Ben-Dror Yemini: The two faces of antisemitism
Today’s Europe has two faces. On the one hand, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided last week, almost without mentioning Israel, that Holocaust denial is not a part of freedom of speech or a human right.
The petitioner, Udo Pastörs, is a member of the German far-right NPD party, who was already convicted for his inciteful language in court.
On the other hand, anti-Semitism continues to run rampant and this Yom Kippur, it led to an anti-Semitic attack on a German synagogue.
What is antisemitism? This is the hottest topic in Germany these days.
Last week, neo-Nazis marched the streets of Dortmund, calling for the Palestinians to destroy Israel.
Meanwhile, there is a debate about whether the BDS campaign is antisemitic. The German Bundestag already decided a few months ago that the answer was yes.
So did many other European countries that adopted this definition of antisemitism.
Extreme left circles, also from Israel, campaign against the decision and against the definition.
The debate intensified following a series of decisions linking political or racist positions with freedom of expression and creativity.
What would have happened if a city in Germany were to award a prize to Pastörs for his literary work, and only afterwards did it turn out he was an activist in an antisemitic movement?
The antisemitic movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel has gained a lot of traction in the music industry, thanks in large part to the activities of Roger Waters. BDS activists frequently threaten and harass musicians who schedule concerts in Israel, in an effort to intimidate them into cancellations. Irish singer Sarah McTernan told the Irish Sun, after she participated in the 2019 Eurovision contest in Israel, “Oh my God, I got threats, I got letters. Horrendous stuff online with someone threatening to do something to me. I had hundreds and hundreds of people messaging me saying the most horrible stuff. I got a few sinister threats.” Singer Eric Burdon told Israel Hayom in 2013, after cancelling and then rescheduling a performance, “it wasn’t my decision to cancel the show, but that of my manager, following numerous threatening emails, she was scared for my life.”
Prior to 2019, the music magazine Rolling Stone resisted being drawn down this road. In March of this year, however, the publication put BDS supporter Congresswoman Ilhan Omar on its cover, and did a glamour photo shoot and video with her as well as three other Congresswomen. In May, the magazine uncritically quoted the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, without any rebuttal, in its coverage of Madonna’s Eurovision performance in Israel. In August, in an article having nothing to do with music, Rolling Stone called BDS a movement that “aims to put economic pressure on the nation in order to force the nation to give equal rights to Palestinians.” (After contact from CAMERA, the magazine changed it to the only slightly better, “aims to use economic pressure to push the nation for large-scale changes in its policies related to Palestinians.”)
Then, on Friday of last week, Rolling Stone continued this unfortunate trend of promoting BDS’s goals in its coverage of the Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Demi Lovato’s trip to Israel. (“Demi Lovato Apologizes for Accepting Controversial Trip to Israel,” Brittany Spanos, October 4, 2019.)
The change in direction appears to coincide with Rolling Stone’s coming under the full ownership of Penske Media, a company that, in February of 2018, sold a $200 million stake to the Saudi Arabian company Saudi Research and Marketing Group. SRMG is headquartered in Riyadh and is majority-owned by the Saudi government.
Gail Bradbrook, a former biophysicist and co-founder of the climate protest group, Extinction Rebellion, reportedly shared social media posts dismissing Labour antisemitism as a “smear” and defended offensive comments by Ken Livingstone.
According to The Sun Dr Bradbrook shared a post in 2016 that described claims that certain comments made by Mr Livingstone were antisemitic as “ridiculous” and “scurrilous” and that “you will hopefully then agree that what is happening is part of a massive project to manipulate public opinion against, and to destroy the popular progressive movement supporting, Jeremy Corbyn.” The post went on to say that “Corbyn represents a threat to the stranglehold the Netanyahu right-wing Israeli extremists have over any mainstream media coverage of the oppressive Israeli occupation of the little left-over scraps of Palestine.”
Another post reportedly said that Mr Corbyn’s critics “smear him with sexism, misogyny and antisemitism by finding sexist or antisemitic comments by a handful of his millions of supporters”.
The Sun, which broke the story, quotes Dr Bradbrook as saying: “I’m not interested in getting involved in a discussion that is clearly an attempt to create division. Antisemitism is a huge problem across the whole of society and I’m longing for a time when all of us are safe.”
