Tuesday, May 03, 2022

From Ian:

‘Arguments fall silent in cemeteries’: Herzog calls for unity at Memorial Day speech
Israel on Tuesday evening mourned the country’s fallen soldiers and terror victims as sirens sounded nationwide at 8 p.m. to mark the start of Memorial Day

The sirens brought Israel to a halt for a full minute, as people stood in somber silence on the streets, inside homes and on balconies. Traffic too came to an abrupt halt, as vehicle occupants exited their vehicles to stand beside them.

The day’s official opening ceremony was held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, with President Isaac Herzog giving an address in which he urged Israelis to continue developing the country in a spirit of unity.

“Our sons and daughters, who fell in defense of our state, fought together and fell together. They did not ask, nor did anyone ask them, who was right-wing and who was left-wing. Who was religious. Who was secular. Who was Jewish and who was not Jewish,” he said.

“They fell as Israelis, defending Israel. In cemeteries, arguments fall silent. Between the headstones, not a sound. A silence that demands that we fulfill, together, their single dying wish: the resurrection of Israel. The building of Israel. United, consolidated, responsible for each other. For we are all sisters and brothers,”

Herzog acknowledged a recent series of terror attacks that have left 16 people dead, bringing violence and death to city streets.

“Even today, our enemies rise up against us with hateful terror, and as always they find us ready and determined, with one hand holding a weapon and the other extended in dialogue and peace,” he said.

“It is precisely in these heart-breaking moments, escorting our heroes and heroines on their final journeys, together with their beloved families, whose pain instantly becomes our own — precisely in these moments, we discover the sheer power of our wonderful and marvelous nation, a nation that knows how to overcome any obstacle.”

Herzog called on the bereaved to not forget the continued goal of building the State of Israel and urged future generations to persevere in the duty of building a cohesive nation.

“This is our duty to the fallen, our duty to you, and our duty to future generations: to sustain a strong and prosperous Jewish and democratic state, a state built of a dazzling mosaic of communities,” he said.
Remembering Israel's fallen: Hero after hero
Growing up in America, I never experienced a personal connection to any soldier killed in Vietnam, didn’t know anyone who fell in action, didn’t even know anyone who did, as does every Israeli who grows up here. But after living in Israel for 30 years and experiencing too many wars and military actions, the stories of the soldiers who fell in those operations have become personal. And they are everywhere.

Last week I went to Mount Herzl for the memorial service of Shmuel Weiss, the 20th anniversary of his death in combat during Operation Defensive Shield.

The deadliest battle of that operation took place April 9, 2002, in a refugee camp in Jenin. An IDF reservist force that entered the narrow streets and alleys was hit by explosives, and the soldiers sent in to extract the wounded met an ambush with heavy crossfire. Thirteen soldiers died.

Some call it the hardest day of the war. For Zipporah and Arye Weiss, the hardest day was the day before. Their 19-year-old son, Shmuel, was also in Jenin, serving as a medic with the Third Platoon, 51st Battalion, of the Golani Brigade. When platoon-mate Matanya Robinson got hit in an ambush in the refugee camp, Shmuel rushed to attend his wounds. Shmuel got hit. Robinson and Weiss both died.

Shmuel Weiss is not a famous soldier, except to his family, their friends, the soldiers with whom he served, and the soldiers who currently serve in that same platoon who come to the yahrzeit service every year. To all of them, he is their hero.

He’s mine, too. Shmuel Weiss became my hero because his father has been a close friend for 55 years, since we were classmates in high school in Skokie, Illinois. I had known Shmuel since I made aliyah, when he was nine. His death was personal.

Weiss is buried in Area D, Section Six, a plot of land no different than in any of the country’s 52 military cemeteries: row after row of hero after hero.

Over the years, when I would go to Shmuel's yahrzeit ceremony, I started looking around at the other plots surrounding where he is buried, and discovered that I knew more soldiers.
Israel to usher in Memorial Day for soldiers, terror victims with 8 p.m. siren
Israelis will bow their heads at 8 p.m. Tuesday for a minute of silence as sirens sound throughout the country in remembrance of the country’s fallen soldiers and terror victims.

