Prof. Phyllis Chesler: Being a Zionist is even worse than being an Islamophobe
In classic Islamic fashion, I was dis-invited by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas Law School one and half working days before the 8-day holiday of Passover began–a time when both I and many colleagues, including those who would be celebrating Easter the following weekend, would be away from our desks and unable to “break” any news.
However, several most worthy colleagues stepped right up to the task. I am indebted to Yisrael Medad, at his site, My Right Word), and to all those who linked to his website; to Richard Landes who “fisked” the email chain that led to my dis-invitation, at his site The Augean Stables and to all those, beginning with Rochel Sylvestsky at Israel National News, who introduced and posted, or linked to, and tweeted out Landes’ work. Finally, I am grateful to Winfield Myers of Middle East Forum (who worked long and hard on a piece that has yet to appear) and to Bruce Bawer whose piece will appear sometime this week.
Despite this extraordinary and diligent collegiality, the specific significance of my dis-invitation still hovers far below the radar.
We know that many worthy souls are also, almost routinely, dis-invited. I have been covering this precise phenomenon for the last fifteen years. In the last week and months, many recent news stories and op-ed pieces have covered the threatened–and actual violence towards both Milo Yiannopolous and Ann Coulter; Charles Murray and Heather McDonald.
Over the years, I have covered the hostile working conditions as well as dis-invitations that truth-tellers about Islam and about Israel have faced on campus: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nonie Darwish, Brigitte Gabriel, David Horowitz, and Robert Spencer, etc.
In what way is my dis-invitation different?
At the Houses of Parliament last night the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) held an event called The Question of Jerusalem. It was hosted and chaired by Mark Hendrick, Labour MP for Preston.
Prof. Wendy Pullan, Senior Lecturer in the History and Philosophy of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, went first and described Jerusalem as “a badly damaged city” the blame for which she lumped on Israel due to “50 years of conflict and occupation”.
She explained that Israel’s urban planning had led to Israelis and Palestinians vilifying each other and she compared Israel’s security barrier to the Berlin Wall.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Kamel Hawwash then told of how he had recently been refused entry to Israel and treated badly at Tel Aviv airport while his wife and child were let through. He was put on a plane back to the UK. He said “Israel was an expert at inciting hatred and was not a country that wanted peace.”
Finally, Prof. Penny Green, Professor of Law and Globalisation at Queen Mary University of London, described how one of her friends who works at Hebrew University was attacked and “called a filthy Arab which is very common”.
She described the “segregation wall” and road network in the Palestinian territories as “apartheid” and said that the wall “is not about security”. She also condemned the checkpoints where Palestinians queue before they can enter Israel to work saying they are where “humans are treated worse than cattle”.
She compared the barrier to the Berlin Wall as well.
Another Palestine Return Centre meeting in Parliament. They have it in clover: get a tame MP or Lord to book a room at no charge; that MP/Lord chairs it and calls for anyone who challenged the lies to be thrown out (four Jews last night); the police outside the door then enforce the decision, however undeserved; the meeting then continues as an Israel hatefest with no-one to bear witness. All courtesy of the taxpayer.……..
Tonight’s meeting was about Jerusalem chaired by Mark Hendrick, a Labour MP with a safe seat (Preston) – so he does not need to worry about campaigning for the upcoming election. The leadership ranks him as ‘neutral’ regarding Jeremy Corbyn but not hostile. His electorate is 18.5% Asian.
The speakers: Professor Wendy Pullan, Professor Kammel Hawwash and Professor Penny Green.
Professor Pullan spoke about how the ‘occupation’ has been bad for Jerusalem. She neglected to mention that in 2015 Jerusalem was 36% Muslim and 61% Jewish, versus just 21%/75% after the Six Day War in 1967. She also said that Har Homa is a “settlement”. It isn’t. Most of the land — 75% — was expropriated from Jews. She talked about the security fence – of course without mentioning WHY it was built – to save lives from terrorist attacks. She suggested that Israel creates National Parks in order to obstruct Arab development.
