October 23, 2019

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07/15 Links Pt2: Phyllis Chesler: Are we really living in the 1930s?; Ilhan Omar Claims Palestinian Opposition to Israel Is “Non-Violent”; Labour antisemitism isn’t about the complaints process. It’s about ideology.

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2019/07/0715-links-pt2-phyllis-chesler-are-we.html

From Ian:


Prof. Phyllis Chesler: Are we really living in the 1930s?
I was among the handful who began seeing some awful parallels between the 1930s and today. Of course, the 21st century is so much worse because the entire world is involved in defaming Israel and the Jews; now, it is not merely one country or one continent—but via the internet, the Big lies are proclaimed 24/7, and in every language on earth.

History never repeats itself in exactly the same way and so I must ask: Are we really living in the 1930s? Jews are being menaced and murdered on the streets of Europe; that’s happened many times before (but not at Muslim hands which is now the case). However, Jews are also fleeing Europe and that’s new. Most Jews refused or could not do so in the 30s.

Jews are being shot down in American synagogues, cemeteries are being vandalized, young Jews are being slandered and shamed on American campuses. Black face-masked and violent brownshirt-style mobs occupy the streets, the academy, and the internet.

Just recently at the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) conference in Washington, D.C., more than one hundred angry pro-Palestine demonstrators tried to violently storm the building. They were prevented from doing so.

But there’s more. Our infra-structure has been so fully penetrated that the Jew- and Israel-hating propaganda keeps cropping up everywhere.

Antisemitism Is a Stain on the French Republic

Unfortunately, this year, I regret to say that France sometimes finds it difficult to realize its beautiful values. Beyond the grand declarations, France finds it hard to wage an effective battle against rising antisemitism, in particular its new embodiment as hatred of Israel, which has resulted in the murder of 12 French Jews in recent years.

On the French right, including among lawmakers from President Emmanuel Macron’s party, the hatred of Israel and the United States in general, and of Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular, is blatant; I experience it every day. Iran denies the Holocaust, announces its intention to develop nuclear weapons, and openly declares its desire to wipe the State of Israel — where, by the way, some 150,000 French citizens live — off the map. But Europe and France continue to respond passively.

Paris recently named a square in the center of the city after Jerusalem at a dedication ceremony attended by the mayors of both cities. Yet despite the festive atmosphere, France refuses to recognize Israel’s capital and the capital of the Jewish people, talking instead of “occupation” and supporting the city’s division. This is unfortunate because no peace can come from a historic lie.

My concern is no longer just for the Jews, but for France in its entirety. But I have hope, and I want to remain optimistic. France has proved in the past that it knows how to stand on the side of democracy and freedom. That is why I wish France a clear view of reality, and to remain loyal to the lofty ideals that make the French such a special nation.

BDS Pressure Can’t — and Won’t — Stop Musicians from Performing in Israel

Even when artists do succumb to BDS pressure, it does not necessarily mean they support BDS’s agenda. Many artists simply do not wish to have their art politicized. Other times, BDS has made the atmosphere so toxic with their threats and intimidation, that artists cancel because they fear BDS attacks on their physical safety or damage to their careers.

Naturally, during times of major conflict such as Operation Protective Edge in 2014, cancellations spike for safety reasons, and artists frequently rebook when things quiet down.

Certainly, however, BDS has racked up some “wins.” In 2018, both New Zealand songstress Lorde, and American singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey, canceled their scheduled concert dates under BDS pressure. By and large, however, cancellations in support of BDS remain rare.

When artists bow to BDS pressure — out of agreement or as a result of bullying and intimidation — they unwittingly become political pawns. Apolitical intentions are eclipsed, hate groups claim victory, and Israeli audiences of all faiths miss out.

To BDS proponents, however, the campaign to destroy Israel is not a zero-sum game where their nominal wins are offset by Israel’s greater wins. For BDS, much like terrorists, the occasional success sustains them and generates much sought-after publicity for their mission.

