September 23, 2023

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12/28 Links: Israel’s James Bond – How an Iraqi-born Jew became an Israeli hero; FBI: Jews were victims in 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes in 2018; Why Are Academics Ignoring Iran’s Colonialism?

From Ian:

Israel’s James Bond – How an Iraqi-born Jew became an Israeli hero
In fact, out of an estimated 137,000 Iraqi Jews, Ben-Porat’s leadership of Operation Ezra and Nehemiah resulted in about 130,000 making their way to Israel. An estimated 111,000 came by air, the rest by way of Iran. Roughly 7,000 Jews chose to remain, hoping to protect businesses and assets. Today, however, there are no Jews living in Iraq.

Upon his return to Israel, Mordechai married his fiancé, Rivka, with whom he had three daughters, 15 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Until her death in 1995, they were married for 49 years. Today with his wife of 20 years, Nechama, he lives in Ramat Gan. In subsequent service with Mossad LeAliyah Bet, he was involved in other missions, most of which remain top-secret. Among other things, he also became an MK, a member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament; and he founded the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center in Or Yehuda, a small city next to Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport.

In 2001, he was awarded the Jewish state’s highest civilian honor as a recipient of the Israel Prize with specific reference to his efforts rescuing Jews from Iraq. Recently, those same Jews along with their children and grandchildren gathered at the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center in Or Yehuda. Their nickname for Ben-Porat? Israel’s James Bond.

In the late 1990s, he authored a memoir called, To Baghdad and Back: The Miraculous 2,000 Year Homecoming of the Iraqi Jews.
Today at age 96, Mordechai sits at his dining room table, remembering the past but doing so as a lens for viewing the future. Reflecting on all he experienced in times of intense persecution in Iraq, he looks at developments in today’s world today’s world. His conclusion? His sober conviction is that persecution has returned and likely will appear with no less intensity throughout the world, especially of Jews, Kurds and Christians.

Should he establish a school that will teach the things he learned – how to survive, what to do, what not to do? He is giving the matter serious consideration. Perhaps the greatest mission for Israel’s James Bond is yet ahead. Perhaps in 2020, the construction of The Mordechai Ben-Porat International School of Persecution Preparedness will begin. Stay tuned!

Saudi blogger’s special Hanukkah message

A pro-Israel Saudi blogger released a special video clip in Hebrew in honor of the Hanukkah festival, which began Sunday evening.

Mohammed Saud, who often speaks Hebrew in his video clips on social media, sang ‘Al Hanissim’ Sunday night in a Facebook post released in honor of Hanukkah.

Last month, Saud, a resident of Riyadh, met with former White House special envoy Jason Greenblatt, a long-time ‘Twitter friend’.

In a Hebrew tweet, Saud lauded Greenblatt, calling him an “amazing person who wants and is trying to bring peace” to the Middle East.

“I hope for peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia, that Saudis will visit Israel, and Israelis will visit Saudi Arabia,” continued Saud. “God bless Israel and the US and Saudi Arabia.”

Earlier this year, Saud released videos of himself singing both Ashkenazi and Sephardi piyyutim (liturgical poems) in honor of Rosh Hashanah.

Saudi supporter of Israel claims citizenship revoked

A Saudi journalist claims that Riyadh has revoked citizenship for him and his family over his views on Israel.

Abdul Hameed al-Ghobein says that he was not officially informed about the reason, but insists that his repeated calls for the Saudi government to normalize relations with Israel were behind it.

The development comes amid reports that the Israel-Saudi relationship has been warming up.

Ghobein says he will not question the decision if it is the wish of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“We only listen and obey,” he says.

For now, there is no evidence to support his assertion, with the Saudi government issuing no official statements on the matter.

Ghobein lists journalism as one of his professions. He has written for Israeli newspapers and uses social media to praise Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I call for direct and unconditional ties with Israel. This is a strategic choice,” he says.

JPost Editorial: Gaza paradigm

Amid warnings that a conflict with Iran is imminent and looming on the horizon, Israel seems to be working to secure a long-term arrangement with Hamas in the Gaza Strip aimed at creating peace and quiet along its southern front.

“I recognize a unique opportunity in Gaza,” Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said in a speech on Wednesday. “There is a strong desire not to bring about an escalation of tensions on the part of Hamas, and it was Islamic Jihad under the leadership of its now-dead commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata, that was responsible for the vast majority of attacks on Israel in the past year.”