Professor Hawwash told us about how he had recently been refused entry to Israel. I wonder why he was barred …. maybe because he is a leading advocate of a boycott to sabotage Israel’s economy and the Vice Chair of the PSC – which he calls an ‘anti-Israel government policy’ organisation, not an anti-Israel organisation. Appallingly he suggested that Israelis are “breaking into” the Al Aqsa Mosque and that Israel “is an expert in inciting hatred”. The truth Is that Jews have very limited access to the Temple Mount – and are not allowed to pray there! As for ‘inciting hatred’ – one look at Hamas TV or Palestinian schoolbooks shows who is ‘inciting hatred’. The fact that Israel wants peace has been demonstrated time and time again: eg the Peace Treaties with Egypt and Jordan and the exodus from Gaza in 2005.
Professor Green also has form. And here. Last year she was on the shortlist of two for the position of UNHRC Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories (she lost out to Michael Lynk). She is on record as saying that Israel has a “criminal government”, and she believes it is “time to stand up against Israeli state violence”. She supports the total boycott of Israel, wants Hamas de-listed as a terrorist organisation, and has wondered why the British and Americans have not begun “bombing Israel for its massacres”. Tonight she was true to form. All the defamatory hate clichés came out: “settler-colonialism”, “the State of Israel is in many senses premised on ethnic cleansing”, “unique form of apartheid”, “800,000 Palestinians evicted from their homes at gunpoint in 1948” (Not true of course).
A Patriot missile intercepted a Syrian drone that entered Israeli airspace on Thursday evening, the army said.
According to the IDF, the missile successfully downed the unmanned aerial vehicle over the Golan Heights.
“The IDF will not allow any breach of Israel’s airspace and will act against any attempt of infiltration,” the army said in a statement.
According to the IDF, the Syrian UAV was under “full [Israeli Air Force] surveillance” while it was in Israeli airspace.
It was not initially clear if the aircraft was Russian or Syrian, but the army later confirmed that it was Syrian.
The army said residents of northern Israel could go about their lives as normal.
A video from the northern Israeli city of Safed showed the Patriot missile launch.
Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) said Thursday that US President Donald Trump will announce the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem when he visits Israel at the end of May, fulfilling a campaign promise he appeared to walk back after assuming office.
Trump’s planned visit — his first to the Jewish state — coincides with Jerusalem Day, when Israel will celebrate 50 years since the reunification of the city under Israeli control after the 1967 Six Day War.
“What better time could there be to announce the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem than when you are over here celebrating with our Israeli friends this very important 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem?” DeSantis said.
Israeli officials confirmed on Thursday that Trump’s team is planning a visit on May 22. The White House told The Times of Israel that it is “exploring” the visit, but did not flesh out any further details.
The mother of a slain Israeli soldier on Thursday petitioned the High Court of Justice against a government decision Wednesday to change course and grant a one-year work visa to an American staffer with Human Rights Watch.
The petition was brought by the NGO Shurat HaDin, an organization that represents terror victims, and Keren Orbach, mother of Erez, one of four soldiers killed by a Palestinian truck driver in Jerusalem in January.
The petition said granting of the visa contravened government policy to ban activists supporting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, referring to a recently approved law that allows Israel to bar BDS backers from entering the country.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, chairwoman of Shurat HaDin, said the “Israeli government has given in once more to foreign pressure.”
“Shakir is not an unbiased human rights researcher, he’s an anti-Israel activist. It’s outrageous that the government would grant him a visa and aid him in carrying out his work against Israel and the IDF,” she added.
Discrimination Against Women in Norway
In Norway, there is a long way to go before equal pay between men and women is realized. Statistics Norway (SSB) show that men on average earn 161,400 kroner more than women. (Kristin Egge-Hoveid, responsible for this statistical overview at SSB, believes this gap will shrink, but it will take time.)
A study from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) shows that women work more hours per week than men, but earn far less. According to VG, which has received figures from the Norwegian Tax Directorate, more than 817 people in Norway live at a secret address for fear of being seriously injured or killed by male family members. They live on the so-called Code 6, which means that their identity is completely erased from all records.
