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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Call your Representatives!

Something all Americans should think about in light of the explosion at Parchin earlier this month.

From here.

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Rudy Giuliani will be there, will you?

Former Republican Presidential candidate, New York City Mayor and US Attorney Rudolph Giuliani will be holding a press conference on Monday in connection with the protest against the opening of the Death of Leon Klinghoffer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. (Received by email).
There will be a press conference at Lincoln Center on Monday evening, October 20th at 5:00 PM, across the street from the Lincoln Center Plaza at Broadway & 65th Street to protest the first evening that “The Death of Klinghoffer” will be shown at the Metropolitan Opera.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be the keynote speaker at the press conference, which will be followed by a protest.
Additional confirmed participants include Congressman Peter King, Former NY Governor David Paterson, Criminal Defense Attorney Ben Brafman, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik.
Giuliani famously expelled Yasir Arafat from a concert for world leaders at Lincoln Center in 1995, explaining he could never forgive Arafat’s acts of terror. As the Mayor famously said, "I would not invite Yasir Arafat to anything, anywhere, anytime, anyplace. He has never been held to answer for the murders that he was implicated in." The Mayor said at the time, "The U.N. is one thing, the peace process is another thing. When we're having a party and a celebration, I would rather not have someone who has been implicated in the murders of Americans there, if I have the discretion not to have him there."
Rabbi Avi Weiss and a group of Rabbinical leaders will hold a prayer vigil commencing at Noon at Lincoln Center Plaza at Broadway & 65th Street in memory of Leon Klinghoffer's soul, being desecrated by the opera.
This is the continuation of a series of efforts opposing Lincoln Center’s decision to air this play.
If you're in the New York area tomorrow, you should be there. 

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'Babes of Hamas' pinup calendar not selling very well

A pinup calendar that Hamas is trying to use to raise funds doesn't appear to be selling very well.
The “Babes of Hamas” pinup calendar was intended to support the cash-strapped organization in its efforts to rebuild its arsenal, tunnels, and logistical operations in the wake of a punishing war this past summer with Israel. However, the publication has sold anemically, forcing the organization to absorb tens thousands of dollars in expenses and to dispose of the hundreds of thousands of copies it had ordered several weeks ago.
The calendar features twelve wives and daughters of Hamas operatives, including those of senior Hamas officials, clad only in a full-body chador, hijab, and niqab, completely revealing their eyes. The photographs were taken at various romantic or scenic locations in the Gaza Strip early last month, such as the beach at sunset with a boatload of weapons being smuggled in the background, or in the cleaning products aisle of a well-stocked supermarket, to emphasize the privation caused by the Israeli blockade. As a bonus feature, the calendar also includes a life-size, fold-out poster of a well-oiled Kalashnikov automatic rifle completely uncovered, positioned such that its magazine intake socket is showing.
Hamas spokesman Ashudda Nohn told reporters that slow demand and difficulty in delivering the calendars in any significant quantities to the West Bank were both to blame for the paltry sales. “We may have overestimated the popularity of the genre in the Gaza Strip,” admitted Nohn. “And that’s weird, because despite the morality patrols and enforced separation of men and women in all sorts of venues, pornography consumption here is on par with anywhere else in the world.”
Analysts say they are not surprised at the lack of revenue from sales of the calendar. “The real action is in Syria and Iraq, where people can get actual women for just a few dollars in the areas under control of the Islamic State,” says Hugh Mantraffy-King, who studies societal developments in the region. “Who’s going to plunk down forty shekels for a few photos when you can get the real thing just a few hundred kilometers to the north for a only slightly more?” Forty shekels equals about 12 US dollars. Christian, Kurdish, and Yazidi women are available for purchase as sex slaves in IS-controlled areas for as little as ten dollars, but transportation and smuggling fees add to the total.
Heh.

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Because there's no 'Palestinian state': 'Israeli Arab' doctor killed fighting for Islamic State terror group

Barzilay Hospital in Ashkelon has confirmed that Othman Abdal Kian, a Bedouin doctor who was killed while fighting for the Islamic State terror organization, did his residency at the hospital.
Arab media reported that a Beduin doctor from Israel had been killed while fighting with the terrorist group.

