Iranian drone shot down in northern Israel in February was armed with explosives
Israel revealed on Friday that an Iranian drone shot down in Israeli airspace in February after launching from an airbase in Syria was carrying explosives. The base was attacked on Monday, allegedly by Israel, in a strike that reportedly targeted Iran’s entire attack drone weapons system — prompting soaring tensions between Israel and Iran.
The Iranian drone shot down in February was carrying enough explosives to cause damage, military sources said. Its precise intended target in Israel was not known, they said.
The February incident marked an unprecedented direct Iranian attack on Israel. Israel’s acknowledgement of the nature of the drone’s mission “brings the confrontation” between Israel and Iran “into the open” for the first time, Israel’s Channel 10 news noted Friday.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a speech on Holocaust Remembrance Day this week to warn Iran: “Don’t test the resolve of the State of Israel.”
Iranian officials, for their part, have been vowing a response to the Monday airstrike, and an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader on Thursday threatened Israel with destruction.
The alleged Israeli attack this week on the base from which the drone was despatched is understood to have targeted Iran’s entire drone weapons system at the Syrian base, which was protected by surface-to-air missiles and other defenses, the TV report said.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long warned of the danger posed to Israel not many years hence by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. As of Friday night, Israelis are contemplating the danger posed right now by a non-nuclear Iran that is working to entrench itself in Syria.
Two months after an Israeli Apache helicopter shot down an Iranian drone dispatched from Syria, 30 seconds after it crossed into Israeli airspace, Israel’s military censors on Friday finally allowed local media to report that the drone was not merely taking surveillance footage, but was carrying explosives and was primed to attack and damage an unspecified target somewhere in Israel.
The timing of the revelation — which was accompanied by the Israeli Air Force’s release of footage showing the Apache downing the infiltrating Iranian drone — was plainly linked to a potent attack, carried out pre-dawn Monday, that reportedly caused substantial damage to a facility Iran has been building at the T-4 air base in central Syria, and from which that drone was launched on February 10.
While Jerusalem has been silent, the Monday raid has been widely attributed to Israel — by Russia, Syria, Iran and some in the US. At least seven Iranian military personnel were killed in the raid. Iran has threatened retaliation. A top Iranian aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Iran could destroy Haifa and Tel Aviv. Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Netanyahu not to cause
destabilization in Syria. And so, if anyone was asking why Israel would have risked the repercussions of a raid like Monday’s, Friday’s revelations evidently provided at last part of the answer:
Iran is now sufficiently emboldened as to directly attack Israel. The February drone attack was the first direct Iranian confrontation with Israel, after years of it employing Lebanese and Palestinian proxies to target the Jewish state from Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. That attack had real cost for Israel, which lost an F-16 in retaliatory raids later that same day.
Seth J. Frantzman: Three weeks: How Gaza’s mass protests are failing to make an impact
The “Great March of Return” protests that Hamas and Gaza activists launched on March 30 saw their lowest turnout in three weeks and the smallest number of casualties in clashes with Israeli forces, with one Palestinian killed and 528 reported injured on Friday.
Israeli authorities have been steadfast and on message about the protesters being a cover for violent action, while Hamas and the local activists have attempted to keep up the momentum. The proportion of those injured by live fire has declined by half, indicating a major reduction not only in the size of the protests but the level of violence along the border.
On the eve of the third Friday of mass protests in Gaza, the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza published a list of casualties from the past two weeks, stating that 3,078 Palestinians had been injured, including 1,236 from live ammunition. It claimed four people had lost legs. Of those injured 445 were under 18 and 152 were women. Thirty had been killed. It also said 30 paramedics had been injured and 14 journalists, including Yaser Murtaja who was shot on April 6.
This Friday the protests didn’t reach the levels they had in the past. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted that “from week to week there are fewer riots on our border with Gaza. Our resolve is well understood from the other side.”
The IDF tweeted that 10,000 had participated in the “rioting” on the border. It also posted a photo showing a “terrorist wielding an item suspected of being an explosive device” while crouching next to journalists and a handicapped person.
