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Ha'aretz
Time: Wed, 06.03.2020 05:16 AM Local file generated: Tue, 06.02.2020 10:52 PM
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Panicky response to Israel's unemployment surge leaves existing problems to fester

Wed, 3 Jun 2020 04:32:34 +03:00

Since the coronavirus crisis broke out, Israel's Employment Service has reported every evening on the number of the newly unemployed, and is publishing outrageous numbers the likes of which Israel has never seen before. Up until April 19 the numbers were moving in one direction only more and more people being laid off or put on unpaid leave every day. That day Israel began relaxing the lockdown it imposed in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and since then there has been a slow movement of workers returning to the workforce, which picked up in May, and then more so over the past few days.

Employment Service data show that since April 19 some 245,830 Israelis have returned to work, while another 106,530 were laid off. It's likely that even more people have returned to work, as many people presumably have simply not reported it. This creates an unclear picture regarding Israel's unemployment rate, which peaked at an astounding 27.8%, or some 1.15 million people. This figure has been changing significantly every day. During usual times, the unemployment rate changes only slightly with gains or losses in the range of 0.1% per month. Since the crisis began, it has been changing by entire percentage points each day.

The state has managed the financial aspect of the crisis with one clear goal: Getting as many people as possible back to work, no matter how and no matter at what percentage of a full-time job. The main goal is to get people working, and quickly, to prevent temporary unemployment from becoming chronic and to keep jobs from being destroyed, and to push unemployment figures back down to the single digits. The government allocated some six billion shekels to be paid as grants to employers who take workers back from unpaid leave, and is offering backing for loans to businesses, reducing their arnona (municipal tax) payments and allowing them to delay paying taxes.


 Panicky response to Israel's unemployment surge leaves existing problems to fester


These are Israel's new political punching bags

Wed, 3 Jun 2020 04:29:55 +03:00

Meet the new punching bags of Israeli politics the bureaucrats. When a politician wants to vent his frustration and beat up on somebody, he aims his fire at the civil servants.

Nir Barkat, who was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's œfinance minister-designate during the campaign, was left without that ministry or any other ministry and is walking around with nothing to do. He was supposed to be the Likud party's second most important politician, but reality and Netanyahu left him far behind Ofir Akunis, Gila Gamliel and several young politicians from the Kahol Lavan party, all of whom became ministers.

The right person for Barkat to vent his frustration at would be Netanyahu, who forgot his campaign promise to appoint him finance minister. But he doesn't want to upset the boss. Who knows, maybe Netanyahu will throw him a crumb next time?


 These are Israel's new political punching bags


Don't confuse the struggle of African Americans with the struggle of the Palestinians

Wed, 3 Jun 2020 03:02:27 +03:00

There is no similarity between the shocking murder of George Floyd and the tragic killing of Eyad al-Hallaq. Despite the temptation to draw a comparison, the struggle of black people in the United States has nothing in common with the struggle of the Palestinians. No one questions the tragic nature of both of the incidents. The video that shows Floyd groaning as a Minneapolis police officer kneels on his neck is soul-shaking, and it is painful and disturbing to consider the fatal shooting by Israeli police officers of Hallaq, a 32-year-old man with severe autism, in the Old City of Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the Palestinians are not œIsrael's African Americans.

The struggle for equality being waged by blacks in the United States is a racial one, while the Palestinians' struggle against Jews is nationalist in character. Writing here Monday (œPalestinian, give up your life!), Odeh Bisharat points to what the Palestinians have œgive up, in his words, throughout their history, as an example of the Zionist oppression. In fact, however, the Palestinians are oppressed chiefly because they chose, time after time, to refuse in the name of the struggle against the Jews. They refused the partition plan in 1947. They refused to recognize their defeat in 1967. They refused then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak's proposal in 2000. They refused to turn the Gush Katif settlement bloc, which was evacuated for their benefit in Israel's 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip, into a heaven on earth, choosing instead to create terrorist strongholds there. They chose Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Some chose, and still choose, terrorism.

Blacks are struggling for full integration into American society. Martin Luther King Jr. sought integration. The struggle of many Palestinians is aimed at dissolving the Jewish state, or at least changing its definition. The Palestinians are not and never were enslaved. They were never subject to sexual slavery, to whippings at the hands of their masters. They were never bought and sold, no one every told them how many children to bear. The Palestinians always had, and they still have, the right to choose. They refused it.


 Don't confuse the struggle of African Americans with the struggle of the Palestinians


Blue and white is my race

Wed, 3 Jun 2020 02:33:20 +03:00

The farce of the Kahol Lavan party never ends. People who voted for the œanyone but Bibi party hadn't yet finished digesting the bitter truth that Benjamin Netanyahu had won another term only thanks to them when they were smacked by the realization that the person who headed this œgovernmental alternative, Benny Gantz, has turned out to be Netanyahu's ideological Siamese twin, even effectively volunteering to serve as coordinator of government activities in the territories during the annexation.

And now it turns out that œtheir man on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, chairman Zvi Hauser whose Derech Eretz party was part of the Kahol Lavan joint ticket, which promised to stop the dangerous erosion of democracy is personally pushing Israel down a slippery slope to becoming a race-based state.

Monday night, as the committee debated extending the section of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law that bars Palestinians from reuniting to reside with their families in Israel, Hauser proposed that the ban henceforth be based on the nation-state law. This œtemporary legislation, which enables the state to deny any legal status to Palestinians who married Israelis or have first-degree relatives in Israel, was passed in 2003 and has since been extended every year on security grounds. Its annual extension by the Knesset is itself a deception. The security justification is nothing but a fig leaf for demographic concerns based on a desire to preserve racial purity.


 Blue and white is my race


The pro-Trump racists in America and Israel who deny both Black lives and Palestinian lives matter

Wed, 3 Jun 2020 00:51:54 +03:00

I haven't been sleeping, these nights. As the festival of Shavuot ended, I read about riots across America, a response not only to the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis but of systematic oppression and police brutality in response to peaceful protests.

Then I read about a 32-year old autistic Palestinian shot dead by an Israeli soldier meters from his school because "he looked armed" (he wasn't) and when shouted to stop he jumped behind some garbage to hide. 

This is personal to me. That could be my son. He might have responded that way. He is the smartest person I have ever met, perfectly able to attend school and likely would have responded similarly to shouting. That frankly probably would have been him by now had he not enjoyed white privilege; I can think of more than one occasion that his skin color has probably saved his life.


 The pro-Trump racists in America and Israel who deny both Black lives and Palestinian lives matter


Hundreds protest in front of U.S. Embassy building in TLV over George Floyd murder

Wed, 3 Jun 2020 00:27:43 +03:00

Chanting œBlack Lives Matter! and œNo Justice, No Peace! 300 protesters, most of them young people in their 20s, gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv Branch Office to protest the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

The event was not officially sponsored by any organization - it was a spontaneous gathering bringing together two separate initiatives on Facebook. The events were each initiated by young women who decided they wanted to show solidarity with demonstrations that have been taking place in the U.S. over the past five days, triggered by the release of video showing a police officer pressing his knee on Floyd's neck, as he protested œI can't breathe and cried out for his mother.

The officer, Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for his actions on May 25. But members of Floyd's family and many others are calling for more serious charges, as well as charges against the three other officers who were there at the time of the incident.


 Hundreds protest in front of U.S. Embassy building in TLV over George Floyd murder


Haaretz cartoon

Wed, 3 Jun 2020 00:01:56 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


Israelis have halted payments on quarter of home mortgages amid coronavirus slump

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 23:03:59 +03:00

Payments have been suspended on some 24% of mortgages in Israel as of the end of April, in the wake of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Thus, the banks' decade-long profit engine may be coming to an end in 2020, mortgages were responsible for 56% of Israeli banks' net profits, or 431 million shekels ($124 million) in total.

The crisis comes at a time when a record 1 million people have registered as unemployed.


 Israelis have halted payments on quarter of home mortgages amid coronavirus slump


Bad trip: How coronavirus upended Birthright but proved a boon for Israel gap-year programs

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 22:57:55 +03:00

Over the past two decades, Birthright trips have been a virtual rite of passage for young Diaspora Jews. These free, 10-day tours of Israel continued even during periods of war and terror attacks. Sometimes, out of concern for the safety of participants, parts of the country would be deemed off-limits. And sometimes, the famous Birthright buses were more empty than full. But never in its 20-year history has Birthright been forced to suspend its trips.

Until the coronavirus outbreak.

In mid-March, Birthright often hailed as the most successful Jewish World project ever announced that it was halting all trips to Israel, with plans to resume them in June. But as June approached, and with the pandemic still not under control, the organization notified would-be candidates that all trips through the end of July would be postponed, with plans to resume in August. Registration for these late summer trips was scheduled to open on Tuesday. However, on the Birthright website, the earliest scheduled trips only begin in September.


 Bad trip: How coronavirus upended Birthright but proved a boon for Israel gap-year programs


On annexation, Netanyahu and the settlers have never been on the same page

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 22:53:13 +03:00

The weeks after Donald Trump's election were a period of ecstasy in Judea and Samaria. Along the roads leading to the settlements thousands of posters were plastered with the slogan œSovereignty Now! Yesha Council members were spotted in the corridors of the Trump Plaza in New York and among the crowd at the inauguration in Washington. Real and imagined confidants of the new president promised them ˜just wait until our guy gets the nuclear codes.

Everything will be different then.' In every interview, the settler leaders demanded that Benjamin Netanyahu go ahead and annex. It was a God-given opportunity. Netanyahu heard and asked them just to wait until his first meeting with Trump.

