Saturday, March 06, 2021

From Ian:

Security Guards at French Jewish School Praised for Apprehending Suspected Knife Attacker
Jewish organizations warmly praised security guards at a Jewish school in the city of Marseille in southern France after they prevented a man from engaging in a possible knife attack on Friday.

“Attempted knife attack in a kosher grocery store near a Jewish school in Marseille,” tweeted CRIF, the representative organization of French Jews. “CRIF salutes the action of the school security guards and the police who prevented a new tragedy.”

Similar expressions of gratitude came from the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee and the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Reports of Friday morning’s incident in the French press were contradictory, with Le Figaro quoting an unnamed police source urging caution, as the basic facts — among them whether the alleged assailant even entered the kosher store — were still to be established.

Other reports said that a man in his 60s with a prior criminal record had attempted to enter the Yavne Jewish School armed with a kitchen knife. He was turned away by security guards, who then apprehended him when he allegedly tried to enter the kosher store. Police officers were called to the scene and arrested the man.
‘Where Are the Jews?’: As Pope Visits Birthplace of Abraham, Chronicler of Mosul Calls for ‘Recognition’ of Jewish Heritage
On Friday, Pope Francis began an historic three-day visit to Iraq, his first foreign trip since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and a show of support to the country’s fraught Christian communities.

In Mosul, once a flourishing multi-faith metropolis, the Pope will visit churches ravaged by the Islamic State, which occupied the city from 2014 to 2017 and displaced hundreds of thousands of residents.

Omar Mohammed — an historian who was an essential chronicler of the occupation through his anonymous website “Mosul Eye” — told The Algemeiner that the visit would be a sign of encouragement to the handful of Christian families still living there.

“The pope — the highest authority in the Catholic Church — will pray inside Mosul; not from Rome praying for them, he will be among them,” said Mohammed, in an interview Thursday.

But he also hoped that the papal visit would pressure the Iraqi government to do more to recognize and protect Iraq’s non-Muslim heritage — including its once-thriving Jewish community, which has been all but stamped out.

“When I speak about the constitution of Iraq, there is almost no recognition of the non-Muslim societies,” he said, noting that the country’s laws are founded in Islamic practice. “This is completely against the meaning of diversity and inclusion. How could you possibly want the Yazidis and the Christians to accept to be living under a constitution that doesn’t recognize them?”

Iraq’s second biggest city, Mosul has historically been home to populations of Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Circassians and other communities, in addition to the Sunni majority. After the Islamic State overtook the city in 2014, Mohammed was one of the few able to tell the world about the group’s atrocities, publishing work that was critical for journalists and international organizations.

The Jewish community in Iraq dates back over 2,500 years, and numbered over 150,000 in 1947. Anti-Jewish riots and persecution drove many to flee their homes after the establishment of Israel, with over 120,000 emigrating to the Jewish state in the early 1950s.
Iranian Jewish leader tells US rabbi community freely observes its religion
Contrary to a commonly held belief, Jews living in Iran find it easier to practice their religion today than they did prior to the Islamic Revolution of 1979, according to a longtime leader of the Jewish community in Tehran.

Speaking live via Zoom on Sunday — Shushan Purim — from the land of Queen Esther and the Megillah, Arash Abaie, a civil engineer and prominent Jewish educator, cantor, Torah reader and scholar, explained why he believes Jews living in the country have intensified their religious observance over the past four decades.

Abaie said the Islamic Republic, with its deep commitment to religious law, interacts best with citizens, including Christians and Jews, who are themselves observant. He said Muslims respect Jews who pray regularly, fast, abstain from certain foods and believe in the Messiah.

“They look for commonalities” with Islam, he said, “and this leads to peaceful existence.”

The rare interview, conducted by Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, was sponsored by Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future, where Schacter is a senior scholar. He is also a university professor of Jewish history and thought at Y.U.

The rabbi explained at the outset that he met Abaie at an international conference 18 years ago in Sweden sponsored by the US-based Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. Schacter was impressed with Abaie’s deep knowledge of Jewish texts, saying that “in a class I was giving on Talmud, his knowledge of even the most obscure references I made was outstanding.”