Fifty-six soldiers died during their military service since Israel’s last Memorial Day. Another 84 disabled veterans died due to complications from injuries sustained during their service.

The numbers brought the total of those who have died during service to the country since 1860 to 24,068.

The nationwide ceremonies for Israel’s Memorial Day, which begins at sundown, started in the afternoon with a commemoration event at the Yad Lebanim memorial for fallen soldiers in Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy took part in the ceremony, as well as top army brass and families of fallen soldiers.

In his speech, Bennett recalled his time serving as a commando in southern Lebanon during the 1990s and mentioned several soldiers he knew who were killed while fighting there.

“We were there in Lebanon, all of us together. Kibbutzniks and city kids, secular and religious, from Beersheba and Haifa, right-wing and left-wing, Jews with non-Jews,” he said in an appeal for unity, as his disparate coalition fights to stay afloat after losing its parliamentary majority last month.

“There, in the bases of southern Lebanon, I fell in love with our wonderful nation,” the premier continued. “Many friends remain there… They were 19 or 20 years old and didn’t return.

“I can’t speak in their name, but I believe if they could, they would ask of us: Keep living together. Don’t allow disagreements to tear you apart from within.”

He warned that internal divides could threaten Israel’s security, saying: “If we allow anger and hatred to grip us, our enemies will take advantage of this to harm us.”

Jews Who Hate Israel Are Teaching Your Children About the Jewish State
Let’s take a closer look at what he has written and said about Israel over the years, to understand what he was undoubtedly saying to his students in class to inspire those “unsettling discoveries” about Israel.

In 1988, Lustick wrote a book called “For the Land and the Lord.” It was so hostile to Israel that even the left-wing magazine The Reconstructionist complained that “Lustick’s sermonizing reeks of the cant and dual standard so frequently applied and misapplied by the West to the Middle East.”

In a 1993 article, Lustick wrote that support for “united Jerusalem” is “a carefully cultivated fetish.” In 1997, he denounced Jewish construction in Jerusalem as “confiscatory, discriminatory and aggressive settlement activities in the Jerusalem area.” At the height of Palestinian Arab terrorism against Israel in 2002, Lustick wrote that Palestinian Arab violence was “probably a necessity” in order to convince Israel to make more concessions.

Lustick has also compared Israel to the Nazis. He has written that Israeli soldiers who serve in the territories, “in the aftermath of the Holocaust,” are comparable to soldiers in the past who were infamously “following orders” (2002). He has demanded that Israel apologize to the Palestinian Arabs for committing “injustices” against them, just as Germany apologized to the Jewish people after the Holocaust (2006).

In a 2013 op-ed in The New York Times, Lustick compared Israel to apartheid South Africa, demanded that Israel surrender its nuclear weapons, and called on Israelis to give up “statist Zionism” and agree to live in “one state” with the Palestinian Arabs.

In his most recent book, published in 2019, Lustick claimed that Israel carries out “the continuous mass shooting of Palestinian civilians [in Gaza] … murder[ing] and maim[ing] so many men, women and children trying to escape from the ghetto within which they have been concentrated.”

This, then, is what Ian Lustick has been teaching Jewish students at UPenn for more than 30 years: that degenerate, racist, Nazi-like Israelis are slaughtering Arabs and preventing peace.

So, I ask, which is more likely: that Jewish college students are being seduced by Muslim campus groups, or that they are being gradually influenced by Jewish authority figures such as Ian Lustick, who are in a position to shape their views every day in class?

