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Ha'aretz
Time: Thu, 11.21.2019 12:25 PM Local file generated: Thu, 11.21.2019 08:09 AM
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Israel Border Police officer indicted for shooting at Palestinian 'for the fun of it'

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 13:27:37

A Border Police officer was indicted Wednesday for shooting a Palestinian man in the back with a sponge-tipped bullet.

According to the charge sheet, filed by the Justice Ministry's police misconduct unit, the victim, who was stopped at a West Bank checkpoint, was walking away from the suspect when he was shot.

The Justice Ministry investigation concluded that the border policewoman shot the man, whose identity has never been determined and who never filed a complaint, just for the fun of it from a considerable distance. The incident at the Al-Zaim West Bank checkpoint outside of Jerusalem in May of last year was caught on video.


 Israel Border Police officer indicted for shooting at Palestinian 'for the fun of it'


These N.Y. Orthodox Jews are fighting the stigma of opioid addiction in the community

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 12:59:54

NEW YORK Driving home from a support group meeting for people coping with drug addiction in the family, Sarah and Yehudah Benjamin received a nightmarish phone call: Emergency responders told them their son Kasriel had overdosed on heroin.

We got there, and there were police outside and people around his apartment, Sarah recalls of that September 2011 afternoon. They wouldn't let us in. We didn't know what we were supposed to do.

However, it didn't take long for them to understand that their 25-year-old son had died. We're standing there, but pretty quick one of the older guys that runs Hatzalah walked over to us and basically shook his head, says Yehudah, referring to the Jewish emergency medical service.


 These N.Y. Orthodox Jews are fighting the stigma of opioid addiction in the community


From Rhodes with love: Memories of Jewish life on the island celebrated in NY show

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 12:49:47

NEW YORK Growing up on the now Greek island of Rhodes in the 1920s, Stella Levi remembers having big dreams for herself. She used to sit at a window of her home, overlooking a beautiful garden and think about what she wanted to study at university. Psychoanalysis was the thing, she says. She was so determined that she had prepared a small suitcase with a sweater probably, and two books, ready to leave Rhodes when the time to go pursue her studies arrived.

At 96 years old, Levi, who survived the Holocaust in Auschwitz, has been telling the story of her childhood in Rhodes and its tight-knit Jewish community for the past month in a pop-up multimedia installation entitled Los Corassones Avlan The Hearts Speak in Judeo-Spanish.

The exhibit, which will end on Sunday, is held in a 19th-century carriage house in Manhattan's West village and was put together by Centro Primo Levi, an organization dedicated to exploring Italian-Jewish history, and the Rhodes Jewish Historical Foundation.


 From Rhodes with love: Memories of Jewish life on the island celebrated in NY show


Buttigieg slams Gabbard on Assad: I have better judgement than to meet with 'a murderous dictator'

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 12:42:54

In Wednesday night's Democratic debate, Pete Buttigieg became the focus of several of his Democratic opponents for what they characterized as a lack of experience.

After the South Bend, Indiana, mayor called for federal leadership on voting rights, Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar pointed out she supported such legislation in the Senate and had won a statewide race.

Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard turned to foreign policy, saying Buttigieg had called for U.S. troops to be sent to Mexico. Buttigieg accused her of misrepresenting his past remarks that he supported a security partnership with Mexico but would only order American troops into conflict if there were no other choice.


 Buttigieg slams Gabbard on Assad: I have better judgement than to meet with 'a murderous dictator'


New U.S. stance on Israeli settlements is akin to Thou shalt murder'

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 12:34:20

Donald Trump is turning out to be one of Israel's most dangerous foes; he's doing everything possible to corrupt it, deepen its rot and make it increasingly more repugnant in the eyes of the enlightened world. To worsen the corrosion, his secretary of state went so far this week as to turn the Ten Commandments on their head.

From now on, say Thou shalt steal, and soon, Thou shalt murder. Absent any moral standing or legal authority the last areas where the Trump administration can pass judgment Mike Pompeo announced that the West Bank settlements don't violate international law.

One could hardly think of a more bitter joke. A declaration by the United States that rape no longer violates the law is already in the works. Will rape then become legal or moral? Of course not. The same applies to the settlements.


 New U.S. stance on Israeli settlements is akin to Thou shalt murder'


In heavily subsidized Iran, high fuel prices could spell disaster for the regime

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 12:29:06

Raising gasoline and bread prices in Middle Eastern countries is asking for trouble. It's a known fact, and very few leaders have managed to escape its fateful consequences. Only last year, Jordan's King Abdullah II was forced to back down from passing a new tax law, after a dramatic increase in fuel prices sparked angry demonstrations. Being forced to fire his cabinet taught the king the same lesson his father had learned: There are some things you just don't touch if you want the streets to remain quiet.

Only Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi has until now managed to cancel major fuel subsidies with only a few scars. Where do you want me to take the money from? he asked the protesters, and his security forces made sure the public found in them the strength to accept the answer.

Iran has a haloed tradition of political and economic protest. Civil revolt brought down the Shah, but the regime that succeeded him has not been spared. Only in 2009, after Iranians came out in large numbers against alleged election fraud was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected.


 In heavily subsidized Iran, high fuel prices could spell disaster for the regime


Buses on Shabbat begin this weekend in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 12:04:59

A Shabbat public transportation system in central Israel is due to launch its operations this coming weekend, marking a significant shift in Israel, where most public transport doesn't operate on the Jewish day of rest.

The weekend rides will operate in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Givatayim, Kiryat Ono and Ramat Hasharon, and the service will be free of charge. Local officials say other cities are also expected to join the network.

According to the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality, who initiated the move, the network of intercity routes will operate on weekends and connect the cities in an efficient way, to complement public transportation on weekdays.


 Buses on Shabbat begin this weekend in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area


Decrying the commodification of Nazism while self-promoting in Israeli media

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 11:20:02

An Israeli lobby by the name of the European Jewish Association has chalked up another achievement. The check, one may assume, is already on its way.

Again, for the umpteenth time, these wily public relations figures managed to feed Israeli media with a rating-busting item Hitler's salt shaker! In doing so they also managed to insert the name of the rabbi heading this association. The deal benefited both sides. The media, always looking for a sensation, pounced on the item as though it were a gem. The association with no one in the media bothering to check who stands behind it, what it does and why it exists got some positive media coverage. And the public? It wasted a few more minutes on some nonsense which was unworthy of anyone's attention in the first place.

There was hardly any website, newspaper or TV and radio station this week that did not report the auction of Hitler's personal items. As any novice editor knows, let alone this writer, the word Hitler guarantees good ratings. If you punch in his name on Google together with news, you get a plethora of important news reports. You can read that he was actually Jewish, or that he was a homosexual, or a drug addict.


 Decrying the commodification of Nazism while self-promoting in Israeli media


'Fake negotiations': Netanyahu, Gantz's parties trade blame over failed unity talks

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 11:16:22

Likud officials say the party's grand-coalition talks with Kahol Lavan were nearly completed on the main issues but were torpedoed by senior legislators in Benny Gantz's party, especially Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya'alon.

According to the officials, the parties' negotiating teams were near agreement on who would head the government first in a rotation (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), when exactly Netanyahu would suspend himself if indicted in the corruption cases against him (within six months to a year), and whether Netanyahu's right-wing bloc would be dismantled (no). The talks didn't address the unity government's agenda.

It's no coincidence that both parties' briefings said there was progress. That's the true situation, a source involved in the discussions told Haaretz. The gaps between us aren't great. It's true we haven't agreed on everything, but we assessed that in a meeting between Gantz and Netanyahu they'd be able to resolve what remained.


 'Fake negotiations': Netanyahu, Gantz's parties trade blame over failed unity talks


Russia outs Israel and Jordan in Syria-Iraq border strike

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 10:38:12

The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Israel Wednesday of violating Jordanian airspace when Israeli aircrafts flew over the country on Monday on their way to attack targets near the Syrian-Iraqi border.

According to Moscow, the attack, along with three other Israeli aggressions this week have increased tensions and potential of further conflict around Syria. 

A series of recent strikes in Iraq, some in the western part of the country, near the Syrian border, has been attributed to Israel. The attacks targeted Shiite militias affiliated with Iran and their convoys, allegedly involved in smuggling weapons into the territory.


 Russia outs Israel and Jordan in Syria-Iraq border strike


Sanders says U.S. must rethink Israel policy, Biden slams Saudi Arabia in Democratic debate

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 09:10:28

WASHINGTON  It is time for the U.S. to rethink its Middle East policies, specifically on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, said Senator Bernie Sanders during Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate.

It is no longer simply good enough for us to be pro-Israel," Sanders said. I'm pro-Israel, but we must treat the Palestinian people as well with the respect and dignity that they deserve, he added. Sanders also said that what is going on in Gaza right now, with youth unemployment at 70 percent, is unsustainable. His comments won strong applause from the crowd watching the debate in Atlanta.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently leading in most public opinion polls of the Democratic race, also brought up issues related to the Middle East by calling to end U.S. weapon sales to Saudi Arabia. Biden said he would treat them like the pariah that they are.


 Sanders says U.S. must rethink Israel policy, Biden slams Saudi Arabia in Democratic debate


Mandate to form a government returns to Knesset after both PM candidates fail

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 08:47:44

Hours before his Wednesday midnight deadline for negotiations, Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz announced he was unable to establish a governing coalition,

Returning the mandate to form a coalition to President Reuven Rivlin, Gantz has plunged Israel's political sphere into even greater uncertainty, raising the chances of a third election cycle within a year.

After two failed rounds of unity talks, the first led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the September 17 election and the second by Gantz, any Knesset member with the backing of at least 61 lawmakers would be tasked with forming a coalition. Lawmakers now have 21 days to nominate a candidate.


 Mandate to form a government returns to Knesset after both PM candidates fail


With hypocrisy, cynicism and venom, Israel's third election season in a year has begun

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 08:37:21

Only the brave could beat back the gag reflex as they watched Israel's top politicians launch their campaigns for the 2020 election. Hypocrisy, cynicism and sanctimony flooded the screens. Everyone portrayed himself as righteous and good-natured while shoveling dirt on his rival.

