide the flag for display, Cammack said.

Cammack became the representative for Florida's Third Congressional District following the retirement of her former boss, Rep. Ted Yoho (R., Fla.), for whom she served for six years as deputy chief of staff. Cammack’s support for Israel and Israeli sovereignty was a major plank of her campaign platform.


Erasure of Faces and Facts: Anti-Zionism at Cornell University
This past fall, Ariella Aisha Azoulay, a guest lecturer from Brown University, was invited to Cornell University’s architecture department to speak to students. Azoulay gave a biased, anti-Zionist presentation titled “Palestine Is There, Where It Has Always Been.” In it, she showed photographs of the early pioneers of the State of Israel working the land, each with their faces blacked out. She excused this erasure by saying, “I can’t bear to look at them.”

First of all, the event should have been an apolitical and factual lecture on architecture. What makes it more disturbing is that in a caption for one of her photographs that advertised the lecture, Azoulay singled out Jewish soldiers. She didn’t describe them as Israeli or Zionist soldiers, but as Jewish — resulting in a statement that is not just anti-Zionist but antisemitic.

One of the revamped photographs is the famous one of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, declaring the establishment of modern-day Israel on May 14, 1948. In the doctored version, Azoulay erased not only Ben-Gurion and the rest of the people present, but also the hanging portrait of Theodor Herzl and the two Israeli flags.

This action is unsurprising considering Azoulay’s history of anti-Zionist views. The professor is a vigorous advocate of the BDS movement, which seeks to delegitimize Israel. She has compared Israeli actions to those of the Nazis, and called Israel an example of colonialism. Of course, Azoulay ignores the abundant historical and genetic evidence of a continual Jewish presence in Israel for thousands of years.

One of the most disturbing parts of Azoulay’s lecture was the response from those present.
Teaching assistant at Johns Hopkins threatened to fail pro-Israel students
Anti-Semitism watchdog groups are raising alarm over a graduate student and teaching assistant at Johns Hopkins University who threatened to fail pro-Israel students, while also making disparaging remarks about Israelis and white people.

“We find it alarming that a teaching assistant at a major university is expressing a clear intent to punish students on the basis of their race, Jewish identity or national origin as Israelis—all protected categories under state and federal non-discrimination laws,” Yael Lerman, director of the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department, said in a statement.

In November, the TA, who was identified by StopAntiSemitism as Rasha Anayah, at John Hopkin’s University’s Thor Research Group wrote a series of tweets where she not only threatened to fail pro-Israel students.

In one tweet, she asked: “Ethical dilemma: if you have to grade a zionist student exam, do you still give them all their points even though they support your ethnic cleansing? like idk.”

Additional tweets from Anayah also included disparaging remarks about Israelis and white people., including: “y’all allah looking out for me. The majority of undergrads in chem here are white and i was blessed enough to be paired w a black woman to mentor who has good race analysis. Didn’t get pinned with an israeli or some b**ch white boy to have to share my knowledge with.alhamdulilah [Thank God].”

According to Canary Mission, Anayah is also treasurer of Students for Justice in Palestine at Johns Hopkins and was previously a board member for “Bears for Palestine” at the University of California, Berkeley, where she obtained a degree in chemical biology.
Open Letter: Campaign at Tufts University on Banning Police Exchanges With Israel
Dear President Monaco,

We are a coalition of Tufts University alumni, donors, and senior law enforcement professionals who are writing to express concern about a recent campaign at Tufts to ban police exchanges with Israel.

The so-called “Deadly Exchange” campaign against police cooperation between the United States and Israel has been promoted by anti-Israel groups nationwide since 2017 as part of a broader push to erode public support for the Jewish state. It depicts police exchanges, and their sponsors in the American Jewish community, as driving violence against minorities in America, rather than sharing lessons that save and improve lives.

Efforts to link Israel and American Jewish organizations to incidents of police violence in the United States are rooted in readily refutable falsehoods. Now that they have appeared for the first time in the US as a campus referendum — which Jewish leaders at Tufts said “is more about vilifying Israel than addressing police reform” — we would like to set the record straight.

Law enforcement cooperation programs seek to leverage the decades of experience that Israel has tragically accumulated in dealing with mass casualty attacks in order to better protect Americans of all backgrounds. They focus on subjects including the modus operandi of terrorist organizations, community policing, and minimizing casualties in the event of a hostage-taking situation, a mass shooting, or a terrorist incident.
German Court Fines Warwick Uni Lecturer for Slurring Holocaust Victim
Warwick University history professor has been fined £3,675 for breaching an injunction over claims that a Jewish concentration camp prisoner had a lesbian relationship with a SS camp guard.

