July 13, 2020

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06/01 Links Pt2: HonestReporting Takes Legal Action Against Twitter and Ayatollah Khamenei; Bending the Jews; The Times retracts claim Palestinians fled in ’48 due to Israeli ‘rape and torture’

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2020/06/0601-links-pt2-honestreporting-takes.html

From Ian:


Michel Foucault and Iran’s Ayatollahs
The Islamic Revolution in Iran, which brought Islamists to power for the first time in modern history, pitted the global left—perhaps best personified by Michel Foucault—against the global right. To this day, the global left’s advocacy for Islamism continues to guide the West’s general approach toward the Middle East.

The Islamist regime in Iran has now been firmly in power for over 40 years. The leaders of the regime and those they favor continue to benefit from their decades-long rule, but the people of Iran—as well as the countries in its neighborhood—suffer from the tyranny and terror unleashed on them by the regime and its ruthless Revolutionary Guards.

Analysts of different stripes usually tend to interpret the so-called “Islamic Revolution” of 1979 as the manifestation of the yearning of the Iranian people to free themselves from the tyranny of monarchy and Western interference. They tend not to mention that the revolution had a broad ideological scope that pitted the global left against the global right on the Iranian battleground.

Some of the most influential Western leftist intellectuals had a great personal stake in the Iranian revolution. They played a significant role in pushing Iran into the arms of Islamism in order to fulfil their ideological dream of “defeating capitalism” around the world.

The foremost of those intellectuals was French philosopher and journalist Michel Foucault.

Foucault’s interest in Islamism started in 1978, when the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera called on him to write a series of articles about Iran. To fulfill that assignment, Foucault spent time among members of the left-leaning Confederation of Iranian Students and other opponents of the Pahlavi regime in Europe. He then went to Tehran and met with many prominent revolutionaries. When he returned to France, he visited Ayatollah Khomeini in the village of Neauphle-le-Château near Paris where he was exiled at the time.

HonestReporting Takes Legal Action Against Twitter and Ayatollah Khamenei

Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the current Supreme Leader of Iran, is spreading hate and calls for violence against Israel and Jews. That’s nothing new. Except now the Iranian dictator is becoming increasingly active on Twitter. These days “media” is not just print and television, but social media too; and that’s where HonestReporting comes in.

Khamenei is abusing his Twitter account to broadly distribute antisemitic conspiracy theories, threats of violence and incitement for others to commit violence, including a link to his web site which contains calls for a Final Solution: a thinly veiled reference to Hitler’s notorious plan to murder all Jewish people in the world, which formed the centerpiece of the Holocaust.

Other specific examples include: calling the Jewish state a “cancerous tumor,” and calling for Palestinians to defeat the “Zionist enemy” through greater “access to weapons.” Like many modern antisemites, Khamenei declares he is not actually a Jew-hater, before going on to portray himself as a mere anti-Zionist whose aim is to “eliminate” the worlds only Jewish state, and the country with the world’s biggest concentration of Jews.

Incitement to violence is not only not free speech, it’s also illegal under U.S. law. So is aiding and abetting incitement to violence, which is exactly what Twitter is doing in this case.

Incitement to violence violates Twitter’s terms and conditions, terms which the company often enforces aggressively even against only marginal violations. So why does one of the world’s most brutal dictators receive different treatment?

Israel Advocacy Movement: Twitter enables antisemitism

If Twitter can censor Donald Trump, why don’t they censor genocidal antisemites?

Bending the Jews

Deep-pocketed funders—including the Rockefellers and the Buffetts—are creating a constellation of activist groups like Stosh Cotler’s Bend the Arc that aim to rewire American Jewish life

From her 19th floor corner office in the Bend the Arc headquarters, Stosh Cotler took in the panoramic view of downtown Manhattan. It was a warm weekday last summer, and far below her the pedestrian foot traffic inched along like dollhouse miniatures on the sidewalks of Seventh Avenue. To the west under detailing light, white yachts traced long lines away from the piers of the Hudson River.

By that point, Cotler had been CEO of Bend the Arc for more than five years, but her role had changed since the 2016 election. She was in near-constant triage mode, she said, on guard to respond to whatever inflammatory statement or action was coming out of the White House. On television, radio, and in major print publications Cotler had assumed a regular profile, her strong, forceful presence fast becoming a recognizable voice speaking out on behalf of Jews in America. The day prior, President Donald Trump said, “If you vote for a Democrat, you’re being disloyal to Jewish people,” a reference to the ongoing support for the BDS movement by Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.

