April 21, 2024

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03/24 Links Pt2: Coronavirus claims 3rd victim in Israel, an 87-year-old man from Jerusalem; 400,000 People Worldwide Tune in for Livestreamed Concert by Idan Raichel


From Ian:

Coronavirus claims 3rd victim in Israel, an 87-year-old man from Jerusalem
Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center announced Tuesday evening the death of an 87-year-old man from the coronavirus, Israel’s third fatality in the pandemic.

The man was brought to the hospital earlier this week from the nursing home where he lived, after testing positive for the virus, the hospital said. He had a series of underlying medical problems, including diabetes and dementia, it added in the statement.

The man was not immediately named.

He was the second resident of the Nofim Tower assisted living facility in Jerusalem to succumb to the illness. The first was Aryeh Even, 88, who passed away on Friday.

Earlier Tuesday, a 67-year-old woman, named as Malka Keva from the coastal city of Bat Yam, died of the coronavirus in Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center, the hospital said.

Keva suffered from “a serious preexisting medical condition,” according to the hospital. Several years ago, she fell ill with cancer and had been in a weakened state when she contracted the virus.

On Tuesday morning, the Health Ministry reported that the number of diagnosed cases of coronavirus in the country had risen to 1,656, an increase of 214 from the previous night.

What the US can learn from Israel’s handling of coronavirus crisis

While the United States has one of the largest and most powerful militaries in the world, most Americans don’t interact with the military in their daily lives.

In Israel, the IDF plays an important part in the country’s day-to-day life and has even been called to help when other countries faced natural disasters.

In places like Europe, militaries have stepped up their role augmenting police and security forces, and it looks like in New York and California this may be the case as well. Floating military hospitals are going to help treat the overflow of ill citizens and the National Guard has been put on call in many states.

Militaries by their nature prepare for any contingency, and, as we are seeing unfold across the globe, are taking an active leadership role.

As Abraham Ronen, a security expert from ActPro LTD Consulting & Project Management states, “The military is an integrated and familiar part of Israeli society. The challenge we are currently facing is how active a role the IDF will play in taking responsibilities from the police and other security forces, particularly as the coronavirus is also impacting other players in the region.”

It WILL be ok

For Israelis, optimism that all will be fine (“yihiyeh b’seder”) is not some vague hope that things will work themselves out. It means things will be okay because people will actively figure out solutions.

Given Israel’s security situation, one would think that its citizens would be in a constant state of depression or panic. The reality is that living with purpose, close family and peer connections (which are being tested to an extreme these days because of self-isolation) and finding meaning in struggle have made Israel’s citizens among the world’s happiest.

People in Israel understand hardships will happen, but that ultimately they will prevail. That is a lesson many in the United States are learning now.

No one knows where this will lead. But both the United States and Israel are learning more every day about the virus. The examples above prove ways in which we can be proactive on a national scale to battle the COVID-19 crisis.

Jonathan “Yoni” Frenkel heads a digital marketing agency, YKC Media, that focuses on engaging millennial and tech professionals through content. He’s been involved in the New York-Israeli tech community for many years and previously held roles as a nonprofit professional at both the IAC Dor Chadash and AIPAC.

Understanding the History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Join our StandWithUsConnect webinar with Charlotte Korchak, StandWithUs director of international student programs. Charlotte’s presentation covers the origins of the Arab–Israeli conflict as well as the rise of Palestinian nationalism and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. She will also discuss the root causes and the impact they have had and will continue to have, on the peace process.

Ex-SJP Leader at NYU Responds to Israel’s First Coronavirus Death With Nasty Tweet

The former president of the New York University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine responded to Israel’s first coronavirus fatality with a nasty tweet, expressing indifference and contempt, and she was not alone.

Aryeh Even, an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor, passed away on Friday, becoming the first Israeli to die of the disease.

When the news broke of Even’s death, Leen Dweik, a prominent pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist activist, tweeted, “Anyway should I paint my nails red or green today?”

According to the watchdog group Canary Mission, Dweik was president of NYU’s SJP chapter from 2018-2019. She promoted and co-authored a student government pro-BDS resolution at NYU in 2018.

In March 2019, she tweeted that Israel was “a settler-colonial project whose *explicit* purpose is to disenfranchise native palestinians & create an ethnoreligious state.”

She also openly supports the elimination of Israel, tweeting in Aug. 2018, “people who don’t support the abolition of the state of isr*el……….. wyd [what you doing].”

In April 2018, she tweeted, “Just wait until we dismantle the entire state of Israel.”

