Tuesday, February 09, 2021

From Ian:

Israeli inventor of promising COVID drug hopes it can help vaccineless countries
The inventor of a new Israeli coronavirus medicine has secured the prime minister’s help to advance testing — and says the drug could provide hope to poor countries that don’t yet have access to vaccines.

Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center claimed a “huge breakthrough” on Friday, saying that Prof. Nadir Arber’s EXO-CD24 inhaled medicine had been administered to 30 patients whose conditions were moderate or worse, and all 30 recovered — 29 of them within three to five days.

On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Arber to his office and asked him about the “miracle drug.” During the briefing, Netanyahu said: “If this succeeds, it will be huge, simply huge. This is of global significance. This is amazing.

“I wish you success. If you need anything, say it and we will help you. This little thing could change the fate of humanity. This is amazing. Good luck.”

Arber told The Times of Israel on Tuesday that, with the Phase 1 trial just completed, he has applied to the Health Ministry to start a Phase 2 trial. This will give a more reliable picture of efficacy, as Phase 1 is small, largely concerned with checking safety, and lacking a placebo group.

Netanyahu has already helped to pave the way to a multi-country trial. After meeting with Arber, he hosted Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who offered to have a leading Greek hospital take part in testing in the framework of bilateral cooperation.

“I asked Professor Arber to come to my office today. He did. Two hours later my friend Prime Minister Mitsotakis comes to my office and more or less the first question he asked me was, ‘Can you tell me about this miracle drug?'” said Netanyahu.

“We called Professor Arber and Prime Minister Mitsotakis volunteered that Greece, their leading hospital, would partake in the clinical trials and I hope that we can approve this because I think this is an example of our cooperation in forging ahead to new areas.”
Israeli COVID cure? Researchers hope peptide treatment could slow disease
A group of Israeli researchers have launched a Phase II study of a drug that they believe could keep patients off mechanical ventilation and speed their recovery.

The trial, which is being collectively run by Ziv and Rambam medical centers with researchers from Bar-Ilan University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, is examining the use of a drug based on a naturally occurring peptide called angiotensin 1-7 to help counter the impact of COVID-19 on the lungs.

A peptide is a set of amino acids.

Coronavirus enters a person’s cells through angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors. These same receptors produce angiotensin 1-7, explained Dr. Karl Skorecki, dean of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University in the Galilee. Angiotensin 1-7 is a protein that is naturally produced in the body and is responsible for preventing cell proliferation and inflammation.

“When the enzyme is busy acting as a receptor, it can no longer do what it is supposed to do, which is make angiotensin 1-7,” Skorecki said. “The hope is that by replenishing this peptide, their lungs will get back what the virus nefariously took away from them.”

Around 3% of all people who contract coronavirus in Israel are hospitalized, and many do not respond to what have become traditional steroid or antiviral drug treatments.
‘Palestinians deserve better’
Sir, – The Palestinian people deserve better (Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid, “Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under the Geneva Convention still stand”, Opinion & Analysis, February 4th).

They deserve leaders who truly care about their people, and not those who consider Palestinian people as pawns to be used in endless political posturing. Under the Oslo Accords, which are the existing applicable legal framework between Israel and the Palestinians, all civic powers and responsibilities – including in the sphere of health – in the West Bank and Gaza are under the mandate of the Palestinians. This includes responsibility for the administration of vaccinations to the Palestinian population.

In the past year, governments around the world have taken decisive measures to protect their populations from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic. These measures have had tremendous societal and economic impacts but were taken with the understanding that there was simply no other choice. In Israel, like other places around the world, the welfare and health of citizens is the first priority. Israel devoted huge efforts and resources into finding ways to fight the pandemic. Israeli scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs pioneered innovative ways to deal with various aspects of Covid-19, including the development of an Israeli vaccine (now in trial phases), development of a cure for the disease (also in trials), and more. Securing early vaccination of the entire population became the top priority of the Israeli government, who managed to secure that by swift negotiation of agreements with major suppliers, in particular Pfizer. Israel became a world leader in vaccinating its population while providing real-time data about the effectiveness of the vaccines to the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, in a politically motivated galaxy far far away, Palestinian leaders, and some of their supporters, have been engaged in weaponising the pandemic against Israel and hijacking the Covid agenda for their narrow political goal. OPHIR KARIV, Ambassador of Israel to Ireland