Cotler’s assistant popped her head in to tell her she had an interview request with The Washington Post. No problem, she said.

Slim and athletic, Cotler’s motorized scooter and neon-green helmet leaned beside her tidy stand-up desk in the corner. At 50, Cotler wears her curly hair high, large earrings, and thick bracelets on her wrist. Though calm and on occasion friendly in conversation, a notable intensity emanates from her dark brown eyes, particularly when Cotler speaks on the burden on American Jewish organizations to chart the proper path forward for a country she sees veering into dangerous waters.

“At this point in time we’re really seeking to become the institution that redefines the center of gravity in the American Jewish community,” Cotler told me. “We have a vision and we have an agenda that we believe to now be the communal agenda of the Jewish community.”

Last summer, when I first encountered Bend the Arc in the news, I did not know what the group was or what they did. Then I saw them nearly everywhere—or at least they appeared to maintain a constant presence in the media on the issue of the southern American border and immigration detention facilities. Wearing organization T-shirts and carrying banners with the Bend the Arc logo, their protesters appeared in dozens of demonstrations and marches for immigration policy reforms covered by the mainstream press. At protests in the halls of Congress, their staffers were being arrested. On cable news and the radio, their leaders were brought on to condemn the policies of the Trump administration. In my social media feeds, I started to see photos and videos of smaller events in between those covered by major news outlets.

Though tracing its lineage back to predecessor organizations that were founded as far back as 1983, the Jewish social action organization is essentially a recent construction that has taken on a new and diffuse slate of political issues at both the state and national level—immigrant documentation, tax laws, voter rights, among other causes that may have little to do with what are generally defined as the specific needs of any particular Jewish community but are often championed by progressive Democratic politicians.

The Times retracts claim Palestinians fled in ’48 due to Israeli ‘rape and torture’

Following an exchange of emails between CAMERA UK and The Times, editors finally agreed to remove the ahistorical claim that the flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the 1948-49 War was due to Israeli aggression, “rape and torture”.

As we posted about at the time, a May 26th article at The Times, by Scottish political editor Kieran Andrews, was based on recent comments by Richard Lyle (member of the Scottish Parliament) referring to the ‘Nakba’ as a “self-inflicted tragedy”. The Times editor, in his own voice, provided this background on the cause of the flight of Palestinians during the war – to help put Lyle’s comments in context:
Historians argue that it was largely driven by Israeli aggression, including rape and torture, and to a much lesser degree by local Palestinian authorities urging people to flee.

As we noted in our post, there are no serious, non-propagandistic historians who’ve made such a claim – and in fact, when pressed, editors couldn’t provide the name of even one historian who holds this view. After promising to do so, we just confirmed that the sentence in question has in fact been deleted, though, unfortunately, there’s no editor’s note explaining the revision.

Nonetheless, we commend The Times – which is normally one of the fairest UK media outlets on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – on ultimately upholding our complaint and removing the sentence.

Germans wear yellow stars to protest COVID-19 rules

Demonstrators in the German city of Nuremberg have been facing criticism for using Nazi-era symbols, including a yellow Star of David badge worn by Jews throughout Nazi-occupied Europe during WWII, to protest restrictions in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by Nürnberger Nachrichten, a daily in the Nuremberg-Erlangen-Fürth area.

Instead of the German word for ‘Jew’ as used during the Holocaust, demonstrators replaced the term with the slogan “Vaccination Makes You Free” at protests in Franconia, prompting the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior to express their concerns and issue new guides on avoiding Nazi-era symbolism.

The report noted that some of the protesters held signs with the comparison that “2020 = 1933,” in reference to Hitler and the Nazi Party’s rise to power, suggesting that the current restrictions on social gatherings is akin to the Nazi era.

In response to the use of Nazi-era imagery, the Bavarian Ministry of Justice Department Head Georg Eisenreich (CSU) said that “With such actions, the infection control measures of the federal and state governments are unbearably compared to National Socialism and the Shoah, and even equated to them.”

Eisenreich added that “There is no place in Bavaria for antisemitism.” He noted that his government is currently working to investigate them meaning of some symbols to determine whether they are antisemitic, saying that “these can be codes or anniversaries are important for neo-Nazis.”

