Kaf Tet BeNovember – The anniversary of Partition – time to debunk the Myth of the 4 Maps

Today 29th November, or as it is quirkily called in Hebrew “kaf tet beNovember” (using the Hebrew numerical value of the calendar date), is the 71st  anniversary of the fateful UN Resolution 181 which aimed to partition Palestine and created a Jewish area and an Arab area. As we all know, the resolution was rejected by the Arabs who never fulfilled any of its provisions or conditions, while it was accepted in full by the Jews. No sooner had the vote passed in the UN than 5 Arab armies invaded the newborn Jewish state with the overt intent of destroying it before it was born. They lost the war and the rest is history. For more background on the Partition Plan and the UN vote, read my post from last year.

In this context, I’m sure that many of you have probably seen the meme of “the four maps”, purporting to show how the map of Palestinian land shrank as the Jews “stole the land”.

This is an egregious lie, and is so easily debunked. The Elder of Ziyon debunked the myth many years ago in several blog posts. See “The Map that Lies, and one that doesn’t”, and “Debunking the Map that Lies“.

From the first link above:

The maps that lie

The first panel has the biggest lie:

While I presume that the white sections are indeed the land that was privately owned by Jews, the land in green was not privately owned by Arabs.

Only a tiny percentage of land in Palestine was privately owned. The various categories of land ownership included:

  • Mulk: privately owned in the Western sense.
  • Miri: Land owned by the government (originally the Ottoman crown) and suitable for agricultural use. Individuals could purchase a deed to cultivate this land and pay a tithe to the government. Ownership could be transferred only with the approval of the state. Miri rights could be transferred to heirs, and the land could be sub-let to tenants. If the owner died without an heir or the land was not cultivated for three years, the land would revert to the state.
  • Mahlul: Uncultivated Miri lands that would revert to the state, in theory after three years.
  • Mawat (or Mewat): So-called “dead”, unreclaimed land. It constituted about 50 to 60% of the land in Palestine. It belonged to the government. …If the land had been cultivated with permission, it would be registered, at least under the Mandate, free of charge.

By the early 1940s Jews owned about one third of Mulk land in Palestine and Arabs about two-thirds. The vast majority of the total land, however, belonged to the government, meaning that when the state of Israel was established, it became legally Israel’s. (I believe that about 77% of the land was owned by the government, assuming 6 million dunams of private land as shown in this invaluable webpage on the topic from which I got much of this information.)

To say that the green areas were “Palestinian” land is simply a lie.

Even though the Elder of Ziyon’s research and presentation are excellent, I think that nothing explains the issue more clearly and more immediately grabs the attention than a video.

Here is an excellent video produced by J-TV showing, in much the same way as the Elder explains, precisely how the maps have been falsified and the numbers distorted to serve Palestinian propaganda.

Please bookmark this video (also on Facebook) and the Elder of Ziyon’s blog posts, and share them widely. Use them as often as you can when confronting lies about Israel “stealing Palestinian land” or libels of the Jews “ethnically cleansing the Arabs” when the precise opposite is the truth.

(This post was also shared at Jews Down Under).

Posted in indigenous rights, Lawfare and Delegitimization, Mideast news | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Our peace partners, the Palestinians

The world loves to exhort us to make peace with the Palestinians because after all, you make peace with your  enemy not with your friends. What the world misses is that you make peace with your enemy after he has decided not to be your enemy after all, either through his total surrender or through a sudden and drastic about turn in his attitude towards you.

In our case neither of these hoped-for events are visible on the horizon. In fact the enemy, in the shape of the Palestinian Authority, is doing its darndest to prevent any normalization with Israel, and moreover it severely punishes (up to and including the death penalty) anyone trying to build a normal relationship with Israelis.

Here are just a few examples from recent days.

The sole fatality in the massive rocket barrage from Hamas into southern Israel was Mahmoud Abu Asabeh, a Palestinian man residing and working legally in Ashkelon. His body was returned to his family in Halhoul, but his funeral was a very quiet affair, rather than the usual outpourings of emotion that we have come to expect from Palestinian funerals. The reason for this was because he was killed by “one of their own” – by their friends in Hamas rather than by Israel, and therefore he could not be called a martyr. This is not meant to detract from the victim himself. I am just pointing out these facts to show what a perverted society the Palestinians have become.

HALHOUL, West Bank — At a small medical clinic northwest of Hebron, dozens of members of the Abu Asabeh family on Wednesday received the remains of their loved one, Mahmoud Abu Asabeh, who was killed in Israel by a rocket fired from Gaza earlier this week.

Mahmoud Abu Asabeh, killed in Ashkelon by a Hamas rocket

Nihal Abu Asabeh immediately broke down in tears and fell to the ground when she saw her 48-year-old son’s body. Her family members hoisted her up and helped her sit on a nearby chair.

“Mahmoud… Mahmoud,” she cried out, as medical professionals carried his body into the clinic in the West Bank town of Halhoul to wash and wrap it in a white cloth.

Later, family members and locals brought the body to Halhoul’s Nabi Younis Mosque, where they performed traditional prayers and subsequently buried Abu Asabeh in an adjacent cemetery, beside his grandfather.

The funeral was almost entirely devoid of chants and factional flags, which are commonplace at funerals for Palestinians killed in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Traditional Middle Eastern scarfs, however, were laid on Mahmoud’s remains.

