Friday, June 17, 2022

From Ian:

Eugene Kontorovich: Israel, Armenia and Presbyterians
The PCUSA is fully within its rights to support Armenian settlements. Nothing in international law requires boycotts or sanctions against such communities. It is understandable if, as Christians, the PCUSA’s members are touched by the plight of one the most ancient churches in Christendom. It shouldn’t be a crime for members of a particular ethnic group to live in part of its historic homeland, and surely the PCUSA would be scandalized if third parties boycotted Armenians for returning to Karabakh.

Yet that is exactly what the PCUSA urges when it comes to the Jewish state. It has made Armenian nationalism a funding priority while treating Zionism as a horrible crime. The PCUSA is far from alone. As I have written in these pages, vocal critics of Jewish settlements in the Holy Land on the far left, such as Rep. Rashida Tlaib and senior officials at Human Rights Watch and CodePink, have been active supporters of Armenian settlements.

The PCUSA says anti-Semitism doesn’t drive its obsession with the Jewish state. Instead, it acts under pretense of upholding international law, which it claims Israel violates by allowing Jews to live in parts of the West Bank. Doubtless the PCUSA’s role in supporting settlers in occupied territory will not lead it to disavow its Karabakh projects. Nor will it drive a wedge between the denomination and the many other progressive “anti-occupation” groups with which it makes common cause. This highlights how “settlements” and “illegal occupation” are not general terms of international applicability. Rather, they are part of special vocabulary, a kind of neutral euphemism, designed to discuss only one particular people.

The church sees itself as progressive, but its views on Israel are a throwback to something very old.
Barbara Kay: Lawyers target anti-Israel double standard over product labels
Goldstein and Kontorovich are determined that Israeli products be treated by the same standards as others. They are the lawyers who filed a complaint with the CFIA regarding olive oils labelled as made in “Palestine.” The label of one, Al’Ard Extra virgin olive oil, seen in an Ottawa Marché Adonis shop, says “Product of Palestine.” The label of the other, Zatoun Fair Trade Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which retails at the Nuthouse in Toronto (as of June 1), and doubtless elsewhere in its network (Zatoun did not respond to my media query), describes the oil as being “from Palestine,” and displays the flag of the Palestinian Authority. Its Country of Origin (CO) is stated as “Product of West Bank PS,” although the West Bank is not a country, and PS is an ISO abbreviation for “State of Palestine,” which Canada does not recognize as a country.

The complaint rests primarily on the Safe Food for Canadians Act, which requires that all food products must be labelled in ways that are not “false,” “misleading” or “likely to create an erroneous impression,” reinforcing its claim with the precedent set by the CFIA’s Psagot ruling.

In the legal analysis attached to the complaint, they note that not only is the “State of Palestine” a nonexistent entity unrecognized by Canada, the government of Canada had voted against a United Nations General Assembly resolution claiming there was such a state. Moreover, Canada’s labelling regulations require that the CO be either a country or a World Trade Organization member, which includes non-sovereign customs territories like Hong Kong. Israel is both. “Palestine” is neither.

As in the Psagot case, in which they acted for the winery, Goldstein and Kontorovich are open to a reasonable solution. They demur from the proposed approach recently entertained by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to label such wine products “of the West Bank,” since the West Bank is “neither a country, nor a customs entity, nor a governmental authority of any kind.” In any case, “West Bank” is a misleading label because, as prescribed by the Oslo Accords, the West Bank is divided into three Areas: A and B are under the Palestinian Authority, and Israel controls C. The complainants suggest a model which designates the relevant administering authority, such as “Product of Palestinian Authority – West Bank,” or the even more clarifying “PA administered territory.”

Consumer confusion is not the issue here. The complainants stipulate that both Psagot wine and the Palestinian olive oils are marketed almost exclusively to people who know the origins of the products, and who purchase them expressly as a gesture of support. They have no problem with Palestinian activists providing support vehicles for their sympathizers. They do not seek any advantage for products made in Israel, inclusive of those areas Israel administers. They are asking only that — unlike in the EU — the CFIA continue to recuse itself from the internal political conflicts of other nations, and stick to their mandate of providing the same level regulatory playing field for all. A reasonable demand, objective observers would agree.
Amnesty International UK ‘institutionally racist’, inquiry concludes
Amnesty International UK is “institutionally racist” and faces bullying issues within the organisation, an inquiry into the charity has concluded.

The findings of management consultancy Global HPO’s inquiry, which were published in full on Thursday, also accused Amnesty of failing to embed principals of anti-racism into “the DNA” of the organisation.