But as long as artists continue to love their fans and to place their art above politics, music will continue to be heard — and hearts will be lifted — across concert grounds in Israel.

Trump names ‘AOC and her crowd’ a bunch of antisemites, Israel haters

US President Donald Trump has brought Israel into his attack on high-profile freshman congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY, 14th District), broadening his offensive to include the entire Democratic Party.

He commented on Monday afternoon, US time, that he is not concerned if people think his tweets are racist. During an event at the White House he said: “As far as I’m concerned if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave,” according to Reuters.

Doubling down, Trump says liberal Democrats ‘hate Israel with unbridled passion’

US President Donald Trump doubled down Sunday night on his comments assailing a group of Democratic congresswomen of color as foreign-born troublemakers, saying it was “sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our Country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion.”

Defending tweets earlier in the day in which he said that unnamed “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” should go back to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Trump said in a new series on tweets that “Their disgusting language and the many terrible things they say about the United States must not be allowed to go unchallenged.”

“If the Democrat Party wants to continue to condone such disgraceful behavior, then we look even more forward to seeing you at the ballot box in 2020!” the president, who will contend against the eventual Democratic nominee, concluded.

Trump, in both sets of tweets, was almost certainly referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and her allies in what has become known as the squad. The others are Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All are American citizens. Only Omar, from Somalia, is foreign-born.

Ilhan Omar Claims Palestinian Opposition to Israel Is “Non-Violent”

Netroots Nation has been a goldmine of Democrats saying ridiculous things. This may qualify as the most disconnected from reality though.

This past weekend, Rep. Ilhan Omar was speaking on a panel and went on a several minute monologue on hypocrisy. Apparently, because our country celebrates the non-violent movements of our civil rights era but we aren’t celebrating Palestinians for their non-violent movement, we are all hypocrites. Amazing how it always comes back to how awful Americans are.

People can have varying views on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It’s no secret that I find the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to be dumpster fire organizations that purposely choose suffering and terrorism over peace. Regardless, what Omar is saying here is objectively false no matter what your view of Israel is. There is no “non-violent” Palestinian movement to “liberate” (her words) them from Israel.

Here’s more non-violence from the Palestinian movement in a video put out just last month.

It should also be noted that liberate in this context clearly means to destroy Israel. How do I know that? Because the Gaza Strip is not occupied. Israel pulled out over a decade ago and it is governed by a terrorist group that was voted in by the residents there. Omar is never pressed on that fact, nor is Rashida Tlaib, as they continually push the “occupation” talking point that is simply false. The logical end game of their views on Israel is its downfall and the erection of yet another Muslim fundamentalist government in the Middle East.

How that’s not more controversial is beyond me, but I realize that inter-sectionalism essentially provides these Congresswomen with total immunity from hard questions.

Tlaib Likens ‘Racist’ Israel to U.S. Segregation During the 19th Century

Freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich) claimed the “racist policies” of the state of Israel were similar to segregation in the United States during the 19th century.

During an interview that was published on Saturday in Jacobin, a democratic socialist quarterly magazine that offers liberal perspectives on politics, Tlaib claimed, “There is continued dehumanization and racist policies by the State of Israel that violate international human rights, but also violate my core values of who I am as an American.”

Tlaib went on to say “separate but equal” doesn’t work for her and that people need to acknowledge that her ancestors were killed and were uprooted from their land. She then added that she wants there to be a recognition of what happened, including a “healing process.”

“Just like we looked at the struggle for black Americans for true equality and access to opportunity to thrive. The same thing that has happened to the LGBTQ community,” Tlaib said. “All of that is why I say free Palestine, that Palestinians deserve human rights.”

Tlaib has a history of criticizing Israel and has been associated with multiple pro-Palestine leaders who have expressed anti-Semitic sentiments.