Coronavirus crisis: 65% of Israeli start-ups face ruin within 6 months

Israel’s tech sector has called for government assistance to help companies ride out the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus lockdown, as a survey has shown that two-thirds (65%) of small start-ups are unlikely to continue beyond the next six months without support.

The survey, conducted by the Israel Innovation Authority and Israel Advanced Technologies Industries (IATI), Israel’s umbrella organization for the hi-tech and life science industries, found that half of the 414 hi-tech companies surveyed had been “significantly impacted” by the slowdown, with the remaining half either experiencing limited impact or no impact.

A quarter of the companies had to let go of staff while half have cut wages, and of the companies already generating sales, 63% were having to cope with a 25% drop in sales.

Less than half (45%) of companies reported a runway of less than six months, which is defined as the amount of time until a company goes out of business assuming current income and expenses stay constant, although this is an improvement from the 27% reported in the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) survey published in May.

“The results of the survey show that many young technology companies are facing bankruptcy,” according to Karin Meir Rubenstein, CEO and president of IATI.

“The innovation industry is the main growth engine of the economy, and has been carrying the Israeli economy on its back towards unprecedented growth and prosperity, almost without any government support,” Rubenstein said. “No doubt the government must provide a comprehensive and immediate response to the problems already afflicting the industry due to the crisis, as well as the problems expected in its aftermath, in order to allow the industry to stabilize itself in the face of the expected recession.”

Nick Cohen: The stab-in-the-back myth

To an outsider the result of the urge to find a scapegoat looks close to madness. An 850-page report, commissioned by Jenny Formby, Corbyn’s appointee as Labour’s general secretary, who has now resigned, turns the world back to front. Nothing is what it appears. Everything becomes its opposite.

The far left did not, apparently, throw away its chance of power and hand the country to Boris Johnson. On the contrary, it should be in power today. If the report’s findings are right, said John McDonnell, Britain could now be “in the third year of a Labour government”. This paradise was lost because “a group of senior staff” — consisting of Labour officials opposed to Corbyn — undermined the party in the 2017 general election campaign in a “shocking act of treachery” and ensured its defeat.

Despite appearances, the far left was not an antisemitic movement either. The real enablers of Jew hatred were the very people who complained the loudest about the descent of Labour into a babbling claque of anti-Jewish conspiracy theorists. “Officials,” motivated by hostility to Corbyn’s left-wing politics, made a “concerted effort to scupper the handling of complaints” of antisemitism, explained an ex-Labour MP as she reviewed the report for the communist Morning Star. They created a “massive backlog”, which was then used by the far left’s enemies to spin the false narrative that Corbyn didn’t care about racism. Only when the vipers were cleared out, and Formby’s officials took control of the party, was racism taken seriously. As purge followed purge in Stalinist Russia, the joke ran: “The past changes so quickly, you don’t know what’s going to happen yesterday.” The same applies to the Corbyn movement. If we remember yesterday as it was rather than as the far left would like it be, the conspiracy theory makes no sense.

Labour did better than everyone, not least the Corbynistas, expected in the 2017 general election, but it was still 55 seats behind Theresa May’s Conservative Party. The difficulty in sustaining the assertion that Corbyn might have won, if “Blairite” officials had not sabotaged the campaign, is that in 2019 Corbyn controlled every part of the party machine, and led Labour to an ignominious defeat.

As for the Labour relationship with Jews, the story changes so fast it’s as if we are back in the USSR. Yesterday’s far-left line was that accusations of racism were “smears” by right-wing “Zionist” enemies. All of a sudden, the smears turn out to be true or at least plausible charges that anti-Corbyn Labour officials deliberately ignored as part of a plot against the very party they were duty bound to serve. We are meant to forget, for Formby’s report most certainly does forget, that Labour officials described to the BBC how they were driven to nervous breakdowns by Corbyn’s allies’ determination to minimise racism.

We are meant to forget too that Corbyn might have decided to combine support for Palestinian rights with a recognition of Israel’s right to exist. He might not have befriended terrorists who wanted to kill Jews for being Jews. He might have defended Jewish MPs, and stopped the left driving them from his party. He might have refused to become the willing and paid servant of the Iranian state’s propaganda service. He might have recognised racist caricatures straight out of fascist Europe and denounced rather than defended them. He might have refrained from descending into the banter of every saloon-bar bigot and not scoffed that, despite “having lived in this country for a very long time” Zionists “don’t understand English irony”.

