Friday, March 10, 2023

From Ian:

Victor Rosenthal: Playing chicken with the Jewish state
That one thing is Netanyahu. More specifically, the left’s hatred of him. As a result of this, what should have been a matter of discussion and compromise has become a conflict between the country’s two major blocs.

This is what lies behind the well-financed campaign against judicial reform. This campaign is dishonest and hysterical. If the reforms pass, opponents say, the justice system will be destroyed and Israel will become a fascist dictatorship. The economy will be wrecked, capital and tech workers will flee, the army will not fight and Israel will become a theocratic state soon to be overrun by her enemies.

This is nonsense. Even if the reforms are enacted in full, the situation would be no different than it was prior to the 1980s. If a compromise version of the reform were to pass, democracy in Israel would be enhanced, not damaged.

None of the reform bills have passed more than the first of three readings, so there is plenty of time to negotiate and compromise, and the government is willing to do so. The opposition, however, refuses to talk unless the process is frozen. The coalition believes that if the process is frozen, it will never be thawed, and insists that there can be negotiations during the normal legislative process.

In the meantime, opponents are ramping up their disruptions to the point that there are real fears of serious violence. The opposition sees blood in the water—Netanyahu’s—and can’t face the prospect of losing their veto power over the actions of any right-wing government. They have decided to keep their foot on the gas in the game of chicken until Netanyahu and his coalition blink.

What should happen is for the grownups in the opposition to work out a compromise with the government that will restore judicial balance without harming either side or the nation. This is perfectly possible.

What might happen is that the left has unleashed forces that cannot be controlled. In that case, the game of chicken could end in a fiery head-on collision.
Eugene Kontorovich: Our Think Tank Sparked Mass Protests in Israel. We Proudly Stand By Our Ideas.
If you subscribe to mainstream American newspapers—or if you read Matti Friedman’s piece the other day in these pages—perhaps you’ve heard that Israeli democracy is in grave danger because of the government’s proposed judicial reforms. The two of us are well situated to address those concerns: our think tank drafted some of the policy papers that have informed the current government.

In other words, those marching in the streets of Tel Aviv are protesting many of our ideas.

They are ideas we stand by proudly—and that we suspect will resonate with reasonable people capable of looking past the noise.

Here is the current reality in Israel: the Jewish state is a thriving democracy, but its Supreme Court is a law unto itself. Its unchecked power began in the early 1990s, when the Court’s president, Aharon Barak, announced that even in the absence of a constitution, the Court could invalidate legislation and block government actions with which it disagreed.

Barak’s so-called “constitutional revolution”—that’s what Barak himself dubbed it—also had the effect of creating an ideologically homogeneous court. Unlike the situation in almost every democratic country in the world, in Israel, sitting Supreme Court justices and representatives of the Bar Association—who have strong personal incentives to vote with the justices, and almost always do so in practice—constitute a majority of the committee that selects new judges on all courts. This has resulted in a self-perpetuating clique, drawn largely from the country’s political left and social elite, that has final say over almost every policy decision in the country.

There were other changes, too—and none of them were voted on by the people or the Knesset.

Barak retroactively declared Israel’s Basic Laws to be a functional constitution and began striking down laws on that basis. (Israel has no formal constitution.) The Court also gave itself the power to veto government actions that satisfied all legal criteria, but that the Court simply regarded as “unreasonable.” It also declared that the attorney general is not merely the government’s legal advisor; he is its boss, in the sense that any directive issued by the attorney general is legally binding on the government. Just imagine in the United States if the attorney general—and not the president—got the last word on government policy on every issue from the death penalty to gay rights.

This is the current situation in Israel. For decades, the majority of citizens have had their voices—and the outcome of their votes—silenced by a growing tyranny of unelected officials and technocrats.

