Coronavirus Is Bringing Israel Together — and Help to the World
I’ve been flooded by examples of Israelis helping to buy tons of flowers from private farmers that would otherwise get dumped in the garbage. I’ve seen Israelis support small businesses from pet stores to herb stores, to help them from collapsing financially.
I’ve seen teenagers and students deliver groceries and medicine to senior citizens homes, right to their doors. NGOs have established ‘hot lines’ for emotional support, and privately owned Israeli businesses have donated laptops and computers to impoverished children.
And I’ve also witnessed Israeli families “adopt” Holocaust survivors, ensuring they have everything they need.
This deep sense of Israeli solidarity is heavily integrated into the current crisis as well as other life-threatening scenarios. It is who we are as people. It is based on the values our country was founded upon. It is something we will always cherish and pass on to our children.
And there’s another resemblance between the coronavirus crisis and terror attacks on Israeli soil. In both cases, we have a strong army. It is not only an army of jets, tanks, and submarines. It’s an army that first and foremost is based on brilliant minds, devoted spirits, who work around the clock to ensure the safety of Israel. It’s an army of researchers who spend long hours at scientific labs, searching for the best vaccine for the virus.
It’s an army of innovative minds who develop apps and sites for the individuals and families locked in communities, making information more accessible for them. It’s an army of teachers who keep our kids studying with long distance technologies, who don’t forget they are educators before anything else.
The best thing? These minds are an asset for the world. Israel is working closely with other countries to promote required solutions, not only on a vaccine for coronavirus, but on many aspects of daily life affected by this new enemy.
Today more than ever, please recognize that Israel is a strong power, not only militarily, but even more importantly, in the capacity of its people and the values they represent.
It’s time to look at Israel in a different way.
It is often the challenging times that we remember the best — and learn from the most. They are also our proudest moments, if we rose to the occasion, and our most shameful moments, if we failed the test before us.
For our kids, who now have lots of time with mom and dad, they may remember this time as the most memorable of their lives, the most fun. The time they were able to be with their family.
As parents, we may learn that the most valuable gift we can give our kids is not a new iPad or a cell phone, but rather an hour of undivided attention, an hour of fun adventure walking in a park or having a picnic, an hour of listening to what is truly important — what is on their mind and in their heart at this moment.
Children also rise to the occasion. During the Holocaust, it was the children who crawled through the sewers and the small cracks in the walls to escape the ghettos, and bring food back to their families. During the pogroms, it was the 13-year-old kids who made their way to America and worked in sweat shops to earn money to bring their families to America. During war time, it has been the 18-year olds who saved the world from tyranny. King David was a boy when he defeated Goliath.
Looking back, we may find that our kids are more resilient than we would have ever thought.
As we “teach our children diligently,” as the Torah commands, and they rise to the occasion as they often do, we may ask ourselves: Are we giving them the message that they need — or are we entrusting that to a school system to feed them, educate them, and teach them their values?
Stanford biophysicist and Nobel laureate Michael Levitt says that based on how the COVID-19 crisis has played out in multiple countries, the threat is less severe than the media has portrayed it to be and might be over sooner than most think. “The real situation is not as nearly as terrible as they make it out to be,” Levitt says, and, in the end, “we’re going to be fine.”
Levitt, who accurately predicted the slowdown of coronavirus cases in China, has been making the rounds with various media outlets to discuss his findings on the most recent data from nearly 80 countries involving the global pandemic. Like several other experts, Levitt maintains that the threat of COVID-19 is less severe than many reports make it appear.
In a report published by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, Levitt assured the public that the world, and the U.S., are going to survive COVID-19, and that, as has occurred in countries first hit by the pandemic, the cases of the virus will begin to decline more rapidly than some are projecting.
Levitt, the L.A. Times’ Joe Mozingo notes, “correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its coronavirus outbreak long before many health experts had predicted” and now “foresees a similar outcome in the United States and the rest of the world.”
