Ruthie Blum: A tale of 2 Israeli heroes
Last Friday night, an Israeli soldier on leave for the weekend acted coolly and courageously, rushing to the rescue of neighbors he heard screaming. “Sgt. O.,” whose full name cannot be disclosed due to the sensitive nature of the elite IDF special forces unit in which he serves, ran to the home of the nearby Salomon family to investigate. When he saw through their window that they were being butchered, he promptly grabbed his rifle and shot the perpetrator.
By the time the scene was over, Yosef Salomon, 70, his daughter Chaya Salomon, 46, and son Elad Salomon, 36, were lying in pools of blood on the kitchen floor. Tova Salomon, 68, would only learn of the death of her husband and two of her children upon awakening from the surgery she underwent to repair the multiple injuries she sustained in the knife attack.
The terrorist who maimed and murdered the Salomons was evacuated to an Israeli hospital, where he was treated for the bullet wound from Sgt. O.’s weapon.
Sgt. O. is an Israeli hero whose identity cannot be published, but whose life is intact. A different Israeli hero — one who has been a household name in the country for his decades of musical prowess and gay-rights activism — was not so fortunate last weekend.
Amir Fryszer Guttman, 41, died on Saturday of organ failure, after rescuing his 9-year-old niece from drowning off the coast of Atlit. Fryszer Guttman held the flailing child, his brother’s daughter, above the surface of the waves, forcing himself to stay conscious while bobbing up and down in the water until help arrived. It was not until he was told that the little girl was safe that he passed out for good. He was rushed to the hospital in a coma, and died the following day.
Fryszer Guttman’s story gripped the nation more profoundly than the international crisis surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The ongoing chaos, sparked by an Arab terrorist attack on July 14 — in which two Druze Israeli Border Police officers were killed outside Al-Aqsa mosque — feels like yet another chapter in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. By now, the matter-of-fact heroism displayed by people like Sgt. O. is something that the public has come to take for granted.
But Fryszer Guttman’s death caused everyone — even the most secular of his peers in the entertainment industry and LGBT community — to gasp at its eerily divine significance. This is because he lost his life on the very day that he and his friends and family were celebrating the anniversary of the beginning of his new life.
David Harris: Stop Infantilizing the Palestinians
It’s high time for the international community to wake up to certain Palestinian realities that many would rather avoid. I write as the representative of an organization, AJC, long committed to the search for an enduring two-state agreement, coexistence between Muslims and Jews, and friendly ties with moderate Arab countries.
An obsession with Israel and what it should (and should not) do blinds too many observers of the region to the other side of the equation – what the Palestinians should (and should not) do. Why doesn’t the international community show more backbone in insisting that Palestinians take responsibility for their own behavior?
The Palestinians could have had a state on more than one occasion between 1947 and 2017, yet they rejected each opportunity. The price was recognition of Israel as a sovereign nation alongside the Palestinian state, a price they have been unwilling to pay.
While Israel has come to accept Palestinian nationalism, there has been no reciprocal movement on the Palestinian side to accept Jewish self-determination as its complement.
Moreover, the popular Palestinian belief that Jews are “outsiders,” “interlopers,” “colonialists,” and “crusaders” must be confronted. Jews are indigenous to the region. The age-old link between the Jewish people and the land is documented and irrefutable.
Indulging the Palestinians in their fanciful history allows them to live in an alternate universe, one where Israel doesn’t exist, or, if it does, is only a “temporary and illegitimate” phenomenon.
Ending the infantilization of the Palestinians – and beginning to hold them responsible for their actions – could be one promising way forward for the peacemakers.
On July 14th, Palestinian terrorists smuggled guns into their own holy site, then used those guns to murder two Israeli Druze police officers guarding one of the entrances to the al-Aqsa Mosque. Yet, it’s the installation of metal detectors and cameras – nothing more nothing less, not the heinous use of a holy site as a launch pad for murder and terrorism that has the Palestinians enraged.