There is no country in the world where women are not discriminated against because of their gender. According to a World Bank study, violence against women between ages 15 to 44 represents a global health threat in line with diseases such as AIDS and cancer.
The statistics clearly show that the relationship between gender, discrimination and violations of social, political, civil, cultural and economic rights is overwhelming and universal. Some Norwegian politicians are so keen on their own freedom of expression that they forget to listen to those they criticize.
All common decency is set aside when they publish their own writings.
My advice to Norwegian politicians is to visit my country to see how well we are doing. They should show more respect to those they criticize.
Perhaps they should also focus on the challenges in Norway, rather than in Saudi Arabia.
Concerns over some students’ unions’ support for a boycott of Israel are being looked into by the Charity Commission, the BBC has learned.
Seventeen student bodies have endorsed the BDS movement – which calls for an international boycott of Israel over the way it treats Palestinians.
Some Jewish students in the UK say growing support for BDS has fuelled a rise in anti-Semitism on campuses.
The Commission said it would assess the concerns and take action if necessary.
The BDS – which stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – describes itself as a human rights organisation and criticises Israel for its human rights record.
It says it stands for “freedom, justice and equality”, saying it is “inclusive and categorically opposes as a matter of principle all forms of racism” – including anti-Semitism. (h/t Zvi)
On April 27th BBC Two’s current affairs programme ‘Victoria Derbyshire’ included a report by Jon Ironmonger about a Charity Commission investigation into 17 student unions that have endorsed the BDS campaign.
Having told audiences that Israel is “one subject” that “bitterly divides” students, Ironmonger went on to inform them that:
“The Jewish state of Israel is deeply controversial; accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses against the Palestinian people and provoking anger around the world.”
He of course provided no evidence for that “human rights abuses” smear.
Audiences were later told that:
“Students’ unions in increasing numbers have been voting to adopt strict anti-Israel policies under the banner of a global movement called BDS – Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions. […]
BDS pressures Israel to end the occupation of Arab lands by calling for the boycott of Israeli companies and institutions.”
Obviously the use of such partisan terminology to describe disputed territory is not consistent with supposed BBC editorial standards of impartiality.
So is this really all change for the NUS? Martin is certainly doing her best to talk the talk that she is prepared to shake things up. She told the Guardian in an interview that ‘politics isn’t ready for me…People think Jeremy Corbyn is radical!’. But what her own politics are remains unclear. Martin’s pitch seemed to be a shopping list of the NUS’s more inoffensive concerns (breaking down class barriers in education, for example) with some warm words thrown in about consulting members more on matters of policy.
But whatever she does stand for, many students will be pleased that the NUS is now an inch closer to normality. The Union of Jewish Students heralded the election result as a rejection of Bouattia’s ‘divisive rhetoric’. While Jewish News went one step further; in its headline reporting Bouattia’s failed bid at re-election, it said simply: ‘Good riddance!’. Yet if having a president who isn’t prone to saying dodgy things about Israel is a step in the right direction, the NUS remains as aloof and up itself as ever. Martin was elected by a few hundred delegates, who are in turn elected by a tiny proportion of the student population. Every motion for ‘one member, one vote’ at recent conferences has fallen on deaf ears.
Bouattia was certainly an unpopular president from the outset: her election sparked a new wave of disaffiliation campaigns on campus, with Lincoln, Loughbrough and Newcastle voting out of the NUS. Now that she is on the way out herself, the NUS can try to move on. But the murky issue of anti-Semitism which has loomed large recently was just the most stark in a series of ugly reminders of how detached and contemptuous of its members the NUS has become. From its unhinged campaigns against ‘lad culture’ to the No Platform policy – which was being used to ban Zionists since before students today were even born – the NUS continues to enforce groupthink mentality. It also prefers to censor and reprogram students rather than listen to their concerns and fight for their interests. ‘Not Malia’ isn’t nearly enough. It’s time liberal-minded students stopped trying to save the NUS. Instead, they should bin it and start again.
Here’s another scene from Jeremy Corbyn’s political career. Filmed in March 2010, he sings the praises of Viva Palestina.
