May 31, 2020

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05/07 Links Pt2: Somber Memorial Day events begin with siren and ceremony at Western Wall; In Accusing Trump of Anti-Semitism, Democrats Play the Projection Game

From Ian:

Somber Memorial Day events begin with siren and ceremony at Western Wall
Israelis paid tribute Tuesday evening to the country’s fallen soldiers and terror victims, bowing their heads at 8 p.m. for a minute of silence as sirens sounded around the country, marking Memorial Day.

In all, 95 new names were added over the past year to the roster of 23,741 soldiers who died defending the country. They include 40 disabled veterans who passed away due to complications from injuries sustained during their service. Sixteen names were also added to the list of terror victims who perished in attacks, bringing the total to 3,150.

The main national ceremony, which takes place at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, was attended by President Reuven Rivlin, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, IDF Chief Rabbi Eyal Karim, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and others.

In his speech, Rivlin referred to that fact that this is the first Memorial Day since Israel secured the return of the remains of Zachary Baumel, a Brooklyn-born IDF soldier who had been missing since a 1982 battle in Lebanon in which he was presumably killed. Reports have pointed to intensive efforts to find and repatriate the bodies of other Israelis thought to be in Syria for decades.

“Dear families, citizens of Israel. A month ago, we brought Sergeant First Class Zachary Baumel to eternal rest, 37 years after he fell in the battle of Sultan Yacoub,” Rivlin said in his speech. “In this way, the State of Israel kept its promise to every mother and father in Israel, the obligation to bring home the men and women who did not return from battle. This is a commitment that we continue to make to the families of every one of the missing soldiers of the IDF and those fallen soldiers whose place of burial is unknown. We will not cease until they have all been brought back.”

3,150 civilians killed in hostile acts since Israel’s founding

Since Israel declared its independence 3,150 civilians have been killed in acts of war, according to a statement from Israel’s National Insurance organization (Bituach Leumi).

The number includes the four Israelis killed in rocket attacks over the past weekend, in a flare-up of violence between Israel and the terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

13 civilians have been killed since last year’s Independence Day on May 7, 2018.

In addition, there are currently 3,196 citizens alive today who have lost immediate family in acts of hostility directed toward civilians, among them 897 bereaved parents and 119 children who lost both parents.

Beginning this evening Israel will mark its Memorial Day for fallen soldiers.

This is the tenth year that the Israeli Knesset will hold a ceremony in honor of civilians killed in acts of hostility. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief-of-Staff Aviv Kochavi are scheduled to participate.

HonestReporting: Terror Victims: Every Day is Remembrance Day

A terror attack occurs within minutes, but it changes your life forever.

A bomb explosion, a stabbing, a firebomb attack, a rocket attack, a shooting attack, a kidnapping — all leave a trail of death and destruction. Lives are turned upside down, what was, is no longer, and people are left to bear the physical and emotional scars for the rest of their lives.

You can never fully fathom the devastation it causes to families who lose loved ones or are injured in attacks. Their lives are plunged into chaos and despair. You may no longer read about them in the newspapers, they no longer make headlines, but their lives changed forever.

A person driving home, enjoying a walk, shopping or just sitting at home and suddenly an attack occurs, and their entire world is turned upside down, without warning or preparation. The trauma they experience can cause feelings of helplessness, inability to function and extreme mental and physical anguish. The situation impacts the entire family and friends.

Many of those injured in terror attacks also suffer severe emotional problems. The organization has created a unique program for those ailing from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is designed to help sufferers and their spouses develop skills to cope with their trauma, improve their relationship with each other and their children.

In Accusing Trump of Anti-Semitism, Democrats Play the Projection Game

Last Saturday at 8:25 p.m., six hours after bullets flew at Poway, President Trump told supporters in Green Bay, Wis.: “Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community. We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated.”