The speech Wednesday by Avigdor Lieberman wasn't just anti-Semitic, as the ultra-Orthodox cried he was also talking about the Arab legislators. But its venom competed only with the Yisrael Beiteinu leader's self-satisfaction. The country was waiting for his statement in the hope that he'd say the crisis had been resolved, but instead of the all clear, we got a rising and falling siren.

Topping the self-righteous was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The man who spent the last week conducting a shocking incitement campaign even by his low standards against the Arab parties' Joint List, was masquerading as Nelson Mandela.


 With hypocrisy, cynicism and venom, Israel's third election season in a year has begun


A historic weekend for Tel Aviv and all of Israel

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 07:39:18

This weekend it's finally happening 110 years after the founding of the city, Tel Aviv residents, visitors and tourists will be able to use public transportation on a Friday evening and the following Saturday. True, in recent months other municipalities have started using shuttle services on Shabbat, some of them reaching Tel Aviv, but when this happens in the first modern Hebrew city, it's nothing less than sensational, with ramifications for the entire country.

Public transportation on weekends will allow many residents who don't own a car and for whom taxi fare is a burden to move freely around the metropolitan area. Public transportation on weekends will also significantly reduce the need to use cars that pollute the environment and clog up our roads. Most of all, this is a huge message to the secular community and for anyone espousing the values of freedom and liberalism.

I hear many complaints in the ultra-Orthodox community and the extreme part of the religious-Zionist community decrying an insult to their feelings, or that these communities are being deliberately targeted. No arguments are as pathetic and well-worn as these.


 A historic weekend for Tel Aviv and all of Israel


Poland, South Africa, Ukraine and Hungary top list of most anti-Semitic countries, says ADL survey

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 07:00:58

Anti-Semitic attitudes are most prevalent in Poland, South Africa, Ukraine and Hungary, according to a survey published Thursday by the Anti-Defamation League.

The country with views least hostile to Jews was Sweden, the survey of select countries found.

The ranking was based on responses to a series of questions concerning beliefs in anti-Semitic stereotypes. Eighteen countries outside the United States were included in this latest global survey by the U.S.-based anti-Semitism watchdog. The inaugural ADL anti-Semitism survey, which included 100 countries, was conducted in 2014. The latest version did not include Middle Eastern or North African countries.


 Poland, South Africa, Ukraine and Hungary top list of most anti-Semitic countries, says ADL survey


Cases of whooping cough in Israel have risen 150% this year

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 05:26:59

The number of cases of whooping cough diagnosed in Israel from the beginning of 2019 is two and a half times the number from the same period last year.

Between January and the beginning of November this year, 1,375 cases of the disease, also known as pertussis, were diagnosed, compared to only 555 cases for the same period in 2018 a 148 percent increase, Health Ministry data show. Only 438 cases were reported for the same period in 2017.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious, airborne bacterial disease, and can be fatal. The infectious bacteria that cause the disease can be found in the respiratory tract and are spread through sneezing and coughing. The bacteria secrete a number of toxins in the respiratory tract and lead to attacks of a heavy cough that can last for weeks and cause vomiting. Infants infected during their first year of life are exposed to serious complications such as bacterial pneumonia, which can cause them to stop breathing and suffer seizures. Patients are treated with antibiotics and stop being contagious after about four full days of treatment.


 Cases of whooping cough in Israel have risen 150% this year


Netherlands cuts aid to Palestinian Authority over terrorist salaries

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 04:06:53

The Dutch government has cut funding for the Palestinian Authority over its salaries to terrorists serving time in Israeli jails.

The aid ministry announced the move Wednesday during annual budget talks.

In 2017, the Palestinian Authority paid about $198 million to a fund for the families of terrorists killed during their attacks and about $160 million to Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, according to Israeli Defense Ministry figures.


 Netherlands cuts aid to Palestinian Authority over terrorist salaries


Data show Israel's rental market is haven for tax evaders

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 03:34:27

Israel has been enabling landlords to evade taxes: A list released by the Israel Tax Authority on Wednesday revealed that a disproportionate number of all settlements reached on unpaid back taxes in 2017 were made with owners of rental apartments.

The settlements were reached after officials agreed to drop lawsuits to recover unpaid taxes in exchange for taxpayers making good on what they owe plus penalties. Among 283 settlements reached last year, 114 were in the real estate sector and a large part of those involved landlords of residential properties.

The rental market has long been recognized as a haven for tax evaders, who stand little chance of being caught. The reason is that landlords are exempt from reporting their rental income at all if their monthly income is less than 5,090 shekels (about $1,500). Above that amount, they are liable for a tax of either 10% of income or 30% of profits.


 Data show Israel's rental market is haven for tax evaders


The Bible and bird-watching: How Israel's periphery can start to draw more tourists

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 03:15:55

The strategic plan for encouraging economic growth in outlying parts of the country the West Bank, the north and the Negev called for each of these regions to develop their own brand of tourism. For the West Bank it is the events of the Bible, for the northern Galilee medicine and nature, and for the south the desert and the resort town of Eilat.

The program was developed by Prof. Michael Porter of Harvard University, together with the Kohelet Forum think tank and Knesset member Nir Barkat (Likud), with the aim of making these areas more attractive to business, investors and residents over the next 30 years and help disperse Israel's population out of the center of the country.

According to forecasts, by the time Israel is marking its 100th anniversary, its population will be double 17 million citizens. The growing congestion in the center of the country could lead to the collapse of all the State of Israel into Gush Dan while Israel's peripheries remain weak, Michal Shalem, the CEO of the organization Israel Grows that helped design the program, told The Marker.


 The Bible and bird-watching: How Israel's periphery can start to draw more tourists


Underground economy? Tel Aviv subway system could give GDP a $32 billion boost

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 02:50:29

The giant construction project that envisions three subway lines serving the greater Tel Aviv area won't just be a boon to commuters, it could add significantly to the size of the Israeli economy by of all things letting more people and business be crowded into the region.

A study by the Aaron Institute for Economic Policy led by Sani Ziv and Oren Shapir estimates that the three subway lines will at the minimum increase Israel's gross domestic product annually by 1% starting in 2040, or 27 billion shekels ($7.8 billion at current exchange rates).

The impact could be even more if the Tel Aviv Metro which is meant to augment the Tel Aviv Light Rail already under construction spurs more high-density construction in the region, with more skyscrapers and the urban renewal of older neighborhoods. Under that scenario, the addition to GDP starting in 2040 could be 4.4%, or 112 billion shekels ($32 billion) annually.


 Underground economy? Tel Aviv subway system could give GDP a $32 billion boost


After yet another Gaza flare-up, it's time for the power of mothers' solidarity

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 02:37:26

The chasm between the accolades for the Israel Defense Forces, the parade of former generals through the television studios and the silence of the politicians, and the pain of the grandmother from Dir al-Balah who lost three of her grandchildren when the IDF bombed the Sawarka family's house, once again leads one to wonder what things would be like if women held key positions. It's wishful thinking, usually accompanied by the assumption that everything, or almost everything, would be different.

The foundation for this question is those characteristics that are traditionally associated with women: Compassion and concern and the way they see the world not as a hierarchy, but a network. There is also the assumption that because of motherhood, women are capable of expressing solidarity, even if they're on opposite sides of the border. After all, we are the ones who give life and raise children who are destined to be drafted into defending the homeland. This view was common during the first years of the State of Israel, when women were a small minority (around 10 percent) of the Knesset, the cabinet had one female minister, and the possibility of women running the country was inconceivable. Nevertheless, there was an understanding that women had the power to influence decision making.

As the mothers of soldiers, women expressed their opinions on Israel's security policies and called on women to express their positions at the ballot box. In the summer of 1955, MK Esther Raziel-Naor of the Herut party urged women to get involved in public life, since as a citizen of the state, a woman must offer her opinion on the general problems that cut through our area, first and foremost defense issues. The government of Israel has done nothing to eliminate the war of the infiltrators, she wrote, and explained that because women are the ones who give birth to the next generation and educate it to serve in the IDF, they must make their voices heard to halt the bloodshed on the borders.


 After yet another Gaza flare-up, it's time for the power of mothers' solidarity


Haaretz cartoon

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 02:26:18

 Haaretz cartoon


Netanyahu and Gantz both failed to form a governing coalition. What happens now?

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 02:10:33

As Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz announced he would not be able to form a government and would return his mandate to President Reuven Rivlin, Israel entered an unprecedented moment of political uncertainty.

After two failed rounds of unity talks led by the leaders of Israel's two major political forces, Gantz's decison raises the chances of a third election cycle within a year. 

President Reuven Rivlin released a statement on Wednesday night saying that he will officially inform Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Thursday that the nomination is to go to the Knesset floor, for the first time in Israel's history. 


 Netanyahu and Gantz both failed to form a governing coalition. What happens now?


So Pompeo said it

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 01:46:08

Oom-pah-pah, oom-pah-pah, Trump-Pompeo, Trump-Pompeo. The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law. The Trump-Pompeo declaration is worth about as much as the statement that the Earth is flat. Trump-Pompeo can push on the Earth from both sides, rest their chins on it until their faces turn as red as a ripe strawberry and the ball will remain round. Or elliptical, to be more precise.

But the declaration brings back into our consciousness the question, which in the past was asked many times in the Supreme Court: What is the source of the legal authority by which the State of Israel imposes a military government on some two and a half million people, who have been born and died, who are being born and dying for the 52 years in the occupied territories? In recent years the question has disappeared. It happened when the military government of the occupied territories became almost obvious, and the territories were absorbed into the scarred tissue of Israeli society. So much face lifting. So much concealment.

Anyone who is searching through Knesset legislation will not find any mention of the occupied territories, the military governor, military orders, checkpoints, banned entry, work permits, wanted men, prisons, courts, the authority of the Shin Bet, arrests, imprisonment, administrative detention, family reunification, family separation nothing of the daily life of the residents of the territories, which is completely controlled by the military government, is to be found in legislation, only in the directives of the military governor. Beginning on June 6, 1967, from the first order on the arrangements of government and law, which was signed by Maj. Gen. Chaim Herzog, the first military commander of the territories and up through today.


