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Ha'aretz
Time: Fri, 04.16.2021 12:56 PM Local file generated: Fri, 04.16.2021 10:53 AM
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Iran has successfully enriched uranium to 60 percent, parliament speaker says

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 11:46:50 +03:00

Iran has successfully enriched uranium at 60 percent, its highest level ever, Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said on Friday. 

The comment by Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, quoted by state television, did not elaborate on the amount Iran planned to enrich. However, it is likely to raise tensions even as Iran negotiates with world powers in Vienna over a way to allow the U.S. back into the agreement and lift the crushing economic sanctions it faces.

The announcement also marks a significant escalation after the sabotage that damaged centrifuges, an attack this past weekend suspected of having been carried out by Israel. While Israel has yet to claim it, the country is widely suspected of having carried out the still-unexplained sabotage at Natanz, Iran's main enrichment site.


 Iran has successfully enriched uranium to 60 percent, parliament speaker says


Israel bolsters police presence in East Jerusalem as tensions rise ahead of first Ramadan prayers

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 11:28:05 +03:00

Israel has bolstered forces in preparations for the first Friday prayers of Ramadan in East Jerusalem and amid rising friction between the police and local Palestinians.

In a departure from previous years, Israel is only permitting 10,000 West Bank residents, all of whom must be vaccinated, to attend the prayers.

It remains unclear how many will be permitted to enter in the end, but it is set to be a far cry from tens of thousands that have been allowed to visit in the past. The police have organized a sizeable force around the Old City ahead of the prayer.


 Israel bolsters police presence in East Jerusalem as tensions rise ahead of first Ramadan prayers


Coronavirus czar 'concerned' that Israel doesn't yet have deal for third vaccine doses

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 10:46:23 +03:00

Israel does not have enough coronavirus vaccines to provide its population with a third dose, coronavirus czar Prof. Nachman Ash said Friday, adding this has prompted concerns among the health establishment. 

"We have enough doses to complete the first vaccine operation  that is, two doses per citizen," Ash told Army Radio. "This is something that concerns us," he added. 

However, Ash said he believes that deals will be struck with Moderna and Pfizer "soon." 


 Coronavirus czar 'concerned' that Israel doesn't yet have deal for third vaccine doses


Two Israeli Arab brothers shot dead in West Bank city

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 10:27:26 +03:00

Two Israeli Arab brothers were shot dead in the West Bank on Thursday night, after a vehicle with an Israeli license plate opened fire on them in a suspected feud, according to the Palestinian police.

Shafa and Salah Abu Hussein, from the northern Israel town of Baqa al-Gharbiya were taken to Tul Karm Hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

According to several sources in Baqa al-Gharbiya, there was an ongoing conflict between Shafa and criminal groups in the town.


 Two Israeli Arab brothers shot dead in West Bank city


'I didn't feel comfortable with European mentality. I've wanted to move to Israel since I was 10'

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 09:31:24 +03:00

Gabriel Grossman, 26; lives in Tel Aviv, arriving from Geneva

Hi Gabriel, where are you flying in from?

I was in France. My whole family lives in Lyon, so I went there for the holidays.


 'I didn't feel comfortable with European mentality. I've wanted to move to Israel since I was 10'


Saudi Arabia looks great in PR videos. Reality is more complicated

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 09:01:24 +03:00

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began on April 13, and the Eid al-Fitr holiday that wraps up the month are a time that merchants, importers and the public prepare for during the entire year. In normal times, it's a month in which food consumption jumps, bank loans hit their upper limits, leisure sites and hotels are at maximum occupancy and the mosques are packed with hundreds of thousands of the faithful.

This year Saudi Arabia, where Islam's holiest sites are located has been preparing with major trepidation for Ramadan and Eid and the major pilgrimage to Mecca, the hajj, that follows. Looming over the situation is the prospect of a fourth coronavirus wave.

To combat it, the Saudi government has decided to impose strict limits on movement, thinning out attendance at mosque prayer services, banning admission to holy sites without a special permit and imposing fines of over $2,500 for violations of the rules.


 Saudi Arabia looks great in PR videos. Reality is more complicated


Its Independence Day ceremony showed the moral low Israel has stooped to

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 06:00:42 +03:00

The Independence Day torch-lighting ceremony used to attract record viewer ratings on the three main television channels. It enjoyed a consensus of support across political factions. It was the nation's pride, the people's darling. No longer, not since the dispute between Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Sara Netanyahu and her husband, which ended in victory for the Netanyahus.

This ceremony that was once clean of politics became a spectacle of groveling to the supreme leader's glorification. To tell the truth, we've grown accustomed to it. Whoever enjoyed it, good for that person. Whoever was annoyed would do well to see the broadcast as a semi-satire, material for Eretz Nehederet.

The propaganda clip with the North Korean elements; announcing the entrance of œthe prime minister and his wife who agreed to grace¦, the royal hand waves; focusing the state camera dozens of times on the leader, the madam, and the adherent groveling minister Miri Regev, who is joined to them at the hip. If this were the only damage from Netanyahu's ongoing rule we'd say so be it, we'll survive.On Wednesday, another line was crossed. The greeting clip of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla reflected not only the worst of Israel's shtetl provincialism; this is how we treat billionaires who shower us with gifts.


 Its Independence Day ceremony showed the moral low Israel has stooped to


Israel's great success over COVID and the weakness the virus exposed

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 06:00:16 +03:00

The calculations published this week by Prof. Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute based on Health Ministry data are nothing short of amazing. Since the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in Israel in mid-January, the daily number of patients diagnosed with the virus has declined by 98 percent and the number of serious COVID-19 patients has dropped by 93 percent. In addition, 87 percent fewer Israelis are dying of the disease, and 85 percent of those 16 or older have been vaccinated.

The rapid decline in rates of infection and mortality have exceeded most predictions. Some scientists are already openly saying that Israel has reached the level at which herd immunity is thought to be achieved. Another possible explanation could be that many more children three or four times more have been infected with the coronavirus over the past year than were actually diagnosed with the disease. That would considerably boost the number of Israelis who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID above the initial estimates.

These figures have calmed the more pessimistic health professionals and have enabled this week's Independence Day celebrations to take place almost as usual. More importantly, they buttress next week's anticipated change in policy that would no longer require masks to be worn outdoors, although they would still be required indoors. Even more importantly, thanks to these figures, the education system will resume full activity on Sunday without restrictions. On this score as well, it appears that the risk could have been taken earlier in light of the huge damage that has been inflicted on the country's children due to the cancellation of classes.


 Israel's great success over COVID and the weakness the virus exposed


Israel-Iran conflict: The hand that fanned the flames now seeks to quell them

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 05:59:54 +03:00

During the holiday the New York Times cited an Israeli defense source who said Israel wants to calm things down with Iran and does not plan to respond to the latest Iranian attack on a cargo-ship owned by Israeli businessman Rami Ungar.

The ship, sailing in the Arabian Sea, was slightly damaged at the beginning of the week.

The Iranian attack, the third in about six weeks, came in response to a number of attacks attributed to Israel on Iranian vessels and took place after the Israeli attacks had been made public for the first time.


 Israel-Iran conflict: The hand that fanned the flames now seeks to quell them


Haaretz cartoon

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 00:18:49 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


As Israel's gig economy grows, so does the number of fake professions

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 23:50:56 +03:00

Assaf Yaari is an expert on self-love and couple relationships, according to his website. He offers his services to serious singles who are searching and to loving couples who are having difficulties. Yaari describes himself as a guide to love in Tel Aviv.

But Yaari apparently has no formal training, and the nature of his professional expertise is unclear. On his website, Yaari also claims that he is a couples mentor on Facebook and that he heads an initiative called the Academy for Couple Relationships and Love. 

It may be an interesting and worthy initiative, but the word œacademy is a protected concept in Israel. A person who didn't receive a permit from the Council for Higher Education to establish an educational institution may not use the word.


 As Israel's gig economy grows, so does the number of fake professions


Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian father. His crime? Driving his wife to a clinic

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 23:49:01 +03:00

The main street of the West Bank village of Al-Jib, on the way to the adjacent village of Bir Naballah, north of Jerusalem. Monday, April 5, 2:45 A.M., the early morning watch. The Israel Defense Forces raided Al-Jib three times that night. The soldiers parked their heavy, armored vehicles on the narrow traffic island separating the two sides of the road.

Three weeks earlier, on March 13, they had wrested a young Palestinian named Ahmed Ghanayem from his bed at night and detained him. Now they were back again to search his house and his family's store, which is around the corner from Ahmed's house. Two soldiers stood next to some cars parked on the median strip across from the store. Suddenly an old Toyota approached from the east. A soldier signaled the driver with a flashlight to pull over. The driver at first didn't notice the flashlight, but his wife quickly shouted at him to brake. The car came to a stop about four meters from the troops. A short conversation and the car was sent on its way. But then a moment later, the soldiers began spraying it with dozens of rounds of bullets.

œIf a person falls from a plane in the middle of the night, / only God alone can lift him up, the poet Dahlia Ravikovitch wrote. If a person is traveling in a car in the middle of the night in the West Bank, only God can apparently save him. Osama Mansour was killed; his wife, Somaya, survived.


 Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian father. His crime? Driving his wife to a clinic


Israel's Finance Minister should try unpaid leave

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 23:36:31 +03:00

The economy is reopening, kids are going back to school. Everything is moving, everything is changing. But Herod remains Herod. He's not budging.

He knows everything better than everyone. He'll continue refusing to listen to any of the professionals in his office and continue handing out billions to the general public without no accounting and no conscience.

According to both the œeconomic safety net law approved by the Knesset in July 2020 and economic common sense, Finance Minister Yisrael Katz should already be cutting the unemployment benefits paid to people on unpaid leave. The unemployment rate fell to 9.8 percent in March, which is below the 10 percent cutoff stipulated in the law.


 Israel's Finance Minister should try unpaid leave


What the high priests of social Darwinism want

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 23:33:11 +03:00

Try to imagine people who are trying on a daily basis to convince us that the government has to give the power and money to the wealthy, to deny workers the ability to exercise political influence and to deny the poor support in order to push them into the hands of employers. These mantras of hate are foreign to most of us, but in Israeli there is an active multi-armed octopus that is spreading them. The head of the octopus is the Kohelet Economic Forum.

The forum was established in 2012 by academics and political entrepreneurs from various fields. The main group bankrolling the organization is run by two Jewish billionaires from Pennsylvania, along with smaller donors, American Jewish businessmen, who want to promote a policy of support for the wealthy and of preventing Israeli citizens from participating in decisions on the distribution of resources.

