Sunday, March 31, 2019

Hamas Sends 8 year olds with knives into Israel

On Saturday morning, IDF troops found two children near the Gaza security fence carrying a knife who explained they hoped to infiltrate Israel and be sent to prison.
IDF troops gave the children water to drink and then returned them home via the Erez Crossing.

First Campus Created for Israelis with Severe Disabilities.

 Ben Sales March 27, 2019
OFAKIM, Israel — Ayala’s eyes darted around the screen, choosing words and pictures as her teacher asked her rapid-fire questions. Ayala, 11, has a cognitive disability that prevents her from speaking. But she can communicate thanks to a screen that reads her eye movements and transmits answers to questions.

“Do you want to go to the bathroom? Say yes or no,” the teacher, Rivka Dimant says as Ayala’s eyes focused on the word “no.”

“No? Do you want to show them your family? Yes. Who is that? Mom and dad! Where’s the wonderful Ayala? Show us. There she is!”

At many schools in Israel, Ayala would be an outlier. Here she’s one of more than 100 students in a school dedicated to special education, in a place designed for people with disabilities. 
Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran, where the school is located, is the only campus created for Israelis with severe disabilities.

Aleh Negev is already inclusive in the way it seeks to connect outpatients who come to the campus for rehabilitation and residents with severe disabilities who live there. And it’s about to take that concept to the next level: In October, Aleh Negev received a government grant to build an adjacent town that will be fully accessible to people with disabilities, where they will live and work alongside non-disabled people.

“This village is not an institution; this is a social community center,” said Doron Almog, a retired Israeli general who chairs Aleh Negev, referring to the existing campus. “It’s a breakthrough integration concept for the most severely disabled children and people on earth. This is the supreme test of humanity.”

The planned town next door, called Daniel, will place disability inclusion at its center. It will be built both for professionals working at Aleh Negev — there is a staff of 340 — as well as people with disabilities who use its services and others. And it will stand in stark contrast to cities across the country that sometimes make 
little accommodation for disability — from sidewalks without ramps to bomb shelters that cannot fit a wheelchair.

In Daniel, which is slated to complete construction in 2024, entrances will be wider, sidewalks will have ramps, and homes will have lower counters and sinks. Its 500 housing units also will include adjustable furnishings — like tables with wings that can go over the lap of a person using a wheelchair or, to give a Jewish example, a Torah ark 
with shelves that can slide outward, enabling easier access to the scrolls.

“In order to attract good people — doctors, nurses, physicians, administrators — you need to create a community,” Almog said. “People will not come if they don’t feel [a sense of] belonging to something which respects itself.”

Israel as a whole is beginning to embrace including people with disabilities in all facets of life, according to Avital Sandler-Loeff, director of Israel Unlimited, an Israeli disability inclusion project from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Her organization is piloting a program in which 300 people with disabilities have moved into their own accessible apartments in 37 towns throughout the country. They receive support from a facilitator at their home, as well as help finding a job and becoming acclimated to the community.

In addition to creating a better environment for the people it serves, the program is cost-effective, Sandler-Loeff said. If people live and work in a community, institutions no longer bear the cost of supporting them.

“Independent living means you get the support you need in order to live the life you want to live,” she said. “Once someone is included in the community, he needs less support. If he works, he doesn’t need care during the day. If he makes friends, you don’t need to pay for a special club.”

Aleh Negev aims to serve as a foundation for disability inclusion in Daniel, the planned town. Its 25-acre campus in the Negev Desert is home to 145 residents with severe disabilities, and provides rehabilitation care annually to an additional 4,500 outpatients. The grounds include a therapeutic swimming pool, horse stables, an accessible outdoor amphitheater and a petting zoo. There also are dental and medical facilities for locals with disabilities who have no other place nearby to access care.

It’s one of four branches of Aleh, a network for Israeli children with severe disabilities, and the only one that’s a standalone campus. Aleh Negev receives funding from the Israeli government and the Jewish National Fund.

