Monday, April 12, 2021

04/12 Links Pt2: Britain’s Chief Rabbi Pays Tribute to Prince Philip; Amnesty chief said Israel ‘murdered’ Arafat, and that Peres ‘admitted’ it; The Cuomo scandal and the Jewish community

From Ian:

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Pays Tribute to Prince Philip: ‘I Could See His Deep Interest in Jews and a Particular Connection to the Holocaust’
Britain’s chief rabbi paid tribute to the late Prince Philip on Sunday, recounting how the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on April 9, once showed him a Torah scroll that had been rescued from the Nazis and found refuge in the Royal Library, as well as his visit to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp with Philip and the queen.

He also recalled that Philip’s mother was also known for rescuing a Jewish family during the Holocaust, and was later buried in Jerusalem.

Speaking with the BBC, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis recalled being invited to visit the royal family at Windsor Castle, where Philip “particularly wanted me to see one particular gift that Her Majesty the Queen had received in the 1960s. And in the Royal Library, he showed me a Torah scroll that she had received as a gift. And he wanted me to explain it to him.”

“It was one of the Czech scrolls, and I was able to first of all describe what a Torah scroll is; and that in addition, this particular scroll had been rescued from the former Czechoslovakia,” he said. “It had been intended to be part of what the Nazis wanted to be a museum to the people that used to exist. And therefore, in Czechoslovakia, none of the Torah scrolls were destroyed. A whole lot of these scrolls were brought to London and one was presented to the queen.”

“And throughout this explanation, I could see his deep interest in Jews and Judaism and Jewish faith and a particular connection to the Holocaust,” he said.

In 2015, Mirvis visited Bergen-Belsen with the royal couple.

“This was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belsen by British troops, the first time that the monarch had visited a concentration camp,” he said. “It was an exceptionally moving occasion. And you know, many times people want to know: when you were in conversation with the royals, what did they say? And on this occasion, I only remember the sense of pain on their faces.”

“There was a dignified silence, because there’s nothing you can say while standing in those fields where some of the worst atrocities that have ever taken place” occurred, said Mirvis.
Cancel Culture and Then Some
Review of 'Not in Kansas Anymore' by Cary Nelson

It’s hard to sell an assault on academic freedom to academics. The American Association of University Professors, hardly a hotbed of pro-Israel sentiment, opposes efforts to boycott Israeli universities for threatening the free exchange of ideas. How, then, can anti-Israel scholar-activists persuade uncommitted colleagues to cancel exchange programs with Israel, to skip conferences there, and to shun teaching or research activities tied to Israeli universities? They must make Israel out to be an academic-freedom supervillain.

Because Israeli universities are quite free, the boycott crew targets Israel’s activities in the West Bank and Gaza. As the pro-boycott resolution adopted by the American Studies Association in 2013 puts it, “there is no effective or substantive academic freedom for Palestinian students and scholars under conditions of Israeli occupation.” When Americans hear of a raid on, say, An-Najah National University in the West Bank, we, lacking experience of Palestinian universities, imagine soldiers raiding an American campus and are horrified. But that’s a mistake, and Cary Nelson’s Not in Kansas Anymore corrects it.

It isn’t a mistake, Nelson suggests, to be horrified. Palestinian higher education has shown its ability to “provide graduates qualified to fill many necessary medical, technical, administrative, commercial, and service positions.” Individually and collectively, Palestinians depend on higher education, and the intrusion of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict into campuses has caused great harm.

The mistake is, instead, to see only the brochure-worthy work of an An-Najah, and to squeeze one’s eyes shut against work best described as repulsive. Consider the September 2001 exhibit, mounted in An-Najah’s cafeteria, celebrating the prior month’s terrorist attack on Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria. That attack killed 15 Israeli civilians, including seven children, and wounded over 100 more. The exhibit, sponsored by “students supporting Hamas” and serving, Nelson plausibly asserts, as an “indirect recruiting activity,” included “shattered furniture splattered with fake blood and human body parts.” The Sbarro attack was among several bombings organized by Qeis Adwan, who had graduated from An-Najah just months before, with his career in Hamas’s military wing already underway. His story is one episode in An-Najah’s “history of terrorist connections.”