At present the Kohelet Economic Forum is headed by Michael Sarel, who worked intermittently in the Finance Ministry as a researcher and chief economist from 2001 to 2014. Sarel and his friends specialize in formulating hate mantras for workers and the poor. In a 2016 report on workers' unions, Sarel, Amir Feder and Tzviya Zicherman wrote suggestions for sabotaging the right to strike while advancing lawsuits against employees.


 What the high priests of social Darwinism want


Netanyahu is not the state

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 23:14:24 +03:00

The events preceding Independence Day have become symbols of Israel statehood. One can criticize the exclusion of certain populations or the poor taste, but the traditional torch-lighting ceremony, the Israel Prize awards ceremony, the International Bible Contest, the Memorial Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies are all supposed to be unifying moments. It's a shame that, with the cynicism characteristic of the waning days of Benjamin Netanyahu's rule, many of these events were used instead to glorify him.

In his Holocaust Remembrance Day speech, Netanyahu chose to attack the talks between the United States and Iran over the nuclear deal. Addressing U.S. President Joe Biden's administration, he said, œEven to our best friends I say: Make no mistake; an agreement with Iran that will pave their way to a nuclear weapon a weapon that threatens to destroy us any such agreement will not bind us one iota. Only one thing binds us: preventing those who seek to destroy us from carrying out their plan.

His cult of personality reached its peak during the torch-lighting ceremony. At a time when his attorneys are arguing that the bribery charges against him in Case 4000 are ridiculous and claiming the case is about nothing more than pictures of Sara Netanyahu on a minor internet news site, he exploited this state ceremony for a similar purpose. The television channels were forced to broadcast pictures of Netanyahu and his wife to the nation over and over, as the two sat next to the person in charge of the ceremony, Minister Miri Regev. Netanyahu boasted about the vaccination campaign. Even Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, a company that has earned billions of dollars from developing the vaccine, was integrated into the ceremony to repay the prime minister.


 Netanyahu is not the state


Sabras, cemeteries and sovereignty: 73 years of the country with two histories

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 23:13:15 +03:00

Recently I succumbed to a mid-life crisis and purchased the Israeli equivalent of a middle-aged man's sportscar: a jeep. There's nowhere to drive very fast in this country anyway, and I'd feel ridiculous at the wheel of a little red convertible. But there's something very therapeutic about off-road driving, where the main objective is to use the accelerator sparingly, go slow and enjoy the scenery. 

Whenever you change your regular mode of transport, say from private car to public transport, or taxis to a bicycle, you discover a new layer of your city you were barely aware of before. And you acquire new sensibilities and sympathies. That's doubly true when you leave the asphalt for rutted dirt-tracks. 

Being a novice off-roader still, and a rather hopeless navigator, I'm sticking for now to the relatively easy trails prescribed on the website and in the books of Yoav Kaveh, once Haaretz's motoring correspondent and now Israel's leading 4X4 guru. But even Kaveh's meticulous research and detailed coordinates can't keep up with the changing landscape. 


 Sabras, cemeteries and sovereignty: 73 years of the country with two histories


The invincible group of 10 women who survived the Holocaust together

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 22:39:36 +03:00

Michal Govrin didn't understand what drew her parents to Bnei Brak. She knew her mother had friends there, because her parents sometimes celebrated social occasions with them, but she couldn't figure out what the connection was between her secular parents, who lived in Tel Aviv, and their Haredi ultra-Orthodox friends in the neighboring city. For her, it was the most puzzling thing in the world. œI was a snobby Tel Aviv kid, anti-religious by definition, she recalls, œand that was a whole other world for me. Like they were traveling to another country. Her mother didn't really explain it. Indeed, there were a great many things her mother didn't explain.

œUntil I was 10 or 12, I didn't know consciously that my mother had been in the Holocaust, Govrin, a writer, poet and stage director, tells Haaretz. Her mother, Regina (Rega) Laub (née Poser), later Rina Govrin, had surgery to remove the number tattooed on her arm as soon as she arrived in Israel in 1948, and like many survivors in 1960s' Israel, she was silent about her past. Prof. Govrin, who was born in 1950, recalls a moment at the age of 11 when a friend of her mother told her that Rega was a Holocaust survivor. œThe sky fell on my head, she says. œI was in total denial as far as I was concerned, my mother didn't belong to that story.

The pieces began to come together after her mother died, in 1986, when a Haredi woman, Rachel Shantzer, from Bnei Brak, came to the shivah. From her, Govrin heard for the first time about the women of the œZehnnerschaft Yiddish for œgroup of 10. She learned that her mother had been part of an extraordinary group of women who survived three concentration camps together and supported one another over a period of more than two years, even risking their lives to save each other. The women acted as a single unit, as a mutual aid group, and thanks to their connection, almost all of them survived the war. And as if that weren't enough, Govrin discovered that nine of the 10 women were ultra-Orthodox her mother was the only nonreligious one in the group.


 The invincible group of 10 women who survived the Holocaust together


Israeli army strikes Hamas targets in response to rocket fired from Gaza

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 22:02:09 +03:00

Israeli fighter jets attacked Hamas targets in Gaza overnight Thursday after a rocket was fired earlier in the evening from the enclave.

"IDF fighter jets and attack helicopters struck a Hamas weapons manufacturing site, a weapon smuggling tunnel and a military post," the military said in a statement. 

The rocket fired from Gaza fell in an open area in the south of Israel on Thursday evening, authorities said, as the country's Independence Day drew to a close.


 Israeli army strikes Hamas targets in response to rocket fired from Gaza


Prehistoric DNA detected in caves reveals secrets of Neanderthal history

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 21:33:01 +03:00

A new method to extract the DNA of prehistoric hominins from the soil of caves they inhabited has revealed that Neanderthals may have bounced back from the brink of extinction at least twice before their final disappearance some 40,000 years ago.

In a study published Thursday in Science, an international team of researchers details how they recovered fragments of Neanderthal genetic material dated to between 200,000 and 50,000 years ago from cave sediments in Spain and Russia.

The data indicate there were two radical replacements of the Neanderthal population throughout Eurasia, once 135,000 years ago and again 100,000 years ago. This may be indicative of environmental pressures, possibly caused by cooling climate, that temporarily decimated local hominin groups, says Benjamin Vernot, a population geneticist from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.


 Prehistoric DNA detected in caves reveals secrets of Neanderthal history


'One winner is missing': Israel Prize ceremony airs amid scandal

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 20:56:11 +03:00

The Israel Prize ceremony for this year was broadcast on Thursday, amid controversy over Education Minister Yoav Gallant's successful request to withhold the Israel Prize for mathematics from its planned recipient over alleged support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

The ceremony was filmed on Sunday in Jerusalem, a few days after the High Court of Justice ruled that Gallant had 30 days to justify his decision to deny Prof. Oded Goldreich the prize because he allegedly supports the BDS movement which Goldreich denies.

The winner of the Israel Prize for cinema, Michal Bat-Adam, said upon receiving the prize that she was dismayed that there were only eight winners, "because one winner is missing."


 'One winner is missing': Israel Prize ceremony airs amid scandal


House Democrats introduce bill seeking to regulate U.S. aid to Israel

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 20:35:38 +03:00

WASHINGTON Democratic lawmakers on Thursday introduced a House bill specifying various actions Israel may not finance with U.S. taxpayer funding, while also calling for additional oversight of how aid is distributed.

The "Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act" introduced by Representative Betty McCollum and co-sponsored by Representatives Andre Carson, Danny Davis, Marie Newman, Ilhan Omar, Bobby Rush, Raul Grijalva, Mark Pocan, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jesús "Chuy" García specifies the detention of Palestinian minors, destruction of Palestinian property, or support for unilateral annexation, according to a letter McCollum distributed to colleagues.

According to a draft of the bill obtained by Haaretz, it says these Israeli actions "undermine efforts by the United States to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians" while omitting reference to a two-state solution to the conflict ” relatively standard legislative language regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


 House Democrats introduce bill seeking to regulate U.S. aid to Israel


Masks no longer required outdoors in Israel starting Sunday as COVID numbers drop

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 19:53:44 +03:00

Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein instructed his ministry's CEO to sign an order lifting COVID restrictions that require wearing a mask outdoors, his office said in a statement on Thursday.

The restriction would be lifted on Sunday, said the statement, adding that the decision was made after accepting the opinion of ministry professionals that, in light of low COVID morbidity, masks in the open air can be dispensed with.

The statement stressed that Israelis would still be required to wear a mask indoors.


 Masks no longer required outdoors in Israel starting Sunday as COVID numbers drop


Between antisemitism and anti-Zionism: The intellectual's dilemma

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 15:48:08 +03:00

How do you win against your opponent in the ideological arena? Simple: take a reviled symbol and associate it with him. For example, characterize the left as a bunch of traitors or losers, and remind the public of Chamberlain. Politics is replete with distorted perceptions, symbols and images, and manipulating these images is a decisive part of ideological warfare. Mixing and confusing symbols has long been a tactic of propagandists of all persuasions.

The struggle against antisemitism used to be above the fray of crass politics, but during the last two decades, it has become politicized and subject to the same manipulations suffered by the ideological arena. In Israel, it has been harnessed by the government as part of a vast campaign intended to whitewash its policies. The whitewashing has given rise to blacklists of Israeli NGOs, academics, artists, journalists and ordinary citizens who have dissented with Israel's ongoing occupation of the territories and dispossession of Palestinians of their basic human rights.

Dissent is not silenced through formal censorship, but with the assistance of the scarlet letter œA. Critiques of Israeli policies are easily dubbed as œanti-Zionist, and anti-Zionism is in turn viewed as a subcategory of antisemitism. Ergo, a critique of Israel is antisemitic. Through this syllogism, a critique of Israeli politics (an opinion) is transmuted into an essence and an identity (that of the antisemite), from which no politician or public figure can ever hope to recover.


 Between antisemitism and anti-Zionism: The intellectual's dilemma


Israeli settlements could be headed for self-destruction, and it has nothing to with the occupation

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 14:51:08 +03:00

Ulrich Jacov Becker looks at the West Bank settlement enterprise around him and is appalled by what he sees. Major highways are being paved, tunnels are being excavated, more and more residential units are going up in hilltop communities whose numbers are continually expanding. He's certain that all of this is a historic mistake, a disaster with long-term implications.