Viva Palestina was George Galloway’s Hamas support operation in those years. He could not have made the purpose of the Viva Palestina “aid” convoys more explicit, from the very first one in March 2009. This was recorded at the end of that convoy, a year before the clip above, and widely reported at the time.
There’s more, as ever with Corbyn. Here he backs Viva Palestina at an obnoxious demonstration in London at the end of 2009. At this point, Galloway was spoiling for a stupid fight with the Mubarak regime in Egypt on his way to Gaza with another convoy. Mr Corbyn was evidently impressed and came to Galloway’s aid.
The New York Times hosted leading anti-Israel activist Roger Waters on Wednesday night for an hourlong discussion, in which the former Pink Floyd bassist indicated that his push to get Radiohead to cancel an upcoming concert in Israel had failed.
Waters, whose upcoming album and tour are intended to be an “exercise in resistance” against President Donald Trump, was interviewed by Times music critic Jon Pareles in front of a sold-out crowd just blocks from Trump Tower in New York City.
Asked by the Washington Free Beacon, which was in attendance for the event, about his latest attempt to push for a boycott of Israel, Waters said that members of Radiohead “seem to have decided that they are going to go ahead and do a concert in Tel Aviv.”
“I have engaged in a correspondence with Radiohead, and they seem to have decided that they are going to go ahead and do a concert in Tel Aviv,” said Waters, who endorses the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that aims to destroy the Jewish state through economic warfare.
“My personal view is that there is a valid picket line that has been organized by BDS, and I would prefer it if colleagues in my business did not cross that picket line,” Waters said.
After the guilty plea was approved by the court, Basil Joffe, brother of Edward Joffe, gave his thoughts on the meaning of the conviction.
The message to be learned from this is that in the end criminals will be caught, and will pay the penalty for the crimes they committed. This defendant spent 10 years in Israel in prison and was released in a prisoner exchange. And so in some sense that was her punishment for the crimes she committed in Israel.
And then she came to the U.S. and committed immigration fraud, and assembled a large gang of supporters who championed her and made a hero out of her. And I think it’s quite satisfying that now they’re going to have to eat their words, especially when the content of the plea bargain, which is no in the public domain becomes more public and all her supporters read with clarity what it is that she’s confessed to have done, then I think it will bring some satisfaction to us.”
Basil’s daughter (and Edward’s niece) Terry Joffe Benaryeh, who has written extensively about the family’s reaction to the case, provided this statement after the guilty plea:
While we would have obviously preferred some semblance of remorse from Odeh, we’ll take this plea bargain as a dose of restorative justice and a bit of closure from this horrendous ordeal. We see this as an admission of guilt and hope that her misguided supporters do too. It will be a relief to have Odeh gone from this country, but it would be far better to see her supporters condemn her past and find a more worthy hero. Maybe Odeh will soon be forgotten, but the memory of Edward and Leon will live on forever.
I’ll preface this post by saying that actor Ed Asner is no friend of Israel. He’s on the advisory board of the nefarious Jewish Voice For Peace (JVP), and he’s even a 911 truther.
But, BDS-holes, when you lose even someone like that, you know the jig is up.
Legendary television actor Ed Asner made clear Tuesday morning that he no longer supports the movement to Boycott, Sanction and Divest from Israel, known as the BDS movement.
“I have a deep commitment to Jewish life, the Jewish people and the unity of the Jewish people worldwide,” Asner said in the statement, released through a publicist. “I do not support BDS. I just want peace.”
Given JVP supports BDS, he’ll need to leave their advisory board if he wants to be taken seriously with this pronouncement. Nevertheless, it is great to see him throw BDS-holes under the bus like this.
The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) chapter of a notorious anti-Israel group is being slammed by Jewish students for launching a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was observed on Monday.
“The Jewish community here at UCSB is shaken by the insensitivity of this resolution being brought up on Yom HaShoah [by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)],” Gauchos United for Israel told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.
“Of course, we are not taking this sitting down and have mobilized members of our community to come together and carefully organize how we are going to most effectively explain why anti-Zionism is antisemitism as well as where legitimate criticism of the Israeli government ends and antisemitism begins,” said the Hillel-affiliated student group.