Amnesty chief said Israel ‘murdered’ Arafat, and that Peres ‘admitted’ it
Agnes Callamard, the new head of Amnesty International, once declared that PLO chief Yasser Arafat was murdered, the Israelis did it, and President Shimon Peres admitted this. All of which are lies.

On the contrary, the New York Times interview which she cited says that Peres protected Arafat, and justified his peace negotiations with him.

Arafat died at age 75, in a French military hospital near Paris. A French inquiry found no evidence that he was “murdered.”

UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer called on Callamard to apologize and to delete her false tweet.

The Cuomo scandal and the Jewish community - comment
Democrats across the United States saluted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as the face of governing competence throughout the early months of the pandemic. But beginning last month, when allegations of sexual misconduct and his attempt to obscure the virus-related death toll in nursing homes surfaced, calls accumulated for the disgraced governor to step down.

As a New York State Assembly committee conducts an impeachment investigation into the matters, Cuomo maintains refusal to resign, even as few Democrats have come to his rescue. Jewish groups remain divided on whether to take a public stance.

Matt Nosanchuk, president and co-founder of the progressive advocacy group New York Jewish Agenda (NYJA) and former Jewish outreach director in the Obama White House, told The Jerusalem Post that the allegations have frayed the normally strong ties between the governor and the Jewish community.

His group joined the call for Cuomo’s removal, citing Jewish values the organization was founded on.

“NYJA was created to amplify the voices of Jewish leaders in New York State. We’re guided by core Jewish values, which include dignity, equality, justice, responsibility and unity,” Nosanchuk told the Post. “When you think about those values, there’s the implication that elected officials should live up to those values, which are not only Jewish values but core democratic and American values. So we felt it was incumbent upon us to speak out.”

“Cuomo has lost public trust in his leadership and he should take responsibility and act accordingly,” he continued. “We recognize that this is an issue with a divergence of views, but when we balanced that against our need for public trust and confidence, that’s how we decided speaking up was the right thing to do.”
British-Palestinian filmmaker wins BAFTA award for short film on West Bank life
“The Present,” a Palestinian short film depicting a day in the life of a father and daughter in the West Bank, won a BAFTA award for Best British Short Film on Saturday.

Farah Nabulsi, a British-Palestinian filmmaker, accepted the award virtually during the 74th annual British Academy Film Awards, which were streamed from London’s Royal Albert Hall and spread over the course of two days to accommodate COVID-19 guidelines.

In her speech, Nabulsi dedicated the award to “the people of Palestine, for whom freedom and equality is long, long overdue.”

The film, which is also nominated for an Academy Award, follows a Palestinian man, Yusef, and his daughter on their journey to buy a wedding anniversary gift in the West Bank. The film depicts the duo detained at checkpoints, clashing with IDF soldiers, and traveling across segregated roads.

“The Present” is Nabulsi’s directorial debut. Alongside serving as the film’s director and producer, Nabulsi co-wrote the script with Hind Shoufani, a Palestinian-American poet and director, according to Al-Jazeera.
Canada’s New Democratic Party Adopts Settlements Boycott, Arms Embargo on Israel
Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP), a.k.a. Nouveau Parti Démocratique (NPD), on Sunday adopted a motion submitted by a “coalition of Palestinian and Jewish activists” to amend its platform to include a boycott of products made in the Jewish settlements of Judea and Samaria, as well as an arms embargo on Israel, The Palestine Chronicle reported (Canadian NDP Adopts Motion on Boycott of Jewish Settlement Products).

The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates was beside itself with joy at the “overwhelming majority voting of the members of the General Conference of the New Democrats Party in Canada in favor of a resolution entitled ‘Justice and Peace for Israel and Palestine,'” and noted its appreciation for the “voting of 80% of the party’s general conference members in favor of the resolution.”

Leftist activist Dimitri Lascaris noted that “as of today, 2 parties in Canada’s Parliament, Canadian Greens, and NDP are calling for an arms embargo on Israel and a ban on the importation of products made in #Israel’s illegal settlements.”

And now for an interjection of some perspective: the NDP holds 24 out of the 338 seats of Canada’s national House of Commons (roughly 7%), and no seats in the Senate (precisely 0%). The Green Party of Canada (Parti vert du Canada), the other anti-Israel party, holds 3 out of 338 seats in the House and no seats in the Senate. So don’t expect major foreign policy changes any time soon.