To an objective observer, the crisis that erupted in the aftermath of a bloody terror attack makes no sense. Israel’s placing security devices at the entrance to all al-Aqsa entrances was a preventive security matter plain and simple and designed to detect metal objects being carried onto the Temple Mount to prevent a recurrence of the crime and to protect worshipers coming to pray.
Sadly, mere rumors by Palestinians regarding al-Aqsa are enough to ignite a conflagration. In effect, by pretending that the al-Aqsa mosque is under Israeli attack, Palestinian political and religious leaders have deliberately drummed up senseless violence. Nor is this sham new. Palestinian leaders have been making false claims of Jewish threats to the al-Aqsa mosque since 1929.As a result, the predictable response from Palestinians was general outrage and mass riots if the security devices were not removed. So the question arises, how could the installation of metal detectors and high-tech cameras to protect a holy site be considered a cause of war or worse – a new holy war?
Even the King of Saudi Arabia said he saw no problem with the installation of electronic means of inspection, which are the same ones used at Islam’s holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. In Mecca, for example, there are 5,000 closed-circuit television cameras (overseen by a British company, G4S) and, as a security measure, an electronic bracelet is attached to each of the millions of pilgrims throughout their entire stay in the kingdom, allowing the authorities to monitor them. That hasn’t stopped the pilgrimage.
This week, MEMRI released a clip of a July 21, 2017 sermon by Imam Ammar Shahin at the Islamic Center of Davis (ICD) in Davis, California in which he prayed, in Arabic, to “liberate Al-Aqsa from the filth of the Jews… Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them.”
In response, the ICD released a press statement stating: “MEMRI, an extremist agenda driven organization that supports Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, and other Islamophobic news organizations, accused Imam Shahin of anti-Semitism, quoting edited, mistranslated, passages of the sermon out of context.” (Read the full statement here).
On July 26, Imam Shahin’s sermon was condemned by California members of Congress John Garamendi and Brad Sherman (see Appendix I).
Today, MEMRI translated yet another sermon by Imam Shahin at the ICD, from July 14, 2017, in which he made similar statements.
The following is MEMRI’s response to the ICD’s allegations.
Response By MEMRI
Imam Shahin is one of a group of extremist preachers who have been exposed by MEMRI to be delivering incitement to hatred and violence (see Appendix II for list of these). Like the others, after being exposed, Imam Shahin and the Islamic Center of Davis are trying to deflect responsibility from themselves by issuing all kinds of mendacious and libelous statements against the entity that exposed them.
The inciting messages in Imam Shahin’s prayer were absolutely in context; here is the sermon in full from the YouTube channel of the ICD. The viewer can use their own judgment.
Undisturbed by these facts, the Imam warmed up to his favorite subject. “Allah, he said, “wants us to have Jihad in our lives, no matter what and where we are and what is happening.” That, Harmoush continued, is because the conflict with the Jews wasn’t just in Jerusalem: The evil ones, the Imam assured his listeners, will soon demand Mecca and Medina as well.
“Wake up,” he thundered, “it is time to be a Muslim. Prayers are not the only things.” And then, after more talk of Al-Aqsa and its Jewish occupiers, the grand finale: “Oh, Allah, destroy them… Turn them into booty in the hands of Muslims.”
That these two sermons, oozing with anti-Semitism of the crudest kind, could take place, in 2017, in the state of California, should terrify not only Jews but also Muslims who abhor the idea of their faith abused by fanatics who turn scripture into screeds and who use the pulpit to preach for murder. It should also jolt good liberals into action, as they imagine how they would feel if the speakers were, say, right-wing Evangelicals calling on Christ to smite the gays. And it should rouse the ADL into action, if it wants to dispel the mounting evidence that it’s a Democratic Party affiliate primarily interested in ephemeral political scuffles rather than in protecting real Jews from real hate.
All this must happen immediately, before one of the men who sat at the feet of Imams Shahin and Harmoush gets up and decides that the day of reckoning is upon us and that it’s time to do as Allah commands and go slay the Jews.
Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) said the “hateful, anti-Semitic” sermon delivered by Imam Ammar Shahin at the Islamic Center of Davis on Friday was “outrageous and unacceptable” in a statement on Wednesday.
