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Ha'aretz
Time: Mon, 01.27.2020 11:41 PM Local file generated: Mon, 01.27.2020 11:16 PM
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Trump meets Netanyahu, Gantz ahead of peace plan release, says deal ˜overly good' to Palestinians

Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:30:40

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz met separately with U.S. President Donald Trump in the White House on Monday, in anticipation of the release of the diplomatic section of the American peace plan, which is expected Tuesday.

Speaking outside the White House after greeting Netanyahu, Trump said he assumes the Palestinians will support the plan. œIt's something they should want, he said. Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has refused to speak to Trump about the plan.

Trump said that Netanyahu and Gantz are œtwo good competitors who are fighting it out. He added, œWe've waited and waited with the peace plan, and this is my third election. What kind of a system is that? You have a very strange system there, that system has to be looked at, he said.


 Trump meets Netanyahu, Gantz ahead of peace plan release, says deal ˜overly good' to Palestinians


Iran prepares site for satellite launch that U.S. links to ballistic missiles

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 23:00:25

Iran is preparing a site for launching a satellite, a government minister said on Monday, highlighting a program the United States says is a cover for ballistic missile development.

"Yes, a site is being prepared for placing the Zafar satellite into orbit," Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi tweeted.

The post included a link to a story by U.S. broadcaster National Public Radio that noted satellite imagery suggested the Islamic Republic was preparing for a space launch. Iran had at least two failed satellite launches last year.


 Iran prepares site for satellite launch that U.S. links to ballistic missiles


Palestinian leaders call for protests as Trump sets to release Mideast plan

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 22:53:09

The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza called on Palestinians on Monday to protest the Trump administration's plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, which is to be presented in Washington on Tuesday.

In the Gaza Strip, the committee that has organized demonstrations along the Israeli border called for a resumption of protests along the border fence. The committee, which is comprised of various factions, called for a mass turnout on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Late last month, the committee announced a halt to the marches until March 30, as a result of the Palestinian casualties that were overloading Gaza's health services. At this point, it isn't clear whether the weekly Friday demonstrations along the border fence will also resume.


 Palestinian leaders call for protests as Trump sets to release Mideast plan


Evangelicals and settlers anxiously wait to show Trump and Netanyahu who's the boss

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 22:46:32

In his usual offhand manner, U.S. President Donald Trump deflated entire theories that had speculated on why Kahol Lavan chairman Benny Gantz had also been invited to Washington, confirming in his own voice why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gantz had agreed to meet him separately: the United States doesn't really want to be seen as interfering in Israel's election. He said that Washington had patiently waited for results in the two earlier election rounds, but they were tiring of this. He added that this was a sensitive topic for America, which is accusing other countries of interfering in its own elections.

While it's difficult to argue that there is no interference here, at least with regard to the central issue around which the election will take place, it was important for the White House to clarify to Israel that both sides are cooperating with the unveiling of his plan, so that, ostensibly, this is not interfering on behalf of either of the two rivals. In other words, it was not only his old friend Benjamin Netanyahu who was cooperating with the president, it was, as Trump called Gantz, his œrival, which is like calling Gantz œthat other one in front of the cameras.

Is it possible that it was Netanyahu who suggested inviting Gantz, as Vice President Mike Pence had said? Perhaps. And perhaps Pence only wanted to extricate Netanyahu from being embarrassed by the cordial invitation extended to his œrival. Maybe this suited Netanyahu, who hasn't quite relinquished the idea of a unity government with immunity for himself. The final decision was made in accordance with American interests, and this was used as leverage by Gantz to obtain the separate meeting he wished for, which allowed him to escape from the tight spot he was in. All this was done without the knowledge of Netanyahu's long-time confidant, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, as reported in Haaretz by Amir Tibon.


 Evangelicals and settlers anxiously wait to show Trump and Netanyahu who's the boss


Trump meets Israeli leaders in Washington: Palestinians 'going to want' Mideast plan

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 22:41:39

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump is meeting with the leaders of Israel's two largest parties at the White House Monday, as he prepares to present the administration's Mideast peace plan. 

Trump hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before meeting with Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz, Netanyahu's rival in the upcoming March election. The meeting with Netanyahu was scheduled to last for over an hour, while the meeting with Gantz was scheduled to last between 30 to 45 minutes.

After another meeting on Tuesday at 12 P.M., Netanyahu and Trump are set to hold a joint press appearance, during which details of the administration's plan are expected to become public. Ahead of his meeting with Netanyahu, Trump said that the plan will be unveiled on Tuesday at 12 P.M. (7 P.M. Israel Time).


 Trump meets Israeli leaders in Washington: Palestinians 'going to want' Mideast plan


Neanderthals migrated to Siberia twice

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 22:09:17

Siberia is mainly associated, by non-Siberians, with bitter cold and gulags. Indeed, the average temperature is around minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit). But southern Siberia is actually temperate forest, characterized by decently habitable summers. The annual temperature averages a balmy 0.5 degrees Celsius and it seems Neanderthals migrated there not once but twice, researchers reported Monday in scientific journal PNAS.

Categorical evidence of Neanderthal occupation has so far been found in three caves in Siberia's Altai Mountains, lead author Kseniya Kolobova of the Russian Academy of Sciences explains to Haaretz: the well-known Denisova Cave; Chagyrskaya Cave (the subject of their paper); and Okladnikov Cave.

Based on plant and animal remains, it seems the area of the cave was dry steppe, not tundra. It seems the Neanderthal populations there adapted to life in the dry steppe, the authors say mainly hunting young and female bison, possibly as they migrated. They also hunted other ungulates: horses, reindeer, Siberian ibex (goats) and argali (large wild sheep). œThey hunted bisons and horses in Crimea and in Eastern Europe too, Kolobova adds.


 Neanderthals migrated to Siberia twice


Rivlin told Poles what Netanyahu wouldn't

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 21:54:45

The speech given Monday by President Reuven Rivlin in Poland demands that we stop and ask for explanations. But it isn't clear whom, if anyone, there is to ask. Rivlin, as is his wont, chose not to twist history and wasn't deterred from making some harsh statements that seemed rather impolite to make against the country providing the platform.

œWe also remember, in great horror, that it received significant aid in its murderous actions throughout all of Europe, and this too requires accepting responsibility, he said. And then after mentioning œthe courage of the righteous among the nations, among them thousands of Poles who risked their lives to save Jews ¦ noble people who risked their lives and the lives of their families, he made sure to add that they œwere few, too few. And after saying that œthe Polish people fought with courage against Nazi Germany, he added, œQuite a few of the Polish people stood aside and even aided in the murder of Jews.

It's worth examining every word of that last sentence. When Rivlin states that œQuite a few Poles were indifferent at best, and active participants in Nazi crimes at worst, he is contradicting what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the joint statement signed with his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, in 2018. That controversial document describes Poles who collaborated with the Nazis as œsome people who œrevealed their darkest side at that time, and did so œregardless of their origin, religion or worldview. There's a far cry between that description and œquite a few of the Polish people.


 Rivlin told Poles what Netanyahu wouldn't


Construction workers indicted for negligent homicide in death of coworker in central Israel

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 21:40:21

Two construction workers were charged on Sunday with negligent homicide in the death in the central Israeli city of Ramle of a 45-year-old coworker who was a Chinese national.

The indictment of Husam Marab and Ahmed Abu Khadir in the death of Shi Hui last April was the first from an investigation by the new Peles workplace accident unit of the Israel Police, which was created in part to speed up the investigation of workplace accidents.

The police completed their investigation in August and recommended indicting five employees at the construction site, including the work supervisor. Prosecutors did not respond to a question from Haaretz as to why the supervisor and other suspects were not indicted. The Zafrir and Zohar Sharbat firm is responsible for the project.


 Construction workers indicted for negligent homicide in death of coworker in central Israel


Two Israeli Arabs charged with spying for Hamas

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 21:36:18

Two Arab citizens of Israel were indicted Monday for spying on behalf of Hamas and for committing other security crimes. The State Prosecutor's Office said the accused, Rami Alamudi and Rajib Dakha, were both born in the Gaza Strip and were dispatched to Israel on Hamas orders.

Alamudi, 30, a resident of Khan Yunis in the Strip, was born to an Israeli mother and a father from Gaza. Two years ago he renewed contact with his mother and in recent months, he was issued Israeli identity documents and moved to live with his mother in Israel proper.

Dakha, 34, has an Israeli mother, too, and originally lived in Gaza. In 2017, he was issued an Israeli passport and moved to Israel. His wife and five children remained in the Strip, and he visited once every few months.


 Two Israeli Arabs charged with spying for Hamas


Russian panel greenlights jailed Israeli's pardon request in high-profile case

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 20:33:50

A pardon request filed by Naama Issachar, the 26-year-old Israeli imprisoned in Russia on a drug conviction, has been accepted by a panel on Monday, and will soon go to Russian President Vladimir Putin. If accepted, it will be the first time the Russian president will pardon a foreign national. 

The panel's decision now goes to the district governor, who will determine whether to hand the pardon request over to Putin, who has the final say in Issachar's release.

A Kremlin spokesperson said that Putin will soon decide whether to pardon Issachar. The governor is set to examine the request as early as Tuesday.


 Russian panel greenlights jailed Israeli's pardon request in high-profile case


Bloomberg v Bernie: Why the Democratic Candidates (Finally) See Their Jewishness as a Vote Winner

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 20:29:28

It's an undeniably historic moment for American Jews. As Bernie Sanders surges in the Democratic polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, the country is closer than ever to having a member of the nation's tiny Jewish minority as its president.

At the same time, another Jewish candidate, Michael Bloomberg, has stepped into the ring and is directly challenging Sanders with a message to moderate Democrats and independent voters, whom he believes are key to defeating President Donald Trump in November.

Bloomberg took an ethnically tinged swipe at Sanders on Sunday, telling a few hundred attendees at a Miami Jewish center: œI know I'm not the only Jewish candidate running for president. But I am the only one who doesn't want to turn America into a kibbutz.


