December 18, 2018

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12/20 Links Pt2: Author of pro-intifada kids’ book says ‘Christmas is a Palestinian festival’; BuzzFeed attempts to wave off Linda Sarsour accusations, but only raises more questions

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2017/12/1220-links-pt2-author-of-pro-intifada.html

From Ian:


Ex-professor who wrote pro-intifada kids’ book says ‘Christmas is a Palestinian festival’
A former Pace University history professor has come under fire for writing a children’s book that claims “Christmas is a Palestinian festival” and that Jesus was an Abrahamic prophet born in a Palestinian city.

Golbarg Bashi’s book “P is for Palestine” has been labeled an “incitement for terrorism” and “anti-Semitic propaganda.” But the author told Fox News it’s “a fun diverse children’s rhyme book” that “tells a social justice story about Palestinian history and culture through each letter of the English alphabet.”

Bashi, a “kids’ author committed to BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel) and empowering, diversifying kids media,” was heavily criticized for writing “I is for intifada” and calling intifada a “peaceful resistance.”

But B for Bethlehem, C for Christmas, and J for Jesus also raised some flags – for another reason.

“As I have said repeatedly, I believe it is very important for American, Mexican, Canadian, Central and South American, British, Swedish and children from any region and nation whose most important holiday is Christmas to know that Christmas is a Palestinian festival, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, an Abrahamic Prophet who was born in Bethlehem, a Palestinian City,” wrote Bashi.

IsraellyCool: JVP Holds Children’s Book Readings of Book Glorifying Terrorism

A few days ago, Jewish Voice for Peace held a special reading of P is for Palestine – the book glorifying palestinian terrorism – for children. And it was billed as a special Hanukkah event.

Delightful?! What the hell is wrong with them?

As a reminder, Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the re-dedication of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem thousands of years ago. Hardly convenient to the “palestinian” narrative that this land belongs to them. But it just goes to show you how un-Jewish Jewish Voice for Peace truly is.

And unscrupulous. This was a reading for children.

BuzzFeed attempts to wave off Linda Sarsour accusations, but, if anything, it only raises more questions

Sarsour, who was running the Arab American Association, worked with Fathelbab, an Americorps employee who was placed with the organization and coordinated the youth program. That much was confirmed in the BuzzFeed article.

However, the stories begin to diverge as Sarsour retells her version of the events, who completely denied the accusations that she enabled sexual harassment or assault. She even presented affidavits, email correspondence, and witness statements that cast doubt on Fathelbab’s version of events. Sarsour did not respond to requests for comment from both the Washington Examiner and the Daily Caller.

Majid Seif did live in the building that housed the Arab American Association, and often helped Fathelbab and AAA with Arabic translation or event planning. He denies any type of sexual misconduct with Fathelbab.

In an affidavit produced on Aug. 13, 2009, Sarsour defended Seif against the accusations Fathelbab was making and said it was she who was creating a hostile work environment. And, to Sarsour, the accusations that Fathelbab brought forward weren’t as bad as what she told the Daily Caller.

“The exact words were, ‘He makes me feel uncomfortable,’” Sarsour recalled, who also denied that she ever body-shamed Fathelbab by asserting she as too fat to be the object of harassment. “There was nothing about touching or groping. There’s no evidence, no email she can pull out where she ever gave those claims to us.”

She continued. “This is character assassination. This is where we have to draw the line. I have two daughters. This is not the type of behavior I engage in.”

The problem with Sarsour’s defense is that one BuzzFeed article doesn’t absolve her of any wrongdoing. It’s certainly possible that Fathelbab exaggerated her version of events or even didn’t tell the entire truth, but that doesn’t discredit the idea that she could’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted. An affidavit saying that Sarsour defended Seif actually proves Fathelbab right, in that she took his side over his accuser’s.

Political narrative and inaccuracy in BBC Two’s ‘Alternativity’ – part one

As may have been expected, the BBC Two commissioned programme ‘Alternativity’ that was aired on December 17th did not – as claimed by the station’s controller Patrick Holland – present “a challenging and provocative exploration” of the nativity story at all. Rather, most of that hour-long programme was devoted to context-lite, one-sided political messaging promoted primarily by both its narrator (actress Olivia Colman) and its main character Danny Boyle.

The real ‘star’ of this exercise in the manipulation of Christmas was however the anti-terrorist fence – and although well over 90% of that structure is built of wire mesh, viewers were never informed of that fact and only saw images of the sections constructed from concrete.