CNN’s Don Lemon, naturally, questioned Trump’s sincerity. “One has to wonder as a thinking, rational person, if he means those words and if they ring hollow to Americans who have been looking for him to say those things,” Lemon said Saturday. At 8:32 p.m,. just seven minutes after Trump called to vanquish anti-Semitism, Lemon squeezed Trump for “trafficking in bigotry, in racism, in anti-Semitism, in hate, and making excuses for us.”

If Trump’s words were insincere, then he is among the finest actors of his generation. Perhaps he fooled even Poway’s spiritual leader.

“I received a personal phone call from our president, Donald Trump,” said Rabbi Goldstein. “It’s the first time I’ve ever spoken to a president of the United States of America. He shared with me condolences on behalf of the United States of America. . . . And he spoke about his love of peace and Judaism and Israel. And he was just so comforting that I’m really grateful to our president for taking the time and making that effort to share with us his comfort and consolation.

“He was so gracious and generous with his words. Exceedingly comforting to me, my community. He spoke to me like a friend, like a buddy.”

President Trump expressed himself similarly before Poway.

“We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed,” he declared in his State of the Union address on February 5. “With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs.” Trump also introduced his guests in the House gallery: Dachau survivor Joshua Kaufman and Herman Zeitchik, a World War II veteran who liberated that Nazi concentration camp.

For Trump, this is personal. (h/t Yerushalimey)

Why anti-Zionism is more lethal than anti-Semitism

I always get suspicious when I hear someone flaunt their pro-Israel credentials by saying, “I firmly believe in Israel’s right to exist.” Gee, thanks. I firmly believe in your right to exist, too.

The real question is: How did the issue of Israel’s “right to exist” ever come up?

After all, we never hear about Syria’s right to exist or Libya’s right to exist or Sudan’s right to exist or Yemen’s right to exist. A country can commit genocide against its people or inflict the worst humanitarian disaster on them and no one will ever bring up its “right to exist.”

So why is it okay to single out Israel?

Here’s my theory: If you hate Jews so much that you want to challenge their very existence, your best bet is to go after Israel. Jew-haters know they can’t start a movement to eliminate the Jews, so they do the next best thing: They work to undermine, in sneaky ways, the world’s only Jewish state.

A stark example is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a leading global force against Israel. Its very name is misleading. Words like “boycott,” “divestment” and “sanctions,” which are taken straight from the social justice manual, create a facade of genuine protest to hide a purely destructive agenda.

This shouldn’t shock anyone who’s been paying attention. In recent years, it has become more and more evident that the BDS agenda is not to criticize Israel but to crush it.

Fighting Back Against Cancel Culture

Two weeks ago, the small indie publisher Dzanc Books announced publication of a new novel by Hesh Kestin. The Siege of Tel Aviv, a clever and witty techno-thriller about a surprise attack against Israel, comes with an impressive endorsement from bestselling author Stephen King: “Hesh Kestin’s novel is scarier than anything Stephen King ever wrote—and then the fun begins as Israel fights back.”

But what happened next has, unfortunately, become an all-too-familiar scene in American publishing. A handful of literary activists immediately took to Twitter to denounce the novel as “racist” and “Islamophobic.” They were reacting to online promotional copy, which included this: “While the U.S. and the West sit by, the Moslem armies—taking a page from the Nazi playbook—prepare to kill off the entire population.” This was seen as inflammatory and “othering,” while there were objections to the spelling of “Moslem” as retrograde, though the book itself uses “Muslim” throughout. And they also suggested, again falsely, that the book mistook Iran for an Arab country.

After calls for the novel’s immediate cancellation, the rattled publisher tried issuing a conciliatory statement, apologizing for any offense and urging naysayers to at least give the book a chance and read it before condemning it. The complaints didn’t stop. Someone wrote an anonymous Amazon review saying the book “is a thinly veiled piece of IDF propaganda.”A literary review that had already posted a rave review panicked and pulled it from their website, claiming (again on Twitter) that it no longer met their standards. Dzanc Books even received angry messages from some of its own authors.

A few more days passed, a few more dyspeptic complaints surfaced, and the publishing company finally caved. Dzanc canceled publication. The publisher had “learned our lesson.” Kestin’s editor informed him that all unsold COPIES in their possession would be pulped.