The Islamic Center of Davis is located in Garamendi’s district, which also includes Fairfield and Yuba City Counties.
“The sermon apparently delivered on Friday by Imam Ammar Shahin is outrageous and unacceptable,” Garamendi said. “Hateful, anti-Semitic language has no place anywhere in America, and certainly not in Davis.”
Imam Shahin, who quoted an antisemitic text, prayed for Allah to “destroy” (or “annihilate”) the Jews “down to the very last one” during his Friday sermon.
Shahin’s sermon focused on the ongoing controversy at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where a terrorist murdered two Druze Israeli soldiers earlier this month, leading Israel to restrict access to the mosque and to install metal detectors temporarily.
“The Islamic Center of Davis has a long tradition of cooperation with other faith groups, and I am extremely disappointed that this tradition appears to have been flagrantly violated by this hateful rhetoric,” Garamendi said.
IsraellyCool: Reader Post: US Jews, Are You ‘Woke’ Yet?
So, I gotta’ ask: why has – to the best of my limited knowledge – not a single voice within or outside of the local Jewish community come forward to the police or any other relevant authorities to file an official complaint, and – at the very least – call these guys out publicly for clear, recorded, contextual incitement to mass murder?
In a shocking video presented by the invaluable MEMRI, “Two disturbing videos have surfaced involving California-based Muslim preachers in which both are heard spewing anti-Semitic vitriol as well as issuing implicit calls for violence against Jews. The videos, which are not dissimilar in content and shrill to those which have emerged from Gaza, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab Mideast, reveal the extent to which anti-Semitism is deeply embedded in large segments of the American Muslim community.”
Folks, this is not “crying ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater.” This is handing out gasoline, matches, and rags to confirmed and wannabe’ arsonists – who see it as a sacred vow and duty to fulfill the classic ditty, “Khaybar, Khaybar, al-Yahud – Jaish Muhammed Sa Yahud! – [remember] Khaybar, Jews – Mohammed’s Army is Coming!”
These malevolent ragefests – excuse me, “sermons” – are an obscene call to his followers to commit violence against Jews, as Jews, anywhere – including immediately beyond the walls of the hall where he spoke.
Murders make the news, but pervasive low-level Muslim violence against Jews is barely registered. “If people leave religious objects — a kippa, tefillin — in a car, the car will be attacked,” Ghozlan says. “Jewish homes find swastikas on their mailbox. White powder sent in envelopes.” Hamas and Islamic State flags have been tolerated in demonstrations, where the cry of “kill the Jews” rings out without consequence. Jewish children in France believe it is normal for soldiers to guard their parochial schools, never having known it to be otherwise.
Ghozlan sees a “direct connection” with anti-Semitic violence and the left’s obsessive anti-Zionism. Arabs and Africans would not be as bold in their anti-Semitism, he says, “if they didn’t have the sense that they were encouraged by political movements and opinions in France that incited them to behave in this way.” In the media, Israel and Israelis are portrayed as detestable, as Nazis. Consequently, Ghozlan asserts, “the French public doesn’t care when the Jews get attacked,” claiming that if in January, 2015, the Hyper-Cacher (kosher) market massacre of Jews had not been linked to the Charlie Hebdo massacre, it “would not have been a big deal in France.”
Macron’s Vel d’Hiv address was magnificent; the embrace with Netanyahu was genuine; the audience’s appreciation was wholehearted. But what are good intentions against righteous hatred of so few by so many? A 2014 “Day of Rage” march by 17,000 (mostly) Muslims was dominated by the slogan, “Juif, la France n’est pas à toi” (Jew, France does not belong to you).” The families of the four victims of the Hyper-Cacher massacre took them at their word. French citizens, they made the sadly reasonable decision to bury their dead in Israel, to ensure their graves would not be desecrated.
Algerian security forces have foiled a terror plot masterminded by a terrorist with links to France-based jihadist Amedy Coulibaly and the Islamic State group, the Al-Khabar daily reported Thursday.
