Wednesday, January 19, 2022

From Ian:

Following the law is not a disadvantage
Upholding the laws of war in each and every case is a humane action that needs to be carried out anew each time, depending on the context. If there is any suspicion that the law was intentionally ignored, the instance must be investigated honestly. However, during war there can be mistakes and errors, some of which might cause unintentional harm to civilians on the other side. Sometimes mistakes are the result of combat requirements being underestimated and too much caution. For example, in the incident in which Border Police Staff Sgt. Barel Hadaria Shmueli was killed, it's possible that the orders did not correctly assess the demands of the situation.

In any case, there is nothing new in applying the laws of war to the war on terrorist organizations. Legal advisors have been taking part in Israel's war on terrorism for decades, and even if the nature of their involvement changes over time, ultimately they were and still should be part of the process, and advise. That is accepted practice in all western armies, and it should be. The final decision lies with the commanders, and it should take into account the legal counsel they receive.

Too easy
In this context, in recent years we have faced two massive challenges. One is the enemy's increasingly sophisticated methods. Among other things, this includes activating groups that portray themselves as human rights organizations, but actually are branches of terrorist organizations (for example, some of the groups Israel recently declared to be terrorist entities with links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). Others operate with blatantly anti-Israel motives.

The second goal is the ease with which the enemy is able to enlist new media and some of the media establishment to promote its goals – primarily, slandering Israel and chipping away at its legitimacy. For years, radical left-wing entities throughout the world have been investing considerable means in slandering Israel, able to do so in part by taking advantage of the new reality in which areas of conflict are replete with tools of documentation that can be used to manipulate.

The international system, motivated by political considerations, mostly accepts the double standard of morality that this asymmetry expresses. While Israel is required to meet stringent standards and the former chief prosecutor of the ICC decided to open an investigation against it, no one truly expects the Palestinians to follow their laws of war, even though the ICC investigation is supposedly looking to Hamas' war crimes, as well. Moreover, according to the Palestinian narrative, the battle against Zionism justifies any form of war, including terrorism. And although the Palestinian Authority pays fat salaries to terrorists, it is seen as a legitimate partner in negotiations.

The IDF should continue to operate according to the law, but Israel must also recognize how vital it is for its to improve its abilities in the fights for western public opinion through an emphasis on our morality and our strong commitment to the law. The goal should be to increase the IDF's freedom of operation and restrict our enemies' freedom to operate.
Israel’s new man in NY: Bring on the broad — but legitimate — criticism of Israel
Israel’s new consul general in New York touched down in the US three months ago with his work cut out for him.

“I told my predecessors that I received a New York that is much more difficult than what they experienced,” said Asaf Zamir in an interview last month.

“During their tenures, Israel was only a positive buzzword,” he said, positing that the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 and the Gaza War the following year intensified the intersectionality framework’s prominence among progressives who now tie the Palestinian struggle “to all other issues.”

While Zamir clarified that the support for Israel he has encountered in recent months both within and beyond the local Jewish community has been “overwhelming,” the new era in the US now features “politicians of all wakes who allow themselves to comment in such extremes on [the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] — some of it legitimate criticism, and some of it crossing [the line] into antisemitism in my eyes.”

In this newly challenging environment, Zamir fears that young Jews arriving on college campuses are particularly vulnerable.

In a wide-ranging discussion on the sidelines of the Israeli American Council’s annual conference in Florida, Zamir revealed that one of his main goals in his job as consul general is to provide these students with the tools to be able to defend their Zionist identities on what has become at-times hostile turf.

The outreach efforts of previous governments may have been similarly motivated, but the new diplomat indicated that the message so far failed to resonate. With the most politically diverse coalition in Israel’s history sworn in last June, though, Zamir argued that Jerusalem was uniquely suited to make inroads with the next generation of Americans.

He admitted that the new government’s policies still won’t satisfy many of the skeptics he’ll be serving in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Delaware.