In a report published on February 1, Levitt predicted with remarkable accuracy how China’s cases would end up, saying that around 80,000 would contract the disease and among those around 3,250 would die. Mozingo notes that as of March 16, China, which has nearly 1.4 billion people, reported a total of just 80,298 cases and 3,245 deaths related to the virus and the number of new cases has slowed down to around 25 per day.
Levitt says that after studying data from 78 countries, he sees a similar pattern. As occurred in China in February, the rate of case increases will begin to decline, signaling the downside of a spread curve. “What we need is to control the panic,” Levitt told the paper.
The important metric, Levitt explained, is the number of new cases, not the total number of cases. The new cases data allows one to see more clearly the rate of spread. He also stressed that only when the virus is not being detected will it spread “exponentially.” When countries are testing and responding aggressively, the growth rate tends to decrease significantly.
The head of the British Foreign Office’s coronavirus operations denounced antisemitism connected to the pandemic on Sunday.
“So much of this corona-related #antisemitism now infesting our TLs – it’s a Jewish/Zionist/Israeli plot, say the conspiracy theorists. Just sad, hateful nonsense,” tweeted Jon Benjamin, who has served as a prominent diplomat since 1986.
He then quoted British comedian David Baddiel, who said, “Conspiracy theories are how idiots get to feel like intellectuals.”
Concerns about antisemitism arising from the coronavirus crisis, akin to medieval claims that Jews were responsible for the bubonic plague, have been rising in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, Evan Bernstein, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Northeast Division, warned, “We’re seeing stuff online. We’re getting more and more reports of those comments.”
Last week, former Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky, said such things are “nothing new.”
“The idea that Jews are behind the virus, that Jews want to destroy markets, to make money or that Israel is behind it — there is nothing new in it,” Sharansky said. “We saw it during the Black Death in the Middle Ages. There was broad belief that Jews were behind it.”
Besides blaming Jews for coronavirus, other antisemitic libels have arisen in connection with the pandemic, with anti-Zionist California State University professor Asad Abukhalil tweeting on March 8, “Israel will — I am sure — have different medical procedures for Jews and non-Jews. Non-Jews will be put in mass prisons.”
Abukhalil later blamed criticism of his tweet on “Zionist hoodlums.”
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) March 23, 2020
I forgot to list Ken Roth in the group of propagandists, including a link to Der Sturmeresque +972 too.
Do you get the feeling these people were praying that Gaza would get a case of Coronavirus so they could use it to attack Israel?
How’s that Saudi anti-LGBT money doing, Ken? https://t.co/7cerLh9cBG
— AZ (@americanzionism) March 22, 2020
— Deborah Friedman (@DeborahProudJew) March 22, 2020
— Anthony B (@Tony_B1948) March 22, 2020
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) March 23, 2020
For Stockton University Professor Nazia Kazi, President Barack Obama in his announcement of Osama bin Laden’s May 2, 2011, killing was “easily washing the bloodstained hands of U.S. global dominance.” Such America-hating, leftist cant characterized her February 19 lecture at Georgetown University’s Saudi-established Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU).
ACMCU’s Bridge Initiative against “Islamophobia” hosted Kazi for a presentation of her latest book Islamophobia, Race, and Global Politics, before many Georgetown faculty and staff among an audience of about thirty. ACMCU professors Jonathan Brown, Yvonne Haddad, Tamera Sonn, and John Voll appeared with Bridge Initiative associates Susan Douglass and Jordan Denari Duffner. From the wider Georgetown faculty came Muslim chaplain Yahya Hendi and terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman. Former Foreign Service Officer Benjamin Tua joined, as did former CATO Institute scholar Stanley Kober.
ACMCU Bridge Initiative Senior Research Fellow Kristin Garrity Sekerci introduced the event’s Western guilt-tripping tone with the tiresome progressive, virtue-signaling “land acknowledgement.” “Islamophobia is rooted in racism, colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy, and imperialism,” the United States’ supposedly dominant characteristics, she said, without noting any such elements in Islamic history. Georgetown University lies, she reminded us, “on the unceded lands of the Nanichoke people and the Piscataway people” and “was built and funded by . . . enslaved labor.”