Citing “well-placed security sources,” the newspaper said early results of an investigation “show a strong link between the head of the terrorist cell” and Coulibaly, who in 2015 killed a municipal police officer then four hostages in a Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris before being killed.
The alleged head of the Algerian cell, Mohamed Yacine Aknouche, was sentenced by a French court in 2004 to eight years in prison for taking part in a failed plan to blow up a Christmas market in the eastern city of Strasbourg.
The French-Algerian dual national was arrested Tuesday along with a minor and a third person whose identity has not been revealed, in Ain Tagourait, 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of Algiers, Al-Khabar said.
A policeman stands guard on January 21, 2015 in front the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket where jihadist gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed four Jewish men on January 9, 2015 in Paris. (AFP/Eric Feferberg)
Eugene Kontorovich: Israel anti-boycott bill does not violate free speech
Such updating of the 1977 anti-boycott measures could not be more timely. Several United Nations agencies have initiated secondary boycotts of Israel — that is, boycotting non-Israeli companies because of their connection to the Jewish state. In support of such secondary boycotts, the U.N. Human Rights Council is preparing a blacklist of Israeli-linked companies (using such a broad definition of “supporting settlements” that the blacklist could sweep in any Israeli-linked firm).
The UNHRC’s blacklist of Israeli companies is unprecedented — the organization has never made lists of private companies or entities for any purpose. Indeed, as has been shown in a recent report I authored, the Human Rights Council clearly does not regard businesses “supporting” settlements to be a human rights issue except when Israel is involved.
The blacklist is not a mere research project. It will serve as the basis for economic action against the listed firms. Indeed, the UNHRC has not been coy about its motives; a year after passing the resolution calling for the database, it passed a resolution that in effect calls for a partial boycott against Israel. (Existing federal boycott regulations make clear that a regulated boycott call need not be explicit.) It is quite likely that U.N. agencies will begin avoiding business with companies because of those companies’ business with Israel.
Given the timing of the legislative process, starting a bill now that responds to things that have begun to happen and will materialize at the end of the year is not prophylactic; it is merely timely. Moreover, given the United Nations’ extraordinary obsession relating to Israel, it is quite proper for Congress to take what measures it can to forcefully check and deter the increasingly severe manifestations of this bias.
In short, the proposed statute is a timely action to expand the list of prohibited foreign boycotts with which it is forbidden to comply. The legislation does nothing to restrict anti-Israel expressions or even local “BDS activity.” Anyone who wishes to express their opposition to Israel through boycotts is entirely free to do so. The real question is why the ACLU is now attacking the basic constitutional understandings that underpin decades of American foreign policy and civil rights regulation — but confining its new First Amendment standard to laws relating to Israel. (h/t billposer)
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) is working to revoke tax benefits from Amnesty International’s donors, in accordance with the Boycott Law, Hebrew-language news agency Israel Hayom reported.
Two months ago, Amnesty submitted a report titled, “Israel’s Occupation: Fifty Years of Dispossession.”
On their website, international advertisements, and Facebook page, Amnesty called on the world’s countries to boycott Israeli goods manufactured in Judea and Samaria, and place a weapons embargo on the State of Israel.
Amnesty also claimed Israel is a “war criminal” because the “settlements” are “war crimes.”
Kahlon’s efforts would revoke tax benefits from Amnesty’s Israeli supporters, a step which is expected to severely harm the amount of donations the organizations will receive.
In a letter to Kahlon, MK Miki Zohar (Likud) wrote, “Amnesty works constantly to persecute and slander IDF soldiers. Once, they even claimed IDF soldiers starve Palestinian children. Amnesty supports illegal infiltrators and draft refusers, and works with all its might to harm the State of Israel.”
“I ask you to use the Boycott Law, which will enable us to immediately revoke Israel’s recognition of donations to Amnesty, since it is an organization which encourages others to boycott all or part of Israel.”
Several days ago, pro Israel activist Ari Fuld was in Hebron, where he saw the press interviewing Arabs and “activists” who he says were “lying through their teeth.” So Ari stepped in and decided to confront these people and their lies.