Left-wingers can identify with Becker's distress, but they're on different wavelengths, because the problem he sees has nothing to do with the occupation or future political arrangements intended to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Those issues don't bother him. A German-born architect and town planner who moved to the settlement of Tekoa for ideological, and even spiritual, reasons, Becker is concerned about something radically different: The settlement project is dear to his heart, and he's fearful for its future. In his perception, howver, terrible mistakes are being made in planning and construction of the settlements (and the network of roads connecting them) that could undo the whole enterprise.

œWe think that in Judea and Samaria we are restoring the glory of the ancient Holy Land, but that's wrong, Becker says. œThere was an opportunity here to learn from the mistakes of the 1950s new-immigrant towns and to build settlements that would bind Jews to their land. But what's being built here are not towns and villages that will sustain the Jewish people in its land for another 500 years; it's a sequence of sick, rootless, American-style suburbs. You came to inherit the patrimony, but instead of truly building the land and being built by it, people just count how many residential units are being built on the next hilltop.


 Israeli settlements could be headed for self-destruction, and it has nothing to with the occupation


National flags, wreaths on soldiers' graves torched as Israel marks Independence Day

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 14:02:13 +03:00

Members of an extreme ultra-Orthodox faction torched Israeli flags and wreaths placed on graves of soldiers in Jerusalem, the police said Thursday as Israel a celebrated its 73rd Independence Day, a day after the country's Memorial Day for soldiers and civilian victims of attacks.

The police opened an investigation into the incident after obtaining a video in which the flags and wreaths were seen burning. Police said they were employing overt and covert measures to apprehend the suspects.  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the incident, saying it was "an atrocious act of desecrating the memory of those who made it possible for us to live here. I harshly condemn this barbaric incident and expect the authorized bodies to bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible."   


 National flags, wreaths on soldiers' graves torched as Israel marks Independence Day


U.S. in driver's seat for stronger Iran deal, UAE official says

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 13:21:39 +03:00

President Joe Biden's negotiators should use leverage gained against Iran by the previous U.S. administration to reach a better nuclear deal with Tehran in talks in Vienna, the United Arab Emirates' ambassador to Washington said.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia had supported former President Donald Trump's decision in 2018 to quit the 2015 accord between Iran and world powers and reimpose harsh sanctions on their foe.

"You (U.S.) are essentially in the driver's seat to get to a point to where we can address what I believe were shortcomings in JCPOA," envoy Yousef Al Otaiba said in a virtual discussion with Stanford University's Hoover Institution on Wednesday, using an acronym for the deal.


 U.S. in driver's seat for stronger Iran deal, UAE official says


The master plan for building in Jerusalem? Preserve a Jewish majority

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 11:29:43 +03:00

Arnon Gafni is an unknown figure in the history of Jerusalem. No street or square is named after him, not even a viaduct. But Gafni has influenced the lives of many a Jerusalemite, and not necessarily because he was the governor of the Bank of Israel in the late ˜70s.

To a great extent, Gafni was responsible for laying down a principle that helped shape the capital. In 1972, as chief of the Finance Ministry's Budgets Department, Gafni headed an interministerial committee on Jerusalem's desired growth rate. The main issue: a œJewish majority.

In other words, how could the city's Jewish majority, then at 73.5 percent, be preserved and enlarged? The committee made one main recommendation to the government accelerate construction for Jews which Golda Meir's cabinet adopted as the planning policy for the capital.


 The master plan for building in Jerusalem? Preserve a Jewish majority


Israel celebrates its 73rd Independence Day with traditional Air Force flyby

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 10:04:18 +03:00

Israel is celebrating Thursday its 73rd Independence Day with a traditional Israel Air Force flyby across the country.   

This year Israelis are once again allowed to gather and watch the flyby after most coronavirus restrictions have been lifted due to Israel's successful vaccination rollout and drop in infection rates. Planes will fly over more towns and communities than usual between 10:30 A.M. and 1 P.M.

F-15, F-16, F-16I and F-35 fighter jets; the Lavi aircraft; C-130 and C-130J cargo planes; the Boeing refueling plane; Black Hawk, Sea Stallion, Panther and Apache helicopters will take part in the festive flyby.


 Israel celebrates its 73rd Independence Day with traditional Air Force flyby


Yemen's Houthis say they attacked Aramco, Patriot targets in Saudi Arabia

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 08:25:06 +03:00

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group used drones and missiles to attack targets in the southern Saudi city of Jazan, it said on Thursday, including one belonging to state oil giant Aramco which caused a fire.

There was no Saudi confirmation of a fire or of a hit on a Patriot anti-missile structure which the Houthi military spokesman said was also struck.

However the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen said some debris from intercepting the four drones and five ballistic missiles fired overnight and in the early morning had landed within the grounds of Jazan University and started a limited fire that was brought under control.


 Yemen's Houthis say they attacked Aramco, Patriot targets in Saudi Arabia


U.S. lawmakers to 'review' Biden's multi-billion weapons sale to UAE

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 02:45:40 +03:00

The Democratic chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said on Wednesday he and other lawmakers were concerned about the Biden administration's decision to go ahead with a weapons sale to the United Arab Emirates and would review the transactions.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that the Democratic president's administration had told Congress it was proceeding with more than $23 billion in weapons sales to the UAE, including advanced F-35 aircraft, armed drones and other equipment.

The sale was reached in the last weeks of former Republican President Donald Trump's administration and finalized only about an hour before Biden took office on January 20, and the Democrat's administration had "paused" it in order to conduct a review.


 U.S. lawmakers to 'review' Biden's multi-billion weapons sale to UAE


Canaanite inscription found in Israel is ˜missing link' in alphabet's history

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 02:05:08 +03:00

Archaeologists digging in the ancient Canaanite settlement of Lachish have unearthed a 3,500 year old pottery shard inscribed with what they believe is the oldest text found in Israel that was written using an alphabetic script. Earlier Canaanite texts are known, but they were written using hieroglyphs or cuneiform characters.

The discovery of the alphabetic writing fills a gap in the early history of a script that apparently was developed by Canaanite migrants in ancient Egypt. From the Levant, the writing system would eventually spread around the world, becoming the most commonly used writing system to this day.

Back in Lachish, the tiny shard is the remnant of a clay pot that had been imported from Cyprus and written on using ink in Canaan. Measuring just 4 by 3.5 centimeters, the fragment contains a handful of characters spread over two lines. It was discovered in 2018 by an Austrian expedition digging at Lachish and was published Thursday in the journal Antiquity.


 Canaanite inscription found in Israel is ˜missing link' in alphabet's history


In Israel, these fallen soldiers get two memorials every year

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 22:13:40 +03:00

On Memorial Day last year in Israel, at the height of the first coronavirus lockdown, when even immediate family members were not allowed to visit their loved ones' graves, the IDF sent an honor guard to every military burial ground. As a result, for the first time in over a century, since fallen Jewish soldiers serving in the British army were buried in Palestine during the First World War, they were honored by an army that hadn't even existed in their lifetimes.

As the sirens sounded over Jerusalem, two IDF lieutenant-colonels saluted the graves of 24 Jewish soldiers buried in the British War Cemetery on Mount Scopus. The cemetery is run by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which is funded by the British government in partnership with the governments of Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa, whose soldiers fought alongside Britain in the war, and is responsible for 23,000 burial sites around the world. The official Memorial Day in these cemeteries is the one observed every year by Britain and the Commonwealth on the second Sunday of November. For Jewish soldiers buried in British cemeteries in Israel, there are two memorial days.

This year, with the reopening of Israel's military cemeteries on Memorial Day, there was no IDF honor guard on Mount Scopus. In their stead, a small group of civilians gathered by the graves of the Jewish soldiers. They were volunteers from the Amana department of the settler Yesha Council who started visiting these graves voluntarily eight years ago. œI heard that there were graves that no one visits on Memorial Day, says Moshe Yogev, who first came up with the idea. œI tried to get one of the Hesder yeshivas or the military rabbinate to send soldiers here but that didn't happen so we started to do it ourselves. Sometimes we get a minyan so we can say Kaddish. Last year, despite the lockdown, I came here on my own, so there would be someone to say El Male Rachamim.


 In Israel, these fallen soldiers get two memorials every year


The Jewish women who posed an 'existential threat' to Israel by marrying Arab men

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 20:54:11 +03:00

In 1942, all traces of Bianca Schwartz disappeared. An orphan who arrived in Palestine as part of the Youth Aliyah effort to save Jewish refugees from war-torn Europe, she had lived on Kibbutz Afikim in the north before moving to Jerusalem. A lengthy search eventually revealed that Schwartz had converted to Islam, married an Arab man, changed her name to Leila Natshe Ali and was living in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, which in 1948 had come under Jordanian control. The couple had five children. After her husband died, in 1971, she wanted to return to the fold of Judaism. According to one account, Hanania Dery, the chief rabbi of Jaffa, was walking in the Old City when he happened to notice a woman who was dressed in Arab attire but whose facial features struck him as Jewish. Dery asked her to tell him about herself, and thanks to his efforts she returned to her Jewish roots and was recognized as a new immigrant.

Schwartz's story is apparently not unusual. œDozens of Jewish women who fled in 1948 with their Arab husbands into the territory of Transjordan are now in Amman, the newspaper Maariv reported two years after the War of Independence. œAfter some years of life together in a hostile environment, some of the women decided to return.

Thanks to the same Rabbi Dery, these women returned to the headlines in a big way in 1967, following Israel's conquest of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This time Dery deliberately went into refugee camps in the newly occupied territories to look for Jewish women who had married Arab men and converted to Islam, had lived for years under a foreign regime and were now once more under Israeli rule.


 The Jewish women who posed an 'existential threat' to Israel by marrying Arab men


Israel marks 73rd Independence Day with ceremony honoring healthcare workers who battled COVID

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 19:59:53 +03:00

Israelis ushered in Independence Day on Wednesday evening free of most of the coronavirus health restrictions that put a damper on last year's festivities.

The main official ceremonies marking 73 years of Israeli independence were held Wednesday evening on Jerusalem's Mount Herzl, featuring a torch-lighting ceremony honoring health care professionals who have been on the front lines in the fight against the pandemic over the past year.

The 14 torch lighters also included teachers, Israelis who have lost loved ones in terror attacks and a prominent victim of domestic violence. 


 Israel marks 73rd Independence Day with ceremony honoring healthcare workers who battled COVID


Iran almost ready to enrich uranium to 60 percent, UN nuclear watchdog says

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 18:50:38 +03:00

Inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog visited Iran's uranium enrichment site at Natanz on Wednesday, the agency said, without commenting on the extent of the damage caused by what Iran says was an act of sabotage.