This terrorist wielding an item suspected of being an explosive device used for terror purposes while journalists & a handicapped person stand closely behind him pic.twitter.com/TjHopT3Rw2
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) April 13, 2018
Ahead of the Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism, which will be marked next Wednesday, the National Insurance Institute said on Friday that the number of civilians killed in terrorist attacks since the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948 stands at 3,134. This figure also includes 122 foreign nationals killed in terrorist attacks in Israel and 100 Israelis who died abroad.
In the past year, from the last Independence Day and until today, 12 Israelis have been murdered, with the last one being Adiel Kolman, who was stabbed to death in Jerusalem on his way to the Western Wall last month.
The terrorist attacks have left 3,175 orphans, including 114 who lost both their parents, 822 widows, and 926 bereaved parents who live among us today.
National Insurance Institute Director-General Meir Spiegler said that the Institute views the treatment and rehabilitation of the victims of terrorist attacks and the families of the victims as an important national mission, and acts to perpetuate the victims. “The victims of the attacks and the families of the victims face daily physical and mental injuries, and we aim to provide them with the most appropriate support, and to help as best we can with the greatest sensitivity and availability.”
The Director-General added that in 2017 the Victims of Hostilities Division of the National Insurance Institute paid 500 million shekels in allowances and benefits to thousands of victims of terrorist attacks and families of the victims.
Palestinian terror organization Islamic Jihad said Saturday that four of its members were killed in an accidental explosion near the Gaza Strip border with Israel.
The group said in a statement that the four died during “preparations,” without giving further details. Army Radio reported that the terrorists were killed while carrying explosives in an all-terrain vehicle, suggesting the blast may have been a “work accident.” AFP said they were riding a tuk tuk vehicle which exploded a few hundred meters from the border with Israel.
The four fatalities were named as Hisham Abdel Al, Elias Al Katrous, Ae’d Al Hamaydeh, and Mohammad Al Krinawi, according to Palestinian sources.
Islamic Jihad is an ally of terrorist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. The group, which is supported by Iran, has fought alongside Hamas against Israel in multiple wars, most recently in 2014.
The Hamas-controlled Health Ministry initially claimed the blast east of Rafah in southern Gaza was caused by an Israeli strike. The IDF denied any involvement in the incident and said none of its forces had opened fire in the area.
Throughout the day, 10,000 Palestinians have been violentlyrioting in five locations along the fence with the Gaza Strip. Over the last hour, several attempts to harm or breach the security infrastructure have taken place pic.twitter.com/Uhyssh2XNH
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) April 13, 2018
Next week: Friday of the Martyrs and Prisoners. (March of Return) pic.twitter.com/QqsQ8uursl
— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) April 13, 2018
Gaza demonstrators burning pictures of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli flag. https://t.co/sobPbhLlmZ
— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) April 13, 2018
10,000 Palestinian Arabs violently rioted in five locations along the border fence with Gaza on Friday. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit reported several attempts to harm or breach the security infrastructure.
In one incident, an explosive device was placed and detonated near the Karni Crossing in northern Gaza and a firebomb attached to a kite was dispatched. Meanwhile, explosive devices, rocks and firebombs were hurled by the rioters.
“The IDF cautions against being present in areas where the violent riots are taking place, as they are being used as camouflage for terror acts,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
Health officials in Gaza claimed three demonstrators were shot and wounded during Friday’s riots.
33 Gazans, including 14 people identified by Israeli security officials as terrorists, have been killed since the riots began on March 30.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) has called on the Israeli government to show “restraint” amid what has now been weeks of protests by Hamas terrorists who have swarmed the Israeli border and stoked violence.
“I am deeply concerned about the deaths and injuries in Gaza,” Warren was quoted as saying. “As additional protests are planned for the coming days, the Israel Defense Forces should exercise restraint and respect the rights of Palestinians to peacefully protest.”
The quote is likely to rankle the pro-Israel community, which has become increasingly strained with the Democratic Party as lawmakers such as Warren adopt a much more anti-Israel viewpoint.
