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Ha'aretz
Time: Mon, 01.27.2020 01:56 PM Local file generated: Mon, 01.27.2020 10:46 AM
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Her father fought for Mandela, now she's fighting to be Israel's first Canadian-raised lawmaker

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:46:26

Her father was Canada's justice minister. Her mother was Likud's parliamentary secretary. As things look today, with just over a month to Election Day, Michal Cotler-Wunsh has a decent shot at becoming the first bona fide Canadian to serve in the Israeli Knesset.

Kahol Lavan recently announced that Cotler-Wunsh had been moved up its slate for the March 2 election, from 46th to 36th place. That was after Gadi Yevarkan like her, a member of the Telem faction headed by former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon defected to Likud, clearing the way for others to advance.

Recent polls have given Kahol Lavan 34 to 35 seats in the next Knesset more than any other party. But in both elections held last year (on April 9 and September 17), the centrist party headed by Benny Gantz ended up winning more seats than had been projected. That could explain why Cotler-Wunsh, speaking to Haaretz in her Tel Aviv office, says she is œcautiously optimistic about her prospects.


 Her father fought for Mandela, now she's fighting to be Israel's first Canadian-raised lawmaker


Trump's peace plan: What to look out for when the deal is unveiled

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:32:20

After years of preparations and leaks, the Trump administration's peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians is finally expected to be officially released in the next two days.

The economic section of the plan, with far-reaching benefits for the Palestinians, was released in June 2019 at the conference in Bahrain. At the time, it was said that the implementation of the economic part depended on the parties' willingness to accept the diplomatic portion of the peace plan. This is the section that will be revealed over the next few days.

Most of the leaks about the contents of the œdeal of the century have come from the Israeli side. As a result, they have emphasized what Israel would gain, in order to satisfy the right-wing community. For example, Israeli sources say the plan will allow Israel to impose sovereignty over the great majority of the settlements, and not just in the settlement blocs as has been proposed in previous peace plans. 


 Trump's peace plan: What to look out for when the deal is unveiled


'Jewish Nobel' cuts ties with Netanyahu's office in order to fight claims prize is politicized

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 13:11:26

The Genesis Prize, which likes to refer to itself as the œJewish Nobel, announced on Monday that it was ending its ongoing partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel. The move was explained as an attempt to counter widespread claims that the prize had become politicized.

The Genesis Prize was established in 2013 as a partnership between the Genesis Prize Foundation, the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel and The Jewish Agency. Benjamin Netanyahu has served as Israeli prime minister during this entire period.

In a statement, the foundation that runs the prize said that œsome have incorrectly interpreted the participation of the Prime Minister's Office as œbringing a political dimension to this important initiative.


 'Jewish Nobel' cuts ties with Netanyahu's office in order to fight claims prize is politicized


Hackers acting in Turkey's interests believed to be behind recent cyberattacks, sources say

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 13:05:44

Sweeping cyberattacks targeting governments and other organisations in Europe and the Middle East are believed to be the work of hackers acting in the interests of the Turkish government, three senior Western security officials said.

The hackers have attacked at least 30 organisations, including government ministries, embassies and security services as well as companies and other groups, according to a Reuters review of public internet records. Victims have included Cypriot and Greek government email services and the Iraqi government's national security advisor, the records show.

The attacks involve intercepting internet traffic to victim websites, potentially enabling hackers to obtain illicit access to the networks of government bodies and other organisations.


 Hackers acting in Turkey's interests believed to be behind recent cyberattacks, sources say


Rocket attack on U.S. Embassy in Baghdad injures one

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 12:45:50

A nighttime rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad injured at least one embassy personnel member, staffers there said Monday.

The two staff members, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, did not specify the injured person's nationality or the severity of their wounds. They said the rocket slammed into a restaurant inside the embassy compound.

Violent clashes between Iraqi security forces and anti-government protesters also continued to seethe overnight, with one protester shot dead in a violent crackdown in the country's south.


 Rocket attack on U.S. Embassy in Baghdad injures one


Israeli president in Poland: Many Poles aided in murder of Jews

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 11:56:03

President Reuven Rivlin said Monday that while many Poles fought against Nazi Germany, many also œaided in the murder of Jews, while in Poland to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda and attend a ceremony marking 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.

Rivlin met with Duda, who had boycotted the International Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem after his demand to speak was denied, in Krakow ahead of the ceremony in Auschwitz. The meeting came against the backdrop of tensions between the two states over the historical memory of Polish involvement in the Holocaust during WWII. 

Ahead of their meeting, Rivlin and Duda laid a wreath at a statue of Witold Pilecki, a Polish resistance hero who volunteered to be imprisoned in Auschwitz, authored the first major comprehensive report of a Holocaust death camp to reach the Allies, and escaped in 1943 before ultimately being executed by the Soviets in 1948.


 Israeli president in Poland: Many Poles aided in murder of Jews


Rohani calls on Iranians to cast their votes in elections, lashes out at Trump

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 11:18:28

Iranians should not allow U.S. President Donald Trump's "maximum pressure" approach to harm national unity ahead of parliamentary elections, President Hassan Rohani said in a speech, lashing out at hardliners over mass disqualification of candidates.

Iran's clerical rulers face challenges in keeping the economy afloat under increasingly tough U.S. sanctions imposed by Washington after it withdrew in 2018 from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers. Vital oil exports have been slashed.

"We should not let Trump succeed in creating gaps between the establishment and people ... We should remain united ... Don't turn your back on (Feb. 21) elections. Let's have a high turn out," said Rohani in a speech broadcast live on his official website.


 Rohani calls on Iranians to cast their votes in elections, lashes out at Trump


Israeli attorney general asks Arab lawmaker to clarify if she endorsed attacking soldiers

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 11:16:53

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit asked lawmaker Heba Yazbak on Sunday to clarify her remarks in an interview to Channel 13 News that, he said, could be interpreted as saying she supports attacks on soldiers.

Yazbak, who represents the Balad party in the Joint List alliance of Arab-majority parties, was asked by Channel 13 whether she viewed harming soldiers was a legitimate action and said: œInternational law itself allows peoples who are under occupation to act for their liberation. She added: œWhat is illegitimate is the continuation of the occupation.   

Mendelblit has asked Yazbak to explain her comments in order to prepare his legal opinion on the requests to disqualify her from running in the upcoming election on March 2 made by the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and Otzma Yehudit parties. The Central Elections Committee is expected to hear the matter on Wednesday.


 Israeli attorney general asks Arab lawmaker to clarify if she endorsed attacking soldiers


Israel aims to be digital-medical power, but first must iron out privacy issues

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 11:11:30

Apart from natural gas, Israel doesn't have a lot of natural resources: no oil, no gold, no iron ore and no magnesium. But it does have one resource that has become the gold of the 21st century: information in particular, the kind that is both especially valuable but especially sensitive a huge database on the health of the population.

The database is a resource that has been collected, documented, nurtured and maintained with exceptional care and skill for decades. From simple blood tests to MRIs, from records of patients complaining to their family doctor about pain to results of advanced surgery, from birth to death everything is centrally stored by the Israeli healthcare system.

In the emerging era of artificial intelligence and personalized medicine, high-quality big data on millions of people is an invaluable resource. And in addition to the clinical data that already exists, the government is also funding the launch of a giant genetic database called Pasifas (œMosaic in Hebrew) that will contain blood samples for more than 100,000 Israeli citizens, collected from health maintenance organizations.


 Israel aims to be digital-medical power, but first must iron out privacy issues


˜We are memory keepers': New project photographs the world's remaining Holocaust survivors

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 10:44:56

A man with white hair is seen wearing running shoes and jogging under an enormous desert sky. A woman is reflected through her bedroom vanity mirror, holding the solar panel she invented. Another man is photographed with the hands of his children and grandchildren cradling his arm, which is tattooed with his identification number from Auschwitz.

The images are all part of œThe Lonka Project, an ambitious new enterprise that photographs Holocaust survivors around the world. The portraits are as varied as the people they depict, as top photographers try to capture something of their essence and survival in a single frame.

The project is the brainchild of Jerusalem-based photographers Rina Castelnuovo and Jim Hollander. The married couple decided to pursue the project last year, shortly after the death of Castelnuovo's mother, Dr. Eleonora (Lonka) Nass for whom the project is named. Lonka was transported to no fewer than five concentration camps in her early teens, but while she survived, her father and brother did not. After moving to Israel in 1956, she went on to become a dental surgeon.


 ˜We are memory keepers': New project photographs the world's remaining Holocaust survivors


Netanyahu first, then Gantz: Trump to host leaders to discuss peace plan

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:49:06

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump will meet on Monday with the leaders of Israel's two largest parties at the White House, as he prepares to present the administration's Mideast peace plan.

Trump will host Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at 11 A.M. before meeting with Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz, Netanyahu's rival in the upcoming March election, at 12:30 P.M. The meeting with Netanyahu is scheduled to last for over an hour, while the meeting with Gantz is scheduled to last between 30 to 45 minutes.

The meeting with Gantz will be unusual for several reasons. It will be the first time that an Israeli politician who holds no official role in the government holds personal meeting with the American president during an election campaign. In addition, it will be held without any involvement from the Israeli embassy in Washington. Trump and Gantz have not met before, but the former military chief of staff has been in the White House previously, as the military attaché in Washington.


 Netanyahu first, then Gantz: Trump to host leaders to discuss peace plan


Israel issues warning for China travel as deadly virus spreads

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 07:39:51

Israel's Health Ministry said on Sunday it is advising citizens against all non-essential travel to China and advised against any travel to Hubei Province, where an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus had resulted in 56 deaths to date.

But many Israelis had already decided without any government warning that travel to there was too risky. The impact is mainly being felt in business travel, which makes up the biggest share of air travel between the two countries.

œThe massive increase in cancellations began in the last few days, said Aya Magen, CEO of Talma Travel & Tours, which specializes in the business sector. œPeople are canceling trips or moving the destination to Hong Kong. We're seeing businesses canceling reservations after because they don't want to send their employees to China. Others are asking to cut short their stay and return to Israel. It's not about one or two customers, but masses of them.