 Bloomberg v Bernie: Why the Democratic Candidates (Finally) See Their Jewishness as a Vote Winner


Israel's attorney general says no basis to disqualify Arab lawmaker from election run

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 20:20:34

In response to a petition seeking to have Joint List Knesset member Heba Yazbak disqualifed from running in the March 2 Knesset election for statements that made to Channel 13 television, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit's office filed a brief Monday stating that "in light of her statements and clarifications," there is no evidence justifying her disqualification from running in the election.

The requests to disqualify Yazbak were based in part a section of the Basic Law on the Knesst that states that a party or person cannot be a candidate for the Knesset if they express œsupport for armed struggle by a hostile state or a terrorist organization, against the State of Israel.

Mendelblit's brief also expressed opposition to a request by the far-right Otzma Yehudit party to disqualify the entire Joint List slate from running in the electiion.


 Israel's attorney general says no basis to disqualify Arab lawmaker from election run


Lebanese protesters hurl stones at police near parliament

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 19:44:23

Lebanese protesters hurled rocks and metal barricades at security forces blocking a road near parliament on Monday ahead of a budget debate as Lebanon grapples with a deep financial crisis.

Some protesters have rejected a new cabinet formed last week and accuse the political elite of ignoring demands that include an independent government and fighting corruption.

MPs are expected to vote on a budget that was first drafted by the Saad al-Hariri-led government that quit in October, prompted by the protests.


 Lebanese protesters hurl stones at police near parliament


How the survivors won and Holocaust denial, and the politicians, lost

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 18:49:42

Benjamin Netanyahu is not one for expressing gratitude to fellow politicians, unless it's to Donald Trump and other fellow strongmen. So his tweet on Thursday thanking the retired Likud minister, Silvan Shalom, for having led the diplomatic campaign at the United Nations to establish International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 15 years ago, was an anomaly. But Netanyahu indeed had reason to be thankful.

This year, that commemoration day was an opportunity to invite dozens of high-level delegations to Israel, including the presidents of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine, and for Netanyahu to present his own grim and self-serving conclusions from the Jews' tragedy. It also created an annual global event around the Holocaust which is much bigger than him or any other politician.

It may be taken for granted now that such a day exists, but it wasn't at all simple 15 years ago. Every word in the UN resolution establishing International Holocaust Remembrance Day was hotly debated. The number of times the word "Jews" would be mentioned was an issue, as was the attention other nations who had suffered during the Second World War and genocides at other times would receive.


 How the survivors won and Holocaust denial, and the politicians, lost


Advanced U.S. military plane crashes in Taliban-controlled area of Afghanistan

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 18:47:37

The U.S. military confirmed Monday that a U.S. military aircraft crashed in a Taliban-controlled area of central Afghanistan, but denied that Taliban insurgents brought it down.

There were "no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire," U.S. military spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett wrote on Twitter, "Taliban claims that additional aircraft have crashed are false."

Pictures and a video on social media purportedly from the crash site showed what could be the remains of a Bombardier E-11A aircraft, which the U.S. military uses for electronic surveillance over Afghanistan. The military confirmed that it is, in fact, an E-11A that crashed. 


 Advanced U.S. military plane crashes in Taliban-controlled area of Afghanistan


Saudi FM says Israeli passport holders cannot visit, CNN reports

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 18:16:45

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said Israelis were not welcome to visit the kingdom after Israel decreed that Israeli citizens could visit Saudi Arabia under certain circumstances, CNN reported on Monday.

"Our policy is fixed. We do not have relations with the state of Israel and Israeli passport holders cannot visit the kingdom at the current time," the U.S. broadcaster quoted Prince Faisal bin Farhan as saying.

Israel's Interior Ministry announced on Sunday that it will now permit Israelis to visit Saudi Arabia, for the first time in Israel's history. The new rules will allow travel to Saudi Arabia for the Islamic pilgrimages known as the Hajj and the Umrah, or for business trips of up to 90 days. However, business trips will be conditional on the traveler having an invitation from a Saudi official.


 Saudi FM says Israeli passport holders cannot visit, CNN reports


Donaldus Trumpus Caesar set to reward Provincial Governor Netanyahu with 'deal of the century'

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 18:06:05

U.S. President Donald Trump's so-called œdeal of the century is not a peace proposal in any contemporary sense of the term. Peace, in the Israeli-Palestinian context, requires agreement by both sides to the conflict. No one in his right mind, however, can believe that there is even a slight chance that Palestinians would accept Trump's blueprint in any way, shape or form.

In fact, Trump's proposal, which he is expected to unveil in his Monday and Tuesday meetings with Israel's two competing Benjamins Netanyahu & Gantz isn't actually a œdeal either. The term deal, in common usage, is usually seen as signaling agreement between two sides, not one in which one side the Palestinians in this case are sidelined, ignored, disdained and taken for granted.

œDeal of the century could still be applicable nonetheless, not as a covenant between Israel and Palestinians but between Israel and the U.S. or more accurately, between Netanyahu and Trump. Alternatively, it could be seen as a œdeal of the century as the term might be employed in a used car lot: A great bargain for a coveted possession, which later turns out be a lemon, and a poisoned one at that.


 Donaldus Trumpus Caesar set to reward Provincial Governor Netanyahu with 'deal of the century'


Romney: 'At least four' Republicans likely to vote for Bolton to testify in Trump impeachment trial

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 17:40:38

Republicans in the U.S. Senate came under fresh pressure on Monday to allow witnesses and new documents in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial after a news report that a former top aide has a written a book manuscript that undercuts Trump's versions of events in the Ukraine affair.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a sometime critic of Trump, said there was a growing likelihood that at least four Republican senators would vote to call for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify, which would give Democrats the votes necessary to summon him.

The New York Times cited the manuscript of an unpublished book by Bolton as saying that the Republican president told him he wanted to freeze security aid to Ukraine until Kiev helped with investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.


 Romney: 'At least four' Republicans likely to vote for Bolton to testify in Trump impeachment trial


Trump's peace plan: What to look out for when the deal is unveiled

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 17:38:30

After years of preparations and leaks, the Trump administration's peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians is finally expected to be officially released in the next two days.

>> Follow our latest updates on Gantz's and Netanyahu's meetings with Trump

The economic section of the plan, with far-reaching benefits for the Palestinians, was released in June 2019 at the conference in Bahrain. At the time, it was said that the implementation of the economic part depended on the parties' willingness to accept the diplomatic portion of the peace plan. This is the section that will be revealed over the next few days.


 Trump's peace plan: What to look out for when the deal is unveiled


Israeli president in Poland: Many Poles aided in murder of Jews

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 17:25:23

President Reuven Rivlin said Monday that while many Poles fought against Nazi Germany, "many ... aided in the murder of Jews," according to an official transcript of the remarks he made while in Poland to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda and attend a ceremony marking 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.

Rivlin met with Duda, who had boycotted the International Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem after his demand to speak was denied, in Krakow ahead of the ceremony in Auschwitz.

The meeting came against the backdrop of tensions between the two states over the historical memory of Polish involvement in the Holocaust during WWII.


 Israeli president in Poland: Many Poles aided in murder of Jews


Islamic State urges attacks against Jews, effort to thwart Trump plan

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 15:53:26

The Islamic State militant group urged its fighters and other Muslims to attack Jews in a purported audio recording released on Monday in an attempt to thwart U.S. President Donald Trump's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

The message was said to feature the voice of ISIS spokesman Abu Hamzah al-Quraishi but Reuters could not verify the speaker's identity.

Islamic State has not been a player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the comments appeared to be an attempt by the group to stay relevant and resonante with Muslims by sounding concerned about the issue, said H.A. Hellyer of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


 Islamic State urges attacks against Jews, effort to thwart Trump plan


Trump's peace plan means settlements are permanent. Democrats, get used to it

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 15:20:44

Those inclined to dismiss the unveiling of the Trump administration's Middle East peace plan as solely related to short-term political considerations have a point.

No scheme for a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, when one party, the Palestinians, are ignoring that scheme, can be considered a realistic formula for peace. It's also true that the international community is giving Donald Trump's so-called "ultimate deal" just as little consideration as the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Even more importantly, the Trump foreign policy team's labor could be a footnote to history as soon as 12 months from now if the president is not re-elected. Any possible Democratic successor will preemptively reject this effort, as they will everything else the current administration has done since it came to office.


 Trump's peace plan means settlements are permanent. Democrats, get used to it


Her father fought for Mandela, now she's fighting to become an Israeli lawmaker

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:46:26

Her father was Canada's justice minister. Her mother was Likud's parliamentary secretary. As things look today, with just over a month to Election Day, Michal Cotler-Wunsh has a decent shot at becoming the first bona fide Canadian to serve in the Israeli Knesset.

Kahol Lavan recently announced that Cotler-Wunsh had been moved up its slate for the March 2 election, from 46th to 36th place. That was after Gadi Yevarkan like her, a member of the Telem faction headed by former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon defected to Likud, clearing the way for others to advance.

Recent polls have given Kahol Lavan 34 to 35 seats in the next Knesset more than any other party. But in both elections held last year (on April 9 and September 17), the centrist party headed by Benny Gantz ended up winning more seats than had been projected. That could explain why Cotler-Wunsh, speaking to Haaretz in her Tel Aviv office, says she is œcautiously optimistic about her prospects.


 Her father fought for Mandela, now she's fighting to become an Israeli lawmaker


'Jewish Nobel' cuts ties with Netanyahu's office in order to fight claims prize is politicized

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 13:11:26

The Genesis Prize, which likes to refer to itself as the œJewish Nobel, announced on Monday that it was ending its ongoing partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel. The move was explained as an attempt to counter widespread claims that the prize had become politicized.

The Genesis Prize was established in 2013 as a partnership between the Genesis Prize Foundation, the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel and the Jewish Agency. Benjamin Netanyahu has served as Israeli prime minister during this entire period.

In a statement, the foundation that runs the prize said that œsome have incorrectly interpreted the participation of the Prime Minister's Office as œbringing a political dimension to this important initiative.