None of this is surprising. You simply cannot be in charge of the facts and supporting the palestinian Arabs in this conflict. Unless you hate Jews, of course.
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind on Wednesday blasted pro-Sharia law and anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour for claiming that Palestinian Arabs’ actions in the wake of Israel’s security measures on the Temple Mount amounted to “an act of non-violent resistance”.
Hikind’s comments referred to the following Facebook post written by Sarsour last Saturday:
“This is commitment. This is inspiration. This is Palestine. Denied access to pray at Al Aqsa Mosque in their own homeland, Palestinians pray on the streets in an act of non-violent resistance… While the world powers continue to turn a blind eye to the injustice against and the suffering of the Palestinian people, they remain steadfast and teach us life.”
In response, Hikind said, “This is Linda Sarsour writing on Facebook on Saturday July 22. These words glorifying actions that would turn into riots. These words written 12 hours after the innocent Salomon family was attacked in their home by a blood-thirsty madman.”
“The Solomon family was celebrating the birth of a child because Jewish tradition is to celebrate life. Their attacker took a knife and murdered three members from this family because he was raised to deliver terror and death,” he continued.
“This is Linda Sarsour’s description of teaching us ‘life.’ This is her ode to non-violent resistance.”
In December 2015, a focus group of Muslim-Americans spoke with CBS News contributor and Republican strategist Frank Luntz. At one point during the wide-ranging discussion, Luntz asked panelists to describe their opinions of Israel.
I remember seeing the below video at the time, but I did not realize until now – after it was pointed out to me – that Linda Sarsour is one of the Muslim-Americans featured in it (a “before they were famous” moment, if you will).
Watch what she says about Israel as a Jewish state (doesn’t work in all countries).
The logical conclusion? She wants Israel dismantled as a Jewish state.
Yet she would have us all believe she likes Jews.
I guess just those who don’t believe in their historical homeland.
Notice it is not on YouTube. That is because the YouTube version was just removed (after gaining over 5,000 views), and I was greeted with this message:
Clearly, some Israel haters (perhaps including Waters himself) reported the video to YouTube. Yet the only hate speech in it is that of Waters! I merely shined a spotlight on his own words, providing some commentary and rebuttal in the form of subtitles.
Like we have seen before, the Israel haters and antisemites are gaming the system to silence pro Israel advocates like me. Because they cannot actually win with facts and logic.
News flash: I won’t be silenced.
If it is ever “toxic” to deem ISIS a terrorist organization, then — regardless of whether that is the result of human bias or an under-developed algorithm — the potential for abuse, and for widespread censorship, will always exist. The problem lies with the very concept of the idea. Why does Silicon Valley believe it should decide what is valid speech and what is not?
Conservative news, it seems, is considered fake news. Liberals should oppose this dogma before their own news comes under attack. Again, the most serious problem with attempting to eliminate hate speech, fake news or terrorist content by censorship is not about the efficacy of the censorship; it is the very premise that is dangerous.
Under the guidance of faulty algorithms or prejudiced Silicon Valley programmers, when the New York Times starts to delete or automatically hide comments that criticize extremist clerics, or Facebook designates articles by anti-Islamist activists as “fake news,” Islamists will prosper and moderate Muslims will suffer.
What did the machines learn? Only one way to find out. I asked Perspective to rate the following sentiment: “Jews control the banks and the media.” This old chestnut, Perspective reported, had a 10 percent chance of being perceived as toxic.
Maybe Perspective was just relaxed about sweeping generalizations that have been used to stain entire ethnic and religious groups, I thought. Maybe the nuance of harmful stereotypes was lost on Google’s algorithms. I tried again, this time with another group of people, typing “Many terrorists are radical Islamists.” The comment, Perspective informed me, was 92 percent likely to be seen as toxic.
What about straightforward statements of facts? I reached for the news, which, sadly, has been very grim lately, and wrote: “Three Israelis were murdered last night by a knife-wielding Palestinian terrorist who yelled ‘Allah hu Akbar.’” This, too, was 92 percent likely to be seen as toxic.
