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Ha'aretz
Time: Wed, 12.11.2019 10:22 AM Local file generated: Wed, 12.11.2019 09:30 AM
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In Iraq, Iran is facing a new strategic dilemma

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 11:33:51

The four Katyusha rockets that hit a military base next to Baghdad International Airport this week mark a new trend in the battle Iraq has been waging since early October.

The six soldiers injured in the attack belong to the elite forces of a U.S.-trained anti-terror unit. Inside the base, American forces and diplomats live next to Iraqi forces.

It was the ninth attack in the past six weeks against American facilities within Baghdad's Green Zone, where government offices and U.S. command headquarters are located. No organization claimed responsibility, but the American administration attributes them to pro-Iranian forces.


 In Iraq, Iran is facing a new strategic dilemma


Israel heads for third election as lawmakers convene to dissolve Knesset

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 11:00:50

The Knesset on Wednesday started discussing a proposed bill to dissolve itself and to hold a third election on March 2, 2020. In order to change the date of the election, which is slated to take place on March 10, the parliament has to pass the bill in four different votes before midnight on Wednesday.

The first vote is expected to be held at noon, and the third one is due to happen before midnight.

A different law that is supposed to be passed on Wednesday is meant to arrange the activities of the Knesset's Central Election Committee in the unique circumstances it currently faces. The law is meant to ensure that tens of thousands of new employees will be recruited to help carry out the vote count and facilitate proceedings in polling stations throughout the country on Election Day.


 Israel heads for third election as lawmakers convene to dissolve Knesset


Meet the legal crusader fighting Israel's Kahanists and exclusionists ” and winning

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 10:31:43

Late last month, far-right activist Benzi Gopstein ” head of the anti-assimilation group Lehava ” was indicted for incitement to racism and violence for statements he made against Arabs. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit's decision to press charges against him marked the culmination of a prolonged legal battle lasting nearly 10 years.

In March, the Supreme Court banned Kahanist leader Michael Ben Ari from running in the April election, and in August banned two other members of his extremist Otzma Yehudit party from running in the do-over election. It was the first time since 1992 that the Supreme Court had agreed to disqualify candidates from serving in the Knesset.

In June, the Supreme Court upheld a Jerusalem District Court ruling requiring ultra-Orthodox radio station Kol Barama to pay 1 million shekels (nearly $290,000) to a list of individuals and organizations for refusing to put women on the air. It was the first class-action suit on civil rights in Israel.


 Meet the legal crusader fighting Israel's Kahanists and exclusionists ” and winning


DNA match leads Israeli court to convict man of rape 11 years after crime

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 10:30:43

A man was convicted on Monday of raping a woman 11 years ago, after being identified through a DNA sample taken at the scene of the crime.

The accused, a resident of the West Bank who was in Israel illegally at the time, attacked the woman, then 45, threatening to kill her.

He was convicted in the Jerusalem District Court of rape, sodomy and indecent acts under aggravated circumstances, as well as illegal residence in Israel and, under a plea bargain, sentenced to eight and a half years in prison. He was also ordered to pay 30,000 shekels ($8,650) in compensation to the victim.


 DNA match leads Israeli court to convict man of rape 11 years after crime


Why Boris Johnson is good for the Israeli economy, according to British-Israeli industrialist

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 09:07:15

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who stands for reelection on Thursday, wants stronger ties between Britain and Israel, and if he wins, Israel will benefit, because Britain's economy is based on services, especially financial services, and is heavily invested in high tech and cyber, Terry Newman, chairman of Isramarin, an Israeli modular housing firm told TheMarker this week.

Trade between Israel and Britain stands at 8 billion pounds sterling, about 36.5 billion shekels, Newman said, speaking by phone.

Britain is Israel's third largest export market after the United States and China, with sales of $4.3 billion in 2018. Israel's main exports to the U.K. are medications, precious stones, plastics, mechanical equipment, electronics and fruits and vegetables.


 Why Boris Johnson is good for the Israeli economy, according to British-Israeli industrialist


Why would Israel reportedly have missiles that reach beyond Iran

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:47:36

Last Friday, Israel's Defense Ministry laconically announced that it had carried a test launch of a œrocket engine propulsion system. 

Foreign reports claimed that the test was of a surface-to-surface Jericho missile. Though the Defense Ministry said that the test was planned in advance, it was hard to ignore the timing and not to interpret it as a warning and threat directed at Iran. Indeed, its foreign minister, Javad Zarif, complained in a tweet that while Western democracies accuse his country of secret intentions to develop nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them them, Israel is actually the only country in œWestern Asia (in his words) that possess nuclear weapons and develops missiles for delivering them.

In the background are reports that Iran has deployed missiles in Iraq, 400 kilometers from Israel, and Yemen, 2,000 kilometers away. A letter sent by Germany, France and the U.K. to the UN secretary general accused Iran of having the capability to develop missiles equipped with nuclear warheads in violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime.  According to the letter, a MTRC breach occurs when a missile can carry a 500-kilogram warhead with a range of 300 kilometers. Last April, Iran was seen testing the Shahab-3 missile, which fits such a definition. But the Jericho has similar capabilities, based on foreign reports.


 Why would Israel reportedly have missiles that reach beyond Iran


How the Malka Leifer case finally forced Australian Jews to speak out against Israel

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 07:34:58

It takes a lot for Australian Jews to publicly criticize Israel. Yet the case of alleged sex offender Malka Leifer has become a source of anguish and anger, forcing this community to become increasingly outspoken as it despairs over why Israel is taking so long ” five years and 62 hearings (and counting) ” to extradite the former school principal.

The common refrain has become œEnough is Enough, with the Zionist Federation of Australia and the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council among the prominent organizations speaking out. As they see it, Israel has engaged in foot-dragging over whether to return Leifer to Victoria, where she faces 74 charges of child sex abuse, including rape, against some of her female students.

œThere is a wave of anxiety and frustration over this issue in the community. It features consistently in community media and social media; it is discussed at a high level with government representatives, and Malka Leifer has become an infamous name, says Raphael Mengem, a policy analyst and member of Melbourne's Jewish community. œShe has evaded answers to these crimes for too long, and there is a growing and understandable frustration from the local Jewish community.


 How the Malka Leifer case finally forced Australian Jews to speak out against Israel


Six killed in gunbattle outside Jersey City kosher supermarket

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:48:51

A kosher supermarket that was the scene of a shootout which killed six people in Jersey City on Tuesday afternoon may have been the intended target of the gunmen, according to Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop.

œBased on our initial investigation (which is ongoing) we now believe the active shooters targeted the location they attacked,'' he wrote on Twitter.

Fulop added that although there are no indications of further threats, œdue to an excess of caution the community may see additional police resources in the days/weeks ahead.


 Six killed in gunbattle outside Jersey City kosher supermarket


Trump's anti-Semitism executive order draws mixed reactions from Jewish community

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:47:37

WASHINGTON ” President Trump's executive order on anti-Semitism drew mixed reactions from the Jewish community on Tuesday, hours after the White House briefed news reporters about the president's intention to sign the text on Wednesday. One Jewish Democratic Senator responded with the Yiddish words œoy gevalt, and left-wing Jewish groups denounced the executive order as a political attempt to limit free speech; The Republican Jewish Coalition, meanwhile, praised it.

Trump's executive order will state that title VI of the Civil Rights Act includes anti-Semitism, based on the notion that being Jewish is a nationality, not only a religion; in addition, the executive order will refer federal agencies to œconsider a definition of anti-Semitism that was adopted in 2016 by the International Holocaust Researchers Association, which includes certain criticisms of the state of Israel as examples of anti-Semitism.

The executive order is based on a bill that was previously promoted in Congress by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, and which was criticized at the time by the American Civil Liberties Union for harming and limiting free speech in America. The main impact of the executive order will be on universities and colleges that receive federal grants, and which could be targeted by the Department of Education over activism related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


 Trump's anti-Semitism executive order draws mixed reactions from Jewish community


Haaretz cartoon

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:08:58

 Haaretz cartoon


Health Ministry to probe docs prescribing sex-urge suppressants to yeshiva students

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 04:44:55

The Health Ministry has launched an inquiry of four psychiatrists who have prescribed psychiatric drugs to ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students to suppress their sexual desire. The probe follows an investigative report that aired on Channel 12 TV's œUlpan Shishi news magazine over the weekend.

œThe findings in the investigative report are worrisome, a ministry source told Haaretz, adding that the psychiatrists are being contacted and asked to clarify the details and testimonies revealed by Channel 12 journalist Eli Hirschmann.

Hirschmann explained that the psychiatrists Prof. Omer Bonne, of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, Prof. Avi Weizman of Tel Aviv University, Dr. Tali Vishne, of Bar-Ilan University, and American-born Dr. Michael Bontzel prescribed the drugs to yeshiva students from various Hasidic sects.


 Health Ministry to probe docs prescribing sex-urge suppressants to yeshiva students


How labor strikes became history, and may become our future

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 04:31:59

Every party needs an enemy to build its narrative it's a hard and fast rule of politics all over the world. Avigdor Lieberman and Yair Lapid have the Haredim, Netanyahu has Ahmad Tibi, and now for Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked of Hayamin Hehadash it's the Histadrut labor federation.

In recent months they have been trying to frame the Histadrut and organized labor as the great enemy of the Israeli economy. The inspiration seems to be Moshe Feiglin and his libertarian political agenda. Feiglin didn't get enough votes to enter the Knesset last April on his Zehut party ticket, but he won enough from Hayamin Hehadash's natural constituency to keep that party out of the Knesset, too. They don't want that to happen again.

Nevertheless, the timing of their attack on unions is puzzling. The Histadrut is responsible both now and in the past for many of the economy's problems, such as low labor productivity, bureaucracy, nepotism and the gap between older unionized workers and a new generation of outsourced workers.


 How labor strikes became history, and may become our future


Driving while texting: Army may be first in Israel to put a stop to it

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 04:16:02

Anyone buying a new car these days enjoys a wide range of safety features -- automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and lane departure warning, to name a few. If you try driving without a safety belt, you'll get a warning beep, and if the system encounters a vehicle in the driver's blind spot, he or she will be notified.

But while advanced driver-assistance systems, or ADAS, have been developing solutions for what seems to be almost every eventuality, one technology solution has remained out of reach: Driver distraction from using a smartphone while at the wheel. No effective system has been developed to deal with this problem.

