Monday, January 09, 2023

From Ian:

‘The great unpunishment’: How, why so many Holocaust perpetrators got away with it
After spending 18 years bringing “Getting Away With Murder(s)” to fruition, British filmmaker David Wilkinson faced wall-to-wall rejections when he shopped the documentary to global broadcasters and subscription services such as Netflix.

Clocking in at three hours, Wilkinson’s film is a detailed indictment of the so-called “great unpunishment” faced by nearly all of the Holocaust’s perpetrators. The film focuses on specific German war criminals — and non-German collaborators — to explain how so many mass murderers avoided accountability.

“The lack of justice for the victims of the Holocaust is the greatest miscarriage of justice in the history of mankind,” Wilkinson told The Times of Israel. “The world needs to know this,” he said.

“Getting Away With Murder(s)” will finally land on several US streaming platforms on January 27, which is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The film has been airing in 11 European countries since July, said Wilkinson.

“It has been a slog all the time with this documentary,” said Wilkinson, who has produced or distributed 125 films in a career spanning more than four decades.

“In some ways, ‘Jews Don’t Count’ should have been the name of this film,” said Wilkinson, who had to fund much of the documentary himself, along with his wife, costume designer Amy Roberts of Netflix’s “The Crown.”

Even Israeli broadcasters, said Wilkinson, were not keen on supporting the sprawling Holocaust documentary.

“I was told a few times that Israel has more Holocaust documentaries than any other country,” said Wilkinson, whose film was also rejected by the Berlin Film Festival.

However, after the slew of commercial rejections, “Getting Away With Murder(s)” became a favorite of British critics. Wilkinson has been compared favorably to Claude Lanzmann of “Shoah” fame, and the influential “Guardian” voted the film its top documentary of the year.

“It was the power of the free press. Without them championing the film, I really do think it would have been ignored,” said Wilkinson.


The Need to Curb Black Anti-Semitism
In fact, Irving has neither apologized for any unintended incitement nor even acknowledged the phenomenon of growing animosity and violence toward Jews—especially among American blacks. If he had actually wanted to defuse the hold of these ideologies on some of his fans, he might have tried saying something like this:
There is no truth in the claims in Hebrews to Negroes that there was no Holocaust or that today’s Jews usurped Judaism from blacks and should be punished for it. In fact, roughly 6 million Jews were murdered for being Jews during World War II; there is no historical support for a religious usurpation; and it is never okay to harass or attack Jews. If your religion tells you that they deserve it, then your religion is despicable.

And he might have added:
Jews make up about 2 percent of the U.S. population but routinely suffer 60 percent of religion-based hate crimes. Here in New York City, nearly half of all hate-crime victims are Jewish—in a city only around 7 percent Jewish—and in cases where the attacker’s race is known, 42 percent of attackers are black. Brooklyn has experienced 186 hate crimes so far this year, at least 74 of these against Jews. This is shameful, and anyone who commits crimes against Jews needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

If anything, Irving’s peace-and-love non-apologies served as a dog whistle to those whose ideologies he refrained from condemning. On his reinstatement day, scores of Black Hebrew Israelites, outfitted in the uniform of the group Israel United in Christ, amassed in military formation in Grand Army Plaza shouting: “Hey Jacob, it’s time to wake up. We have good news: we are the real Jews.” Still shouting, they army-marched to the nearby Barclay’s Center, where Irving was finally back on court, to distribute fliers promulgating the same brand of libel against Jews that Irving could have explicitly countered, but didn’t. Nothing that Irving has said or done since has stopped Hebrews to Negroes from becoming the best-selling book in multiple Amazon categories or delegitimized its hateful message.

Perhaps conscientious education can cure people of prejudice; certainly, dialogue is a critical and healthy part of civics. Anti-Semitism, however, is an age-old malignancy that leapfrogs bias to become something irrational, suffused with magical thinking and the potential for violence. Maybe to combat this growing surge, we need to focus less on explaining why anti-Semitism is not nice and more on discovering what forces of misplaced grievance and fear in the black community are inflaming it now.
UAE will teach Holocaust education in national school curriculum
The UAE will be adding Holocaust education to its school curriculums, the UAE Embassy in the US confirmed on Twitter last week.

"In the wake of the historic Abraham Accords, the UAE will now include the Holocaust in the curriculum for primary and secondary schools," was written in the tweet which added a quote by one of the Emirati brokers of the Accords Ali al-Nuaimi.