The proposed reforms currently under consideration in Israel’s Knesset are designed to remedy the situation by instituting some basic checks and balances on the Court—checks and balances that are the norm in other Western democracies.
Iddo Netanyahu: Judicial reform won't make Israel dictatorship - PM's brother to 'Post'
The members of “Team Amnon,” who served in Sayeret Matkal when my late brother Yoni commanded it and who performed with distinction and bravery in the raid on Entebbe, recently wrote an open letter to Bibi and me. Initially, I did not intend to write a response. Why bother? To yet again, spend my time correcting distortions about my family and me, even if now it was coming from a few of Yoni’s subordinates?

What persuaded me to reply was one sentence that struck me in their letter. It bothered me greatly and still does. We will get to it later.

The team members write that I called the protesters (and by extension, them as well, since it turns out they participated in the protests) “people whose minds were misled.” True, since in my opinion, those who sincerely believe that the proposed judicial reform will turn Israel into a “dictatorship” have indeed allowed themselves to be misled. Had “Team Amnon” bothered to read the explanations provided by the reform initiators and then to think about them in depth, they would know that the reform will certainly not bring about the destruction of democracy, but is intended to do the exact opposite: enhance and strengthen it.

This in fact is also the opinion of quite a few opposition leaders, who in the past spoke emphatically against the current legal system and in support of the reform, only to now furiously lash out against it. They themselves, of course, do not believe for a moment their own slogans about “the end of democracy” and “dictatorship”; they do, indeed, knowingly and intentionally mislead others.

President calls judicial reform 'wrong,' urges gov't to start from scratch
President Isaac Herzog said on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government should abandon proposed legislation to overhaul the country's judiciary in favor of a model with broad national support.

The government's proposal has sparked mass protests across Israel and Herzog has been mediating between the sides.

"There are agreements over most issues, yes, not all, but the vast majority. Certainly enough to abandon the legislation currently proposed and bring in its place for discussion ... a different agreed upon piece of legislation," Herzog said in a televised address.

The plan, Herzog noted, was "wrong and heavy-handed, and undermines the very foundation of our democratic society." He said the government must shelve the current language and start from scratch.

The government's proposal has sparked mass protests across Israel and Herzog has been mediating between the sides.

Netanyahu had to be airlifted on Thursday to the country's main international airport for an official overseas trip after throngs of cars and protesters prevented him from driving there.
"300 Senior Israeli Academics Sign Petition Supporting Judicial Reform"
Three hundred Israeli academics have already signed a petition circulated by the group Professors for Political and Economic Resilience (a.k.a. Professors for a Strong Israel), supporting the government’s judicial reform.

Professors for a Strong Israel was established in 1988 and believes in the importance of adherence to Zionism and attachment to Jewish heritage in law and education. They also advocate a free market economy.

We the undersigned, senior academics, see fit to express our opinion as follows:
1. a comprehensive reform of the justice system is essential due to the constitutional revolution that was led by Prof. Aharon Barak which upset the balance among the branches of government in Israel.
2. The disturbance of the balance among the branches of government and the increased power of the court were carried out using a variety of devices: judicial review of major legislation and especially extending it to basic laws; expansion of the right of standing; expansion of the justiciability doctrine; expansion of the reasonability argument; the use of objective purposeful interpretation; and the excessive empowerment of the government’s legal counselors. All of these have accumulated to create an excessive disturbance of said balance.
3. The legislative process in Israel leaves a great deal of room to debate, correction, and persuasion. The appropriate place for the debate on the reform’s details is in the Knesset, where substantive discussions should be held between the supporters and detractors of the reform, as is customary.
4. As much as possible, it would be good to maintain communication and seek broad agreements. But these must not impede the vital process of correcting the justice system which in recent years has overreached excessively the boundaries of the other branches.

Cross-Party Knesset Delegation Traveling to Bahrain for Conference
An Israeli parliamentary delegation is traveling to Bahrain on Thursday.

It is the first such group of lawmakers flying to the Arab state since the US-brokered Abraham Accords normalized relations between Jerusalem and Manama in September 2020.