Dr Anna Hájková , associate professor of Modern continental history at Warwick, previously lost a court case in Frankfurt last April which ruled she had “violated the dignity” of the Jewish Holocaust survivor by claiming she had engaged in sexual relations with a camp guard.

Dr Hájková’s research recognises that there is no definite proof of the sexual aspect of this relationship.

The injunction prevented Dr Hájková from using the Holocaust survivor’s image or full name in the context of having relations with camp guards without the express permission of the victim’s daughter, who originally took her to court.

The victim herself died 10 years ago, but the German constitution provides significant protection for the reputation of deceased individuals.

Dr Hájková breached the injunction by naming the survivor and her alleged relationship in an advertisement for a series of lectures on the queer history of the Holocaust in Germany.
Kelechi Okafor drops out of Woman’s Hour rather than facing questions from Emma Barnett on her defence of antisemitic comments by Reggie Yates
Warwick University history professor has been fined £3,675 for breaching an injunction over claims that a Jewish concentration camp prisoner had a lesbian relationship with a SS camp guard.

Dr Anna Hájková , associate professor of Modern continental history at Warwick, previously lost a court case in Frankfurt last April which ruled she had “violated the dignity” of the Jewish Holocaust survivor by claiming she had engaged in sexual relations with a camp guard.

Dr Hájková’s research recognises that there is no definite proof of the sexual aspect of this relationship.

The injunction prevented Dr Hájková from using the Holocaust survivor’s image or full name in the context of having relations with camp guards without the express permission of the victim’s daughter, who originally took her to court.

The victim herself died 10 years ago, but the German constitution provides significant protection for the reputation of deceased individuals.

Dr Hájková breached the injunction by naming the survivor and her alleged relationship in an advertisement for a series of lectures on the queer history of the Holocaust in Germany.
With False Report That Palestinian Prisoner Died in Jail, AP Adopts Anti-Israel Propaganda
Regarding Abu Waer’s supposed death in an Israeli prison, PCHR contradicts itself, writing in the first sentence that Abu Waer was pronounced dead at Shamir Medical Center. As for Sa’di Khalil al-Gharabli, about whom PCHR said “he was left to die in prison,” a PCHR release about his death similarly carried a headline falsely charging that he died in prison: “PCHR Holds Israel Full Responsible for Death of Palestinian Al-Gharabli in Israeli Prisons.” Yet as the PCHR press release itself goes on to state, al-Gharabli “was pronounced dead in Kaplan Medical Center where he was recently transferred from al-Ramlah prison after his health condition deteriorated.”

In the past, Agence France Presse, another leading wire service, commendably corrected a series of photo captions which, relying on false information supplied by Palestinian sources, falsely stated that a different sick prisoner died in prison, when in fact he died in the hospital, while still in Israeli custody. Concerning Abu Waer, AFP this time got it right from the start, accurately citing “the death of an ailing Palestinian prisoner he knew in Israeli custody” (“Israeli security says Palestinian confessed to killing settler,” Jan. 4).

By falsely depicting the death of a Palestinian prisoner while in Israeli custody in a hospital as a death in prison, where advanced medical care is not available, AP plays into Palestinian propaganda.

Times of Israel, Israel Hayom Correct
In response to Jan. 4 communication from CAMERA, the Times of Israel immediately changed a subheadline about Abu Waer from “died of cancer in Israeli jail” to “died of cancer in Israeli custody.” (Emphasis added.) In addition, CAMERA today elicited improved coverage at Israel Hayom, which reports:
Kabha said that approximately six weeks before the murder, the death of another security prisoner, Kamal Abu Waer, in prison due to illness had prompted him to carry out a terrorist attack.

Editors today added the following additional information:
However, Prison Services Spokesman Yitzhak Gurlov confirmed that Abu Awar died in Shamir Medical Center in centreal [sic] Israel and not in prison, as claimed by Kabha.
BBC NEWS COVERAGE OF TERRORISM IN ISRAEL – DECEMBER 2020 & YEAR END SUMMARY
The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during December 2020 shows that throughout the month a total of 98 incidents took place: 56 in Judea & Samaria, 38 in Jerusalem and inside the ‘green line’ and four in the Gaza Strip sector.

In Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem the agency recorded 84 attacks with petrol bombs, five attacks using pipe bombs, two arson attacks, two shooting attacks and one additional attack. In the Gaza Strip sector one attack with a petrol bomb and three incidents of rocket attacks were recorded.