 Israel issues warning for China travel as deadly virus spreads


Abbas refuses Trump call as Palestinian leaders rage over peace deal

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 07:01:40

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump Monday regarding the impending release of the Trump administration's peace plan, a senior official in the Abbas' office said. The official added that there were similar attempts made last week to try and coordinate the call.

President Trump is meeting Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief political rival Benny Gantz to discuss the details of the 'Deal of the Century' ahead of its expected release Tuesday.

>> Trump's ˜deal of the century' was written in a way so the Palestinians would reject it. Maybe that was the plan


 Abbas refuses Trump call as Palestinian leaders rage over peace deal


Israeli firm Mellanox aims to bring Palestinian staff to Nvidia after takeover

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 06:25:18

Mellanox, the Israeli maker of data center chips, is working to ensure that 140 Palestinians now working for it through an outsourcing firm will be employed directly when the company is sold to U.S. company Nvidia, the executive responsible for Mellanox's operations in the Palestinian Authority said on Thursday.

Sources at Mellanox told TheMarker that the Palestinians qualify for share options even though they are not employees, which means together they can expect to profit between $3.5 million and $4.5 million. Nvidia agreed in March to buy Mellanox for $6.9 billion, but it still waiting for approvals to complete the deal.

Speaking at the XR for Peace conference, the Mellanox executive, David Slama, noted that more than 3,000 Palestinians complete degree programs in engineering and technology every year. Some find work with Palestinian, Israeli and international companies locally and others find jobs in the Gulf, but 75% can't find employment in their field at all.


 Israeli firm Mellanox aims to bring Palestinian staff to Nvidia after takeover


Then, Israel's attorney general was thrown in jail

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 06:21:29

The first to be arrested was Shai Nitzan. The police came to his home in Jerusalem at 5 A.M., accompanied by television crews, and spoke to him aggressively: œCome with us, Mr. Nitzan.

œThere must be some mistake, the former state prosecutor said, in a well-known refrain from movies and TV series. œNo, the superintendent said, œyou're Shai Nitzan, ID number so and so? Then move it and get in the van. And he locked the handcuff around the suspect's right wrist.

Channel 12 news opened with a live broadcast of the arrest, under the logo œInvestigating the investigators. œThe state has regained control of the legal system, anchorwoman Yonit Levi explained, with Justice Minister Amir Ohana, in his blue suit, smiling beside her. œWe'll hand over to you in a moment, Mr. Minister, but first, an update from the Russian Compound police station.


 Then, Israel's attorney general was thrown in jail


Shalom, Siri. Do you understand a word I'm saying?

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 06:21:19

As part of an effort teach computers and devices to speak and understand Hebrew better, the Israeli government is setting up a database designed to help the development of artificial intelligence applications based on natural language processing that is, interactions between computers and human language. 

Hebrew is a difficult language, even when it's spoken by a machine. To teach a device to understand it well, they need to be trained extensively in it. While identifying speech itself (converting speech to text) in Hebrew is easy, the problem of deciphering the meanings of texts is complicated. Machines find it difficult to understand sentences and put words in the right context in any language, and this is especially true in Hebrew.

The word œha'kafé, for example, could mean one of the world's favorite hot drinks, or the perimeter of a field.


 Shalom, Siri. Do you understand a word I'm saying?


String of doctors' suicides sparks probe in southern Israeli hospital

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:48:27

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman announced the appointment of a public committee to examine a string of doctors' suicides at the Soroka Medical Center in the southern Israeli city of Be'er Sheva on Sunday. This comes after the fourth doctor within a year and a half committed suicide on Saturday night.

The committee is tasked with proposing a plan for handling the emotional distress of members of the medical staff.

œTo our regret, this is a familiar phenomenon in the health system in Israel and worldwide, and we hope that the entire system will improve the methods of intervention as a result of the committee's work, a statement released by Litzman and the Clalit Health Services organization, who are responsible for the hospital, said. 


 String of doctors' suicides sparks probe in southern Israeli hospital


Now they've decided to disqualify me

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:37:53

In the past 20 years, not a single Israeli election campaign has gone untouched by the delegitimization and political persecution of Arab MKs. In the most recent election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his gang tried to turn all Arab citizens into suspects, by demanding the installation of cameras at polling stations. The Joint List managed to prevent the initiative.

An integral part of the persecution is the ritual of the Central Elections Committee discussing requests to disqualify Arab slates and their candidates. These discussions were designed to promote messages of hatred, and are used as a tool to silence the legitimate demand for full civic and national equality.

The right decided to focus on me this time, by means of its populistic emphasis on two messages that I posted five and seven years ago, long before I was elected to the Knesset. The public uproar included disinformation, distortions and incitement, as well as statements attributed to me that I never made. The right did so because they don't want to deal with my political messages and those of the Joint List.


 Now they've decided to disqualify me


Trump's ˜deal of the century' was written in a way so the Palestinians would reject it. Maybe that was the plan

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:18:41

On January 19, 2017, a night before his inauguration as the 45th U.S. president, Donald Trump stood on a stage in Washington and praised Jared Kushner. œIf you can't produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can, he told his son-in-law at the VIP reception. Trump added that the deal he was going to ask Kushner to present  peace between Israel and the Palestinians  was the œtoughest deal to get.

Three years later, the Trump administration is about to present Kushner's document, widely known as œthe deal of the century, and it's clear that Israeli-Palestinian peace is the last thing that will come out of it.

Kushner's plan is written in a way that guarantees it will be rejected by the Palestinian Authority, and will be released after two years with no communications between the United States and the Palestinians.


 Trump's ˜deal of the century' was written in a way so the Palestinians would reject it. Maybe that was the plan


A diversionary tactic

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:16:28

After Benjamin Netanyahu lied on live television when he said he had no intention of seeking parliamentary immunity from prosecution but then asked for it anyway, he is now doing everything he can to delay a debate by the Knesset House Committee on his request. The reason is simple: He can't expect a majority of the current Knesset to support immunity.

The prime minister and his lawyers are looking to push off the hearings. If they succeed, the closer it gets to March 2 Election Day the greater the chances that they'll enter the twilight zone when, according to Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, it will be too late to vote on the immunity request. At that point a decision on his request will have to wait until after the election, when Netanyahu hopes the balance of power in the Knesset will change in his favor.

When he accepted the invitation of U.S. President Donald Trump to visit Washington, Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz did the right thing by insisting on returning to Israel in time for the immunity hearing.


 A diversionary tactic


Haaretz cartoon

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:07:33

 Haaretz cartoon


Twin sisters were liberated from Auschwitz, but not from Mengele

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 04:26:56

Shortly after Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945, 7-year-old twins Lea and Yehudit Csengeri were ordered to huddle next to other survivors near the camp's barbed wire fence. Before savoring a taste of freedom, they were required to take part in a Soviet army propaganda film that purportedly showed the camp being liberated, although the event had not been filmed in real time. It was a staged display, the twins told Haaretz last week as they gazed at themselves in a still frame from the movie.

Despite the staging, the film is remarkable footage, reflecting the exceptional fate of two Jewish twins who survived the terrible experiments conducted on them by sadistic German doctor Josef Mengele. The picture, which is on display at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum as well, also shows their mother, Miriam-Rachel, who was 28 at the time, and also survived.

The twins say their mother played a major role in their survival. œWe are alive only because of her, said Yehudit, who is now 82. œShe combed our hair, bathed us in the snow and sneaked into our barracks to bring us some bread.


 Twin sisters were liberated from Auschwitz, but not from Mengele


Blasting Trump, Bloomberg presents pro-Israel credentials at Jewish event

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 04:08:57

Michael Bloomberg blasted President Trump's for his support for the far-right, and emphasized his unwavering support for Israel at an event for Jewish supporters in Florida, criticizing his fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders along the way.

Bloomberg attacked Trump for œtrying to use Israel as a wedge issue for his own political purposes and called the 45th president's use of Israel in American politics œa disgrace. He added that œwe must never let Israel be a football that American politicians kick around.

œThere are those who will cite the embassy move as a reason to support President Trump, Bloomberg said. œTo that I say very clearly: If I am elected you will never have to choose between supporting Israel and supporting our values here at home. He said that, unlike Trump, œI will defend both."


 Blasting Trump, Bloomberg presents pro-Israel credentials at Jewish event


Lebanon's new 'government of experts' is already planning for the end

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 03:22:03

œHello hello hello ho, Gebran Bassil koos emo this rhyming ditty blew up on Lebanese social media and graced the walls of government buildings in Beirut after the mass demonstrations against the government began in October. Bassil is the former foreign minister and son-in-law of Lebanese President Michel Aoun, and the rhyme makes a dirty reference to his mother. It has appeared in myriad forms, including a remix performed by a philharmonic orchestra.

It was Bassil's dispute with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri that ignited the political storm that led to Hariri's resignation at the end of October. Bassil ceased to be foreign minister once the new Lebanese government was established under Hassan Diab, but he and his father-in-law, together with Hezbollah and the Shi'ite movement Amal, are the founders of the government now dubbed œthe Hezbollah government. The cabinet consists of 20 ministers. Six are women, and one of those women Zeina Akar Adra is the country's first female defense minister, and a deputy prime minister to boot.

Ostensibly, it's a government of experts. All the ministers have academic degrees, though not necessarily in the field they are responsible for. The prime minister himself published about 150 academic papers in economics and computer engineering, and is an accredited engineer and member of the engineering associations of Lebanon, the United Kingdom and Australia. But each one is also politically supported by their connection to the leadership of a represented party or to the leaders personally.


 Lebanon's new 'government of experts' is already planning for the end


France sees increase in number of anti-Semitic acts in 2019

Mon, 27 Jan 2020 00:56:02

The number of anti-Semitic acts in France rose by 27 per cent in 2019, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday, on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

There were 687 incidents in 2019 compared with 541 in the previous year, the ministry said. Among the acts recorded were physical violence, theft, vandalism and verbal threats.

Incidents of racist and xenophobic acts also increased sharply: from 496 in 2018 to 1,142 in 2019.