Op-Ed: A disgrace in the Valley — Co-sponsoring anti-Semitism at Stanford

I had been under the mercifully mistaken impression that Der Stürmer, the Nazi newspaper edited by Joseph Goebbels, had long ago ceased publication. You can view menacing images from its pages at nearly any Holocaust museum, usually in the rooms that cover the early stages of Jewish persecution. The Auschwitz exhibit is generally a few rooms over.

Imagine my surprise when a flood of images seemingly drawn from Der Stürmer’s archives appeared on campus at Stanford University, where I am a law student, as an advertisement for a talk by cartoonist Eli Valley, a cartoonist and the keynote speaker for Palestine Awareness Week (May 6 – 10) on campus, organized by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). When it comes to anti-Semitism and cartoons, what is old is new again.

For those unfamiliar with Mr. Valley’s work, it ranges from the morally repugnant to ethically disgusting. Under the fig leaf of criticizing Israel, it depicts Jews and Jewish rituals in the most grotesque of terms; yellow stars, concentration camp uniforms, blood libels and the reliable hooked noses. Like most hate, it’s remarkably lacking in insight. It is crude and disgusting, and its ceaseless recourse to Nazi imagery is matched only by its slavish devotion to the age-old tropes of Jewish caricature. In an email message sent on May 5 to a list-serve used by Stanford’s Jewish community, SJP has apologized for disseminating the cartoons “out of context.”

Let me be as clear as I can: the images are indefensible in any context. They are not justifiable, and they are not explainable. The sin is not against sensitivity. It is one of smearing a Jewish minority under attack here and abroad in the name of a skewed vision of a foreign conflict. SJP’s promise that “Eli’s knowledge and guidance” will ameliorate these facts is akin to entrusting fire safety to an arsonist. To apologize for the flyers but insist on continuing with the event is equal parts absurd and appalling.

Students for Justice in Palestine Uses Antisemitic Cartoons to Vandalize Posters by Stanford Republicans

The Stanford University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine allegedly took down fliers from the school’s College Republicans chapter about an upcoming event with a conservative pundit.

“We are not surprised that Stanford leftists have resorted to ripping down flyers advertising our upcoming event with Andrew Klavan. Leftists routinely vandalize our flyers, as they refuse to accept the right of conservatives to speak on the campus,” posted Stanford College Republicans on Facebook on Friday. “However, this time, not only did leftists destroy our flyers, but members of Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine have been covering our posters with anti-Semitic cartoons by Israel-hating propagandist, Eli Valley, who will speak at Stanford at SJP’s invitation next Friday. These cartoons specifically attack Ben Shapiro, using vile anti-Semitic caricatures. Eli Valley and his supporters in Stanford’s SJP would make any neo-Nazi proud.”

Klavan, 64, is a right-wing author and podcaster for The Daily Wire. He is scheduled to address SCR on May 14 with the topic being “Yes; America is a Judeo-Christian Nation.”

SJP Stanford is apparently the first campus group to vandalize SCR posters, whereas previous SCR posters were torn-down by individual students who were apparently against SCR’s mission and beliefs, an SCR representative told JNS.

Head of NYU Tel Aviv Rejects ‘Inappropriate, Non-Collegial Attack’ After Department Votes to Boycott Israel Program

A pledge of non-cooperation with New York University’s Tel Aviv campus, announced last week by the school’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, has been condemned as “an inappropriate and non-collegial attack” by the head of the Israel-based program.

Faculty members and students who publicly spearheaded the move, all supporters of the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, said it was a response to Israel’s entry restrictions, including its recent prohibition on “members of groups that are critical of government policies.”

A 2017 amendment to Israel’s entry law barred access to foreigners who are identified as key proponents of the BDS campaign, among them leaders of National Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, which both maintain chapters at NYU.

The resolution itself was not framed as an extension of the BDS campaign, though critics have described it as a surreptitious academic boycott.