The quiet funeral of Mahmoud Abu Asabeh in Halhoul

No senior Fatah or PA officials attended the burial service. In contrast, a month ago, many high-level Fatah and PA officials took part in a funeral for a Palestinian who was allegedly killed by settlers in the northern West Bank. Few journalists covered the event.

Mahmoud Abu Asabeh, a Palestinian from Halhoul, was a contractor with a permit to work in Israel, where he spent much of his time.

The Palestinian woman who was with Mahmoud Abu Asabeh at the time, and was severely injured in the rocket attack, has now asked for asylum in Israel as she fears being called a collaborator if she returns to her hometown, as Israellycool reports:

The woman has since been interviewed by Israeli TV. She describes being afraid to return to the PA since they suspect she cooperated with Israel and have threatened her and her family. At the same time, she makes it clear she loves Israel and wants to stay here.

(make sure captions enabled for English subtitles)

Again, what kind of society would punish a woman for residing in the territory of their peace partners?  The same kind of society whose governing authority, the Palestinian Authority (PA), punishes a policeman for helping change the tire of an IDF truck:

The Palestinian Authority police commander of Hebron, Col. Ahmed Abu al-Rub, has been suspended for allegedly helping IDF soldiers fix a flat tire of an army vehicle.

PA Police chief in Hebron Col. Ahmed Abu al-Rub helping Israeli soldiers replace a tire on a military vehicle on November 11, 2018. (Screenshot: Twitter)

PA Police Chief Hazem Atallah ordered the suspension of Abu al-Rub after pictures appeared on social media showing him kneeling down to inspect an IDF vehicle near Hebron. It was unclear from the pictures whether the police commander fixed the flat tire.

Palestinians claimed the images were taken near Yatta, a city of 65,000 located 8 km. south of Hebron, and that the police commander was repairing the tire of the IDF vehicle. Atallah also decided to launch an investigation against the police commander.

PA police spokesman Loay Zriekat confirmed that Abu al-Rub had been suspended pending an investigation. He said Abu al-Rub has been temporarily replaced by his deputy.

The pictures sparked a wave of criticism on social media, where many Palestinians mocked Abu al-Rub for “volunteering” to fix the tire of the IDF vehicle.

Hamas and other Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist groups ridiculed the Hebron police commander, and said the photographs were humiliating for all Palestinians.

The fact that the Palestinians consider it “humiliating” for one of their own to help Israelis, even IDF soldiers, is significant for what it illustrates about Palestinian society. How can there ever be peace if they consider simply changing a tire to be a punishable offense?

In a similar story, a Palestinian who saved the lives of Jewish children in the aftermath of a terror attack after their father was killed, was threatened with death by the Palestinian Authority for having helped Israelis. Disgracefully, his work permit in Israel has now been revoked and he has to risk his life to return to his hometown:

A Palestinian man who saved the children of a West Bank rabbi  in the aftermath of the deadly terror attack in which the father was killed, has been told he has to return to the West Bank, despite threats on his life there, Hadashot news reported Friday.

Hebron Jewish settlers’ council head Yochai Damari (left) with the Palestinian man who came to the aid of the Mark family after the July 1, 2016 terrorist attack in which Rabbi Miki Mark was killed (Har Hebron Regional Council)

Rabbi Miki Mark was murdered in a July 1, 2016, shooting. His wife Chava was seriously injured, and their two teenage children were also hurt. The Palestinian rescuer and his wife, residents of the Hebron area, helped the surviving members of the Mark family escape their overturned vehicle and administered first aid until first responders arrived at the scene.

The Palestinian man, who has not been named, received a temporary visa to live and work in Israel after receiving death threats in his home town near the West Bank city of Hebron.

“They started calling me a traitor,” he told Hadashot news. “They started to throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at my car. I was worried that when I left the house I would be burned alive.”

Following the threats, he turned to the Israeli Civil Administration, which is the interface between Israel and the West Bank. Israel decided to grant him a temporary permit to live in Israel, Hadashot reported.

He told Hadashot news that he was afraid he would be killed if he returned to the West Bank.

“If I go, it is as if I’m going to my death,” he said.

Despite his fears, he said he had no regrets for rescuing the children.

“I’m not sorry that I helped Jewish people,” he said. “I did it because of my heart. And I know that in the end, God will bless me.”

I sincerely hope G-d blesses this brave man and looks after him, because it seems highly unfair that he should have to risk his life to return to Hebron. This is not the gratitude that we were taught to show towards those who help us.

Another even more egregious story appeared today, in which Israel is working hard to secure the release of an Arab who has been arrested for selling land to Jews (apartheid anyone?):

Israel has increased its pressure on the Palestinian Authority (PA) in an effort to secure the release of Issam Akel, an east Jerusalem resident with American citizenship, who was detained by the PA’s General Intelligence Service (GIS) six weeks ago on suspicion of selling lands to Jews.

Issam Akel, abducted by the PA on suspicion of selling land to Jews

On Sunday, the Israel Police arrested Adnan Rit, the Governor of the Jerusalem District of the Palestinian Authority, for the third time this month on suspicion he was behind Akel’s detention. Rit had been arrested at his home in east Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, and his remand was extended until Thursday.

This move was one of a series of unusual steps the Israeli defense establishment has taken against senior officials in the PA as part of the attempts to free Akel.