 So Pompeo said it


Israel's attorney general must decide on Netanyahu before the next election

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 01:12:22

The mandate given to Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz to form a government expired at midnight, and the chances that Israel is facing a third general election within a year have just increased.

According to the law, after the mandate is returned to the president, the Knesset is allowed to seek a third candidate who might form a government. Although there's a theoretical possibility that 61 Knesset members will be found within 21 days to support such a candidate and submit his name to the president, chances are that what was beyond Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz over the past two months will be beyond any other candidate.

Israel finds itself in a political deadlock not only due to its inability to decide ideologically between right and left. The deadlock also reflects the Gordian knot that binds politics to Netanyahu's legal status, affecting the option of voting for him or forming a governing coalition with him. In the two elections this year, voters went to the polls under a cloud of uncertainty. The public was unsure whether the right's candidate for prime minister was about to face an indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.


 Israel's attorney general must decide on Netanyahu before the next election


Rise in Israelis reporting sexual assault

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 01:03:40

There has been a 40-percent rise in the number of people turning for assistance to rape crisis centers in Israel in the past five years, according to a new report.

Last year, 51,000 men and women filed complaints of sexual assault at rape crisis centers. According to the report, issued by the Association of Rape Crisis centers in Israel, and presented on Tuesday to President Reuven Rivlin, despite the rise in complaints, a higher percentage of rape cases were closed by the prosecution last year than in 20162017. Most cases of sexual offenses were closed for lack of evidence.

According to the figures, 91.3 percent of rape complaints filed last year were closed, as opposed to 88.8 percent in 2017 and 89.1 percent in 2016. Indictments were filed in 8.7 percent of the cases in 2018, as opposed to 11.2 percent in 2017 and 10.9 percent in 2016.


 Rise in Israelis reporting sexual assault


Israel to host largest event ever on combating anti-Semitism

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 23:28:17

Israeli officials announced Wednesday that dozens of world leaders will arrive in Jerusalem for the largest-ever gathering focused on combating anti-Semitism amid a global spike in violence against Jews.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said the fifth World Holocaust Forum, set to take place on January 23, 2020 at Yad Vashem, will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and the presidents of Germany, Italy and Austria are among the more than 30 heads of state who have already confirmed their participation.


 Israel to host largest event ever on combating anti-Semitism


Newspaper purported to represent Iraq protesters emerges amid nationwide unrest

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 23:26:08

Every other day, the editor, bespectacled and perpetually pecking at a laptop, sends a top secret 8-page document to an anonymous printing house near Baghdad's Tahrir Square, a central plaza which has transformed into the hub of what has become the largest grassroots protest movement in Iraq's modern history.

Working under a cloud of secrecy, a group of six labor swiftly to publish thousands of copies of Tuk Tuk, a newspaper purporting to represent the voice of demonstrators, who first took to the streets in the tens of thousands to decry rampant government corruption, scarcity of jobs and poor basic services despite Iraq's vast oil wealth.

The leaderless uprising seeks to dismantle the current system of government, and the editors of Tuk Tuk, two experienced journalists among the protesters, look to document the twists and turns in the movement's pursuit of this aspiration in a medium protesters can trust.


 Newspaper purported to represent Iraq protesters emerges amid nationwide unrest


At least 15 dead after attack on displaced persons camp in Syria's Idlib

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 22:42:12

An attack by Syrian government forces on the rebel-held area of Idlib in northwestern Syria killed at least 15 and wounded several at a displaced persons camp on Wednesday, rescue workers said.

Syria's northwest corner, including the Idlib region, is the last major chunk of territory still in rebel hands after more than eight years of war.

Ground-to-ground missiles fired from the countryside of Aleppo struck the camp at Kah, a town north of Idlib near the border with Turkey, setting tents ablaze according to the White Helmets, a rescue group known officially as the Syrian civil defence.


 At least 15 dead after attack on displaced persons camp in Syria's Idlib


Hours before deadline, Gantz tells president he has failed to form a coalition

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 22:34:04

Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz announced Wednesday he was unable to establish a governing coalition, hours before his midnight deadline for negotiations. 

>> Read Haaretz's wrap-up of Wednesday's political developments

>> Read more: Hours before deadline, Gantz tells president he has failed to form a coalition - Four Scenarios: What Happens Next after Benny Gantz Failed to Form a Government - Lieberman Is Still on His Mission to Depose Netanyahu - Netanyahu and Gantz Both Failed to Form a Governing Coalition. What Happens Now?


 Hours before deadline, Gantz tells president he has failed to form a coalition


Anne Frank's childhood friend tells the story of a German lawyer who saved Jews in WWII

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 22:20:10

At age 92, Laureen Nussbaum is one of the few people still alive who personally knew Anne Frank.

Nussbaum's family lived in the same Amsterdam neighborhood as the Franks, and Anne's father, Otto, was the best man at her 1947 wedding. After the war, Otto spent months trying to find his daughters, Anne and Margot, who had been deported to Bergen-Belsen. With Nussbaum's husband, Rudi, Otto would go to the train station every day with photos of his children hoping for news of their fate.

They showed those pictures and asked everyone, Did you by chance know this woman? Did you know by chance know these girls?' Nussbaum said in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. And that's how they bonded.


 Anne Frank's childhood friend tells the story of a German lawyer who saved Jews in WWII


Jewish groups back demand to oust Stephen Miller over white supremacy support

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 22:13:21

Jewish organizations joined a coalition of national civil rights organizations in demanding that President Donald Trump remove Stephen Miller as his senior policy adviser over his support for white supremacists.

The Anti-Defamation League, Bend the Arc, and the Union for Reform Judaism signed a letter sent earlier this week to Trump on behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

In his role as your senior advisor, Stephen Miller has promoted hate speech spewed from neo-Nazis, bigots, and white supremacists, the letter said.


 Jewish groups back demand to oust Stephen Miller over white supremacy support


Trump impeachment: Sondland worked with Giuliani at Trump's express direction'

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 22:05:31

Ambassador Gordon Sondland told House impeachment investigators Wednesday that he worked with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine at the express direction of President Donald Trump and pushed for a political quid pro quo with Kiev because it was what Trump wanted.

Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the president, Sondland said of his dealings with Trump's personal attorney, during a testimony that is still ongoing.

Sondland, the most highly anticipated witness in the public impeachment probe, made clear that he believed Trump was pursuing his desire for political investigations in return for an Oval Office meeting that the Eastern European nation's new president sought to bolster his alliance with the West. Sondland said he later came to believe military aid that Ukraine relied on to counter Russia was also being held up until the investigations were launched.


 Trump impeachment: Sondland worked with Giuliani at Trump's express direction'


UN Security Council members slam U.S. policy shift on Israeli settlements

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 21:26:33

UN Security Council members have rebuked the U.S. announcement that it no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be a violation of international law. They're stressing that the settlements are illegal and undermine a potential two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The council's monthly Mideast meeting, just two days after the U.S. announcement, was dominated by negative reaction to the new American policy.

Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, came out against European countries, who, at the beginning of the session, reiterated the EU position that all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace.


 UN Security Council members slam U.S. policy shift on Israeli settlements


Trump supports the truth: How U.S. officials explain Pompeo's settlements statement

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 20:32:04

An official at the U.S. Embassy in Israel outlined some of the thinking behind Washington's recent policy shift on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, saying the U.S. encouraged the parties to "find a solution that works for both sides" and that at the heart of the President Donald Trump's involvement was his belief that "truth must be the foundation of any resolution."

No comment was made on any coordination between Israel and the Trump administration on the decision to rescind a 1978 legal opinion holding that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are inconsistent with international law, which U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday.

The embassy official's answers to queries by Haaretz are below. 


 Trump supports the truth: How U.S. officials explain Pompeo's settlements statement


Jewish man stabbed multiple times near New York synagogue, suspect at large

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 20:24:07

NEW YORK An Orthodox man was stabbed multiple times early on Wednesday morning in close proximity to a synagogue in Spring Valley, New York. 

According to reports in local media, the man was approaching the Toshnad Heichel Torah Utfila Synagogue when a man got out of a car and began beating him and stabbed him. The assailant fled the scene before police and first responders arrived, according to Aaron Hershkowitz, an assistant to the synagogue's rabbi.

Rockland Hatzolah, an emergency medical service, reached the victim and began treating him. He is now undergoing surgery and is in critical condition, Hershkowitz said.


 Jewish man stabbed multiple times near New York synagogue, suspect at large


In 'Ford v Ferrari,' action takes a back seat to drama

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 19:45:27

Henry Ford fomented a world revolution. It wasn't a matter of a particular patent or invention of one kind or another. Ford saw the big picture. In 1908, he unveiled the Model T automobile, which was revolutionary not so much in technology as in consciousness. The promise he made sounded amusing and unattainable: a car for every worker. Ford's cars augured a cultural and political transformation in the perception of the average citizen. Freedom of movement ceased to be a merely theoretical concept and became accessible to most folks. Ford became one of the great pioneers of the entire Industrial Revolution.

That family baggage was inherited by the founder's grandson, Henry Ford II. That's not merely an anecdote; it's the catalyst of the film Ford v Ferrari, which is based on a true story. The new James Mangold picture is ostensibly about the highly competitive, dangerous world of car racing in the 1960s, but its plot focuses largely on the development stages of the car itself. It's about the trial and error the effort required, and the difficulty of realizing an ambitious vision alone or in a group.

With a script by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth and Jason Keller (most of the prior experience of all three was in the theater), the foundation is laid for a motorized action movie that conceals a sensitive drama. Director, screenwriters and stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale have chosen the racetrack to peel away layers in the personality of two individuals who made history.


 In 'Ford v Ferrari,' action takes a back seat to drama


Police say attack on 76-year-old Berlin man was anti-Semitic

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 19:44:14

A 76-year-old man was punched in the face by a male teenager in broad daylight in Berlin in what police are calling an anti-Semitic incident.