He did none of the above because for a generation, not just the far left, but much of the centre left and the pro-Palestinian movement, made no attempt to draw a boundary between opposition to Israeli policies and anti-Jewish racism. In these circumstances, it was hardly surprising that Labour became a magnet for every variety of Jew baiter and conspiracy nut when Corbyn took over.

Independent Arabia ignores Nakba Day Is it connected to its pro-Saudi tendencies?

As a media-criticism blog, CAMERA-UK often focuses not only on the content of British media outlets, but also on what is absent from their coverage. Every so often, it’s the omissions that reveal a lot more about their lack of impartiality than their careless approach to fact-checking or the biased terminology they use.

However, rarely do we encounter a radical shift from covering a certain issue relentlessly to blatantly ignoring it. Such was the case of Independent Arabia’s complete disregard of the 2020 Nakba Day (May 15th) events and press releases, after treating the subject as cause célèbre just last year.

In 2019, seven news items regarding the commemorations of 71st Nakba Day were published in Independent Arabia between May 9th and May 25th: two from the West Bank, three from the Gaza Strip, one from northern Israel and one translated piece which originated in London (two of the seven addressed the fact that Nakba Day was coinciding with the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv).

Throughout 2019, IA’s first year in operation, the outlet kept five correspondents between Israel and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The five maintain their positions today as well; nevertheless, none of them published even the shortest news item about the 2020 Nakba Day. Furthermore, since last year not a single report was tagged with the many Nakba-related tags the IA website keeps (“#Palestinian_Nakba_anniversary”, “#Palestinian_Nakba”, “#1948_Nakba”, “The_Nakba” and “The_Nakba_Year”).

To further illustrate just how extraordinary this is, it bears mentioning that despite Nakba Day being overshadowed by Covid-19 this year, its occurrence was addressed in one way or another by most other Western-identified media outlets in Arabic: Alhurra, BBC, France24, Sky News Arabia and Reuters. Even the Independent in English dedicated a (recycled, two year old) report to the annual Palestinian day of grief.

What could be the reason for this sudden change at an outlet that would normally jump at any opportunity to smear Israel as illegitimate and colonialist (with Nakba Day widely regarded as one of the best in the calendar year for that purpose)? The answer, we believe, lies in the fact that Independent Arabia, albeit headquartered in London, is fully owned by the Riyadh-based Saudi Research and Marketing Group. In turn, SRMG is headed by ‘Abd ar-Rahman bin Ibrahim ar-Ruwayta’, an associate of the Saudi royal family; it is also responsible for the publishing of the well renown pro-Saudi London newspaper ash-Sharq al-Awsat.

Los Angeles Real Estate Mogul Mohamed Hadid Apologizes for Post Linking Israel to Police Brutality in United States

Prominent Los Angeles real estate developer Mohamed Hadid apologized on Sunday for linking Israel to police violence in the United States against people of color.

Hadid, who is the father of supermodels Gigi and Bella Hadid, and is of Jordanian-Palestinian descent, posted an image on Instagram showing an American policeman kneeling on the neck of an African-American man while embracing an Israeli soldier doing the same to a Palestinian.

Mohamed Hadid’s original Instagram post linking Israel to police violence in the United States against people of color.

The original poster of the image wrote “two sides of the same coin” over it.

The pose echoed that seen in the now infamous video of a Minneapolis policeman kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he died, which has set off massive and often violent protests against police brutality across the US.

Hadid apologized by posting an image on Instagram of an Israeli soldier and an elderly Palestinian man holding hands, and referenced the shooting over the weekend of an autistic Palestinian by Israeli police. An investigation into that incident is ongoing.

Hadid’s statement read in part, “Shooting an unarmed young man that has Autism and killing him hurt me deeply. If my remark came off with Anti-Semitism toward the Jewish people I do apologize.”

“I think it was a wrong time for me to be angry about what happened in Jerusalem yesterday,” he added. “You are right to be upset.”

“Love and peace and coexistence is the answer,” Hadid asserted.

Torah scrolls cut up, tefillin put in toilets in vandalism at Montreal synagogue

Vandals ransacked a small Montreal synagogue sometime after it closed weeks ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic in what was described as one of the worst local synagogue desecrations in memory.