IfNotNow Proves Its Anti-Israel Bona Fides

Amid the recent eviction of a Palestinian family from the neighborhood of Silwan, East Jerusalem, the radical left-wing organization IfNotNow pleaded with their community through Twitter to “…stand against the Judaization of East Jerusalem.”

Ignoring the particular history and presence of the Jewish people in that region, IfNotNow subconsciously invoked a term used by some of the vilest antisemitic figures and texts in modern history.

For example, one may easily find the following quotes while skimming through Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf:
The Judaization of our spiritual life and mammonization of our mating impulse sooner or later befouls our entire new generation, for instead of vigorous children of natural feeling, only the miserable specimens of financial expedience come forth.

A few pages later:
How far in this the inner Judaization of our people has progressed can be seen from the low respect, not to disdain, which is awarded the craftsman’s work in itself.

That’s right. The same organization that has invited a type of comparison between the Holocaust and the current crisis at the US-Mexico border, is using the rhetoric of Adolf Hitler.

One may also find such language in Henry Ford’s infamous antisemitic tract, The International Jew — The World’s Foremost Problem.

But in the grand scheme of things, the term represents a larger aspect of the rejectionist policies of the Palestinian leadership. This policy has deprived the Palestinian people of establishing a sovereign state next to a neighboring Jewish state.

Labour antisemitism isn’t about the complaints process. It’s about ideology.

The IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism itself – which Corbyn tried unsuccessfully to resist – states clearly that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic”.

But, such regular criticism is not what Mor is referring to.

He’s calling out, as central to the Corbyn ideology, the pathological, obsessive hatred of Israel, one which views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a binary story of good and evil, and which views the Jewish state – indeed any Jewish state – as inherently (indeed, irredeemably) racist, and morally beyond the pale. It’s this ideology – or, as Mor put it, theology – which invariably leads to the conclusion that to identify with and defend the state (as most British Jews do) not only places you ‘on the wrong side of history’, but signifies, as one Guardian contributor framed it, that you lack “the ethical impulses of an ordinary human being”.

In other words, even for those who avoid employing explicit classic antisemitic tropes while vilifying Israel, the acceptance of the view that the Jewish state isn’t merely a state that’s flawed as all states are, but, rather, represents, as the late Robert Wistrich phrased it, a singularly “organic obstacle to peace and progress”, necessarily vilifies Jews qua Jews. Even leaving aside the racist beliefs and motives of its adherents, anti-Zionism, as a political force, inextricably leads to an antisemitic place.

It’s this demonisation of Israel – on display day in and day out in publications like the Guardian – that drives and provides succor to the resurgent antisemitism in the UK, which is why, as Mor argued, the antisemitism crisis that’s engulfed Labour can’t be defeated by members being more careful with their language, or party officials implementing an improved complaint process. It can only be defeated if the Labour Party, and, in fact, the nation as a whole, confronts this pathology, the atavistic worldview that ‘Israel is our misfortune’.

Labour Staff Challenge Corbyn to Take Responsibility for Anti-Semitism or Resign

Over 200 current and former Labour Party staff and supporters have written to Jeremy Corbyn excoriating his response to the latest anti-Semitism revelations about the Labour Party on Panorama. They point the finger unequivocally at Corbyn himself and his office:

“The Party’s response has been to smear Jewish victims, and former staff, accusing them of acting in bad faith… The way the party has threatened and denigrated these whistleblowers is appalling, hypocritical and a total betrayal of Labour’s core values…

“This shameful communications strategy is the creation of your office, which… has cynically used the party, and its outriders, to amplify a smear campaign against critics. But this crisis is ultimately your responsibility.”