Everyone agrees that smartphone use by drivers is a danger, but there are no official figures in Israel on the extent of the problem.


 Driving while texting: Army may be first in Israel to put a stop to it


Hang on until midnight

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 03:23:29

If no candidate for prime minister manages to win the support of 61 legislators by midnight Wednesday, the 22nd Knesset will be dissolved and the country will have to endure a third election in less than a year. It bears repeating the obvious: The reason for the political deadlock is no mystery. Despite the lies the prime minister is feeding the public, neither Kahol Lavan nor Avigdor Lieberman are the reason that there is no government. The person dragging an entire country to the ballot box for a third consecutive time is none other than Benjamin Netanyahu, who is œholding Israeli citizens hostage to his legal battle, as Benny Gantz said so well in response to the inflammatory campaign of incitement that Netanyahu has launched since the announcement of the indictments being served against him.

The coalition talks held after the first election, which Netanyahu dragged the country through in his attempt to arrange immunity for himself before the attorney general filed any indictments, failed in the wake of his attempts to establish a coalition that would keep him from facing any trial, even after having denied he would do this before the election was held. The coalition talks held after the second election in which Israeli citizens were forced to vote with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over them regarding the results of his pre-indictment hearing involved the question of incapacitation and a plan that the country's overenthusiastic president tailored precisely to fit the suspect on Balfour Street.

Now, with the full indictments filed against Netanyahu and in the days he has left to ask the Knesset to award him immunity from prosecution, the debate over his immunity will rise to the top of the public agenda. This is how things look when an entire country is held hostage by the prime minister's legal battles.


 Hang on until midnight


Don't mess with the army, Bennett

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 03:10:13

The army and the defense establishment are very angry with Defense Minister Naftali Bennett. The man makes too many pronouncements, boasts about killing Iranians, announces a change in rules of the game toward Hamas and plans to expand construction in Hebron. He's insufferable and even dangerous. So dangerous that top military and other security officials devoted an entire meeting to œthe minister's public statements, a report this week in Haaretz said. They believe that his statements not only harm Israel's security, but, perish the thought, are œan attempt to belittle the importance of the security work of past senior officials such as the previous chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot.

But why is the army so outraged about Bennett's statements and not at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's commitment to annex the Jordan Valley, which rattled ties between Israel and Jordan? Does this not harm Israel's security as well? It seems that the army knows what is untouchable. Its leaders don't like statements made at the army's expense, certainly not by a politician with the rank of captain who just entered office and hasn't even warmed his seat yet. If it had at least been the prime minister, the hero of the war on terror who uncovered Iran's secrets with revelations that may have damaged intelligence gathering by the Mossad and military intelligence they could hold their tongues and move on.

Why is it Bennett who angers the army? What about Raviv Drucker, who uncovered the submarines affair and the deep corruption in the army that it revealed, or defense correspondent Carmela Menashe, who revealed a years long swindle involving false reporting on ultra-Orthodox ghost soldiers, and does anyone remember Yaniv Kubovich's exposure of the intelligence failure that led the air force to kill nine members of a single family in Gaza, because somebody forgot to update the target bank? Water under the bridge. After all, lies and corruption don't hurt security. But a defense minister who sets new rules ” that crosses a line.


 Don't mess with the army, Bennett


Trump to sign executive order on anti-Semitism that will treat 'Jewishness' as nationality

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 02:17:12

WASHINGTON ” President Donald Trump will sign on Wednesday an executive order focused on anti-Semitism at college campuses in the United States. The executive order, according to officials at the White House, will state that title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color and national origin, will also be applied to œJewishness, treating it as a nationality and not only a religion.

The executive order will impact universities that receive federal grants from the U.S. government.

The executive order will also endorse a definition of anti-Semitism published in 2016 by the International Holocaust Research Association (IHRA), and calls on federal agencies to œconsider this definition of anti-Semitism when investigating potentially anti-Semitic incidents.


 Trump to sign executive order on anti-Semitism that will treat 'Jewishness' as nationality


Time to cancel the state-religious school system

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 00:06:44

Last week, when Israel's poor results in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) exam was reported, the education ministry announced that a committee would be named - yet another one that would œleave no stone unturned to try to figure out how Arab students ended up at the bottom of the rankings. The issues to be reviewed, they promised, would include the curricula and efficacy of allocating resources areas in which the ministry has generally ignored the desires of Arab citizens, or their needs, for many years. And yet the debate on the incomprehensible gaps between Jewish and Arab students would not be complete without a closer look at how the country's Jewish religious students enjoy budgetary and pedagogical favoritism, making the picture of inequality even more dire.

It is time to cancel the separate state-religious education system.

The 2018-19 school year saw the highest ever average investment in students at state-religious high schools, at 40,433 shekels per student 29 percent more than what a student in a state secular high school received and about 65 percent more than the allocation for an Arab high school student. This is no one-off occurrence. Between 2012 and 2018, the budget for religious high school students soared some 55 percent, nearly twice as much compared to the increases made to budgets of the other two school systems. According to Central Bureau of Statistics data, religious schools have an average of a teacher per 5.2 students, compared to one per 10.4 students in Arab education.


 Time to cancel the state-religious school system


Israel is on its way to become a country of city-states

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 23:55:23

After the public transportation system began operating on the weekend in a number of cities in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, we began to hear the word revolution being uttered more and more. Nonetheless, it is possible that even the people who have used this word may not have internalized just how dramatic a change is taking place.

It is obvious that the ability to be mobile on Shabbat in an urban space without a car is a refreshing change in its own right, and certainly as far as the underprivileged are concerned. The bite taken out of the obsolete œstatus quo on matters of religion and state, which has been outdated for a long time, can provide a bit of comfort but the story is much bigger than this.

Shifting the focus campaign for Shabbat transportation from the national to the municipal level has the potential to change the character of the entire country. This is multi-stage process and public transportation is just one link in which the issues of religion and state are privatized locally. It points up how Israel is gradually being divided into two separate countries with diverging public spheres.


 Israel is on its way to become a country of city-states


In campaign's final days, British Jews lament the ˜hold your nose election'

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 23:48:49

LONDON ” As the exceptionally fraught general election season enters its closing days, British Jews are finding it hard to approach Thursday's vote with any enthusiasm.

With the Labour Party overshadowed by anti-Semitism scandals and hemorrhaging Jewish support, and a right-wing Conservative Party heading for a hard Brexit ” while most U.K. Jews voted to stay in the European Union ” Jewish voters see few good options.

Richard Ferrer, editor of the Jewish News newspaper, describes the community at large as œtraditionally centrist and says the eradication of the moderate middle ground in U.K. politics has been œterrifying.


 In campaign's final days, British Jews lament the ˜hold your nose election'


Over 300 Saudi military aviation students in U.S. grounded after Navy base shooting

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 23:47:18

More than 300 Saudi Arabian military aviation students have been grounded as part of a "safety stand-down" after a Saudi Air Force lieutenant shot and killed three people last week at a U.S. Navy base in Florida, U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

The FBI has said U.S. investigators believe Saudi Air Force Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21, acted alone when he attacked a U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday, before he was fatally shot by a deputy sheriff.

The shootings have again raised questions about the U.S. military relationship with Saudi Arabia, which has come under heightened scrutiny in Congress over the war in Yemen and Saudi Arabia's killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi last year.


 Over 300 Saudi military aviation students in U.S. grounded after Navy base shooting


Israeli-Palestinian trade war looms as cattle dispute lingers, defense officials warn

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 23:33:06

A three-month ban imposed by the Palestinian Authority on the import of calves from Israel ended recently, but sources have told Haaretz that the dispute may reignite into a violent trade war due to pressures by Israeli cattle ranchers on the agriculture ministry to force the Palestinians to purchase tens of thousands of animals they failed to buy previously.

In September the PA banned cattle imports from Israel under pressure from West Bank businessmen and efforts then underway to seek a policy of economic separation from Israel. Israel saw this as a violation of existing trade agreements and responded by imposing sanctions such as denying entry visas to Palestinian businesspeople.

The PA lifted the measure two weeks ago, due to rising meat prices. As part of an agreement on resuming the imports, Israel said it would allow the PA to import calves from abroad. According to Israeli legal advisers, Israel cannot legally oppose such imports due to agreements it has signed in the past with the Palestinians.


 Israeli-Palestinian trade war looms as cattle dispute lingers, defense officials warn


Gulf leaders attend Saudi Arabia summit as Iran fears overcome Qatar blockade

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 23:18:51

Arab Gulf leaders gathered in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for an annual summit that was intended to showcase their unity in the face of shared threats. But looming over the meeting were their frayed ties and heightened worries about Iran.

For all their diverging views and interests, members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council share a common goal of stability in the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow shipping corridor that's vital to their energy exports from the Persian Gulf. The GCC bloc is composed of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.

Attacks blamed on Iran this summer, including a stunning missile and drone attack on a major Saudi crude processing facility, have rattled the region. Tensions in the Gulf between Tehran and Washington have also escalated sharply in recent months.


 Gulf leaders attend Saudi Arabia summit as Iran fears overcome Qatar blockade


Iranian weapons storage tunnel detected on Syria-Iraq border, satellite images show

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 22:02:10

Satellite imagery released on Tuesday show signs of a tunnel being dug at an Iranian base on the Syria-Iraq border, which an intelligence report compiled by ImageSat International said appears appropriate for storing advanced weapons systems and large vehicles to protect them from aerial attacks.

Construction of the Imam Ali base was first reported in September, and a week later it was attacked by drones. The site is near the Albukamal Al-Qaim border crossing.

Israel-based ImageSat International said work on the tunnel was accelerated a few weeks after the base was attacked the first time, on September 9. It estimated the tunnel to be four to five meters wide, with an unknown length. Because the ground in the area is flat and hard, it is unlikely the tunnel will be expanded greatly in the future, the report said.


 Iranian weapons storage tunnel detected on Syria-Iraq border, satellite images show


Bank of Israel intervention needs to be bold to halt shekel gains

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 21:32:34

The Bank of Israel will need to be aggressive to contain the shekel's rise and push inflation higher through another round of foreign-currency purchases.

The shekel has gained more than 7% this year against the dollar, making it one of the world's strongest currencies, and 9% versus a basket of currencies of main trading partners, helping to push inflation to near zero but hurting exports.