As to the arms embargo on Israel: in 2019, the extent of Canada’s military exports to the Jewish State was $13,744,727.53 – give or take a Canadian quarter. At the same time, in 2019, Israel was at the top of the list of twelve non-US countries that utilized export permits for military goods and technology – 401 permits, 17.5% of the total number of permits issued.

On settlements products, however, Canada’s Food Inspection Agency has been “carefully reviewing” a 2019 federal court decision that wine made in Judea and Samaria cannot be labeled as “products of Israel” because such labeling is “false, misleading and deceptive.” The court’s decision was part of a three-year legal dispute over bottles made in the Psagot and Shiloh wineries. Following the ruling, Canada’s Food Inspection Agency is expected to come up with a new label for settlement wines. “Historic Biblical Land Wines” comes to mind.
Israel Soccer Association Calls for Peace and Unity After Roger Waters Urges Ban of Jewish State’s Teams
Israel’s official soccer association asked former Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters to help build peace and unity rather than division after the singer called for a boycott of Israel’s soccer teams.

“Dear @rogerwaters Instead of adding just another brick in the wall of hatred and boycotts, join us in turning football into a bridge for peace and unity #peace @FIFAcom.” The Israel Football Association tweeted on Sunday.

The conversation stemmed from a video on Twitter by Israel’s Ambassador to the US and United Nations Gilad Erdan, in which he talked about how Israel strongly opposes renewing funding for UNRWA and the agency’s “anti-Israel and antisemitic” activities. Rogers, a supporter of the BDS movement, replied to the clip on Sunday by calling on the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to “Ban ISRAELI teams from international competition. SAY NO TO RACISM In SOCCER.”

Waters said the same in a Facebook post on Saturday while promoting his benefit concert “Live for Gaza.” He wrote, “I’m going to take this opportunity to reach out to ask EPL players to join me in an international campaign to persuade FIFA and UEFA to ban Israel’s national soccer team and Israeli football clubs from international competition until Israel stops its racist apartheid policies.

“You take a knee every Saturday? Well? You have a big voice, please join the choir in favor of human rights. The FIFA UEFA BAN ISRAELI TEAMS.”
The debate over Judaism and Zionism that roiled, then unified University of Iowa
When the University of Iowa student senate debated a bill to give special representation to Jews on campus, Nick Nachtman voted no.

Other minority groups had been given their own seats in the Undergraduate Student Government, chosen by their respective student organizations. The Jewish senator would be chosen by students at Hillel.

In Nachtman’s view, that was a problem.

“Unfortunately as I was researching Hillel International, I’ve seen quite a connection that holds a specifically positive view of the State of Israel,” said Nachtman, a first-year student at the university who is not Jewish. “I worry that having such a strong power connected to the people who are making this decision could influence them to hold a political belief in an office that shouldn’t have a political belief.”

That night, the student senate rejected the proposal. But two weeks later, after Nachtman and other senators gave the matter more thought, they met again to reconsider their decision. This time, Nachtman did not raise any reservations with the idea of having a designated Jewish senator. The bill passed with 95% support.

The reversal reflects a remarkable episode that unfolded over the past two weeks at the University of Iowa. Student leaders have worked through thorny questions about how to define anti-Semitism, whether Judaism is primarily a religion or ethnicity, what role Zionism plays in Jewish identity and whether Jews get more attention than other persecuted minority groups. And they have done so with little of the vitriol, or involvement by off-campus advocates, that often accompanies campus fights over bigotry against Jews.

“A lot of us feel differently on different things regarding protecting speech of people that may speak on the Israel-Palestine conflict,” Maria Martin, a Jewish student who said she is involved in Hillel and also critical of Israel, said Tuesday at the senate meeting. “And we also agree on a lot of things regarding the really old nature of anti-Semitism.”
Oregon Based Linfield University Administration Faces Antisemitism, Sexual Harassment Claims
The Pacific Northwest chapter of the Anti-Defamation League wrote a letter to Linfield University’s Board of Trustees on Thursday expressing disappointment and concern over claims of antisemitism chronicled in a professor’s social media posts.

Linfield President Miles Davis said in a responding letter that the professor’s tweets were part of a “smear campaign” against university administration.

Last week Linfield professor and faculty trustee Daniel Pollack-Pelzner tweeted that he faced antisemitic comments after he reported that multiple members of the university’s Board of Trustees had been accused of sexual misconduct by students and faculty over the past year.