Ben-Dror Yemini: Israel cannot repeat past mistakes with ICC
The ICC investigation is expected to focus on three subjects:
1. The 2014 Gaza war and the events that led up to it, primarily the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers a few days beforehand.
2. The protests on the Gaza border that began on March 30, 2018. During these protests, the Palestinians claim, the IDF fired indiscriminately at peaceful civilians. In practice, these demonstrations have been instigated by Hamas and Israel will have no difficulty in proving that most of those who died during these protests were terrorist operatives.
3. Israel's settlements in the Palestinian territories. This is the one for which Israel’s defense might falter somewhat. While Israel has a battery of international legal experts who can prove nothing illegal was done in this regard, the verdicts of the High Court of Justice in Jerusalem might not be enough to placate the tribunal at The Hague.

There are also several elements within Israel that may prove to be a nuisance during the investigation. These include the B'Tselem organization, which claimed that "Hamas is not responsible and can not be held responsible for the damage that Israel caused the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.”

Another is the "Breaking the Silence” organization. This organization was the subject of a lawsuit filed by several soldiers who took part in the 2014 war and who accuse it of spreading false testimonies that they took part in the unlawful shooting and subsequent live burial of an innocent Palestinian man.

And while this claim has been debunked by the soldiers’ body cams, such "testimonies" from Israeli organizations may hamper the state’s ability to defend itself.

Still, it seems that Israel would have no problem rebutting any allegations of war crimes. If it presents its evidence that is, for Israel does not recognize ICC jurisdiction and is not a signatory to the Rome Statute.

This led to Israel’s response being ignored when in 2009 the United Nations initiated the Goldstone investigation into alleged war crimes during the 2008-2009 Gaza war.

One can only that hope Israel does not make the same mistake again.
Israel’s dilemma: To work with ICC war crimes probe or not?
Israel faces a dilemma: should it argue its case to International Criminal Court investigators looking into alleged war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, or refuse to cooperate?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a vocal critic of the ICC, declared Israel was “under attack” after prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced Wednesday she was opening a probe into the actions of all sides in the 2014 Gaza conflict.

“We will speak the truth in every forum, in every country, on every stage until this outrageous decision is reversed and becomes null and void,” he said.

The ICC is the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal and was set up in 2002 to try the planet’s worst crimes where local courts are unwilling or unable to step in.

It does not try states, but top leaders or warlords alleged to have given the orders. Even presidents have been hauled before the court in The Hague.

So in theory it might be possible that Netanyahu or Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who led the Israel Defense Forces during the 2014 conflict facing Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers, could be targeted in the ICC investigation.

Some countries have bridled at moves to investigate top national leaders allegedly behind war crimes.
ICC probe expected to advance in coming weeks; Israel to decide if cooperating
The International Criminal Court will send Jerusalem a letter next week formally detailing the scope of its war crimes investigation against Israel and the Palestinians, Channel 13 reported Friday.

Israel will then have 30 days to respond, the report said, adding that Jerusalem is leaning toward doing so after largely refusing to cooperate with The Hague-based international court until now. However, Israel is expected to use its response as an opportunity to once again voice the argument that the ICC has no jurisdiction to hear the case.

The hope in Israel is that its argument over jurisdiction will succeed in delaying the case until outgoing ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is replaced in June by British lawmaker Karim Khan, whom Jerusalem hopes may be less hostile or may even cancel the probe.

A number of officials told Channel 13 that they’re concerned the ICC may already start issuing arrest warrants against former IDF officers in the coming months.

Consequently, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz have begun reaching out to counterparts throughout Europe to galvanize support against the case, the Kan public broadcaster reported. Netanyahu and Gantz have been stressing in those calls that the investigation is biased against Israel, which has an independent legal system capable of prosecuting any alleged crimes.
Meretz head sparks uproar by saying ICC probe against Israel legitimate
The chairman of the left-wing Meretz party said Saturday that while he was pained by the International Criminal Court’s opening of a war crimes probe against Israel, “there were grounds for the decision,” sparking immediate uproar from other lawmakers, mostly on the right.

