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Ha'aretz
Time: Wed, 12.08.2021 05:11 PM Local file generated: Wed, 12.08.2021 03:36 PM
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Israeli Health Ministry report admits role in disappearance of Yemenite children in 1950s

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 18:21:58 +02:00

The Health Ministry has been preventing the publication of a draft report that details how the Israeli health system was involved in the disappearance of Yemenite children in the 1950s, including helping give some of them up for adoption.

Although the report doesn't present new testimonies or details, and contains no data regarding the scope of the phenomenon, it is the first official reference by a ministry to its involvement in a scandal that has haunted Israel for many decades.

The affair has been the subject of several state inquests over the years, but Israeli governments have never admitted wrongdoing or accepted that hundreds of babies of parents from Yemen, other Middle Eastern states and the Balkans were allegedly handed over to wealthier Israelis in the early years of the state.


 Israeli Health Ministry report admits role in disappearance of Yemenite children in 1950s


Fox News' Christmas tree in New York City set ablaze, man arrested

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 18:11:01 +02:00

New York police arrested a man on Wednesday on suspicion that he had set on fire a 50-foot-tall Christmas tree outside the Fox News headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

Fox News security personnel called police shortly after midnight when they saw a man climbing the tree located at Sixth Avenue and 48th Street, police said.

When officers arrived on the scene they saw a man, identified as Craig Tamanaha, 49, running from the tree and arrested him. He faces several charges, including arson, trespassing and disorderly conduct.


 Fox News' Christmas tree in New York City set ablaze, man arrested


Father's Nazi past haunts Chilean presidential frontrunner

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 18:06:33 +02:00

The German-born father of Chilean presidential frontrunner José Antonio Kast was a member of Adolf Hitler's Nazi party, according to a recently unearthed document obtained by The Associated Press, revelations that appear at odds with the far-right candidate's own statements about his father's military service during World War II.

German officials confirmed this week that an ID card in the country's Federal Archive shows that an 18-year-old named Michael Kast joined the National Socialist German Workers' Party, or NSDAP, on Sept. 1, 1942, at the height of Hitler's war on the Soviet Union.

While the Federal Archive couldn't confirm whether Kast was the presidential contender's father, the date and place of birth listed on the card matches that of Kast's father, who died in 2014. A copy of the ID card, identified with the membership number 9271831, was previously posted on social media on Dec. 1 by Chilean journalist Mauricio Weibel.


 Father's Nazi past haunts Chilean presidential frontrunner


Nature authority staff back advanced nuclear reactors for Israel's clean energy

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 17:35:27 +02:00

Professionals at Israel's Nature and Parks Authority are backing the idea of transitioning to a low-carbon energy economy through using advanced nuclear reactors.

Using nuclear reactors to produce energy will make it possible to avoid the environmental effects of wind and solar installations, which use up large swaths of open areas and endanger wildlife, such as birds. The professionals' support for the initiative illustrates the growing concern within the authority regarding the broad distribution of renewable energy installations, mainly for solar energy.

Last week, Tel-Hai Academic College in the upper Galilee held the 16th conference on science and nature preservation, in memory of Orna Eshed, who was an ecologist in the authority. One of the speakers was Dotan Rotem from the authority's science division, who explained the effects of solar installations on wildlife. In trying to implement the long-term goals for renewable energy production, the areas allocated for solar energy will expand. These zones are usually fenced off, which prevents animals and baby birds from reaching their habitats.


 Nature authority staff back advanced nuclear reactors for Israel's clean energy


Poland orders science academy to disclose members' contacts with Israeli researchers

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 17:06:47 +02:00

The Polish Foreign Ministry ordered the country's national Academy of Sciences on Tuesday to disclose any ties members have with researchers in Israel, in a move that has reverberated among researchers and academics in both countries. Some researchers say the unusual demand, which was sent in an official email, is an absurd provocation that cannot be complied with.

Poland's government, headed by the nationalist Law and Justice Party since 2015, has sought to promote a heroic national narrative about the Holocaust that downplays discussion of collaboration with the Nazis, while emphasizing Polish victimhood and resistance.

On Tuesday, the ministry asked that researchers with the Academy of Sciences and government agencies reply to a dedicated ministry email address regarding contacts with researchers in Israel or with the Israeli embassy in Warsaw. Among the details requested was the telephone numbers of the Israeli researchers with whom they had been in contact.


 Poland orders science academy to disclose members' contacts with Israeli researchers


Without Intel, Mobileye's route to an autonomous vehicle could be very challenging

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 16:03:45 +02:00

Nearly five years ago, Intel, the multinational computer chip firm, announced that it was purchasing Jerusalem-based Mobileye for $15.3 billion the largest price ever paid for an Israeli company.

The move was considered a resounding success for Mobileye and Israeli tech, but it also raised quite a few eyebrows. Many wondered why Intel would be interested in a company developing driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicle technology.

At the time, Intel seemed to be everywhere. It got involved in drones and virtual reality, smart watches, and wearable technology. The company seemed to be testing every avenue, anything not to miss out on the next revolution like it missed out on mobile communications.


 Without Intel, Mobileye's route to an autonomous vehicle could be very challenging


˜Trust the dictator': Israel's new method of 'supervising' cyber arms exports

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 15:20:23 +02:00

Israel's Foreign and Defense Ministries, along with their legal counsels, are simply failing to grasp how deep of a hole they have dug for themselves. The defense export policy that they introduced has made Israel into one of the world's main supporters of state-sponsored terror.

In effect, if it had been politically feasible, the Biden administration should have placed Israeli officials on the United States blacklist for the same reasons that Israeli cyberattack firm NSO was placed on the list last month: For endangering U.S. national security and allowing œforeign governments to conduct transnational repression, including the practice of authoritarian governments targeting dissidents, journalists and activists outside their sovereign borders with the aim of silencing opposition. Such practices threaten international order and rule of law.

Through their own obliviousness and arrogance, ministry officials have caused greater strategic damage to Israel than Iran has ever succeeded in inflicting. Yet the ministries continue to deny that they have erred or that they have lost control. All over the world, people have suffered human rights violations due to Israeli defense exports, particularly the NSO phone-hacking software Pegasus. These exports were carried out with a license from the Foreign and Defense Ministries. At any moment, these victims are likely to begin public, legal proceedings against the State of Israel or an Israeli company. Even if the complainants have never taken an interest in the occupation or criticized Israel over the violation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, they are certainly interested in violations of their own rights.


 ˜Trust the dictator': Israel's new method of 'supervising' cyber arms exports


How do you like your salmon? Uninformative, please

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 15:00:35 +02:00

We are what we eat, they say. This gets more interesting when we have no idea what we're eating.

Why would anybody spend money to eat gold leaf on a hamburger? Even putting aside the cost, why eat gold in any form at all? It's all about perception, since the metal condiment enhances neither the taste nor the nutritive value of the patty. Now a study published in the journal of Food Quality and Preference drives home our vacuousness regarding food choices with the revelation that when it comes to smoked salmon, Danes think they prefer wild salmon.

But they don't. They overwhelmingly prefer farmed salmon, as long as they don't know what they're eating. In fact, as long as they don't know the fish's provenance, they slightly prefer conventionally farmed, nonorganic salmon to organic.


 How do you like your salmon? Uninformative, please


Erdogan: Israel ties could be fixed if it displays 'sensitivity' toward Palestinians

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 14:40:52 +02:00

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he is open to improved relations with Israel, but the country must first display œmore sensitive policies toward Palestinians.

Erdogan told a group of journalists in Qatar late Tuesday that better ties with Israel would be œbeneficial for peace in the wider region.

œBut at this point, Israel needs to be more sensitive concerning its Palestinian policy. It needs to be sensitive about Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque, he said in reference to a hilltop compound that is holy to Jews and Muslims.


 Erdogan: Israel ties could be fixed if it displays 'sensitivity' toward Palestinians


Scholz takes over as German chancellor, ending Merkel era

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 14:28:21 +02:00

Lawmakers elected Social Democrat Olaf Scholz as German chancellor on Wednesday, ending 16 years of conservative rule under Angela Merkel and paving the way for a pro-European coalition government that has promised to boost green investment.

Scholz, 63, who served as vice chancellor and finance minister in coalition with Merkel, got a clear majority of 395 votes from lawmakers in the Bundestag lower house of parliament, Bundestag President Baerbel Bas said.

Scholz, wearing a black face mask, waved as he received a standing ovation from lawmakers and was given bouquets of flowers and a basket of apples from the leaders of the parliamentary groups.


 Scholz takes over as German chancellor, ending Merkel era


Israeli held in Belarus describes 'hellish torments' in prison

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 14:21:07 +02:00

An Israeli lawyer jailed in Belarus on drug possession charges has pleaded for Israeli authorities to bring her home, complaining that she is undergoing œhellish torments while œcut off from all connection to the world outside.

In a letter published in the Hebrew-language Maariv daily, Maya Reiten Stoll, a single mother of two who was arrested late last month while on a business trip, wrote that œevery day here is like the passage of a whole year for me. The food here is not kosher and I have not touched it.

In a statement after her arrest, Stoll's attorneys stated that they were concerned that œif she is not released immediately, she will be sent to prison for years. She had been carrying 2.5 grams (0.09 oz) of cannabis, for which she has a license in Israel due to health issues. Her attorneys said that the penalty in Belarus for the offense ranges from three to seven years in prison.


 Israeli held in Belarus describes 'hellish torments' in prison


Britain tells Iran it's 'last chance' to sign up to nuke deal as talks set to resume

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 14:00:40 +02:00

British foreign minister Liz Truss urged Iran on Wednesday to sign up to the 2015 nuclear deal, saying it was "the last chance" to do, just a day before talks were expected to resume.

"This is really the last chance for Iran to sign up and I strongly urge them to do that because we are determined to work with our allies to prevent Iran securing nuclear weapons," she told the Chatham House think tank.

"So they do need to sign up to the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) agreement, it's in their interests to do so."


 Britain tells Iran it's 'last chance' to sign up to nuke deal as talks set to resume


Why settlers are quietly happy with Israel's post-Netanyahu government

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 13:34:53 +02:00

The prime minister of the Israeli government has various additional titles and roles, some of which are barely known to the public. For instance, they are also chairperson of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission. And by law, they also hold any government ministry that for whatever reason does not have a minister in situ. Which means the present incumbent, Naftali Bennett, is also minister for settlement affairs. (The post was supposed to go to Nir Orbach, a member of Bennett's Yamina party, but for now he prefers the influential job of Knesset House Committee chairman.)

