Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Why Israel chose to aid an ailing enemy

 For full article read https://www.jns.org/opinion/why-israel-chose-to-aid-an-ailing-enemy/

  It’s the kind of story that drives a lot of friends of Israel nuts. One of its chief opponents, Palestinian Liberation Organization senior leader Saeb Erekat recently fell ill with COVID-19. Faced with the decision as to where to be treated, it was only natural that instead of going to a Palestinian hospital or even one in neighboring Jordan, he chose to go to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

 This is, after all, the same person who spent his career lying about Israel, and smearing it as a nation of oppressors and war criminals. He’s part of a government that spends far more on paying salaries and pensions to terrorists and their families than on hospitals. Indeed, in March of this year, he actually went as far as to falsely allege that Israelis were spitting on Palestinian cars so as to spread the coronavirus to them. And though he has served as the P.A.’s chief peace negotiator, he’s spent his tenure in that position working to make peace negotiations impossible, swearing that he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state and end the ongoing conflict.

 However, when faced with the question of where was the best place in the region to seek help, Israel was the obvious answer. One of the region’s pre-eminent health-care facilities, Hadassah and its doctors took him in.

 The better question is: Why would Israel, which has been on the receiving end of his vitriol, slanders and worse, open its doors to Erekat and do what it could to save him?

Some Israelis and friends of the Jewish state can’t understand it. They see this willingness to help even enemies as a particular form of weakness.

Others think that it was wrong of the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to exact concessions from the Palestinians in exchange for what may well be the best chance of saving Erekat’s life. And it wasn’t just right-wingers saying that. Michal Cotler-Wunsh, a moderate member of the Knesset from the Blue and White Party, asserted that prior to admitting him, Israel should have gotten the P.A. to agree to reciprocal humanitarian gestures, such as returning the bodies of slain Israeli soldiers being held by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

One pragmatic answer is that for all of the antagonism between Israel and the P.A., in addition to the latter’s refusal to make peace, the day-to-day working relationship between them continues. There is a fair amount of security coordination going on that is partly aimed at reducing Palestinian attacks on Israelis, yet also focused on keeping Abbas alive against threats from his Hamas rivals.

But the real reason goes far deeper than that.

As much as Israel is depicted as a militarized state that is dominated and governed by its security establishment—Jewish values still play a crucial part in its decision-making. Being a Jewish state necessarily involves considerations that a purely utilitarian approach to life would reject.

 It’s doubtful that any other country would be so generous to an enemy, yet somehow, the notion that Israel would turn away a person in need is inconceivable. Unlike the English common-law tradition, there is a specific Jewish obligation to help others rather than to stand by only watching their plight.

 Like the peace offers that Erekat and his comrades have repeatedly rejected, no one will give Israel credit for its unilateral humanitarianism. But it’s entirely natural, if also frustrating, that Netanyahu would help a Palestinian leader in need even when we know that if the shoe were on the other foot, Israel’s foes would not do the same.

The instinctual application of traditional Jewish values by the Jewish state’s secular government should not surprise anyone. Even when it will not advance Israel’s cause, behaving decently to those who would not reciprocate such a gesture is still the default position of any government of the Jewish state.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Holocaust Educarion Changed Forever

From The Times of Israel

 With the tap of a smartphone, Mark Zuckerberg just had an unfathomable impact on the future of Holocaust education.

He decreed that denying or distorting the Holocaust just won’t fly on his 2.4 billion-user platform. People can no longer hide behind the excuse of “free speech.” It is, declared Zuckerberg, “hate speech.”

The impact this will have on the news feeds of so many people is huge. What is more, Facebook, the gold standard in social media, has set a precedent which other social media platforms will ultimately be expected to follow.

Himmler himself started the work that Holocaust deniers have been doing. Already from May 1942 in the midst of the Final Solution, the Sonderaktion 1005 Unit were assigned to destroy evidence of the crime by exhuming mass graves and cremating the bodies. Himmler spoke in 1943 of the crime and the need to deny it,

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Co-Existence Par Excellence

 Arab Contractor Donates Prayer Area to Israeli Community in Samaria

 By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 13 October 2020

An Arab contractor who paved an open space that will serve the worshippers at the Israeli community in Samaria decided to donate it.

The contractor, Rami Yihya from Teibeh, was hired by the members of the Yemenite synagogue in Einav to prepare a proper area at which they could pray during COVID-19, when the synagogues are closed.

Hearing that the construction was meant for prayer, Yihya donated the materials and work time.

"This is a holy place," he explained while speaking at a ceremony held this week after the conclusion of the construction at which he was the guest of honor, "God will pay me", he added.

He further shared that after the murder of Rabbi Achiad Ettinger in a terrorist attack in March 2019, he came to pay his respects to the family and saw that the family's 12 children were sleeping on mattresses on the floor. He built beds for them and repainted the house.

He visits the family on a weekly basis. "We are all human beings," he stressed.

His gesture was warmly welcomed by Israelis on social media.

"I shed a tear. May there be more people like him," one Israeli tweeted.

