July 4, 2020

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08/15 Links Pt2: Be ready to defend Israel on campus; Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote for Jill Stein


From Ian:

NGO Monitor: Soros Documents Highlight Irresponsible and Unaccountable Funding to Political NGOs
On August 14, a number of leaked documents from the Open Society Foundations – a political framework funded by George Soros – were posted anonymously on the DC Leaks website. The material covered many different aspects of this activity around the world. For background information on OSF and other Soros funding mechanisms, see Bad Investment: The Philanthropy of George Soros and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (How Soros-funded Groups Increase Tensions in a Troubled Region), Alexander H. Joffe and Gerald M. Steinberg, NGO Monitor, 2013.
OSF’s declared objective is “to work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.” This is the basis for OSF’s often intrusive activities in both closed and democratic societies, including large scale funding of political NGOs.
A number of these as yet unverified documents deal with OSF’s grants to political NGOs through its “Arab Regional Office (ARO) – Palestinian Citizens of Israel” department. Headed by Ammar Abu Zayyad, the ARO is one of a number of funding mechanisms for Israeli and Palestinian NGO’s in the OSF network.
The secrecy and lack of transparency inherent in the OSF’s activities is highlighted in the ARO documents: “For a variety of reasons, we wanted to construct a diversified portfolio of grants dealing with Israel and Palestine, funding both Israeli Jewish and PCI (Palestinian Citizens of Israel) groups as well as building a portfolio of Palestinian grants and in all cases to maintain a low profile and relative distance—particularly on the advocacy front.”

Soros email hack reveals plans to fight ‘racist’ Israeli policies

Hacked emails show that the Open Society Foundations led by Jewish billionaire George Soros have as an objective “challenging Israel’s racist and anti-democratic policies” in international forums, in part by questioning Israel’s reputation as a democracy.
The documents are available on a website, reportedly backed by Russia, that uses anti-Semitic stereotypes to attack Soros.
They reveal that Open Society, which was founded and is chaired by the hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist, gave nearly $10 million since 2001 to groups advancing the rights of Arab Israelis, with an emphasis in recent years on countering what one document says are Israel’s “restrictive measures” against minorities.
“In recent years the radicalization of public opinion and consecutive Israeli right-wing governments have resulted in more restrictive measures against Palestinians within Israel,” a Sept. 1, 2015 review of Open Society’s Arab Regional Office’s work said.
It cites as an example the Jewish Nation State bill, advanced by its sponsors to entrench Israel’s Jewish status, but decried by some Arab Israelis as further marginalizing non-Jewish minorities. The bill has yet to pass.
Among achievements listed in the document, the Arab Regional Office includes increased advocacy by “Palestinian citizens of Israel,” or PCI, in international forums, challenging Israel’s “racist” policies in the face of its reputation as a democracy.

George Soros funds Ferguson protests, hopes to spur civil action

There’s a solitary man at the financial center of the Ferguson protest movement. No, it’s not victim Michael Brown or Officer Darren Wilson. It’s not even the Rev. Al Sharpton, despite his ubiquitous campaign on TV and the streets.
Rather, it’s liberal billionaire George Soros, who has built a business empire that dominates across the ocean in Europe while forging a political machine powered by nonprofit foundations that impacts American politics and policy, not unlike what he did with MoveOn.org.
Mr. Soros spurred the Ferguson protest movement through years of funding and mobilizing groups across the U.S., according to interviews with key players and financial records reviewed by The Washington Times.
In all, Mr. Soros gave at least $33 million in one year to support already-established groups that emboldened the grass-roots, on-the-ground activists in Ferguson, according to the most recent tax filings of his nonprofit Open Society Foundations.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote for Jill Stein