The film opens with a description of its main location – Bethlehem – which has of course been under complete Palestinian Authority control for the last 22 years: a fact that was erased from the entire programme.

Colman: “This is Bethlehem: world capital of the international Jesus Christ birthday business. This year Bethlehem became home to a unique hotel. Billed as having the worst view in the world, Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel sits under the gaze of an Israeli watchtower in the occupied Palestinian territories. The place where Christmas was invented now feels like a city under siege and in need of some serious festive cheer. This is the story of what happened when Banksy asked a world-famous movie director to come all the way to the little town of Bethlehem to put on a nativity play like no other in what was once the most Christmassy place on earth.”

A siege is defined as “a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling those inside to surrender”. Bethlehem of course does not fit that definition. As we see, the BBC commissioned programme uses the term “occupied Palestinian territories” to describe an area that has been under complete PA control for over two decades.

Political narrative and inaccuracy in BBC Two’s ‘Alternativity’ – part two

In a segment of the film about the children participating in the nativity play (in which it is implied that parents might not want their children to take part because of the ‘risk’ of them being shot by the IDF), viewers see a seven year-old child presented only as Sofia and are told that “her father got arrested two days ago”. The narrator then informs BBC audiences (43:07) that all of Israel is “occupied” land and reinforces the previously promoted inaccurate notion that ‘millions’ of Palestinians became refugees in 1948.

Colman: “Over a million Palestinians live in camps which they were settled in when their lands were occupied after 1948. It’s been alleged that Sofia’s father leads the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the Dheisheh camp where her family lives.”

Viewers are not informed that the PFLP is a terrorist organisation and although Sofia’s mother is seen giving her tearful account of her husband’s arrest and the story is promoted again later in the film, the mother is not named and so the story remains unverifiable.

It is blatantly obvious that the aim of this BBC commissioned film was not – as BBC Two’s controller claimed in the PR – to present “a challenging and provocative exploration” of the nativity story. Rather, the seasonally relevant topic of Christmas was merely a hook upon which to hang an hour of serially inaccurate and politically biased amplification of an anti-Israel narrative, made all the more attractive to British audiences by the inclusion of ‘national treasure’ names such as Banksy, Olivia Colman and Danny Boyle.

The methodology behind this film can in fact be summed up by one of its scenes (from 34:15) in which an unnamed woman with a British accent who is helping organise Banksy’s Balfour Declaration ‘street party’ agitprop tells the camera that:

“The global news outlets will pick this up a) because it’s Banksy b) because it’s Palestine. People love stunts. They love big, brash stunts. They love it!”

US Holocaust Museum tries again on contentious Syria study

One of the most ambitious studies conducted on Syria’s civil war and American options to mitigate it finally saw the light of day on Tuesday.

The study, which was commissioned by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, had been the subject of controversy this fall after the museum briefly published it online and then retracted it in the face of a political backlash. Some groups had balked at the conclusions, which expressed pessimism about American options. Then, after the retraction, academics accused the institution of allowing political pressure to suppress important research.

The controversies appear to have blown over. In a concession to the interventionist voices objecting to the findings, the study will be republished with two additions that support the case for American military action.

Groups initially critical of the study say they are satisfied, and museum officials hope that the research can now stand on its own. But others are at least somewhat dissatisfied.

“The way they are rereleasing seems designed to placate interventionists at the expense of the credibility of the research; that’s a pity,” said Marc Lynch, who directs a center of Middle East studies at George Washington University. He added, “My sense is that the reputational damage has been done.”

Eight frames – all wrong

Editorial cartoonists make great propagandists – for either side. Even though they appear in news media a genuinely neutral cartoonist would probably be dead boring. ‘Crikey’† cartoonist Glenn Le Lievre is far from dead boring but one of his latest cartoons is simply dead wrong.

Le Lievre logo and signatureAs a service for Israel advocates Five Minutes for Israel has critiqued this cartoon on the cartoon. Feel free to share when you see the original used against Israel.
To be fair to the artist, anti-Israel propaganda isn’t his forte. On the other hand he was widely and heavily criticised for drawing a hook-nosed, kippah-wearing Jew further identified by a Magen David (Star of David) in a cartoon on the last war in Gaza (2014). The cartoon was considered by many to collectively portray Jews as a group, guilty of acting outside the norms of civilisation and the laws of war, intentionally causing civilian deaths in Gaza.