Hamas, the IDF chief of staff said, wants to improve the welfare of its citizens, and Israel is “in the process of assisting the Egyptians within which we will facilitate civilian relief. This is the policy of the Israeli government and I support it.”

Kochavi’s frank comments revealed what has long been known – Israel is negotiating a deal that will end violence in Gaza and bring a semblance of quiet to the South.

A day after Kochavi spoke, the organizers of the Great March of Return, the weekly demonstrations near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, announced that they were suspending the protests until the end of March. The decision, which goes into effect January 3, is seen as part of the effort to secure a ceasefire, an effort being mediated by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations.

Israel’s interest in a long-term ceasefire with Hamas is threefold. On the one hand, with the chance for a conflict with Iran on the rise, it is important to mitigate threats and to work to remove possible violent distractions where and when possible. The IDF needs to be focused right now on the northern front – particularly Syria. And if it can remove the burden of Gaza, that is a clear benefit.

Geert Wilders calls for kicking out ICC prosecutor over Israel ‘bias’

The leader of the second-largest party in the Netherlands called for expelling from the country an International Criminal Court prosecutor for attempting to try Israelis for war crimes.

Geert Wilders called Thursday for the expulsion of Fatou Bensouda over her Dec. 20 report alleging that both Israelis and Palestinians had committed war crimes. Bensouda is based in The Hague.

Bensouda’s 112-page report asked the court to decide whether it has jurisdiction over Israel, which like the United States is not a party to the treaty that constitutes the court’s mandate. The Palestinian Authority is party to the treaty.

Israel maintains the court has no jurisdiction because Israel has a functioning judicial system that can exercise proper oversight of its leaders.

In his statement Thursday, Wilders, whose Party for Freedom won 20 seats in parliament in 2017 elections, said that the court “behaves as a biased pro-Palestinian institution and an anti-Semitic kangaroo court.” Bensouda “should be declared persona non grata and be evicted out of the Netherlands,” Wilders wrote.

Wilders, who is a vocal opponent of Muslim immigration to the Netherlands and European integration, is also a strong supporter of Israel.

Is antisemitic Mahathir becoming a leading figure in the Muslim world?

Today was the first day of the Kuala Lumpur Summit in Malaysia, where leaders from the world’s most populous Muslim Majority’s came together to address issues facing the Muslim world such as Islamophobia, leadership, and poverty.

Although there were several last-minute dropouts from leaders, such as Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, organizers of the event state that there are at least 250 foreign representatives from 52 countries and 150 Malaysian delegates in attendance.

In theory, the goals of the summit are positive and the aims, such as progression and economic stability, laudable. However, the problem comes in when you consider who is the organizer and leader of this gathering – Prime Minister Mohammad Mahathir, a proud antisemite and Israel-hater with disturbing opinions.

The list of his slurs and antisemitic comments is as lengthy as it is vile. In a 2012 blog post, Mahathir stated that he is “proud to be labeled antisemitic,” and in his autobiography he claims that “Jews are not merely hook-nosed but understand money instinctively.” There have been multiple times where he questioned the accuracy of the Holocaust, and he often blames the “Jewish agenda” for his own economic failures.

It is hard to tell whether he is more antisemitic or anti-Israel. A popular Malaysian outlet, Malaysiakini, reported him stating, “What is the reason we don’t allow Israelis to come here? We say they are crooks, and we just got rid of one crook,” and he was widely criticized after his decision to ban Israeli para-athletes from a swimming meet planned in Malaysia.

Saudi Arabia signs deal with Raytheon to localize US Patriot maintenance

Saudi Arabia signed a deal with the local unit of U.S. weapons maker Raytheon on Saturday to localize maintenance of its Patriot missile defense system, as part of efforts to boost Saudi’s defense industries and its broader economy.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to diversify the kingdom away from its reliance on oil exports and wants Riyadh to produce or assemble half its defense equipment locally, aiming to create 40,000 jobs for Saudis by 2030.

Saudi Arabia is among the top five defense spenders in the world. It is one of several U.S. allies to use Patriot, a ground to air missile system giving defense against ballistic missiles and other threats.

Ahmed al-Ohali, governor of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI), said the agreement with Raytheon reflected the authority’s efforts to develop Saudi’s military industries and its research and technology capabilities, state news agency SPA reported.

Report: Israel to ignore PA request to hold elections in East Jerusalem

Israel is planning to ignore a request by the Palestinian Authority to hold elections for its parliament in Israeli-controlled East Jerusalem, Israeli officials told the Ynet news site Saturday.