When he finally arrived at the White House in mid-February, Trump was full of incoherent ideas about his preferred solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as œI'm looking at two-state and at one-state and I like the one that both parties like. But he had one clear request œI'd like to see you holding back on settlements for a little bit, until he came up with a plan.


 On annexation, Netanyahu and the settlers have never been on the same page


Israeli city won't enroll children of asylum seekers in schools, flouting court ruling again

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 22:48:31 +03:00

The Petah Tikva municipality is refusing to register children of asylum seekers in the city's schools and preschools, in defiance of a court ruling from last year and the Education Ministry's demands.

Around 130 parents from the city's asylum seeker community have complained to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, saying their children haven't been registered even though they started the process in January and have submitted all required documents.

The city also refused to register the children last year, capitulating only after the Central District Court ordered it to do so. The court later found the municipality in contempt because it didn't comply with the ruling's timetable.


 Israeli city won't enroll children of asylum seekers in schools, flouting court ruling again


Turkey uses Libya for its Mediterranean expansion vision, but it could backfire

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 22:42:09 +03:00

œMavi Vatan isn't a slogan meant to entice tourists to return to Turkey's beautiful beaches. The phrase, which means œBlue Homeland, refers to a Turkish doctrine that was in place until 2006. It was revived last year when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan displayed a map of Turkey's strategic expansion across three seas.

Erdogan was speaking of the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black seas. But Turkey's aspirations evidently go beyond that; it's now also eyeing the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

It's in this context that the current hot war in Libya must be viewed. Turkey, in conjunction with Qatar, has opened a military front there in support of the recognized government led by Fayez Sarraj. They are facing off against separatist leader Khalifa Hifter, who is supported by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France.


 Turkey uses Libya for its Mediterranean expansion vision, but it could backfire


Israeli anti-abortion activists who used confidential info to influence women get plea deal

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 22:36:52 +03:00

Prosecutors will request a suspended sentence for a woman who was convicted of using the confidential information of women who sought to terminate a pregnancy.

Liza Dermer, a 48-year-old anti-abortion activist from Petah Tikva, was convicted last week of breaching confidentiality. She reached a plea bargain with prosecutors under which the original indictment of multiple counts of breaching confidentiality was reduced to a single count and prosecutors will not request that she be given a custodial sentence. The maximum punishment for the offense is five years in prison.

Dermer, the œfamily purity coordinator of the religious organization Hidabroot, obtained the women's personal details from the medical secretary of an abortion clinic and gave them to an official in the organization whose duties included persuading women not to undergo an abortion.


 Israeli anti-abortion activists who used confidential info to influence women get plea deal


Coronavirus pandemic needs overwhelm Israel's municipal social services

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 22:21:19 +03:00

Municipal social service departments are on the verge of collapse beneath the weight of a desperate caseload of the coronavirus crisis, which is overwhelming its already overburdened social workers. More and more people are turning to these departments for assistance, and the long-term effects of the emergency will be particularly detrimental to poor and at-risk groups.

Social workers are having difficulty providing services to those in need because they find themselves working with wrong or missing information and wasting valuable time distributing resources, department heads say.

An official position paper obtained by Haaretz, written this week by the organization representing 260 heads of municipal social service departments, says: œThe coronavirus crisis could lead to the collapse of welfare and social service bureaus in local authorities due to the anticipated pressure on personnel, and their inability to carry out the many tasks and duties in a professional manner.


 Coronavirus pandemic needs overwhelm Israel's municipal social services


Israeli government to weigh long-delayed appointment of new ambassador to Egypt

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 22:20:05 +03:00

After a delay of more than a year, the government will on Sunday debate the appointment of Amira Oron as Israel's ambassador to Egypt.

A Middle East affairs expert, Oron speaks Arabic and is a former head of the Foreign Ministry's Egypt desk and has also served as ambassador to Turkey.

After Oron was designated by a professional appointments committee, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu froze the appointment and considered cancelling it in favor of Ayoub Kara, a former Likud minister, who has caused a number of embarrassing diplomatic incidents in the past. He once reportedly caused a crisis in Israeli-Italian relations by revealing a security affair involving Israel.


 Israeli government to weigh long-delayed appointment of new ambassador to Egypt


Trudeau speechless for 21 seconds when asked about Trump, protests in U.S.

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 22:03:30 +03:00

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that Canadians are watching what's unfolding in the United States with œhorror and consternation and he paused for 21 seconds when asked about U.S. President Donald Trump and the use of tear gas against protesters to clear the way for a photo opportunity.

Trudeau has long been careful not to criticize Trump as Canada relies on the U.S. for 75 percent of exports. But Trudeau, who is usually quick to answer, paused and struggled to come up with the right words when asked about Trump calling for military action against protesters and the use of tear gas for a photo opportunity.

The prime minister avoided mentioning Trump directly.


 Trudeau speechless for 21 seconds when asked about Trump, protests in U.S.


Reopened restaurants report Israelis are still reluctant to dine outside

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 21:49:18 +03:00

The Israeli public isn't hurrying back to restaurants, which were permitted to reopen a week ago, statistics provided by restaurant owners show.

œI thought that in the first few days after we reopened there would be insane demand, but sales are down dozens of percent and are currently 70 per cent of what they were in our pre-coronavirus days, says Ronen Nimni, owner of the Cafe Cafe restaurant group, which has 15 chains and 300 outlets. œAnyone who has been outside lately has seen that people are acting as if there's no coronavirus, and therefore we believed there would be a stampede to restaurants and coffee shops. It's still not happening, he said.

Nimni believes that œpeople are apparently afraid. Sitting at a coffee shop or restaurant necessitates a certain mental state. In addition, a certain percentage of the public is experiencing financial challenges. If people don't have money, they don't want to go out for entertainment.


 Reopened restaurants report Israelis are still reluctant to dine outside


Israeli startup Optimal Plus being bought by National Instruments for $365 million

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 21:46:15 +03:00

Israeli startup Optimal Plus is being sold to National Instruments in a $365 million deal.

Optimal Plus is a relatively mature company that was founded in 2005. It analyzes and improves electronics production processes, primarily microchips. The company's customers include Qualcomm and Nvidia. Optimal Plus interfaces with their factories, and carries out quality control and reports malfunctions.

It employs some 240 workers, and in 2019 had revenues of $51 million.


 Israeli startup Optimal Plus being bought by National Instruments for $365 million


Netanyahu assures settler leaders West Bank annexation won't be tied to Trump plan

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 21:21:18 +03:00

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told settler leaders in a meeting Tuesday that should annexation of West Bank lands be brought before the government or Knesset for approval, it would be promoted independently of the plan proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump, according to sources familiar with the content of the meeting.

After the meeting, Netanyahu's office put out a statement that the prime minister is committed to negotiations with Palestinians under the Trump plan. This means that Netanyahu's commitment would be declarative rather than written into law.

In past weeks, settlers have opposed the conditions delineated in the Trump plan, namely a freeze on settlement expansion and the isolation of some 15 settlements inside territories of a future Palestinian state, which they also oppose the establishment of.


 Netanyahu assures settler leaders West Bank annexation won't be tied to Trump plan


Coronavirus Israel live: Over 200 students, staff test positive, as cases keep rising

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 21:16:50 +03:00

Israel has seen a spike in coronavirus cases as it begins lifting restrictions on restaurants, bars, tourist attractions and other businesses. Despite the uptick, the country's number of COVID-19 patients remains low. 

-  17,285 people in Israel have so far tested positive for the coronavirus; 290 people have died. In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, 554 people tested positive; two people have died. In the Gaza Strip, 61 people were diagnosed, 18 of whom recovered, and one person has died. 

-  Coronavirus tracker: Live stats of cases and deaths


 Coronavirus Israel live: Over 200 students, staff test positive, as cases keep rising


Jordanian foreign minister says Israeli annexation will lead to 'fiercer conflict'

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 20:18:39 +03:00

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee that the international community must block any Israeli moves toward West Bank annexation and prevent such "unprecedented threat to peace."

"The message should be clear: Annexation will not go unanswered. For if it does, there will only be fiercer conflict. Annexation will make the two-state solution an impossibility, it will make institutionalized apartheid an inevitability; it will diminish all chances for a lasting and comprehensive regional peace," Safadi told the AHLC meeting.

Safadi also said annexation will have dangerous consequences for Israel-Jordan relations. The meeting was attended by the foreign ministers of Egypt, Qatar, Netherlands, Tunis, Spain, and a representative of the European Union.


 Jordanian foreign minister says Israeli annexation will lead to 'fiercer conflict'


Six Atlanta officers charged after video of black students pulled from car, tasered goes viral

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 20:17:50 +03:00

Six Atlanta police officers have been charged after a dramatic video showed authorities pulling two young people from a car during protests over the death of George Floyd, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced the charges during a news conference.

œI feel a little safer now that these monsters are off the street and no longer able to terrorize anyone else, said Messiah Young, who was dragged from the vehicle along with his girlfriend, Taniyah Pilgrim, while they were caught in traffic.


 Six Atlanta officers charged after video of black students pulled from car, tasered goes viral


If it had been my son, I'd find it hard to go on living

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 19:05:22 +03:00

I can't stop thinking about the last moments in the life of Eyad Hallaq. I'm not a sentimental type, but when I saw his father on TV, tears welled up in my eyes, and I felt a helpless rage rising in me. I too have a son with special needs. He'll be 25 in January, close to Hallaq's age. He was 32 when he was shot like a dog by policemen, in a garbage disposal shed in Jerusalem's Old City.