They throw down the gauntlet to Corbyn to answer crucial questions, including whether he knew his most senior aides were interfering, and why so many anti-Semites are drawn to support him. They challenge him to “own that responsibility, or give it away to someone who will.” Right on cue, Corbyn is ducking out of tonight’s PLP meeting…

It comes just after current Labour Party staff tabled a highly critical motion in the GMB union which represents them condemning Labour’s response to Panorama. The motion states that it is “reprehensible” and a “source of great shame” that the culture within Labour could have caused staff to have breakdowns or contemplate suicide and slamming the way the party has attacked its whistleblowers. As MPs dither, Labour’s staff are taking matters into their own hands…

New Zealand lawmaker says Jesus’ mother was ‘Palestinian refugee’

A lawmaker for New Zealand’s Greens Party said Jesus’ mother, Mary, and her husband Joseph, were Palestinian refugees.

Golriz Ghahraman on Thursday wrote on Twitter: “They were literally Palestinian refugees. And she (Mary) normally had her hair covered because that’s what modesty looked like in her culture…”

She had been answering a tweet suggesting that by the New Testament, the parents of Christ were refugees.

Ghahraman’s tweet, which has since been deleted without explanation, prompted criticism from Jewish community representatives.

A spokesperson of the New Zealand Jewish Council, Juliet Moses, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “Ms Ghahraman, by refusing to acknowledge that Jesus was Jewish, including when many people pointed out her error, is continuing to erase that connection, a favorite tactic of those who aim to delegitimize the modern day Jewish presence in the land.”

She also said that, “Calling Mary and Joseph Palestinian refugees is ahistorical and disrespectful to the Jewish community, and no doubt the Christian community too.”

Judea was renamed Palestine by the Roman Empire, long after Jesus’ death.

BDS is failing – the never ending story (July 2019)

Here’s the latest installment in our ongoing series of posts documenting BDS fails.
Political

German Protestant church cancels BDS event linked to Palestinian terrorism
The Protestant Church of Germany has canceled an event that was scheduled to feature two hardcore pro-BDS activists, one of whom has ties to fund-raising for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which the EU and the US have designated a terrorist organization.

“We at Church Day have a clear attitude and have therefore asked the @rosaluxstiftung to disinvite the controversial speakers or to cancel the event,” the church tweeted on Thursday. “The foundation has canceled the event planned for Friday.”

‘Jerusalem Post’ exposé leads to closure of BDS group’s bank account in Germany
After a series of Jerusalem Post investigative reports on the bank account of the pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, the German Bank for Social Economy closed the organization’s account on Thursday.

Iris Hefets, spokeswoman for Jewish Voice, confirmed to the left-wing daily taz that the bank pulled the plug on the group’s account because Jewish Voice refused to stop promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

The Wiesenthal Center included the bank in its 2018 top 10 list of worst outbreaks of antisemitism.
Hefets told taz, a publication sympathetic to pro-BDS media coverage, that the account was closed due to “political reasons” and said it was “political censorship.” The formal closure of the account will take place by the end of this week, wrote the paper.

For First Time at UN, India Votes With Israel and Against Group With Ties to Terror
JNS.org – For the first time ever, India voted last week with Israel at the United Nations against granting observer status to a Palestinian human rights organization named “Shahed.”

The motion at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was rejected by a 28-14 tally.

Another Academic Association Bends To The Will Of The Boycott, Divest, Sanction Movement

Meanwhile, the leader of the Palestinians in the West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas, recently gave a speech described by the New York Times as follows: “The Palestinian leader’s long, rambling speech was laced with deeply anti-Semitic tropes, including that the Jews of Europe brought persecution and the Holocaust upon themselves because of usury, banking and their ‘social function.’”

In short, if Israel gave into BDS demands Israeli Jews would have every reason to expect to be ruled over either by a government that explicitly calls for their genocide or by one that blames them for their own near-genocide at the hands of the Nazi’s. As a result, the demands of the BDS movement are completely unrealistic, and academic boycotts that succumb to BDS pressure only further convince Jewish Israelis that their critics seek nothing less than their destruction.