According to the statement released by Barzilai, Othman Abdal-Kian finished his medical degree in Jordan and began doing his residency at the hospital in Ashkelon in February after passing tests qualifying him to temporarily practice medicine in Israel.

He chose to do an elective month at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba which he was supposed to have started  in May.

Abdal-Kian failed to show up at the hospital on the prescribed date and all contact with him was lost.

Security authorities questioned the hospital administration at Barzilai about Abdal-Kian's tenure at the facility, informing them that he had foregone his medical career to join Islamic State forces.
I'm sure that if there were a 'Palestinian state,' Abdal Kian would never have done something like that. Just ask John FN Kerry.

/sarc

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Breaking: 'Palestinian' suicide bomber caught near Jenin UPDATED

Lest you think they've given up on trying to murder us....



UPDATE 2:32 PM

The 'bomber' was unarmed.

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LA hotel won't exclude Israelis in compliance with academic boycott

As you might recall, the American Studies Association has implemented an academic boycott of Israelis. The group is holding its annual meeting at the Los Angeles Westin Bonaventure Hotel and the Washington Post reported last week that, in compliance with the group's wishes, the hotel planned to exclude Israelis from staying at the hotel during the meeting.
In early November, the American Studies Association will be having its annual meeting at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. Per the ASA’s recently adopted policy, Israeli academics will be subject to unique exclusionary restrictions based on their national origin.
The use of a public accommodation for such a discriminatory event has led a civil rights group to warn the hotel that hosting the conference could violate California’s civil rights laws. The Unruh Civil Rights Act provides that “no business establishment of any kind whatsoever shall discriminate against, boycott or blacklist, or refuse to buy from, contract with, sell to, or trade with any person in this state on account of” national origin and other characteristics. It also extends liability to those who “aid or incite” a denial or rights under the law.
I am not an expert on the application of California’s anti-discrimination laws, but the notion that a public accommodation cannot host an event that itself violates the law would at least seem consistent with the text of the statute. I also happen to generally disfavor anti-discrimination laws on, among other things, First Amendment (free association) grounds, but unfortunately for the ASA, these arguments do not fare well in courts.
The ASA’s argument that it does not bar Israelis, but only Israelis who attend as representatives of their academic institutions, will not likely help them much, as the normal way for academics to attend academic conferences is as representatives of their institutions. In any case, this argument amounts to saying the ACA is not discriminating as much as they could have, which is not an advisable defense in discrimination cases.
But even the International Tennis Federation eventually got it. And so did the ASA. They've backed off.
Professor Kontorovich’s blog post apparently got under the skin of the ASA, as it wrote to Prof. Kontorovich claiming that there was no boycott of any individuals whatsoever, as Prof. Kontorovich describes in a follow up post, ASA pretends to partially drop Israel boycott:
The ASA’s executive director, John Stephens, wrote to me demanding a correction, claiming that my description of their policy was entirely “false.” Stephens claims that despite the boycott
Our conference is open to anyone, including Israeli academics and non-academics. If someone were to register for the conference as a representative of an Israeli institution, he or she would not be turned away.
* * *
Stephens went on to write that:
[The ASA] does not bar Israelis, it does not bar Israeli institutions. Prime Minister Netanyahu can attend if he wants to.
But their very own policy makes clear that it excludes Israeli institutions and their “representatives,” as well as those of the “Israeli government,” of which Netanyahu would be a prime example.
As Prof. Kontorovich further demonstrates, since the ACLJ letter, the ASA has added language to its policy (indicated by an asterisk):
Heh. Read the whole thing

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'Israeli Arab' soccer team pays tribute to traitor Azmi Bishara

Many of you might recall former Balad MK Azmi Bishara who fled the country and resigned from the Knesset after it was discovered that he helped Hezbullah spot rockets during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. On Saturday, the soccer team in the 'Israeli Arab' town of Bnei Sakhnin - which is part of Israel's national league and plays games against teams from all over the country - paid tribute to Bishara, prompting calls to suspend the team from the league.
At the beginning of the Bnei Sakhnin vs. Hapoel Tel Aviv game, the team held a ceremony thanking a wealthy man from Qatar for contributing $2 million to the team.