This is not just a matter of concern to individual parents; it also has important implications for our community as a whole. The Jewish community needs to take a long, hard look at the role that many Jewish academics have played, and are continuing to play, in influencing Jewish college students to side with the Palestinian Arabs over Israel.
Liel Leibovitz Explains Why BDS Isn’t the Problem, Harvard Is
Oh no! The editorial board over at The Crimson, Harvard’s student-run newspaper, just endorsed BDS! Quick, let’s start a campaign to write letters and convince people that if you only study the facts you understand indisputably that actually Israel has a right to …

Stop it. Just stop it. Stop pretending like any of this is real. It’s not: What we’re seeing here isn’t a conscientious decision by intrepid young intellectuals that requires equal or greater reaction in order to triumph in the hallowed jousting match that is the war of ideas. What we’re seeing here is a bunch of junior apparatchiks-in-training acting out a decade-old playbook, putting up a piece of performance theater that is crucial to finding later employment in the Borg that now runs this country. Harvard, the U.S. government, the Democratic Party, the media—these are not separate and meaningful institutions that can be redeemed or reformed or addressed. They’re a Jew-hating blob, and they only bother with their odorous little performances, like the one currently unfurling in Cambridge, because they know they can rely on some not-too-smart Yidden to get angry enough and rush into what they believe is a “debate” but is really much more of an auto-da-fe. In other words, put bluntly, what we’re seeing right now in Harvard is what we’re always seeing in Harvard, namely a bunch of slimy twerps twerking for attention, advertising to their older and more moneyed kinfolk that they’re ready for the hiring.

If you’re Jewish and have self-respect—not at all an obvious correlation these days—there’s only one thing you should be doing: leave. Leave right now. Walk away and don’t look back. Study Gemara. Read the Tanya. Polish your Hebrew. Go volunteer at the Jewish old age home down the street. Do something that’s meaningful, and sustainable, and Jewish, instead of investing in institutions that have made a clear and irreversible decision to hate you. Do it now and save yourself. Don’t, and you’ll forever be tied to the inquisitor’s pole, allowed the privilege of explaining precisely why it is that you believe you should be awarded the same liberties and dignities as other human beings.
Read the Letter the Harvard Crimson Won’t Publish
The Harvard Crimson on Friday broke with the paper's longstanding editorial position to endorse—in a lengthy but borderline illiterate editorial—the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that aims to economically isolate the Jewish state of Israel. The endorsement came at the tail end of an "Israeli Apartheid Week" hosted by the Ivy League school's Palestinian Solidarity Committee, replete with an art show that equated Zionism with "racism" and "white supremacy." (The Crimson editorial characterized this as "a colorful, multi-panel ‘Wall of Resistance' in favor of Palestinian freedom and sovereignty.")

The former Crimson president, author, and columnist Ira Stoll wrote a letter to the paper's editor blasting the decision. Crimson president Raquel Coronell Uribe is declining to publish that letter, which the Washington Free Beacon is publishing below, edited lightly for clarity.

Dear Raquel:
For sure I made my share of mistakes as president of the Crimson. The content of the paper should be up to the undergraduates, not the alumni.

Even so, I wanted to write to express my fury, dismay, and disgust with the staff editorial today backing the effort to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel. It makes me embarrassed to be associated with the Crimson.

The editorial says you "unambiguously oppose and condemn antisemitism in every and all forms." Actually, it is an example of antisemitism to single out Israel for boycott, divestment, and sanction while giving a free pass to the many countries with far worse human rights records, countries like Communist China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. A boycott of Israel would mean Harvard scholars could not collaborate with Israeli academics in advancing life-saving technologies, and that no Israeli students—no matter their background or political views—could study at Harvard.

The editorial goes on about "privilege" and "power imbalance." That struck me as particularly tone-deaf this week. Thursday was Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
More Antisemitism at Harvard
For all this talk about “safe spaces,” one wonders if Harvard is a safe place for Zionists and those who stand with Israel?

Harvard graduate student Cevin Soling wrote an open letter to Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow, as well as the school’s provost and two deans.

He asked why Harvard administrators have allowed its Jewish community members to be subjected to harassment and antisemitism. Soling noted, “Due to a very long history of persecution, many Jewish students and professors like to keep a low profile. Unfortunately, this approach has only emboldened antisemitic bigotry on campus. What started as clumsy activism founded on disinformation … has evolved into something more insidious.”

