Wednesday, March 29, 2023

From Ian:

Uncanny Similarities Between America’s Leftist Takedown of Trump and Israel’s Leftist Attempted Takedown of Bibi
It is a warning to conservatives everywhere: The rise of woke progressivism, amped by social media, threatens the future of democracy. The Israeli Left now is acting to circumvent free elections by trying to take down Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s popularly chosen majority government, just as the American Left acted to take down Donald Trump’s presidency. In a way, it is like seeing Hamilton or Les Mis on Broadway and then, two years later, seeing it again in Los Angeles, only with a different cast but the same songs, the same costumes and staging.

In Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu plays Donald Trump. Yair Lapid, the dubious opposition leader, plays Nancy Pelosi. The Israeli Left plays Antifa, closing down airports, violently assaulting members of parliament at their homes. Israel’s TV news channels 11, 12, and 13 play CNN, MSNBC, and another MSNBC. The Ha’aretz daily plays the New York Times (they wish). Maariv and Yediot Aharonot play the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times (they wish). And both countries’ productions are financed by George Soros and Friends.

There are some differences. Instead of Hillary Clinton saying that Trump did not really win, Yair Lapid and his cohort say it of Bibi. Instead of Democrats calling leading Republicans fascists and Nazis, the Israeli leftist opposition calls Netanyahu and his cabinet ministers Hitlers and Nazis. It has a special ring when Israeli Marxists and woke extremists call Jewish patriots Nazis.

The day Trump won, the Resistance and Insurrection began. A massive “Women’s March” was held, and it banned half of America’s women, those on the right. Madonna spoke of “blowing up the White House.” The screwiest Judd read a sicko “poem” whose perversion fit the moment. Kathy Griffin held a bloodied decapitated head depicting Trump. A Shakespeare in the Park production presented an assassination with the target portrayed as Trump-like. Likewise, in Israel, the mass protests against Netanyahu began right away. Retired military vets tweeted they would kill him. Reservists refused to serve. In America, the Chelsea Handlers announced they would move to Canada (we wish). In Israel, their woke celebrities announced they would move to Germany (fitting).

The one moment of comedy saw Israeli high-tech leftists, the parallel to America’s high-tech left, act to crash the Israeli economy by pulling millions of their dollars out of the country and depositing it elsewhere. The comedy? The woke deposited their cash in Silicon Valley Bank. Idiots. Before long, they were begging Netanyahu for his government’s intervention to help them get their money back to Israel. Jerks.
Daniel Greenfield: A tale of two settlements
Biden’s State Department claims that allowing Jews to live in Homesh “represents a clear contradiction of undertakings the Israeli Government made to the United States” to permanently expel Jews from their homes and destroy entire villages “in order to stabilize the situation and reduce frictions.” Eighteen years later, where is the stability or the lack of friction?

Where are the assurances made by the Clinton administration to the State of Israel that giving the PLO autonomy would end terrorism? Thirty years ago, Bill Clinton claimed that the PLO had accepted “Israel’s right to exist in peace and security” and committed “to renounce terrorism.”

The PLO’s idea of renouncing terrorism is spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year funding terrorism through Pay-to-Slay: including building a village just for terrorists. And the Biden administration has violated not only its commitments, but U.S. law, by continuing to fund the terrorists while failing to even offer the least objection to the terror village.

After the murder of Taylor Force, an Afghan war veteran studying in Israel, Congress passed the Taylor Force Act, barring further foreign aid to the terrorists. The Biden administration has flagrantly violated the Taylor Force Act by sending over $1 billion to the terrorist-occupied areas.

Biden’s decision to fund the terrorists has led to a 900% increase in Israeli deaths.

Perhaps the Biden administration would consider “reducing friction” by ending its illegal funding of terrorism instead of by demanding that Israel ethnically cleanse Jews from parts of Israel.

The “tale of two settlements” shows the bias and double standard of the Biden administration.

Given a choice between a terrorist village and a Jewish one, the Biden administration chose to condemn the Jewish village while continuing to fund the terrorists. Politicians and the media are outraged over Homesh, but carefully avoid talking about the jihad village.

Meanwhile, the Jews camped out in Homesh continue to live in tents, they dodge checkpoints and risk their lives walking circuitous routes to reach the high ground where the village once stood, and where they are determined it will stand again. While the Muslim terrorists will settle down in luxury condominiums, swimming laps in an indoor pool and enjoying the fruits of their murderous labors, the unsung heroes will go on risking their lives by defying them.