Less than 3% of recent COVID deaths in Israel were vaccinated - Netanyahu
Over 97% of the 1,536 people who died in the last month from COVID-19 had not been vaccinated, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday during a visit to a Clalit vaccination center in the Arab town of Zarzir. “Less than 3% of them were vaccinated.”

The prime minister visited the center with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein to help encourage vaccination among the Arab population, which the prime minister said has increased in recent weeks but still lags behind the rest of the population.

“We are in a state of emergency,” the prime minister said. “That is why I am here, and going to all the Arab and ultra-Orthodox local authorities. There are gaps and we want to vaccinate everyone.”

Only 66% of haredim over the age of 60 have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Health Ministry, and only 57% of Arabs. In contrast, 90% of the rest of the public over the age of 60 have received at least their first shot.

Moreover, while 36% of all Israelis have been vaccinated, this includes 29% of the haredi population, 19% of Arabs and 42% of everyone else. He said that the country’s vaccination centers are working around the clock to vaccinate the country.

“We are a country of vaccines,” Netanyahu said. “We have a vaccine for every citizen – for everyone. On Sunday alone, another one million vaccines arrived.

“If you get vaccinated, you save your life,” he continued. “There is no reason to take the risk of death.”
Foreign nationals, asylum seekers get COVID-19 vaccines in Tel Aviv
Dozens of asylum seekers and foreign workers in Tel Aviv lined up to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday as part of an initiative to inoculate the city’s foreign nationals.

Tel Aviv city hall and the Sourasky Medical Center started administering vaccines free of charge to the city’s foreign nationals, many of whom are undocumented asylum seekers.

On its first day of operation, the vaccination center in southern Tel Aviv, which is home to a large migrant community, dispensed doses to dozens of foreign nationals who lined up outside the building. Posters provided information in English, Tigrinya, Russian and Arabic. Recipients included foreign workers from the Philippines, Moldova, and Nigeria, as well as Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers.

Garipelly Srinivas Goud, an Indian national who has worked in Israel for eight years, said that some foreign workers in Israel don’t have money or insurance to afford paying privately for the vaccine, and said the vaccine drive was a “very good decision. I am very happy.”

Eytan Schwartz, a Tel Aviv municipality spokesman, said it was the government’s responsibility “to vaccinate everybody within the nation’s borders” and that it would take the next step and start “to vaccinate the illegal or undocumented asylum seekers as well.”

Israel has pushed to inoculate most of its population since late December. Last week it made vaccines available to all citizens aged 16 and up.
CAMERA Op-Ed: The Latest Coronavirus Libel is Gaining Steam
Since medieval times, libels were wielded opportunistically during times of adversity as weapons to incite against the Jews and, in more recent times, against the Jewish state. So it came as no surprise that the coronavirus pandemic was seized upon as an opportunity to spread conspiracy theories and libels about Israel.

Despite Israel having provided the Palestinians with testing kits, protective gear for healthcare workers, and training, Palestinian leaders used the Covid-19 pandemic as a hook for anti-Israel libels to incite the world against Israel.

The latest one disseminated by the Palestinian leadership has attracted the most followers. It accuses Israel of being “complicit in the increased vulnerability of the Palestinian population to COVID-19” and responsible for providing Palestinians with vaccines—as a politically-motivated letter in The Lancet recently put it—or worse, of withholding vaccines to Palestinians because of their ethnicity, as a letter in the Johns Hopkins’ Global Health NOW newsletter claimed.

These libels rest upon the false premises that a) Israel is required by the Fourth Geneva Convention to inoculate Palestinians and that b) Israel is guilty of racism and apartheid.