Soling goes on to note that last year, Harvard Hillel was vandalized two separate times, and an organization, Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine (HOOP), has been staging protests demanding that hummus made by Sabra be removed from dining halls. In addition, stickers have been placed on Sabra snack cups in the dining hall which read, “Warning! Sabra funds Israeli apartheid and the murder of Palestinians.”

Solig asks, “Are students free to sticker food in the student cafeteria with antagonistic political messages? If no disciplinary action is taken against the students who stickered the food, but action is taken in the future by other students with an agenda, what message do you think that sends about the permissibility of statements that target Jews?

Shame on Harvard. Antisemitism seems to be one of the few forms of racism allowed today. Donors to Harvard should examine if they want to continue to support an institution that is increasingly standing against Jews and Israel.
Efforts to Boycott Israel Grow on Campus
The spring semester approaches its end with a variety of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) activities on campus. In the US, several student governments have passed BDS resolutions and protested pro-Israel and pro-IHRA speakers. In the UK, the National Union of Students has elected a BDS supporting Islamist antisemite as its president.

Underscoring the fundamental antisemitism behind BDS, during Passover, SJP members also protested outside a Jewish fraternity at Rutgers University, waving flags and calling Jewish students “baby killers” and terrorists. In a less overtly hostile event at American University, the Muslim Student Association pulled out of participation in an interfaith seder with Hillel, blaming “Hillel’s continued support for the state of Israel.”

A number of “Globalize the Intifada” demonstrations stated frankly that the goal of the BDS movement and its allied theologies is to eliminate Israel.

Protestors explicitly defended Palestinian terrorism, and threatened attacks on Jews and Israelis. One example in New York organized by Al Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition featured chants of “Smash the settler Zionist state”; “We don’t want two states. We want ’48”; and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

One of the protest leaders, attorney Lamis Deek, also announced that “we say unapologetically and boldly: Hamas are freedom fighters! PFLP are freedom Fighters! Islamic Jihad are freedom fighters! Fatah armed forces are freedom fighters! All of our people in Palestine are freedom fighters.”

American Muslims for Palestine and SJP chapters organized anti-Israel protests in Chicago, Los Angeles — which was billed as a “defend Al Aqsa” rally and featured chants of “we don’t want two states, we want all of 48” — and New York, which featured chants of “we don’t want no two states, we want all of it!”

A Toronto BDS protest cheered attacks on Israelis, with one organizer stating, “Israel has witnessed the deadliest attacks that it has seen in the last 15 years, all because the Palestinian freedom fighters have been putting their lives to fight for freedom,” to which protestors responded “allahu akhbar.”

Protests were also held in April in London and Berlin, and featured traditional cries of “death to Israel.” Violent protests have long been a feature of pro-Palestinian politics in Europe, and recent trends in the US points to the growing Islamization of the BDS cause.

Campus BDS campaigns also reflects Palestinian “anti-normalization” demands, where any contact with “Zionists” is deemed unacceptable.
Israel is not Russia, the Palestinians are not Ukrainians
IN RECENT WEEKS, some commentators – mostly associated with far Left and/or ultra-nationalist Palestinian perspectives – have opined that the international community should extend their sanctions against Russia to the State of Israel. According to this simplistic argument, the continuing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza is the equivalent of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine – and deserves the same global punishment.

The obvious riposte here is that no two conflicts are the same in terms of origins or responsibility. But more specifically, I have long argued that the BDS movement is a case study of ethnic stereotyping whereby the entire population of Israel (or at least the majority Jewish segment) is demonised as an evil oppressor group.

That judgment of BDS as an overtly malevolent phenomenon both in terms of intent and actions is not changed one iota by the recent horrific but unrelated events in Eastern Europe.

Even if there were some relevant commonalities or lessons from events in Europe that might help inform conflict resolution in the Middle East, there is little if any similarity between the respective boycott approaches.