Its construction, beginning in 2003, was spearheaded by Almog, the former head of the Israeli army’s Southern Command. His son, Eran, had severe autism and developmental disabilities, and died at age 23 in 2007. Almog became involved in Aleh when he found that facilities for people with disabilities in Israel were depressing and disrespectful to their patients.

“This son, who has never said one word, from his deafening silence told me, ‘My dear father, you are all fake,’” Almog told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, describing what inspired him to invest himself in Aleh.

Defying BDS, Conan Osiris Arrives In Israel

With seven weeks to go, a steady stream of Eurovision contestants visit the Holy Land for filming.
Amy Spiro  -  March 28, 2019

Ten days after Roger Waters appealed to him personally to boycott the upcoming Eurovision, Portugal’s Conan Osiris arrived in Israel to film a video clip for the competition.

Osiris, who is representing Portugal at this year’s song contest in Tel Aviv, hit the ground running on his first day in Israel. He met with Israeli contestant Kobi Marimi, began rehearsing for his “postcard” video for the competition and sat down with KAN for an interview on Tuesday.

 “It’s what you see,” Osiris said when asked by KAN about Waters, rolling his eyes and heaving a deep sigh. “Everybody has their content, right?” That was the closest KAN got to an answer from Osiris on the topic of Waters, and the public campaign that the former Pink Floyd front man and obsessive BDS activist waged against him.

Earlier this month, Waters wrote a public letter to his millions of followers on social media, addressing Osiris and imploring him to boycott the Eurovision

“I wrote and suggested to him that here he had an opportunity to speak up for life over death and also for human rights over human wrongs,” Waters wrote. “How? By standing shoulder to shoulder with his oppressed brothers and sisters in Palestine... by refraining from providing his art to art-wash Israel’s systematic ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian communities to expand and maintain its apartheid state.”

Waters noted that “Sadly, until now, there is no reply from Conan.”

Osiris – the stage name of Tiago Miranda – did not publicly respond to Waters.

But on Tuesday, Waters received his reply. Osiris landed in Israel for several days of filming, touring and enjoying the country before he returns in May to compete. On Wednesday, he began shooting his postcard clip at the Dead Sea, proving he has no intention whatsoever of boycotting the competition. He met up in Tel Aviv with the UK’s Michael Rice, who was also in the country for filming.

Waters’ appeal to Osiris vowed that “there are 42 [sic] finalists; among them we will find the one” who will pull out for political reasons. But with less than seven weeks until the Eurovision, the musician’s hopes that a contestant will boycott appear to be all but dashed. This week alone, In addition to Rice, contestants from Norway, Russia, Macedonia, Malta and Montenegro arrived in Israel for filming

Over the past few weeks, delegations from the Czech Republic, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Cyprus, San Marino, Spain and Belgium have also landed in Tel Aviv. Not a single contestant has expressed an intent to boycott, even the controversial Icelandic group Hatari. The only country not returning 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


(Guest blog from Gloria at Grandma's Army)

According to the  National Insurance Institute of Israel, the number of civilians murdered in enemy activity - since Israel declared its independence in 1948 - stands today at 3,134. In a country with only 6.4 million Jewish citizens, this is a staggering figure.

Enemy terror attacks have left 3,175 orphans in their wake, among them 114 who lost both parents, 822 widows and widowers and 926 bereaved parents.

Last week, another 12 orphans were added. The father of the twelve siblings, 47 year old Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, was murdered by a 19 year-old terrorist. The other two victims of the tragic terrorist attack were two 19 year old soldiers, one of whom was killed and the other is fighting for his life. Adding to the number of bereaved parents.  