And defying their enablers in the Biden administration.
Indonesia yanked as U-20 World Cup host after calls to bar Israeli soccer team
Indonesia was stripped of hosting the men’s Under-20 World Cup on Wednesday amid political turmoil regarding Israel’s participation.

FIFA said Indonesia was removed from staging the 24-team tournament scheduled to start on May 20 “due to the current circumstances” without specifying details.

“A new host will be announced as soon as possible, with the dates of the tournament currently remaining unchanged,” FIFA said in a statement.

The decision came after a meeting in Doha between FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Indonesian soccer federation president Erick Thohir.

Israel qualified for its first Under-20 World Cup in June. The country’s participation in Friday’s scheduled draw in Bali provoked political opposition this month.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation and does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, while publicly supporting the Palestinian cause.

Indonesia’s hosting was cast into doubt on Sunday when FIFA postponed the draw. Indonesian officials said Bali’s governor calling for Israel to be thrown out of the cup because of its policies towards the Palestinians was likely behind the draw’s cancellation.

It is unclear who could now host the tournament, which was scheduled to be played in six stadiums in Indonesia.

Jeremy Jones: The Last Word: Adelaide Writers’ Week’s “Truths”
Without making light of the problems which we have as a society if any of the above become mainstream thought, there were two arguments put forward in the wake of Adelaide which were particularly pernicious and dangerous.

The first is that it is okay to be racist if the cause you are advocating is righteous.

This is not just a crude example of a belief that the end justifies the means – it is a subset of the immoral idea that you can lie or do anything else if it helps the “victims” overthrow their tormentors.

Mohammed El-Kurd seemed blissfully unaware that lying is bad form when he said outright he is willing to essentially say anything if it makes Israel look bad.

Maher Mughrabi, in an article that contained so many straw men it was a major fire hazard, was more sophisticated in his sophistry, but in effect echoed this view – although he cautioned against lies that are so ridiculous as to undermine one’s cause.

But it was another implication by Mr Mughrabi which deserved the most unambiguous condemnation.

Those of us who flag antisemitism when we see it are all liars, unworthy of being heard, because our attempts to safeguard the Jewish community and Australians in general are in reality “actually about creating a smokescreen around Israel’s conduct.”

Think about what those who push this line are saying: Jews are lying about our motives – our concerns about antisemitism are disingenuous, motivated solely by allegiance to a villainous nation.

Forget the principle of hearing out victims of racism and giving them the benefit of the doubt – with Jews and antisemitism, assume dishonesty and base motives.

The public discourse arising from Adelaide Writers’ Week showed that “truth” is not valued or even particularly relevant to a disturbing number of people.

I suppose we should give thanks to Writers’ Week Director Louise Adler, whose conscious decision to try to one-sidedly reframe debate on the Middle East had the consequence of bringing all this dangerous and ugly discourse to light.

Another problem with ESG investing: Anti-Israel bias
Richard Goldberg, senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, commented, “28 publicly traded Israeli companies, every Israeli bank, telecom company, every major company with operations in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan, are subject to ‘significant’ controversy — a red flag for investors — merely based on operations in what [Sustainalytics] call[s] occupied territory.”

By contrast, the Agricultural Bank of China scores only a “medium” controversy rating while operating in Xinjiang, home to Uyghur concentration camps.

“Is there one checklist for the Jewish state and one for China? If there are two checklists, congratulations, you’ve now crossed over into antisemitism,” remarked Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Sustainalytics’ double standard has also harmed American companies, such as Motorola Solutions. Goldberg noted Motorola Solutions was added to a de facto do not invest list for providing surveillance technology that protects Israeli civilians from terrorists; Motorola’s “significant” controversy rating also remains.

This is “backdoor BDS,” said Elan Carr, former U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. “Aiding and abetting BDS by channeling investment away from Israel and companies doing business with Israel, it’s a national security threat to Israel.”

Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs , added that BDS “seek[s] to shut down Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, harm Israel's economy, and ultimately eliminate the world's only Jewish state.” So, while Morningstar may have “ repudiate [d]” BDS last year, the movement’s aims were already woven into Sustainalytics’ ratings.

“Ignorance is the fertile ground in which bigots, like the backers of BDS, can plant their invasive ideas,” observed a senior Christians United for Israel official. To reverse course, Morningstar needs better sources, a single standard for judging global controversies, and analyst education in international law and relevant history.