In an official letter last week, the PA asked that East Jerusalem be included in any potential vote for the long-defunct parliament and the presidency.

But after internal discussions at senior levels, the report said, Israel decided not respond to the request, likely leading PA President Mahmoud Abbas to postpone a national election.

Channel 12 news, meanwhile, reported that the Israeli move may have been made in coordination with Abbas, who believes he could stand to lose from holding an open, democratic election.

Last week Abbas said he would not go ahead with planned elections unless Israel allows Palestinians living in East Jerusalem to vote.

“If Jerusalem residents can’t vote in the heart of the city where they live, there will not be elections,” Abbas said during a speech in Ramallah. “We are very interested in holding elections, but not at any price.”

The Palestinians have not held elections for more than a decade.

Is Marwan Barghouti planning to run for PA president?

If and when a new election for the Palestinian Authority presidency takes place, jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti will present his candidacy, Palestinian sources said on Saturday.

A Fatah official told The Jerusalem Post that the 60-year-old Barghouti, who in 2004 was tried and convicted of murdering Israelis during the Second Intifada, has yet to make a final decision whether he intends to contest the vote.

Other officials, nonetheless, insisted that Barghouti has decided to run in the presidential election.

“It’s highly likely that Barghouti will run,” the sources said. “He believes that Fatah needs new leaders.”

MEMRI: In Libya, Criticism Of Increasingly Close Relationship Between Turkey And Al-Sarraj’s Government Of National Accord (GNA): Erdogan Wants To Bring Back The Ottoman Empire, Al-Sarraj’s GNA Is Like The Vichy Government

Turkey’s involvement in Libya and its signing of maritime and security Memoranda of Understandings (MOUs) with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj,[1] is being harshly criticized inside Libya by elements opposed to the GNA. The criticism, on both social media and in the Libyan, news media following statements by senior Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, about Turkey’s readiness to dispatch military forces to Libya to assist in the fighting against Libyan Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who controls the eastern part of the country, and particularly following Erdogan’s recent statement that millions of Turks reside in Libya.

In a December 22, 2019 speech at a ceremony inaugurating a new Turkish-made submarine, Erdogan said that Turkey would not back out of its security MOU with Libya, which, he noted, does not violate international law. Emphasizing that Turkey was prepared to increase its military aid to Libya if necessary, and rejecting the criticism in Turkey about his regional policy, he added: “If Libya wasn’t interested in us, then what was [Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal] Ataturk doing there?… Libya is a place we are duty-bound to support when necessary, even if it costs us lives. Like anywhere else in North Africa, our people living in Libya number in the millions, who view themselves as the brothers of the Turkish people.”[2]

In response, ‘Aqila Salah, speaker of the Libyan parliament of the Tobruk-based government in the east of the country, released a statement condemning Erdogan’s comments and calling them an attempt to “harm the social fabric of the united Libyan people and foment civil war among the citizens” and also “to justify the Turkish military attack on Libya. He then demanded that the international community take a firm stance against Erdogan’s statements.[3]

Erdogan’s statements also prompted many enraged responses on social media in Libya, and the creation of a hashtag, “I Am Libyan But Not One Of The Million,” referring to Erdogan’s claim about the Turks in Libya. Libyan Twitter user WafaaAltaib shared the hashtag with an image of a foot stomping on the Turkish flag with Erdogan’s face on it.

MEMRI: Turkey’s Government Sentences Six Turkish Journalists From Leading Opposition Daily ‘Sözcü’ To Prison

On December 27, 2019, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu Ajansı reported that Istanbul’s 37th criminal court had sentenced six journalists and one other staff member from the leading Turkish opposition daily Sözcü, known for its secular stance, to prison for their alleged connections to the “Fetullah Gülen Terror Organization.” Writers Emin Çölaşan and Necati Doğru were both sentenced to three years, six months, and 15 days in prison. Metin Yılmaz, the paper’s editor in chief, and Mustafa Çetin, editor of the newspaper’s website, were both sentenced to three years and four months in prison. Yücel Arı, a news coordinator, Bekir Gökmen Ulu, an Izmir-based reporter, and Yonca Yücekaleli, the daily’s financial affairs manager, were each sentenced to two years and one month in prison.[1]

Sözcü is one of the few remaining Turkish dailies that objectively criticizes AKP government policy while many other Turkish news outlets, which are controlled either by the government directly or by large holding companies whose other subsidiaries depend on government contracts, generally echo the government position on events. Others have been shut down: 45 news outlets were shut down following the July 15, 2016 attempted coup.[2]