Balad party representatives accepted the award, mentioning Bishara’s name.

Bishara founded Balad and was an MK in the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th Knessets.

He fled Israel in 2007 while under investigation for passing information to Hezbollah during the previous year’s Second Lebanon War. He currently resides in Doha, where he is the director of a think tank and is reportedly close to Qatar’s royal family, a major sponsor of Hamas.

Fans in the stands Saturday night waved banners reading “Jerusalem is ours,” with an illustration of the Temple Mount wrapped in a keffiyeh, and “The police are whores.”

Earlier this week, there were violent clashes between Muslims and police on Temple Mount.
I'm wondering what HaPoel Tel Aviv did during the 'ceremony.' In any event, Israel's 'Football Association' is claiming they were tricked.
The Football Association said Bnei Sakhnin asked only to give certificates of honor to the team’s sponsors and did not mention Bishara, and the association will put the team’s management on disciplinary trial.

FIFA and UEFA rules do not allow soccer teams to mix politics and soccer. 
Hmmm.

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#Caring: Lebanon slams the door on fleeing Syrians

Lebanon has slammed the door shut on Syrians fleeing from civil war in their own country.
Lebanon has all but closed its borders to refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war, overwhelmed by an influx of more than 1 million people displaced by fighting, U.N. and Lebanese officials said Saturday.

Quoted by Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper, Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said Lebanon “no longer officially receives any displaced Syrians.”

He said exceptions were available for refugees for “humanitarian reasons” to be judged by Lebanon’s social affairs and interior ministries.

“We informed [the U.N. refugee agency] UNHCR that we are no longer able to receive displaced people,” he added.

Ninette Kelley, UNHCR’s representative in Lebanon, confirmed increased restrictions at the border with Syria.

“Our understanding is that people who are coming to claim refugee status are not being permitted to enter in the way that they were previously,” she told AFP.

“What we’ve seen over the last two to three weeks is that there are greater restrictions ... We’ve seen that there are fewer people approaching us for registration which is also indicative of tightening of the border.”

Kelley said there were no precise figures on the number of refugees allowed to enter.
How brotherly.... 

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'Peace partner' calls Jews a 'herd of cattle'

'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen has stepped up his attack on Jews ascending the Temple Mount, calling them a 'herd of cattle.'
"The Palestinian leadership will be taking the necessary legal measures, at the international level, regarding the aggression of settlers on the Al-Aqsa mosque," Abbas said in a speech to the Revolutionary Council of his Fatah party.
"We will not allow settlers to attack the mosque," he added, referring to Jews visiting the site as a "herd of cattle." 
On Saturday, Abbas called all Israelis "settlers" for visiting the site, which is besieged by Arab rioters who have forced Israel's police to close the Mount to Jews over the past several weeks on multiple occasions. 
"It is not enough to say the settlers came, but they must be barred from entering the compound by any means. This is our Aqsa... and they have no right to enter it and desecrate it," Abbas said.
I think someone needs to ask the State Department on Monday how Abu Bluff's comments advance the cause of peace. 

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

'Screening airline passengers for Ebola with infrared cameras a no-brainer...US is lagging behind'

An American-Israeli expert in infectious diseases has attacked the United States' failure to screen airline passengers by taking their temperatures using infrared cameras as a means of preventing passengers with Ebola from boarding planes.
According to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Professor Leslie Lobel, “the world has been asleep for 50 years regarding infectious diseases and Ebola is the wake-up call.”
Lobel is a world-recognized virologist who has studied the virus and others emanating from the African continent.
“Fifty years ago, we were dealing with eradicating polio, smallpox and yellow fever which had similarly high mortality rates. Today, most of the world seems to understand the need to screen passengers in airports using infrared cameras for elevated temperature as a simple precaution — the US is lagging behind,” said Dr. Lobel.
The American-Israeli professor has been researching a cure for hemorrhagic fever viruses, including Ebola, for a decade, the university said in a press release.
...
Earlier Friday, the World Health Organization admitted that it botched attempts to stop the now-spiraling Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.
“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” WHO said in a draft internal document obtained by The Associated Press, noting that experts should have realized that traditional containment methods wouldn’t work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.
Of course, if TSA ever started screening passengers for fevers, you can bet that (a) it would be done randomly rather than targeting people carrying the passports of affected countries and (b) it would cause long lines at the check-in counters. 
 