 France sees increase in number of anti-Semitic acts in 2019


Behind the scenes: Who pulled the strings in last-minute decision to invite Gantz to White House

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 23:22:58

WASHINGTON Israel's ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, was not involved in organizing Monday's meeting between President Donald Trump and Kahol Lavan party leader Benny Gantz, Haaretz has learned from sources involved in Gantz's visit.

Dermer has a very close relationship with the Trump administration and is also a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but will not attend the Trump-Gantz meeting, despite the fact that Gantz will be coming to the White House as the leader of the largest party in the Israeli Knesset just weeks before Knesset elections on March 2. The two prior rounds, in April and September, ended without Netanyahu or Gantz able to form a government coalition.

Sources close to Gantz say he doesn't trust Dermer and views him as completely loyal to Netanyahu. Dermer played a key role in producing the original White House invitation to Netanyahu and Gantz to come to Washington, under terms that were seen as humiliating and embarrassing to Gantz.


 Behind the scenes: Who pulled the strings in last-minute decision to invite Gantz to White House


Ex-basketball star Kobe Bryant, eight others dead in helicopter crash in California

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 22:52:23

Retired basketball star Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning, the city of Calabasas reported.

LA County Sheriff's department said in a news conference eight others were believed to have been killed in the accident, according to the passenger manifest. Causes of the crash were unknown.

Kobe Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also on the helicopter, several major U.S. media outlets reported. One of her basketball teammates, a parent of the teammate, and the pilot were also killed, NBC News reported.


 Ex-basketball star Kobe Bryant, eight others dead in helicopter crash in California


The evangelical who was part of the German resistance against Hitler

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 22:21:56

LONDON Helmuth Caspar von Moltke likes to imagine that his father might have become a Supreme Court judge after World War II. However, instead of leading a court, Helmuth James von Moltke was dragged before one by the Nazi regime and charged with crimes of high treason. The German aristocrat was hanged on January 23, 1945, when his eldest son was just 6 years old.

The 82-year-old von Moltke, who goes by the name Caspar, was in London this week on a brief visit from his home in Montreal. The judiciary would have been a better fit for his father than politics, he muses, because the latter œis not a good profession for people of considerable principle. And he was a man of considerable principle.

Helmuth von Moltke was from a prominent Prussian noble family one that had provided the German Army with two field marshals and chiefs of staff in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Like so many of those who lost their lives resisting the Nazis, Helmuth von Moltke, 38 at the time of his death, was never given a burial: his body was burnt and his ashes unceremoniously washed away.


 The evangelical who was part of the German resistance against Hitler


As Netanyahu and Gantz head for Washington, Bennett says Israel won't let Palestinian state happen

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 21:40:34

Defense Minister Naftali Bennet said Sunday that Israel will in "under no condition allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state," ahead of the Trump administration's release of the long-awaited Middle East peace plan, slated to be unveiled on Tuesday.

Speaking in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, Bennett said: "In no case, under no condition, will we allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state or recognition of such a state and we will not relinquish a single centimeter of the land of Israel to Arabs."

>> Read more: Annexation for dummies: Making sense of Netanyahu and Gantz's declarations


 As Netanyahu and Gantz head for Washington, Bennett says Israel won't let Palestinian state happen


In first, Dutch PM apologizes Holland did 'too little' to help Jews during Holocaust

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 21:19:43

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized on behalf of the Dutch government on Sunday for his country's actions during World War II, saying too little was done to protect Jewish citizens from Nazi persecution.

Rutte offered the apology during commemorations in the Netherlands to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on January 27, 1945.

œSince the last survivors are still among us, I apologize on behalf of the government for what the state was doing at the time, Rutte said during a ceremony in Amsterdam.


 In first, Dutch PM apologizes Holland did 'too little' to help Jews during Holocaust


In Trump's peace plan, Jordan only sees an ambush

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 20:50:48

Jordan is once again seeking political asylum. While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz will hear the details of the œdeal of the century in Washington this week, King Abdullah will apparently only be able to guess at the nature of the ambush U.S. President Donald Trump is laying for him.

Based on the statements of senior Jordanian officials, the kingdom is still officially in the dark, and speculation relies mainly on leaks to the Israeli media. But their greatest fear is that Jordan will become the alternative Palestinian homeland.

œWhat does annexing the Jordan Valley mean, after Trump has already recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, given it permission to annex the Golan Heights and recognized the legitimacy of some of the settlements? a senior Jordanian pundit said in an interview with Haaretz. œAll of this means Jordan has ceased to be an important element of the peace process.


 In Trump's peace plan, Jordan only sees an ambush


In secret recording, Trump associates compare him to Jewish messiah

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 20:47:46

In a secretly recorded video of a dinner with President Donald Trump, businessmen and Rudy Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman draw a parallel between the president and the Messiah.

In the video Trump can be heard telling an aide to œtake out then-United States Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during a donor dinner in 2018 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The video was released on Saturday by Joseph Bondy, the lawyer representing Parnas in the campaign finance violations case against the two businessmen who were part of the alleged effort at the center of the current impeachment trial to pressure the Ukraine government to announce an investigation into Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Near the end of the 80-minute cell phone recording of the dinner reported to have been attended by donors to the America First Action Super Pac, Parnas presents to Trump what he says is a gift from œthe head rabbi of Ukraine and some rabbis in Israel. He explains that according to Jewish numerology, known as gematria, the letters in Trump's name add up to 424, which is the same total as the Messiah.


 In secret recording, Trump associates compare him to Jewish messiah


Israel strikes in Gaza after south targeted for second consecutive day

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 20:00:48

The Israeli army struck a Hamas military post in the southern Gaza Strip in retaliation for rocket fire and incendiary balloons that were fired at Israel earlier in the day. 

Earlier Sunday, the Israeli military said that a rocket was fired from the Gaza Srip, adding that the rocket fire caused an alarm to sound in an open area near Israel's border with the coastal enclave. 

>> Read more: A deadly skirmish on Gaza border, an inconvenient question for Israel | Analysis


 Israel strikes in Gaza after south targeted for second consecutive day


Survivor in Slovenia turns 100 on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 19:41:00

For Marija Frlan it's as symbolic as it can get: A survivor of a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, the Slovenian woman turns 100 years old on Monday, the international Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Frlan, who was held at the Nazi's Ravensbruck camp in northern Germany for over a year in 1944-45, will join other survivors and officials in Poland on Monday for ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

Ahead of the ceremonies, Frlan told The Associated Press that one could talk at length about what it was like in the Ravensbruck camp, but that only those who were there really know how horrific it was.


 Survivor in Slovenia turns 100 on Holocaust Remembrance Day


Pope asks Catholics to say 'Never Again' to the Holocaust

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 19:08:11

Pope Francis on Sunday asked the world's 1.3 billion Catholics to stop for a moment of prayer and reflection on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and say "Never Again".

The pope mentioned Monday's anniversary during his weekly noon address and blessing to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square.

"Indifference is inadmissible before this enormous tragedy, this atrocity, and memory is a duty. Tomorrow, we are all invited to stop for a moment of prayer and reflection, each one of us saying in our own heart: 'never again, never again,'" he said.


 Pope asks Catholics to say 'Never Again' to the Holocaust


Sanders surges to lead in both Iowa and New Hampshire, national polls show

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 19:05:38

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders pulled ahead in a New Hampshire poll released on Sunday, bolstering evidence that he is gaining momentum with only days left until voting begins in the Democratic presidential contest.

Sanders led a poll of New Hampshire voters with 25 percent support. His closest competitor was former Vice President Joe Biden, with 16 percent, according to the poll released on Sunday by cable network CNN and the University of New Hampshire.

Most of the field of Democratic candidates vying to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election have turned their attention to Iowa, which holds the first contest on February 3. New Hampshire will vote next.


 Sanders surges to lead in both Iowa and New Hampshire, national polls show


Israeli right-wing coalition parties to boycott vote on Netanyahu's immunity request

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 18:55:22

Right-wing coalition parties announced Sunday that they intend to boycott a Knesset plenum vote on whether the Israeli parliament should set up a House Committee to discuss Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request to receive immunity from prosecution in the three criminal cases he had been charged in. 

The parties that are set to shun the vote are the premier's own Likud party, the ultra-Orthodox parties United Torah Judaism and Shas as well as the right-wing alliance Yamina. 

>> Read more: Israel, beware the true cost of Trump's 'peace' plan | Daniel B. Shapiro -  Gantz averts White House hazing but Trump plan still on course to rescue Netanyahu | Analysis 


 Israeli right-wing coalition parties to boycott vote on Netanyahu's immunity request


When did the Holocaust begin? A Genesis of genocide

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 18:49:23

When did the Holocaust actually begin? The answer is not so simple.

The term Holocaust (with a capital H) is commonly used to refer to the systematic murder by Nazi Germany of approximately six million Jews and the destruction of their communities, representing one-third of world Jewry at the time. In this use, it is analogous to the Hebrew word Shoah, also used to refer to the genocide committed against the Jews. Sometimes Holocaust is also used in a broader sense, to refer to all of the victims of Nazi state-organized murder, including the Roma, gay people and others.

The Nazi genocide and ethnic cleansing efforts did not begin as a specific plan to gas Jews and others in concentration camps, but rather evolved over time, beginning with systematic persecution aimed in part at encouraging Jewish emigration from Germany to other countries. It grew from spontaneous murders to planned massacres of Jewish communities, to the establishment of an industrial apparatus for the efficient, wholesale slaughter of a people.


 When did the Holocaust begin? A Genesis of genocide


Holocaust facts: Where does the figure of 6 million victims come from?

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 18:47:58

One of the most well-known, if not iconic, facts known about the Holocaust is the number of Jewish victims killed by Nazi Germany up through the end of World War II. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is also this number - six million - that Holocaust deniers aim at when trying to discredit the essential nature of the Holocaust.

Where did the number six million come from? And considering the amount of original research that has been done in recent decades, is it still considered accurate by scholars of the subject?

Read more: The Nazis Tolerated Gays. Then Everything Changed | Holocaust Movies: 18 of the Best Beyond Schindler's List


 Holocaust facts: Where does the figure of 6 million victims come from?