One of those reports included former board member David Jubb, who was indicted last year on eight counts — seven counts of third-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree sexual abuse. There is a jury trial scheduled for that case in November.
Lies, damn lies and Guardian statistics
An op-ed by Yara M Asi, affiliated with the Washington DC based pro-Palestinian think-tank Al-Shabaka (“The US media is touting Israel’s Covid recovery. But occupied Palestinians are left out”, April 9) is not the first such Guardian piece promoting the view that Israel is fully responsible for vaccinating every Palestinian in Gaza and the West Bank.

Though you can read previous posts where we’ve refuted this specific claim, and cited article 17 of the Oslo Accords which clearly spells out the PA’s vaccine responsibilities, this latest Guardian op-ed is unique in one respect: it’s likely inspired by B’Tselem report in January – that CAMERA eviscerated here– which contended that Israel rules the entire region, from the river to the sea, including not only the PA controlled West Bank, but Hamas-ruled Gaza as well.

Asi peddles this narrative – in a manner suggesting it’s an incontrovertible fact – in these paragraphs:
The difference couldn’t be more stark – two populations living under one regime, heading in opposite directions in the struggle with Covid-19

These differences are evident across health outcomes between the Israeli and Palestinian populations, despite them all living in territory controlled by the state of Israel

This is absurd.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has complete military and civil control over the overwhelming majority of West Bank Palestinians – per the Oslo Accords, the agreement signed by Palestinian leaders that the Guardian op-ed completely ignores in assigning COVID vaccine responsibility to Jerusalem. Additionally, to argue that Israel “rules” Gaza is even more risible. In fact, the op-ed not only elides Hamas’s military and administrative control of the strip, but fails to use the word “Hamas” (or the words “Palestinian Authority”) even once in the over 1,000 word piece.

Indeed, the failure to mention Palestinian responsibility for COVID vaccinations is part of the broader theme of the op-ed, which frames every disparity between life in Israel and the Palestinian territories as a result of Israeli actions, and, more specifically, Israeli discrimination.
BBC’s Bateman persists with ‘Israel says’ portrayal of Oslo Accords
Listeners heard a report supposedly about the highly successful vaccination programme in Israel from the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman which nevertheless included the following (from 33:00):
Bateman: “But it’s [the vaccination programme] been wrapped up in controversy too. Human rights groups point to a painfully slow vaccine roll-out for five million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. They say Israel, as the occupying power, has responsibility. The Israeli government denies this, saying the Oslo peace accords hand such jobs to the Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule. It has struggled to procure doses and most Palestinians are still waiting. Israel has though immunised a hundred thousand who have Israeli work permits.”

Once again Bateman afforded the organisers of the political campaign he and his colleagues have been amplifying since early January the halo of “human rights groups” while failing to make any attempt to clarify to audiences that they include political NGOs (in some cases foreign funded) with a record of lawfare campaigns against Israel.

Yet again – despite the BBC’s February 9th clarification concerning PA responsibility for Palestinian healthcare – Bateman presented Article 17 of the 1995 Oslo Accords as something that only ‘Israel says’ is the case. Once again he created false linkage between the topic of Israel’s vaccination roll-out and the separate inoculation drive which is the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority. And once again Bateman promoted the notion that the latter has “limited self-rule” despite the fact that the vast majority of Palestinians live in areas where the PA has complete control over civilian affairs.

The BBC’s publication of that clarification concerning the Oslo Accords continues to be ignored by its Jerusalem bureau correspondent.

MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan Tweets Libel That Israeli Sniper Targeted Palestinian Boy
Apparently emboldened by MSNBC’s failure to broadcast a clarification debunking the grotesque falsehood that Israel is burning down Palestinian villages, a libel which Mehdi Hasan allowed to pass without challenge Feb. 5 on “All In With Chris Hayes,” the MSNBC host again promotes egregious, unverified anti-Israel smears.

On April 9, Hasan retweeted a video by Palestinian activist Issa Amro which stated:”A Palestinian child from Hebron was shot in his eye, he got a rubber bullet which was shot by an Israeli army sniper. The video is clear, the child didn’t show any threat on the soldiers. He was inside a vegitable [sic] shop.” Contrary to Amro’s claim, there is nothing at all clear about the video. It does not show any Israeli army sniper, an Israeli shooter, or any shooter at all. It is impossible to understand from the video the context of the events and what and who hit the boy.