Hamas has been leading demonstrations across the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip in a bid to stoke tensions with Israeli authorities and prompt a violent response. While Hamas leaders have claimed the protests are peaceful, video evidence and news reports have repeatedly showed terrorist militants joining the protests.
After corresponding with CAMERA, the New York Times updated a news story that had mischaracterized ongoing demonstrations and clashes in the Gaza Strip.
The story had initially claimed that the Hamas-organized “Great March of Return” was meant to protest of Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. “The demonstrations were part of a mass protest against Israel’s decade-long blockade of Gaza,” wrote Times reporters David Halbfinger and Iyad Abuheweila.
This was a substantive error of omission. As CAMERA noted earlier this week, after an article in Time Magazine had similarly mischaracterized the march, Hamas leaders and other organizers have clearly noted that the primary theme of the demonstrations is the Palestinian demand for a so-called “right of return.”
Beware Hamas-produced fakery in “peaceful” march to Israel’s border
The Pentagon said Saturday that a joint US-British-French operation against Syria’s regime had “successfully hit every target,” countering assertions from Russia that dozens of missiles were intercepted.
“We do not seek conflict in Syria, but we cannot allow such grievous violations of international law,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters.
“We successfully hit every target,” she said. “The strikes were justified, legitimate, and proportionate.”
Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, also at the briefing, said three sites that are “fundamental components of the regime’s chemical weapons infrastructure” were struck.
The operation was “precise, overwhelming, and effective,” he said, adding it will set their chemical weapons program back “for years.”
McKenzie said that none “of our aircraft or missiles involved in this operation were successfully engaged by Syrian air defenses.”
US, British and French forces launched air strikes on Syria in response to a suspected poison gas attack that killed dozens of people, aiming to degrade its chemical weapons capabilities in the biggest intervention yet in the conflict by Western powers.
US President Donald Trump announced the military action from the White House, saying the three allies had “marshaled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality.”
As he spoke, explosions rocked Damascus.
British Prime Minister Theresa May described the strike as “limited and targeted” and said she had authorized the British action after intelligence indicated Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government was responsible for an attack using chemical weapons in Douma last Saturday.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the strikes had been limited so far to Syria’s chemical weapons facilities.
With more than 100 missiles fired from ships and manned aircraft, the allies struck three of Syria’s main chemical weapons facilities, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford said.
The targets included a Syrian center in the greater Damascus area for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological weaponry as well as a chemical weapons storage facility near the city of Homs. A third target, also near Homs, contained both a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and a command post.
Mattis called the strikes a “one time shot,” but Trump raised the prospect of further strikes if Assad’s government again used chemical weapons.
“We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,” the US president said in a televised address.
France, Britain and the United States will continue military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad should he use any more chemical weapons on his people, the allies warned on Saturday, after launching strikes on Friday night against the embattled government.
The attack was a response to a reported chemical attack that affected hundreds of women and children in the town of Douma, in the Syrian province eastern Ghouta, last week. Western powers published evidence on Saturday explaining their conclusion that Assad was responsible for the strike, which, according to US officials, deployed both chlorine and sarin from helicopters only in possession of the Assad regime.
Russian and Syrian forces– which deny involvement in the April 7 event– have since taken control of Douma, and are denying access to the site for international chemical weapons inspectors.
French Rafale jets, British Tornado jets and US B-1 bombers took part in the Friday night raid, launching from bases in Cyprus, France and possibly Qatar, where the US earlier this month deployed several attack aircraft. The three Western nations also moved frigates and destroyers into range over the course of the week from which they fired cruise missiles.
Their targets were core infrastructure of Assad’s “clandestine” chemical weapons program, shoddily hidden from the international community since a 2013 agreement ostensibly rid him of his entire stockpile, according to an intelligence document declassified by the French government and released in conjunction with the strike. A senior Trump administration official described the sites as “research, processing and storage facilities” critical to the program.
The attack included over 100 projectiles– roughly twice the amount of firepower as what US President Donald Trump launched against a single Syrian airstrip one year ago, in response to another chemical attack by the Assad regime against civilians.