In a Friday statement, NYU’s leadership reiterated that the school “has not had a student denied entry to Israel to study at our Tel Aviv campus,” and said they “deplore this uncollegial and pointless effort to stigmatize the Tel Aviv program.”

Benjamin Hary, director of NYU-Tel Aviv and professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, likewise expressed that he and his colleagues were “baffled” by the vote against their program.

Petition demands resignation of Omar Chowdhury, after Bristol Students’ Union allows him to remain its minorities officer despite telling Jewish student to “be like Israel and cease to exist”

Omar Chowdhury, the University of Bristol Students’ Union’s Black and Minority Ethnic officer has been allowed to remain in his post after making antisemitic comments online.

Mr Chowdhury told Izzy Posen, a Jewish student, that he should “be like Israel and cease to exist.” He also said to Mr Posen that his comments were like “Israeli settlements: always popping up where they’re not wanted.”

The comments which have been deleted were made on the university’s student “confessions” Facebook page, called Bristruths, which is publicly accessible.

Mr Posen complained to Bristol Students’ Union, which launched an independent inquiry. It concluded that Mr Chowdhury’s comments were antisemitic but stopped at giving him him a formal warning. The Union also made “recommendations” that Mr Chowdhury make an unqualified apology, educate himself on antisemitism and work with Jewish students to rebuild their trust.

In a statement, the Union said: “Omar’s comments were found to be antisemitic, and in addition to receiving an official warning about his future conduct, a series of recommendations have been made for Omar.”

Mr Chowdhury issued a statement “wholeheartedly” apologising to Mr Posen. He extended his apology to “Jewish students at the university, and the wider Jewish community for these ignorant and offensive comments.” He acknowledged that his remarks were “antisemitic and unacceptable, adding: “I regret my words and I am disappointed in myself for contributing to the hostile environment that is faced by Jewish people at university and in society.”

Following meetings with CAA and our allies, police vow to “intervene to enforce the law” if Hizballah flags are flown at “Al Quds Day” parade

Following meetings between the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and Campaign Against Antisemitism and our allies, police have vowed to “intervene to enforce the law” if Hizballah flags are flown, as they have been at previous “Al Quds Day” demonstrations, which have traditionally been a rally for supporters of the genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisation.

In February this year, Hizballah was completely proscribed by the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, with the support of the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. This followed a gruelling effort over several years by Campaign Against Antisemitism and our allies.

Until then, the British Government had distinguished between Hizballah’s “military wing” and “political wing”, even though Hizballah mocked the Government and said that no such distinction exists.

The loophole enabled brazen shows of support for Hizballah, including the pro-Hizballah “Al Quds Day” parade which is organised by a registered charity. Hizballah supporters marched through the heart of London, heard from antisemitic speakers and even draped babies in Hizballah flags.

Iceland’s Eurovision act: Israel is apartheid

Hatari, Iceland’s controversial Eurovision act, said in an interview in Tel Aviv this week that Israel is an apartheid state.

The two frontmen of the band – which arrived in Tel Aviv on Friday evening – gave a video interview on Sunday to the popular Eurovision blog wiwibloggs. The pair, Klemens Hannigan and Matthías Haraldsson, told wiwibloggs founder William Lee Adams that they had spent Saturday on a tour of Hebron.

“We went to Hebron, yesterday, which is a Palestinian city,” said Hannigan. “And there we had a Palestinian guide take us around… there are streets that we walked along which are called ghost streets or ghost town, and all Palestinian businesses have been closed down, and the segregation is so clear, because Palestinians are not allowed to enter these ghost streets.”
Haraldsson added that: “the occupation has many faces, a clear one is definitely the one you mentioned in the South now, in Gaza,” he said. Israel, of course, pulled all military and civilian presence out of Gaza in 2005.

Haraldsson continued that “the political reality is really conflicting, and absurd, and the apartheid was so clear in Hebron.”