This is intriguing, because six months have passed since Bennett became both prime minister and settlements minister, and so far he doesn't seem to have much of a policy on settlements beyond continuing that of his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last Thursday, a tense phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, which ostensibly was meant as an update on the stalled talks with the Iranians in Vienna, also served to bring Bennett back down to earth on the settlements issue. The State Department's readout of the call mentioned that Blinken œstrongly emphasized that Israel (and the Palestinian Authority) œrefrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution, including advancing settlement activity.


 Why settlers are quietly happy with Israel's post-Netanyahu government


COVID in Israel: Infection on the rise after Hanukkah festivities

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 12:02:17 +02:00

Israel has recorded a rise in coronavirus infection in the week following Hanukkah festivities, Health Ministry data showed Wednesday.

The COVID infection rate known as the R number the average number of people each coronavirus carrier infects  has risen, with each carrier infecting an average of 1.07 people. That number is calculated from data from 10 days prior, so it does not reflect the jump in infection after the holiday.  

In addition, Tuesday saw the highest number of new COVID cases since October, with 786 people testing positive.


 COVID in Israel: Infection on the rise after Hanukkah festivities


Poland probes Jewish website editor over a tweet about the Holocaust

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 11:59:36 +02:00

The editor-in-chief of a Jewish news website is under investigation in Poland on suspicion of denying Nazi crimes after asserting that Hitler's Germany never sought to exterminate the entire Polish nation.

Katarzyna Markusz, a non-Jewish historian and journalist who runs the website Jewish.pl, is due to be questioned next week by officials of the Institute of National Remembrance, Poland's state-supported historical research body. At issue is her tweet this year stating that œthere have never been mass extermination camps for Poles.

Markusz says she fears that an indictment could follow; she could face up to three years in prison for œundermining the fact of the planned extermination of people of Polish nationality carried out by the authorities of the German Third Reich.


 Poland probes Jewish website editor over a tweet about the Holocaust


An unorthodox, first ever Hasidic gallery has joined the NYC art scene

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 11:49:06 +02:00

NEW YORK In the basement of a boutique hotel in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, surrounded by yeshivas and kosher food stores, three Hasidim sit and talk art one a Satmar, one from the New Square sect, the third from the Bobov dynasty.

Around them hang dozens of artworks in the spirit of the neighborhood that houses the Shtetl Art Gallery, the first Hasidic gallery in Williamsburg and probably all of New York. Displayed there are realist depictions, whether the picturesque alleyways of Safed or a portrait of former Israeli Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who's hunched over the daily page of the Gemara commentaries on the second-century written version of the oral tradition.

One wall shows expressionist art on large canvas sheets much less Hasidic and a lot closer to Van Gogh and Munch. There are also still-life installations. At the center of the space is the installation œDifference in Harmony, 10 sculptures of violins in various shapes and sizes.


 An unorthodox, first ever Hasidic gallery has joined the NYC art scene


'I apparently got the last interview that Philip Roth ever gave'

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 11:33:54 +02:00

After a long series of pleading emails that were carefully crafted to straddle the fine line between erudition and groveling, Philip Roth consented to grant Asaf Galay 40 minutes in which he would talk about Saul Bellow, the man who was his spiritual mentor. At one point, he also stole Roth's girlfriend, Susan Glassman, and married her. œI went to his house in Connecticut, and unlike other writers who mainly talk about themselves, Roth really talked about Bellow, and every sentence of his is a work of art, verbal magic, Galay recounts. œAnd after he spoke about Bellow he started telling me jokes in Yiddish jokes that of course I couldn't put in the film and he said, ˜Let's meet again. Come back here and do a real film about me.' But that, of course, didn't happen, and a year later he died. I apparently got the last interview that Philip Roth ever gave.

And what was the most interesting thing Roth said about Saul Bellow? œHe said that he missed arguing with him at the table, but that Bellow was not a good friend. He said something like: ˜He wouldn't be the first guy whose companionship I'd seek out in the afterlife.'

Roth is just one of the interviewees who appear in Galay's film, œThe Adventures of Saul Bellow, which follows the life of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Other interviewees include Bellow's three sons, Greg, Adam and Daniel; the two of his five former wives who are still alive; the writers Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis and Charles R. Johnson and noted literary scholars and critics. The film, which was shown as part of the Jewish Film Festival that took place last week at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, depicts a man who was a towering intellectual, a charismatic personality and Nobel Prize winner who searched in his writing for an answer to the spiritual wilderness at the core of the human experience but also a petty man replete with human faults.


 'I apparently got the last interview that Philip Roth ever gave'


Israel not expected to join ˜bizarre' U.S. boycott of Winter Olympics in China

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 11:32:08 +02:00

Israel is not expected to join the U.S.-led diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in China next year, a senior Israeli official told Haaretz on Tuesday. The official described the diplomatic boycott of the games as œbizarre and added sarcastically that œIsrael's snow sledding team is already warming up on the sidelines.

This week, the White House announced that no American government officials would attend the games in Beijing next year, including the opening and closing ceremonies, in protest at China's human rights record.

The American boycott of the games, which will be taking place in February, does not include athletes on the U.S. team. It is more of a diplomatic snub that will not have an impact on the sporting events themselves. It's not clear if the U.S. has asked its close allies, including Israel, to take a similar step.


 Israel not expected to join ˜bizarre' U.S. boycott of Winter Olympics in China


Indian military chief, 12 passengers die in helicopter crash

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 11:10:12 +02:00

India's military chief and 12 other passengers died in a helicopter crash Wednesday in southern Tamil Nadu state, the air force said. 

Thirteen out of 14 people died in the crash of the Indian military helicopter. Chief of Defense Staff Bipin Rawathe and his wife were among the passengers. 

Television images showed the helicopter in flames as local residents tried to douse it.


 Indian military chief, 12 passengers die in helicopter crash


New soccer league helps Gaza amputees cope with war trauma

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 10:59:51 +02:00

The players race across the pitch on crutches, jostling for the soccer ball and passing it back and forth, their prosthetic legs lined up along the sidelines at a stadium in the Gaza Strip.

They are the first Palestinian national soccer team made up entirely of amputees ” players drawn from a population of hundreds that has grown in recent years through several rounds of fighting between Israel and the territory's militant Hamas rulers.

They say the game helps them cope with the trauma of their injuries and the hardships of living in a crowded territory that has endured four wars and a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.


 New soccer league helps Gaza amputees cope with war trauma


The Mossad chief's declaration on Iran nuclear weapons is foolish and dangerous

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 10:08:29 +02:00

The public and bombastic declaration by Mossad chief David Barnea, to the effect that the Mossad guarantees that Iran will never have nuclear weapons, is so embarrassing in its ignorance. And it's so lacking in credibility due to its pretentiousness, and childish and provincial in its wording and its timing. Anyone who hears such a declaration, and knows anything about nuclear issues and Iran, knows that it has no validity.

Only an ignoramus can believe that an external force, whether an espionage agency (the Mossad or the CIA) or an army, can prevent a country with a population of 85 million, with a nuclear and industrial infrastructure of the type now existing in Iran, from acquiring nuclear weapons. It's true that with stratagems it is possible to cause damage and to delay the inevitable, and at best to buy perhaps a year and even somewhat more, but we have to understand that no external force can prevent a determined Iran from producing nuclear weapons, except by means of an overall military conquest.

Even in the case of Iraq, on the eve of the first Gulf War in 1990 when the population was under 18 million, and its nuclear and technological infrastructure was far inferior to what Iran has today, it was not the bombing by the U.S. Army in the 40 days of war that destroyed President Saddam Hussein's nuclear program. What destroyed it was his defeat in the war.


 The Mossad chief's declaration on Iran nuclear weapons is foolish and dangerous


Israeli stabbed in East Jerusalem; Palestinian teen facing eviction arrested

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 07:59:12 +02:00

An Israeli woman was lightly wounded Wednesday in a stabbing attack in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Police apprehended a 14-year-old Palestinian teen, Nofoud Jad Araf Hamad, from the neighborhood. She is suspected of stabbing the 26-year-old Israeli woman with a knife while she was crossing the street with her daughter. 

Hamad fled the scene after the attack and was found about an hour later at the nearby Al-Rawdah girls' school. The stabbing victim was taken to Hadassah University Hospital at Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. 


 Israeli stabbed in East Jerusalem; Palestinian teen facing eviction arrested


Foreign Ministry: Israel can cope with fallout of cancelling UAE oil pipeline deal

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 00:10:45 +02:00

The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the cancellation of the Israel Europe-Asia Pipeline, which would allow the United Arab Emirates to move oil though its pipeline from Eilat to Ashkelon, will damage relations with the Gulf monarchy, but not beyond anything that cannot be managed.

The Foreign Ministry's director of its Department of Gulf States, Roi Dvir, presented the position after Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg told the Knesset's Interior and Environmental Protection Committee she had looked into the issue and found there would be no political fallout from a withdrawal from the agreement. Dvir made do with a brief statement to the committee, without elaborating.

During the meeting, chaired by MK Yorai Lahav-Hertzanu (Yesh Atid), two main issues came up: To what extent does Israel need the oil transported in the framework of the agreement, and what are the environmental implications of making Israel a land bridge for oil transport?


 Foreign Ministry: Israel can cope with fallout of cancelling UAE oil pipeline deal


Court appoints trustee in deporation case of Thai mother and Israeli daughter

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 00:08:45 +02:00

A family court has appointed a trustee for an Israeli girl facing deportation together with her non-Israeli mother.

A deportation order has been issued against the mother, Kultida Lev, a Thai national and widow of an Israeli man who died while she was in the middle of the naturalization process.

Also on Monday, the Jerusalem District Court which refused last month to temporarily freeze Lev's deportation agreed to reconsider that decision, as well as Lev's appeal of her deportation. Judge Anat Singer wrote that new evidence, including an opinion by a private psychiatrist, provides grounds for rehearing the case. The rehearing will take place early next month.