Stein’s claim that Clinton-esque neoliberal policies somehow had anything to do with Nazism was not only ahistorical and nonsensical, it cheapened the Holocaust to make a dishonest political point.
But casting Nazi aspersions on the Clintons and doubts on vaccines and Wi-Fi are not the only conspiracy theories Stein has laundered into the mainstream. She has even peddled misinformation about her prospects to her own supporters in requests for campaign cash:
Meanwhile, earlier this year, Stein’s running mate, Ajamu Baraka, contributed an essay to a volume edited by Holocaust denier and 9/11 truther Kevin Barrett. The anthology’s title? Another False Flag? Bloody Tracks from Paris to San Bernadino. A veritable who’s who of bigots and conspiracy theorists, the book posits that the Charlie Hebdo attacks and many others were perpetrated by the CIA and Mossad.
She has whitewashed abusive dictators and despots. In December 2015, Stein visited Moscow, where she publicly denounced American foreign policy, then personally dined with Vladimir Putin. At no point did Stein criticize the Russian leader for his repressive regime and in particular its cruel treatment of LGBT people.
This tendency to turn a blind eye to the abuses of despots is shared by Stein’s hand-picked running mate, Baraka, who deemed Bashar al-Assad, the dictator of Syria who has murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people, to be a man with democratic legitimacy.

Jewish Labour Movement overwhelmingly votes no on Corbyn

In a landslide vote, 92 percent of the Jewish Labour Movement has nominated Owen Smith for the Labour leadership.
Smith, the Welsh MP, is challenging Jeremy Corbyn for the party leadership. In the same vote, Corbyn received just 4% of the vote while 4% voted for ‘no nomination.’
Smith had resigned earlier this year from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet before challenging for the leadership. This has caused tensions between the two as Corbyn has criticized Smith for causing disunity within the Labour Party.
Corbyn has faced several incidents of anti-Semitism in the party since taking over as leader in September of 2015.
This led to Smith mentioning to the BBC in July: “We have had a massive problem recently with misogyny and intolerance in the party, anti-Semitism, racism and the awful way in which women in the Labour movement have been treated. It’s been appalling to witness this, heart-breaking.”

Unauthorized Images (satire)

Greetings all. Apparently someone is objecting to the unauthorized dissemination of this publicly accessible image. Being a responsible blog, we would not dream of displaying an private personal photograph without appropriate consent.
So here is a screengrab of a webpage which does have consent.
Payment of two shekels?

World Vision: Show us your books

World Vision’s reports on the operation of its Jerusalem office, which serves the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, indicate that between 2007 and 2015 it spent at least $70 million and probably more helping the Palestinians. How much of this sum was spent in Gaza is unreported, but given that this territory was the scene of numerous wars, World Vision’s figure of $22.5 million seems a bit low, especially in light of the organization’s regular boasts about how much it has been able to improve the lives of the children it helps.
To re-establish its credibility, World Vision must open up its books for inspection, not just to outside auditors, but to its donors and supporters throughout the world. Telling us that the books have been audited is not good enough — Bernie Madoff said the same thing. It is time for World Vision to show us the books.
The organization is also going to have to reset its moral compass when dealing with Hamas. Over the course of the past few decades, key World Vision staffers have whitewashed Hamas’ crimes against children in the Gaza Strip, while demonizing Israel. Tom Getman, who worked for World Vision for 25 years, first in Jerusalem and then in Washington, was one of the worst offenders. During the Second Intifada, Getman wrote, “It is being suggested by several journalists that a purposed ethnic cleansing is the last gasping effort of a dying Zionist vision in order to sign a death warrant to a parallel viable Palestinian state.” What Getman failed to acknowledge is that it is Palestinian leaders, Hamas especially, that deny Israel’s legitimacy, not the other way around.
Another example of World Vision’s moral obtuseness came in 2009, when the organization’s office in Jerusalem issued a report about fighting between Hamas and Israel that among other things called on Israel to relax its blockade of the Gaza Strip, but made no demands on Hamas whatsoever. Asking Hamas to stop firing rockets at civilians in Israel would seem to be a reasonable demand for a child advocacy and welfare organization, but World Vision said nothing.
World Vision needs to get its house in order, and fast.

Following up on World Vision’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in Gaza

In 2014, World Vision (WV) noted with pride on its website that Mohammed Khalil El Halabi had been named a United Nations humanitarian hero for his work leading the international evangelical Christian mega-charity in Gaza, the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory.
A year later, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), a right-leaning Israeli think tank, produced a lengthy white paper on WV’s work in Gaza. It asserted that WV promoted “an anti-Israel narrative in order to obscure the role of Hamas in creating a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. By serving as a conduit of misinformation about the Arab-Israel conflict, World Vision increases its income as it assists Hamas in its propaganda war against the Jewish state.”
Neither the WV web post or the JPPA report received meaningful news media attention. That’s as you might expect. In-house employee praise or white papers by groups with an obvious dog in the fight — particularly those right-of-center on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — tend to gain little traction with mainstream journalistic professionals.
Here’s what does receive attention: Last week, Halabi was charged by Israel with being a Hamas agent who diverted significant WV funds to the Sunni Islamist Palestinian group that the United States and other nations have labeled a terrorist group.
WV is based in the Seattle area, so let’s also see what the hometown newspaper did. Lacking its own international resources, the Seattle Times fell back on the time-honored journalistic slight-of-hand of having a staffer add a local veneer to a rewrite of wire reports. Been there, done that.

IsraellyCool: Missouri African American Churches Reject BLM Statements On Israel

In a Letter to the Editor of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Bishop Lawrence M. Wooten, President of the Ecumenical Leadership Council of St. Louis, wrote,
Bishop Lawrence WootenWe sincerely recognize the value of law enforcement officers and realize that the majority are devoted public servants. However, we also believe that Black Lives Matter plays a vital role in addressing racially driven police abuse in America.
Recently, Black Lives Matter issued a platform of demands. One of the demands called for the elimination of U.S. aid to Israel. Their argument is that Israel is an apartheid state perpetrating genocide against the Palestinians. Most of the platform’s readers are likely unaware that its Israel/Palestine section was written by an activist who was born and raised as a Jew, although Rachel Gilmer says she no longer identifies as Jewish.
The Ecumenical Leadership Council of Missouri, representing hundreds of predominantly African-American churches throughout the state, rejects without hesitation any notion or assertion that Israel operates as an apartheid country. We embrace our Jewish brethren in America and respect Israel as a Jewish state.

Thank you to Bishop Wooten and to those with whom he consulted to prepare this statement.
This is especially significant because it was in Ferguson, Missouri that Black Lives Matter gained national attention, and it was during the protests in that city that anti-Israel activists began their mission to coopt the BLM movement. Bishop Wooten has also been involved in community empowerment efforts in the aftermath of the Ferguson protests and he has a street named after him.
It remains to be seen whether others will follow.

Gil Troy: Be ready to defend Israel on campus

The new school year is approaching. Jewish students are returning to campus or starting their university adventure. Unfortunately, rather than simply celebrating, we also must gird for another fight over the nefarious movement to boycott democratic Israel.
While this remains a golden age for Jews on campus, with Jews feeling more comfortable than ever in the university, the anti-Israel obsession on campus is mushrooming. In an age of ISIS and lone wolf terrorists, with Iran aspiring to go nuclear and Russia busy manipulating U.S. elections, somehow Israel is considered the world’s big problem. There are four essential moves to make in fighting this scourge.
First, don’t let the haters win by making the conversation about Israel solely about boycotts, delegitimization and anti-Zionism. We need a new Zionist conversation on campus, building on the excitement that Israel trips generate and looking at Israel as an inspiration and a model of three-dimensional Jewish living rooted in the past, seeking meaning in the present and building toward a better future. We should use a new appreciation of Israel to revitalize our Jewish identities, and look at Judaism as a process of becoming not just being, as well as one of growing, stretching and challenging assumptions, values and lazy habits of thought. If we start by seeing Zionism as the movement to improve Israel and create a new Jew – one who’s prouder, stronger, freer, more comfortable, more self-critical and more dynamic – we can start looking at Israel, Zionism and Judaism as opportunities, not burdens.
Next, once we solidify our ties to Israel, we will indeed naturally, easily and happily defend it. Don’t claim Israel is perfect – no country is. But Israel is eminently defendable. Make the democracy argument, that as one of the few countries in the world with free elections, free press and free thought, it has built-in mechanisms for self-improvement. Make the peace-making argument, that it’s a country surrounded by enemies, one that has repeatedly made risks for peace and responds better to encouragement than delegitimization, meaning that all these libels against Israel make matters worse.

Enough talk on NUS – Time to take action

You wrote that you understand Jewish students who are saying “Why should Jewish students have to work that bit harder to have their voices heard?” But here’s the thing. You are how we make our voices heard.
When Jewish students overwhelmingly say “we want to disaffiliate” and UJS’ response is “Jewish students must not walk away from NUS”, it isn’t Malia silencing our voices, it’s you.
Six months have gone by since the election.
Six months in which Malia has failed to renounce her earlier support of violence against Israeli civilians, who are friends and family to many of us here in the UK.
Six months in which anti-Semitic, anti-LGBT, anti-feminist groups such as CAGE have continued to be welcomed onto our campuses by NUS executives.
Six months in which the situation of Jewish students has only gotten worse.
I know I’ve asked both of you a lot of questions already, but allow me just one more. Where is your red line? What will it take for you to stand up and say “NUS has gone too far, and now we’re going to make a stand”?
I look forward to hearing from you.

Call to Ban New Israel Fund Lecturers from IDF Bases

Attorney Doron Nir Tzvi, from the Lavi organization submitted an urgent request to the director-general of the Defense Ministry, Gen. (ret.) Ehud Adam, to bar access to IDF bases to lecturers from organizations financed by The New Israel Fund, the Hartman Institute and Binah and to prevent them from speaking to officers.
Nir Tzvi cited statements made by these lecturers which he said were tantamount to incitement against elected officials and contended that their conduct was offensive to entire sectors of the Israeli public.
“Their ways are completely counter to the spirit of the IDF and democratic values…and the connection with them such be severed,” he said in a statement.
Nir Tzvi quoted Daniel Hartman, head of the Hartman Institute, who said in a recent interview: “If only the problem was just Netanyahu. So yes, Bibi is living in Germany of 1938, but the challenge is one of education- to deal with the distorted roots in the society.”
In another context, Hartman said that “Israel appears to the world as the realization of anti-Semitic stereotypes, and exposes Jews in the Diaspora to criticism from their neighbors who connect the state of Israel with Jews who support it.”

Women’s flotilla to set sail in September or October

Dr. Mazen Kahel, the head of the European campaign aimed at breaking Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza, provided more details on a planned women’s flotilla to Gaza, first announced in March.
Speaking to Hamas’s Palestine newspaper on Saturday, Kahel said that two ships will set sail from Spain towards Gaza in late September or early October.
He added that 25 women will be on board the two ships, including political activists, lawyers and parliamentarians.
The flotilla will last for about a week and its goal, according to Kahel, is first and foremost to raise awareness about the issue of the blockade on Gaza and to show support for Palestinian women.
MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List) was previously reported to be one of the participants on the women’s flotilla.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Boycott Israel, Says Man Drawing Salary From Israel (satire)

A legislator earning a living from the coffers of the Jewish State called on other countries, individuals, and entities today not to do business or have normal relations with that state.
Basel Ghattas, a lawmaker from the Joint List delegation to the Israeli parliament, addressed a conference in this Canadian city that had already had the government in Ottawa withdraw its support and participation because of the event’s anti-Israel agenda. Ghattas, who also participated in the controversial Mavi Marmara flotilla to Gaza to challenge Israel’s blockade of the coastal territory, urged his audience to disengage from Israel to pressure the country and challenge its legitimacy. In the meantime, the lawmaker is paid tens of thousands of shekels each month as his salary for serving in the legislature, plus benefits.
“The moral step is to boycott this racist entity,” the MK argued, his words generating applause from the audience. “It is incumbent on every person of conscience to withdraw from dealings with the State of Israel, its institutions, and its representatives, no matter how lucrative such dealings may be.”
Ghattas was cheered by Omar Barghouti, a Boycott, Divest, Sanctions activist who earned an advanced degree from Tel Aviv University while campaigning for BDS. “Mr, Ghattas cogently argued for what I and my colleagues have been urging for many years,” he said.

Daily Mail (AFP) headline fail – Temple Mount edition

Here’s the headline accompanying an Agence France Presse (AFP) article, on an incident at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, published at the Daily Mail on Aug. 15th.

(We wish to note that this represents the original AFP headline.)
First, the characterization of the Jews who visited the site yesterday on Tisha B’Av as ‘radical’ (without quotes) in the headline (and in the opening sentence) uncritically accepts – as a fact – the Jordanian statement as detailed in the 5th paragraph of the article:

BBC Earth corrects ‘border of Palestine’ inaccuracy

As was noted here a few days ago, on August 10th BBC audiences were inaccurately told that the Dead Sea lies on the border of a country called Palestine.
Following communication from BBC Watch, the article was amended and the passage which previously stated “Few are more famous than the Dead Sea, nestled on the borders of Jordan, Israel and Palestine” now reads as follows:
We commend BBC Earth for that quick correction.

Togo Organizing Israeli-African Security and Development Summit

The West African nation of Togo is taking the lead in organizing an Israeli-African “security and development” summit, which it offered to host in its capital next year, The Jerusalem Post reported on Friday.
News of the summit first emerged after Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin following his arrival in Jerusalem last week. Netanyahu is expected to attend the proposed forum in Togo, as well as a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Nigeria later this year.
A diplomatic source who spoke to the Post explained that Togo views itself as a good friend of Israel and “wants to become a hub of friendship between west Africa and Israel.” By arranging the summit, Togo will gain “credibility and influence in helping Israel come back to the entire region, not only on the political side, but on the business side as well,” the source added.
When asked if Togo feared retribution from North African or Arab states for seeking closer ties with Israel, the source noted that “Togo is a small country and is not getting billions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Muslim population in the country is small and not active, so the political risk is low.”

Israeli Sci-Fi Is a Reality

Anyone who was at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque during the Sukkot holiday of 2006 will remember the sight of the city’s quiet, highbrow arthouse cinema jam-packed with people, many of them teenagers in costumes (the term “cosplay” hadn’t made it to the local fan community yet) trying to catch a glimpse of the festival’s guest of honor, some (especially the teenage girls) screaming in excitement whenever he passed by.
I remember being asked by someone—a security guard, I think—just what this guy did to get this kind of attention, and if he’s some kind of a rock star.
“No, he’s a writer,” I said.
“Ah, a writer,” said that person who asked me the question in a rather skeptical voice.
The festival was the ICon, Israel’s annual science fiction and fantasy convention. The guest of honor was novelist and comics writer extraordinaire Neil Gaiman. One of the special events held as part of the 2006 festival was a celebration of the 10th anniversary of The Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy, one of ICon’s co-organizers. It was a modest event, consisting of several speeches, some amusing stage-sketches, video greetings from foreign authors and an appearance by Gaiman. But it was enough for the society members present in the auditorium to feel some sort of a collective pat on the back. They made it. For 10 years the society has been a home to genre fans, and keeping any kind of cultural activity going on in Israel for so long is an achievement in its own right, let alone an activity that promotes thinking beyond the limits of the here and now—limits that sometimes appear to be almost sacred to Israeli society at large.
A decade later, the Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy is still here—and what seemed amazing in 2006 seems almost mundane today. Jam-packed lobbies are a regular sight at the annual ICon festival and the Olamot convention held during Passover. Nobody raises an eyebrow when costumed visitors of either ICon or Olamot sit down for a drink or lunch at one of the many coffee shops and restaurants along the HaArba’a street (where both events are held).

More Arab Israelis join national service, discovering state benefits, patriotism

They sound like your average religious Zionist couple in Israel: she serves in the Jewish state’s national service and he is an army combat veteran. Except they are both Muslim Arabs, and she, Bara’a Abed, is from East Jerusalem while her husband (unnamed) is from a village in the north.
Abed, 20, who now does works as a volunteer in an Israeli Interior Ministry office, is part of a fast-growing community of young Arabs who are eschewing decades of anti-normalization with the majority-Jewish Israeli government to both give back and receive from the state.
Historically, nearly all national service participants were Jewish religious-Zionist women, who wanted to serve their country but for religious reasons didn’t want to be in the army. Such women receive near-automatic exemptions from the military, though the last several years have seen a large increase in those choosing to serve in the IDF.
Six years ago, only 600 non-Jews served in Israel’s national service program, in which participants volunteer for one to two years in public institutions like schools, hospitals, courts or health clinics.
Presently, 4,500 non-Jews are doing national service, of whom 100 are from East Jerusalem. That total is three times more than those coming from the ultra-Orthodox community (1,500), most of whom are men obtained a religious exemption from the army but still wanted to serve their country. There are also 8,500 religious Zionists doing national service, mostly women.
Non-Jewish Israelis, mostly Arab, constitute around 20% of the country’s 8.6 million citizens.

ReWalk inventor rolls out revolutionary standing wheelchair

Nearly everyone knows about ReWalk, the revolutionary robotic exoskeleton invented in Israel that allows paraplegics to stand, walk and even navigate steps and run marathons.
Ironically, ReWalk inventor Amit Goffer cannot use his own device because he is a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down following an accident in 1997.
But last summer he was finally able to leave home in an upright position, riding the most recent of his inventions — the alpha model of the UPnRIDE.
The first commercial model, UPnRIDE 1.0, will be unveiled at the Rehacare International trade fair in Düsseldorf at the end of September.
“I have had a long-standing vision that all people confined to a wheelchair should have access to enhanced mobility, and enjoy the many health benefits associated with the ability to transition to a standing position,” Goffer said. “With the introduction of UPnRIDE, that dream has become a reality.”
The UPnRIDE mobility device is suitable for most wheelchair and scooter users, including paraplegics, quadriplegics and people suffering from multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy or traumatic brain injury.

With cardiac surgery, Israeli team saves Afghani boy’s life

A baby boy born in Afghanistan with multiple heart defects received life-saving surgery in Israel thanks to a Facebook friendship and a covert operation that traversed enemy borders and diplomatic lines.
Yehia was born to Afghani parents in Peshawar, Pakistan, with major heart defects, The New York Times reported. His parents had no way of paying for the surgery needed to save his life.
During a trip to their homeland they spoke with an English-speaking relative, Farhad Zaheer, living in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, who reached out on social media to his contacts. Anna Mussman, 69, a daughter of Holocaust survivors living in Israel, answered his call. According to the Times report, Zaheer remembered Mussman because she had commented kindly on his previous posts.
Mussman contacted Simon Fisher, executive director of the Israeli charity Save a Child’s Heart. “I realize helping a child from a country which Israel has no diplomatic relations is not easy, but perhaps possible,” she emailed him. “Thanks so much and Shabbat Shalom.”
It was not simple to arrange, and involved calling in all sorts of favors and using many different contacts, but ultimately Yehia was brought to Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center, and was operated on in an eight-hour surgery.

Israeli universities rank among top 100 in the world

The Technion- Israel Institute of Technology was ranked 69th among the world’s leading universities, up from 77th place in 2015, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) released on Monday.
The ARWU is largely considered one of the most objective and most important ranking of the world’s leading universities. Since 2003, the annual report, conducted by researchers at the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (CWCU) in China, publishes the world’s top 500 universities from more than 1,200 ranked.
The Technion surpassed the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to become the leading Israeli institution on the list. The Hebrew University was still ranked among the top 100 but dropped 20 points from the previous year to 87th place.
The Weizmann Institute of Science ranked in the top 101-150, while Tel Aviv University ranked in the top 151-200 universities in the world. Ben Gurion University of the Negev ranked in the top 401-500. Bar Ilan University and Haifa University did not make the list in 2016.

Ancient ballista ball unearthed by students in Gush Etzion from Bar Kokhba revolt

An ancient ballista ball used by Jewish warriors fighting against the Roman Empire in the Judean Hills during the legendary Bar Kokhba revolt has been unearthed by high school students in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem.
The rebellion, led by Simon Bar Kokhba between 132-136 CE, was also known as the Third Jewish Revolt, because it was the final of three Jewish uprisings against the Romans due to religious and political persecution.
It is estimated that over 580,000 Jews died during the revolt, resulting in a massive depopulation of the Jewish communities inhabiting the Judean Hills. Many survivors of the battle were sold into slavery by Roman captors.
On Monday, Yoran Rosenthal, director of the Kfar Etzion Field School, said the stone ball fashioned for a ballista, or catapult, was discovered by students during an annual excavation in Gush Etzion led by school counselors shortly before Tisha B’Av.
“This is a discovery of historic magnitude because this battle was the last battle fought by a Jewish army in Israel until modern times,” said Rosenthal, noting that the discovery is of great interest to archeologists.
“This finding serves as a mute testimony to the persistent struggle that took place there,” he continued. “The battle that took place there is said to have been fought by brave warriors, and shows the power and greatness of the Jewish fighters.”
According to Rosenthal, several school counselors helped students from around the country who gathered for the annual trip searching for evidence of the historic uprising.

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