One civilian was murdered and one member of the security forces was injured in a petrol bomb attack in Issawiya during December.

Visitors to the BBC News website saw no reporting whatsoever on the topic of Palestinian terrorism throughout December. The murder of Esther Horgen near Tal Menashe on December 20th was not covered at all and neither was a shooting incident in Jerusalem’s Old City the following day. Rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip on December 25th were likewise ignored.

Throughout 2020 the BBC News website reported just 4.23% of the terror attacks which actually took place and most of that was in one month in which a high number of rocket attacks took place. In eight of the year’s twelve months, no reporting on terrorism was produced at all and only 33.3% of the fatalities resulting from terror attacks received BBC coverage.


Holocaust-denying neo-Nazis among the Trump supporters who stormed US Capitol
Avowed white supremacists and Holocaust deniers were among the Trump supporters who violently occupied the US Capitol Wednesday, with experts on far-right extremism calling the storming a jarring but natural product of years of violence and hateful rhetoric stoked by disinformation and conspiracy theories.

Members of far-right groups, including the violent Proud Boys, joined the crowds that formed in Washington to cheer on US President Donald Trump as he urged them to protest Congress’ counting of Electoral College votes confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Then they headed to the Capitol. Members of smaller white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups also were spotted in the crowds. Police were photographed stopping a man identified as a leading promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory from storming the Senate floor.

Online forums popular with Trump supporters lit up with gleeful posts about the chaotic scenes broadcast from the Capitol. Thousands of messages on Parler, a right-wing alternative to Twitter, included the hashtag #civilwar or other variations of the term.

Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet, a neo-Nazi known for promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, posted video that showed Trump supporters in “Make America Great Again” and “God Bless Trump” hats milling around and taking selfies with officers who calmly asked them to leave the premises. The Trump supporters talked among themselves, laughed, and told the officers and each other: “This is only the beginning.”

The crowd of Trump supporters at the Capitol also included adherents of the “Groyper Army,” a loose network of white supremacists that includes “America First” podcaster Nick Fuentes.

Fuentes is a white supremacist ideologue who has questioned the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust and believes that Israel has a malicious influence on US policy. Fuentes, who wants to push mainstream conservatism toward white nationalism, was banned from YouTube last year for hate speech.

Another protester was seen sporting a “Camp Auschwitz” T-shirt.
Israeli reporter harassed by antisemitic pro-Trump protester at US Capitol
A pro-Trump protester confronted and harassed a reporter for the Israeli Channel 13 news during the riots at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Wednesday. The protester, referred to as Marc, can be seen in a broadcast by the news channel asking the reporter why Israel "continues to take American aid," to which the reporter responded, "very good question," and stressed that he does not represent the country.

Marc then barged in front of the camera, shouting "I'm gonna get in your face now and I'll tell you why, yid (a term for Jew)," and asked the reporter, "What is a goy?" The reporter replied that he didn't know and the protester called him "lying Israeli" and said he was "playing the pilpul game."

"Pilpul" is a term used to refer to analytical or hairsplitting discussion, usually in the context of Talmudic study. The term "goy" literally translates to "nation" and is sometimes used to refer to non-Jews. The protester proceeded to turn to people nearby, saying, "You're all goy. Goy are cattle."


‘Hitler was right on one thing,’ US congresswoman says at pro-Trump rally
Mary Miller, a newly elected Republican representative from Illinois, told a crowd of protesters that “Hitler was right on one thing.”

Miller was speaking Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to a crowd of Donald Trump supporters, according to Margot McGowan Staebler, a law student at Michigan State University who posted the video on Twitter. Supporters of the president, including a range of extremist figures and groups, have gathered in the capital for a mass rally to protest the election results as Congress meets to ratify them.

Speaking in view of the Capitol building, Miller was discussing her emphasis on family values and the importance of convincing voters to elect Republicans when she invoked Adolf Hitler.

“Hitler was right on one thing: He said, whoever has the youth has the future,” Miller said. “Fill your children’s minds with what is true and right and noble, and then they can overcome evil with good because they can actually discern between what is evil and what is good.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, condemned Miller’s remarks on Twitter.