 Court appoints trustee in deporation case of Thai mother and Israeli daughter


In Israel, a detainee is allowed to die in jail - if he is a Palestinian

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 00:04:26 +02:00

In a locked room in an Israel Prisons Service clinic, lies a man who has refused to put food into his mouth for 114 days. Besides his extreme weight loss, he has difficulty speaking and communicating, even drinking water and whenever he moves, he has palpitations. He is brought to meetings with his lawyer groggy and in a wheelchair. This is Hisham Abu Hawash, 40, who is on a hunger strike to protest his administrative detention.

When he was arrested in late 2020 he denied all accusations during his interrogation by police. And indeed, on the night of his arrest he told his wife not to worry because he had not done anything, and he would be home soon. Together they have five children - no small responsibility, especially when one of the children has a kidney disease and needs expensive treatments.

She didn't worry: She had seen him at work, on a construction site in their hometown of Dura in the southern West Bank from morning until evening.  Abu Hawash and his wife were both wrong.


 In Israel, a detainee is allowed to die in jail - if he is a Palestinian


A lesson in Zionism for MK Amichai Chikli

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 00:02:54 +02:00

Knesset member Amichai Chikli of the Yamina party feels that belief in the justice of the path of Zionism, the national movement of the Jewish people, has been undermined among what he calls the Zionist left. The evidence he presents is my tweet regarding Shalhevet Pass, the baby girl murdered in 2001 in Hebron by a Palestinian.

I wrote that œShalhevet Pass was killed due to the irresponsibility of her parents, who thought it possible to bring up children in an embattled environment, and of the Welfare Ministry, which in a normal country would have removed children from war zones.

MK Chikli asks: What would Mr. Schocken say to the parents of Ido Avigal, who was five years old when he was killed by a rocket during Operation Guardian of the Walls, or to the parents of Bat-Chen Shahak and her friends, who were murdered in a terrorist attack in Dizengoff Square on Purim in 1996? He adds: œIs there anyplace in our country that wasn't once ˜an embattled environment'?


 A lesson in Zionism for MK Amichai Chikli


Save Hisham Abu Hawash

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 23:58:58 +02:00

Forty-year-old Hisham Abu Hawash has been on hunger strike for 114 days to protest being held in administrative detention since October 2020. He is confined alone in a locked room in an Israel Prison Service infirmary. In addition to losing considerable weight, he has been having difficulty speaking and communicating. He has also had trouble drinking water and has felt palpitations with every movement.

According to the Israel Medical Association guidelines for doctors caring for prisoners or detainees on a hunger strike, the patient is at risk of sudden death after 55 days without food. Abu Hawash doesn't want to die, but his refusal to eat is the only means at his disposal to oppose what he sees as the arbitrary deprivation of his freedom.

The Shin Bet security service claims he is an Islamic Jihad activist who endangers the security of the region. The Shin Bet has not provided explicit and overt evidence in support of its allegations. Abu Hawash, who under police questioning has denied the general suspicions against him, has been deprived of the basic right to a defense in a military court. Granted that such courts tend to favor the military prosecution, but at least military court judges hand down prison terms of a specific duration.


 Save Hisham Abu Hawash


Israel's new Gaza border barrier proves that it prefers walls to war

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 23:55:34 +02:00

In the distant past, when then-U.S. President Donald Trump still fantasized about building an impenetrable barrier along the border with Mexico, American officers were sent on a study mission to Israel. The Pentagon wanted to avail itself of Israel's experience in building the fence on the border with the Gaza Strip, in case they had to implement the president's ambitious project. Trump was evicted from the White House and the dream of a wall like the world has never seen was set aside. But Tuesday, on the border of the Gaza Strip, Israel completed its project.

The Israeli project is more modest than the American one, costing only about 3.5 billion shekels ($1.1 billion) and taking three-and-a-half years. The Gaza Strip is now surrounded by a fence along 65 kilometers, using 140,000 tons of iron and steel. It is more than six meters high above ground. A wall was built underground to defend against tunnels at a depth security officials do not reveal, and many sensors and cameras have been installed along it. Military schools teach that a defensive line will always be breached, but the current line indeed seems much more resistant to breaches than Israel's improvised past efforts to prevent infiltration from Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces have a clear advantage over the Palestinian organizations in Gaza, but sometimes strength can also be a source of weakness. In light of its superiority, Israel has become more sensitive to human losses. Since the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, successive Israeli governments, without reference to their political bent, have refrained from all-out war in the Strip, and certainly from a broad ground operation.


 Israel's new Gaza border barrier proves that it prefers walls to war


Haaretz Cartoon

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 23:43:25 +02:00

 Haaretz Cartoon


Shin Bet finds major security gaps after Gantz's ex-janitor charged with espionage

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 23:42:35 +02:00

Two Shin Bet commanders were reprimanded following the arrest and prosecution of a janitor convicted last month of espionage while employed at Defense Minister Benny Gantz's home, the Shin Bet announced Tuesday after an internal investigation. 

Omri Goren Gorochovsky, a 37-year-old convicted felon from Lod, was charged over his attempts to aid the Iran-linked Black Shadow hacker group, including an offer to plant malware on the minister's computer.

Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar presented the classified investigation into the case to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. According to the Shin Bet, an external investigation committee appointed by Bar and consisting of three retired Shin Bet officials described the case as "professional oversight," citing gaps in coordination around ensuring top government officials' security. 


 Shin Bet finds major security gaps after Gantz's ex-janitor charged with espionage


'A Jewish gov't for a Jewish state': 1,500 protest against Arabs in the coalition

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 23:39:09 +02:00

About 1,500 people gathered at Habima Square in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night to protest the governing coalition's partnership with the United Arab List, under the slogan œA Jewish government for a Jewish state.

Speaking to the crowd, Likud MK Amir Ohana said: œHow good it is to see you rise up against the greatest theft of democracy in Israel's history.

œThey have joined the justice system and the media bring down a sitting prime minister. They did this by massively tarnishing Netanyahu. Their belief is black and their flags are black, he said.


 'A Jewish gov't for a Jewish state': 1,500 protest against Arabs in the coalition


Israeli panel to wait for omicron data before advising vaccinating recovered kids against COVID

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 23:31:39 +02:00

The vaccinations committee decided on Tuesday to postpone a decision on inoculating five- to 11-year-olds who have recovered from the coronavirus, instead waiting for more data on the omicron variant.

The panel, however, said that parents are permitted to vaccinate their children if three months have elapsed since their recovery, in line with earlier comments from the Health Ministry. This came after the Walla news website reported that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett got his 9-year-old son, who has recovered from COVID, his vaccine.

The discussions were spurred by a need to bolster the country's overall immunity amid the growing threat of an omicron wave. Given that children's immune systems typically have a stronger response against the coronavirus, and that their symptoms are generally milder, a recommendation for a third vaccine dose was not guaranteed.


 Israeli panel to wait for omicron data before advising vaccinating recovered kids against COVID


Despite cream cheese shortage, New York's bagel shops are still laying it on thick

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 23:23:30 +02:00

Over the weekend, bagel lovers across the five boroughs (read: Jews and everyone else) were shaken to the core when the New York Times announced a cream cheese shortage in the city. It was news no one expected to hear, even in their most dystopian predictions about our pandemic-ravaged society.

A cream cheese shortage affecting bagel shops: so niche, yet so terrifying. The piece, by Ashley Wong, detailed a frightening shortage of cream cheese base that New York bagel sellers use to make their signature cream cheeses.

œSupply chain issues have plagued the United States for months, causing scarcities of everything from cars to running shoes, the Times story reads. œNow, New York's bagel purveyors are starting to feel the effects in a sudden and surprising development that has left them scrambling to find and hoard as much cream cheese as they can.


 Despite cream cheese shortage, New York's bagel shops are still laying it on thick


U.S. sanctions individuals and entities in Iran, Syria ahead of renewed nuke talks

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 21:41:42 +02:00

The United States issued fresh sanctions on Tuesday against 15 individuals and four entities in Iran, Syria and Uganda, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

In Iran, the United States designated the Special Units of Iran's Law Enforcement Forces and Counter-Terror Special Forces, as well as several of their officials, and Gholamreza Soleimani, who commands Iran's hardline Basij militia. Two prisons and a prison director were also blacklisted over events that reportedly took place in them.

Iran criticized the United States for imposing new sanctions days before talks are set to resume in Vienna on rescuing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.


 U.S. sanctions individuals and entities in Iran, Syria ahead of renewed nuke talks


Court extends detention for Jerusalem soccer club owner accused of sex crimes & fraud

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 20:58:47 +02:00

A district court ordered an eight-day extension on Tuesday to the detention of Beitar Jerusalem owner Moshe Hogeg over allegations of fraud and sexual misconduct. 

The extension was ordered with the consent of Hogeg, who denies any wrongdoing in the case. At the end of the period in custody, he is expected to be released to a month's house arrest on bail of 50 million shekels ($15.8 million). His release on bail will apparently require his wife and another relative, who will be in charge of supervising him, to each post 20 million shekels, in addition to another 10 million to be posted by Hogeg himself.

At Tuesday's hearing, which Hogeg did not attend, the court required that if he violates the terms of his house arrest, he will owe another 20 million shekels. He will also be barred from having contact with others involved in the case for 180 days.


 Court extends detention for Jerusalem soccer club owner accused of sex crimes & fraud


Ultra-Orthodox parties declare war on Israeli government's religious reforms

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 19:56:33 +02:00

Israel's ultra-Orthodox parties on Monday declared war on the œhellenists in the government looking to upend the country's religious status quo, promising to launch a joint national struggle to preserve the state's œJewish character.

During the gathering, which brought together representatives of the Shas and United Torah Judaism parties, as well as MK Bezalel Smotrich's far-right Religious Zionist party, lawmakers discussed a range of options for preventing the raft of reforms being promoted by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government, including economic boycotts and mass demonstrations.

What the current government is doing is œvery dangerous, Shas MK Moshe Arbel said following the meeting. He accused the governing coalition, which is the first in years to not include the Haredi parties, of seeking to establish œa nation of all its citizens in place of a Jewish and democratic state.


 Ultra-Orthodox parties declare war on Israeli government's religious reforms


Israel completes vast, billion-dollar Gaza barrier

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 19:34:50 +02:00

A barrier stretching the entire border between Israel and the Gaza Strip has been completed after three and a half years of work, the Defense Ministry announced Tuesday.