 'Jewish Nobel' cuts ties with Netanyahu's office in order to fight claims prize is politicized


Hackers acting in Turkey's interests believed to be behind recent cyberattacks, sources say

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 13:05:44

Sweeping cyberattacks targeting governments and other organisations in Europe and the Middle East are believed to be the work of hackers acting in the interests of the Turkish government, three senior Western security officials said.

The hackers have attacked at least 30 organisations, including government ministries, embassies and security services as well as companies and other groups, according to a Reuters review of public internet records. Victims have included Cypriot and Greek government email services and the Iraqi government's national security advisor, the records show.

The attacks involve intercepting internet traffic to victim websites, potentially enabling hackers to obtain illicit access to the networks of government bodies and other organisations.


 Hackers acting in Turkey's interests believed to be behind recent cyberattacks, sources say


Rocket attack on U.S. Embassy in Baghdad injures one

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 12:45:50

A nighttime rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad injured at least one embassy personnel member, staffers there said Monday.

The two staff members, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, did not specify the injured person's nationality or the severity of their wounds. They said the rocket slammed into a restaurant inside the embassy compound.

Violent clashes between Iraqi security forces and anti-government protesters also continued to seethe overnight, with one protester shot dead in a violent crackdown in the country's south.


 Rocket attack on U.S. Embassy in Baghdad injures one


Rohani calls on Iranians to cast their votes in elections, lashes out at Trump

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 11:18:28

Iranians should not allow U.S. President Donald Trump's "maximum pressure" approach to harm national unity ahead of parliamentary elections, President Hassan Rohani said in a speech, lashing out at hardliners over mass disqualification of candidates.

Iran's clerical rulers face challenges in keeping the economy afloat under increasingly tough U.S. sanctions imposed by Washington after it withdrew in 2018 from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers. Vital oil exports have been slashed.

"We should not let Trump succeed in creating gaps between the establishment and people ... We should remain united ... Don't turn your back on (Feb. 21) elections. Let's have a high turn out," said Rohani in a speech broadcast live on his official website.


 Rohani calls on Iranians to cast their votes in elections, lashes out at Trump


Israel aims to be digital-medical power, but first must iron out privacy issues

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 11:11:30

Apart from natural gas, Israel doesn't have a lot of natural resources: no oil, no gold, no iron ore and no magnesium. But it does have one resource that has become the gold of the 21st century: information in particular, the kind that is both especially valuable but especially sensitive a huge database on the health of the population.

The database is a resource that has been collected, documented, nurtured and maintained with exceptional care and skill for decades. From simple blood tests to MRIs, from records of patients complaining to their family doctor about pain to results of advanced surgery, from birth to death everything is centrally stored by the Israeli healthcare system.

In the emerging era of artificial intelligence and personalized medicine, high-quality big data on millions of people is an invaluable resource. And in addition to the clinical data that already exists, the government is also funding the launch of a giant genetic database called Pasifas (œMosaic in Hebrew) that will contain blood samples for more than 100,000 Israeli citizens, collected from health maintenance organizations.


 Israel aims to be digital-medical power, but first must iron out privacy issues


˜We are memory keepers': New project photographs the world's remaining Holocaust survivors

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 10:44:56

A man with white hair is seen wearing running shoes and jogging under an enormous desert sky. A woman is reflected through her bedroom vanity mirror, holding the solar panel she invented. Another man is photographed with the hands of his children and grandchildren cradling his arm, which is tattooed with his identification number from Auschwitz.

The images are all part of œThe Lonka Project, an ambitious new enterprise that photographs Holocaust survivors around the world. The portraits are as varied as the people they depict, as top photographers try to capture something of their essence and survival in a single frame.

The project is the brainchild of Jerusalem-based photographers Rina Castelnuovo and Jim Hollander. The married couple decided to pursue the project last year, shortly after the death of Castelnuovo's mother, Dr. Eleonora (Lonka) Nass for whom the project is named. Lonka was transported to no fewer than five concentration camps in her early teens, but while she survived, her father and brother did not. After moving to Israel in 1956, she went on to become a dental surgeon.


 ˜We are memory keepers': New project photographs the world's remaining Holocaust survivors


Netanyahu first, then Gantz: Trump to host leaders to discuss peace plan

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:49:06

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump will meet on Monday with the leaders of Israel's two largest parties at the White House, as he prepares to present the administration's Mideast peace plan.

Trump will host Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at 11 A.M. before meeting with Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz, Netanyahu's rival in the upcoming March election, at 12:30 P.M. The meeting with Netanyahu is scheduled to last for over an hour, while the meeting with Gantz is scheduled to last between 30 to 45 minutes.

The meeting with Gantz will be unusual for several reasons. It will be the first time that an Israeli politician who holds no official role in the government holds personal meeting with the American president during an election campaign. In addition, it will be held without any involvement from the Israeli embassy in Washington. Trump and Gantz have not met before, but the former military chief of staff has been in the White House previously, as the military attaché in Washington.


 Netanyahu first, then Gantz: Trump to host leaders to discuss peace plan


Israel issues warning for China travel as deadly virus spreads

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 07:39:51

Israel's Health Ministry said on Sunday it is advising citizens against all non-essential travel to China and advised against any travel to Hubei Province, where an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus had resulted in 56 deaths to date.

But many Israelis had already decided without any government warning that travel to there was too risky. The impact is mainly being felt in business travel, which makes up the biggest share of air travel between the two countries.

œThe massive increase in cancellations began in the last few days, said Aya Magen, CEO of Talma Travel & Tours, which specializes in the business sector. œPeople are canceling trips or moving the destination to Hong Kong. We're seeing businesses canceling reservations after because they don't want to send their employees to China. Others are asking to cut short their stay and return to Israel. It's not about one or two customers, but masses of them.


 Israel issues warning for China travel as deadly virus spreads


Abbas refuses Trump call as Palestinian leaders rage over peace deal

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 07:01:40

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump Monday regarding the impending release of the Trump administration's peace plan, a senior official in the Abbas' office said. The official added that there were similar attempts made last week to try and coordinate the call.

President Trump is meeting Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief political rival Benny Gantz to discuss the details of the 'Deal of the Century' ahead of its expected release Tuesday.

>> Trump's ˜deal of the century' was written in a way so the Palestinians would reject it. Maybe that was the plan


 Abbas refuses Trump call as Palestinian leaders rage over peace deal


Israeli firm Mellanox aims to bring Palestinian staff to Nvidia after takeover

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 06:25:18

Mellanox, the Israeli maker of data center chips, is working to ensure that 140 Palestinians now working for it through an outsourcing firm will be employed directly when the company is sold to U.S. company Nvidia, the executive responsible for Mellanox's operations in the Palestinian Authority said on Thursday.

Sources at Mellanox told TheMarker that the Palestinians qualify for share options even though they are not employees, which means together they can expect to profit between $3.5 million and $4.5 million. Nvidia agreed in March to buy Mellanox for $6.9 billion, but it still waiting for approvals to complete the deal.

Speaking at the XR for Peace conference, the Mellanox executive, David Slama, noted that more than 3,000 Palestinians complete degree programs in engineering and technology every year. Some find work with Palestinian, Israeli and international companies locally and others find jobs in the Gulf, but 75% can't find employment in their field at all.


 Israeli firm Mellanox aims to bring Palestinian staff to Nvidia after takeover


Then, Israel's attorney general was thrown in jail

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 06:21:29

The first to be arrested was Shai Nitzan. The police came to his home in Jerusalem at 5 A.M., accompanied by television crews, and spoke to him aggressively: œCome with us, Mr. Nitzan.

œThere must be some mistake, the former state prosecutor said, in a well-known refrain from movies and TV series. œNo, the superintendent said, œyou're Shai Nitzan, ID number so and so? Then move it and get in the van. And he locked the handcuff around the suspect's right wrist.

Channel 12 news opened with a live broadcast of the arrest, under the logo œInvestigating the investigators. œThe state has regained control of the legal system, anchorwoman Yonit Levi explained, with Justice Minister Amir Ohana, in his blue suit, smiling beside her. œWe'll hand over to you in a moment, Mr. Minister, but first, an update from the Russian Compound police station.


 Then, Israel's attorney general was thrown in jail


Shalom, Siri. Do you understand a word I'm saying?

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 06:21:19

As part of an effort teach computers and devices to speak and understand Hebrew better, the Israeli government is setting up a database designed to help the development of artificial intelligence applications based on natural language processing that is, interactions between computers and human language. 

Hebrew is a difficult language, even when it's spoken by a machine. To teach a device to understand it well, they need to be trained extensively in it. While identifying speech itself (converting speech to text) in Hebrew is easy, the problem of deciphering the meanings of texts is complicated. Machines find it difficult to understand sentences and put words in the right context in any language, and this is especially true in Hebrew.

The word œha'kafé, for example, could mean one of the world's favorite hot drinks, or the perimeter of a field.


 Shalom, Siri. Do you understand a word I'm saying?


String of doctors' suicides sparks probe in southern Israeli hospital

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:48:27

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman announced the appointment of a public committee to examine a string of doctors' suicides at the Soroka Medical Center in the southern Israeli city of Be'er Sheva on Sunday. This comes after the fourth doctor within a year and a half committed suicide on Saturday night.

The committee is tasked with proposing a plan for handling the emotional distress of members of the medical staff.

œTo our regret, this is a familiar phenomenon in the health system in Israel and worldwide, and we hope that the entire system will improve the methods of intervention as a result of the committee's work, a statement released by Litzman and the Clalit Health Services organization, who are responsible for the hospital, said. 


 String of doctors' suicides sparks probe in southern Israeli hospital


Now they've decided to disqualify me

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:37:53

In the past 20 years, not a single Israeli election campaign has gone untouched by the delegitimization and political persecution of Arab MKs. In the most recent election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his gang tried to turn all Arab citizens into suspects, by demanding the installation of cameras at polling stations. The Joint List managed to prevent the initiative.

An integral part of the persecution is the ritual of the Central Elections Committee discussing requests to disqualify Arab slates and their candidates. These discussions were designed to promote messages of hatred, and are used as a tool to silence the legitimate demand for full civic and national equality.