While “Never forget” has become the “brand name of 9/11” since bin Laden orchestrated Al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attacks, Kazi castigated Americans for “deep forgetfulness” of America’s superpower evil. Rather than jihadist threats plaguing the world, Kazi found true terror in a leftist litany of ills like the “warmer ocean temperatures” that according to her perfervid take on the climate “have led to devastating hurricanes.” Likewise “anyone should feel terrorized of this country’s prison-industrial complex, which doesn’t lock up bad guys” but “America’s poor, particularly those of color, as a tool to mask America’s economic problems.”
As of March 7th, 2020 Phillip Agnew, who in 2015 changed his name to Umi Selah before changing it back in 2020 to Phillip Agnew, became the newest addition to Bernie Sanders’ 2020 Presidential Campaign, serving as Senior Advisor. At Bernie Sanders 2020, Agnew joined a long list of Jew-haters such as Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Linda Sarsour, all thrilled to call Sanders an ally.
Agnew, who previously also served as a national surrogate for the Sanders campaign and is known as a devoted anti-Zionist, is the co-founder of Dream Defenders, a radical activist group that wants to ‘Abolish Prisons’ and promotes Palestinian Terrorists.
In March 2016, Agnew promoted on Facebook a Dream Defenders educational series marketed towards sixth to eleventh graders titled “Blacked Out History – Rebellion Curriculum Toolkit” which glorified terror and featured the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). The PFLP, a designated Foreign Terror Organization by the United States, Canada, Israel, the European Union, Australia, and other countries pioneered civilian aircraft hijackings, most notably with the capture of an Air France plane in 1976.
Philip Agnew also called Zionism “a racist, exploitative, and exclusionary ideology” in a 2015 article for Ebony magazine. He also criticized former President Barack Obama for comparing the right of Jews to have a state to African-Americans seeking equal protection under the law; he called the comparison a “lie” and a “figment of our well-manicured imagination.”
Last week, we posted about a March 14th Independentop-ed by Elana Maryles Sztokman, leader of the Israeli women’s party, Kol Hanashim, titled “The sad lesson I learned when I ran for Israeli parliament”, which claimed that “the number of women [MKs] is decreasing”.
In our complaint to Indy editors, we provided sources to show that the March 2nd elections actually saw a record number of women (30) elected to the Knesset.
Editors upheld our complaint and retracted that specific claim from the article.
Predictably listeners heard nothing about the ancient Jewish community in Hebron or the 1929 massacre which brought it to an end. No effort was made to challenge Awada’s absurd claim that “we never had any problem with the Jewish” even in light of that historic fact and audiences were not told what Zionist means, or of the fact that the vast majority of British Jews identify as Zionists.
Awada: “And our shop it’s under the Israeli settlement. It’s called Avraham Avinu and it’s an area called H2. It’s divided by Oslo Hebron protocol. It’s just has to be H1 under Palestinian control and H2 it’s under Israeli control.”
James: “OK so those are some of the different designations of the land as the result of that accord.”
No effort was made to clarify to audiences that the Palestinian representatives willingly signed the 1997 Hebron Protocol or that the vast majority of the city (around 80%) is under complete Palestinian control. Neither, of course, were listeners told that the Avraham Avinu synagogue in Hebron dates from 1540.
Later on Awada explained the purpose of her (and her colleagues’) frequent tours abroad.
Awada: “But really I want to give my message for other ladies, how the women under occupation they live and how the occupation affected our business and why I cannot do my business in my country, why I have to go to other countries.”
At the end of the item Padhy opined:
Padhy: “Good to have you here in the UK. Good to have you here in the studio.”
This is not the first time that a representative of Women in Hebron has appeared on BBC World Service radio and once again the question of who initiated the contact between that group and BBC producers must be asked. The fact that the BBC World Service chose to give a sympathetic platform to an activist brought on tour in the UK by a highly partisan political group, with literally no challenging questions asked and no factual background provided to place her politically motivated narrative in context, should be deeply worrying to the BBC’s funding public.