"IAEA inspectors are continuing their verification and monitoring activities in Iran, and today have been at the Natanz enrichment site," the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement.

"The IAEA will continue to report on relevant developments regarding Iran's nuclear programme to the IAEA Board of Governors," it added, referring to its 35-nation decision-making body.


 Iran almost ready to enrich uranium to 60 percent, UN nuclear watchdog says


Your next trip to the Sea of Galilee must include this spot

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 17:20:19 +03:00

Israel's current political chaos often seems so extreme and incurable that about the only thing you can do is cut yourself off from the news and go commune with nature. Just as sunlight is the best disinfectant, a little fresh air and green spaces are a magical remedy that brings relief from the troubles of the hour. But in Israel, not only is the personal political, many other things like a forest are frequently political too. When we drove up to a forest that overlooks the Jordan Valley, attempting to find a little quiet away from all the endless and inconclusive commentary, we discovered some refreshing political wisdom alongside a stunning view, marvelous cows and, of course, thoughts about escape.

The Eshkol Forest was originally the Menahemia Forest, which first began to be planted in the 1930s. But it wasn't until the ˜60s that the Jewish National Fund began planting more abundantly throughout this forest, and a few years later the name was changed to the Eshkol Forest (though both names appear on websites and maps). It was named for Israel's third prime minister, Levi Eshkol, who succeeded David Ben-Gurion after the latter had served for 13 years and 127 days (with a break of a year and a half in the middle).

During his tenure, Eshkol was considered drab and lacking in charisma, not the kind of person who could easily fill œthe Old Man's big shoes.


 Your next trip to the Sea of Galilee must include this spot


Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff dies in prison, report says

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 16:39:21 +03:00

Bernie Madoff, the financier who pleaded guilty to orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, died early Wednesday in a federal prison, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

Madoff died at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, apparently from natural causes, the person said. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.

Last year, Madoff's lawyers filed court papers to try to get the 82-year-old released from prison in the COVID-19 pandemic, saying he had suffered from end-stage renal disease and other chronic medical conditions. The request was denied.


 Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff dies in prison, report says


Israel at 73: Alive, kicking and ailing

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 16:08:29 +03:00

In 1989, two prominent Hebrew University sociologists, Dan Horowitz and Moshe Lissak, published a very important book: œTrouble In Utopia: The Overburdened Polity of Israel.

Horowitz who was also a political scientist and Lissak analyze a dysfunctional Israeli political system, the œdecline in effectiveness of the government and œthe spread of cultural malaise. They place these phenomena in Israel's short historical context, claiming that a œsociety that had laid the foundations for a cohesive Jewish nation-state became increasingly vulnerable to centrifugal forces.

The title of their book is even more apropos today. Had the two, since deceased, witnessed the last several years in Israel, particularly the last two years in Israeli politics, they surely would have provided at least two or three voluminous and dreary sequels. The œtrouble has exponentially increased, the envisaged œutopia has significantly shrunk, and the œoverburdened is pushing the Israeli polity to the brink of near collapse, aided by sociopolitical contradictions, gross mismanagement and abysmal dysfunction.


 Israel at 73: Alive, kicking and ailing


Fox News host praises 'iconic' Biden eulogy for slain Capitol officer

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 16:07:06 +03:00

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that œnever has there been more strain on the U.S. Capitol Police as he honored Officer William œBilly Evans, the second officer on the force to die in the line of duty this year.

Evans, who laid in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, was killed earlier this month when a driver struck him and another officer at a barricade outside the Senate. His death compounded the anguish of a police force already mourning the loss of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after his encounter with rioters during the Jan. 6 insurrection. Another officer, Howard Liebengood, died by suicide in the days after the Capitol attack.

Biden's speech took a very emotional tone and received praise from across the political spectrum, garnering praise even on Fox News. Fox News' Harris Faulkner was so moved by the address, she even called it an "iconic" moment, saying, "He is iconic at it" ... "So present and so kind.


 Fox News host praises 'iconic' Biden eulogy for slain Capitol officer


Scandal hits Israel's top prize, with claims of witch hunt against the left

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 16:04:04 +03:00

The Israel Prize, the country's highest cultural and academic honor, which is awarded in a festive ceremony broadcast on Independence Day, is meant to celebrate the country's greatest achievements and most respected minds. But this year and not for the first time the festivities have been overshadowed by controversy, highlighting a less attractive side of the country: its deep and persistent political divisions. 

At this year's ceremony, which was prerecorded on Sunday, no mention was made of Prof. Oded Goldreich, who had been selected by the Israel Prize selection committee to receive the 2021 award in mathematics and computer science. The reason: Education Minister Yoav Gallant's contention that Goldreich is a supporter of the boycott, sanctions and divestment movement against Israel, which led the Likud party cabinet member to refuse to approve the prize going to Goldreich. 

Calling the prize œthe most prestigious honor Israel can bestow, Gallant said that œanyone who does not hold the State of Israel and its laws close to their heart does not deserve the Israel Prize. While Goldreich may be œa brilliant scientist, Gallant claimed that, by supporting the BDS movement, he œspits in the face of the State of Israel and Israeli academia, and may even be breaking the law.


 Scandal hits Israel's top prize, with claims of witch hunt against the left


On ˜Promising Young Woman,' consent, and a harrowing ending

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 15:53:22 +03:00

œMan. That ending!

That's likely what you'd hear everyone saying on the way out of the multiplex ” if we were all still going to the multiplex ” after œPromising Young Woman. In an audacious and provocative film (nominated for five Oscars), there's no part more audacious and provocative than the final act, in which former medical student Cassie (Carey Mulligan) exacts her very unique form of revenge.

But though some call the film a black comedy, there's nothing funny about the end ” it's brutal, and feels very real. Writer-director Emerald Fennell says she wasn't interested in a comic-book fantasy ending. Nobody pulls out an AK-47 and blows the bad guys away. In fact, the bad guys tend to masquerade as good guys.


 On ˜Promising Young Woman,' consent, and a harrowing ending


European powers: Iran's enrichment move jeopardizes nuclear talks

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 15:33:32 +03:00

The European powers party to the Iran nuclear deal told Tehran on Wednesday that its decision to enrich uranium at 60-percent purity and install a further 1,000 centrifuges at its Natanz site were contrary to efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

Talks between world powers, Iran and the United States are due to resume in Vienna on Thursday, but in a joint statement Britain, France and Germany said Tehran's decision to enrich at 60 percent was not based on credible civilian reasons and constituted an important step in the production of a nuclear weapon.

"Iran's announcements are particularly regrettable given they come at a time when all JCPoA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) participants and the United States have started substantive discussions, with the objective of finding a rapid diplomatic solution to revitalise and restore the JCPoA," the three countries said.


 European powers: Iran's enrichment move jeopardizes nuclear talks


Ethiopians head home after Yemen migrant life becomes untenable

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 14:46:11 +03:00

When Ethiopian migrant Jamal Hussein boarded a UN-run repatriation flight out of Yemen, he ended a journey through the war-torn country that he had hoped would take him to a better life in wealthy Saudi Arabia.

Many more migrants are also calling it quits, reversing a longstanding and often perilous flow out of the Horn of Africa by sea and then north through Yemen into Gulf states for work.

Their hopes for better prospects have been thwarted by coronavirus restrictions and the security conditions, leaving them stranded in a country where millions already live on the brink of famine.


 Ethiopians head home after Yemen migrant life becomes untenable


In twilight of the Netanyahu era, Israel changes the rules on Iran

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 14:39:20 +03:00

Was the decision to launch the two recent attacks on Iran, last week's strike on the spy ship Saviz in the Red Sea and Sunday's sabotage of the uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz, influenced by Benjamin Netanyahu's desire to wreck the powers' nuclear talks with Iran and create a better situation for him to finally form a government?

No one can provide a reliable answer. Not even Netanyahu, who is famously capable of convincing himself that any move advantageous to his political and personal fortunes is also in Israel's interest, can honestly answer that question.

One thing we can say for sure is that because the complex planning, intelligence gathering and preparations for such operations takes months, sometimes years, they were in the works long before Iran and the United States agreed to hold œproximity talks in Vienna and before the Israeli voters yet again failed to deliver Netanyahu his coveted majority.


 In twilight of the Netanyahu era, Israel changes the rules on Iran


Greek prime minister agrees to talks with Libya on maritime zones

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 13:45:09 +03:00

Greece and Libya have agreed to hold talks on marking out their maritime zones in the Mediterranean, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday, after a meeting with the president of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed al-Menfi.

In a statement after the meeting, Mitsotakis said the two leaders "agreed on the immediate resumption of talks between Greece and Libya on the delimitation of the maritime zones".

Libya's new unity government took office on March 16, succeeding two warring administrations that had ruled eastern and western regions during a decade of violent chaos since the overthrow of autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi.


 Greek prime minister agrees to talks with Libya on maritime zones


Lizards eaten by prehistoric people in today's Israel were unknown subspecies

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 13:39:14 +03:00

When one's favorite food becomes unavailable, one eats other things. Clearly when mega-fauna existed, we prehistoric humans ate them with gusto, but as the giant animals vanished from the landscape, we had to settle for smaller ones. This may explain the unexpected prevalence of reptile remains in late prehistoric archaeological contexts in Israel, which was reported last year  including a lizard that has only now been identified properly.

Yes, our predecessors during the Natufian period in Israel, from about 15,000 to about 12,000 years ago, ate many squamates, including snakes and lizards. Now a new paper published in Vertebrate Zoology by an international team of researchers reveals that one of these prehistoric suppertime squamates, a legless lizard, was not the same as its peers in Eurasia. It is a sister species endemic to the Levant Israel, Lebanon, and the coasts of Syria and southern Turkey, explain Daniel Jablonski of the Comenius University in Bratislava with an international team of colleagues.

The completley separate archaeological study by Ma'ayan Lev, Mina Weinstein Evron and Reuven Yeshurun published in Scientific Reports last year offered evidence that in the Natufian period, which is the late Stone Age culture in Israel during the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture, people ate whip snakes and European glass lizards, among other things. The Vertebrate Zoology article is about that glass lizard.


 Lizards eaten by prehistoric people in today's Israel were unknown subspecies


NATO forces to leave together from Afghanistan, U.S. says

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 13:37:34 +03:00

A coalition of NATO-led troops in Afghanistan will leave the country in coordination with a planned U.S. withdrawal by September 11, Washington's top diplomat said on Wednesday, ahead of a formal announcement of the end of two decades of fighting.