The barrier is 65 kilometers long, and cost an estimated 3.5 billion shekels ($1.11 billion) to build. Its development was announced in 2016, two years after Hamas used underground tunnels to target Israeli troops during fighting between Israel and the militant group.

The barrier features a sensor-equipped underground wall, a six-meter high above-ground fence, and a barrier at sea with monitoring equipment to detect incursions from the water. In addition, the wall includes remotely controlled weapons systems and an array of radar systems with cameras that cover the entire territory of the Gaza Strip.


 Israel completes vast, billion-dollar Gaza barrier


Iraq displays ancient looted artifacts returned by the U.S.

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 19:27:29 +02:00

Ancient artifacts looted and smuggled out of Iraq after the U.S. invasion in 2003 and subsequently returned were put on display in Baghdad on Tuesday.

Among the artifacts returned by the United States was a 3,500-year-old clay tablet bearing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the ancient Sumerian tale believed to be one of the world's first pieces of literature.

The tablet, displayed at the Iraqi foreign ministry headquarters, was handed to the Iraqi embassy in Washington by the city's Museum of the Bible.


 Iraq displays ancient looted artifacts returned by the U.S.


CIA chief: No evidence Iran has made decision to weaponize nuclear program

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 18:52:09 +02:00

WASHINGTON - Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns on Monday said that the U.S. has not seen any evidence that Iran has made a decision to pursue obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Addressing the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council, Burns said that the CIA "doesn't see any evidence that Iran's Supreme Leader has made a decision to move to weaponize." He also echoed Secretary of State Antony Blinken's takeaways from last week's unsuccessful round of negotiations in Vienna on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, noting that "the Iranians have not been taking the negotiation seriously at this point." He added that "we'll see soon enough about how serious they are."

Iranian media reported Tuesday that the indirect Vienna talks are slated to resume on Thursday, Reuters reported. U.S. officials have yet to confirm this report.


 CIA chief: No evidence Iran has made decision to weaponize nuclear program


Israel's latest wave of Palestinian lone wolf attacks: a timeline

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 18:32:19 +02:00

Since mid-November, one Israeli has been killed and ten wounded in a series of lone wolf attacks by Palestinians. In the recent car ramming, stabbing and shooting attacks took place in Jerusalem, Jaffa and the West Bank, only one of the assailants appeared to have a formal affiliation with a Palestinian militant group.

>> Amos Harel: What connects the Palestinians behind the latest wave of attacks against Israelis

However, within days of the onset of the current wave of violence, the Shin Bet security service announced that it had arrested over 50 Hamas operatives suspected of planning terror attacks in the West Bank. The Shin Bet added that it had found a variety of weapons, including materials for assembling four explosive belts, a possible indication that the Palestinian terror group could be planning the first major escalation since this spring's fighting in Gaza.


 Israel's latest wave of Palestinian lone wolf attacks: a timeline


France arrests one of suspected murders of Saudi journalist Khashoggi

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 18:16:23 +02:00

One of the suspected killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was arrested at Roissy airport near Paris on Tuesday as he was about to board a flight to Riyadh, sources said, a move welcomed by his fiancee and a rights group as a potential breakthrough.

A police source named the man as Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi, a former Royal Guard of Saudi Arabia. A judicial source confirmed the arrest and said authorities were in the process of verifying his identity.

But a Saudi official said it was a case of mistaken identity, adding that those convicted of the crime were currently serving their sentence in Saudi Arabia.


 France arrests one of suspected murders of Saudi journalist Khashoggi


Sex for visas: Israeli immigration worker suspected of rape, extortion of asylum seekers

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 17:30:27 +02:00

D. never imagined that the man who was supposed to grant her asylum in Israel would be the one she would come to fear most. In 2018, she came to Israel on a tourist visa, fleeing her country of origin after her ex-husband was imprisoned for what she calls œpolitical threats to the government. œI was afraid to go back there, she tells Haaretz in Russian. Meanwhile, she supported herself in Israel through cleaning jobs and applied for asylum at the Immigration and Population Authority's facility in Tel Aviv, before officials told her report to the authority's facility in Bnei Brak. 

There, she met Yigal Ben Ami, a worker at the Population Authority's unit for handling asylum seekers, who was tasked with reviewing her visa. Last month, Ben Ami was arrested on suspicion of receiving sexual bribes from D. and other women in exchange for dispensing stay permits. Since then, police have uncovered a larger web of alleged sexual exploitation. Now, Ben Ami is charged with rape, extortion, fraudulent receipt of goods, fraud, breach of trust and attempted forgery.

At first, Ben Ami was suspected only of receiving bribes. Wiretaps of the mobile phone he used while committing the crimes raised the suspicion that he received sexual bribes from D. Following his arrest and the seizure of his phone, Ben Ami's entire alleged exploitation industry was revealed.


 Sex for visas: Israeli immigration worker suspected of rape, extortion of asylum seekers


Vast trade network in prehistoric Russia was centered on pretty green rocks

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 17:08:45 +02:00

The sleek, gleaming, green axes and adzes made from volcanic metatuff may not dispel bad vibes, but they are attractive. This might be why there was such large demand for them in Neolithic northeastern Europe, a demand fulfilled by one industrial production complex, near the only metatuff deposit in the region.

Excavations at just one of 40 identified workshops along the Shuya River near Onega Lake in the Russian Rrepublic of Karelia yielded 350,000 lithic finds, 84 percent of which were metatuff, write Alexey Tarasov and Kerkko Nordqvist in the Journal of Antiquity. Radiocarbon dating of organic matter associated with 77 Neolithic and Eneolithic sites in Karelia indicates that this rare deposit of greenish volcanic rock was exploited starting about 6,000 to 5,000 years ago.

Operating from just two prehistoric quarries (identified to date), this Neolithic version of an Amazon Fulfillment Center was estimated to have a production scale of hundreds of thousands of tools over the lifetime of this prehistoric industry. Excavation at just one workshop produced somewhere between 500 to 1,000 finished tools.


 Vast trade network in prehistoric Russia was centered on pretty green rocks


Where did Earth's water come from? Researchers offer exciting explanation

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 16:35:35 +02:00

From the dawn of history, human beings have looked to the heavens in admiration. The early inhabitants of the British Isles expended colossal efforts to build Stonehenge, with openings positioned to capture the rays of the sun on the longest day of the year as well as its shortest. Thousands of kilometers to the east, the ancient Egyptians worshiped their chief deity, Amun-Ra, and build the magnificent set of temples at Karnak, which are also directed toward the sun on the longest day of the year.

One can understand the major importance that people of those generations attributed to the sun, which supplies the light and heat (radiation) without which life wouldn't be possible. According to new research, despite its intuitive connection with burning heat, the sun also played a central role in creating another essential component without which life on Earth wouldn't be possible water.

Water covers most of the surface of the Earth, and even some of its depths the planet's core and crust are estimated to hold at least a few oceans' worth of water. So where did that water come from? Despite a number of attempts to answer the question, it remains a mystery.


 Where did Earth's water come from? Researchers offer exciting explanation


Despite omicron, dozens of South Africans to make aliyah next week

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 16:24:10 +02:00

A flight full of new immigrants from South Africa the epicenter of the outbreak of the new omicron variant is scheduled to land in Israel next week.

Israel was the first country in the world to bar entry to foreigners after the discovery of the new COVID variant last month. Yet, even though omicron seems to have a higher transmission rate than other variants, the government is upholding its policy of exempting new immigrants from all travel bans.

According to Telfed, an organization that assists and facilitates South African aliyah, 77 new immigrants will be aboard the flight next Wednesday (December 15). Like all passengers arriving from œred countries, as COVID hot spots are known, the olim will be required to enter quarantine for seven days.


 Despite omicron, dozens of South Africans to make aliyah next week


Inside the bitter archaeological battle rocking Tel Aviv University

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 16:22:15 +02:00

A senior researcher at Tel Aviv University's anthropology department claims that the institution and his department colleagues are harassing him because he has questioned their groundbreaking study.

The researcher, Prof. Yoel Rak, published an article that casts doubt on the existence of a new type of ancient human, called Nesher Ramla. When the discovery of the specimen was first reported in June, it became a scientific and journalistic sensation. An article by a TAU researcher describing Nesher Ramla was the cover story of the prestigious journal Science about six months ago, and Rak's article, written in response, was published last week in the same journal.

According to Rak, from the time that Science requested a response to his criticism from the scholars who published the original article, headed by Prof. Israel Hershkovitz, he has suffered from harassment. This includes, among other incidents, changing the locks on his laboratory on campus. The university rejected Rak's claims, and said that they are clarifying what took place. The scholars who published the original article, for their part, added that Rak's response presents only a partial picture and distorts the reality.


 Inside the bitter archaeological battle rocking Tel Aviv University


Israeli who tweeted about 'plans to assassinate' Netanyahu gets community service

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 15:48:53 +02:00

A Be'er Sheva man was sentenced to eight months of community service on Tuesday for threatening former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Twitter.

The Ashdod Magistrate's Court also imposed 4,500 shekels ($1,425) in fines on Asher Ben Dor, 39. Some of the fines were due to his violation of a previous commitment to stop making threats, due to a prior conviction for threatening his partner.

Ben Dor tweeted in June 2020: œDoes anyone know of plans to assassinate the prime minister? Anyone know¦I'd be happy to take part. It seems to me the time has come, it seems to me that enough is enough. Within days, Ben Dor was arrested and put on trial.


 Israeli who tweeted about 'plans to assassinate' Netanyahu gets community service


Knesset passes law targeting weapons-related crime amid rise in gun violence

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 15:40:41 +02:00

The Knesset approved on Tuesday legislation that sets minimum sentences for weapons-related offenses, amid a rise in crimes related to illegal weapons possession.

The amendment to the Criminal Code, which passed as an emergency order and will be in effect for three years, passed its two final votes with only four Knesset members present, all of whom voted in favor.

The law states that the minimum sentence for anyone convicted of possessing, carrying, buying or selling a weapon illegally must be handed no less than a quarter of the maximum sentence set in law, between seven and 15 years of prison time. The amendment also prohibits serving the entire sentence on probation, except in exceptional circumstances.