“People tell us, ‘You want Israel to be brought before the Hague.’ I don’t want Israel to be brought before the Hague… But Israel also has responsibility,” Nitzan Horowitz said in a Channel 13 interview.

“I say this with great sadness, there were grounds for the decision. I don’t want Israel to face these situations… but Israel needs to ask itself what it needs to do to prevent that,” he added, urging the government to cooperate with the Hague-based international court — something it has not done thus far.

Bensouda announced on Wednesday that she was opening an investigation into actions committed by Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem since 2014.

Bensouda indicated in 2019 that a criminal investigation would likely focus on the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, Israeli settlement policy, and the 2018 Great March of Return protests, a series of violent demonstrations along Gaza’s border with Israel that left dozens of Palestinians dead.

Horowitz argued that Israel had brought the decision upon itself by refusing to enter negotiations with the Palestinians and “continuing to build in the settlements as if there is no tomorrow.”
State Department Nominee Contributed to Book Claiming ‘Israel Lobby’ Controls Politics
U.S. President Joe Biden’s nominee for a leading position in the U.S. State Department previously worked on a book that accused the “Israel lobby” of influencing American politics and was employed by a magazine that publishes anti-Semitic content.

Uzra Zeya has been nominated as undersecretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights in the State Department. In 1989 and 1990, she worked for the magazine Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and its publishing group, American Educational Trust.

The Washington Report has questioned the loyalty American Jews have to the United States; published accusations against the “Jewish lobby”; claimed American Jews control the media; and accused the Mossad of perpetrating the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy and the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

While a magazine staff member, Zeya compiled research for a book arguing that “the Israel lobby has subverted the American political process to take control of U.S. Middle East policy” through a secret network of “dirty money” coming from political action committees that bribe and pressure congressional candidates into supporting pro-Israel policies, reported the Washington Free Beacon.

For her work, Zeya is credited in the acknowledgments section of the American Educational Trust’s 1990 book Stealth PACs: How Israel’s American Lobby Took Control of U.S. Middle East Policy.
Biden Hires Qatari Agent as Senior Adviser
President Joe Biden hired a new senior adviser on Friday who formerly lobbied on behalf of Qatar, the oil-rich Arab nation that has close ties to Iran and is a central hub for terrorism financing.

The White House announced on Friday evening that Erin Pelton is set to join the administration as a special assistant to Biden and a senior adviser on domestic policy issues. Pelton, a onetime foreign service officer and flak during the Obama administration, later advocated on behalf of foreign governments, including Qatar, according to public filings with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which mandates that Americans who are lobbying for foreign governments disclose their work.

Pelton’s work for Qatar is likely to raise questions about the revolving door between the Biden White House and lobbying firms that represent a host of foreign governments. Pelton is just the latest Biden administration official to have questionable ties to adversarial regimes. Biden’s Asia policy czar, Kurt Campbell, for instance, helped found a group that critics say is "heavily influenced by the CCP." The administration’s potential pick to lead NASA, former senator Bill Nelson, invested in a Chinese telecom company that is blacklisted by the Pentagon.

Pelton lobbied on behalf of the Qatari embassy in 2018, when she was working for Mercury Public Affairs, a top lobbying shop in Washington, D.C., according to the Justice Department filings.

Qatar has spent billions of dollars lobbying American politicians and influencers. The country funds prominent think tanks, such as the Brookings Institution, and was alleged last year to have funded hack attacks on some 1,500 individuals, including political operatives based in Washington, D.C. A 2020 lawsuit alleged that Qatar financed terror attacks that killed Americans.

Pfizer CEO's Israel visit cancelled because he is not fully vaccinated
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has cancelled his expected visit to Israel after it turned out he has not been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, N12 reported Friday.

According to the channel, Bourla, as well as omembers of the delegation that was meant to accompany him during his visit, have not received the second dose of the vaccine.