Barghouti began by giving a reasonable account of the situation which included the following:
Barghouti: “There is a status of quarantine now imposed in Bethlehem area and in the whole of the West Bank to ensure that no more cases will be infected due to the fact that some of these people who have the disease have been in contact with other people. […] This is a very important precaution that is taken place by the Palestinian Authority.”
However as is usually the case when Mustafa Barghouti is interviewed by the BBC, he soon took advantage of the platform given to him for the promotion of politicised messaging.
Barghouti: “Of course you must understand that in the West Bank and Gaza we have [to be] very careful because we have a poor infrastructure due to the fact that we have been under Israeli military occupation for more than 52 years.”
The Gaza Strip has of course not been under “Israeli military occupation” for over 14 years and the Palestinian Authority has been in control of Areas A and B – including healthcare – for nearly a quarter of a century. Nevertheless, listeners heard no challenge to Barghouti’s false claims.
Agence France Presse yesterday demonstrated extremely poor working knowledge of Judaism coupled with shoddy editing. An article yesterday erroneously reported that Israel’s ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, a measure to combat the coronavirus pandemic, makes it impossible for the Jewish prayer quorum, or “miyan,” as the leading news called it, to convene.
The March 22 article by Ben Simon had erred (“Religion in conservative Mideast adapts to coronavirus“):
Israel has banned gatherings of more than 10 people, making it impossible for Jews to form the quorum of ten needed for prayer known as a miyan.
The sentence errs on two points.
1) A Jewish prayer quorum is called a “minyan,” not a “miyan.”
2) Under Jewish religious law, 10 men are required for a Jewish prayer quorum. Therefore, the ban on gatherings of no more than 1o peoople does not make it impossible to form a quorum. Under the current restrictions, it is possible to have a “minyan” of exactly 10 people, which is the minimum needed for communal prayer, as long as a distance of at least two meters is maintained between worshippers.
Yesterday, CAMERA’s Israel office notified editors about the errors. While AFP fixed the misspelling of “miyan,” the news agency still wrongly reports that the ban on gathering of more than 10 people makes the prayer quorum impossible.
CAMERA’s Israel office today prompted a Reuters correction of a tweet from yesterday which inaccurately referred to the Gaza Strip as “Palestine.” Contrary to Reuters practice, the March 21 tweet had stated: “A man in Palestine uses his donkey-drawn cart to transport an old car to a scrap yard. See more from our oddly around the world gallery.”
References to modern “Palestine” in the West Bank and Gaza are inaccurate, and those areas should be referred to as the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or, where appropriate (in the West Bank), “Palestinian Authority territories.”
Reuters, along with numerous other media outlets such The New York Post, National Geographic, The Los Angeles Times, and Voice of America, among others, has previously corrected this identical error, including in Arabic.
Reuters’ original caption for the photo had accurately stated:
A Palestinian man rides a donkey-drawn cart transporting an old car to a scrap yard, in Gaza City March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
😂 😂 😂 https://t.co/YXr7QHDx3S
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) March 22, 2020
White supremacist groups across the United States are promoting their members to spread the coronavirus to members of the Jewish community as well as police officers, according to an FBI report obtained by ABC News.
“Members of extremist groups are encouraging one another to spread the virus, if contracted, through bodily fluids and personal interactions,” according to the FBI.
ABC News reported that messages disseminated between the groups encourage their members to use “spray bottles” filled with infectious body fluids in order to attack police – with regards to the Jewish community, they instrcuted their members to travel to “any place they may be congregated, to include markets, political offices, businesses and places of worship.”
“From pushing the idea that Jews created the coronavirus virus to sell vaccines to encouraging infected followers to try to spread the illness to the Jewish community and law enforcement, as the coronavirus has spread, we have observed how white-supremacists, neo-Nazis and others have used this to drive their own conspiracy theories, spread disinformation and incite violence on their online platforms,” said Michael Masters, head of Secure Communities Network, told ABC News.