Many felt the cartoon wouldn’t have been out-of-place in Nazi newspapers ‘Der Stürmer’ or ‘Völkischer Beobachter’.

Le Lievre critiqued

NGO Monitor: Al Jazeera Joins the Anti-Israel Child Campaign

On December 15, 2017, AJ+ – part of the Al Jazeera network – posted a video on its Twitter, that was also widely disseminated in an offensive tweet by Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth, alleging that Israel “systematically harasses and abuses Palestinian kids.” The video parrots blatantly false and/or misleading claims by non-governmental organization (NGO) regarding Israel’s treatment of Palestinian minors, and goes so far as to claim that Israel has no reason to arrest minors (0:27) – regardless of the fact that some minors are perpetrators of violent terror attacks, including murder.

The video’s reliance on NGOs such as B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as on UNICEF, clearly demonstrates that this video is part of a broader, concerted NGO effort to falsely accuse the IDF of violating the rights of Palestinian minors in order to impose sanctions against Israel. Contrary to the posture of the video and its NGO sources, this is not about advocating for Palestinian children (see NGO Monitor’s reports “No Way to Represent a Child” and “The Origins of No Way to Treat a Child”).

The most fundamental distortion in the film is its premise that Israel “systematically…. abuses Palestinian kids.” In fact, there are over 1 million Palestinian minors in the West Bank, but the film states that just 300 are in prison (less than 0.0003% of Palestinian minors). The following analyzes various specific claims made in the AJ+ video, demonstrating the factual inaccuracies and misleading content.

San Diego Schools Say CAIR’s Hamas Connections Are Irrelevant to Lawsuit

Connections between the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Hamas — along with CAIR’s anti-Israel stance — are not relevant to a lawsuit seeking to block San Diego’s Unified School District (SDUSD) from working with CAIR, the school district argues in court papers.

In its lawsuit, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) cites “CAIR’s longstanding ties to Islamic extremist groups such as Hamas, which is opposed to Jewish statehood and which calls for the elimination of all Jews.”

“These allegations have no bearing on Plaintiffs’ claims against Defendants, and are only included to inflame the public against SDUSD by its association with CAIR,” the school district’s lawyers wrote last week.

They also claim that mentioning CAIR’s Hamas ties, which the FBI has acknowledged in writing, is “scandalous,” and gives a “nefarious” character to the school district’s relationship with CAIR. CAIR is involved in the school district’s anti-bullying campaign.

Internal records seized by the FBI from members of a Hamas-support network in the United States show that CAIR was under the network’s umbrella. CAIR’s co-founders also were included on a telephone list of “Palestine Committee” members. In addition, witnesses told the FBI that CAIR was founded to aid Hamas.

Is the BDS Movement Failing? Depends on Your Definition of Success.

Twelve years after its official founding, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel has failed to isolate the Jewish state. As of September, Israeli exports were on pace to cross $100 billion in a single year for the first time in history. Meanwhile, Israel’s diplomatic relationships in Africa, Asia, and even the Arab Middle East are improving, with countries from Bahrain to India eager to expand ties. If the BDS movement’s goal was to turn Israel into a pariah state, it’s not really working as intended.

There’s evidence the BDSers aren’t meeting many of their less ambitious objectives, either. On American college campuses, BDS is in the midst of a quiet losing streak, as its strategy of using student government resolutions and campus-wide referenda to prohibit business, cultural, or academic contacts with Israeli companies, institutions, and individuals has yielded few enduring results. At the same time, one of the student organizations that’s sustained and coordinated the movement on a national scale saw a sizable year-to-year drop-off in attendance for its national conference, which was held in late October.

A few high-profile campus votes held in 2017 went the BDS movement’s way. Last spring, the Tufts University student senate voted to recommend that the school divest from four companies with business in Israel, and a similar motion succeeded in University of Wisconsin’s student government around the same time. But the majority of campus BDS efforts failed. Campus-wide referenda at Ohio State and the University of Illinois fell short, and pro-BDS student government resolutions were soundly defeated at Columbia University and UC Santa Barbara. A much-discussed BDS measure at the University of Maryland month didn’t even make it to a vote last month. Where the movement did succeed, its victories were often less impactful than they appeared to be. The BDS movement’s biggest recent win came last month at the University of Michigan, where the student council voted to call on the university to investigate the possibility of divesting from certain companies for their alleged complicity in Israeli policies in the West Bank. The university’s administration then swiftly announced that the vote would have no effect on the school’s investments, and that it was unlikely a committee would even be formed to explore the possibility of divestment.