"Memorializing the victims of the Holocaust is crucial," he said. "Public figures failed to speak the truth because a political agenda hijacked their narrative, yet a tragedy on the scale of the Holocaust targets not only Jews but humanity as a whole."

The UAE is the first Arab state to officially include Holocaust education in its school curriculum.

"This means a lot," said US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides in a comment to the UAE Embassy's tweet. "Great to see it coming to fruition."

'Holocaust education is imperative for humanity'
"Pleased to see this important step being taken by the United Arab Emirates," wrote the US Special Envoy to Monitor Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt. "Holocaust education is an imperative for humanity and too many countries, for too long, continue to downplay the Shoah [Holocaust] for political reasons. I commend the UAE for this step and expect others to follow suit soon."

“The United Arab Emirates has been leading the way in peace and tolerance education in the region for some years,” said CEO of Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) Marcus Sheff. "IMPACT-se is delighted that they have taken this important step in educating about the Shoah and humbled to have partnered with the Ministry of Education.”


Avi Bell: Israel's Judicial Reform Will Strengthen Its Democracy
Perhaps most astoundingly, the Supreme Court posits itself as the final word on policy decisions, rather than deferring to the Israeli public or its elected representatives. The Court has deputized the attorney general and junior legal officers in this activism, giving them too the power to veto elected officials' policies to which they object.

As such, "legal" clearance of government decisions has functionally become an ideological, rather than legal, review by legal advisors.

The Supreme Court was once Israel's most trusted institution. But today, with the judiciary having cast off legal restraints, a majority of the public no longer trusts it. Recent polls show even more alarming disapproval of the rest of the deputized judicial system: Only single-digit percentages of the Israeli public voice confidence in the attorney general, government lawyers, and the police.

Unsurprisingly, calls for legal reform have been a facet of Israeli society since the "constitutional revolution" of the 1990s.

In 1994, Israel borrowed a constitutional technique from Canada, adding an "override clause" to one of its own Basic Laws. That clause permitted the Supreme Court to use that Basic Law to overturn legislation, while allowing the Knesset to restore the legislation to force by the vote of a majority of its members. Levin's proposal is for a more general override clause, implementing a judicial reform that has been proposed for decades. His proposed clause would ratify some of the Court's seized powers, while also reining in its gross overreach.

Contrary to the democracy doomsdayers, these measures would actually bring Israel closer in governance to other democracies, such as Canada and the United States. Ironically, they would also restore Israel's democratic practices from before the 1990s-era "constitutional revolution."

Until the most recent elections, calls for judicial reform came from all parts of the Israeli political spectrum. But with the reforms expected to be implemented under a right-wing government, partisan opponents now excoriate the very reforms they once supported as the purported downfall of Israeli democracy.

In reality, Israel's radically democratic political culture is healthy and vibrant. Judicial reform will ensure it remains so.
JPost Editorial: Israel's new gov't must be careful with judicial reform
Thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to protest the judicial overhaul proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin.

The speeches and slogans were passionate, calling the reform plan a “coup d’état.”

But let’s step back for a minute and look at what is really happening. First, at the most basic level, the fact that a demonstration like this can take place – and it received broad media coverage – is a sign that democracy in Israel is alive and kicking.

Second, and more importantly, judicial reform is not a bolt out of the blue. There is no surprise. Levin has been working on his ideas regarding the judiciary for years, and the Likud, which won the largest number of seats in the last elections, included judicial reform on its platform as did the Religious Zionist Party, its top coalition partner.

Everyone knew judicial reform would come to Israel if Netanyahu won the election
The appointments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – of Levin as justice minister, Amir Ohana as Knesset speaker, and Simcha Rothman to head the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee – are an indication that this was his intention. All three are lawyers who for years have called for changes in the justice system.

While it is easy to put the focus of the reform on Netanyahu’s own legal woes, the voices calling for judicial changes predate them. For years, the Right rallied against what it saw as “legal activism” by then-Supreme Court president Aharon Barak in the 1990s, under which the courts assumed more power to overturn laws passed by the Knesset, sometimes using the undefined term “reasonableness.”