Eurovision Boycott Demanded by Music Lovers (satire)

Lovers of good music have flocked to the BDS demand to boycott the Eurovision final planned for Tel Aviv this year.

One critic confirmed, “We don’t have any particular view on the complexities of a two-state solution or the future of the Golan Heights. However, I think we can all get on board with the idea that the Eurovision contest is an affront to all lovers of good music and taste. In all that’s holy, does anyone really think that Estonian ‘New Aged Rock’ is something that anyone should be exposed to? If by aligning with the BDS demand we can spare people that horror, then sign me up.”

An Israeli Government spokesman commented, “Officially we utterly condemn this new and utterly unfair attempt by the BDS movement to isolate the State of Israel. Unofficially, thank fuck. I men Jesus, it’s just terrible noise and costumes that make your eyes bleed. If they keep pushing this on us, we may have to accept whatever half baked ‘solution’ Jared has come up with, just so we can demand an opt-out in return.”

After Apologizing for Anti-Semitic Cartoon, How Impartial is the New York Times Reporting about Israel

In what is now a well-documented pattern at the NY Times, an article pretending to be an objective news report editorializes to blame Israel for Palestinian terrorism while suggesting that Palestinian culpability is merely an Israeli allegation. The article by Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger and correspondent Isabel Kershner, entitled “After Intense Fighting in Gaza, Israel and Palestinians Observe Ceasefire,” reports on how the latest salvo of rocketing began:
The outbreak of violence appears to have begun on Friday, when a sniper wounded two Israeli soldiers, a violent but localized expression of Palestinian impatience with Israel’s failure to alleviate dire humanitarian conditions in Gaza.

The reporters in their own voices present the Palestinian terrorists’ justification for attempted murder as self-evident fact. They minimize Palestinian violence as a “localized expression of…impatience” to be blamed on Israel, rather than the terrorists who initiated the violence. At the same time, the report characterizes the terror actions against Israel by Palestinians as unsubstantiated Israeli claim:
Ratcheting up its response, Israel blew up a car carrying a Gaza man it said was a terrorist, and published video of that airstrike as a warning to others. It leveled the homes of several militant commanders, saying they were used to store weapons or as operational headquarters, and fired on a number of Palestinians it said were engaged in launching rockets.

It is telling that the only mention of a “war crime” in the entire article is not in relation to the Palestinian terror groups targeting civilians deep inside Israel, but comes in an accusation cited by the reporters against Israel for its military response against terrorists:
Gaza officials continued to accuse Israel of what they called a war crime.

Haaretz Corrects Court Did Find Evidence of Omar Shakir’s BDS Activity

In addition, a note appended to the article got the story wrong, stating:

A previous version of the article reported that no evidence was found suggesting that Shakir was active in the BDS movement. Rather, the court was presented no evidence suggesting that Shakir actively supported the BDS movement since he assumed his role as Israel/Palestine director of BDS.

In response to further communication with Haaretz, editors again amended the digital article, completely removing the erroneous claim that the court received no evidence of Shakir’s BDS activity, including after he assumed his Human Rights Watch post in the region.
The note commendably appended to the article clarifies:

A previous version of this article incorrectly reported that no evidence was found suggesting that Shakir was active in the BDS movement after he assumed his role as Israel/Palestine director of HRW.

The misinformation apparently arose due to the fact that editors lifted background information from earlier articles which appeared before the district court’s April 16 ruling. Previously, the Interior Ministry had stated that there was no information indicating that Shakir had been involved in BDS activity since he assumed his role as Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch.

ADL Offers Reward Following Latest Antisemitic Assault in Brooklyn

A leading US Jewish civil rights group on Monday announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of a group of men who attacked an Orthodox Jewish man in Brooklyn over the weekend.

The Anti-Defamation League said it was putting up the reward to encourage those with information about the assailants to come forward.

The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, which has been the site of a rash of antisemitic assaults on Orthodox Jewish men in recent months.

A 42-year-old man, who was dressed in the Orthodox attire traditionally worn on Shabbat, was accosted by the men as he walked along Broadway. One man punched the victim in the face as the others showered him with antisemitic abuse, including the words, “You f___g Jew.”