Before Rit’s arrest, GOC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Tamir Yadai issued an order prohibiting the Palestinian Jerusalem district governor from having direct or indirect communications with several PA officials, including the head of the GIS, Majed Faraj—who is one of the heads of the Palestinian security coordination with Israel—as well as the head of the Tanzim, Fatah’s militant faction.

In addition, Rit was barred from entering the West Bank, including Palestinian Authority territories.

According to Rit’s arrest warrant, he “is involved in the detentions of Israeli citizens by the PA, which jeopardizes Israel and its citizens’ security.”

Israel has also issued a stay of exit order on Adnan Husseini, the PA’s minister for Jerusalem affairs, who has been involved in the persecution of Arabs for selling lands to Jews in east Jerusalem.

Lt. Col. (res.) Baruch Yedid, who served in the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit, argued that Israel should take harsher measures to ensure Akel’s release.

“Israel should act against the Palestinian General Intelligence Service head, who followed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s orders to abduct (Akel). Other measures are not effective, since they do not influence the Palestinian intelligence head, nor the PA’s minister for Jerusalem affairs Adnan Husseini, who strongly opposed Akel’s release,” he said.

This is not just a matter of obtaining the release of a man unfairly arrested or abducted. This could end up being a matter of life or death as the PA has on its books a law calling for the death sentence for anyone selling land to a Jew.

We are not surprised therefore when we read in the Times of Israel that:

Polls, however, have shown that Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation is highly unpopular on the Palestinian street.

In a survey conducted in 2015 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 64% of Palestinians said told pollsters they support the discontinuation of security cooperation.

How could they think otherwise? The Palestinian people have been brainwashed by the threat of dire punishment, and through their media and the influence of their honour-shame culture into eternal hatred of Israel and by extension of the Jewish people. This is continued into the next generations by their incitement in the educational system and children’s TV programs.

We will never see real peace until there is a fundamental change in Palestinian society and I can’t see how that will ever happen.

Posted in Defence and Military, Incitement, Israel news, Lawfare and Delegitimization, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Good News Friday

The weeks rush by, and seem to be nearly always filled with bad news, but then Friday rolls around and we find that there’s always some good news to accompany us into Shabbat. So here is this week’s Good News Friday installment.

Let’s start with some amazing news from Israel’s biomedical industry (via Reality). Hebrew University researchers have discovered a promising treatment for aggressive brain tumours:

A new treatment for aggressive brain tumors (glioblastoma) shows great promise, according to a report by Israeli scientists that was published  recently in the journal Nucleic Acids Research.

Hebrew University PhD student Maxim Mogilevsky and Prof. Rotem Karni. Photo by Polina Denichenko courtesy of Hebrew University

Glioblastoma is a serious and incurable brain cancer. Patients receiving this diagnosis typically have 11 to 20 months to live. One of the main difficulties in treating this cancer is that its cells quickly build up a resistance to chemotherapy.

A team headed by Prof. Rotem Karni and PhD student Maxim Mogilevsky at Hebrew University’s Institute for Medical Research-Israel Canada (IMRIC) designed a molecule that inhibits glioblastoma tumor growth by regulating the proteins it produces.

“Not only can this breakthrough molecule kill tumor cells on its own, it has the power to help former chemotherapy-resistant cells become chemotherapy-sensitive once again,” said Karni.

What a fantastic discovery! This has enormous potential to save thousands of lives and ease the suffering of so many patients. Kol hakavod to Prof. Rotem Karni and Maxim Mogilevsky as well as the rest of the research team at Hebrew University. May they go from strength to strength in their outstanding work to defeat cancer.

Moving from the bright future to our glorious past, yet another fantastic archeological discovery was revealed recently (via Reality). In a dig near the Kotel, a “beka” weighing stone from the the First Temple period was uncovered by a volunteer:

An extremely rare, minuscule biblical stone weight inscribed in ancient Hebrew script with the word “beka” was discovered in rubble taken from excavations at the foundations of the Western Wall.

The beka weight measure from the First Temple period discovered in the City of David archeological dig in Jerusalem

Only a handful of similar stone beka weights have been unearthed in Jerusalem, said archaeologist Eli Shukron, who directed the excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. He told The Times of Israel that none had previously been found with this exact inscription.

The “beka,” a First Temple-period weight measure used by pilgrims paying their half-shekel tax before ascending to the Temple Mount, was recently discovered by a volunteer in the City of David’s wet sifting project in Jerusalem’s Emek Tzurim National Park.

The word “beka” appears twice in the Torah: first as the weight of gold in a nose ring given to matriarch Rebecca in the Book of Genesis, and later in the Book of Exodus as a weight for the donation brought by the Jewish people for the maintenance of the Temple and the census, as recorded in Exodus 38, Verse 26: “One beka per head; [that is,] half a shekel, according to the holy shekel, for each one who goes through the counting, from 20 years old and upward, for 603,550 [people].”

The beka stone was discovered in dirt taken from 2013 excavations under Robinson’s Arch. According to Shukron, the earth came from a drainage canal under the foundation of the Western Wall.

Volunteers at the Temple Mount Sifting Project sort through the rubble in Emek Tzurim on the Mt. of Olives (Har Hazeitim) in Jerusalem

This beka is the only example to date of the inscription being written in “mirror writing,” said Shukron, and the letters are engraved from left to right instead of right to left. For example, the letter “bet” incised into the small stone is facing the opposite direction.