As to WHO, anyone who depends on any UN agency to do anything reliably (other than hate Israel) is simply detached from reality.

What could go wrong?

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'Most pro-Israel administration evah' refused to assist Israel in locating body of missing IDF soldier

I'm sure that many of you recall the incident from this past summer in which the body of IDF soldier Oron Shaul was snatched from a burnt out APC in Gaza City's Shujaiyya neighborhood. It now turns out that the IDF requested assistance from the FBI in finding Oron's body and was turned down. Why the FBI? Because Hammas hacked into Shaul's Facebook page and Facebook's servers are located in the United States. The IDF hoped that it could find out where Hamas was located using the IP address from which Hamas was posting to the Facebook page. Walla.com (via Israel Hayom) explains.

On July 22, as international news reports carried Hamas' claim of Shaul's capture, the IDF really had no idea whatsoever what happened to the Israeli soldier. The only statement made by the IDF at that point was that Shaul was missing in action. Even two days later, the IDF still did not know if Shaul had been kidnapped by Hamas or whether he was dead.
Kidnapping an Israeli soldier is one of the highest priorities for Hamas, since Israel has in the past proven willing to trade large numbers of imprisoned terrorists to get back just one soldier, as happened in the case of Gilad Schalit. The news of Hamas' alleged kidnapping triggered wild celebrations in Gaza.
The IDF and Israeli intelligence agencies initiated a massive man hunt for Shaul, but to no avail. "We simply did not know whether he was alive or not," an Israeli military official told me, "or whether Hamas had killed him or whether Hamas had simply kidnapped his body. But we had immediately set up a dragnet around the entire area to encircle the terrorists and prevent them from leaving the general area. We knew we did not have much time."
The dragnet proved porous, as Hamas terrorists had many ways of escaping especially through the network of underground tunnels they had built.
But in hacking Shaul's Facebook page, Hamas may have inadvertently given away the location of the terrorists who had Shaul or his body. That's because whenever a Facebook account is accessed, Facebook's servers would automatically keep a record of the Internet Protocol address where the account was accessed. IP addresses are leased, which then can provide a geographic location of the IP address where the Facebook account was hacked. In addition, there was also a remote possibility that Shaul had been carrying his cell phone although Israeli soldiers are not supposed to take their cell phones into battle. But if he had done so, then it was also theoretically be possible that Hamas had hacked into the mobile Facebook application on Shaul's phone. If the Israelis could obtain the Facebook server data as soon as possible, they thought they might have had a chance to find the whereabouts of the Hamas terrorists who took Shaul.
Israel made an urgent appeal to the FBI for help in trying to determine the remote source or information that would be stored on Facebook servers indicating the location where Shaul's page had been hacked. Upon receiving the request from Israel in Washington on July 21, the FBI immediately issued a "preservation letter" to Facebook ordering them to preserve all data saved on their server pertaining to the Shaul's account.
At 4:25 p.m. on July 21, the FBI contacted a United States Attorney's Office in a nearby district to initiate the legal process to get a court order to serve Facebook for server information on the account belonging to Israeli soldier Oron Shaul.
"Due to HAMAS status as a Designated Terrorist Organization (DTO), there is a great effort to locate those who kidnapped and/or killed ORON," read an FBI email to the U.S. Attorney's Office, "HAMAS is already using the kidnapping as propaganda, which is material support to a DTO."
In the email, the FBI noted there was unusual activity on Shaul's Facebook account after the time of his kidnapping and said it needed more information from Facebook that it could only obtain with a court order to be able to fully determine what "HAMAS was doing with Oron's Facebook account and possibly his phone." Was the U.S. Attorney's Office in a position, the FBI wanted to know, to immediately obtain a court order for the FBI to deliver to Facebook?
Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Attorney's Office thought it was near ready to be able to immediately obtain a court order. But before it could obtain such an order, it needed specific information on Shaul's Facebook account that it could present to the judge. 
...