As the result of a grassroots campaign, the Israeli government agreed to  recognize civilian victims of terror as it does soldiers who fall in the line of duty.  In the 1970’s,  the campaign pressured the government to pay pensions to families of terrorist victims. They also lobbied for the inclusion of a memorial ceremony for civilian victims of terror during the official state Remembrance Day ceremonies, at the Mount Herzl military cemetery. This idea was strongly opposed by the families of fallen soldiers. However, a compromise was reached in 2000 - to hold the memorial ceremony for victims of terror two hours before the ceremony for fallen soldiers. The two ceremonies continue to be held separately.
 Memorial for fallen soldiers

Until the establishment of the official ceremonies, bereaved families erected their own memorial plaques and markers at the places where terrorist acts had occurred. They are dotted all over the Israeli landscape. Even next to my Senior Residence complex and moshav Shoresh both situated in a corner of the  Judean Hills, there is a small square with no less than three memorials – two for terrorist victims and one for a soldier killed in one of Israel's wars. 

In spite of the official ceremonies for terrorist victims, some families continue to set up their own memorials. My daughter was left with five children when her husband was murdered in a terrorist attack 13 years ago. She has recently planted 33 trees in two dunam of "no man's land" adjacent to her home  in moshav Ganei Tal, in memory of her late husband, Gideon ז"ל.

A memorial website has since been set up which tells the story of the lives of 4,146 victims killed in enemy attacks since 1860 - the first days of Zionism - until the present day.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

'Israel will destroy you and we won't do a thing to stop it'

Egyptian officials assail Hamas leaders in Gaza on Thursday night after missiles are fired at Tel Aviv during their meeting • "Even if the Israelis decide to dismantle your rule in Gaza by assassinating each and every one of you" we won't "lift a finger."

Shortly after 9 p.m. on Thursday, minutes after sirens blared across central Israel and a loud boom overhead shook the area, senior Egyptian intelligence officers became outraged during a meeting with Hamas officials in Gaza.

"Just so you know," they leveled at Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh, "if Israel decides to launch a comprehensive military operation in Gaza we won't do a thing to stop it, even if it decides to simultaneously topple Hamas and conquer the Gaza Strip."

The dramatic exchange was relayed to Israel Hayom by a senior Egyptian official who attended the meeting.

"The atmosphere at the start of the meeting was very relaxed and cordial," the Egyptian official said. "A short while before the meeting we had returned from Israel with answers. We believed Hamas would accept them and facilitate a more stable and long-term cease-fire. A few minutes later an assistant to the Egyptian delegation entered the [meeting] room with a worried look on his face and handed the Egyptian delegation leaders his cell phone.

"The smiles were immediately replaced with grim faces; the delegation heads turned to Sinwar livid and told him: 'How far do you think you will get with this double game of yours? We are sitting here to hammer out the details of a cease-fire with Israel and behind our backs, you are authorizing your people to fire missiles at Tel Aviv?'"

The tones grew even tenser, the Egyptian official continued.

"If Israel decides to launch a comprehensive military operation in Gaza, this time we won't do a thing to stop the Israeli attack, even if the Israelis decide to dismantle your rule in Gaza by assassinating each and every one of you. While [Israel] is retaking Gaza, Egypt and its allies in the region won't lift a finger to stop the Israeli response."
According to the Egyptian official, Haniyeh and Sinwar were no less surprised than the Egyptians upon hearing about the missile launch at central Israel.

"Hamas is not behind the launch," Sinwar reportedly told his Egyptian guests, adding that his organization would conduct a thorough investigation to find those responsible. Sinwar asked the Egyptian officials to contact Israeli leaders and inform them that no order had been given to fire rockets at Israel, and certainly not Tel Aviv.
The Egyptian intelligence officials were unconvinced and continued to assail Sinwar. "You are lying! The blood of Gazans who will be hurt in the Israeli response is on your hands! By your own hands you will bring about the destruction of Gaza and the fall of your regime, and you've also gambled with our own safety in Gaza by shooting at Tel Aviv while we are here!"

Sinwar responded to the allegations, glumly telling his guests: "I won't ask you to risk your lives by staying in Gaza, but before you leave we ask that you contact your Israeli counterparts and stress to them that the missile launch was not intentional and certainly wasn't planned, and that Hamas isn't seeking an escalation but to wrap up the remaining loose ends on the cease-fire understandings."