Analysts doubt the trend will change. Israel's economy is growing around 3% a year, the country maintains a current account surplus, foreign investment flows are robust and another large natural gas site is set to begin production.


 Bank of Israel intervention needs to be bold to halt shekel gains


U.S. bans entry to former Saudi diplomat in Turkey over Khashoggi murder

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 21:28:16

The United States on Tuesday barred from entering the country Mohammed al Otaibi, the former Saudi consul general in Istanbul in October 2018, when Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed there, the U.S. State Department said.

"The murder of Jamal Khashoggi was a heinous, unacceptable crime," the Department said in a statement, adding that it continued to urge the Saudi government to conduct a "full, fair and transparent" trial to hold accountable those responsible for the former Washington Post columnist's death.

Khashoggi was a U.S. resident and a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018, where he was to receive papers ahead of his wedding. His body was reportedly dismembered and removed from the building, and his remains have not been found.


 U.S. bans entry to former Saudi diplomat in Turkey over Khashoggi murder


Palestinians ask Israel to let East Jerusalem residents vote in PA election

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 21:08:17

The Palestinian Authority asked Israel on Tuesday to allow East Jerusalem residents to vote in the PA's planned parliamentary and presidential elections, a request that Israeli officials said would now go to the security cabinet.

Israeli officials say the PA asked under the assumption that Israel would refuse, so Israeli officials are considering how to respond. An Israeli rejection could prevent or delay the elections because the Palestinians do not want to be portrayed as relinquishing their claim to have the capital of a Palestinian state in Jerusalem.

Hamas won the last parliamentary election in 2006. A year later, the group staged a violent takeover in the Gaza Strip; it still rules there, with Fatah dominating the PA government in the West Bank.


 Palestinians ask Israel to let East Jerusalem residents vote in PA election


Israeli student beaten on Paris Metro train after he was heard speaking Hebrew

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 20:56:24

An Israeli student in Paris was beaten on the Metro train after he spoke on the phone in Hebrew, according to France's National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA.

The student identified as B. Yogev, 30, entered the metro train at the Château d'Eau station in Paris on Monday morning and answered a phone call from his father before the attack. Two men, described as tall and of African origin, œbegan to shout at him, helped by passengers who threatened him and pointed at him, the BNVCA statement claims.

One of those men attacked the Israeli student striking him on the head, body and face. The student fainted on the floor of the train car, according to the report.


 Israeli student beaten on Paris Metro train after he was heard speaking Hebrew


Hours to deadline, Kahol Lavan surges in election poll as Gantz, Netanyahu trade barbs

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 20:53:56

As Israeli politicians face a Wednesday midnight deadline to prevent a third election cycle within a year, a public opinion poll published Tuesday gives Benny Gantz and his Kahol Lavan party a significant lead over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud.

According to the Channel 13 News poll, Kahol Lavan would get 37 out 120 Knesset seats in a potential election, while Likud is predicted 33, possibly allowing Gantz to form a narrow coalition with other center-left parties and Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu.

Kahol Lavan, Labor-Gesher, the Democratic Union and Yisrael Beiteinu are predicted 55 seats together. Though short of a clear majority, the right-wing bloc would get, according to the poll, only 52 seats. The four-party Arab alliance of the Joint List, predicted to keep its power with 13 seats, might not support a Gantz-led government, but isn't expected to vote against its formation.


 Hours to deadline, Kahol Lavan surges in election poll as Gantz, Netanyahu trade barbs


Another shameful Israeli act in Malka Leifer case furthers Australian distrust

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 20:11:10

The hearing on Australia's request for the extradition of accused sex offender Malka Leifer had been scheduled for Tuesday in a Jerusalem District Court. The ordeal, ongoing for over a decade, includes countless court hearings, unprecedented damage to Israel's ties with Australia's Jewish community and government, and most recently, major suspicions that Israel's Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman who like Leifer, is member of the Ger branch of Hassidic Judaism exerted pressure on psychiatrists to deem the suspect mentally unfit to stand trial and extradition.

Instead of a decisive hearing, the day brought another twist in the ongoing circus of the Leifer case. A team of senior psychiatrists was due to present the court with the new evaluation on the mental fitness of the former principal of an ultra-Orthodox girls' school in Melbourne, who had fled to Israel in 2008 after being accused of raping and sexually assaulting her students. But someone on the team of psychiatrists "forgot" to inform the court that they hadn't managed to submit their professional opinion on time.

District Judge Chana Miriam Lomp told a courtroom packed with reporters that the doctors "hadn't noticed" that the hearing was scheduled for Tuesday. As a result, the date for submission of the psychiatrists' evaluation was deferred for another month.


 Another shameful Israeli act in Malka Leifer case furthers Australian distrust


Israeli towns to provide welfare funds for asylum seekers two years late

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 19:51:07

Israel's Finance Ministry earmarked funding for social services to asylum seekers more than two years ago, but the Labor Ministry never told the municipalities about it, according to documents filed this week with the High Court of Justice.

As a result of the filing, the Labor Ministry has issued a circular telling local social welfare departments to provide services to asylum seekers who meet certain criteria. The directive cannot be implemented, however, until an insurance issue is ironed out with the Health Ministry.

Currently, non-homeless asylum seekers receive government social welfare services only in life-threatening situations, even if they have disabilities. This is the case even though Israeli social-services law makes no distinction between legal residents and others.


 Israeli towns to provide welfare funds for asylum seekers two years late


In unprecedented step, Israeli minister bars Palestinian governor of Jerusalem's work

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 19:48:21

Israel's Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan took the unprecedented step on Monday of banning the Palestinian Authority's governor for Jerusalem from conducting any activity on behalf of the PA in the city. Erdan's order states that Adnan Ghaith cannot hold meetings, gatherings or conferences in the city related to the PA.

Erdan issued the order following recommendations from the Shin Bet security service and the police, and with the approval of the Justice Ministry. According to Public Security Ministry sources, the minister was presented with intelligence linking Ghaith to the PA's operations inside Israel. If Ghaith violates the order and carries out political activities on the behalf of the PA, Israel could begin criminal proceedings against him.

The order was issued based on a law implementing the Oslo Accords in 1994, which gave the public security minister the authority to limit or prevent actions on the part of the PA inside Israel. Erdan has previously issued orders banning the holding of events connected to the PA, but this was his first order forbidding the actions of a person representing the PA.


 In unprecedented step, Israeli minister bars Palestinian governor of Jerusalem's work


Why Israel can and must help as Jordan's economy implodes

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 18:53:12

It's perfectly understandable that here in Israel we can look on at the collapse of the Lebanese economy with studied indifference. That's the plus side of being in a perpetual state of war with your neighbor. All Israel needs to do is sit back, relax and watch as the situation goes from bad to worse and Hezbollah twists in the wind.

Unfortunately, a similar dynamic is developing in Jordan, which is also next door to Israel, but isn't an enemy state. The economy is deteriorating and it's by no means clear that King Abdullah has any plausible strategy for coping with the problem. Yet, Israel seems to relate to it like another Lebanon, so near and yet so far, and not our problem. If anything, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be making matters worse for the king with his talk of annexing the Jordan Valley, in his desperate effort to stay in power by appealing to rightist voters.

In terms of economic distress, in many ways Jordan looks like Lebanon. Its economy has been growing so slowly for the last decade that GDP per capita has actually shrunk. Its debt is 94% of GDP, less than Lebanon's 150%-plus but dangerously high. Unemployment is in the double digits and both economies depend on bloated public sectors to provide make-work jobs. The Syrian war has taken a toll on both, cutting off trade ties and flooding them with refugees who have to be housed, fed and cared for. Lebanon is hosting 950,000 and Jordan 650,000.


 Why Israel can and must help as Jordan's economy implodes


As pilgrims descend on Bethlehem for Christmas, Palestinians look beyond religious tourism

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 18:47:34

For decades, the people of Bethlehem have watched tour buses drive up to the Church of the Nativity, disgorge their passengers for a few hours at the traditional birthplace of Jesus, and then return to Israel.

But in recent years a new form of tourism has taken root, focused on the West Bank town's Palestinian residents, their culture and history and their struggles under Israeli occupation.

As pilgrims descend on Bethlehem this Christmas, they have the option of staying in restored centuries-old guesthouses, taking food tours of local markets, and perusing the dystopian art in and around a hotel designed by the British graffiti artist Banksy.


 As pilgrims descend on Bethlehem for Christmas, Palestinians look beyond religious tourism


Century after losing titles, Germany's royals demand the crown's restoration

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 18:27:31

The German press has been preoccupied in recent weeks with a story rooted deep in the shadows of the past. The focal point is a demand to restore the property of the most famous family in German history: the Hohenzollerns. The Prussian royal family, which was deposed 100 years ago, is demanding the return of several of the family's principal assets, which were confiscated after World War II.

The present head of the House of Hohenzollern is Georg Friedrich, prince of Prussia an energetic businessman and the legal heir of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who went into exile at the end of World War I. In recent years Friedrich has been busy bolstering his family's image and launching a brand of royal Prussian beer, among other things.

He usually does not advocate for restoring Germany's monarchy, and notes that the matter œis not on the agenda at the moment. At this stage, he is demanding that Cecilienhof Palace in Potsdam and the royal crown of the German empire be returned to the family.


 Century after losing titles, Germany's royals demand the crown's restoration


Erdogan names Trump, Putin among leaders whom he admires

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 18:15:06

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday named U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Qatar's Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani as the leaders whom he most admires.

In a Q&A with university students, Erdogan said he struggles to name a current inspirational leader from Europe.

"When we look at Europe, there is a serious leadership crisis, a leadership vacuum," Erdogan said. "I don't find the courage in myself to say such and such leader is exemplary in Europe."


 Erdogan names Trump, Putin among leaders whom he admires


As the United Kingdom heads to the polls, six Jewish races to watch

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 18:08:02

LONDON - As the United Kingdom heads to a snap parliamentary election on Thursday, accusations of anti-Semitism continue to haunt the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn. The country's chief rabbi even warned that the œsoul of the nation is at stake in the upcoming election.

As discussion of anti-Semitism abounds, and with Brexit still a primary issue for many voters, here are some districts where the Jewish vote may be the deciding factor.