In a damning indictment of the charity, the 106 page document suggested white applicants were more likely to be appointed to roles within the charity than all other groups, with black people least likely to be given a job.

Amnesty has repeatedly sparked anger with the Jewish community over recent years by publishing a series of reports into Israel that have concluded it to be an apartheid state.

But the independent report into Amnesty concluded:”“A perception that has not been addressed and as such manifests in the negative cultural paradigm of exclusion and racism at AIUK.

“There is a need for the impact of this legacy to be acknowledged and addressed as part of the transition to becoming anti-racist.”

It continued:”“Our view is that ‘white saviour, middle class and privileged’ is a perception that forms an important part of the AIUK narrative about its history and legacy.”

The inquiry called for training to improve equality monitoring at the organisation, with attention needed on retaining staff from black Caribbean and black African staff.

The report also describes the charity as having “a culture that bullies” and points out that it had repeatedly failed to take action following a number of similar reviews in the past.

Mark Regev: Queen Elizabeth's platinum jubilee and UK-Israel ties - opinion
The 2017 Balfour Declaration centenary provided a real-world example of how ideas emanating from the bureaucracy can be amended.

London faced a dilemma. On one hand, Israelis, British Jews and Israel’s many UK friends advocated celebrating the 100th anniversary. On the other hand, Britain’s diplomats were concerned about the lingering sensitivity of the declaration in the Arab world, and desirous not to offend the Palestinians, who were vehemently demanding a public apology.

The original Foreign Office advice was a fudge; to “neither apologize nor celebrate.” Yet ultimately the occasion was marked by the two sitting prime ministers, Theresa May and Benjamin Netanyahu, meeting for lunch at 10 Downing Street and later attending a festive dinner at Lancaster House under the auspices of Lord Jacob Rothschild. Limited space at the gala demanded turning away many hopeful attendees; then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn declined his invitation, making room for another guest.

70 years
Seventy years since assuming the throne, Elizabeth II has reigned over a revolution in UK-Israel relations. From all the hurt surrounding Israel’s struggle for independence, today the two countries share a friendship that encompasses multiple areas of tangible cooperation.

In September 2019, I visited an RAF base in Lincolnshire to witness firsthand one example of this collaboration. The air forces of both countries were together involved in a training exercise, with the Israeli and British pilots agreeing that they were learning valuable lessons from each other that enhanced their professional skills.

Perhaps herein lies one reason for the current good relationship: Britannia no longer rules the waves, and Israel is far from the poor and struggling newly independent state it once was, even surpassing the UK in various fields – including in GDP per capita.

So as Britain celebrates the platinum jubilee, both countries meet as relative coequals, and a genuine partnership can flourish.

God save the Queen!
‘What is your nation, if I may ask?’: Antisemitism and Zionism in James Joyce’s Ulysses
For enthusiasts of James Joyce, yesterday, June 16, was Bloomsday—that is, the day on which the entirety of his Ulysses takes place. This experimental novel, based on Homer’s Odyssey, has a Jew as its main character, and has as a central plot device an advertisement for a Jewish planters’ society near Jaffa. Noga Emanuel explores the book’s almost classically Zionist message:

Leopold Bloom, Joyce’s Odysseus, is Jewish. Although he was born to a Catholic mother and a Jewish Hungarian convert, and was baptized at birth, so is not a Jew in any formal Jewish or Irish-Catholic sense, he is known throughout Dublin as a Jew and is treated like one, enduring anti-Semitic jeers and humiliations, the butt of Jew-baiting jokes, wherever he goes. There are explicitly 25 direct mentions of “Jews” in the entire text, and many other implied references, most of them conveying classically crude antisemitic slanders, fewer samples of modern anti-Semitic conspiracies, and fewer still neutral mentions.

When Bloom tries to avow himself a bona-fide Irishman, neither his compatriots nor his author allow him to be one. Indeed, one could argue that had Bloom been an Irishman, fully assimilated, no longer Jewish in any formal or cultural sense of that identity, his author would have had no use for him. No, Bloom is still a Jew. Neither the jeering Dubliners, nor Joyce misread his identity. Perhaps most clueless is Bloom, who longs to belong organically to the Irish nation while being literally incapable of wresting himself from his deeply felt Jewish awareness.

