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Ha'aretz
Time: Fri, 09.17.2021 02:45 AM Local file generated: Fri, 09.17.2021 01:44 AM
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Anhar al-Dik spent half her pregnancy in Israeli prison. She's hoping her newborn won't grow up there

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:52:00 +03:00

Congratulations. Ala al-Dik was born via C-section on September 9 in Istishari Arab Hospital, near Ramallah. He weighed three kilos (6.6 pounds) at birth, suffered from neonatal diabetes and was discharged four days later. Anhar, his 25-year-old mother, had been discharged two days earlier. On Monday afternoon this week, Anhar sat in the living room of her mother Aisha's house, in Nima village, in the central West Bank, where she is under house arrest. Her face bespoke restrained happiness and demonstrative weariness. All she wanted was for us to leave so she could be with her husband and children.

We had visited here two weeks ago. At that time it looked as though the military court was not going to release Anhar from prison. Israel Prison Service authorities decided at that point that she would have a pre-scheduled delivery by C-section on September 12 in an Israeli hospital, while still under detention. It seemed unlikely then that the court would wake up at the last minute and order the release of this woman who was in her ninth month and whose family attests that she suffers from mentally instability.

Anhar, too, didn't believe she would be released before giving birth. This week she told us that she had been certain she would have the baby behind bars, in the Damon Prison, south of Haifa. A few weeks earlier she had written in a letter from her jail cell: œYou are familiar with the C-section. How will it be performed inside the prison, with me handcuffed and alone?... I have no idea where I will be after the operation and how I will take my first steps after the birth with the help of an Israeli guard who will hold my hands in disgust.


 Anhar al-Dik spent half her pregnancy in Israeli prison. She's hoping her newborn won't grow up there


The Israeli interior minister is cynically violating Palestinian rights

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:31:22 +03:00

Over two months ago, the Knesset voted against extending the emergency order that allowed the state to prevent Palestinians from the territories coming to live in Israel with their Israeli Arab spouses but Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked doesn't care.

Shaked doesn't want to bid farewell to the law that allowed Israel to discriminate against Arab Israelis for 18 years on security pretexts. So what did the minister do? She ordered the Population and Immigration Authority to ignore the expiration of the order, and handle family unification requests according to the legal situation that prevailed when the order was still in force.

She found a fine ploy: instead of an emergency order, a ministerial order. Palestinians who turned to the population authority either received no response at all or were told: œAt this time we cannot make new appointments until additional instructions are received.


 The Israeli interior minister is cynically violating Palestinian rights


Israel must codify equality

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:28:55 +03:00

The Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee began a series of debates this week on enshrining of equality in Israel's Basic Laws, which serve as the equivalent of a constitution.

One should commend the committee's chairman, Labor's Gilad Kariv, for his initiative in continuing the task of formulating Israel's constitution. The current issue is an attempt to rectify a shameful situation whereby, 73 years after the state's establishment, there is still no Basic Law that guarantees the obvious: In a democracy, everyone is equal before the law. There is no discrimination between people. These are elementary words which appear in every constitution around the world as a cornerstone of democracy.

Israel's Basic Laws lack this bare minimum, and each initiative to legislate it unleashes shameful debates where lawmakers vote for or against equality. In each of these debates, the minutes record participants saying things such as œObviously, all citizens are equal, butŠ followed by a long list of empty excuses, as if there were a logical reason why Israel should not have full civic equality, as promised by the Declaration of Independence. In reality, opponents of such a clause support claims made by Israel's adversaries, whereby a Jewish state, by definition, cannot be democratic or egalitarian, even though equality is a Jewish and Zionist value deriving from the history of Jews as a persecuted minority.


 Israel must codify equality


'Sometimes, Hamas turns Israel's spies into double agents instead of killing them'

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:26:50 +03:00

Tell us something about yourself and your research.

I'm Nati Flamer, 34 years old. I served in the Israel Defense Forces for almost a decade, in Military Intelligence. I engaged in research and taught an intelligence officers' course, and at the same time I studied at a university. In one of my master's-level courses I wrote a paper about Hezbollah's intelligence activities during the second Lebanon war. When I examined the available sources on the subject, I discovered that this was an almost untouched area in academia. The study of intelligence in non-state organizations is simply an unplowed field. For my doctoral dissertation I decided to try to fill that vacuum in academic, and perhaps also public, discourse about the phenomenon as such and regarding Hamas and Hezbollah in particular.

How do you explain that vacuum?


 'Sometimes, Hamas turns Israel's spies into double agents instead of killing them'


Where are Israel's school nurses?

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:26:34 +03:00

I remember Nurse Sara from Jezreel Primary School in Afula of the 1960s and 1970s. Always in a blue uniform and a pure white coif. Someone you could go to during class or recess and get a warm, sweet cup of tea. Someone who would always place a cool hand on your forehead, even if afterward she would take your temperature with a thermometer the fragile kind, with mercury.

Sara was the one who vaccinated us. We stood in a long row next to her room, waiting for the shot. Sara gave us the first and only class in sex education. Today it seems anachronistic and naĂŻve, but it seems to me it was far more accommodating and enveloping than the profusion of information and porn to which children today are exposed on the internet.

I hear the wearisome bickering between the education system and the Health Ministry over the vaccinations. I read the remarks of exhausted parents about the home tests and the long wait in line for tests needed for a Green Pass. I read about the lengthy and frequent self-isolations. Sometimes they seem exaggerated and hysterical. They disrupt the lives of the children and the parents. And I think how it could all have been different, if the authorities hadn't removed the institution of the school nurse from our children's life.


 Where are Israel's school nurses?


Who will carry the torch of Bedouin leadership?

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:22:50 +03:00

An earthquake hit the Negev, breaking hearts throughout the Bedouin community, upon the death of Knesset member Saeed Alkharumi. œThe Son of the Negev left behind an aching community, bereft and isolated, riven and poor. An entire sector, represented since the first Knesset by a succession of six lawmakers, was left without someone to represent it. The question is: Who will carry the burden of the Bedouin community now?

The United Arab List (Ra'am) is now debating whether to let someone from this community into the party. In my opinion, as a member of the community, this is a heavy load that requires several representatives, with just one being insufficient. To understand the scope of this burden and the mission lying ahead, one must understand the nature of the problem. The Bedouin community's problems don't begin and end with the demolition of houses. That is only the tip of the iceberg.

Here are some facts that can highlight the issues. Bedouin society is afflicted with poverty, as Bedouin villages occupy the lowest socioeconomic tier. The education level in Bedouin schools is very low in comparison to that in the Hebrew and general Arab education system. This is proven by standardized assessment tests, with only 53.5 percent of pupils eligible to take high school matriculation exams, a very low figure compared to the rest of Israeli society.


 Who will carry the torch of Bedouin leadership?


Netanyahu's defense claims Walla provided biased coverage to Lieberman, Kahlon

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:14:23 +03:00

The cross-examination of former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua in the trial of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued Tuesday in Jerusalem District Court. The trial resumed Monday after having been in recess for three months.

Netanyahu's lawyer Boaz Ben Zur confronted Yeshua with correspondence from 2016 between him and former Walla owner Shaul Elovitch in connection with the way Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman, then defense minister, was being covered.

Yeshua testified that Elovitch œpresented me with his interests regarding Lieberman, gave me clear instructions not to hurt ˜the Russian,' not to go for ˜the Russian's' head. He said Elovitch had told him that he œneeds him to help me with something soon. Upon hearing this in court, Elovitch burst out with, œLiar. I never gave you any instruction, and left the courtroom.


 Netanyahu's defense claims Walla provided biased coverage to Lieberman, Kahlon


Israel must prove its loyalty to its Arab citizens, not vice versa

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:09:12 +03:00

Mohammed Zayat was murdered four years ago, in September 2017. He was a truck driver and father of four from Jisr al-Zarqa. When we came to the bereavement tent to hear about the circumstances of his death, we realized that no one in the town was surprised by the murder.

The family and neighbors told how two and a half years earlier, another resident of the town had murdered someone and then fled to Zayat's house, where he took a shower and changed his clothes. Zayat, a conscientious citizen, reported this to the police and later testified in court. Subsequently, his and family's life became hell. Shots were fired at his home, the family car was torched, and even after he left town for a few months at the suggestion of the police, it didn't stop. Ultimately, Zayat was murdered.

This is one tragic story, but it's not the only one. More than anything, it attests to the intolerable dilemma facing many Arab citizens of Israel. For much of the Jewish public, this element is not part of public life.


 Israel must prove its loyalty to its Arab citizens, not vice versa


Haaretz cartoon

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:02:44 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


Number of serious COVID cases in Israel falls to lowest number in a week

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 23:44:45 +03:00

The number of serious coronavirus cases in Israel declined to 654 on Wednesday, the lowest in over a week, according to Health Ministry data released Thursday. 

The R number, which represents the average number of people that each infected person will go on to infect, rose to 1.14, indicating that the current outbreak is continuing to grow. The figure represents an increase, after it fell below 1 for a few days.

The numbers showed 8,586 people testing positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, with a positive test rate of 5.93 percent.  


 Number of serious COVID cases in Israel falls to lowest number in a week


Crime scourge in Arab community: Two men shot dead, another seriously injured

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 22:20:40 +03:00

Two Arab citizens of Israel were shot dead in separate incidents in Acre and Jisr al-Zarqa on Wednesday, with another man seriously injured in Shfaram on Thursday rounding off a bloody Yom Kippur in Arab communities. 

The 54-year-old resident of the predominately Arab city of Shfaram was shot and seriously wounded on Thursday, according to the police. The wounded man was the owner of a supermarket and was hit when a masked man on a motorcycle fired at the store, the police added.

Eighty-six Arab Israelis have lost their lives to violent crime this year so far, after 97 Israeli Arabs were murdered last year the most in at least 20 years. Of the 86 cases this year, 69 involved firearms and 45 of the victims were under the age of 30, according to the non-profit organization Abraham Initiatives.


 Crime scourge in Arab community: Two men shot dead, another seriously injured


When the Shin Bet chief warned that educated Arabs are a 'problem' for Israel

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 21:49:27 +03:00

When it comes to the state's attitude toward its Palestinian citizens, the policy of making available historical documents from the archives is made on the basis of several criteria. One of them starts with the assumption that declassifying documentation that reveals a policy of inequality is liable to harm the country's image and generate a possible reaction from Israel's Arab population.

Because the state's approach to the Arab public has long been essentially repressive, it's not surprising that the documentation available for perusal is very limited. It follows, then, that any attempt to present an ongoing description of the positions taken by senior figures in the security establishment over the years is almost doomed to fail. Nonetheless, two files that recently became available for perusal in the Israel State Archives offer an exceptional look at the bedrock views of the country's top security officials toward the country's Palestinian citizens during its early decades, and reveal their guiding principles.