Finchley and Golders Green


 As the United Kingdom heads to the polls, six Jewish races to watch


As world leaders meet in Madrid, the real victims of the climate crisis take the stage

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 17:52:11

MADRID After a week of panels, sessions and press conferences, the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid has entered Tuesday its high-level stage, as activists increase pressure on decision-makers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Several heads of state and ministers in attendance are expected in a session, followed by discussions on concrete steps to advance the implementation of the Paris Climate Accord.

Extinction Rebellion activists blocked major traffic arteries in the Spanish capital multiple times over the past few days, but were quickly removed by police. On Monday, activists reached the IFEMA convention center near the airport where the climate summit is being held and blocked the access road. Police removed them. On Sunday, they also blocked Gran Via, one of Madrid's main streets. Extinction Rebellion activists in Spain were joined by several from Israel.


 As world leaders meet in Madrid, the real victims of the climate crisis take the stage


Israel's campaign to destabilize Jordan

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 17:25:27

Crossing the Allenby Bridge back into Israel, after visiting Jordan just after the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, an occasion that was not celebrated either in Israel or in Jordan, I felt despondent. Jordan's monarch recently depicted his country's relationship with Israel as being "at an all-time low." 

Senior Jordanian officials haven't yet entirely given up hoping Israel will wake up to the need to preserve relations with Jordan, rather than undermining them. But they also know that widely-flagged future moves by a right-wing Israeli government - not least, West Bank annexation could be critically destabilizing for Jordan, and a lethal blow for bilateral relations.

During an Americans for Peace Now study trip, I met with senior Jordanian officials, top advisors to King Abdullah II, current foreign minister Ayman Safadi, and former foreign minister and ambassador to the U.S. and Israel, Marwan Muasher. I spoke with experts on Jordanian-Israeli relations and with Jordanian citizens. I read the writing on Amman's walls both literally and figuratively.


 Israel's campaign to destabilize Jordan


Trump threatens Schiff after impeachment announcement: 'He'll eventually have to answer for this!'

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 17:14:46

Democrats in the House of Representatives announced formal charges against President Donald Trump on Tuesday that accuse him of abusing power and obstructing Congress, making him only the fourth U.S. president in history to face impeachment.

Trump reacted on Twitter Tuesday with an attack on U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff - one of the leaders of the investigation into him. Trump wrote, "Shifty Schiff, a totally corrupt politician, made up a horrible and fraudulent statement, read it to Congress, and said those words came from me. He got caught, was very embarrassed, yet nothing happened to him for committing this fraud. He'll eventually have to answer for this!"

The full Democratic-controlled House is expected to vote on the charges, or articles of impeachment, next week. It is almost certain to vote to impeach the Republican president, setting the stage for a dramatic trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, likely to begin in January.


 Trump threatens Schiff after impeachment announcement: 'He'll eventually have to answer for this!'


We thought the Israeli public should know about the occupation. How wrong were we

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 16:58:13

Tuesday is International Human Rights Day, and at the Einav Culture Center in Tel Aviv there will be an evening marking the 30th anniversary of B'Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. The idea for the organization came from former lawmaker David œDedi Zucker and lawyer Avigdor Feldman, who recognized the need for a center that would provide information about human rights violations in the territories.

Yossi Sarid came up with the name, in a typical flash of inspiration. Professor Uriel Procaccia was the first chairman of the board, and I was one of the founders and the first executive director. We weren't thinking 30 years ahead. We believed that the Israeli public just had to know what was being done in its name.

How wrong we were. B'Tselem was established as a response to a question that is still tearing the Israeli public apart: What should you do when your country commits an injustice. Not a random injustice, not a mistake, not a blind bureaucratic decision, but an ongoing, deliberate policy that treats human beings like something to be trampled. The answer that people give to this question shows a lot about them. There are some who remain silent, there are some who convince themselves that everything is all right, there are some who explain that we have to fight, but not now and certainly not abroad. And then there is B'Tselem.


 We thought the Israeli public should know about the occupation. How wrong were we


Netanyahu has no chance of forming gov't even after third election, senior Likud official says

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 15:55:31

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's major rival in Likud, Gideon Sa'ar, said Tuesday that the premier won't be able to form a governing coalition even if a third election cycle within a year takes place.

Speaking during a tour of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank, Sa'ar said that Netanyahu "doesn't have a chance to form a government, even if we hold a third election," adding that he doesn't intend to leave Likud.

"Likud is my home, where I'm running and only there," Sa'ar said.


 Netanyahu has no chance of forming gov't even after third election, senior Likud official says


Inside the unlikely, unofficial ties between Israel and the Kurds

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 15:13:44

The Kurds are fond of saying that they have no friends but the mountains. Yet one country has steadfastly stood by them, sometimes alone, over many decades: Israel.

In a rare show of public dissent with U.S. President Donald Trump in October, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered humanitarian aid to the œgallant Kurdish people, saying they faced possible œethnic cleansing by Turkey and its affiliates. This after Trump had agreed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's request to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria to allow for a Turkish military operation to drive the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces away from its border and establish a œsafe zone there.

About a month after Netanyahu's statement, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told the Knesset that the offer had been accepted. œWe identify with the deep distress of the Kurds, and we are assisting them through a range of channels, she said. However, top Kurdish official Ilham Ahmed, a co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (the political arm of the SDF), tells Haaretz that she has œno information on that.


 Inside the unlikely, unofficial ties between Israel and the Kurds


In East Jerusalem's war on drugs, residents say police are on the wrong side

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 15:10:08

An unprecedented conference took place Friday in the Shoafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. After prayers, hundreds of men headed into a large hall. Representatives of all the families living in the camp sat up front; on stage stood teens in gold vests bearing a logo of a fist smashing a hypodermic needle.

As dramatic music played in the background, one of the teens read a declaration signed by all the family representatives: œI resolve to put family security above the drug dealers. I resolve to boycott them, to not give them respect, to not invite them to weddings and not to attend their funerals.

It was the first community gathering of its kind in Shoafat's war on drugs. The speakers included notable camp residents, former addicts, a physician who explained the dangers of the newest generation of drugs and a preacher from Al-Aqsa Mosque. The conference was the climax of a rolling campaign by social activists and local East Jerusalem leaders against drug purveyors. Ahead of the conference, young people organized confrontations with drug dealers, helped commit addicts to rehab centers, and hung anti-drug posters throughout the camp's streets.


 In East Jerusalem's war on drugs, residents say police are on the wrong side


Hillary Clinton urges Jewish labor activists not to ˜walk away' ahead of 2020

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 14:29:07

At a Monday evening event organized by the Jewish Labor Committee, Hillary Clinton slammed the Trump administration and spoke of the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, repairing the world.

The former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee addressed attendees at the organization's 48th annual human rights awards dinner. Some 250 people came to the event held at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, organizers said.

After being introduced by Jewish Labor Committee President Stuart Appelbaum, Clinton thanked the organization for its work, and then quickly pivoted to attacking President Donald Trump and his administration.


 Hillary Clinton urges Jewish labor activists not to ˜walk away' ahead of 2020


House Democrats announce two articles of impeachment against Trump

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 14:03:47

Democrats announced formal charges against President Donald Trump on Tuesday that accuse him of abusing power and obstructing Congress, making him only the third U.S. president in history to face impeachment.

The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the charges, or articles of impeachment, next week. The chamber, controlled by Democrats, is almost certain to vote to impeach the Republican president, setting the stage for a dramatic trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, likely to begin in January.

House Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, told reporters that Trump had endangered the U.S. Constitution, undermined the integrity of the 2020 election and jeopardized national security.


 House Democrats announce two articles of impeachment against Trump


Trump stuns by saying DOJ report on Russia probe said the opposite of what it actually says

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 13:56:14

The FBI was justified in opening its investigation into ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia and did not act with political bias, the Justice Department's internal watchdog declared, undercutting President Donald Trump's repeated claims that he has been the target of a œwitch hunt.

The long-awaited report, issued Monday, rejected theories and criticism spread by Trump and his supporters, though it also found œserious performance failures up the bureau's chain of command that Republicans are citing as evidence that Trump was targeted by an unfair investigation.

Trump quickly reacted to the report saying that the details revealed were "far worse" than anything he would have imagined.


 Trump stuns by saying DOJ report on Russia probe said the opposite of what it actually says


El Al to launch direct flights from Israel to Australia for $1,200

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 13:53:30

El Al Israel Airlines has announced the dates of three direct flights from Tel Aviv to Melbourne, the longest scheduled flights in Israeli aviation history.

The three flights, which are subject to regulatory approval, are an effort by Israel's flagship carrier to test demand for regular service on the route, a decision that will be made in the coming months. Two of the flights will operate in April, before and after Passover. The third flight is scheduled for May.

The flights from Israel, on Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, are scheduled to take 16 hours and 15 minutes, while the return flights from Australia to Israel are due to take 17 hours and 45 minutes.


 El Al to launch direct flights from Israel to Australia for $1,200


Biden steps up attacks on Trump foreign policy - focusing on Saudi Arabia and North Korea

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 13:23:38

Joe Biden's presidential campaign launched new attacks on Donald Trump on Sunday, advocating a re-evaluation of U.S.-Saudi relations and calling North Korea's apparent weapons test a "rebuke" to the U.S. president in a statement to Reuters.

The statement comes as Trump faces pressure to examine his administration's approach to Riyadh after law enforcement officials said a Saudi Arabian Air Force lieutenant killed three people at a U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, before being fatally shot.

The man was on the base as part of a Navy training program designed to foster links with foreign allies.


 Biden steps up attacks on Trump foreign policy - focusing on Saudi Arabia and North Korea


Netanyahu in last-minute plea to Lieberman as Gantz ally drops political bombshell

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 13:10:44

Kahol Lavan co-leader Yair Lapid said Monday he would forgo his long-standing demand to be prime minister in a rotation government with party leader Benny Gantz, countering a major Likud campaign message days before a third election cycle in a year is all but sure to be announced. 

"If there is another election, there will be no rotation," said Lapid, "A large and united Kahol Lavan will follow Benny Gantz as its candidate for premier." He added that he does not feel like he is "giving up," but rather that "it's a great privilege to be part of the change that this country desperately needs."

In turn, Gantz said that he will negotiate with Benjamin Netanyahu if he would not request the Knesset to grant him immunity from standing trial in three corruption cases.