As a result, it was decided to delay the visit by several days, which also posed a logistic challenge because of the upcoming Israeli elections.

Bourla said in December that he has not yet received the vaccine yet because he does not want to "cut in line," and would wait until his age group is next in line for getting vaccinated. As such, he has received the first dose, but not the second one yet.

Pfizer did not respond to The Jerusalem Post's request for comment.

"We continue to be interested in visiting Israel and meeting with decision-makers," a Pfizer spokesperson told N12. "The visit to Israel will probably be scheduled toward the end of spring."
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians fume over PA decree targeting civil society groups
The Palestinian Authority is facing criticism for issuing a decree that allows it to tighten its grip on Palestinian civil society organizations, effectively turning them into government-controlled departments.

The decree was published on March 2, one week after it was secretly approved by the PA government.

Palestinian civil society organizations said they learned about the decree only when it was published in the PA’s official gazette.

Critics described the decree as a vicious assault on public freedoms ahead of the Palestinian general elections.

The new decree obligates civil society organizations to present to the PA government an annual action plan and estimated budget for the new fiscal year.

“This means that these groups will be working for Palestinian ministries and not in accordance with their own vision, mission, goals or programs,” several Palestinian society organizations said in a joint statement.

“In other words, the civil society organizations will be treated as government departments of ministries, to whom they will report. This undermines the professionalism, independence and freedom of civic activity, including the organizations’ monitoring role over the performance of the executive authority and their objective to hold this authority accountable for its violations.”
Hero of the Month: M. Zuhdi Jasser
The Obama Administration handed hundreds of billions of dollars to the theocrats as well as an insurance of security, as well as a future with a nuclear bomb. These, along with thousands of troops and the empowerment of the terror group Hizballah, gave Iran's leaders a green light to spread terror into Syria.

Some may appropriately say that no real democracies evolved quickly [in the "Arab Spring"] after centuries of tyranny. In fact, there may be a need for multiple revolutions before democracy can take hold. Perhaps, though, there can be a more methodical transition towards modernity with steady benchmarks of reform and liberalization, as we have seen done so successfully with the 2020 Middle East agreements.

The challenge, as always, will be in keeping it from being too slow to the point of fiction—which has been "Plan A" for the tyrants across the Middle East since World War II. They lie to the West about reforms in order to placate each new administration with a five- or ten-year plan while transitions in power in the West along with our short-term, societal "attention deficit disorder" give them a pass.

Regardless of whether a state's approach is top-down or bottom-up, if its raison d'être is based in Islam and the primacy of Islamic law rather than on individual rights and the protection of minorities, as in secular liberal democracies, it will always be anti-freedom and illiberal.

We will have to watch very closely if there will be new interpretations from the pulpits of the grand mosque in Mecca, or mosques in Medina and across the country. The fact that we heard this coming from the pulpits in the Emirates and Bahrain is what made the Abraham Accords a reality to believe rather than doubt.

As for Biden's foreign policy, he is already signaling that the Pentagon will focus on diplomacy first and the military second. So, the Pentagon is a branch of the State Department? If that is not "leading from behind 3.0", I don't know what is. Sources say he wants to "de-emphasize the military" and lift up diplomacy. If that vision is by openly weakening our defense programming, that will signal a green light actually to usher in more war, not less. Peace through weakness doesn't work against thugs like Khamenei and Assad across the planet. We are thus likely to see a re-emergence of Islamist belligerence and a testing of the waters as they try to make gains against Biden's apparent appeasement strategy.

It is my hope and prayer that our work will contribute not to what the Islamists want—a revivalism of the old—but rather a genuine reform towards a Western model of Islam based in infinite diversity of thought and protection of individual inquiry and their universal human rights, rather than the oppressive collective and the proverbial Islamic state.
Reports: Iraq Releasing Billions in Iranian Frozen Assets with US Approval
Seyed Hamid Hosseini, Secretary-General of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce, on Friday announced the release of Iran’s frozen assets in Iraq.