Syrian government forces capture towns in advance on rebel-held Idlib

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 18:47:34

Syrian government forces have taken control of several towns in northwestern Idlib province, a war monitor and Syrian state media reported, amid a renewed push by President Bashar al-Assad to recapture the last rebel stronghold.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Idlib in recent weeks amid stepped up air strikes by Russian and Syrian forces aimed at clearing the opposition from its last redoubt after almost nine years of civil war.

The Syrian Observatory, a war monitor, said on Sunday that six towns in the Idlib countryside had fallen to Syrian government forces in the past 24 hours.


 Syrian government forces capture towns in advance on rebel-held Idlib


Likud lawmaker and Netanyahu crony Bitan to be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 17:39:05

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced Monday that he will indict Knesset member David Bitan for bribery, fraud, breach of trust and tax offenses in several criminal affairs, pending a hearing. Bitan is accused of receiving bribes in return for promoting the private interests of businessmen and contractors while he was serving in a public role.

Bitan, a Likud member, is a close associate of Netanyahu and a former coalition whip. In December 2017, he was interrogated by the Israel Police. In March 2019, the police announced that they had found substantive evidence to indict him for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in 12 different cases.

In their recommendation to indict Bitan, following investigations into his case, the police noted that Bitan "received bribes in cash a sum that amounts to hundreds of thousands of shekels; he also was promised apartments in return different actions related to his role" while he acted as deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion as well as when he served as a lawmaker and coalition whip.


 Likud lawmaker and Netanyahu crony Bitan to be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust


Trump threatens Schiff over impeachment: 'He has not paid the price, yet'

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 17:00:42

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that the Democratic lawmaker leading the impeachment case against him, Representative Adam Schiff, has "not paid the price, yet" for his actions, a statement Schiff said he viewed as a threat.

The vitriol from Trump against Schiff and other Democrats followed days of their arguments in his impeachment trial before the U.S. Senate on charges he abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival, and then tried to obstruct an investigation by Congress.

"Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!" Trump said on Twitter.


 Trump threatens Schiff over impeachment: 'He has not paid the price, yet'


Trump heard saying 2016 win would have been 'tougher' had Clinton chosen Sanders for VP

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 16:43:36

U.S. President Donald Trump says it would have been œtougher to win the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton if Bernie Sanders had been her running mate during a 2018 meeting with donors that included the indicted associates of his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

œIf she picked Bernie as vice president it would have been tougher... I think Bernie because, all those people that hated her so much who voted for me, Trump can be heard saying on a tape provided to the media by Lev Parnas' attorney Joseph Bondy. Trump does not appear to know he is being recorded.

Trump also claimed he got œ20 percent of the Bernie vote because Sanders was a œbig trade guy like him. œBut had she picked Bernie Sanders it would have been tougher. He was the only one I didn't want her to pick.


 Trump heard saying 2016 win would have been 'tougher' had Clinton chosen Sanders for VP


LISTEN: From Auschwitz to annexation, politics trumps peace for Bibi and Gantz

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 16:27:03

On today's show, host Simon Spungin is joined by Haaretz's Allison Kaplan Sommer for a wide-ranging discussion, focusing on U.S. President Donald Trump's œDeal of the Century and the two Israeli leaders who have been invited to meet him at the White House.

Was Benjamin Netanyahu taken aback by Trump's invitation to his main rival, Kahlon Levan leader Benny Gantz, or was it part of an elaborate Machiavellian ploy to demean and sideline Gantz?

We also discuss the cognitive dissonance of Gantz hailing the American peace plan as a œmeaningful landmark in efforts to end the Israel-Palestine conflict, while, in almost the same breath, calling for annexation of the Jordan Valley.


 LISTEN: From Auschwitz to annexation, politics trumps peace for Bibi and Gantz


Fighting rages as Libya force pushes toward key western city

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 16:18:25

Officials from Libya's two rival governments said fighting erupted Sunday as the country's east-based forces advanced toward the strategic western city of Misrata, further eroding a crumbling cease-fire agreement brokered earlier this month.

The clashes came just hours after the United Nations decried œcontinued blatant violations of an arms embargo on Libya by several unspecified countries. The violations fly in the face of recent pledges to respect the embargo made by world powers at an international conference in Berlin last week.

Libya sits on Africa's Mediterranean coast, and is divided between rival governments, each supported by various armed militias and foreign backers. It has the ninth largest known oil reserves in the world and the biggest oil reserves in Africa.


 Fighting rages as Libya force pushes toward key western city


Young Israeli woman held in Russia files pardon request to Putin

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 15:51:39

Naama Issachar, the 26-year-old American-Israeli imprisoned in Russia on a drug conviction, has submitted a pardon request to Russian President Vladimir Putin, her lawyers said on Sunday.

On Saturday, a Kremlin spokesman said her release had been delayed because she had yet to submit such a request.

After submitting the request, Issachar's lawyers released a statement expressing their hope that the Russian president "will quickly, in accordance with his constitutional authority, decide to grant her a pardon and release her."


 Young Israeli woman held in Russia files pardon request to Putin


Gantz departs for Washington for personal meeting with Trump on Mideast peace deal

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 15:10:31

Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief political rival, departed Sunday morning for Washington ahead of his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday.

Gantz and Trump are expected to discuss the diplomatic portion of the U.S. administration's Mideast peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Asked by the Kan public broadcaster whether he will discuss the long-awaited plan with Trump or wait until after Israel's general March 2 election, Gantz replied "We'll hear about the plan from Trump, we'll talk, but what will be said inside the room will remain in the room."


 Gantz departs for Washington for personal meeting with Trump on Mideast peace deal


Israel, beware the true cost of Trump's 'peace' plan

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:57:14

I believe in being honest among friends.

That principle is relevant as President Donald Trump prepares to unveil his "Deal of the Century." While its details have still not been presented, every indication is that it will envision Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley and settlement blocs, Israel's retention of all other settlement areas, and isolated islands of limited Palestinian autonomy in perpetuity - all without any negotiations or agreements between Israelis and Palestinians. In other words, a sharp break with decades of bipartisan consensus U.S. policies across multiple administrations.

If, as expected, the Palestinians reject it, Trump may well give a green light to unilateral Israeli annexation.


 Israel, beware the true cost of Trump's 'peace' plan


Here's what happens if Israel annexes the West Bank and lets Palestinians vote

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:42:20

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks a lot these days about annexing the West Bank, or at least parts of it. He has been getting bolder, speaking more and more about applying Israeli sovereignty to all of the settlements there, no matter how tiny or isolated they are. 

He has yet to lay out a plan for bringing the entire territory with its estimated 2.5 million Palestinian residents under Israeli rule. But there are many within his own Likud party and among his coalition partners who support the idea. (Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz also talked this week of annexing the Jordan Valley.)

Perhaps more surprisingly, so do growing numbers of Palestinians. As they see it, if one state is created between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, Israel will have little choice but to grant them voting rights. Given their numbers, they understand that once they obtain such rights, they will gain an enormous amount of political power which may explain why Israeli governments to date have avoided annexation.


 Here's what happens if Israel annexes the West Bank and lets Palestinians vote


Greek town thousands of years older than thought, goes back to Stone Age

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:41:18

Renewed excavations of Kirrha, supposedly a Bronze Age settlement that arose in a marsh on the northern Greek coast near Delphi, have discovered that it began thousands of years earlier than had been thought. A joint French-Greek team investigating the site for the last 11 years has concluded that concentrated occupation there arose as much as 7,000 years ago, in the late Neolithic period, not in the Early Bronze Age (2,300 B.C.E.) as previously believed.

The Neolithic layer lies about ten meters below the top of the tell. However, thanks to the combined effects of local land subsidence and sea level rise as the last Ice Age waned, that ancient stratum now lies three meters below the water table, dig director Raphaël Orgeolet of Aix-Marseille University explains.

In other words, when they tried to dig into the Neolithic level, they hit water. Study of the late Stone Age layer has had to rely on coring and the discoveries of what Orgeolet calls coarse Neolithic pottery.


 Greek town thousands of years older than thought, goes back to Stone Age


Iraqi protesters clash with security forces in Baghdad, other cities

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:23:07

Iraqi security forces fired teargas and live bullets in renewed clashes with protesters in Baghdad and other cities on Sunday, a Reuters witness and security sources said, following a push to clear a sit-in camp in the heart of the capital.

The authorities' latest attempt to push back protesters and restore order came hours after populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has millions of supporters in Baghdad and the south, said on Saturday he would end his involvement in anti-government unrest.

At least 14 protesters were injured in the clashes in the capital, security and medical sources said, while unrest in the southern city of Nassiriya left at least 17 protesters wounded, four of them by live bullets.


 Iraqi protesters clash with security forces in Baghdad, other cities


Israel officially allows Israelis to travel to Saudi Arabia

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 13:22:05

The Interior Ministry announced on Sunday that it will now permit Israelis to visit Saudi Arabia, for the first time in Israel's history. The new rules will allow travel to Saudi Arabia for the Islamic pilgrimages known as the Hajj and the Umrah, or for business trips of up to 90 days. However, business trips will be conditional on the traveler having an invitation from a Saudi official.

Though some Israelis, mainly members of the country's Arab minority, already travel to Saudi Arabia, they have hitherto done so despite the absence of official permission.

The new rule, which Interior Minister Arye Dery signed on Wednesday, was made in coordination with the defense establishment, the ministry said. Sources familiar with the decision said Dery's signature was the culmination of a process that œhad been brewing for many weeks.


 Israel officially allows Israelis to travel to Saudi Arabia


U.S. won't lift Iran sanctions in order to negotiate, Trump says

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 12:13:30

The United States will not lift sanctions on Iran in order to negotiate, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted late on Saturday, seemingly in response to a Der Spiegel interview with Iran's foreign minister.

"Iranian Foreign Minister says Iran wants to negotiate with The United States, but wants sanctions removed. @FoxNews @OANN No Thanks!" Trump tweeted in English on Saturday and later in Farsi.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Sunday by tweeting an excerpt from the interview with Der Spiegel published on Friday, where he said Iran is still open to negotiations with America if sanctions are lifted.