The two documents in question were declassified following a request submitted by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research. The first, titled œSummary of a Meeting about the Arab Minority in Israel, relates to a meeting held in February 1960, at the request of Uri Lubrani, the Arab affairs adviser to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Lubrani convened the heads of the security units that dealt with the œArab issue, a term used frequently in discussions during that period. 


 When the Shin Bet chief warned that educated Arabs are a 'problem' for Israel


12-year-old killed in Yom Kippur bike accident, police open investigation

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 21:48:34 +03:00

A 12-year-old boy was killed on Thursday after a vehicle hit his bicycle near Giv'at Shmuel in central Israel, as Magen David Adom, Israel's emergency services, reported high numbers of calls over Yom Kippur.

The driver, 40-year-old Eran Azulai, was arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol. The Tel Aviv District Court extended his arrest through Sunday. Azulai had been charged twice in the past with drunk driving.

Paramedics were called to the aid of 2,583 people across the country, including the fatal accident of the boy from Ramat Gan. The police suspect the driver, a man in his forties, was driving under the influence when the accident occurred, and have taken him in for questioning.


 12-year-old killed in Yom Kippur bike accident, police open investigation


Israeli study finds COVID booster shot increases protection elevenfold for elderly

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 21:22:18 +03:00

Coronavirus vaccine booster shots increase protection from infection over tenfold in those over 60, according to an Israeli study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study used data on 1.14 million Israelis aged 60 and up who had received two doses of the vaccine by the end of August. It divided cases into two groups: one consisting of people who received two doses of the vaccine, and another consisting of people who received a third dose. The researchers found that at least 12 days after the booster shot, the rate of infection in the non-booster group was 11.4 higher than the booster group, while their rate of severe illness was 19.5 times higher.

The peer-reviewed study was authored by 11 researchers, including Health Ministry director general Nachman Ash and Israel's director of public health services, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis. They used several statistical methods and wrote that they had attempted to account as much as possible for variables such as behavioral differences and differences between different demographic populations.


 Israeli study finds COVID booster shot increases protection elevenfold for elderly


'Munich is very family-friendly. It's like a kibbutz'

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 20:17:40 +03:00

Heloise Temps, 34, Asaf Yaacobi, 42, Eden Yaacobi, 4, Zoe Yaacobi, 1; live in Munich and flying there

How was your visit in Israel?

Heloise: In Germany, there is a protocol for everything. You need to do A, B and C, and everything is written down systematically, everything happens by the book. In Israel there is simply no f---ing playbook!


 'Munich is very family-friendly. It's like a kibbutz'


Israel's ultra-Orthodox parties had a terrible year. The new one could be worse

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 20:12:01 +03:00

On Yom Kippur last year, Israelis prayed in the streets. Observing the social-distancing rules while the second wave of COVID-19 swept across Israel, synagogues remained closed. It was a sobering time, but the scenes of thousands of Israelis religious, traditional and secular joining together in prayer and song in unexpected places like Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Square, in a rare moment of unity, were a rare ray of hope.

There was one place where the synagogues defiantly remained open. In the Haredi autonomy, the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods and towns, services took place indoors, often without masks or any form of separation (except the usual kind between men and women, of course). It was a stark sign of how a community comprising 13 percent of Israel's population had detached itself from the rest of the country.

A few days later, after pressure from above, the police, who had largely abandoned any attempts to enter the Haredi areas, launched a perfunctory investigation into the prayers that had taken place in Jerusalem's largest synagogue: the Beit Midrash of the Belz Hasidic sect, where over 10,000 men and boys had been packed in on Yom Kippur. It was a desultory affair that reached no conclusions. Instead of phoning the Belzer rov, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, under whose direction the prayers had taken place, the police questioned journalists who reported on the event.


 Israel's ultra-Orthodox parties had a terrible year. The new one could be worse


Why are Israelis scared of Palestinian identity?

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 19:49:40 +03:00

The violent upheaval that embroiled Jewish and Arab citizens this past May generated increased public discussion of the feasibility of a shared Jewish and Arab society in Israel. During and after those events, prominent actors in various sectors local government, business, organized labor, education and academia, and other public institutions called for maintaining or even intensifying efforts to forge a shared life. This is a new approach, not evident in prior rounds of escalation between Jews and Arabs inside Israel. Nor is it a typical response to escalation in national conflicts generally, and it was unusual in its scope and force. We think those calls at the height of the crisis were crucial in limiting or reducing the violence and preventing the implosion of relations between Jews and Arabs here.

This new pattern did not come out of nowhere. In the last few years, we've seen more and more public spaces and institutions where Arabs and Jews routinely meet, mainly workplaces and campuses. More Arab citizens have also established a greater presence in centers of power and influence. 

Additionally, more public agencies and civil-society initiatives have taken steps to include Arab citizens as partners, participants and sometimes leaders in their programs. The process first trended widely within the Jewish left, and then spread beyond it to the political center. This is fortuitous because as the foundations for a shared society for Jews and Arabs become broader, encompassing larger and more diverse public constituencies and public, private and civil-society entities the stronger and more stable those foundations will become. In turn, those foundations will have greater capacity to support bridge-building between Jews and Arabs, and perhaps even to forestall any future escalation of conflict.


 Why are Israelis scared of Palestinian identity?


Why the world's most ancient terrain hasn't changed in 2 million years

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 19:14:46 +03:00

Everyone knows that you can't step into the same river twice, but technically it's also impossible to step on the same ground twice. œThe earth turns over, Israeli poet Yona Wallach wrote, œand that is a condition / and it's not a metaphor. But there is earth that hasn't turned over for almost two million years: the Paran Plains. Yes, it turns out that the Paran Plains, in the Negev desert, are the site of the oldest land on our hyperactive blue planet.

œThe planet's landscape is not preserved, explains the world-renowned geologist Ari Matmon, head of the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. œThere is decay, there is erosion, new rocks are exposed. Everything changes. And if you really want to be pedantic: The spot I am standing on today will not be the spot I will stand on a year from now. However, if there had been human beings in Paran two million years ago, they would have trod the same gravel we're stepping on today. I'm certain that there are landscapes in the Sahara Desert, in Antarctica, and possibly in the Atacama Desert in Chile that are the same age as the Paran Plains they just haven't been examined. The Paran Plains are the oldest landscape that has been measured on the planet Earth.

Here we need to distinguish between the age of rock and the age of landscape. The most ancient rocks in Israel are the Eilat Mountains, some of which are 800 million years old. But the landscape of the Eilat Mountains is far younger, the result of the sinking of the Gulf of Eilat and the elevation of its margins 14 million years ago. A curious dinosaur lumbering through what is today the Timna Valley, for example, would not have seen mountains, but rather, a broad, sandy seashore while it splashed through the shallow water. No dinosaur saw the mountains and valleys, the sand and the stones of œour Timna.


 Why the world's most ancient terrain hasn't changed in 2 million years


First shipment of Hezbollah-commissioned Iranian oil arrives in Lebanon

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 17:25:41 +03:00

A convoy of tanker trucks carrying Iranian diesel crossed the border from Syria into Lebanon early Thursday, the first in a series of deliveries organized by the militant Hezbollah group to ease crippling fuel shortages in the crisis-hit Mediterranean country.

The delivery violates U.S. sanctions imposed on Tehran after former President Donald Trump pulled America out of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in 2018.

It was portrayed as a victory by Hezbollah, which stepped in to supply the fuel from its patron, Iran, while the cash-strapped Lebanese government grapples with months-long fuel shortages.


 First shipment of Hezbollah-commissioned Iranian oil arrives in Lebanon


German police detain four over synagogue threat on Yom Kippur

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 14:14:53 +03:00

German security officials said Thursday they had detained four people, one of them a 16-year-old, in connection with a suspected plan to attack a synagogue in the western city of Hagen.

The detentions took place on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, and two years after a deadly attack in another German city on the Yom Kippur holiday.

Officials had received œvery serious and concrete information that there could be an attack on the synagogue during Yom Kippur, said Herbert Reul, the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, where Hagen is located. The tip pointed to œan Islamist-motivated threat situation, and named the possible timing and suspect, he added.


 German police detain four over synagogue threat on Yom Kippur


Larry Ellison offers Netanyahu lucrative Oracle post

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 13:14:18 +03:00

The American-Jewish billionaire Larry Ellison, who founded the giant software firm Oracle, has asked former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join the board of directors of the company.

Sources close to Netanyahu and Ellison said they did not know if Netanyahu accepted the offer or even responded to it. Netanyahu denied receiving the offer from Ellison.

An Oracle spokesman, speaking for Ellison, declined to respond to the report. Although details of the reported offer aren't known, such a board appointment would apparently include compensation of as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.


 Larry Ellison offers Netanyahu lucrative Oracle post


Israel has bolstered Red Sea activities over Iran threats, ex-navy chief says

Thu, 16 Sep 2021 13:11:25 +03:00

Israel's navy has stepped up its activities in the Red Sea œexponentially in the face of growing Iranian threats to Israeli shipping, the country's just-retired navy commander said in an interview.

Vice Adm. Eli Sharvit stopped short of confirming a series of attacks and mishaps on Iranian ships that have been attributed to Israel. But he described Iranian activities on the high seas as a top Israeli concern and said the navy is able to strike wherever necessary to protect the country's economic and security interests.

œThe state of Israel will protect its freedom of navigation across the globe, Sharvit told The Associated Press, days after completing his five-year term. œThat's not related to distance from the country.


 Israel has bolstered Red Sea activities over Iran threats, ex-navy chief says


Bennett makes Time Magazine's 2021 list as Islamist coalition partner hails his 'courage'

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 22:30:09 +03:00

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has made Time magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people, and his Arab-Israeli coalition partner Mansour Abbas thinks he knows why.

œIt all comes down to courage, Abbas, the leader of the first Arab party to join an Israeli governing coalition, writes in the accompanying blurb explaining why his political opposite was recognized on the list published Wednesday.

œAfter four elections in two years, a bold act was needed to unite a country frayed by political stalemate and brought to a desperate standstill. Something dramatic needed to change, but more importantly, someone courageous needed to make that change.


 Bennett makes Time Magazine's 2021 list as Islamist coalition partner hails his 'courage'


Man seriously wounded in Jaffa stabbing; Palestinian suspect arrested

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 18:15:00 +03:00

A Palestinian man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of stabbing and seriously wounding an East Jerusalem resident in Jaffa, with police saying the assailant planned to harm Jews. 

The Palestinian, in his 20s from the West Bank, was taken in for questioning. Police are searching for two additional suspects.

The 49-year-old victim, a Christian from East Jerusalem, managed to call the police after he had been stabbed and was taken to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon with impaired consciousness.