“Because life is complex, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complex,” he said.
US envoy to Israel ‘absolutely will not’ visit West Bank settlements
'I don’t want to do things intentionally that would create disrespect or anger among people'

The United States envoy to Israel said Friday that he never visited an Israeli settlement in the West Bank and had no plans to do so, in an effort to avoid inflaming tensions.

When asked whether he would make such a visit in an interview with Ynetnews, Ambassador Thomas Nides said “I absolutely will not.”

“Just like I ask both the Palestinians and Israelis not to take steps that inflame the situation, I don’t want to do things intentionally that would create disrespect or anger among people,” he continued.

“I’ll make mistakes. I’ll say things that will aggravate people… But I don’t want to intentionally anger people.”

Nides arrived to Israel in November following a lengthy confirmation process due to the refusal of Senate Republicans.

In explaining his approach to the position, he said that he has no ideology “when it comes to Israel.”

“All I care about is that Israel will remain a strong, democratic, and Jewish state,” he told Ynetnews.

UN set to pass historic resolution against Holocaust denial Thursday
The UN General Assembly is set to adopt a historic resolution calling for “action to combat Holocaust denial and distortion as antisemitism continues to surge globally.” The effort is led by the Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, who said the resolution would mark the first time in 17 years that the General Assembly was expected to approve an Israeli-authored text.

The vote is expected to take place on Thursday, which is the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference where top Nazi officials decided on the plan to eradicate the Jewish people, also known as “The Final Solution.”

The first and only time an Israeli-backed resolution passed was in 2005 with the establishment of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which takes place annually on January 27.

The Israeli resolution “urges all member states to reject without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event, in either full or in part, or any activities to this end.” It asks “member states and social media companies to take active measures to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denial” through “information and communication technologies,” and to facilitate the “reporting of such content.”

A new Israeli film tackles the taboo: Did six million Jews die in the Holocaust?
Fisher, who acknowledges that even asking such a question is controversial, said he was not seeking a definitive answer or figure.

“I wasn’t trying to do a count myself and I didn’t seek out people who were involved in the counting,” Fisher told Haaretz in a recent interview. But he noted that he came across a variety of different numbers from historians and other figures over the years, suggesting that the number could be higher or lower than six million. “So I was curious where this number six million came from, and how it became so fixed and so sanctified that people warn you to leave it alone.”

“The number six million has become an institution, and I wanted to stick a pin in it to try to understand where this number came from,” Fisher added.

Yad Vashem historian Dina Porat, who was interviewed for the film, said it treads on dangerous ground.

“The film will leave the borders of Israel, it already has captions in English, and it is a problem,” Porat told Channel 12 news of her concerns that it will call Holocaust memorial and memory into question. “I’m worried about it.”

Fisher told Channel 12 that the touchy nature of his latest film has made it difficult to sell to film festivals abroad.

“In Germany they told me, We can’t allow ourselves to air such a film to our audience,” the filmmaker said. “We are worried that the film will come across as if we are supporting Holocaust denial.”

When the film was released in Israel last year, it was praised for its nuanced approach to a complicated and highly controversial idea.

“‘The Round Number’ is a thought-provoking film, even provocative in its own humble way,” wrote a film reviewer for Yedioth Ahronoth, “about a pain that will not abide, about historical truth, and about the secularization of holiness.”

Guardian ignores Ken Livingstone's antisemitic formulation
The specific smear peddled by Livingstone, which he’s employed since at least the mid-2000s, and has been termed the Livingstone Formulation by British academic David Hirsh, accuses Jews (as the EHRC details) of making accusations of antisemitism in bad faith in order to stifle criticism of Israel. As we’ve repeatedly documented, this antisemitic trope has been legitimised and promoted by both the BBC and the Guardian. In fact, the Guardian published an op-ed by Livingstone himself in 2005, when he was mayor, that included a variation of this trope.

The Guardian’s most recent use of this ad hominem attack on the Jewish community came in the form of an op-ed by Australian journalist Louise Adler, published in Oct. 2021, a year after the EHRC report, which argued:
“when Israel’s policies are criticised in the public sphere, the reflexive accusation is antisemitism“.