Hallaq was all alone when he was murdered in cold blood. He escaped in fright to that shed, searching for shelter after fleeing from policemen who wanted to search him. He didn't understand them. He didn't know what they wanted from him. They scared him. I know exactly what his fear looked like, how he was flooded with anxiety within a second or two, from the moment they called him in an authoritarian and threatening tone. I know exactly what his face looked like, what features it took on. I know this from my own son. When he was little, I held him in my arms when he was beset by similar anxieties, hugging him tight until he settled down.

I can't stop thinking of him hiding there, in the garbage shed, all alone in the world, without someone beside him to comfort him, to interpret the world for him, to explain the situation, to guide him as to how to behave. I think of him and see my son. My son wouldn't have acted any differently. Hallaq was on his way to the institution that took care of him, where he felt protected and loved. And they shot him. Like a dog, I wrote. That's a stupid expression. They didn't shoot him like a dog. They don't shoot dogs in the Old City. They shoot Arabs. They shot him like an Arab.


 If it had been my son, I'd find it hard to go on living


Auschwitz visitors to be disinfected at ˜sanitation gate' to help stem coronavirus

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 18:52:07 +03:00

It's hard to deny that the idea of visitors being sprayed with disinfectant as they enter Auschwitz has the potential to evoke some disturbing memories.

But as the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum plans its reopening after shuttering during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, it has announced that in an effort to make visits to the site of the former Nazi death camp as safe as possible, a specially designed and first-of-its-kind œsanitation gate has been installed in front of the museum's entrance.

The goal of erecting the gate is to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus, œas well as other viruses and bacteria which can be brought inside, for example on clothes, according to the museum's press release.


 Auschwitz visitors to be disinfected at ˜sanitation gate' to help stem coronavirus


Retired Israeli soccer star, ex-Tel Aviv deputy mayor face possible bribery indictment

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 18:51:42 +03:00

Retired soccer star Haim Revivo, a former Tel Aviv deputy mayor and a Likud party activist face a possible indictment as part of an alleged real estate bribery scheme, the prosecutor's office said Tuesday.

After a pre-indictment hearing, the prosecution will make a final decision on whether to file charges. The probe is an offshoot of an investigation into Likud Knesset member David Bitan.

Former Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Arnon Giladi is suspected of bribe-taking, fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and obstruction of justice, while Revivo is suspected of paying a 10,000-shekel ($2,900) bribe to advance a real estate project of his. The Likud activist, Yosef Ra'anan, is suspected of money laundering.


 Retired Israeli soccer star, ex-Tel Aviv deputy mayor face possible bribery indictment


Israeli tech firm AudioCodes raising $100m at peak $1.1b valuation

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 18:48:02 +03:00

AudioCodes is taking advantage of its peak $1.1 billion valuation to raise capital. The company, whose share price has increased 48% this year, is seeking to raise nearly $100 million through a share offer. The company is planning to sell 2.6 million shares, currently valued at $99 million.

The company's current $1.1 billion valuation is an all-time high for the company, which was founded in 1993.

AudioCodes intends to use the money to fund its ongoing capital needs and for potential future acquisitions. The underwriters of the stock sale Bank of America and Citi have an option to buy some 390,000 shares, or 15% of the sale, at the price being offered the public.


 Israeli tech firm AudioCodes raising $100m at peak $1.1b valuation


Worker in central Israel run over and killed by bulldozer at construction site

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 18:19:40 +03:00

A construction worker was killed at a construction site in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak on Tuesday after he was run over by a small bulldozer. The Magen David Adom emergency medical service reported that the man, who was about 30 years old, suffered very severe head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police described the piece of construction equipment involved in the incident as a backhoe loader and said they had reported the incident to the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry. Since the beginning of the year, 12 construction workers have been killed on the job in Israel. The Coalition Against Construction Site Accidents considers the man killed in the incident in Bnei Brak as the 13th such victim, but staff at the Labor Ministry said it is being considered a traffic accident.

The Labor Ministry has reported that since January 1, a total of 17 people have been killed in Israel on the job, a figure that is not limited to construction sites. For its part, the work accident coalition said that by its count, 23 people have been killed in workplace accidents this year.


 Worker in central Israel run over and killed by bulldozer at construction site


Israeli legislator invokes nation-state law in bid to block Palestinian family unification

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 18:16:53 +03:00

The head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has cited the so-called nation-state law to call on the government to bar Palestinians from moving to Israel to be united with relatives.

The attempt Tuesday by committee chief Zvi Hauser is the first of its kind to rely on the 2018 Basic Law on Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People. Up to now, family-unifications have been declined only based on security considerations.

Hauser and Yoaz Hendel make up the two-man Derech Eretz caucus in the Knesset; they are part of the governing coalition and split off from Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan.


 Israeli legislator invokes nation-state law in bid to block Palestinian family unification


Trump campaign already has a backup plan in case of full split with Twitter

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 17:53:28 +03:00

Should President Donald Trump and Twitter ultimately part ways, his campaign has a backup plan at the ready to get his voice out.

Tensions between Trump and the messaging platform escalated last week after Twitter began to label some of his tweets with a fact-check. Trump responded with an executive order that threatens to curtail some legal protections enjoyed by social media companies.

Trump's campaign has been building an alternative channel for him for months, a smartphone app that aims to become a one-stop news, information and entertainment platform for his supporters, in part because of concerns that the president would lose access to the Twitter platform, said his campaign manager, Brad Parscale.


 Trump campaign already has a backup plan in case of full split with Twitter


Violence rocks L.A., N.Y. protests after Trump vows to bring in military

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 17:01:07 +03:00

President Donald Trump on Monday vowed to use the U.S. military to halt protests over the death of a black man in police custody, before law enforcement officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas to clear demonstrators and allow the president to walk to a church and pose for pictures.

But as darkness fell hours after the president's remarks in the Rose Garden of the White House, violence erupted for a seventh night. Demonstrators set fire to a strip mall in Los Angeles and looted stores in New York City.

"Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled," Trump said. "If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them."


 Violence rocks L.A., N.Y. protests after Trump vows to bring in military


Where U.S. coronavirus cases are on the rise

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 16:19:20 +03:00

Several southern U.S. states reported sharp increases in COVID-19 infections, with Alabama, South Carolina and Virginia all seeing new cases rise 35% or more in the week ended May 31 compared with the prior week, according to a Reuters analysis.

South Carolina health officials said they expected more increases in the future due to a lack of social distancing and mask wearing at protests triggered by the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota.

œIf people don't follow current recommendations for social distancing and avoiding crowds of any kind, we can anticipate seeing increased numbers, the South Carolina health department said in a statement to Reuters.


 Where U.S. coronavirus cases are on the rise


Black hawk helicopter hovers above D.C. protesters in attempt to disperse them

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 15:56:28 +03:00

A helicopter hovered directly above protesters in Washington, D.C. on Monday, in what appears to have been an attempt at crowd dispersal during a protest over the death of George Floyd.

Video posted to social media showed wind produced by the helicopter kicking up dirt and debris.

U.S. President Donald Trump said a 7 p.m. EDT curfew in the nation's capital would be strictly enforced - he deployed thousands of armed soldiers to stop violence in Washington and vowed to send soldiers to other cities if mayors and governors failed to regain control of their streets.


 Black hawk helicopter hovers above D.C. protesters in attempt to disperse them


Zoom With Us: Will COVID-19 permanently transform the relationship between U.S. Jews and Israel?

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 15:47:29 +03:00

On Sunday, June 7, Haaretz's Washington correspondent Amir Tibon will lead a special live video conversation with senior reporters Allison Kaplan Sommer and Judy Maltz about the coronavirus crisis, racial and civil unrest in the United States, anti-Semitism and the Israel-Diaspora relationship.

The call will take place at 9 P.M. Israel time, 2 P.M. EDT. Viewers can join the Zoom call and ask questions live at this link: https://zoom.us/j/98594119667

Viewers can also join the conversation live on the Haaretz.com Facebook page.


 Zoom With Us: Will COVID-19 permanently transform the relationship between U.S. Jews and Israel?


'Being Black in America shouldn't be a death sentence.' What about being Palestinian?

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 15:24:55 +03:00

Did you see the American police officers? Did you see how they choked George Floyd to death in Minneapolis? Did you see Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck, pinning him down, with Floyd begging for his life until he died five minutes later? What racist police forces they have in America, how brutal. Now Minneapolis is burning after a black citizen was executed because of his skin color. The mayor apologized, the four officers involved were fired, Chauvin was indicted. America is a cruel place for black people and its police are racist.

A few days after Minneapolis, on Saturday morning, in Jerusalem's Old City, Eyad Hallaq, a 32-year-old autistic man, was on his way to the Elwyn Center for disabled people. Border Police officers claimed they believed he was holding a gun there was none and when they called out for him to stop, he started running. The penalty was death. The Border Police, the most brutal of all units, knows no other way to overpower a fleeing autistic Palestinian except to execute him. The cowardly Border Police officers fired some 10 bullets into Hallaq as he fled, until he died. That's how they always act. That's what they've been trained to do.

The Israel Defense Forces and the Border Police have a special weakness for the disabled. The slightest wrong movement or sound could sentence them to death. In another Old City, of Hebron in March 2018, soldiers killed 24-year-old Mohammad Jabari, who was mute and mentally ill, and whose neighbors called him œAha-Aha because those were the only syllables he could say. They ambushed and shot him near a girls' school, claiming he was throwing stones. He left behind a 4-year-old son, an orphan.


 'Being Black in America shouldn't be a death sentence.' What about being Palestinian?


Netanyahu and Gantz should scrap dubious coronavirus regulations, not legalize them

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 15:21:23 +03:00

An old rule of thumb says that the more a person defends himself, the more guilty he probably feels. It's no wonder then that both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his alternate, Benny Gantz, rushed to defend at length new proposed legislation to grant œspecial authority for contending with the coronavirus pandemic.