Evan R. Bernstein — the ADL’s regional director for New York and New Jersey — said his organization was “alarmed and deeply concerned that yet another violent antisemitic incident has occurred in Brooklyn.”

Bernstein added that “the hate must stop.”

Ukraine may adopt IHRA definition of antisemitism

The Ukrainian parliament is preparing legislation to adopt the internationally recognized definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and the Ukrainian government has formally applied for membership to the body.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin made the announcement, at the Kyiv Jewish Forum taking place this week, that he had recently filed the application.

Doubts have been raised in some quarters, however, that the process will be completed – in light of several statements made in recent years by Klimkin that Ukraine was joining the alliance.

In order for the IHRA definition to be formally adopted in Ukraine, legislation needs to be passed in the parliament.

Georgii Logvynskyi, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and chairman of its Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, told The Jerusalem Post that the legislation has been approved by his committee and now requires a vote in the parliament’s plenum.

Logvynskyi said he hoped that the vote would take place before the parliamentary elections scheduled for October, and that the legislation would be approved.

Ukraine applies to international task force on Holocaust education

Ukraine has applied to join the world’s main international task force on Holocaust education.

The application, announced Monday, could be a test case for the 31-state International Holocaust Remembrance Association, IHRA, and for Ukraine, whose president-elect is Jewish but whose government celebrates Nazi collaborators.

“The application is not just about politics, it’s about discussing history fairly and honestly,” Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said during his announcement of the move at the Kyiv Jewish Forum conference.

Francois Croquette, France’s Human Rights Ambassador, welcomed the move.

“I’m delighted by this development and France will support this move and welcome Ukraine as soon as possible” into IHRA, he said.

Israeli Company Promises 5-Minute Recharge for Electric Cars

As consumers increasingly consider making their next car purchase electric, two major trade-offs are stalling the transition from gasoline-powered vehicles. Electric-car range remains limited and recharging the battery can take from 45 minutes to several hours.

Manufacturers have been trying to boost the battery’s chemical “density,” so an electric car can travel farther on a charge. The latest high-end electric vehicles from Tesla, Chevrolet and others now have a range of up to 300 miles under optimal conditions.

But recharging is still slow. Israeli start-up StoreDot hopes to jumpstart the electric vehicle revolution by addressing this second trade-off.

A StoreDot Flash Battery can be filled to capacity in just five minutes, providing the same 300 miles of range. That makes it no less cumbersome than driving a gasoline-powered car, Doron Meyersdorf, the company’s cofounder and CEO, tells ISRAEL21c.

StoreDot’s batteries can be built in the same form as regular electric batteries, using the same basic material – lithium –which should lead to easier adoption. But StoreDot replaces the graphite used by all other electric battery manufacturers with a mix of metalloids including silicon and proprietary organic compounds synthesized in its labs.

This not only improves charging time but also safety. Heating graphite is “what made batteries explode in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7,” Meyersdorf notes, and in 2013 several of Tesla’s Model S cars caught fire.

Quavo of Migos announces surprise TA show

Quavo, one third of the wildly successful rap trio Migos, on Monday announced a surprise pop-up concert in Tel Aviv next week.

The rapper is slated to perform at Hangar 11 on Thursday night, May 16, the same evening as the second Eurovision semi-final. And shortly after Quavo leaves the stage, the venue will turn into the Euroclub after-party. But for a couple of hours, the rapper will light up the Tel Aviv nightclub with a string of hip hop hits.

This might not be Quavo’s only performance in Tel Aviv next week. According to Live Nation, Quavo – who appears on the track “Future” on Madonna’s upcoming album – will also take the stage with the singer during the Eurovision final on May 18. Walla reported last month that Madonna was trying to choose between “Future” and “Dark Ballet” for her Eurovision performance, in addition to her classic hit “Like a Prayer.” Now, it looks like she’s decided – and brought her collaborator with her.