“This is the only one not written ‘properly,’” Shukron said, which leads him to conclude that the artisan who formed the weight also created seals, which are written in mirror script.

“Apparently, the seal craftsman got confused when he engraved the inscription on the weight and mistakenly used mirror script as he was used to doing. From this mistake we can learn about the general rule: the artists who engraved weights during the First Temple period were the same artists who specialized in creating seals,” said Shukron in a press release.

Unlike several hundred years later, during this era, there was no half-shekel coin. Pilgrims brought the equivalent weight, a beka, in silver to pay their tax, which would have been measured out on scales in the very spot under the Temple Mount where the tiny stone weight was unearthed.

What is key to Shukron is the location of the find: right next to King Solomon’s Temple.

This is a word that is used both inside and outside of the Bible. You don’t need to ask too many questions, just open the Bible and see it. It’s very simple. You can see beka written in the Bible and what it was used for, and there you have it,” he said.

“The Bible, the artifact found close to Solomon’s Temple, north of the City of David, the Temple foundations – everything is connected,” said Shukron.

During the Hanukkah festival early next month, the beka stone weight will be on display to the general public at the IAA’s sifting facility at the Emek Tzurim National Park. “This three thousand-year-old Beka weight, inscribed with ancient Hebrew was likely used in the First Temple, anchoring once again, the deep historical connection of the Jewish People to Jerusalem,” said Doron Spielman, Vice President of the City of David Foundation which funded the excavation.

This find is incredibly exciting, but more than that, it is extremely important in anchoring the Jewish presence in Jerusalem to our millenia-long history in this land. In a time when the international community is working so hard to rewrite history and deny the Jewish People their history and their rights to the Land of Israel, along comes a tiny archeological find which disproves all their lies.

What is not made clear in the article is that the rubble in which the stone was found was thrown out by the Waqf in their illegal vandalism of the Temple Mount as they try to deny any Jewish presence there in the past (see my post on Temple Denial).  The Temple Mount Sifting Project have been working hard for years to sift through this discarded evidence, and their efforts have paid off. But it should never have come to this in the first place if the Waqf had been prevented from their criminal activity.

Kol hakavod to archeologist Eli Shukron and the City of David Foundation which is directing this dig. I’m looking forward to more exciting discoveries!

On a totally different subject, watch this short very heart-warming video about a young man with Down’s Syndrome who is making a huge success in his service in the IDF (yes, you read that right!). The IDF likes to accept anyone who wants to and is able to serve, even the disabled and challenged, through its Equal in Uniform program.

 

Kol hakavod to the IDF which counts amongst its values the inclusion of everyone who is able. And a huge kol hakavod to Pvt. Shahaf for his valuable service and stepping up to the great challenges facing him. Shahaf gives us hope for a much brighter future.

And a final item for this week, linking back to last week’s “mini-war” in the south, a wonderful post on the heart-warming way in which Israelis treat each other in times of trouble, in a fantastic post by Lisa Shalom in the “Only in Israel” Facebook group:

Randomly ended up at this guy’s restaurant in Netanya yesterday. He told us that he’d invited anyone with an ID from the south to come and eat a meal at his restaurant for free during the rocket fire last week. He apparently ended up feeding hundreds of people.

Misada Viki

I swear there was love in that food.
He kept bringing us little extras and he put a portion of our payment straight into his charity/tzedakah box.

In a world where many are asking, “how can I get?” those who ask, “what can I offer?” inspire me.
Those who feed people with love and who don’t require you to think as they do or act as they do or for conditions to be perfect before they simply show more love NOW with concrete word and deed INSPIRE me.

Misada Viki/ מסעדת ויקי for the win.

What a beautiful story of solidarity and generosity! Kol hakavod to Misedet Viki in Netanya for their warm-hearted generosity and solidarity with the south.

May we always treat each other with such sympathy and open hearts, not only in times of trouble, but at all times.

With these happy thoughts I wish you all Shabbat Shalom.

Posted in Culture, Arts & Sports, Israel news, Slice of Israeli life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Delegitimizing Israel is antisemitic

Airbnb’s announced boycott of Jewish-owned homes in Judea and Samaria is by no means the only boycott of Israel or even the worst. The attempts by BDS to boycott Israel are never-ending, and even if they don’t succeed, they are managing to create an association in people’s minds between Israel and memes like “boycotts”, “apartheid”, “racism”, and in general delegitimizing Israel in the community of nations.

Let’s start with the worst of all the delegitimizers – the UN itself. The indefatigable Hillel Neuer of UN Watch documented last week’s outrageous UN vote on the Golan Heights and the  rest of the upcoming votes on Israel – and only Israel amongst the other almost 200 members of the UN:

Listen to Hillel Neuer on Sky News Australia as he talks about the UN’s scapegoating of Israel:

Moving to my “favourite” antisemites of the present day, see how the antisemitic activists of the Labour Party are planning to disrupt comedian Maureen Lipman’s show purely because she opposes Jeremy Corbyn and she is Jewish:

The behaviour of this group is shameful and ought to be condemned by every decent person, no matter which political party they support. But I am not holding my breath, and certainly not expecting any decency from the likes of Labour’s extreme fringes.