The suspect was released to the custody of his father, according to news reports. The victim, who was injured on his forehead and nose, was not Jewish, police later said.

It is the second such incident in recent weeks in the Berlin district of Pankow.


 Police say attack on 76-year-old Berlin man was anti-Semitic


White House: Reports of emails showing Stephen Miller's influence over Breitbart are 'vile anti-Semitism'

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 19:32:41

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller coordinated with editors at far-right news site Breitbart in 2016 to attack then-presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio, NBC News reports, citing a new series of leaked emails. A White House spokesman responded to the reports, blaming the left for spreading "vile anti-Semitism." 

Newly leaked emails show Miller, who is Jewish and a hardliner on immigration, directing then-Breitbart reporter Katie McHugh on how to report on Rubio. 

According to the NBC report, in December 2015, Miller sent McHugh a blog post about an undocumented immigrant arrested for allegedly raping a child. "Can you work in a reminder that Rubio's bill- which he was pushing Obama for- legalized alien sex offenders, ensuring more such rapes would occur? Miller allegedly wrote to McHugh.


 White House: Reports of emails showing Stephen Miller's influence over Breitbart are 'vile anti-Semitism'


Israel Police raids Jerusalem school it claims used by Palestinian Authority

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 19:05:22

Israel Police raided a Palestinian school in Jerusalem's Old City on Wednesday on allegations that the Palestinian Authority was operating a branch of the Palestinian Education Ministry from within the school, allegedly violating agreements with Israel.

According to Palestinian sources, in the course of the raid on the Dar al-Aytam school, the police removed students and teachers from the building in the middle of the school day and classes were cancelled for the rest of the day. Three school administration employees were arrested, one of them while being at home at the time of the raid.

Police also entered offices in the building and confiscated file binders and documents.


 Israel Police raids Jerusalem school it claims used by Palestinian Authority


Trump's former Middle East envoy Greenblatt joins board of Republican Jewish Coalition

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 18:53:58

Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump's former top Middle East peace negotiator, will join the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The chief architect of the Trump administration's still unreleased Middle East peace plan, Greenblatt left his job at the White House at the end of October. Trump has called the plan the deal of the century.

An attorney, Greenblatt was executive vice president and chief legal officer of the Trump Organization when Trump named him as his representative for international negotiations just prior to assuming the presidency.


 Trump's former Middle East envoy Greenblatt joins board of Republican Jewish Coalition


In Iran, it's not the economy, stupid

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 18:25:29

If he weren't so preoccupied with events on Capitol Hill, Donald Trump would probably be a happy man these days. Just a little over a year after he imposed the maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian economy, ordinary Iranians have taken to the streets in protest. They're not just expressing their anger over rising gasoline prices but calling for the regime's overthrow, and the government has reacted with force.

It's just how the Trump administration fantasized it: Economic pressure would create unrest and . Well, it's not exactly clear whether the White House wants all this to result in new nuclear negotiations or regime change. But no matter, after a few tense months earlier this year when it looked like Tehran had gained the upper hand with anonymous attacks on U.S. and Saudi targets, it now seems to be in deep trouble over the economy.

A big hike in gasoline prices was inevitable. Gas subsidies are estimated to cost about $69 billion annually, or about 15% of Iran's gross domestic product.


 In Iran, it's not the economy, stupid


Prepare your helmets: Jerusalem braces for onslaught of e-scooters

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 18:03:42

Is Jerusalem about to join the global cities with fleets of shared electric scooters? Three major companies in the e-scooter industry are expected to take part in a pilot program beginning next month in the city.

At the outset, the Lime, Wind and Bird companies will station a few dozen scooters in the Har Hahotzvim industrial park in the northwest part of Jerusalem, which was chosen to be first because of the particularly heavy traffic there. If the pilot is a success, and the operators are allowed to expand their operations in the capital, they will enjoy a big head start and will join other locales including Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan and Givatayim, where e-scooters are in great demand.

Jerusalem has a large population, with a substantial number of young people who do not own cars; in addition, there are many tourists who visit the city and may avail themselves of this alternative form of transportation.


 Prepare your helmets: Jerusalem braces for onslaught of e-scooters


Israeli hospital goes on offensive: Electric scooters maim riders, pedestrians

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 18:02:55

It has already become almost routine: Every few weeks, and sometimes even more frequently, a story appears on the Facebook home page of Ichilov Hospital (the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center) about victims of accidents caused by electric scooters and bicycles. They don't spare upsetting pictures from the first hours and days after the injury, as well as frightening descriptions.

A prominent recent post presented the story of Tal Yahalomi, a young woman who was hospitalized for almost three months after an accident that happened while she was riding an electric scooter. The post included disturbing pictures of Yahalomi in the trauma room as well as the security video that documented the moment of the accident, in which you can see how she was tossed into the air by a car and landed on the ground.

I broke my right leg and they inserted a metal plate under my knee and a rod with two screws at each end. I also broke my neck, my fifth vertebrate, the one responsible for hand function, wrote Yahalom in the post, which went viral. I couldn't eat alone, brush my teeth or shower by myself. They also inserted a metal plate and two screws in my neck. I took painkillers all day long, days and nights of pain, screaming and crying that never ended, shouting to the nurses to please inject something into my vein to ease my pain or at least something that would help me fall asleep.


 Israeli hospital goes on offensive: Electric scooters maim riders, pedestrians


Saudi Arabia rejects U.S. position on Israeli settlements

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 17:59:26

Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it completely rejected Washington's statement on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, state news agency SPA reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Monday abandoned the position held by the United States for four decades that the settlements were "inconsistent with international law".


 Saudi Arabia rejects U.S. position on Israeli settlements


Saudi king blames Iran for 'chaos,' says strikes failed to hurt kingdom's development

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 17:50:06

Saudi Arabia's King Salman struck a defiant note against the kingdom's enemies, saying on Wednesday that missile and drone strikes it blames on Iran had not halted development and reiterating that Riyadh will not hesitate to defend itself.

In an annual address to the appointed Shura Council, he called again on the international community to stop Tehran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and halt regional intervention, saying it was time to stop the "chaos and destruction" generated by Iran, according to prepared remarks.

He also said the oil policy of the kingdom, the world's top oil exporter, is aimed at promoting market stability.


 Saudi king blames Iran for 'chaos,' says strikes failed to hurt kingdom's development


Iran's Rohani declares victory over nationwide protests that reportedly saw over 100 deaths

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 17:48:32

Iranian President Hassan Rohani on Wednesday claimed victory over nationwide demonstrations that Tehran has blamed on foreign foes after protests over fuel price rises shook the country, and the government dismissed reports of more than 100 deaths as "speculative." 

Thousands joined pro-government demonstrations on Wednesday, state media reported, with television footage showing rallies in Rasht, Gorgan and Ardabil in the north, Hamadan in the west, and Shahryar, south of the capital Tehran.

Iranian dual nationals were among protesters arrested in the northern province of Alborz, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. Quoting security sources, it said detained German, Turkish and Afghan dual nationals had been trained and funded by foreign services to take actions to destroy infrastructure and stir up civil disobedience.


 Iran's Rohani declares victory over nationwide protests that reportedly saw over 100 deaths


Vatican says Israeli-Palestinian peace process at risk after U.S. move

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 17:12:42

The Vatican said on Thursday the search for peace between Israelis and Palestinians had been put at risk after the United States backed Israel's building of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

"In the context of recent decisions that risk undermining further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the already fragile regional stability, the Holy See reiterates its position of a two-state solution for two peoples, as the only way to reach a complete solution to this age-old conflict," the Vatican said in a statement.

"The Holy See supports the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security within the borders recognised by the international community and supports the same right that belongs to the Palestinian people, which must be recognised, respected and implemented," it added.


 Vatican says Israeli-Palestinian peace process at risk after U.S. move


Israel strikes dozens of Iranian, Syrian targets following rocket barrage

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 17:01:43

UPDATE: Israel strike against Iran sends a message: We are no Saudi Arabia

The Israeli Army said Wednesday it attacked dozens of targets in Syria belonging to Iran's Quds Force and Bashar Assad's army.

"The attack was carried out in response to the launching of rockets by an Iranian force from Syria's territory into Israel, intending to strike Israeli territory," read the IDF statement, referring to a barrage of rockets launched toward Israel's Golan on Tuesday.


 Israel strikes dozens of Iranian, Syrian targets following rocket barrage


Ilhan Omar asks judge for compassion for Trump supporter who threatened to kill her

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 16:01:33

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is asking a federal judge to show compassion in sentencing a New York man who threatened to kill her.

Omar wrote in a letter Tuesday that a lengthy sentence for Patrick Carlineo Jr. would likely only increase his anger and resentment. She says he should instead be given a chance to make amends and seek redemption.

The 55-year-old Carlineo, of Addison, New York, pleaded guilty in federal court in New York on Monday to calling Omar's office March 21, telling a staffer that Omar was a terrorist and threatening to shoot her.


 Ilhan Omar asks judge for compassion for Trump supporter who threatened to kill her


Lieberman is still on his mission to depose Netanyahu

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 15:51:33

Exactly a year ago this week, Avigdor Lieberman resigned as defense minister and plunged Israel into political limbo. The official reason for his resignation was the government's policy over Gaza and what he described as Netanyahu's capitulation toward Hamas.

Almost six months ago, he refused to join Benjamin Netanyahu's governing coalition despite endorsing him for prime minister weeks earlier in a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin. His reason that time was the refusal of Netanyahu's ultra-Orthodox partners to pass a law that would increase conscription rates among yeshiva students.

On Wednesday afternoon, with 11 hours left of Benny Gantz's mandate to form a government, Lieberman announced he would not be joining a minority government led by either the Kahol Lavan leader or Netanyahu. His reason now is that either government would be reliant on anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox or Arab-Israeli parties and ultimately fail.


 Lieberman is still on his mission to depose Netanyahu


Oligarchs and Torahs: This wealthy Azerbaijan town is 100% Jewish but its community is dying

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 15:42:38

QIRMIZI QESEBE, Azerbaijan A group of elderly men play dominoes in a teahouse garden, enjoying the last days of fall. The icy weather is late this year, but the mountain passes that lead to Dagestan and Russia are already snow-capped.