Bloom is invariably perceived as meek and unmanly by his fellow Dubliners. When he rues the injustice inflicted upon Jews, Bloom is pleading for something that no one around him can understand or respect. The answer he gets is: stand up to it with force, “like men.” All this pleading and speaking of universal love as the corrective for the injustice to Jews and Irish alike is deemed “unmanly” and wins him even more violent vituperation. The “love” Bloom prescribes cannot cure anti-Semitism or gain him one iota of respect from his fellow Dubliners. But . . . it is not Jewish laws or customs that have depleted Bloom’s spirits but rather his disinclination to accept himself as a Jew. The only time we see him animated is when he responds to [one character’s] taunts by shaking his fist and speaking for the Jewish people, as a collective.
Canadian MP Laments Anti-Israel Taunts at Daughter’s High School Graduation
A Canadian Parliament minister took to social media this week to recount an incident of antisemitism at her daughter’s graduation ceremony, held on the grounds of a Toronto area amusement park.

In her posting, Ya’ara Saks, MP for York Centre in Toronto, wrote: “I debated whether to share this because it was so hard, but I think it’s important to state that this happens nearly every day: Yesterday, I went to my daughter’s graduation at Wonderland. … Many of the parents there were visibly Jewish (kipot, modest dress, sheitels). As families were walking, a group of young people passed and yelled out ‘stop killing Palestinians.’”

“These parents are Canadians, living here. This wasn’t a public event nor had it anything to do with the conflict; it was a high school graduation,” wrote the MP. “They’re just visibly Jewish. This is so wrong. It’s collectively blaming Jews for a foreign conflict. It’s hate, it’s antisemitism, it’s dangerous, and it needs to stop.”

“As leaders, as communities, we must address this. Hate allowed to fester only grows. We need to build bridges across communities, and we must do it now,” wrote Saks, who also serves as the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “We need to educate about what and how hate spreads. We need to stand up and call it out to make sure that those young people know what they did was wrong and won’t be tolerated in any quarter.”

Responding in a tweet, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, wrote: “This behavior is utterly unacceptable. We must work together to create the Canada in which all Canadians of good will aspire to live.”
Human Rights Watch Strips Gaza of its History to Attack Israel
Credible institutions engage with reality as it is, not as they want it to be. In this sense, Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is the farthest from a credible institution. Their latest anti-Israel slander demonstrates this point yet again.

On Tuesday, HRW produced yet another attack on the Jewish state, titled “Gaza: Israel’s ‘Open-Air Prison’ at 15.” While it addresses Gaza’s border with Egypt, too, the article reserves much of its harshest language for Israel, painting a cliché picture of Gazan victims at the mercy of bestial Israelis whose only motivation is to deprive Palestinians of their human rights. But it’s a picture that only holds up if one leaves out a slew of inconvenient historical facts.

Rather than address those inconvenient details and convincingly explain why they do not detract from HRW’s conclusions, the organization either ignores them entirely or summarily dismisses them without any adequate explanation.

Some background on the history of the Gaza Strip is necessary.

In August 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip. All its Jewish residents – some 8,000 people – were forced to leave their homes. Synagogues were dismantled and even the dead were uprooted as Jewish graves were exhumed and the remains moved out of Gaza. Every single Israeli soldier left the territory.

Several months later, the terrorist organization Hamas won a majority of seats during the election for the Palestinian Legislative Council. Tensions between Hamas and the party of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah, began to grow. By January 2007, Fatah and PA figures were being abducted, beaten, and executed by Hamas. Then, in June 2007, Hamas launched a military offensive that successfully captured the entirety of the Gaza Strip, effectively expelling the Palestinian Authority from the territory.
From 'We are Hamas' to 'Death to Israel' – Same Old CAIR
Video footage taken at the protest shows numerous participants adorned in Palestinian garb and flags. One girl, standing next to the protest leader, wore a shirt with an image of Palestinian female terrorist icon Leila Khaled clutching a rifle with the words “Resistance is not terrorism” under it. Khaled was a plane hijacker for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a US banned terrorist group. The protesters repeatedly chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a Hamas and PFLP-inspired anthem calling for the complete elimination of Israel (through violent means) from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

The person filming the video was CAIR-Florida Communications Director Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, a Muslim convert from Puerto Rico. Ruiz is also legal advisor for the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA) and founded AMANA's Puerto Rico and Connecticut chapters. In July 2010, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned AMANA for promoting a "venomous" antisemitic video featuring white supremacist David Duke. AMANA’s founder/President, Sofian Zakkout, was recently thrown off the boards of two prominent anti-crime groups for supporting Hamas and al-Qaeda, promoting Holocaust denial, and labeling Jews "monkeys and pigs."