œIt's important for me to dispel several fake news items that have appeared in the media, announced Netanyahu at the opening of a meeting of Likud legislators. œI've just discussed individual rights and privacy protection with the public security minister, and we've agreed unequivocally not to allow the police to barge into the homes of citizens without a warrant. This will not happen. Fake news? In the media? Quite the opposite. The clause enabling police officers to enter homes under the guise of the coronavirus crisis appears in black and white in the bill, available for all to see on the Justice Ministry's website.

It's not Channel 12 newscaster Yonit Levy or Haaretz, heaven forbid, but rather Clause 12d (3) of the bill that states that the government wants the police to have the right to enter premises, including residential ones, for monitoring and enforcement in the campaign against the virus. It seems the person who framed the law, writing in the name of Netanyahu and Gantz, who are now playing innocent, was already aware of this problem. Indeed, the explanation provided for this provision states that œconsidering the extent of harm caused by entering any place, including a residence, it is suggested that the government be permitted to decide that this authority will not be given to anyone other than a police officer.


 Netanyahu and Gantz should scrap dubious coronavirus regulations, not legalize them


Can Trump send the U.S. military to quell violence at protests?

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 15:16:12 +03:00

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday suggested he would use federal troops to end unrest that has erupted following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody last week.

"If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them," Trump said during brief remarks at the White House.

The demonstrations have been largely peaceful, but police in some cities have used force against journalists and protesters, and protesters have clashed with police. Many U.S. cities have set curfews.


 Can Trump send the U.S. military to quell violence at protests?


Israeli government crafting softer version of coronavirus emergency regulations bill

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 14:58:01 +03:00

Trying to allay harsh criticism, the governing coalition is considering softening the draft bill that would let the cabinet declare a state of emergency and wield wide-ranging powers during the coronavirus crisis.

Both the Supreme Court and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit have advised that such authority should be contained in legislation passed by the Knesset.

The Justice Ministry and other ministries are conferring to agree on a bill expected to be introduced next week and replace the draft that critics say would badly infringe on human rights.


 Israeli government crafting softer version of coronavirus emergency regulations bill


Australian journalists assaulted by police live on air during D.C. protest, gov't registers concern

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 14:54:09 +03:00

Australia has asked its embassy in the United States to register its concerns with authorities there about an apparent police assault on an Australian cameraman during a protest in Washington, its foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, thousands of Australians marched in Sydney to protest against the death of black American George Floyd in U.S. police custody, after days of demonstrations and clashes in the United States sparked by the killing.

The Sydney protest came as Australian police face questions about use of force during the arrest of a teenager of aboriginal descent.


 Australian journalists assaulted by police live on air during D.C. protest, gov't registers concern


Justice for Eric Garner: new movie imagines the trial that never was

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 14:34:13 +03:00

Sometimes it seems like reality has a way with timing. It sends a culture reporter to interview a filmmaker on the other side of the world, and while the two are chatting leisurely, it takes the pointless death that is the subject of the interview, recreates it in an infuriating manner, has it provoke a full-blown riot and send angry masses into the streets, and proves that in effect, nothing has changed.

The riots that erupted across the U.S. in recent days make it unequivocally clear that Roee Messinger's debut film œAmerican Trial: The Eric Garner Story isn't only about one specific horrible death, but about a far broader problem a worldwide social abscess that refuses to disappear.

Last Tuesday, immediately after my interview with Messinger, whose film is about the death of Eric Garner a black man killed in New York in 2014 as a result of the physical violence used by police officers who were trying to arrest him the news was filled with the reports about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The similarity between the two deaths is appalling, especially after watching the video of Floyd's violent arrest, as he begs to be able to breath. 


 Justice for Eric Garner: new movie imagines the trial that never was


Eight U.S. states cast ballots on biggest voting day since coronavirus pandemic

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 14:17:36 +03:00

Eight states and the District of Columbia hold primary elections on Tuesday, the biggest test yet of officials' readiness to manage a surge of mail ballots and the safety risks of in-person voting during the coronavirus outbreak.

The largest day of balloting since the pandemic began will serve as a dry run for the Nov. 3 general election, offering a glimpse of the challenges ahead on a national scale if that vote is conducted under a lingering threat from COVID-19.

Coronavirus tracker: Live statistics of cases and deaths in Israel and around the world >> Latest coronavirus stories


 Eight U.S. states cast ballots on biggest voting day since coronavirus pandemic


Pompeo threatens to target 'corrupt' ICC over Israel, U.S. war crime probes

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 13:04:17 +03:00

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the Trump administration would soon release a series of announcements against the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Pompeo's announcement comes against the backdrop of ICC investigation against the United States for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and pre-trial procedures against Israel and Hamas.    

Speaking in an American Enterprise Institute podcast, Pompeo said that œYou'll see in the coming days a series of announcements not just from the State Department, from all across the United States government that attempt to push back against what the ICC is up to.


 Pompeo threatens to target 'corrupt' ICC over Israel, U.S. war crime probes


'Words of a dictator:' Top Democrats reject Trump's threat to deploy the military against protesters

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 12:34:48 +03:00

Several Democratic governors and lawmakers on Monday pushed back against U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to deploy the U.S. military unless they dispatch National Guard units to œdominate the streets in reaction to the violence that has erupted across the country.

California Senator Kamala Harris, who joined peaceful protests outside the White House over the weekend, said that Trump's threats to use the military against the American people are œthe words of a dictator and accused the president of "fanning the flames of hurt and pain."

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he doesn't believe the federal government can send military troops into his state. He accused the president of creating an œincendiary moment by threatening to do just that to quell violence that has arisen as demonstrators have taken to the streets in reaction to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.


 'Words of a dictator:' Top Democrats reject Trump's threat to deploy the military against protesters


What exactly is antifa? The movement Trump is blaming for U.S. violence

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 12:23:44 +03:00

U.S. President Donald Trump has blamed antifa activists for violence at protests over police killings of black people, but antifa isn't an organization and targeting it isn't so simple.

A look at what antifa is and is not:

WHAT IS ANTIFA?


 What exactly is antifa? The movement Trump is blaming for U.S. violence


The 100 Best Companies to Work for in Israel

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 12:08:57 +03:00

The second most-important parameter was the combination of salary and benefits. Following that we find that the Israeli employee cared about satisfaction with the boss, self-fulfillment, and professional challenge and only then job security, which came in sixth place, as befits a generation that doesn't plan to spend decades at any one workplace. The stability of the company was the least important parameter.

œIt was clear that this period was a test for us as an organization, Eyal Dror, the CEO of food manufacturer Strauss Israel, says of the coronavirus crisis. œThe theme that guided us was to get through the crisis with all our workers, because this would be the basis for emerging from the crisis.

As a matter of principle, Strauss, No. 6 on the list, kept all its workers on the payroll as of April, furloughing only ones who requested it. Arguably, Strauss' decision was an easy one given that it makes food; if anything demand for food products soared as people hoarded ahead of during lockdown. But Strauss is actually a group of companies that includes Strauss Water, Elite Coffee kiosks and more. Altogether, fewer than 100 employees were put on unpaid leave during the height of the pandemic lockdown.


 The 100 Best Companies to Work for in Israel


U.S. Ambassador Friedman 'saddened' by killing of autistic Palestinian by Israeli police

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 12:07:54 +03:00

U.S. Ambassador to the United States David Friedman expressed his condolences Tuesday over the killing of an unarmed disabled Palestinian by the Israeli police in Jerusalem's Old City.

Eyad Hallaq, 32, resided in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz. He attended and worked in a special needs school in the Old City, just meters away from where he was shot on Saturday.

œWe are all saddened by the death of this weekend and extend our deepest condolences to his family and to those who mourn this tragic loss. We welcome Israeli officials' expression of sorrow and commitment to a swift investigation into the incident, Friedman tweeted.


 U.S. Ambassador Friedman 'saddened' by killing of autistic Palestinian by Israeli police


Police arrest man suspected of threatening Netanyahu on Facebook

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 11:50:31 +03:00

Israel Police arrested Monday a man suspected of posting threats against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Facebook.

The man, a 21-year-old soldier from northern Israel, posted on Facebook that the state isn't doing anything to stamp out agricultural crimes.

œThe police hand out fines to those who go to the beach and don't wear a mask but stealing is okay. I hope the fruit thieves, Netanyahu and the Israel Police get stoned to death, the man wrote.


 Police arrest man suspected of threatening Netanyahu on Facebook


George Floyd protests: America's racial inequality in numbers

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 11:39:28 +03:00

Protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis last week, have spread to dozens of cities in the United States and other world cities.

Floyd's death, at the hands of a white police officer who knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, has reignited anger over longstanding social and economic inequality between the country's white and black communities.

More than 40 million black people live in the United States, making up about 13% of the nation's population.


 George Floyd protests: America's racial inequality in numbers


The Palestinian refusal to negotiate with Israel and Trump is a cowardly, fateful mistake

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 11:35:01 +03:00

The self-appointed Palestinian leadership in Ramallah the PLO's executive committee and Fatah's central committee met on Sunday, May 31, 2020, to discuss how to respond to Israel's threats to proceed with the annexation of the Jordan Valley. 

Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing allies interpret the Trump peace plan as allowing Israel to extend sovereignty over 30 percent of the West Bank come July 2020 should the Palestinians refuse to engage in peace negotiations.  

Predictably, besides denunciations and rejection, the Palestinian leadership has nothing else to offer. The Palestinian leadership is in a state of mental paralysis. Depressingly and damagingly, this condition is counter to the interests of the Palestinian people.