Around 7,000 non-U.S. forces from mainly NATO countries, but also from Australia, New Zealand and Georgia, outnumber the 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan but still rely on U.S. air support, planning and leadership for their training mission.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Brussels that it was time for NATO allies to make good on its mantra that allies went into Afghanistan together and would leave together.


 NATO forces to leave together from Afghanistan, U.S. says


Move over Israel, the world has a new contender for most vaccinated country

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 13:29:05 +03:00

When plotted on a graph, the curve of Bhutan's COVID-19 vaccination drive shoots upwards from the very first day, crossing Israel, United States, Bahrain and other countries known for vaccinating people rapidly.

Those countries took months to reach where they are, painstakingly strengthening their vaccination campaigns in the face of rising coronavirus cases. But the story of Bhutan's vaccination campaign is nearly finished ” just 16 days after it began.

The tiny Himalayan kingdom wedged between India and China has vaccinated nearly 93% of its adult population since March 27. Overall, the country has vaccinated 62% of its 800,000 people.


 Move over Israel, the world has a new contender for most vaccinated country


On Memorial Day, dozens protest in solidarity with Israeli army vet who set himself on fire

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 13:10:05 +03:00

Dozens of people, including disabled Israeli military veterans and those with post-traumatic stress disorder, demonstrated on Wednesday in front of Defense Ministry's rehabilitation clinic in central Israel, where a disabled veteran set himself on fire on Monday, protesting a lack of support from the ministry in vets' rehabilitation.

The demonstrators called on the ministry to "stop burying" those suffering from PTSD, holding up signs reading, œWe are all Itzik Saidian, referring to the 26-years-old veteran, who remains hospitalized in critical condition with extensive burns.

The protest was held as Israel marked Memorial Day on Wednesday, commemorating fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.


 On Memorial Day, dozens protest in solidarity with Israeli army vet who set himself on fire


Former ADL chief Abe Foxman says he would still give an award to Rupert Murdoch

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 12:54:53 +03:00

Days after his successor at the Anti-Defamation League said he would not honor Rupert Murdoch today, Abraham Foxman said he stands by the award he gave to the Fox News owner a decade ago.

In 2010, under Foxman's leadership, the ADL gave Murdoch its International Leadership Award in recognition of his œstalwart support of Israel and his commitment to promoting respect and speaking out against anti-Semitism.

In the years since, critics of Fox have called out the network, and particularly its popular talk show host Tucker Carlson, for giving a platform to far-right ideas. Last week, Greenblatt called on Fox to fire Carlson for endorsing the white supremacist theory that there is a coordinated effort to œreplace the population of the United States with immigrants from the œthird world. (Carlson said he was not discussing an issue of race.)


 Former ADL chief Abe Foxman says he would still give an award to Rupert Murdoch


Rockets began falling in this Israeli city 20 years ago. This is the story of the first fatality

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 12:47:07 +03:00

Mordechai Yosepov, the first person to be killed by a Qassam rocket fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip, barely knew Hebrew. He had immigrated to Israel from Uzbekistan in the early 1990s and found work at a factory in Sderot, near the Gaza border. He was killed on June 28, 2004 when a rocket that landed near a kindergarten in the town exploded.

One of his grandchildren, Ilanit Yosepov, who was 5 at the time, was in the kindergarten classroom at the time. Now 22, she has few memories of her grandfather, but she cannot forget the day that he died.

œI remember seeing him that morning on my way to kindergarten and soon afterwards, we heard an explosion that frightened all of the children. Later I learned that the explosion had killed my grandfather.


 Rockets began falling in this Israeli city 20 years ago. This is the story of the first fatality


Over the abyss

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 12:32:09 +03:00

After the first years, during which the pain is acute and terrible, come years in which the wound begins to be covered over by layers of reality and the everyday. There are things that need to be done. There's work, there are relationships with family and friends. There are all of life's obligations and also its joys. There's coronavirus and there's politics and there are by contrast new babies that are born to the grieving family. There are even distractions from the pain. For a few moments here and there, one seems to forget it ever happened.

Slowly, amid the endless negotiation with life, a way emerges to live with the loss.

Over our wound, above our private abyss, reality seems to spread a tenuous, flexible fabric and we, the mourners, learn how to go forward on that fabric, which is stretched above the abyss.


 Over the abyss


Turkey says new period starting in Egypt ties after years of tension

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 12:06:52 +03:00

Turkey's foreign minister said a new period was beginning in Ankara's ties with Egypt with senior officials from the two countries set to hold talks, broadcaster NTV said on Wednesday.

Last month Turkey said it had resumed diplomatic contacts with Egypt and wanted further cooperation after years of tension since the Egyptian army toppled a Muslim Brotherhood president close to Ankara.

A thaw in ties between the regional powers could have repercussions around the Mediterranean. They have backed rival sides in the war in Libya and sealed conflicting maritime deals with other coastal states.


 Turkey says new period starting in Egypt ties after years of tension


The Israeli startup trying to reimagine wheat

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 11:24:26 +03:00

Dr. Anna Chuprin doesn't have much time for telephone calls in the lab, but for some calls she'll put everything on hold. This doesn't happen often, maybe twice or three times a week, when she is notified by one of Israel's hospitals that a potential celiac patient is undergoing a biopsy and has agreed to donate part of it for research being conducted by Ukko, the startup company Chuprin works for as an immunologist. The samples must reach the company's offices within two hours at a temperature of 4 degrees celsius.

Chuprin receives the biopsy in small test tubes. She extracts the blood cells (T cells) from them and grows them in a petri dish for a few weeks. When she has enough cells she moves them to a shallow dish with œwells into which she gently drips a liquid resembling glue or wax. One liquid is gluten protein produced from wheat, while the other is gluten protein that has undergone a slight manipulation after being œredesigned using artificial intelligence.

The T cells are the œcombatants of the immune system. When they identify foreign proteins invading the body they get activated they multiply and attack the foreign protein in order to destroy it. Celiac patients' T-cells mistakenly identify gluten as a foreign invader and excrete inflammatory proteins that damage the patient's intestines. Chuprin measures the level of interferon gamma protein excreted following this encounter and thus identifies a celiac patient whose body is incapable of digesting it.


 The Israeli startup trying to reimagine wheat


Israel 2031: What will life look like in 'the most crowded country in the West'?

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 11:23:14 +03:00

As we speak by phone, Alon Tal is taking a pleasure drive in the Jerusalem Hills. If Tal's frightening vision comes true, in a few years the same drive will slow to a nightmarish crawl on a road jammed with cars. He says that while Israel sees itself as a young, growth-hungry state, in fact it is heavy, clumsy and fit to burst. But Tal is optimistic. We just have to take a few steps to change our entire idea of who we are.

Prof. Alon Tal, of Tel Aviv University's public policy department, is co-chair of the Israel Forum for Population, Environment and Society.

How do you see Israel within a decade?


 Israel 2031: What will life look like in 'the most crowded country in the West'?


Palestinian residents petition to reopen road to their East Jerusalem neighborhood after 20 years

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 11:15:29 +03:00

Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem petitioned Israel's High Court of Justice to open a road to their Isawiyah neighborhood, which has been closed for 20 years, since the second intifada.

The petitioners argue that the road, between Isawiyah and the Hebrew University, isn't being kept shut for security reasons, as the Israeli authorities claim, and that blocking it constitutes collective punishment against the neighborhood's 20,00 residents.

Justice Ofer Grosskopf instructed the state to respond to the petition by May 13.


 Palestinian residents petition to reopen road to their East Jerusalem neighborhood after 20 years


UAE partners with Japan's iSpace to send rover to the moon in 2022

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 10:54:41 +03:00

Lunar exploration company iSpace will transport a United Arab Emirates rover to the moon in 2022, the company said on Wednesday, as the UAE pushes for rapid expansion in the space exploration business to diversify its economy.

The UAE is using its space program to develop its scientific and technological capabilities and reduce its reliance on oil.

The Gulf state's, and the Arab world's, first interplanetary probe entered Mars' orbit in February. It is now sending data about the Martian atmosphere and climate.


 UAE partners with Japan's iSpace to send rover to the moon in 2022


As Israel marks Memorial Day, Netanyahu warns nation of 'indifference to threats of annihilation'

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 10:44:04 +03:00

Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism is being commemorated on Wednesday around the country with official ceremonies.

Speaking at the main ceremony in the National Hall for Israel's Fallen on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the 1973 Yom Kippur War œand the tremendous sacrifice made by our fighters paved the way for peace with Egypt, but also taught us an invaluable lesson: We must never remain indifferent to threats of annihilation and destruction by those who hate us.

As official ceremonies started across the country, several dozen protesters gathered in front of the Defense Ministry's Rehabilitation Department offices in Petah Tikva, where a disabled Israeli military veteran set himself on fire on Monday.


 As Israel marks Memorial Day, Netanyahu warns nation of 'indifference to threats of annihilation'


Isi Leibler, activist for Soviet Jewry who helped expose World Jewish Congress scandal, dies at 86

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 10:10:06 +03:00

Isi Leibler, a former activist on behalf of Soviet Jews and a leader of Australian Jewry, has died in Israel. He was 86.

Leibler, who was born in Belgium but grew up in Melbourne, Australia, led the Executive Council of Australian Jewry for nearly 20 years until 1995. He later served on the governing board of the World Jewish Congress. He was WJC's honorary vice president at the time of his death Tuesday.

In addition to lobbying with Australian governments to let in Jews leaving the former Soviet Union and leading public awareness campaigns to allow more of them to leave, Leibler used his contacts in China and India to improve their relations with Israel and eventually establish diplomatic relations with that country.


 Isi Leibler, activist for Soviet Jewry who helped expose World Jewish Congress scandal, dies at 86


Iran's Rohani calls 60-percent enrichment an answer to 'evilness' after Natanz attack

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 09:59:28 +03:00

Iran's president has described Tehran's decision to enrich uranium up to 60 percent after saboteurs attacked a nuclear site œan answer to your evilness."

Iran announced Tuesday it would enrich uranium to its highest level ever in response to the weekend attack at its Natanz nuclear site.

President Hassan Rohani made the comments Wednesday at a Cabinet meeting. He said: "You wanted to make our hands empty during the talks but our hands are full.