And to conclude today’s sad trifecta of boycotters (and you can be sure that this is but the tip of the iceberg), the British Quaker Church announced its divestment from Israeli settlements. This fact in itself is neither surprising (since it has previously declared its opposition to Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria) nor of practical effect since they readily admit they do not invest in the settlements in the first place However what is disgusting is that they compare the Jewish presence in its historical Biblical heartland (and they should know about the Bible given that they are a church) to the 19th century slave trade! From the first link above:

The Quakers in Britain Church, a group of approximately 17,000 members, announced that it was the first church in the United Kingdom to divest from companies that derive profit from Israeli activity over the pre-1967 lines, noting that to do so was equivalent to benefiting from the 19th-century slave trade.

Quakers in Britain stated that the decision had been reached in consultation with the Quakers national representative body, called Meeting for Sufferings.

It “fits into a long Quaker history of pursuing ethical investments. It follows decisions not to invest funds in, among other [things], the fossil fuel industry, arms companies, Apartheid South Africa and – going even further back – the transatlantic slave trade.”

The move is largely symbolic, since the church has not knowingly invested in such companies. It explained that it wants to ensure that it does not do so in the future. The church had already adopted a decision in 2011 to boycott settlement products.

In other words this was simply a rah-rah statement affirming their “right-on” radial chic politics and virtue signalling to all the right people that they are in agreement with them.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews uncharacteristically slammed the Quakers:

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, the central umbrella body for British Jewry, condemned the decision, and essentially accused the Quakers of double-standards in their singling out of Israel for divestment.

“The appalling decision of the Friends House hierarchy to divest from just one country in the world – the only Jewish state – despite everything else going on around the globe, shows the dangers of the obsessive and tunnel-visioned approach that a narrow clique of church officials have taken in recent years,” said BoD President Marie van der Zyl.

The Quaker’s pathetic declaration says more about the Quakers than Israel. It tells us that they care more about politics than ethics, and that they have forgotten the Bible on which they are presumably based.

This virtue signalling and radical chic politics in fact describes the motivations of most of Israel’s boycotters, whether they boycott the whole country or only the “settlements”.

Objecting to Jews returning to their homeland and rejecting any Jewish right to the territories while blindly accepting the Palestinian narrative that Judea and Samaria are their land does not only smack of antisemitism. It IS antisemitism for it singles out the Jews for discriminatory practice and scapegoating.

Posted in Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS, Lawfare and Delegitimization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Boycotting the Jews 21st century style – a how-to guide by Airbnb

Airbnb for everyone – except for Jews in Judea and Samaria

One would have thought that boycotting the Jews would have gone out of fashion somewhere around the late 1940s. But one would be mistaken. The boycott has never gone out of style, it has simply mutated into “anti-Zionism”, anti-Israelism, and nowadays, the most radical chic, trendiest boycott of all – boycotting the “settlements”.

We have already seen this with the partially successful boycott of SodaStream which eventually closed its plant in Maaleh Adumim – causing the loss of over 500 jobs to the Palestinians who worked there (so much for caring about Palestinians) – and moved to the Negev.

There have been several other boycott attempts against Israel and/or the “settlements”, aka towns over the fictitious Green Line, some more successful than others.

But the latest boycott has aroused fury in Israel: The tourist home rental organization Airbnb caved in to BDS and has announced it is delisting Israeli (i.e. Jewish) homes over the Green Line:

Airbnb agreed to boycott West Bank settlements and announced plans Monday to remove settler listings from its popular website of temporary rentals in 191 countries.

“Another BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] win!” multiple pro-Palestinian groups jubilantly claimed on social media.

Israeli right-wing lawmakers immediately railed against the decision, urging settler homeowners to take legal action against Airbnb and threatening to limit the organization’s operations in Israel.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said her office was formulating a legal plan to block the move.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said he planned to speak with senior US officials to see if the move violated American laws against Israeli boycotts that exist in 25 out of 50 states.

“Anti-Israel boycott organizations do not distinguish between the State of Israel and Judea and Samaria. As far as they are concerned, and have openly declared, the entire State of Israel has no right to exist,” Erdan said.

“National conflicts exist all over the world,” he said, so Airbnb “will have to explain why they specifically, and uniquely, chose to implement this political and discriminatory decision in the case of citizens of the State of Israel,” Erdan said.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the US MK Michael Oren said, “Airbnb blacklists Jewish apartments in Judea and Samaria – not Palestinian apartments, not apartments in Turkish occupied Cyprus, not in Moroccan occupied Sahara, not in Tibet or the Crimea.
“Airbnb’s policy is the very definition of antisemitism. No one should use its services,” Oren added.

Of course the Palestinians are delighted, and typically are demanding an even wider boycott. Anything that harms Israel is good for them:

PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat welcomed the move, but said the Airbnb statement did not go far enough.

“We reiterate our call upon the UN Human Rights Council to release the database of companies profiting from the Israeli colonial occupation. Israeli settlements are not just an obstacle to peace but defy the very definition of peace,” Erekat said.

Ah, how could we manage without the ineffably smug self-important Human Rights Watch?

Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director at the international NGO Human Rights Watch said the move was “an important recognition that such listings can’t square with [Airbnb’s] human rights responsibilities.”

The NGO took credit for the Airbnb decision, which came just days before the group was set to publish a major report on its activities in the settlements.

“For two years, Human Rights Watch has spoken with Airbnb about their brokering of rentals in West Bank settlements, which are illegal under international humanitarian law and for which Palestinian ID holders are effectively barred from entering. We urge other companies to follow suit,” Ganesan said.