The group is being led by Likud MK Danny Danon, who served as ambassador to the United Nations from October 2015 to May 2020. Also making the trip east is Likud MK Dan Illouz and opposition MKs Yifat Shasha-Biton of the National Unity Party and Elazar Stern of Yesh Atid.

While in Bahrain, the four lawmakers will participate in a conference of the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)—the largest inter-parliamentary organization in the world with 179 member national parliaments, including the Knesset, as well as 13 regional parliaments as associate members.

“The IPU is the parliament of parliaments. We are going there to represent Israel and promote the issues that are important to Israel. The main challenge of the delegation will be to influence more countries to join the sanctions on Iran,” Danon told Israel Hayom’s Hebrew-language site.

“The timing of the trip is very challenging, at a time when the diplomatic pressure of the Palestinian Authority is breaking new records that harm the image of the State of Israel,” Danon continued. “But I am confident that with proper work we will be able to bring significant achievements to the State of Israel through the IPU.”
Bahrain cancels Human Rights Watch parliament conference visas
Bahrain has revoked entry visas issued to Human Rights Watch to attend an international parliamentary conference, the rights group said on Friday, days after raising concerns about the Gulf state's rights record.

The event would have marked the first time that HRW representatives had been able to enter the Gulf state since 2012.

Bahrain, a US ally, will from Saturday host the 146th assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), an international organization with the motto "For democracy. For everyone."

HRW, which has permanent observer status with the IPU and was granted the visas earlier this year, had on Monday called for conference attendees to raise concerns about what it called "the serious repression of human rights in Bahrain."

The IPU said it was aware the visas had been revoked by Bahraini authorities. A spokesperson said the IPU did not know of any other delegations that had had restrictions imposed on them to attend the meeting.

Bahrain's government communications office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Anti-Semitism Does More Than Provide a Scapegoat
In his recent book Everyday Hate, Dave Rich seeks to explain the ubiquity and persistence of anti-Semitism in the West, focusing in particular on Britain. Kathleen Hayes sums up his argument in her review:

Anti-Semitism does more than provide a scapegoat. Uniquely among forms of racism, it provides adherents a seemingly all-encompassing explanation for why evil exists. From the time of the first blood libel, Jews have been cast as not only an enemy, but an inordinately powerful, sinister, scheming one. (As Theodor Adorno put it in a nutshell, “Anti-Semitism is the rumor about the Jews.”) COVID-19 has inspired a spike in conspiracy theories that blame the pandemic on Jews. Those who spread this lie unwittingly invoke the 14th century, when Jews in continental Europe were blamed for spreading the plague by poisoning wells.

The lodestar of present-day conspiracy theories, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,“built a bridge into modernity” for Europe’s traditional anti-Jewish mythology. The idea that all Europe’s problems were caused by Jews just seemed to make sense on a visceral level. The Protocols were tremendously popular in Britain, with respectable newspapers enthusiastically asking if it was genuine. The fact that it was soon proved a Russian fake did little to stem its appeal; it remains all too alive today.

Conspiracist theories around Brexit, with George Soros deployed as a demonic figure seeking to undermine democracy, invoke the same tropes. At the same time, conspiracy theories about Israel gain traction in the popular imagination because Israel is Jewish: “They latch onto pre-existing beliefs about how Jews behave, like a climber using footholds cut into the rock by those who have scaled the same mountain centuries before.”
Ruthie Blum: Nakba Day and diversity at the Hebrew University
Following pressure last month from the Israel-based Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem rector Tamir Sheafer informed all members of his staff that they were not at liberty to promote their political agendas through the open-source-learning platform Moodle.

“Contact with students through [this online tool] is intended only for pedagogical purposes that are directly related to course content,” he wrote. “It may not be used for other purposes, even if those appear very justified and important to the course lecturer.”

It doesn’t take a PhD to realize that the issue at hand, which spurred complaints in the first place, was – what else? – judicial reform. More precisely, it was a call to action against what the “resistance” has been referring ridiculously to as the government’s evil moves to become a theocratic dictatorship.