You, too, can go online and have your fun, but the results shouldn’t surprise you. The machines learn from what they read, and when what they read are the Guardian and the Times, they’re going to inherit the inherent biases of these publications as well. Like most people who read the Paper of Record, the machine, too, has come to believe that statements about Jews being slaughtered are controversial, that addressing radical Islamism is verboten, and that casual anti-Semitism is utterly forgivable. The very term itself, toxicity, should’ve been enough of a giveaway: the only groups that talk about toxicity—see under: toxic masculinity—are those on the regressive left who creepily apply the metaphors of physical harm to censor speech not celebrate or promote it. No words are toxic, but the idea that we now have an algorithm replicating, amplifying, and automatizing the bigotry of the anti-Jewish left may very well be.
A Sheffield-based Muslim radio station has had its license revoked for broadcasting more than 25 hours of sermons “encouraging and condoning” violence against non-Muslims.
Iman FM had its license suspended earlier in the month by Ofcom for playing lectures by radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, but the station claimed it was not aware of his background.
According to the broadcasting regulator, sermons by the infamous al-Qaeda recruiter which were aired by Iman FM during Ramadan “amounted to a direct call to action to members of the Muslim community to prepare for and carry out violent action against non-Muslim people.”
Ofcom further stated that the cumulative effect of al-Awlaki’s statements in the lectures broadcast would “condone, promote and encourage violent behaviour towards non-Muslim people.”
A spokesman for the watchdog told the BBC that Iman Media UK Limited was “unfit to hold a license”, adding: “We have strict rules prohibiting harmful content in programmes likely to incite crime.”
The U.S. government must learn from the tragic case of American student Otto Warmbier and make the release of American hostages in Iran a priority, The Washington Post’s editorial board urged on Wednesday.
Warmbier was detained while visiting North Korea in January 2016, then sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after being convicted of attempting to steal a propaganda poster. While he only intended to tour the country for five days, he ultimately returned home in a comatose state after 18 months in captivity, dying just days after his release from injuries believed to have been inflicted by torture.
Less than a month after Warmbier’s death, Iran sentenced Xiyue Wang, a graduate student and researcher at Princeton University, to 10 years in an Iranian prison on charges of espionage. Wang visited Tehran to research the cultural history of the Qajar dynasty and stands accused of “infiltration” and collecting “confidential articles” after scanning historical documents housed in Iran’s national archive.
Wang is the first American taken hostage in Iran since President Hassan Rouhani won re-election in May after advocating a “moderate” platform. A number of other Americans are also languishing in Iranian jails on dubious charges.
On July 18, the U.S. State Department announced new sanctions against Iran, specifically citing the country’s habit of unlawfully detaining American citizens on trumped up charges. In addition, the White House released a statement condemning the “hostage-takers” in Iran.
A US Navy ship fired warning shots toward an Iranian vessel near the northern Arabian Gulf on Tuesday after the vessel came within 150 yards (137 meters), a US official told Reuters.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the USS Thunderbolt fired the warning shots after the Iranian vessel ignored radio calls and the ship’s whistle. The Thunderbolt was being accompanied by several US Coast Guard vessels.
The Iranian vessel appeared to be from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the official added.
Years of mutual animosity had eased when Washington lifted sanctions on Tehran last year as part of a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But serious differences remain over Iran’s ballistic missile program and conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
US President Donald Trump’s administration recently declared that Iran was complying with its nuclear agreement with world powers, but warned that Tehran was not following the spirit of the accord and that Washington would look for ways to strengthen it.
One of the clearest ways to see the bias in the New York Times is to look at the adjectives, the modifying words that the newspaper uses to describe people in the news. The Times uses these words to signal its readers, to transmit subtle messages about how people are supposed to view the actors on the world stage.
So, for example, as we’ve noted here recently, Israel’s defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is described by the Times as “ultra-nationalist.” Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is described by the Times as “brash,” as well as “loquacious” and “usually taciturn,” two diametrically opposed terms. A former American ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, gets labeled “combative.”
