Wednesday, January 05, 2022

From Ian:

Gil Troy: Israel needs compelling stories, not just facts, to win the PR war
Israel must address different audiences with nuanced and customized messaging – from Israel’s most ardent Jewish and non-Jewish supporters, to liberal yet still supportive Jews, to often disengaged but instinctively sympathetic Americans, to other Westerners, to often hostile reporters. Israel must stop obsessing about anti-Israel fanatics, be they Jewish or non-Jewish, who frequently run the conversation, pulling resources from more receptive audiences.

Each audience needs to hear a more compelling story about Israel – with the day’s relevant facts or explanations fitting into a larger narrative arc. Sometimes the story will be reacting to Palestinian terrorism or some internal Israeli squabble. But more often, the story should emphasize Israel’s status as the only Jewish state in the world, as the only democratic state in its region, and as one of the few surviving, thriving, progressive Western states. We spend too much time worried about the stories “they” tell about us – overlooking the stories we don’t tell well about ourselves.

Consider, for example, the two most underappreciated stories of the last two years:
The Abraham Accords have triggered tremendous excitement among Israelis and many Arabs, while eliciting yawns in America. This breakthrough showed that the unrealistic go-for-broke strategy needs to be replaced by a more systemic, step-by-step approach – going from “Peace Now” to “Peace More.”

And today’s broad-based coalition disproves the assumption that all 20th-century democracies are paralyzed and dysfunctional. Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid built this government by playing the 70-30 game, focusing on the 70% that united them, not the 30% that separated them. That’s a recipe for national strength and democratic success.

Zeroing in on Israel’s relationship with key democracies, especially the United States, the Bennett government should add a third pillar to the AIPAC line that Israel and America are united by shared interests and shared values. Addressing our shared challenges, too, will allow Israel’s representatives to speak more humbly, acknowledging occasional problems, failings or misfires. It also automatically reinforces Israel’s identification with other Western democracies that are struggling with systemic problems today, ranging from political polarization and hyper-partisanship to technological addiction and social media-fed demoralization.

Finally, the most effective public relations emanates from internal strength and national pride. If Israelis feel good about themselves and about what they are doing, that will never convince the haters, but it will reassure the fence-sitters while inspiring our fans. So, more than public diplomacy, Israel needs a Zionist reset, a reminder of who we are, why we are here, and why we do what we do – and remain proud of it.


Jonathan Greenblatt: Why ‘It Could Happen Here’
Even today, nobody wants to believe that extremism, illiberalism, and violence inspired by different variants of the virus of intolerance could unfold on our shores.

But as I write in my new book, “It Could Happen Here,” the title of which was inspired by, and is the inverse of Sinclair Lewis’ ironic formulation, our social fabric is weakening, and our communities are buckling under the pressure from hate seemingly generated on all sides.

Our society is becoming more vulnerable by the day to hate on both the left and the right. Beset by a pandemic that has devastated communities, unsettled everyday life, and cost millions of jobs, people are on edge, and ever more likely to blame the “other” for deepening economic inequality, excessive levels of personal debt, and other stressors.

From my vantage point as the CEO of one of the Nation’s oldest anti-hate organizations, the trends we’re seeing in America are alarming. Hate is on the rise everywhere — much more than many people realize.

Between 2015 and 2018, the US saw a doubling of antisemitic incidents.

In 2019, the ADL logged more antisemitic incidents than we had tracked in any year in the past four decades. And one need look no further than the attacks in Pittsburgh, Poway, Jersey City, and Monsey, and the brazen assaults of Jews in the streets in May 2021 during the Israel-Gaza conflict, for examples of how antisemitic ideologies and rhetoric that are spread online have contributed to acts of real-world intimidation and outright violence.