 Knesset passes law targeting weapons-related crime amid rise in gun violence


Iran nuclear talks to resume on Thursday, Iranian media report

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 15:18:52 +02:00

Indirect U.S.-Iranian talks on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will resume on Thursday in Vienna, Iranian media reported on Tuesday.

"We will continue the talks on Thursday ... and await practical steps by the West," Iran's top negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani was quoted as telling Iranian media during a visit to Moscow by the semi-official news agency ISNA.

Tasnim news agency earlier said Bagheri Kani finalized the date of the resumption of the talks after contacting European Union coordinator Enrique Mora.


 Iran nuclear talks to resume on Thursday, Iranian media report


Netanyahu tried stealing state funds 'dozens of times,' says ex-aide in corruption trial

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 15:16:32 +02:00

Nir Hefetz, the former media advisor to Benjamin Netanyahu, told court on Tuesday that the former prime minister "tried robbing state funds for personal needs," claiming he witnessed such schemes "dozens of times."

While testifying on Case 1000, which accuses Netanyahu of accepting illegal gifts from billionaires in exchange for benefits, Hefetz told the Jerusalem District Court: "I witnessed many cases Benjamin Netanyahu knew were problematic, and I'm talking about a lot of cases."

Whenever it came to avoiding paying for things, Hefetz said, "he went on when I'm convinced he knew it was legally problematic."


 Netanyahu tried stealing state funds 'dozens of times,' says ex-aide in corruption trial


Israeli demolition orders for Palestinians in West Bank's Area C hit five-year record

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 15:11:35 +02:00

The Civil Administration issued 797 demolition orders last year for Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank's Area C, marking a five-year record, a freedom of information request filed by rights group Bimkom Planners for Planning Rights revealed.

Human rights groups attribute the rise in demolition orders to a growing political pressure to increase enforcement on Palestinian construction in the West Bank.

According to the data, between 2016 and 2020, Palestinians submitted 2,550 requests for construction permits, but only 24 of them were granted a mere 0.9 percent. From 2019-2020 the rate of approved requests was even lower, at 0.65 percent.


 Israeli demolition orders for Palestinians in West Bank's Area C hit five-year record


Israeli minister meets with mayor suspected of 1980s murder, kidnapping

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 14:51:22 +02:00

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and lawmaker Meir Porush met on Monday with an Israeli mayor suspected of involvement in the murder of Avraham Edri in 1990.

Shaked held the meeting in her Knesset office, and said it "dealt with municipal affairs and was scheduled two weeks ago." The meeting was held after a Supreme Court hearing regarding a gag order barring the publication of the mayor's name.

The mayor is suspected of being associated with the so-called "modesty patrol" of the cult-like Shuvu Banim Hasidic sect that Rabbi Eliezer Berland leads, which has been implicated in the killings.


 Israeli minister meets with mayor suspected of 1980s murder, kidnapping


Pennsylvania governor announces $6.6m in state funds to redevelop Tree of Life site

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 14:36:35 +02:00

Pennsylvania will allocate $6.6 million in funding for the redevelopment of the Tree of Life synagogue campus where 11 people were killed in an antisemitic attack in 2018.

Speaking at a press conference outside the synagogue Monday, the last day of Hanukkah, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe called the state's contribution to the renovation œa Hanukkah present.

œTree of Life is undertaking a project to remember the past, to inform the present, and promote healing for the future, Wolf said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. œAnd I am so proud to support the communities' efforts to reimagine this space, to create a welcoming place for residents, for visitors in Pittsburgh to reflect, and to learn, and to grow.


 Pennsylvania governor announces $6.6m in state funds to redevelop Tree of Life site


Why this world-renowned Israeli financial adviser is worried about the future

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 14:20:28 +02:00

As someone whose name adorns the school of economics building at Reichman University (formerly the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya), you might expect Avi Tiomkin to sound statesmanlike. He is anything but.

His financial résumé includes being an angel in startup companies such as Dov Moran's M-Systems and real-asset companies such as Bonjour, and serving as an adviser to some of the best-known hedge funds worldwide, including Caxton and Odyssey. In recent years he served as an adviser to Brevan Howard Asset Management, a hedge fund specializing in macro investments that yielded an 80 percent return last year.

Tiomkin is an opinionated investor. He writes articles in U.S. financial magazines such as Forbes and Barron's, and he didn't mince his words during our meetings with him, pouring scorn on leaders and public officials alike.


 Why this world-renowned Israeli financial adviser is worried about the future


Bennett says Israel won't stop acting against 'bad forces' after reported Syria strike

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 14:19:03 +02:00

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett asserted Tuesday that Israel "will not stop for one second" to fight against "bad forces" in the Middle East, hours after a reported Israeli strike targeting Iranian weapons shipment in Syria's Latakia port.

"We recognize the threats in our complex region. We're pushing back on the bad forces of this region day and night," the prime minister said, standing alongside Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during a trilateral Israel-Cyprus-Greece summit in Jerusalem.

Syria said Israeli warplanes fired missiles on the port of the coastal city of Latakia. The attack, according to an opposition war monitor, targeted weapons shipment meant for Iranian militias in the country.


 Bennett says Israel won't stop acting against 'bad forces' after reported Syria strike


Israelis can now start using Google Pay. Here's how it works

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 13:12:22 +02:00

Google launched on Tuesday its payment app service, Google Pay, in Israel.

Most Israeli smartphone users those with Google's Android operating system with version 5.0 and up, who make up about 80 percent of all smartphones in Israel can now make purchases in stores using Google Pay.

Where will I be able to use Google Pay?


 Israelis can now start using Google Pay. Here's how it works


COVID loss of smell is not related to the brain - but to cells scientists barely understand

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 12:49:58 +02:00

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, a curious symptom reported by experts and patients alike was identified as more than enough reason to get a COVID test: loss of smell. In trying to understand exactly how the sense of smell is lost, a recent study reports two important discoveries. First, there is no evidence that the olfactory system allows the virus to enter the brain, and second, a major role is played by little-known cells in the olfactory system that have barely been examined in humans.

Scientists had until now been concerned with the question of whether neurons (or nerve cells) in the olfactory system which are among the most exposed neurons in the nervous system provide the coronavirus with a pathway to the brain. That would make the coronavirus a neurotropic virus a virus capable of infecting nerve cells like herpes, polio, rabies and others. But according to the researchers, who published their findings in the journal Cell, there is no evidence that the virus infects olfactory neurons. Instead, they found that the virus targets sustentacular (or supporting) cells in the olfactory mucosa in the nose.

It was only after the outbreak of the coronavirus that scientists began to take an in-depth look at the role of these cells; until the current study, sustentacular cells were only examined in laboratory animals such as mice and rats. According to lead researcher Peter Mombaerts of the Max Planck Research Unit for Neurogenetics in Frankfurt, Germany, scientists have yet to understand the role of these cells in humans.


 COVID loss of smell is not related to the brain - but to cells scientists barely understand


Billionaire Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt forfeits $70 million in stolen antiques

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 12:29:46 +02:00

Michael Steinhardt, the hedge funder and megadonor to Jewish causes, has agreed to surrender 180 stolen antiquities worth $70 million to their rightful homelands and to never again collect ancient artifacts.

In exchange, Steinhardt will avoid criminal charges related to an investigation that found he had acquired, owned and sold more than 1,000 looted items over the past three decades.

Those are the terms of a deal that Steinhardt finalized Monday with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, whose office began investigating several years ago over a Lebanese statue that Steinhardt loaned to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That statue, they concluded, was illegally taken from Lebanon ” making it like countless other objects that Steinhardt had amassed over the years, largely from Middle Eastern countries.


 Billionaire Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt forfeits $70 million in stolen antiques


Dutch appeals court rules Israel's Gantz can't be tried for 2014 Gaza war deaths

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 11:47:40 +02:00

An appeals court in the Netherlands on Tuesday found that Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz cannot be held responsible for the death of six Palestinians in a 2014 Israeli air strike on Gaza.

Ismail Ziada, a Gaza-born Dutch citizen, filed a civil suit in 2018, seeking compensation for the deaths of six members of his family and a seventh person during Israel's war with Hamas in Gaza.

Last year, a Dutch district court ruled that it does not have jurisdiction to hear the case. Ziada appealed the decision in September.


 Dutch appeals court rules Israel's Gantz can't be tried for 2014 Gaza war deaths


Israel exports arms endangering human rights because it serves our interests, top defense official admits

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 11:46:04 +02:00

It's been nearly five months since the last scandal involving the cyber offense firm NSO Group. In the time since, it has become abundantly clear that it was one scandal too many.

An international inquiry has produced a long list of journalists, social activists and politicians, including VIPs, all of whom were ostensibly targeted by NSO's Pegasus software. At the top of the list is French President Emmanuel Macron.

The list also sheds light on the states that are evidently in possession of Pegasus, and its suspicious correspondence with the states that Israel's government has identified as geopolitical targets. From there, it's a short road to the assertion that not only does NSO have a light trigger finger when it comes to providing services to controversial regimes around the world, but that Pegasus virtually serves as a down payment on the establishment of unofficial diplomatic relations between these countries and Israel. These revelations led to a procession of apologies and clarifications from high-ranking Israelis.


 Israel exports arms endangering human rights because it serves our interests, top defense official admits


Freezing settlement plan epitomizes united Jerusalem's failures

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 11:07:14 +02:00

The area around the Qalandiya Checkpoint in northern Jerusalem may well be the ugliest place in the city. It's a jumble of huge concrete walls, observation towers, guard posts, fences, cameras and unbelievable amounts of trash piled up everywhere.

The checkpoint and the nearby abandoned Atarot airport are in the heart of a Palestinian section of the city, surrounded by the neighborhoods of Beit Hanina, A-Ram, Kafr Aqab and Qalandiya. The airport is just 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles) from central Ramallah and more than twice that distance from central Jerusalem.

But none of the above was mentioned Monday at a lengthy session of the regional planning and building committee, devoted to constructing a new Jewish neighborhood at the abandoned airport. The discussion, as is typical of such meetings, was saturated with architectural details bicycle paths, green areas and transportation systems.


 Freezing settlement plan epitomizes united Jerusalem's failures


Iron Dome emergency funding stymied by D.C. political gridlock

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 10:13:45 +02:00

WASHINGTON The paths forward for the U.S. Congress to officially approve $1 billion in emergency funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system are steadily disappearing, portending a much longer road ahead than originally anticipated.