In addition to working with Madonna on both her album and his own 2018 solo album, Quavo has collaborated with Justin Bieber, DJ Khaled, Kanye West, Drake and many others.

He is best known for his work with the trio Migos, made up of his nephew Takeoff and his cousin Offset. Offset is a tabloid staple in the US due to his marriage to rap goddess Cardi B. Together with Migos, Quavo has released hit singles “Bad and Boujee,” “Motor Sport” and “Stir Fry.”

Bill Burr pledges to return after successful performance in TA

Bill Burr has really found his crowd. The American stand-up comedian received a roaring reception during his debut performance in Tel Aviv on Monday night. And he knew it.

“I’m gonna f**king move here,” he said after one particularly enthusiastic laugh and round of applause. “I’m gonna come here just for the laughs…. I should have recorded this show, and when I’m performing elsewhere and there’s silence, played this laughter. I’m definitely coming back here.”

The veteran comedian, with a host of stand-up specials under his belt and his own Netflix animated sitcom, is a connoisseur of the angry-man routine. He rants and rails about the troubles facing poor, oppressed white men today, and finds a ripe audience both online and around the world.

Indeed, by my deeply unscientific analysis, about 80% of the audience in Tel Aviv Monday night was male, 15% were women dragged along by their significant others, and the remaining 5% were female fans.

After a solid but unmemorable opening act by Joe Bartnick, Burr took the stage to raucous applause. And for the next 90 minutes, he proved just why he fills arenas on tours around the world.

And, unlike some comics who stop for one show in Tel Aviv, Burr wasted no time in poking fun at his hosts. He jumped straight in with a comment on how “10% of you don’t pay any taxes at all, is that right?” He then clarified: “It’s the guys with the hats and the curlicues,” referring, presumably, to haredim and their long sidelocks. “Just because you wear the hat and the curlicues you don’t have to pay to fix a goddamn pothole?” He also said he expected as soon as he got off the plane “for some Mossad agent to put me in a sleeper hold” – and seemed somewhat disappointed that it didn’t happen.

US film producer buys rights to story of foreign pilots who helped build IAF

American producer Mark Damon has bought the film and television rights to a 2017 book that tells the story of foreign volunteers who flew in Israel’s nascent air force during the War of Independence, Variety reported Monday.

The book by Robert Gandt, “Angels in the Sky,” recounts how around 150 World War II veterans from the US, Britain, France and other countries smuggled old Nazi warplanes into Israel and helped turn the tide of the 1948 war for the establishment of the Jewish state.

Damon has produced such films as “Lone Survivor” and “Monster.” He will partner on the project with producer Mike Flint, whose father, Mitchell Flint, was one of the pilots who participated in the operation.

It was not immediately clear what form the production would take. Damon will reportedly shop it around during the Cannes Film Festival, which starts May 14.

Independence Day is a time for all Israelis to unite, Druze honoree says

The anger of Israel’s 160,000 Druze community over the Nation-State Law should briefly give way to national unity and festivity as Israel celebrates independence, according to Druze honoree Col. (res.) Dr. Salman Zarka.

Zarka, the director of Ziv Medical Center in Safed and former commander of the IDF’s Golan Heights field hospital for casualties of the Syrian Civil War, will light one of 13 torches at the annual Independence Day ceremony at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl on Wednesday evening.

“For me, Independence Day is the festival of festivals,” Zarka told The Jerusalem Post. “After my community celebrated Ziyara, Jews celebrated Passover and Christians celebrated Easter, this is a festival for all of us. It’s not the time to deal with political and social divisions, but to celebrate. After this, there will be plenty of time to debate.”

Zarka said he was deeply moved as he received the news from Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev that he had been unanimously chosen by the Ministerial Committee for Ceremonies and Symbols to light a torch at the official ceremony.

The committee, Zarka said, cited his 25-year military service, field hospitals established in the Golan Heights and at Gaza’s Erez Crossing under his command, his public service as head of Ziv Medical Center and his role in advancing healthcare in the northern periphery.

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