“The conflation of anti-Zionism and antisemitism is a long-term strategy and the effect on the Australian media is obvious. It is a proven way to silence critics, ensure questions remain unanswered and media coverage muted”.

Though the EHRC report’s focus was the Labour Party, at the time we at least hoped that lessons would be learned at other institutions prone to peddling such toxic calumnies about Jews. Sadly, we were wrong.

University of Arizona, Florida State University End MESA Ties Amid Israel Boycott Debate
Florida State University and an academic center at the University of Arizona have declined to renew membership in the Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA), amid questions over whether the group’s movement toward an academic boycott of Israel could violate state or university policies.

At MESA’s annual meeting in December, 93 percent of voting members present resolved to direct leadership “to give effect to the spirit and intent” of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. A vote to ratify it will be held for MESA’s 2,800 members as early as this month.

A group of critics, including several MESA members, warned at the time that such a move would threaten academic freedom, by preventing “free exchanges between faculty members and students worldwide.” Later, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis cautioned that as a public institution, Florida State University would likely not be permitted to participate in an Israel boycott via its partnership with MESA, due to state law prohibiting the use of public funds to support BDS.

FSU confirmed to the blog Legal Insurrection on Sunday that it had not renewed its annual membership in MESA for the year 2022. The spokesperson did not give a reason for the decision.

On Tuesday, asked about FSU’s decision, Anne Betteridge, Director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, told The Algemeiner that the institution had also not renewed its membership at the end of 2021. She later added that the center had not received its dues notice from the association.

Like Florida, Arizona has passed a so-called anti-BDS law, as have a number of other states home to MESA partners, including the University of Arkansas, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of Michigan. Some of those state laws have been challenged in court over alleged First Amendment violations.
Glasgow University academic whose tweets breached International Definition of Antisemitism dismisses Jewish student who challenged him as being part of “the Lobby”
An academic at the University of Glasgow whose tweets breached the International Definition of Antisemitism has dismissed a Jewish student who challenged him as being part of “the Lobby”, according to the JC.

Dr Muir Houston, a senior education lecturer, reportedly claimed that the Jewish former Labour Party MP, Dame Louise Ellman, was “a liar and a fraud – and responsible for vexatious attacks on Corbyn at the behest of a foreign power.”

After he signed a letter of support for the disgraced academic David Miller last year, a Jewish politics student asked Dr Houston why he did so, for an article for a student newspaper.

According to the JC, less than an hour after the student sent the e-mail request, a Twitter account believed to belong to the academic posted “email received from the Lobby” and quoted directly from her message. Later in the day, the account posted: “After signing letter in support of David Miller – a member of the student lobby asked me for statement – given their previous reporting I will decline.”

The student submitted a complaint to the University’s Complaints Resolution Office. In April 2021, the University reportedly upheld the complaint, writing that University officials could “understand why the statements made by Dr Houston have caused offence to you and other members of the Jewish community” and adding: “We are deeply sorry about this. We would like to assure you that, as a result of your complaint, the School is actively pursuing this issue.” However, the letter did not commit to disciplinary action against Dr Houston.

Since then, the student has uncovered multiple social media posts, allegedly from Dr Houston, that breach the International Definition of Antisemitism, and still the University has apparently taken no formal action. The University of Glasgow has adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism.

‘Human Rights Watch’ Seminar Advises Olympic Athletes to Stay Silent in China
Human Rights Watch (HRW), a human rights organization known for its anti-Israel bias, hosted a seminar Tuesday in which athletes traveling to China for the Winter Olympics were advised to stay quiet about human rights issues while in the country.

It might have seemed otherwise — that the Olympics would provide a unique opportunity to criticize China, because it would be more difficult to deport or detain an Olympic athlete, and harder to hide such criticism from a domestic Chinese audience.

Human Rights Watch is vocal and one-sided in its criticism on Israel, and is considered to have discredited itself on the subject by mainstream Jewish groups. The American Jewish Committee considers it a “once reputable watchdog group.”

Revisiting a story ignored by the BBC for over two years
This week Zoabi was given a suspended sentence and a 75,000 shekel fine by the court.