Despite U.S. officials' public and private assurances, and Israeli confidence that the aid would be approved and delivered swiftly, it is now almost inevitable that the matter will extend at least into the first months of 2022.

As things stand, the emergency aid is sitting idle in the Senate thanks to Sen. Rand Paul. The Kentucky Republican is the sole member of the Senate preventing the fast-tracking of the aid via unanimous consent a position he has held firm on for two months now due to his belief that the funding should be reallocated from proposed assistance to Afghanistan.


 Iron Dome emergency funding stymied by D.C. political gridlock


Intel to launch IPO for Israeli self-driving-car subsidiary Mobileye

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 10:02:48 +02:00

Intel Corp said on Monday it plans to take self-driving-car unit Mobileye public in the United States in mid-2022, a deal which could value the Israeli unit at more than $50 billion, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Chip giant Intel, the largest employer of Israel's high-tech industry with nearly 14,000 workers, expects to retain Mobileye's executive team and hold on to a majority ownership in the unit after the initial public offering (IPO) of newly issued Mobileye stock.

Intel has no intention to divest or spin off its majority ownership in Mobileye, the company said in a statement, adding that it will continue to provide technical resources to the automaker.


 Intel to launch IPO for Israeli self-driving-car subsidiary Mobileye


Israel struck weapons shipment meant for Iranian militias in Syria's Latakia, war monitor says

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 09:05:15 +02:00

Syria's military said Israeli warplanes fired missiles on the port of the coastal city of Latakia early Tuesday without inflicting any human losses. An opposition war monitor said the strikes targeted weapons shipment meant for Iranian militias in the country.

Syria's state media quoted an unnamed military official as saying that several missiles struck the containers area in the port setting some of them on fire. The official gave no further details.

A source familiar with port operations said it was the first time Israel had attacked the facility on Syria's Mediterranean coast. Latakia, Syria's main commercial port, brings in a considerable amount of cargo from Iran, the source said.


 Israel struck weapons shipment meant for Iranian militias in Syria's Latakia, war monitor says


Bennett, 'observing' Bedouin like safari animals won't fix crime

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 06:02:43 +02:00

Sometimes it is the seemingly most banal texts that reveal the deepest truths. Such was Prime Minister Bennett's itinerary, sent to the press on Sunday evening and dryly describing his schedule for the next day:

10:00 A.M. meeting with local municipal leaders in the south, at Be'er Sheva city hall (will be documented by official photographers only)

12:15 P.M. visit to an observation point in the city of Rahat, including operational debriefing


 Bennett, 'observing' Bedouin like safari animals won't fix crime


Judges in murder retrial tour Israeli school where 13-year-old victim was killed

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 03:52:17 +02:00

Nazareth District Court judges on Monday toured the Nofei Hagolan school in Katzrin where Ta'ir Rada was murdered 15 years ago. Participating in the tour were judges Asher Kula, Daniel Tzarfati and Tammar Nissim-Shai, the defendant Roman Zadorov and his defense attorney Yarom Halevy, and the state prosecutors.

œI'm not nervous, said Zadorov Monday morning. œThe judges want to examine it thoroughly. I think that the trial this time is more serious than the previous trial, because the judges are getting into the case and asking questions. At the previous trial nothing interested them and here I see a different attitude, they want to find justice.

Wiam Kablawi, representing the prosecution, said that during the tour the judges would pass through the places that are relevant to Rada's murder: the shaded area in which she sat before entering the school building, the water fountain, the bench where Gur Alon, one of the last students to see Rada, was sitting, the shelter where Zadorov worked and the staircases that ascend toward the boys' and girls' bathrooms.


 Judges in murder retrial tour Israeli school where 13-year-old victim was killed


Israel's employment rate rebounds to pre-pandemic level in first half of November

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 03:15:08 +02:00

A moment before the omicron variant arrived and reignited fears of widespread illness, Israel's labor market showed a sharp improvement. The Central Bureau of Statistics reported a decline in the broad unemployment rate in the first half of November, to 6.7 percent, from 7.3 percent in the second half of October.

The more meaningful news comes from the employment rate the rate of those employed compared to those in the workforce (over age 15.) The employment rate registered a sharp jump in the first half of November to 62.1 percent, or almost 4.1 million people employed. In the previous survey in the second half of October was significantly lower and reached only 59.25 percent. However, the sharp differences stem from the biweekly format used, and the numbers for all of November may be more balanced.

Either way, if the employment rate was higher than 62 percent, this means that the coronavirus crisis has been œwiped out. Prior to the pandemic, in January and February of 2020, the employment rate in Israel hovered around 62 percent.


 Israel's employment rate rebounds to pre-pandemic level in first half of November


Don't let a tycoon control Israel's third-largest insurance firm

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 02:11:12 +02:00

Businessman Alfred Akirov applied this week for a permit to control Clal Insurance. The company is Israel's third-largest insurance firm, managing some 250 billion shekels ($79 billion) of the public's money. The application was submitted to the Commissioner of Capital Markets, Insurance and Savings, Moshe Barkat, who is studying it and, to the best of our knowledge, is considering whether or not to approve it.

Akirov is a successful businessman, in Israel and abroad, in the real estate and hotel industries. He controls the publicly traded company Alrov, which has a market capitalization of 4.6 billion shekels. But over the past decade the trends in business have taught us that letting tycoons take control of companies of this type is inefficient and harms the economy.

When someone simultaneously controls both non-financial companies and a large financial company like Clal Insurance, it opens the door to conflicts of interest, deals involving substantial shareholders and damage to the public's trust in the financial system.


 Don't let a tycoon control Israel's third-largest insurance firm


Israeli police to compensate addict for entrapping her in petty theft sting

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 00:59:11 +02:00

The police will pay 5,000 shekels ($1,580) in compensation to A., a homeless woman addicted to drugs who stole a 200-shekel bill from an open car, which police had set up as bait in south Tel Aviv. A. sued the police in Small Claims Court at the Bat Yam Magistrate's Court, and received the compensation as the result of an arbitration agreement.

The proceedings against A., 30, have been going on since October 2018, when she passed by a œbaited car parked near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv, with its door slightly ajar. A 200-shekel bill was placed visibly by the gear shift. A., noticing the open door, turned back, opened the door and took the note. Within a minute she was cuffed by two detectives, who watched events unfold through the security cameras of a nearby wedding hall that was cooperating in the œsting.

Last year the case against her was dismissed, after Magistrate's Court Judge Eitan Kornhauser called on the police to withdraw the indictment, criticizing them and saying that œa police officer's leaving a door open is an act of entrapment. He added that this is œan opening calling out to the thief, considering the location and population.


 Israeli police to compensate addict for entrapping her in petty theft sting


Haaretz reporter detained while trying to interview police officers

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 00:36:06 +02:00

Police officers arrested Haaretz reporter Gidi Weitz on Monday as he tried to interview them, falsely claiming that he interfered with a police officer in the performance of his duty.

The officers placed handcuffs and leg cuffs on Weitz and brought him into Lev Tel Aviv Police Station, even after he told them repeatedly that he was a journalist.

The incident began when Weitz saw two officers questioning a worker at a construction site in central Tel Aviv. When he asked what they were doing and identified himself as a journalist, one shouted at him, ordering him to leave and œcontact the spokesperson's office. When Weitz refused, saying he was doing his job as a journalist, he was forcibly arrested, cuffed and put in a police car after having his phone taken away.


 Haaretz reporter detained while trying to interview police officers


'Iranian blackmail'? Israel knows Biden isn't buying its threats

Tue, 7 Dec 2021 00:00:38 +02:00

This time prior Israeli intelligence forecasts have actually panned out. The latest round of talks between Iran and the major powers in Vienna on the revival of the Iranian nuclear accord has for the time being been deadlocked. According to Western accounts, the Iranians took a hard line when they returned to the talks last week, and at the moment, the prospects for a breakthrough in the negotiations don't appear great.

Biden administration officials who have spoken to reporters have confirmed the Israeli view when it comes to the lack of progress in the talks. Nevertheless, they have been quick to make it clear that while the delegation of Israeli officials visiting Washington this week will be respectfully received, the key to the situation lies in Tehran, not Jerusalem. If the Iranian regime softens its positions, an agreement will be signed, despite Israeli warnings.

Strangely, the Israeli coalition government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has nearly found itself in the shoes of the prior Israeli government. And that's despite the finger-pointing between Bennett and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


 'Iranian blackmail'? Israel knows Biden isn't buying its threats


What kibbutzim have in common with settlements and it's not what you think

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 23:11:19 +02:00

I don't know if it's a recognized medical condition, but in the past few years I've developed an allergy to a word. Every time I come across the term œnatural, whether it's on a bottle of juice or in a political context, I break out in metaphorical hives. The word has been used so often to justify injustice and repression in the name of supposedly œnatural differences between people that it has been stripped of all meaning.

Today it's perfectly clear that anything that begs to be declared œnatural is most likely the exact opposite be it œnatural ingredients," a œnatural look or essentialist assumptions about the œnatural role of women in the family.

So when I read this week that Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked plans to expand the use of admission committees the racist screening mechanism used by moshavim and kibbutzim I wasn't at all surprised that it was being done, among other things, in the name of œnatural growth. That's another expression that's been turned on its head and has no connection whatsoever to nature.


 What kibbutzim have in common with settlements and it's not what you think


Haaretz cartoon

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 23:05:33 +02:00

 Haaretz cartoon


Leading Israel to post-partisan politics

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 22:22:52 +02:00

œI congratulate Gideon Sa'ar and the New Hope party, in honor of the first party convention, was the celebratory tweet from Yair Lapid, who added: œGood partners create a good home. How pleasant that Sa'ar will soon have a reason to congratulate his counterpart from Yesh Atid in return. Next month the first internal elections for the party leadership will take place, and Lapid will compete for his position as chairman in a free and open contest.

Two mature, experienced politicians are playing games of make-believe: They are assembling courts of advisers under a catchy name, and in order to endow these centralized PR groups with the appearance of a party, they are adding, after the fact, œparty institutions, henceforth: a convention. And the question is, why bother? After all, beyond the dry regulatory-legal definition, nobody deludes himself into believing that these are parties, in the profound and original sense of a collective organization for the purpose of fulfilling a shared ideological vision. Just the opposite: It's an exit for advancing the personal ambitions of their founders.