MEMRI recently translated two articles by Emin Çölaşan in which he mocked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and expressed his view that the Turkish government should not send troops to support the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8364 Ahead Of Trump-Erdoğan Meeting In Washington, Referring To Him As ‘Mr. Recep,’ Turkish Journalist Satirizes Erdoğan: ‘When He Roars “Oh America, Oh EU, Oh Assad,” The World Starts To Quake And Tremble’, November 13, 2019; and MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8419 Turkish Journalist On President Erdoğan’s Statements Regarding Sending Troops To Libya: ‘How Can He Speak So Irresponsibly?’ ‘By Now The Whole World Knows That This Government Uses Our Army For Other Purposes’, December 17, 2019). Necati Doğru’s recent articles include “The People Love The One Who Works Honestly!” in which he wrote about allegations of corruption by the AKP government in Istanbul, and “Barons of Ankara!” in which he wrote about corruption in Ankara.[3]

Why Are Academics Ignoring Iran’s Colonialism?

Academics today are obsessed with colonization, empire, and cultural hegemony, along with postcolonialism, ethnic studies, and intersectionality. Scholarship in many fields has come to be dominated by hegemony-fighting, indigenous-supporting anti-imperialists who attack anyone who disagrees with them. When a journal called Third World Quarterly published an article in 2017 about the benefits of colonialism, the uproar from the social-justice professors led to the article’s being withdrawn and 15 members of the editorial board resigning amid threats.

So if the profession is so adamant about the evils of colonialism, why is it ignoring Iran?

When strong countries exert their (unfair) advantages over weaker ones, imposing their values and cultures and manipulating indigenous economies, academics are among the loudest and most creative critics. Even the most benign influence of a powerful country over a weaker one is excoriated — hence the long obsession with something called “cocacolonization.” Legions of scholar-activists are busy enlisting history to shed light on the present, drawing parallels between a benighted European era of colonization and an ongoing American or Israeli one, looking under rocks for signs of Western, American, and Trumpian oppression and proclaiming a new American empire. Fair enough — but why ignore the Iranian attempts to do exactly to others what they accuse others of having done to Iran?

Journalists and analysts, such as Jonathan Spyer and Seth Frantzman, have been documenting Iran’s colonial expansion for many years. But most academics have been reluctant to turn their skills on Iran. Many prefer softer targets, such as Israel and the U.S. Earlier this month, the United Nations’ Decolonization Committee pushed eight anti-Israel measures through the General Assembly, showing where its priorities lie.

Even without its violations of other countries’ sovereignty, Iran itself is an empire, with ethnic Persians dominating the Arabs, Kurds, Balochis, Azeris, Turkmen, Lur, Gilakis, and Mazandaranis. Only a few, notably Daniel Pipes, Ilan Berman, and Shoshana Bryen, are interested in this fact.

Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution was an imperialist project from the beginning, as one of his first moves after taking power (even before the collapse of the post-shah provisional government in November 1979) was to establish the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to spread his ideas. Shortly thereafter he made moves in Lebanon, dispatching “1,500 IRGC advisers [to] set up a base in the Bekaa Valley as part of [his] goal to export the Islamic Revolution to the Arab world,” as Matthew Levitt put it. Those advisers were instrumental in creating Hezbollah, which has served to spread Iran’s influence throughout the world.

2 years after tweeting anti-Semitic screed, Valerie Plame now attends synagogue

Valerie Plame, the outed CIA agent at the center of a George W. Bush administration scandal, said she is now the member of a synagogue in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The revelation comes as Plame is running for Congress as a Democrat, and two years after her tweet of an anti-Semitic article led to her apology and professional repercussions.

Plame told Tal Schneider, a political reporter for Globes, an Israeli business daily, that her interest in Judaism stemmed from her discovery that her great-grandfather was a rabbi who fled Ukraine at the turn of the last century.

“I’ve always been drawn to that aspect of my Jewish heritage,” Plame said in tweets with videos that Schneider posted on Friday, “so it led me to Temple Beth Shalom in Santa Fe.”

Plame said she was especially attracted to the temple’s social justice initiatives, and that she is a member. Schneider confirmed with members of the local Jewish community that Plame had attended some services.