Academia should be and could be playing a much more positive role. The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is incredibly complex with no easy answers. Of course, the Israeli government is very far from perfect. Like all other governments, it can abuse power and cry ‘national security’ to justify misdeeds. Academics have an important role to play in helping the public better understand the situation and in identifying abusive behavior by both the Israeli and the Palestinian governments when it occurs.

There is nothing wrong with academic organizations using their expertise to shine a light on abuses. But by caving in to the BDS movement, they are disqualifying themselves from that role.

BBC Radio 4 listeners are told of ‘Palestinian air’

Again with no evidence provided to support the claim, listeners were told that:

“Encounters between Israelis and Palestinians like this are incredibly rare, set against an often tense political background. […] The conversation quickly turned serious. Israel’s Independence Day was taking place the following week and Suli’s organisation had planned a joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day service the evening before. He invited Susan to attend. Immediately she bristled but answered very honestly. She said she felt that attending would be disrespectful to the sacrifice made by Israeli soldiers who had died for the country.”

Faulkner made no effort to explain to listeners that that annual event – held on what is Israel’s Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism – is considered by many to be controversial with “critics accusing it of legitimizing terrorism and equating Israel’s fallen soldiers and those who attacked them”.

Listeners heard Faulkner’s descriptions of her protagonists’ “attachment to the land”, with one including superficial references to the Six Day War and the Palestinian refugee issue – and promoting the notion of “Palestinian air”.

“Having spent most of her life teaching religious studies, Susan explained that through her faith she felt a real attachment to the land. She also emphasised that the family had sacrificed some quality of life to be there.”

“Suli pointed out his own family’s attachment to the land and how his cousin in Jordan, whose parents were among the thousands of Palestinians who fled or were expelled during the 1967 war, is not allowed to return. His cousin often longs to breathe in Palestinian air, said Suli, and on those days he climbs Mount Nebo from which he can see Jerusalem and the village where Suli’s family still live.”

More one-sided framing followed:

“He talked about how his village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, called Hizme, has continued to suffer under what he describes as an ever-tightening grip of the Israeli authorities.”

Terrorist incidents in and around that village were of course not mentioned in Faulkner’s account.

Singer Pink Criticized Over Photo Showing Her Kids Running At Holocaust Memorial. Her Response Is Priceless.

Pink loves her two children and posting photos of them to Instagram, but sometimes when she does, she receives cruel and critical comments from people suggesting she is a bad parent.

The most recent incident involved a photo Pink took of her two children, Willow Sage and Jameson Moon, running through the pillars of a Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany.

Fox News reported that Pink had received an online backlash over the photo, so when she posted it on Instagram she included a caption calling out the criticism.

“Berlin, I love you,” Pink, whose real name is Alecia Beth Moore, wrote. “And for all of the comments; these two children are in actuality Jewish, as am I and the entirety of my mother’s family. The very person who constructed this believed in children being children, and to me this is a celebration of life after death. Please keep your hatred and judgment to yourselves.”

As Fox reported, Peter Eisenman, the New York architect who designed the memorial in Berlin, had previously said it wasn’t disrespectful for children to play on the memorial.

“People have been jumping around on those pillars forever. They’ve been sunbathing, they’ve been having lunch there and I think that’s fine,” he told the BBC in 2017. “It’s like a Catholic church, it’s a meeting place, children run around, they sell trinkets. A memorial is an everyday occurrence, it is not sacred ground.”

Israelis develop haptic vests for rescue and service dogs

Search-and-rescue dogs and service dogs do absolutely amazing work, saving lives and assisting those in need on a daily basis by command. But what if their handlers are unable to deliver verbal commands, either because of their surroundings or disabilities they may have?

Step in the haptic dog vest, which emits painless vibrations that dogs are trained to recognize as various commands. It was developed by an interdisciplinary research team from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and is set to be presented at the World Haptics Conference in Tokyo this month.

Haptics technology, which simulates the senses of touch and motion, can be helpful in delivering remote commands to dogs for use in search-and-rescue operations, in assisting disabled handlers and in other service-animal applications.

