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Latest Israel News – 11th August

Palestinians vow to wage ‘diplomatic intifada’ against Israel

The Palestinian Authority is “pessimistic” about the United States’ ability to reignite the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, senior Palestinian officials said Wednesday.

U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt is expected to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks to promote the peace talks, which collapsed in 2014.

Arab media on Wednesday quoted several Palestinian officials, including chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, as saying the U.S.’s efforts are “redundant” because the Palestinians “have lost confidence in the Americans as objective mediators.”

Moreover, the Palestinians claim that both American and Israeli officials have essentially agreed that a peace process based on the two-state solution “no longer exists.”

A senior official in Abbas’ office said that the Palestinian president was “deeply disappointed” with Washington’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding that the overall sentiment in Ramallah was that U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoys to the Middle East were biased against the Palestinians and in favor of Israel.

“Washington cannot be an objective mediator. The administration is totally biased in favor of Israel,” a senior Palestinian official said, adding that in the wake of Ramallah’s lack of confidence in the chances of a renewed peace process, the Palestinians plan to refocus their efforts in the international arena.

The Palestinian Authority plans to resume its appeal to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where it plans to claim that senior Israeli leaders and military officers have allegedly committed war crimes, he said, adding that the PA would further pursue joining international organizations — a process that Abbas suspended when Trump was elected U.S. president.

Pledging to wage a “diplomatic intifada” against Israel, the official said the Palestinian Authority was determined to “isolate Israel [diplomatically] and make it as difficult for it as possible under international law.”

Commenting on the Palestinian Authority’s security collaboration with Israel, suspended during the Temple Mount crisis and resumed two weeks ago, Palestinian defense official confirmed coordination has been resumed, but stressed it was minimal.

“There is collaboration on specific issues. Right now, we are not pursuing full security coordination, not even gradually,” one Palestinian defense official said.

Another senior official noted that the Temple Mount crisis and the volatile atmosphere of the past few weeks have caused “deep distrust” between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

“In order to renew the diplomatic negotiations the parties must first rebuild trust. The message that will be conveyed to the American delegation is that Israel must first and foremost pursue confidence-building measures vis-a-vis Abu Mazen [Abbas] and the Palestinian Authority, and the Americans will have to guarantee that they are objective mediators and that they will adhere to the two-state vision.

“This is not the situation right now, and we will not stand for it,” he said.  (Israel Hayom)

Underground barrier with Gaza to extend into the sea

The underground barrier designed to prevent tunnels from crossing into Israel from Gaza will stretch into the Mediterranean to stave off Hamas infiltration by sea.

During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, five Hamas frogmen (naval commandos) tried to infiltrate Kibbutz Zikim before they were engaged and killed by the IDF. Hamas has significantly expanded their naval commando unit in the three years since the last conflict, with a reported 1,500 frogmen.

The border with Gaza is Israel’s most explosive, with a rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip striking near Ashkelon on Tuesday evening. While Hamas quickly arrested those responsible for firing the rocket, the construction of Israel’s underground barrier, which has become symbolic to both sides, may push Hamas to attack Israel.

The head of the Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir stated on Wednesday that “this wall can potentially lead to a dangerous escalation” despite the fact that the barrier is being built entirely in Israeli territory.

Following Operation Protective Edge Israel understood that it needed to come up with a solution and “this is the solution,” Zamir stated.

Israel’s underground barrier, which has a system of advanced sensor and monitoring devices to detect tunnels, is made from European bentonite and is combined with a 6 m. high above-ground fence similar to the one which runs along the Israeli-Egyptian border.

Construction of the barrier is expected to cost over NIS 3 billion and be completed within two years. It began near Sderot last year and is headed by Brig.- Gen. Eran Ophir, head of the army’s fence-building administration.

The IDF is confident that no tunnel will be able to cross the underground barrier, which it says will change the reality on the ground for both Israel and Hamas.

During the 2014 war, several soldiers were killed by Hamas gunmen when they popped out of the numerous tunnels dug into Israel by the terror group, surprising the IDF and leaving the residents of border communities concerned of possible tunnels beneath their homes.

By the time of the last cease-fire, the IDF said it had destroyed 32 tunnels that crossed under the border.

Hamas continues to invest significant amounts of manpower and money into their tunnel system. Zamir describes it as a “metro system” of three different kinds of tunnels including smuggling tunnels with Egypt, tunnels inside the Strip used for command centers and weapons storage, and offensive tunnels used for cross-border attacks into Israel.

According to Zamir many of the tunnels run under civilian homes in the Gaza Strip, and on Wednesday he presented two residential buildings used by Hamas including one which belongs to a family with six children and another six-story building built within the past two years.

“Any civilians who stay in these buildings endanger their lives and the lives of their families.