The Egyptian official added: "A short while after we left the Strip, Sinwar contacted the delegation heads and told them that Hamas operatives carrying out maintenance duties near the launch batteries placed in western Gaza, in preparation for a future clash with Israel, apparently fired the missiles mistakenly. According to Sinwar, Hamas detained one operative and promised to detain others and bring them to justice."

Hamas also acquiesced to the Egyptian demand that it cancel Friday's "March of Return" border demonstrations, which it conducts weekly, and that its so-called "March of a Million," planned for late March, either refrains from violence or is also canceled altogether.

Friday, March 15, 2019


by Barbara Sofer  March 14, 2019 

What are those starry-eyed religious newlyweds doing on the stage of the 2019 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit – Israel’s largest hi-tech gathering? Isn’t technology about cybersecurity, digital FinTech, cloud mobility?
The truth is that both Adir and Liat Grainer Siman Tov from Hod Hasharon might have attended the summit anyway. With 18,000 potential investors and investees from 187 countries at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, the summit is attractive for young Israelis who, like Adir and Liat, served in the IDF computer world and are now employed in technology.

But on stage they are demonstrating one of the achievements of Israel’s industry: a stand-up wheelchair by a Yokne’am-Illit-based company called UpnRide. Six-and-a-half years ago, then-IDF soldier Adir was paralyzed from the chest down. Confined to a wheelchair, his dream was to stand – not sit – under the wedding canopy.
Israeli ingenuity came to the rescue. UpnRide, a robotic standing wheelchair, was designed by Amit Goffer, a mechanical engineer who also became paralyzed in an accident. He first designed ReWalk, the exoskeleton which has helped paraplegics walk. UpnRide, which works for quadriplegics, takes mobility much further.
UpnRide isn’t at the summit merely to showcase its success. It is looking for the right investors to increase the company’s forward mobility, too.
No one can question the good of UpnRide. The advantages of a standing wheelchair seem obvious – letting quadriplegics see the world at eye level, and with a single push of a button change their world by allowing them to stand and sit at will. The robotic device is able to navigate on indoor and outdoor surfaces without tipping.
Which brings us back to our beautiful young couple. Adir and Liat Siman Tov.
They met on a dating app, not surprising for two techie young people. Adir was already paralyzed. They dated for seven months, but Liat says she knew he was “the one” from their first date. She was looking for someone who was smart, interesting and religious. She wanted to be able to laugh with her husband and to feel “she was home” when they were together. “When he proposed, I said yes right away. I love him. He’s extraordinary,” she said. She was 26 and he was 27.
She knew he very much wanted to stand at the wedding; but every time she asked him how he was going to accomplish this, he changed the topic – even on the phone the day before the wedding.
He didn’t tell her that 40 days before the wedding he wrote to UpnRide and told them of his dream. They invited him to the company to see the product.
Liat was sitting in the bride’s chair, accepting blessings and praying. Around her, friends were singing quietly when she saw a group approaching her. “I looked for Adir and saw him standing taller than anyone else. My heart was beating so hard I could hardly breathe. His face is always glowing, but it was glowing more,” she said.
“My heart was beating fast, too,” Adir says.
He approached Liat, and they exchanged knowing, loving glances as he lifted the veil, and the wedding went forward.

“I could do it from above, looking down at my lovely bride, as I dreamed,” said Adir. “I couldn’t contain my happiness.”

That’s impact.