"Tears. I have heard moving stories in my life, but I have never experienced such a story about a (seemingly) simple person with a sensitive mind and a well-developed sense of grace," wrote another.

"People like Rami are the real hope for a better world. If there is a narrow crack through which coexistence can pass, it is thanks to Rami the contractor," he added.


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Saudis Care Little for the Palestinians


The Saudi public is well-informed today and that it no longer

cares about the Palestinian cause or about Arab interests.

The Palestinians “have lost"

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Israeli-made COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Start

 The Hadassah Medical Organization is slated to begin a clinical trial with an Israeli-made COVID-19 vaccine this month. One hundred volunteers are being recruited to participate at Hadassah and Tel Aviv’s Sheba Medical Center.

The vaccine, developed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), was tested successfully on hamsters. IIBR announced in June that hamsters who were given its vaccine and later exposed to the contagion did not contract the coronavirus.

The initial phase of the human trial will test for any major side effects. Should the initial results prove positive, the trials will be expanded to hundreds of volunteers in additional medical centers around the country. Volunteers who receive the vaccine will be paid, and they will remain under medical surveillance for a year.

While the experiment still requires the approval of the Israeli Ministry of Health’s Helsinki Committee, which oversees the rights, safety, and well-being of participants recruited for medical research, Hadassah and Sheba have already begun preparations to recruit young and healthy volunteers.

IIBR engineered the vaccine by replicating a virus that is not harmful to humans and replacing one of its proteins with the coronavirus spike protein. This protein will trigger the production of antibodies to it, preventing the virus from binding to human cells.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

IDF Takes Control of Israeli Spy Satellite that Watches Iran

 By United with Israel Staff

Three months after Israel successfully launched the Ofek 16 satellite into space, Israel’s Space Administration officially transferred operational control of the cutting-edge spacecraft to the nation’s military.

Ofek 16 helps Israel keep an eye on archenemy Iran, among other regional threats.

Just one week after the spy satellite’s launch, the Ministry of Defense turned on its super-sensitive observation camera and the first pictures were downloaded.

Israel is known as a world leader in advanced optics and the Ofek 16 is equipped with a super high-quality camera developed and manufactured in Israel by Elbit Systems. The in-orbit shakedown testing was finished recently, after which control of the operational satellite was transferred to the IDF’s Intelligence Corps.

“The significant advantage of Ofek is a route that allows greater repetition over Iran … that allows a high-frequency of photography, several times a day, which commercial satellites almost do not allow,” tweeted Dan Harel, an Israeli expert in remote sensing.

Ofek 16 gives the IDF unprecedented access to data about Iran, whose political and military leaders have repeated for years that their goal is the “total annihilation of Israel.”

Not only does the satellite give Israel’s military intelligence agents high resolution photos of Iranian sites including those associated with its illegal military nuclear weapons program, it also provides detailed views of the activities of terror groups supported by Iran around the region in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.

On Sunday, officials held a small ceremony handing the “keys” of the satellite to the IDF’s 9900 Intelligence Unit.

Israeli Professor’s Study Rejected by Scientific Journal for Refusing to List Address as ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

A researcher at Israel’s Ariel University located in Samaria has refused the demand of a Swiss-based scientific journal to remove “Israel” from her institution’s address in her paper.

Dr. Mindy Levine heads a chemistry research lab at Ariel University studying toxicant detection, environmental remediation, and supramolecular organic chemistry. She submitted a new scientific paper to the journal Molecules.

The paper would have appeared in the January, 2021 edition of the journal, however, a group of anti-Israel academics demanded that Molecules reject the paper unless Levine agreed to say she wrote it from “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory” instead of “Ariel University, Ariel, Israel.”

Molecules has put politics over science,” stated Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, Director of International Law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum,

“It requires all authors to provide a mailing address; whatever one thinks of the politics, ‘Ariel, Israel’ is indeed the correct mailing address, as one can discover by sending a letter. The purpose of a contact address – to allow communication with the author – has been turned into a geopolitical judgement by chemists unqualified to make it,” Kontorovich said.

“Papers from authors in other contested areas have been published without any insistence on any ‘legally correct’ description,” Kontorovich noted. “Now Molecules must revise its policies for several territories, or stick with a Jewish-only double standard.”

Hundreds of Arabs study at Ariel University, which also attracts Druze and Circassian students, in addition to Jewish Israelis from a variety of backgrounds.

The anti-Israel chemists say that Ariel is not located in the sovereign territory of Israel and demanded Levine change the address to “illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel.”

One of the activists is Nobel Prize winner Prof. George Smith of the University of Missouri. An investigative report by Vox Magazine earlier this year revealed that the “U.S. government expropriated nearly 11 million acres of land from Native American tribes that was then sold to fund 52 modern-day universities – including the University of Missouri, which received land taken from the Osage people.”

The University of Missouri website lists the contact address of the school as “230 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211,” and not “occupied Osage territory.”

After receiving the complaint from Smith and his cohorts, Molecules editors asked Levine to get rid of “Israel” from the Ariel University address, but she refused. Molecules then informed Levine they would not publish her study.