 Man seriously wounded in Jaffa stabbing; Palestinian suspect arrested


EU, Israel to mutually recognize COVID proof of immunity

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 16:04:42 +03:00

Israel and the European Union agreed Wednesday that each side will recognize the other's proof of immunity regarding the coronavirus, the governments announced in a joint statement.

The move will ease travel for Israelis upon arrival to EU states, but each country still has the right to impose further restrictions on visitors such as quarantine or the need to present a negative test result for COVID-19.

>>> Israel's 17% unvaccinated now account for 65% of all serious COVID-19 cases


 EU, Israel to mutually recognize COVID proof of immunity


Hundreds arrive in Israel from Iran, Syria, other enemy states, COVID data reveals

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 15:11:45 +03:00

What do Iran, Yemen, Syria and Libya all have in common?

None of these states has any kind of diplomatic relations with Israel, but according to data released by the Health Ministry, hundreds of people have recently entered Israel after traveling to those countries.

The information appears on the ministry's online dashboard, which provides COVID-19 statistics. One set of data shows how many cases were found in tests on people who recently entered Israel from foreign countries.


 Hundreds arrive in Israel from Iran, Syria, other enemy states, COVID data reveals


Israel could accept a U.S.Iran nuclear deal, Defense Minister Gantz says

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 14:43:14 +03:00

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Israel would be willing to accept a new nuclear deal between the United States and Iran, marking a shift in the policy led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toward Theran.   

In an interview with Foreign Policy on Tuesday, Gantz said he would accept œthe current U.S. approach of putting the Iran nuclear program back in a box.

According to Gantz, Israel would like to see a "viable U.S.-led plan B" which would include economic sanctions on Iran in case talks falter.


 Israel could accept a U.S.Iran nuclear deal, Defense Minister Gantz says


Palestinian escapees wanted to reach West Bank, says one of their lawyers

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 13:36:58 +03:00

The six Palestinians who fled an Israeli prison last week planned to reach the West Bank and had no intention to commit terror acts, says the lawyer of one of the escapees.

After their escape, the prisoners were able to follow the manhunt via a radio they had smuggled along from the Gilboa prison. According to attorney Raslan Mahagna, the prisoners waited for the search efforts to wane before trying to cross into the West Bank.

Mahagna, who met with Mahmoud Aradeh on Tuesday, said the group didn't expect to assistance from Arab citizens of Israel or anyone else and "didn't want to get anybody in trouble." He added that the prisoners never considered to reach Lebanon or Jordan.


 Palestinian escapees wanted to reach West Bank, says one of their lawyers


Palestinian inmates backtrack on hunger strike as hunt for last two fugitives continues

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 12:17:21 +03:00

A hunger strike among 1,380 Palestinian inmates in several Israeli jails, set to begin on Friday, has been called off, the Palestinian Prisoners' Club said on Wednesday.

The Palestinian Prisoner's Club added that the decision was made after Israeli prison officials halted some of the punitive measures taken against inmates, including those from Islamic Jihad, following the escape of six captives last week. 

The chairman of the Palestinian Prisoner's Club, Qadura Fares, said on Wednesday that the organization negotiated with senior security and Israel Prison Service officials in recent days and both sides agreed to go back to normal. 


 Palestinian inmates backtrack on hunger strike as hunt for last two fugitives continues


Drones strike pro-Iran militants in Syria, war monitor says

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 11:28:16 +03:00

Unidentified drones struck on Tuesday pro-Iranian militants in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

The attack occurred near the Syrian city of Albukamal shortly after the combatants crossed the border in a vehicle. There were unconfirmed reports of casualties, according to the news agency Alarabia.  

The center said that explosions were heard in Syria's Deir Ezzor province, where many pro-Iran militias and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces are stationed.


 Drones strike pro-Iran militants in Syria, war monitor says


COVID in Israel: Testing sites to shut down for Yom Kippur as infection rate rises

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 11:17:58 +03:00

Israel's Health Ministry reported on Wednesday that the R number, which represents the average number of people that each infected person will infect in turn, rose for a fifth straight day and now stands at 1.06, as the country sets to shut its testing centers throughout Yom Kippur.

When the R number is above 1, the pandemic is spreading, whereas under 1 signifies it is shrinking.

>>> Israel's 17% unvaccinated now account for 65% of all serious COVID-19 cases


 COVID in Israel: Testing sites to shut down for Yom Kippur as infection rate rises


Prescription magic mushrooms? This Israeli startup wants to make it happen

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 11:13:49 +03:00

The psychedelic revolution, albeit not the first, is indeed in full swing. Though the results will not be felt for a few years, but academic institutions like Johns Hopkins and Yale, have established departments to study psychedelic materials. Compass Pathways, a company founded to treat problems like depression using compounds found in hallucinogenic mushrooms, is being traded on the Nasdaq at a value of nearly $1.4 billion.

This revolution is not bypassing Israel; it has drawn a number of serial entrepreneurs, some of them with background in cannabis. œCompass Pathways has essentially written a treatment protocol for treatment-resistant depression; the patient goes to psychiatrists or psychologists who were trained by them, and after a few preparatory sessions, they undergo treatment with consciousness-altering mushrooms accompanied by the therapist, explains Dr. Kobi Buxdorf, a biotech entrepreneur.

The U.S. Federal Drug Administration recognized these treatments, pushing the industry forward. It permitted the company to submit a fast-track request for approval, Buxdorf says. Since then, many companies have been launched that are trying to treat depression, PTSD, and phobias using psilocybin, a psychoactive component found in mushrooms from the Psilocybe family, which are known to be hallucinogenic.


 Prescription magic mushrooms? This Israeli startup wants to make it happen


Why are U.S. Jews still calling Jimmy Carter an antisemite?

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 09:23:06 +03:00

Forty years after leaving the White House, Jimmy Carter, aged 96, still seems to have a Jewish problem. 

In America and abroad, Carter is often feted as the very model of an ex-president. But among many American Jews, he is sometimes openly accused of being intransigently anti-Israel or, worse, an antisemite. The latter label is simply an outrage, a slander against the most decent man to have occupied the Oval Office in the 20th century. 

Carter's whole life is proof of his stellar personal ethics and dedication to liberal humanitarian principles. A born-again Christian, reared in segregated, white supremacist South Georgia, he has never displayed a shred of racial or religious prejudice.


 Why are U.S. Jews still calling Jimmy Carter an antisemite?


Hebrew Israelite community ordered to leave Israel, but they plan to stay and fight

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 05:44:32 +03:00

The Hebrew Israelite community in the Negev town of Dimona never thought the day would come when the authorities would order scores of them to leave Israel.

In fact, they were so sure about their legal status in Israel that in 2015, at their own initiative, they gave the Interior Ministry a list of community members living in the country under the radar and lacking any legal status. Five years later, however, they found that the government had made its own use of the list, sending deportation notices to around half of those on it. There has been no decision about the rest, but they will almost certainly face the same fate.

After their request for legal status was rejected, 45 members of the community 24 of whom were born in Israel filed a lawsuit against the deportation orders. A few days ago the suit was rejected, meaning they must leave the country within two weeks. They, however, don't intend to do that and are planning a court battle that is expected to delay the expulsions. A few have declared they'd rather to die than leave the place to which they believe God sent them to serve him.


 Hebrew Israelite community ordered to leave Israel, but they plan to stay and fight


A Palestinian Christian bought a Jaffa house. That's not gentrification

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 04:58:03 +03:00

In her article, œThis Luxury Home Epitomizes the Erasure of Jaffa's Historical Landscape (Haaretz, August 26), Naama Riba discusses a new house built in the place of an old one in Jaffa.

The author argues that this constitutes a blatant example of cultural and historical erasure in Jaffa. In her telling, the erasure is being carried out by a Palestinian, the builder of the new house. In a strange mode, Riba subsequently shifts the focus to œneighborly disputes that have nothing to do with architecture.

I can't quite figure out how, of all things, a house that I, a Palestinian Christian, bought from the CEO of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team (with all the symbolism that entails!) in an area that was originally known as a Palestinian Christian neighborhood before it was emptied out in the wake of the Nakba became a story of erasure and gentrification. It is worth reframing the narrative set forward in the article. This ought to be a story of architectural and human renewal in a neighborhood that is celebrating a cultural revival.


 A Palestinian Christian bought a Jaffa house. That's not gentrification


A wake-up call for meaning on Yom Kippur

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 04:21:42 +03:00

Sometimes reality creates the images that evoke it most precisely. The collapse of a building, the digging of a tunnel there are no better images to illustrate repression, shutting one's eyes, denial, blindness, self-deception, turning one's face from a looming disaster. No building ever actually collapses all at once, no jailbreak ever takes place from one moment to the next. There are always prior signs, warning lights always go on.

How many cracks appear in the walls of a building before it collapses? How much sand needs to be displaced to dig a tunnel? How many people saw those cracks spreading on the wall and did nothing? How many of those told themselves that so far the building is still standing, and so far, so good? In like manner: How many prison guards saw more sand than usual, in odd places, time and again, and turned their head? How many of them saw suspicious movements or heard words which, after the escape, suddenly acquire a different meaning? It's the cruelty of processes: It becomes impossible to deny them only when it's no longer possible to do anything to prevent them. Until then the psyche tends to hold fast to the oh-so-beguiling yearning to stay asleep.

Well, neither the building nor the tunnel is the subject of this text. They are, as suggested beyond the tragedy of the occupants of the building in Holon, or the failure of the Prison Service principally images of the state of our consciousness. Just as the yearning to sleep is above all a state of consciousness. And it's precisely against that sleep that the Days of Awe as a whole, and Yom Kippur in particular, speak. œWhat are you doing asleep? the captain shouts at the prophet Jonah in the story of his flight from God, when the ship he is on is wrecked. œMan, what are you doing asleep? the liturgical hymn of slihot penitential prayer cries out.


 A wake-up call for meaning on Yom Kippur


Over 1 in 3 hungry families are unknown to welfare authorities in Israel

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 03:50:59 +03:00

The overwhelming majority of families living with food insecurity the lack of reliable access to sufficient, affordable, nutritious food are not known to the welfare authorities. This is the finding of a new study conducted by the Hebrew University in conjunction with the Health Ministry.

The study shows that 17 percent of Israeli families suffer from food insecurity, but only 11 percent of those families are known to the authorities. Another study published recently shows that more than half of needy families are single-parent families.

The first survey, published by Prof. Aron Troen of the Hebrew University's Agriculture Faculty in cooperation with the Health Ministry's nutrition department, which was conducted in March, showed that around half of the needful who participated in the survey got help from relatives, and a third said they got help from nonprofit associations and private organizations.