 Netanyahu in last-minute plea to Lieberman as Gantz ally drops political bombshell


Thaw? Qatar sends premier to Saudi Arabia for Gulf summit in prospective cooling of rift

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 13:08:05

Qatar sent its prime minister to a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, its highest level of representation at the annual meeting in two years and the most concrete sign yet of a possible thaw in a regional dispute.

Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani's attendance follows an intensification of efforts to resolve the row among U.S. allies that has seen Riyadh and its partners impose a political and economic boycott against Qatar since June 2017 over allegations Doha backs terrorism.

Qatar denies the charges and accuses Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and non-GCC member Egypt of trying to curtail its sovereignty.


 Thaw? Qatar sends premier to Saudi Arabia for Gulf summit in prospective cooling of rift


Trump enthralls Adelson assembly, repels American Jews and sticks a dagger in AIPAC

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 12:45:51

Love or loathe him, Donald Trump gave Israelis of all political stripes a poignant moment full of pride and naches on Sunday Night. Trump's physical embrace with members of the special-needs Shalva band right after they sang God Bless America to his attentive ears was the one highlight of the Israeli American Council conference in Washington that will stir the hearts of all Israelis, right, left and center.

Not that the rest of Trump's performance as seen on a live stream was boring or unremarkable. On the contrary, in the annals of relations between Israel and the United States, there's probably been nothing like it. In between rambling and sometimes incomprehensible depictions of the minute details of his own foresight and courage, Trump gave settler-supporting, Palestinian-despising Israelis and Jews 45 minutes of pure heaven.

He blasted Iran, denigrated Palestinians and even pronounced that his May 2018 embassy move had miraculously made Jerusalem into the capital of Israel. He delighted the enthusiastic crowd by managing to insult Native Americans with his reference to Elizabeth Warren as œPocahontas while concurrently hurling a vaguely anti-Semitic slur at his business-minded, wealth-oriented Jewish audience, which, he said, would naturally resist Warren's tax-taking policies.


 Trump enthralls Adelson assembly, repels American Jews and sticks a dagger in AIPAC


Israeli, Jewish, and raising my kids in Ramallah

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 12:45:21

After a year in the United States, we returned to Israel/Palestine. This time, I decided to come out of the closet: I am Jewish, Israeli and American, and I am married to a Palestinian man, an academic from a Muslim family. We live in the metropolitan area of Ramallah/Al Bireh with our two children, 5-year-old Forat and 2-year old Adam. One of my children's grandfathers helped to conquer and occupy Palestine in 1967. Their other grandfather fled Palestine because of the occupation, abandoning their father, my partner, Osama. We are a loving family, and one of its members is breaking her silence.

In the taxi from the airport, I asked the driver, a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem, for an update on the checkpoints.

œIs the al-Jib checkpoint open?


 Israeli, Jewish, and raising my kids in Ramallah


Israel delays hearing of accused rapist Leifer because psychiatrists 'hadn't noticed' it was set

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 11:37:07

A court in Jerusalem on Tuesday gave the state a month-long extension to file its final psychological evaluation on whether accused sex offender Malka Leifer is fit to stand trial for the rape and sexual assault of her former students at an all-girls ultra-Orthodox school in Melbourne.

The extension was given by a judge on the day of the original session because, according to Israel's State Prosecutor, the panel of expert psychiatrists set to examine Leifer said they "didn't notice" that the crucial hearing on Leifer's case was slated for Tuesday.

Leifer, who holds Israeli citizenship, was the principal of an all-girls ultra-Orthodox school in Melbourne. She is accused of targeting three sisters who were her students, and faces 74 charges of indecent acts and rape. After the accusations against her emerged in 2008, she fled to Israel, and in 2014, Australia filed a request for extradition. Since then, the process has been under discussion in Israeli courts.


 Israel delays hearing of accused rapist Leifer because psychiatrists 'hadn't noticed' it was set


Gantz took Netanyahu's favorite trick ” and used it against him

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 09:47:08

Say what you may about the leaders of Kahol Lavan, one fact is incontrovertible: They've learned how to do politics. In one photo-op at the Knesset, Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid managed to hit two birds with one stone. They caught the master of tricks Benjamin Netanyahu unprepared, while neutralizing one of his most effective weapons, ahead of the March 2020 election campaign which officially starts at midnight on Wednesday, but which in fact is already in full swing.

Gantz's offer to Netanyahu that the latter give up his quest for immunity in exchange for œopening a dialogue was one of those quips the addressee has turned into an art form. Its whole purpose was to put Kahol Lavan's rival on the defensive, while in practice being a non-starter. Gantz, after several discussions with Netanyahu, understood that the latter has no intention of relinquishing his quest for immunity, just as he has no intention of giving up his current post. No, not even after six months (as was floated as an option by some).

Immunity and recusal don't go together; they're like oil and water, like two trains rushing forward on parallel tracks. If Netanyahu intended to keep his word which he hasn't admitted to yet, except through his emissaries at the negotiations there would be no point in insisting on his right to appeal to the Knesset committee in search of immunity.


 Gantz took Netanyahu's favorite trick ” and used it against him


Asylum seekers in Europe have nowhere to run

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:59:29

œI'll get back to Germany, even if I have to swim. Here in Morocco I have no life, the young Moroccan Nassim Joheir told the German website Qantara. Joheir arrived in Germany in 2015 and waited more than three years to receive the refugee status that would grant him permanent residency there. Lacking a profession, he worked odd jobs, learned German and hoped to integrate into German society, learn a trade, make a living and fulfill the German dream.

But about a year ago a letter came in the mail with the bad news that he would not be given refugee status. He would have to leave the country immediately and go back to Morocco. Joheir says he had paid 11,000 euros to smugglers to bring him over the border from Turkey to Europe, almost drowned at sea, and now œin one minute, in an envelope, my dream burst he was back to the reality that had led him to flee his home in the first place.

According to figures from the German Ministry of Immigration, some 665 immigrants from Morocco were deported in 2018 and this year it looks like the number will be even higher. Joheir is not persecuted in his country, his life is not in danger and the regime in Morocco is not threatening to jail him. Millions of young men like him in Morocco and across the Middle East and Africa only want to live their dream and find themselves a better life. Leaving for Europe, no matter how dangerous the journey, is an act of despair and distress. It is considered heroic and even a source of pride for them and their families.


 Asylum seekers in Europe have nowhere to run


Natan Sharansky named Genesis Prize laureate for 2020

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 06:17:29

The Genesis Prize Foundation, which likes to refer to itself as the œJewish Nobel, announced Tuesday that its 2020 prize will be awarded to former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky.

The organizers will be hoping next year's event passes off without controversy following several scandals in recent years.

The 2020 award was in recognition of Sharansky's œextraordinary lifelong struggle for human rights, political freedom and his service to the Jewish people and the State of Israel, the foundation said. Sharansky served as chairman of the Jewish Agency for nine years, stepping down in August 2018. Before that he served as a Knesset member and minister in four Israeli governments.


 Natan Sharansky named Genesis Prize laureate for 2020


Israeli wages rise for fifth straight year, but gender gap widens

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 04:41:14

Israeli wages grew for the fifth year in a row in 2018, but the pay gap between men and women and between Jews and Arabs remained high, figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Monday showed.

Pay grew an average of 4% last year to a pre-tax average of 10,584 shekels ($3,050 at current exchange rates) a month. Median income the mid-point between the highest and lowest incomes was 7,988, a 6.3% increase over 2017. The average number of hours worked by Israelis every week was 40.9 and hourly pay stood at 61.70 shekels, a 4% increase.

However, the pay differential between men and women also grew last year. The average pay for a salaried male in Israel was 12,498 shekels a month, compared with 8,546 shekels for women, a difference of 31.6%, the CBS said. The median pay gap also widened between men and women to 27.5% from 24.7% in 2017.


 Israeli wages rise for fifth straight year, but gender gap widens


Four ways Netanyahu protected himself and survived for three more months

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 04:20:34

With midnight on Wednesday the final deadline for forming a government, it is all but clear at this point that no one is even making much of an attempt to prevent the third election within a year. Instead, the parties are preparing their narratives for the blame game that will ensue after the deadline passes. Regardless of whose version is more believable to the Israeli public, and of whether the balance of blame will also shift voters between the two main voting blocs, one thing is certain: Benjamin Netanyahu has won this round.

A third consecutive election may seem like a hollow victory, but considering Netanyahu's situation having failed twice to win a majority for the parties supporting him, and, as of last month, facing multiple charges of corruption the bottom line result, that he is now guaranteed at least three more months as interim prime minister and has yet another chance of winning a majority, is undoubtedly a win.

He has survived his toughest political year since coming back to power in 2009, and in 2020 will complete his 11th consecutive year in office. No longer the all-powerful wizard of Israeli politics, perhaps, but still its Houdini at least.


 Four ways Netanyahu protected himself and survived for three more months


The Israeli startup reinventing the wheel

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 04:19:55

Could REE be the next big thing after Mobileye for Israel's thriving auto-tech sector? Certainly it's offering the emerging electric vehicle industry an innovative and compelling technology that puts a vehicle's motor, steering, suspension, drivetrain, sensing, braking and electronics into its wheels. The result is a modular chassis that gives automakers a platform for a wide range of body configurations four wheels and a flat surface.

REE is in the middle of a funding round that values the company at more than 2 billion shekels ($580 million). TheMarker has learned that Israel's Meitav Dash investment house has put in 70 million shekels, while ILDC Insurance has agreed to top off a previous 15 million shekel investment in the company with several million shekels more, subject to its investment committee's final approval.

The valuation REE is getting in the current round reflects a major step forward for the Israeli startup. Its 2018 fundraiser valued the company at a mere 300 million shekels and another at the start of 2019 was at between 400 million and 500 million.


 The Israeli startup reinventing the wheel


What the Israeli job market wants: Facility with numbers, college degree not required

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 03:45:46

The Israeli economy's need for highly skilled workers, especially in the fields of technology and mathematics, is growing quickly, although not always for people with college degrees and advanced training.

The Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry said this week that the five jobs that have seen the most growth in pay and demand are high-tech sales people, statisticians, actuaries, economists and licensed electricians. In each, employment and salaries recorded double-digit percentage growth from 2012 to 2017.

œWe're seeing more occupations requiring quantitative and analytical abilities as well as marketing skills. We're also seeing from the figures that growth is occurring in fields that require professional training and not just a college education, said Rony Schnitzer, director of policy strategy and planning at the ministry.