 U.S. won't lift Iran sanctions in order to negotiate, Trump says


Bernie Sanders emphasizes Jewish roots in new campaign video

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 11:43:03

Bernie Sanders launched a campaign video highlighting his Jewish identity and casting President Donald Trump as part of the white nationalist threat.

The four-minute video posted Thursday night on Sanders' Twitter feed, interpolates excerpts from Sanders' speech last year to J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, with commentary by Joel Rubin, the campaign's Jewish outreach director.

It starts with Sanders' declaration of pride in being Jewish. œI'm very proud to be Jewish and look forward to becoming the first Jewish president in the history of this country, Sanders says.


 Bernie Sanders emphasizes Jewish roots in new campaign video


Annexation for dummies: Making sense of Netanyahu and Gantz's declarations

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 11:16:36

Both likely candidates for Israel's premiership have recently said they intended to annex the Jordan Valley, the border area between the West Bank and Jordan that has been under Israeli control since 1967. This came despite a damning report by the International Criminal Court and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's statement that it would "eradicate the foundations" of any kind of peace process. In many ways, the area is unique in the West Bank, for its history and strategic value. But what would annexation mean for the people who live there?

Who lives in the Jordan Valley and what do they do?

8,100 Israeli Jews, and 52,950 Palestinians lived in the Jordan Valley, according to separate figures from Israeli and Palestinian official surveys from 2018, and 2017 respectively. Israel splits the region into two different entities, the Jordan Valley and Megilot”Dead Sea regional councils.


 Annexation for dummies: Making sense of Netanyahu and Gantz's declarations


Trump and Giuliani's crude, coercive and conditional 'love' for Jews

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 11:01:41

In the fall of 1933, on the front page of the New York Times Book Review, James W. Gerard went out on a limb for the Jews. Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf had just been published in English, and Gerard, America's former ambassador to Germany, was taking a stand in print.

Surely, wrote Gerard, if Americans could condemn massacres in Armenia, or concentration camps in Cuba, "we have all of us a right to criticize, to boycott¦to form a blockade of public opinion" against Germany's mounting attacks on Jews.

Gerard's gripe was not with Germany, nor even its leader. "Hitler is doing much for Germany," he wrote. " is unification of the Germans, his destruction of communism¦his curbing of parliamentary government, so unsuited to the German character; his protection of the right of private property are all good, and, after all, what the Germans do in their own territory is their own business, except for one thing the persecution and practical expulsion of the Jews."


 Trump and Giuliani's crude, coercive and conditional 'love' for Jews


Netanyahu's trip to Washington may delay immunity talks, officials believe

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 10:38:59

The Knesset discussion on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request to receive immunity from prosecution in three corruption cases slated for Tuesday may be delayed due to the premier's planned trip to the United States this week, Likud and Kahol Lavan officials believe.

The Israeli parliament is scheduled to vote Tuesday on convening a legislative panel to discuss Netanyahu's immunity request. Assuming the legislature approves the measure, the Knesset House Committee will begin its deliberations on Thursday.

Netanyahu is set to fly out to Washington on Sunday afternoon, hold meetings with Trump on Monday and Tuesday and return to Israel by Thursday.


 Netanyahu's trip to Washington may delay immunity talks, officials believe


Gantz nabbing private Trump meeting proves U.S. needs him as much as he needs them

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 09:48:53

Following a weekend of frantic deliberations, Kahol Lavan chief Benny Gantz's team found an elegant solution to what seemed a trap with no exit. It all began when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence declared to the cameras that Gantz's invitation to Washington was offered at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While sitting smugly beside Pence, Netanyahu echoed the same humiliating message, in case it hadn't been picked up clearly enough by the microphones the first time: œI suggested that Benny Gantz be invited as well. This small humiliation rocked Kahol Lavan's boat.

Despite having already accepted the American invitation in principle, this display, as if Gantz were flying to the United States by Netanyahu's grace alone, entirely disrupted the plan. From that moment, even though Kahol Lavan continued preparations for the trip, including obtaining special guest visas and booking plane tickets, dramatic debates were taking place over whether the party should take part in the spectacle at all.


 Gantz nabbing private Trump meeting proves U.S. needs him as much as he needs them


Gantz sidesteps Netanyahu's trap, but two other battlefronts await

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 09:45:06

Exactly one year after founding Kahol Lavan, which has become the country's largest party, Benny Gantz has once again demonstrated admirable political and personal ability. The deal he reached with the Likud party branch at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, also known as the White House under which he will meet Donald Trump separately from Benjamin Netanyahu is an extremely impressive achievement, given the well-known relationship between the U.S. president and the Israeli prime minister.

Netanyahu had planned to lay a trap for his rival. Gantz was supposed to find himself playing the role of an extra in a Washington drama of which the Israeli prime minister would be the protagonist, virtually the ruler of all he surveyed. And he'd be a non-entity there, to boot. The ruse was transparent, the danger great. It seemed like an unsolvable political and diplomatic dilemma. If he said yes, he'd risk humiliation. If he said no, he'd look like a coward and also rouse the anger of the U.S. administration, which Israelis love. Just 48 hours before his announcement Saturday night, it seemed as if Gantz could only lose and Netanyahu could only win.

But Gantz and his people made good use of the time they were given. And Saturday night, it turned out that Gantz was no sucker, and certainly no fool. He obtained a separate meeting with the president rather than coming as Netanyahu's sidekick. This is a status no previous Israeli candidate for prime minister has ever achieved. And as he said, he'll return to Israel the next day to closely monitor the Knesset hearings regarding defendant Netanyahu's request to be granted immunity from prosecution in the three corruption cases against him.


 Gantz sidesteps Netanyahu's trap, but two other battlefronts await


The bills await: Netanyahu owes his lawyers some $430,000 for work on corruption cases

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 09:43:02

Benjamin Netanyahu and his family owe at least 1.5 million shekels ($434,000) to some of their current and former defense lawyers in the clutch of corruption cases against the prime minister, a Haaretz investigation shows.

The prime minister and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, owe Yossi Cohen, who has represented them for years, more than 1 million shekels. A spokesperson for Netanyahu insisted the attorneys will be paid.

Cohen has represented the Netanyahus for years in many criminal and civil cases including the misuse-of-funds case against Sara Netanyahu, the Bezeq-Walla news-for-favors case and multiple libel suits filed by the Netanyahus and their two sons against journalists.


 The bills await: Netanyahu owes his lawyers some $430,000 for work on corruption cases


In Israel, indoctrination starts in kindergarten

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 08:56:21

A brief public furor erupted last November when Osnat Hagai, an assistant teacher at a kindergarten in Pardes Hannah-Karkur, documented herself on Facebook removing the portrait of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from her classroom wall. Education Minister Rafi Peretz tweeted that the woman would be located and summoned for a œclarification. (Only afterward did he grasp that she was employed by the local government, rather than by his ministry.) Hagai's act of protest she stated in the clip that it wasn't fitting for a prime minister who's been indicted on criminal charges to be held up as a role model for young children received a lot of positive attention both in social media and in the press.

The question of why the prime minister's portrait was removed is less interesting than the question of why it was hanging on a preschool wall in the first place. What was its purpose there of what benefit, if any, was it to the children to have it there, and is this a desirable thing?

Portraits of Israel's prime minister, the president and sometimes even of Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, too, are hung on the walls of kindergartens as part of what the Education Ministry terms a œnational corner: the little space where various symbols of the nation are concentrated. In some cases the corner is enhanced by a map of the country (often including the entire Land of Israel) and the words of œHatikvah, the national anthem.


 In Israel, indoctrination starts in kindergarten


All immigrant Israeli soccer team shuts out league leader in shocker

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 04:38:20

Arguably the best result in Inter's short history, the all-olim team shocked league-leading Ruach Tel Aviv 4-0 away from home, breaking a bunch of records along the way.

Ruach had hitherto won all seven of its homes games this season, conceding just two goals in total and earning the team the league's second-best defense after Inter Aliyah.

But much like when the teams met earlier this season, Inter proved its worth, soaking up Ruach's first-half pressure and going into the break goalless.


 All immigrant Israeli soccer team shuts out league leader in shocker


Battle of the banknotes: In Yemen, rival powers push rival currencies

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 04:34:28

Yemen's warring sides have opened a new front in their five-year conflict a battle over old and new banknotes that threatens to create two economies in the same state.

As of midnight January 18, the Houthi movement which controls the capital Sanaa outlawed the use and possession of crisp new Yemeni riyal bills issued by its rivals in the internationally recognized government based in the southern port town of Aden.

The Iran-allied Houthis, who say people should only use the old bills, have defended the ban as a move against inflation and what they call rampant money-printing by the government.


 Battle of the banknotes: In Yemen, rival powers push rival currencies


Gantz niftily averts White House hazing but Trump plan still on course to rescue Netanyahu

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 03:56:25

A popular folk saying asserts that a clever person extricates himself from predicaments a smart person would have avoided from the outset. Benny Gantz, to the great relief of his increasingly anxious supporters, proved on Saturday night that, at the very least, he knows how to be clever.

By announcing his own separate meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, Gantz narrowly escaped Benjamin Netanyahu's well-laid trap to upstage and diminish him in a joint meeting at the White House, an event Gantz had previously and unwittingly agreed to attend. He also avoided a potentially lethal confrontation with a U.S. president who could decimate him with single tweet.

In fact, Gantz also proved adept at playing political jiu-jitsu by using the strength of his opponent against him. Netanyahu had planned to upstage Gantz by casting him as an extra in a joint Trump-Netanyahu rollout of the President's long-awaited œdeal of the century. Gantz turned things on their head by securing his own separate meeting with the U.S. president, a rare feat for an Israeli politician vying in an election. Rather than diminish Gantz, Netanyahu's ruse ultimately elevated him.


 Gantz niftily averts White House hazing but Trump plan still on course to rescue Netanyahu


Breaking down walls, Iranian women fight patriarchy

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 03:47:38

From breaking down kitchen walls designed to separate women from men to ornately decorating domestic spaces, an architect has been mapping œsigns of resistance of Iranian women in their own homes.