BBC’s Knell skirts the issue of PA and Fatah incitement to violence

An edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘OS’ (formerly ‘Outside Source’) that was broadcast on December 15th led with an item (from 00:68 here) described by presenter Ben James as being about “the latest protests and clashes over Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital”.

During his subsequent conversation with the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell, James asked (at 02:53) an interesting question:

James: “And these protests; are they being organised by political parties? Are they spontaneous to an extent? What’s behind them?”

Anyone following the Palestinian media will be aware of numerous examples of incitement to rioting and violence that have appeared in both traditional and new media over the past couple of weeks. For example, PMW reports that:

“In anticipation of Trump’s statement, the Secretary of Fatah in Jerusalem Shadi Mattour explained that Fatah had already made plans for “escalating struggle activities” if US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, stating that there’s “nothing left but to return to confrontation”:

Secretary of Fatah in Jerusalem Shadi Mattour: “The Fatah Movement has always led the defenders of our Palestinian people and will not hesitate when it sees the danger surrounding our Palestinian capital Jerusalem. Yesterday we were called to a meeting of branch secretaries in the presence of [Fatah] Commissioner Jamal Muhaisen, and prepared plans for escalating struggle activities on the ground if the US makes such a decision that will blow up the peace process… When the patron of peace [the US] comes and kills the peace process and kills our dream to establish our Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem, we in Fatah have nothing left but to return to confrontation with this occupation.” [Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Dec. 5, 2017]”

NY Times Examines Motivations of ‘Loving and Giving’ Bomb Suspect, Hails His ‘Mysterious Act of Mercy’

A week after authorities arrested a would-be suicide bomber for detonating an explosive in a crowded New York City transit station, the New York Times ran a piece highlighting his charity work in Bangladesh.

In a Tuesday A1 story with a print headline of “Subway Bomb Suspect’s Mysterious Act of Mercy,” the Times reported that a few weeks before the attack, Akayed Ullah participated in charity work in his native country to help Rohingya refugees who fled neighboring Myanmar.

“After visiting relatives here in the capital city, Dhaka, he traveled across the country, slept in a mosque and under a tree, and passed out a few hundred dollars of medicine in the crowded refugee camps,” reported the Times‘ Jeffrey Gettleman.

Despite pondering the “mystery” of his actions, the Times noted the charity work was well in line with the commands of other radical Islamic terrorists.

“Was Mr. Ullah following Al Qaeda, who had just urged Muslims to deliver medicine — and weapons — to the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group whose members have been raped, brutalized and massacred in neighboring Myanmar?” Gettleman asked.

“Or was he following his own heart, reflecting some sort of inner struggle as he headed toward his first known act of violence and self-destruction?” he continued.

DC Transit Cop’s Trial Details Ties Between Neo-Nazis and Islamist Terrorism

Jury deliberations begin on Monday in the federal terrorism trial of a former Washington, DC Metro Transit Police officer, who is accused of trying to provide support to ISIS.

Nicholas Young could be imprisoned for up to 60 years if convicted of attempting to provide ISIS with material support and lying to federal agents.

The 36-year-old Muslim convert from Fairfax, Virginia, is the first US police officer to face terrorism charges. Evidence and testimony in his five-day trial showed Young’s unusual affinity for both Nazism and radical Islam.

“Don’t discount an alliance with Muslims to combat the Jews,” Young said after attending a neo-Nazi gathering in 2000, according to his college friend, Ian Campbell, an Arlington County police corporal.

Young gave Campbell a copy of Serpent’s Walk, a 1991 novel published by the white supremacist National Alliance. Set nearly 100 years after World War II, it tells the story of SS officers who continued to fight for their cause until they were poised for global dominance. Federal agents also found a copy of the book in Young’s home.

A Nazi-Muslim alliance did occur during World War II, and during the trial, prosecutors showed pictures of Jerusalem’s Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini’s meetings with Adolf Hitler that were found in Young’s house during his August 2016 arrest.

“This is an alliance based on the idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” testified prosecution expert witness Daveed Gartenstein-Ross.

American Nazi-Islamist Found Guilty in ISIS Material Support Case

A former Washington, DC Metro Police officer — who embraced both neo-Nazi and radical Islamist ideology — was found guilty on Monday of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, and of two counts of obstruction of justice.