The commercially available mesh canine vest contains four small vibrating motors positioned over a dog’s back and sides that can be used to train or direct dogs to respond to different, painless vibrations sent via wireless remote control. The handler can elicit different commands by controlling the site and duration of vibrations.

Sheryl Sandberg to inaugurate Facebook’s new space in Tel Aviv

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg will take part in the inauguration ceremony of the US social media giant’s new space for startups and businesses, called Playground, in Tel Aviv in August, a spokesperson for the firm confirmed on Monday.

The news of her attendance was first published in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

Playground, located within the Rothschild Boulevard premises of Facebook, will be a dedicated space open to startups, developers, communities using the platform, artists and businesses, the company said in an emailed statement. The space will host events and training programs.

The inauguration of the space will be held in conjunction with the launch of a startup program set up by the social media giant, to help firms in the consumer technology business that have a proven demand for its products to grow.

Each year 13 startups will be chosen to take part in the program’s four tracks: product management, marketing, management and technology development, the statement said. Each cycle will last about four months.

SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum to step down, serve as chairman

After 12 years as SodaStream chief executive, Daniel Birnbaum has announced he will step down from the helm of the Israeli carbonated drink-maker on September 1.

After recently leading the company to a $3.2 billion acquisition by PepsiCo, Birnbaum will now serve as chairman of the company. He will be succeeded by Eyal Shohat, 45, who has served as deputy CEO for the last two years. Shohat will assume the role on August 1, allowing for a month-long transition.

“Following 12 amazing years with you all, and upon completion of the first year of integration with PepsiCo, I’ve decided to step back from the day-to-day operations at SodaStream,” Birnbaum wrote in a letter to employees. “Although this is by no means ‘goodbye,’ it is a significant milestone in my life and one for me to reflect upon. Looking back at the past 12 years, we have accomplished so very much together.”

Birnbaum said he was “honored and delighted” to continue as company chairman, after being offered the position by PepsiCo CEO and chairman Ramon Luis Laguarta.

He told employees of his pride at creating jobs for 3,500 families, proving that “peace is possible” between Israelis and Palestinians, and saving the world from billions of plastic bottles.

New trailer for HBO’s Our Boys, about 3 boys kidnapped before Gaza Operation

HBO just released the first trailer for Our Boys, and although the trailer look makes it look as if the series focuses on both the kidnappings and killings of three Jewish boys and the revenge killing of an Arab that preceded the 2014 Gaza War, several people who have gotten an early look at the show say it is essentially a police procedural following the Shin Bet detective investigating the killing of the Arab teen, Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

The series, which was created by Israelis Joseph Cedar, Hagai Levi and Tawfik Abu-Wael, will be released on August 12. It will be available in Israel on HOT and YES.

The trailer opens with the nerve-wracking phone call to the police by Gilad Shaer as he and his friends, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrah, were held in the back of a car. It was clear to the police from the call, which was not released to the media when the kidnappings first took place, that the boys had been murdered by terrorists.

The trailer goes on to show that, as the police investigated the kidnapping and searched for the bodies, they knew only too well that all three teens were no longer alive. As detectives chased the killers, worried Israelis, who did not know the truth, organized increasingly large and frantic prayer vigils.

Shlomi Elkabetz, who plays the Shin Bet detective who is the central character, says, “The whole country believes they are alive. I fear the day after.”

International Physics Olympiad, Hosted by Jewish State for First Time, Ends With Five Medals for Israeli Team

The International Physics Olympiad (IPhO), held in Israel for the first time, concluded on Sunday with the Israeli national team winning five medals — two gold, two silver, and one bronze.

According to Israeli news website Mako, the team ultimately reached eighth place in the international competition.

Altogether, 360 students from 78 countries came to Israel for the event, along with 250 additional guests. Israel’s delegation was represented by five students chosen through a demanding series of exams. They trained for two years to prepare for the competition.