Israel on Saturday said that the combined US, British and French strikes on Syria were an “appropriate” response to the alleged chemical gas attack and warned that Damascus’s actions put it in danger of further strikes, including against its leadership.
“Last year, [US] President [Donald] Trump made it clear that using chemical weapons crossed a red line. Tonight, led by the Americans, the US, France and Britain acted appropriately,” said a statement attributed to an unnamed official in Jerusalem.
“Syria continues to carry out murderous actions and to be a base for these and other actions, including by Iran, that puts its territory, forces and leadership in danger,” the terse statement said.
Israel was informed ahead of the strikes, sources said.
“The American strike is an important signal to the axis of evil — Iran, Syria and Hezbollah,” tweeted housing minister Yoav Galant. “The use of chemical weapons crosses a red line that humanity is no longer willing to accept,” said Galant, who is a member of the security cabinet and a former general.
The strikes occurred early Saturday morning, the Sabbath in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu generally refrains from putting out official statements in his name on the Jewish day of rest.
President Donald Trump announced precision strikes Friday against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons infrastructure following Assad’s recent attack in the town of Douma.
Trump addressed the American people at the beginning of his statement, saying he ordered the strike in coordination with the U.K. and France.
“My fellow Americans, a short time ago I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” Trump said. “A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now underway. We thank them both.”
Trump justified the action by noting that this is not Assad’s first chemical attack, and he touted the effectiveness of the cruise-missile strike he launched last year after Assad used chemical weapons.
“The United States responded [in 2017] with 58 missile strikes that destroyed 20 percent of the Syrian air force,” he said.
Trump also spoke directly to the leaders of Russia and Iran, calling on them to stop backing Assad and help their own standing in the world.
“I also have a message tonight for two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime,” Trump said. “To Iran and to Russia I ask: what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?”
United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley blasted Russia’s “lies and cover-ups” of the Bashar al-Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in Syria in a speech at the United Nations Security Council Friday.
“We should not be condemning the countries or groups of countries that might actually have the courage to stand up in defense of our common principle, the principle against the use of chemical weapons,” she said. “Instead, we should be condemning the country that unilaterally has stopped the security council from upholding this principle.”
“It is Russia alone that has stopped at nothing to defend the Syrian regime’s multiple uses of chemical weapons.”
Haley’s condemnation comes after reports that Assad’s government used chemical weapons against civilians in Douma, a rebel-held Damascus suburb, killing dozens.
Almost a week later, Russia is making claims the chemical attack was staged. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he had “irrefutable evidence” that the attack was staged by one country conducting a “Russophobic” campaign, the BBC reported.
Haley pointed out Russia had agreed to be the guarantor of Syria’s chemical weapons removal.
United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley took a veiled shot at the Obama administration during remarks Saturday about U.S. airstrikes against Syria, saying when President Donald Trump draws a “red line,” he enforces it.
In coordination with Britain and France, Trump ordered air strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons infrastructure Friday night. Trump, who previously warned of a “big price to pay” for last week’s chemical attack in Douma, said the air strike was meant to deter the spread and use of chemical weapons.
“I spoke to the president this morning, and he said if the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded,” Haley told the U.N. Security Council. “When our president draws a red line, our president enforces the red line.”
President Barack Obama in 2012 said the usage of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would be a “red line” for him, but a year later, he ultimately balked at taking military action when Assad’s regime used such weapons. A Russia-brokered deal to remove Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile was ultimately struck, but Syrian atrocities since then have revealed he still has such capabilities.
“We acted to deter future use of chemical weapons by holding the Syrian regime responsible for its atrocities against humanity,” Haley said.
Defense Secretary James Mattis spoke with reporters Friday night following President Donald Trump’s announcement of coordinated air strikes against Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities, saying the Bashar al-Assad regime “did not get the message last year.”
Mattis called Assad’s reported chemical attack against the Damascus suburb of Douma last week an inexcusable atrocity. Speaking at the Pentagon, Mattis recalled Trump’s ordered retaliatory strike after an Assad-engineered chemical attack last April.