The right decided to focus on me this time, by means of its populistic emphasis on two messages that I posted five and seven years ago, long before I was elected to the Knesset. The public uproar included disinformation, distortions and incitement, as well as statements attributed to me that I never made. The right did so because they don't want to deal with my political messages and those of the Joint List.


 Now they've decided to disqualify me


Trump's ˜deal of the century' was written in a way so the Palestinians would reject it. Maybe that was the plan

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:18:41

On January 19, 2017, a night before his inauguration as the 45th U.S. president, Donald Trump stood on a stage in Washington and praised Jared Kushner. œIf you can't produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can, he told his son-in-law at the VIP reception. Trump added that the deal he was going to ask Kushner to present  peace between Israel and the Palestinians  was the œtoughest deal to get.

Three years later, the Trump administration is about to present Kushner's document, widely known as œthe deal of the century, and it's clear that Israeli-Palestinian peace is the last thing that will come out of it.

Kushner's plan is written in a way that guarantees it will be rejected by the Palestinian Authority, and will be released after two years with no communications between the United States and the Palestinians.


 Trump's ˜deal of the century' was written in a way so the Palestinians would reject it. Maybe that was the plan


A diversionary tactic

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:16:28

After Benjamin Netanyahu lied on live television when he said he had no intention of seeking parliamentary immunity from prosecution but then asked for it anyway, he is now doing everything he can to delay a debate by the Knesset House Committee on his request. The reason is simple: He can't expect a majority of the current Knesset to support immunity.

The prime minister and his lawyers are looking to push off the hearings. If they succeed, the closer it gets to March 2 Election Day the greater the chances that they'll enter the twilight zone when, according to Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, it will be too late to vote on the immunity request. At that point a decision on his request will have to wait until after the election, when Netanyahu hopes the balance of power in the Knesset will change in his favor.

When he accepted the invitation of U.S. President Donald Trump to visit Washington, Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz did the right thing by insisting on returning to Israel in time for the immunity hearing.


 A diversionary tactic


Haaretz cartoon

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:07:33

 Haaretz cartoon


Twin sisters were liberated from Auschwitz, but not from Mengele

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 04:26:56

Shortly after Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945, 7-year-old twins Lea and Yehudit Csengeri were ordered to huddle next to other survivors near the camp's barbed wire fence. Before savoring a taste of freedom, they were required to take part in a Soviet army propaganda film that purportedly showed the camp being liberated, although the event had not been filmed in real time. It was a staged display, the twins told Haaretz last week as they gazed at themselves in a still frame from the movie.

Despite the staging, the film is remarkable footage, reflecting the exceptional fate of two Jewish twins who survived the terrible experiments conducted on them by sadistic German doctor Josef Mengele. The picture, which is on display at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum as well, also shows their mother, Miriam-Rachel, who was 28 at the time, and also survived.

The twins say their mother played a major role in their survival. œWe are alive only because of her, said Yehudit, who is now 82. œShe combed our hair, bathed us in the snow and sneaked into our barracks to bring us some bread.


 Twin sisters were liberated from Auschwitz, but not from Mengele


Blasting Trump, Bloomberg presents pro-Israel credentials at Jewish event

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 04:08:57

WASHINGTON Michael Bloomberg blasted President Donald Trump for his support of the far right and emphasized his unwavering support for Israel, at an event for Jewish supporters in Florida on Sunday, criticizing his fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders along the way.

Bloomberg attacked Trump for œtrying to use Israel as a wedge issue for his own political purposes. He called the 45th president's use of Israel in American politics œa disgrace. He added that œwe must never let Israel be a football that American politicians kick around.

œThere are those who will cite the embassy move as a reason to support President Trump, Bloomberg said. œTo that I say very clearly: If I am elected, you will never have to choose between supporting Israel and supporting our values here at home. He said that, unlike Trump, œI will defend both."


 Blasting Trump, Bloomberg presents pro-Israel credentials at Jewish event


Lebanon's new 'government of experts' is already planning for the end

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 03:22:03

œHello hello hello ho, Gebran Bassil koos emo this rhyming ditty blew up on Lebanese social media and graced the walls of government buildings in Beirut after the mass demonstrations against the government began in October. Bassil is the former foreign minister and son-in-law of Lebanese President Michel Aoun, and the rhyme makes a dirty reference to his mother. It has appeared in myriad forms, including a remix performed by a philharmonic orchestra.

It was Bassil's dispute with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri that ignited the political storm that led to Hariri's resignation at the end of October. Bassil ceased to be foreign minister once the new Lebanese government was established under Hassan Diab, but he and his father-in-law, together with Hezbollah and the Shi'ite movement Amal, are the founders of the government now dubbed œthe Hezbollah government. The cabinet consists of 20 ministers. Six are women, and one of those women Zeina Akar Adra is the country's first female defense minister, and a deputy prime minister to boot.

Ostensibly, it's a government of experts. All the ministers have academic degrees, though not necessarily in the field they are responsible for. The prime minister himself published about 150 academic papers in economics and computer engineering, and is an accredited engineer and member of the engineering associations of Lebanon, the United Kingdom and Australia. But each one is also politically supported by their connection to the leadership of a represented party or to the leaders personally.


 Lebanon's new 'government of experts' is already planning for the end


France sees increase in number of anti-Semitic acts in 2019

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 00:56:02

The number of anti-Semitic acts in France rose by 27 per cent in 2019, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday, on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

There were 687 incidents in 2019 compared with 541 in the previous year, the ministry said. Among the acts recorded were physical violence, theft, vandalism and verbal threats.

Incidents of racist and xenophobic acts also increased sharply: from 496 in 2018 to 1,142 in 2019.


 France sees increase in number of anti-Semitic acts in 2019


Behind the scenes: Who pulled the strings in last-minute decision to invite Gantz to White House

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 23:22:58

WASHINGTON Israel's ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, was not involved in organizing Monday's meeting between President Donald Trump and Kahol Lavan party leader Benny Gantz, Haaretz has learned from sources involved in Gantz's visit.

Dermer has a very close relationship with the Trump administration and is also a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but will not attend the Trump-Gantz meeting, despite the fact that Gantz will be coming to the White House as the leader of the largest party in the Israeli Knesset just weeks before Knesset elections on March 2. The two prior rounds, in April and September, ended without Netanyahu or Gantz able to form a government coalition.

Sources close to Gantz say he doesn't trust Dermer and views him as completely loyal to Netanyahu. Dermer played a key role in producing the original White House invitation to Netanyahu and Gantz to come to Washington, under terms that were seen as humiliating and embarrassing to Gantz.


 Behind the scenes: Who pulled the strings in last-minute decision to invite Gantz to White House


Ex-basketball star Kobe Bryant, eight others dead in helicopter crash in California

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 22:52:23

Retired basketball star Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning, the city of Calabasas reported.

LA County Sheriff's department said in a news conference eight others were believed to have been killed in the accident, according to the passenger manifest. Causes of the crash were unknown.

Kobe Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also on the helicopter, several major U.S. media outlets reported. One of her basketball teammates, a parent of the teammate, and the pilot were also killed, NBC News reported.


 Ex-basketball star Kobe Bryant, eight others dead in helicopter crash in California


The evangelical who was part of the German resistance against Hitler

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 22:21:56

LONDON Helmuth Caspar von Moltke likes to imagine that his father might have become a Supreme Court judge after World War II. However, instead of leading a court, Helmuth James von Moltke was dragged before one by the Nazi regime and charged with crimes of high treason. The German aristocrat was hanged on January 23, 1945, when his eldest son was just 6 years old.

The 82-year-old von Moltke, who goes by the name Caspar, was in London this week on a brief visit from his home in Montreal. The judiciary would have been a better fit for his father than politics, he muses, because the latter œis not a good profession for people of considerable principle. And he was a man of considerable principle.

Helmuth von Moltke was from a prominent Prussian noble family one that had provided the German Army with two field marshals and chiefs of staff in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Like so many of those who lost their lives resisting the Nazis, Helmuth von Moltke, 38 at the time of his death, was never given a burial: his body was burnt and his ashes unceremoniously washed away.


 The evangelical who was part of the German resistance against Hitler


As Netanyahu and Gantz head for Washington, Bennett says Israel won't let Palestinian state happen

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 21:40:34

Defense Minister Naftali Bennet said Sunday that Israel will in "under no condition allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state," ahead of the Trump administration's release of the long-awaited Middle East peace plan, slated to be unveiled on Tuesday.

Speaking in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, Bennett said: "In no case, under no condition, will we allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state or recognition of such a state and we will not relinquish a single centimeter of the land of Israel to Arabs."

>> Read more: Annexation for dummies: Making sense of Netanyahu and Gantz's declarations


 As Netanyahu and Gantz head for Washington, Bennett says Israel won't let Palestinian state happen


In first, Dutch PM apologizes Holland did 'too little' to help Jews during Holocaust

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 21:19:43

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized on behalf of the Dutch government on Sunday for his country's actions during World War II, saying too little was done to protect Jewish citizens from Nazi persecution.

Rutte offered the apology during commemorations in the Netherlands to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on January 27, 1945.

œSince the last survivors are still among us, I apologize on behalf of the government for what the state was doing at the time, Rutte said during a ceremony in Amsterdam.


 In first, Dutch PM apologizes Holland did 'too little' to help Jews during Holocaust


In Trump's peace plan, Jordan only sees an ambush

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 20:50:48

Jordan is once again seeking political asylum. While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz will hear the details of the œdeal of the century in Washington this week, King Abdullah will apparently only be able to guess at the nature of the ambush U.S. President Donald Trump is laying for him.

Based on the statements of senior Jordanian officials, the kingdom is still officially in the dark, and speculation relies mainly on leaks to the Israeli media. But their greatest fear is that Jordan will become the alternative Palestinian homeland.

œWhat does annexing the Jordan Valley mean, after Trump has already recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, given it permission to annex the Golan Heights and recognized the legitimacy of some of the settlements? a senior Jordanian pundit said in an interview with Haaretz. œAll of this means Jordan has ceased to be an important element of the peace process.