Hosseini said in a February 2 interview to the state-run Iranian newspaper Iran that some of the Iraqi debts to Iran for the export of electricity and gas had been paid, but not in full. He revealed that some of the Iraqi debt was paid to private Iranian companies that operate in Iraq and are able to use Iraqi dinars in their operations. Hosseini added that an additional part of Iraq’s debt to Iran’s national gas company would be paid through barter of Iraqi goods.

But according to Tehran Times, Hosseini said on Friday that Iraq, which is partially under US military control, has begun repaying its energy debts to Iran and part of the dues has been settled – and part of it will be paid in imported basic goods to Iran.

According to IRNA, a shipment of corn was recently imported to Iran through Iraq and was paid for by the funds allocated to repaying the energy debt, Hosseini said. Iraq’s corn production (365 thousand metric tons in 2020) is not sufficient to support export. But there may be a country that produced 360 billion metric tons of corn in 2020 that could possibly spare some…

Iraq owes Iran more than $6 billion for electricity and gas imports, of which $3 billion is claimed to be blocked and inaccessible in the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI). Now the funds are becoming available, Iran is boasting.

State Dept. spokesperson Ned Price was asked on Friday by a reporter: “According to Iranian news reports citing one Iranian official, the US Government agreed to release frozen Iranian assets in the Commercial Bank of Iraq. […] Do you confirm or deny those reports?
Iran Reports Thwarted Plane Hijacking Plot
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) reported on Friday a thwarted plane hijacking plot, as cited by the Associated Press.

The purported attack targeting a passenger jet took place on Thursday, the IRGC said on its website.

The jet in question — an Iran Air Fokker 100 on a flight from Ahvaz in the south to Mashhad, in the country’s northwest, made an emergency landing in the city of Isfahan, the Guards said.

Iran did not identify the purported hijacker but said the attacker was trying to set the jet for the southern Persian Gulf shoreline — a wording that can refer to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
100+ California Scholars Expose New Round of False Claims by Sponsors of Ethnic Studies
More than 100 scholars on Thursday pushed back on a new round of false claims by activists trying to ram through California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) at all costs. The final draft of the model curriculum is expected to be released to the public shortly, and the State Board of Education is expected to vote on it by mid-March.

“We are 114 university scholars and academics with decades of research experience, who are deeply concerned that empirically unsubstantiated claims of the educational benefits of ethnic studies curricula are being used to advance the political goals of some activist-educators rather than what is best for California students,” wrote the scholars. “With so much at stake for California students and taxpayers, the standards for determining what research should constitute evidence of the educational benefits of ethnic studies should be even more stringent, not less, as the petitioners argue.”

The petition in question was organized by Christine Sleeter, the author of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum’s (ESMC) central claim that ethnic studies courses result in “positive academic and social outcomes for students.” The petition aims to defend her research, which serves as the rationale behind the development of ESMC and has recently come under serious scrutiny. A January analysis by 35 academics found grave flaws and shortcomings in Sleeter’s research, and the handful of other studies used to support Sleeter’s bold claims, and concluded none of the studies provide sufficient evidence to substantiate these claims.

“What is true, however, is that there is considerable evidence that the petitioners are driven by an ideological agenda to promote Critical Ethnic Studies,” wrote the scholars, pointing out that Sleeter’s own petition provides even further evidence “that the ESMC’s bold claims are not at all substantiated by empirical research and should be omitted from the curriculum.” “[A]s you deliberate over whether or not to approve the third draft of the model curriculum, we urge you to resist political pressure from educator-activists who continue to tout wholly unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of ethnic studies, but appear to be more concerned with promoting their ideological agendas than educating our students.”

Portugal closer to embracing IHRA definition of anti-Semitism after incident
Portuguese legislators were set to meet Wednesday to discuss the possible adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working definition of anti-Semitism after Rodrigo Sousa Castro, one of the leaders of the 1974 Portuguese Revolution, sparked a nationwide controversy with a grossly anti-Semitic tweet.