I’m trying to figure out how many lies there are in this one sentence.

  1. Settlements are not illegal under international humanitarian law, they are at most disputed; and

2. Palestinian ID holders are not barred from entering settlements. That is such an outright lie I am sputtering. How did a Palestinian ID holder who worked in a “settlement”  murder Ziv Hajbi and Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel Hy’d if Palestinian ID holders were not permitted to enter settlements? How DARE they lie like that??

… “We spent considerable time speaking to various experts, including those who have criticized our previous approach, about this matter. As a global platform operating in 191 countries and regions and more than 81,000 cities, we must consider the impact we have and act responsibly,” Airbnb said.

The company explained that it had developed a case-by-case framework that it planned to follow in situations of territorial dispute, which included consideration of whether the listing of such properties contributed to “existing human suffering” and had a “direct connection to the larger dispute in the region.”

Who made Airbnb the arbiters in the territorial dispute between Israel and the Palestinians? Did they ask the Israeli side for their opinion too? Or did they just stick to the Palestinian side and the antisemitic boycotters?

Meanwhile their ever-so self-righteously “hopeful” aspirations are a load of poppycock. They are pre-judging the outcome of any negotiations and deciding where the borders of Israel should lie.

And of course, they are still listing Palestinian homes in the same area. If the land is disputed, it is disputed between both sides. In other words, this is plain old antisemitism disguised as “right-on” trendy PC.

“Airbnb has deep respect for those views. Our hope is that someday, sooner rather than later, a framework is put in place where the entire global community is aligned so there will be a resolution to this historic conflict and a clear path forward for everybody to follow,” Airbnb said.

“As of today, this is an aspirational hope. People of goodwill have been seeking this goal for decades, but we continue to hope for a durable, lasting peace,” the company added.

Of course Peace Now (should be renamed “Surrender Now) approves of this message. They never met a Jew over the Green Line that they coudl like, and never met a Palestinian they disapproved of.

The Israeli NGO Peace Now said, “Even if the Green Line is invisible to Bibi [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] and [Education Minister Naftali] Bennett, the rest of the world distinguishes between Israel and the occupied territories.

“Airbnb is still choosing to support our economy, just not the government’s controversial pet settlement project,” Peace Now said.

 

Leave it to Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, a genuine expert in international law, to put the matter straight and call out Airbnb for what they are:

Legal expert Eugene Kontorovich said that the decision had nothing to do with a moral stance.

“This is not about disputed territories, as Airbnb has listings in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara, Turkish-occupied Cyprus, and more. So it is only Jewish properties in the Jewish homeland that are banned.” Kontorovich is Director of International Law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum.

As Michael Oren is quoted above, the Airbnb decision is discriminatory and even antisemitic. It is not delisting Palestinian apartments over the Green Line, only Israeli (i.e. Jewish) ones. And contrary to their self-righteous claim, Airbnb do indeed list apartments in every other disputed jurisdiction!

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin urged Airbnb to revoke their decision, but meanwhile he called for retaliatory measures against the company:

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin urged Airbnb to walk back the “discriminatory” decision, saying in a statement that he had already instructed his office to draw up measures designed “to limit the company’s activity across the country.”

Levin said he had also instructed his ministry to implement a special program to encourage tourism and accommodation in West Bank settlements.

Levin said “this was a disgraceful and miserable decision, and a disgraceful surrender by the company,” the statement said.

The mayor of the large settlement of Efrat, south of Jerusalem, said Airbnb’s decision was a capitulation to “extremists.”

“The decision does an injustice to Israelis living in [the West Bank], constitutes a surrender to extremists and is a mistake that distances peace,” Oded Revivi said in a statement.

Writer and commentator Laura Ben David announced that she will be deleting her Airbnb account in retaliation:

Buh-bye Airbnb… And to think I was about to start managing apartments through them 😳

There are conflicts all over the world. Why does Airbnb feel the need to make a political statement all of a sudden? Call it what you want but when you single out Jewish business to boycott – and only Jewish business – it’s #antisemitism.

Head of NGO Monitor Gerald Steinberg noted:

In case you need actual proof, here are the listings from Gaza – yes, the terrorist controlled Gaza.

Prof. William Jacobson from Legal Insurrection also challenges Airbnb on their discriminatory boycott:

This policy on disputed territories raises several questions about why Jews are being singled out. For example, you can rent through Airbnb in occupied Tibet.

It’s pretty clear that when Airbnb says “disputed territories,” what is means is “disputed territories” controlled by Jews.

I emailed Airbnb’s press office the following questions:

With regard to the announcement regarding Israeli Settlements, https://press.airbnb.com/listings-in-disputed-regions/ , please respond to the following questions:

1. Are only Jewish homes in West Bank subject to this ban, or does it include non-Jewish (Palestinian) homes in the West Bank?

2. Does it cover the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, or any part of “East” Jerusalem?

3. Can you name any other area that is subject to ban under your disputed territories policy other than Jewish homes in the West Bank?

As Prof. Jacobson acidly notes:

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging people to boycott Airbnb following its boycott of Jews in Judea and Samaria:

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights NGO is urging its 400,000 constituent members and Jews the world over to boycott Airbnb after its CEO announced it will no longer allow its services to be used by Jewish residents on the West Bank.