We know that antisemitism is the proverbial canary in the coal mine — that a good barometer of the level of tolerance in any given society is to look at how accepting that country is to its Jewish people and other minorities. So we should not be surprised by the fact that it’s not just antisemitism, but hatred of all kinds – including anti-Black racism, anti-Asian hate, anti-Latino xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Muslim bias, and more — that’s exploded in recent years. In 2019, the US saw a reported 7,314 hate crimes, i.e. more than 20 each day. In 2020, hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders skyrocketed by almost 150 percent in large urban areas.
Andrew Roberts: ‘We are far from out of the woods with anti-Semitism in Britain’
The two talk about Roberts’ latest book on King George III, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the way debates about history can shape America’s vision of itself, as well as who is thwarting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s efforts to bring the U.K. closer to Israel.


The Learning Curve PodCast: Journalist Bari Weiss on Fighting Anti-Semitism & the Cancel Culture
This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Bari Weiss, former New York Times op-ed editor and writer, and author of How to Fight Anti-Semitism. Bari shares what motivated her to write this book, its reception, and key lessons for teachers and students alike. She also explains why we’re now seeing a rise in anti-Semitism, how educators can best combat it, and the connection she observes between the current upsurge in anti-Semitism and cancel culture. Bari discusses her experiences on the editorial boards of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and her courageous decision to resign from the Times, as well as the public praise and criticism she’s encountered since her resignation. They also discuss the impact that cancel culture and wokeism are now having on higher education and the academic climate on campuses, which is often hostile to the free exchange of ideas. She discusses the urgent need to establish and lead new institutions, journalistic platforms, and schools to restore learning based on academic excellence and the enduring principles of liberal democracy, as well as her involvement on the advisory board of The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR), a nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing civil liberties and promoting an intellectually healthy common culture. The interview concludes with a reading from her book on anti-Semitism.


How the term ‘Arab Jew’ distorts history and slanders Zionism
Al Jazeera’s Susan Abulhawa demonstrates this obfuscation, concluding that Mizrahi Jews are Arab. “They spoke Arabic, ate the same foods as their Christian and Muslim compatriots, celebrated and partook in the same national events and traditions, lived by the same social protocols, and moved through their respective cultures as other natives did… [they] speak Arabic at home… dance to Arabic music, eat Arab food.”

Abulhawa is so engrossed in her anti-Zionist agenda that she neglects all historical and semantic accuracies — obscuring the significant distinction between “Arab” and “Arabized.” Like Copts, Assyrians, or Kurds, the Mizrahim were Arabized by military expansion and imperialism — but they are not Arabs. Their cultural heritage represents syncretism with accessible aspects of Arab culture, such as food, language, and music of Arab culture, rather than a definite embrace of Arab culture. Anti-Zionists suppress the truth of this discrimination, as it substantiates the necessity of a Jewish state. In similar motivation, they reduce the complexity of Mizrahi identity and erroneously label it as Arab identity.

Anti-Zionist groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace also seem to have an affinity for the term, using it nearly 600 times across their different materials. They partner with “scholar-activists;” university professors that abuse their authority and credibility. These academics revise history to justify their anti-Israel political agenda and deliberately mislead students.

New York University’s Ella Shohat is one such “scholar-activist.” Shohat deliberately uses the term “Arab Jew” in place of Mizrahi Jew in her lectures, course materials, and publications, even though 78% of Mizrahi Jews reject the term “Arab Jew.” Shohat also suggests that the Mizrahi Jews who sought refuge in Israel have become victims of “internalized colonialism” and a “profound and visceral schizophrenia.” This notion is a bald-faced lie. Israel provided safety and absolute protection to 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands for the first time in several centuries.

In 1948, Mizrahi Jews established the state of Israel as partners with Ashkenazi Jews. Their ranks included pre-state military groups, merchants, bankers, doctors, and the backbone of intelligence services. They culturally dominate the music and food industry and make up more than half of the population.

Not only are Mizrahi Jews simply not Arabs, but they are also, in fact, the embodiment of resistance to colonization. They shine as a beacon of light across the Middle East and North Africa to all oppressed and disenfranchised indigenous peoples. Mizrahi Jews are a paragon for Middle Eastern non-Muslims and non-Arabs to stand for their autonomy and self-determination.