 The Palestinian refusal to negotiate with Israel and Trump is a cowardly, fateful mistake


S.Korea expects human trials of Celltrion's potential COVID-19 treatment in Europe

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 11:31:08 +03:00

South Korea expects clinical trials of Celltrion Inc's experimental COVID-19 treatment to begin in Europe next month and aims to secure sizable supplies of the drug by the first half of next year, a senior health official said on Tuesday.

Drugmakers worldwide are rushing to develop treatments for the flu-like illness caused by the new coronavirus that has killed more than 374,000 globally since it first emerged late last year in China.

Coronavirus tracker: Live statistics of cases and deaths in Israel and around the world >> Latest coronavirus stories


 S.Korea expects human trials of Celltrion's potential COVID-19 treatment in Europe


Trump threatens to use the military against protesters if governors don't stop the violence

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 10:52:04 +03:00

Wielding extraordinary federal authority, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened the nation's governors on Monday that he would deploy the military to states if they did not stamp out violent protests over police brutality that have roiled the nation over the past week. His announcement came as police under federal command forced back peaceful demonstrators with tear gas so he could walk to a nearby church and pose with a Bible.

Trump's bellicose rhetoric came as the nation convulsed through another round of violence over the death of George Floyd at a time when the country is already buckling under the coronavirus outbreak and the Depression-level unemployment it has caused. The president demanded an end to the heated protests in remarks from the White House Rose Garden and vowed to use more force to achieve that aim.

If governors throughout the country do not deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers to œdominate the streets, Trump said the U.S. military would step in to œquickly solve the problem for them.


 Trump threatens to use the military against protesters if governors don't stop the violence


White supremacist provocateurs are tipping America's protests into a race war

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 10:35:36 +03:00

Four years ago, amidst the civil unrest that followed five years of well-publicized reports of shootings (by law enforcement) of unarmed black men, a growing chorus of public commentators suggested that America was on the verge of experiencing "another 1968"  waves of violent, political protests with military and law enforcement responses, specifically over ongoing issues with racial oppression. 

As a historian, I myself rejected the characterization that America was heading towards a race war, arguing that improvements in race relations and economic opportunities for African Americans, while far from perfect, mitigated against any kind of ongoing, widespread unrest along the lines of what we saw in 1968. 

I am no longer as optimistic.


 White supremacist provocateurs are tipping America's protests into a race war


Police say four officers shot in St. Louis protests; one officer shot in Las Vegas

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 10:33:05 +03:00

Police say four officers were hit by gunfire after protests in St. Louis that started peacefully Monday became violent overnight, with demonstrators smashing windows and stealing items from businesses and fires burning in the downtown area.

The police department tweeted early Tuesday that the officers were taken to a hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening. It was unclear who had fired the shots.

The chaos in St. Louis followed continued protests Monday in Missouri over the death of George Floyd and police treatment of African Americans, with gatherings also held in Kansas City and Jefferson City.


 Police say four officers shot in St. Louis protests; one officer shot in Las Vegas


Moon god stele discovered at sacred High Place in northern Israel

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 09:53:28 +03:00

In the year 920 B.C.E., give or take a few years, the faithful in a fortified town in the Golan Heights could evidently see it coming: an invasion force that threatened to overcome the walls and vanquish them. Quaking in terror, presumably, it seems they carefully dismantled the icons in their sacred High Place lest the marauders give them the usual treatment of conquerors and contemptuously shatter the sacred images.

Almost 3,000 years later, archaeologists excavating the site the local Arabs called e-Tell and the team called œBethsaida found a rare stele of the powerful Mesopotamian moon god lying on its face, hiding the potentially provocative image.

In fact, what they did in the summer digging season of 2019 at the site of e-Tell, on the banks of the Jordan River a couple of kilometers north of the Sea of Galilee, was to turn over œan unassuming basalt stone that had been uncovered a few years back but left untouched. It had served mainly for the excavation volunteers to sit on and eat popsicles in the baking summer heat. The stone, some 70 centimeters tall by about 45 centimeters wide and some 15 centimeters thick (some 27 inches tall, 18 inches wide and 6 inches thick), was one of many resting by the corner of an ancient fortification tower. And when they turned it over, there was the image adored throughout the Levant and Mesopotamia in the Iron Age of the moon god.


 Moon god stele discovered at sacred High Place in northern Israel


Religious leaders outraged over Trump's church photo-op amid nationwide protests

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 09:13:20 +03:00

WASHINGTON Religious leaders in Washington criticized President Donald Trump on Monday after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators outside the White House to allow Trump to walk to a nearby church for a photo-op.

The incident took place just before a 7 P.M. curfew, declared by the mayor of Washington, went into effect.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump addressed the nationwide protests triggered by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer.


 Religious leaders outraged over Trump's church photo-op amid nationwide protests


Up to 270,000 Israelis had coronavirus, new study concludes

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 08:26:01 +03:00

Between 2 percent and 3 percent of the Israeli population has contracted the coronavirus, at least 10 times more than the number of confirmed cases. That is the conclusion of the first Israeli study based on a representative sample of serological (antibody) blood tests.

According to the researchers, this means that as many as 270,000 Israelis may actually have been infected by the virus, most without displaying any symptoms at all. Yet the antibodies in their blood indicate that they've been infected.

This paints a decidedly different picture than previous estimates made by other researchers, who believed that the confirmed cases slightly more than 17,000 as of Monday constituted the majority of those infected in Israel.


 Up to 270,000 Israelis had coronavirus, new study concludes


Haaretz cartoon

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 02:52:40 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya announces name change to Reichman University

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 02:37:19 +03:00

The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, which was established in the 1990s as a private college and about two years ago was given authority to grant doctoral degrees, has announced it will no longer call itself a center, but rather a university. In addition, IDC said it is changing its name to Reichman University, in honor of its founder and president, Prof. Uriel Reichman, who plans to retire in December 2021.

Announcement of the name change, which came at the initiative of the chairman of IDC's board of directors, Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, a former Israeli education minister, prompted strong objection on Monday from Israel's Council for Higher Education.

œBy law, we are entitled to call ourselves a university, IDC said, œbased on our being a research institution that has been authorized by international committees and the Council for Higher Education to grant doctoral degrees in law, psychology and computer sciences.


 Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya announces name change to Reichman University


Miri Regev's Mizrahi theme park

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 02:08:36 +03:00

One of the most obvious pieces of evidence of the racism infecting Israeli society is in the differing attitudes towards two female politicians, both of whom don't hesitate to stir up controversy and stand at the forefront of political brawls, who don't hide their ambitions and are not shy about presenting themselves as candidates for leading the country. Both of them rightly enjoy displaying their looks in color feature stories.

Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked and Transportation Minister Miri Regev of Likud are treated in markedly different ways. The former is considered a promising, popular politician whose ambitions are directly proportional to her abilities all the way to the dead end in which her political career and her party have found themselves. The latter, however, is a truly canny politician, truly popular and firmly ensconced at the top level of the ruling party, but it is common to relate to her dismissively and consider her a passing episode.

Regev knows this. She has constructed her camped-up image because she understands that the appearance of a strong woman of the Ashkenazi Jewish type might make an impression on enchanted opinion leaders and journalists, but in her world the populist show, a big mouth, lighting candles in Shabbat Shalom videos and the embroidered caftans at the Mimouna celebrations beloved of Moroccan Jewry all add up to a symbolic pile of sweet, traditional mufleta crepes. Oy, the disgrace of it! Regev is the first case known to me in history of œblackface done by a person of color.


 Miri Regev's Mizrahi theme park


Defendant No. 1 tweets again

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 01:29:15 +03:00

Benjamin Netanyahu describes himself on his Twitter account as œPrime Minister of Israel and Likud chairman, but his tweets indicate that the real manager of his account is œDefendant Netanyahu. This week, for example, he tweeted, œ Mendeblit is enslaving the Israel Police for an obsessive and tendentious persecution of the Netanyahu family in an attempt to bring down the Israeli prime minister. The public has already shown that it doesn't buy it.

Don't be mistaken: This isn't criticism by the prime minister of the attorney general, and of course he doesn't have an iota of proof to back the claim that the latter has conspired against him. It is a blatant effort by a criminal defendant to persuade the public that the legal proceedings against him are tainted and that his trial should be canceled.

It's no coincidence that the address for these accusations is œthe public and not the authorities meant to investigate these kinds of allegations, because they are false. Even State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman, who was appointed to go easy on the incumbent and champions œconstructive criticism, refused a request from former Justice Minister Amir Ohana to launch an investigation into the conduct of Mendelblit and the prosecution.


 Defendant No. 1 tweets again


Post-COVID Israel: More cars and remote work, less time at the mall

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 01:13:27 +03:00

What is Israel going to look like as people here emerge from the trauma of the coronavirus pandemic? That's what a survey of 506 adults conducted by the management consulting firm TASC and the data-collection agency i-Panel sought to find out.

What it found was that Israelis were moving away from supermarket shopping in favor of their neighborhood grocery store. They are buying more online and accessing more services on the internet, including remote medicine. The question remains, how ready is Israeli business and infrastructure to adjust to the changes ahead?

They are also giving up on public transportation in favor of their cars. The survey found that 41% of Israelis said they planned on using buses and trains less, nearly two thirds of them saying they planned to cut back significantly.


 Post-COVID Israel: More cars and remote work, less time at the mall


Israel must grapple with the psychological cost of personal bankruptcy

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 01:07:19 +03:00

With the long-waited establishment of a new government and the easing of the worst of the lockdown measures, one issue that is already pushed to the sidelines is the psychological cost of recession even as we are still looking at the prospects of a deep economic downturn in the eye.