 What the Israeli job market wants: Facility with numbers, college degree not required


When the settlement bloc expands

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 02:01:15

If, seven years from now, settlers declare that the Palestinian village of Atara, north of Ramallah, endangers them because of its high location and proximity to the road, and demand that its homes be emptied, what will the army's district brigade commander and Central Command chief do? What will they do if the declaration is accompanied by violence and vandalism targeting the villagers, and later mass prayers at the entrance to the village? Judging by previous experience, it's likely that the senior officers will send soldiers to protect the Israeli citizens during their assaults and their prayers, and might even shoot at Palestinians who dare to protest.

But we cannot rule out the possibility that the commanders will also find or invent an appropriate order allowing them to permanently expel the villagers from their homes, because that's what the settlers demand. Go to Ramallah, there are lots of vacant apartments there, the Civil Administration officers will say as they come to deliver the expulsion orders.

We hope the residents of Atara will forgive us for using them as an example in such a horrifying script. On the one hand, its feasibility should not be ruled out, while on the other hand, telling this tale is yet another attempt, perhaps desperate, to prevent it or similar horror scenarios from happening.


 When the settlement bloc expands


Israel is not a city of refuge

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 01:25:16

On Tuesday morning, the Jerusalem District Court will hold a decisive hearing in a case that has cast a heavy shadow over Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism), while bringing to an unprecedented nadir Israel's relations with Australia's government and its Jewish community. Senior psychiatrists are expected to testify as to whether Malka Leifer ” who fled Australia for Israel after being charged with the rape and sexual assault of students at the ultra-Orthodox school in Melbourne where she was the principal ” is mentally fit for extradition to Australia in order to stand trial.

Leifer escaped to Israel in 2008, after learning that three sisters, former students at the school, went to senior staff members with their accusations and described events they said took place on school premises. Australian authorities began investigating and eventually charged Leifer with 74 counts of rape and sexual assault against Dassi Ehrlich, Nicole Mayer and Elly Sapper. In 2012, Australia submitted an extradition request, based on its treaty with Israel, but Leifer was not located by Israeli police until 2014. Ever since, she has waged a legal battle to avoid extradition, claiming that she is not mentally fit for trial. Dozens of hearings have been held on the matter in a number of Israeli courts. The Australian authorities, as well as the international department of the Israeli prosecution, say that Leifer's mental fitness should be ascertained in Australia.

In February, Litzman was questioned on suspicion of interfering in the preparation of professional reports in Leifer's case, in order to prevent her extradition. After an investigation, the police recommended charging the deputy health minister with witness-tampering, fraud and breach of trust. He is currently waiting for prosecutors to decide whether to proceed with an indictment.


 Israel is not a city of refuge


Chemical weapons watchdog faked report on attack near Damascus, Assad says

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 00:58:12

Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview aired Monday that the global chemical weapons watchdog has faked and falsified a report over an attack near the capital Damascus last year "just because the Americans wanted them to do so."

Assad's comments to Italy's Rai News 24 came after the director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons expressed confidence in the report into the deadly attack in Syria.

OPCW's chief Fernando Arias supported the report issued in March by a fact-finding mission from the watchdog that found "reasonable grounds" that chlorine was used in a deadly attack on the eastern Damascus suburb of Douma.


 Chemical weapons watchdog faked report on attack near Damascus, Assad says


Haaretz cartoon

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 00:11:34

 Haaretz cartoon


Mizrahi identity politics heads to Harvard Law School with a conference

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 23:06:48

A first-of-its-kind conference at Harvard Law School will bring together Israeli academics, jurists and activists Tuesday to discuss an emerging field: Mizrahi legal studies. The discipline takes the identity politics of the group and uses it to reveal hidden forms of discrimination and biases on a wide range of issues.

Arriving from Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa after Israel's establishment in 1948, many Mizrahi immigrants were sent to shantytown transit camps and largely sidelined by the country's mainly European Jewish leaders. They have long complained of discrimination by the Asheknazi elite that traditionally dominated the government, military and economy. Though Mizrahi identity politics has long been a dominant force in Israeli society, the conference's legal framing sheds new light on its role in academia as a research topic.

Harvard may not seem like an obvious location for the conference. But participants ” who include some Palestinians ” say that beyond the prestige the university confers, its distance from the subject underscores its importance.


 Mizrahi identity politics heads to Harvard Law School with a conference


Israel tells energy companies to hold fire on Cyprus gas project

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 23:00:23

Israel's Energy Ministry has advised three energy companies not to start work on the Aphrodite gas field off Cyprus until the two countries reach agreement over ownership of the reserves.

Cyprus and Israel have been in dispute for several years over the gas reserves that straddle their maritime border, with no guarantee of any immediate resolution.

Cyprus last month signed a 25-year concession with Noble Energy, Shell and Delek Drilling for exploitation of the Aphrodite field, which was first discovered in 2011.


 Israel tells energy companies to hold fire on Cyprus gas project


Trump's pitch to Israelis and evangelicals: Make America Hate (Jews) Again

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 22:05:27

Just because Donald Trump actively and openly hates all people who happen not to agree with him in particular, if they are women, Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants of color, military and intelligence officials, and Jews this does not mean that Donald Trump is not a genius.

Donald Trump is a genius.

The president has a superhuman gift for resurrecting many of the most rapacious, hurtful, polarizing, long-mothballed waste products of the sick, segregated, self-deluded America of his boyhood.


 Trump's pitch to Israelis and evangelicals: Make America Hate (Jews) Again


Over 30 West Virginia correctional academy trainees suspended over Nazi salute photo

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 22:00:25

More than 30 employees of West Virginia's Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation have been suspended over a photo showing trainees making a Nazi salute.

The photo of dozens of participants in a basic training class reads œHail Byrd! at the top, a reference to a training instructor for the class.

Two correctional academy trainers and a cadet from the class shown in the picture were fired, The Washington Post reported.


 Over 30 West Virginia correctional academy trainees suspended over Nazi salute photo


West Bank annexation indefensible at International Criminal Court, top legal adviser warns Netanyahu

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 20:43:35

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was warned by the attorney general's office that annexing the Jordan Valley could spur an International Criminal Court investigation of senior army officers, civil service officials and heads of regional councils of West Bank settlements.

The warning was issued after International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda condemned Netanyahu's declaration that he will work toward annexation of the territory, which is in the West Bank, to Israel.

During recent consultations, officials in Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit's office made it clear that a sworn-in government can legally annex the territory, but must consider the possible consequences on the inquiry being conducted at The Hague on Israel's activity in the West Bank.


 West Bank annexation indefensible at International Criminal Court, top legal adviser warns Netanyahu


Collective insanity gives Netanyahu's right wing a crushing advantage over center-left rivals

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 20:01:37

Likud Minister Yariv Levin blamed Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan on Monday for plunging Israel into its third elections this year, which he described as œtotal lunacy. Levin, who is charged with the failing coalition talks with Gantz's party, was accurate in his diagnosis but completely off the mark about its cause. He is showing signs of what psychologists call œprojection.

Here's a simple test based on the question: What would make Menachem Begin turn in his grave? Would the venerated leader of Likud and its progenitor Herut, known as a stickler for the rule of law and minority rights, turn in his grave over a former army Chief of Staff who sticks to his campaign promises and refuses to serve under a prime minister who has been formally indicted on three charges of corruption?

Or would he be more likely to revolve in his resting place because one of his successors is turning a blind eye to said indictments, trying to delegitimize the legal system that has charged him, is using the prime minister's office as a place of refuge and is willing to inflict utter chaos on his country in order to escape the long arm of the law?


 Collective insanity gives Netanyahu's right wing a crushing advantage over center-left rivals


Thousands rally in London's Parliament Square against anti-Semitism days before election

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 19:25:10

Thousands rallied in London's Parliament Square against anti-Semitism.

More than 3,000 participants, Jews and non-Jews, held signs reading œTogether against anti-Semitism, œAntisemitism = Racism, œSolidarity with British Jews and œracist Corbyn unfit to be PM, referring to the head of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

The demonstration Sunday, led by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, was held four days before national elections.


 Thousands rally in London's Parliament Square against anti-Semitism days before election


General strike in Hebron after Israel declares new Jewish neighborhood

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 18:50:10

All institutions in the Palestinian city of Hebron shut down on Monday in protest of Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett's announcement that a new Jewish neighborhood would be built in the city.

City offices, schools and businesses participated in the strike, declared by the Hebron district office of Fatah, which governs the city and several nearby towns.

Sources in the city, who aren't affiliated with the Palestinian Authority or Fatah, told Haaretz that the strike was a show of power by the movement against fellow factions and the general public, as a strike does not provoke Israel but only hurts local businessmen and residents. Sources in Fatah said the protest is legitimate and is a necessary reaction to Israel's policy.


 General strike in Hebron after Israel declares new Jewish neighborhood


At Israeli 'women's empowerment' event, a single female performer, added at 11th hour

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 18:44:24

The central Israeli city of Ramle sent out invitations to a "women's empowerment evening scheduled for Tuesday night featuring only male speakers and performers.

After criticism on social media and queries from the press, the municipality disseminated a new invitation that mentioned that female comic Anat Aviad would also appear at the cultural event. She was only signed on to perform on Sunday.

Initial advertisements for the event, to be held at the Ramle Culture Hall in the presence of Mayor Michael Vidal, mentioned only a performance by the Tish B'Shelosha entertainment trio: musician Moshe Lahav, radio personality Jacky Levy and reporter Kobi Arieli.


 At Israeli 'women's empowerment' event, a single female performer, added at 11th hour


Amid wave of violence, teen's killing shocks Israel's Arab community

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 18:25:02

Fatma, the mother of Adel Khatib, the Shfaram teenager who was murdered last week, sat at the entrance to her home in the Galilee city on Friday afternoon. œThey murdered my son, they murdered my son, she mumbled, weeping, looking toward the second story of her house, where Adel was to have lived after he started a family. Surrounded by Adel's four sisters and her friends and relatives, she gazed at a picture of her son. For a long while she held onto a gray cat that Adel had raised, asking over and over: œWhy did they murder him?

Khatib's body was found Thursday in an open area near a school in Shfaram; he had been reported missing on Wednesday.

Nearby, in the eastern part of Shfaram, Adel's father Ashraf sat with his male relatives in the mourning tent. It was quiet. One of them, Sa'id Khatib, said: œEveryone falls silent in the face of such an event. An uncle, Nabil Khatib, added: œWe look at Ashraf and we see a man whose world has been destroyed. I don't know whether the family will recover from such a thing.