“This is double standard anti-Semitism pure and simple. Nowhere else on the planet has Airbnb stopped making its service available in disputed territories, except Judea and Samaria,” said Rabbis Marvin Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC Founder and Dean and Associate Dean and Director, Global Social Action Agenda.

“To be clear, no Israeli leader, left, right, or center, would ever return to the indefensible ‘Auschwitz borders,’ a term coined by the founder of Israel’s peace movement, the late Israeli Foreign Minister, Abba Eban,” they added.

“We take note that Airbnb has no problem doing business in the territory of the Palestinian Authority, which names schools and shopping centers in honor of mass murderers who have killed innocent civilians and have a ‘pay to slay’ policy when it comes to killing Jews.

If you need alternatives to Airbnb, here is a partial list of other options: 9 Airbnb Alternatives.

It is utterly disgraceful that an international enterprise sees fit to interfere in Israeli politics and take it upon themselves to decide which territories are “illegal” for Jews and which are permitted.

Despite all their righteous declarations that they feel a “responsibility”, blather about human rights, and express concern about international law, the sole effect of their declaration is blatant antisemitism.

If that’s how they feel at least they should be honest about it.

Posted in Boycotts and BDS, Incitement, indigenous rights, Israel news | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Despite it all – Good News Friday

As has happened so many times recently, I had my doubts about posting a Good News Friday installment today. I am still simmering over this week’s mini-war and the fiasco of the ceasefire, and the last thing I wanted to do was find some good news.

But davka because of that, I came to the conclusion that we (or at least I personally) need a break from the stress and enjoy some good news before Shabbat.

First, some great news for diabetics: An Israeli startup has developed an innovative insulin capsule to replace injections for diabetics: (via Suzanne):

While there is currently no cure for either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, a range of breakthrough Israeli medical technologies is changing the rules of the game for diabetics.

Although diabetes is often associated with insulin injections, Jerusalem-based Oramed Pharmaceuticals has developed an innovative oral insulin capsule that transforms injectable treatments into oral therapies. The capsules, for both types of diabetes, are currently in advanced Food and Drug Administration clinical trials.

Nadav Kidron, CEO of Oramed Pharmaceuticals, shows an insulin pill (photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)

“We have something that can help hundreds of millions of people around the world,” Oramed CEO and cofounder Nadav Kidron told The Jerusalem Post.

Together with Nobel Prize winner Prof. Avram Hershko, they developed a previously-unimaginable solution that enables proteins, such as insulin, to be delivered orally and intact into the liver – the organ that regulates the secretion of insulin into the bloodstream.

“Rather than treating excessive glucose in the blood, we shut off production from the source. This is a much more physiological way of treating diabetes. The vision is that the new paradigm of treating diabetics is by diet, exercise, oral insulin and, eventually, injectable insulin,” Kidron said.

ORAL ADMINISTRATION of current injection-only therapies for conditions including diabetes also offers clear benefits for patient lifestyles.

“There should be a world that will push back the point where patients are insulin-dependent, which is also far more expensive. The dream is to see smiling kids and adults because they can have a better lifestyle which can cost less, and both they and society will be much happier.”

In November 2015, Oramed signed licensing and investment agreements worth up to $50m. with Chinese investment and incubation company HTIT for exclusive rights to market the company’s insulin capsules in China, Hong Kong and Macau. Kidron anticipates that their product will be registered in China before the US.

This is excellent news for diabetics, and what’s more, the company is now working on transforming other injections into pills. This will transform people’s lives. Kol hakavod to Nadav Kidron and Prof. Avram Hershko on the brilliant innovation.

Another Israeli biomedical breakthrough was revealed this week as researchers at Tel Aviv University said they have invented the first fully personalized tissue implant which will prevent rejection (via Reality):

Researchers at Tel Aviv University say they have invented the first fully personalized tissue implant, made up of a patient’s own materials and cells, paving the way to engineering a variety of implants from just one small fatty tissue biopsy and making the risk of an immune response to an organ implant “virtually disappear.”

A small piece of a fat biopsy from a patient is engineered to become any type of tissue implant for regenerating defective organs, including the heart, spinal cord and brain, with minimal risk for rejection (Prof. Tal Dvir’s lab; Tel Aviv University)

In their study, the researchers took fatty tissue from patients’ stomachs and separated the cells from other, acellular material. The researchers then manipulated the cells to transform them into pluripotent stem cells — cells that can develop into any kind of cells, from neurons to cardiac cells to spinal cord cells.

“This procedure to create stem cells from adult cells in the body is a well-established procedure that has been done,” said Prof. Tal Dvir of TAU’s Department of Biotechnology, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and the Sagol Center for Regenerative Biotechnology, who led the research for the study.

Then they took the acellular material and transformed it into a personalized hydrogel, a biomaterial that supports cells and allows them to form a functioning tissue. Combining the hydrogel with the newly created stem cells, the scientists then created personalized tissue implants of many types (spinal cord, dopaminergic, cardiac and fatty tissues). The materials could then be implanted in animals, showing minimal immune response.

The researchers have also shown that these patient-specific biomaterials do not induce an immune response in humans. In both animals and human blood, Dvir said, there was no immune response to the personalized materials, “making the risk of an immune response to an organ implant virtually disappear.”