Nevertheless, Hasan retweeted the propagandistic item without having undertaken any investigation or verification.

CAMERA, unlike Hasan and MSNBC, reached out to Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, spokesman for the Israeli army, to find out as much as possible about the incident. Conricus confirmed that neither Hasan nor MSNBC ever checked in with him for information about the incident. Furthermore, the army’s April 10 statement about the incident states:
Yesterday, a violent riot was instigated in the city of Hebron. During the riot, dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks, some using slingshots, at IDF troops. IDF troops responded with riot dispersal means, including rubber bullets. Rubber bullets were not fired towards stores or bystanders. Following a report regarding a Palestinian who was injured in a store close to the area of the riot, the incident was examined. The examination concluded that there was no direct fire towards the store at the individuals inside.

Yehudit Karp Erases History of High Court Rulings in Favor of Palestinians
Yehudit Karp, a former deputy attorney general of Israel and today a member of the public council of the New Israel Fund, Yesh Din and Friends of Breaking the Silence, is no doubt well aware of the numerous cases in which Israel’s High Court ruled in favor of Palestinian rights. Why, then, does she dismiss this meaningful record of on-the-ground impact as mere window-dressing?

In her April 5 Haaretz Op-Ed (“If the International Criminal Court Lacks Jurisdiction, Is Everything Legal?”), she writes: “Some cite the ICC constitution, which says that even if something is within the court’s jurisdiction, the court is not supposed to investigate a matter that has already been properly investigated by a local court.”

But she goes on to reject that argument, claiming:
… while Israel takes pride in the fact that the High Court has opened its doors to hear complaints of Palestinians from the territories about violations of their rights, this is just for appearances’ sake. In actuality, the court does not impose its authority on the government and require it to properly protect the local population, which under international law is a protected population – i.e., entitled to special protection.
Deutsche Welle Arabic Host ‘Respects’ Guest’s Bigoted Boycott of Israeli Co-Panelist
Deutsche Welle’s host Youcef Boufidjeline has taken a page out of the book of BBC Arabic presenter Mohamed Seif Alnasr, who earlier this year said on air he “respects” the position of a guest who abruptly departed a broadcast vowing never to appear alongside an Israeli in the same live panel.

“I’m sorry to ruin your program. It’s my policy not to appear with Israeli guests. I apologize to you, to your honorable channel and to the program. I apologize to you for leaving the program… I’m sorry to ruin your program,” said Jordanian MP Omar Ayasra on Deutsche Welle’s March 4 evening magazine (al-Masa’iyyah) broadcast.

“No problem, no problem,” Deutsche Welle’s Boufidjeline said in response. “Mr. Aywasra, we as well respect this position.” (All translations by CAMERA Arabic.)

Boufidjeline’s understanding of Aywasra’s bigotry is inconsistent with Deutsche Welle’s very own code of conduct, which states:
Open-minded, globally and regionally networked, we are in dialogue with people all over the world. … We promote constructive exchange and treat all people with respect — always and everywhere.

Further on, the code of conduct reiterates: “We respect every person regardless of their ethnic origin, gender, religion or disability, age or sexual identity.
‘Deep Disgust’ as Elite Paris College Is Defaced With Antisemitic, Anti-Zionist Slogans
The entrance to one of France’s most elite colleges was defaced with antisemitic and anti-Zionist graffiti on Monday, resulting in forthright condemnations from Jewish student leaders and university administrators.

Three inscriptions were daubed in large black painted letters at the entrance to the Sciences Po — the Paris-based Institute of Political Studies that has educated French political leaders since the 19th century, among them current President Emmanuel Macron.

Two slogans invoked the word “kuffar” — an Arabic term for “infidel” used by Islamists — while a third declared, “Death to Israel.”

The head of France’s national Jewish student union, the UEJF, told news outlet Le Figaro that she was formally protesting the graffiti as incitement to racial hatred.

“We expect a rapid reaction from the Sciences Po administration in the face of these violent and antisemitic attacks,” UEJF president Noemie Madar said. “The perpetrators must be found so that impunity does not allow such acts to flourish.”

France’s Minister of Higher Education, Frédérique Vidal, pledged that “everything will be done” to identify and capture those responsible for the graffiti. “Hatred has no place in our Republic,” she declared on Twitter.