Even the most enthusiastic supporters of Yesh Atid find it difficult to point to a diplomatic, economic or social vision that stems from a consolidated ideological identity. Lapid has yet to commit to a consistent and orderly viewpoint regarding one of the core issues of Israel's political debate. He has surrounded himself with œworthy figures, reasonably photogenic and with a œconvincing record, who are required in exchange to demonstrate loyalty and leave their worldview at home.


 Leading Israel to post-partisan politics


Israel joins major EU research program that excludes settlements

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 21:58:02 +02:00

Israel joined on Monday the EU's multi-billion-euro research funding program for the next seven years.

Horizon Europe is the EU's main program for funding research and innovation, and has a budget of 95.5 billion euros (around $110 billion). While Israeli researcher will be benefit from the deal, it will also help Israel to establish closer relations with the EU.    

The deal for Israel's participation in the program forbids it from investing the funds beyond its pre-1967 borders and bars academic and research institutions in settlements from participating.


 Israel joins major EU research program that excludes settlements


What connects the Palestinians behind the latest wave of attacks against Israelis

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 21:55:41 +02:00

Never quiet for long, a storm is brewing in the Palestinian arena.

Early Monday, a 16-year-old West Bank Palestinian from Nablus had a fight with his father, stole the family car and drove it to a checkpoint near Tul Karm to run over Israelis.The teen drove into the checkpoint at about 100 kilometers (60 miles) an hour, injuring a guard, who is in moderate condition, before being shot to death by other guards. This is the fifth attack of its kind in the past three weeks. Lone-wolf terrorists have set out to commit shooting attacks, stabbings and car-rammings in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and in one case, in Jaffa.

It's reasonable to assume that a few successes chalked up by the terrorists the killing of Eliyahu Kay, not far from the Western Wall, as well as the stabbing of Jewish man near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem last Saturday, captured in a viral video are now producing a wave of copycat incidents.


 What connects the Palestinians behind the latest wave of attacks against Israelis


Jordanian TV station denies German broadcaster's antisemitism accusations

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 21:37:47 +02:00

A Jordanian broadcaster on Monday rejected accusations of publishing antisemitic content that led a German broadcaster to suspend a decade-long cooperation agreement.

Amman-based Roya TV said in a statement that it œregrets the declared decision of international German broadcaster Deutsche Welle to suspend the partnership. It added the Arab media group was the target of œa hostile campaign" from parties it did not name.

On Sunday, Deutsche Welle said anti-Israeli and antisemitic content and caricatures distributed by the popular Jordanian channel's social media platforms were œdefinitely not consistent with the values of DW, forcing the German company œto re-evaluate the cooperation.


 Jordanian TV station denies German broadcaster's antisemitism accusations


Israel issues stricter, but still vague, guidelines for cybertech exports after NSO scandal

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 21:25:52 +02:00

Israel said on Monday that countries interested in buying its cybertech would have to commit to using them to prevent only a limited list of terrorist acts and serious crimes.

Israeli defense officials have said in the past that Israel only allows the export of cybertech for the usage of governments and intelligence and law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism and crime. However, this is the first time such claims are backed.

The move announced by Israel's Defense Ministry was the latest step in enhancing its oversight following concern over possible abuses abroad of a hacking tool sold by Israeli firms like NSO Group.


 Israel issues stricter, but still vague, guidelines for cybertech exports after NSO scandal


Psychiatric nurse charged with 'extremely cruel' murder of Israeli teenager

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 20:40:17 +02:00

Eduard Kachura was charged Monday with aggravated murder for the murder of Yael Melnik, 17, whose body was found in a pit at a construction site in a Haifa suburb several hours after she was reported missing in October. Police say she was buried alive.

œ intentionally caused death after a genuine process of consideration and reached a decision to kill with extreme cruelty, the indictment said.

He is also charged with several other offenses, including illegal consensual sex while exploiting a relationship of dependency and violating a court order. He faces a life sentence for the murder.


 Psychiatric nurse charged with 'extremely cruel' murder of Israeli teenager


Google Pay to launch its services in Israel this week

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 20:34:58 +02:00

Technology giant Google is expected to begin offering its pay services and additional services to Israeli consumers this week, TheMarker has learned.

Following the launch, which was postponed several times, Israeli customers (with smartphones with Android 5 operating systems and above) will be able to make payments using Google Pay at sales points fully supporting the required EMV standard. To enable customers to pay via Google Pay, credit card companies and banks, including Isracard, Max, and Bank Leumi entered into agreements with Google.

Google will become the second technology giant to enter Israel in the field of mobile payments after Apple Pay, which began operating in the country last May. Apple Pay's entrance into the market led to a sharp increase in the use of digital wallets, despite the fact that iPhone owners are believed to make up no more than 25 percent of the overall number of smartphone owners in Israel.


 Google Pay to launch its services in Israel this week


U.S. blacklists Congolese individual for supporting Israeli mining magnate Gertler

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 20:01:29 +02:00

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on a Democratic Republic of Congo national it accused of providing support to Israeli investor Dan Gertler, an action aimed at targeting corruption linked to the mining magnate blacklisted by the United States.

The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement it designated Alain Mukonda, accusing him of making payments into proxy bank accounts for Gertler following his designation in 2017. The Treasury said Mukonda made cash deposits totaling between $11 million and $13.5 million into accounts of companies he incorporated that ultimately belong to Gertler's family.

The Treasury also blacklisted 12 companies linked to or associated with Mukonda in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gibraltar.


 U.S. blacklists Congolese individual for supporting Israeli mining magnate Gertler


Palestinian Authority says would cut wages amid prisoner, tax dispute with Israel

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 19:20:51 +02:00

The Palestinian Authority said on Monday it would cut wages paid to its employees in response to a cash crunch exacerbated by a renewed dispute with Israel over payments it makes to Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

Israel and the United States say the PA stipends, dispersed monthly to prisoners, their relatives and the families of Palestinians killed for allegedly carrying out attacks, encourage further violence. The Palestinians consider them a form of welfare for inmates they regard as national heroes.

Seeking to push the PA to end the payments, Israel in 2018 began deducting the value of the stipends from tax money it collects on the Palestinians' behalf and transfers to them monthly.


 Palestinian Authority says would cut wages amid prisoner, tax dispute with Israel


Lapid set for high-profile Egypt meetings as Hamas warns of 'foot-dragging' on Gaza

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 19:11:05 +02:00

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will head to Cairo next week and meet with senior Egyptian officials, including possibly President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi.

The proposed Lapid-Sissi meeting, first reported by Israel's Channel 12 News on Monday, has yet to be confirmed by the Egyptians. If it happens, Lapid would be the second senior Israeli figure to meet the Egyptian president this year, after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Lapid plans to return to Sissi archeological artifacts that were illegally smuggled from Egypt into Israel, and held by the Israel Antiquities Authority.


 Lapid set for high-profile Egypt meetings as Hamas warns of 'foot-dragging' on Gaza


Saudi crown prince starts Gulf tour as Erdogan seeks to repair ties

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 18:44:46 +02:00

Saudi Arabia's crown prince was heading Monday to Oman, the first stop of a tour of Gulf Arab states that will see him meet neighboring rulers and allies as the kingdom closely watches negotiations in Europe to revive Iran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit coincides with a flurry of other diplomatic meetings in the region, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to ally Qatar and a visit by a high-ranking security official from the United Arab Emirates to Iran.

Confirmed by Saudi and Omani media, the tour also comes ahead of an upcoming annual six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council meeting of rulers this month.


 Saudi crown prince starts Gulf tour as Erdogan seeks to repair ties


Jerusalem board delays plans for new Jewish neighborhood in city's east by at least a year

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 18:00:13 +02:00

The construction of a highly controversial new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem has been delayed "until further notice" on environmental grounds, the municipality announced Monday, effectively pushing it back by at least a year.

The decision follows a phone call U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made to Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett last week over the plan, which officials described as "intense."

The plan includes a neighborhood of some 9,000 housing units for the ultra-Orthodox community. If established, it would be the first large Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem since Har Homa in the 1990s.


 Jerusalem board delays plans for new Jewish neighborhood in city's east by at least a year


Israel confirms 21 omicron cases; expert panel to discuss fourth COVID shot

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 17:51:13 +02:00

The number of cases of the omicron variant in Israel has risen to 21 as of Monday, the Health Ministry reports.

Sixteen of the cases were those who had recently returned from South Africa, the U.K., France, the U.S. and UAE. The five remaining cases were those who had been exposed to the virus by travelers who had returned from South Africa and the U.S.

Of the cases, eight of them had no protection against the virus, meaning that they were either unvaccinated or had not recovered from the virus, giving them COVID antibodies.


 Israel confirms 21 omicron cases; expert panel to discuss fourth COVID shot


'There's no genocide denial': Bosnian-Serb leader's heated talk with Haaretz on Srebrenica

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 17:46:01 +02:00

Among the list of prominent leaders and diplomats to visit Israel in recent weeks, one received very little media attention: Zeljka Cvijanovic, the president of Republika Srpska, the autonomous Serb enclave of Bosnia and Herzegovina. She met with senior Israeli officials during her visit last week, including Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Housing Minister Zeev Elkin.

Cvijanovic also met with Haaretz at a Jerusalem hotel, where she addressed some of the most pressing political questions currently making headlines in the Balkans. Her answers probably won't be viewed favorably by some of her neighbors there.

She strongly refuted allegations of genocide denial and historical whitewashing by herself and her political allies, amid deep internal disagreements over Bosnian-Serb complicity in the 1995 massacre of thousands of Muslims in Srebrenica.


 'There's no genocide denial': Bosnian-Serb leader's heated talk with Haaretz on Srebrenica


Earliest waqf legacy in the world is deciphered: Two villages in Palestine

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 17:35:07 +02:00

The earliest known complete waqfiyya inscription in the Islamic world, which came to light (again) when it was auctioned at Christie's in 2015, has now been deciphered. Engraved on a soft limestone, the waqf involves the endowment of two farmsteads in ninth-century Palestine, complete with quality animals necessary to work the land. The property was made over to the poor, in the name of Allah, likely by a high-ranking eunuch in service of the caliph.