Despite the BBC having featured Haneen Zoabi in its content on several occasions when she was a member of the Knesset and notwithstanding the continuation of the long-standing BBC News website practice of frequently reporting criminal/legal stories in Israel (especially if they involve Israeli politicians or public figures), in the nearly two-and-a-half years since it began, BBC audiences have not heard a single word about this story.

By way of comparison, in the same period of time visitors to the BBC News website alone have seen twelve separate written reports concerning the indictment and ongoing trial of Israel’s former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Reports on that topic even have a dedicated tab and the latest one concerns a potential plea deal which – unlike the Balad story concerning mysterious donations from abroad – does interest the BBC.
Former BBC Jerusalem reporter breaches guidance on social media use
On January 17th Israeli police arrived in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem in order to vacate – with court authorisation – a plot of public land designated for the construction of a special needs school which had been illegally taken over by Arab residents and turned into a plant nursery.

Thousands of miles away, the British rapper known as ‘Lowkey’ – a patron of both the ‘Palestine Solidarity Campaign’ and the ‘Stop the War Coalition’ whose anti-Israel activism and lyrics promoting antisemitism and 9/11 conspiracy theories are well known – posted a Tweet describing the evacuation of an illegally constructed business as “ethnic cleansing”.

Among the thousands of ‘likes’ for that Tweet was one from the BBC News & current affairs journalist Wyre Davies.

As a result of his ‘like’, that disinformation was promoted to former Jerusalem bureau correspondent Davies’ 24.2 thousand followers.

Back in September 2020, the then new BBC Director General ordered a review of the corporation’s guidance on social media use and claimed that the new version would be “rigorously enforced”.
UNRWA appeals for $90 million to aid Palestinians in crisis-hit Lebanon
A UN agency appealed Wednesday to the international community to donate tens of millions of dollars to help improve living conditions for Palestinians in crisis-hit Lebanon.

The appeal by the agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, is asking for an additional $87.5 million to provide Palestinian refugees with cash assistance to the poorest, and to cover hospital expenses as well as transportation for children so that they can go to school.

UNRWA says more than 210,000 Palestinian refugees are among the most vulnerable and that some basic commodities have become out of reach for many as Lebanon sinks deeper into the economic meltdown. It added that more than 58% of Palestinian refugees here have reduced the number of meals they eat every day.

About 400,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants mostly live in a dozen refugee camps in Lebanon, set up for those who fled or were pushed out during fighting surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948. An additional 27,000 Palestinians fled from Syria over the past decade during its deadly civil war.

The Palestinians in Lebanon are prohibited from working in professional jobs, have few legal protections and cannot own property.
Hezbollah: Not your everyday terror militia
Lebanon’s Hezbollah has proven that it is more than a terror militia to dread. It has become a time bomb that threatens to rupture relations between states and aspires to play the role of an uncontrollable regional troublemaker. Hassan Nasrallah has crossed all the red lines on which the actions of this militia, which challenges the national sovereignty of the Lebanese state, can be based.

He is overriding the sovereignty of a Lebanese state that is afraid of its cross-border mercenaries and unable to restrain his readiness to support those who back him with money, weapons and also ideas. I will not argue with Nasrallah’s latest speech and his accusing Saudi Arabia of terrorism. Everyone knows exactly who is running terrorism and who is financing it.

As a Gulf Arab, Nasrallah’s claims and violations bother me less than his alleged Arab-Lebanese identity. This man does not represent Lebanon and “most Lebanese,” as Prime Minister Najib Mikati said. This is a fact, despite all the question marks behind the Lebanese leadership’s attitude toward a man who is toying with the fate of Lebanon and its people.

However, the serious problem remains that he insists on destroying this beautiful country and turning it into a haven of chaos. The main center of gravity of this terrorist party on the Lebanese stage, in my opinion, is its enormous arsenal of weapons. Not its alleged popularity, anyway.