Israel’s Own Indiana Joneses Beat Antiquities Robbers to the Treasure
The blindingly bright sky, the birds of prey hovering in the silence, and the creeks that run through the dry, yellow ground give no hint of the drama that has played out in the mysterious caves of the Judean Desert in the last few years. Dozens of remnants of Dead Sea Scrolls and papyruses from the time of the Bar Kochba Revolt extracted from these caves and made public for the first time last month comprise the last chapter in the story of the battle between archaeologists and antiquities robbers.

Sixty years after the first researcher of the modern era to probe the Judean Desert caves, Professor Yohanan Aharoni, discovered the famous "Greek Minor Prophets Scroll" in a cave near Hever Creek, a mission to track down antiquities thieves led authorities to the very same cave. It had become known as the Cave of Horror after the skeletons of 40 refugees from the Bar Kochba Revolt were discovered there, as well as three pottery fragments that bore the names of three of them. On the cliff that hangs over the cave there are the remains of a Roman camp that was apparently used by the forces pursuing the refugees, who died of hunger and thirst while sheltering inside the cave.

This past year, Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists revisited the cave and were surprised to find fragments of 2,000-year-old scrolls that completed the ones Aharoni had discovered in the mid-20th century. Thus far, 10 lines have been decrypted, some from Zechariah 8: "These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace. Do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD."

The find was announced only in March, and now, for the first time, Amir Ganor, head of the IAA's Antiquities Robberies Prevention Unit, offers a broader look at the ongoing pursuit of antiquities robbers in the Judean Desert. This pursuit has led to many important archaeological finds, including the ones unveiled a few weeks ago. It also prompted a change in policy, with authorities now trying to beat the robbers to the treasure, rather than catching them.

Ganor has served as head of the unit for 20 years, and he admits that for many years, the robbers were "in control."

"They had an absolutely advantage on the ground. They knew every path, every furrow, every angle. For years, they went through the desert and the caves south of the Hebron Hills … and to a large extent, we were tracking them in the dark. It drove us crazy. For years, items were moving through the legal and illegal antiquities markets that could have come from only one place – the Judean Desert, whose dry climate preserves so well items from wood, scraps of scrolls, and papyruses," he says.

In 2005, this ritual was cut off for the first time when the name of Professor Hanan Eshel was linked to alleged violations of Israel's Antiquities Law.
Israeli Tech Startups Raise a Record $5.37 Billion in First Quarter of 2021
Israeli tech startups raised a record $5.37 billion in 172 deals in the first quarter of the year. The total sum raised in the quarter increased by 89% compared to the fourth quarter of last year and was double that raised in Q1 of 2020. The accelerated activity was mainly the result of 20 funding rounds of more than $100 million each, reaching a total of $2.96 billion or 55% of the entire sum raised in the first three months of the year.

The increased funding levels in Q1 were derived based on the increased activity of foreign investors that made 594 investments (in 124 deals), a sharp rise compared to the average of under 400 quarterly investments in 2019-2020.

VC-backed deals continued their sonic growth trend, accounting for 96% or $5.18 billion in 134 deals. On the other hand, non-VC-backed deals continued to shrink as a share of the overall investments and sank to 22%, probably another sign of the ever-increasing valuations.

The high amounts in Q1 of 2021 funding resemble the surge in tech companies’ valuations in Nasdaq indexes. However, the high correlation between the Israeli private tech companies funding and Nasdaq valuations suggests that Israeli tech financing might expect some decline in the capital flow further into 2021.

According to figures collected by research company IVC, early-round investment (seed and A) deal-making kept an average pace, while the capital investment volume continued to climb. The high level of investment amounts in Q1 was more than double the average amounts in 2015-2020 for both seed and A rounds deals. In the first quarter, Mid and Later rounds surpassed all previous quarterly results, doubling from the prior quarter’s capital volume. Some 34 Later rounds were made this quarter — $2.18 billion in total amount. In addition, M&A transactions accounted for $2.07 billion (33 transactions) of total capital intake in Q1. These figures support the return to normality after the slowdown in M&As activity in 2020.
Elbit Video Reveals Stunning Achievements in Laser Technology A new video posted by Elbit shows a laser mounted on a Hermes 900 drone. According to Defense Industry Daily, the Hermes 900 was been modified to improve the pitch stability of the laser turret to stabilize the beam.