Unless I have missed something, nobody in the United Nations is calling for the dismemberment of Russia as a national state or demanding that the Ukrainians or any other people become the newly dominant ethno-national group within Russia’s internationally recognised borders.

In contrast, the BDS movement demands the end of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, and its replacement by an ethnocentric Arab State of Greater Palestine in which Jews at best would be allowed to remain as a tolerated religious minority. The global guru of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, has consistently emphasised that they demand ‘a Palestine next to a Palestine, rather than a Palestine next to Israel’.

Up-and-Coming German Film Star Condemned for Attendance at Antisemitic ‘Free Palestine’ Demonstration
A German actor who starred in a movie released last year about the antisemitism faced by an Iranian Jewish teenager has been identified as a participant in an antisemitic demonstration in Berlin that took place ten days ago.

23-year-old Mohammad Elraqui was spotted at a pro-Palestinian rally in the Neukölln district of the German capital on April 23. Protestors chanted antisemitic slogans, including “Scheiß Jude!” (“sh**y Jew”) and “strike, oh Qassam, don’t let the Zionists sleep” — referring to a rocket type developed by the Hamas terror group and fired at Israeli civilian targets.

Elraqui played a lead role in the 2021 move “Ein Nasser Hund” (“Wet Dog”), about a 16-year-old Iranian boy, Sohail, who moves with his parents to Berlin from the respectable town of Göttingen. Once in Berlin, Sohail discovers he is Jewish, and begins wearing a Star of David necklace that attracts the hostile attention of local Muslim teenagers, forcing him to hide his true identity. One of Sohail’s close friends in the movie was played by Elraqui.

At the demonstration, Elraqui was seen in the company of a group of youths who chanted slogans praising Mohammed Deif, the supreme military commander of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades of the Hamas terror group in Gaza. Elraqui was also reported to have been filmed at demonstrations on April 16 and April 18, footage of which was posted to the Tik Tok platform before being deleted.

Sharuz Shalicar, the author of the book on which “Wet Dog” was based, said that Elraqui’s presence at the demonstration undermined the film’s message.
Taher Herzallah - The Hateful Heckler
Taher Herzallah is the Director of Outreach for the Hamas-affiliated domestic organization 'American Muslims for Palestine' (AMP). He is a rabid antisemite that endorses violence against Jews, calls for the erasure of the Jewish State, was arrested twice for disrupting Israeli speakers, and often spreads horrific antisemitic conspiracy theories.

AMP was founded by Hatem Bazian, also known as - 'America's Most Antisemitic Professor' - to promote mainstream hatred against the Jewish nation and its people. The ADL has accused AMP of promoting "extreme anti-Israel views and has at times provided a platform for antisemitism under the guise of educating Americans" about Palestinians. AMP is also directly involved in campus-based anti-Israel activity through Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

Herzallah appeared in a YouTube video where he atrociously defended Hamas' terror rockets shot at Israel and outrageously stated "Hamas’ rockets are an oppressed people’s audible cry for help". In a 2018 social media post Herzallah wrote "The most beautiful site in my eyes" in regards to a photo of bloodied Israeli soldiers.

Herzallah's preaches for the full dismantling of the State of Israel, stating "...we cannot envision a future for the Palestinian people as long as Zionism exists... the only language that the State of Israel understands is that of resistance", greenlighting violence and terror.

In 2017, Herzallah disrupted a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on David Friedman's nomination to be the United States Ambassador to Israel. He was arrested and charged with unlawful conduct and disrupting the U.S. Congress.

Herzallah was also arrested in 2010 after he heckled Ambassador Michael Oren's speech at the University of California Irvine. He was charged by federal prosecutors, found guilty and put on three years' probation.
CBC Promotes Anti-Israel Film As Part Of Jewish Heritage Month
Established in 2018 by the Parliament of Canada, the month of May became Jewish Heritage Month throughout Canada.