This party has already engaged in bone-breaking battles with all camps on the Lebanese stage. No one could stop their continued plans to turn Lebanon into a huge armory to serve as a forward counter-base against Israel and the Lebanese people themselves.
US imposes sanctions on Hezbollah-linked businessmen in Lebanon
The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on three businessmen with ties to Hezbollah, saying their activity as financial facilitators for the Iran-backed group was exploiting Lebanon's economic resources at a time of crisis for that country.

The Treasury Department has added Adel Diab, Ali Mohamad Daoun, Jihad Salem Alame, and their company Dar Al Salam for Travel & Tourism, to its sanctions list, the department said in a statement.

"Through businessmen like those designated today, Hezbollah gains access to material and financial support through the legitimate commercial sector to fund its acts of terrorism and attempts to destabilize Lebanon's political institutions," the US Treasury said in the statement.

Lebanon's economy has been in crisis since 2019 when it collapsed under a mountain of debt. Its currency plunged to a new low last week, and swathes of the nation have been driven into poverty.

Lebanon's cabinet will hold its first meeting in three months next week, local media reported on Monday, after Hezbollah and another group, Amal, ended their boycott of the cabinet at the weekend.
The Biden Administration's 'Diplomacy' with the Iranian Regime
As part of its "diplomacy", the White House first told the Iranian leaders not only that it is willing to lift nuclear-related sanctions, but also that it is considering lifting non-nuclear related sanctions.

Not only has the Biden administration's diplomatic route lifted some of the sanctions on the Iranian regime and its Houthi proxy, the administration has also looked the other way regarding the Islamic Republic's malign actions in the region.

As #BloodyFriday [the Iranian regime's lethal response to citizens protesting water shortages] trended on Twitter, not a word of condemnation could be heard from the White House. The organization Iranian-Americans for Liberty pleaded with the Biden administration to stand with the protesters....

Sadly, throughout history, "diplomacy" without the credible threat of a military follow-up (emphasis on the credible) can easily be regarded as just a "toothless" bore.

The Biden administration's policy of "diplomacy" towards the Iran's ruling mullahs seems in reality to be nothing more distressing to the ruling mullahs than a soggy pile of concessions and capitulations that, far from stopping their predations, will only empower and embolden them.

Battle Over ‘Beautiful Painting’ Looted by Nazis Reaches Us Supreme Court
A California man and a Spanish museum locked in a dispute over a valuable impressionist masterpiece stolen by the Nazis should be able to agree on one thing, Justice Stephen Breyer said Tuesday during arguments in the case at the Supreme Court.

"Can everyone agree that this is a beautiful painting?" Breyer asked near the end of an hour of arguments. The painting is a streetscape, now worth millions, by French impressionist Camille Pissarro.

The case itself is not directly about ownership of the painting but about how to decide the case, which has been going on since 2005. Lower courts had sided with the museum.

On the other side is San Diego resident David Cassirer. His great-grandmother Lilly Cassirer Neubauer, a German Jew, at one time owned the Pissarro oil painting. The 1897 piece, whose title translates to "Rue Saint-Honoré in the Afternoon, Effect of Rain," is one of a series of 15 that Pissarro painted of a Paris street as seen from his hotel window.

In 1939, in order to get visas for herself and her husband to leave Germany, Neubauer was forced to surrender the piece to a Nazi art appraiser. She was paid about $360, well below the painting's value, and the money went into an account she was blocked from accessing.
Guilty verdict for mosque leader who called for violent Jihad while wearing “Free Palestine, resistance is existence” jumper, and explosive details of family’s Islamist ties can now be published
A mosque leader who called for “Jihad by sword” while making a stabbing gesture and wearing a black top emblazoned with the words “Free Palestine, resistance is existence” has been found guilty of intending to encourage terrorism.

Abu Bakr Deghayes’ twenty-minute sermon a congregation of around 50 at Brighton Mosque and Muslim Community Centre last November was caught on CCTV. The audience reportedly included teenagers and young men in their twenties, as well as older members, and it is understood that several in the audience began to fidget as the speech went on, with some walking out.