In 2015, SJP introduced a similar resolution that was voted on — and defeated by a slim margin — at the Associated Students Senate on Holocaust Remembrance Day, as college paper The Daily Nexus reported. A member of SJP told the paper at the time that she had been in favor of postponing the vote, in recognition of Yom HaShoah as “a time when a lot of people are sensitive.”
The fact that the BBC chose to describe those two political NGOs as “human rights activists” should not be surprising: after all, both ‘B’tselem‘ and ‘Breaking the Silence‘ are among the campaigning NGOs (overwhelmingly from one end only of the political spectrum) that are routinely quoted and promoted in BBC content.
However, in breach of its own editorial guidelines on impartiality, the BBC has a longstanding policy of consistently refraining from adequately informing its audiences with regard to the foreign funding, agenda and “particular viewpoint” of the NGOs it promotes in Israel-related content – including ‘B’tselem‘ and ‘Breaking the Silence‘.
In this particular report readers are told that:
“Breaking the Silence, a group of former soldiers, gathers anonymous testimony from within the military about alleged abuses of Palestinians by the army.
Israeli authorities have accused it of making unreliable accusations.”
They are not however informed that a significant proportion of those ‘testimonies’ have been shown by persons completely independent of the “Israeli authorities” to be false, exaggerated or unverifiable.
The City University of New York (CUNY), a taxpayer-funded institution, is doubling down on its decision to host a leading anti-Israel activist who has been accused of anti-Semitism as its honored commencement speaker next month, a move that has generated calls for New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step in and cancel the address.
CUNY is set to host Linda Sarsour, a leading voice in the anti-Israel movement who has been condemned by human rights groups for her rhetoric and promotion of terrorism against the Jewish state.
Sarsour, a Palestinian American and executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, is scheduled to give the commencement speech for CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.
Local lawmakers and pro-Israel activists have expressed outrage over the decision, calling on CUNY to cancel Sarsour’s appearance. CUNY leaders have continued to praise Sarsour and maintain the speech will take place as scheduled.
Sarsour has earned a reputation as one of the country’s most virulent anti-Israel activists. She has attacked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “bigot” and routinely condemns the Jewish state as racist. Sarsour attracted outrage in 2015 when she tweeted out a picture of a Palestinian child with a rock in his hand accompanied by the caption, “the definition of courage.”
Linda Sarsour is apparently a contributor to the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) book: “On Antisemitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice.” Here they have filmed her defining what is and what isn’t antisemitism.
Firstly, people like Linda Sarsour do not get to dictate to us what Jew hatred is. End of story.
Secondly, those of us on the right often do accuse Israel haters of being antisemitic, mostly where it is justified. If you criticize Israel but not other countries who engage in real human rights abuses, chances are you hate Jews. If you speak of a group of Zionists who control the media/financial institutions/government, you are a Jew hater who just knows to use the Z-word instead of the J-word. If you spread blood libels about Israel, you are just adapting Jew hatred from the Middle Ages to modern times.
The open letter recently penned by BDS supporters — including Roger Waters and Desmond Tutu — that called on British rock band Radiohead to cancel its upcoming concert in Israel is full of “inaccurate accusations” and “false claims,” an entertainment industry advocacy group said on Tuesday.
In a statement published on its website, Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) said, “Trying to appeal to artists natural empathy for the downtrodden, the boycott movement falsely characterizes the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a movement seeking peace and justice, and drives the prospect of peace further away.”
“The cultural boycott is built on the premise that there can be no dialogue or communication between Israel and the rest of the world,” CCFP noted. “That Israel should be ostracized, demonized and bears sole responsibility for the problems of the region. To support this, Israel is branded as an apartheid state when in fact it is the only democracy in the region where all its citizens are subject to the same laws and are in fact free.”
“While we may have vastly different opinions on the supremely complicated Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we can all agree that the arts — through their ability to create dialogue — can and should be an important part of the solution,” CCFP went on to say.
On its Facebook page, CCFP said it had received confirmation Radiohead intends to go ahead with its July 19th performance in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park.