In April 2010, just three months prior to the ADL’s condemnation of AMANA, an article was published written by Ruiz vilifying the Jewish religion, titled Las fobias de mi vecino (translated “My neighbor’s phobias”). In it, Ruiz cites Justinas Pranaitis, a Lithuanian Catholic priest who was infamous for advancing a blood libel claim against Jews and who was stripped of his priesthood. In the piece, Ruiz further provides a link to, a website that contains Pranaitis’s antisemitic conspiracies and is produced by those alleging Jews are Satanic and perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.

During the May 15th protest, more than three-quarters of the way through the video footage, Ruiz turned the camera abruptly toward the street and, after a brief pause, appeared to shout, in his thick Puerto Rican accent, “Death to Israel. Death to Israel.” No doubt, Ruiz, like the Islamist organizations he represents, possesses an extreme hatred for the Jewish state, regularly declaring his support for the bigoted BDS boycott movement and vindictively referring to Israel as “Apartheid Israel.”

The chants of “We are Hamas” and “Death to Israel,” at CAIR sponsored events, are proof that CAIR is still clinging to its Palestinian terrorist roots. CAIR may claim that it is a Muslim advocacy group that wishes to combat discrimination, but time after time, Israel – or more appropriately Israel’s annihilation – is what the organization cares most about. Fighting discrimination is just a veil to conceal CAIR’s sinister reality.

Social worker conference skips vote on ‘uncomfortable’ antisemitism motion
A motion on antisemitism that sparked anger and fear amongst many Jewish social workers was not voted on at the annual conference of the British Association of Social Workers. (BASW) on Friday.

Jewish News revealed on Wednesday how a motion tabled for the AGM of the largest professional membership organisation for social work had called for the body to “suspend the decision to endorse the IHRA definition of antisemitism.”

The motion was backed by the Social Workers Union who claimed the examples of possible antisemtic conduct listed by IHRA ” have been regularly used to conflate criticisms of Israel with antisemitism and to frame defending Palestinian rights as antisemitic.”

Jewish social workers had also stressed the problems were not just about the rejection of IHRA, but also the refusal to listen to concerns they raised about their voices being overlooked.

In a surprise move, delegates attending the BASW conference, both in person and online, were informed on Friday that there was Point of Order to move on from voting on motion number 8.

One delegate was heard saying there was a real need “to listen to Jewish voices” over their concerns about the anti-IHRA motion.

It is understood that the call to move on from the motion without those watching events online voting on it was seconded by someone else at the conference.
Indy gives Hamas a pass in promoting flawed Gaza report
In jumping to the conclusion that Israel’s blockade is to blame for the Gaza children’s mental health issues, they conflate cause, the rise of Hamas, with effect, Israel’s partial blockade to prevent the flow of deadly weapons to the terror group.

But, even if they were to still characterise Israel’s blockade as an illegitimate response to Hamas, and they were to present data showing a marked increase in the rates of mental illness among children in the strip after 2007, they’d still have to demonstrate that it was the blockade itself, and not Hamas’s brutal rule over the population, that caused the statistical change.

In fact, quite remarkably, the word “Hamas” doesn’t appear even once in StC’s 30 page report. Thus, they fail to explore the intuitive question of how Hamas’s authoritarian rule of the Palestinian territory, and their military actions (aimed at destroying the Jewish state) which fueled several costly wars and depleted funds that could be directed towards schools, hospitals and other social needs, has impacted the mental health of Gaza’s kids.

Bel Trew’s failure to critically scrutise the StC report, and her faith in the NGO’s mono-causal explanation for the mental health crisis, assures that Hamas is once again spared opprobrium for the Palestinians suffering caused by their fanatical, antisemitic ideology, and that Indy readers are spared the cognitive dissonance of being asked to consider a factor in Gaza’s woes other than Israeli villainy.
BBC framing of US president’s upcoming ME visit
As is also usually the case in BBC reporting, portrayals of history begin in June 1967 with no mention made of the 19-year illegal Jordanian occupation of parts of Jerusalem or the status of that area before it was invaded by Jordan.

“Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state. Israel considers the whole of Jerusalem – including the East, which it occupied in the 1967 Middle East war – as its indivisible capital.”

Berg’s report tells readers that:
“Last week, 13 human rights groups warned it could “embolden the crown prince to commit further violations of international human rights and humanitarian law“.