 Iran's Rohani calls 60-percent enrichment an answer to 'evilness' after Natanz attack


Female Israeli soldiers with PTSD are fighting a battle on two fronts

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 06:16:26 +03:00

June 6, 2005, just after 6 A.M. At the Qalqilyah checkpoint is a long line of Palestinian cars waiting to take passengers from the West Bank to Israel, for work. Facing them are soldiers from Caracal, a combat battalion. One sees two Palestinian women entering a taxi that's moving toward Israeli territory. She asks them for ID, and a scuffle breaks out. The commander of the checkpoint, Lauren Dagan Amos, one of the first female soldiers in Caracal, runs to help the soldier. œIn the midst of the struggle I head the soldiers at the checkpoint shout ˜terror attack, they have a bomb strapped to their body, Dagan Amos recalls, and can't stop her tears.

œI didn't understand what was happening, I found myself lying on the road together with the two Palestinian women and everyone around us started moving away. I don't remember calling for help, I thought that if this is what's happening, let it happen quickly, so I won't feel too much pain. She doesn't know how long she lay in the road, waiting to die, until two army jeeps arrived. To her surprise, they didn't try to rescue her. œThey were Shin Bet or combat soldiers, but I saw they were just standing far from me and shouting at me not to shoot, because it would set off the explosive.

Only later, when it was clear the Palestinian women weren't carrying explosives, did the soldiers swoop down on the women.


 Female Israeli soldiers with PTSD are fighting a battle on two fronts


Israel is walking straight into an Iran crisis with eyes wide open

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 06:15:52 +03:00

Most of the people who brought us an unnecessary, preventable war in the Gaza Strip in summer 2014, 51 days with no victory, are also involved in what's happening today a steady, dangerous slide toward the possibility of an even worse military conflict with Iran.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz and Aviv Kochavi were all there that wretched summer, though the latter two have since been promoted respectively, from chief of staff to defense minister and from head of Military Intelligence to chief of staff. Then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon is no longer in the picture.

Under their leadership, Israel now risks conflict that's an order of magnitude greater. That's the situation on the eve of our 73rd Independence Day.


 Israel is walking straight into an Iran crisis with eyes wide open


A stock market fad now, Israeli food-tech is riding a revolution in eating

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 05:35:41 +03:00

If you need any evidence of how much the food-technology business is exciting investors these days, look at Bio Meat Foodtech, a research and development partnership traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

On Sunday, it announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture with an unnamed partner to develop cultured fish meat. Bio Meat's share price has since skyrocketed, rising more than 52% in three days of trading, boosting the tiny company's market cap of about 43 million shekels ($13 million).

It went public at the beginning of March in a 25 million shekel initial public offering.


 A stock market fad now, Israeli food-tech is riding a revolution in eating


Biden administration proceeding with sale of $23 billion in weapons to UAE

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 05:09:28 +03:00

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration has told Congress it is proceeding with more than $23 billion in weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates, including advanced F-35 aircraft, armed drones and other equipment, congressional aides said on Tuesday.

A State Department spokesperson said the administration would move forward with the proposed sales to the UAE, "even as we continue reviewing details and consulting with Emirati officials" related to the use of the weapons.

The Democratic president's administration had paused the deals agreed to by former Republican President Donald Trump in order to review them. The sales to the Gulf nation were finalized right before Trump left office.


 Biden administration proceeding with sale of $23 billion in weapons to UAE


Israel's Mobileye joins Udelv to bring automated delivery vehicles to U.S.

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 04:41:55 +03:00

Intel's Israeli Mobileye unit has teamed with four-year-old Silicon Valley startup Udelv in an effort to put automated electric delivery vehicles into service in the United States by 2023, the companies said on Monday.

Mobileye is supplying a fully automated driving system for Udelv's new Transporter, a boxy electric shuttle without seats or cockpit that is designed specifically for delivery.

Udelv will not sell the vehicles, but will offer them as part of a subscription-based delivery-as-a-service package to commercial customers. And while the vehicles will not have human drivers, Udelv plans to offer a teleoperation feature with humans remotely assisting customers with loading and unloading.


 Israel's Mobileye joins Udelv to bring automated delivery vehicles to U.S.


Israeli exporters, manufacturers accuse the government of apathy as port backup continues

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 04:31:09 +03:00

The backup at Israeli ports has cost the economy some 960 million shekels ($292 million) over the last six weeks by forcing factories to close for want of raw materials, but importers, exporters and manufacturers all say officials have yet to solve the problem.

The Manufacturers Association of Israel, which made the 960 million shekel estimate, said that each additional day of port delays costs the economy an additional 75 million shekels. The immediate damage is not only to imports of raw materials but to the import and export of fresh produce and other time-sensitive foods whose sell-by date has expired while waiting aboard ships, the association said.

Ron Tomer, the president of the manufacturers' trade group, again called on the Transportation Ministry to intervene in the crisis. Every delay in the delivery of raw materials to factories means that plants remain idle. Companies can't export and reputations that were built over the years are destroyed, he said.


 Israeli exporters, manufacturers accuse the government of apathy as port backup continues


Despairing Israelis, remember that history is being written every day

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 03:54:52 +03:00

The period of the national holidays always brings out the big national arguments too, and raises the intensity of the emotions that accompany them. But it seems that this year these holidays are awakening more despair than ever in the Israeli minority that still clings to the basket of liberal values, including watchwords that today are considered almost offensive, such as equality, rule of law and freedom of expression.

Beyond the danger of despair, which regularly threatens the left in a country that continues to march to the right, over the past two weeks an abundance of unusual events have taken place that demonstrate the trend: The successor of Rabbi Meir Kahane, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and the representative of misogynists and homophobes, Avi Maoz, were sworn in as Knesset members. The task of forming the next government was once again given to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the same time that he was being tried in court.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman, who battles the occupation, was beaten with a baton by a settler. Lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich called for the deportation of Arab citizens on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Israel Prize was denied to Oded Goldreich because of his anti-settlement opinions. Joint List lawmaker Ofer Cassif was beaten by a policeman during a protest.


 Despairing Israelis, remember that history is being written every day


A dark Independence Day for Israel, denying leftist mathematician top honor

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 03:33:40 +03:00

Nothing better illustrates Israel's situation on the eve of its 73rd Independence Day than the decision to withhold the Israel Prize for mathematics and computer science from Prof. Oded Goldreich until the state has examined his political opinions and determined to what extent he is really a leftist. Israel boasts of being a high-tech power, of being an international leader in vaccinating its people against the coronavirus and of continuing the Zionist ethos of making the desert bloom. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the ministers of his court are leading Israel, in the same breath, toward an authoritarian regime of silencing dissent and persecuting anyone suspected of disloyalty to the government. And that's even before the establishment of his dream-team government a œtotally right-wing coalition that includes racists, Kahanists, homophobes and Islamists whose dream is to return to the Middle Ages and completely eliminate freedom of expression.

Goldreich's scientific excellence, which won the esteem of the Israel Prize jury, is of no interest to our right-wing government. As far as it's concerned, his research accomplishments can be thrown in the trash because he dared to protest against the occupation and one of its symbols, Ariel University. The message to Israel's scientific community is clear become collaborators or be humiliated. At least scientists have so far been spared the violence of Public Security Minister Amir Ohana's police. But this violence has been turned against anti-government protesters in the streets, like MK Ofer Cassif of the Joint List, who was beaten by police officers at a demonstration in Jerusalem Friday.

Netanyahu and his collaborator, Education Minister Yoav Gallant, didn't invent anything in the Goldreich affair. They are marching down the crooked path of other powers that have subordinated science and culture to the interests of the regime. But of course, it's forbidden to make comparisons to Nazi Germany, which drove Albert Einstein into exile because of his Judaism. Or to the Soviet Union under Stalin. Or to America during the McCarthy era, with its blacklists. Or to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who are destroying academic freedom in their own countries today. Like those regimes, the Israeli right also wants a chorus of support for the occupation and the settlements, not scientists and cultural figures who will dare to protest against moral crimes and violations of international law. It's disappointing that the attorney general backed Gallant, and that the High Court of Justice quickly acceded to the state's position by barring Goldreich from being awarded the prize at the state Independence Day ceremony Wednesday evening.


 A dark Independence Day for Israel, denying leftist mathematician top honor


Without culture, there is no Israeli independence

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 03:19:39 +03:00

On this Independence Day after last Independence Day when the strongest image, the clearest, of the relationship between Israel and the Israelis was the lockdown it is now clear to everyone who can see that the biggest challenge facing Israelis is to create for them, for us, a new Israel. Not another quick fix, or band aid or filling, but a reexamination and clarification of the ways in which citizens, not the establishment, implement for themselves the term that is called the œcountry, this idea that is called œindependence.

What was created 73 years ago on an ideological and national basis as they grew out of the Industrial Revolution, and which created mechanisms of mass identity as a mirror image of mass production, no longer work. The political impasse and degeneration and not only in Israel are proof of this.

A lot has been written here that the essential first step in such a process of thinking, whose aspiration is to nurture a society and not just to wallow in despair from it, is to disconnect from the yearning for the past. But while this may be a necessary condition, it is not enough. On the basis of the recognition of the irrelevancy of the past and that human existence is undergoing major changes these days, new foundations of discussion and in-depth examination must now be created.


 Without culture, there is no Israeli independence


With COVID on the retreat, Israel to reopen all schools on Sunday

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 02:43:11 +03:00

All classes in the public school system will be reopened Sunday, the cabinet has decided. 

In the schools, the œcapsule system of splitting classes will be scrapped, under the plan put forward by the Health Ministry and adopted by the cabinet Monday night.

œAfter two weeks have passed with stability in the infection rate and with 95 percent of the country ˜green,' including low rates of illness among children, the opening of the school system more broadly can move ahead, with extensive testing where a rise in infection is detected, the Health Ministry said in a statement. Although children under 16 are not vaccinated, infection rates among children continue to fall, as does the general infection rate.


 With COVID on the retreat, Israel to reopen all schools on Sunday


News site 'belonged completely' to Netanyahu, ex-CEO testifies in prime minister's trial

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 01:10:45 +03:00

The Walla internet news site œbelonged completely to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his circle, former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua said Tuesday, his fifth day of testimony in Netanyahu's trial.

œThe norm was that we weren't actually the site's editors, Yeshua told the Jerusalem District Court. œWhen we posted something, they'd ask for improvements. I knew they could always come change things. ... Every day was a battle.

He said he was even asked to fire journalists who opposed the slanted coverage, including editor-in-chief Avi Alkalay.


 News site 'belonged completely' to Netanyahu, ex-CEO testifies in prime minister's trial


16th joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony held with message of peace

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 00:40:33 +03:00

The 16th joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony was held Tuesday evening, co-hosted by the left-wing NGOs Combatants for Peace and Parents Circle Families Forum.