"The Jews, as they dominate global finance, they bought and have the vaccines they wanted. It's a kind of historical revenge. And I won't say more until the Zionist bulldogs jump," the tweet said.

Castro's post drew criticism from Jewish communities and organizations, as well as Portuguese parliamentarians.

Telmo Correia, a member of Portugal's CDS People's Party, condemned Castro and called on the parliament to take action against "the worrisome rise in anti-Semitism," noting that social media was being used "to incite hatred against the Jewish people."

Catarina Ferreira, a member of Portugal's Social Democratic Party, called on the government to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

"The country's current definition is very broad, and we are interested in refining it," Ferreira told Israel Hayom. "As soon as we came across Castro's post, we knew we had to take action. We will certainly not tolerate hate speech in any form."
Australia: Swastikas to be banned?
THE public display of the swastika and other Nazi images could soon be banned and deemed a criminal offence in Victoria following recommendations delivered in a report by a state parliamentary committee on Wednesday.

The bi-partisan committee – consisting of seven parliamentarians including Caulfield MP David Southwick – stated, “[It is] important to send a clear message to the community that Nazi symbolism is not acceptable in any form and has wide-ranging, negative societal impacts.

“It recommends that the Victorian government establish a criminal offence that prohibits the display of symbols of Nazi ideology, including the Nazi swastika, with considered exceptions to the law,” the report read.

This adoption of the recommendation into law would see strengthened powers for Victoria Police, allowing for the immediate removal of Nazi symbols that are on deliberate display to vilify targeted communities.

While 90-year-old Melbourne Holocaust survivor Irma Hanner welcomed the development, she lamented, “They should have done it a long time ago.”

Calling the display of Nazi symbols “disgusting”, Hanner told The AJN, “It makes me very upset.”

Born in Germany, Hanner survived Theresienstadt, and narrowly avoided a transfer to Auschwitz due to sheer “luck”.

Having read of the recent neo-Nazi gathering in the Grampians, she said, “I couldn’t sleep all night … we live in a very dangerous time.”
In Eastern Europe, historical synagogues are sold for the price of a used car
On a visit to the city of Slonim in Belarus, Ilona Reeves fell in love with a 380-year-old dilapidated building that used to house one of the area’s largest and oldest synagogues.

Reeves, a 40-year-old author who lives in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, is a Christian, like virtually everyone who lives in the country. And the synagogue hadn’t been operational since before the Holocaust, when three quarters of Slonim residents were Jewish. Virtually all were murdered by the Nazis.

Still, Reeves looked at the structure, which had fallen into disrepair after years of use as shops, and saw something she wanted to save.

“Standing outside the Great Synagogue of Slonim, I felt how small I am, we all are, in the face of such architectural monuments and traditions they represent,” she said.

With money that she’d freed up by selling her apartment in Minsk — partly to buy the synagogue — Reeves bought the synagogue in December for about $10,000 from the Slonim municipality on the promise that she restore it. She was the sole bidder.

The Slonim synagogue is just one of a number of similar structures to hit the market across Eastern Europe in recent years, and Reeves is among a small group of people who have committed to their upkeep.
The rise and rise of AR in Israel: why AR is thriving in Startup Nation
Israel may be known as the startup nation, but after a series of acquisitions in the field of augmented reality, could the world’s most compact tech hub soon gain the recognition it deserves as a driving force for innovation?

Despite the looming presence of COVID-19, Israeli startups have raised record levels of funding and played a pivotal role in the development of transformative technology – particularly in when it comes to augmented reality and mixed reality.

Let’s explore Israel’s thriving relationship with AR and look back on a massive 2020 where the startup nation overcame the drawbacks of the pandemic to continue leading the world in the development of new technologies: Making Strides in Healthcare

Using the term ‘startup nation’ to describe Israel’s commitment towards innovation may feel appropriate, but with growing use cases of Israeli technology appearing, we may soon need to think of a new description that shows the country is doing so much more than simply creating concepts.

In a global first, doctors in northern Israel in January 2021 used augmented reality and 3D technology to perform eye socket surgery on a young patient.