The damage at the Kol Yehouda Sephardic congregation included tallitot, or prayer shawls, and tefillin stuffed in toilets; Torah scrolls cut up and tossed on the floor; other religious items seriously damaged; and illegibly scrawled anti-Semitic graffiti.

The small congregation is housed in a private residence in the largely Jewish suburb of Côte St. Luc.

Police were investigating the attack as a possible hate crime but face the challenge of finding out when the incident actually happened.

“Clearly, no one can go inside and not be sensitive to what happened,” said congregant Ralph Amar, who discovered the vandalism on Wednesday when he passed by to pick up some items for the Shavuot holiday.

He called the incident “heinous” and a “carnage.”

Similarly, David Birnbaum, provincial parliamentarian for the electoral district where the synagogue is located, called the incident a “disgusting, cowardly” act.

Ramadan Rage: 2020 Logs 30% More Jihadist Attacks than 2019 Despite Coronavirus

Jihadis were more prolific during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan this year despite the Chinese coronavirus pandemic and the associated lockdowns, carrying out at least 242 attacks, about 30 percent more than the 187 last year, data compiled by Breitbart News reveals.

Islamic terrorists carried out an average of about eight attacks per day this year, compared to an average of six daily assaults in 2019. Three weeks into Ramadan this year, it appeared the number of deaths and injuries would exceed those from the same period last year, but the attacks became less lethal towards the end.

Breitbart News’ tally covers 30 days, starting from Ramadan’s first full day on April 24 through May 23.

Jihadis killed at least 867 people and injured 813 others across 20 countries during the holy month this year.

On average, jihadis killed 29 people and maimed 27 others each day during Ramadan this year.

Last year, however, the holy month was slightly bloodier, resulting in at least 911 fatalities (30 per day) and 1,006 injuries (34 per day).

The 1,680 casualties this year represent a drop of over ten percent from the 1,917 last year.

Fox Sports sorry over ‘inappropriate’ Hitler image

NRL and television personality Matthew Johns says the segment on his Fox League show on Sunday night – in which a photoshopped image of Adolf Hitler was broadcast on national television – was “in poor taste and completely inappropriate”.

Fox Sports this morning apologised after NRL fans slammed the program for airing the “distasteful” and “shockingly offensive” image.

In a statement on Monday morning, a spokesperson for Fox Sports told The AJN, “Fox Sports is very concerned by an incident involving an inappropriate image shown as part of a segment discussing NRL crowd cut-outs.

“We are currently reviewing the circumstances and examining the action we need to ensure those involved understand it is not acceptable.

“We sincerely apologise for the offence the image has caused.”

Stating, “I need to personally step up to this,” Johns said, “I know how raw and devastating those events remain for so many people and families.

“I acknowledge it was wrong and I apologise to our viewers and to everyone in the community who is rightly concerned and offended by the segment.”

Johns also telephoned NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff today “to apologise personally for the incident”.

Germany Reinstates Military Rabbis Amid Anti-Semitism

How The US Can Learn About Successful Innovation Strategies From Israel, The Startup Nation

Waze. Monday. Diagnostic Robotics. Via. Orcam. SeeTree. FundBox. Moovit. SparkBeyond. Lemonade. What do all of these household-name companies have in common? They’re all from Israel. Around the world, the tiny nation of just some 9 million inhabitants, located smack dab in the Middle East, has gained the notable title of Startup Nation––and it’s no wonder why. Ever since the early 2000s, Israel has consistently invested in the development of new innovation and emerging technologies, continually achieving record breaking rounds of venture capital investments year over year. In fact, regardless of the Coronavirus Crisis, Q1 of 2020 witnessed Israeli high-tech companies raise an all-time record of $2.74 billion, reports IVC Research Center – ZAG S&W law firm. Israel also has “the highest density of startup companies of any country in the world — about one startup for every 2,000 people.” In addition, Top technology companies like Google, Microsoft, Intel, Facebook, Oracle, and many more, conduct crucial R&D operations right in Israel. But what is the secret sauce to Israel’s success? And what can the United States learn from Israeli innovation with regards to successful strategies? Five key areas emerge when attempting to answer these questions: the government’s role in innovation, innovation as a core of everything, creating unique technology solutions and opening new value chains, the geographic concentration of institutions, and lastly the Israeli startup culture and the infamous chutzpah of the Israeli people.
The Government’s Role in Innovation