 Over 1 in 3 hungry families are unknown to welfare authorities in Israel


Israel extends digital monitoring as serious COVID cases drop

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 02:39:36 +03:00

Israel extends the use of electronic monitoring of people in quarantine starting Wednesday. Moreover, entry to swimming pools will no longer require proof of immunity, according to new regulations approved by the cabinet on Tuesday.

The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved the use of electronic monitoring by police of people in quarantine, beyond those who have returned from abroad.

Anyone who is required to quarantine will receive a text message asking them to agree to electronic GPS supervision. Police will use increased means of enforcement for people who do not agree.


 Israel extends digital monitoring as serious COVID cases drop


Cable car accident survivors' grandfather questioned on suspected abduction

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 02:12:34 +03:00

Israel Police questioned on Tuesday the maternal grandfather of the 6-year-old who survived a cable car accident in Italy this summer, Shmuel Peleg, in the Tel Aviv central unit on suspicion of kidnapping a minor under 16. Peleg was later released under restrictions.

In addition, Aya Biran, the paternal aunt of Eitan Biran, whose parents and brother were killed in the accident, filled a lawsuit in the Tel Aviv Family Court on Tuesday to have the boy returned to Italy, based on The Hague Convention on Child Abductions.

Earlier this week, Eitan's mother's family said that Eitan had been returned to Israel œas his parents wanted, and that he was being treated at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer œin light of his complex and sensitive condition, which cannot be detailed. However, the father's family, who lives in Italy, say that the child was abducted to Israel. The Italian newspaper La Republica reported that the police in the city of Pavia have opened an investigation against Peleg on suspicion of aggravated kidnapping.


 Cable car accident survivors' grandfather questioned on suspected abduction


Bennett says Israel pushing for long-term truce in Gaza 'but if not, there are alternatives'

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 02:05:18 +03:00

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was interviewed on Tuesday evening by several television channels. On Channel 12, Bennett responded to contradictions between promises he made before his premiership commenced, and his actions since he took up the position.

œThis room is the most important room in the world. And when you arrive here, go through the door, you have to arrive clean, and leave all the politics behind. He added that his value system is "stable and long-term, but certainly, when you are sitting here, there are complex considerations behind every move, and it isn't like anything else.

In response, Netanyahu's Likud party said, œWe all saw just three months ago what Bennett's word is worth when he's interviewed he generally does just the opposite Š it would behoove Bennett to stop dealing just with his survival and work for the health and lives of Israeli citizens.


 Bennett says Israel pushing for long-term truce in Gaza 'but if not, there are alternatives'


Surprise! Monumental camel sculptures in Arabia are prehistoric, archaeologists find

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:59:59 +03:00

A series of ancient reliefs carved into the desert rocks of northern Saudi Arabia depicting life-sized camels and equids are older than initially thought, it turns out. Much, much older. Far from dating to the Roman era as initially thought, they are prehistoric, a new study reveals.

Back in 2018, when archaeologists announced the discovery of nearly two dozen reliefs, they were at a loss as to who had created the so-called œCamel Site, , why, and when. While rock art is common throughout the Levant, there was nothing in the region quite as spectacular as these monumental sculptures.

The initial theory was that the reliefs dated to some 2,000 years ago and were linked to the Nabateans, whose nomadic kingdom amassed great wealth and power during the Roman era. But a new scientific analysis of the time-worn sculptures of Camel Site shows that the early estimate was a bit off by thousands of years. The data published Wednesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports suggests that the reliefs were carved during the Neolithic, and specifically in the 6th millennium B.C.E., or between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago.


 Surprise! Monumental camel sculptures in Arabia are prehistoric, archaeologists find


The first 100 days of the Bennett-Lapid government

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:31:34 +03:00

Next week will mark one hundred days since the establishment of the Bennett-Lapid government. It was customary in the past to treat this period with generosity, with the understanding that a new government deserves some minimal amount of time for learning the ropes. This period was known as the hundred days of grace. This time, things have been reversed. There were indeed one hundred days of grace, but the beneficiaries were the citizens of this country, courtesy of the new government. As expected, the new government did not enjoy even one moment of goodwill on the part of the opposition (just recall the swearing-in ceremony).

In the opposition's footsteps came broad swaths of the media, which had grown accustomed to eating out of the hand of the opposition leader during his endless term in office, flattering him while constantly catering to his personal, family and legal interests. It is therefore particularly important to remind ourselves of reality as it is, not as reflected in hysterical TV studios or on manipulated social media.

The new government was labeled a œgovernment of change. Well, let's note the changes one can see. Government ministries have resumed working for the citizenry. Cabinet members in charge of these ministries are interested in serving the public, not just their voters and close associates. They look for solutions, re-examining the issues, working hard rather than prattling ad nauseam in the media.


 The first 100 days of the Bennett-Lapid government


Israel's government of change is taking commendable diplomatic steps

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:28:46 +03:00

Despite Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked's insistence on continuing with the stale rhetoric of the Netanyahu era, and despite her clumsy efforts to broadcast right-wing business as usual while sabotaging any effort to re-open clogged and rusty Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic channels (œAbu Mazen is paying terrorists who murder Jews and is prosecuting IDF soldiers in The Hague; he's not a partner), the government of change is continuing to take its first commendable diplomatic steps.

The meeting between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi in Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday was the first official and public visit by an Israeli prime minister to Egypt in the last decade. Benjamin Netanyahu and Sissi met many times over the years, but these meetings were unofficial and mostly undercover. Moreover, Egypt went out of its way to publicly broadcast its respect for the diplomacy of Israel's new government and for the person heading it, placing Israel's flag behind Bennett for the photo of their meeting, a gesture never made for Netanyahu or, before him, Ehud Olmert.

The relations between Israel and its neighbor Egypt are important in and of themselves, and any step that could bring the two nations, not just their leaders, closer, is significant and desirable. But Egypt is also important as a mediator between Israel and the Hamas leadership in Gaza, and as the leader of the international community's efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid presented on Sunday a two-stage initiative for the rehabilitation of Gaza (œthe economy in exchange for security). The plan is not innovative in its principles, but its presentation reinforces the message that Israel's government wants to open a new page in its relations with its nearby neighbors, including the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.


 Israel's government of change is taking commendable diplomatic steps


Israel should help those who cannot live with the coronavirus

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:27:18 +03:00

The coronavirus infection statistics, and the reasonable prospect of a fifth and maybe a sixth wave, require us to infuse some content into the phrase œliving with the coronavirus. Because there are those who are living quite well with the virus, whose lifestyle, livelihood and functioning have not been affected at all, and there are those whose lives and the lives of their loved ones have been turned upside down.

The government effort to allow most Israelis to go about their business is crucial, but the need to identify those who aren't managing to function is no less crucial. No one can tell us how much longer we'll have to live with the pandemic, but there are assessments that it could go on for a few years. This means that in addition to planning and coping in the short term, there needs to be long-term government programs to provide a solution for those who cannot adjust in the workforce, the educational system and in business.

Practically speaking, we are œliving with the coronavirus since the beginning of the year, when the vaccination campaign began and the economy gradually reopened. Businesses were open, restrictions were lifted at workplaces and the schools reopened, albeit at a faltering pace given the quarantines imposed on many teachers and students. In principle, if no new variant emerges that is resistant to the vaccine, the way to live with the coronavirus is by using the tools available: Vaccines, quarantines, masks and green passports. This will allow the economy to function and most employees to work, make a living and pay taxes, and for critical systems to work properly.


 Israel should help those who cannot live with the coronavirus


Prestigious medical journal challenges need for third COVID shot, spiting Israel

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:26:19 +03:00

Questions about the purpose and expectations of the third coronavirus vaccine have been preoccupying experts around the world, and provoking debate in the medical-scientific community, both at the epidemiological level and at the ethical and strategic level in connection with the global response to the epidemic.

A review published Monday by an international group of scientists in The Lancet, one of the world's most prestigious medical journals, says that none of the data on coronavirus vaccines so far provides credible evidence in support of boosters for the general population. It adds that whatever advantage the third dose might provide does not outweigh the benefit of using those doses to vaccinate the billions of people around the world who are still not protected.

The publication comes just as Israel has given nearly a third of its population (31 percent) a third dose of the vaccine, two months after it launched the booster shot campaign despite it not being backed by any evidence or recommendations by any leading health organization. Israel was spurred by June's outbreak of the delta variant of the virus, which posed the first test to the vaccine's level of protection.


 Prestigious medical journal challenges need for third COVID shot, spiting Israel


Bennett and Sissi understand that they can scratch each other's back

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:25:32 +03:00

The meeting between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi in Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday was reportedly a good one. Bennett and Sissi met for about an hour, according to plan. The meeting lasted for three hours. Israeli media outlets reported at length that the Egyptians had made sure to give the meeting as public and official an air as possible.

The warm reception will of course come at a cost. The Egyptian delegation came to the meeting with a long wish list for Israel assistance in improving ties with the United States, mediation in the crisis between Egypt and Ethiopia over the dam on the Nile River, strengthening economic ties between Jerusalem and Cairo, among other things. Israel wants the assistance of the Egyptian president and his intelligence officials to achieve a relatively long-term agreement with the Gaza Strip.

Expectations, on both sides, will only be partially met. A series of complicated problems came up during the conversation, which in some cases will require good will from third parties as well.


 Bennett and Sissi understand that they can scratch each other's back


Ida Nudel, legendary ex-Soviet ˜prisoner of Zion,' dies at 90

Wed, 15 Sep 2021 01:24:21 +03:00

Ida Nudel, the former œprisoner of Zion who became a symbol of the struggle of Soviet Jews to come to Israel, died Tuesday at age 90. She was buried in Hayarkon Cemetery in Tel Aviv.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Nudel's life story, which œsparked interest and sympathy around the world, was the story of the olim and of the entire Jewish people the longing for Zion, the love of the land and the struggle to come to Israel at any cost.

Nudel was born in 1931 near Moscow, and said that as a child she suffered from antisemitism. Her father, a soldier in the Red Army, was killed in World War II and his place of burial is unknown. Her mother died in 1971. In that year, Nudel and her sister Ilana Friedman and Friedman's husband requested permission to move to Israel. The Friedmans were granted it, but Nudel was not. She was later dismissed from her job as an economist for what she described as œinsulting the Russian soul.


 Ida Nudel, legendary ex-Soviet ˜prisoner of Zion,' dies at 90


Haaretz cartoon

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 23:54:04 +03:00

 Haaretz cartoon


Israel, Arab states celebrate Abraham Accords anniversary at Kushner's party

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 23:29:27 +03:00

WASHINGTON - On the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords on Tuesday, the ambassadors to the United States from Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates marked the occasion in Washington.

The event, hosted by Jared Kushner's new non-profit organization, is one of several this week celebrating the blossoming ties between the countries since the accords' signing.

The Abraham Accords Institute for Peace ” co-founded with former Trump Mideast peace envoy Avi Berkowitz and Democratic mega-donor Haim Saban ” is dedicated to deepening the normalization pacts between Israel and its Arab allies. It will focus on promoting trade, tourism, and people-to-people development between the countries, as well as showcasing opportunities presented by bringing additional countries into the fold.


 Israel, Arab states celebrate Abraham Accords anniversary at Kushner's party


He turned a village high school into Israel's best. Now he dreams to change the entire country

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 23:21:43 +03:00

After earning the highest levels of recognition in their field, other school principals might have chosen to rest on their laurels and take it easy once they hit retirement age. Not Ali Salalha.

No sooner had he handed over the reins at one of Israel's most storied high schools, he was busy launching a second career this time as an Israeli lawmaker. About two months ago, the 69-year-old grandfather a resident of the remote Druze village of Beit Jann in northern Israel was sworn into the Knesset as a member of the left-wing Meretz party.

Proving that persistence pays off, he finally won a Knesset seat after three failed bids. And even that wouldn't have happened were it not for the so-called Norwegian law, which allows cabinet members to resign from parliament to devote themselves to their ministerial responsibilities, thereby freeing up Knesset seats for other candidates farther down their parties' electoral rosters.


 He turned a village high school into Israel's best. Now he dreams to change the entire country


HBO's ˜Scenes from a Marriage' is bleak but unmissable

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 23:12:56 +03:00

I'll admit it, I did not approach Israeli writer-director Hagai Levi's five-part adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's 1973 TV series œScenes from a Marriage with any sense of anticipation. In fact, I've approached dental appointments and colonoscopies with more enthusiasm though quite why the dentist was performing a colonoscopy is a question the medical board is still awaiting an answer to.

Call me a philistine, but for me Bergman's works often feel like cinematic homework rather than something you watch for pleasure. If I want mopey Swedes dissecting failed relationships, I'll take Abba's œThe Winner Takes It All, thank you very much. (Now there's one Swedish comeback I can get behind.)

In fact, if you asked for my favorite Swedish Bergman, I'd opt for Ingrid Bergman: Give me œSpellbound, œCasablanca or œNotorious over œCries & Whispers or œPersona any day of the week.


 HBO's ˜Scenes from a Marriage' is bleak but unmissable


In Jerusalem's holiest site, these modern pilgrims are playing with fire

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 23:12:07 +03:00

There's a place in the heart of Jerusalem, perhaps the most divided and polarized city in the world, where you can find peace and solitude. Where you can sit with your thoughts at the end of a dusty path, in the shade of ancient olive trees for a short while, without disturbance. Far from the hating crowd.

That place is at the heart of the conflict, in a little grove, littered with piles of new and very old masonry, on the eastern side of the Temple Mount. In a dip in the ground, hidden from the Dome of the Rock plaza to your left, just off the paved path that goes the length of the Old City's walls, where the groups of Jewish pilgrims walk.

***


 In Jerusalem's holiest site, these modern pilgrims are playing with fire


Iranian security guards at nuclear site harassed female UN inspectors, report says

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 22:47:41 +03:00

Security guards at an Iranian nuclear facility have physically harassed a number of female UN International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors in recent months, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, and the United States has demanded that the behavior stop immediately.

The incidents purportedly involved male security guards inappropriately touching female inspectors in "different places, sensitive places" and demanding that they remove items of clothing at the country's main atomic facility at Natanz, according to diplomats, wrote the WSJ. The incidents are said to have begun in early June and are said to have occurred as recently as several weeks ago.

The United States has circulated a document ahead of a board meeting of IAEA member countries calling the harassment œabsolutely unacceptable" and urging the other member states to take a clear stand on the matter, the Journal reported.


 Iranian security guards at nuclear site harassed female UN inspectors, report says


Iran replaces deputy FM who negotiated 2015 nuclear deal with hardliner

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 21:59:36 +03:00

Iran on Tuesday named Ali Bagheri Kani, a hardline senior diplomat, to replace Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, a seasoned pragmatist diplomat and chief negotiator in talks on Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, state media said.

Bagheri, who was named deputy foreign minister for political affairs, had been a senior negotiator in nuclear talks between Iran and the West under former hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from 2007 to 2013. He is a relative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Hossein Amirabdollahian, an anti-Western diplomat chosen as foreign minister last month, also named Mohammad Fathali as his deputy for administrative and financial affairs and Mehdi Safari as deputy for economic diplomacy, state media reported.


 Iran replaces deputy FM who negotiated 2015 nuclear deal with hardliner


Domestication of goats in Iran was earlier than thought

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 21:19:03 +03:00

Goats. The more spry members of the species can climb trees despite being hooved, and archaeology has proven that goats have lived cheek to jowl with us for over 10,000 years. Yes, despite their smell and the oddly-shaped pupils that inspire absurd demonic associations, goats were among the first animals to be domesticated, leaving the dog out of it.

Now, a genetic analysis of goat remains in two Neolithic sites in Iran, published in PNAS by Kevin Daly of Trinity college Dublin and a large international team, suggests that the goat has been our edible friend for centuries longer than previously thought.

The researchers also found indications at the two sites, Ganj Dareh and Tepe Abdul Hosein, that in the beginning, we didn't just keep the animals near and dear. We œmanaged the herd, which is a euphemism for selectively killing the males.


 Domestication of goats in Iran was earlier than thought


U.S. will hold back some Egyptian military aid due to human rights concerns, report says

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 20:27:23 +03:00

The United States has decided to hold back some of the military aid it provides to Egypt due to human rights concerns, the website Politico reported on Tuesday, citing an unnamed Washington official.

If true, the decision marks a change by the administration of President Joe Biden from the policies of his predecessors, who had opted not to touch the $1.3 billion the U.S. gives Egypt annually despite mounting concerns over human rights violations.

The report comes a day after Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi. Israeli officials said al-Sissi has been seeking to strengthen ties with Israel and do so publicly in order to ease some of the strains with Washington over human rights.


 U.S. will hold back some Egyptian military aid due to human rights concerns, report says


It's heartbreaking, but every new child born poses a danger to the ones already here

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 19:57:30 +03:00

For tens of thousands of years, the greatest dangers that lurked for humanity, and those over which humanity had control, were social in nature. A rift within a particular community greatly reduced its members' chances of survival. Concomitantly, the transgressions considered the most serious were interpersonal in nature. It's not surprising that the Yom Kippur œOn sin (Al Chet) prayer contains a request for forgiveness for sins we've committed by bribe-taking or a bribe-giving, by false denial and lying, by taking or giving interest and by usury, by tale-bearing, by swearing in vain, by baseless hatred.

The world has changed enormously. We have more control over our fate, and the principal dangers that confront humanity differ from those that threatened previous generations. But they are also far more severe.

The seas are becoming acidic, their levels are rising dangerously, the air is filled with polluting gases, the rain forests are dwindling and every day hundreds of species of animals become extinct while at the same time new viruses are flourishing and become hardier. All this is happening at a dizzying pace; indeed, horrible news is reported nonstop. Unprecedented waves of migration are expected in the foreseeable future, together with murderous conflagrations over dwindling resources and diminishing habitable areas. The technology that is supposed to help us cope with the danger is itself becoming a threat to our continued existence. The house is on fire, but instead of extinguishing the flames we are looking for a more powerful air conditioner, which only fans them.


 It's heartbreaking, but every new child born poses a danger to the ones already here


The West Bank archaeological site at the center of a passionate Jewish-Palestinian struggle

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 19:50:22 +03:00

One recent Thursday afternoon, an armored bus stood waiting at the entrance to the settlement of Shavei Shomron. Inside the bus, a group of travelers awaited a military jeep to accompany them to one of the most significant archaeological sites in the area: Tel Sebastia or as it's known in Hebrew, Samaria National Park.

In the meantime, the guide warned of a high chance of stones being thrown at the vehicle along the way: œMark Twain also copped stones here, he said, smiling. He then pulled out a copy of an image of Sebastia that remains scorched in Israeli public memory: Hanan Porat and Rabbi Moshe Levinger being held carried aloft by the crowd, their arms outstretched and faces beaming.

The photo, taken in 1975, is a symbol of one of the settler movement's greatest victories: Following a mass protest at Sebastia's old railroad station, located at the foot of the archaeological site, the government accepted the protesters' demands to settle a military outpost. This eventually became the settlement of Kedumim the first in the area following the Six-Day War and Israel's occupation of the West Bank.


 The West Bank archaeological site at the center of a passionate Jewish-Palestinian struggle


U.S. school to probe antisemitic vandalism, but Jewish groups let down by response

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 19:30:29 +03:00

A school board in Georgia launched an investigation into an alleged antisemitic incident in which students daubed swastikas and the phrase œHail Hitler on a local high school, drawing national attention.

The graffiti was discovered Thursday ”the day after Rosh Hashanah and two days before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks” in a restroom at Alan C. Pope High School in the city of Marietta.

Following the incident, the school sent a letter to parents expressing concern over the œhateful graffiti and promising to œhold those responsible accountable to our district policies and applicable state laws.


 U.S. school to probe antisemitic vandalism, but Jewish groups let down by response


The Israeli tour guide unearthing remnants left behind in Egypt after the Yom Kippur War

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 19:25:30 +03:00

A few months ago, Zvika Horowitz of Kfar Sava received a telephone call accompanied by a jarring WhatsApp message. Around 48 years after his older brother Yehiel was killed in the Yom Kippur War, his ID number appeared on Zvika's screen along with personal details and a photo of the soldier. Zvika had mixed feelings.

œIt was very exciting for me to see it, but I was also stressed out that such a document should turn up after such a long time, Horowitz says.

Horowitz, 70, was 22 when his only brother's tank was hit in a battle with the Egyptians in the Sinai Peninsula. Yehiel was declared missing in action and later killed in action. Only several months later was his unburied body found and then interred in Kfar Sava, northeast of Tel Aviv.


 The Israeli tour guide unearthing remnants left behind in Egypt after the Yom Kippur War


˜Netanyahu turned his back on millions of Jews. We bring a new approach'

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 19:04:30 +03:00

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's governing coalition is working hard to repair the damage caused to Israel's relations with Diaspora Jewry by ex-premier Benjamin Netanyahu, MK Gilad Kariv said on Monday.

In an interview with Haaretz journalists Amir Tibon and Allison Kaplan Sommer on the Haaretz Weekly podcast, the former executive director of the Reform movement in Israel, and the first non-Orthodox rabbi to be elected to the Knesset, said that unlike the former prime minister, who alienated wide swaths of American Jewry, the new government has evinced œa new attitude toward the non-Orthodox streams.