In addition, she has accused Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing.”

Dweik became notorious in March 2019 when she verbally assaulted Chelsea Clinton and told her she was responsible for the Christchurch mosque massacre because of “the rhetoric you put out there.”

It appears that Dweik was upset that Clinton had condemned antisemitic statements made by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Dweik did not specify how this condemnation led to violence against Muslims.

Dweik was hardly alone in her response to Even’s death. Some twitter users went so far as to celebrate the tragedy.

Soros Bankrolls Coronavirus Attack Ads Against Trump

The Democratic Party’s leading super PAC will begin hitting President Donald Trump over coronavirus in four battleground states, using millions from liberal billionaire George Soros.

Priorities USA Action—the Democratic Party’s largest super PAC—will spend $6 million this week on advertisements criticizing Trump for his response to the coronavirus pandemic. The ads will run in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The PAC received $3 million in contributions from Soros’s Democracy PAC on Feb. 21, new filings show. Soros’s seven-figure donation accounts for 77 percent of the $3.9 million the PAC reported hauling in last month.

Major Democratic donors have flooded battleground states, especially in the Midwest, with cash for anti-Trump campaigns in hopes of appealing to the president’s voter base. CNN first reported Monday on Priorities USA’s new ads, which are part of a larger plan by deep-pocketed liberal financiers and activist groups to divert large sums of cash into the region. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in several Midwestern states that she was expected to carry in the 2016 election.

As part of this plan, Priorities USA has said it intends to spend upward of $150 million against Trump in states like Michigan and Wisconsin. The PAC has hauled in $27 million since January 2019. Its largest donor has been billionaire hedge fund manager Donald Sussman, who has given the group $8 million this cycle. Soros is now the group’s second-largest donor at $5 million.

The group did not respond to a request for comment.

Priorities is not the only group using the coronavirus pandemic to attack Trump. PACRONYM, a super PAC tied to the nonprofit ACRONYM, which was in charge of the botched Iowa app that caused chaos during the Iowa caucuses, is launching a similar campaign.

New Students’ Union president dressed as Holocaust victim and joked about being ‘gassed’

A newly-elected Students’ Union (SU) president wrote a string of social media posts joking about the Holocaust along with pictures of himself dressed as a concentration camp victim, it has been revealed.

Sam Farrell, who was elected Student Union President of the SU at Edge Hill University in Lancashire on March 18, is seen joking on social about a post in which he is seen dressed as a Holocaust victim.

He is seen sprawled on a table, dressed in striped pyjamas with a number added and a cap designed to give him a shaven head look. He was dressed for a “movie and TV show” themed social event.

He posted the photos with the comment: “In dire need of a shower after last night’s social #gassed”.

In a February 2019, he said that he was “pretty sure the Holocaust had better headliners” than the Reading Festival.

The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) said it was “extremely concerned” and was “getting in touch with Edge Hill Students’ Union to ensure that the SU receives antisemitism awareness training.”

UJS said it was also “aware of other Holocaust posts.”

Mr Farrell was one of two candidates running for the SU presidency.

COGAT contradicts Guardian claim on Gaza medicine ‘restrictions’

The Guardian’s former Jerusalem correspondent (currently their religion correspondent) Harriet Sherwood penned a piece (“Gaza confirms first coronavirus cases as West Bank shuts down”, March 22) claiming that the Israeli blockade limits the import of medicines, thus hampering their healthcare system’s ability to cope with Covid-19 infected Palestinians:

Gaza’s public health system has been severely tested by repeated military conflicts with Israel over the past 12 years, and is chronically short of drugs and equipment. An Israeli blockade, in place since 2007 although eased in recent years, has limited the import of medicines and other essential items.

However, in addition to the fact that Sherwood ignores the role of Hamas and the PA in their deteriorating healthcare system, there are in fact no Israeli restrictions on the import of medicine to the Palestinian-run territory – a fact we have blogged about repeatedly. (The only restricted medical items are radio isotopes used in bone scans or for guided biopsy of axillary lymph nodes, presumably because they are considered dual-use.)

Just to be sure there hasn’t been a change in Israeli policy, we contacted COGAT:
Here’s their reply:

The Guardian got it wrong.

(Relatedly, just last week, following communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, the Associated Press amended an article which initially included the false assertion that Israel blocked the import of surgical supplies to Gaza.)

We’ll be contacting the Guardian readers’ editor seeking a correction to Sherwood’s article.