On display at the United Arab Emirates' Sharjah Architecture Triennial until February 8, the work of Iranian-Australian architect Samaneh Moafi explores how Iranian women have carved out lives for themselves within the patriarchal structures around them.

One example, the architect said, was how several women she worked with for her project œParable of Mehr (œcompassion in Farsi) had removed a wall in their apartments that was designed to separate women in the kitchen from men in the living area.


 Breaking down walls, Iranian women fight patriarchy


Israel's political drama is actually a top TV show

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 03:15:24

If we imagine the political system as the thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing hormones essential to our cells, we might say that three elections one right after the other are like a hyperactive thyroid. The excess production of political hormones could be the cause of the œdisconnect between the markets and politics that was noted by my Haaretz colleague Sami Peretz in Haaretz's Hebrew edition last week.

Peretz wondered rightly how it was possible that the economy didn't responded negatively to the political crisis. The labor markets, the capital markets, the housing market and the shekel haven't suffered; quite the contrary. At the same time, the political arena has become œthe best performer of the year. Peretz offered no clear explanation for the gap between the markets' apathy to our political drama and the intense interest shown by the media and entertainment worlds.

The explanation might be that the body is smart. Three elections in a row impose on Israelis an endless campaign environment, but the state can't allow itself to neglect its day-to-day activities in favor of a year of binge watching the Israeli version of œBorgen or œHouse of Cards until the elections finally produce a winner, God knows when.


 Israel's political drama is actually a top TV show


One person, one vote for Israel-Palestine

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 03:09:23

The Trump administration's Middle East peace plan brings with it good news and bad news. It will put the final nail in the coffin of that walking corpse known as the two-state solution that's the good news. It will also create a new reality in which international law, the resolutions of the international community and especially international institutions are meaningless.

Filled with the hope that the U.S. president instills in us, in his great mercy, let's begin with the good news. Once his proposal is made public, no one will ever be able to talk with any seriousness about the two-state solution. It was probably never born, but now it is clearly dead. There is no Palestinian state and there never will be.

The gall of America to support Israeli annexation now and the establishment of a Palestinian state only œin the future as if the burning issue were annexation, not the occupation is only an ornament for the casket. The Palestinian Authority, the European Union, the United Nations, the Jewish establishment and the Zionist left will no longer be able to mention this option without making complete asses of themselves.


 One person, one vote for Israel-Palestine


The Zionist left has paved the way to the rise of the extreme right

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 02:38:36

I was born in Haifa in 1944. I was four when my father returned home one day with a soft cloth doll in his hand and deep shame in his heart. He took it from an Arab house, he told my mother. His Hebrew wouldn't have been good enough yet to have used the more accurate term and say he œplundered it. A while later I heard him mention the doll again and say that others stole much more: decorative objects, appliances, carpets. And he took only a small doll, and still he felt ashamed. Really? I didn't care. The shooting and explosions and later the bombardments we heard from the lower city instilled in me a huge fear of the Arabs. I just wanted them to leave and to have quiet.

This fear stayed with me for many years. During the 1956 war, I fled in terror from our apartment balcony on the top floor, because I saw a face in a red kaffiyeh looking back at me from the roof. I can still remember it. Maybe it was just an Arab worker fixing the elevator motor, or maybe it was the face from my nightmares that suddenly appeared to me. At any rate, as a child and a teen, in the mixed city where I was born I never met an Arab in regular social circumstances, not as a classmate or in the youth movement. In middle school, when it was time for me to choose a second language to study, I chose French and not Arabic. Our œFrench group stood out in the schoolyard and taunted the smaller group that chose Arabic. Most of them probably went on to serve in intelligence.

Even though my parents were left-wingers and sent me to Hashomer Hatzair youth movement, like the vast majority of my generation, I was a victim of such thorough and profound emotional and ideological deception that when my eyes were finally opened, it was too late. New and fateful facts in the field had already been established.


 The Zionist left has paved the way to the rise of the extreme right


Immunity trap in the White House

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 02:09:40

Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz has accepted U.S. President Donald Trump's invitation to meet with him at the White House on Monday, separately from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Gantz will return to Israel in time to take part in the Knesset debate on convening the Knesset House Committee to discuss Netanyahu's request for immunity from prosecution.

Gantz made a shrewd decision, avoiding the trap Netanyahu laid for him via the prime minister's friend in the White House. He also did well to make clear that replacing Netanyahu is still at the top of his Kahol Lavan party's agenda.

Gantz was wise to refuse to attend a joint meeting with Trump and Netanyahu to present the White House plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In doing so, he refused to fall into the rhetorical trap of Netanyahu and the right in which the proposal is a historic opportunity requiring the Netanyahu government to remain in power. The Middle East waited more than three years for Trump's peace plan, and it will survive the five weeks that remain until the Israeli election.


 Immunity trap in the White House


Russia says jailed Israeli women yet to seek pardon in what would be a first

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 01:55:14

The release of Naama Issachar, the 26-year-old Israeli in prison on a drug conviction, has been delayed because she has not yet submitted a pardon request, a Kremlin spokesman said Friday postponing what could be a Russian president's first pardon of a foreigner.

The spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Issachar could not be released without submitting an official pardon request. She was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for drug smuggling after a small amount of hashish was found in her knapsack during a layover at a Moscow airport on her way home from India.

Her Russian lawyer planned to meet with her Saturday to explain the pardon request, but the attorney, Vadim Klyuvgant, said the decision would be entirely up to her.


 Russia says jailed Israeli women yet to seek pardon in what would be a first


Haaretz cartoon

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 01:44:32

 Haaretz cartoon


Drowning of 8-year-old boy in East Jerusalem sparks memories of murder

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 00:52:56

Qais Abu Ramila, an 8-year-old resident of Jerusalem's Beit Hanina neighborhood, left his home Friday afternoon and never returned. Early Saturday morning, after hours of searches, he was found dead at the bottom of a rainwater-filled pit in the neighborhood.

Rescue forces found Abu Ramila after pumping out rainwater flooding the pit near his home.

Abu Ramila's family reported he was missing since 4 P.M. on Friday, Israel Police said. He had been sent on an errand at a nearby grocery store.


 Drowning of 8-year-old boy in East Jerusalem sparks memories of murder


Israeli military strikes Gaza after explosives tied to balloons flown into Israel

Sun, 26 Jan 2020 00:24:03

Israel Defense Forces jets struck a number of Hamas positions in southern Gaza on Saturday night in response to explosives-laden balloons flown into Israeli territory from the strip, the military reported.

Among the Hamas targets were a weapons manufacturing site and a military compound for intelligence collection, the IDF statement said.

"The IDF views all destructive activities of every kind against Israeli territory with the utmost seriousness, and will continue to do all that is needed to fight attempts to hurt Israeli citizens," the statement continued. "The Hamas terror organization is responsible for all that occurs in and emanates from the Gaza Strip, and will face the ramifications of terror activities against Israeli citizens."


 Israeli military strikes Gaza after explosives tied to balloons flown into Israel


Gantz to meet Trump separately from Netanyahu to discuss Mideast plan in Washington

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 22:36:07

Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief political rival, announced Saturday that he accepted U.S. President Donald Trump's personal invitation to Washington to discuss on Monday the White House's long-awaited plan for Mideast peace, slated for release on Tuesday.

Netanyahu will depart for the U.S. on Sunday at 2:00 P.M. Israel time and is expected to land in Washington in the early morning hours of Monday. Thus, he may still be airborne as the details of the peace plan are unveiled by the Trump administration.

After Gantz's announcement, a senior Israeli official said Netanyahu will also meet with Trump on Monday, in addition to their previously scheduled sit-down on Tuesday. They will meet while the Knesset convenes to discuss the prime minister's request for immunity from prosecution in three corruption cases.


 Gantz to meet Trump separately from Netanyahu to discuss Mideast plan in Washington


Two people arriving from China cleared of suspicion of contracting deadly virus

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 22:01:34

Three people who have recently returned to Israel from China were quarantined out of fear that they may have contracted a deadly virus that has killed 41 people in mainland China and infected 1,300 others.

Two have been cleared of suspicion that they contracted the virus, and are due to be released soon. Another patient, a Chinese tourist, is hospitalized in the West Bank. It has yet to be ruled out that she is suffering from the virus.

The new virus comes from a large family of what are known as coronaviruses, some causing nothing worse than a cold. It causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever and, in more severe case, shortness of breath. It can worsen to pneumonia, which can be fatal.


 Two people arriving from China cleared of suspicion of contracting deadly virus


Two Palestinians hospitalized after attack by West Bank settlers, NGO says

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 21:48:17

Two Palestinian residents of the West Bank village of As-Sawiya were attacked by Jewish settlers Saturday afternoon and have been hospitalized for their injuries in Nablus, according to the non-governmental organization Yesh Din.

The father and son were working on their agricultural lands when they were attacked with rocks and an iron rod by a group that had come from the direction of the Jewish settlement of Rehelim, the left-wing NGO told Haaretz.

Rahsaan Douglas, who follows the activities of settlers in the northern West Bank told Haaretz that the two victims were a 60 year old man and his son, who is in his twenties. They had gone out to work their fields, as did many other Palestinian residents of the village due to the improvement in weather conditions.


 Two Palestinians hospitalized after attack by West Bank settlers, NGO says


A deadly skirmish on Gaza border, an inconvenient question for Israel

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 21:17:23

On Sunday afternoon, the Gaza border looked deceptively pastoral. The heavy rains that have come down this winter, even in southern Israel, have left behind especially green fields. This was very far from the typical Gazan scene etched in the minds of Israelis, with the sand dunes remembered from military campaigns like Operation Protective Edge that happened in the middle of the summer.  On the drive from Kibbutz Kisufim to the new barrier being erected by the security forces against the tunnels, adjacent to the border, a pretty, wooded hill came into view. The commander of the Horev Brigade, Lt. Col. Gal Rich, was asked whether Israeli day-trippers came here too. No, he replied. For now this is a spot known only to inhabitants of the Gazan border area and the soldiers securing the sector.