And — in the latest example — the foreign minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, is described by the Times as… “the urbane, American-educated diplomat.”
Netanyahu is also “American-educated,” yet somehow the Times doesn’t usually introduce him in news articles by reminding its readers of that fact.
My authoritative Webster’s Second Unabridged Dictionary defines “urbane” as “courteous in manners; polite; suave; elegant or refined.”
A much-hyped Tehran space launch turned out to be a dud, as the Iranian Simorgh rocket suffered a “catastrophic failure” shortly after liftoff on Thursday and likely blew up before it reached space, two U.S. officials told Fox News.
On Thursday, U.S. Strategic Command, which monitors launches around the world, could only confirm a satellite was not deployed from the rocket. But fresh intelligence assessments on Friday confirmed yet another failure by the Islamic Republic in its mission to place an operational satellite into orbit –something Tehran has never done before, despite repeated attempts over the past few years.
Officials have long been concerned the technology used to put a satellite into space could also be repurposed to make a long-range ballistic missile capable of one day potentially hitting the U.S. The Simorgh rocket is based on a North Korean design.
Iran’s state media on Thursday claimed the launch was successful, but U.S. spy agencies quickly determined that assessment was more propaganda than fact.
Suddenly, my wife shocked me out of my growing stupor: “You won’t believe what I just saw. It’s disgusting!” In response, I wandered over to a large table, where there were approximately ten sets of virtual reality glasses and headphones.
I had walked by the “exhibit” previously, not giving it a second thought. Now though, as I put on the virtual reality equipment, I saw a man holding a baseball bat bashing in the head of what appeared to be another man, who was lying on the ground. Disgusting and disturbing, to be sure.
However, almost immediately, there was a soundtrack: the Hebrew chanting of the blessing for lighting the Hannukah menorah. So, what I was seeing was the brutal massacre of one man by another, accompanied by the lilting blessing that precedes a beautiful, joyful mitzvah.
I watched and listened long enough for it to sink in, and then — literally shaking with revulsion — I ripped off the goggles and the headphones, and threw them onto the table.
I told my wife and daughter that we were leaving that second — and we were soon on the street, reeling with disbelief at what we had each experienced. Here — in the city of my birth, where I lived and worked for most of my pre-aliyah life — was a piece of art that would have brought a grin to Goebbels’s face.
Unsurprisingly, the work was created by a Jewish “artist,” one Jordan Wolfson.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) has been chosen as Forbes Israel’s Woman of the Year.
The list includes 50 women from various fields: scholars, philosophers, directors, businesswomen etc. who have a significant influence on Israeli society.
The magazine wrote: “Every year Forbes publishes a list of the 50 most influential women in Israel. This year, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked takes over the top of the ranking … which is involved in every major intersection in Israeli discourse.”
Shaked said: “I thank Forbes for choosing me as the most influential woman this year. The list is comprised of intelligent, capable and excelling women and it’s a great honor to me to lead this list.”
“I will continue to work to promote the important issues on the agenda. During my two years in office at the justice ministry, I’ve broken many conventions, and I’m just getting started.”
The army appointed Brig. Gen. Ariella Lazrovitch as the military’s chief financial adviser on Thursday, making her the first woman to hold that position and one of four women to serve on the IDF General Staff.
At the ceremony, Lazrovitch received her official promotion to brigadier general from her former rank of colonel. She is the fifth woman currently serving in the IDF to hold that rank, alongside brigadier generals Meirav Kirschner, Ariella Ben-Avraham, Michal Teshuva and Sharon Nir.
Lazrovitch’s full title is financial adviser to the chief of staff and head of the Defense Ministry’s Budgets Department. She replaced Brig. Gen. Sasson Hadad, who has served in that position for the past three years. She leaves her position as head of the Ground Forces’ budget department.
A part of both the military and the Defense Ministry, the chief of staff’s financial adviser builds the army’s budget, in coordination with the IDF’s Planning Directorate and the Finance Ministry. In some cases, the adviser also works with the United States on issues pertaining to Israel’s aid package and joint defense projects.