Discussions with outside groups continue, but impatience grows. With state treasurers urged to investigate, some states already investigating, and a letter-writing campaign underway, will Morningstar complete promised changes by its June 30 deadline? And will it be independently motivated or require government prodding, as in Illinois?
Scotland’s new first minister Humza Yousaf has met with Hamas
Humza Yousaf achieved three milestones with his election this week as Scotland’s first minister, the head of the country’s government. At age 37, he is the youngest; the first Muslim; and as Pakistani, the first member of a minority group to hold the title.

He also has a history of meeting with Hamas and has called for an arms embargo against the State of Israel. Yousaf has said in the past that “people are starving and dying a slow death” in the Gaza Strip.

Yousaf’s in-laws happen to live in Gaza. “Wife has been in floods of tears all evening,” he tweeted in May 2021 during Israeli airstrikes in response to thousands of rockets being launched by terror groups—Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad—entrenched in the coastal enclave. “Her brother lives in Gaza with his wife & three young children. He tells us it’s raining rockets.”

Other of his tweets have accused Israel of “killing innocent civilians” and “starvation of population of Gaza and continuing human-rights abuses.”

Yousaf’s victory comes following the resignation of the previous first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on Tuesday after holding the position since the end of 2014. Yousaf won his Scottish National Party’s election on Monday against Kate Forbes in a close 52% to 48% vote.
George Washington University Exonerates Professor Accused of Antisemitism
George Washington University on Monday said there is no evidence to substantiate a civil rights complaint’s claims that one of its assistant professors is antisemitic and discriminated against Jewish students.

In January, an educational nonprofit based in Los Angeles, StandWithUs (SWU), filed with the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights a complaint against George Washington University (GWU) alleging that it neglected to protect students from Lara Sheehi, an assistant psychology professor, after she allegedly created a hostile environment for Jewish and Israeli students enrolled in a graduate level psychology program.

SWU alleged that GWU did not intervene when Sheehi, who teaches a mandatory diversity course, hosted an antisemitic speaker, launched a smear campaign against Jewish students, and filed disciplinary charges against them in retaliation for their accusing her of antisemitism.

Immediately following widespread media coverage of the allegations, GWU hired Crowell & Moring LLP, a law firm based in Washington DC, to investigate their veracity. The university summarized the firm’s findings in a statement on Monday.

“At the conclusion of its review, Crowell found no evidence substantiating the allegations of discriminatory and retaliatory conduct alleged in the complaint,” GWU said. “Many of the statements the complaint alleges were made by Dr. Sheehi were, according to those who heard them, either inaccurate or taken out of context and misrepresented.”

Citing an incident in which Sheehi organized a presentation featuring Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, who proceeded to allegedly utter antisemitic comments, the university said “the review found that the allegations in the complaint about the lecture are largely inconsistent with the recording of the event or significantly decontextualized.”
StandWithUs Statement on GWU Findings re: Title VI Complaint
On March 27, 2023, GW announced that its internal investigation into antisemitism in a mandatory psychology course, carried out by a firm that GW selected and hired, has fully exonerated the university. Yet GW apparently has not released the report itself. If the university wants its description of the results of the investigation to be taken seriously, it should release a full copy of the report, rather than the summarized "findings" publicized by GW itself.

The most disappointing aspect of GW’s summary is its blatant whitewashing, yet again, of the discriminatory treatment of Jewish students, as StandWithUs alleges in its Title VI complaint. For example, the administration falsely claims in its description of the report that "[n]o student-interviewees recalled Dr. Sheehi denying that antisemitism exists or denying the students’ lived experiences." This is patently untrue.

Likewise, the administration claims that Professor Sheehi's hateful and obsessive tweets about Zionists and Israelis were "only briefly visible to the public." In reality, her Twitter feed, including her blatantly antisemitic rhetoric, was visible to the public for many years. It was only after StandWithUs filed its Title VI complaint that the virulently hostile and profane tweets were removed.

Nor does GW's characterization of the remediation process square with what the impacted students actually experienced and reported. The administration's position that students who raise concerns about identity-based discrimination have "a deficiency in a skill or subject matter area" is precisely what makes the process retaliatory here. Furthermore, to claim that this process, which could result in a permanent black mark on these students' records and irreparable damage to their future careers, is neither discriminatory nor disciplinary is at best ignorant of reality and at worst intentionally misleading.