Two days later, on Tuesday evening, this hill, about 400 meters east of the fence, became a killing scene. Three young Palestinian men, inhabitants of the nearby al-Mu'azi refugee camp, crossed through the tattered old border fence. (The new barrier being built in its stead will be completed only towards the end of this year.)  The electronic surveillance lookouts who identified the three close to the fence directed Horev fighters and a tank from the Seventh Brigade to the hill, where the infiltrators had taken cover. When a military jeep approached them, the young men threw two improvised explosive devices. The soldiers responded with gunfire and the tank crew joined in with machine gun fire. The three Palestinian were killed. There were no IDF casualties. The entire incident lasted only a few minutes. 

In retrospect, this was a rag-tag cell that wasn't equipped with live weapons beyond the improvised devices. In other recent incidents, in broad daylight, Haruv soldiers captured infiltrators who came through the fence without any weapons, after having fired warning shots at them. This time the circumstances were different: The crossing was done at night, at a distance of about two kilometers from the kibbutz. The soldiers identified an attempt to attack them and responded quickly and effectively, in accordance with the rules of engagement. 


 A deadly skirmish on Gaza border, an inconvenient question for Israel


Iraqi security forces kill four demonstrators in raid of anti-gov't protest camps

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 18:28:33

Iraqi security forces raided Baghdad's main protest site on Saturday and tried to eject protesters in southern cities, firing tear gas and bullets killing four people and wounding dozens more, police and medical sources said.

The new push to end the sit-ins and restore order came hours after populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who counts millions of supporters in Baghdad and the south, said he would halt his involvement in anti-government unrest.

Sadr's supporters, who had bolstered the anti-government protesters and sometimes played a role in protecting them from attacks by security forces and unidentified gunmen, began withdrawing from sit-ins early on Saturday after Sadr's announcement.


 Iraqi security forces kill four demonstrators in raid of anti-gov't protest camps


Iran's Zarif says Tehran still willing to negotiate with the U.S.

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 17:27:16

Iran is not ruling out negotiations with the United States even after an American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, the country's foreign minister said in an interview released Saturday.

Mohammed Javad Zarif told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine that he would œnever rule out the possibility that people will change their approach and recognize the realities, in an interview conducted Friday in Tehran.

There has been growing tension between Washington and Tehran since in 2018, when President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran. The U.S. has since re-imposed tough sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.


 Iran's Zarif says Tehran still willing to negotiate with the U.S.


In Yemen, thrilled to meet a foreigner who speaks in the holy tongue

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 16:22:21

In 1987, equipped with a foreign passport, Israeli photographer Naftali Hilger visited Yemen for the first time. He wandered through the Old City of Sa'dah, in the country's north, and got lost amid narrow alleys framed by picturesque clay buildings. He wasn't looking for Jews, but for a way out of the Old City.

œSuddenly I found myself facing a young man with earlocks, ˜simunim' , which set Yemen's Jews apart from their Muslim neighbors, Hilger relates in a text accompanying his photographs in the exhibition œYemen: From Sheba to Jerusalem, which opened this week at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. In addition to his images, the show, curated by Yigal Bloch, Yehuda Kaplan and Oree Meiri, also features objects from the ancient kingdoms of southern Arabia, as well as manuscripts that shed light on the heritage of Yemenite Jewry. 

In his wanderings, Hilger says, he met someone named Yacob Zabari, who had remained in the country even after his daughters immigrated to Israel. Zabari was thrilled at the sight of the foreigner without earlocks who spoke the holy tongue. But mostly he was frightened, and told the photographer: œWe Jews are prohibited from speaking to foreigners. If the Muslim neighbors see us, they'll inform on us to the authorities and we will both be carrying on the conversation in prison. It will be better if you come inside the house.


 In Yemen, thrilled to meet a foreigner who speaks in the holy tongue


'I was in Egypt during the revolution. Reality is not what you see on the news'

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 15:37:46

Daryl Novak, 37, lives in Toronto and arriving from there

Hello, first time here?

Yes, my first time in Israel. I was happy to add it to my list.


 'I was in Egypt during the revolution. Reality is not what you see on the news'


Nope, Bar Refaeli doesn't belong behind bars

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 15:05:53

It was touching to read about Tzipi Refaeli's offer to go to prison for a year and half in place of her daughter, the Israeli megamodel. For a moment you could sense a basic animal instinct that is always latent in humanity but reveals itself at times of danger and distress. Behold, a mother protecting her cubs like a lioness, especially her beautiful, vulnerable daughter who has just given birth to a son and is about to be hauled away and thrown into jail by the cruel authorities of the repressive machine called the state.

I suppose there will be the cynics and the skeptics who won't be satisfied with this biological-heroic explanation and will prefer to journey into darker realms. They will describe Bar Refaeli as a kind of hen who lays golden eggs and Mother Tzipi as seeking to protect this dazzling business enterprise. Well, we needn't get too agitated about the sourpusses who are not so much describing external reality as they are their own inner psyches, with their benighted twists and turns, filthy walls and dreadful odors.

In any event, the deal that's taking shape between the Refaeli family and the state prosecution both mother and daughter have been accused of tax evasion and money-laundering can be understood in the most straightforward way: Bar Refaeli is simply not cut out for jail. How can we talk in the same breath about a beautiful woman like her and a narrow little cell like that? About an internationally successful lady and a place that's geared to the wretched of the earth, the poor and the mad, the ugly and the indigent?


 Nope, Bar Refaeli doesn't belong behind bars


It's no election campaign gift or friendship: Putin just blackmailed Netanyahu

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 14:29:05

œSaturday Night Live likes to portray Vladimir Putin as the real ruler in the White House the guy Donald Trump owes for his great victory in 2016. On Thursday, at the residence of our prime minister, we also got to see the real master of the house in Jerusalem. Haughty, almost giddy, Putin celebrated his easy domination of Benjamin Netanyahu.

The event at the residence on Balfour Street also included the unavoidable presence of œthe first lady, who at the start of the visit pushed herself into the middle of the two leaders' photo op. At the end of it, she wouldn't let go of the hand of the embarrassed Yaffa Issachar. It was the ultimate humiliation ceremony. The ironic smile on Putin's lips told the whole story.

It wasn't humanitarianism that prompted Putin to offer a few words of reassurance to Yaffa, whose 26-year-old daughter is in a Russian prison on drug charges. It wasn't reassurance to the nation whose heart goes out to the young woman who has become a hostage in the hands of an evil regime.


 It's no election campaign gift or friendship: Putin just blackmailed Netanyahu


The Dreyfus Affair's lessons on anti-Semitism are as relevant as ever

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 13:54:19

The release last month of œAn Officer and a Spy, the Roman Polanski-directed adaptation of Robert Harris' novel about the Dreyfus Affair, raises the question of the enduring universal fascination with a drama that, after all, took place 125 years ago. There's no doubt that the story of Alfred Dreyfus the Jewish-French army officer falsely charged with treason and sentenced to life in solitary confinement on a remote island in the south Atlantic, who continued to fight for vindication even though the entire French government and military were unjustly aligned against him has the ingredients of a powerful and moving legal thriller and moral tale. 

Harris and Polanski chose to focus their retelling of the tale on Georges Picquart, the intelligence officer who, despite his own dislike for Dreyfus, and Jews in general, put his own career on the line to establish the innocence of Dreyfus and incriminate the actual spy, once he became convinced that the Jew had been framed. That too is an inspiring story in its own right.

But the Dreyfus saga is more than just a good story. It also has an evergreen quality a constantly renewing freshness and immediacy because many of the issues it raised remain painfully relevant today, in many societies.


 The Dreyfus Affair's lessons on anti-Semitism are as relevant as ever


Lieberman: Netanyahu heads to Washington to 'flee' immunity discussions

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 12:51:19

Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman criticized Saturday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for departing for the United States next week and thus skipping a Knesset discussion regarding his request to receive immunity in the three corruption cases against him.

Netanyahu won't be able to attend the discussion slated for Tuesday since he is set to fly out to Washington on Sunday afternoon and return to Israel by Wednesday. On Thursday, President Donald Trump invited Netanyahu and his main political rival and Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz to the White House to discuss the unveiling of his Mideast Peace Plan.

Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that both Netanyahu and Gantz had accepted the invitation, and that Netanyahu had suggested Gantz travel to Washington as well. Kahol Lavan did not officially confirm Gantz's attendance and perceived Pence's statement as publicly humiliating.


 Lieberman: Netanyahu heads to Washington to 'flee' immunity discussions


Eight-year-old boy drowns in flooded ditch in East Jerusalem

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 09:06:49

An eight-year-old boy from East Jerusalem was pronounced dead early Saturday morning after falling into a flooded ditch a day earlier.

Rescue forces found Qusai Abd Abu Ramileh at the bottom of the pit after pumping out rainwater flooding it adjacent to a construction site near the eight-year-old boy's house.

Abu Ramileh's family reported he was missing since 4 P.M. on Friday, Israel Police said.  


 Eight-year-old boy drowns in flooded ditch in East Jerusalem


'Take her out': Trump appears to call for ambassador's ouster in recording

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 03:45:27

An audio recording appeared to capture President Donald Trump calling in 2018 for the firing of the then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, a key figure in the series of events that led to his impeachment, ABC News reported on Friday.

The recording features a voice that sounds like Trump's speaking at a small dinner in April 2018 with guests including Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, ABC reported, citing sources familiar with the recording.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report of the recording.


 'Take her out': Trump appears to call for ambassador's ouster in recording


Trump's previous 'election gifts' to Netanyahu didn't pay off, but this one could

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 02:49:31

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his ambassador to Israel David Friedman have dramatically intervened in Israel's election campaign by inviting  Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival Benny Gantz to Washington to discuss the U.S. administration's œdeal of the century which the White House describes as a plan for œMiddle East peace.

Trump has intervened in Israel's three election campaigns several times over the past year, with each foray beneficial to the prime minister and harmful to his political rivals. Thursday's announcement of next week's meeting set a new bar for an œelection gift from Trump to Netanyahu, joining a long list of actions and statements that have buoyed Netanyahu's campaigns.