FBI: Jews were victims in 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes in 2018

According to the recently released US FBI hate crime statistics for 2018, Jews were the victims in nearly three-fifths of the offenses committed against people due to their religion. Furthermore, there was a 105% increase in physical assaults on Jews over the previous year, the worst of which was the October 27 massacre of 11 worshipers by a white supremacist at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Since that tragic event 14 months ago, more than a dozen white supremacists have been arrested for plots, threats or attacks against Jews. The specific incidents include a threat on Facebook to kill Jews at a synagogue in Washington state, a threat on Instagram to attack a Jewish community center in Ohio, a deadly shooting at the Chabad synagogue in Poway, California, and a plot to bomb a historic Colorado synagogue.

There’s no disputing that Jews are the primary target of white supremacist hate. It would be, of course, unthinkable (not to mention patently absurd and highly offensive) for anyone to accuse the very victims of this odious far-right antisemitism of being white supremacists themselves.

Unthinkable, that is, unless we’re talking about the twisted moral universe of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. As if the outrageous claims of Israeli apartheid and genocide of the Palestinians were not enough to demonize the Jewish state, BDS activists are increasingly casting Jews – specifically, the Zionists among us – as agents of white supremacy.

NYC sends more cops to Jewish areas to counter spate of anti-Semitic attacks

New York City is increasing its police presence in some Brooklyn neighborhoods with large Jewish populations after apparently anti-Semitic attacks during the Hanukkah holiday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said after the latest episode happened Friday.

Besides making officers more visible in Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg, police will boost visits to houses of worship and some other places, the mayor tweeted.

“Anti-Semitism is an attack on the values of our city — and we will confront it head-on,” the Democrat wrote.

Around the city, police have gotten at least five reports this week of attacks apparently propelled by anti-Jewish bias.

The latest happened around 12:40 a.m. Friday, when a woman slapped three other women in the face and head after encountering them on a Crown Heights corner, police said. The victims, who range in age from 22 to 31, suffered minor pain, police said.

Tiffany Harris, 30, was arrested on a hate-crime harassment charge.

De Blasio: Anyone who terrorizes Jewish community will face justice

In response to a week full of antisemitic attacks, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that an increased police presence would be deployed in the Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

There will also be an increase in police visits to synagogues and “other critical areas in the community,” tweeted de Blasio.

“Hate doesn’t have a home in our city,” he wrote. “Anyone who terrorizes our Jewish community WILL face justice.”

Man enters Chabad world headquarters in Brooklyn and threatens to shoot it up

A man entered the Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters located at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn on Friday morning and threatened to shoot up the place, according to ABC 7 local news.

After approaching a congregant, the man, wearing a hoodie, reportedly left without further incident and headed toward the Utica Avenue subway station.

According to the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, “There were no reported injuries as a result, there are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force was notified and are investigating this incident.”

The incident came only a few hours after a 30-year-old black woman allegedly harassed and slapped a group of three Jewish women aged 22, 26 and 31-years-old at Crown Street and Kingston Avenue, a five-minute walk south of the headquarters, according to the Crown Heights Info news outlet. This incident occurred around 1 a.m. Friday morning.

As many as seven recent anti-Semitic incidents in total over the past few days in New York are being investigated, ABC 7 reported.

Lawyers fight death penalty for Pittsburgh synagogue shooter

Lawyers for the suspect in the synagogue shooting that killed 11 people in Pittsburgh have challenged his potential death sentence as unconstitutional.

Lawyers for Robert Bowers argued in court papers filed this week that capital punishment violates the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause and the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

They also said the practice of carrying out federal executions in state prisons violates a Tenth Amendment protection that says states can’t be made to enforce federal laws, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Friday.

Defense lawyer Judy Clarke has made similar arguments in other high-profile capital cases. Her clients have included Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tasarnaev, who is appealing his 2015 death sentence, and “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, who entered a plea agreement that spared him the death penalty.

In court filings, Clarke said that she has tried to negotiate a life sentence for Bowers but that prosecutors have rebuffed her.

Gal Gadot to co-produce movie on Israeli-Palestinian love story

Israeli actress Gal Gadot and her husband have signed a deal to co-produce a movie version of a book that was struck from Israeli high school curricula due to its depiction of a love story between an Israeli and a Palestinian.

Gadot and Yaron Varsano’s Pilot Wave production company will partner with Israeli production company Keshet International to produce the on-screen adaption of Dorit Rabinyan’s “Borderlife,” which was published in English as “All The Rivers.”

The book tells the story of an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man who fall in love during a frigid New York City winter and choose to hide their romance from friends and family as they struggle to come to terms with the relationship.

It became the source of controversy in Israel in 2015 when the Education Ministry decided to pull the book from recommended reading lists for high school students, due to it “threatening Jewish identity.” It subsequently became a bestseller.