Intended as a means to recognize the many contributions Canada’s 400,000+ Jews make to their country, Jewish Heritage Month adds an important voice to Canada’s diverse tapestry and aims to “… remember, celebrate and educate future generations about the inspirational role that Jewish Canadians have played and continue to play in communities across the country,” according to the Canadian Jewish Heritage Month Act.

To commemorate Jewish Heritage Month, CBC recently announced it was adding five new Jewish-themed films to its online streaming service, CBC Gem.

One of the new films, My Tree, by filmmaker Jason Sherman, chronicles his search for a tree planted in Israel in honour of his Bar Mitzvah in 1975. CBC describes the film as follows (emphasis added): “A Canadian searches for the tree that was planted in his name in Israel many years earlier. When he discovers that it stands on the remains of an Arab village, he is forced to question his own culpability.”

But My Tree is much more than a simple quest by a Canadian Jew into his heritage; the film is a harsh critique of both the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the organization which spearheaded tree planting in Israel, and Israel’s alleged crimes against Palestinians.

'Die Juden' Painted in Yellow on Portland Synagogue, Small Fires Set
Staff from Congregation Beth Israel, the city’s reform synagogue in Northwest Portland, on Monday morning found an antisemitic death threat scrawled in yellow paint on the outside of the building and scorch marks from recent fires set in front of the doors to the sanctuary.

Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana said finding the death threat, “Die Juden,” painted on the exterior wall facing Northwest Flanders Street just four days after Yom HaShoah, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is a chilling reminder of the need to “recommit to being vigilant against antisemitism.”

“It’s easy for us in Portland to think this doesn’t happen around here. That we’re free of anti-Semitism and hate speech, but the reality is it’s very much a part of our world,” Cahana said. “It’s very much of a part of the Pacific Northwest.”

After consulting with community security professionals and police, Cahana said he doesn’t believe this is part of a plot or plan for violence.

He stressed that he doesn’t want his congregants or the community to live in fear.

“But be aware,” Cahana said. “And how poignant it is to have this just a few days after having our community’s Holocaust survivors in our sanctuary, where we were honoring their eyewitness, their experience. It really recommits us to being vigilant against anti-Semitism.”

The phrase painted across the outside wall of the historic sanctuary contains the German word for Jews.
Man sentenced to 5+ years for anti-Semitic hate crime
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office sentenced Ross Anthony Farca to five years and eight months behind bars in a hate crime case. On December 1, 2021, Farca was convicted of four felonies and one misdemeanor hate crime. Palo Alto police investigating yard sign vandalism as hate crime

In 2019, Farca used a screen name “Adolf Hitler (((6 Million)))” on the video game platform Steam, a reference to how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust. While live streaming himself, Farca said he wanted to kill Jews and police officers with a homemade assault rifle.

Police received a warrant to search Farca’s home and found an assault weapon, 13 magazines, bullets and books about Hitler and Nazism. Mental health diversion hearings delayed his sentencing three times.

“Today’s sentencing ensures the safety of the residents of Contra Costa County and the greater Jewish community. Hate crimes disrupt the lives of both direct and indirect victims, and this sentence demonstrates that hate never wins,” Deputy District Attorney Amber White said.
Jewish Children Targeted in Latest Antisemitic Incidents in United Kingdom
Jewish organizations in the United Kingdom are demanding that police take more action in light of rising antisemitism, particularly the targeting of Jewish children in recent days.

According to a report from the volunteer security group Shomrim, two Jewish girls, ages 12 and 13, were on the way home from school the other day when they were confronted by “five teenagers who held a knife to their faces.”

“This abhorrent attack against religious Jewish adolescent girls is not an isolated incident but part of a trend in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Stamford Hill, which continues to experience violent antisemitism like New Yorkers are seeing Brooklyn, NY,” a spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) told JNS.

This incident came just days after Jewish children at a park were harassed and the peyot (side curls) of an 11-year-old boy were pulled. Police are reportedly looking for three teens in connection with that case, according to a tweet by Shomrim.