After CAA provides evidence appearing to show Birkbeck’s Prof. Rob Singh using antisemitic language, University confirms he is leaving at end of academic year
Birkbeck, University of London has confirmed to Campaign Against Antisemitism that Professor Rob Singh will be leaving the institution at the end of the academic year.

The confirmation comes after we provided the University with evidence that appeared to show Prof. Singh using the most appalling language in correspondence with a third party.

We wrote to Vice-Chancellor Professor David Latchman CBE, sharing copies of the messages, which contained expressions of various forms of bigotry, including a number of antisemitic comments, urging the University to investigate.

Comments included appearing to accuse a Jewish person of contemplating theft and saying “Too bad you live down to stereotypes.” asking “Is it difficuybeing a Jew?” [sic] and “Are you pretending to be a Jew?” There was also a reference to “Jew boy” and other inflammatory language. In addition there were also references in the messages to “f***ing apes” and uses of the n-word, and abuse directed at other minority groups.
‘Antisemitism is An Evil:’ UK Labour Party Bans Former Leader Jeremy Corbyn From Running As Election Candidate
The former leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn — whose five year term at its helm was marked by a succession of scandals involving antisemitism — has been banned by the party’s national executive from standing as its representative at the next general election.

Labour’s National Executive Committee on Tuesday voted 22-12 in favor of a motion submitted by the party’s leader, Sir Keir Starmer, to eject Corbyn from the party’s roster of election candidates. The decision means that if Corbyn wishes to run again in Islington North, the London parliamentary constituency he has represented since 1983, he would have to do so as an independent candidate.

Speaking after Tuesday’s vote, Starmer said that it was “an important moment in the history of the Labour Party,” pledging “zero tolerance” for racism and antisemitism.

“Antisemitism is an evil and any political party that cultivates it does not deserve power,” Starmer declared.

During Corbyn’s term as leader, antisemitic rhetoric, much of it targeting Zionism and supporters of Israel, became rife within the party, leading to mass resignations of Jewish members and reports from Jewish Labour MPs of harassment both online and in the real world. In 2018, three years after Corbyn was elected, Sir David Garrard, one of the party’s leading donors, announced that he was withdrawing his support, asserting that Labour under Corbyn “has supported and endorsed the most blatant acts of antisemitism, and yet it has failed to expel many of those who have engaged in the grossest derogatory fantasies about Jewish/Zionist conspiracies – and Jewish characterizations and accusations which conjure up the very kind of antisemitic attacks that led to such unbearable consequences for innocent millions in the past.”

Post-speaker program, Michigan school district to train staff on antisemitism, Islamophobia
Two weeks later, parents in a school district in one of Detroit’s most heavily Jewish suburbs are still reeling after a diversity event that was deemed mandatory for students took an antisemitic turn.

One of the official speakers was Huwaida Arraf, 47, who ran unsuccessfully last year for Michigan’s 10th congressional district. An attorney and Palestinian activist, she has tweeted that Israel is a “colonial, apartheid regime” that committed “ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Jerusalem.”

At the official March 14 event at Bloomfield Hills High School, Arraf called Zionists “occupiers running an apartheid state” and said Israel committed genocide in the Gaza Strip, according to the Detroit Jewish News, which reviewed a video of the event. She also “denied Israel’s existence, only referring to the land as Palestine.”

Although Arraf spoke during four sessions, teachers and administrators did not intervene. Her “anti-Israel rhetoric” made the many Jewish students in attendance “extremely uncomfortable, fearful and attacked,” according to the Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee (JCRC/AJC) in Detroit.

Lawrence Stroughter, the school’s principal who has since been placed on leave, issued a statement on March 14 that the speaker, who “deviated from the prompts without prior knowledge by any of the organizers,” spoke about the “conflict in Gaza” from her “personal political perspective and experience.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: [Insert Progressive Issue] Is A Jewish Value by Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Truah – The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights (satire)
Democracy. Feminism. Marriage equality. #ItsHerTurn. Mandated pronouns. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Critical Race Theory. Collective reparations. Drag Queen Story Hours. Free Palestine. Net Zero. Defund the Police. Sanctuary Cities. The list goes on of the pillars of the moral system that is my Judaism, a creed that, as I interpret it, conveniently dovetails with all the moral axioms of the Left. So validating!