“Hitler wasn’t right on anything – and invoking his name in this or any other context is wildly offensive & disrespects the millions who perished due to the Nazis’ hateful, genocidal regime,” he wrote. “An apology is the least you can do for your constituents & our country.”
Following action by CAA, notorious antisemite Alison Chabloz to face incitement to racial hatred charge and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted
The notorious antisemite Alison Chabloz is facing a charge of incitement to racial hatred, which carries a potential prison term of seven years if she is convicted. The charge follows action by Campaign Against Antisemitism.

Ms Chabloz is being charged under section 21 of the Public Order Act 1986, which covers incitement to racial hatred when a defendant “distributes, or shows or plays, a recording of visual images or sounds which are threatening, abusive or insulting and [s]he intends thereby to stir up racial hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby.”

The charge concerns a video of the scene in the classic Oliver Twist film when Fagin, a fictitious Jewish criminal (a character that has come under significant criticism over the past century for its antisemitic depiction), is explaining to his newest recruit how his legion of children followers pick pockets. Ms Chabloz uploaded the video and sings an accompanying song of her own about how Jews are greedy, “grift” for “shekels” and cheat on their taxes.

The video appears to be either a bizarre fundraising effort for her mounting legal costs due to numerous charges she has faced, including several ongoing prosecutions in which Campaign Against Antisemitism has provided evidence, or an attempt at mockery of Campaign Against Antisemitism for pursuing her in the courts.

Ms Chabloz is a virulent antisemite and Holocaust denier who has an extensive record of using social media to publicise her hatred for Jews and to convert others to her views about Jewish people. Following a private prosecution by Campaign Against Antisemitism, which was later continued by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Ms Chabloz became the first person in Britain to be convicted over Holocaust denial in a precedent-setting case.
Cleantech startup UBQ converts used face masks into ecofriendly material
In nearly a year of living under the relentless pressure of the coronavirus, one trend has emerged globally — the donning of single-use masks, or so-called personal protective equipment (PPE), which has skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic.

Disposable PPE, associated in years past mainly with those working in the medical field, is now ubiquitous. We use them and then we discard them.

Made from non-woven fabrics, found in products like filters, wipes and diapers, and held together by felting or bonding, these face masks are not easily recyclable. If not discarded and then sent to landfills, these masks could end up in places where they can wreak harm.

One marine conservation organization, OceansAsia, estimates that of the projected 52 billion masks produced in 2020, 1.56 billion will end up in the ocean — generating pollution that can seriously damage the ecosystem. Israelis wear protective face masks as they shop for food at the local market in Safed, northern Israel. June 24, 2020. (David Cohen/FLASH90)

Last summer, the United Nations warned of serious consequences that could stem from improper PPE disposal, including the release of toxins into the environment and the possibility of secondary disease transmission to humans.

As a result, the UN Environment Programme has urged governments to treat the management of mask waste as a public health service.
Israeli gaming firm Playtika eyes US listing of nearly $10b.
Playtika Holding Corp is looking to raise as much as $1.67 billion in its US initial public offering, giving it a valuation of nearly $10 billion, as it tries to cash in on demand for mobile-gaming during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Israel-based company, owned by a Chinese investor group, is planning to sell 69.5 million shares priced at between $22 and $24 apiece, it said on Thursday.

The IPO will follow a bumper year for listings in the United States and coincides with strict lockdowns across the globe, which has been driving demand for video games as people stay home to avoid catching the new coronavirus.

Several startups have benefited from the increased investor interest for gaming stocks. Roblox Corp, a US gaming site, has said it aims to go public through a direct listing and has raised new funding in a deal that values it at nearly $30 billion.

Playtika's move to go public also comes as US-listed Chinese firms face tightened scrutiny and strict audit norms from US regulators and a day after the New York Stock Exchange decided to delist three Chinese telecom companies.
Intel's new facial recognition system for ATMs is made in Israel
Intel introduced a new system that allows people to withdraw money from ATM machines by facial recognition, a product designed at the chipmaker’s development center in Haifa, the company said.

The chipmaker said its RealSense solution combines an active depth sensor with a specialized neural network designed to deliver secure, accurate, and user-aware facial authentication that works with smart locks, access control, point-of-sale, ATMs, kiosks, and more.

Traditional authentication methods leave users vulnerable to ID theft and security breaches, Intel said, leading companies to pursue facial authentication technology for higher security standards. RealSense has built-in anti-spoofing technology to protect against false entry attempts using photographs, videos or masks, and provides a one-in-a-million false acceptance rate. The system adapts to users over time as they change physical features, such as facial hair and glasses, and works in various lighting conditions and for customers across a wide range of heights or complexions.

The solution has an easy enrollment process with no network setup needed, so users are able to quickly unlock what’s important to them, Intel said.