“Tonight France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure,” he said. “Clearly the Assad regime did not get the message last year. This time our allies and we have struck harder. Together we have sent a clear message to Assad and his murderous lieutenants that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.”
Mattis said the strike on Friday night demonstrates an “international resolve” to prevent the usage of chemical weapons. He said he wanted to emphasize the strike was against the Syrian regime and great lengths were taken to avoid civilian casualties.
Defense Secretary James Mattis called the coordinated air strikes against three targets in Syria by the U.S. with Britain and France “a heavy strike” on Friday night.
Mattis said at the Pentagon that the air strike Friday used double the weapons of the one President Donald Trump ordered last year and were against targets the U.S. believed were “selective to hurt the chemical weapons program.”
“We were not out to expand this. We were very precise and proportionate, but at the same time, it was a heavy strike,” he said.
Trump announced the strike Friday at the White House, saying it was part of an effort to deter the spread and use of chemical weapons. The Bashar al-Assad regime reportedly carried out a chemical attack last week on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, killing dozens.
“The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons,” Trump said. “Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States. The combined American, British, and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power: military, economic, and diplomatic.”
Russia on Saturday asked the UN Security Council to condemn the “aggression” against Syria from military strikes carried out by the United States, Britain, and France, according to a draft resolution seen by AFP.
Russia circulated the measure ahead of a Security Council meeting to discuss the military operation by the three allies in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack.
The draft text “condemns the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the US and its allies in violation of international law and the UN Charter.”
It “demands that the US and its allies immediately and without delay cease the aggression against the Syrian Arab republic and demands also to refrain from any further use of force in violation of international law and the UN charter.”
Earlier Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin used the same language to denounce the strikes, calling them an “act of aggression” that will exacerbate humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.
US President Donald Trump’s special Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt hit back at the “empty, self-indulgent” remarks by senior Palestinian official who earlier this week accused the White House official of being a mouthpiece for the Israeli government.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat had told foreign diplomats in Ramallah that Greenblatt has “assumed the role of spokesperson of the Israeli authorities” and “consistently repeated Israeli talking points” that “blame Palestinians under occupation.”
The letter circulated to the diplomats slammed Greenblatt for warning Gazans to keep away from the Israeli border fence ahead of the planned mass demonstrators launched late last month, and did not demand that Israel avoid civilian casualties.
“It is clear that those who do not consider that the lives of Palestinians and Israelis are of equal value cannot possibly promote any plan that will be remotely close to a just and lasting peace,” Erekat wrote. “Rather, the Trump administration continues to adopt Israeli positions.”
On Friday, Greenblatt slammed Erekat for the letter, saying his “outburst” was a distraction from the stalled peace talks.
An IDF soldier was killed and three others were injured in a tank accident near the Egyptian border, the army said Saturday.
The tank was on an operational deployment when it apparently fell into a riverbed, wounding four soldiers. They were evacuated to hospital in Beersheba, but one of the soldiers was critically injured and died of his wounds.
The families of the soldiers were notified, the army said, adding that it was investigating the incident.
Two soldiers were seriously hurt, while one was lightly injured.
A military official told Walla news that the tank was carrying out a reconnaissance mission as part of a deployment along the border, following an alert that an Islamic State cell in the Sinai planned to carry out an attack.
Egypt’s army said jihadists wearing explosive belts tried to storm a military camp in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday in an assault that left eight soldiers and 14 attackers dead.
The militants blew themselves up outside the camp after they were prevented by security forces from entering, an army statement said.
“The armed forces were able today to foil a large terrorist operation,” the military said.
Jihadists who have declared allegiance to the Islamic State group (IS) have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in the Sinai since the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, following mass protests against him.
More than 100 jihadists and at least 22 soldiers have been killed in an ongoing operation launched on February 9 against the jihadists, according to army figures.
Earlier Saturday the Egyptian army said that 27 jihadists were killed over the last few days in a sweeping operation in the Sinai to quash extremists based in the peninsula.
Enjoy this Wikipedia entry while it lasts.