I can think of no other way to celebrate and enrich a religious system based on the revelation of eternal principles by the one creator and sustainer of reality than to understand those principles only in terms of the early twenty-first-century zeitgeist, and to dismiss anything previous that contradicts that zeitgeist. Those earlier generations, hard as they tried, got everything wrong: slavery, women without property rights, xenophobia, cisheteronormativity, you name it. All the things our ancestors valued? Canceled. [Insert Progressive issue] is a Jewish value. Not that benighted stuff. Those people were all bigoted in some way, negating all their accomplishments and thinking.

Plenty of the ancient material remains for us to mine and adduce in support of our agenda, especially if we remake it in our own image, rather than relying on the collective wisdom of a bunch of patriarchal men to understand it. What did those men know? They never wore pink pussycat hats to march in Washington, and we have. They, and the people who insist those outdated “scholars” and “thinkers” are even relevant anymore, cannot define Judaism for me, who has the benefit of having read Kendi’s critiques of the white patriarchal systemic matrix that enforces disparities that disadvantage marginalized populations. Those Jews of the past knew nothing of being victims of systemic oppression of marginalized populations that cemented their underclass status. They didn’t have the empathy that I and my colleagues do.
Indy publishes op-ed by Palestinian with terror ties
The Independent published an op-ed (“As Netanyahu visits the UK, we call for Israel to be held accountable”, March 25) by Shawan Jabarin, head of Al Haq, a Palestinian with proven ties to the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – recognised as a terror group by the US, EU and other democratic countries.

Here’s some more information on the terror record of the group:
PFLP carried out scores of deadly attacks on Israeli civilians over the years – including suicide bombings and the murder of an Israeli minister in 2001.
Amjad Awad and Hakim Awad, the terrorists responsible for the 2011 attack in Itamar, in which Ehud and Ruth Fogel, and three of their six children – the youngest being three months old – were savagely murdered in their home, were affiliated with PFLP.
PFLP terrorists also carried out the brutal 2014 massacre of worshipers in a Har Nof, Jerusalem synagogue, which killed six.
PFLP also claimed responsibility for a fatal 2019 West Bank bombing which killed 17 year-old Israeli, Rina Shnerb. In fact, the PFLP terrorists accused of carrying out that attack, Samer Arbid and Abdul Razeq Farraj, worked for one of the proscribed NGOs, Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC).
PFLP was one of the Gaza terror groups firing rockets into Israel during the Gaza conflict in May 2021.

Jabarin (whose NGO, Al Haq, is also reportedly affiliated with the PFLP) was convicted in 1985 for recruiting and arranging training for PFLP members and, in 2008, was referred to by Israel’s Supreme Court as a “senior PFLP activist”.
BBC’s Franks ignores ‘contributors’ affiliations’ guidelines
Neither were listeners informed how Franks came to be in Haifa or by whom he had been connected with that particular jogging doctor before they heard the following:
Tanous: “I don’t know what people think of us, whether we’re like incredibly stupid or have amnesia or really don’t know what is our history and our context that we are born into. So now seeing people coming out to kind of object that and wanting us to join in their protests is absolutely ridiculous. Also when it comes to the language that they are speaking, it’s like, you know, brothers in arms, that we have fought for this country. You have fought us. You’ve been killing us for this country. And they are not, you know, calling for the state of all its citizens. They are not calling for full equality, for full democracy. They are calling for a democracy for the masters, you know, democracy of the Jews, for the Jews, by the Jews.”

Had BBC listeners worldwide been told that Tanous studied, inter alia, at Tel Aviv University’s faculty of medicine and at Harvard University Medical School, they may have been able to put Franks’ reference to “a system that disempowers and discriminates against Palestinians” into some perspective.

Had they also been informed that Tanous is a board member at the political NGO ‘B’Tselem’ and a member of the board of directors at the political NGO ‘Physicians for Human Rights -Israel’ as well as a member of ‘Al Shabaka’ who is not averse to politicising his profession in the media, they would obviously have been better placed to put his contribution into its appropriate context.

However, as is all too often the case, those BBC editorial guidelines on contributors’ affiliations were completely ignored, meaning that listeners remained unaware that Tim Franks apparently travelled to Haifa to meet a political activist he presented solely as a medic in order to present an ‘angle’ that is not part of the story on which he was supposedly reporting but does tap into a narrative that the BBC has been promoting for years.
Agatha Christie novels edited by HarperCollins to remove offensive references to Jews
HarperCollins has revised multiple novels by the famed British mystery writer Agatha Christie to remove references to Jews and other minorities deemed offensive by sensitivity readers.