While the renewal of the Western Wall deal unilaterally canceled by the Netanyahu government in 2017 is œcritical to the new coalition, the new lawmaker said, no less important is œour ability to build the infrastructures of the non-Orthodox movements, to support the Israeli Reform and Conservative and unaffiliated egalitarian congregations, expose the values and the work of our movements in Israel.


 ˜Netanyahu turned his back on millions of Jews. We bring a new approach'


Palestinian inmates began work on tunnel in November, and dug using sharpened pan handles

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 18:21:20 +03:00

Israeli investigators have discovered that a prisoner who was due to join the prison break backed out at the last moment, and was apparently replaced by another prisoner who did escape.

The reluctant prisoner is said to have made the decision just hours before prison cells at the facility were locked for the night. The group plotting the escape then approached other inmates to take his place. It appears that the replacement prisoner was Iham Kamamji, who until the eve of the breakout had been living in another cell and, like a prominent member of the group, Zakaria Zubeidi, joined the others in their cell just prior to the breakout.

The probe into the jailbreak at the Gilboa prison last week has revealed that the work on the tunnel under a cell from which six prisoners escaped began in November and December of last year and that roughly 11 prisoners were in on the plot, with six of them breaking out. Since the jailbreak four of the six escaped inmates have been captured.


 Palestinian inmates began work on tunnel in November, and dug using sharpened pan handles


Germany's Merkel to visit Israel for final time in October

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 17:59:46 +03:00

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's last official visit to Israel has been rescheduled for next month, after she initially cancelled it last month due to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

Israel's government thanked Merkel for the relations she promoted between the countries.

The original itinerary had the government holding a special meeting in her honor and afterward giving her for a private tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum. A new itinerary has yet to be published.


 Germany's Merkel to visit Israel for final time in October


UN says Syria unsafe for refugees amid host country pressure to return

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 17:00:46 +03:00

Syria is still unsafe for the return of refugees a decade after its conflict began, UN war crimes investigators said on Tuesday, documenting worsening violence and rights violations including arbitrary detention by government forces.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said the overall situation was increasingly bleak, noting hostilities in several areas of the fractured country, its collapsing economy, drying riverbeds and increased attacks by Islamic State militants.

"One decade in, the parties to the conflict continue to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity and infringing the basic human rights of Syrians," the Chair of the Commission, Paulo Pinheiro said, releasing its 24th report.


 UN says Syria unsafe for refugees amid host country pressure to return


This app wants to prevent your company's next scandal

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 15:07:26 +03:00

œIf Volkswagen had our system, something like Dieselgate never would have happened, says Neta Meidav, co-founder and CEO of Vault. She's referring to the German auto giant's manipulation of emissions data in 2015, which she notes put out massive amounts of carbon dioxide and directly led to 60 deaths not to mention firings and tens of billions of dollars in losses for the company. One of the takeaways from the scandal, she says, œwas that their internal reporting system was lacking. That is, at the time, the organization relied on an anonymous e-mail system that took complainants nowhere.

The Vault Platform was made to contend with this problem. œVault is an internal reporting system that uses the tools of behavioral psychology to give workers the confidence to report internally on any violation or serious problem that occurs in the company, says Meidav. œThe range is wide, from issues connected to organizational culture discrimination, racism, abuse of workers and sexual harassment to issues related to the law, like corruption, money laundering, bribery and data manipulation. Things that can lead to disaster.

Meidav co-founded the company in 2018 along with her husband Rotem Hayoun-Meidav, who also serves as chief technology officer, and Tori Reichman, who serves as chief customer officer. It enables users to raise issues within organizations and to report them to the people in charge.


 This app wants to prevent your company's next scandal


Palestinian prisoners run ˜a state within a state' in Israel's jails, officials say

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 14:30:51 +03:00

An emotionless Yakub Kadari, one of the six prisoners who escaped from Gilboa prison on Monday of last week, was brought to the Nazareth Magistrate's Court on Saturday after being captured on Friday. Three of the others who escaped with him have also been apprehended.

This wasn't Kadari's first attempted prison escape. He was also involved in an attempted jailbreak in 2014. And although he was never charged, he was also suspected of involvement in a failed plot to smuggle cellphones into Gilboa prison a year ago.

Four months ago, his testimony in Nazareth District Court in that case shed light on what transpires behind prisons walls. œWe're only in our cells at night, he said. œDuring the day, we're in the courtyard. According to regulations, however, prisoners are to be outside for four hours a day at most.


 Palestinian prisoners run ˜a state within a state' in Israel's jails, officials say


Israel's 17% unvaccinated now account for 65% of all serious COVID-19 cases

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 13:38:22 +03:00

Despite breakthrough cases among the immunized with the rise of the delta variant, COVID-19 is increasingly becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated in Israel. Those that have yet to receive even one shot of a COVID vaccine are only 17 percent of the eligible population in Israel, but they currently represent 65 percent of all serious cases in the country.

According to Health Ministry data, the ratio of unvaccinated people among the severely ill has continued to rise as more people are inoculated against the virus. As of September 13, out of the 664 severely ill patients, 437 were completely unvaccinated and 168 had received two doses. Only 59 had received the booster shot. The ratios are similar when analyzing new infections.

When calculating per capita, the contrast is even more stark. For every serious case of an Israeli over 60 that had received the booster shot, there are 33 serious cases of unvaccinated Israelis in the same age group.


 Israel's 17% unvaccinated now account for 65% of all serious COVID-19 cases


Putin meets Assad, takes swipe at foreign forces in Syria

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 12:57:54 +03:00

President Vladimir Putin received Syrian leader Bashar Assad in Moscow for the first time since 2015 on Monday and criticized foreign forces that are in Syria without a UN mandate, the Kremlin said, in a rebuke of the United States and Turkey.

Assad's most powerful ally in the decade-long Syrian conflict, Putin last received the Syrian leader in Russia in 2018 at his summer residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Russia's air force played a critical role in turning the tide of the Syrian conflict in Assad's favor after it deployed there in 2015, helping him recover most territory lost to insurgents.


 Putin meets Assad, takes swipe at foreign forces in Syria


Bennett has no plans to meet with President Abbas, Israeli minister says

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 12:34:52 +03:00

Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has no plans to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying Abbas is no œpartner to Israel.

œAbu Mazan is paying money to terrorists that murder Jews and is filing lawsuits in The Hague against Israel Defense Forces soldiers he's not a partner, Shaked said during a conference at Reichman University in Herzliya.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, however, did meet with Abbas last month in the first official meeting between a senior Israeli official and the Palestinian president in years. Afterward, sources close to Bennett said the government had no intention of resuming negotiations with the PA and that Bennett himself had no plans at the moment to meet with Abbas.


 Bennett has no plans to meet with President Abbas, Israeli minister says


Prominent Israeli anti-vaxxer dies of COVID. His followers remain unwavering

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 12:29:19 +03:00

One of the country's most prominent anti-vaccine advocates, who promoted conspiracy theories regarding the coronavirus, died at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon on Sunday of COVID-19.

Anyone hoping that 57-year-old Hai Shaulian's death would prompt his supporters to rush and get vaccinated will be disappointed. Based on his followers' reactions on social media, Shaulian's death does not appear to have changed their views.

On Saturday, Shaulian posted an update for his followers on Facebook about his deteriorating condition, calling on them to continue to stand up to the medical establishment.


 Prominent Israeli anti-vaxxer dies of COVID. His followers remain unwavering


LISTEN: When will Saudi Arabia also make peace with Israel

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 12:22:52 +03:00

One year exactly after Israel signed historic normalization deals with two Gulf countries, and on the day Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited Egypt, we try to find out what's next for Israel's ties with the Arab world.

Want to get an email every time a new episode is available? Click "Follow" on top of this article, or "Register" with one of the podcast providers and you'll never miss out.

Gili Cohen, diplomatic correspondent for Israel's Kan Broadcasting, talks about the secrets behind the Abraham Accords with hosts Amir Tibon and Allison Kaplan Sommer.


 LISTEN: When will Saudi Arabia also make peace with Israel


The Israeli director in bed with Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac and Ingmar Bergman

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 12:00:51 +03:00

Hagai Levi vividly remembers the first time he saw Ingmar Bergman's œScenes from a Marriage. He was still attending a high school yeshiva in the religious kibbutz where he lived with his family.

œI knew nothing about anything, he recalls. œAnd one night I found myself alone in the clubhouse the only place with a television. The presenter announced the screening of a Swedish series, and everyone around me left immediately. There I was, watching this thing all by myself. Luckily for us, Israeli television did not have the budget to purchase American shows, so they'd buy series from international broadcasters and that's how we ended up with all kinds of BBC dramas and Bergman. And then this thing came on and I was stunned. The brutality, ugliness and nudity shocked me. I clearly remember telling myself, ˜This is art! Television can be art.'

The realization that this ridiculed medium had artistic qualities would inspire Levi, 58, to embark on a career in television. A brief summary of his work makes this very clear: In the 1990s, he conceived and produced œShort Stories About Love, a short-film anthology that spawned, among others, Doron Tsabari and Dorit Rabinyan's œShuly's Fiance and Eytan Fox and Gal Ohovsky's œGotta Have Heart.


 The Israeli director in bed with Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac and Ingmar Bergman


11% of Israeli children infected with virus suffer from 'long COVID'

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 11:34:00 +03:00

Eleven percent of youngsters aged three to 18 that contracted the coronavirus are suffering from ongoing symptoms even after recovering  a condition that has been dubbed long COVID according to a Health Ministry survey.

In some cases (between 1.8 and 4.6 percent, depending on the age), symptoms persisted six months after recovery.

The telephone survey was conducted between May 31 and June 13 among 13,834 parents of children aged three to 18 who had recovered from the coronavirus, representing all segments of the population. According to the ministry, 94 percent of those called cooperated.


 11% of Israeli children infected with virus suffer from 'long COVID'


Do cats speak? Of course. Do they have language? Not exactly

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 10:28:17 +03:00

Do cats speak? Of course they do. Ignore the haters. We know what cats want, ergo, communication has been established. Understanding exactly what our precious felines have to say is a whole other ballgame, but then again, how well do we understand our neighbors? Cats speak, and now research into human-cat communication has won Swedish researchers the prestigious Ig-Nobel prize for biology in 2021. Applause!

Prof. Susanne Schotz and Joost van de Weijer of Lund University with Robert Eklund of Linköping University were awarded the Ig for biology on Thursday for analyzing variations in cats' œpurring, chirping, chattering, trilling, tweedling, murmuring, meowing, moaning, squeaking, hissing, yowling, howling, growling, and other modes of cathuman communication.

Yes, there's more. Meowsic yes, it's a thing: melody in human-cat interaction. Schotz, a professor of phonetics, has studied meowsic and written a paper about it: œMelody in HumanCat Communication (Meowsic): Origins, Past, Present and Future.


 Do cats speak? Of course. Do they have language? Not exactly


How the Legend of Modi, Hindu hero and political messiah, is breaking India's politics

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 10:07:32 +03:00

Narendra Modi is presiding over multiplying human and political calamities in India. From COVID to Pegasus spyware, Indians' lives and the fabric of their democracy are unravelling. 

But his self-assurance hasn't taken a hit. Nor has he lost significant grassroots support: The voters who believed him to be their political messiah are still staunch in their belief, even when Modi has failed to protect their rights and even their lives.

How can this be? In today's India, it seems the notion the premier must be held accountable for his actions, and will get pummeled at the polls for failure, no longer holds water. In other words, the normal rules of politics don't apply to Modi.


 How the Legend of Modi, Hindu hero and political messiah, is breaking India's politics


Apple fixes security hole reportedly used by Israel's NSO to hack an iPhone

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 09:13:53 +03:00

Apple released a critical software patch to fix a security vulnerability that researchers said could allow hackers to directly infect iPhones and other Apple devices without any user action.

Researchers at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab said the security issue was exploited to plant spyware on a Saudi activist's iPhone. They said they had high confidence that the world's most infamous hacker-for-hire firm, Israel's NSO Group, was behind that attack.

The previously unknown vulnerability affected all major Apple devices iPhones, Macs and Apple Watches, the researchers said. NSO Group responded with a one-sentence statement saying it will continue providing tools for fighting œterror and crime.


 Apple fixes security hole reportedly used by Israel's NSO to hack an iPhone


Iran one month away from enough weapons-grade uranium for nuke, report says

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 08:52:01 +03:00

Iran is one month away from having enough highly enriched uranium for "a single nuclear weapon," the New York Times reported Tuesday, adding that this development may increase pressure on the United States to return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran and world powers.

According to the report, new data from the International Atomic Energy Agency report last week shows that Tehran has gained the capacity to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a single nuclear weapon, though assembling the nuclear warhead itself will take much longer - months, perhaps even years.

Experts from the Institute for Science and International Security analyzed the recent report, concluding that, in the most extreme scenario, Iran can produce enough fuel needed for one nuclear device in one month, enough fuel for a second weapon in three months, and a third in under five.


 Iran one month away from enough weapons-grade uranium for nuke, report says


Why Israel's vaccine deal with Pfizer has nothing to do with clinical trials

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 08:11:23 +03:00

On Friday, Channel 12 aired a report by Arad Nir. The report was based on an unfortunate remark by Dr. Philip Dormitzer, vice president and chief scientific officer at Pfizer, in which he referred to Israel as the company's œsort of laboratory. Not only was this comment condescending, it was terribly foolish. The company's management hastened to disavow the comment, but by then it had already been seized upon by conspiracy theory aficionados and anti-vaxxers.

In the report, Nir insisted that in a democratic country, the consent of the citizens to participate in œPfizer's clinical trial should have been obtained. In other words, while a pandemic is raging and people are desperately waiting for vaccines, Nir thinks that Israel should have held a national referendum on whether Israelis wish to be œPfizer's laboratory and if we would permit the company to provide us with vaccines and to analyze the results.

Therefore, it is important to say first: Analyzing epidemiological results without identifying the participants and without intervention is a very accepted research method in the industry in general and in medicine in particular. It is called post-marketing analysis and such an analysis is not a clinical trial in any way, shape or form.


 Why Israel's vaccine deal with Pfizer has nothing to do with clinical trials


Israel's fluctuating COVID infection rate makes pandemic predictions difficult

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 00:21:10 +03:00

Coronavirus infection and illness data for Israel has been very volatile over the past week, making it difficult for experts to determine whether the pandemic is receding or spreading.

The infection coefficient the famous R number, which represents the average number of people that each infected person will infect in turn had dropped gradually to reach 0.81 last Monday, suggesting that the latest wave of infection was weakening. But it has risen over the past week, reaching 1.01 Monday.

While the R number could be a preliminary sign of the outbreak continuing, it is calculated based on data from the previous 10 days, and is thus easily influenced by the sharp changes in the infection data during the past week; the number of new infections jumped or dropped by the thousands on consecutive days, while the percentage of tests coming back positive every day also varied widely. Experts, therefore, warn that the R number must be taken with a grain of salt until the trend is clearer.


 Israel's fluctuating COVID infection rate makes pandemic predictions difficult


Other prisoners knew of Palestinian jailbreak efforts at Gilboa Prison

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 00:06:39 +03:00

Other prisoners in the cellblock from which six Palestinians escaped last week knew about the tunnel they had dug, but the Prison Service's intelligence officers failed to learn about it. That was revealed during the questioning of four of the six escapees who were caught over the weekend.

A Palestinian source close to the prisoners confirmed that others knew about the planned jailbreak and the tunnel being dug underneath cell number five, particularly Islamic Jihad prisoners from that wing of Gilboa Prison. Five of the six escapees were members of Islamic Jihad.

œA lot of people knew about the tunnel, the source said, adding that the digging went on for about six months without prison officials ever noticing.


 Other prisoners knew of Palestinian jailbreak efforts at Gilboa Prison


Israel could approve vaccines for ages 5-11 by November

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 23:55:08 +03:00

If the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 is approved for children aged five to 11, as expected, Israel could find itself launching a new vaccination campaign for elementary school children as early as November.

That would also mean the education system would have to manage for only a relatively short period under the œgreen classroom plan whose pilot is supposed to start right after the holidays.

According to this optimistic scenario, one of the most difficult consequences of the pandemic the closure of schools and disruption of studies would be neutralized within three to four months, bringing untold relief to children, parents and the economy. Currently some 150,000 students are in quarantine, among them 41,000 active cases, even though there have been very few days of school.


 Israel could approve vaccines for ages 5-11 by November


The culprit is always underfunding

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 23:51:35 +03:00

Next week the cabinet will approve the establishment of a state commission of inquiry to investigate the escape the of six terrorists from Gilboa Prison, but we can already guess what the panel will find to be a major cause of this debacle: underfunding. The Israel Prison Service clearly wasn't given enough money and was thus unable to guard the prisoners properly. After all, that's always the case in the public sector, no matter the size of the budget or how much it's increased. It's always the fault of the Finance Ministry's budget division.

As soon as it became clear that the guard tower directly above the exit of the tunnel through which the prisoners escaped was unstaffed at the time, a Prison Service official said it was due to insufficient funding. And what about the fact that the guard in the next tower had slept the sleep of the just during her shift? Also the budget's fault. And why was the prison built on piles, creating a cavity beneath the floor? Because that's all the budget allowed for. And why weren't the lessons from the escape tunnel that was dug in 2014 learned? Because no funding was allocated for this.

And why weren't the cellphone jammers in use? Because funding is needed to upgrade the technology. And why wasn't there any intelligence? Because there's no money. And why wasn't there a perimeter patrol of the prison? Because there's enough money for each officer to have a company car, but not enough for a perimeter security vehicle. And why were members of Islamic Jihad allowed to live together in the prison and run their own lives, in what amounted to an unsupervised autonomous zone? Okay, we get it, the budget is to blame for that, too.


 The culprit is always underfunding


Israeli minister asks Immigration Authority to disregard expiration of Palestinian unification law

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 23:43:47 +03:00

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked has ordered her ministry to handle Palestinian requests for family reunification as if a temporary law restricting such requests were still in force, even though the law expired in July.

In a letter to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the head of the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority wrote that Shaked has ordered the authority to examine the implications of the law's expiration, including for security issues, prior to formulating a new policy on when Palestinians married to Israelis can be granted residency in Israel.

œAt the same time, because this examination is likely to take time, given the complexity of the issue, the interior minister has ordered us to continue handling in accordance with the legal situation when the temporary law was in force, the letter said.


 Israeli minister asks Immigration Authority to disregard expiration of Palestinian unification law


It's time for Israel to beef up coronavirus testing centers

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 23:39:39 +03:00

The coronavirus testing system wasn't ready for the enormous demand during Rosh Hashanah, and many Israelis had to wait in line for hours for a test. Previously, in August, the testing system wasn't ready for the great demand triggered by the summer vacation. Parents reported long lines of dozens of cars, and had to wait up to several hours before entering a testing compound.

When entry into most public and private institutions including museums, libraries, culture and sports events, swimming pools and hotels, the very places that parents and children tend to visit during the holidays requires presenting proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative coronavirus test, the heavy demand was predictable. The system should have prepared accordingly. The heavy demand once school started was also predictable. That's what happens when every student diagnosed with the virus drags an entire class in to being tested. On Monday alone, more than 90,000 tests were performed in the school system.

Today, there are two types of testing PCR tests, which are done by the Home Front Command and the health maintenance organizations, and rapid antigen tests, which are done by Magen David Adom and two hospital corporations, Ichilov Well and Sheba Target (which were chosen by tender). Problems arise when there are so many different parties conducting testing. On the first day the rapid tests were administered, for instance, the lines were so long that the Health Ministry asked MDA to open more testing stations in the center of the country, where another organization (Ichilov Well) was supposed to be handling tests.


 It's time for Israel to beef up coronavirus testing centers


Mr. Bennett goes to Egypt, under shadow of Biden and renewed violence

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 23:24:41 +03:00

At a symbolic juncture of dates the 28th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords, and just before Yom Kippur Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday traveled to Egypt for a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi.

Bennett got an exceptional reception at Sharm el-Sheikh. First there was an official Egyptian announcement of the visit, about which little had been said in Israel in recent days. Afterward, an official picture of the two leaders was distributed, with both nation's flags behind them. The meeting itself lasted three hours.

Bennett's predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, met many times with Sissi, with some of the meetings on Egyptian soil, but generally these encounters were kept secret at the president's request. The relationship got closer over the past decade, but very little of that was demonstrated in public.


 Mr. Bennett goes to Egypt, under shadow of Biden and renewed violence


Haaretz Cartoon

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 23:16:02 +03:00

 Haaretz Cartoon


Palestinian PM calls for national unity with Israeli Arabs following treachery claims

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 23:01:38 +03:00

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh urged Palestinians Monday not to blame Israeli Arabs for the recapture of four of the six prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison last week.

œWe're one people, and a single goal unites us, he said at the start of the Palestinian Authority's cabinet meeting, commenting on media reports that Israeli Arabs had informed police of the escapees' presence in their towns. œI urge the public not to cast aspersions on our brethren, he said, adding: œThe occupation authorities are trying to divide us from our brothers, and we need to strengthen the connection.

In addition, he urged the United Nations to monitor the situation of the recaptured prisoners and ensure that they aren't tortured.


 Palestinian PM calls for national unity with Israeli Arabs following treachery claims


Prosecution witness in Netanyahu trial killed in plane crash

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 22:32:12 +03:00

Two people were killed on Monday when a light aircraft crashed into the sea close to the Greek island of Samos, Greek authorities said.

The two were identified as Esti and Haim Garon, the latter of whom served as the deputy director of the Communications Ministry and was a prosecution witness in Netanyahu's trial. 

The small private aircraft, that was flying from Israel to the Greek island with two persons on board, crashed close to the island's airport.


 Prosecution witness in Netanyahu trial killed in plane crash


Over 1,000 Palestinian inmates to go on hunger strike in light of 'violent repression' of rights

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 21:29:46 +03:00

On Friday, 1,380 Palestinian prisoners from across the political spectrum will go on hunger strike as part of a campaign against the recent treatment of inmates in the aftermath of the escape of six high-risk captives, Palestinian prisoner leadership announced.

In addition, prisoners may target and attack wardens and security officials in the Gilboa and Shita prisons, prisoner leadership said, citing the conduct of prison staff towards the incarcerated and the "violent repression against them" as rationale.   

Last week, the security establishment said it is closely monitoring one Hamas prisoner on hunger strike who has been evacuated to an Israeli hospital in a critical condition. It fears that any deterioration in his condition could lead to further escalation.


 Over 1,000 Palestinian inmates to go on hunger strike in light of 'violent repression' of rights


Israel police chief dubs May riots 'intifada,' sparks uproar in Knesset

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 20:33:40 +03:00

The riots within Israel during the country's fighting with Hamas in the Gaza Strip in May were an "intifada" that ended swiftly with œzero dead and minimum measures used, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai told the Knesset Public Security Committee on Monday. 

MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint List) asked him to retract the claim that "zero" had died and Shabtai rephrased his words and said: œThere was an intifada here with zero dead on the part of the security forces. Tibi responded: œYou said something serious. That's how you relate to Arab deaths.

Tibi and MK Osama Saadi (Joint List) were enraged over Shabtai's use of the word intifada, and Shabtai responded: œAn uprising of this type, in these places: this is the name it needs to be called, intifada. Considering the gravity of what took place, it is the name it should be called. Let's not sanitize it with other words.


 Israel police chief dubs May riots 'intifada,' sparks uproar in Knesset


Israeli woman arrested by police after she reported assault

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 19:55:49 +03:00

A Tel Aviv woman was arrested, handcuffed and detained for hours earlier this month after reporting to the police that an acquaintance had assaulted her. She later claimed that officers mocked and threatened her while she was in their custody.

The man had beaten her up in her own home and threatened her by holding a pair of scissors to her neck, the woman, who has a disability, said.

The woman, who exhibited signs of post-traumatic stress and had significant bruising, was detained because her alleged assailant filed a counter-complaint against her. Both complainants spent part of the night in jail and were released on bail early the next morning.


 Israeli woman arrested by police after she reported assault


Israel's border crossing to Sinai reopens without restrictions

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 19:47:38 +03:00

Starting Monday, the Sinai's Taba border crossing will return to full activity, after being subject to many restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. There will be no limit on the number of Israelis who can cross into the peninsula each day.

The crossing to Egypt reopened in March, after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic a year earlier. In 2020, a total of 34,000 Israelis entered Sinai through Taba, compared to nearly half a million in 2019.

When Israelis were once again allowed through, only 300 vaccinated or recovered people could pass through it in either direction each day. The crossing's hours of operation were also reduced, but will be extended on Monday.


 Israel's border crossing to Sinai reopens without restrictions


Gantz seeks delay in evicting West Bank settlers, citing Jewish agricultural sabbatical year

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 18:35:56 +03:00

Defense Minister Benny Gantz submitted a request to the High Court of Justice on Sunday seeking to delay the eviction and relocation of settlers from West Bank agricultural land. The appeal was based on so-called shmita restrictions imposed by halakha, Jewish religious law, which prohibits the cultivation of land during the current Jewish year.

The court ordered the eviction after ruling that eight Palestinians who filed the case proved ownership of land at the site, involving some 170 dunams (43 acres) of land in the West Bank's Shilo Valley. 

In May, the High Court ordered Israel's Civil Administration in the West Bank to clear the land, which has been cultivated by Meshek Achiya, one of the largest and best-known farms in the settlements. It gave the government until October to have the site vacated.


 Gantz seeks delay in evicting West Bank settlers, citing Jewish agricultural sabbatical year


North Carolina is quieter than Ramallah sometimes even too quiet

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 17:45:26 +03:00

I'm an Israeli-American lawyer, Jewish, married to a Palestinian resident of Ramallah, and author of the Hebrew-language book œMaqluba Upside-Down Love, which describes how we met and fell in love. This blog is about raising our two children, 7-year-old Forat and 3-year-old Adam, in the West Bank and more recently in the United States, where we're spending a sabbatical year.

We are trying to lead ordinary lives in an extraordinary and unforgiving reality, one that I will share with you. I have changed people's names to protect their privacy. My real name is Sari Bashi, and I've been writing this blog since 2019 under the pen name Umm Forat, which means Mother of Forat in Arabic. I invite you to visit my website: www.ummforat.com.

œShe's coming! Osama shouted, pointing through the window at the neighbor getting out of her car. œGet her!


 North Carolina is quieter than Ramallah sometimes even too quiet


Nationalist pundit drops out of right-wing talk show that wouldn't let him call Bennett gov't ˜Judenrat'

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 17:06:10 +03:00

Israeli lawyer and far-right pundit Yoram Sheftel has informed Channel 20 that he will no longer appear on its current affairs programs after he was forbidden to use the word œJudenrat to describe the new Israeli government, referring to Jewish councils who managed ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II.

Sheftel, who was a regular guest on "the Patriots and Boaz Golan's programs up until two months ago, repeatedly used the term Judenrat to describe Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government.

Three months ago, he used the term on Shimon Riklin's show too, who responded at the time and told Sheftel he didn't really like the label, but Sheftel insisted it was his right to use it as much as he wanted.


 Nationalist pundit drops out of right-wing talk show that wouldn't let him call Bennett gov't ˜Judenrat'


As Israel's infections rise, so does its forged COVID test industry

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 15:48:36 +03:00

Following this year's Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage to Uman, Ukraine, Israeli police said that over 200 travelers returned to the country with forged negative COVID tests. This emerging industry of bogus coronavirus documentation and its offerings fake tests, vaccine certificates, proof of recovery and more are the subject of a study by Check Point Software Technologies.

According to Check Point, most of this activity takes place on the encrypted Telegram messaging platform. One Telegram group, called œCoronavirus certificates vaccinations/coronavirus tests, which has been active since June, has in recent weeks started to offer forged negative COVID tests to travelers returning to Israel from Ukraine.

The cost of a negative test document for those returning from Uman was 100 shekels ($31), with a minimum order of 200 shekels i.e. two tests per person which bear the name of the customer. The cost of a recovery or vaccination certificate is 300 shekels, and the forger claims to supply a valid QR code, which appear on each legitimate certificate.


 As Israel's infections rise, so does its forged COVID test industry


Antisemitic author's manuscripts, worth millions, are setting France's literary scene on fire

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 15:40:53 +03:00

At the center of the affair that is currently inflaming the French literary world are 6,000 pages in the handwriting of Louis-Ferdinand CĂ©line. This literary treasure, whose existence had been doubted by experts on the 20th-century novelist/physician, appeared suddenly, as though from another world, in June 2020 and is continuing to raise controversy.

The trove includes three unknown novels and extensive correspondence between CĂ©line and various well-known personages. The value of the manuscripts is estimated at tens of millions of euros. It is not surprising that their unexpected discovery has roiled both his admirers and those who hate him. Along with their literary value, the writings are arousing strong passions for two main reasons: The first is the long-standing struggle between the image of the French underground La RĂ©sistance wrapped in heroism and patriotism, as opposed to that of the unsavory types who hitched their wagons to the Nazi occupation. The second is the tough French law stipulating that anyone who is in possession of property that does not belong to him will be persecuted for theft and subject to harsh punishment.

The controversy over the estate is a natural continuation of the scandal-filled life of CĂ©line, the pen name of Louis Ferdinand Auguste Destouches, characterized by disgusting antisemitic writings, collaboration with the Nazi occupation, informing on people, escapes, an arrest, a pardon obtained through fraud, and social ostracism. And in contrast to all that, his literary works have earned him a place among the greats of modern literature.


 Antisemitic author's manuscripts, worth millions, are setting France's literary scene on fire


One tooth proves sapiens didn't just stroll in and replace the Neanderthals

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 15:32:28 +03:00

Around 42,000 years ago, there were Neanderthals in Iran. We know this because archaeologists have found a Neanderthal milk tooth in a rock shelter called Bawa Yawan in Iran's towering Zagros Mountains.

This tooth belonged to one of the last Neanderthals in the world. Being a milk tooth, it could have come from a toddler who died and whose other bones have disappeared, or it could have fallen out of the mouth of a perfectly healthy child whose adult teeth were coming in. Its root is gone.

The tooth, an eyetooth, was found near tools typical of the Mousterian culture in the Zagros. That isn't proof of a Neanderthal presence per se: Mousterian utensils have been associated with both them and early Homo sapiens.


 One tooth proves sapiens didn't just stroll in and replace the Neanderthals


Israeli police searching for two suspects who assaulted ultra-Orthodox lawmaker

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 14:40:28 +03:00

United Torah Judaism lawmaker Meir Porush was physically attacked on Monday near his home in Jerusalem.

Two suspects holding a sharp object attacked Porush, tried to cut his beard and fled, said the police statement. He managed to push them off, and did not require medical treatment. The police opened an investigation, and are conducting a search for the suspects.

Porush's aide said that after the lawmaker left his home, œa young man who appeared to be Haredi arrived on a scooter, asked him whether he was Meir Porush, and when he said 'yes,' attacked him. The police said the attackers looked Haredi, but it is still not clear if they were really Haredim or just dressed up that way.


 Israeli police searching for two suspects who assaulted ultra-Orthodox lawmaker


Bennett praises Egypt's role after Sissi meeting, hails start of ˜deep relationship'

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 13:57:44 +03:00

For the first time since taking office, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi in Sinai on Monday, and praised Egypt for its stabilizing role in the region.

Bennett described the first formal, public meeting between leaders of both countries in a decade as "important and very good. We have created a foundation for a deep connection for the future."

According to a political source, the leaders discussed several regional issues, including Iran's aggression in the Middle East and its nuclear threat, Turkey and its role in the war in Libya and the crisis between Egypt and Ethiopia. They also discussed significantly expanding trade between their two countries, increasing mutual tourism, as well as dealing with "Iranian aggression" and "global terror groups" in the Middle East, the source added.


 Bennett praises Egypt's role after Sissi meeting, hails start of ˜deep relationship'






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

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