Two other 11-year-olds were assaulted on Sunday outside a supermarket in Stamford Hill, according to Shomrim, which tweeted that the kids “were attacked by a group of teens. One victim was punched while the perpetrator laughed and his friends threatened to attack them again.”
Israeli balloon tipped as world’s 1st affordable, scalable method for carbon capture
The sky is anything but the limit for an Israeli company developing special carbon-catching balloons that it says will provide the world’s first affordable, scalable method for capturing carbon from the atmosphere.

The population of the world emits around 50 billion tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) each year, mainly through burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. This is the main driver of global warming and climate change.

The race is on not only to reduce the use of those fuels, which also pollute the air, but to remove excess CO₂ from the atmosphere and store it, somewhere, for a long time.

Last month, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear that removal is essential if the world is to meet the Paris Agreement’s climate goals and if governments and companies are to meet their net-zero pledges.

But “technological, economic, institutional, ecological-environmental and sociocultural barriers” mean progress is not being made fast enough, it said.

According to Nadav Mansdorf, CEO of High Hopes Lab, based in Ramat Gan in central Israel, around half of the GHG are absorbed by nature each year, while the rest will have to be removed by humanity just to keep the pace of climate change where it is.

A long, strange journey: 2 Nigerian students flee Ukraine, end up at Berlin Hillel
Nigerian students Funke Oluwatosin and Deborah Ologbenla, both 16, received a crash course in German Jewish life — as the result of a very unexpected journey.

The friends were studying at Kyiv Medical University when Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. They left, fleeing the violence immediately, and headed to Warsaw, Poland, where they split up amid the panicked, fast-paced transports leaving for other countries.

Oluwatosin continued with a group of five fellow Nigerian students toward Berlin, where an American Jewish man from New Jersey spotted them at Berlin’s main train station and offered to help them secure housing. He put their story onto a Telegram chat for Jews across Germany who were helping house refugees displaced from Ukraine.

Rabbi Jeremy Borovitz, director of Jewish learning at the Hillel Deutschland — a hub for learning and community engagement for Jewish students and young professionals in Berlin — saw the message and offered to house Oluwatosin’s group at the Hillel headquarters-turned-temporary-hostel.

Oluwatosin mentioned her friend back in Warsaw and asked if she could join them. Borovitz enthusiastically approved, and Ologbenla arrived in Berlin a couple of days later.

Oluwatosin, Ologbenla, and the rest of their group stayed with Hillel Deutschland for the next five weeks, learning about Jewish culture on the fly in their temporary home. Members of the Hillel Deutschland community have since taken them all into their private homes while their futures are sorted out.
Former Israeli NBA player Omri Casspi steps onto high-tech court as VC investor
Less than a year after retiring from professional basketball, following a career highlight as the first Israeli player to break through in the NBA, Omri Casspi is stepping into the court of high-tech investments with a new $50 million venture capital fund.

Dubbed Sheva (seven in Hebrew), the fund is co-founded by Casspi and David Citron, a long-time venture capital investor and an Israel-based partner at San Francisco-headquartered Global Founders Capital, an investment company that has backed Slack, Facebook, Canva, and LinkedIn, among many others. Global Founders Capital’s Israeli portfolio includes Dynamic Yield, sold to McDonald’s in 2019, and then to Mastercard last year), and Next Insurance.

Casspi previously backed companies such as DocuSign and Israeli health tech company DayTwo as an angel investor, according to his announcement Monday.

Casspi’s new fund will focus on pre-seed and seed-stage investments in startups as well as “opportunistic series A” rounds, according to the announcement.

The fund hopes to invest about $1-$2 million each in 20 companies and, since starting operations earlier this year, says it has already made a number of investments in companies focused on fintech, cybersecurity, and Web3 ventures. The latter is an emerging industry of online ecosystems based on blockchain technology and digital currencies.
8-Year-Old Israeli Chess Player Displays Flag After Winning European Championship
An eight-year-old chess player from Israel won an international chess competition for children ages nine and under on Friday in Rhodes, Greece.