The edits, which the British Telegraph first reported on Sunday, add Christie to a growing list of authors whose work is getting tweaked for contemporary audiences. Roald Dahl, the children’s book author whose family recently apologized for his antisemitism, also had versions of his books recently revised to eliminate potentially offensive language.

Christie, whose midcentury detective novels featuring the characters Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple made her one of the best-selling fiction writers of all time, included references to Jews in several of her books that prominent critics found antisemitic. She also included racist language that was more common during her time of writing, including the N-word and the term “Oriental” to describe characters with Asian heritage.

According to the Telegraph report, descriptions of characters as Jewish, Black or “gypsy” have been scrubbed from multiple books. In one example, Poirot’s description of a character as “a Jew, of course” in “The Mysterious Affair at Styles,” has been deleted.

The Forward noted in a 2020 analysis that right after World War II and the Holocaust, Christie authorized her U.S. publisher to remove other language about Jews that the company deemed controversial. The Guardian reported that at least one of the titles of her books was changed to remove racist language in the 1970s.

“As her circle of acquaintances widened and she grew to understand what Nazism really meant for Jewish people, Christie abandoned her knee-jerk anti-Semitism,” wrote Gillian Gill in her 1990 book “Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries.”

‘Musical retelling’ of Exodus story aims to bridge Jewish, African-American communities
‘Musical retelling’ of Exodus story aims to bridge Jewish, African-American communities

A Chicago pastor who made headlines camping out on the roof of an abandoned motel for 345 days to raise money for a new community center is teaming up with pro-Israel nonprofit StandWithUs on an interfaith, musical concert about the Passover story.

“Everything we believe as Christians stems from the story of Passover,” Corey Brooks, founder and senior pastor at New Beginnings Church of Chicago and founder and CEO of Project H.O.O.D. Communities Development Corporation, told JNS.

The April 2 event, scheduled just a few days before Passover at the nondenominational New Beginnings Church on Chicago’s South Side, will present an African-American Christian and Jewish retelling of the Passover story in a musical concert, according to Brooks.

Peggy Shapiro, director of special projects for StandWithUs Midwest, told JNS that the event will feature the Jewish Chicago choir Kol Zimrah singing alongside the choir of Brooks’ church, New Beginnings Church Praise Team.

New Year’s Day 2023: (From left) Peggy Shapiro, director of special projects for StandWithUs Midwest; Sheri Ross (SWU Midwest president); Pastor TJ Grooms (assistant pastor at New Beginnings Church) and Pastor Corey Brooks, founder and senior pastor at New Beginnings Church of Chicago. Credit: Courtesy.

“They will sing an assortment of musical genres such as gospel, show tunes and hip-hop,” she said.

The event will feature more than half a dozen others, including a Grammy Award winner, cantors, a rabbi and other pastors. Several Chicago-area synagogues and other Jewish organizations are partnering with the event.
Israel successfully launches ‘Ofek 13’ spy satellite
Israel on Wednesday successfully launched the latest version of its Ofek reconnaissance satellites, the Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“Ofek 13” was blasted into low orbit from Palmachim Airbase in central Israel aboard a “Shavit” missile, on a westward trajectory over the Mediterranean Sea to avoid falling into enemy hands in the case of a malfunction and crash.

The advanced spy satellite is a project of the Defense Ministry’s Space and Satellite Administration in the Directorate of Defense Research & Development, the Israel Defense Forces and Israel Aerospace Industries.

“The successful launch of the satellite is yet another important example of the Israeli defense establishment’s groundbreaking innovation,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said following the launch.

DDRD head IDF Brig. Gen. (res.) Daniel Gold said, “The launch of ‘Ofek 13’ has proven Israel’s superiority in the field of space yet again. It also constitutes a leap forward in operational and technological abilities for the preservation and improvement of Israel’s standing in space for the coming decades.”

According to the Defense Ministry, the satellite has completed an initial round of tests and begun transmitting data. Once declared fully operational, the IDF’s 9900 intelligence unit will take over from the Defense Ministry.

The first in the Ofek series of satellites was launched in 1988.
Israel launches surveillance satellite in impressive feat of technology
Dr. Uzi Rubin, a missile and defense analyst, explains the purpose of the Ofek 13 satellite and the significance of its successful launch, as well as its likely target: monitoring Iran's nuclear weapons production.