Kate Osamor, the Shadow International Development Secretary, has suggested the Labour Party could support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
Ms Osamor, the MP for Edmonton in North London, has previously expressed her own support for an Israel boycott despite it not being official Labour Party policy.
Ms Osamor told The House magazine that it would currently be wrong to advocate for BDS “without educating a whole generation that have missed out on that and don’t understand what’s going on”.
But she said that Labour’s current position against “blanket boycotts” would not necessarily preclude BDS, since it targets companies and institutions “complicit” in the violation of Palestinians’ human rights.
She added: “Sometimes people make statements but then they don’t look about the history around apartheid, around separation, around people living side by side.
“For me it’s about raising awareness and bringing more people to a place where they understand ‘what can I do to help?’
“And at the end of the day it is choice. It’s up to you what produce you buy.”
Backpage.com pleaded guilty to human trafficking charges in Texas less than one week after Women’s March defended the company.
Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer also pled guilty to money laundering charges, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Thursday. The announcement came one day after President Donald Trump signed bipartisan legislation targeting online sex trafficking and granting states broader ability to crack down on sex traffickers.
Women’s March, one of the nation’s most prominent left-wing activist groups, defended Backpage on March 7 — the day after the Department of Justice seized the website and shut it down.
“The shutting down of #Backpage is an absolute crisis for sex workers who rely on the site to safely get in touch with clients. Sex workers rights are women’s rights,” Women’s March said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Women’s March did not return The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment following the guilty pleas on Thursday.
A pledge by 51 student groups at New York University to boycott Israel and two pro-Israel campus organizations is a sign of “animosity” at the private campus, a Jewish student leader said.
In the resolution, which was released Monday, the student organizations express their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, commit to a boycott of goods from Israel and Israeli academic institutions, and call on the university to divest “from companies and funds that are complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”
The student groups also pledge not to co-sponsor any events with two Israel advocacy campus groups — Realize Israel and TorchPAC — as well as eight off-campus groups, including Birthright-Taglit, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee and the Anti-Defamation League.
NYU’s chapters of Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine organized the resolution, and its signatories includes groups such as the African Student Union, the Black Students Union, College Libertarians, the Mexican Student Association and the Muslim Students Association.
In a Friday statement to JTA, the executive director of the university’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Life, Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, denounced the letter and said that students of all religious and political beliefs were welcome at the center.
Pro-Israel students at Columbia University in New York have called for disciplinary action against anti-Zionist groups on campus, which they accuse of systematically violating their civil rights and school policy.
In a complaint filed this week with Columbia’s Student Governing Board, Students Supporting Israel (SSI) claimed Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) and Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD) “have monopolized the conversation on campus relating to the Israeli-Arab conflict and have systematically maligned, harassed and silenced” Zionist voices.
“The behavior of SJP, JVP and CUAD contributes to an unacceptably hostile environment for those who wish to exercise their constitutionally protected rights in ways that differ from the narratives of these groups,” the students wrote. “One individual’s right to protest does not supersede another individual’s right to lawfully assemble, speak and listen.”
SSI detailed a number of incidents during which it claimed SJP members and their allies breached their rights to free speech and association, including by repeatedly vandalizing and removing SSI flyers and disrupting a speech by Israel’s envoy to the United Nations in February 2017. The group also pointed to an episode in the Fall 2017 semester, when members of SSI were subjected to “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic” chants by SJP members while walking by an event on campus that was unrelated to either group.
Other recent alleged violations — which SSI did not include in the official complaint — include a “Gaza solidarity rally” held by JVP and SJP on Wednesday, a couple of hundred feet away from where SSI was conducting a candle lighting in commemoration of Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. SSI has also protested the ejection of their members from a Monday night event co-hosted by SJP, JVP, and CUAD, claiming they were targeted based on their nationality and political views.
“It is uncomfortable for me that there are two countries [Israel and Saudi Arabia] near each other, but they have no relations, no business, almost no interactions,” a Saudi student from Imperial College London, recently told The Jerusalem Post.
He made the remarks while on a five-day start-up and technology visit to Israel organized by the Imperial College Israeli Society.