“The IPhO is a competition between individuals. The competition portion will consist of two days, and each participant will have to solve both theoretical and experimental problems in physics,” the organizers explain on the competition’s website.

“The Olympiad serves as a focal meeting point for academics and talented students who are lovers of Physics,” said Dr. Ofer Rimon of the Ministry of Education, who chaired the event’s steering committee.

Over Four Million Tourists Spent Nearly $6 Billion in Israel in 2018

More than four million tourists visited Israel in 2018 spending an estimated sum of NIS 20.88 billion (approximately $5.8 billion) excluding flight costs, according to a survey published Sunday by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

According to the 15,000 tourists survey, Jerusalem was the location most frequented by visitors, attracting 77.5 percent of all tourists in the country, followed by Tel Aviv with 67.4 percent, the Dead Sea with 48 percent, and Tiberias with 36.2 percent.

Of the tourists, 24.1 percent were over the age of 55, 19.4 percent were between 45 and 54, 35.8 percent were between the ages of 25 and 44, and 20.7 percent were aged 24 and under, the survey showed. The majority of visitors (54.9 percent) were Christian, 27.5 percent were Jewish, and about 2.4 percent were Muslim.

Of those surveyed, 24.3 percent stated the purpose of their stay in Israel was a pilgrimage, 21.3 percent said they came for sightseeing, 30 percent were visiting friends and family, and 8.9 percent were there on business.

In the first half of 2019, 2.265 million tourists entered Israel, compared with 2.063 million tourists for the same period last year, according to a statement released by the ministry.

As Bauhaus marks 100 years, Tel Aviv’s iconic ‘White City’ stands tall

While many in Tel Aviv start the weekend at a sidewalk cafe, there is a small group of visitors walking the streets in search of Bauhaus buildings.

Practitioners of the minimalist architectural movement, founded in Germany a century ago, were among European Jews who fled to British-ruled Palestine when the Nazis took power.

Today Tel Aviv is a leading repository of the modernist style that celebrates its 100th year in 2019.

Bauhaus and its variations are prominent among the 4,000 buildings which make up what is known as Tel Aviv’s White City, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The name comes from the white-painted facades, which together with rounded balconies epitomize the Bauhaus style.

The Bauhaus design school was founded in Weimar, Germany, by Walter Gropius in April 1919, exactly a decade after Tel Aviv was born as a small seaside village on sand dunes near the ancient Mediterranean port of Jaffa.

Driven out by the Nazis in 1933, Bauhaus is part of the modernist movement that had emerged in the 1920s.

First evidence of Crusader siege from July 15, 1099, uncovered at Old City walls

Archaeologists excavating just outside of Jerusalem’s Old City walls have discovered an 11th century moat, the first archaeological evidence of a historically chronicled Crusader siege conducted by Raymond of Saint-Gilles on the Fatimid-controlled city, which ended on July 15, 1099 — exactly 920 years ago today.

Although two contemporary 11th century historical texts refer to the moat, its discovery was only recently made at the Mount Zion Project excavations.

Prior to the moat’s discovery, “some scholars had even doubted its existence,” said excavation co-director Prof. Shimon Gibson, thinking it “a figment of 12th century chronicles… It’s a very exciting discovery.”

Founded in 2008, the ongoing excavations are located along the southern part of the Old City wall close to Zion Gate and are led by Gibson and Prof. James Tabor of the University of North Carolina in Charlotte in cooperation with Dr. Rafi Lewis of Ashkelon Academic College. The site is part of the Jerusalem Walls National Park, which is under the auspices of the Israel Parks and Nature Authority.

Save a Child’s Heart & Israeli Hospital Has Helped 5,000 Kids

Israeli NGO Save a Child’s Heart is helping children from developing countries who suffer from heart problems, together with a hospital in central Israel. Our Bianca Zanini has the story.



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