But the next day, July 22, the U.S. Attorney's Office received a startling response from the FBI: "Thank You for your effort, input and assistance. I regret to inform you we have been denied approval to move forward with legal process. We were told by our management we need a MLAT [Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty] in order to continue to assist our partner with the request in question." Those words put an immediate halt to the Israeli request.
An MLAT is a standardized legal agreement between the United States and other countries that spells out the legal and diplomatic protocols in processing requests for legal information pertaining to court cases in either the United States or in another country. MLATs go through various bureaucratic channels, usually take weeks to process and would generally be used for non-pressing legal matters in which the United States or another country was carrying out a legal process such as a prosecution involving a citizen of another country. 
Prosecutors familiar with their use say that an MLAT would definitely not be used in an urgent life-or-death intelligence or counter-terrorist incident, especially with a close ally such as Israel. "In a pressing court matter, there is no way the USG would invoke an MLAT with a close ally," said a veteran prosecutor who has worked on international counter-terrorism cases. 
Law enforcement officials knowledgeable about this incident say both prosecutors and FBI were shocked at the sudden turn of events. "This sudden reversal was devastating," said one law enforcement official who was intimately familiar with this incident. "For those working this case, they felt this decision was tantamount to a death sentence. Nothing less." 
And thus, the FBI was never able to supply Israel with any information on Shaul's Facebook account that might have led to the location of the soldier or his remains that had been seized by Hamas.

 Most pro-Israel administration evah?

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Abu Bluff calls on 'Palestinians' to resist Jewish presence on Temple Mount 'by all means'

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen is calling for 'Palestinians' to resist any Jewish presence on the Temple Mount (including visitors) 'by any means.' That's a code for terrorism.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas on Friday encouraged Islamists to continue efforts aimed at preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, calling on Palestinian Arabs to prevent "settlers" from entering the site using "all means" necessary.
His comments came days after Israeli police once again clashed with Muslim extremists protesters violently demonstrating against Jews visiting the Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holiest site and also the location of the Islamic Al Aqsa complex.
"It is not enough to say the settlers came, but they must be barred from entering the compound by any means. This is our Aqsa... and they have no right to enter it and desecrate it," Abbas said.
The PA president was speaking at a conference in Ramallah after a spate of clashes this week since a Monday confrontation between Palestinian youths and Israeli police.
Abbas insisted that "defending Al-Aqsa" was tantamount to defending Jerusalem, which the Palestinians are demanding as the capital of a future state.  
"Jerusalem is the jewel in the crown and it is the eternal capital of the Palestinian state. Without it, there will not be a state," he said.
"It is important for the Palestinians to be united in order to protect Jerusalem," he added.
Funny. Abu Mazen himself is afraid to visit the Temple Mount and has not done so in years. 

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Friday, October 17, 2014

US embargo of Israel during Protective Edge was total

I only have this story in Hebrew (link here) (Hat Tip: David K). Maariv is reporting that the US arms embargo on Israel was worse than previously reported, and the result is that Israel will transfer the manufacture of sensitive weapons to Israel rather than having them manufactured in the US, despite the fact that this will cost Israel more money because it cannot use American aid money for items manufactured in Israel.

You might recall that the US stopped shipments of hellfire missiles to Israel during Operation Protective Edge. Maariv now reports that for 'days' the US totally cut off all communications with the Israeli Defense Ministry purchasing agent in the US.

The cutoff started ten days after the war began(!) when the Obama administration decided that too many civilians were being killed in Gaza.

Maariv reports that the order to cut off supplies came from the White House itself and that similar cutoffs happened in 1982 (First Lebanon War) and 1973 (Yom Kippur War).

However, the US continued its strategic cooperation with Israel, and did allow Israel to use weapons that were stored in Israel.

For those who read Hebrew, read the whole thing. I don't have time now to translate.

Shabbat Shalom. 

UPDATE SUNDAY 11:44 AM

I have now been told that this was not from Maariv, that the NRG website is now owned by Israel HaYom and that it acts de facto as the front page of Makor Rishon.