The Old Bailey heard that Mr Deghayes, 53, from Saltdean, Sussex and originally from Libya, spoke in English and Arabic, urging the congregation to ignore the British Government and its Prevent programme. He is claimed to have said: “Allah is more powerful than you. You, idiots. You non-believers, idiots. Allah is more powerful than you. The non-believer…is an idiot; he’s stupid. Jihad is compulsory upon you, you, you and you until the Day of Resurrection, whatever the British Government thinks, whatever Prevent thinks, whatever Israel thinks.

“Send to the sea. They can go and drink from the sea, Allah curse their fathers, OK? Jihad, jihad, jihad! Jihad is compulsory. Jihad by fighting by sword that means this jihad is compulsory upon you, not jihad is the word of mouth but jihad will remain compulsory until the Day of Resurrection. And my livelihood is under the shadow of my spear.”

He added that anyone who did not like what he said was an enemy of Allah, declaring: “Go fight Allah! Go Fight Allah!”

Mr Deghayes, who denied wrongdoing, had claimed in his defence that his words referred to self-defence, and that the stabbing gesture was a “dance of the blade”.

Now that the case is over, with Mr Deghayes inexplicably released on continued bail until he is sentenced at the same court on 25th February, details of his family’s ties to Islamists can be published. Two of Mr Deghayes’ sons were killed fighting in Syria (a third died in a stabbing incident in Sussex). Abdul, who was reportedly involved with drugs and was murdered by a dealer in 2019 aged 22, was the twin brother of Abdullah, who was killed in 2016 fighting in Syria. Their brother Jaffar was killed in 2014 aged seventeen while fighting to overthrow the Syrian dictator, Bashas Al-Assad. Both were apparently fighting for the al Qaida-affiliated Al-Nusra Front. Yet another son, Amer, is believed still to be fighting in Syria.

Chip giant Nvidia expands R&D operations in Israel
US gaming and computer graphics giant Nvidia, which completed the acquisition of Israel’s Mellanox Technologies Ltd. in 2020 for a massive $7 billion, announced that it is further expanding its R&D operations in Israel.

The company said Tuesday that it was establishing a new design and engineering group that will lead the development of next-generation CPUs (central processing units) geared toward artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and Nvidia’s new platform Omniverse, which allows for virtual world simulations.

The US firm, founded in 1993 by Jensen Huang, Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem as a graphics chip company, inventing the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), is today a leader in the field of artificial intelligence.

In Israel, Nvidia will be hiring additional engineers over the coming months to fill positions in hardware, software, architecture, and other engineering roles, the company said Tuesday.

“Israel, with its unique wealth of talent, is a key player in the global tech ecosystem, and we are excited to be creating a new CPU group here,” said Michael Kagan, Nvidia’s chief technology officer in a statement Tuesday. “We look forward to further growing our local R&D activities both in this area and in our extensive work supporting the local ecosystem through unique programs for startups and developers,” he added in reference to the Nvidia Inception Program for Startups, which already includes over 300 Israeli companies, and the Nvidia Developer Program, which allows free access to Nvidia’s offerings for developers.
Pfizer CEO awarded Genesis Prize for efforts to combat COVID-19
Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla was announced as the 2022 Genesis Prize Laureate on Wednesday morning by the Genesis Prize Foundation. "I never could have imagined that I might one day receive the profound honor of the Genesis Prize and stand alongside my extraordinary fellow nominees," Bourla said of his award. "I was brought up in a Jewish family who believed that each of us is only as strong as the bonds of our community; and that we are all called upon by God to repair the world."

The Genesis Prize Selection Committee recognized his "leadership, determination and especially his willingness to assume great risks," according to the foundation.

Bourla, a Jewish man who heads one of the largest medical companies in the world, has a deep connection to his identity and heritage and has been consistent in his support for Israel. He will be the ninth Genesis Prize Laureate, following Steven Spielberg who was awarded the prize in 2021.

He received the most votes in a recently concluded global campaign, during which 200,000 people in 71 countries voted online. The voters' choice was endorsed by the nine judges on the Genesis Prize Selection Committee.