In Israel, the government takes an active role in promoting and funding technological innovation, which is key to maintaining a thriving startup ecosystem. According to an account by Avi Hasson, former chief scientist at the Israel Innovation Authority, “It’s key that the government takes on the riskiest investments, paving the way for private capital to follow.” Moreover, Israel has been ranked by UNESCO as second in global ‎R&D spending as a percentage of GDP, with the nation’s expenditure consistently hovering above the 4% mark. Government institutions such as the Israeli Innovation Authority, have been instrumental in providing the nation’s entrepreneurs and ideamakers with the funding they need to pursue trailblazing projects.

Check Point CEO: We need to prepare for the coming ‘cyber pandemic’

The founder and CEO of Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point warned Monday that the new reality created by the coronavirus pandemic will cause threats in the cybersecurity field to rise, and that countries need to protect themselves against the coming “cyber pandemic.”

Speaking at “The New Tomorrow” – a four-day online summit organized by the Israeli-American Council and the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation that seeks to examine the new reality in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic – Check Point founder and CEO Gil Shwed said that “Cybersecurity will change a lot.

“What happened in the last three months pushed forward five, maybe even 10 years of technological evolution,” he explained.

“More services moved online; companies removed barriers. We allowed developers to work just from within the company physically, so we could keep our intellectual property… In one day, we had to change all of that and allow people to access from home. This rapid change means hackers will find a way… The hackers can find a way to hack a personal computer of an employee and through them get into our Crown Jewels.”

Shwed added that even if the coronavirus pandemic could be less of a concern in Israel, “we need to protect ourselves against the cyber pandemic that is coming. We know it will happen, and we need to secure it.”

With $22 billion plan, Israel ups 2030 renewable energy target from 17% to 30%

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz announced Monday that the target for renewable energy by 2030 was officially being raised from 17 percent to 30%, in a plan set to cost some NIS 80 billion ($22 billion) over the coming decade.

The decision means that over the coming decade, solar installations will be built to produce the equivalent of all the electricity produced today, Steinitz wrote on Facebook.

Steinitz, who is beginning his second stint as energy minister, asserted that “the environmental significance is the replacement of coal and pollutants with solar energy and natural gas, which will lead to a 93 percent reduction in air pollution, and a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per capita.”

He did not give details on how the figures were reached.

The plan would see more than 80% of Israel’s electricity generated by solar energy at peak hours.

“This is an investment of NIS 80 billion ($22 billion) over the next 10 years. It’s a huge economic engine that will create a great many jobs and reduce pollution,” Steinitz said in a statement.

The minister had come under heavy pressure to increase the 17% renewable energy target set within the framework of the Paris Accords, as well as criticism for portraying natural gas — which he advocates strongly for as well — as clean, given that it is also a fossil fuel which is polluting, although to a lesser extent than coal.

First off-grid wastewater treatment unit in Bedouin village piloted

The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies on Sunday unveiled a pilot solar-operated sewage treatment unit that could one day help to boost public health, not only in Bedouin communities in Israel that are not connected to sewage networks but in many places throughout the developing world where raw sewage causes disease and death.

According to the United Nations, untreated sewage, which leaches into water sources and can cause diarrhea, infections and malnutrition, accounts for 1.7 million deaths annually, of which more than 90 percent are in developing countries and almost half are children.

The Arava Institute’s pilot is located in Umm Batin, a recognized village near the city of Beersheba in the Negev where residents use polluting cesspits because there is no sewage system.

Institute researchers installed a sewage system for one house that connects with toilets at one end and the treatment unit at the other.

The wastewater enters a septic tank from where it is pumped into a series of treatment containers where microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and algae remove the contaminants, leaving water that can be used for irrigation. The recycled water is similar in quality to that which flows through Israel’s distinctive purple irrigation pipes for use in agriculture and horticulture.

Clive Lipchin, who directs the institute’s Center for Transboundary Water Management, said that the aim was to scale up and treat as many homes as possible. “We want to do this neighborhood by neighborhood,” he told The Times of Israel. “We’re looking to see how we can cluster groups of houses and build a larger system. That will be the next phase.”