 Amid wave of violence, teen's killing shocks Israel's Arab community


How a German political stunt using Holocaust victims' remains went disastrously wrong

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 18:24:17

The so-called Resistance Column was intended to send a warning to German lawmakers about the dangers of collaborating with the far right. Instead, it became a warning about how political stunts involving the Holocaust can go very, very wrong.

The controversy began last Monday when a group of art activists from the Center for Political Beauty (abbreviated to ZPS in German) erected a large black pillar ” the Resistance Column ” in front of the German parliament building in Berlin. The group said the steel and glass installation featured an orange urn containing Holocaust victims' remains, taken from soil it had unearthed at 23 locations near Nazi death and concentration camps in Germany, Poland and Ukraine.

œIt's about the last German dictatorship and whether it threatens us again, ZPS founder and spokesman Philipp Ruch told dpa after last Monday's unveiling, explaining how the Reichstag had voted in 1933 to grant Hitler emergency powers to run the country.


 How a German political stunt using Holocaust victims' remains went disastrously wrong


The stories behind the captivating works of Israel's pioneering women photographers

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 18:15:07

In one of her exhibitions, Lu Landauer showed a photograph of a cat's head. At a meeting of the New Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem (today the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design), the renowned Israeli painter Mordecai Ardon, the director of the school at the time, had this to say about it: œThere were some who did not understand the why and wherefore. Many were particularly frightened by the cat, and asked, why was there no reaction to current events, why is there no reportage? Why is there not a single thing about Treblinka, Majdanek? Why, they asked, is there not a single thing about the Bible?

Landauer, who was born in 1907 and was the first female photographer to teach at Bezalel, is one of 10 female photographers who were active in Israel and are the focus of an exhibition curated by the artist Noa Sadka. œThe photographer who cares ˜And I shot and I cried, cried and shot,' is part of a larger Female Pioneers of Photography exhibition that is part of PHOTO IS:RAEL's 2019 International Photography Festival, at Azrieli Sarona Tower in Tel Aviv.

Female Pioneers of Photography, which was curated by Guy Raz, includes works from around 100 female photographers from the late 19th century to the end of the 1970s. Sadka focuses on 10 of the women who worked here from the 1930s to the '70s. Raz and Sadka are continuing the research on local female photographers carried out by Ruth Markus, Pesi Girsch and Rona Sela.


 The stories behind the captivating works of Israel's pioneering women photographers


Saudi gunman believed to have blasted U.S. support for Israel on Twitter before naval base shooting

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 18:10:58

The Saudi gunman who killed three people at the Pensacola naval base had apparently gone on Twitter shortly before the shooting to blast U.S. support of Israel and accuse America of being anti-Muslim, a U.S. official said Sunday as the FBI confirmed it is operating on the assumption the attack was an act of terrorism.

Investigators are also trying to establish whether the killer, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani, 21, of the Royal Saudi Air Force, acted alone or was part of a larger plot.

Alshamrani, who was killed by a sheriff's deputy during the rampage at a classroom building Friday, was undergoing flight training at Pensacola, where members of foreign militaries routinely receive instruction.


 Saudi gunman believed to have blasted U.S. support for Israel on Twitter before naval base shooting


How the shekel made Israelis 40% richer in a decade

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 18:10:18

One of the most amazing things to happen to Israel and Israelis over the past generation was that they become rich without lifting a finger, a result of the shekel having become one of the world's strongest currencies. In the past decade the shekel appreciated nearly 10% against the dollar. The effect on our lives has been enormous.

When this yield is examined from an investment perspective, it becomes clear that the shekel more than made up for the weakness of other investment options in Israel. Globally, and particularly in the United States, stock markets posted record gains over the past decade and are trading at record highs.

Following are the seven biggest investment stories of the decade between 2009 and 2019.


 How the shekel made Israelis 40% richer in a decade


Former Fed Chief Paul Volcker, inflation tamer, dies at 92

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 16:23:37

Paul Volcker, the towering former Federal Reserve chairman who tamed U.S. inflation in the 1980s and decades later inspired tough Wall Street reforms in the wake of the global financial crisis, died on Monday at the age of 92, according to the New York Times, which quoted his daughter.

Volcker, who media reports said had been suffering from prostate cancer, was the first to bring celebrity status to the job of U.S. central banker, serving as chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1979 to 1987. As with the man who succeeded him, Alan Greenspan, Volcker could soothe or excite financial markets with just a vague murmur.

In 2018 he published a memoir, "Keeping at It: The Quest for Sound Money and Good Government," and expressed concern about the direction of the federal government and the loss of respect for it.


 Former Fed Chief Paul Volcker, inflation tamer, dies at 92


Congressional panel to weigh Trump impeachment evidence as formal charges loom

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 16:06:27

 A U.S. congressional panel leading the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump will debate the evidence against him on Monday, with Democratic lawmakers poised to move forward with possible formal charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress this week.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will formally review evidence from impeachment investigators at an all-day hearing scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. (1400 GMT), a key step before determining charges, known as articles of impeachment, that the full House is likely to vote on before Christmas.

The committee could vote to send them to the House floor later this week, Democratic Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said on Sunday, as lawmakers sharpened their focus on charges of wrongdoing in Trump's dealings with Ukraine.


 Congressional panel to weigh Trump impeachment evidence as formal charges loom


Netflix's heartbreaking divorce drama 'Marriage Story' is also surprisingly funny

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 15:50:57

What is it that makes Adam Driver so damned watchable? The 36-year-old stars in two radically different new films ” and he's equally compelling in both.

Yet I didn't come out of either œMarriage Story or œThe Report thinking Driver is going to be the next De Niro or Day-Lewis. No matter which character he plays (and this includes his most famous roles, like Kylo Ren in the œStar Wars franchise and Lena Dunham's roguish boyfriend in œGirls), he's always kind of just being œAdam Driver: that same mess of dark matte hair, those same restrained emotions, that same unusual-looking face. He's a remarkably unshowy actor with the happy knack ” OK, skill ” of being able to completely inhabit a character without ever actually changing his physical appearance.

I just did a Driver double bill of œThe Report and œMarriage Story ” both are out now, on Amazon Prime and Netflix, respectively ” and was completely blown away by both films. I could only recommend them more if they each came with a free puppy.


 Netflix's heartbreaking divorce drama 'Marriage Story' is also surprisingly funny


Netflix's 'The Irishman' is epic in every sense

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 15:50:37

Venerated director Martin Scorsese caused something of a ruckus recently, when he described superhero movies the dominant genre at the box office today as œnot cinema. Marvel and the like, he said in an interview with Empire magazine last month, is not œthe cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.

Whatever one thinks of the Avengers franchise or their DC Comics counterparts, when a filmmaker as respected as Scorsese speaks out, you'd better listen and learn.

œThe Irishman, Scorsese's Netflix-funded gangster epic, proves that computer-generated imagery, unconventional streaming decisions and a bladder-testing runtime some of the hallmarks of superhero movies are not mutually exclusive with powerful, skilled and moving storytelling.


 Netflix's 'The Irishman' is epic in every sense


Netflix's 'Marriage Story' leads Golden Globe nominations with 6

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 15:50:21

The Netflix divorce drama "Marriage Story" led nominations on Monday for the Golden Globes with six nods, followed by gangster movie "The Irishman," also on Netflix, with five.

The two movies will also compete in the best drama category with war drama "1917," comic book villain film "Joker," and papal story "Two Popes."

The films nominated for best comedy or musical were ""Dolemite is My Name," "Jojo Rabbit," murder mystery "Knives Out," "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" and Elton John biopic "Rocketman."


 Netflix's 'Marriage Story' leads Golden Globe nominations with 6


Four rockets hit military base near Baghdad airport

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 14:23:01

Four Katyusha rockets hit a military base near Baghdad International Airport early on Monday, wounding at least six soldiers, Iraqi security officials said. It was the latest incident in a series of rocket attacks in recent weeks.

Iraqi security forces discovered a rocket launcher and some defused rockets nearby after searching the area following the the attack, a statement from Iraqi security forces said.

According to the security officials, the area targeted by the rockets is frequented by military advisers from the U.S.-led coalition. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.


 Four rockets hit military base near Baghdad airport


Trump slammed for 'pro-Saudi propaganda' in wake of deadly Florida shooting

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 14:01:14

U.S. President Donald Trump is under fire for his vigorous defense of Saudi Arabia after a Saudi Air Force student's deadly attack at a Navy base in Florida.

"I spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia. They are devastated in Saudi Arabia,³ Trump told reporters Saturday as he left the White House on a trip to Florida. He said the king "will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones. He feels very strongly.³

Prominent conservative Trump critic Bill Kristol reacted by saying, "A disgrace. The King of Saudi Arabia is devastated? And he œwill be involved in taking care of families and loved ones...? Give me a break. Mr. Tough Talk on Terror turns out to be Mr. Soft on the House of Saud." 


 Trump slammed for 'pro-Saudi propaganda' in wake of deadly Florida shooting


Cheney warns Trump disengagement in Mideast benefits Iran, Russia

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 13:59:31

Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned Monday that œAmerican disengagement in the Middle East will benefit only Iran and Russia, indirectly criticizing President Donald Trump's pledges to pull forces out of the region.

While stressing that he's no longer in government, Cheney's comments in Dubai cut to the core of several policies taken by Trump, including the sudden withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria.

The former vice president mentioned Trump by name only once in praising him for pulling out the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. But Cheney's backing of a muscular military response in the Mideast starkly contrasts Trump's promises to pull America from what he calls the Mideast's œblood-stained sands.


 Cheney warns Trump disengagement in Mideast benefits Iran, Russia


Bernie Sanders staff member who posted anti-Semitic, homophobic tweets ˜no longer with campaign'

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 13:52:22

A newly hired staff member on Bernie Sander's 2020 presidential campaign left his job after reports surfaced about past anti-Semitic and homophobic tweets.

Darius Khalil Gordon announced on Wednesday that he had joined the Sanders campaign team as deputy director of constituency organizing. The following day, the conservative news website the Washington Free Beacon reported that Gordon had posted anti-Semitic and homophobic tweets from 2010 to 2012.

Gordon has since deleted his Twitter account.