The biggest benefit from Thursday's news is the timing. The administration's diplomatic vision for Israel and the Palestinians was completed more than a year ago but was kept on the shelf as the administration waited for the right moment to release it. After a year of delays and deliberations, Trump's team decided to publish the plan the exact day the Knesset is scheduled to hold a vote that could determine Netanyahu's legal and political future. They insist it's purely a coincidence.


 Trump's previous 'election gifts' to Netanyahu didn't pay off, but this one could


Morocco opens $1.5 million center dedicated to Jewish culture in city of Essaouira

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 02:46:38

Morocco's king has inaugurated a $1.5 million center dedicated to Jewish culture in the city of Essaouira.

Last week, King Mohammed VI attended the inauguration for Bayt Dakira, which means House of Memory in Arabic.

The port city was formerly home to a large population of Jews, who at one point making up 40 percent of the population. Most Jews fled Morocco because of the hostility they felt following the establishment of Israel in 1948 and in decades after.


 Morocco opens $1.5 million center dedicated to Jewish culture in city of Essaouira


China death toll from virus rises to 41 as France announces first cases in Europe

Sat, 25 Jan 2020 02:03:26

China's National Health Commission has reported the number of people infected with a new virus has risen to 1,287 with 41 deaths.

The commission said Saturday the latest tally comes from 29 provinces across China, including 237 patients in serious condition.

All 41 deaths have been in China, including 39 in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, one in Hebei and one in Heilongjiang.


 China death toll from virus rises to 41 as France announces first cases in Europe


Tel Aviv, lagging behind in helping the homeless, embraces a New York program

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 22:28:55

It's hard being homeless in Tel Aviv, even more so during this winter of heavy rainstorms, flooding and below-normal temperatures. But there are still homeless people who turn down the meager solutions that city hall offers them and remain on the streets.

Late one night in the city's south this week, members of the city's unit for the homeless tried to convince a man to go to one of the city's homeless shelters, which have existed for 28 years now. These havens are only an initial solution: a clean bed, hot shower, meals, medical care and entry into a rehabilitation program. But sometimes the homeless prefer the second option: a cup of tea and back to the streets.

œPeople definitely think that everything is okay; the shelters in the city are suitable. But there certainly isn't any treatment or rehab there, the man in the street told the members of the homeless unit. He said that œonly one out of a hundred succeeds.


 Tel Aviv, lagging behind in helping the homeless, embraces a New York program


Nazi-branded beer sells out at German drinks store

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 22:25:06

Images were circulating on German social media on Friday showing a Nazi-branded beer for sale in a drinks store in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt.

The images showed bottles labelled with the name "Deutsches Reichsbraeu," or German Reich Brew, in a font favored by the Nazis on sale for 18.88 euros.

The numbers 1 and 8 correspond to the second and eighth letters of the alphabet the initials of Adolf Hitler. The 88 stands for "Heil Hitler." The new beer brand was announced online at the beginning of the year by a well-known right-wing extremist from the neighbouring state of Thuringia.


 Nazi-branded beer sells out at German drinks store


At least 22 dead, 1,000 hurt after strong earthquake strikes eastern Turkey

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 21:22:18

A powerful earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Friday, killing at least 22 people, with more than 1,000 injured, officials said.

The magnitude 6.8 quake shook Elazig province, about 550 km (340 miles) east of the capital Ankara, and was followed by dozens of aftershocks.

Sixteen people were killed in Elazig and four more in the neighboring province of Malatya, Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said early on Saturday. 


 At least 22 dead, 1,000 hurt after strong earthquake strikes eastern Turkey


34 U.S. troops in Iraq diagnosed with traumatic brain injury after Iran strike

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 20:48:42

The Pentagon said on Friday that 34 service members had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury following missile strikes by Iran on a base in Iraq earlier this month, a number higher than the military had previously announced.

President Donald Trump and other top officials initially said Iran's attack had not killed or injured any U.S. service members.

Last week the U.S. military said 11 U.S. troops had been treated for concussion symptoms after the attack on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq and this week said additional troops had been moved out of Iraq for potential injuries.


 34 U.S. troops in Iraq diagnosed with traumatic brain injury after Iran strike


Netanyahu has a friend in Moscow. Until he doesn't

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 19:59:25

The World Holocaust Forum dozens of leaders, prime ministers and senior officials from around the globe that convened this week in Jerusalem, marginalized the Holocaust. For Israelis at least, it was overshadowed by the issue of the release of Naama Issachar, which developed into the decisive test of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's diplomatic skills, and above all focused the spotlight on the amount of influence he wields over Russian President Vladimir Putin. Were his efforts to induce Putin to pardon Issachar, who was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for possessing 9.6 grams of hashish, successful? Would the frequent visits Netanyahu made to Russia in the past two years help do the trick?

When it comes to Israel, Russia doesn't really need a cyberattack to have an impact on an election: The arrest and release of an Israeli citizen are enough to tilt the scales in the prime minister's favor. But there are a number of truly critical issues pending in Israel-Russia relations and not only the œliberation of the Russian Compound in Jerusalem or a change in Israel's border-control policy toward visitors from Russia.

The military coordination in the Syrian arena is a sensitive topic that is being dealt with very carefully, requiring constant maintenance so that Israel can continue to maneuver between attack operations in Syria and not hindering Russia's ambition to complete President Bashar Assad's effort to regain control of the whole of his country. The cooperation seems to be working without any hitches if we don't treat the downing of that Russian plane with Syrian missiles in September 2018 as a hitch in coordination with Israel.


 Netanyahu has a friend in Moscow. Until he doesn't


The Kurdish economy is tottering, but at least they can still afford fireworks

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 19:43:28

A new kind of refugee arrived this month in Iraq's Kurdish region. They were the employees of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, many of whom were evacuated from the heavily protected building in the capital's Green Zone after the targeted killing of one of Iran's top military commander.

When they arrived, the Americans discovered that they were not the only diplomats who took temporary refuge with the Kurds. Employees of the British Embassy and those of other European countries arrived too, waiting for the fury of the œIranian revenge to blow over.

Among those who did not manage to escape the threat, however, were 120 employees of a Kurdish logistics company that supplies the air force base that was hit by Iran's retaliatory strike. The workers reported they were afraid to leave the base, which is in the Anbar Province, and return to their homes in Kurdistan because they feared they would be attacked by Shi'ite militias looking to engage anyone aiding American forces in the region. These employees usually leave for vacation once every three months, but they are now spending their fourth month on the base, without anyone worrying about their security while on their journey home.


 The Kurdish economy is tottering, but at least they can still afford fireworks


Anti-Jewish graffiti sparks anger in Italy ahead of Holocaust day

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 19:42:06

Anti-Semitic graffiti was found scrawled on the door of the son of a Holocaust survivor in the northwestern Italian town of Mondovi on Friday, triggering outrage from politicians and rights groups.

The words "Juden Hier" (Jews Here) were written above a Star of David on the door, recalling the signs put on buildings in Nazi Germany to mark the homes and businesses of local Jews.

The house in Mondovi used to belong to Lidia Rolfi, who joined the resistance against Nazi invaders in World War Two but was swiftly captured and deported to the Ravensbrueck concentration camp in Germany in 1944.


 Anti-Jewish graffiti sparks anger in Italy ahead of Holocaust day


When BDS means boycotting Israeli Palestinians

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 18:41:33

In late December, Tunisian-Jordanian musician Aziz Maraqa performed in the Israeli Arab village Kafr Yasif, in Galilee, before an audience of Palestinian Israelis. As a result, he was accused of normalization, collaboration and whitewashing the occupation, and was attacked in every way possible in the Arab press and on social media. It's nearly impossible in such a case to separate the artistic from the political. It is difficult to consider Maraqa's visit to Israel without taking into account the political factors that influenced, directed and shaped the event and the way it's been perceived.

Before I get deep into a discussion of this thorny issue, I want to clarify that I do not question the legitimacy of the existence or the activities of BDS the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel as a means of fighting the occupation in a nonviolent way. On the contrary: I think that it is our right as an occupied people to fight the oppression that's exerted upon us on both sides of the Green Line. But at the same time, it is our duty my duty as a Palestinian and as a journalist to stop, ask, question, challenge and point out the many political, national and moral failures in the actions of BDS, a movement of Palestinian origin that grew and expanded to the point where it has drawn many supporters worldwide.

For me, Maraqa's visit raises many basic political-moral issues. When he arrived in Israel, Maraqa went to a œnon-occupied Palestinian city in the view of the BDS movement. If he would have headed instead to Ramallah, that would have passed part of the political-cultural "test," since it is an occupied city, as far as BDS is concerned.


 When BDS means boycotting Israeli Palestinians


Israel sold the memory of the Holocaust to the interests of foreign nations

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 18:40:41

Seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we are left with no choice but to admit that Israel, the state of the Jews, is willing to sell the memory of the Holocaust to the highest bidder. The last time it was Poland, now it's Putin.

It's regrettable, albeit unsurprising, that neither historical accuracy, the memory of the victims nor even the lessons for the future drive Israel's policy. Narrow, momentary, political and diplomatic interests determine its agenda, even regarding the tragedy of the people it claims to represent.

>> Read more: Holocaust Forum and U.S. election give Israel the perfect stage to push Jordan Valley annexation | Analysis -  What's really causing a major rift between Poland and Russia -  America's shameful betrayal of Europe's desperate Jewish academics in the Holocaust | Opinion


 Israel sold the memory of the Holocaust to the interests of foreign nations


Prince Charles visits Jerusalem tomb of grandmother who saved Jews during the Holocaust

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 18:39:04

Britain's Prince Charles on Friday paid a solemn visit to the tomb of his grandmother, who sheltered Jews during the Holocaust and whose tumultuous life was marked by exile, mental illness and a religious devotion to serving the needy.

Princess Alice is interred at the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalene, whose gold onion domes rise up from the Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem's Old City. Charles was shown around the 19th-century church by Archimandrite Roman Krassovsky, the local head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who offered prayers as nuns dressed in black sang hymns.

>> Why Princess Alice is buried in Israel


 Prince Charles visits Jerusalem tomb of grandmother who saved Jews during the Holocaust






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!