September 26, 2020

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08/12 Links: Anti-Israel Curricula Used Across the US; It’s All Right to Enjoy a Good BDS Fail

From Ian:

Anti-Israel Curricula Used in World History Courses Across the Country
A monograph published late last month of anti-Israel curriculum used in Newton, Mass., public high schools has led to revelations of similar materials in circulation at other school districts in the country, the report’s researcher told the Washington Free Beacon on Thursday.
Steven Stotsky of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) said that since the release of his findings in “Indoctrinating Our Youth: How a U.S. Public School Curriculum Skews the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Islam,” he has received phone calls alerting him to disquieting curricula being used in Michigan and California.
“We turned over a rock and discovered a significant problem,” said Stotsky, about his deep dive into textbooks, articles, timelines, and maps used from at least 2011 to 2015—some possibly still in use—for World History course sections on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Islam in Newton’s two public high schools, which are among the most prestigious in the country.
The materials included the Arab World Studies Notebook, a textbook the American Jewish Committee has previously condemned as filled with “factually inaccuracies,” “overt bias,” and “unabashed propagandizing”; a timeline of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that almost entirely omitted instances of Palestinian terrorism; and a misrepresentative translation of the Hamas charter.
Stotsky said procedures must be established for vetting all materials brought into the classroom.
“Teachers are pulling things off the Internet, and a lot of it is fine, but a lot of it not. They can’t just be giving this stuff to students,” said Stotsky.
He questioned the decision to teach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a history class at all.

Caroline Glick: McMaster’s Policies Completely Contradict Trump’s, Natural Continuation of Obama’s

Jerusalem Post contributor Caroline Glick criticized National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster’s leadership of the National Security Council on Friday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow.
Glick said the problem with McMaster is that “in key issue after key issue, particularly in relation to the Middle East,” he “opposes the things that the president ran on and that he was elected on.”
She quoted Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one of the world’s leading activists against Islamic supremacism, writing in the Wall Street Journal that “President Trump, during the campaign, insisted that it was necessary to go after the political ideology of radical Islam, and he’s just completely stopped.”
“She called on Congress to pick it up and take it on since the president seems to have lost interest in it,” Glick said of Ali’s article. “Whether it’s Iran and countering Iranian influence and rising hegemony in Syria and in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, and, of course, Iran’s nuclear weapons program, these are very, very key issues for the United States and for all of its allies in the Middle East. And on all of these issues, in practice, we see that the policies that the National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, is pushing are at loggerheads with – completely contradict – the policies that President Trump ran on and continues to say that he wants.”
“For instance, I wrote in my column in the Jerusalem Post this morning, the United States special forces are fighting side-by-side with the Lebanese armed forces, which are controlled by Hezbollah, to the side of Hezbollah, which is a global terrorist organization, against ISIS,” she said.
“This is President Obama’s policy, was to try to get the United States to help Iran to take over Syria, without allowing the American people to know that, by saying, ‘Well, we’re fighting ISIS in Syria,’” she explained. “Allow Iran and Hezbollah to take over Syria and present an existential threat to Jordan and a massive strategic threat to Israel and to U.S. interests, in the name of fighting ISIS.”
“This, we see, is a policy that President Trump continues to implement,” Glick said with dismay. “It’s a very, very troubling thing.”