Sheafer can be commended for reminding educators on the government-funded HU payroll to reserve their ideological pursuits for their free time, an abundance of which happens to be a perk of their profession. But he’s got a lot more to confront at the moment than professors imposing their views on malleable minds. That phenomenon is practically taken for granted these days on campuses around the world, including in Israel.

No, he and his fellow HU honchos need to go well beyond such a mild measure as a memo where the latest, far worse, transgression is concerned. The fact that it emanated from the “diversity” department, however, likely means it will be glossed over or excused through some rhetorical trick.

THE TRAVESTY was revealed on Monday, when an e-mail – signed by HU Vice President for Strategy and Diversity Prof. Mona Khoury and Diversity Unit director Sharon Ben-Aryeh – listed “Nakba Day” as one of the holidays/days of mourning coming up in the next semester.

It should be noted here, for those who might have forgotten, that Nakba is the Arabic term for the “catastrophe” of Israel’s establishment in 1948. It’s honored annually on May 15 by Palestinians and like-minded enemies of the Jewish state who bemoan its birth and remain bent on its destruction.

“We are currently experiencing a stormy period,” began the letter from the diversity duo. “In addition to the political and social turmoil, we are entering a period full of holidays and festivals, some of which create trepidation, tension and escalation. Days of happiness and sadness, days of celebration and days of mourning of the three religions merge and collide during the three coming months.”
The ADL is Under Siege From its Own Anti-Israel Employees
As bad as ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt is, the organization under him has lost its Jewish mission and become a clearinghouse for assorted woke causes. I’ve never been a fan of the ADL, but in the Greenblatt era, it’s just another leftist group, and as I’ve documented in the past, it’s staffed up with actual radicals.

That was recently brought home when ‘Jewish Currents’, a site derived from a Communist magazine that cheered the rape and murder of Jews during the Hebron Massacre, published audio from a Zoom chat in which ADL employees attacked Greenblatt for being critical of BDS and the anti-Israel movement.

I won’t link to the original materials on the hate site especially as no one can vouch for their authenticity, but they reveal a plausible picture of Greenblatt, a former liberal Obamaite, being out of his depth in discussing issues involving Israel, and struggling under the onslaught from anti-Israel ADL employees.

To Greenblatt’s credit, when asked if there’s a place for anti-Israel employees at the ADL, he finally states, “if you still feel like you can’t square the fact that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, then maybe this isn’t the place for you. Like really, if you’re hearing what I’m saying, and you just don’t agree with it. You think it’s okay to deny Jews their rights? Again, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying, “You know what, I don’t think this is the right place for me.”

But it’s also abundantly clear that the ADL has a lot of anti-Israel employees. And that they’re certainly not being asked to leave.

Similar woke pressure campaigns have targeted the leadership of other liberal and left-wing groups, and media organizations like the New York Times. That this is happening at the ADL reveals how toxic some of the activist hires have become. As the ADL focused on equity, BLM, transgender rights and the usual stuff, it brought in personnel, Jewish or otherwise, who are conventional lefties hostile to the Jewish State. Such a culture has a way of perpetuating itself and is already aggressively pressuring Greenblatt to embrace BDS.

(Greenblatt has waffled on BDS in the past, but donor pressure appears to have made him clearly reject it.)

It’s impossible for the ADL to fully embrace the current leftist politics and be pro-Israel. Its staffers show the incoherent contradictions of such a move.

Either the ADL will get right with the Jewish community or with the Left. It can’t do both.
Tulane University to Include Antisemitism Training in Orientation Program
Tulane University will soon include antisemitism training in its orientation program for freshman students, a university spokesman confirmed to The Algemeiner on Thursday.

“Included in this new orientation model will be programming that addresses all forms of bias and hate, including he antisemitism,” Assistant Vice President for Communications Michael Strecker said. “We appreciate the community’s interest in this topic and have conveyed our progress and commitment to this issue to interested parties.”