Bourla will be given the award by President Isaac Herzog in a ceremony slated for June 29 in Jerusalem. He expressed his excitement about coming to Jerusalem to accept the award in person.
Yisrael Medad: Saluting Two Arab Palestinian Martyrs
The Ihud found Fawzi Darwish Hussaini, a labor activist and a cousin of the mufti. He was willing to sign an agreement with his Jewish friends providing for a bi-national state based on the principle of no domination of one nation over the other. He suggested the immediate establishment of political clubs and a daily newspaper to combat the influence of the Arab war party.

On 11 November 1946, five members of Young Palestine, Fawzi’s group, signed an agreement concerning common political action with Ihud representatives, but this promising initiative came to a sudden and tragic end. Twelve days later Fawzi was killed by Arab terrorists and his group dispersed. ‘My cousin stumbled and received his proper punishment’, Jamal Hussaini, one of the leaders of the extremist party, declared a few days later.

Laquer goes on and relates that in September 1947, Sami Taha, a prominent Haifa trade resident, was killed. His society had declared itself in favor of a Palestinian, not an Arab state, acknowledging that Jews too had certain rights. He had become a target for extremists.

They should be saluted, not as much as for their politics as for simply trying to be independent thinkers.
Ben-Gurion house finds scroll presented to first prime minister in 1949
A JNF-KKL scroll presented to David Ben-Gurion during a tree-planting ceremony in Meginim Forest in 1949 has been found at the Ben-Gurion House in Tel Aviv and will be put on display for the public.

The scroll was in on the premises for decades, but no one looked at it. Israel Hayom has learned that only recently, ahead of Tu B'Shevat, the scroll was unrolled and examined after renovations to the building.

Originally, the scroll was presented to Ben-Gurion by students at the Jerusalem school where the first JNF-KKL meeting was held. It contains stories from the history of Zionism that stress the importance of planting trees, fighting for the land, returning to the land of our forefathers, and the JNF-KKL's activities.

Curators at Ben-Gurion House say that "the scroll was closed in its wrapping for years, and that can be seen in its good state of preservation. Its content has never been presented at the house and it shines with the Zionist story."

Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, chairwoman of the Ben-Gurion House board of directors, said, "This week and throughout the upcoming month we will display the KKL scroll that was presented to the first prime minister and defense minister at Ben-Gurion House Tel-Aviv.

"The house, which Ben-Gurion left to the state, tells the story of Israel through his vision and the decisions made under its roof," Nahmias-Verbin said.
Israel’s National Library Obtains 90 Pages From One of Oldest Hebrew Texts Ever Printed
The National Library of Israel in Jerusalem announced on Tuesday the acquisition of 90 singular pages from one of the very first religious Jewish texts ever printed.

The pages come from the only known copy of a late 15th century edition of Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher’s “Arba’ah Turim,” a leading code of Jewish law. The edition was published in Italy around 1492 by Yehoshua Soncino, who set up one of the world’s first Hebrew printing presses in 1484.

No complete copies of the edition remain, and the pages procured by the national library, which already had 59 pages from the book, are not in any other public or private collection.

“Arba’ah Turim” — or “Four Columns” in Hebrew — is divided into four sections, each covering a different area of Jewish law. The pages newly acquired by the national library come from the first two sections: “Orach Chayim,” which covers laws pertaining to prayers, Sabbath, and Jewish holidays; and “Yoreh De’ah,” which discusses ritualistic laws, such as ritual animal slaughter and the rules of keeping kosher.

Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher was a leading rabbinical authority who lived from about 1269 to 1343. His work in “Arba’ah Turim” served as a basis for Rabbi Joseph Caro’s 16th century “Shulchan Aruch,” widely considered to be the most influential legal code of Judaism.

“Even though the complete edition has not survived, it is exciting that these pages — part of an exceedingly important Jewish text — have come down to us and will now be preserved and made accessible to scholars and the general public by the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem,” said Dr. Yoel Finkelman, curator of the library’s Haim and Hanna Salomon Judaica Collection.

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