Beyond the question of whether the Geneva Convention is even applicable to the West Bank, against which there are strong arguments, the claim that it would oblige Israel to vaccinate the Palestinian population under the governance of the Palestinian Authority (PA) is false. The Convention’s relevant Article 56 regarding public health refers specifically to maintaining health “with the cooperation of national and local authorities.” This, the International Committee of the Red Cross explains, means not only that the “Occupying Power” is not expected to shoulder the entire burden of epidemic control measures, but that there’s no requirement for it to intervene at all where national authorities can look after the health of the population. The only requirement is to “avoid hampering the work of the organizations responsible for the task.”


Congresswoman who said Hitler ‘right on one thing’ meets rabbis who defended her
A freshman congresswoman who said “Hitler was right on one thing” during a speech just before the Capitol insurrection met Monday with a right-wing rabbinical group that defended her against calls to resign.

The Coalition for Jewish Values said Monday that Rep. Mary Miller, an Illinois Republican, had met with its rabbinic board and others last week. It quoted Rabbi Moshe Parnes, an Orthodox rabbi from Florida who is the group’s southern regional vice president, as “acknowledg[ing] that it is common in Jewish thought to learn lessons from our enemies.”

Speaking to a pro-Trump crowd on January 6, Miller said, “Hitler was right on one thing: He said, whoever has the youth has the future.” The crowd she addressed included some of the rioters who later carried out a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol.

Facing criticism from Democrats, some Republicans, and Jewish groups — including some calls to resign — Miller later apologized for “using a reference to one of the most evil dictators in history.” But the Coalition for Jewish Values, founded in 2017, defended her almost immediately, issuing a press release two days after the speech expressing its support for her but saying that there would be better ways to express concerns about “the indoctrination of our youth.”

The Coalition for Jewish Values’ latest release quoted Miller as elaborating on that apology.

“While I do regret the words I used to illustrate my message about instilling values in our children, I believe God is using this experience for good,” she said, according to the group’s press release. “The great discussion from our meeting only proves this. Connecting and learning from the Jewish community becomes more important every day with anti-Semitism on the rise.”
Outrage as Oxford college holds event with controversial filmmaker Ken Loach
An Oxford college event with Ken Loach went ahead on Monday despite objections from the Board of Deputies and Jewish students over the filmmaker's alleged antisemitism.

Oxford JSoc president Samuel Benjamin described the virtual event organised by St Peter’s College and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) as “deeply disappointing."

He also said it came at the “expense of the welfare of Jewish students in Oxford.”

Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl said - also speaking ahead of the event - that it was “entirely unacceptable” that an Oxford college “would not conduct its due diligence and allow Ken Loach to address students.”

She said: “Higher education institutions have a duty of care to their students, which must include a zero tolerance policy to antisemitism and those who minimise or deny it. We have been in touch with Jewish students in Oxford and wholeheartedly support their condemnation of the event. This event should not take place.”

The event, live-streamed on YouTube yesterday, focused on the St Peter’s College alumnus’ filmmaking career.
Jewish students face mix of solidarity and antisemitic backlash for raising concerns over appearance of controversial filmmaker Ken Loach at St Peter’s College, Oxford
Jewish students are facing an antisemitic backlash online after opposing an event with the controversial filmmaker Ken Loach, who has a history of antisemitism-denial and inflammatory comments.

The event was being hosted by Prof. Judith Buchanan, the Master of St Peter’s College, of which Mr Loach is an alumnus.

Oxford students have largely sided with their Jewish peers, with St Peter’s JCR (junior student body) voting to issue a statement condemning the event. Dialogue between Jewish students and Prof. Buchanan reportedly failed to reach an understanding.

However, Jewish students have reported to Campaign Against Antisemitism that they are also facing an antisemitic backlash over the incident, particularly online, where they have been called “rich Jewish students” and (pejoratively) “Zionists” and “f***ing Zionists”; gratuitous connections have been made to Gaza; the Talmud has been described as “satanist”, with calls to burn it; there are numerous references to Israel being a racist state, in a deliberate breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism; and portrayals have been promoted of the Oxford Jewish Society as a “lying racist organisation”. Some individual Jewish students have also been targeted.

Campaign Against Antisemitism is providing backing to the Oxford Jewish Society and has made legal assistance available.

A roster of ‘usual suspects’ in the creative industry have backed Mr Loach, with the controversial musician Roger Waters describing the effort to raise concerns over the event “McCarthyite”.

Mr Loach’s voice has been among the loudest of those who attempt to dismiss Labour’s antisemitism crisis as non-existent and a right-wing smear campaign. He claimed that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was subjected to a “torrent of abuse” that was “off the scale” and that regardless of what he did, the “campaign” of antisemitism accusations was “going to run and run”. He described the BBC’s Panorama investigation into Labour antisemitism as “disgusting because it raised the horror of racism against Jews in the most atrocious propagandistic way, with crude journalism…and it bought the propaganda from people who were intent on destroying Corbyn.”

He was also reportedly behind a motion passed by Bath Labour Party branding the Panorama programme a “dishonest hatchet job with potentially undemocratic consequences” and asserting that it “disgraced the name of Panorama and exposed the bias endemic within the BBC.” John Ware, the programme’s reporter, is apparently considering legal action against Mr Loach for his comments.

In 2017, Mr Loach caused outrage when, during an interview with the BBC, he refused to denounce Holocaust denial. The International Definition of Antisemitism states that “denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust)” is a manifestation of antisemitism. Although Mr Loach later sought to clarify his remarks, he has continued to make inflammatory and provocative statements about Labour’s antisemitism scandal.


Gavin Williamson suggests financial penalties for universities over antisemitism, as CAA provides audit of universities
Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, has written to the Office for Students on the matter of adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism.

The Office for Students is the regulator and competition authority for the higher education sector in England.

In his letter, which covered numerous topics relating to universities and campus life, Mr Williamson called for the Office for Students to undertake “a scoping exercise to identify providers which are reluctant to adopt the definition”.

Recently, Campaign Against Antisemitism launched a dynamic project monitoring adoption of the Definition by universities in real time, and shall be providing the latest figures to the Office for Students. The project also includes those universities that have yet to adopt the Definition or have expressly declined to do so, as well as summaries of select antisemitic incidents on university campuses.

Mr Williamson also called for consideration of “mandatory reporting of antisemitic incident numbers by [higher education] providers”. This antisemitism audit would be designed to “ensure a robust evidence base” to assist regulation of this area by the Office for Students.

Finally, Mr Williamson also noted that, where antisemitic incidents do take place at a university, subject to the response of the institution it may be appropriate to consider applying “sanctions, including monetary penalties”.
BDS is failing - the never ending story (Feb. 2021)
Here’s the latest installment in our ongoing series of posts documenting BDS fails.

Political BDS Fails
Israel and Kosovo establish diplomatic relations in virtual ceremony
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and Kosovo established diplomatic relations on Monday, via online links due to the coronavirus crisis, under a U.S.-brokered deal that includes a pledge by the Muslim-majority country to open an embassy in Jerusalem.

Israel sees its new ties with the tiny Balkan country as part of its broader normalisation with Arab and Muslim countries under agreements sponsored by former U.S. President Donald Trump.


Major German Companies, Including Daimler, VW and Deutsche Bank, Adopt IHRA Definition of Antisemitism
Five leading companies in Germany adopted the leading definition of antisemitism Tuesday, in a joint declaration announced on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The companies — Deutsche Bank, the automotive firms Daimler AG and Volkswagen, the state-owned railway Deutsche Bahn, and the sports club Borussia Dortmund — include those with admitted historical ties to the Nazi regime during World War Two.

Alongside the group Germany’s Friends of Yad Vashem, the corporations made the decision to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which has been adopted by Germany and 23 other European countries.


First direct flight Tuesday from Israel to Morocco to seal normalization deal
RABAT, Morocco (AFP) — Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, is due to arrive Tuesday in Morocco from Israel on the first direct commercial flight between the two countries since they normalized ties.

The flight from Tel Aviv to Rabat is seen as highly symbolic after Morocco announced on December 10 a “resumption of relations” with Israel.
CNN’s Kiley Parrots B’Tselem Slanders
CNN’s Sam Kiley, a Senior Correspondent based in Abu Dhabi, covers lots of places – from India to Egypt, Yemen to Lebanon. But none prompt biased, error-laden stories attacking the legitimacy and morality of the nation like Israel does.

A January 12, 2021 story titled “Israel isn’t a democracy, it’s an ‘apartheid regime,’ rights group says” gives nearly unchallenged credence to a raft of propagandistic assertions by B’Tselem, a radical Israeli NGO. It not only relays baseless charges against the Jewish state but deceives readers about B’Tselem, terming it an esteemed “institution” and the “best-known human rights group in Israel.” In reality, B’Tselem has scant influence inside Israel, where it’s discounted for its extremist attacks on the country. (The group once employed a Holocaust-denier.)

Unable to persuade the electorate and legal system of the merit of its allegations – and even to get Israeli media attention – B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad seeks financial and political support abroad from adversaries of the Jewish state. As NGO Monitor has documented for many years, the group is largely supported by European nations which underwrite projects seeking to subvert Israel’s policies and legitimacy. (Sixty-five percent of funding, for example, was foreign between 2012 and 2016.)

B’Tselem, thus, habitually pursues external coercion to impose its agenda against the views and preferences of the people of Israel – a strikingly anti-democratic strategy. And Kiley admits, “B’Tselem officials said they want the international community to ‘take action.’”

The CNN reporter weaves flattery of B’Tselem into a false depiction of the group’s prior positions, stating:
The allegation that Israel is an “apartheid state” has often been dismissed by rightwing Israelis and their support groups as anti-Semitic. But this argument will be harder to make now that Israel has been labeled this way by such a well-respected Israeli institution, albeit one that enjoys only minority support in its home country.

It’s untrue that only “now” has B’Tselem leveled the apartheid charge – ostensibly making the allegation all the more dramatic. The organization has repeatedly used the same inflammatory language – in 2004 as well as 2018 in UN testimony.
‘Hardtalk’ another chapter in BBC promotion of a political campaign
The emphasis on “responsible and ethical” in both those synopses signposts the unnecessarily confrontational tone taken by Sackur throughout the interview – “but is Israel’s Covid response really such a positive story?”- which was often the basis for some distinctly pointless lines of questioning, for example on the topic of patient privacy in relation to the post-vaccination information shared with Pfizer.

However Sackur’s main interest in this interview – as expressed in his introduction – was obviously to add more BBC wind to the sails of the political campaign which opportunistically exploits the topic of vaccinations against Covid-19 to delegitimise Israel.

Sackur: “And then there are the accusations that Israel is flouting international law in its refusal to offer the vaccine to millions of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation. The Netanyahu government rejects the idea it has an obligation to do so but that is a position that has drawn fire from within the country as well as overseas.”

From 15:30 Sackur presented his partisan and embellished interpretation of ‘international law’ which completely ignored the relevant parts of the Oslo Accords but included the unevidenced claim that not only is Israel obliged to provide Palestinians who are not citizens of Israel with vaccines, but that it is obliged to do so at the same time as it vaccinates tax and health insurance paying Israelis.

Sackur: “Minister, international law says that you in Israel, as the military occupiers of millions of Palestinian people in the West Bank and in effect still in Gaza – though your armed forces are not on the ground in Gaza – you have a legal obligation under the Geneva Conventions to ensure that they get protected from Coronavirus, with the vaccine. Just as it becomes available in Israel it should be made available to those Palestinians living under your occupation as well. Why do you flout that international law?”

Sackur was clearly not interested in allowing his audience to hear any discussion on the topic of the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to the situation on the ground.


Canadian Jews Denounce ‘Obscene Abuse’ of Justice System as Alleged Nazi War Criminal Again Delays Deportation Hearing
Canadian Jewish organizations on Monday reacted furiously to a further delay in a deportation hearing for an alleged Nazi war criminal who served with a death squad unit responsible for the murder of more than 90,000 people in Russia and Ukraine during World War II.

In a legal wrangle that lasted for more than 25 years, Helmut Oberlander — who is now 96 — had his Canadian citizenship stripped on four separate occasions by lower courts, but those decisions were reversed in three appeals.

Last December, Canada’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal to restore his citizenship, which Oberlander obtained in 1960, paving the way for his final deportation.

But Oberlander’s legal team on Monday successfully secured a delay until at least next month of any deportation hearing.

Oberlander — who arrived in Canada in 1954 and resides in Waterloo, Ontario — must now appear in court no later than March 19, although he will be permitted to request a further delay in the proceedings on that occasion.

A lawyer for Oberlander told Canadian broadcaster CBC that his client had not yet had an “opportunity to fully put forward his evidence as to why his case raises exceptional circumstances.” Those circumstances reportedly include Oberlander’s poor health.
Polish court: Holocaust scholars must apologize ‘for inexact information’
A Polish court has ruled that two Polish historians must issue an apology for including testimony in a 2018 book of a Jewish woman who accused a village mayor of betraying 22 Jews to the Nazis during the Holocaust.

The Warsaw District Court determined that Prof. Barbara Engelking, founder and director of the Polish Center of Holocaust Research, and Prof. Jan Grabowski, a Polish-Canadian historian of the Holocaust at the University of Ottawa, had included “inexact information” in their book.

According to the daily Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, Judge Ewa Jończyk ruled that the two historians had “violated the honor” of the mayor for citing testimony that he took possessions from the Jewish woman and collaborated with the Nazis through disclosing the location of Jews hiding near his village.

As such, the two historians must publish an apology on the website of the Polish Center of Holocaust Research, apologize to the village mayor’s 80-year-old niece, who brought the libel suit at the prompting of a government-backed NGO, and change the text of the book in any new editions to reflect the ruling.

The court declined, however, to issue a fine against the two historians as demanded by the plaintiff.

The two historians will appeal the decision.
Man screams “You f***ing damn p**** this is our country, I will batter the f*** out of you” in ten minutes of verbal abuse against disabled Jewish man on London bus
A man has subjected a Jewish couple – including a disabled man – to ten minutes of verbal abuse on a London bus.

The offender screamed “You f***ing damn p**** this is our country, I will batter the f*** out of you” and various other obscenities at the couple. He was also apparently infuriated that the disabled person allegedly took longer to board the bus; witnesses denied that this was even the case.

The incident took place at 12:45 on 8th February on a 253 bus at Manor House, London N4, heading towards Hackney Central, and was reported by Stamford Hill Shomrim, the Jewish volunteer neighbourhood watch patrol.
Pork Products Deposited at Swiss Synagogues in Twin Antisemitic Incidents
Pork products were used in recent antisemitic attacks against synagogues in two Swiss cities just days apart, drawing condemnations from Jewish groups.

On Feb. 6, a package of bacon along with a stuffed pig were left outside the synagogue in Lausanne, reported the Swiss outlet Le Temps on Friday. Four days later, in a separate incident apparently committed by another offender, a woman threw slices of pork at the Liberal Jewish Community synagogue in Geneva.

“Acts of this nature are an insult to any Jew and take on a highly symbolic dimension when they are committed in a synagogue. These are serious facts which must challenge our authorities and our fellow citizens more broadly,” wrote the Inter-community Coordination Against Antisemitism and Defamation (CICAD) on Twitter Friday.

“This incident is far from trivial because it is reminiscent of the Judensau (literally in German: “Sow of the Jews”) term used to designate metaphorical animal motifs that appeared in the Middle Ages in anti-Jewish Christian art and in anti-Semitic cartoons almost exclusively in Germanic-speaking countries,” said the group in a statement, which added that criminal complaints would be filed.
Oracle to set up regional cloud center in Jerusalem
Tech giant Oracle said Tuesday it will set up a new data center in Jerusalem that will function as a regional cloud provider for Israeli clients.

The data center, which is planned to be functional this year, is part of Oracle’s global plan to set up 38 cloud regions worldwide by the end of 2021. In November, Oracle opened a cloud data center in Dubai.

The data center will be set up together with Bynet Data Communications on its server farm in Jerusalem, spreading across an underground facility of thousands of square meters, over four floors and at a depth of 50 meters (160 feet) below ground level. The center will “be designed with the highest industry standards, and will be one of the most secure in the Middle East,” the company said in a statement.

The center will provide advanced cloud services to companies on the Israeli market from a variety of sectors — the defense industry, government, banks, insurance companies, infrastructure, technology and retail.

“The establishment of the first public cloud in Israel, specifically in Jerusalem, will contribute to the further development of the city’s technology,” said Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion in the statement. “This is truly an IT revolution.”

“Many organizations, including government, security and other enterprise organizations that are subject to laws and regulations find it complicated to migrate to a public cloud because the servers are not located in the country in which they operate,” said Eran Feigenbaum, vice president of Product Development, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “A cloud region located in Israel provides a solution to this challenge, certainly when it comes to a cloud that was built in the first place to meet the most stringent security requirements.”

US tech giants Amazon and Microsoft are also planning to set up public cloud-based regional data centers in Israel, to provide cloud-based services to government ministries and other public entities in Israel.
Futuristic Israeli blood test could replace cancer screening in decade: inventor
Hebrew University scientists have developed a blood test that they say could replace nearly all cancer screenings within a decade.

The technology extracts from blood a trove of information it has picked up from all the organs and tissue it passed during its travels around the body.

The test could drastically reduce cancer cases by catching them early, as regular blood tests are practical in a way that regular screenings are not, said Dr. Ronen Sadeh, of Hebrew University’s Grass Center for Bioengineering, who led the study together with Prof. Nir Friedman.

“Liquid biopsies” that can detect cancer from blood already exist, but they are not yet in widespread use, and crucially only indicate whether there is cancer, without providing a detailed picture of where it is found.

“Our new technology can tell you not only whether you have a tumor, but also its exact location in the body,” Sadeh told The Times of Israel on Monday. “It can also differentiate between similar types of tumors to help doctors make better decisions on how to treat patients.”

He predicted: “Within ten years, we hope it could be a test people do regularly and routinely in order to monitor for cancer, and monitor the health of their organs for other diseases too.”

Sadeh added: “Screening would be easier, more generic and less expensive, so there would be more screening and this would save lives.”
Pizza Hut Israel plans to deliver pizza by drones this summer
The future of pizza delivery, or a pie in the sky? Pizza Hut Israel plans to test delivering pizza by drone starting this summer, according to The Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, deliveries would be made from only one Pizza Hut in the trial phase, in Bnei Dror, a village near Netanya.

Delivery wouldn't be to customers' homes, but to designated drop spots, like parking lots, which would need government approval. From there, drivers would be waiting to pick up the pies and complete the delivery. That would allow the Pizza Hut branch to reach several thousand customers that it doesn't currently service.

Regulatory and safety issues will probably mean that drone deliveries straight to one's front door won't happen anytime soon, the report noted. The drones will only be allowed to fly within a designated area within 100 km of the store, and they will be allowed to carry only 2.5 kg at a time- roughly the equivalent of two pies and a drink, the article said.

Dragontail Systems Ltd., an Australian restaurant tech company, will manage the project, the report noted.
Mandy Patinkin, Lena Dunham to star in a Holocaust film
Homeland star Mandy Patinkin and Girls actress/creator Lena Dunham are teaming up to appear in a movie called Iron Box, about a New York businesswoman who travels with her Holocaust-survivor father to his native Poland to explore their Jewish roots, according to Variety. The movie, which is set just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, is an adaptation of a bestselling novel by Lily Brett called Too Many Men. It is being adapted and will be directed by German filmmaker Julia von Heinz and it is the third in a trilogy of films by von Heinz about the Nazi past and its aftermath.