Tulane announced the news after Jewish students circulated a petition calling for the university’s to add a unit on antisemitism to the “Newcomb-Tulane College First Year Experience,” a three day program that takes place every August.

Ben Bernstein, a senior, led the effort and pitched the idea to the administration before knowing that a revamping of the program was already in progress. In a statement to The Tulane Hullabaloo, a campus newspaper, he urged Tulane, where 40 percent of students are Jewish, to “be a part of ending antisemitism.”

“To the administrators at Tulane who have generously given their time to meet with me and consider this issue, thank you,” Bernstein told the Hullabaloo. “We urge you to be trailblazers once again and address this rampart form of discrimination by including antisemitism awareness training in freshman orientation.”

So far, the Black Student Union (BSU), Multicultural Council, and Gender and Sexuality Advisory Council have backed the proposal, which stands out as an example of progressive campus groups allying with Jewish students for a common cause.

“They have my full support,” Raymell Green told the Hullabaloo, president of BSU, adding that Bernstein’s work is “astounding.”
King’s College London student group calls CAMERA ‘white supremacist’
A student group at King’s College London (KCL), which is one of some 300 societies and activity groups the nonprofit King’s College London Students’ Union recognizes, has accused the campus wing of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) of promoting white supremacy.

In a since-removed Instagram post, Liberate KCL called the nonprofit media monitor “a white-supremacist Zionist organization which spreads misinformation that Israel is not an apartheid state, despite this being well documented by major NGOs such as Amnesty International.” (Other Instagram posts of Liberate KCL’s that remain live include those calling Israel “apartheid.”)

Liberate KCL’s now-removed posts stated nothing about Israel or the Palestinians and offered no insight nor solidarity, David Hirsh, CEO and academic director of the nonprofit London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, told JNS before the post was removed.

“They don’t defend a point of view about the conflict or an argument about what it means,” he said. “There is only a designation that Israel is ‘apartheid’ and ‘white supremacist,’ by which is meant ‘unambiguously evil,’ and then it follows that the evil should be expunged from campus.”

Hirsh, who is also a senior sociology lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, added that the overwhelming majority of Jews consider some sort of positive relationship with Israel a part of their identity.
‘Racism and Repression’: Anti-Israel Activists Hold Event At CUNY In Protest Of University’s Antisemitism Investigation
Students and faculty at the City University of New York (CUNY) are hosting a “People’s Hearing on Racism and Repression” Thursday to “hold the university accountable” for investigating claims of antisemitism on campus from Jewish students and groups, according to an event document.

CUNY has been under scrutiny for a rash of antisemitic incidents on campus, and the New York City Council’s higher education committee held a hearing to listen to Jewish students’ experiences and concerns, according to the Times of Israel. In response, 27 groups, the majority being pro-Palestinian, organized a “People’s Hearing on Racism and Repression” to take place on March 9, accusing the university of allowing “anti-Palestinian racism, anti-Blackness, Islamophobia” by implementing policies suggested by many pro-Jewish groups, according to the event document.

“The hearing was the result of pressure by right-wing groups who made it clear that their aim was to force CUNY to adopt policies that would in effect erase any mention of Palestine from the university space in direct response to successful Palestine liberation organizing across the university,” the document read. “As such, we felt strongly that what was needed was in fact a different hearing – a People’s Hearing – to hold the university accountable to its students and workers, and to the wider community in which it is embedded.”

The event is being held at CUNY’s Graduate Center to network and protest “institutionalized racism, transphobia, sexism, ableism, colonialism and imperialism,” according to the document. CUNY recently launched an online portal for students to report “community acts of discrimination and retaliation” in an effort to combat rising anti-Jewish sentiment but the documents argues that both the university, the FBI and the NYPD are complicit in “over-policing” creating a “psychologically distressing and physically unsafe environment” for those ” resisting discrimination.”

However, no mention is made in the document of the anti-Jewish and antisemitic issues brought by Jewish students over the past year. Jewish students and faculty have raised concerns regarding antisemitic comments about “Jewish white privilege” and Jewish power tropes from professors and classmates, prompting the Department of Education to step in and investigate CUNY’s Brooklyn College in 2022, according to a report from StopAntisemitism.