In January 2020, the defense ministry’s head of research and development, Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem announced: “We are entering a new age of energy warfare in the air, land, and sea. The R&D investments made over the last years have placed the State of Israel among the leading countries in the field of high-energy laser systems. Throughout the year 2020, we will conduct a demo of our capabilities.”

Last August, Israel’s defense ministry revealed its investment in laser technology, which has led to the technological breakthrough enabling the development of platforms to intercept a variety of threats. Based on high-energy lasers, this technology will prompt a strategic change in Israel’s defense capabilities. ‘Fauda,’ ‘Shitsel’ Producers Unveil Trailer for Latest Project ‘The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem’
The first trailer dropped on Monday for Israel’s new television series, the period drama “The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem.”

Yes Studios — the Tel Aviv-based producer and distributor behind “Fauda,” “Your Honor,” and “Shtisel” — announced on Monday that it has completed production on the historical melodrama, and the series is set to launch in Israel early this summer on Yes TV.

Based on the international best-selling novel of the same name by Sarit Yishai-Levy, the show is set in the early to mid-20th century and tells the complicated multi-generational story of the Ermosa family set against the backdrop of the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate, and Israel’s War of Independence. The series, which begins in 1917, “is a colorful, passionate, and tragic story interwoven with Judeo-Spanish traditions and the history of a nascent country,” according to Yes Studios. It was filmed in Hebrew, English, Ladino, Turkish, and Arabic.

The show’s cast includes “Shtisel” star Michael Aloni as well as Hila Saada (“The Baker & The Beauty”), Itzik Cohen (“Fauda”), Yuval Scharf (“McMafia”), Mali Levi, (“The Angel”), and newcomer Swell Ariel Or, who plays Luna Ermosa, the titled Beauty Queen of Jerusalem.

Moroccan Israelis Petition Government to Recognize 1948 Riots in Oujda, Jerada as Terrorism
Descendants of families murdered in the 1948 riots in the northeastern Moroccan towns of Oujda and Jerada are set to ask the Israeli government to recognize those killed in the events as victims of terror.

Abraham Cohen, a descendant of a family that lost 17 members to the attacks, said such a move would “correct a historic injustice that cries out to heaven.”

Four Jews were killed when the riots broke out in Oujda on June 7, three weeks after Israel declared independence. They then spread to the adjacent city of Jerada. Rioting there took the lives of 37 Jews, among them community Rabbi Moshe Cohen. Women and young children were among those killed. Dozens were wounded.

Jewish stores were looted and homes were destroyed as Muslim women encouraged the acts, according to survivors’ testimony.

The riots were in response to the founding of the Jewish state and the underground activities of Moroccan Jews smuggling community members to the border with Algeria.

Located just two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Algerian border, Ojeda was a base for smuggling Jews. In what was an open secret at the time, members of the underground would hide and smuggle Jews, raise funds and falsify identification cards, angering Muslim locals who felt a sense of solidarity with the Arab population in Palestine.

A majority of the victims’ descendants reside in Jerusalem. They hope to establish a monument for the dead where they can hold a memorial ceremony each year. To that end, hundreds of descendants have signed a petition calling for the Defense Ministry to recognize the 1948 riots as a terrorist event, something that they have been told will allow for the establishment of such a monument.
Ceremony to honor Moroccan Jews who died in sinking of rescue ship
The Jewish Agency for Israel will be holding its annual Remembrance Day on Wednesday.

This year there will be a special focus on the sinking of the Egoz ship, which sunk in 1961 on a covert mission to bring back Jews from Morocco.

Forty-four Jews were on board, all of whom lost their lives. This will mark the 60th anniversary of the ship's sinking.

Gila Gutman Azulay, who lost the majority of her family that day, will light a memorial torch to commemorate their deaths and the deaths of those who died defending the State of Israel.

The ship was carrying 43 immigrants back to Israel, in addition to Mossad operative Haim Tzarfati. Half of the immigrants were children.

Some 22 of the bodies were located, but the rest were lost at sea. Those found are all located at Jerusalem's Mt. Herzl Cemetery.

The ceremony will also honor those who perished as a direct result of antisemitic or terror attacks, which since 1948, includes 200 Jews worldwide, according to data from the Jewish Agency for Israel.