It’s All Right to Enjoy a Good BDS Fail

It is tricky to assess the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. On the one hand, one does not want to underestimate the damage to Israel’s reputation done by even unsuccessful campaigns. The campus boycott movement, about which I have written extensively, succeeds not only when students actually vote to divest but also when onlookers, who have no dog in the fight between pro-Israel and anti-Israel activists, come away with the impression that Zionism is, if not a dirty word, at least suspect. We have been fortunate that BDS has done so much of late to discredit itself, but it would be a mistake to underestimate the campaign’s potential.
At the same time, BDS thrives on the appearance of momentum. Even in the midst of astonishing losses, like the most unlikely one it suffered at the hands of the Modern Language Association, BDS does its best to make it appear as though it is on the right side of history and history is coming at us faster and faster. We do not want to do the work of BDS propagandists for them by making it seem as if they are gaining momentum when they are not.
With those considerations concerning campus boycotts in mind, I welcomed Lana Melman’s injunction over at Algemeiner not to underestimate the parallel cultural boycott of Israel. As Melman pointed out, that movement has its ups and downs. Sometimes a rock star like Elvis Costello decides not to play Israel. Sometimes, resisting considerable pressure, other rock stars, like the Rolling Stones and, most recently, Radiohead, perform there. Arguably, 2017 was a good year in this regard. But, as with academic BDS, the cultural boycott succeeds when artists are compelled to question whether Israel is a place they can, or even should, do business.
Still, in the spirit of not seeing momentum where it likely does not exist, I take respectful issue with Melman’s judgment that cultural boycott pressure is mounting. Consider—welcome fans!—the case of Radiohead. Melman observed that more than 50 artists called for the group to cancel its concert in Israel. But is more than 50 a lot? This is not everyone’s yardstick, but I would not consider any group that I could jam into the house for a cocktail party very large.
I would add that the number of artists who signed was only 47 and they needed to count Archbishop Desmond Tutu as an artist to get to that rather sad number. Almost every signatory—I counted at most five who did not fit into this category—was among the usual suspects of the cultural boycott. So is gathering 47 people, virtually none of whom was new to the effort, to get after Radiohead a sign that the movement is gathering steam? Or is it a sign these people need to learn how to work a Rolodex? And, as a reminder, Radiohead performed.

IsraellyCool: Blood Libel of The Day: Injured Palestinian Kids Edition

Ma’an News reports on an incident that, although not clear, is almost certainly yet another blood libel against Israel.
New details emerged Friday afternoon about the case of four Palestinian Jerusalemite children who were injured under contested circumstances Thursday in an incident involving an Israeli settler.
Initial reports from locals, which Ma’an received and published, said that the four boys were “deliberately run over” by an Israeli settler vehicle in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan early Thursday evening.
On Friday, however, the Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center released a statement saying that the settler, who lives in an illegal Israeli settlement built on the lands of Silwan, “started driving his pickup truck while the children were sitting in the trunk of the vehicle.”

Let’s stop there for a second. Again, yet another blatant lie disseminated – that the boys were deliberately run over. How often do we see this? That’s a rhetorical question by the way.
“The Israeli settler began driving the vehicle very fast, passing the grocery store that the children wanted to go to,” the statement said, “the children started hitting on the back glass of the vehicle to tell the settler to stop, but he didn’t, and continued driving away at a high speed, frightening the children and leading them to jump from the speeding vehicle.”
The children reportedly told the center that they were scared the settler would kidnap them or “take them away from their homes.”
It was the jump that caused the four boys’ injuries, not being hit head-on by the car, as was previously reported.
It remained unclear as to why the boys were in the back of the settler’s vehicle.

None of this makes any sense. The report indicates the Israeli did not stop at the grocery store as the kids wanted, suggesting he was supposed to take them there (i.e. they had asked for a ride). Yet why does it “remain unclear as to why the boys were in the back of the settler’s vehicle”?

Seeing ‘opportunity’ to renew talks, Trump sends three envoys to region

With the Temple Mount crisis ended and calm largely restored, US President Donald Trump believes an “opportunity” has opened up to advance his peace initiative, and is sending three of his top envoys to the region in the days ahead, a senior White House official told The Times of Israel Friday.
Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell will all soon head to the Middle East. The three will meet with leaders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The decision to send the delegation was made after consultations with a cohort of the president’s top advisers, including the newly installed Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
The senior administration official said that Trump sees an opportunity to keep pushing ahead with his attempts to renew negotiations.
“He believes that the restoration of calm and the stabilized situation in Jerusalem after the recent crisis on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif has created an opportunity to continue discussions and the pursuit of peace that began early in his administration,” the official said.

Jordan continues to block Israeli ambassador’s return

Jordan is waiting to see what legal action Israel takes against an Israeli embassy guard involved in a deadly shooting in Amman last month before it allows Jerusalem to bring its ambassador back into the country, a senior Jordanian government official said Friday.
Amman has reportedly told Israel to “hold on” when asked to allow Israel’s ambassador Einat Schlein to return to the kingdom.
The July 23 episode, in which Israeli embassy guard Ziv Moyal shot dead two Jordanians when attacked by one of them, sparked a diplomatic crisis between Jerusalem and Amman. Embassy staff returned to Israel a day later.
The guard said he was attacked by one of the two with a screwdriver, and Israel said he opened fire in self-defense.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the guard a hero’s welcome, infuriating Jordan. Jordan’s King Abdullah II said that Jordan was “infuriated” by the matter, calling it “unacceptable and provocative behavior.”

Palestinian attacker tries to stab ultra-Orthodox man but misses, police clip shows

The female Palestinian assailant who carried out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on Saturday had attempted to stab an ultra-Orthodox man before stabbing another person, said to be an Arab East Jerusalem resident, injuring him lightly, according to security footage released by police.
In the clip, the attacker, a 29-year-old mother of five from East Jerusalem, can be seen crossing a street before pulling out a knife and taking a few swipes at the ultra-Orthodox man, who dodges the weapon and manages to get away. The footage does not show the stabbing of the victim, who according to some reports in the Hebrew-language media was a resident of East Jerusalem wearing a shirt with Hebrew writing, whom she mistook for a Jew.
The man, who was lightly wounded in the arm as a result of the attack, was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus for treatment before being released.
Police said the attacker was overpowered and arrested by police officers at the scene after stabbing the man. She was then taken for questioning.

Zoabi denied entry to Russia

MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List) was denied entry to Russia on Friday.
According to reports, Zoabi was refused entry by airport officials in Moscow because after she was found to be in possession only of her diplomatic passport, and did not have an entry permit as required.
The Israeli Embassy in Russia received notification of the delay and tried to help Zoabi enter the country. In the end, she was permitted to enter Russia.
The Foreign Ministry said in response, “The Israeli embassy in Russia received information and tried to help. Eventually she was permitted entry and we welcome this.”
Zoabi is often controversial and is notorious for her anti-Israel actions and statements.
Last year, the Knesset Ethics Committee severely reprimanded her for her inflammatory comments in a plenum debate regarding the rapprochement deal with Turkey.
Zoabi started a brouhaha in the Knesset when she “celebrated” the Turkey deal, which included the payment of reparations to the families of the terrorists from the Mavi Marmara.

Palestinians Escalate War on Journalists

In this cartoon by Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh, an Israeli journalist, carrying a microphone dripping with blood, is interviewing a dog.
Such incitement was easy to find on Palestinian social media websites this week. The presence of several Israeli Arab journalists seemed to roll right over the racist, raging Palestinian journalists — it is the presence of Jewish journalists that they cannot stand.
This attack on Israeli journalists has been backed by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), a Fatah-affiliated group headed by Nasser Abu Baker, a correspondent of the evidently unprofessional Agence France-Press: Baker has also run for election in the Fatah Revolutionary Council.
In a statement published in Ramallah, the PJS strongly condemned the presence of Israeli (Jewish) journalists in Ramallah and urged Abbas to hold accountable whoever gave the Israeli journalists permission to come to the city to cover the Jordanian king’s visit.
It seems that for the PJS, the presence of Israeli (Jewish) reporters in Ramallah is more disturbing than the arrest of Palestinian journalists by the PA and Hamas.
For the record, in recent years the PJS has served as a mouthpiece for Abbas’s office; instead of defending the rights of Palestinian journalists, it devotes more than 95% of its words and actions to denouncing Israel and whipping up rage against Israeli journalists.
Palestinian journalists’ hateful obsession with Israel brings them no dividends. Rather, such venomous bias diverts attention from the true challenges and threats they face from the PA and Hamas. By expending their efforts in this twisted fashion, the reporters aid and abet their leaders in building dictatorial regimes that suppress public freedoms.

Hamas Sentences Singer to Five Years in Prison for Songs Criticizing Terror Group

A Hamas military court in the Gaza Strip has sentenced a local singer to five years in prison after he performed songs critical of Hamas and the authorities in the enclave.
The Palestinian singer, Adel al-Mashwakhi, is known for his songs and stand-up comedy routines against the authorities, including the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas and the leadership of Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
Al-Mashwakhi is a resident of the Gaza Strip and is officially employed by the Palestinian police. He managed to leave the strip in recent months to receive medical care in Egypt and decided not to return to Gaza, resulting in his sentencing in absentia. The court ruled that he would serve five years in prison and be expelled from the police for a song that angered Hamas.
In a conversation with Palestinian media, al-Mashwakhi said that he wasn’t surprised by the sentence. He asserted that the sentence was political in nature “covered over by arguments of security.” He added that it was no different from the 13 previous sentences against him, all of which were the result of the content of his performances.

Roger Waters: Orders Not to Discuss Israel in US Media ‘Came From Above’

Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters intimated this week that a pro-Israel conspiracy controls what can be said about the Jewish state in the US media.
In a Russia Today (RT) interview, Waters was asked to comment on why his fervently anti-Israel views supposedly do not appear in the American media, leading Waters to recount an incident that allegedly occurred behind the scenes on PBS’ “Charlie Rose” talk show.
He claimed that he asked a producer of the show why he could not comment on Israel and was told, “We’re not quite sure, but it comes from above.”
Waters followed this with the cryptic comment, “So, you can figure it out for yourself. It’s not rocket science.”
One of the most outspoken supporters of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, Waters routinely attempts to persuade — some say bully — artists into canceling or refusing to play concerts in Israel.

CNEWA Misleading Its Supporters on Christian Population in Israel

The Catholic Near East Welfare Agency, a Papal charity that helps beleaguered Christian populations in the Middle East, is not being honest with its donors and the general public. It is misinforming its donors and the public in a report titled “Middle East Christians On the Move.”
Two Big Problems
The report claims to provide information about Christian populations in various countries in the region. In particular, the report obscures two important facts about Christian populations in the Middle East.
The first important fact about Christians in the Middle East that the CNEWA report obscures is that Israel is the one country in the region where the indigenous population of Christians has increased in recent decades.
CNEWA obscures this reality with a graphic that declares Israel’s Christian population has declined by 50 percent since the 1940s. By picking “the 1940s” as the starting point for this comparison, CNEWA included the impact the War for Independence on Israel’s Christian population, thus obscuring the dramatic increase in this population since 1948.
Here is the graphic in question:
This graphic obscures another reality. The Christian population in Israel now matches or exceeds what it was in the 1940s. According to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, there were approximately 136,000 Christians in Palestine at the end of 1944.
According to CNEWA’s own numbers (see below), there are approximately 170,000 Christians living in Israel today, and Israeli figures indicate that approximately 130,000 of these Christians are Arab Christians living in Israel. In other words, there are more Christians living in Israel today than there were in the 1940s, prior to the War for Independence. Moreover, the indigenous Christian population has recovered to close to what it was in the 1940s. As humiliating as it may be for CNEWA to accept, Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel has proven to be beneficial for Christians living in the Holy Land.
The second important fact about Christians in the Middle East that CNEWA obscures is that more than 1 million Christians have been driven from their homes in Iraq since the ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by U.S. forces in 2003. Instead communicating the reality of this decline to CNEWA donors, the text associated with the graphic reports that 50,000 Christians have left the country since 2014.

The Atlantic Wrongly Blames Israel for Jerusalem Impasse

On July 27, the Atlantic published an article about the recent controversy over the Temple Mount entitled, “Palestinian and Israeli Leaders Are Struggling to Respond to Al Aqsa Crisis.” (The article appeared the day before Alice Su’s extremely problematic “The Anger in Jordan’s Streets.”) Writer Gregg Carlstrom’s discussion of Jerusalem and of that city’s role in the peace process ignored key events, and wrongly blamed only Israel for intransigence.
Referring to the city’s central holy site by its Muslim, and not its Jewish name, Carlstrom wrote, “the Aqsa compound is a uniquely resonant spot, one of the few places where the city’s Palestinians feel they have control.” He continues,
In 1967, when the Israeli army captured the Old City from Jordan, it recorded the event in matter-of-fact military prose: “The Temple Mount is in our hands,” said the day’s after-action log. Around the same time Moshe Dayan, the storied Israeli general, drove up to Mount Scopus, which offers a commanding view of the city. Looking down at the Old City, he leaned over to a colleague, the head of the central command, andwhispered a single question: “What do we need all this Vatican for?”
Carlstrom might have, but didn’t, mention the elation among many Israelis at the return to the Old City. He might have mentioned that Israel captured eastern Jerusalem only after Jordan attacked; or that 19 years earlier, Jordan had ethnically cleansed eastern Jerusalem of its Jewish population. Or, that in Israel’s moment of triumph, Dayan voluntarily gave administrative control of the holiest site of the Jews to the Muslim Waqf.
Instead, however, he chose to downplay the centrality of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall in Judaism by choosing that particular anecdote about Dayan, and only later mechanically reciting that “the Aqsa compound is also the holiest place for Jews, who know it as the Temple Mount, the site of the biblical temples.”

One killed, 26 injured as car plows into counter-protesters after Virginia far-right event

One person was killed and a number of people were injured when a car plowed into counter-protesters marching in Charlottesville, Virginia against a far-right “Unite the Right” rally in the city which saw violent clashes between white nationalists and their opponents earlier in the day.
Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said on Twitter that he was “heartbroken that a life has been lost here,” and urged “all people of good will — go home.”
A witness estimated a dozen had been hurt in the collision — which he called “intentional” — saying one girl got “tore up” after the car “backed up and they hit again.”
He said the dark sedan “raced down here, jumped over the speed bumps and it backed up and it hit everyone again.”
“There was a girl that was on the ground; she was trying to get up,” he added.

Virginia governor declares state of emergency over violent far-right rally

Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency on Saturday as violence erupted between thousands of white nationalists and counter-protesters ahead of a scheduled far-right rally named “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville.
Police began evacuating the city’s Emancipation Park and making arrests after declaring those gathered there to be part of an “unlawful assembly.” There were two “serious but not life-threatening” injuries, police reported on Twitter.
Clashes had earlier broken out between various white supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, and so-called “alt-right” supporters as well as other nationalist groups, and members of Black Lives Matter, faith leaders and antifa (anti-fascist), a far-left group whose activists often dress in black and wear balaclavas.
Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said he was disgusted that the white nationalists had come to his town and blamed US President Donald Trump for inflaming racial prejudices with his campaign last year.
“I’m not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you’re seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president,” he said.
Trump wrote on Twitter after the park was cleared that “there is no place for this kind of violence in America.”

Violence erupts between white nationalists, counter-protesters at Virginia far-right rally

Tensions ran high and some violence erupted on Saturday as hundreds of counter-protesters faced off with white nationalists and white supremacists ahead of a far-right rally named “Unite the Right” in Virginia scheduled for later in the day.
Thousands of white nationalists, including supporters of the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group, turned out in Charlottesville, a quiet university town planning to remove a statue of General Robert E. Lee, who led Confederate forces in the US Civil War.
The counter-protesters included members of Black Lives Matter, faith leaders and antifa (anti-fascist), a far-left group whose activists often dress in black and wear balaclavas.
Members of the far-right groups used smoke bombs and pepper spray against the counter-demonstrators, on a number of occasions breaking the line to beat them with sticks or throw water bottles at them, in footage from the scene posted on social media. Counter-protesters also sometimes charged at the nationalist groups.
Chants including “Black Lives Matter,” “No Nazis, No KKK, No Fascist USA,” were heard, as well as, on the other side, “F#ck you, faggots” and “Blood and soil,” a racist German phrase coined in the late 19th century and popularized with the rise of Nazism.

Torch-wielding white supremacists march in Virginia University

Hundreds of torch-wielding white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia campus, chanting racist slogans and clashing with a small group of counter-demonstrators.
In videos of the march, which lasted about 20 minutes late Friday, the far-right activists can be seen using the torches and ropes to beat the counter-demonstrators next to a statue of Thomas Jefferson.
Many of them chanted “White lives matter!” “You will not replace us!” and “Jews will not replace us!”
Several can also be seen giving the Nazi salute and using the Nazi slogan “blood and soil.”
Police intervened after some of the demonstrators were sprayed with tear gas. The march came on the eve of a larger planned gathering of far right and white supremacist groups in the university town of Charlottesville.
The National Guard has been put on alert because of the risk of violence during Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally. Counter demonstrators are also expected.

Researchers find dozens of Jewish headstones at Babi Yar

Nazi troops dumped dozens of stolen Jewish headstones at the same site near Kiev where they murdered tens of thousands of Jews, researchers in Ukraine discovered.
The Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center last month extracted 50 headstones from the Babi Yar ravine, where Nazis and local collaborators murdered more than 150,00 people, including 50,000 Jews, starting in September 1941.
“The tombstones were removed from a local Jewish cemetery during the Holocaust and thrown into the same ravines where over 150,000 Jews, Roma people and Ukrainians were murdered during the Holocaust,” Marek Siwiec, a former Polish politician and current head of the memorial center, said in a statement earlier this week about the discovery.
With a mandate from the Ukrainian government, Siwiec’s organization, which was set up last year, is heading international efforts to commemorate the Babi Yar tragedy in a manner befitting its scale. Jewish victims are memorialized at the site only by an unfenced six-foot menorah, which is situated near a dumping ground for industrial waste and is vandalized regularly.

Oil bonanza in Golan may help grease wheels for BRI

A burgeoning oil bonanza in the Golan Heights could be paving the way for China to strengthen its role as a peacekeeper in the troubled region, while at the same time smoothing the way for its Belt and Road Initiative.
Since regional stability is key to China’s continued access to Mideast energy sources and to push forward the BRI, Beijing is stepping up efforts to help resolve the Syrian crisis and the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It is becoming more proactive in supporting a negotiated political settlement in Syria, proposing a trilateral dialogue among China, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and moving ahead with regional infrastructure projects in Syria, Jordan and Israel – where it will be importing 20,000 infrastructure workers.
China is thus becoming a de facto regional stakeholder in the Middle East, as it is increasing resources to protect its growing portfolio of assets and citizens there. In July it deployed its first batch of troops to the new naval base in Djibouti to augment its ongoing United Nations peacekeeping presence in South Sudan (UNMISS) and Lebanon (UNIFIL), has offered 8,000 peacekeeping troops on permanent standby to conflict zones, and may join the Golan’s UNDOF in the future.
‘Billions of barrels’
In November 2015, Afek Oil and Gas, a subsidiary of the US company Genie Energy, discovered an oil bonanza in the Golan Heights “with the potential of billions of barrels”. In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 News, Afek chief geologist Yuval Batov said the layer was 350 meters thick, which is 10 times as large as the average oil find worldwide.

Low-Cost European Carrier Wizz Air Ramps Up Expansion in Israel

Wizz Air, Central and Eastern Europe’s largest low-cost airline, Wednesday announced the continuation of its expansion in Israel, with four new low-fare routes set to fly directly to the Jewish state’s southernmost city of Eilat.
The new routes will provide service to Eilat from Riga (Latvia), Katowice (Poland), Prague (Czech Republic) and Bucharest (Romania) beginning in the winter of 2017.
The routes will supplement 18 other connections that are already offered by the low-cost European carrier to Tel Aviv and Eilat. Tickets for the new flights are already on sale.
“Today’s announcement is further underlining WIZZ’s commitment to the Israeli market and its continuous expansion since the first WIZZ flight from Tel Aviv in 2012,” the airline said in a statement, attributing the expansion to “growing demand” for its services in the Israeli marketplace.
In 2017, WIZZ will offer 12 new services from Tel Aviv and Eilat, expanding its flights from Israel to 22 routes in 9 countries throughout Europe.

Israel, the land of milk and honey — and now whiskey?

Israel has been known as the land of milk and honey since Biblical times — but the land of single malt whiskey? One appropriately named distillery is trying to turn Israel into a whiskey powerhouse.
Smooth, honey-brown whiskey is not the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of Israel. However, at the Milk and Honey Distillery, rows of casks proudly stamped “Tel Aviv” hold liters of the stuff.
The country’s first whiskey distillery is preparing to release Israel’s first single malt whiskey.
“It’s a young whiskey,” said Eitan Attir, the distillery’s CEO.
Attir says the brew is aged for three years and two months in virgin oak and old bourbon barrels at the company’s renovated former bakery in a rugged industrial area of south Tel Aviv.
“It’s complex for its age,” he said. “The taste feels like more than three years, more like seven or eight and again the story is much more important in this case. This is the first ever single malt whiskey that any distillery has released from Israel.”
Although wine has been produced in the Holy Land for millennia, and modern Israeli wines have gained international renown in recent years, whiskey production is new to the country.

Conan O’Brien set to film special show in Israel

American comedian and talk show host Conan O’Brien will reportedly film a special for his “Conan Without Borders” series in Israel later this month.
For the filming of the episode, which will be shot at locations across Israel, O’Brien will spend five days in the country barring any last-minute changes, the Ynet news site reported Saturday.
In a Twitter post Friday, O’Brien appeared to confirm the upcoming visit, details of which have been kept under wraps.
“Breaking: Conan O’Brien sends Conan O’Brien to Israel to help Jared Kushner. Stay tuned. #ConanIsrael #ConanWithoutBorders,” he said in reference to US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law’s planned visit to Israel and the region.
An unnamed Israeli source told Ynet that the filming of the episode in Israel was made possible in part by Israeli television executive Avi Nir and Israel’s Consul General in Los Angeles Sam Grundwerg.

How Curious George’s creators saved the beloved monkey from the Nazis

Curious George — that curious little monkey — is beloved by millions of readers around the world. His adventures with the Man With the Yellow Hat impart important life lessons amidst silliness and mayhem.
But many people probably don’t know that the children’s book character was actually born during very dark times. His two Jewish creators, Margret and H.A. Rey, fled the Nazis in 1940 — on homemade bicycles, no less — carrying their unpublished manuscripts with them.
The story of the couple’s daring escape is told in the forthcoming documentary “Monkey Business: The Story of Curious George’s Creators,” which will premiere online and on on-demand platforms on Tuesday, Aug. 15. At the same time, in a coincidence of timing, the 2005 children’s book “The Journey That Saved Curious George,” will be mailed to 8- to 11-year-olds across the country this month through the PJ Library, a non-profit that champions Jewish-themed children’s books.
No matter what the format, the story of Curious George’s creators is a fascinating one.
Hans Augusto Rey (née Reyersbach) and Margret Waldstein first met in Hamburg in the 1920s. Margret, who had studied art at the influential Bauhaus school and whose father was a member of the German parliament, left Germany for Brazil in 1935 to escape the rising tide of anti-Semitism. Hans had been working in Rio de Janeiro as a bathtub salesman. The pair, who had met over a decade before in Germany, married that year and moved to Paris.
Hans worked as a cartoon illustrator for a newspaper, and Margret wrote copy. A French publisher was impressed with some of Hans’ animal drawings and suggested they work on a children’s book. Their first work was “Raphael and the Nine Monkeys,” and one of those monkeys would later become George.

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