Azerbaijan first Shi’ite country to open embassy in Israel
Azerbaijan was set on Wednesday to become the first Shi’ite Muslim country to open an embassy in Israel, with the two countries’ foreign ministers meeting in Jerusalem ahead of the inauguration ceremony.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called the arrival of an ambassador from Baku and the opening of a permanent embassy in the Jewish state “historic” after 30 years of diplomatic ties.

“Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of Israel,” Cohen said at a press conference with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, emphasizing the close coordination on regional security with an emphasis on countering Iran, which shares 428 miles of border with Azerbaijan, split into two noncontiguous sections.

“Israel and Azerbaijan share the same perception of the Iranian threats,” Cohen said. “The Iranian ayatollah regime threatens both our regions, finances terrorism and destabilizes the entire Middle East.”

Bayramov thanked Jerusalem for supporting “Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity during almost 30 years of illegitimate occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories by Armenia.”

Cohen is set to visit Baku next month.
Azerbaijan opens first-ever embassy in Israel
Azerbaijan inaugurated its embassy in Tel Aviv in the presence of the country's Foreign Minister and new ambassador and the Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

6,000-year-old copper fishhook unlocks Ashkelon’s ancient past
A 6,000-year-old copper fishhook—one of the oldest ever found—was discovered in 2018 during excavations prior to the construction of the new Agamim neighborhood in Ashkelon, the Israel Antiquity Authority (IAA) revealed on Wednesday.

The hook, most likely used to catch sharks or other large marine animals, will be exhibited on April 3 at the 48th Archaeological Congress.

“This unique find is 6.5 centimeters long and 4 centimeters wide, its large dimensions making it suitable for hunting 2-meter to 3-meter-long sharks or large tuna fish. More ancient fishhooks found previously were made of bone and were much smaller than this one,” said the IAA’s Yael Abadi-Reiss, co-director of the excavation.

“The use of copper began in the Chalcolithic period, and it is fascinating to discover that this technological innovation was applied in antiquity for the production of fishhooks for fishermen along the Mediterranean coast,” she added.

Law & Order's Diane Neal makes aliyah
American actress Diane Neal has left Hollywood behind and moved to Israel.

Neal, best known for her role as New York Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak in the television series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," made aliyah through the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization, the Aliyah and Integration Ministry and the Jewish Agency.

The actress also portrayed Coast Guard Investigative Service Special Agent Abigail Borin in the "NCIS" franchise as well as attorney Allison Holt on "Suits."

She began her aliyah process several months ago, which culminated in her receiving her Israeli identity card. Congratulations!
100 years after visiting Israel, Albert Einstein comes to life in new museum
In February 2023, Professor Albert Einstein made a historic visit to the land of Israel, and on a rather gloomy day, he showed up in Jerusalem. He was somewhat disappointed with the appearance of the city, and like many before him, did not hide his preference for the young, small, and bustling Tel Aviv. However, when looking back a hundred years, it was discovered that, actually, the genius physicist's visit to Jerusalem, and the lecture he gave on the Mount of Olives, were the most memorable moments of his one-time trip to the Holy Land. It was the greatest event in the small Jewish settlement and a defining moment in history that led to the official launch of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem two years later.

Einstein was, in fact, one of the founders of Hebrew University. He served on its board of trustees, served as chairman of the university's academic council, and promoted its development and activities over the years. The evening of his visit to Jerusalem was quite festive. Menachem Ussishkin, one of the leaders of the Zionist movement, opened with a speech full of pathos and terror.

"You can see Mount Moriah facing the building. We pray that this house, the home of the Hebrew University where we educate students here on Mount Scopus, will be a house for science for all nations. From the moment you step on this stage, the stage will be our pride and our sanctity. We have been waiting for two thousand years for our big brother to come up on stage."

Einstein's lecture, which included scientific matters, was delivered in French as he did not know Hebrew. Most of what he said was not understood by the majority of those present in the room, or as the mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff, explained "I went to Jerusalem to hear the guest's lecture. From his entire lecture, I understood only one thing – no one in the entire large audience understood anything from the lecture."

Despite this, the local press and the Jewish settlement members, together with the Jews of the world understood that the previous evening they had witnessed a truly significant historical moment. The newspaper "Haaretz" reported to its readers: "An important and encouraging event happened today in our short life. Today, the greatest member of our generation, both in Israel and in the whole world, Albert Einstein, the father of the theory of relativity – arrived in Israel. What Newton was for the last 300 years – Einstein will be for future generations."

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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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