Nicholas Young, 36, is scheduled to be sentenced in March. He could face up to 60 years in prison.

Evidence and testimony presented during last week’s five-day trial showed that Young supported both Nazism and Islamist terrorism — ideologies which share hatred for Jews.

The alliance between Nazism and Islamist terrorism against Jews is “based on the idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” testified expert witness Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. People are drawn to neo-Nazism and militant Islam for similar reasons, he said, and “once you succumb to one of those ideologies, you become more prone to succumbing to the other ideology.”

The verdict marks another failed attempt to blame Federal law enforcement officials for entrapping an otherwise innocent man. To convict Young, jurors had to be convinced that he was predisposed to support ISIS before encountering any FBI informants, including those who served as prosecution witnesses.

In Europe, ‘Islamophobia’ Gets the Headlines — Despite Trailing Antisemitic Violence

When Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel earlier this month, many warned of repercussions and attacks against Jews. And within days, a Muslim man carrying a Palestinian flag shattered the windows of a kosher restaurant in Amsterdam. Soon after, Muslims in Malmo, Sweden, threw Molotov cocktails at a Jewish cemetery, and chanted, “We are going to shoot the Jews.”

In the days that followed, others burned Israeli and American flags in Stockholm, and a group hurled firebombs into a synagogue during a party for Jewish teens in Gothenburg. “Because of Trump,” a Newsweek headline declared, “People Are Burning Israeli Flags And Attacking Jews.”

But is it really “because of Trump” and the Jerusalem decision?

Probably not.

Historically, controversial developments in Israel and the West Bank have led to anti-Israel protests in Europe’s Muslim communities, and — not infrequently — to violence against Jews. This is hardly surprising, especially given the results of a June University of Oslo study, which concluded that antisemitism in Europe was the highest among European Muslims.

Moreover, while much media focus has been on anti-Muslim violence and so-called “Islamophobia” in recent years, less attention has been given to attacks against Jews, which have been particularly high and significantly more violent. And the situation is only getting worse.

After synagogues targeted, Trudeau says ‘no place’ for anti-Semitism in Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded Tuesday to a spate of hate mail sent to several synagogues in Canada over the weekend, saying that there was “no place” for anti-Semitism in the country.

“Sending my full support to the Canadian Jewish community,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter, linking to an article about the incidents.

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“These recent acts of hatred & anti-Semitism have no place in our country and we will not tolerate it,” he wrote.

Canadian police have opened an investigation into hate mail sent at least five synagogues across the country.

B’nai Brith Canada said Monday that synagogues in Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton and Edmonton received identical letters featuring a swastika inside a bleeding Star of David with the phrase “Jewry must perish.”

A number of further incidents have not been reported, police said Tuesday, according to local news reports.

“It’s scary. It’s obviously a hate letter,” Julian Lewin, executive director of Shaare Zedek in Montreal, told Radio-Canada.

Swastika Found at UC-Santa Cruz Days Before Hanukkah, Marking Eleventh Antisemitic Incident Reported in Three Months

A white swastika was found spray-painted at the University of California, Santa Cruz days before the start of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah — marking the 11th report of an antisemitic incident on campus this quarter.

The vandalism — believed to have taken place either December 9th or 10th — was denounced as “hateful and oppressive” by administrators in a campus-wide email.

For this incident “to come just before the first night of Hanukkah and during finals week, when students are focused on marking the holiday and concluding their academic quarter, only further contributes to high stress levels,” the note read.

University spokesperson Scott Hernandez-Jason told The Algemeiner that police are still investigating the incident.

“We have received 49 hate/bias reports this past quarter, 11 of which were connected to antisemitism,” Hernandez-Jason said, confirming an earlier report in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “They generally were for graffiti or vandalism.”

This total is on par with the amount of hate or bias-related incidents the school handled around this time last year, he noted, adding that administrators sometimes received multiple reports “for what might be considered one incident.”

UC-Santa Cruz has previously come under scrutiny following concerns over antisemitism.

Neo-Nazi and Extremist Groups Face Permanent Twitter Bans Under New ‘Hateful Conduct’ Rules

Twitter accounts belonging to certain Neo-Nazi, white supremacist and black nationalist groups were suddenly unavailable on Tuesday after the social media platform introduced new rules to combat hateful speech and conduct.