“Until now researchers used synthetic materials or animal materials to support the stem cells to create the tissue for the implant,” said Dvir in a phone interview. But such implants can induce an immune response that leads to rejection of the implanted tissue. This means that patients receiving engineered tissues or any other biomaterial-based implants — either synthetic or from other animals — are treated with immuno-suppressors, which themselves endanger the health of the patient.

For this reason, said Dvir, the development of such implants is still in the experimental phase only.

“In our case, we rely on the patients’ own cells and their own materials, without triggering any adverse response from the immune system,” he said. “We create patient-specific cells and personalized hydrogels, and we showed, in mice, that there was no immune response after implantation.”

The system can be used to engineer cardiac, spinal cord, cortical and other tissue implants to treat different diseases, said Dvir. “Since both the cells and the material used derive from the patient, the implant does not provoke an immune response, ensuring proper regeneration of the damaged organ.”

“We could create and implant cells that can help regenerate spinal cord cells, or those of an infarcted heart or brain trauma,” he said. To combat Parkinson’s, patients could be implanted with neurons that secrete dopamine.

This is a fantastic development with enormous potential to save thousands of lives every year, plus making the lives of transplant recipients so much easier. Kol hakavod to Prof. Tal Dvir and the entire research team at Tel Aviv University.

Another fascinating Israeli development, this time in the technological field, is an automated grocery-pricing system powered by artificial intelligence that will prevent food wastage due to expiry dates:

About half of all the food produced in the world is wasted every year.

That’s about two billion tons of food, worth billions of dollars. It’s a shocking statistic, and at the end of the day, it’s not just the supermarkets or food producers that pay the price – it’s all of us. A hungry planet with limited resources, a high carbon footprint, and rapidly changing climate cannot afford to throw food in the bin.

A new Israeli startup, Wasteless, hopes to help cut some of this waste with a new AI system that will transform how supermarkets approach food expiration dates.

The Wasteless variable pricing system provides an incentive to buy products soon to expire. Photo by Natasja Verschoor

“Food expiration dates are the main cause of retail waste and the cost is tremendous, both to business and to the environment,” says Oded Omer, co-founder of Wasteless. “Food is the single largest product in landfills, where it emits extremely harmful gases, including methane.’’

Wasteless, which was founded in 2017, has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) technology that can offer customers a variable pricing system based on a product’s expiration date. A carton of milk that is set to expire in a few days will cost less than one due to expire in 10 days.

It sounds simple, but the technology behind is not. The Wasteless pricing engine employs a branch of machine learning called reinforcement learning, which automatically maps inventory stock and time of day into a series of optimal prices.

The proof in the pudding comes from a Wasteless pilot project done in partnership with a leading Spanish retailer to assess whether the technology could help improve the key critical elements in the retailer’s operations.

The data collected indicated that Wasteless technology slashed one-third of food waste from the retailer’s supermarkets, while producing a 6.3 percent increase in revenue.

What a brilliant idea! Food wastage is practically a crime in my eyes, with so many poor and hungry going without enough food. If this program can help, and bring a profit to the supermarkets too, then it deserves a medal! Kol hakavod to Oded Omer and his Wasteless company. May they go on to greater success.

And finally, something completely different, a sweet story about a British musician who made aliya, and davka in Israel his songs became a big hit on the international stage. (via Hadassah):

Here is a translation of the Facebook post about the musician and his video:

A small story about faith and music: Three weeks ago, a new single arrived to our friend in Kan 88, an acoustic version of Alex Clare’s Three Hearts song. They began to play it, and immediately afterwards they received inquiries about the song and the singer. When they looked into the matter, they discovered that he was a British-born Jew and he actually lived in Israel, so they invited him to the studio and realized that this was an amazing story!

This is what the radio station people say: All his life he was attracted to music and tried to turn it into his profession. A few years ago the big and important record company Island offered him a recording contract and he agreed on one condition: he does not appear on Saturday (Shabbat). They agreed to the terms but with success came proposals for large performances on weekends and Alex continued to refuse. After he refused to perform on Sukkot and be the warm-up for (the famous singer) Adele, they fired him. Alex saw it as a sign and decided to abandon the music world and try to realize another dream, to immigrate to Israel and study in yeshiva.

While studying in a yeshiva in Jerusalem, he received a phone call from software giant Microsoft asking permission to use his song Too Close for commercials. Alex gave them permission, but since this had happened in the past with other series and advertisements he did not get too excited and did not think anything would come of it. But a few days later a call came from another company, Universal Records, which was the distributor of his music in Germany. They told Alex that he had to get to Germany quickly because the song reached the first place in the charts after everyone heard the song on the commercial and asked to hear it on the radio. He left everything and went on a three-year tour, and the song continued to grab the charts all over Europe.

So Alex still lives here in Israel. He does not appear on Shabbat, but continues to perform around the world and maintain a successful career and we are happy that he came to the studio to perform his song, Too Close. The full story from Alex and the full interview.

 

What an inspiration Alex is, that he stood up for his principles and for the glory of Shabbat and would not compromise his religious beliefs. And yet he still manages to maintain a musical career. Kol Hakavod to Alex Clare who has shown us that you can follow your dream and still remain a Shabbat-observing religious Jew.

May the music and his love of Shabbat flow with us into our own Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom to all, wishing everyone a quiet, peaceful and safe Shabbat.

Posted in Culture, Arts & Sports, Judaism, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments