Wednesday, February 24, 2021

From Ian:

Are ‘Human Rights’ Organizations for Palestinian Rights, or Lawfare Against Israel?
Recently, an Arab Christian gynecologist, Dr. Salamah Qumsiyeh, was brutally attacked in Bethlehem by a man who attempted to slash his wrists (there is a video that documents the injuries the doctor sustained, and it is not for the faint of heart). This was the second attack on a physician in the Palestinian territories within a year. The Internet site Jihad Watch, which is run by a former resident of Beit Jalah (a Christian town neighboring Bethlehem) who was until recently an anti-terrorist investigator for the government, claims the attack was committed by Khadr Odeh from the Aida refugee camp. Odeh is a gang leader with close links to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security apparatus. The motive appears to have been alleged malpractice when the physician treated the assailant’s wife.

Qumsiyeh admitted, in a short interview from his hospital bed, that he knew his attacker, but he did not name him, probably out of fear. Most of his brief remarks were a plea to the PA to take action against his assailant and questioning why the PA does not protect its citizens.

According to Jihad Watch, Odeh and his gang have committed a spate of attacks on Arab Christians in the Bethlehem area. The head of the PA’s Bethlehem District acknowledged Odeh’s involvement in four brutal attacks in the past year, but did not mention that the victims were all Christians. The official PA and PLO line is that all Palestinians are treated equally and that brotherly love prevails between Muslims and Christians in the Bethlehem area and elsewhere.

There are, of course, two sides to every story. The question is whether the many “human rights” organizations covering Israel and the Palestinians — probably the highest density of human rights organizations in the world relative to the size of their beat — investigated these claims.

An Internet search revealed that no organization other than Jihad Watch covered the attack on Qumsiyeh or the allegations of systematic maltreatment of Christians in the Bethlehem area, where Christians are now a minority. The search only revealed “occupation forces” alleged attacks on Christians several years ago.

The Israeli “human rights” organization B’Tselem takes its name from the Biblical verse stating that man is made in God’s image. It is true that the organization’s self-declared aim is to cover Israeli violations in the “Occupied Territories.” Still, B’Tselem must surely acknowledge that Christian Arabs are also made in His image, so the possible violation of their rights should be a matter of concern to the group.
Cabinet Approves Purim Curfew to Head Off COVID-19 Outbreak
Israel’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved a nighttime curfew for the Purim holiday weekend in an attempt to forestall a spike in COVID-19 infections due to parties and gatherings. Starting Thursday night, the eve of Purim, and ending on Sunday morning, the curfew will be in effect from 8:30 pm to 5 am.

During the hours of curfew, members of the public must remain within 1,000 yards of their own homes, and may not be present in others’ residences. Private intercity travel will be banned entirely for the hours of curfew, starting at 8 pm Thursday. Intracity public transportation will be reduced, and occupancy limited to 50 percent. Police will also be setting up roadblocks on intercity arteries and at entrances and exits to cities and towns.

The Cabinet stressed that in addition, no Purim gatherings would be allowed during the daytime that exceed 10 participants indoors or 20 people outdoors.

Following the Cabinet’s approval of a curfew, the Israel Police began gearing up to enforce it, with an eye on planned underground parties.

One high-ranking police official told Israel Hayom that because Purim would be the first holiday after Israel began lifting its third nationwide lockdown, the public was feeling “a sense of freedom,” especially in light of the vaccination campaign, and warned that “it will be hard to enforce the curfew hermetically.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci on US, Israel Vaccine Rollouts in Interview with i24NEWS

Mauritania reportedly among 19-20 countries Israel is planning to give vaccines
The number of countries Israel is planning to provide with coronavirus vaccines in return for diplomatic support has grown, according to Hebrew media reports Wednesday, as top health officials said they weren’t consulted on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to give away doses.

The list now includes 19 countries, the Kan public broadcaster reported, while Army Radio put the number at 20.

Among the countries now reportedly slated to get vaccines is Mauritania, which has no diplomatic ties with Israel.

The northwestern African country became the third member of the Arab League to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in 1999, but cut ties a decade later amid the 2008-2009 Gaza war. US officials told The Times of Israel last month that Mauritania was close to normalizing relations with Israel before president Donald Trump’s term ended.

Other countries named by Kan included Cyprus, Hungary, Guatemala, Czech Republic, Maldives, Ethiopia, Chad, Kenya, Uganda and Guinea. Each country will receive between 1,000 and 5,000 doses of Moderna vaccine.

The broadcaster said it remained unclear how the decision to give doses away was made or how the list of countries, which was passed on by the National Security Council, was drawn up.
WHO Regional Rep. Praises Israel as Vaccination 'Frontrunner'

Germany: Covid-19 Triggers New Wave of Anti-Semitism
German police reported a total of 2,275 anti-Semitic hate crimes — an average of six per day — in 2020, according to preliminary data provided by the federal government. The tally represents a more than 10% increase over the number of anti-Semitic crimes reported in 2019... Police were able to identify 1,367 suspects — but only five individuals were ultimately arrested.

It remains unclear why so few perpetrators have faced legal consequences for their crimes, especially when government officials repeatedly claim that fighting anti-Semitism is a top priority. A reason may be that it is politically incorrect to identify the true suspects.

German police, possibly under orders from political authorities, systematically assign unsolved anti-Semitic hate crimes to the far right.

"Why are the majority of anti-Semitic acts attributed to 'right-wing' German perpetrators? One can see a political motive behind this — growing anti-Semitism can be used politically as a weapon 'against the right.'" — Tichys Einblick.

"There has been criticism from experts for a long time that the allocation of the vast majority of anti-Semitism cases to right-wing extremist perpetrators is incorrect and that other groups of perpetrators, for example from Islamist and other Muslim circles, are given too little attention." — Die Welt.

"Even today, anti-Semitism is not just a phenomenon of the right-wing extremist fringes. It reaches into the middle of our society." — German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass.
Antisemitic Incidents Rose in Switzerland Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, New Reports Show
Fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, antisemitic incidents rose during in 2020 in both the German and French-speaking parts of Switzerland, according to separate reports released this week.

In the German-speaking part, 47 incidents of antisemitic harassment were reported, involving vandalism of Jewish buildings and verbal insults directed at individual Jews, said the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (FSCI) and the Foundation against Racism and Antisemitism (GRA) in their annual report. The report emphasized that, as in other countries, documenting antisemitic incidents depends on the victims filing a report, meaning that the number of actual incidents is likely larger.

German speakers also encountered nearly 150 incidents of antisemitism online, involving antisemitic slogans and images, many of them relating to conspiracy theories about COVID-19. The report argued that the appropriation of Holocaust imagery by coronavirus skeptics — many of whom compare social distancing and public health protocols to the Nazi persecution of the Jews — had to be “vehemently fought against.”

In the French-speaking Switzerland, the number of “serious” antisemitic incidents in 2020 dipped to six from 14 the previous year, according to a separate report from the Community Coordination Against Antisemitism and Defamation (Cicad) organization. Overall, however, the number of antisemitic incidents rose from 114 in 2019 to 147 in 2020. The report noted a disturbing trend of harassing Jews with pork-based meat products, for example leaving packets of bacon outside synagogues and, in one case, inserting pork into a package of kosher chicken delivered to a Jewish family.
Italian-Jewish Auschwitz Survivor Liliana Segre Targeted by Antisemites for Promoting COVID-19 Vaccinations
Liliana Segre — the 90 year-old Holocaust survivor and senator in the Italian parliament — received a slew of antisemitic comments this week after she issued a message encouraging older adults to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19.

Segre received the first of the two-shot vaccine in Milan last week. She urged people who reach her age “to not be afraid and to take the vaccine.”

“I’m not afraid of the vaccine, I’m afraid of the illness,” she said. “So, as a 90-year-old grandmother, I tell my ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ who reach this age to not be afraid and to take the vaccine.”

After Segre’s comments generated responses on social media laden with antisemitic invective, Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese expressed solidarity with her and denounced the “new and unacceptable attack” which he said was marked by “a very dangerous mix of hate, violence and racism.”

This is not the first time in recent years that Segre has been targeted by antisemites. In Nov. 2019, she was placed under police protection after she received hundreds of death threats on social media from far-right fanatics. On that occasion, the cause was Segre’s vocal backing for the creation of a parliamentary committee to combat racist and antisemitic hatred.

Born in Milan in 1930, Segre fled from Nazi persecution in Italy with her father in December 1943.
Algae extract may avert severe COVID deterioration, say Israeli researchers
An algae extract may help prevent the immune overreaction that often causes serious COVID illness, Israeli researchers say.

Their study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Marine Biotechnology on experiments in which the extract reduced the severity of artificially induced cytokine storms in a lab. This is a term used to describe the overproduction of small proteins, called cytokines, which galvanize immune cells to action.

The researchers monitored the production of TNF-α protein — pronounced TNF alpha — one of the key proteins that causes cytokine storms, in different test tubes. Some included just immune system cells and a pathogen that triggers a cytokine storm. Other test tubes also included an extract from a specially modified version of spirulina, an algae that is attracting scholarly interest for a range of possible but as yet unproven health benefits.

“When the algae extract was included in optimum quantities, there was a 70% reduction in the release of TNF-α proteins, which is very encouraging,” said Dr. Asaf Tzachor, a biotechnology researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, and lead author of the study. “This indicates that the algae extract may be used to prevent cytokine storms if given to patients soon after diagnosis.” A facility in Iceland where spirulina used in the new research is grown. (Courtesy of the Interdisciplinary Center)

Clinical trials will start soon, with the aim of producing oral drops, but Tzachor stressed that the research is currently at an early stage. He said that the fact that spirulina is already considered safe in food production and as a dietary supplement — including by America’s Food and Drug Administration — is expected to enable clinical trials to progress quickly.

NBC Needs To Apologize For Their Libelous Portrayal of Hasidic Jews In “Nurses”
Then we find out that the atheist nurse is in fact a Biblical scholar! Super convenient! She quotes some verses from the Book of Samuel about how sometimes human needs need to come before devotion. She’d be making a great point if she only educated herself on the part of Jewish law that tells us that following the best medicine of our times IS part of our devotion.

The nurse’s Biblical knowledge piques the father’s attention, but of course, in order to highlight the most extremist Hasidic behavior that could possibly exist, the father is not able to speak to the nurse directly (even though the teenage son can – we are not given a reason for this). Getting to see the father only speak about, but not to the nurse, is just one more reminder how much Hasidic men hate women and their bones!

Again the nurse tries to help Israel, by saying that she is a messenger of God here to heal the boy. That’s exactly what Orthodox Jews believe! But not these Orthodox Jews. They believe in refusing medical help and that “loyalty to our community is loyalty to God.” The father tries to explain his decision – he wants what’s best for his son – which means protecting his son’s “eternal soul.” How neat would it be if Jewish law allowed the father to protect his son’s body AND soul by using modern medicine – oh wait – it does!

And because this show really, really wants to beat the viewer over the head with those diametrically opposed choices: medicine or prayer, this dichotomy is mentioned one last time and prayer is chosen. Israel gets wheeled out of the hospital, flanked by men in black, the viewer knowing this “poor” Hasid will never properly heal because his crazy religion prevented him from being treated by doctors. The nurse then narrates Israel off to his pathetic future, as her head voice wonders, “What do we do when we can’t save someone? Faced with a battle that can’t be won?”

I was asking myself this same question about the writers and producers of Hollywood. Can we save you from your smug ignorance? Can you learn from your mistakes or will you insist on doing this again and again?

As an aside, another theme of the episode, involving other characters, was kidney donations. If the writers ever bothered to learn about Orthodox Jews, they might discover that they, and specifically Hasidic Jews, are OFF the charts when it comes to donating kidneys to strangers– 15% of all altruistic donors in the U.S. are Orthodox Jews, even though we are only 0.3% of the population. This includes to people outside of the community. Can you imagine if NBC did an episode about that? Why Hasidic Jews might even be likable or seen as human!!

Hasidic Jews are being attacked in the streets with greater frequency every single day. Do better, Hollywood, at not constructing pernicious lies that endanger our community.

HonestReporting: Can SNL Draw Line Between Humor and Hate?
Even as a comedy show, there are lines SNL simply won't cross with respect to minorities or vulnerable groups. But SNL tolerates offensive remarks about Jews in a way that they don’t tolerate racism against other groups.

UCL academics hit back at move to revoke university’s adoption of IHRA
More than a dozen academics at University College London have criticised their colleagues’ calls for the university to cancel its adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

The group of 19 staff members defended the definition in an open letter to the JC on Wednesday, warning it remains “an important safeguard” amid growing harassment and intimidation of Jewish students.

UCL’s academic board voted this month to advise the university’s governing council to find an alternative definition.

The body will “now consider this recommendation and will continue to consult and listen to the views of the entire UCL community on this and other issues,” the university said after the vote.

Academics said this week that the decision was guided by a “deeply flawed report, presented as a balanced investigation, but which reads like a partisan piece of advocacy.”

The letter signatories - all academic board members - said the report consulted just two Jewish students and that while it acknowledged “differences of opinion within the Jewish community”, it ignored broad support for the definition among university Jewish societies across the UK.

“UCL’s governing body is not obliged to accept the academic board’s ill-advised recommendation, and we hope that it will instead maintain its commitment to its Jewish students and demonstrate to potential Jewish applicants that UCL values them and will protect them,” they wrote.

Tufts Student Government Attacks Jewish Member for Defending Israel
Tufts University's student government is moving to impeach a Jewish member who opposed a referendum that blamed Israel for militarizing police in the United States.

Max Price, a junior and member of Tufts Community Union Judiciary, objected to a resolution that erroneously claims the university sent campus police to an Israeli police training program. He has since faced months of harassment and anti-Semitic attacks from his peers, he told the Washington Free Beacon.

Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine, which introduced the resolution to condemn the so-called Deadly Exchange, also filed the complaint to have Price removed from his leadership position.

Lawyers representing Price from the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law on Tuesday demanded Tufts administrators take action to stop the impeachment hearing, which is scheduled for Feb. 28.

Anti-Israel groups like Students for Justice in Palestine have successfully pressured college students to condemn Israel on campuses across the country. The reported number of anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses has soared in recent years, according to an Alums for Campus Fairness study. More than 50 percent of Jewish college students have either witnessed or endured anti-Semitic harassment.

Tufts student leaders passed the measure condemning U.S.-Israeli police exchange programs in December.
President and Jewish Community at Pennsylvania College Condemn ‘Hateful’ Antisemitic Video Involving Student
The president and Jewish center at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania spoke out against an antisemitic video that surfaced in the community, Fox43 reported Tuesday.

“Earlier today, we were made aware of a hateful video that appeared to involve a Dickinson student. This video is not only harmful to our campus community but is an anti-Semitic act. Any act of bias undermines our Dickinson values,” said Dickinson President Margee Ensign and Vice President George Stroud, in a statement.

“As soon as we learned about this video, we took immediate action,” they continued. “The Bias Education Response Team (BERT) met and George Stroud, vice president of student life and dean of students, has reached out to the individual we believe to be involved. The college will be thoroughly investigating this matter and taking appropriate action in accordance with our policies and procedures.”

Details of the nature of the video were not immediately clear. In a statement, Rabbi Marley Weiner — director of the Asbell Center for Jewish Life — said that “a video with antisemitic content” had surfaced Friday at Dickinson, a private liberal arts school with 2,345 undergraduates.

“Too often, acts of bigotry are couched as humorous, as ‘just jokes’ or as ‘satire,’ but the effect is clear to those affected and always very serious. These statements are meant to intimidate, and often cause anxiety and fear. At a time when antisemitic incidents in the United States are at their highest point since 1979, and antisemitic assaults and murders are at an all-time high, we cannot afford to take any incident of bias lightly,” she continued.
Syracuse Tables Resolution to Adopt IHRA Definition, Citing Palestinian Rights
Syracuse University’s Student Association tabled a resolution on Monday to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism after several members expressed concern regarding the definition’s language.

SA president Justine Hastings, along with others, said antisemitism should not be equated with anti-Zionism and worried about how the IHRA definition affects Palestinian rights.

“Due to the widespread critique and the wording used by the IHRA and its implications on limiting academic freedom, and potentially doing harm to Palestinians and questions of Palestinian human rights, I personally did not feel it was SA’s place to endorse this definition,” Hastings said after the meeting, according to the university’s student-run publication The Daily Orange. “The resolution equates antisemitism with anti-Zionism, which is not only false but dangerous for the reasons described above.”

Some members were also concerned about a clause in the bill that denounces the BDS movement.

The bill was introduced last week by SA member Noah Wagner. Hastings and SA members suggested that the bill adopt only certain parts of the IHRA’s definition, but Wagner and the bill’s co-author, Kate Berman, co-president of the Chabad House at Syracuse University, were unwilling to change the language.

“Anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Not denouncing BDS is antisemitism,” said Wagner. “We just have concerns about what is going on around the country, and I think that it is especially important to adopt this and that we have a stance against this.”
Antisemitism Report Claims Arab Students Had ‘Passion for Hitler’
A report on antisemitism in schools in the Swedish multicultural city of Malmo has made the claim that much of the hatred toward Jewish students comes from students of Arab and Middle Eastern backgrounds.

The February report “Schoolyard racism, conspiracy theories and exclusion,” looked specifically at antisemitism and discrimination toward Jewish people in the city’s school system and found that issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict played a large role.

Some Arab-background students, particularly those linked to Palestine, are said to even praise Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in the playground according to testimony from school staff.

“It was Arabic students who had a passion for Hitler and I just assume and conclude that it comes from antisemitism. They had well recently learned about the Holocaust and got to the fact that Hitler was on their side in some way and that he was good in some way because he had killed so many Jews,” the school official said.

According to a report from Nyheter Idag, some member of the school staff were also accused of naming antisemitic remarks and using antisemitic jargon.

Mirjam Katzin, the author of the report, claimed that only 27 of the city’s 63 primary school principals actually sent the survey to their staff and the report even claimed that there were several schools in the city where Jews were simply not welcome.

“Jews stay away from certain schools because they do not feel safe going to certain schools. There is a list of schools that are okay for Jews and not. Actually, all high schools are blacklisted except a few,” an unnamed student said.

Judge rules ‘rogue journalism’ article attack on John Ware over BBC Panorama programme was 'clearly defamatory'
A High Court judge has ruled that a lengthy article published on the Press Gang website which suggested the journalist John Ware had engaged in a “a piece of rogue journalism” when he made the BBC Panorama documentary on Labour’s antisemitism crisis was “clearly defamatory at common law”.

In a judgment handed down on Wednesday, Justice Saini said the specific allegations, made in a 16-page pamphlet published by the website editor Paddy French, were “serious matters going to his reputation.”

In the trial of the preliminary issues involved in Mr Ware’s libel claim, Justice Sain also said he agreed with the BBC journalist’s submission “that readers did not conclude that he was a rogue journalist because he produced a one-sided television programme, they concluded that he was a rogue journalist because that is what the article told them he was.”

Lawyers for Mr French argued that the statements in his article should be recognisable as comment rather than as matters of fact.

But the judge noted that “the accusation of ‘rogue journalism’ is in any event accepted by Mr French as being defamatory.”

Gaps in BBC News prisoner exchange report
Late on February 18th (UK time) the BBC News website published a short report headlined “Prisoner exchange after Israeli woman enters Syria” on its ‘Middle East’ page.

“Israel and Syria have carried out a prisoner exchange with Russian mediation after an Israeli woman crossed the border and was detained.

Two shepherds held in Israel were returned, the Israeli military announced on Thursday.”

Readers were told nothing more about those ‘shepherds’ or the fact that they were “held in Israel” because they had crossed the border in the opposite direction.

Neither were readers given any information concerning the Syrian regime’s original demand for the release of two different people.

“Syrian state media announced on Wednesday: “The exchange is taking place through Russian mediation to liberate the Syrians Nihal Al-Maqt and Dhiyab Qahmuz, the Syrian prisoner from the occupied Syrian Golan, in an exchange during which a young Israeli woman who entered the Syrian territories by mistake will be released.”

The Irish Times on Khirbet Humsah a conclusion in search of evidence.
However, as our CAMERA colleagues have previously documented, the description of the Khirbet Humsa encampment – a handful of EU funded tents and pens in Area C, designated by the Olso Accords as under Israeli civilian and military control, and used as an IDF military training ground since 1972, as a “village” is extraordinarily misleading.

A 2019 aerial photo of the site by the NGO Regavim shows a largely barren land, with two tiny clusters of structures.

Footage from a 2016 B’Tselem video on Khirbet Humsa likewise shows extremely few structures, hardly enough to suggest a “village” or “community”.

A 2011 Israel’s High Court ruling referred to aerial photographs which the court said showed that the structures on the site appeared to indicate temporary, seasonal residences and not permanent full-time homes, nor anything resembling a permanent “community” or “village”.

This is not a semantic argument. When Irish Times readers see the words “community” and “village”, they’re likely to falsely conclude that Israel ‘destroyed’ a built-up established town where families had lived for generations – rather than simply having removed a squatters’ encampment.
Jewish Youth in Spain Urge Madrid University to Expel Neo-Nazi Activist Who Delivered Antisemitic Rant at Far Right Rally
Jewish students in Spain this week demanded the expulsion from a Madrid university of a neo-Nazi activist who delivered a viciously antisemitic speech at a rally earlier this month.

The Federation of Jewish Youth in Spain (FEJJE), supported by the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), urged the Universidad Complutense de Madrid to expel the activist, Isabel Medina Peralta, for her speech to a Feb. 13 rally. At the event, 300 neo-Nazis marched as a tribute to the Blue Division — Spanish volunteers who fought alongside the Nazis in World War II.

Peralta made a number of incendiary remarks, asserting that “the enemy will always be the same, although with different masks: the Jew!” She also said that “nothing could be truer than this statement: the Jew is the guilty one, the Jew is the guilty one and the Blue Division fought against it,” while claiming “Communism is a Jewish invention designed to set workers in confrontation against each other.”

In an open letter to the university’s dean, Carlos Goyache, the Jewish youth organizations declared themselves “outraged and horrified by the virulently antisemitic acts that took place in Madrid.”

“We, young people, students, Jews, Spaniards and Europeans, fight every day for universities to be safe and inclusive, free of hate, discrimination and antisemitism,” the letter stated. “That is why we call on the Universidad Complutense de Madrid to immediately expel Isabel Medina from its student body.”
Advocating Israel’s Destruction Is Antisemitic, Say Clear Majority of French Voters in New Survey
A growing number of French voters now perceive a clear connection between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, according to a new survey published by CRIF, the representative body of Jews in France.

Asked whether it was possible to support the destruction of the State of Israel without being antisemitic, a full 63 percent of respondents answered that it was not. Of these, 29 percent were adamant that advocating Israel’s destruction was always antisemitic, while 34 percent said this was true most of the time.

In another question concerning the definition of “anti-Zionism,” 43 percent understood the term as meaning support for Israel’s elimination as a sovereign, independent state, while another 38 percent said they weren’t sure. Only 19 percent believed that anti-Zionism was the same as criticizing the policies of successive Israeli governments.

And while 83 percent agreed that it was entirely possible to criticize Israeli government policy without being antisemitic, 61 percent of respondents concurred that in the present day, many antisemites “are trying to make their ideas respectable by attacking Israel rather than the Jews.”

Conducted by the IPSOS polling organization on behalf of CRIF, the survey questioned 1,000 French voters aged 18 and above on their perceptions of antisemitism in France today. Commissioned to mark the 15th anniversary of the horrific murder of Ilan Halimi, a young French Jewish man, at the hands of an antisemitic criminal gang known as “The Barbarians,” the survey probed the French public’s awareness of Halimi’s ordeal alongside its view of broader issues relating to anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

By bringing AI to surgeries, startup hopes to close knowledge gaps
Artificial intelligence is changing the world across a multitude of fields, and one startup is trying to use it for situations that require expert precision and delicacy — inside the operating room.

Theator, a startup based in Palo Alto, California with an R&D site in Tel Aviv, aims to bring AI to surgery. Earlier this month, the company announced that it had raised $15.5 million in a Series A funding round to grow what it calls its “surgical intelligence” platform. To date, Theator has raised $18.5 million.

The idea behind surgical intelligence is to power a “next-generation” operating room using AI and computer vision to extract and analyze key moments during surgery, giving surgeons significant insight into both their own operations and those of their colleagues.

Most patients fear surgery, but it is a critical and often unavoidable aspect of treatment. During an average 85-year lifespan, it’s estimated that an average American will undergo more than nine surgeries.

Theator was co-founded in 2018 by Dotan Asselman and Tamir Wolf. Wolf, with a background in health-tech, was hit by the realization that surgery is not always safe and affordable, and can be dramatically less successful depending where patients live. Even within a single city, one hospital can have far better resources than another down the street.

Wolf recalled being disappointed to find such inequities in the health sector in this day and age.
Mayim Bialik breaks down Purim, explains why it is 'lit'
In her latest episode of the Youtube show You Know How I Know on the Jewish Learning channel, Mayim Bialik breaks down the Jewish holiday of Purim, explaining the story of the holiday and mentioning its traditions, which she refers to as "lit."

"Drinking, cross-dressing, partying all night, letting it all hang out – oh yes friends, it is Purim," says Bialik, explaining why she is excited about the upcoming Jewish celebration.

Bialik poked fun at US public perception of many Jewish holidays, saying that people's reactions to her videos about Jewish holidays often sound something like: "I don't think fasting all day and sitting on the floor and crying sounds fun," but explaining that Purim is very different.

"It's the holiday of masks, and no, not those kinds of masks 2021," says Bialik. She goes on to say that Purim is a time when "we examine the figurative masks that we wear to make it through the day, the job, the patriarchy, the world."

Genesis Prize Foundation will honor Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
The Genesis Prize Foundation announced on Wednesday plans to honor Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the late prominent scholar, theologian and philosopher.

The former chief rabbi of the UK and Commonwealth (1991-2013) died on November 7, 2020, three weeks before the conclusion of the public voting for the 2021 Genesis Prize laureate. Sacks was one of the seven finalists for the award. On February 10, director, producer, and philanthropist Steven Spielberg was announced as this year’s recipient of the prize.

The foundation plans to honor the life and impact of this extraordinary Jewish leader at an event in London (COVID restrictions permitting) on November 14, shortly after the first anniversary of his death. Many UK luminaries and distinguished leaders of the global Jewish community are expected to participate in the event.

As part of the event, the foundation will produce a documentary about the life and impact of Sacks and is also currently in discussions with the Rabbi Sacks Legacy Trust about supporting other significant initiatives aimed at celebrating and sustaining his legacy.

“Like so many people around the world, we were immensely saddened by the untimely passing of Rabbi Sacks,” said Stan Polovets, co-founder and chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation. “No one in the world was as adept at explaining Judaism to both Jews and non-Jews as Lord Sacks, always emphasizing the religion’s focus on justice, morality and tolerance. We plan to honor this great Jewish voice by paying tribute to his life’s work and supporting the preservation of his intellectual and spiritual legacy, to ensure it continues to live on for future generations.”


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