The Center on Extremism — a project of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — reported that a number of accounts belonging to racist and extremist groups had been banned. Twitter feeds belonging to the American Nazi Party, the League of the South, Vanguard America and the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense were among those closed for business on Tuesday.

“ADL commends Twitter for taking these significant steps to tackle hate on their platform,” the anti-bias organization’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt , said in a statement. “We long urged Twitter to push back against hateful and violent rhetoric, and these latest actions are encouraging.”

Twitter’s guidelines on “Hateful Conduct” forbid users from promoting violence on the basis of race, ethnicity, religious affiliation and sexual orientation. The platform will no longer “allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories,” the company said.

Israeli NGO Brings Electricity, Clean Water to Rural Africa

The scene was shocking: Villagers in Akuyam, Uganda, hadn’t eaten in three days when Sivan Ya’ari and her Innovation: Africa staff met them in February 2017 on their way to check on the organization’s solar water-pumping and drip-irrigation projects in six nearby villages.

“The state of poverty we saw there was nothing like we’d ever seen before. During the week we were there, 37 people died. The drought and hunger is truly incomprehensible,” says Genna Brand, iA’s director of communications.

Ya’ari, the Israeli founder of the nine-year-old NGO, immediately added Akuyam to iA’s list of projects in the Karamoja region. She also mounted iA’s first-ever emergency feeding appeal – an exception to the organization’s mission of using Israeli technology to raise the long-term standard of living in African villages.

“We went back to Israel and raised $110,000 for a food relief mission and sent maize, beans and other food through an African supplier. It was very challenging logistically but we couldn’t turn a blind eye to what we saw,” Brand tells ISRAEL21c.

iA’s country manager in Uganda reported that both the emergency aid and the water-pumping project have led to healthier and happier Akuyam residents.

Economic allies: The US and Israel’s top partnerships

With Israel joining US-led “Power Africa” program on Monday, a multi-billion dollar project to electrify sub-Saharan Africa under the auspices of USAID, additional Israeli-American partnerships are coming under review.

Here are some of the historic agreements and collaborations between the United States and the Jewish State.

1. Defense MOUs
In 2016, Israel and the US signed a defense agreement worth $38 billion, the largest foreign aid pledge in American history. The aid package is set to last until 2029 and requires that Israel not lobby the US Congress for additional funds.

For 2017, Israel received $3.1 billion in foreign military financing, more than any other country. In future years, Israel will receive $3.3 billion annually, along with an additional $500 million for missile defense – such as for the Iron Dome.

2. Loan Guarantees
When the Israeli government needs to take out a loan, it can pay significantly cheaper interest rates because the US government issues a loan guarantee – or a promise that it will pick up the tab if Israel doesn’t pay.

Israel relied more heavily on loan guarantees to lower borrowing costs during the second Intifada, when it was building its expensive West Bank separation barrier, along with absorbing hundreds of thousands of Russian immigrants in the 1990s. But given that Israel’s credit has improved significantly since the end of the second Intifada, Israel hasn’t touched needed its loan guarantees in years.

3. Power Africa
In December 2017, Israel formally joined the US Agency for International Development’s Power Africa program, opening the way for Israeli companies to participate in its Power Africa program.

The agreement opens the door to dozens of Israeli clean-energy firms to seek multi-billion-dollar contracts facilitated by Power Africa. The aid program seeks to provide electricity – via private companies – to some 60 million Africans by 2030. The Prime Minister’s Office, under Director-General Eli Groner, worked tirelessly for a year to get Israel into the lucrative humanitarian program.

Technion opens Israel’s first university campus in China

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology became the first Israeli university to open a campus in China.

On Monday, the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology opened in Shantou, in the Guangdong province on the southeast coast. The university is a partnership between the Haifa-based university, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, and the Guangdong provincial and Shantou municipal governments.

The school will offer undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering and science. Some 3,000 students are expected to attend the school in its first decade. The campus includes 13 buildings, 29 classrooms, 14 teaching laboratories and 55 research laboratories.

“[W]e welcome in a new era of cooperative research between Israel and China in science, engineering and the life sciences,” Technion President Peretz Lavie said at the Monday ceremony, according to a statement.

The Shantou institute’s chancellor, Li Jiange, said the China-Israel collaboration was mutually beneficial.

On Upcoming India Visit, Netanyahu to Gift Modi Israeli Mobile Desalinization Vehicle

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travels to New Delhi next month, he will bring a special gift for his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi — a Gal-Mobile water desalinization and purification jeep.