RealSense is the latest in a long list of technologies that Intel has developed in Israel in its 47 years here. Previous high-profile Israeli innovations include the Pentium MMX processor in 1993, the Centrino processor (which helped solidify widespread use of WiFi networks) in 2003, and the Intel Core i9-9900K – known as the world’s best gaming processor – in 2018.
Israel's Iron Dome to Be Integrated with American Command Networks
The US Army’s second battery of the Iron Dome missile defense system is en route from Israel by sea to new units being created at Fort Bliss. That may just be the beginning since manufacturer Rafael and its US partner, Raytheon, want to sell the Pentagon a lot more than two batteries. They’ll need to convince skeptical Army leaders that the Israeli system can work seamlessly with American tech – and shoot down incoming cruise missiles, not just unguided rockets.

Rafael has already integrated the two US batteries – launchers, radars, and mobile command posts – onto made-in-America Oshkosh military trucks. But the bigger challenge is feeding data from US radars and command posts directly to the Israeli-made launchers.

After the Army’s own Indirect Fire Protection program stumbled, Congress compelled the service to buy two Iron Dome batteries, minimally modified for US use, as a stopgap “interim IFPC.” But the Army insists any long-term IFPC solution must run on its brand-new missile defense network, the Integrated Air & Missile Defense Battle Command System, aka IBCS – which is finally emerging from its own long and difficult development program.

“We have a very detailed plan to do the integration into IBCS, to the US system, and to conduct a demonstration [at] White Sands,” in early 2021, Rafael’s Pini Yungman told me. That will be part of a US Army “shoot-off” to pick a missile – or potentially multiple missiles for different targets – for the future IFPC.
Israel Completes Delivery of Trophy Tank Protection Systems to U.S. Army
Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and US-based defense contractor Leonardo DRS announced Wednesday that they have completed delivery of Trophy Active Protection Systems (APS) ordered by the U.S. Army for installation on Abrams main battle tanks. This marks a major milestone in the Army’s efforts to outfit multiple brigades of tanks with APS to protect soldiers from increasing anti-armor threats.

Under contracts awarded on an urgent need basis by the Army’s Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems, the companies delivered the first APS systems in September 2019 for both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. A joint team of government and industry from both the U.S. and Israel worked together to adapt and integrate Trophy for the two services’ Abrams variants. This delivery culminates a multi-year effort by the Army to study and rapidly field active protection due to the urgency of the threat and the growing need for improved ground vehicle survivability.

“It has been an honor to deliver these advanced defensive protection systems for our front-line tanks to give our warfighters a needed layer of survivability against real and emerging battlefield threats," said Aaron Hankins, senior vice president and general manager of the Leonardo DRS Land Systems business unit. "Together with our Rafael partners, we worked tirelessly to ensure we met our customers’ needs while delivering ahead of schedule, and we look forward to supporting them with APS in the future."

Developed by Rafael in response to successful anti-armor attacks and the ongoing proliferation of those threats, Trophy APS provides mature, combat-proven protection against rockets and missiles while simultaneously locating and reporting the origin of the hostile fire for immediate response.

"Rafael is a leader in providing protection capabilities, both reactive armor and active protection. The threat of anti-armor weapons is growing and we were grateful to bring this life-saving technology to the U.S. to meet an urgent need," said Michael Lurie, VP, head of Rafael's Land Survivability and Maneuverability directorate. "While COVID-19 created challenges for on-time deliveries, we used our resources and capabilities to facilitate on-schedule deliveries. With our partner Leonardo DRS, we remain committed to supporting the Army and providing increased protection to U.S. forces on a timely basis."
Netherlands Orders Israeli-Made Vehicle Tactical Computers
The Israeli defense electronics company will perform the $24 million contract over 30-months.

Israel defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) announced today that it has been awarded a $24 million contract from the Dutch Ministry of Defense to supply the Royal Netherlands Army with new vehicle tactical computers. The contract will be performed over 30-months.

Elbit Systems will equip vehicle platforms with its seventh generation Enhanced Tactical Computers (ETC) MK7 replacing legacy ETCs that were provided by the company to the RNLA over a decade ago. The new ETCs provide enhanced and more robust Command and Control (C2) and tactical data processing capabilities, improved security for processing and storage of secured mission information, as well as solid growth path for advanced C2 applications.

This follows to contracts worth $65 million, which Elbit Systems won last month for digital soldier and vehicle systems ($50 million) and micro night vision monocular systems ($15 million).





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