Talmud comes alive in 1,800-year-old marble face found in Galilee

A 1,800-year-old fountainhead in the shape of a face was uncovered by chance by a visitor at the Tzipori National Park in the Galilee, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority announced Monday.

In the Babylonian Talmud, the Jewish sages warned their disciples that they should not place their mouth directly on the faucets of fountains shaped a human or animal-like creature to avoid the appearance of idol worshiping. The new discovery offers a powerful testimony of the Jewish text coming alive.

“With regard to figures of human faces [partzufot] that spray water in the cities, i.e. fountains, one may not place his mouth on the mouths of the figures and drink, because he appears to be kissing the object of idol worship. Similarly, one may not place his mouth on a pipe [sillon] and drink, here due to the danger that this practice poses,” reads a passage of Avodah Zarah 12a (translation Sefaria.org).

Indeed, similar artifacts have been uncovered over the years in several locations in Israel, including Caesarea and Beit She’an. They were common over the course of the Roman and Byzantine period.

Tzipori was not like any other city in the region 1,800 years ago: the great Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi moved the Sanhedrin – the Jewish Great Assembly – there in the second half of the second century, and the Mishna, the foundational text of rabbinic Judaism, was compiled in the city. The archaeological site today still presents the remains of the Jewish Quarter from that period, together with many vestiges of the Roman presence, including the remnant of a 4,500-seat theater.

“The Tzipori National Park, which preserves the remains of the ancient capital of the Galilee, Tzipori, where the Sanhedrin sat and the Mishna was completed, does not cease to surprise with its archaeological findings,” Dr. Yossi Bordovich, head of the Heritage Department at the Nature and Parks Authority, said in a press release.

Death toll of Farhud (79 years ago) was much greater than 179

June 1st has been designated International Farhud Day – to recall the unprecedented massacre of Jews in Iraq in 1941 – 79 years ago. Some 179 Jews died, 1,000 were injured and 900 homes and shops destroyed. The pogrom sounded the death knell of the Iraqi-Jewish community; other Farhuds led to the liquidation of other communities. This year, more writers are drawing attention to this cataclysmic event:

Sami Sourani writes in the Shabbat Bulletin of the Spanish synagogue, Montreal that the death toll far exceeded the official figures:

The Farhud, the Pogrom of the Jews of Baghdad on Shavuot 1941, shattered the Jewish community and put a question mark on their future in Babylon/Iraq. The Jews lived there for 2,600 years and a thousand years before the Arab invasion. They supported the invaders, and for centuries there was mutual respect and friendship. Now, everything was gone. They had loved ones to bury and a future to lament.

At the end of May 1941, the pro-German government of Iraq had failed and the leaders had fled, leaving Baghdad without government. This happened on June 1, 1941, the first day of Shavuot. Traditionally, after the religious services, Jews went to the Tigris River to gaze at the water and wish for a better life to all. Some were by the river bank and others standing on the bridge. In that season, the current is strong and the water level high. The pro-German mob, who accused the Jews of celebrating the defeat of the government, swarmed on to the worshippers with clubs, hitting them on the head and throwing the bodies in the river. They were drowned and the strong current carried them to unknown destinations. Nobody knows how many died.

Then, the mob moved on to Jewish houses. A few days earlier, they planned to identify Jewish houses by painting red marks on their walls. It was thus easy to break in and ransack the homes and kill men, women and children. In the streets or on public transport Jews were massacred. From far away, one could hear women screaming, “For Allah’s sake do not kill my baby, my child!”. The local police helped the mobs a great deal.

Despite this carnage, some non-Jewish neighbors protected their Jewish friends who lived in the same quarter. The Kurds, in particular, were honest defenders. As the situation worsened, there was a rumor that the British ambassador in Baghdad had requested help from the British commander in Palestine. Two army divisions arrived. It was the British ambassador who told the generals that if they had arrived a day late, another thousand people would have been killed – a hint that the estimated casualties were about a thousand a day.

Those figures by far exceed the official number of 180 to 200 Jews killed in total. Those low numbers were officially released by the government after the meeting of the Regent with the Jewish Community representatives. Those numbers did not include the families that disappeared or people thrown in the Tigris river. The Jewish community buried the victims in a huge mass grave in the Jewish central cemetery. When this cemetery was demolished by the Iraqi Government in 1960, this grave was also destroyed. The Iraqi Government thus erased proof of this genocide.



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