 In Trump's peace plan, Jordan only sees an ambush


In secret recording, Trump associates compare him to Jewish messiah

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 20:47:46

In a secretly recorded video of a dinner with President Donald Trump, businessmen and Rudy Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman draw a parallel between the president and the Messiah.

In the video Trump can be heard telling an aide to œtake out then-United States Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during a donor dinner in 2018 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The video was released on Saturday by Joseph Bondy, the lawyer representing Parnas in the campaign finance violations case against the two businessmen who were part of the alleged effort at the center of the current impeachment trial to pressure the Ukraine government to announce an investigation into Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Near the end of the 80-minute cell phone recording of the dinner reported to have been attended by donors to the America First Action Super Pac, Parnas presents to Trump what he says is a gift from œthe head rabbi of Ukraine and some rabbis in Israel. He explains that according to Jewish numerology, known as gematria, the letters in Trump's name add up to 424, which is the same total as the Messiah.


 In secret recording, Trump associates compare him to Jewish messiah


Israel strikes in Gaza after south targeted for second consecutive day

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 20:00:48

The Israeli army struck a Hamas military post in the southern Gaza Strip in retaliation for rocket fire and incendiary balloons that were fired at Israel earlier in the day. 

Earlier Sunday, the Israeli military said that a rocket was fired from the Gaza Srip, adding that the rocket fire caused an alarm to sound in an open area near Israel's border with the coastal enclave. 

>> Read more: A deadly skirmish on Gaza border, an inconvenient question for Israel | Analysis


 Israel strikes in Gaza after south targeted for second consecutive day


Survivor in Slovenia turns 100 on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 19:41:00

For Marija Frlan it's as symbolic as it can get: A survivor of a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, the Slovenian woman turns 100 years old on Monday, the international Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Frlan, who was held at the Nazi's Ravensbruck camp in northern Germany for over a year in 1944-45, will join other survivors and officials in Poland on Monday for ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

Ahead of the ceremonies, Frlan told The Associated Press that one could talk at length about what it was like in the Ravensbruck camp, but that only those who were there really know how horrific it was.


 Survivor in Slovenia turns 100 on Holocaust Remembrance Day


Pope asks Catholics to say 'Never Again' to the Holocaust

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 19:08:11

Pope Francis on Sunday asked the world's 1.3 billion Catholics to stop for a moment of prayer and reflection on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and say "Never Again".

The pope mentioned Monday's anniversary during his weekly noon address and blessing to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square.

"Indifference is inadmissible before this enormous tragedy, this atrocity, and memory is a duty. Tomorrow, we are all invited to stop for a moment of prayer and reflection, each one of us saying in our own heart: 'never again, never again,'" he said.


 Pope asks Catholics to say 'Never Again' to the Holocaust


Sanders surges to lead in both Iowa and New Hampshire, national polls show

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 19:05:38

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders pulled ahead in a New Hampshire poll released on Sunday, bolstering evidence that he is gaining momentum with only days left until voting begins in the Democratic presidential contest.

Sanders led a poll of New Hampshire voters with 25 percent support. His closest competitor was former Vice President Joe Biden, with 16 percent, according to the poll released on Sunday by cable network CNN and the University of New Hampshire.

Most of the field of Democratic candidates vying to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election have turned their attention to Iowa, which holds the first contest on February 3. New Hampshire will vote next.


 Sanders surges to lead in both Iowa and New Hampshire, national polls show


Israeli right-wing coalition parties to boycott vote on Netanyahu's immunity request

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 18:55:22

Right-wing coalition parties announced Sunday that they intend to boycott a Knesset plenum vote on whether the Israeli parliament should set up a House Committee to discuss Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request to receive immunity from prosecution in the three criminal cases he had been charged in. 

The parties that are set to shun the vote are the premier's own Likud party, the ultra-Orthodox parties United Torah Judaism and Shas as well as the right-wing alliance Yamina. 

>> Read more: Israel, beware the true cost of Trump's 'peace' plan | Daniel B. Shapiro -  Gantz averts White House hazing but Trump plan still on course to rescue Netanyahu | Analysis 


 Israeli right-wing coalition parties to boycott vote on Netanyahu's immunity request


When did the Holocaust begin? A Genesis of genocide

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 18:49:23

When did the Holocaust actually begin? The answer is not so simple.

The term Holocaust (with a capital H) is commonly used to refer to the systematic murder by Nazi Germany of approximately six million Jews and the destruction of their communities, representing one-third of world Jewry at the time. In this use, it is analogous to the Hebrew word Shoah, also used to refer to the genocide committed against the Jews. Sometimes Holocaust is also used in a broader sense, to refer to all of the victims of Nazi state-organized murder, including the Roma, gay people and others.

The Nazi genocide and ethnic cleansing efforts did not begin as a specific plan to gas Jews and others in concentration camps, but rather evolved over time, beginning with systematic persecution aimed in part at encouraging Jewish emigration from Germany to other countries. It grew from spontaneous murders to planned massacres of Jewish communities, to the establishment of an industrial apparatus for the efficient, wholesale slaughter of a people.


 When did the Holocaust begin? A Genesis of genocide


Holocaust facts: Where does the figure of 6 million victims come from?

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 18:47:58

One of the most well-known, if not iconic, facts known about the Holocaust is the number of Jewish victims killed by Nazi Germany up through the end of World War II. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is also this number - six million - that Holocaust deniers aim at when trying to discredit the essential nature of the Holocaust.

Where did the number six million come from? And considering the amount of original research that has been done in recent decades, is it still considered accurate by scholars of the subject?

Read more: The Nazis Tolerated Gays. Then Everything Changed | Holocaust Movies: 18 of the Best Beyond Schindler's List


 Holocaust facts: Where does the figure of 6 million victims come from?


Syrian government forces capture towns in advance on rebel-held Idlib

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 18:47:34

Syrian government forces have taken control of several towns in northwestern Idlib province, a war monitor and Syrian state media reported, amid a renewed push by President Bashar al-Assad to recapture the last rebel stronghold.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Idlib in recent weeks amid stepped up air strikes by Russian and Syrian forces aimed at clearing the opposition from its last redoubt after almost nine years of civil war.

The Syrian Observatory, a war monitor, said on Sunday that six towns in the Idlib countryside had fallen to Syrian government forces in the past 24 hours.


 Syrian government forces capture towns in advance on rebel-held Idlib


Likud lawmaker and Netanyahu crony Bitan to be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 17:39:05

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced Monday that he will indict Knesset member David Bitan for bribery, fraud, breach of trust and tax offenses in several criminal affairs, pending a hearing. Bitan is accused of receiving bribes in return for promoting the private interests of businessmen and contractors while he was serving in a public role.

Bitan, a Likud member, is a close associate of Netanyahu and a former coalition whip. In December 2017, he was interrogated by the Israel Police. In March 2019, the police announced that they had found substantive evidence to indict him for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in 12 different cases.

In their recommendation to indict Bitan, following investigations into his case, the police noted that Bitan "received bribes in cash a sum that amounts to hundreds of thousands of shekels; he also was promised apartments in return different actions related to his role" while he acted as deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion as well as when he served as a lawmaker and coalition whip.


 Likud lawmaker and Netanyahu crony Bitan to be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust


Trump threatens Schiff over impeachment: 'He has not paid the price, yet'

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 17:00:42

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that the Democratic lawmaker leading the impeachment case against him, Representative Adam Schiff, has "not paid the price, yet" for his actions, a statement Schiff said he viewed as a threat.

The vitriol from Trump against Schiff and other Democrats followed days of their arguments in his impeachment trial before the U.S. Senate on charges he abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival, and then tried to obstruct an investigation by Congress.

"Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!" Trump said on Twitter.


 Trump threatens Schiff over impeachment: 'He has not paid the price, yet'


Trump heard saying 2016 win would have been 'tougher' had Clinton chosen Sanders for VP

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 16:43:36

U.S. President Donald Trump says it would have been œtougher to win the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton if Bernie Sanders had been her running mate during a 2018 meeting with donors that included the indicted associates of his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

œIf she picked Bernie as vice president it would have been tougher... I think Bernie because, all those people that hated her so much who voted for me, Trump can be heard saying on a tape provided to the media by Lev Parnas' attorney Joseph Bondy. Trump does not appear to know he is being recorded.

Trump also claimed he got œ20 percent of the Bernie vote because Sanders was a œbig trade guy like him. œBut had she picked Bernie Sanders it would have been tougher. He was the only one I didn't want her to pick.


 Trump heard saying 2016 win would have been 'tougher' had Clinton chosen Sanders for VP


LISTEN: From Auschwitz to annexation, politics trumps peace for Bibi and Gantz

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 16:27:03

On today's show, host Simon Spungin is joined by Haaretz's Allison Kaplan Sommer for a wide-ranging discussion, focusing on U.S. President Donald Trump's œDeal of the Century and the two Israeli leaders who have been invited to meet him at the White House.

Was Benjamin Netanyahu taken aback by Trump's invitation to his main rival, Kahlon Levan leader Benny Gantz, or was it part of an elaborate Machiavellian ploy to demean and sideline Gantz?

We also discuss the cognitive dissonance of Gantz hailing the American peace plan as a œmeaningful landmark in efforts to end the Israel-Palestine conflict, while, in almost the same breath, calling for annexation of the Jordan Valley.


 LISTEN: From Auschwitz to annexation, politics trumps peace for Bibi and Gantz


Fighting rages as Libya force pushes toward key western city

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 16:18:25

Officials from Libya's two rival governments said fighting erupted Sunday as the country's east-based forces advanced toward the strategic western city of Misrata, further eroding a crumbling cease-fire agreement brokered earlier this month.

The clashes came just hours after the United Nations decried œcontinued blatant violations of an arms embargo on Libya by several unspecified countries. The violations fly in the face of recent pledges to respect the embargo made by world powers at an international conference in Berlin last week.