But this is no classic Azerbaijani teahouse. The proprietor touches a plastic mezuzah as he shuttles in and out with scalding teapots. One of the players wears a kippa. A nearby house has a Star of David molded into its brickwork. The men boast that their rich sons live abroad, not in guttural Azerbaijani or Russian but in Juhuri their own soft-sounding, Persian-based language before some of them scurry off toward the synagogue for afternoon prayer. (All of the interviews were conducted in Azerbaijani, Russian or Juhuri, with the aid of a translator.)

Welcome to Qirmizi Qesebe (known in Russian as Krasnaya Sloboda, or Red Village), the heartland of the Mountain Jews and one of only two entirely Jewish towns outside of Israel (Palm Tree, New York, being the other). Yet this is no impoverished shtetl. The streets are dotted with extravagant palaces, and this small town is home to several billionaires and, by one count, over a dozen oligarchs boasting multimillion-dollar fortunes.


 Oligarchs and Torahs: This wealthy Azerbaijan town is 100% Jewish but its community is dying


Prehistoric gestalt: Earliest example of visual illusion found in Israel

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 15:39:00

A bone and a rock engraved with lines and concentric arcs about 53,000 years ago, found in the Golan Heights, evince new principles of artistic expression in early art, argue the Israeli archaeologists who discovered and studied them.

Although the artworks are part and parcel of engraved artifacts going back half a million years and predate the development of artistic expression as a hallmark of human culture, they stand out among Stone Age artifacts up to that point, say Dana Shaham, Anna Belfer-Cohen, Rivka Rabinovich and Naama Goren-Inbar.

Whether or not the artist meant to achieve any such thing, looking at the engravings creates a number of visual illusions, the team explains in Current Anthropology. For instance, the eye of the beholder extends nested concentric semicircles carved into an aurochs' leg bone into circles, Shaham explains. Insofar as is known, this was a first in prehistoric art.


 Prehistoric gestalt: Earliest example of visual illusion found in Israel


Secular Israelis flock to West Bank settlements in search of good, cheap life

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 15:05:57

Lior Ben-Hamo moved to a community located in Samaria, beyond the Green Line in the West Bank, after her husband started studying construction engineering at Ariel University. The deal was that we would come here for a predetermined period and then take off, relates 30-year-old Ben-Hamo. But despite the fact that the couple owned an apartment in Afula, they realized, shortly after arriving in the settlement of Karnei Shomron, that they were not leaving.

We fell in love with the place. On the one hand, we had a large yard and there were fresh-water springs within walking distance, like the ones we knew in northern Israel. And on the other, there was the proximity to central Israel with the option of working in Rishon Letzion or getting to a meeting in Tel Aviv within 35-45 minutes, Ben-Hamo explains.

We're living the dream of our friends who live in rental apartments inside the Green Line . They want a quality of life like we have but are afraid of being tainted with the label of being settlers. Some of them can't accept it for ideological reasons. While they are saving up money in order to buy a home, I fly abroad five times a year.


 Secular Israelis flock to West Bank settlements in search of good, cheap life


A rare glimpse into swinging Tel Aviv

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 14:52:20

Photojournalist Nachum Guttmann who shares the same name (albeit spelled differently) of the iconic Israeli painter and sculptor had a ploy for advertising himself, when frequenting the legendary Café Kassit on Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Street. He would ask his secretary to phone him while he was there and ask for Guttmann, the photographer. The waiters would then shout out, Nachum Guttmann, the photographer, phone call! whereupon Guttmann would yell back, I'm busy shooting!

Today, at age 85, he recalls, slowly but surely the people at the cafe knew I was a photographer and the offers started coming my way.

Next month, tens of thousands of Guttmann's photographs, which document life in Israel from the 1960s through the 80s, will go on the block at the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem. The starting price for the collection is $40,000.


 A rare glimpse into swinging Tel Aviv


I now recall': What to watch in today's Trump impeachment hearings

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 13:59:24

Exactly what is Gordon Sondland's story?

Certainly it's full of international mystery, which House impeachment investigators are sorting through as they probe President Donald Trump's pressure on Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. But the intrigue is largely due to other witnesses recalling conversations with Sondland that he did not mention to impeachment investigators.

Trump's ambassador to the European Union, an Oregon hotelier and million-dollar Trump donor, Sondland has said he cannot recall many of the episodes involving him that others have recounted in colorful detail. What he does recall he sometimes remembers differently.


 I now recall': What to watch in today's Trump impeachment hearings


Israel strike against Iran sends a message: We are no Saudi Arabia

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 12:35:30

For more than two months, since the incident in which Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles on the Israel-Lebanon border near Moshav Avivim, reports of Israeli attacks on targets associated with Iran in the northern sector have minimized in scope.

Last week, parallel with the assassination of an Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, an (apparently fruitless) attempt to kill another senior member of the group, Akram Ajouri, was reported from Damascus. In the early hours of Wednesday, Israel had already resumed its assault with full force: The Air Force bombed more than 20 Iranian and Syrian targets in and around Damascus.

This is how the last few days unfolded: At the start of the week, according to Arab media sources, a convoy of vehicles belonging to a Shi'ite militia operated by Iran was attacked in eastern Syria. The Iranian reaction came in the form of four rockets fired Tuesday morning from southern Damascus at the northern Golan Heights, which were successfully intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. And toward dawn on Wednesday, Israel made its own move with a broad attack by the Air Force.


 Israel strike against Iran sends a message: We are no Saudi Arabia


I am an American,' Vindman, a Soviet Jewish immigrant, reminds Trump allies in hearing

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 12:31:17

It's Lt. Col. Vindman.

With that, the Iraq War veteran, his chest flush with ribbons and commendations, tersely reminded Republican lawmakers questioning his judgment and loyalty just whom they were trying to discredit as the impeachment drive against President Donald Trump veered into the personal.

Alexander Vindman: Purple Heart recipient, career diplomat, Army infantry officer. And this: ``I am an American.


 I am an American,' Vindman, a Soviet Jewish immigrant, reminds Trump allies in hearing


Iran's missile force 'largest' in the Middle East, says the Pentagon

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 12:07:06

A senior U.S. intelligence official says Iran will likely buy new advanced fighter jets and tanks next year when a U.N. Security Council arms embargo is scheduled to be lifted.

The official says a new Defense Intelligence Agency assessment of Iran's military capabilities concludes Tehran is committed to becoming the dominant power in the Middle East. It also finds the Islamic Republic is making rapid progress developing attack drones and other missile systems.

"Iran has an extensive missile development program, and the size and sophistication of its missile force continues to grow despite decades of counterproliferation efforts aimed at curbing its advancement," the assessment  added.


 Iran's missile force 'largest' in the Middle East, says the Pentagon


Austria to turn Hitler's birthplace into police station to prevent Neo-Nazi pilgrimage site

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 11:50:37

Austrian authorities say the house where Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 will become a police precinct, ending years of uncertainty over the building that's become a pilgrimage site for people who glorify the Nazi dictator.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn said late Tuesday that the the future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that this building will forever be removed from the commemoration of national socialism.

Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938, shortly before launching a campaign of military conquest and racist extermination across Europe that cost tens of millions of lives.


 Austria to turn Hitler's birthplace into police station to prevent Neo-Nazi pilgrimage site


Pompeo reportedly looking to leave Trump admin. as impeachment hearing causes tension

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 11:31:55

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly looking to resign and run for a Senate seat in Kansas in the 2020 elections, according to GOP sources. 

The report in Time says the secretary of state, who previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Kansas, had  planned to resign in the spring of next year, but is now looking to leave his post sooner as the impeachment inquiry heats up. The report also notes that Pompeo's relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump has caused him to revise his timing. 

Trump had publicly criticized Pompeo for hiring William Taylor, who took a star turn as a witness in the first public impeachment hearings, as the U.S. replacement for the ousted Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.


 Pompeo reportedly looking to leave Trump admin. as impeachment hearing causes tension


Trump's backing of Israeli settlements gives U.S. evangelicals another gift ahead of 2020 election

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 10:52:45

A U.S. decision effectively backing Israel's building of settlements in the occupied West Bank, long a cherished item on conservative Christians' wish list, is expected to strengthen evangelicals' support for Donald Trump as he seeks re-election in 2020, according to a leader of the president's evangelical advisory group.

While Palestinians and Arab governments condemned the Trump administration's declaration on Monday that Jewish settlements in occupied territory are not "inconsistent with international law," the reversal of four decades of U.S. policy drew praise from evangelicals, an important part of his base.

Trump had already tightened his bond with his pro-Israel constituency by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017, moving the U.S. embassy to the holy city in 2018 and then endorsing Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967.


 Trump's backing of Israeli settlements gives U.S. evangelicals another gift ahead of 2020 election


ISIS 'exploited' Trump's Syria drawdown, Turkey's invasion: Pentagon report

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 10:51:37

Islamic State has exploited Turkey's incursion into northeastern Syria and the drawdown of U.S. troops from the region, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Pentagon's Inspector General, adding that the militant group will likely have the "time and space" to target the West.

President Donald Trump has softened his pullout plans for Syria after a backlash from Congress, including among key Republicans who say he cleared the way for a long-threatened Turkish incursion against the SDF, which had been America's top ally in the battle against Islamic State.

Amid concerns that Islamic State could stage a resurgence in the ensuing power vacuum, Trump said a small number of U.S. troops would remain in Syria to protect oil fields.


 ISIS 'exploited' Trump's Syria drawdown, Turkey's invasion: Pentagon report


Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis release captured S. Korean, Saudi vessels

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 10:40:42

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement released three vessels and 16 people it had seized, South Korea's foreign ministry and a Houthi military source in Yemen said on Wednesday.

The seizure on Sunday was the latest incident at sea around Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is leading a Western-backed coalition of Arab states against the Houthis, who control the capital and most population centres and have been accused of attacking shipping.