During the ceremony, two bereaved Israelis and two bereaved Palestinians spoke and video message by the actor Richard Gere was screened. Due to the coronavirus safety precautions, the ceremony was broadcasted online.

Two weeks ago, a company that rents out billboards refused at first to approve signage publicizing the ceremony, but eventually did so.


 16th joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony held with message of peace


Haaretz cartoon

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 23:20:00 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


˜These people and their f***ing tree houses': Andrew Cuomo chafed at campaigning on Sukkot

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 21:01:34 +03:00

 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has long prided himself on his strong relationship with the Jewish community ” a relationship he dates back to his father's three terms as governor.

But that love for the Jewish community apparently does not extend to the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

In a story about Cuomo's political career, The New York Times Magazine reported Cuomo's frustration with a campaign appearance at a Sukkot event during his run for attorney general in 2006.


 ˜These people and their f***ing tree houses': Andrew Cuomo chafed at campaigning on Sukkot


Israel can't convene security cabinet in absence of justice minister, attorney general says

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 20:17:58 +03:00

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit told the cabinet secretary on Tuesday that it would not be possible for the security and other key cabinets to convene in the absence of a justice minister.

The term of acting Justice Minister Benny Gantz lapsed on April 1, and Mendelblit has been vocal in urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gantz to fill the post.

In his legal opinion, Mendelblit stated that the security cabinet could only convene without a justice minister in matters of utmost urgency and on the condition that the number of ministers between the two government blocs  Netanyahu and Gantz  is the same.


 Israel can't convene security cabinet in absence of justice minister, attorney general says


Democratic Senators urge Biden to return to 2015 Iran nuclear deal

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:57:56 +03:00

WASHINGTON Twenty-seven Democratic Senators are urging the Biden administration to immediately return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal under a compliance-for-compliance approach.

According to a letter obtained by Haaretz, the senators hope to relay the urgency of addressing Iran's nuclear threat particularly its impending breakout time and increased levels of uranium enrichment  and use it s a springboard to address additional significant concerns with American allies, as well as potentially extending the deal's terms or negotiating a new pact as a follow-on agreement.

"We strongly support returning to the JCPOA and using a 'compliance for compliance' approach as a starting point to reset U.S. relations with Iran," the letter lead by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) reads.


 Democratic Senators urge Biden to return to 2015 Iran nuclear deal


U.S. national security adviser reaffirms 'unwavering commitment to Israel' in joint meeting

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:46:19 +03:00

WASHINGTON U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Tuesday reaffirmed the Biden administration's "unwavering commitment to Israel's security and to ensuring that Iran will never obtain a nuclear weapon" in a virtual meeting of a U.S.-Israel strategic consulting group, the White House said.

This meeting was held as part of ongoing bilateral consultations on security issues of vital importance to the two countries. During the meeting, officials consulted in detail on opportunities to promote stability and security in the face of shared regional threats and challenges.

Mr. Sullivan reaffirmed the Biden-Harris administration's unwavering commitment to Israel's security and to ensuring that Iran will never obtain a nuclear weapon. The officials expressed their shared interest in maintaining a close and open dialogue in the months ahead. Mr. Sullivan warmly invited his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat, to visit Washington before the end of this month for follow-up consultations.


 U.S. national security adviser reaffirms 'unwavering commitment to Israel' in joint meeting


Biden to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, sources say

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:16:40 +03:00

President Joe Biden has decided to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, 20 years to the day after al Qaeda's attacks triggered America's longest war, three sources familiar with the decision told Reuters.

However, the withdrawal would be based on certain security and human rights guarantees, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the formalization of the decision. The sources did not provide further details.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are expected to brief the decision to NATO allies in Brussels on Wednesday. Biden may also publicly announce his decision, the sources said.


 Biden to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, sources say


This Israeli trans woman and trans man couple is expecting twins

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:06:03 +03:00

Lauren Hertz and Daniel Brosh still aren't sure who kissed the other first. It was on their first date, but that was eight years ago. They danced in a bar, Lauren says, œand I drank, and we danced, then he suddenly came and kissed me.

Daniel: œWrong. She kissed me. I was just dancing near her. She's the one who made the move and kissed. Lauren, 49, is a transgender woman. Her partner Daniel, who is 20 years younger, is a transgender man. They live in south Tel Aviv and are in the midst of the surrogacy process, which is happening abroad. They're expecting twins.

I'd heard a lot about love stories, but this one intrigued me and drew me in. I never thought that two transgender people could fall in love and build a family. Even I, as a part of this community, was surprised. I'm on my way to see them, and I have so many questions. Meanwhile, I entertain the thought that maybe, out of fear, we're missing out on love stories like theirs.


 This Israeli trans woman and trans man couple is expecting twins


Defense Ministry to probe Israeli army veteran's self-immolation

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 18:27:13 +03:00

The Defense Ministry has ordered an investigation into the case of a disabled IDF veteran who set himself on fire two days before Israel's Memorial Day, the ministry's director-general Amir Eshel announced on Tuesday.

Itzik Saidian, 26-years-old, was admitted to the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, in a serious condition with extensive burns, after he self-immolated in front of the Defense Ministry's Rehabilitation Department on Monday.

The department's behavior during their correspondences allegedly pushed him the edge of despair, a friend said.


 Defense Ministry to probe Israeli army veteran's self-immolation


Netanyahu is playing with fire in Iran

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 18:19:04 +03:00

The attack on the Republican Guards' spy ship in the Red Sea and sabotage of the Natanz uranium enrichment site are both attributed to Israeli intelligence, and, taken with the leaks about these attacks it shows that Israel, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is playing with fire.

Official Iranian spokesmen vow that Iran will respond. Based on precedent, they can be believed. There is no question that they will seek reprisal against Israel, even if success is not assured.

Unlike the airstrikes in Syria, where Israel feels quite safe, the conflict between Iran and Israel that has been going on for two and a half years could spin out of control, leading Israel into a cycle of violence in which it does not necessarily hold the upper hand. Some 95 percent of all trade with Israel is by sea. The Israeli navy is relatively small and its ability to protect and secure maritime trade is limited, particularly in areas like the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, which are far from Israel's shores.


 Netanyahu is playing with fire in Iran


Batya lost her mother to war with Egypt. Years later her son fell in Lebanon

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 17:58:25 +03:00

When she was 6 years old, in 1953, Batya Asher discovered the secret her parents had concealed from her. œI was standing with a group of children in a circle and one of them said to me: ˜Your mother didn't give birth to you.' I ran home and asked my parents if that was true and they said it was, but told me no more, she said this week.

Thus teasing by children in Kvutzat Yavneh, a religiously observant kibbutz in central Israel, became a formative event in Batya's life, and the marks are still evident almost 70 years later. œEver since, I've had feelings of inferiority. I became a girl, a woman, a mother and a grandmother who only wants people to love her, she said.

The œsecret happened during the War of Independence. About 10 days after the state was established, on May 24, 1948, an Egyptian plane appeared in the sky over Kvutzat Yavneh. Hadassah Wolff, who was pregnant, was sitting in one of the kibbutz huts with her daughter Batya, who was about a year old. Hadassah was having coffee with friends, Avraham and Hani Meir.


 Batya lost her mother to war with Egypt. Years later her son fell in Lebanon


Third Israeli-owned ship attacked near UAE; Israeli defense sources blame Iran

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 17:52:39 +03:00

An Israeli-owned ship was attacked near Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, the Lebanese Al Mayadeen news channel reported on Tuesday.

Israeli defense sources confirmed that a ship partially was attacked on Tuesday, and said they were certain that Iran is behind the attack. The attack took place in international waters, likely by an unmanned drone or a missile strike, they said, noting that only minor damage was caused.

The ship, the Hyperion Ray, is partially owned by Israeli businessman Rami Ungar, but had no Israeli nationals on board and did not sail under an Israeli flag, the sources said. 


 Third Israeli-owned ship attacked near UAE; Israeli defense sources blame Iran


Activist reported being assaulted at Tel Aviv Pride rally. Now she may face charges

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 17:34:21 +03:00

Police are considering filing assault charges against a social activist who reported she was beaten by a fellow protester at an LGBTQ Pride rally in Tel Aviv last summer.

Police suspect that she engaged in an altercation herself. 

The activist, Sapir Slutzker-Amran, a lawyer, was treated at a hospital after the attack. She reported the incident to the police two days later, giving them the name of her alleged attacker and a list of eyewitnesses. The suspect was only called in for questioning two months later, after which he filed a complaint against Slutzker-Amran. Now the police have told her that there is sufficient evidence to charge her with œparticipation in a brawl.


 Activist reported being assaulted at Tel Aviv Pride rally. Now she may face charges


So, you think Israel's in the post-COVID era? Think again

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 17:12:41 +03:00

If the entire world was Israel, all would be fine. Shops, malls and restaurants have been open for more than a month and at least the consumer bit of the economy is reviving quickly. Israel continues to lead the world in vaccination rates surpassed only by the Seychelles and Bhutan, and coronavirus restrictions are being lifted. It seems like the post-pandemic era is finally upon us.

It's not. The Bloomberg COVID Resilience Ranking ranked Israel at No. 5, thanks to our successful vaccine rollout (our other metrics aren't impressive), putting us ahead of COVID champions like China and not far behind New Zealand and Taiwan. But that just shows how Israel remains a rare exception to the rule for most of the world.

Yes, there are countries that are reopening, such as Britain and the United States, and others like China that have been open for a while. But the number of daily new COVID cases and deaths (based on a seven-day average) is still on the rise and approaching the levels of the previous wave.


 So, you think Israel's in the post-COVID era? Think again


Iran begins 60 percent uranium enrichment after Natanz attack, top negotiator says

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 16:35:02 +03:00

An Iranian nuclear negotiator said Tehran will begin enriching uranium to 60 percent purity after an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility, higher than the program ever has before.

Abbas Araghchi made the comment Tuesday in Vienna, a day after Tehran accused arch-foe Israel of sabotaging a key nuclear site.

Araqchi was quoted by the state-run IRNA news agency. Iran had been enriching up to 20 percent. That is a short technical step to weapons-grade levels.


 Iran begins 60 percent uranium enrichment after Natanz attack, top negotiator says


Israel's Memorial Day: Five ways to commemorate online

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 15:55:17 +03:00

Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial Day, begins Tuesday night and lasts until Wednesday night, when the country transitions into Israel's Independence Day, Yom Haatzmaut.