The term “Arab Jew” distorts history, erases Mizrahi Jews, the oppression that they faced, and their immense contributions to the state. So long as the world is not aware of the stories of the Mizrahim, we will fall prey to the narrative that writes Jews out of their own story. It is essential to know the real history of Mizrahim, as it is one of Israel’s most compelling.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Man Who Insists Mizrahim Just ‘Arab Jews’ Also Hates When They ‘Appropriate Arab Culture’ (satire)
A prolific user of social media with staunch political views continued to argue today both that the Jews who lived under Arab hegemony for most of the last 1500 years must give primacy to the Arab, not Jewish, element of their identity, and that when those Jews maintain the traditional cuisine, garb, music, and literature of the Arab world that produced them, they violate the progressive taboo of “taking” from a different ethnic tradition and exploiting it.

Ali Sharqawi, 23, spends at least two hours each day in total online, primarily on Twitter, where he has contended for at least a year that the Jews of the Middle East, North Africa, Iran, and the overall Islamic world represent not a distinct ethnic or cultural community from that of their majority neighbors for the last fourteen-plus centuries, but Arabs who happen to profess the Jewish faith. Also, he lambastes those Jews for making and selling Arab dishes such as falafel, shakshuka, hummus, tahini, knaffeh, tabouli, or kubbeh, or featuring a hamsa or traditional clothing in their public lives, phenomena that must remain the exclusive province of actual Arabs and not be cheapened or “stolen” by outsiders.

“Zionists falsify history when they attempt to wrench Arab Jews from their rightful place in Arab-Islamic culture,” he tweeted this morning. Four minutes later, the aspiring machinist posted, “I can’t stand the rampant cultural appropriation of Arab culture and food by ‘Israeli’ Jews. Kebab is Arab and they have no business claiming it as theirs.” About half of Israel’s Jewish population boasts Mizrahi ancestry.
Netherlands ends funding to one of 6 Palestinian groups blacklisted by Israel
After a year-long review, the Dutch government formally cut ties on Wednesday with one of six Palestinian civil society organizations that Israel controversially declared to be a terror group in late 2021.

The Netherlands will no longer fund the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, or transfer the organization the last tranche of an already budgeted Dutch grant, two Dutch ministers wrote in a joint letter.

Israel last October declared the UAWC and five other nonprofits to be terror groups for their alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The declaration sparked international condemnation; Israel doubled down, insisting that the evidence supporting the classification was “ironclad.”

Israel has charged that the groups hoodwinked European donors into providing them with millions in funding that they then transferred to the PFLP. The Dutch government’s review found no evidence that the UAWC had done so.

“The external review shows that no evidence has been found of financial flows between the UAWC and the PFLP. Nor has any proof been found of organization unity between the UAWC and the PFLP or of the PFLP’s providing direction to the UAWC,” wrote Foreign Minister Ben Knapen and Foreign Trade Minister Tom de Brujin.
The external investigators did, however, find some overlap between the two organizations’ membership.
20 acts pull out of Sydney Festival over Israeli embassy funding of dance show
At least 20 acts have pulled out of a major cultural festival in Sydney, Australia, set to begin later this week, declaring a protest boycott in response to the Israeli embassy in the country funding a dance performance at the event.

The embassy has provided $20,000 for “Decadance,” a show based on a work by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin and Tel Aviv’s Batsheva Dance Company, as part of the Sydney Festival 2022.

It is scheduled to be performed by the Sydney Dance Company on January 6-9 at the Sydney Opera House.

On the festival website, the embassy is listed as a “star partner” due to the sponsorship.

Artists pulled out in response to calls for a boycott by Arab, pro-Palestinian, and other activist groups, the Guardian reported on Tuesday. Some of those who withdrew accused Israel of apartheid practices toward the Palestinians.

However, festival organizers have remained determined to allow the performance to go ahead.


Jewish groups defend J.K. Rowling over claim ‘Harry Potter’ goblins antisemitic
Jewish figures and groups defended “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling after comedian Jon Stewart alleged that the author’s goblin characters were clearly antisemitic.