Previously it was also reported that a Facebook page administered by Dr Bradbrook entertained numerous conspiracy theories, linked to a blog which quoted from the infamous antisemitic tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and contained a post expressing solidarity with disgraced Labour MP Chris Williamson a day after he was suspended for claiming Labour had been “too apologetic” over antisemitism.
Jews in Germany marked their first Shabbat since the deadly anti-Semitic rampage outside a synagogue in Halle on Yom Kippur.
Nearly 75 years after the Holocaust, the Jewish minority that had staked its faith in peaceful, democratic Germany found itself asking troubling questions about its security after the synagogue siege on Wednesday by a suspected neo-Nazi.
Members of the Jewish community, as well as locals, held vigils across the country on Friday evening for the two people killed in the attack. In Halle, over 2,000 members formed a human chain in front of the targeted synagogue.
“We have always been careful and now we will be even more careful,” said Nina Peretz, head of Berlin’s Fraenkelufer synagogue community group.
Peretz was speaking a few hours before the dusk service to mark the start of Shabbat at the synagogue, which was destroyed by the Nazis during the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938. The synagogue was rebuilt after the war and is now undergoing renovation.
Several members of the congregation who gathered in Halle to support its small Jewish community on the High Holiday were welcomed at Peretz’s synagogue in the capital.
The German suspect in a deadly attack targeting a synagogue has admitted to the shooting rampage and confessed that it was motivated by anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Stephan Balliet, 27, made a “very comprehensive” confession during an interrogation lasting several hours, said a spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe.
“He gave an extensive confession. He confirmed far-right and anti-Semitic motives” for the attack, the spokesman said.
Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer warned meanwhile in an interview with the ZDF broadcaster that there was now an “elevated” threat of another anti-Semitic or terrorist attack saying around half of 24,000 suspected far-right extremists had an “affinity” with firearms and could engage in violence.
Seehofer warned that more attacks could happen “at any moment” and that Berlin was taking the matter most seriously and was “extremely alert.”
“I have to express to you my deep concern regarding the unprecedented rise in antisemitic abuse and violence, especially after the deadly attack against the synagogue in Halle, Germany,” Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog wrote in a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In the letter, Herzog emphasized the need for security in Europe during the upcoming Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles.
“[T]he recent terrorist aggression on the Halle synagogue, which took place on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, should sound the alarm loud and clear throughout Europe,” Herzog wrote.
Sukkot, a week-long harvest festival, begins on October 13, and Jews around the world will gather in huts and synagogues to observe the holiday. Herzog “respectfully” called on Merkel “to ensure that security around synagogues and Jewish institutions gets high priority” over the holiday.
“These are times of clear and present emergency in these matters, and no efforts should be spared in the ongoing fight to contain and eliminate Antisemitic violence, wherever it may raise its head,” he wrote.
Herzog said that the European Commission’s findings “enhanced” the agency’s “preoccupation” with antisemitism in Europe.
Prayers and condolences poured in from around the world. The attack sent shock waves across Germany that reverberated around the globe.
“I am, like millions of people in Germany, shocked and dejected by this crime,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a trade union congress in Nuremberg.
But for us, Jews who live in Germany, “shock” is the last reaction that comes to mind following this heinous attack. In fact, it was just a matter of time until the extreme far-right scene in this country would turn its spotlight back on the true, eternal enemy of both Germany and Western civilization: the Jews.
“Jews are the root of all problems,” the gunman, identified as Stephan Balliet of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, could be heard saying, among other xenophobic and misogynistic statements, while livestreaming his attack on Amazon’s streaming platform Twitch.
He even had the temerity to deny the Holocaust, reminding us all that prejudice, conspiracy theories and hatred toward Jews never really vanished.
Some in the Jewish community — albeit not many — were foolish enough to think that the far right in Europe was now occupied with the 2015 immigration wave, mainly from Muslim countries. Some even had the audacity to celebrate the extremists’ rise.
In Europe today, many of the attacks against Jews are carried out by Muslims, though there is much debate over the prevalence of such instances. Just a few days ago, a knife-wielding man tried to enter a Berlin synagogue, chanting swears against Israel and shouting “Allahu Akbar” in Arabic — a phrase that means “God is great” and also is often used by Islamists upon committing acts of terror. He was released from custody less than 24 hours after the incident and not charged with any crime, sparking concern among Jewish leaders in the country.
But celebrating the rise of anti-Muslim extremists because of a few attacks perpetrated by radical Islamists is not only abhorrent but also superbly naive — antisemitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism more typically go hand in hand.