Libya sits on Africa's Mediterranean coast, and is divided between rival governments, each supported by various armed militias and foreign backers. It has the ninth largest known oil reserves in the world and the biggest oil reserves in Africa.


 Fighting rages as Libya force pushes toward key western city


Young Israeli woman held in Russia files pardon request to Putin

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 15:51:39

Naama Issachar, the 26-year-old American-Israeli imprisoned in Russia on a drug conviction, has submitted a pardon request to Russian President Vladimir Putin, her lawyers said on Sunday.

On Saturday, a Kremlin spokesman said her release had been delayed because she had yet to submit such a request.

After submitting the request, Issachar's lawyers released a statement expressing their hope that the Russian president "will quickly, in accordance with his constitutional authority, decide to grant her a pardon and release her."


 Young Israeli woman held in Russia files pardon request to Putin


Gantz departs for Washington for personal meeting with Trump on Mideast peace deal

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 15:10:31

Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief political rival, departed Sunday morning for Washington ahead of his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday.

Gantz and Trump are expected to discuss the diplomatic portion of the U.S. administration's Mideast peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Asked by the Kan public broadcaster whether he will discuss the long-awaited plan with Trump or wait until after Israel's general March 2 election, Gantz replied "We'll hear about the plan from Trump, we'll talk, but what will be said inside the room will remain in the room."


 Gantz departs for Washington for personal meeting with Trump on Mideast peace deal


Israel, beware the true cost of Trump's 'peace' plan

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:57:14

I believe in being honest among friends.

That principle is relevant as President Donald Trump prepares to unveil his "Deal of the Century." While its details have still not been presented, every indication is that it will envision Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley and settlement blocs, Israel's retention of all other settlement areas, and isolated islands of limited Palestinian autonomy in perpetuity - all without any negotiations or agreements between Israelis and Palestinians. In other words, a sharp break with decades of bipartisan consensus U.S. policies across multiple administrations.

If, as expected, the Palestinians reject it, Trump may well give a green light to unilateral Israeli annexation.


 Israel, beware the true cost of Trump's 'peace' plan


Here's what happens if Israel annexes the West Bank and lets Palestinians vote

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:42:20

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks a lot these days about annexing the West Bank, or at least parts of it. He has been getting bolder, speaking more and more about applying Israeli sovereignty to all of the settlements there, no matter how tiny or isolated they are. 

He has yet to lay out a plan for bringing the entire territory with its estimated 2.5 million Palestinian residents under Israeli rule. But there are many within his own Likud party and among his coalition partners who support the idea. (Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz also talked this week of annexing the Jordan Valley.)

Perhaps more surprisingly, so do growing numbers of Palestinians. As they see it, if one state is created between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, Israel will have little choice but to grant them voting rights. Given their numbers, they understand that once they obtain such rights, they will gain an enormous amount of political power which may explain why Israeli governments to date have avoided annexation.


 Here's what happens if Israel annexes the West Bank and lets Palestinians vote


Greek town thousands of years older than thought, goes back to Stone Age

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:41:18

Renewed excavations of Kirrha, supposedly a Bronze Age settlement that arose in a marsh on the northern Greek coast near Delphi, have discovered that it began thousands of years earlier than had been thought. A joint French-Greek team investigating the site for the last 11 years has concluded that concentrated occupation there arose as much as 7,000 years ago, in the late Neolithic period, not in the Early Bronze Age (2,300 B.C.E.) as previously believed.

The Neolithic layer lies about ten meters below the top of the tell. However, thanks to the combined effects of local land subsidence and sea level rise as the last Ice Age waned, that ancient stratum now lies three meters below the water table, dig director Raphaël Orgeolet of Aix-Marseille University explains.

In other words, when they tried to dig into the Neolithic level, they hit water. Study of the late Stone Age layer has had to rely on coring and the discoveries of what Orgeolet calls coarse Neolithic pottery.


 Greek town thousands of years older than thought, goes back to Stone Age


Iraqi protesters clash with security forces in Baghdad, other cities

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:23:07

Iraqi security forces fired teargas and live bullets in renewed clashes with protesters in Baghdad and other cities on Sunday, a Reuters witness and security sources said, following a push to clear a sit-in camp in the heart of the capital.

The authorities' latest attempt to push back protesters and restore order came hours after populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has millions of supporters in Baghdad and the south, said on Saturday he would end his involvement in anti-government unrest.

At least 14 protesters were injured in the clashes in the capital, security and medical sources said, while unrest in the southern city of Nassiriya left at least 17 protesters wounded, four of them by live bullets.


 Iraqi protesters clash with security forces in Baghdad, other cities


Israel officially allows Israelis to travel to Saudi Arabia

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 13:22:05

The Interior Ministry announced on Sunday that it will now permit Israelis to visit Saudi Arabia, for the first time in Israel's history. The new rules will allow travel to Saudi Arabia for the Islamic pilgrimages known as the Hajj and the Umrah, or for business trips of up to 90 days. However, business trips will be conditional on the traveler having an invitation from a Saudi official.

Though some Israelis, mainly members of the country's Arab minority, already travel to Saudi Arabia, they have hitherto done so despite the absence of official permission.

The new rule, which Interior Minister Arye Dery signed on Wednesday, was made in coordination with the defense establishment, the ministry said. Sources familiar with the decision said Dery's signature was the culmination of a process that œhad been brewing for many weeks.


 Israel officially allows Israelis to travel to Saudi Arabia


U.S. won't lift Iran sanctions in order to negotiate, Trump says

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 12:13:30

The United States will not lift sanctions on Iran in order to negotiate, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted late on Saturday, seemingly in response to a Der Spiegel interview with Iran's foreign minister.

"Iranian Foreign Minister says Iran wants to negotiate with The United States, but wants sanctions removed. @FoxNews @OANN No Thanks!" Trump tweeted in English on Saturday and later in Farsi.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Sunday by tweeting an excerpt from the interview with Der Spiegel published on Friday, where he said Iran is still open to negotiations with America if sanctions are lifted.


 U.S. won't lift Iran sanctions in order to negotiate, Trump says


Bernie Sanders emphasizes Jewish roots in new campaign video

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 11:43:03

Bernie Sanders launched a campaign video highlighting his Jewish identity and casting President Donald Trump as part of the white nationalist threat.

The four-minute video posted Thursday night on Sanders' Twitter feed, interpolates excerpts from Sanders' speech last year to J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, with commentary by Joel Rubin, the campaign's Jewish outreach director.

It starts with Sanders' declaration of pride in being Jewish. œI'm very proud to be Jewish and look forward to becoming the first Jewish president in the history of this country, Sanders says.


 Bernie Sanders emphasizes Jewish roots in new campaign video


Annexation for dummies: Making sense of Netanyahu and Gantz's declarations

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 11:16:36

Both likely candidates for Israel's premiership have recently said they intended to annex the Jordan Valley, the border area between the West Bank and Jordan that has been under Israeli control since 1967. This came despite a damning report by the International Criminal Court and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's statement that it would "eradicate the foundations" of any kind of peace process. In many ways, the area is unique in the West Bank, for its history and strategic value. But what would annexation mean for the people who live there?

Who lives in the Jordan Valley and what do they do?

8,100 Israeli Jews, and 52,950 Palestinians lived in the Jordan Valley, according to separate figures from Israeli and Palestinian official surveys from 2018, and 2017 respectively. Israel splits the region into two different entities, the Jordan Valley and Megilot”Dead Sea regional councils.


 Annexation for dummies: Making sense of Netanyahu and Gantz's declarations


Trump and Giuliani's crude, coercive and conditional 'love' for Jews

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 11:01:41

In the fall of 1933, on the front page of the New York Times Book Review, James W. Gerard went out on a limb for the Jews. Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf had just been published in English, and Gerard, America's former ambassador to Germany, was taking a stand in print.

Surely, wrote Gerard, if Americans could condemn massacres in Armenia, or concentration camps in Cuba, "we have all of us a right to criticize, to boycott¦to form a blockade of public opinion" against Germany's mounting attacks on Jews.

Gerard's gripe was not with Germany, nor even its leader. "Hitler is doing much for Germany," he wrote. " is unification of the Germans, his destruction of communism¦his curbing of parliamentary government, so unsuited to the German character; his protection of the right of private property are all good, and, after all, what the Germans do in their own territory is their own business, except for one thing the persecution and practical expulsion of the Jews."


 Trump and Giuliani's crude, coercive and conditional 'love' for Jews


Netanyahu's trip to Washington may delay immunity talks, officials believe

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 10:38:59

The Knesset discussion on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request to receive immunity from prosecution in three corruption cases slated for Tuesday may be delayed due to the premier's planned trip to the United States this week, Likud and Kahol Lavan officials believe.

The Israeli parliament is scheduled to vote Tuesday on convening a legislative panel to discuss Netanyahu's immunity request. Assuming the legislature approves the measure, the Knesset House Committee will begin its deliberations on Thursday.

Netanyahu is set to fly out to Washington on Sunday afternoon, hold meetings with Trump on Monday and Tuesday and return to Israel by Thursday.


 Netanyahu's trip to Washington may delay immunity talks, officials believe


Gantz nabbing private Trump meeting proves U.S. needs him as much as he needs them

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 09:48:53

Following a weekend of frantic deliberations, Kahol Lavan chief Benny Gantz's team found an elegant solution to what seemed a trap with no exit. It all began when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence declared to the cameras that Gantz's invitation to Washington was offered at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While sitting smugly beside Pence, Netanyahu echoed the same humiliating message, in case it hadn't been picked up clearly enough by the microphones the first time: œI suggested that Benny Gantz be invited as well. This small humiliation rocked Kahol Lavan's boat.

Despite having already accepted the American invitation in principle, this display, as if Gantz were flying to the United States by Netanyahu's grace alone, entirely disrupted the plan. From that moment, even though Kahol Lavan continued preparations for the trip, including obtaining special guest visas and booking plane tickets, dramatic debates were taking place over whether the party should take part in the spectacle at all.