Mapping BBC messaging on Gaza and Corona

As we saw last week, the BBC Jerusalem bureau already briefed audiences on the topic of Coronavirus in the Gaza Strip over a week before the first two cases were diagnosed. Listeners to at least four programmes on different platforms heard the following long-employed talking points concerning the Gaza Strip repromoted in Tom Bateman’s preemptive reports:
– The territory was described as “one of the world’s most densely crowded places” where “more than two million people live in tightly packed” and “densely populated conditions”.
– The territory was portrayed as having “weak, underdeveloped health services” that are “far weaker than those of the developed Western world” and which are “already under significant pressure”. Hospitals in the Gaza Strip were described as “outdated, hard pressed and lacking many medicines and supplies” and audiences were told that an outbreak of Covid 19 “could stretch their health system to the limit.”
– The territory was described as having “an unclean water supply and regular power cuts”.
– Audiences heard of “deep poverty” and “crowded refugee camps”.

However when it came to explaining to audiences why health services, power supplies and water supplies in the Gaza Strip are as they are, the BBC was distinctly less forthcoming.

“…problems […] are compounded by the tangled politics here. Israel and Egypt’s crippling blockade – meant to stop weapons getting to Hamas militants – the recent bouts of fighting with Israel and the deep split between the two main Palestinian factions all add to the crisis.”

Of course the sole reason for that partially portrayed “blockade” is the terrorism perpetrated by Hamas and additional terrorist organisations since Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip nearly a decade and a half ago. The BBC, however, provided no serious background information on that topic – including the issue of Hamas’ budgetary priorities which place terrorism over healthcare and other services – while employing its standard euphemism “militants” to describe Hamas.

Neither were audiences given any significant information on how “the deep split” between Hamas and Fatah has affected the standard of living and services such as water, power and healthcare in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza prepares for the Coronavirus

In spite of the never-ending hostilities, aid continues to flow into Gaza, from Israel. Just last week, 206 tons of medical supplies and equipment entered Gaza.

Supplies needed to facilitate Gaza’s fight against the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, including testing kits, personal protective gear, and sanitizer were also sent.

Gaza has been sanitizing public areas and shopping centers.

Additionally, Gaza is building a 1000 bed field hospital for quarantined coronavirus patients.

Recognizing that viruses cross borders, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have set up a joint operations room to combat the pandemic.

Rather than applaud the regional cooperation, the usual suspects are taking this as an opportunity to bash Israel. Posting on Twitter, the self-described “journalist, writer, filmmaker” Ben Norton refuses to be inconvenienced by simple reality and instead makes the spurious claim,

“Coronavirus has now reached Gaza, which is under a totally illegal, brutal, medieval-style siege by Israel. Gaza barely has health infrastructure; it has been bombed to pieces by Israel. Every Palestinian death caused by Covid-19 is blood on Israel’s hands”

Over 77,000 tons of supplies, in 2547 trucks entered Gaza last week alone. Positively “medieval”, Ben.

WHSmith apologises for selling Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and immediately removes the books from sale

WHSmith has apologised for selling Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and immediately removed the books from sale.

The booksellers had been offering various editions of Adolf Hitler’s tome – apparently including the “Official Nazi Translation” and the “1939” edition – on its website, along with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious Czarist antisemitic tract.

WHSmith now says that it has “strict guidelines on the books it sells, and it is against our policy to stock books which incite hatred. These books have been immediately removed from sale, and we are investigating how this has occurred with our wholesaler. We apologise sincerely for any offence caused.”

Recently, both Oxfam and Amazon removed the same books from sale in their respective online shops.

Turning plastic waste into sustainable wax, oil, solvents

Plastic waste is one of the most recognized environmental issues today.

From global recycling failures, to ocean pollution and trying to do away with single-use items, it all boils down to the same question: What do we do with the hundreds of millions of tons of plastics still manufactured every year, and worse, the billions that have accumulated in the landfills and oceans all over the planet?

An Israeli company offers a new industrial process that transforms used plastic into new source materials for other manufacturers.

From vision to reality
Clariter is an international company headquartered in Israel. Its patented technology offers a potential opportunity to overcome the plastic waste challenge by turning it into a new value chain independent of fossil fuels and their emissions.

The technology further offers an alternative to traditional recycling, which converts plastics into other plastics (mechanically) or to fuel – neither is ideal, environmentally speaking.

Israeli firm aims to disrupt mammograms and other X-rays

Imagine a single machine quickly scanning your whole body for signs of cancer during your annual checkup. It could perform tests such as computed tomography (CT) and a no-squish mammogram for women.

Israeli serial entrepreneur Ran Poliakine hopes to have such a machine on the market in less than two years.