About 1,800 antisemitic crimes were committed in Germany in 2018, a 20 percent increase from the previous year. Violent crimes against Jews specifically rose to 62 from 37 in 2017, according to a report released by Germany’s Interior Ministry earlier this year.
The German man suspected of killing two people near a synagogue this week reportedly told German investigators that he received approximately $800 from an anonymous online donor prior to the attack.
The German publication Der Spiegel reported Friday that the accused, Stephan Balliet, had received the money in the form of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin from an unknown person with whom he communicated on the internet, according to his defense attorney Hans-Dieter Weber.
Weber also told the publication that Balliet denied being a neo-Nazi in his interrogation by German authorities. Balliet claimed to have acted alone and made the weapons used in the attack himself from cheap materials.
A jury at Manchester Crown Court has heard that a neo-Nazi teenager from Durham hoped to follow in Adolf Hitler’s footsteps and listed numerous targets “worth attacking” with Molotov cocktails, including synagogues.
The sixteen-year-old had reportedly also begun drafting a manifesto titled “A Manual for practical and sensible guerrilla warfare against the kike system in the Durham City area, Sieg Heil”. Other items seized from his home included a copy of Mein Kampf and material on explosives and firearms.
The prosecution claimed that the defendant had become “an adherent of neo-Nazism – the most extreme of right-wing ideology”, noting that he had written in his diary on the occasion of Hitler’s birthday that the Nazi leader was “a brave man to say the least. Although maybe having written proof that I admire their number one enemy isn’t such a wise idea. I will however say that I one day hope to follow in his footsteps.”
The trial is anticipated to last two weeks.
Turkey’s military said it captured a key Syrian border town under heavy bombardment Saturday as its offensive against Kurdish fighters pressed into its fourth day with little sign of relenting despite mounting international criticism.
Turkish troops entered central Ras al-Ayn according to Turkey’s Defense Ministry and a war monitor group, marking the most significant gain since the invasion began Wednesday. The ministry tweeted: “Ras al-Ayn’s residential center has been taken under control through the successful operations in the east of Euphrates” river.
Turkey’s continued push into Syria comes days after US President Donald Trump cleared the way for Turkey’s air and ground offensive, pulling back US forces from the area and saying he wanted to stop getting involved with “endless wars.” Trump’s decision drew swift bipartisan criticism that he was endangering regional stability and risking the lives of Syrian Kurdish allies who brought down the Islamic State group in Syria. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces was the main US ally in the fight against the Islamic State group and lost 11,000 fighters in the nearly five-year battle against the extremists.
An Associated Press journalist across the border in Turkey heard the sound of sporadic clashes as Turkish howitzers struck the town and Turkish jets screeched overhead.
Syrian Kurdish forces appeared to be holding out in some areas of the town.
Iran offered on Saturday to engage Syrian Kurds, Syria’s government and Turkey in talks to establish security along the Turkish-Syrian border following Turkey’s military incursion into northern Syria to fight Kurdish forces.
In making the mediation offer, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif referred to a 21-year-old security accord that required Damascus to stop harboring Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants waged an insurgency against the Turkish state. Turkey has said that pact was never implemented.
“The Adana Agreement between Turkey and Syria – still valid – can be the better path to achiev(ing) security,” Zarif said. “Iran can help bring together the Syrian Kurds, the Syrian Govt and Turkey so that the Syrian Army together with Turkey can guard the border,” he said in a tweet which carried part of an interview he did with Turkish public broadcaster TRT World.
Iran’s call came on the fourth day of Turkey’s offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara regards as a terrorist group with links to the PKK.
The United States has ramped up its efforts to persuade Ankara to halt the incursion, saying Ankara was causing “great harm” to ties and could face sanctions.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday the 1998 accord could only be implemented if there was a political settlement to Syria’s eight-year-old war. He also said implementing the Adana pact would require the Syrian government to be in control of northeastern Syria – which it is not.
The United States announced on Friday a new, large deployment of forces to Saudi Arabia to help bolster the kingdom’s defenses following the Sept. 14 attack on its oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran.
The planned deployment, which was first reported by Reuters, will include fighter squadrons, one air expeditionary wing and air defense personnel, the Pentagon said.
The Pentagon said it was sending two additional Patriot batteries and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).
“Taken together with other deployments, this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorized within the last month,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
It was unclear whether some of the newly-announced troops might replace other American forces expected to depart the region in the coming weeks or months.
The Pentagon has yet to announce, for example, whether it will replace the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and its strike group when it eventually wraps up its deployment to the Middle East.
The deployment is part of a series of what the United States has described as defensive moves following the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities last month, which rattled global energy markets and exposed major gaps in Saudi Arabia’s air defenses.
The co-deployment of the troops to a territory on the border area between Israel and Syria is unrelated to “current events in north-eastern Syria,” the Australian defence ministry said in a statement.
“They’re going to be going there next week,” Morrison was cited by Australian media as saying during his second visit to Fiji and his third official meeting with Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama this year. “Our Australians are going over there, training them, supporting them.”
“We are living in a world of transition where a shifting of power dynamics is taking place,” Morrison said ahead of his Saturday visit to the Blackrock military base in Fiji.
“Which means our friendship and partnership with countries like Fiji, in our own backyard, is even more important.”
Prominent human rights advocates on Friday warned that a slate of states with records of systemic human rights abuse and enmity toward Israel are on the cusp of being elected to the UN’s highest human rights body.
A joint report by UN Watch, the Human Rights Foundation and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights — all leading human rights NGOs — called on UN member states to oppose the election of Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan and Venezuela to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) when voting takes place on Oct. 17.
The five states were deemed “unqualified” due to their human rights records, as well as their voting records on UN resolutions concerning human rights.
Irwin Cotler — head of the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, and a former Canadian minister of justice — said in a statement: “Regrettably, when the UN itself ends up electing human rights violators to the Human Rights Council, it indulges the very of culture of impunity it is supposed to combat. The world’s democracies must join in the preservation and protection of the Council’s mandate, and not end up accomplices to its breach.”
Hillel Neuer — executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch — said that electing the regime of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela “as a UN judge on human rights would be like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief.”
Neuer added: “As made clear in our report, voting nations can and should refrain from electing rights abusers to the UN’s highest human rights body. We need to hear the EU’s Federica Mogherini and member states lead the call to oppose the worst abusers. So far, they have been silent.”
The Palestinians will prevent the IDF from entering Area A of the West Bank which, according to the Oslo Accords, is exclusively administered by the Palestinian Authority, PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on Saturday.
“We will prevent the Israeli occupation army from raiding Area A,” Shtayyeh said in an interview with the Palestinian daily Al-Quds. “We won’t do this through violence, but with our bodies. Israel invades the areas of the Palestinian Authority, and the signed agreements don’t allow these incursions. We will break this fait accompli.”
Since Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, the IDF has been briefly entering Area A and other West Bank areas on a regular basis to arrest Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorism and other anti-Israeli activities.
Palestinians have long been criticizing the PA for failing to order its security forces to confront IDF soldiers, particularly in Area A.
In the interview, Shtayyeh did not say that the PA security forces would engage the IDF. His statement is seen as a call to Palestinian civilians to take to the streets and confront the IDF troops when they enter Area A.
Al-Quds will publish the full interview on Monday.
Around 20 tombstones were vandalized on Friday, some with swastikas, in a Haifa cemetery for British casualties of World War I and World War II, police said.
The incident at the Haifa War Cemetery was being investigated as a hate crime.
Three of the tombstones had been completely smashed, the Walla news site reported.
Graves had also been vandalized in an adjacent Templer cemetery.
The British military cemetery on the city’s Yafo street was temporarily closed to visitors.
Caretaker Adel Mor, who has maintained the cemetery on behalf of British authorities for 30 years, told Walla that the incident “pains the heart.”
“Why would someone want to cause pain in a place like this? I don’t understand it at all,” Mor said.
305 soldiers who fought in the region in World War I are buried in the cemetery, 86 of whom are unidentified, alongside 36 casualties of World War II, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Most of the soldiers died in area hospitals, and some were killed on the battlefield.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Naama Issachar’s mother on Friday to let her know that he will do anything to have her released from prison in Russia as soon as possible, according to Mako.
He asked the mother to strengthen her daughter and to let her know that he is making an effort to move things along.
Issachar was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in Russia after being caught with nine grams on marijuana which she accidentally left in her bag when travelling from India through Russia back to Israel.
Issachar, a 25-year-old Israeli-American, was arrested in April after spending three months abroad.
Israel was offered to swap Issachar for Aleksey Burkov, a Russian hacker arrested in 2015 while he was visiting Israel, but rejected because Israel’s High Court had already agreed that he would be extradited to the United States.
The Prime Minister’s Office claimed that Netanyahu “personally intervened on behalf of Naama Issachar in recent weeks.”
“The Palestinians will never drop the matter of the Temple Mount. It’s a tool that they, and parts of the Arab and Muslim world, use to take on Israel,” former Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman and former head of the Shin Bet security agency MK Avi Dichter tells Israel Hayom in a special weekend interview.
Dichter was at the helm of the Shin Bet when the Al-Aqsa Intifada broke out after Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. Last week Israel Hayom accompanied him on a visit to the Mount in an attempt to understand if, since Sharon’s visit, anything has changed at what is considered the most volatile site in the world.
“Do you know what the most frustrating thing about the Miss Universe pageant is?” Dichter asks as we set out. “Coming in second.”
“The Temple Mount is in second place after Mecca and Medina. No one really makes pilgrimages to the Temple Mount. There is no Hajj here. For them, the fact that Israel captured the Temple Mount is outstanding leverage, but their real goal is elsewhere – it’s conflict. The Temple Mount is just an instrument.”
This time of year, the Temple Mount is crowded with visitors. An average of 7,000 tourists arrive each day, and another 150 or so Jewish visitors. Visitors begin making their way in early; Jews and tourists via the Mughrabi Bridge, and Arab worshippers use the other eight entrances to the Mount.
Facebook just deleted @PalinfoAr‘s page because it was basically a constant barrage of terror glorifying antisemitism soaked in a pile of hate laced with explosives.
— The Mossad: Elite Parody Division (@TheMossadIL) October 11, 2019
An Iranian government spokesman on Saturday described as a “cowardly attack” an incident that Iranian media have called the apparent targeting by missiles of an Iranian-owned oil tanker, and said Iran would respond after the facts had been studied.
The tanker Sabiti was hit in Red Sea waters off Saudi Arabia on Friday, Iranian media have reported, an incident that could stoke friction in a region rattled by attacks on tankers and oil installations since May.
“Iran is avoiding haste, carefully examining what has happened and probing facts,” government spokesman Ali Rabei was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.
Separately, a senior security official said video evidence had provided leads about the incident, adding that the Sabiti was hit by two missiles, the semi-official news agency Fars reported.
“A special committee has been set up to investigate the attack on Sabiti… with two missiles and its report will soon be submitted to the authorities for decision,” said Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s top security body, according to Fars.
“Piracy and mischief on international waterways aimed at making commercial shipping insecure will not go unanswered,” he said.
The controversial filmmaker Ken Loach has described the BBC Panorama programme on antisemitism in the Labour Party as “probably the most disgusting programme I’ve ever seen on the BBC.”
The episode of the BBC’s flagship investigative documentary series was titled “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?” and was televised in July. Over the course of the programme, former Labour Party employees spoke out publicly to reveal Jeremy Corbyn’s personal meddling in disciplinary cases relating to antisemitism. The programme explained how senior Labour Party staffers, some of whom Campaign Against Antisemitism has known for years, used to run Labour’s disciplinary process independently, but soon after Mr Corbyn’s election as Party leader found themselves contending with his most senior aides, who were brazen in their efforts to subvert due process.
The programme was peppered with unconvincing denials from Labour’s press team, including claims that the staffers had political axes to grind and lacked credibility — assertions that apparently may now be challenged in court in a libel action brought by some of the staffers against the Party.
In his interview with The Guardian, Mr Loach said the programme was “disgusting because it raised the horror of racism against Jews in the most atrocious propagandistic way, with crude journalism…and it bought the propaganda from people who were intent on destroying Corbyn.”
The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell, has conceded that he is not happy with the way antisemitism in the Labour Party has been handled, but asserted that “I think we are on top of that now”.
Mr McDonnell made the comments in an interview with former Labour spin-doctor Alastair Campbell in GQ magazine, admitting that the Party should have been “firmer, more ruthless and faster” in dealing with antisemitism, but that they are “learning lessons all the time”.
He agreed with Mr Campbell that the Labour antisemitism scandal has done a lot of damage to the Party, but quickly shifted the blame to the media, contrasting the way Labour antisemitism has been covered versus claims of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, a point with which Mr Campbell concurred. “I’m just saying look at the operation of the media with regards to that,” Mr McDonnell elaborated. “We are an anti-racist party and we have always been a leading party in that respect, but it does demonstrate the role of the media itself. We’ve got to cut through that all the time.”
