Good News Friday

That time of the week has come around again so quickly – time for another installment of Good News Friday.

Prof. David Newman OBE

My first item for this week is both a source of national pride for the whole country and is a personal vindication for the subject: Prof. David Newman, Dean of Social Sciences adn Humanities at Ben Gurion University,will be awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth for promoting academic cooperation between Israel and Britain:

Professor David Newman, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, will receive the award for his promotion of the academic partnership between Britain and Israel. He has been a leading advocate of the academic partnership between the countries, and a key campaigner against the British academic boycott of Israel.

The awards presented by the Officer of the Order of the British Empire are given for a significant achievement or service in a major local role in any activity, including people whose work has made them known nationally in their chosen area.

Newman grew up in the U.K. and has lived in Israel since 1982. He founded the department of politics and government in 1997 and has been dean since 2010.
Responding to announcement of his award, Newman, “I am very honored to receive this award. Promoting scientific cooperation between Israel and the UK is of utmost importance, which prove that science reaches beyond the borders of conflict…

“Science must never be allowed to become captive to the political attempts to boycott or exclude. I am particularly pleased that the award has been given to someone who promotes scientific cooperation in the Humanities and Social Sciences, as this is an important component of scientific and philosophical thought, complementing the many cooperative projects which exist between the two countries in the fields of life sciences and medicine.”

Commenting on the award, British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould said, “Prof. Newman has been an important and powerful voice for academic links between Britain and Israel, at a time when such links have been criticized by some. I am delighted that he is being honored for his work.”

Heartiest Mazal Tov to Prof. Newman on this award kol hakavod to the British recognizing the importance of bilateral academic cooperation between our two countries.  As the Jewish Chronicle also notes, this award is a slap in the face for the BDS brigade.

On a personal note, David Newman participated in our Olim reunion a few weeks ago and addressed our group about his work in countering the UK academic boycott of Israel, so it is a double pleasure for all of us Olim to see this honour being so rightfully awarded.

Shimon Peres and Barba Streisand with a girl from the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Staying with the academic world, Barbara Streisand, who is currently visiting Israel and giving a couple of concerts as part of Shimon Peres’s 90th birthday celebrations, can now be addressed as Dr. Barbra Streisand:

In Monday afternoon, three days before her much-anticipated and first-ever performance in the Holy Land on June 20, Barbra Streisand gave a different kind of show at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: She accepted an honorary doctorate of philosophy, bestowed in recognition of her contributions to music and culture and in appreciation of her commitment to Israel and the Jewish people.


“For close to 30 years I’ve had a deep connection to the Hebrew University,” said Streisand, who was last in Israel in 1984 to help dedicate a building on the campus in honor of her late father. “It’s not only home to a diverse population of some of Israel’s best and brightest students, but as you’ve heard it also houses the Emanuel Streisand Building for Jewish Studies.”

Reminding the audience that she had been only 15 months old when her father passed away at the age of 35, Streisand recalled a childhood marked by Jewish education and her own questioning nature.


“I wish the world were more like the hallways of the Hebrew University,” she said, before telling the audience she was sure that her father would have smiled upon her new degree. “He loved literature and I think he would be very proud to know that this esteemed institution is honoring his daughter,” she said.

Mazal tov to Miss Dr. Streisand on her well deserved award and on her important work.

Barbra Streisand visits the Kotel straight from the plane

While she was in Israel Streisand made the Kotel her first stop, and also greeted children from the Make-a-Wish Foundation at the President’s Residence.

Her concerts are bound to be a huge success and we hope she will return to Israel many times in the future.

On the subject of BDS-fail, there are two more items of good news to give us a smile before Shabbat.

The first concerns the much-maligned and constantly targeted SodaStream once more. The company has signed a deal with the huge American kitchen-ware firm Kitchenaid to develop a home system for making carbonated drinks for KitchenAid appliances.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu signed a bilateral Dutch-Israeli Cooperation Forum with Dutch FM Frans Timmermans

The next item, and the final item for this week, relates to Israel’s improved relations with Europe about which I posted a couple of weeks ago. From the EJP we learn that Israel has agreed to establish a bilateral cooperation forum with Holland:

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu revealed he had agreed to form a bilateral Dutch-Israeli Cooperation Forum spanning the fields of energy and technology Monday. Following a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, a statement from Netanyahu – who is also currently serving as his acting Israeli counterpart – confirmed the agreement was aimed at “increasing cooperation in the field of innovation and by bringing together representatives from the business sector, academia, civil society and the government, and to explore new fields of possible cooperation” with Israel’s close Dutch allies.

The first meeting of the new forum will be held in Israel at the end of this year by the Prime Ministers of Israel and Holland, in the company of other high-profile government ministers, following which meetings will be held every other year in each country. The latest upgrade in bilateral relations between the Jewish State and the Netherlands follows the establishment of a scheme promoting a mutual trading relationship between the allies last June, during a visit by Dutch Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs Maxime Verhagen to Israel, at the head of a delegation of 60 Dutch business representatives.


Last May, Holland was one of only two European countries to intervene in an EU council meeting which issued a highly critical statement of Israel. According to reports, Dutch representatives tried to moderate the tone of the “conclusions” which commented extensively on Israeli settlement activity. According to western diplomat sources, Dutch officials, in conjunction with their Italian counterparts, “made sure that certain element favourable to Israel, such as references to Palestinian incitement and Israel’s security needs, were inserted”.

Holland has also consistently supported Israel in international forums, such as UNESCO, where it opposed the admission of Palestine, and the UN General Assembly, and often speaks in Israel’s defence in internal EU meetings,

This news is excellent for both countries, and an extra morale boost for Israel.

With these happy thoughts I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!

This entry was posted in Academia, Boycotts and BDS, Culture, Arts & Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Good News Friday

  1. Reality says:

    what lovely pieces of news Thank You .At least each time I hear of another BDS item in the paper I’ll think back to what you’ve written & it’ll give me hope!
    Shabbat Shalom

  2. Brian Goldfarb says:

    Hear hear. Let’s keep up the pressure on the BDS mob – and mob they are – and continue to inflict these moral defeats on them. The material defeats come because people in general continue to buy Israeli products and to use all the technology that relies on Israeli know-how…and care less that this is the case, providing only that it works!

    On a less joyous note, by (academic) convention, the Honorary Doctor is only addressed as such on the premises of the institution that awarded the Degree..

    Sorry Ms Streisand!

Comments are closed.