German Political Parties Split Over ‘Antisemitism Test’ for Prospective Immigrants
Germany’s main political parties are embroiled in a dispute over whether to include an “antisemitism test” in naturalization examinations for prospective citizens.

The debate comes amid fresh concern over rising antisemitism in Germany. Data released by the federal government last month revealed an increase of 40 percent in acts of antisemitic violence, with more than 2,600 antisemitic incidents registered overall.

While Germany has an active far right scene, many of the outrages have been perpetrated by Muslim immigrants, prompting a discussion over whether prospective citizens should be questioned on their attitudes towards Jews before being naturalized. A survey by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) in 2018 showed that 30 percent of antisemitic incidents were perpetrated by Muslims, while more recently, demonstrations in May 2021 against the conflict in Gaza between Hamas and Israel descended into open antisemitism in several German cities.

On Thursday, Bijan Djir-Sarai — the leader of the center-right Free Democratic Party (FDP), which occupies 92 of the 736 seats in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament — argued that reform of the country’s naturalization laws should include questions to applicants over whether they had participated in antisemitic demonstrations or had been involved with organizations whose missions run counter to the democratic values in Germany’s postwar constitution.

“Anyone who does not accept our values cannot be naturalized,” Dijir-Sarai said, in comments reported by the Judische Allgemeine news outlet.

The FDP leader’s proposal was supported by Ahmad Mansour, an Israeli-Arab psychologist based in Berlin who has attempted to challenge antisemitic beliefs among Muslim immigrants.

“It’s a shame that we don’t even take into account the attitude towards sexual self-determination, freedom of expression and Israel’s right to exist in naturalization – this doesn’t create any incentives for integration, but on the contrary for disintegration and the development of parallel societies,” Mansour said.
BBC: Gary Lineker to step back from MOTD following '1930s Germany' firestorm
The BBC has announced that Gary Lineker will step back from presenting Match of the Day “until an agreement is reached on social media use”.

The former footballer found himself in hot water earlier this week when he tweeted that the language used around the UK’s immigration policy was “not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 1930s.”

The £1.35 million a year BBC star was criticised this week by various public figures across the political spectrum.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she was "disappointed" by the comments, while her opposition counterpart Yvette Cooper told LBC that he was "wrong to say that".

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, wrote in a Times op-ed: “However passionately we feel about important and pressing issues of the day, it seems to me that comparing those current concerns to the almost unimaginable horrors of the Nazi period is wrong.”

Holocaust survivor Agnes Grunwald-Spier MBE had said the Match of the Day host “should be ashamed” for his tweet.

In a statement, the BBC said it had been in "extensive discussions with Gary and team in recent days" and "has decided that he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we've got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media".

It continued: "When it comes to leading our football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none.
Florida Commissioner Apologizes for Using ‘Jew You Down’ Slur in Gun Store Visit
A Florida county commissioner has apologized for using an antisemitic slur while attempting to make a purchase in a local gun store.

Sam Parker, a Santa Rosa County Commissioner, issued the apology on Thursday following a firestorm over comments he made during a visit to owner Chris Smith’s gun store.

On Monday, Smith attended a meeting of the commission where he showed members surveillance video of the encounter with Parker. The footage was shown again on Thursday, during the portion of the commission meeting set aside for comments from the public.

Arguing over the price of a purchase, Parker told Smith, “Hey, I’m going to have to Jew you down” — invoking a long-established slur about supposed Jewish financial clout.

Israel Aerospace Industries Had $5 Billion in Sales in 2022
Following the war in Ukraine and the arms race around the world, the IAI saw its sales increase 11% on the previous record from 2021, with the net profit jumping by 44% to approximately $213 million

"The most successful year since the establishment of the company,” is how Israel Aerospace Industries is defining 2022, which ended with an all-time record in sales that amounted to just under $5 billion ($4.973 billion).