In this report by Times of London I called on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to clarify his position for backing ‘Iran-supporting propaganda group.
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) October 11, 2019
Audio recordings from the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders will be made available to the public for the first time in digital form after nearly two years of work conducted in secret.
The Memorial of the Shoah in Paris will officially accept the recordings at a ceremony Thursday evening.
The files capture several hundred hours of the first, high-profile trial of top Nazi leaders in Nuremberg, Germany, after World War II. Since 1950, they have existed only on 2,000 large discs housed in wooden boxes in the International Court of Justice library in the Hague, Netherlands.
Now, curious listeners will be able to listen to the entirety of the judicial proceedings in reading rooms at the Hague, the Shoah Memorial in Paris, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Shoah Memorial head archivist Karen Taieb said she hopes the newly digitized audio files will allow researchers and students to better understand a powerful and emotionally fraught moment in history. Researchers previously had access to trial transcripts.
“You can read the trial, but when you hear the trial, it’s different,” Taieb told The Associated Press. “For the victims, for example, it’s different to hear their voices. The voices are very important, and the hesitation in them.”
The Council for Higher Education in Israel (CHE) this week officially launched the national initiative “Study in Israel” to double the number of international students enrolled in Israeli colleges and universities, initially targeting students in North America, China and India.
As many as 12,000 international students are currently studying in Israel.
The program touts dozens of short-term and longer study programs associated with high Israeli academic standards and an engaged approach to education with the theme “Engage in Excellence,” highlighting the country’s innovative academic and research landscape as part of the startup nation.
Recently, four Israeli universities were ranked among the top 50 undergraduate programs globally that produce the most venture capital-backed entrepreneurs, according to the latest ranking by PitchBook.
“We have committed to making Israel a ‘brain gain’ country for students and researchers from around the world—North and South America, Europe and Asia,” said Professor Yaffa Zilbershats, chair of the CHE’s Planning and Budgeting Committee. “With this new campaign, Israel is now more attractive than ever; we’re looking forward to bringing many more students from around the globe in years to come.”
Gal Gadot and her husband Yaron Varsano have formed Pilot Wave, a production company, and have announced that their first project will be a fact-based thriller set in the Warsaw Ghetto called Irena Sendler, the website Deadline reported.
Gadot will star as the title character in a gripping, true story of a courageous social worker who created an underground network during the Nazi occupation of Poland to save 2500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto. Sendler was honored by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations. She was arrested 1943, but managed to conceal information about the thousands of children in hiding, even under torture. She was sentenced to death but activists bribed officials to release her.
The movie will be made for Warner Bros, and Gadot and Varsano will produce with Marc Platt.
The screenplay will be written by Justine Juel Gillmer, who just wrote the Holocaust-themed film, Harry Haft. The upcoming Harry Haft stars Ben Foster as a man who survived the concentration camps by boxing against fellow inmates.
Gadot will be starring in the Kenneth Branagh’s adaption of Agatha Christie’s novel, Death on the Nile, with Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie and Russell Brand.
Green is the color of fall in Israel, green with a hint of yellow. It’s been that way for centuries, though not on account of the mild Mediterranean climate. The colors of fall in Israel are steeped in Jewish tradition and a commandment from the Torah that Jews commemorate the time our ancestors lived in the desert, in temporary shelters called sukkot, as they journeyed from Egypt to the Land of Israel.
Before Sukkot, buyers search for the perfect etrog outside Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market. Photo by Yehoshua Halevi
This year, the weeklong festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles, in English) begins at sundown on Sunday, October 13, with the rise of the full moon of the Jewish month of Tishrei.
The holiday comes at the height of the harvest season, when farmers in times past built sukkot in their fields in order to spend the night close to their crops and maximize the hours of reaping.
The sukkah can be made of any material but according to Jewish practice the roof must be made of a natural material (such as branches or bamboo) with enough gaps so that the sky is visible to the people inside.
In Israel today, the harvest includes not only produce grown for food but also for the components of the arba’at haminim, the four species — etrog (citron) fruit, aravah (willow) and hadas (myrtle) branches and lulav (palm fronds) — which combine to form the central symbol of the holiday.
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