 Gantz nabbing private Trump meeting proves U.S. needs him as much as he needs them


Gantz sidesteps Netanyahu's trap, but two other battlefronts await

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 09:45:06

Exactly one year after founding Kahol Lavan, which has become the country's largest party, Benny Gantz has once again demonstrated admirable political and personal ability. The deal he reached with the Likud party branch at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, also known as the White House under which he will meet Donald Trump separately from Benjamin Netanyahu is an extremely impressive achievement, given the well-known relationship between the U.S. president and the Israeli prime minister.

Netanyahu had planned to lay a trap for his rival. Gantz was supposed to find himself playing the role of an extra in a Washington drama of which the Israeli prime minister would be the protagonist, virtually the ruler of all he surveyed. And he'd be a non-entity there, to boot. The ruse was transparent, the danger great. It seemed like an unsolvable political and diplomatic dilemma. If he said yes, he'd risk humiliation. If he said no, he'd look like a coward and also rouse the anger of the U.S. administration, which Israelis love. Just 48 hours before his announcement Saturday night, it seemed as if Gantz could only lose and Netanyahu could only win.

But Gantz and his people made good use of the time they were given. And Saturday night, it turned out that Gantz was no sucker, and certainly no fool. He obtained a separate meeting with the president rather than coming as Netanyahu's sidekick. This is a status no previous Israeli candidate for prime minister has ever achieved. And as he said, he'll return to Israel the next day to closely monitor the Knesset hearings regarding defendant Netanyahu's request to be granted immunity from prosecution in the three corruption cases against him.


 Gantz sidesteps Netanyahu's trap, but two other battlefronts await


The bills await: Netanyahu owes his lawyers some $430,000 for work on corruption cases

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 09:43:02

Benjamin Netanyahu and his family owe at least 1.5 million shekels ($434,000) to some of their current and former defense lawyers in the clutch of corruption cases against the prime minister, a Haaretz investigation shows.

The prime minister and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, owe Yossi Cohen, who has represented them for years, more than 1 million shekels. A spokesperson for Netanyahu insisted the attorneys will be paid.

Cohen has represented the Netanyahus for years in many criminal and civil cases including the misuse-of-funds case against Sara Netanyahu, the Bezeq-Walla news-for-favors case and multiple libel suits filed by the Netanyahus and their two sons against journalists.


 The bills await: Netanyahu owes his lawyers some $430,000 for work on corruption cases


In Israel, indoctrination starts in kindergarten

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 08:56:21

A brief public furor erupted last November when Osnat Hagai, an assistant teacher at a kindergarten in Pardes Hannah-Karkur, documented herself on Facebook removing the portrait of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from her classroom wall. Education Minister Rafi Peretz tweeted that the woman would be located and summoned for a œclarification. (Only afterward did he grasp that she was employed by the local government, rather than by his ministry.) Hagai's act of protest she stated in the clip that it wasn't fitting for a prime minister who's been indicted on criminal charges to be held up as a role model for young children received a lot of positive attention both in social media and in the press.

The question of why the prime minister's portrait was removed is less interesting than the question of why it was hanging on a preschool wall in the first place. What was its purpose there of what benefit, if any, was it to the children to have it there, and is this a desirable thing?

Portraits of Israel's prime minister, the president and sometimes even of Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, too, are hung on the walls of kindergartens as part of what the Education Ministry terms a œnational corner: the little space where various symbols of the nation are concentrated. In some cases the corner is enhanced by a map of the country (often including the entire Land of Israel) and the words of œHatikvah, the national anthem.


 In Israel, indoctrination starts in kindergarten


All immigrant Israeli soccer team shuts out league leader in shocker

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 04:38:20

Arguably the best result in Inter's short history, the all-olim team shocked league-leading Ruach Tel Aviv 4-0 away from home, breaking a bunch of records along the way.

Ruach had hitherto won all seven of its homes games this season, conceding just two goals in total and earning the team the league's second-best defense after Inter Aliyah.

But much like when the teams met earlier this season, Inter proved its worth, soaking up Ruach's first-half pressure and going into the break goalless.


 All immigrant Israeli soccer team shuts out league leader in shocker


Battle of the banknotes: In Yemen, rival powers push rival currencies

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 04:34:28

Yemen's warring sides have opened a new front in their five-year conflict a battle over old and new banknotes that threatens to create two economies in the same state.

As of midnight January 18, the Houthi movement which controls the capital Sanaa outlawed the use and possession of crisp new Yemeni riyal bills issued by its rivals in the internationally recognized government based in the southern port town of Aden.

The Iran-allied Houthis, who say people should only use the old bills, have defended the ban as a move against inflation and what they call rampant money-printing by the government.


 Battle of the banknotes: In Yemen, rival powers push rival currencies


Gantz niftily averts White House hazing but Trump plan still on course to rescue Netanyahu

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 03:56:25

A popular folk saying asserts that a clever person extricates himself from predicaments a smart person would have avoided from the outset. Benny Gantz, to the great relief of his increasingly anxious supporters, proved on Saturday night that, at the very least, he knows how to be clever.

By announcing his own separate meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, Gantz narrowly escaped Benjamin Netanyahu's well-laid trap to upstage and diminish him in a joint meeting at the White House, an event Gantz had previously and unwittingly agreed to attend. He also avoided a potentially lethal confrontation with a U.S. president who could decimate him with single tweet.

In fact, Gantz also proved adept at playing political jiu-jitsu by using the strength of his opponent against him. Netanyahu had planned to upstage Gantz by casting him as an extra in a joint Trump-Netanyahu rollout of the President's long-awaited œdeal of the century. Gantz turned things on their head by securing his own separate meeting with the U.S. president, a rare feat for an Israeli politician vying in an election. Rather than diminish Gantz, Netanyahu's ruse ultimately elevated him.


 Gantz niftily averts White House hazing but Trump plan still on course to rescue Netanyahu


Breaking down walls, Iranian women fight patriarchy

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 03:47:38

From breaking down kitchen walls designed to separate women from men to ornately decorating domestic spaces, an architect has been mapping œsigns of resistance of Iranian women in their own homes.

On display at the United Arab Emirates' Sharjah Architecture Triennial until February 8, the work of Iranian-Australian architect Samaneh Moafi explores how Iranian women have carved out lives for themselves within the patriarchal structures around them.

One example, the architect said, was how several women she worked with for her project œParable of Mehr (œcompassion in Farsi) had removed a wall in their apartments that was designed to separate women in the kitchen from men in the living area.


 Breaking down walls, Iranian women fight patriarchy


Israel's political drama is actually a top TV show

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 03:15:24

If we imagine the political system as the thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing hormones essential to our cells, we might say that three elections one right after the other are like a hyperactive thyroid. The excess production of political hormones could be the cause of the œdisconnect between the markets and politics that was noted by my Haaretz colleague Sami Peretz in Haaretz's Hebrew edition last week.

Peretz wondered rightly how it was possible that the economy didn't responded negatively to the political crisis. The labor markets, the capital markets, the housing market and the shekel haven't suffered; quite the contrary. At the same time, the political arena has become œthe best performer of the year. Peretz offered no clear explanation for the gap between the markets' apathy to our political drama and the intense interest shown by the media and entertainment worlds.

The explanation might be that the body is smart. Three elections in a row impose on Israelis an endless campaign environment, but the state can't allow itself to neglect its day-to-day activities in favor of a year of binge watching the Israeli version of œBorgen or œHouse of Cards until the elections finally produce a winner, God knows when.


 Israel's political drama is actually a top TV show


One person, one vote for Israel-Palestine

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 03:09:23

The Trump administration's Middle East peace plan brings with it good news and bad news. It will put the final nail in the coffin of that walking corpse known as the two-state solution that's the good news. It will also create a new reality in which international law, the resolutions of the international community and especially international institutions are meaningless.

Filled with the hope that the U.S. president instills in us, in his great mercy, let's begin with the good news. Once his proposal is made public, no one will ever be able to talk with any seriousness about the two-state solution. It was probably never born, but now it is clearly dead. There is no Palestinian state and there never will be.

The gall of America to support Israeli annexation now and the establishment of a Palestinian state only œin the future as if the burning issue were annexation, not the occupation is only an ornament for the casket. The Palestinian Authority, the European Union, the United Nations, the Jewish establishment and the Zionist left will no longer be able to mention this option without making complete asses of themselves.


 One person, one vote for Israel-Palestine


The Zionist left has paved the way to the rise of the extreme right

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 02:38:36

I was born in Haifa in 1944. I was four when my father returned home one day with a soft cloth doll in his hand and deep shame in his heart. He took it from an Arab house, he told my mother. His Hebrew wouldn't have been good enough yet to have used the more accurate term and say he œplundered it. A while later I heard him mention the doll again and say that others stole much more: decorative objects, appliances, carpets. And he took only a small doll, and still he felt ashamed. Really? I didn't care. The shooting and explosions and later the bombardments we heard from the lower city instilled in me a huge fear of the Arabs. I just wanted them to leave and to have quiet.

This fear stayed with me for many years. During the 1956 war, I fled in terror from our apartment balcony on the top floor, because I saw a face in a red kaffiyeh looking back at me from the roof. I can still remember it. Maybe it was just an Arab worker fixing the elevator motor, or maybe it was the face from my nightmares that suddenly appeared to me. At any rate, as a child and a teen, in the mixed city where I was born I never met an Arab in regular social circumstances, not as a classmate or in the youth movement. In middle school, when it was time for me to choose a second language to study, I chose French and not Arabic. Our œFrench group stood out in the schoolyard and taunted the smaller group that chose Arabic. Most of them probably went on to serve in intelligence.

Even though my parents were left-wingers and sent me to Hashomer Hatzair youth movement, like the vast majority of my generation, I was a victim of such thorough and profound emotional and ideological deception that when my eyes were finally opened, it was too late. New and fateful facts in the field had already been established.


 The Zionist left has paved the way to the rise of the extreme right


Immunity trap in the White House

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 02:09:40

Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz has accepted U.S. President Donald Trump's invitation to meet with him at the White House on Monday, separately from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Gantz will return to Israel in time to take part in the Knesset debate on convening the Knesset House Committee to discuss Netanyahu's request for immunity from prosecution.

Gantz made a shrewd decision, avoiding the trap Netanyahu laid for him via the prime minister's friend in the White House. He also did well to make clear that replacing Netanyahu is still at the top of his Kahol Lavan party's agenda.

Gantz was wise to refuse to attend a joint meeting with Trump and Netanyahu to present the White House plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In doing so, he refused to fall into the rhetorical trap of Netanyahu and the right in which the proposal is a historic opportunity requiring the Netanyahu government to remain in power. The Middle East waited more than three years for Trump's peace plan, and it will survive the five weeks that remain until the Israeli election.


 Immunity trap in the White House


Russia says jailed Israeli women yet to seek pardon in what would be a first

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 01:55:14

The release of Naama Issachar, the 26-year-old Israeli in prison on a drug conviction, has been delayed because she has not yet submitted a pardon request, a Kremlin spokesman said Friday postponing what could be a Russian president's first pardon of a foreigner.

The spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Issachar could not be released without submitting an official pardon request. She was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for drug smuggling after a small amount of hashish was found in her knapsack during a layover at a Moscow airport on her way home from India.

Her Russian lawyer planned to meet with her Saturday to explain the pardon request, but the attorney, Vadim Klyuvgant, said the decision would be entirely up to her.


 Russia says jailed Israeli women yet to seek pardon in what would be a first


Haaretz cartoon

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 01:44:32

 Haaretz cartoon


Drowning of 8-year-old boy in East Jerusalem sparks memories of murder

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 00:52:56

Qais Abu Ramila, an 8-year-old resident of Jerusalem's Beit Hanina neighborhood, left his home Friday afternoon and never returned. Early Saturday morning, after hours of searches, he was found dead at the bottom of a rainwater-filled pit in the neighborhood.

Rescue forces found Abu Ramila after pumping out rainwater flooding the pit near his home.

Abu Ramila's family reported he was missing since 4 P.M. on Friday, Israel Police said. He had been sent on an errand at a nearby grocery store.


 Drowning of 8-year-old boy in East Jerusalem sparks memories of murder


Israeli military strikes Gaza after explosives tied to balloons flown into Israel

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 00:24:03

Israel Defense Forces jets struck a number of Hamas positions in southern Gaza on Saturday night in response to explosives-laden balloons flown into Israeli territory from the strip, the military reported.

Among the Hamas targets were a weapons manufacturing site and a military compound for intelligence collection, the IDF statement said.

"The IDF views all destructive activities of every kind against Israeli territory with the utmost seriousness, and will continue to do all that is needed to fight attempts to hurt Israeli citizens," the statement continued. "The Hamas terror organization is responsible for all that occurs in and emanates from the Gaza Strip, and will face the ramifications of terror activities against Israeli citizens."


 Israeli military strikes Gaza after explosives tied to balloons flown into Israel


Gantz to meet Trump separately from Netanyahu to discuss Mideast plan in Washington

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 22:36:07

Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief political rival, announced Saturday that he accepted U.S. President Donald Trump's personal invitation to Washington to discuss on Monday the White House's long-awaited plan for Mideast peace, slated for release on Tuesday.

Netanyahu will depart for the U.S. on Sunday at 2:00 P.M. Israel time and is expected to land in Washington in the early morning hours of Monday. Thus, he may still be airborne as the details of the peace plan are unveiled by the Trump administration.

After Gantz's announcement, a senior Israeli official said Netanyahu will also meet with Trump on Monday, in addition to their previously scheduled sit-down on Tuesday. They will meet while the Knesset convenes to discuss the prime minister's request for immunity from prosecution in three corruption cases.


 Gantz to meet Trump separately from Netanyahu to discuss Mideast plan in Washington


Two people arriving from China cleared of suspicion of contracting deadly virus

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 22:01:34

Three people who have recently returned to Israel from China were quarantined out of fear that they may have contracted a deadly virus that has killed 41 people in mainland China and infected 1,300 others.

Two have been cleared of suspicion that they contracted the virus, and are due to be released soon. Another patient, a Chinese tourist, is hospitalized in the West Bank. It has yet to be ruled out that she is suffering from the virus.

The new virus comes from a large family of what are known as coronaviruses, some causing nothing worse than a cold. It causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever and, in more severe case, shortness of breath. It can worsen to pneumonia, which can be fatal.


 Two people arriving from China cleared of suspicion of contracting deadly virus


Two Palestinians hospitalized after attack by West Bank settlers, NGO says

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 21:48:17

Two Palestinian residents of the West Bank village of As-Sawiya were attacked by Jewish settlers Saturday afternoon and have been hospitalized for their injuries in Nablus, according to the non-governmental organization Yesh Din.

The father and son were working on their agricultural lands when they were attacked with rocks and an iron rod by a group that had come from the direction of the Jewish settlement of Rehelim, the left-wing NGO told Haaretz.

Rahsaan Douglas, who follows the activities of settlers in the northern West Bank told Haaretz that the two victims were a 60 year old man and his son, who is in his twenties. They had gone out to work their fields, as did many other Palestinian residents of the village due to the improvement in weather conditions.


 Two Palestinians hospitalized after attack by West Bank settlers, NGO says


A deadly skirmish on Gaza border, an inconvenient question for Israel

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 21:17:23

On Sunday afternoon, the Gaza border looked deceptively pastoral. The heavy rains that have come down this winter, even in southern Israel, have left behind especially green fields. This was very far from the typical Gazan scene etched in the minds of Israelis, with the sand dunes remembered from military campaigns like Operation Protective Edge that happened in the middle of the summer.  On the drive from Kibbutz Kisufim to the new barrier being erected by the security forces against the tunnels, adjacent to the border, a pretty, wooded hill came into view. The commander of the Horev Brigade, Lt. Col. Gal Rich, was asked whether Israeli day-trippers came here too. No, he replied. For now this is a spot known only to inhabitants of the Gazan border area and the soldiers securing the sector.

Two days later, on Tuesday evening, this hill, about 400 meters east of the fence, became a killing scene. Three young Palestinian men, inhabitants of the nearby al-Mu'azi refugee camp, crossed through the tattered old border fence. (The new barrier being built in its stead will be completed only towards the end of this year.)  The electronic surveillance lookouts who identified the three close to the fence directed Horev fighters and a tank from the Seventh Brigade to the hill, where the infiltrators had taken cover. When a military jeep approached them, the young men threw two improvised explosive devices. The soldiers responded with gunfire and the tank crew joined in with machine gun fire. The three Palestinian were killed. There were no IDF casualties. The entire incident lasted only a few minutes. 

In retrospect, this was a rag-tag cell that wasn't equipped with live weapons beyond the improvised devices. In other recent incidents, in broad daylight, Haruv soldiers captured infiltrators who came through the fence without any weapons, after having fired warning shots at them. This time the circumstances were different: The crossing was done at night, at a distance of about two kilometers from the kibbutz. The soldiers identified an attempt to attack them and responded quickly and effectively, in accordance with the rules of engagement. 


 A deadly skirmish on Gaza border, an inconvenient question for Israel


Iraqi security forces kill four demonstrators in raid of anti-gov't protest camps

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 18:28:33

Iraqi security forces raided Baghdad's main protest site on Saturday and tried to eject protesters in southern cities, firing tear gas and bullets killing four people and wounding dozens more, police and medical sources said.

The new push to end the sit-ins and restore order came hours after populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who counts millions of supporters in Baghdad and the south, said he would halt his involvement in anti-government unrest.

Sadr's supporters, who had bolstered the anti-government protesters and sometimes played a role in protecting them from attacks by security forces and unidentified gunmen, began withdrawing from sit-ins early on Saturday after Sadr's announcement.


 Iraqi security forces kill four demonstrators in raid of anti-gov't protest camps


Iran's Zarif says Tehran still willing to negotiate with the U.S.

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 17:27:16

Iran is not ruling out negotiations with the United States even after an American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, the country's foreign minister said in an interview released Saturday.

Mohammed Javad Zarif told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine that he would œnever rule out the possibility that people will change their approach and recognize the realities, in an interview conducted Friday in Tehran.

There has been growing tension between Washington and Tehran since in 2018, when President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran. The U.S. has since re-imposed tough sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.


 Iran's Zarif says Tehran still willing to negotiate with the U.S.


In Yemen, thrilled to meet a foreigner who speaks in the holy tongue

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 16:22:21

In 1987, equipped with a foreign passport, Israeli photographer Naftali Hilger visited Yemen for the first time. He wandered through the Old City of Sa'dah, in the country's north, and got lost amid narrow alleys framed by picturesque clay buildings. He wasn't looking for Jews, but for a way out of the Old City.

œSuddenly I found myself facing a young man with earlocks, ˜simunim' , which set Yemen's Jews apart from their Muslim neighbors, Hilger relates in a text accompanying his photographs in the exhibition œYemen: From Sheba to Jerusalem, which opened this week at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. In addition to his images, the show, curated by Yigal Bloch, Yehuda Kaplan and Oree Meiri, also features objects from the ancient kingdoms of southern Arabia, as well as manuscripts that shed light on the heritage of Yemenite Jewry. 

In his wanderings, Hilger says, he met someone named Yacob Zabari, who had remained in the country even after his daughters immigrated to Israel. Zabari was thrilled at the sight of the foreigner without earlocks who spoke the holy tongue. But mostly he was frightened, and told the photographer: œWe Jews are prohibited from speaking to foreigners. If the Muslim neighbors see us, they'll inform on us to the authorities and we will both be carrying on the conversation in prison. It will be better if you come inside the house.


 In Yemen, thrilled to meet a foreigner who speaks in the holy tongue


'I was in Egypt during the revolution. Reality is not what you see on the news'

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 15:37:46

Daryl Novak, 37, lives in Toronto and arriving from there

Hello, first time here?

Yes, my first time in Israel. I was happy to add it to my list.


 'I was in Egypt during the revolution. Reality is not what you see on the news'






US  US NO






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

tn_10-275.jpg

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