In Israel, the day is marked with one- and two-minute sirens when the country halts and everyone stands in silence. At night, Israelis attend official memorial services. People traditionally visit the graves of loved ones who died in wars and terror attacks during the day ” a custom that was interrupted last year, when the country was in the middle of its first pandemic lockdown.

This year, Israelis are largely able to resume their local traditions for these holidays. Still, a range of programs and memorial services are being streamed, geared toward English-speaking audiences whose ability to travel to Israel has been largely cut off for the last year.


 Israel's Memorial Day: Five ways to commemorate online


Vaccinated foreign tour groups to be allowed into Israel in May

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 14:59:27 +03:00

Israel will begin allowing vaccinated tourists into the country starting on May 23, but only in organized groups, Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said on Tuesday.

Since the outbreak of the global pandemic in March 2020, only Israeli citizens, alongside rare exceptions for non-citizens, have been allowed into the country.

>> Want to visit relatives in Israel? Prepare for 'dysfunctional' bureaucracy


 Vaccinated foreign tour groups to be allowed into Israel in May


Want to visit relatives in Israel? Prepare for 'dysfunctional' bureaucracy

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 14:40:08 +03:00

Karen Zivan was thrilled last week when she heard that Israel would begin allowing entry of vaccinated first-degree relatives of Israelis into the country. Her parents, both in their 80s, had been anxiously waiting for over a year to come to visit her and her five sons their grandsons and their 10 great-grandchildren, three of whom were born during the period they were kept apart. Previous requests to enter the country to meet their new great-grandchildren had been rejected.

But like other immigrants, Zivan quickly learned her excitement was premature. She discovered that between the announcement and her family lay a mountain of confusing and contradictory paperwork, some of which could take months to procure, and the process required substantial financial commitments before any guarantee that they would be admitted.

The Zivan family are literally the poster children for the aliyah-promoting organization Nefesh B'Nefesh, appearing on their advertisements and in a recent promotional video released for the commemoration of Memorial Day. After spending three days running between government offices to make her parents' visit happen, Zivan says she fails to comprehend how a country that so energetically encourages Jewish immigration can treat immigrants so badly.


 Want to visit relatives in Israel? Prepare for 'dysfunctional' bureaucracy


Supermodel Bar Refaeli's mother to be released after serving half her prison term

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 14:26:22 +03:00

Tzipi Refaeli, mother of Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, will be released after serving half of her 16-month sentence, a prison parole board said Wednesday.

Tzipi Refaeli has been convicted in a tax evasion case in which she and her daughter were implicated. She is now expected to be released in late May, having served eight months of her sentence.

As a condition of the early release, the elder Refaeli will be required to report regularly to the police for the remaining eight months, to remain under house arrest at night and to do community service. She will also be barred from leaving the country. Under the terms of the plea agreement, her daughter, Bar, was obligated to do nine months of community service but was spared jail time in an arrangement approved by the Tel Aviv District Court.


 Supermodel Bar Refaeli's mother to be released after serving half her prison term


U.S. recommends ˜pause' for J&J vaccine over clot reports

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 14:25:23 +03:00

The U.S. is recommending a œpause in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S.

U.S. federal distribution channels, including mass vaccination sites, will pause the use of the J&J shot, and states and other providers are expected to follow.


 U.S. recommends ˜pause' for J&J vaccine over clot reports


Remembering the first 'non-Jewish' policeman killed in the line of duty

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 13:53:37 +03:00

The death of Sabri Arslan was reported in a 62-word story in Haaretz in December 1952, below the forecast for drizzle in the Galilee. It was titled œPoliceman killed by accident. The daily newspaper Herut treated it much the same: a very short report headlined œCircassian policeman killed, explaining: œA Circassian policeman was killed when a squad of security guards from Kfar Ruppin clashed with a police squad. The security guards were in a stakeout and due to a misunderstanding, opened fire at the police squad that was patrolling the site.

The marginalization and brevity of these reports in the newspapers not only fail to stress the fact that Arslan was the first Circassian in the Israeli police force to be killed; mainly, this showcases the discrimination against non-Jewish policeman in the years right after Israel's establishment. Within the police force they were treated as second-class citizens. In their society, some disapproved of their joining the œZionist police force. And even after his death, the disrespect towards him and his family persisted. On the website œYizkor (Hebrew), where the names of security forces who died in the course of duty appears, his surname appears as œHatukh.

œOur name is Arslan. I don't know why they decided it's Hatukh, says his niece Ilana.


 Remembering the first 'non-Jewish' policeman killed in the line of duty


Citing Israel, Tucker Carlson defends 'replacement theory' and responds to the ADL

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 13:08:59 +03:00

Lachlan Murdoch, the CEO of the Fox Corporation, wrote in a letter to the Anti-Defamation League that Fox News will not be firing Tucker Carlson for endorsing œreplacement theory, a white supremacist conspiracy.

The ADL had called for Carlson to be fired because, in a segment on the right-wing cable news channel last week, Carlson endorsed the idea that there is a coordinated campaign to replace the population of the United States with immigrants from the œthird world.

The conspiracy theory that Jews are orchestrating a œgreat replacement of white westerners with nonwhite immigrants is popular among white supremacists and fueled the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, among other attacks.


 Citing Israel, Tucker Carlson defends 'replacement theory' and responds to the ADL


JNF board members demand immediate halt to West Bank land purchases

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 13:04:13 +03:00

Members of the board of directors of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael Jewish National Fund demanded Tuesday an immediate halt to all plans by the organization to purchase land in the West Bank on the grounds that such acquisitions violate its constitution.

The board members cited a new legal opinion, written by former Deputy Attorney General Yehoshua Shoffman, stipulating that the JNF is only authorized to purchase land in sovereign Israeli territory. The West Bank is not under Israeli sovereignty.

The JNF's organizational constitution states that it has the right to purchase land œin the state of Israel in any area subject to the jurisdiction of the government. In his legal opinion, Shoffman maintains that this only includes territory under Israeli sovereignty. Purchasing land in the West Bank, according to his legal opinion, therefore mandates changes in JNF's organizational constitution.


 JNF board members demand immediate halt to West Bank land purchases


Moscow says U.S. military support to Kyiv 'serious challenge'

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 12:30:40 +03:00

Moscow on Tuesday said active U.S. military support to Kyiv was a serious challenge for Russia's security and accused Washington and NATO of turning Ukraine into a "powder keg" with increasing arms supplies, Russian agencies reported, citing the foreign ministry.

Russia would do everything possible to ensure its security in the event of an escalation in Ukraine, agencies quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ryabkov warned the United States to ensure its warships stayed well away from Crimea "for their own good", calling their deployment in the Black Sea a provocation designed to test Russian nerves.


 Moscow says U.S. military support to Kyiv 'serious challenge'


Israel must 'do everything' for disabled veterans, military chief says after ex-soldier self-immolates

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 12:20:56 +03:00

Israeli military chief Aviv Kochavi said Tuesday that the country must "do everything" to help those who "fought and risked themselves for the country," a day after emotionally disabled IDF veteran Itzik Saidian set himself on fire outside the offices of the Defense Ministry's rehabilitation clinic.

"Israel and the Defense Forces owe a great debt to those who risk their lives and souls for the defense of the country, and we must do everything to fight on their behalf," Kochavi said.  

Kochavi sent his œwishes a speedy recovery on behalf of himself and the IDF to Saidian, a former fighter with the Golani Brigade.


 Israel must 'do everything' for disabled veterans, military chief says after ex-soldier self-immolates


Google is looking for Israelis with security clearance. Here's why

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 11:52:37 +03:00

Google seems to be confident it is going to win one of the biggest bids in Israel: Project Nimbus, the state's official cloud service project. A new job listing by Google issued recently suggests as much, with the company looking for Israelis with security clearance.

The recent disqualifications of rivals Oracle and Microsoft mean that Google and Amazon are the last big players still in the running to win the Israeli government tender for Project Nimbus, a multiyear project to migrate Israel's public information technology to the cloud.

As Haaretz reported exclusively last week, Google is in advanced negotiations toward establishing a data center in Israel for its cloud computing services a key condition of the Project Nimbus.


 Google is looking for Israelis with security clearance. Here's why


How a Catholic photographer penetrated a hidden Hasidic world

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 11:42:33 +03:00

When you talk with Polish photographer and producer Agnieszka Traczewska, you get the feeling that she's an inseparable part of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world even though she's Catholic.

My conversations with her, like the text that accompanies the photographs in her new book, œA Rekindled World, are peppered with Jewish vocabulary. She knows when to say œchagim (holidays), œShabbat shalom (good Sabbath), œtzni'ut (modesty), Hasidim, œbaruch Hashem (thank God) and even œrefuah shlemah (best wishes for a full recovery).

Traczewska, who has held some 40 solo exhibitions around the world including in the United States, Germany, Australia, Brazil and Canada also easily reels off names of ultra-Orthodox towns and neighborhoods in Israel, from the city of Bnei Brak to Jerusalem's Mea She'arim neighborhood.


 How a Catholic photographer penetrated a hidden Hasidic world


Iran FM: Israel made 'very bad gamble' by sabotaging Natanz site

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 11:34:20 +03:00

Iran's top diplomat said on Tuesday that an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility which it blames on Israel was a "very bad gamble" that would strengthen Tehran's hand in talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

Tehran has said an explosion on Sunday at its key nuclear site was an act of sabotage by arch-foe Israel and vowed revenge for an attack that appeared to be latest episode in a long-running covert war. Israel, which the Islamic Republic does not recognize, has not formally commented on the incident. "Israel played a very bad gamble if it thought that the attack will weaken Iran's hand in the nuclear talks," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart in Tehran.

"On the contrary, it will strengthen our position."


 Iran FM: Israel made 'very bad gamble' by sabotaging Natanz site


'Remotely detonated device' blew up Iran's Natanz nuke site

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 11:29:39 +03:00

The attack on Iran's key Natanz nuclear site Sunday was caused by an explosive device that was smuggled into the plant and detonated remotely, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Citing an unnamed intelligence official, the report said that the explosion, which has been attributed by foreign media to Israel, damaged Natanz's primary and backup electrical systems. Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesperson for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said that the attack blew a hole so big that he managed to fall into it, and suffered injuries.

It also quotes Fereydoun Abbasi, the head of the Iranian Parliament's energy committee, who told state television Monday that "The enemy's plot was very beautiful" from a scientific standpoint. "They thought about this and used their experts and planned the explosion so both the central power and the emergency power cable would be damaged."


 'Remotely detonated device' blew up Iran's Natanz nuke site






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

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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!