An anti-Semitic poster was hung on the campus of Kansas State University on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The poster was discovered on the morning of April 24 on a telephone pole, the local Manhattan Mercury reported.
“Ending white privilege starts with ending Jewish privilege,” said the poster, which contained a graphic of a pyramid of people. “Is the 1 percent straight white men? Or is it Jewish?”
The poster was removed late in the morning after the university learned about it through social media, according to the Mercury.
Kansas State police are investigating the incident.
ACOM, a pro-Israel group working to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in Spain, said it is contemplating legal action against the City Council of Barcelona over its recently announced anti-Israel resolution.
Last week, the Presidency Commission of the Barcelona City Council issued a declaration calling for an end to Israel’s “violations of international law.” While the council fell short of issuing full support of BDS and declaring itself “Free of Israel Apartheid,” its declaration did give a nod in support of the movement.
“The agreement of the Presidency Commission decides to explore ways in which to demand – from public contractors and suppliers – declarations of non-relationship with Israel, under the pretext that Israel does not respect International Law,” an ACOM statement explained.
On Tuesday, ACOM president Angel Mas told The Jerusalem Post that the declaration by the Barcelona City Council represents a new strategy by pro-BDS movements in Spain.
Alexandre Amiel was alarmed when his 11-year-old son asked the day after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris: “Why do they hate us?”
The veteran filmmaker’s answer is an unflinching exploration of racism in France at a time when the nationalist politics of presidential candidate Marine Le Pen have become part of the political mainstream, and racially-motivated attacks are on the rise.
“Why Do They Hate Us?” (“Pourquoi nous détestent-ils?”), which gets its US premiere on Sunday as part of the Colcoa festival of French film in Los Angeles, is a documentary with a difference.
Like a non-fiction version of Mathieu Kassovitz’s groundbreaking 1995 movie “La Haine,” Amiel’s three-part documentary is told from his own perspective as a Jew but also through the eyes of a black man and Arab woman.
“We did three stories with people who are not especially victims of racism, but are going to take the audience by the hand and bring them a narration with two sides,” says Amiel, 43.
“First, it’s your own story and then it’s an investigation of what racism is today.”
The interim successor to Marine Le Pen at the helm of France’s far-right National Front party reportedly claimed in 2000 that the poison used by Nazis to kill Jews in the Holocaust could not have been applied in reality.
Jean-François Jalkh, who took Le Pen’s place this week as president on an interim basis while she campaigns for president ahead of the runoff vote May 7, made the remark about Zyklon B in an interview in which he advocated a distinction between “serious” Holocaust deniers and ones who deny the Holocaust or aspects of it as a provocation.
“Personally, I think that it is impossible from a technical point of view to use for mass extermination,” he said of the use of Zyklon B in gas chambers. “Why? Because it takes several days for a place where Zyklon B was used to be decontaminated.”
Laurent de Boissieu, a journalist for the La Croix Christian daily, found the interview while researching Jalkh, a relatively unknown figure within the National Front. They were republished in the Le Monde newspaper.
Jalkh told Le Monde that he did not recall the interview.
Transit officials say anti-Semitic graffiti incidents are the top subway bias crime investigated so far this year by the New York Police Department.
The Daily News reported Tuesday that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Transit Bureau says 22 of 31 hate crimes that have happened in the subway system this year targeted Jews. Most of the incidents have involved graffiti.
The report to the MTA board says there were only seven bias crimes committed during the same period last year.
The anti-Semitic graffiti on subway cars and in stations has included swastikas and comments that advocate the killing of Jews.
“It was precisely this kind of statistic, this kind of conduct that gave birth in ‘34 to ‘38 to what led to the Holocaust, which we try to remember today,” MTA board member Charles Moerdler, a Holocaust survivor, told the Daily News. “What, if anything, can be done, is being done to root out these scum?”
Exceeding all forecasts, Ben-Gurion International Airport is expected to close the month of April with a sharp 25% rise in travelers.
The increase follows the previous month’s record activity, when over 1.72 million passengers passed through the airport.