“We urge [the Biden] administration to secure genuine progress on human rights before acting in a manner that would bolster the status of the crown prince and his government,” they said.”

However the BBC did not inform its audience that among those “13 human rights groups” are ‘Human Rights Watch’ and ‘DAWN’ which is headed by Sarah Leah Whitson. Readers may recall that Whitson – then representing ‘Human Rights Watch’ – made a controversial fund-raising trip to Saudi Arabia in 2009. In 2020 HRW put out a statement (not reported by the BBC at the time) concerning a 2012 donation it had received from a Saudi businessman “that included conditions that the funds not be used to support HRW’s work on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in the Middle East and North Africa.”

The ability of BBC audiences to make up their own minds regarding that statement from ‘human rights groups’ about the US president’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia would of course have been enhanced had that information about the fund-raising activities of the most prominent of those groups been provided.
New Jersey town agrees to repeal ordinance allegedly aimed at keeping out yeshivas
The township of Jackson, New Jersey settled a federal Justice Department lawsuit alleging that a 2017 ordinance banning dormitories sought to keep out yeshivas.

Under the consent order announced Wednesday, the township must replace the 2017 ordinance with one that allows “religious elementary and secondary schools, religious higher learning institutions, and religious residential schools.”

The township borders Lakewood, home to a large and fast-growing Orthodox Jewish community. The lawsuit alleged that the township sought to stem the flow of Orthodox residents into the town with the ordinance.

“Zoning restrictions that intentionally target religious communities have no place in our society,” said Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general who heads the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “ This resolution reaffirms that members of the Orthodox Jewish community — as with people of all faiths — are welcome in our communities and have the right to practice their religion free of discrimination.”

The settlement includes a payment of $200,000, with $150,000 set aside for anyone who was harmed by the ordinance.

Civil rights lawsuits against the town filed by the state of New Jersey and Agudath Israel of America remain outstanding, Gothamist reported.
NY Cops Arrest Teens Over ‘Free Palestine’ Assault on Jewish Man in Brooklyn
The New York Police Department has arrested two teenagers in connection with an assault on a Jewish man in Brooklyn last month during which the slogan “Free Palestine” was shouted as the victim was being beaten.

The two boys, aged 14 and 16, were charged on Wednesday with third-degree assault and first-degree harassment, with both classed as hate crimes.

The unnamed yeshiva student was attacked on May 6 at the intersection of Avenue M and East 18th Street in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. Five males surrounded him and punched him in the face as one of the assailants shouted “Free Palestine.” The victim was briefly hospitalized at Maimonides Medical Center and released.

Incidents targeting the Jewish community in the State of New York have increased 24 percent since last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The ADL found that with 416 attacks, New York had the highest number of antisemitic incidents in the entire country — 12 percent more than neighboring New Jersey.
“Cancel Israel” poster found outside Golders Green station
A poster calling for the destruction of Israel was found outside of Golders Green station this week.

The poster had the words “Israel = ISIS” written on it. Below, it said “Restore Palestine” and “Cancel Israel”.

At the bottom of the poster, it said: “The Bible was written a long time ago.”

Golders Green is a neighbourhood renowned for its large Jewish population. According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel” and “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour)” are both examples of antisemitism.

Renovation Work in Poland Finds 60 Jewish Tombstones Near Old Gestapo Building
Dozens of Jewish tombstones were discovered this week in the Polish town of Radzyń Podlaski (also known as Radin), about 35 miles from Lublin, near a building that had been used as headquarters for the Gestapo during the years of World War II and the Holocaust.

The tombstones were found during renovations in the area. Historians and Catholic priests have taken control of the site and are asking the landowners to stop construction.

“We’ve moved the gravestones to a secure place,” Zbigniew Smolko told Haaretz. The journalist, historian and vice president of the local council said that the Nazis took “tombstones from Jewish cemeteries and used them to pave a courtyard.”

Meir Bulka, who heads the organization J-nerations that works to preserve Polish-Jewish heritage, said: “This is a sensational discovery. About 60 tombstones were found here — most of them intact — and the inscriptions on them are legible.”

The town had once been the center of the Radzyń Chassidic dynasty; many descendants now live in the United States and Bnei Brak, Israel.
New Exhibit at Illinois Holocaust Museum Highlights Nazi-Deceiving ‘Ghost Army’ in World War II
A top secret unit of the US Army known as the “Ghost Army,” whose main goal was to deceive and trick Nazi forces in Europe during World War II, is the focus of a new exhibition that opened Thursday at the Illinois Holocaust Museum.