PMW: Interview with Itamar Marcus on PMW’s report “Teaching Terror to Tots”
Norwegian news agency Verdinytt interviewer: “Mr. Itamar Marcus, you are director of Palestinian Media Watch, and today you are releasing a new report that you say tells us that the Oslo Accords were a failure.”
PMW Director Itamar Marcus: “I’m not saying that the Oslo Accords were a failure, I’m saying that they were a fraud. From Israel’s perspective the Oslo Accords were a failure, but from the Palestinian perspective the Oslo Accords were a great success, because it allowed them to move a terror organization that was based in Tunisia right inside the heartland of Israel, which has enabled them to commit terror. So, the interesting thing here is that there were two Oslo Accords that were signed: Israel signed the Oslo Accords hoping for peace, the Palestinian Authority, or the PLO actually, signed the Oslo Accords hoping to gain a foothold inside of the land of Israel, what they call “Palestine,” so that they could continue their terror war against Israel from the inside. So, from the Israeli perspective it was a failure, from the Palestinian perspective it was a great success.”

Interviewer: “But how would you document the claim that you could call it a fraud?”
Itamar Marcus: “This report, “Teaching Terror to Tots,” is really all the proof that you need. This is Fatah’s educational magazine for ages 6–15. We studied all the magazines going back 8 years, and what we found is that every fundamental that was promised [by the PLO] in the Oslo Accords is contradicted by this report. This report says [that Fatah teaches] that the Jewish people have no right to a state in Israel, that they are all foreigners, they [the Jews] weren’t here, not them, not their grandfathers, not their ancestors, they have no history in the land, therefore they have no right to exist in any borders, and therefore when Israel is destroyed that will be justice, and that will be inevitable. All of these [statements] are messages that repeat over and over again through the 8 years of education that we’ve been watching, and that’s why the Oslo Accords were a fraud, because they [the PA] tell the world it’s a process leading to peace, [but] they tell their children it’s a process leading to Israel’s destruction.”

Interviewer: “So this magazine that you studied, which is called Waed, it’s published by the Lion Cubs and Flowers, a children’s movement within the Fatah party, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority-”
Itamar Marcus: “It’s not ‘within.’ This is the children’s movement, the children’s youth movement of the Fatah party. It’s run by senior people within Fatah. It’s not a small fringe thing. These magazines are given out in the school system. We have pictures of principals having big events where they hand out this magazine. It’s not fringe, this is mainstream Palestinian Authority and their ruling party, which of course is Fatah.”

Interviewer: “Can you give us an example?”
Itamar Marcus: “What they’ll teach for example is that ‘Our people are a 5,000-year-old Palestinian people’ – of course it’s a lie, there never were a Palestinian people until very recently – but they say “We have a 5,000-year-old Palestinian people, and we were invaded by the Pharaohs, by the Hyksos, by the Persians, by the Romans, by the Greeks, and by the Hebrews.” “We defeated all of those occupiers, and just as we defeated those occupiers, we will defeat the current Zionist occupier and he will leave too.” What they say is: In the end all of the Jews will leave “Palestine.” That’s the message, that all the Jews will leave “Palestine.” So there’s no hesitation here, there’s no trying to pretend. They tell it like they really believe, like their ideology is. That’s why I say it in a sense proves that the Oslo Accords were a fraud from the beginning. You can’t tell the international community “We accept Israel” while you’re teaching a whole generation of Palestinian children that “Israel has no right to exist, we have the right to use armed struggle,” - meaning kill even civilians - “in order to achieve our goal, and eventually we will destroy them, and they will not exist.” That’s the [PA/Fatah] message, and like I said, the Oslo [Accords] were a fraud. I believe more what they tell their children than I believe what they’re telling the president of the United States, or the prime minister of Israel, or the prime minister of Norway. Because the international community has not known about this magazine, it is a pristine example of their ideology. They didn’t hide anything, because they didn’t know people were looking. The schoolbooks they try to fix and make them look better because they know the world’s looking. Their media on TV, as bad as it is, they try… Here they thought nobody was looking. Anyway, we found it, PMW found it, Palestinian Media Watch, and now the world is going to know about it.”


Karin Stögner: “Antisemitism and intersectionality: feminism, pinkwashing and ‘whiteness’”

The Moral Incoherence at the Heart of “Ethical” Investment May Explain Why It Has Become a Tool for Israel’s Enemies
Last year, it came to light that Morningstar, one of America’s leading investment-research firms, was systematically issuing corporations that do business with Israel low “environmental, social, and governance” (ESG) ratings. These ratings have significant economic outcomes, as they are used by the sizable number of investors who want to feel that they are employing their money ethically. Yet, despite complaints from Jewish organizations, and investigations in several states for possible violations of anti-BDS laws, Morningstar has done little to change its practices.