Dave Rich, the director of policy for the UK-based Jewish nonprofit Community Security Trust, tweeted that “sometimes a goblin is just a goblin.”

Rich told the Hollywood Reporter that he does not believe Rowling “is an antisemite or is responsible for creating antisemitic caricatures. There is nothing in her record to suggest that she holds antisemitic views: quite the opposite in fact as she has spoken out consistently and repeatedly in support of the Jewish community and against antisemitism.”

David Baddiel, a British Jewish comedian and prominent voice against antisemitism, also weighed in.

“The goblins in Harry Potter need to be seen not in a simplistic #teamRowling vs #antiteamRowling way but in a many-centuries long, deeply subconsciously embedded cultural context,” he tweeted.

Baddiel cited a portion of his recent book, “Jews Don’t Count,” noting that for centuries “Jews were routinely painted and sculpted as gargoyles and devils. Our artistic tradition — look at Punch & Judy, look at witches, look at pantomime, look at Bond villians — depicts evil as swarthy and hook-nosed.”


BDS fail: Canadian anti-Israel group uses Israeli software
An anti-Israel group in Canada that is promoting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has been found to be using Israeli software to circulate its message, B’nai Brith Canada said on Tuesday.

The group, Petition for Palestine, is pushing for negative coverage of Israel by sharing a petition. The website builder that the group used for the anti-Israel petition, however, is Wix, an Israeli tech company.

Israellycool, a pro-Israel website, blogged on January 3 about Petition for Palestine’s use of Wix.

“The so-called BDS movement is nonsensical,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “The same people who focus on boycotting and demonizing Israel most likely use Israeli technology multiple times a day.”

“The BDS movement is incredibly successful at highlighting its own hypocrisy. Thankfully for Canadian Jews it is far less successful as a platform to promote hate," he added.

This is not the first time that promoters of BDS have been found to be using WIX to get their messages across. (h/t Norman F)
Dovid Efune to Revive the Famed ‘New York Sun’
Dovid Efune, who transformed The Algemeiner into an active media outlet,has acquired The New York Sun newspaper with partner Daniel Rosen. Founded in 1833, Efune will revitalize it online.

The New York Sun Company LLC, a new entity under the leadership of Dovid Efune, announced on Wednesday that it has acquired The New York Sun newspaper and its related assets from longtime proprietor Seth Lipsky and his holding company.

In the cash and stock deal, the terms of which have not been disclosed, Lipsky will remain in the role of Editor-in-Chief and Efune will serve as Publisher and Chairman of the Board. Advisor and partner Daniel Rosen will sit on the company’s Board of Directors.

The New York Sun Company will invest in developing the paper’s digital properties along with its much-admired coverage of politics, culture and the arts. In its editorials, the Sun will pursue its focus on constitutionalism, equality under the law, and American values. Its main source of revenue will be from digital subscriptions and other membership dues.
At Jerusalem Post, New Meaning To Lost in Translation
CAMERA has frequently documented the phenomenon of what we call “lost in translation,” wherein a media outlet mistranslates its own reporting from another language. Agence France Presse, for instance, once called the Brussels Jewish museum terrorist a “very polite Frenchman” in English, but not French. Reuters in Arabic, but not in English, misidentified a kibbutz in northern Israel a “settlement.” And on countless occasions, Haaretz‘s English edition whitewashed, downplayed or omitted information which appeared in the Hebrew edition concerning Palestinian or Arab wrongdoing or violence, and also introduced misinformation smearing Israel that did not appear in the Hebrew edition.

But this week The Jerusalem Post gave new meaning to “lost in translation.” Its “mistranslation” did not take place across two different languages, but from an accurate and careful English article to the accompanying sloppy and overreaching English headline (“Israel’s Mossad bombed German, Swiss firms to stop Pakistani nukes – report“).