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Kerry's Obsession

Bashar al-Assad has been murdering Syrians for three years. Islamic State is overrunning parts of Syria and Iraq. Turkey is going Islamist and destroying Kurdistan. Iran is developing ballistic missiles to deliver its nuclear weapons. So what should be the biggest priority for the Middle East? If you're US Secretary of State John Kerry, it's the holy grail of 'peace' between Israel and the 'Palestinians.'
"I think that it is more critical than ever that we be fighting for peace, and I think it is more necessary than ever... As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL (Islamic State) coalition, the truth is we – there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt," Kerry said.
The US leader added that in order to achieve peace, both sides must make compromises.
"So what we need to do is recognize that we need to build peace through specific partnerships. One partnership is specifically the effort to try to drive towards this peace, to have a compromise, to find a way to create two states that can live together side by side, two peoples, with both of their aspirations being respected. I still believe that’s possible, and I still believe we need to work towards it," he said.
What could go wrong?

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#Caring: Red Cross delivers medical supplies to 'Palestinian refugee camp' in Syria for first time in over a year


For the first time in over a year, the Red Cross has succeeded in delivering medical supplies to the 'Palestinian refugee camp' in Yarmouk, Syria.
"This is the first time in over a year that we have been able to deliver aid to the people in the camp, we hope to do more," Daphnée Maret, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, who oversaw the operation, said in a statement. 
"We remain extremely concerned about the hardships being endured by the people living there, in particular the limited access to food, water and health care." 
Syria's ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Hussam Eddin Aala, said that the ICRC delivery was "the result of continued cooperation" with authorities and the Palestinian Red Crescent. 
"We have been sending humanitarian assistance in cooperation with UNRWA to the camp on a daily basis whenever the security situation allows since January 30," Aala told Reuters, referring to food parcels delivered to Yarmouk by the U.N. agency taking care of Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East. 
"We have been exerting continuous efforts to send assistance and evacuate those civilians who need evacuation," he added.
You didn't hear about this, did you? You can bet that if this were a 'refugee camp' in the 'West Bank,' the UN Security Council would have condemned us six times already.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

War? What war? Israeli high tech near a new record

Some of you may have heard that there was a war in Israel this summer. Well, that didn't stop our high tech industry which broke financing records in the third quarter of this year.
Investments in Israeli startups climbed to near record highs in the third quarter, even as the country was in the throes of the worst violence it has seen in years.
Venture investments in Israel-based companies have not only increased in number of deals – with a near 40% rise this quarter over last- but more than tripled the total amount invested in Q1 of 2014. And this doesn’t account for the hundreds of venture-backed Israeli startups headquartered in New York or the Silicon Valley.
“Basically it did not create any disruption,” says Chemi Peres, managing partner at Pitango Venture Capital, of the recent violence. “The high-tech industry continued to be vibrant, and we never delayed a product or missed a milestone,” Peres attests, adding that the single time he has feared for the safety of a team was in 2001, when one of Pitango’s New York-based companies survived the World Trade Center attacks.
While it seems plausible that regional instability would hinder deals or deter investors, “the bottom line is that it comes with the turf,” says Hillel Fuld, Israeli entrepreneur and startup mentor. “Even when it’s quote-unquote peaceful here there’s always violence – we’re surrounded by enemies – but there are more entrepreneurs per capita in Israel than in any other country, and the innovation is really off the charts.”
Much of the rest of the article complains about why the 'Palestinians' don't benefit from Israeli high tech (because much of it comes from the army). But no one is stopping them from setting up their own high tech industry like we set up ours. Oh wait... that would mean spending money on anti-terrorism inventions instead of terrorism.

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Israel puts measures in place to stop entry of visitors with Ebola

Shana tova, a good year to all of you. And a reminder: The holiday of Simchat Torah is only one day here in Israel and therefore I'm allowed to be online tonight.

I just went through about an hour's worth of Twitter feed this evening and much of it is about Ebola and the Obama administration's ineffectual response to it (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). Here in Israel, the government is taking steps to ensure that people with the disease are not allowed to enter our country.
As the Ebola scare spreads worldwide, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued instructions Thursday evening for more stringent preventive measures at the entry points into Israel, including taking the body temperatures of visitors coming from areas badly hit by the disease.
...
A drill will be held at Ben-Gurion Friday morning, simulating the arrival of a passenger afflicted with the disease. The drill will deal with the the entire process, from questioning the visitor coming off the plane, to evacuation and hospital treatment.