Of the vessels freed on Tuesday, two were South Korean and one was Saudi Arabia-flagged, the South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that the families of two South Koreans among the crew had been notified.


 Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis release captured S. Korean, Saudi vessels


Iran's attempts to quell protests bring them closer to the boiling point

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 10:36:33

Less than a week since the Iranian government hiked gasoline prices by dozens of percentage points, the regime is at the lethal phase of quashing the demonstrations. While an internet blackout has greatly impeded the flow of information among protest groups and between them and the outside world, more than 100 people are thought to have been killed, with some reports putting the figure as high as 200, and thousands injured or detained.

Reports relying on sources in the Basij, the volunteer forces of the Revolutionary Guards, tell of training exercises to suppress protests. They also say the Guards are on high alert and might deploy armored vehicles in cities.

At the beginning of the week the government apparently still thought it could calm the public; for example, by handing money directly to the 20 million or so needy Iranians as compensation for price rises. But now the leadership seems to realize that it's facing the threat of an all-out civil insurrection, as the protests spread to about 100 cities amid the burning of banks and government offices, damage to schools of Islamic studies, and slogans and graffiti demanding death to Rohani, death to Khamenei.


 Iran's attempts to quell protests bring them closer to the boiling point


Gantz after meeting Netanyahu: Three elections are bad, but we won't abandon our principles

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 09:35:58

With only a day left until his mandate to form a government expires, Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz continues his attempt to secure a coalition after an unfruitful meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been claiming that a Gantz-led minority government backed by the country's Arab parties would be a "national attack on the State of Israel."

Netanyahu and the Likud negotiation team met with President Reuven Rivlin Tuesday evening. Following the meeting, Rivlin condemned the recent attacks on Arab lawmakers, saying that it is unacceptable to refer to them as "threats" or "a fifth column."

On Monday, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman issued an ultimatum to Gantz and Netanyahu, telling them to both agree to Rivlin's outline for a unity government - which calls for Netanyahu to part with his 55-seat right-wing bloc and that Gantz let Netanyahu act as premier first in a rotation agreement - by Wednesday noon, or "it's every man for himself."   


 Gantz after meeting Netanyahu: Three elections are bad, but we won't abandon our principles


Israel's Chocolate sales in a funk as parents grow anxious about sugar

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 06:09:57

Are Israelis losing their taste for chocolate desserts?

Sales of products like Milky, the best-selling chocolate pudding, have been in a funk for the last three years. Sales of all chocolate desserts are down 3.1% so far this year in unit terms and 2.4% in shekel terms, according to data from the retail research firm StoreNext. That follows a year of stagnant growth in 2018 and a 3.8% drop in 2017.

Chocolate desserts, a category with annual sales of about 435 million shekels ($126 million), are only one of only two categories of dairy products to show no growth this year the other is milk-based drinks that are usually chocolate flavored.


 Israel's Chocolate sales in a funk as parents grow anxious about sugar


Israeli Amos satellite operator is close to being sold

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 05:58:02

Spacecom, the Israeli company that operates a fleet of satellites under the Amos name, looks as if it is close to being sold by its creditors to Aaron Frenkel.

Negotiations between the two sides have grown intensive in recent days towards a deal under which the institutional investors who control a 54% stake in the company would sell Frenkel a 44% holding and retain the rest for future sale, hopefully on better terms.

Market sources said they believed Frenkel was offering 11 shekels ($3.18) a share for Spacecom, or 100 million shekels total. That is an improvement over his original offer of 9 shekels but that would value the company at no more than 230 million shekels, far below the company's 261 million market capitalization on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.


 Israeli Amos satellite operator is close to being sold


Israel Finance Ministry says low pay for Arabs, ultra-Orthodox will hurt economy

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 05:46:04

Employment rates for Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews have been climbing in recent years, contributing to economic growth along the way. But the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday that the rising rate wasn't enough to ensure long-term economic growth.

Shira Greenberg, the treasury's chief economist, said that even if the gap between the still relatively low rates of employment for ultra-Orthodox and Arabs and non-Haredi Jews continues to narrow the gap in wages has to narrow as well. To date, it hasn't: The pay differentials for Arab women and ultra-Orthodox men have actually been growing even as more and more enter the workforce.

The study, which was prepared by economist Assaf Geva, said the solution was to increase labor productivity the amount of output a worker produces per hour for the two groups. Without an increase, wages cannot rise significantly.


 Israel Finance Ministry says low pay for Arabs, ultra-Orthodox will hurt economy


Israel's budget constraints make a narrow coalition unlikely

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 05:10:16

Two unexpected political figures were seen last week at the entrance to the Finance Ministry building in Jerusalem last week. One was Avi Nissenkorn, the former chairman of the Histadrut labor federation and the No. 5 candidate on the Kahol Lavan list. The other was Chili Tropper, No. 12 on the list.

The two were visiting the treasury budget division to get background information on the fiscal issues that are likely to come to bear in the coalition talks they are managing.

With less than a day left before Kahlon Lavan leader Benny Gantz's mandate to form a government expires, the budget isn't high on the political agenda right now. In theory both Kahlon Lavan and Likud are ready to pay the price in budget handouts to prospective coalition partners, but in practice they don't have much currency to trade with.


 Israel's budget constraints make a narrow coalition unlikely


As prospects for unity government fade, Gantz and Netanyahu hold late-night meeting

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 02:17:30

Negotiators for Likud and Kahol Lavan were pessimistic Tuesday that the late-night meeting between their leaders would lead to a breakthrough on establishing a unity government.

Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz has until midnight Wednesday before the mandate, given to him by the president to form a government, expires.

Earlier in the day, President Reuven Rivlin met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an effort to advance the negotiations on a unity government. At that meeting, in a clear jab at Netanyahu, he also denounced rhetorical attacks on Arab Knesset members.


 As prospects for unity government fade, Gantz and Netanyahu hold late-night meeting


Haaretz cartoon

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 01:58:46

 Haaretz cartoon


Trump's poisoned gift to Israel

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 01:51:43

The change in the American policy on the legal status of the West Bank settlements should be no cause for rejoicing in Israel. If this is a gift, then it's a poisoned one. Official American permission to settle in the occupied territories not only does not contribute to Israel's strength and status, it could push it into an irreversible situation of an apartheid state.

It seems that U.S. President Donald Trump's strategy regarding the conflict can be summed up as follows: If for decades, previous administrations have tried and failed to make peace, then we'll take the beliefs that guided our predecessors and do the exact opposite. After taking off the negotiating table core issues such as the status of Jerusalem and the problem of the refugees, by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and striking a blow against UNRWA, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's is a crass attempt to negate the assumption at the basis of the traditional American approach to the conflict, by which peace requires the evacuation of settlements.

It's been three years since Trump was elected president and the deal of the century was declared the solution to the old conflict, and the region has not moved even one step forward toward reconciliation. What is left of these pompous declarations are poisoned gifts that Trump has given to his protégé Netanyahu, which benefit him electorally and strengthen the right-wing camp.


 Trump's poisoned gift to Israel


It's open season on land theft

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 01:27:23

The key sentence in U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement, which cloaked the West Bank settlement project in legality, is in the words the conclusion that we will no longer recognize Israeli settlements as per se inconsistent with international law is based on the unique facts, history and circumstances presented by the establishment of civilian settlements in the West Bank.

More than the actual assertion that President Donald Trump's administration does not see the settlements as a violation of international law, the reliance on the unique facts, history and circumstances as a pretext to legitimize them must sicken the people who still believe in diplomatic processes in general and the peace process in particular.

The meaning of this policy is that any country, be it Russia, China, Iran or even the United States itself, can create unique facts and new circumstances in any area it wants, and if they hold that area long enough, they can enjoy legal status there.


 It's open season on land theft


Israeli leaders' unspoken advice to the people: 'Get used to the rocket fire'

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 00:20:18

In January 2016, senior people from the General Staff met to discuss what then-Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot called relations between the army and society. The forum discussed various points of friction between the Israel Defense Forces and society including the defense budget and its impact on civilian budgets, the military's exceptionally early age for retiring with full pension, and what is known as the security output whether Israelis are receiving enough security for the money spent.

The discussion took place about 18 months after the 2014 Gaza war that saw residents of the south and even some in the center of the country spend 50 days in bomb shelters more than during any previous operation, including the Second Lebanon War of 2006.

The repeated operations in Gaza Cast Lead in 2008, Pillar of Defense in 2012 and above all Protective Edge in 2014 have undermined the southerners' sense of security. Eisenkot admitted as much in his retirement interviews, saying, I'm aware that we haven't managed to provide a proper sense of security over the past three years in the face of the difficult security situation. This sense of security was undermined by fairly primitive patterns of behavior that the enemy developed.


 Israeli leaders' unspoken advice to the people: 'Get used to the rocket fire'


Israeli Parents push back on religious indoctrination in schools

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 00:19:03

Shortly after the school year began, Alon Babad of Herzliya informed his son's elementary school that he had decided to remove the boy from the Jewish-Israeli culture class. The family objected to the messages arising from the textbook: God is not a fact, Babad said, and secularism isn't a worldview that requires correction. And despite the administration's threats to punish the boy, another student joined him in intentionally skipping this class.

Similarly, in a high school in northern Israel, a mother managed to get her son out of sleeping in a settlement during the annual school trip. Thus in both mandatory classes and activities that require parental consent, opposition is emerging to orders issued by the schools and the Education Ministry. Parents are setting new limits.

According to the Education Ministry, Jewish-Israeli culture is taught in a pluralistic and sometimes critical fashion. But countless examples prove otherwise.


 Israeli Parents push back on religious indoctrination in schools


Court allows search of Netanyahu advisers' cellphones

Wed, 20 Nov 2019 00:05:43

An appeal by four advisers of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to bar police investigators from searching their cellphones, which are in police custody, has been denied by a Tel Aviv court.

The four appellants are suspected of witness tampering for allegedly intimidating Shlomo Filber, the former Communications Ministry director general. Filber turned state's evidence in the criminal investigation against Netanyahu over the prime minister's ties to the controlling shareholder of Bezeq telecommunications. Netanyahu is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust for taking steps that benefited Bezeq shareholder Shaul Elovitch in return for favorable coverage on Bezeq's news site, Walla.