Nevertheless, the story begins in German, with a Swiss newspaper report which suspected Israel’s Mossad of bombing European firms in order to stymie Pakistani efforts at developing a nuclear weapons program (“The decisive jump-start for Iran’s nuclear program came from Germany and Switzerland – the USA and probably also Israel resisted in vain,” Jan. 2, 2022, translation from German by InfoEquitable, emphasis added). In his article, The Jerusalem Post‘s Benjamin Weinthal faithfully recounted the Swiss media investigation, noting that Neue Zürcher Zeitung suspected Mossad culpability, but did not confirm it.
It's Time to End CNN's License for CNN Turk's Hate Content
Less than a year later, following worldwide protests against racism in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder, CNN Turk published an article on Afro-Turks syndicated by Turkey's semi-official Anadolu Agency. The piece, which quotes Turkish citizens of Sudanese descent criticizing racism in the United States and celebrating the claim that there is no racism in Turkey, failed to mention that the ancestors of Afro-Turks came to the region as slaves two centuries earlier. CNN Turk's piece whitewashed the Ottoman practice of slavery by referring to Afro-Turks as "grandchildren of Afro-Turks who came from Sudan in the 1800s for agricultural work." Although the video report embedded in the original piece in Anadolu Agency's website included multiple interviews where Afro-Turks complained about everyday discrimination and name calling in Turkey, this detail did not appear in CNN Turk's version.

Piotr Zalewski, The Economist's Turkey correspondent, commented on Twitter, "This piece is a disgrace. No, the ancestors of the Afro-Turks did not 'come' to the Ottoman Empire in the 1800s 'for agricultural work.'" Istanbul-based critic and writer Arie Amaya-Akkermans agreed: "This article should be a required reading in race theory syllabus; it's hard to get it more wrong (other than outright lying of course)." Despite similar criticism by academics, CNN Turk has not issued an apology or correction. The article is still on its website.

The downward trajectory of CNN Turk's editorial policies, along with its hate content, show that CNN's sister network is now a platform that engages in conspiracy theories, antisemitic tropes and racist rhetoric. On its website, CNN states that CNN Turk "licenses the CNN brand and has access to CNN content, training and services as part of the licensing agreement." Given that CNN's training and services have failed to remedy CNN Turk's racist content targeting Jews and Black people, CNN should disassociate itself from its Turkish partner and its hate content. This would be the right step from not only a moral but also a business perspective, and would prevent further tarnishing of a company that prides itself for being "the most honored brand in news," committed to a "mission to inform, engage and empower the world."
Israel advancing UN General Assembly resolution aimed at combating Holocaust denial
Israel will bring a resolution aimed at combating Holocaust denial for a vote before the United Nations General Assembly later this month, Ambassador Gilad Erdan announced on Wednesday.

The resolution will provide a specific classification for Holocaust denial, using the working definition put together by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. It will provide actions expected of signatory countries in order to address the phenomenon, and will demand social media networks remove posts that fall under the IHRA definition, Erdan said in a briefing with reporters.

The vote will be held on January 20, the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference organized by the Nazis to coordinate the implementation of Hitler’s Final Solution.

The envoy said the decision to advance the resolution followed a “dramatic rise in antisemitism and Holocaust denial” in recent years, particularly following last year’s Gaza conflict.

Erdan acknowledged that like all GA resolutions, this latest one will not come with an enforcement mechanism. However, he expressed hope that by setting a new “international standard” for what constitutes Holocaust denial and how social media companies are expected to act in response, the resolution will have significant ramifications on the discourse moving forward.

Erdan said he has been in talks with various missions representing countries around the world in order to lobby support for the resolution. He predicted that the measure would pass overwhelmingly with some 160 of the 193 UN member states throwing their support behind it.
Survey: 80 Percent of Israelis Concerned About Growing Antisemitism Worldwide
A recent Israel-wide survey found that almost 80 percent of Israelis are concerned about antisemitism globally, with almost three-quarters of citizens (73 percent) believing antisemitism is widespread.

More than half (61 percent) believe that the problem of antisemitism has only grown stronger during the past five years.