The amount is an 11% increase compared to the previous record in sales in 2021. The net profit jumped last year by 44% and amounted to about $213 million compared to $148 million at the end of 2021.

The extensive sales volume of the IAI in 2022 and the jump in net profit are evident in all areas of its activity and are attributed to countries from across the world equipping themselves with weapons systems. This is, in part, against the background of the war between Russia and Ukraine, the tensions in other conflict zones, and the increase in the potential for escalation which leads to the acquisition of attack, defense and warning systems.

Thus, there was a significant increase in the previous year in the scope of activities of the military division of the IAI, in the missile and space systems division, and in the aviation division - which converts aircrafts and manufactures executive planes. In addition, at the end of 2022, the advanced satellite Eros-C3, developed and manufactured by the IAI, was launched into space.
Israel's Elbit to Deliver Combat Systems to Romanian Army
Israel-based international defence electronics company Elbit Systems said that its Romanian subsidiary Elmet International was awarded a $120 million (113.1 million euro) deal to supply the Romanian land forces with equipment for the Piranha V armoured personnel carrier.

The company will deliver the equipment over a three-year period, Elbit Systems said in a press release on Thursday.

The company will supply the Romanian army with UT30 MK2 unmanned turrets, remote controlled weapon stations (RCWS), and SPEAR mortar systems, which can be integrated aboard the Piranha V APCs owned by the military.

Elbit Systems has previously delivered turrets, RCWS and mortar systems to countries such as Israel, the United States, Denmark, Austria, and Belgium.
For Mel Brooks, world history (no joke!) repeats itself
Nearly 40 years after his “History of the World, Part I” debuted in 1981, Mel Brooks released “History of the World, Part II” on the eve of Purim, which began on March 6.

Brooks (he’ll turn 97 in June), Wanda Sykes, Nick Kroll, Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen wrote and produced the comedy’s eight episodes, which are intended for mature audiences. The cast includes Jack Black (Joseph Stalin), Jason Alexander (Maurice Cheeks, a notary public overseeing the Civil War’s conclusion), Danny DeVito (Czar Nicholas) and Seth Rogan (Noah), as well as model Emily Ratajkowski, professional basketball player Blake Griffin and comedian Sarah Silverman.

Each of the episodes runs about 30 minutes and bounces around between historical events. They are treated as a launchpad for schtick, much like Moses dropping a third tablet of commandments in the 1981 film.

Of the state of Virginia in 1865, Brooks narrates a part about the Civil War: “We’re talking about the one in the 1860s. Not the one coming up in 2024.”

Other gimmicks relate to confederate statues, white male privilege and cancel culture, but the series mostly echoes Brooks’ signature comedic style without dwelling on current politics. And true to form, Jewish religious and cultural references abound.

Having declared that he only drinks on holidays, wino Ulysses S. Grant (Barinholtz) announces—upon being caught with a flask—“I believe today is what the Hebrews call ‘Pesach.’ ” (He pronounces it correctly.)

Schmuck Mudman (Kroll) lauds the easy shtetl life, “where every murderous Cossack knows your name.”

ESPN-styled judges pan Hitler’s (Drew Tarver) figure skating in a “Hitler on Ice” scene. “The master race is not looking so masterful,” one says. (France scores him a 10, while every other country rates the performance a zero. “Those Vichy cowards,” declares an announcer.)

One of the most compelling (and most Jewish) recurring threads is a parody of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” titled “Curb Your Judaism,” which maps the Last Supper out over a Beatles film like the 1964 “A Hard Day’s Night.” Luke (J.B. Smoove, Larry David’s “Curb” co-star) and Judas (Kroll) lament that the Last Supper was more like a Last Snack, with the latter wondering, “Why is Jesus obsessed with washing feet?” (There is also a Dulce De Leper reference.)