Earlier this week, the prime minister convened a special meeting to discuss the spread of the deadly virus which has killed more than 4,490 people across the globe. The discussion concluded that Israel should focus on monitoring travelers arriving from the most heavily-affected areas: Liberia ,Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Nearly 9,000 cases of Ebola have been reported across West African nations as of October 12, according to the World Health Organization.

As for the situation outside of Africa - Spain and the United States have seen a handful of cases in their healthcare communities. 
And we don't have 150 passengers per day arriving from Liberia. Let's hope the US and Spain don't join that list.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

International community pledges $5.4 billion for Hamas, less than $1 billion to fight Ebola

This week there was a parlor party to raise money for one of the world's great humanitarian issues. No, it wasn't Ebola. The world doesn't have time for that and cannot even come up with $1 billion to fight it. It's Gaza where for the third time in six years the world is pledging billions of dollars to reconstruct after Hamas brought on a war. What's wrong with this picture? Michael Freund comments.
Consider the following. At the Gaza donor conference, which was held in Cairo, a whopping $5.4 billion was pledged, half of which will go towards rebuilding efforts while the rest will be used to sustain the budget of the Palestinian Authority, which now includes Hamas, through 2017.

In other words, even though the Palestinians siphoned off previous aid and used it to prepare for war with Israel, they are once again becoming recipients of Western largesse.

Needless to say, the funds pledged are not contingent on Hamas disarmament, nor will any demands be made of the terrorist group to cease building tunnels to try and burrow into Israel and murder innocent civilians.

Worse yet, by alleviating the humanitarian difficulties confronting Gaza residents, the international community is effectively reducing popular pressure on Hamas to refrain from sparking another conflict and mitigating popular anger against the terrorist group.

Indeed, the decision to funnel billions to Gaza is so dramatically short-sighted, and so remarkably stupid, that it makes one wonder if Europe and the Obama administration even understand what their own interests are. After all, why on earth would they want to assist Hamas, even indirectly, to strengthen its position vis-à-vis the Palestinian population? The inanity at work here is even more pronounced when one considers that the United Nations has been having difficulty raising just $1b. to fight Ebola.

Although the disease has killed more than 4,000 people and spread to at least seven countries, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said on Friday that just $250 million – a mere one-quarter of the amount needed – has been raised thus far. “I now appeal to all member states to act generously and swiftly,” Eliasson said, adding that, “Speed is of the essence. A contribution within days is more important than a larger contribution within weeks.”

And so, even though the number of Ebola cases is reportedly doubling every three to four weeks, billions of dollars will be lavished on Gaza rather than on the jeopardized populations of Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Read the whole thing

UPDATE 11:42 PM

Khaled Abu Toameh has some more reasons why paying to rebuild Gaza is a bad idea.
First, the promised funds absolve Hamas of any responsibility for the catastrophe it brought upon the Palestinians during the confrontation with Israel.
Now the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will no longer be asking Hamas to compensate them for the loss of their houses and family members. Any Palestinian who asks Hamas for financial aid will, as of now, be referred to the PA or the donor states.
Hopes that the catastrophic results of the confrontation would increase pressure on Hamas or perhaps trigger a revolt against it have faded now that the PA and the donor states have become the address for distributing financial aid.
Second, the talk about rebuilding or repairing infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is the best thing that could have happened to Hamas. The funds promised by the donor states will help rebuild various Hamas-controlled installations in the Gaza Strip, such as ministries, security bases, universities, mosques and charities. The infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is almost entirely controlled, directly and indirectly, by Hamas.
All investment in the Gaza Strip's infrastructure will ultimately serve Hamas's interests, even if such work is being carried out by the Palestinian Authority.
Third, Hamas members and supporters would be among those entitled to some of the money coming from the Western and Arab donors. The Palestinian Authority would find it impossible to hand out money only to Abbas loyalists in the Gaza Strip, having already promised to take care of all Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, regardless of their political affiliations.
Four, the financial aid has not been conditioned on Hamas laying down its weapons or even ceding control over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. From now, the PA will be working toward rebuilding the Gaza Strip while Hamas will use its own resources to smuggle in additional weapons and prepare for the next war with Israel. This seems to be the agreed division of responsibilities between Hamas and the PA.
Five, there is no guarantee that the billions of dollars would have a moderating effect on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip or turn them away from Hamas. Some Palestinians are even worried that the international community might be trying to bribe the PA to stop it from pursuing plans to seek unilateral UN recognition of a Palestinian state. Others believe the promised funds are intended to stop the PA from signing the Rome Statute as a first step toward joining the International Criminal Court, in order to file "war crimes" charges against Israel.
Oh - and did I mention that Hamas 'only' asked for $4 billion? The international community really outdid itself on this one.