Chess prodigy Noam Sasson from Ganei Tikva took home the gold medal after winning seven out of nine rounds in his division at the 2022 European School Chess Championship, beating opponents from Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and other countries. More than 200 children participated in the competition, which had separate categories for players under seven, nine, 11, 13, 15, and 17 years old.

Sasson is a trainee of the “Chess4All” club in Savyon, Israel. The club’s director, Lior Eisenberg, spoke with Israeli media about Sasson’s performance in the championship, saying, “we watched the game live and it was really tense. After the eighth round there was a draw between him and the Turkish player. Only in the last round did Noam finish in a draw and the Turk lost, and thus he won first place in the championship.”

At the competition’s award ceremony, Sasson stood on a podium and held the Israeli flag as his national anthem, “Hatikvah,” played in the background.

Israeli Minister of Culture and Sports Hili Trooper congratulated Sasson after his win, saying, “we are proud of you.”
Waze maps 250 memorials for fallen soldiers and terror attack victims
Some 250 memorials for fallen soldiers and terror attack victims have been mapped by a community of mapmakers and Waze to help people reach them easily by car.

The mapping was done with the assistance of families of fallen soldiers and terror victims, the Defense Ministry and Yizkor.

The memorial sites will pop up for drivers who are nearby instead of ads throughout Remembrance Day and will be easily accessed in the search bar.

"Waze started out as an Israeli company - an application that's made up of a community of its users," said Waze CEO Gai Berkovich. "We as a company, and I personally, are very proud of the project to map the memorials to those who died for us.

"Thanks to the hard work of the company's employees and a community of volunteers, hundreds of memorials, some of which have not been mapped before today, will appear on the map, and many Israelis will be able to pay their respects to our departed on Remembrance Day and after."

"Remembrance Day is an important and meaningful day, and it is a great honor to be able to take part in the mapping project," said Director of Business for Waze Dana Burger. "With the help of the app, we have the ability to reveal the locations to millions of users, and thus honor those who have died."
Israeli Army Places 24,068 Flags on Graves of Fallen Soldiers Ahead of Memorial Day
The Israeli military is placing 24,068 flags on the gravestones of soldiers, police officers, and other security forces who fell in the line of duty ahead of Memorial Day.

The day of remembrance, which begins Tuesday evening, honors those who died in service of the State of Israel and the pre-state Zionist movement from 1860 until today.

Speaking at the annual “Flag for the Fallen” ceremony at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl on Monday, Aryeh Mualem, who heads the Defense Ministry’s Department of Families, Commemoration, and Heritage, said the placing of flags on graves nationwide “is equal to placing a very important understanding into the hearts of the bereaved families.”

“During the laying of the flag, the nation stands in silence next to each grave — whether a private, lieutenant colonel, brigadier general, superintendent, or warden,” he said. “Next to those who fell in service and those who fell in combat, because we do not forget them, and we will never forget them.”

After the ceremony, the Israeli flag, a flower, and a memorial candle are placed on each grave in the lead up to Memorial Day, known as Yom HaZikaron, which commences with a minute-long memorial siren nationwide.

IDF Chief Staff Aviv Kochavi, who spoke at the ceremony, observed that Israel’s fallen are remembered “on many occasions: When we return to carry out operational activities in the areas in which they fell, when we review combat analysis, in our professional learning sessions, when we enter the memorial rooms of each unit, and every year on the day in which our sons and daughters fell.”

“However, this day calls on all of the people of Israel to unite in solidarity and in memory,” he continued. “This day slows the pace of the daily routine and makes time for all Israeli civilians to stop and think, to think of those who fell and about you [their families], to stop and partake in the constant pain you feel.”

Over the past year, 56 Israeli soldiers and security personnel have died in service, according to the Defense Ministry, while 84 handicapped IDF veterans perished from their disabilities or medical complications.

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