Engraved in kufic script, the stele was deciphered by Prof. Lotfi Abdeljaouad, an Arabic epigraphy expert at the National Heritage Institute in Tunis, at the behest of Prof. Mehmet Tütüncü, the director of the Turkish and Arabic World Research Center in the Netherlands and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Turkology who learned about its existence from Christie's auction catalog.

A waqfiyya inscription is an irrevocable document of endowment of property to Allah for the good of the people. Abdeljaouad's interpretation was published in December in the International Journal of Turkology.


 Earliest waqf legacy in the world is deciphered: Two villages in Palestine


Netanyahu blames 'first Israeli-Palestinian government' for recent attacks

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 17:33:54 +02:00

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu argued on Sunday that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government is at fault for a recent spate of violent attacks by Palestinians, blaming the government's œweakness.

Over the course of the past several weeks there have been several fatal or near-fatal incidents, after a time of relative calm.

The former prime minister told his Likud party during its weekly Knesset faction meeting that the latest violence had been all but invited by what he called the œfirst Israeli-Palestinian government, in an apparent reference to the presence of the Islamist United Arab List in the governing coalition.


 Netanyahu blames 'first Israeli-Palestinian government' for recent attacks


From a fake sheikh to human trafficking: The fall of Israel's most extravagant soccer club owner

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 17:15:13 +02:00

Exactly a year ago, Moshe Hogeg's name was starring in headlines worldwide. He had just sealed a deal to sell half the shares in Beitar Jerusalem one of Israel's largest and most controversial soccer clubs to Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, an Emirati businessman and apparently a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi.

It wasn't just a financial coup, which would have seen $32 million pouring in to Hogeg's pockets and for professional development of the team. It was a highly symbolic move by the man who, since buying the club in 2018, had bravely taken on its powerful and notorious supporters group La Familia, and addressed the deep anti-Arab and racist tendencies within the fan base.

Hogeg worked to remove the worst of the racists from Teddy Stadium and prevailed upon supporters to stop their racist chanting during matches.


 From a fake sheikh to human trafficking: The fall of Israel's most extravagant soccer club owner


'Thousands could have died': Ex-aide says Netanyahu's son pushed father for Temple Mount metal detectors

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 17:05:19 +02:00

Benjamin Netanyahu's former aide, now a key prosecution witness in his corruption trial, told court on Monday that the former premier's son, Yair, pressured his father to install metal detectors on Jerusalem's Temple Mount in 2017, in a move that reignited tensions with the Palestinians and with neighboring Jordan.

Netanyahu's decision "could've resulted in the death of thousands of people," Nir Hefetz, the Netanyahu family's former adviser turned state's evidence, told the Jerusalem District Court. 

>>> Netanyahu trial: Master-manipulator mercenary takes the stand, and he's out for blood


 'Thousands could have died': Ex-aide says Netanyahu's son pushed father for Temple Mount metal detectors


LISTEN: Why Christians and Christianity are disappearing from the Middle East

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 16:08:46 +02:00

All across the Middle East, Christian communities are in decline. In Gaza, once an early Christian city, there are only 800 Christians left. In Iraq, Christians whose lands were taken over by the Islamic State were forced to convert or die.

Author Janine di Giovanni joins Haaretz Weekly to discuss her book œThe Vanishing: Faith, Loss, and the Twilight of Christianity in the Land of the Prophets," which documents this process. We ask her: Why are Christians leaving the region, what impact did Pope Francis' visit to Iraq have on the local community there, and what is Christianity's future in the land where it first appeared. The conversation starts at time code 13:30.

Earlier on this week's episode, senior Haaretz journalist Noa Landau joins host Amir Tibon to discuss Israel's controversial decision to spy on its own citizens in response to the omicron variant's arrival. Why did left-wing politicians who previously opposed this policy now decide to allow it, and what eventually made the government change course?  Listen to the full conversation, and make sure to also read Noa's recent op-ed on the subject.


 LISTEN: Why Christians and Christianity are disappearing from the Middle East


Trump worked on Abraham Accords in hospital with COVID, new book claims

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 16:05:19 +02:00

Former President Donald Trump worked on expanding the Abraham Accords from his hospital bed where he was being treated for a life-threatening case of COVID-19, hoping the positive news coming out of the Middle East would distract the country's attention away from his illness, his former chief of staff reveals in a new memoir.

œStill in Walter Reed, President Trump turned his attention to the Abraham Accords, Mark Meadows, who served as Trump's fourth chief of staff during the 2020 election year, writes in his forthcoming book, titled œThe Chief's Chief, set to be released on Tuesday and reviewed by the Forward.

In the book, Meadows details a meeting he had with Trump on Saturday afternoon, a day after the former president was admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and ahead of his address to the nation. Trump was obsessed about what was written about him in the daily newspapers. White House staff used to cut out the positive articles for the president, who would write a note in a black sharpie and mail it to the person who wrote it. On the table of the room in the presidential suite that day, he writes, were stacked newspapers that the Secret Service had brought in for him.


 Trump worked on Abraham Accords in hospital with COVID, new book claims


Bennett visits crime-riddled south, vows to act against 'Wild West militias'

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 15:52:31 +02:00

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday promised to stifle violence in Arab communities across southern Israel as he toured the country's Negev region.

"I arrived at the Negev this morning to get to know the area and simply say that this government has moved from defense to offense. The state must give the same amount of personal security to every citizen of Israel," Bennett said while overlooking the Bedouin city of Rahat from afar. "A resident of Rahat and Be'er Sheva is the same as a resident of Tel Aviv."

"There are militias here that act like it's the wild west," the prime minister said, referring to the surge in violence in Israel's Arab communities, driven mainly by organized crime.


 Bennett visits crime-riddled south, vows to act against 'Wild West militias'


Can Israel alone prevent a nuclear Iran?

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 15:30:42 +02:00

Some people believe everything that happens is God's plan, while others believe in coincidence. Take for instance last Thursday's promise by Mossad director David Barnea that œIran won't have nuclear weapons not in the coming years, and not ever. This is my commitment, and this is the Mossad's commitment.

That very same day, the Jewish Chronicle ran a scoop obtained by its deputy editor, Jake Wallis Simons, saying that the sabotage of centrifuges at Iran's Natanz enrichment facility in April was committed by 10 Iranian scientists recruited by the Mossad. According to the report, the scientists believed they were working for Iranian opposition organizations.

Some of the explosives used were dropped by drone and collected by the scientists. Others were smuggled into the facility on trucks that supply food to the workers.


 Can Israel alone prevent a nuclear Iran?


Kids playing with human bones unintentionally reveal ancient cultures of Crimea

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 15:25:07 +02:00

On a sunny summer day in 2002, in a village on the green slopes of the Crimean foothills, the townsfolk spotted children running around the streets, playing with peculiar toys.

Their toys happened to be human bones. After the kids explained where they acquired their unique toys, it transpired that robbers had defiled graves in the nearby Opushki burial ground, leaving the bones exposed, which were found by the local kids.

The local heritage authorities were called in, and in 2003 the first Opushki archaeological expedition, led by Igor Khrapunov of the Crimean Federal University, set foot in the site.


 Kids playing with human bones unintentionally reveal ancient cultures of Crimea


Israel ignores High Court ruling on non-Orthodox conversions

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 14:50:07 +02:00

Israel's High Court of Justice handed down a landmark decision last March recognizing conversions undertaken in Israel by the Reform and Conservative movements for the purpose of citizenship.

Yet of the nearly 80 non-Orthodox converts who have since applied for citizenship under the Law of Return, only three have been approved by the Interior Ministry.

In almost all these cases, the converts were either married or had been married to Israelis and had moved to Israel from former Soviet bloc countries, Eastern Europe or South America.


 Israel ignores High Court ruling on non-Orthodox conversions


Top Israeli rabbinical judges bar books by alleged sexual abuser Chaim Walder

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 14:10:40 +02:00

Two of the most leading religious court judges in Israel's ultra-Orthodox community have called on the public not to read books by ultra-Orthodox author and therapist Chaim Walder, who was recently accused of sexually abusing young girls.

Although the two religious court judges, Yehuda Silman and Sariel Rosenberg, did not mention Walder by name, they wrote on Monday that it was inappropriate to read his books until the allegations, which were first reported by Haaretz, have been investigated.

Silman and Rosenberg's comments came in response to a question regarding whether the public can continue reading works by an author of books who "is called an educational figure" and who also reportedly committed "serious and ongoing offenses."


 Top Israeli rabbinical judges bar books by alleged sexual abuser Chaim Walder


'Most prostitution in Israel starts online. Then the violence begins'

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 13:43:51 +02:00

Naama Goldberg, tell us what you do.

First of all, with your permission, during the interview I'll leave the phone open on the table, because someone was beaten.

No problem. 


 'Most prostitution in Israel starts online. Then the violence begins'


The premeditated killing of Amjad, a 14-year-old Palestinian

Mon, 6 Dec 2021 13:04:36 +02:00

The soldiers waited in ambush in the dark for Amjad Abu Sultan, a 14-year-old child. Then they shot him dead. It is well known that one of the main sources of intelligence for the Israel Defense Forces is Shin Bet field officers. According to a spokesperson for the security service, Abu Sultan had written the field officer in the Bethlehem area that he planned to throw a firebomb and that he himself had carried out acts for which a friend of his, Adham, had been arrested. In an exchange of text messages found on the boy's cellphone, the field officer wrote that unlike his friend who had been apprehended, Abu Sultan was a œnobody and didn't interest him.

In short: The field officer provoked the boy and pushed him to do œsomething bigger. Why did he provoke him? Why did he not order the army to arrest the boy? After all, the IDF and the Israel Police arrest Palestinians for making far less boastful pronouncements. Why did the soldiers kill the boy instead of arresting him before he could act? Is it only to me and the boy's family that this sounds like a trap was being set in order to kill him? The Israeli organization Parents Against Child Detention should take note.

>> The Child Who Unified the Palestinian Land With His Death


 The premeditated killing of Amjad, a 14-year-old Palestinian






US  US NO






Peace demonstrations in the US October 26-28 2007
29.10 - 2007

tn_10-275.jpg

Large number of US citizens demonstrated against the war in Iraq (and the possible war in Iran) during this October weekend. Massive turnout in Boston and San Fransisco, and also in Chicago, LA and DC people took to the streets.
The message was: NO more war in Iraq! NO to a war with Iran!