The survey of more than 500 Israeli citizens, commissioned by World Likud and conducted by the Shiluv i2r Institute, also found that over half of Israelis (58 percent) feel that Israel’s relations with the Diaspora have been harmed by the current government policy not to allow Diaspora Jews to enter the country due to COVID-19. More than 60 percent think that Jews living abroad should be allowed to come to Israel during the pandemic, and that the government should open Israel’s doors under humanitarian circumstances and in conjunction with COVID-19 requirements.

Israel’s former Ambassador to the UN and Chairman of the World Likud, Danny Danon, said, “The results of the survey emphasize that many Israelis are expressing solidarity with Diaspora Jews and think that we need to establish special circumstances for Jews who wish to visit Israel, especially in humanitarian cases. I call on the Minister of Health to urgently implement a plan that will allow Jews to visit Israel, even during the corona period and under the necessary restrictions, thus preventing further damage to the unique connection Israel has with Diaspora Jewry.”

In late November, the Israeli government issued a blanket ban on foreign visitors to the country in response to the fast-spreading Omicron variant. The government announced on Monday that as of Jan. 9, foreign travelers from 199 “orange” or medium risk countries will be admitted if they can provide, they are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19. However, citizens from the US and UK are among over a dozen countries that will remain on the “red” or high-risk list and prevented from traveling to Israel.
Utah Tech Entrepreneur and GOP Donor David Bateman Resigns in Disgrace Over Bizarre Antisemitic Email Rant
The founder of a tech start-up currently valued at over $1 billion was in disgrace on Wednesday following a furor over a disturbing antisemitic email sent from his company account.

David Bateman — the founder of Utah-based software firm Entrata and a prominent Republican Party donor in the state — asserted in the email that the COVID-19 pandemic was a Jewish plot for global domination. He also claimed that Pope Francis was really Jewish, and that his installation in the Vatican was part of an effort “to consolidate all the countries in the world under a single flag with totalitarian rule.”

Among those who received Bateman’s rant on Monday morning were Ryan Smith, the owner of the Utah Jazz NBA franchise and an investor in Entrata, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) and Utah Senate Minority Whip Luz Escamilla (D).

On Tuesday afternoon, Entrata CEO Adam Edmunds said Bateman had stepped down from the company’s board of directors and resigned his position as chairman.

“Dave is no longer a member of the board, effective immediately,” Edmunds said.

Edmunds also apologized for the contents of Bateman’s message. “To be absolutely clear, we at Entrata firmly condemn antisemitism in any and all forms,” he said.

Bateman’s email pulled no punches in advancing some of the most extreme and hateful of the antisemitic conspiracy theories that have mushroomed during the two year pandemic.

“I write this email knowing that many of you will think I’m crazy after reading it,” Bateman began. “I believe there is a sadistic effort underway to euthanize the American people. It’s obvious now. It’s undeniable, yet no one is doing anything. Everyone is discounting their own judgment and dismissing their intuition. I believe the Jews are behind this.”
$4 Million Lawsuit Alleges Hebrew Israelite High School Football Player Was Forced to Eat Pepperoni Pizza
An Ohio former high school football player is suing the Canton City School District over allegations that his head coach forced him to eat pizza soaked in pepperoni grease, violating his religious beliefs, as punishment for missing a team workout.

The $4 million federal suit was filed in the Ohio Northern District Court on Dec. 29 by the family of the ex-McKinley High School student — a Black Hebrew Israelite, identified in court documents as “K.W.,” who is forbidden from eating pork or its residue. The suit claims that the student’s civil rights were violated when head coach Marcus Wattley threatened to cut him from the roster unless he consumed the pizza in front of his teammates while they lifted weights.

Last year, according the local newspaper The Repository, K.W.’s allegations prompted the firing of Marcus Wattley and several assistant coaches. At a press conference in June, K.W.’s father, Kenny Walker, and his lawyer, Ed Gilbert, threatened to sue the district but began settlement negotiations. Those have since broken down, the Repository said, prompting the recent filing.