 Bernie Sanders staff member who posted anti-Semitic, homophobic tweets ˜no longer with campaign'


Trump and GOP allies deny reality to defend almost-certain impeachment

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 13:31:46

Facing almost-certain impeachment, President Donald Trump and his GOP allies are blasting the House inquiry into whether he abused his office as illegal and declaring him completely free of taint on Ukraine and in the Russia investigation.

Those claims are untrue.

When certain associates and acquaintances of Trump get into hot water, he also suddenly forgets he ever knew them. Various figures from the Ukraine matter as well as a British prince have fallen out of familiarity with the president in this way.


 Trump and GOP allies deny reality to defend almost-certain impeachment


Israeli generals' newest headache: Defense chief's boasts about killing Iranians

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 13:27:57

A string of statements, announcements and press briefings not coordinated with the army have created tensions between Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and the army brass, as well as the defense establishment in general.

In some cases, the army became aware of Bennett's remarks just before they were published; in others his announcements even caught them unprepared. Some feel Bennett's proclamations may damage Israel's security, and his statements about œchanging the rules of the game are perceived as contemptuous to the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet.

Top army and security officials met recently at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv to discuss Bennett's public statements, which have included threats against Iranian leaders, advancing Jewish settlement construction in Hebron and statements about changing the rules of the game vis-à-vis Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. During the discussion, the question of how to handle Bennett's declarations, some of which officials in the room deemed irresponsible, arose. Some present at the forum even hypothesized that Bennett is attempting to belittle the defense achievements of former officials such as the previous IDF chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot.


 Israeli generals' newest headache: Defense chief's boasts about killing Iranians


North Korea resumes insults of 'erratic old man' Trump

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 13:01:03

Satellite imagery indicated on Monday that North Korea had tested a rocket engine, and a senior Pyongyang official called Donald Trump a "heedless and erratic old man", resuming insults of the U.S. president that had been set aside during a thaw.

The statement carried in state media KCNA by Kim Yong Chol, a ruling party vice chairman who was instrumental in arranging a failed second summit in February, was the strongest salvo yet in a war of words that has rekindled in recent days.

He described Trump as impatient, rebuked him over his own rhetoric and repeated a threat from last week that Pyongyang would dust off its previous insult "dotard" for the U.S. leader.


 North Korea resumes insults of 'erratic old man' Trump


Israel's defense chief warns Iran: Syria will become your Vietnam

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 12:21:12

>> Israeli generals' newest headache: Defense chief's boasts about killing Iranians

Israel's defense minister warned Iran against its continued presence in Syria, saying Israel will "work tirelessly" to prevent the establishment of a stable Iranian military presence in the war-torn country. 

"It is no secret that Iran is trying to establish a ring of fire around our country, it is already based in Lebanon and is trying to establish in Syria, Gaza and more," Naftali Bennett said on Sunday at a conference held by Makor Rishon, an Israeli newspaper associated with the religious right. "We need to move from containment to attack." 


 Israel's defense chief warns Iran: Syria will become your Vietnam


Clinton torches Sanders over her loss to Trump: 'Hope he doesn't do it again'

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 12:20:44

Former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lit into top-tier 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders on the "Howard Stern Show" last week. When Stern asked Clinton if she hated or was "upset" with Sanders, Clinton said "No, disappointed.

She then offered a stark warning to the Democratic Party, œAnd I hope he doesn't do it again to whoever gets the nomination."

"Once is enough," Clinton added. "We have to join forces."


 Clinton torches Sanders over her loss to Trump: 'Hope he doesn't do it again'


Israeli election to be held March 2 if Knesset dissolves, Netanyahu, Gantz agree

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 11:21:29

Should the Israeli Knesset dissolve by Wednesday as expected, the next election will be held on March 2, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party and its main political opponent, Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan, agreed on Monday.

The new date is eight days earlier than the original - March 10 - and alters a tradition enshrined in law, which stipulates that elections in Israel be held on a Tuesday.

In order to permit the move, an amendment to the Basic Law on the Government is required. The Knesset's Arrangements Committee would need to approve it, and later in the week lawmakers will vote on it in three readings.


 Israeli election to be held March 2 if Knesset dissolves, Netanyahu, Gantz agree


Corbyn's Labour 'worst global anti-Semitic incident,' Simon Wiesenthal Center says

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 10:57:01

The Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party is the year's worst global anti-Semitic incident, the Jewish human rights and Holocaust remembrance organization Simon Wiesenthal Center announced Saturday.

"In a year awash with anti-Semitism on both sides of the Atlantic, no one has done more to mainstream anti-Semitism" in a democratic country than the U.K.'s Labour Party under Corbyn's leadership, the Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote, in a blurb topping the list of "2019 top ten worst anti-Semitic incidents."

The Center leads with a quote from U.K. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who penned an article slamming the Labour leader for refusing to confront anti-Jewish racism within his party: "How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty's opposition have to be in order to be considered unfit for high office?"


 Corbyn's Labour 'worst global anti-Semitic incident,' Simon Wiesenthal Center says


Trump called out for using anti-Semitic tropes about wealth and loyalty in speech to U.S. Jews

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 10:55:49

U.S. President Donald Trump sparked controversy during a speech Saturday in which he said there are some Jewish people in America who don't love Israel enough. He added that his Jewish audience should œbe my biggest supporters because you'll be out of business in about 15 minutes with 2020 Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax.

Trump was speaking at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Florida where he argued that Israel has never had a better friend in the White House than him because, unlike his predecessors, œI kept my promises.

œWe have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more, Trump said, to some applause. œBecause you have Jewish people that are great people ” they don't love Israel enough.


 Trump called out for using anti-Semitic tropes about wealth and loyalty in speech to U.S. Jews


'Arabs = enemies': 160 cars vandalized in East Jerusalem neighborhood

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 09:51:12

The tires of over 160 vehicles were slashed and threatening graffiti was sprayed in the Shuafat neighborhood of East Jerusalem overnight Monday, Israel Police said.

The phrase "When Jews are stabbed we will not be silent" and a Star of David were spray painted on one wall, and graffiti reading "Arabs = enemies" and "There's no place in Israel for enemies" was also found.

Police said they are investigating the incident, and an Israel Police statement said that a large number of officers were sent to check the scene, where they uncovered even more vandalized cars.


 'Arabs = enemies': 160 cars vandalized in East Jerusalem neighborhood


Futurist sees ˜the end of the world as we know it for average person'

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 08:46:53

In Providence, Rhode Island where Dr. Roey Tzezana now lives, signs on the street advertise œRent a Son. The signs are put up by people offering services that a son is supposed to do for his parents: shovel the snow, hang pictures and come for a visit. Someone looking in from the outside might think that this is a brilliant initiative after all, the population is aging and many of the elderly live alone. Why be just a handyman if you can be a son for rent?

But Tzezana, an Israeli œfuture studies researcher, who studies the job markets of the years to come, too, sees the signs as a glimpse into the future. Tzezana, a researcher at the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center of Tel Aviv University, and a research fellow at the Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative of Brown University, says such services are exactly the jobs that those who can't find a place in technological professions will be forced into and some are being forced into them now.

This forecast is not good news for most people: The polarization in the job market will only grow and the inequality between those who buy the new smart machines, those who build them, and those who cannot will only widen.


 Futurist sees ˜the end of the world as we know it for average person'


This Palestinian came from Canada with a dream Israeli settlers and the army came together to thwart it

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 08:41:59

The Israeli army officer extended his hand to Khaled Al Sabawi and said with a smile, œSabawi or Wasabi?

Sabawi, a 36-year-old Palestinian-Canadian entrepreneur, immediately knew that the man standing opposite him, Lt. Col. Elad Goren, had done his homework. He had clearly read the blog in which Sabawi described the border control officer at Ben-Gurion International Airport who had trouble reading his name and had confused it with the spicy Japanese condiment.

The meeting with Goren, who heads Israel's District Coordination and Liaison Office for the Ramallah area of the West Bank, took place on July 4 at the headquarters of the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank, built on Palestinian land of El Bireh. The pair weren't meeting to discuss Sabawi's great passion the startup he founded in Canada, that encourages people from around the world to develop and write their own screenplays, by means of competitions.


 This Palestinian came from Canada with a dream Israeli settlers and the army came together to thwart it


Trump and Adelson bowed out, but Eilat's casino dream lives

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 07:39:44

The southern resort city of Eilat has dreamed of having a casino for almost 30 years, when Yitzhak Rabin's government kicked the idea around with tycoons Sheldon Adelson, Martin Schlaff and Sol Kerzner. Rabin's assassination and the second intifada put an end to that.

The casino never came but in recent months Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed support for opening one in the city. Amir Levy, the Tourism Ministry's director general, said if there's ever going to be a casino in Israel, it will be in Eilat.

Levy says the obvious site is in one of the city's hotels, but more recently there's been talk of putting it at the Ramon International Airport, the new international gateway to the resort town located 18 kilometers away (11 miles) away.


 Trump and Adelson bowed out, but Eilat's casino dream lives


Greens and oil firms butt heads on eve of decision time at UN Climate Conference

Mon, 9 Dec 2019 06:09:48

MADRID ” On Sunday afternoon a group representing the native peoples from the shores of Brazil's Atlantic coast gathered in front of the offices of the energy giant Repsol in Madrid. They held a quiet demonstration to protest the oil pollution that has been damaging the beaches of their homeland for weeks. They hoped the UN Climate Conference, which opened last week on the city's outskirts, would help call international attention to the impromptu demonstration.

The ongoing use of oil and coal throughout the world is the conference's focus this year, and continues to create tension between the representatives of the large conglomerates and those of the environmental organizations attending. The greens' demand of the companies is unequivocal stopping as quickly as possible the use of all fossil fuels, including natural gas.

All sides are readying for this week's conference discussions, which aim to establish a trade mechanism for coal meant to aid in the realization of international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Real decisions will only be made midweek, when the heads of state and senior ministers from other countries will arrive.


 Greens and oil firms butt heads on eve of decision time at UN Climate Conference






US  US NO






Peace demonstrations in the US October 26-28 2007
29.10 - 2007

tn_10-275.jpg

Large number of US citizens demonstrated against the war in Iraq (and the possible war in Iran) during this October weekend. Massive turnout in Boston and San Fransisco, and also in Chicago, LA and DC people took to the streets.
The message was: NO more war in Iraq! NO to a war with Iran!