Ahead of the surgery at the Galilee Medical Center, doctors rendered a 3D model of the patient’s skull before designing and printing a titanium plate that conforms to his CT imaging.

During the surgery itself, one of the surgeons wore Microsoft HoloLens AR glasses which worked to project the software model of the skull and plate onto the patient’s head. Doing this enabled him to put the real-life plate in its place with a perfect overlap of the 3D model.
Lumenis sells surgical business to US firm Boston Scientific for $1.1 billion
Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA) and Israel-based Lumenis said Wednesday they have entered into a definitive agreement to sell the surgical business arm of Lumenis to US medical devices maker Boston Scientific for $1.07 billion.

The surgical business division of the Yokne’am, Israel-based firm includes its laser and fiber products for minimally invasive surgical procedures in urology and ear, nose and throat (ENT) procedures.

The aesthetics and ophthalmology division of Lumenis will continue to be owned by BPEA, the companies said in a statement. BPEA plans to reinvest part of the proceeds of the deal into the Israeli division it will continue to hold, to accelerate growth, the companies said in a statement.

BPEA acquired Lumenis, a maker of minimally invasive clinical devices for aesthetics, urology and ophthalmology, from XIO Group in November 2019, in a deal that valued all the units of the Israeli firm at $1 billion.

Lumenis, founded in 1973, has developed and commercialized innovative energy-based technologies, including laser, intense pulsed light (IPL) and radio-frequency (RF). Some 30 years ago the firm developed the world’s first holmium surgical laser to blast urinary stones located in the kidneys, bladder or in between. It recently came up with a new technology, called Moses, that the Israeli company says is even more effective than its original urology lasers, and is considered a game-changer.
Israeli laser surgery tech company sells for $1.07 b.
Israeli-based Lumenis agreed to sell its Luminess Surgical Business to Boston Scientific, Lumenis announced on Thursday. The Lumenis Surgical Business includes all of the company's proprietary laser and fibers solutions used for minimally-invasive surgery in urology, as well as ear, nose and throat (ENT) procedures.

The deal is valued at $1.07 billion, pending closing adjustments.

“This acquisition is a tremendous vote of confidence in Lumenis and our global teams,” said CEO of Lumenis Tzipi Ozer-Armon. “In recent years, we have developed and introduced multiple groundbreaking technological solutions that have redefined our industry and opened entirely new market segments.

"The strong, global backbone of Boston Scientific will reinforce the Surgical team’s ability to continue delivering market-defining innovation, while enabling these solutions to reach many more millions of patients worldwide," Ozer-Armon added. "For Lumenis, this transaction will enable heightened focus on our Aesthetics and Vision customers and increased investment in innovative solutions, as we look to build upon our strong position and accelerate our growth in each of these domains.”

Lumenis recently released its MOSES 2.0 laser technology system, which has helped free up hospital beds amid the coronavirus pandemic and ease the burden of healthcare facilities across the world.
Ancient foodies: Study reveals dietary preferences of Jordan Valley early humans
It’s not quite gefilte fish or foie gras — but it’s close.

According to new research in Israel and the United States, ancient humans around the Sea of Galilee could have opted for a varied diet of fish and birds, but mostly went for carp and geese.

The study by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the University of Connecticut shows evidence that thousands of years ago humans cultivated a menu by their preference for certain foods, even when others were more easily available. It also offers evidence that these ancient eaters developed specialties in collecting and processing these foods.

The study, published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, examines the remains of animal bones of maritime origin at the Nahal Ein Gev II archaeological site, which dates back about 12,000 years. The site sits on a terrace some two kilometers away from the Kinneret, or Sea of Galilee – the largest freshwater source in the area at that time.

The study, led by Prof. Natalie Monroe of the University of Connecticut and Prof. Leore Grosman of Hebrew University, indicates that local residents in that period chose to eat certain species, and had developed specialties in fishing and hunting them. Specifically, they tended to focus on large carps and geese. They also specialized in the processing of animal skin for cultural-social purposes.

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