Monday, March 11, 2019

UNHRC Bashes Israel Yet Again

The UN's 47-nation Human Rights Council is planning to launch an unprecedented assault against Israel on March 18th, when the Jewish state will be singled out for an entire day—a pariah treatment meted out to no other nation—as the council presents seven separate reports alleging Israeli war crimes. 
The March 18th assault will culminate in five biased resolutions condemning Israel, the drafts of which have been obtained by UN Watch. Iran, North Korea and Syria will get only one resolution each, while there will be none on Turkey, Zimbabwe, China, Pakistan and other oppressive regimes. 
An early version of one of the reports was released at a surprise press conference on Thursday, when the UNHRC's commission of inquiry into Israel's "assault" on "civilian protests" on the Gaza border accused Israel of "crimes against humanity."
Meanwhile, the office of UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet launched a social media blitzkrieg against Israel to support the inquiry's war crimes allegations, calling into question the commissioners' independence from the notoriouly anti-Israeli Geneva-based staffers, who in 2009 orchestrated the infamous Goldstone Report.
Significantly, the new Gaza inquiry's report calls on countries around the world to "arrest persons alleged to have committed the international crimes" — in other words, Israeli soldiers and commanders — and to subject them to "individual sanctions" including "a travel ban or an assets freeze." 
The report further calls for the UN rights chief to "manage the dossiers on the alleged [Israeli] perpetrators," to be provided to national and international tribunals, "including the International Criminal Court."
IDF soldiers “intentionally shot children, they intentionally shot people with disabilities, they intentionally shot journalists,” said commissioner Sara Hossain of Bangladesh.
UN Watch, which submitted a series of detailed submissions of fact and law to the inquiry, expressed grave disappointment that these were entirely ignored by the UN, and released its initial response to the report, which gives a free pass to Hamas terrorists.

Why Do the ‘Greens’ Hate Israel?

by Joshua S. Block   March 7, 2019
The day of March 30, 2018, marked the beginning of violent Hamas-orchestrated riots along the Israeli-Gaza border. Many thousands of acres of Israeli farmland and beautiful wildlife reserves have been destroyed because of a willful assault on nature, carried out by incendiary airborne devices launched by Palestinian terrorist organizations.

The shameful weaponization of nature is a major concern to the global green movement that advocates a progressive, socially democratic left-wing agenda informed by ecological wisdom and environmental protection.
Or, you would think so.

But while Israel’s farmlands were devoured by flames and defenseless animals suffocated in raging fires, representatives of the American Green Party traveled in November to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to deliver a letter calling for a full investigation into alleged “war crimes” committed by Israel against the Palestinians.

The letter claims that Palestinian rioters “have defended themselves mostly with rocks, burning kites, balloons and tires, homemade rockets and starkly tragic human suicide bombers” in the face of “the heavily blockaded Gaza border.”

Nowhere in the letter was the Green Party calling for an end to the Palestinian war on nature, even though the deliberate stockpiling and burning of thousands of tires on the border fence caused serious environmental damage and jeopardized the health of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.

Neither were they calling for an immediate stop to animal cruelty, even though Hamas used animals to set the fires – and with barrages of incendiary kites and balloons, caused an unprecedented destruction of their natural habitats, as well as the animals themselves.

In a world that faces continuing environmental and ecological catastrophes in the form of mass pollution, climate change, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, it is indeed absurd that the US Green Party has chosen to make the stigmatization of Israel as a priority.

Lending extra absurdity to the stigmatization policy is the fact that Israel excels in many areas championed by the international green movement – from the protection of natural resources to cutting-edge solutions for water shortages, reduced pollution and sustainable energy conservation. Then why is the Green Party so obsessed with Israel?

The Green Party promotes “the creation of one secular, democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan” – a thinly veiled call to end Israel as a Jewish state, which echoes the rallying cry of Palestinian terrorist organizations: “From river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

But that’s not enough. The Green Party also supports the virulently anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that is aimed at ending Israel’s very existence. In the name of its so-called “social justice” and “identity politics,”

Cloaked in the language of progressive idealism, far-Left antisemitism has been mainstreamed by traditional left-wing actors. That’s why this form of antisemitism is so dangerous. The Labour Party in Britain is one example. The Green Party in the US – which is prepared to endorse a form of discrimination that other democratic parties have made clear is completely unacceptable – is another.

There’s nothing “green” about the ghettoization of Israel.