Canton City School District Superintendent Jeff Talbert, also named as a defendant in the suit, told the paper Saturday that the family’s claims are “without merit” and will be addressed “through the legal process.” (h/t jzaik)
COVID-19 cases hit new record as Israel changes testing policies
As coronavirus cases continued to surge in Israel on Wednesday, with an all-time high of more than 12,500 new virus carriers identified the day before, authorities announced significant updates in testing guidelines to reserve PCR tests for at-risk groups. They also acknowledged that other changes might be needed in isolation and Green Pass policies.

“The Omicron wave presents a different behavior than previous ones, and it forces us to take new steps and adopt a specific perspective,” Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said during a press briefing with Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash, Coronavirus Commissioner Prof. Salman Zarka, and Public Health Services head Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis.

Starting Friday, when a vaccinated or recovered individual is exposed to a verified case or experiences symptoms, they will be required to undergo a PCR test only if they are over 60 or have underlying medical conditions. Those exact definitions are still under discussion. PCR tests are more accurate in detecting the virus than antigen or “rapid” tests, especially those performed at home.

For at-risk patients, a timely and accurate diagnosis is crucial to be able to receive the new antiviral treatments that significantly reduce the risk of developing serious disease.
Intel Israel innovation solves Apple-Android 'language barrier'
Intel Israel, which a month ago acquired Israeli startup Screenovate for $100 million, has implemented a development from Screenovate in its EVO line of laptops, which it rolled out Tuesday as part of CES 2022.

Screenovate's product offers a solution to a common problem for tech users – the need to sync different gadgets from computers to smartwatches, especially when the devices are running on different operating systems – IOS, Android, Windows, Chrome, and more.

According to Intel, the technology allows end users to execute any action from any device on a single management system, while maintaining a unified experience. For example, an iPhone user will be able to text an EVO laptop or answer the phone from the computer.

Intel has rolled on a display model showing how a PowerPoint presentation can be transferred from an Android smartphone to a television or computer with one touch of a button.

Ilan Bressler, Wireless Connectivity Chief Operating Officer at Intel, said, "Our research indicates that the consumer puts great importance on smooth transition of data between different kinds of devices. Thanks to Screenovate's wonderful technology and team, we want to solve one of the biggest headaches for users when it comes to sharing information and working with others, making the type of OS irrelevant."
Is latest Israeli Netflix hit 'The Girl from Oslo' based on actual events?
With millions of viewers worldwide delighting in yet another Israeli hit on Netflix, many are left to wonder if the riveting Israeli-Norwegian thriller The Girl from Oslo is based on a true story.

Titled Azharat Masa ("Travel advisory") in Hebrew and Bortført ("Abducted") in Norwegian, the 10-part series that currently ranks as the fourth most-watched show on the streaming giant's roster is among Netflix's top-10 most-viewed series in 36 countries, including the United States, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

The show was also a success at home and was the second-most-watched series in 2021.

The Girl from Oslo was created by Ronit Weiss-Berkowitz and Kyrre Holm Johannessen, and directed by Uri Barbash and Stain Kristiansen, with Netflix, TV2, and HOT are the co-producers of this series.

The show tells the story of Nadav and Noa Salem, two Israelis, and Pia Bakke, from Norway, who are abducted by the Islamic State.
Gal Gadot Says Israeli Military Service Taught Her Humility: ‘That It’s Not About Me’
Israeli actress Gal Gadot graced the cover of InStyle‘s February “Badass Women” issue, and talked to the magazine about her service in the Israel Defense Forces, the “advantage” of being a foreigner in Hollywood, and how her Israeli mentality helped keep her sane in the business.

While participating in a questionnaire for InStyle, the “Wonder Woman 1984” star said the biggest lesson she learned while serving in the IDF as a combat trainer was, “that it’s not about me. I’m not the center of the world. When you’re 18, you feel like the world surrounds you. The army shows you that it actually doesn’t.”

She also shared that her favorite Hebrew word is “Sababa,” which translates to “cool.”

In her cover story interview for the magazine, which hits newsstands on Jan. 14, the mother-of-three revealed that she used the English-Hebrew language barrier to deliberately lose the Miss Universe competition when she was a contestant in 2004, and still turns to it as an excuse when she wants to get out of doing something.