A total of 55 students from 25 nations, including Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Malaysia, Jamaica and China, as well as several European countries, took part in the organized trip, now in its second year.
As part of the trip, students visited Tel Aviv, Beersheba and Jerusalem, touring leading hi-tech companies, such as MobilEye, Netafim and Checkpoint, as well as visiting university campuses and meeting with start-ups and investors.
Additionally, the participants were given the opportunity to visit tourist attractions such as the Dead Sea and the Old City of Jerusalem, and to tour Tel Aviv by bike.
“When I told my friends that I was going to Israel, they were not happy about it, because it is a sensitive issue,” the student, who requested not to be named, said. “I also didn’t tell my family except for my brother… he tried to get me not to go and said I would get arrested.”
“It was really silly, but I was worried,” he said.
While the trip focused on the hi-tech scene in Israel, the student said he was able to see and experience for himself many aspects of the country, some of which challenged his preconceptions.
If your doctor orders an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) to check your heart rhythm and blood flow or to diagnose a heart attack, a technician will stick 10 or 12 adhesive electrodes to your chest, arms and legs. A computer then creates a graph showing the electrical impulses moving through your heart while you’re lying still or exercising.
That’s how an ECG is done today. Advanced wearable technologies from Israel aim to change the procedure radically.
With CardiacSense and HealthWatch, all you’ll have to do is put on a watch-like device or a special shirt and the ECG takes care of itself while you go about your day.
ISRAEL21c takes a look at these two close-to-market startups, plus two startups developing wearable sensor modules for measuring heart metrics, one for home use and one for hospital use.
Founded in Caesarea as Sportracker in 2009 to develop a watch-like wearable device for sports heart-rate readings, the company pivoted to medical monitoring about three years ago and rebranded as CardiacSense.
Clinical trials at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in 2016 showed the device achieves 99.9% sensitivity and 99.01% specificity, on par with a conventional ECG but with the major advantage of noninvasive, electrode-free continuous monitoring.
Fifteen years ago, when future Israeli NASCAR driver Alon Day first started training for his successful career in motorsports, he had to use simulators and travel often to Europe because there was no regulation-size track in Israel.
That situation is about to be remedied with the May 22 opening of Motor City, Israel’s first auto racetrack, in Hatzerim near Beersheva in the Negev.
“It’s such a big thing for me and for every motorsport athlete in Israel because we all started when there was absolutely no place to practice here – it was like a desert,” Day tells ISRAEL21c. “And yet in the desert we managed to build this track.”
The first phase of Motor City is an Italian-designed 2.1-kilometer track that meets FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) standards for racecars up to Formula 3. It may later be expanded to 4.5 kilometers in order to meet Formula 1 standards.
Day, 26, is working with Motor City business development VP Ohad Boaz to open a racing school on the premises “so young drivers who want to develop themselves won’t have to go to Europe like I did,” he told ISRAEL21c before heading back there to defend his NASCAR Whelan Euro Series championship title, which he clinched last October.
BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset management company, announced this week that it is poised to enter the Israeli market.
The move was made possible following a 2016 regulatory reform that allows the distribution of foreign mutual funds in Israel in an attempt to increase domestic competition.
New York-based BlackRock, which manages $6.2 trillion in assets worldwide, on Wednesday published its first prospectus for Israeli investors in its BGF Global Allocation Fund A2 USD. The BGF Global Allocation Fund, which has been active globally since 1997, invests in equity, debt and short-term securities of both corporate and governmental issuers worldwide. It will offer investment avenues in 40 countries and over 30 currencies, with the aim of increasing Israeli investors’ exposure to international markets.
Under Israeli law demanding that a foreign fund management company appoint a local representative, BlackRock has named Tel Aviv-based Altshuler Shaham investment house as its representative.
Alex Pollak, CEO of BlackRock Israel, told Israel Hayom, “The decision to list the BGF Global Allocation Fund was a direct response to the ongoing demand we see from our consultants and clients for a diversified investment fund in today’s macroeconomic environment.
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