The four advisers Netanayhu spokesman Jonatan Urich; Ofer Golan, the prime minister's media adviser; and two other advisers, Israel Einhorn and Yossi Shalom are suspected of being behind an incident on August 29 in which a van with a loudspeaker parked in front of Filber's home, blaring accusations against him. Filber was not home at the time and only learned about it on Twitter. Although he notified the police about the incident, he did not file an official police report.


 Court allows search of Netanyahu advisers' cellphones


There is no good option outside the voting booth

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 23:57:01

A minority government is not a realistic option. Some commentators adore the idea, which depends entirely on Avigdor Lieberman's position. But given his views on Arabs, optimism is not in order. A unity government is a worn-out concept which everybody exploits in a different way.

The optimal unity government would be one between Kahol Lavan and Likud. The two parties would agree on a rotation and on basic guidelines, and would together reach out to other parties to join the coalition. But when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls for unity, he means a unity government in which Kahol Lavan is forced to share power with all the elements inside his 55-seat bloc. It would be a Bibi-ist dictatorship. The man who lost the election hopes to win in building a government.

Benny Gantz, unlikely to achieve a breakthrough, is about to return the mandate to form a coalition, to Israel's president. Elections are around the corner, unless worse options arise. One such option would be Gantz, eager to avoid another round of voting, would blink and agree to set up a government with Likud and all its allies. That would tarnish his success and that of his colleagues in establishing a party that is distinct from Likud. The argument over rotation whether Netanyahu gets to serve first with an indictment hanging over him has to do with ethics and integrity and is also a millstone around Kahol Lavan's neck. Agreeing to rotation and to a broad government would be a mistake that would obliterate Kahol Lavan as a possible alternative to Likud.


 There is no good option outside the voting booth


Getaway driver for Jewish bombers of King David Hotel dies

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 23:41:18

On July 22, 1946, Ephraim Lentzitzky, a member of the Irgun Tzvai Leumi underground militia (aka Irgun), participated in the bombing of Jerusalem's King David Hotel, one of the most controversial attacks ever perpetrated by the pre-state Jewish organization, headed by Menachem Begin. Ninety-one people were murdered in the terror attack, among them Jews, Arabs and British civilians and military personnel.

The bombing caused the collapse of one wing of the hotel, where both the British Mandate's civilian government and military command in Palestine were headquartered. After Lentzitzky died last month at the age of 94, there are apparently no other surviving participants from that operation. Irgun member Sarah Agassi, the telephone switchboard operator who called the hotel to warn of the impending explosion, died in September.

Lentzitzky, whose underground nom de guerre was Perry, was tasked with driving the getaway car for the Irgun members who had hid the explosives in the hotel and/or were injured in the attack. The militants had stolen the vehicle, originally a taxi cab, from its owner just in time. A medic for the underground group, Hadassah Tabak (Ariela) Sdovnik, rode next to Lentzitzky, who parked the car next to the gas station adjacent to the hotel and awaited orders.


 Getaway driver for Jewish bombers of King David Hotel dies


U.S. aircraft carrier strike group sails through Strait of Hormuz

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 23:21:15

The U.S. aircraft carrier strike group Abraham Lincoln sailed through the vital Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, U.S. officials told Reuters, amid simmering tensions between Iran and the United States.

Tensions in the Gulf have risen since attacks on oil tankers this summer, including off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, and a major assault on energy facilities in Saudi Arabia. Washington has blamed Iran, which has denied being behind the attacks on global energy infrastructure.

The commander overseeing U.S. naval forces in the Middle East told Reuters in May that he would send an aircraft carrier through the Strait of Hormuz if needed.


 U.S. aircraft carrier strike group sails through Strait of Hormuz


Pompeo's settlements edict is another Trump trinket that Netanyahu sells as pure gold

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 22:29:58

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's declaration Monday that the United States doesn't view Jewish settlements as inconsistent with international law i.e. illegal has delighted the settlers and their supporters. It gave Benjamin Netanyahu a much-needed shot in the arm at a crucial political juncture. It could help Donald Trump solidify evangelical support in advance of his critical year of an impeachment process and an election campaign. It could very well serve Pompeo himself, who is eyeing a Senate run in Kansas, where evangelicals comprise a third of the population.

The potential damage from the declaration is slightly more widespread and substantial: It erases whatever is left of the Trump administration's ability to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians. It exacerbates frustration and desperation in Ramallah. It deepens the international isolation of Israel and the United States on the Israeli-Palestinian issue and energizes European hostility to the settlement project.

The Pompeo proclamation also attaches Jewish settlements to Trump's name and legacy, sparking Democratic criticism in the present and increasing chances that the Democrats will take a tougher stand against the settlements if and when the party takes over the White House.


 Pompeo's settlements edict is another Trump trinket that Netanyahu sells as pure gold


NSO gives lots of justifications for selling spy tech. Facebook's lawsuit proves them wrong

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 21:54:16

The Israeli cybertechnology firm NSO Group Technologies has been under international scrutiny for some time now, after its name was linked to a large number of reports of persecution of human rights activists and journalists around the world. The scrutiny also followed a number of investigative reports, which have revealed that its clients include regimes known for harsh treatment of their citizens.

Recently Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, filed a suit in California against the Herzliya-based company for allegedly using its advanced Pegasus system to hack the phones of 1,400 targeted individuals through their WhatsApp accounts.

NSO's founders, Omri Lavie and Shalev Hulio, have tended to justify their activities through a number of explanations. Among the company's claims is that it is not privy to how its clients use its system, and that in any event, it is used solely to defend against terrorism and serious crimes.


 NSO gives lots of justifications for selling spy tech. Facebook's lawsuit proves them wrong


Syrian rockets fired at Israel are part of Iran's new deterrence policy

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 19:51:49

Update: Israel strikes dozens of Iranian and Syrian targets following rocket barrage

Recent events on the Syrian border express what Military Intelligence has described over the past two months as the establishment of a new deterrent. Iran has decided to act against any attack it attributes to Israel, whether against Iran or organizations linked to it in the Middle East. At around 5 A.M., members of a Shi'ite militia fired four rockets from Syria into Israel in the northern Golan Heights; an Iron Dome battery intercepted all four and there were no injuries or damage.

The assault, which Israel believes was carried out at Iran's behest, isn't much different from previous attempts by Shi'ite militias to fire rockets from southern Syria into the Golan. There were similar incidents in May 2018, and in January and September this year, but no rockets reached Israel and most were intercepted by Iron Dome.


 Syrian rockets fired at Israel are part of Iran's new deterrence policy


Israel rejects Human Rights Watch director's request to delay expulsion

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 19:13:47

Israel has rejected the request by Omar Shakir, the Human Rights Watch representative in Israel and Palestine, to delay his expulsion from Israel on the grounds of his support for the boycott against Israel, and is expected to leave on November 25.

Shakir filed a request for another hearing from Israel's Supreme Court about his pending expulsion. The Supreme Court upheld his expulsion in an appeal earlier this month.

Shakir requested another hearing from an expanded panel of judges on whether the "boycott of Israel," as defined by Israeli law, includes the call to avoid business dealings "on account of its alleged part in violating human rights (and on no other basis)."


 Israel rejects Human Rights Watch director's request to delay expulsion


Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' is epic in every sense

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 19:06:54

Venerated director Martin Scorsese caused something of a ruckus recently, when he described superhero movies the dominant genre at the box office today as not cinema. Marvel and the like, he said in an interview with Empire magazine last month, is not the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.

Whatever one thinks of the Avengers franchise or their DC Comics counterparts, when a filmmaker as respected as Scorsese speaks out, you'd better listen and learn.

The Irishman, Scorsese's Netflix-funded gangster epic, proves that computer-generated imagery, unconventional streaming decisions and a bladder-testing runtime some of the hallmarks of superhero movies are not mutually exclusive with powerful, skilled and moving storytelling.


 Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' is epic in every sense


Amnesty International: Over 100 killed in 21 cities in Iran protests

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 18:30:02

Amnesty International, citing credible reports, said Tuesday it believes at least 106 people have been killed during protests in Iran over a rise in government-set gasoline prices.

Iran's government, which has not made nationwide numbers available for the toll of the unrest that began Sunday, did not immediately respond to the report.

Amnesty added that it believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed.


 Amnesty International: Over 100 killed in 21 cities in Iran protests


Israeli Arab philanthropists target needy Jewish students to foster 'shared society'

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 18:25:37

There are plenty of examples of Jews who donate money to support disadvantaged Arab citizens of Israel. But Arabs who donate money to support disadvantaged Jewish citizens of the state?

A relatively small Israeli non-profit has made history by becoming the first to be founded and run by Arab philanthropists that is handing out scholarships to Jews.

Al-Kitab (Arabic for The Book), an educational non-profit based in the northern Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, is dedicated to funding needy students interested in pursuing higher education. Until now, the organization, which registered as a non-profit about five years ago, has handed out scholarships exclusively to Arab students.


 Israeli Arab philanthropists target needy Jewish students to foster 'shared society'


As U.S. election nears, both parties use fears of anti-Semitism to woo Jewish voters

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 18:24:47

WASHINGTON  With less than a year before the United States' 2020 presidential election, both parties are already investing in campaign advertisements targeting the American Jewish community. On Tuesday, the Jewish Democratic Council of America released its first ad for the presidential campaign, two weeks after the Republican Jewish Coalition debuted its own.

The Democratic group's ad focuses explicitly on President Donald Trump and far-right violence in the United States during his presidency. It shows the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, during which far-right demonstrators cried, "Jews will not replace us."

It then cuts to footage of Trump saying that there were "very fine people" among those who participated in the white supremacist demonstration. It ties his rhetoric to white nationalists, one of whom carried out the Pittsburgh shooting on the Tree of Life synagogue last year.  