The many ministers and deputy ministers in the new government would do well to consider the mental state of the one million or so Israelis who are unemployed. Many of them are going to be struggling with debts and not a few will end up filing for personal bankruptcy. Many will struggle to get permanently out of debt.

A study released by the Enforcement and Collection Authority, the arm of the government responsible for enforcing court orders for repossession and other financial affairs, confirms this: The main impact of its operations on people is emotional. Many fail to climb out of debt permanently.


 Israel must grapple with the psychological cost of personal bankruptcy


Where did the royalties go? Israeli authors fall victim to coronavirus cuts

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 01:06:34 +03:00

This is a terrible time financially for the entire cultural world. But authors seeking information about their royalty payments for books lent out by public libraries in 2019 have been told they may not get any, and it's not clear whether they'll get paid for 2020 either.

The company that the Culture Ministry hired to calculate and distribute the royalties wrote on its website that so far, the Finance Ministry hasn't approved a budget for royalties. Authors who sought elaboration were told that since there hasn't been a government capable of passing a budget for the past year, it isn't possible to pay them for the use of their books.

Even in normal times, royalty payments are low and based on incomplete data. And that's especially true since the Culture Ministry amended the royalty regulations for books borrowed in public libraries exactly two years ago.


 Where did the royalties go? Israeli authors fall victim to coronavirus cuts


Israel police arrest eight in Tel Aviv area for trafficking women

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 01:05:39 +03:00

Police arrested eight people Sunday on suspicion of operating a network for trafficking women in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

The suspects include a former Israeli athletics champion, who in the past was accused of pimping but charges against her were dropped at the time for lack of evidence. According to the suspicion, those involved recruited women from abroad to work in prostitution under the guise of massage services.

They are suspected of crimes including causing someone to leave his country for the purpose of prostitution, pimping and money laundering totaling millions of shekels. On Monday the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court extended the women's detention by four days.


 Israel police arrest eight in Tel Aviv area for trafficking women


Sex educators are appallingly behind in the age of porn

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 01:04:59 +03:00

A man and a woman are standing fully nude in front of the camera, with their faces out of the frame. Front and center we see their genitals, hairy and pretty close to each other. Suddenly, a fully clothed woman appears between them, armed with a smile and the energy of a TV host on a children's channel. She begins to explain about the hair that grows on one's body during puberty. In another scene she explains about how the penis and testicles grow during the teenage years. That explanation is also illustrated with a nude human model.

The series œPuberty was aired in 2015 on public television not in Israel, it goes without saying but in Norway. In general, the Scandinavian countries have a long history of open sexual education, the kind that isn't afraid to tell it like it is, without censorship.

In Israel, by contrast, you can count on one hand the number of TV programs for children and youth dealing explicitly with sexual education. And those few times where that did happen without too many visuals, it should be noted, it generated a public storm and efforts to block their broadcast. One prominent example occurred in 1996, when the Educational Television show œKlafim Petuchim produced a segment on gay teenagers. There were no overly graphic descriptions, but the very dealing with homosexuality set then-Education Minister Zevulun Hammer on edge. A day before the planned broadcast, he ordered the program canceled. It was only aired a year later, following a petition to the High Court of Justice.


 Sex educators are appallingly behind in the age of porn


Netanyahu complains to police about internet death threat

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 00:49:14 +03:00

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has filed a complaint with the police about death threats made against him in a comment published in November, he announced on Twitter Monday.

A senior police commander came to the Prime Minister's Residence to take testimony.

Netanyahu tweeted that he filed one complaint about œa series of threats to murder me and members of my family a few days ago. œToday, I regretfully was forced to file another complaint against a lowlife who described how he plans to murder me and my family.


 Netanyahu complains to police about internet death threat


Israel police report decline in crimes committed by foreign nationals

Tue, 2 Jun 2020 00:43:31 +03:00

Crimes committed by foreign citizens in Israel declined in 2019 by nearly 10 percent, and are on a downward trend for the first time in five years. The figures were publicized in the context of the Israel Police annual report, which indicates that last year there was a significant drop in crimes by foreigners. The report defined foreigners as suspects who are not Jews or Palestinians, such as "tourists, migrant workers and infiltrators," the last category referring to asylum seekers.

According to the police, 3,576 files were opened against foreigners in 2019, compared to 3,946 in 2018. Most of the files were opened in the Tel Aviv District, which has the largest number of cases of crimes committed by foreigners - 44 percent of all such files. Most of these files are for crimes of violence, disorderly conduct and crimes against property.

Since assuming his position two weeks ago, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana has already twice visited the police station in south Tel Aviv, where most asylum seekers in the region live. Ohana met with deportation activists and wrote on his Facebook page that "The lives of the residents of the neighborhoods in the south have become far more difficult in recent years due to the phenomenon of the concentration of the infiltration." Since his visit, the police have intensified their activity in the area.


 Israel police report decline in crimes committed by foreign nationals


Thousands protest violence against women in Tel Aviv

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 22:00:11 +03:00

Demonstrators protested against domestic violence in Tel Aviv Monday, demanding that the government transfer funds for a program to fight domestic violence that was approved back in 2017.

The organizers had intended to organize a rally similar to the Women's March in the United States, but were refused permits by the police due to coronavirus restrictions.  

Hotlines and women's shelters throughout Israel are reporting an uptick in reports of domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic. 


 Thousands protest violence against women in Tel Aviv


Trump and Netanyahu's war on media aims to conquer and occupy truth itself

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 20:58:10 +03:00

They shoot journalists, don't they, in Minneapolis and throughout a riot-ridden U.S.

After at least 30 documented incidents of arrest, violence, tear gas and rubber bullets directed at reporters, photographers and TV camera crews mostly by police Reuters declared on Sunday that it's œOpen Season against members of the working press.

Old timers claim that it's just like 1968, the last time America was so acutely polarized and divided. Many Americans who still put their trust in politicians and generals saw the tragically accurate press reports from Vietnam as enemy propaganda, on the edge of treason. But there were no smartphones then to broadcast attacks against journalists on social media throughout the world. There was no police force, trained and equipped, in no small measure with Israel as inspiration, as a crack army unit employing brute force.


 Trump and Netanyahu's war on media aims to conquer and occupy truth itself


Gantz instructs army chief to accelerate prep for 'diplomatic changes in Palestinian arena'

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 20:41:45 +03:00

Israel's defense minister, Benny Gantz, said Monday that he has instructed Israeli army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to accelerate preparations for "the upcoming diplomatic changes in the Palestinian arena." 

According to Gantz's statement, the defense minister "Updated the chief of staff about progress in the political arena." The move comes in light of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stated intent that Israel will begin the process of annexaing parts of the West Bank on July 1.

Also on Monday, Netanyahu discussed the subject of annexation with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, adviser and son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, and Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer.


 Gantz instructs army chief to accelerate prep for 'diplomatic changes in Palestinian arena'


Schools in Jerusalem shut as dozens of students, staff test positive for the coronavirus

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 20:34:02 +03:00

Several schools in the Jerusalem area were shut on Monday, as more staff and students tested positive for the coronavirus over the past few days. The majority of them more than 130 people came from a single school, Gymnasia Rehavia.

On Monday evening, the Health Ministry released updates figures showing 67 new cases, which add up to 98 over the last 24 hours. A total of 5,636 of tests were done on Monday.

Two people were diagnosed in the city's Paula Ben-Gurion School, and one person in each of three other schools in the city the Arts school, the Zalman Aranne School and the Masorti School.


 Schools in Jerusalem shut as dozens of students, staff test positive for the coronavirus


Iran did its cyber homework and managed to embarrass Israel

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 20:27:42 +03:00

At the end of April, a cyberattack that has been attributed to Iran was directed at six wastewater treatment plants around Israel. The incident was exceptional in two respects.

First of all, it targeted physical infrastructure that potentially could have inflicted damage in the real world as opposed to more common attacks on computer networks. Secondly, the attack was successful to some extent. According to a report on Israel's Ynet news website, the sewage treatment plants recorded faulty data, pumps went out of control and the attackers took over the operation system at one station. Late Monday, The Financial Times of London reported that, according to a Western intelligence source, the Iranian attackers had attempted to boost the levels of chlorine in the water supplied to Israeli consumers.

Israel's response came on May 9. According to the reports, Israel disrupted operations at the southern Iranian port of Shahid Rajaee at the Strait of Hormuz. Contrary to official Iranian claims, the damage at the port appears to have been extensive. Satellite images show traffic jams stretching for kilometers on roads leading to the port and cargo ships waiting to be unloaded for three days. That's a harsh blow for a country that is already suffering from international sanctions and limits on its international trade.


 Iran did its cyber homework and managed to embarrass Israel


Trump urges U.S. governors to 'dominate' streets, arrest protesters

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 20:23:04 +03:00

President Donald Trump on Monday urged U.S. states to crack down on violent protests that have engulfed cities, saying officials should "dominate" and arrest people to restore order after a sixth straight night of vandalism and looting, media reported.

Residents and business owners in cities from New York to Santa Monica, California, spent Monday sweeping up broken glass and taking stock of damage after protests over racial inequities and excessive police force turned violent again overnight.

"You have to dominate," Trump told the governors in a private call, the New York Times reported. "If you don't dominate, you're wasting your time - they're going to run over you, you're going to look like a bunch of jerks."


 Trump urges U.S. governors to 'dominate' streets, arrest protesters


Keren Hayesod fires its new CEO on first day of job

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 19:35:29 +03:00

Polly Bronstein, the first woman ever appointed to the position of  chief executive officer of Keren Hayesod United Israel Appeal, was notified on Monday, the day she was supposed to step into her new job, that the position has been scrapped as part of new cost-cutting measures.