The first film in this trilogy, Hanna’s Journey, is about a young German woman who comes to Israel to work with people with disabilities and discovers some secrets about what her grandparents did in World War II, and falls in love with an Israeli man. The second, And Tomorrow the Entire World, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in 2020, is about an idealistic student who joins an Antifa collective to fight the fascist menace of neo-Nazism spreading across Germany. It has been chosen to represent Germany in the Oscars’ Best International Feature Film category and is set to begin streaming on Netflix in April.

Von Heinz showed her latest film to her actors and it won them over. Patinkin said in a statement, “I knew instantly I was in the hands of a true filmmaker. She tells a riveting story in every frame and the performances are as truthful as I could ever wish for.”
'Operation Babylon' architect, politician and diplomat Shlomo Hillel dies
Tributes have been pouring in to Shlomo Hillel, who passed away on 8 February 2021 aged 97. Hillel was one of the main drivers behind the aliya of Jews from Iraq. But he also worked to help transport Jews legally or illegally to Israel from Iran, Egypt and Syria and later from Ethiopia, and became an Israeli politician and diplomat.

He was a former chairman of the Knesset and minister, Israel Prize laureate and one of the founders of the Babylon Jewish Heritage Center.

Hillel immigrated to Israel with his family from Iraq in 1934. He studied at the Herzliya Gymnasium and helped found Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael. He set up the Ayalon Institute, an underground factory for the production of bullets 'under the noses' of the British.

Later he went on a mission for the Mossad to Iraq and worked with the members of the fledgling Zionist underground to organize the daring airlift from Baghdad to Israel in 1947, Operation Michaelberg.

After the establishment of the state of Israel, Hillel worked to locate escape routes through Iran for 13, 000 Jews. When the Iraqi government enacted the law in which Jews leaving the country had to give up their Iraqi citizenship, Shlomo Hillel posed as an Englishman and met with the Iraqi Prime Minister as an airline representative to negotiate the airlift of over 100,000 Jews to Israel - known as ′′ Operation Ezra and Nehemiah." He published 'Operation Babylon' to tell the story.

He was continuously involved in the Mossad mission to bring in Jews from Arab and Muslim countries. In 1953, he was sworn in as a member of the Knesset on behalf of the Mapai party and served in seven Knessets. He served as the Israel ambassador to Ivory Coast, Upper Volta, Nigeria and Dahomey as well as the VP of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Middle East Affairs. He served as Minister of Interior and Minister of Police.
1800-year-old coin found by soldier offers look at ancient life in Israel
Some 1,800 years ago, a traveler was making his way through the Carmel area and a coin fell from his pocket. Almost two millennia later, the artifact was found by an Israeli soldier during a training exercise, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday. “This coin joins only 11 such coins from known locations in the National Treasures Department collection,” said Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, head of the IAA’s Numismatics Department. “All the coins were found in northern Israel,from Megiddo and Tzipori to Tiberias and Arbel.”

IDF soldier Ido Gardi with the coin he found in the Carmel area. (Nir Distelfeld/Israel Antiquities Authority)IDF soldier Ido Gardi with the coin he found in the Carmel area. (Nir Distelfeld/Israel Antiquities Authority)

The artifact bears images and text that allowed researchers to precisely identify its origin and dating. One of its sides reads: “of the people of Geva Phillipi,” [civic] year 217 (158-159 CE) together with the image of the Syrian moon god, Men. The other face carries the portrait of Roman emperor Antoninus Pius.

“At the time, the city stood about five kilometers away from a legionary camp stationing some 5,000 soldiers located underneath the city of Megiddo,” Dr. Avner Ecker, a lecturer in classical archaeology at Bar-Ilan University’s Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, told The Jerusalem Post. “Geva Philippi, also known as Geva Parashim, was a polis, a city enjoying a certain level of autonomy and recognition from the Roman government, including the right to mint own coins.

In the second century, the center of Jewish life in the land of Israel had moved from Judea to the Galilee.







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