In two essays on the topic, Samuel Gregg argues that the entire focus on ESG is deeply flawed, failing even by its own questionable metrics. If so, perhaps Morningstar’s anti-Israel obsessions are mere symptoms of a perverse system:
One of ESG’s many difficulties . . . is that its goals and methods are characterized by an incoherence sufficient to call into question not just specific features of ESG but the conceptual integrity of the entire ESG endeavor. Another ESG problem is its tendency to blur ethics and sound business practices with the promotion of particular political causes. This mindset has spilled over into the outlook of financial regulators, and consequently threatens to facilitate widespread dysfunctionality in these agencies’ operations. Lastly, the adoption of ESG risks corroding understanding of the nature and proper ends of commercial enterprises—a development that has broader and negative implications for society as a whole.

Based on a large sampling of Morningstar-identified American ESG mutual funds from 2010 to 2018, [one major study] determined “that these funds hold portfolio firms with worse track records for compliance with labor and environmental laws, relative to portfolio firms held by non-ESG funds managed by the same financial institutions in the same years.” As if that is not enough, [the researchers] conclude that “ESG funds appear to underperform financially relative to other funds within the same asset manager and year, and to charge higher fees.” In short, not only have such funds failed to deliver on many of their ESG goals; they also cost more and provide less by way of financial return.

If the content of ESG is 1) unstable or effectively amounts to whatever you want it to be or whatever happens to be the cause célèbre at a given moment, and 2) there’s no universally agreed-upon measure of success, then whatever claim ESG has to coherence and universal applicability starts to look very thin indeed.
U.S. repatriates looted relic to Palestinian Authority
A carved ivory spoon dating back 2,700 years and stolen from the Palestinian region was repatriated to the Palestinian Authority, the first time a looted relic was ever handed back to the PA.


NGO Monitor: Harvard Rejects Ken Roth's Anti-Israel Obsession
According to reports published In January 2023, months earlier, Ken Roth had been denied a fellowship position at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, allegedly due to his “anti-Israel bias.”

The evidence provided by NGO Monitor clearly demonstrates that as Executive Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) from 1993-2022, Roth transformed HRW into a platform for tendentious targeting of Israel, systematically distorting international law, the laws of armed conflict, and responses to terrorism. Efforts to isolate the Jewish state through false allegations of “war crimes”, “collective punishment” and “apartheid” were central to HRW’s agenda.

In 2009, HRW founder Robert Bernstein, writing in the New York Times, condemned the NGO for helping “to turn Israel into a pariah state.”

10 Blatant Examples of Ken Roth’s Demonizing Agenda
1. In July 2021, Roth blamed Israel for antisemitic incidents in the UK, tweeting “Antisemitism is wrong, and long preceded the creation of Israel, but the surge in UK antisemitic incidents during the recent Gaza conflict gives the lie to those who pretend that the Israeli government’s conduct doesn’t affect antisemitism.” After intense criticism, Roth later deleted the tweet, claiming he was “misunderstood.”

2. September 2014: Roth blamed attacks on Jews in Germany and the rise of antisemitism in Europe on Israel’s conduct during the Gaza War.

3. In July 2006, responding to critics of HRW’s accusations on the Lebanon War, Roth declared: “An eye for an eye – or, more accurately in this case, twenty eyes for an eye – may have been the morality of some more primitive moment. But it is not the morality of international humanitarian law…” The New York Sun decried this statement as a “slur on the Jewish religion itself that is breathtaking in its ignorance… To suggest that Judaism is a ‘primitive’ religion incompatible with contemporary morality is to engage in supersessionism, the de-legitimization of Judaism, the basis of much antisemitism.”

4. In the context of the 2017 white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Roth tweeted a link to a propaganda piece headlined “Birds of a feather: White supremacy and Zionism.” Roth included a picture depicting a Confederate and Israeli flag, commenting “Many rights activists condemn Israeli abuse & anti-Semitism. Some white supremacists embrace Israel & anti-Semitism.”

5. HRW’s 2021 report again smearing Israel with the “apartheid” label is based on numerous demonstrably falsehoods, and distorts Israeli and international law, and was widely denounced as such, including by the Biden Administration.
Kenneth Roth Reacts to Truth Like a Vampire Reacts to Sunlight
Kenneth Roth, who headed Human Rights Watch for 29 years, announced in April he would be stepping down, and soon afterwards he received a preliminary offer of a Senior Fellowship by the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, which is part of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Such appointments, however, are not official until approved by the Dean of the Kennedy School, and in this case Dean Douglas Elmendorf did not approve, citing Roth’s record on Israel.