Gadot is currently visiting Israel on a break between filming a new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Death on the Nile” with Kenneth Branagh, and “Red Notice,” Variety magazine reported.

Israelis plan to produce the world’s first ‘super wine’

Everyone knows that wine, in moderation, is good for you. The medicinal benefits of drinking a glass of red wine in the evening have been well documented.

Back in the 1990s it became known as the “French paradox” after a groundbreaking study showed that the French – whose diet is typically rich in cholesterol and saturated fats but also insist on a glass or two of wine with their meals – suffer from 40% fewer coronary heart ailments than Americans.

Since then, wine has been widely recognized as a central factor in preventing cardiac events and atherosclerosis. Drinking wine can literally extend your life.

Now Israeli researchers are trying to produce the world’s first “super wine” that condenses all the beneficial factors of fermented grapes – without affecting the wine’s taste, tones or tannins.

“Wine contains antioxidants and other substances that help our bodies defend against various ailments, but at a relatively low concentration,” explains Meir Shlisel, a senior lecturer in food science at the Academic and Technology College of Tel Hai. “There’s a limit to how much of it you can drink because of the amount of alcohol.”

Israel’s alpha radiation treatment shows tumor shrinkage in 100% of cases

The question I have asked myself and many others most often over the past decade is, with all this technology, the artificial intelligence, the autonomous cars, the drones, how have we not cracked cancer?

Well, there are of course many answers, the first of which is that there is no such thing as “cracking cancer.” We call it cancer, but every cancer is of course different and needs a different type of cure.

The second thing to mention is that in many instances, we actually have cracked it, at least medically. There are endless cutting-edge treatments being deployed as we speak, and endless additional cutting-edge research projects being conducted. There are new breakthroughs all the time, much of which are awaiting FDA approval, but one thing many of these treatments and cures have in common is that they are developed in a tiny country smaller than New Jersey that happens to be located in perhaps the worst neighborhood on Earth. When it comes to cancer research, Israel leads the way.

Finally, the last time I wrote about cutting-edge cancer treatments, I was contacted by a close friend who is a leading oncologist. He pointed out that a disclaimer is very much necessary when I write these articles. The last thing oncologists need is for their patients to think there is some magical solution here and show up to their appointments with a cut-out of an article. In fact, the last thing a cancer patient needs is false hope.

Lone female grad of latest IAF pilot course says judging skin, gender won’t fly

Female. Religious. Dark-skinned.

While any of these traits may seem remarkable for a pilot in the Israeli Air Force, for the only woman to graduate this year from the military’s flight academy, they are not what defines her.

“The first thing you’ll see is probably my [skin] color, or that I’m a girl or that I have braids,” Lieutenant Tet told Channel 12 news in an interview aired Friday. “After a conversation of two sentences you’ll see that isn’t what I bring to the table; there are other things.”

Tet, who was only identified by her rank and first initial of her name, grew up in Jerusalem with immigrant parents. Her father moved to Israel from the Ivory Coast, her mother from France.

While she heard comments from other kids about her skin color growing up, Tet said she never let them dictate how she views herself.

“What I would tell any kid who feels he is being diminished, is that it’s a matter of point of view and that it doesn’t take anything from your abilities… It’s something external,” she said.

Guinness Certifies Dreidel Made by New York Jewelers as World’s Most Valuable

New York City jewelers have created the world’s most valuable dreidel, valued at $70,000, according to Guinness World Records.

It took Estate Diamond Jewelry almost four months to make the custom-designed piece, which features the traditional Hebrew symbols, all diamond-encrusted.

At the tip of the dreidel is a 4.20-carat round brilliant-cut diamond and the entire dreidel stands 10.8 cm off the ground.

The body of the dreidel is made from 18k yellow gold, while the Hebrew letters are made with 18k white gold and have 222 modern round brilliant diamonds inlaid into the symbols.

This is the first time Estate Diamond Jewelry, which has been collecting rare and vintage engagement rings for over 40 years, has earned a Guinness World Records title.

“The inspiring message of Chanukah has always resonated with us and we love whimsical jewelry, so naturally, we have always tried to get our hands on an important antique dreidel to add to the collection,” Estate Diamond Jewelers said in a blog post. “The indented edges of the faces, the sharp diagonal lines of the pavilion, and the straight top are strong themes of the Art Deco Era. The final design was heavily inspired by the Chrysler Building (which is only a few blocks away from our showroom) and is one of the most revered Art Deco icons.”

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