This promotion makes Lazrovitch the fourth woman to serve on the IDF General Staff.
The Agricultural Research Organization Volcani Center, a government-run institute in central Israel known for its groundbreaking discoveries, is among the three winners of the UNESCO Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences for 2017.
This marks the first time an Israeli organization or individual wins the prize, which “rewards the outstanding scientific research projects of individuals, institutions or other entities working in the life sciences that have led to an improvement in the quality of human life.”
In a statement announcing the three laureates, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said the Volcani Center “has successfully developed cutting-edge innovations and methodologies in agricultural research with practical applications as well as capacity-building programs to promote food security in arid, semi-arid and desert environments, advancing human well-being.”
The other two laureates are from Brazil and Portugal.
China’s Hainan Airlines has submitted a request to the Civil Aviation Authority to operate a route between Guangzhou in southern China and Ben-Gurion Airport, the Transportation Ministry announced on Tuesday.
This would be the third route Hainan Airlines – China’s fourth-largest air carrier and its largest privately owned one – would operate to Israel.
It already operates four to five direct weekly flights between Beijing and Tel Aviv, in addition to the El Al flights between those destinations. Starting in September, Hainan Airlines will also operate three weekly flights between Shanghai and Tel Aviv.
Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said increasing the locations connected by direct flights is expected to provide help in realizing the enormous potential of inbound tourism from China and increase Israel’s exposure as a desirable tourist destination.
Ryanair on Thursday extended its Tel Aviv winter 2017 schedule with a new route to Rome’s Fiumicino (Leonardo da Vinci) Airport.
Currently, Ryanair offers weekly 8 flights from Tel aviv and 14 flights from Eilat’s Ovda Airport. The new weekly schedule will include 28 weekly flights, and is expected to serve 330,000 customers per year.
“We are pleased to extend our Tel Aviv winter 2017 schedule, with a new daily route to Rome Fiumicino, in addition to our other new routes to Baden Baden, Gdansk, Krakow, Milan, Paphos, Poznan and Wroclaw,” Ryanair Chief Commercial Officer David O’Brien said.
“Our 8 Tel Aviv routes, along with 14 Eilat Ovda routes, underline the commitment we have made to boosting Israeli tourism, traffic and jobs and we look forward to continuing to work with Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) and his team to bring even more new routes to Israel in the coming years.
“To celebrate our new Tel Aviv route to Rome, we are releasing seats for sale from just €16.99, which are available for booking until midnight Sunday, July 30th.”
Britain’s summer Pride season — the gay community’s annual chance to marry partying and politics — is now in full swing. This year’s festivities, though, have an added significance as the country marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of male homosexuality.
The event is being widely commemorated: the BBC is screening a series of programs; Prime Minister Theresa May last week held a reception at Downing Street where she acknowledged both her own and her party’s somewhat mixed record on gay rights; and special events and exhibitions are being held across the country. Even the somewhat conventional and conservative National Trust is lending a hand.
When the Homosexual Law Reform Bill finished its tortuous passage through parliament in July of 1967, it marked the beginning of the end of the persecution of gay men by the British state. On this foundation were built the huge achievements of the past two decades — which swept away discriminatory laws, allowed gay men and women to serve in the military, and introduced civil partnerships and equal marriage.
The bill’s author and dogged champion was Leo Abse, a colorful Jewish MP who represented the South Wales mining constituency of Pontypool.
A famous photo of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue at a photographer and signed by the renowned scientist has been sold for $125,000.
The Nate D. Sanders auction house in announcing the sale Thursday evening did not reveal the buyer’s identity.
The Hebrew University stands to benefit from the latest sale, since Einstein bequeathed his estate, including the use of his image, to the Jerusalem institution.
United Press International photographer Arthur Sasse took the picture on March 14, 1951, while covering Einstein’s 72nd birthday party given by his colleagues at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Einstein had tired of smiling for photographers at the party, and when Sasse renewed the request, the scientist instead stuck out his tongue.
UPI editors initially hesitated to publish the irreverent photo, but when they did Einstein was so amused, he ordered nine prints to give to close friends.
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