Not surprisingly, criticism of the move has been swift, with reliably hard left outlets like the Nation and The Guardian leading the howls of outrage. Roth himself has tweeted about the affair, claiming that HRW’s critics can’t cite any criticism of Israel that was factually wrong:

Roth echoed this claim in the Guardian article:
The irony is that when we issued the report, the Israeli government was at a loss to find anything wrong with it. They fell back on the usual arguments of, ‘you must be antisemitic’. I take that as a … victory because if all they can do is name call, they have nothing substantive to say …

It is simply breathtaking that Roth could make such a claim – CAMERA’s responses to HRW’s charges constitute page after page of detailed factual refutations of the organization’s and Roth’s recklessly false allegations.


Inaccuracy and omission in BBC report on release of terrorist
As noted in a report by Walla (as well as at other Hebrew language outlets), Bromberg was attacked just a short distance from his hometown. He had been given a lift by a senior officer as far as the Nahal Hadera junction. There he got a ride in a van with Israeli number plates driven by someone who had attended the same Hadera school as him. Bromberg was soon attacked, shot in the head and then dumped on wasteland by the two cousins from Wadi ‘Ara who were in the vehicle. The following morning Bromberg, who had managed to crawl to the roadside despite his injuries, was found by electricity corporation workers and four days later he died from his wounds in Rambam hospital in Haifa.

Gritten informs BBC audiences that:
“He [Younis] became a significant figure in prison, writing political works and calling for agreements with Israel.”

According to journalist Shlomi Eldar, Younis’ debut book promotes “one state for two nations” – i.e. rejection of Jewish statehood.

Gritten uncritically quotes the Palestinian Authority president with no attempt made to inform readers that Abbas is entering the nineteenth year of his four year term of office:
“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Younis “represents a symbol of the Palestinian people and the free people of the world in steadfastness”.”

Readers are not informed that in 2017 Abbas appointed the convicted terrorist Karim Younis (who was a member of Fatah at the time that he committed the attack) to Fatah’s central committee or that in the same year the PA named two town squares after the two murderers. No mention is made of payments to Younis under the Palestinian Authority’s scheme of salaries for terrorists.

Instead, Gritten provides a link to a paywalled ‘Ha’aretz’ report which most readers would not be able to access before going on to uncritically promote statements from the obviously unrepentant terrorist:
National Post & Postmedia Papers Correct False Reference To Temple Mount Being A “Muslim Site” After HRC Complaint
On January 5, the National Post published a Washington Post news article headlined: “Visit to Muslim site provokes backlash.”

The report was in regards to Israel’s national security minister, Itamar Ben Gvir’s, visit to a “sensitive holy site in Jerusalem,” as the lead paragraph described.

In truth, the Temple Mount compound is not exclusively a “Muslim site.” In fact, the site is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. Importantly, the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site and it is the location of the First Temple (built in 957 BC) and the Second Temple (built in 352 BC). Meanwhile, centuries later in 560 AD, Christians built the Church of St. Mary of Justinian and in 691 AD, Muslims built the Dome of the Rock on top of the Second Temple and in 705 AD, Muslims built the Al Aqsa Mosque on top of the Second Temple and Byzantine Church.

Accordingly, it was factually incorrect to call the site exclusively Muslim, when it’s revered as Judaism’s holiest site and is a Christian holy site. Meanwhile, the Al Aqsa compound, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is Islam’s third holiest site. Islam considers the Masjid al-Haram (including the Kaaba), in Mecca and the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, in Medina; as its first and second holiest sites.

Unfortunately, this headline error was also stated in the following Postmedia newspapers that same day: Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, Windsor Star, Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Regina Leader Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun, and London Free Press.


Turkey to Adapt Israeli TV Series ‘Shtisel’ Highlighting Orthodox Muslim Community
The Turkish production company OGM Pictures has acquired rights to remake the Israeli television drama Shtisel for Turkish audiences, with a storyline focused on the country’s ultra-orthodox Muslim community.

Dori Media Group, which handles international licensing for Shtisel, made the announcement on Monday about the Turkish adaptation, which will be called Ömer. It will star Selahattin Pasali and Gökçe Bahadir, and will premiere on Star TV in Turkey. OGM plans to produce at least 20 episodes for the first season of the Turkish show.