The top destinations for Israelis in April were Turkey, Cyprus and France.
In 2016, business boomed for the airport, with 17,387,971 passengers passing through it on international flights — an increase of 11%, or 1.6 million passengers, from 2015.
At the same time, Eilat’s Ovda Airport reported a 97.8% increase in passengers in 2016, after the airport was exempted from landing fees while construction continues on the new Ramon Airport, scheduled to open in 2017. According to the Israel Airports Authority, 128,595 passengers passed through Ovda Airport in 2016, compared with 65,006 in 2015.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is preparing to bring an international program to Israel this summer in what will mark the league’s first official visit to the Jewish state.
The NBA’s Basketball Without Borders (BWB) program, which since 2001 has utilized sports to promote cultural understanding and an active lifestyle in cities around the world, will visit Israel in collaboration with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
“We’re looking forward to the chance to bring all communities together for this program,” said Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s president of social responsibility and player programs. “This is going to be about bringing the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Druze and other communities together.”
BWB’s first camp was hosted in Italy, and the initiative later brought together athletes during tense political times in the former republic of Yugoslavia.
As fish are an important source of inexpensive protein across the world, Israel’s BioFishency is ramping up its water-treatment installations in the developing world, most recently in Congo and Indonesia.
The BioFishency Mini RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture System) makes effective water treatment accessible in land-based operations that use fresh, brackish or sea water. The system overcomes two key challenges in raising fish commercially: limited water availability and buildup of toxic ammonia from fish waste.
The system allows growers to reduce water consumption by up to 85 percent while increasing yield 2.5 times.
One BioFishency system was installed earlier this month in an Indonesian plant that raises Whiteleg (Pacific white) shrimp in high-density seawater conditions.
In March, a BioFishency Mini RAS was installed in the Republic of Congo, on a fish farm north of Brazzaville that produces 20 tons of African catfish annually.
In a remote corner of the Indonesian archipelago, a modest synagogue stands in a tiny Jewish community that has found acceptance despite rising intolerance in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.
The red-roofed building on Sulawesi island is the only synagogue in the nation of 255 million people. Here, unlike other parts of the country, the Jewish community feel safe to practice their faith openly.
“We can wear the kippah (Jewish skullcap) in the mall or anywhere we want, it’s not a problem,” Yobby Hattie Ensel, a Jewish leader from the nearby city of Manado told AFP.
In the city of Tondano on Sulawesi, the “Shaar Hasyamayim” synagogue sits close to several churches and residents of different religions live, work, and worship alongside each other without incident.
But across the archipelago, intolerance has risen in recent years as more conservative forms of Islam have become popular, driven by increasingly vocal hardline groups.
Outside the safe haven on Sulawesi, those who refuse to hide their faith have faced hostility.
Yaakov Baruch, an Orthodox Jew who runs the Tondano synagogue, revealed how he was threatened with death in a Jakarta busy mall as he walked along with his pregnant wife.
Israel’s population stands at 8,680,000 and is increasing at nearly two percent a year, according to figures released on Thursday by the Central Bureau of Statistics ahead of the country’s 69th Independence Day next week.
Over the past 12 months some 174,000 babies were born, 44,000 people died and 30,000 new immigrants arrived in the country. Overall, the population increased by 1.9%, and at the current rate will hit 15.2 million by the time Israel celebrates its centenary in 2048.
Independence Day begins with celebrations on Monday night, as the country transitions from Memorial Day — 24 hours of mourning for its fallen soldiers and terror victims.
In 1948 there were just 806,000 people in Israel, less than a tenth of the current number. At the time, the global Jewish population was 11.5 million, and just 6% were in Israel. There are now estimated to be 14.4 million Jewish people in the world and 43% of them are in the Jewish state.
Whereas in 1949 the life expectancy for women in Israel was 67.6 years and 64.9 for men, by the end of 2015 it was 84.5 for women and 80.9 for men.
The 6,484,000 Jews in the country make up 74.4% of all residents, while 1.8 million Arabs account for 20.8% and non-Arab Christians and other ethnic groups number 388,000 people, or 4.4% of the population.
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