As David might have written it in “Curb,” Judas accidentally betrays Jesus to the Romans with a kiss that he intended to be affectionate. Along the way, there is a reference to Mary certainly being a Jewish mom—because she thinks her son is God.
Israeli Series ‘Embezzlement’ Based on True Crime Story to Begin Streaming in US and Canada in March
The Israeli crime series Embezzlement, which is based on true events, will begin streaming in the US and Canada on March 16 on the subscription-based streaming service Topic.

The seven-part show from Yes Studios is based on the real life story of Eti Alon, a clerk at the family-owned Trade Bank who embezzled all of its customers’ capital, which resulted in the bank’s collapse.

Alon stole more than $100 million and gave it to her brother Ofer Maximov to help cover his massive gambling debts to collectors, according to a release from Topic. In 2002, she walked into a police station and tried to turn herself in. After eight hours of waiting on a bench for someone to pay attention to her, investigators finally took the mother-of-two seriously and listened to her confession, which changed the course of the case. The stolen money was funnelled to illegal casinos run by local organized crime and ultimately used to buy weapons, which fueled violence between crime families.

Alon’s actions also resulted in the closure of the now-defunct Trade Bank, cost the state 500 million shekels in deposit guarantees and forced changes in banking regulations in Israel, The Times of Israel reported in 2016. Alon was convicted in 2003 and in 2016 she was set free from the Neve Tertza prison in Ramleh after serving almost 15 years of her 17-year sentence for the banking fraud. Her brother was also sentenced to 15 years in prison.
PragerU: Sarah Idan: Why Miss Iraq Supports America and Israel
At the 2017 Miss Universe pageant, Miss Iraq Sarah Idan posted a photo with Miss Israel on social media as an expression of friendship and peace. Her act of goodwill was immediately met with death threats, forcing Sarah and her family to flee their home country. She had grown up hearing terrible things about Israel and its people, but when she visited the Jewish state, her eyes were opened to the truth. Now, Sarah works to connect people of different faiths despite borders and age-old conflicts.

Mayim Bialik discusses her love of Israel and slew of new projects
Famed actress Mayim Bialik has been working successfully in Hollywood for decades, and with a podcast, Celebrity Jeopardy hosting duties, and a new sitcom, she's no less busy than in her early Blossom days.

She speaks with our Emily Frances about her latest projects, as well as her lifelong love and support for Israel, including her own celebrity connection.

‘One-of-a-Kind’ Historic Wooden Mikvah Excavated Near Site of Auschwitz Concentration Camp
A unique wooden Jewish ritual bath known in Hebrew as a mikvah was recently excavated in Oświęcim, the town in southern Poland where the Nazis built the Auschwitz concentration camp, likely showing that Jewish presence in the area dates back at least 400 years, according to researchers and historians.

“As far as we know, this is the only mikvah of its kind in Europe, in the world most likely,” Tomek Kuncewicz, director of the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation’s Jewish Museum in Oświęcim, told The Algemeiner about the discovery made in late February. “The experts we talked to from Poland [and] from other places said they have never heard of such a discovery, ever. So it definitely seems that it’s one-of-a-kind.”

He added that the mikvah, made of oak, is roughly 400 years old and is the “oldest piece of evidence” of a once thriving Jewish community in Oświęcim.

The mikvah was found a month after another Jewish ritual bath — made of concrete and tile and probably from the 19th century — was discovered in January above the wooden mikvah. Both were excavated during the construction of an underground parking garage organized by the town of Oświęcim and found near the Great Synagogue Memorial Park, which is located on the site where the town’s main synagogue once stood before it was destroyed during World War II.

Fragments from the concrete and tile mikvah were removed from the excavation site and are now housed at the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation’s Jewish Museum. However, removing the wooden mikvah is a “much more complicated endeavor” due to its fragile and complex state and experts have yet to extract it from the site, Kuncewicz explained.

He said that while the wooden mikvah was “well preserved” and is in “relatively good condition,” it is also very fragile. They are still trying to figure out how to remove it without causing damage and are working with the town of Oświęcim to decide on the best method for its removal.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 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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