Read the whole thing.

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Report ties Parchin blast to Iran's nuclear weapons program

Israel's Channel 10 is reporting that there's a connection between last week's explosion at Iran's Parchin weapons testing facility and Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Despite the claims of an accident, chairman of Iran's national security council Mohammed Saleh has summoned security sources to clarify the cause of the explosion which reportedly killed a "nuclear expert," confirming suspicions it was not a simple accident.
The Iranian state-run Fars News Agency on Monday in follow-up reports about the supposed ammunition explosion admitted it happened due to a "private company" that was given a tender to manage the transportation following government privatization. 
Channel 10 reports that the inquiry apparently is focused on a private transportation company "Hamana," which roughly four years ago was privatized and given given offices adjacent to the Parchin base entrance, where it is authorized to transport dangerous materials in and out of the base.
The public relations picture of Hamana features an image of a nuclear explosion, hinting in a not-so-subtle manner that the company may also be involved in transporting radioactive materials as part of Iran's secretive nuclear program.
Suspicions that the blast was an act of sabotage by a foreign nation were strengthened by the reports, given that a cyber attack would be possible on Hamana's trucks.
Hamana reportedly owns five trucks allowed to enter Parchin, which are equipped with GPS and AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location) systems. The trucks' movements are supervised online, in a system that allows distress signals to be sent out - and even allows remote control over the truck's engine.
I wonder whether the Mossad has a company called Hamana. Heh.

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Europeans to ban 'settlers' from entering EU?

The European Union would like to ban Jewish (only) residents of Judea, Samaraia and 'east' Jerusalem from entering their Islamifying palace in an effort to pressure Israel to accept their national suicide plan for us. For now, they will settle for banning Jews with 'criminal' records. There's one small problem: Some of those Jews also carry European passports.
While the diplomats say they are only at an early point in planning their diplomatic "warfare," one move they are threatening to take is imposing a travel ban on Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem who have any criminal history.
"The paperwork has been done but it is frozen for now," one official said. "It is basically a blacklist of violent settlers who have been accused of or convicted of crimes. It would prevent them from traveling to Europe."
Such a move would likely prevent roughly 100 to 200 people from entering the EU, but may have legal complications given that some of those affected hold European passports.
They're also talking about cutting relations with Israel's banks.
Such a step would involve strictly applying regulations in the Association Agreement signed between the EU and Israel in 1995.
In Article 83 of the agreement, it is stipulated that the agreement applies to the territory of the state of Israel, which one official said may mean banks operating in Judea and Samaria that the EU does not consider part of Israel could be targeted."
"I'm not saying we should stop dealing with Israeli banks, but it's an issue that has been raised and some would say we need to look at it in more detail," said the unnamed ambassador to Israel.
The ambassador also stated "no one is talking about imposing trade sanctions on Israel. But there is a very high level of frustration and there are many instruments at our disposal to make that frustration clear."
Another senior diplomat threatened that Europe's patience is "wearing thin."
 And you thought that John Kerry was obsessed with Israel....

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Bus stoned on its way to Western Wall

Moadim l'Simcha, a happy holiday to all of you.

A Jerusalem bus making its way to the Western Wall was stoned on Tuesday morning.

No one was injured, but the bus' windshield suffered damage.

Unfortunately, no word of anyone being arrested either.

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