A report by the Strategic Affairs Ministry has highlighted the outbreak of antisemitism that has arisen alongside the coronavirus pandemic, in which classical antisemitic allegations have been made by anti-Israel organizations and individuals.
The report cited several examples of antisemitic allegations on social and news media based around the coronavirus pandemic and said that the global crisis was providing “fertile ground” for antisemitism.
While Israel and the rest of the world have been focusing on battling the coronavirus pandemic, the Sea of Galilee has reached the highest level in years due to the heavy rains we received this past winter.
The water level currently stands at -209.29 meters (687 feet below sea level), only 49 centimeters (19 inches) short of the Upper Red Line, the point at which a dam would have to be opened to prevent flooding, the Israel Water Authority reported Monday.
Monday’s measurement represents a rise of 2 cm (0.78 inches) since Sunday.
The Water Authority has measured the water level of the Sea of Galilee – Israel’s main freshwater source – daily since 1969. To date, the lowest level recorded was measured in November 2001, when the lake retreated to a level of -214.87 meters (705 feet) below sea level, a measurement which has come to be known as the Black Line.
The last time the Sea of Galilee reached the Upper Red Line was the winter of 2003-2004.
Gertrud Steinl, the last surviving German honored by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem for saving Jews during the Holocaust, has died.
German news agency dpa on Sunday quoted the head of Nuremberg’s Jewish community, Andre Freud, saying Steinl died Monday, on the eve of her 98th birthday.
Steinl, a Sudeten German, was recognized in 1979 as Righteous Among the Nations, Israel’s highest honor to those non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
According to an entry on the Yad Vashem website, Steinl was an overseer in the Polish town of Stryj during World War II, when a worker confided in her that she was Jewish.
Steinl sent the woman, Sarah Shlomi (née Froehlich), to live with her parents — likely ensuring that Shlomi would not be deported to a Nazi concentration camp.
Israelis, along with the rest of the world, are settling into a new reality that changes by the hour, due to the global outbreak of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
This little slice along the Mediterranean has been through many an epidemic before.
In addition to the plagues mentioned in the Bible, there was the earliest pandemic on record – the Plague of Athens -which came up through Ethiopia and Egypt in 430 BCE; the Justinian Plague of 541 that spread from Egypt to Palestine, the Byzantine Empire, and the entire Mediterranean region; and the Black Death of 1350, which may have originated in Asia and moved west along the Silk Route, to name but a few.
In recent history, disease and pandemics have played a significant role in fashioning the modern Israeli health system.
‘Not a healthy place to live’
And there was much to modernize.
In Reflections on Malaria in Jerusalem, Dr. Vicken V. Kalbian writes, “Most visitors to Ottoman Jerusalem agreed that it was not a very healthy place to live. They referred to the rampant poverty, squalor, and lack of basic municipal services such as garbage collection… Besides malaria, citizens of Jerusalem experienced other common diseases such as typhoid, typhus, cholera, dysentery, and trachoma (the main cause of premature blindness), all of which could be attributed to lack of basic public health services under the Ottomans.”
The 19th century ushered in the Napoleonic Era and the weakening of Ottoman rule.
Between 1831 and 1840, Jerusalem was controlled by an Egyptian force that brought about renewed Christian interest in the Holy Land. Supported by nobility and governments, missions from different denominations began expanding their presence by building churches, schools, clinics and hospitals.
The trend continued even after the Turks regained control. In 1844, the British Consul to Jerusalem Clinic was turned into the English Mission Hospital. Clearly stated over its front gate: “London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews.”
As mission hospitals continued to be established in the second half of the 19th century, in order to strengthen the local Jewish population- and to ward off missionaries -the Diaspora Jewish community began making efforts to build hospitals for Jews in the Land of Israel.