“Shtisel is a very unique format that can be adapted to almost every culture and religion,” said OGM Pictures Founder Onur Guvenatam. “So we are very excited to present Ömer in harmony with our culture and traditions. We believe our audience will also enjoy watching these cultural and religious practices and their effects on our characters and relationships that are so familiar to us.”

The hit Israeli television drama, which aired on the Yes network in Israel and also streams on Netflix in the US and around the world, is about the ultra-orthodox Jewish Shtisel family living in Jerusalem with a focus on bachelor and struggling artist Akiva Shtisel, played by Israeli actor Michael Aloni. The show also stars Shira Haas, Ayelet Zurer, Neta Riskin and Dov Glickman.

“For such an excellent Turkish production company to choose a format like this just goes to show how audiences from all backgrounds, be they Muslim or Jewish, or anyone else for that matter, can relate to the same family values and often fraught dynamics, significance of tradition, ceremony of food, etc., portrayed in Shitsel,” said Dori Media Group President and CEO Nadav Palti.
In Turkey, a festival revives a jewel of the Sephardic world and aims to break stereotypes
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Prague has been a popular tourist destination for both Jewish travelers and others interested in Jewish history. The Nazis left many of city’s synagogues and Jewish sites relatively intact, intending to showcase them as the remnants of an extinct culture — and that allows the Czech capital to provide an uncommon look into the pre-war infrastructure of Ashkenazi Europe.

Could Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city, become a Sephardic counterpart, in terms of history and tourism? That’s the goal for Nesim Bencoya, director of the Izmir Jewish Heritage project.

The city, once known in Greek as Smyrna, has had a Jewish presence since antiquity, with early church documents mentioning Jews as far back as the second century AD. Like elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire, though, its community grew exponentially with the influx of Sephardic Jews who came after their expulsion from Spain.

At its peak, the city was home to around 30,000 Jews and was the hometown of Jewish artists, writers and rabbis — from the esteemed Pallache and Algazii rabbinical families, to the musician Dario Marino, to the famously false messiah, Shabbetai Zevi, whose childhood home still stands in Izmir today.

Today, fewer than 1,300 remain. The establishment of the state of Israel, coupled with a century of economic and political upheaval, led to the immigration of the majority of Turkish Jewry.

“From the 17th century, Izmir was a center for Sephardic Jewry,” Bencoya told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “We can’t recreate that, but we cannot forget that either.”
Israel Is An OECD Leader For Investment and Research in High Tech
Israel has the highest rate of venture capital investment as a percentage of GDP in high-tech companies among OECD countries (1.76 percent). The United States ranks second in this ranking with a rate of 0.63 percent.

Israel also ranks first in the OECD for the rate of business research and development expenditure in information industries, followed by South Korea and Japan.

Data released Monday by the OECD also mentions that 81 percent of companies in Israel have broadband internet access, compared to an average of 76.8 percent in the member countries of the organization. Denmark occupies first place with 95 percent of businesses using high-speed internet.

The country also has ranked highly in previous OECD reports, including in 2018 when the OECD placed Israel as the third most educated country worldwide, only below Canada and Japan.

“In Israel, 88 percent of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, higher than the OECD average of 79 percent,” the OECD found.
Israeli researchers make breakthrough on cancer treatment
Dr. Cyrille Cohen talks about his breakthrough on a new treatment for the blood cancer multiple myeloma.




New Baha’i monument and gardens under construction in Akko
A Baha’i shrine that will house the remains of one of the three central founders of the faith is under construction in the port city of Akko, also known as Acre, in what will be the third such verdant pantheon in northern Israel catering to visitors from around the world.

Construction of the shrine comes at a time of escalating persecution of the Baha’i community in Iran, whose regime considers the peace-seeking religion that originated there over 150 years ago as apostasy from Islam and its followers therefore as deserving of death.

The new Shrine of Abdu’l Baha, which is being built in a southeastern Akko garden about 4 km. from the existing Shrine of Baha’u’llah, the burial site of the founder of the faith and the holiest site for the Baha’i religion, will house the remains of his eldest son, Abdu’l Baha (1844-1921), who spread the faith in the West and was temporarily buried in Haifa a century ago.

The Haifa Baha’i World Center—famed for its immaculately-tended lush gardens and vast terraces—houses the remains of the faith’s first prophet known as the Bab.