Modi rode in such a vehicle with Netanyahu on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea when he visited Israel this past summer.

According to the Hebrew news site Walla, the gesture — which was approved by the Foreign Ministry — will cost Israel around 390,000 shekels (roughly $111,000 dollars).

Israel and India are currently celebrating the 25th anniversary of the official establishment of diplomatic relations. Ties between the two countries have flourished in recent years and Modi’s tour of Israel in July was the first ever by a sitting Indian prime minister.

In world first, Israeli undergoes surgery to regrow a bone

Groundbreaking surgery to regrow part of a human bone was carried out on Tuesday at HaEmek Hospital in the northern Israeli town of Afula.

Danny, a resident of a nearby kibbutz who had part of his shinbone removed eight months ago after a car accident, was treated in the procedure, which was hailed by medical staff as “science fiction.”

During the surgery, the first of its kind in the world, doctors took fat cells from the patient, grew them in a lab and injected them back into his body for them to generate the missing parts of the bone, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Wednesday.

The procedure was developed several years ago by Israeli biotechnology company Bonus BioGroup. Fat cells are separated from the cells capable of generating tissue and blood vessels, and the latter are grown in a bioreactor, a device that simulates the environment inside the human body and provides optimal condition for bone generation. After two weeks, the process yields tissue that can be transplanted in the patient’s body and regrows the missing parts of the bone.

“We created thousands of tiny bone particles, each one of them alive, which enables us to inject them into the missing part where they join together to form a fully functional bone,” said Dr. Shai Meretzky, CEO of Bonus BioGroup.

Israeli software turns standard cameras hyperspectral

New software developed in Israel enables standard cameras to capture hyperspectral images and video, providing a faster and more cost-efficient approach than what is commercially available today.

Hyperspectral cameras can detect specific materials and identify the qualities of those materials, such as oil or impurities in water. Yet these cameras are expensive, cumbersome and slow. Photographing a single frame can take up to a minute.

“Current hyperspectral technology seeks to capture the entire electromagnetic spectrum,” said Prof. Ohad Ben-Shahar, founding director of the Interdisciplinary Computational Vision Laboratory and head of computer science at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU).

“Our technology, however, shows that wavelengths in nature cover only a small subset of all possible spectra, since the spectrum of the sun is relatively stable and the number of substances in the world is finite,” Ben-Shahar said.

“Using computational research, we were able to reconstruct hyperspectral imaging from the regular RGB color model used in regular cameras. In most cases, this provides extremely good reconstruction.”

Students unearth 1,500-year-old church and monastery

The remains of a 1,500-year-old monastery and church were discovered near Beit Shemesh.

The Byzantine-era buildings, complete with mosaic floors and imported marble items, were discovered by over 1,000 students participating in an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) excavation in preparation for the construction of a new neighborhood in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

Binyamin Storchen, who is leading the IAA excavation, said, “We were surprised by how well the findings were preserved, as well as by the wealth and beauty we discovered. This wealth may prove that the large building, which served as a monastery, was an important center, and it could be that it was one of the main pilgrimage centers in the Judean plain.”

“During the excavation, we uncovered the remains of walls made of smooth and expensive stones, as well as impressive architectural items. These were specially imported from Turkey, and were brought by wagon from the port. In one of the rooms, we discovered a gorgeous mosaic floor, decorated with the images of colorful birds, leaves, and pomegranates.”

The monastery was deserted in the seventh century CE, for unknown reasons. Only a small portion of it has been uncovered.

Pro-Israel groups light candles to counter BDS darkness

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy hosted on Tuesday a hanukka candle lighting ceremony with the leadership of over 30 organizations focused on fighting anti-Israel delegitimization and the BDS movements.

The participating groups included: The Israel Project, World Jewish Congress, EIPA, Hillel, the Zionist Federation of Sweden, Over the Rainbow, Reservists on Duty, Legal Forum for Israel, Maccabi World Union and others.

Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan told the attendees that “our efforts have started to bear fruit. This year we have gone on the offensive, and together we have managed to not only surprise the BDS campaign, but severely hinder their ability to spreads their lies and hatred against the State of Israel.”

Erdan also addressed the calls to boycott products from Jewish settlements in the West Bank, saying that this was merely a facade to hide the BDS campaign’s real aim of boycotting all of Israel, and that the ministry would act to unmask the campaign and expose its true goals.



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