Keren Hayesod is one of the largest fundraising organizations for the Jewish State.

The rather startling announcement came in a message sent by Sam Grundwerg, the chairman of the board of Keren Hayesod, to workers in the organization. He said that he would fill both positions.


 Keren Hayesod fires its new CEO on first day of job


Hong Kong police bar request to hold annual Tiananmen massacre vigil

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 19:32:37 +03:00

Hong Kong police rejected an application Monday by organizers for an annual candlelight vigil marking the anniversary this week of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, as residents rushed to apply for passports that could allow them to move to the United Kingdom

It would be the first time in 30 years that the vigil, which draws a huge crowd to an outdoor space, is not held in Hong Kong. The vigil commemorates China's deadly military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

The decision follows a vote by China's ceremonial parliament to bypass Hong Kong's legislature and enact national security legislation for the semi-autonomous territory. Democracy activists and many legal experts worry that the law could curtail free speech and opposition political activities.


 Hong Kong police bar request to hold annual Tiananmen massacre vigil


Four-year-old Palestinian who was shot in the head dies of her wounds

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 18:58:30 +03:00

A four-year-old Palestinian girl who was hit in the head with a bullet several days ago died at Hadassah University Hospital on Monday, according to a press release. 

Police suspected the shot that hit Rafif Mohammed Karain was fired over the separation wall between Jerusalem and the West Bank on May 21.

Last week, Palestinian sources in Isawiyah said they doubt the police's line of investigation, as the family lives near the center of the neighborhood, relatively far from the wall. Furthermore, residents said they didn't hear any gunshots.


 Four-year-old Palestinian who was shot in the head dies of her wounds


Facebook's Zuckerberg faces employee backlash over Trump protest comments

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 18:56:10 +03:00

Facebook employees critical of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's decision not to act on President Donald Trump's inflammatory comments about U.S. protests went public on Twitter, praising the rival social media firm for acting and rebuking their own employer.

Many tech workers at companies including Facebook, Google and Amazon have actively pursued issues of social justice in recent years, urging their employers to take action and change policies.

Even so, the weekend criticism marked a rare case of high-level employees publicly taking their chief executive to task, with at least three of the seven critical posts seen by Reuters coming from people who identified themselves as senior managers.


 Facebook's Zuckerberg faces employee backlash over Trump protest comments


From fighting ISIS to burying the dead: Iraqi militiamen drop guns to dig graves for virus victims

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 18:25:03 +03:00

Iraqi paramedic Sarmad Ibrahim cut his teeth treating fellow Shi'ite Muslim militiamen in the war against Islamic State. Now, he buries COVID-19 victims - an exhausting task where he must also get to grips with both Muslim and Christian burial rites.

"So far, we're coping," Ibrahim said as fellow volunteers from the Imam Ali Combat Brigade prepared to handle a coffin just sent from Baghdad. "But if we start receiving more bodies we might not be able to bury according to religious rules."

He and the other team members work at a new cemetery in the southern Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, Iraq's only graveyard specifically for those who have died of COVID-19.


 From fighting ISIS to burying the dead: Iraqi militiamen drop guns to dig graves for virus victims


˜Believe us': Black Jews respond to the George Floyd protests, in their own words

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 17:17:17 +03:00

 As Enzi Tanner participated in an online havdalah ceremony marking the end of Shabbat Saturday night, his city ” Minneapolis ” was being torn apart during a fifth night of unrest following the death of George Floyd, a black man, in police custody there last week.

Tanner, a social worker who supports LGBT families experiencing homelessness, said the ceremony ” hosted by Jewish Community Action, a local social justice group, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, a national organization and Edot Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity Collaborative ” conveyed a powerful message for black Jews like him.

œAs the Jewish community reaches in and says how do we support their cause and how do we support the black community, it's really important that people reach in to black Jews and other Jews of color and realize that we're here, Tanner said. œAnd we need our community.


 ˜Believe us': Black Jews respond to the George Floyd protests, in their own words


Palestinian economy could shrink up to 11% in 2020, World Bank says

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 17:05:21 +03:00

The coronavirus crisis could cause an already constrained Palestinian economy to shrink by as much as 11% in the coming year, the World Bank said on Monday.

In a report, the bank also cautioned that the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, could face a financing gap of more than $1.5 billion in 2020 due to reduced revenues and increased health spending.

Prior to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the bank had predicted 2.5% growth in the Palestinian economy in the coming year.


 Palestinian economy could shrink up to 11% in 2020, World Bank says


Roman-era ornament spotted by chance in Galilee national park

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 16:45:43 +03:00

A visitor to Zippori National Park in the Galilee chanced upon a waterspout from Roman times carved in the shape of a humanoid lion's head.

David Goren, a local resident, was walking in the national park when he noticed the artefact peeking from under the ground.

Made of fine quality marble that apparently originated in what is today Turkey, it is shaped like a lion's head with some human features. It is about 15 centimeters (six inches) in diameter and 12.5 centimeters (about five inches) deep. A pipe two centimeters (about three quarters of an inch) in diameter comes out of the back.


 Roman-era ornament spotted by chance in Galilee national park


White nationalists vs Antifa: U.S. officials blame differing groups of ˜outsiders' for violence

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 16:09:26 +03:00

As protests over the death of George Floyd grow in cities across the U.S., government officials have been warning of the œoutsiders -- groups of organized rioters they say are flooding into major cities not to call for justice but to cause destruction.

But the state and federal officials have offered differing assessments of who the outsiders are. They've blamed left-wing extremists, far-right white nationalists and even suggested the involvement of drug cartels. These leaders have offered little evidence to back up those claims, and the chaos of the protests makes verifying identities and motives exceedingly difficult.

Police officers across the country were gearing up Saturday for another night of potentially violent clashes in major cities. Some states had even called in the National Guard to aid overwhelmed police.


 White nationalists vs Antifa: U.S. officials blame differing groups of ˜outsiders' for violence


'I can't stand by and watch': American Jewish activists take to the streets following killing of George Floyd

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 15:38:38 +03:00

Standing in the middle of a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis last Thursday, Dr. Vivian Fischer felt a mix of grief, rage, solidarity and fear. The local Jewish resident and her 16-year-old son Max took to the streets to join those calling for racial justice. 

The Minnesotan city has been the center of major unrest following the death last week of George Floyd after on-duty police officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on the black man's neck for nearly nine minutes.

Fischer is an urgent care physician. Although she has recently been furloughed, she was one of many medical professionals on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. She had been very careful about maintaining social distancing since the guidelines were introduced in March, but made the decision to attend the protest and to take her son with her. She wanted to teach him that œyou cannot always flee danger there are times that you choose not to, she said, and that œspeaking out for causes that are not directly related to you is important. 


 'I can't stand by and watch': American Jewish activists take to the streets following killing of George Floyd


As Gulf economies shrink, foreigners are jumping ship

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 15:35:27 +03:00

One way to look at the economies of the Gulf is like a ship floating on a sea of oil. Taking the metaphor further, the crew running this giant vessel are overwhelmingly foreigners.

Expats make up close to half the population of the Gulf countries, in some cases close to 90%. They are the ones who build the luxury homes, showcase skyscrapers and giant shopping malls. They are the only ones who wait tables at the restaurants and clean the rooms at the hotels. Further up the labor ladder, expats run the banks and property companies, serve as doctors, and teach at the universities.

The crew is jumping ship. A report by Oxford Economics published this week estimates that employment in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which includes Saudi Arabia and six Arab emirates, could fall by as much as 13%. And, because expats make up such a large part of the population, the exodus will actually cause the GCC's overall population to shrink. In Saudi Arabia the population could contract by about 4% but in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar it could fall by more than 10%.


 As Gulf economies shrink, foreigners are jumping ship


Tel Aviv testing station aims to stamp out coronavirus outbreak among migrants, asylum seekers

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 15:32:06 +03:00

Dozens of foreign migrant workers and asylum seekers got tested for the coronavirus on Sunday at a designated testing station in south Tel Aviv, amid concern that they represent a segment of the population that is seeing a spike in cases.

The station was set up by the Magen David Adom medical service in the neighborhood of Neveh Sha'anan, which is home to a large migrant population.

The new station was established after the Health Ministry ordered an expansion of coronavirus testing facilities for foreign migrants. By 3 P.M., when the station closed on Sunday, 157 people had been tested and dozens of others had to be turned away, although the station was slated to reopen the following day.


 Tel Aviv testing station aims to stamp out coronavirus outbreak among migrants, asylum seekers


The real reason for ˜mainstream' Jewish America's appalling silence on annexation

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 14:50:30 +03:00

There was a time in our history when standing up in support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a bold stance for a Jewish community leader or organization to take. Those who did so were often criticized and even ostracized. 

Following that there was a period of time in which our community's center and center/right organizations came around, and they too declared their support for two states as the only effective way to end the conflict. Today "mainstream" Jewish organizations all tout their support of a two-state solution. 

But whether or not you support two-states is the 1990's question. Today it comes down to this: what are you going to do about it? When actions are taken that threaten the viability of two states living side by side in peace and security, what do you say? What do you do?


 The real reason for ˜mainstream' Jewish America's appalling silence on annexation


As debate heats up, Gantz says coronavirus emergency bill must be amended or dropped

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 14:34:27 +03:00

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Monday that controversial draft legislation supported by the government to extend the state of emergency declared due to the coronavirus outbreak will be amended or won't be advanced at all.

Gantz, who will take over as prime minister in 18 months according to a power-sharing agreement signed with former rival Benjamin Netanyahu, confirmed on social media that "the right to demonstrate will be maintained, and the courts and the Knesset will remain independent and open." 