All of the properties in northern Israel are on land acquired by the Baha’i community over the last century.

The central structure of the new $75 million shrine will stretch across 3,000 square meters (32,300 square feet) and will be surrounded by flowering gardens on an area of 58 dunams (14.33 acres), said Sama Sabet, public information officer at the Baha’i World Center.

The funding for the project is being provided by donations from the Baha’i community worldwide.
Emily Austin: The Jewish influencer who joined Israel’s UN mission
The young celebrity says she always puts her Jewish identity up front

A 21-year-old social media influencer, actress and independent NBA broadcaster Emily Austin has joined the Israeli delegation to the UN as a media consultant.

Austin, who has over 1 million followers on Instagram and nearly 500,000 followers on TikTok, was born in the U.S. to Israeli parents. Growing up, she often visited Israel and follows Jewish traditions — she keeps Kosher and does not work on Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath). Video poster

The young celebrity, who is also an ambassador for sportswear brand Puma, told Ynet that she joined the Israeli mission to the UN in September as an intern after a meeting with Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan. Her main responsibility is dealing with communications and public relations in English.

Austin said that working in sports, she realized that many people don’t understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She added that she always puts her Jewish identity front and center, and noted that her internship position in the UN, an organization she considers to be "antisemitic," is very important to her.


MyHeritage publishes 1.7 million-record Israeli immigration list
Online genealogy platform MyHeritage announced on Sunday the publication of a database comprising 1.7 million records, covering immigration to Israel from 1919. The company called it “the Israeli equivalent of the famous ‘Ellis Island’ immigration database for the United States.”

For more than a year, MyHeritage indexed thousands of public-domain images from the Israel State Archives, linking them to surviving records of those who immigrated to Israel by ship and by plane starting in 1919.

MyHeritage said it’s the first organization to create a searchable index for the collection and link it with the scanned images.

The collection is available to search for free and without having to sign up to the company’s website, to make it easily accessible for those researching their Jewish roots in Israel.

The records in the collection include the name of the immigrant, the names of relatives who immigrated with them, the country of origin, the name of the ship they arrived on, the date of arrival, the names of parents, the names of relatives who were expecting them in Israel, and their destination city in Israel.

Historians have defined several waves of aliyah between 1882 and the beginning of World War II. The collection starts with the Third Aliyah period (1919-1923). The first two waves took place from 1882 to 1918 under Ottoman rule, and are not covered in this collection.
Israel Through Hollywood’s Lens
With Israeli series like Fauda, Tehran, and Shtisel coming to American audiences through Netflix and Apple TV+, many viewers are now seeing the Jewish state through the eyes of its own entertainment industry. Before the streaming era, most Americans saw Israeli stories through Hollywood features on the silver screen. In a recent informative book, Hollywood and Israel: A History, Tony Shaw and Giora Goodman describe the many movies that have dealt with Israel since 1947.

But there is an inherent limitation in Hollywood’s ability to deal with Israeli history. Feature films reflect American perspectives and the imperatives of mass entertainment, and Hollywood frequently strays from the underlying Israeli history to present a story reflecting an American universalist message.

We can trace the difference between American movies and the Israeli stories they draw upon by examining three landmark films: the first from the early years of the Jewish state; the second from 2005, half a century later; the third from 2022, as Israel entered the 75th year of its existence.

Otto Preminger’s Exodus (1960), based on Leon Uris’s monumental 1958 historical novel, featured two of Hollywood’s biggest stars: Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint. Preminger hired Uris as his screenwriter, but fired him over artistic differences. The movie diverged from the book in ways that illustrate two different approaches to the same underlying history.

Steven Spielberg’s Munich (2005), nominated for an Oscar for best picture, questioned the moral and practical consequences of Israel’s response to the brutal murders of its athletes at the 1972 Olympics. In a critical review, the Columbia University Professor Samuel G. Freedman called the movie “the counter-Exodus.” The differences between the story in the film and the history behind it are likewise revealing.

Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick (2022), which portrays America’s finest fighter pilots destroying a foreign nuclear facility, against seemingly impossible odds, in two minutes, days before it becomes operational, does not mention Israel. But the movie owes an unmistakable—even if unacknowledged—debt to Israeli history. And like Exodus and Munich, it Americanizes the story in a way that illuminates the difference between a Hollywood feature and the underlying history of Israel.






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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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