Here is an interesting statistics. To the best of my knowledge, the only two cities in the world (not towns, villages, shtetls) that had a Jewish majority in the 19th century were Ottoman controlled Tiberias and Jerusalem in the Holy Land.
Can you think of another one? pic.twitter.com/u4MOW0Gcdy
— AZ (@americanzionism) March 22, 2020
As the coronavirus crisis continues, with people all over the world stuck at home, Jerusalem is coming to the public’s living rooms in virtual and augmented realities.
The Tower of David Museum initiative comes in time for Passover, Easter and Ramadan, which will fall in the same month for the first time since 1992.
In the Old City, after the heavy rains stop washing up the smooth white stones and winds cease battering ancient alleys, spring usually marks a time of renewed energy and spirituality, with thousands flocking to the holy sites during the holidays.
Planned as part of the museum exhibition, the stereo 360 VR movie “Holy City” puts users in the middle of hundreds pouring their hearts out to God at the Western Wall wrapped in white shawls as well as at the feet of al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and in the solemn procession to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where worshipers visit the place where Jesus was buried, according to Christian tradition.
“We are now in very challenging times and unfortunately this spring, pilgrims, visitors and travelers cannot come to Jerusalem, but technology can help,” the museum’s director Eilat Lieber told The Jerusalem Post. “We can bring the city and its spirituality to people at home and they can join the festivals and be part of what happens every year.”
Lieber explained that watching the documentary, which can be done both on a flat screen or with a VR headset, cannot of course completely substitute the experience of visiting the city or the museum, but “it still gives the idea of what Jerusalem represents for so many people all over the world.”
The video is made available on their website for a small fee, however will be made free starting the first day of Passover April 9, through Easter weekend, and until the first day of Ramadan on April 14.
The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has shed an unflattering light on the faults of global healthcare systems, from China to Italy, and posed a myriad of new challenges to both healthcare professionals and researchers. Governments, including that of Israel, have called on tech companies to enlist in the battle against the outbreak. In reality, many medtech and biotech companies have already started working to alter their technologies accordingly.
In Israel, both industry veterans and young startups have jumped into the fray, allocating resources and manpower in an effort to find new solutions that could ease the strain on the overburdened healthcare system. Calcalist has taken a closer look at some of the most prominent ones.
Discover the virus in seconds: the AI that identifies the virus with a simple CT scan
Israeli-American RADLogics is a software analytics company that specializes in visual analysis of medical scans using AI and has a research and development center in Tel Aviv. The company’s products were one of the first in its category to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Its tools are used to detect early signs of medical issues such as lung cancer.
Around two months ago, use of RADLogics’ products in China started revealing novel findings; something small and patch-like in the lungs of patients. Very quickly, medical professionals identified the patch as a phenomenon unique to coronavirus patients. More surprising was the fact that it was also found in asymptomatic carriers. The findings echoed a study published in China, which looked at around 1,000 patients and found that CT scans indicated the presence of the virus in 48% of people who were found negative in the regular test.
The information RADLogics’ system provided in China helped the company adjust its products for the specific identification of coronavirus, and now it offers a new identification avenue for the virus and claims it can provide results within seconds instead of hours. The company said the test can be done using existing CT machines quickly and non-invasively, and that the results can help doctors prioritize ventilators. The company’s coronavirus-specific systems are already used in China and Russia, and according to RADLogics will soon come into use in Europe. In the US, the system is currently undergoing advanced approval.
El Al Pilot Recounts Mission to Rescue Israelis in Peru Amid COVID19 Border Closures
El Al Chief Pilot Itzik Garbar tells i24NEWS about his rescue flight which brought back1,100 Israelis who were stranded in Peru amid COVID19 border closures
ELAL planes made its longest flight ever taking 43 hours back & forth to bring home over 1000 Israelis stranded in Peru. After landing the pilot asked all the passengers to sing along with him the song of Reb Nachmen קול העולם גשר צר מאוד pic.twitter.com/75ybixZAhr
— Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll (@skjask) March 22, 2020
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