Gantz also insisted that the law will strike a balance between emergency regulations and individual rights, responding to criticism over proposed measures: "Police officers will not be able to break into homes arbitrarily. The matter will be reexamined and proportionate rules will be formulated."


 As debate heats up, Gantz says coronavirus emergency bill must be amended or dropped


For an Israeli married to a Palestinian, family unification is forbidden

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 14:29:08 +03:00

I'm an Israeli lawyer, Jewish, married to a Palestinian resident of Ramallah. After years of wandering throughout the world, we returned to the West Bank with our two children, 5-year-old Forat and 2-year-old Adam. We are trying to lead ordinary lives in an extraordinary and unforgiving reality, one that I will share with you here. (Click to read all previous posts). I have changed the names of people in the blog, including my own. "Umm Forat" means "Mother of Forat" in Arabic.

* * *

I requested the meeting with the insurance agent to open a pension fund, but he insisted on trying to sell me disability, life and supplementary health insurance.


 For an Israeli married to a Palestinian, family unification is forbidden


Keeping the faith: What will the future hold for U.S. synagogues post-lockdown?

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 14:11:30 +03:00

Rabbi Joshua Davidson feels the weight of the current health crisis as he stands in a cemetery, leading burial services for victims of the coronavirus.

œWhen you're standing with families at the grave, and a mother and son can't even hug as they bury their husband and father, 6 feet has never looked like such a long distance as it does in this moment, says Davidson, who leads a large reform congregation at New York's Temple Emanu-El. 

The pandemic has upended the way of life for Jewish communities worldwide. Over recent months, synagogues have had to reimagine ways in which they can offer a sense of community to congregants at a time when gathering is not an option. Shabbats and bar mitzvahs on Zoom have become a reality for American Jews. But as talk of reopening America gathers speed, rabbis across the country are preoccupied with planning for Jewish life after lockdown and wondering how much of this œnew normal will simply become the norm.


 Keeping the faith: What will the future hold for U.S. synagogues post-lockdown?


Get ready to Benj watch: Emmy winner to write U.S. series on Netanyahu's life

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 14:06:16 +03:00

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be the main character in an American TV drama series written by Emmy winner Kirk Ellis, as reported on Variety's website. œBibi will be based on the book œThe Netanyahu Years by Israeli journalist Ben Caspit and will also deal with Netanyahu's family life.

œBen Caspit's insightful reporting demonstrates how private life always shapes public affairs, and there's no shortage of conflict or opinions when it comes to Benjamin Netanyahu, said Ellis in a statement.

Ellis won two Emmy awards for his work on the lauded 2008 HBO miniseries œJohn Adams. He was nominated for an Emmy for œAnne Frank: The Whole Story, a two-part miniseries on ABC.


 Get ready to Benj watch: Emmy winner to write U.S. series on Netanyahu's life


Peaceful NYC marches give way to chaos after dark; mayor's daughter arrested

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 13:39:09 +03:00

A fourth day of protests against police brutality kept New York City on edge Sunday, as thousands of people marched and many protesters and officers tried to keep the peace after days of unrest that left police cars burned and hundreds of people under arrest.

Earlier in the day, Mayor Bill de Blasio had rejected the idea of a curfew, like those adopted in other major U.S. cities.

The Democrat credited police for œtremendous restraint," but appointed two city officials to review incidents caught on video, including an officer ripping a man's mask off to spray his face with a chemical and two police cruisers lurching into a crowd of demonstrators in Brooklyn.


 Peaceful NYC marches give way to chaos after dark; mayor's daughter arrested


UN forced to cut aid to Yemen, even as virus increases need

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 13:19:38 +03:00

Aid organizations are making an urgent plea for funding to shore up their operations in war-torn Yemen, saying they have already been forced to stop some of their work even as the coronavirus rips through the country.

Some 75 percent of UN programs in Yemen have had to shut their doors or reduce operations. The global body's World Food Program had to cut rations in half and UN-funded health services were reduced in 189 out of 369 hospitals nationwide.

œIt's almost impossible to look a family in the face, to look them in the eyes and say, ˜I'm sorry but the food that you need in order to survive we have to cut in half,' Lise Grande, resident UN coordinator for Yemen, told The Associated Press.


 UN forced to cut aid to Yemen, even as virus increases need


LISTEN: High priests, holy smoke and cannabis in the Temple

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 12:51:46 +03:00

Host Simon Spungin, archaeology correspondent Ariel David and science editor Ruth Schuster discuss the startling revelation that ancient Israelites used cannabis in their religious ceremonies almost 3,000 years ago.

What does this tell us about the cultic practices of the time? When and why did the Israelites stop using psychotropic substances? And what might Judaism have looked like if cannabis had remained part of the ritual?

We also discuss the challenges and opportunities facing archaeologists working in Israel and Palestine and hear about an Israeli company marketing a bizarre product to evangelical Christians: locust-based snacks.


 LISTEN: High priests, holy smoke and cannabis in the Temple


And then the White House went dark: Another night of protests rattles D.C.

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 12:43:17 +03:00

WASHINGTON The nationwide wave of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota crashed into downtown Washington, D.C., on Sunday, with confrontations between protesters and the police often turning into street fights.

The mayor of Washington placed the entire city under a strict curfew starting at 11 P.M., an unprecedented step that did not deter groups of protesters from heading to the streets and continue to clash with the police well after midnight.

On Sunday afternoon, things looked very different in the area around the White House. The previous night, the streets surrounding the presidential compound were the epicenter of a violent outburst of looting and vandalism, but none of that could be seen in the late afternoon hours, when more than a thousand people gathered in Lafayette Square, across the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


 And then the White House went dark: Another night of protests rattles D.C.


Trump says he will designate Antifa as a terror organization after blaming group for violence

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 12:40:56 +03:00

U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday that the U.S. will classify Antifa as a terror organization after blaming the far-left group for leading violence amid nationwide protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd. 

"The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization," the president tweeted. 

Antifa, short for anti-fascists, is an umbrella term for far-left-leaning militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations.


 Trump says he will designate Antifa as a terror organization after blaming group for violence


World alarmed by violence in U.S.; thousands march in London, Toronto and Berlin

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 12:26:16 +03:00

Nations around the world have watched in horror at the civil unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing.

Racism-tinged events no longer startle even America's closest allies, though many have watched coverage of the often-violent protests with growing unease. Burning cars and riot police in the U.S. featured on newspaper front pages around the globe Sunday ” bumping news of the COVID-19 pandemic to second-tier status in some places.

Floyd's death on May 25 in Minneapolis was the latest in a series of deaths of black men and women at the hands of police in the U.S.


 World alarmed by violence in U.S.; thousands march in London, Toronto and Berlin


Israel's emergency coronavirus bill could perpetuate infringement on human rights

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 12:19:07 +03:00

On the eve of the Shavuot holiday and by the demand of the High Court of Justice and the attorney general, the Israeli government released a memorandum of a bill designed to enshrine into law emergency regulations to battle the coronavirus pandemic. The purpose of such legislation is to allow the legislature to curtail our liberties and oversee the government's actions, but the memorandum fails to do the latter.

>> UPDATE: Gantz says coronavirus emergency bill must be amended or dropped

The government has invited responses on the memorandum by Monday initially, a deadline that seems like underhanded opportunism. It was later changed to Thursday at the request of Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn of Kahol Lavan.


 Israel's emergency coronavirus bill could perpetuate infringement on human rights


UAE says 'Israeli annexation talk must stop,' warns of 'serious setback for peace'

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 11:56:45 +03:00

A senior United Arab Emirates official said on Monday that any unilateral move by Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank would be a serious setback for the Middle East peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said cabinet discussions would begin on July 1 on his plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to territory Palestinians want for their own state.

"Continued Israeli talk of annexing Palestinian lands must stop," Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in a Twitter post.


 UAE says 'Israeli annexation talk must stop,' warns of 'serious setback for peace'


Trump took shelter in White House bunker as protests raged

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 11:18:41 +03:00

Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.

Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House who was not authorized to publicly discuss private matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The account was confirmed by an administration official who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

The abrupt decision by the agents underscored the rattled mood inside the White House, where the chants from protesters in Lafayette Park could be heard all weekend and Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers struggled to contain the crowds.


 Trump took shelter in White House bunker as protests raged


˜Police in America are looting black bodies:' Emotional Trevor Noah speech goes viral

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 10:38:03 +03:00

South African comedian Trevor Noah said œpolice in America are looting black bodies," as unrest continues throughout the United States in the wake of the killing of George Floyd last week.

In an 18-minute video released Friday by œThe Daily Show, Noah reiterated that there is no "right way" to protest, alluding to the criticisms many have voiced regarding the violence that has taken place amid some of the demonstrations. The video has over 4.9 million views.

"When people burn things ... they say it's not the right way, Noah said. œIt's never the right way to protest because that is what protest is. It cannot be right because you are protesting against the thing that is stopping you," Noah says. 


 ˜Police in America are looting black bodies:' Emotional Trevor Noah speech goes viral


Iranian cyberattack aimed to raise chlorine level in Israeli water, report says

Mon, 1 Jun 2020 09:53:55 +03:00

An Iranian cyberattack in April on Israel's water systems aimed to raise chlorine levels in drinking water, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, quoting an unnamed intellience official from a Western country.

The attack, first reported by Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth in early May, had been noticed after water pumps started malfunctioning. According to the report, it had focused "on operational systems and mechanisms for adding chlorine to wells."

According to the Financial Times report, the attack, if successful, could have left tens of thousands without water, including farmers, and, at worst, hundreds of people could have fallenseriously ill.


 Iranian cyberattack aimed to raise chlorine level in Israeli water, report says






US  US NO






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

tn_10-275.jpg

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