“Ghost Army: The Combat Con Artists of World War II” shares information about the US Army’s 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, which was activated on January 20, 1944, and became the first mobile, multimedia, tactical deception unit in the history of the American army. The selected group of 82 officers and 1,023 men — consisting of artists, engineers, professional soldiers, and draftees — carried out covert operations across Europe that saved thousands of lives and played a crucial role in helping the Allied forces be victorious in World War II.

Under the command of Army veteran Colonel Harry L. Reeder, the top secret unit simulated two whole divisions — approximately 30,000 men — while being armed with nothing heavier than .50 caliber machine guns. They used inflatable tanks and vehicles, false radio traffic and sound effects, and fake generals to dupe German forces.

“’Ghost Army’ explores the bravery, heroics, and creativity of this first-of-its kind military unit,” said Kelley Szany, vice president of education and exhibitions at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. “The Museum is proud to highlight their vital contributions that went unrecognized following the war.”

The exhibit explains 22 large-scale deceptions launched by the special unit in Europe, from Normandy to the Rhine River, between D-Day and the end of the war. Visitors can learn about unit operations, profiles of unit officers, archival photographs, and sketches from unit officers. Artifacts in the exhibit include artwork, uniforms, and inflatable tanks and planes.
Retired IDF General, Disability Advocate Tapped as Next Jewish Agency Chair
A retired Israeli general was unanimously chosen on Thursday to serve as the next chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Maj. Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog was selected by the organization’s nominating committee to assume its highest post for the next four years. “We are confident he will be dedicated to our mission of keeping the Jewish people connected to each other and to Israel,” the Jewish Agency said.

Founded in 1929 by Chaim Weizmann, the Jewish Agency seeks to help Jewish development of, and immigration to, the State of Israel.

Isaac Herzog, who served as the organization’s most recent chairman of the executive before assuming the presidency of the State of Israel, welcomed Almog’s nomination. “This is a very important role in the Jewish world that seeks to connect the State of Israel and diaspora Jewry, and the Jewish world and our state; that influences Israeli society, and aliyah and absorption,” he said. “I am confident that his talents, experience, and capabilities will drive this important organization forward.”

During his military career, Almog gained extensive experience in special forces operations, having participated in the rescue of more than 100 hostages from Palestinian and German terrorists in Entebbe in 1976, as well as the covert airlift of thousands of Ethiopian Jews during Operation Moses in 1984. He helmed the IDF’s Southern Command between 2000 and 2003, overseeing the border with Gaza during part of the Second Intifada.
Israeli Researchers Unveil World's First Insect Radar
Israeli researchers have unveiled a first-of-its-kind radar that can accurately detect the size and direction of insect swarms to help forewarn farmers and save crops.

The insect radar, created at the University of Haifa, has been installed near the Agamon Hula nature reserve in Israel’s far north, near the Golan Heights.

Understanding swarm behaviour has been a field of study for decades but estimating the number of individuals within a swarm has been difficult, with some locust swarms estimated to hold up to a billion members.

“This is the only radar capable of providing comprehensive information about the movement of insects in the air,” said the University’s Prof Nir Sapir. “We will be able to measure the flow of insects that migrate in huge numbers for much of the year.”

He added that researchers would also be able to “identify pollinating insects that are of great importance for wild plants and agriculture, as well as other insects that cause damage to agriculture, such as various species of moths”.

One such moth is the Fall Armyworm, an invasive species originally from South America. It arrived in Israel recently and is one of the most harmful in the world, able to damage more than 350 species of plants.

The crop worst affected by the Fall Armyworm larvae is maize, said Sapir. Together with international peers, they have begun using the radar “in order to understand the movement of these moths, as a first step toward controlling their spread”.
Matt Lucas astonished to learn his cousin features in Anne Frank's diary
Matt Lucas has uncovered his family’s extraordinary connection to the story of Anne Frank on the BBC1 show Who Do You Think You Are?

Viewers on Thursday night watched as the Jewish comedy star learned that he was related to Werner Goldschmidt, a lodger that the Frank family took in before they went into hiding.

Lucas had read the diary as a child without knowing about the connection.

The star had set out on his genealogical quest believing his German grandmother Margot had left much of the family’s story untold before she died in 1999.

Though they had a special bond and talked to each other at length, she never spoke to her grandson of her childhood in Berlin, or of her many cousins.

He told viewers: “My grandmother was very German, she was a formidable woman. We would chat for hours on the phone. Her English was very good and she was always correcting me.”

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