“I always blame the language,” the “Red Notice” star explained. “In Hebrew, I’m so eloquent with the way I speak and the words I choose. I love language, and sometimes it’s frustrating that I live my life in English now. I dream in English but still don’t have the language completely embedded within me. Whenever I get frustrated, I’m like, ‘I’m still an immigrant.'”

Gadot, who stars this month in the murder mystery “Death on the Nile,” also opened up about adjusting to Hollywood and learning how to “understand the behavior, read people, [and] to be more polite and eloquent.”

“I come from a culture where we don’t have filters,” she said. “We say what we think, good and bad. My parents didn’t raise me to be the star of the family or to become famous. I didn’t think I was going to be an actress. That helped me keep my sanity [in the industry].”
The Keeper of Izmir
After 40 years in Israel, Nesim Bencoya returned to his once-cosmopolitan hometown in Turkey to save its hidden synagogues

From the expansive rooftop of a grubby, eight-floor parking garage in the center of İzmir, one is greeted with a spectacular panoramic view of Turkey’s third-largest city. To the north and west is the downtown area, and just beyond is the curving coastline of the Gulf of İzmir, tucked into a pocket of the Aegean Sea. Right across the street stands the heart of the city’s old Jewish quarter, concentrated around Havra Sokak (Synagogue Street).

Synagogue Street is a busy, dense, and cacophonous outer section of İzmir’s Kemeraltı Bazaar, a massive open-air market with centuries of history that still functions as an important space of commerce. The street is lined with vendors gutting, cleaning, and selling fresh fish, and butchers hawking various types of organ meats, racks of lamb, and whole chickens. The stench is pungent to say the least, and packs of stray dogs and cats are on the prowl after fallen morsels. Kemeraltı is bustling by day but mostly dark and eerily silent at night, though bars and restaurants have recently opened in certain parts of the market, providing light and energy to its maze of empty streets and shuttered shops.

I’m standing atop the roof on a sunny October day with 66-year-old Nesim Bencoya, a native of İzmir and a member of the city’s dwindling Sephardic Jewish community, which numbers about 900 to 1,000 today. From above, Bencoya points out the nine synagogues—some in good condition, others in advanced stages of decay—located in very close proximity to one another on both sides of Synagogue Street. In the foreground is an empty lot and a crumbling building that housed Politi Şaraphanesi, a kosher winery that closed in the 1940s.

“Imagine a roof,” Bencoya says, waving his arm around the compact quarter that encompasses the synagogues. He doesn’t mean a literal roof enclosing the area, much of which is in disarray, but envisions a restored, integrated heritage center linking the synagogues and adjacent backstreets. As general coordinator of Izmir’s Jewish Heritage Project, Bencoya is the primary force behind this expansive project, which brought him back to his hometown in 2010 after nearly 40 years in Israel, having moved to Haifa for college and worked as the director of the city’s Cinémathèque for 15 years.
Ancient toilet shows Jerusalem’s rich wallowed in luxury – and discomfort
Archaeological research on a 2,700-year-old toilet uncovered in Jerusalem found that its owners were wealthy but suffered from a range of intestinal parasites that would have blighted their digestive tracts, leading to abdominal pain and itchiness, Tel Aviv University and the Israel Antiques Authority said Tuesday.

Worm eggs, identified in sediment samples taken from a cesspit below the stone toilet, belonged to four different types of intestinal parasites, roundworm, tapeworm, whipworm, and pinworm. The pit, which was found in an ancient villa, was capped with a square limestone slab with a hole in its center, identifying the facility as a toilet during excavations.

“Intestinal worms are parasites that cause symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and itching,” lead researcher Dafna Langgut of Tel Aviv University’s Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures said in a statement.

“Some of them are especially dangerous for children and can lead to malnutrition, developmental delays, nervous system damage, and, in extreme cases, even death,” she noted.

The research, conducted jointly with the IAA, was published in the recent edition of the International Journal of Paleopathology, the official journal of the Paleopathology Association.











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