 As U.S. election nears, both parties use fears of anti-Semitism to woo Jewish voters


Who will cover the cost of the budget crunch? Not Israel's biggest firms

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 16:25:30

When a new government is finally formed it will have to make some difficult decisions quickly about the budget namely, how to cut it and what taxes to increase. There's simply no other way to deal with the 20 billion shekels ($5.8 billion) in overspending and above the targeted deficit level, much less to fund plans for increased defense and health spending and higher old-age allowances.

The biggest problem will be taxes. Over the past 15 years, Israel has enjoyed steadily declining tax rates, which have made an important contribution to economic growth.

One of the biggest cuts was to the corporate income tax rate, which fell to 36% today, from 23% in 2003. It was supposed to be lowered to 18%, but the 2011 social-justice protests put an end to that.


 Who will cover the cost of the budget crunch? Not Israel's biggest firms


After two years, Israeli law designed to add 250,000 apartments fails

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 16:25:02

Two years after a law was passed allowing homes to be divided into smaller apartments, the legislation has entirely failed to create the 250,000 small units for the rental market that its backers promised.

A report by the National Planning Administration shows that in the first half of 2019, only 36 building permits were issued from among 126 applications to divide apartments filed with local zoning boards. Only 71 permits have been issued since the law went into effect.

The city with the most applications in the first half of the year was Rehovot, with 26. Of them, only five were approved. Rosh Ha'ayin had the highest approval rate, 12 of 18 applications.


 After two years, Israeli law designed to add 250,000 apartments fails


Israel's first 'vaping disease' victim in critical condition

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 15:47:07

A 20-year-old man was hospitalized for two weeks in serious condition in Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava with a lung disease that was diagnosed and treated as vaping disease. It happened after he used an e-cigarette, which contained a liquid refill that was purchased illegally. This is the first case in Israel diagnosed as vaping disease the new lung disease that has spread in recent months in the United States, and is attributed to the use of vape electronic cigarettes, mainly with liquid refills containing THC. The case was reported to the Health Ministry.

The young man was hospitalized early this month in the intensive care unit, in serious respiratory distress, and occasionally in a life-threatening situation. At one point the possibility of anaesthetizing him and putting him on a respirator was considered. This is a young guy, usually healthy, who arrived after several days of fever, a cough and shortness of breath, says Dr. Uri Wand, a senior doctor in the pulmonary department of Meir Hospital, who treated the young man.

The doctors' first feared that it was a serious case of pneumonia and the patient received broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment. However, as the situation became clearer, the doctors realized that it was not pneumonia. His respiratory situation deteriorated steadily and in his chest X-rays and other tests no infectious factor was found, says Wand. The doctors also performed a bronchoscopy, in which a tube is inserted through the patient's nose to the lungs to take a sample of the liquids in the lung. This examination also indicated no signs of any type of infection.


 Israel's first 'vaping disease' victim in critical condition


Behind big bucks in Africa: Lawsuit sheds light on cracks in Israeli business venture

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 15:22:14

Hubert Haddad, a French businessman who immigrated to Israel several years ago and is active in African business, is suing two Israeli businessmen, Haim Taib and Eytan Stibbe, at the Tel Aviv District Court. Haddad claims Taib cut him out of a partnership that was engaged in projects worth $200 million in Côte d'Ivoire, despite agreements with Taib and his former partner Stibbe.

In a response submitted to the court, Stibbe backed Haddad's claims, said he regarded the partnership as still functioning and expressed concern that he, too, might be at risk of losing his share of the partnership.

Until the start of this year Taib and Stibbe were partners in a firm called Mitrelli, which was formed five years ago and operates mainly in Angola.


 Behind big bucks in Africa: Lawsuit sheds light on cracks in Israeli business venture


Israel killed the family next door. I don't know how to tell my kids they'll never be safe

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 14:43:56

At 5:45 A.M. last Tuesday the phone rang; it was the man who drives my children to school. Good morning, he said. Today there is no school. Why? I asked. They assassinated Baha Abu al-Ata, and the Education Ministry announced that school was canceled today.

The phone woke my son Karim, a third grader, who asked who had called. It's Yihye, the driver, I said. He told me there's no school today. He smiled as if he'd won a prize, and didn't even bother to ask why school had been canceled. As we were talking I glanced at some news websites and understood that we were facing a new escalation, which might or might not be similar to the previous one.

When we began to hear explosions near the city, Karim's spontaneous smile was replaced by a look of worry and fear. Is it war, Dad? he asked. I told him it wasn't war and there was no reason to worry, everything would be OK. I wasn't certain about my answer, but I didn't know how to explain the essence of life in the Gaza Strip to my son. After all, in Gaza our fate is not in our hands. And every time we hear an explosion our thoughts start to race where did the bombs fall this time? Who was killed? Who was wounded?


 Israel killed the family next door. I don't know how to tell my kids they'll never be safe


Cop who shot Ethiopian Israeli teen to be charged with negligent homicide

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 14:35:32

The police officer suspected of shooting and killing Ethiopian Israeli teen Solomon Teka will be charged with negligent homicide, the Justice Ministry unit responsible for investigating police officers (called in Hebrew Mahash) announced on Tuesday.

The crime has a maximum sentence of three years in prison. The police officer is entitled to a hearing before the indictment is filed. 

Keren Bar-Menachem, the head of the unit in charge of investigating the police, met with Teka's family and informed them of the decision. About 10 activists from the Ethiopian community protested the decision in front of the offices of the Justice Ministry unit in Jerusalem.


 Cop who shot Ethiopian Israeli teen to be charged with negligent homicide


Russia, Arab nations warn Trump's settlements policy could 'escalate' tensions, lead to 'dangerous consequences'

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 13:30:44

Russia's Foreign Ministry released a statement on Tuesday in which it warned that the Trump administration's decision on Monday to relax its policy on Israeli settlements in the West Bank will only "escalate" tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. 

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington is softening its position on settlements, the latest in a series of moves by the Trump administration that weaken Palestinian claims to statehood. 

>> The only surprising aspect of Trump's new settlement policy | Analysis


 Russia, Arab nations warn Trump's settlements policy could 'escalate' tensions, lead to 'dangerous consequences'


Hard-line Iranian newspaper reports protesters face execution

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 12:35:51

A hard-line newspaper in Iran is suggesting that those who led violent protests will be executed by hanging as the unrest continues.

An article published Tuesday in the Keyhan newspaper made the claim, though Iranian authorities still have not offered a detailed accounting of the toll of the demonstrations that began Friday over government-set gasoline prices rising.

The newspaper said: Some reports say that judiciary considers execution by hanging for the riot leaders a definite punishment.


 Hard-line Iranian newspaper reports protesters face execution


The best restaurants in Israel in 2019, according to Gault & Millau culinary guide

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 12:03:45

After the major criticism leveled at it last year both for its choices and for the way it described them it looked as though the Gault & Millau guide might leave Israel as it had done before (it had taken a 15-year hiatus, which ended last year). But at a festive ceremony on Sunday night in Tel Aviv, the French restaurant guide, the second most-important after Michelin, announced the best restaurants and chef of the year, in Israel. The guide includes a list of the 147 best restaurants in Tel Aviv, and another 57 recommended street eateries.

In Gault & Millau guides the world over, restaurants are rated by professional reviewers on a scale of between 10 to 20 points (12 points and above = a good restaurant), based on various parameters; each score is equated to a hat rating, whereby the very best receive four hats. Although no Israeli restaurant has received a perfect grade of 20, apparently Gault & Millau listened carefully to the criticism.

>> 17+ best restaurants in Tel Aviv you must try


 The best restaurants in Israel in 2019, according to Gault & Millau culinary guide


Mendelblit, decide now

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 11:58:48

Given our crazy legal and political situation, a swift decision by the attorney general is vital. Its absence is a key reason for our current mess. We need to end the surreal situation in which the gatekeepers the police and prosecution, and eventually judges, too are being threatened by Benjamin Netanyahu's envoys and mouthpieces as part of his no-holds-barred fight to evade the long arm of the law.

In two days, or 21 days after that, at most, we'll finally know if we're headed for a third election. Another election would be bad, but far worse is the possibility of a new government headed by Netanyahu. Should Benny Gantz agree to serve in such a government, it would likely become proof of naivete as well as being political suicide.

A minority government under Gantz, with a time limit until its expansion, is definitely both proper and feasible. It's also possible for Likud to join such a government after Netanyahu is replaced as party leader, and that option deserves consideration. But a necessary condition for either option is for the attorney general to decide on Netanyahu's criminal cases in the very near future.


 Mendelblit, decide now


Over 100 leading Israeli scientists demand climate change action

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 11:55:56

More than 100 senior Israeli scientists submitted a petition to Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz Monday, demanding that Israel stop planning to make the country dependent on natural gas and to focus instead on renewable energy sources.

The letter was signed by Nobel laureates Robert J. (Yisrael) Auman and Dan Shechtman and over 100 other scientists from the environmental and energy fields. The manifesto was drawn up by Prof. Alon Tal of Tel Aviv University. The statement was issued following Steinitz's declaration in the Knesset Sunday that the country's goal was that by 2030, 30 percent of the country's electricity would be green. But these scientists say these steps were insufficient given the climate crisis and global changes in the energy market.

The scientists said that today renewable energy is actually less expensive than any other energy source. At the end of 2018, they said, the average cost worldwide to produce 1 megawatt-hour of electricity was $151 for nuclear energy, $102 for coal, $59 for natural gas, $42 for wind turbines and $36 for solar energy.


 Over 100 leading Israeli scientists demand climate change action


These Israelis are breaking the silence on getting married in Israel

Tue, 19 Nov 2019 11:51:27

Vitaly Paperin moved to Israel from Kiev at age 9 in 1990. He would eventually change his name to the more Israeli-sounding Tal, rebel against his ultra-secular family by becoming religious, and marry and divorce.

Three years after that divorce, Paperin fell in love with another woman and was ready to marry again. And so, like any other Jewish couple seeking to wed in Israel, he and his fiancée went to their local office of the Chief Rabbinate and asked to register.

To even consider the request, Paperin was informed by the state rabbinical authority, he would need to provide proof that he was Jewish.


 These Israelis are breaking the silence on getting married in Israel






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!