His newest endeavor, Nanox, aims to bring X-ray imaging “from the dark ages to the 21st century,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

Sort of like Star Trek’s fictitious “biobed,” the Nanox.Arc could provide a full-body digital X-ray scan down to the cellular level.

“Because it’s digital, it’s multispectral. You don’t need different machines to do different kinds of imaging,” says Poliakine. That includes mammography, CT, fluoroscopy and angiography, for instance.

“It’s similar to using an iPhone to listen to music and take pictures and make calls.”

Nanox.Arc’s companion software, Nanox.Cloud, will be a cloud-based repository for all the imaging data.

Hours before border closes, 72 Ethiopian immigrants land in Israel overnight

Hours before Ethiopia officially closed its land borders to prevent further coronavirus spread, a group of 14 Ethiopian families — totaling 72 new immigrants — landed at Ben-Gurion Airport before dawn on March 24. Their arrival comes a week after the Israeli government had initially postponed the naturalization of a total of 250 Ethiopians whose immigration was promised prior to the March 2 national elections.

An Aliyah and Absorption Ministry spokesperson said in an email last week that the Prime Minister’s Office had nixed flights due to the coronavirus crisis. The government reversed that decision this week and in a written statement announced that anyone holding a valid immigration visa was permitted to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return.

“I was very sad last week when they stopped the aliyah [immigration],” said former Knesset member Avraham Neguise, who advocates on behalf of Ethiopian Israelis. “I am very happy for the immigrants, who are fulfilling their dream of many years, and for their families, who are waiting to see them.”

Despite his satisfaction with seeing the first arrivals, Ethiopia-born Neguise, who served as chair of the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs committee from 2015 to 2019, protested the fact that the latest airlift did not include anyone over the age of 60.

“I am glad the [Israeli government] ministers changed their mind and renewed the immigration from Ethiopia,” Neguise told The Times of Israel by phone. “However, my joy is not complete because of the policy of discriminating against those who are age 60 or above who were left behind.”

“This policy is not acceptable,” he said. “They, too, must be brought to Israel to fulfill their dream of returning to Zion, the Jewish homeland. No matter whether there is the coronavirus or not, I appeal to the government of Israel to reconsider its policy of age discrimination.”

Tokyo Olympics officially postponed until 2021 over coronavirus concerns

The Tokyo Olympics were postponed until 2021 on Tuesday, ending weeks of speculation that the games could not go ahead as scheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the decision after speaking with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local organizers.

The IOC said the games will be held “not later than summer 2021” but they will still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the World Health Organization today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” the IOC said in a statement.

Before the official announcement, Abe said Bach had agreed with his proposal for a one-year postponement.

“President Bach said he will agree ‘100%,’ and we agreed to hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in the summer of 2021 at the latest,” Abe said, saying holding the games next year would be “proof of a victory by human beings against the coronavirus infections.”

Israeli World Champion Sagi Muki Talks 2020 Tokyo Olympics

While #Tokyo2020 may be postponed, Israeli World Champion Judoka Sagi Muki— who is in home isolation—tells i24NEWS how #COVID19 restrictions have affected his Olympic training, and how it disadvantages those who cannot train while others are still able to do so

400,000 People Worldwide Tune in for Livestreamed Concert by Idan Raichel

More than 400,000 people from around the world tuned in to watch renowned Israeli musician Idan Raichel’s livestreamed concert from his Tel Aviv living room on Sunday evening.

As part of the special event hosted by the Jewish Agency for Israel on its Facebook page, Raichel performed some of his most popular and uplifting songs, including his hit breakthrough song “Bo’ee” (“Come With Me”), while sending a message of hope and togetherness as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a time of solidarity around the world and of shared responsibility among Jewish communities, wherever they may be. At a time when there are no social gatherings, we sought to bring a message of hope from Israel into the hearts and homes of people across the globe,” said Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog.

Hundreds of Jewish Agency shlichim (“emissaries”) who are volunteering in communities throughout the Jewish world joined in, as well as individuals and families from dozens of countries.

Raichel is considered to be one of the most prominent and successful musicians in Israel, who has brought his soul-stirring music to some of the world’s biggest stages.

As the leader of The Idan Raichel Project, he acts as a musical ambassador representing a hopeful world in which artistic collaborations break down barriers between people of different backgrounds and beliefs. Over the years, Raichel has collaborated with musicians such as India.Arie, Dave Matthews and Alicia Keys. Earlier this year, he co-wrote the song “Feker Libi” by Eden Alene, which will represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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