It’s Hamas who endangers them first and foremost but every building over a tunnel is a legitimate military target,” Zamir said “Part of Hamas’s combat strategy is to conduct itself within civilian areas, which is intended to make it difficult for the IDF to locate, attack, and destroy the group’s military infrastructure,” Zamir stated, adding that by drawing Israeli fire to these buildings, Hamas aims to delegitimize Israel and the IDF.

But with Hamas bragging of continued work on its tunnel system and Israeli civilians living in border communities reporting hearing sounds of digging, work on the barrier is kicking into high gear.

There are currently 10 areas along the border where hundreds of foreign workers, as well as German-made diggers and other heavy machinery, are working and by November that number is expected to jump to 40 different locations.  (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu to supporters: ‘We’ll lead the nation for years’

The Likud came out en masse in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who lashed out at the media to a responsive chorus of resounding boos.

Netanyahu accused the Left and the media of being one and the same, together on “an obsessive, unprecedented witch-hunt against me and my family, seeking to overthrow the government…. Their goal is to put inappropriate pressure on law enforcement, with no connection to justice.”

The prime minister called the media the “thought police.”

“God forbid if you think differently from them!” he quipped.

Netanyahu also pointed out to the adoring crowd how “the fake news media repeated that if we don’t withdraw from territories in our homeland, Israel will be isolated and weak and abandoned.

Remember their cries? Isolation, isolation, isolation.”

The crowd showed its own distaste for members of the press, confronting some of them with shouts, while others held signs describing the media with obscenities.

“They’re just jealous of Bibi,” one woman said while waiting on line to go through security. During Netanyahu’s speech, another attendee scoffed that the TV news would probably manipulate the boos for the media to seem like the prime minister was the target.

The rally was held in a packed hall at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, after it was moved from a smaller location due to the large number of Likud members who signed up to attend.

People held signs warning of a putsch and saying “the Left thinks the rule of law is a joke.” They sang, “Bibi, king of Israel,” to the tune of the song about King David, and toted posters – on which Netanyahu’s face was emblazoned – bearing the slogan “My prime minister.”

Coalition chairman David Bitan, who organized the demonstration in response to the protests held every Saturday night near Attorney- General Avichai Mandelblit’s home calling for him to indict Netanyahu, was mobbed by party members hoping to take photos with him. Controversial MK Oren Hazan, who called the State Attorney’s Office “a stable that’s full of crap that needs to be cleaned up,” took selfie after selfie with fans.

The prime minister – who faces multiple police investigations – warned that the Palestinians hope he gets convicted of corruption, because they know he won’t make concessions they want, such as “retreating to the 1967 borders, to the outskirts of Kfar Saba.”

In 1992, Netanyahu said, the Left claimed that thenprime minister Yitzhak Shamir was corrupt, ousted him, “and then we got Oslo and exploding buses. Now they’re doing the same to me and my wife,” adding that the media don’t tell the public how Sara Netanyahu, who was in attendance, helps Holocaust survivors and children with cancer.

“Instead, they’re busy with who changes light bulbs [at the Prime Minister’s Residence] or served tea to her father, a righteous man, when he was on his deathbed. Shame! There are rumors that the media will demand that the police investigate [my dog] Kaya under caution,” he added.

Netanyahu also mocked former prime minister Ehud Barak, who has taken to recording online videos criticizing the prime minister, as an “old man with a new beard,” whose comments are “nonsense.”

The prime minister said a Likud member told him that the Left “knows they can’t win in the ballot booth, so they are trying to circumvent democracy and topple me without elections. They know that because we win time after time, because we brought Israel to the best situation in its history. We turned the country into a world power. If the Left wants to challenge us, it’ll have to do it at the voting stations.

“In the next election we won’t just get 30 [Knesset] seats,” like the Likud has now, Netanyahu said, “we’ll get 40.” (Jerusalem Post)

US-Israel teams increases interceptor production

Two U.S.-Israeli industrial teams working on jointly funded missile defense programs are ramping up production of three distinct interceptors that collectively defend against an entire spectrum of threats, from short-range rockets to Iran’s most advanced, medium-range ballistic missiles.

Intercepting missiles for all three heavily U.S.-funded missile defense programs — Arrow-3, David’s Sling and Iron Dome — are being built in large part in the United States through a network of prime partners, subcontractors and suppliers that extend across more than 30 of the 50 U.S. states.

“In accordance with congressional mandates and our government-to-government agreements, each one of these [intercepting systems] is being produed at least 50 percent in the United States,” Moshe Patel, director of the Defense Ministry’s Israel Missile Defense Organization, told Defense News.

“It’s not just prime contractors, but a vast network of subcontractors spread out over a large part of the United States of America,” Patel said.

According to Patel, U.S.-based work on all three interceptor programs is transitioning from low-rate initial production, or LRIP, to full-rate production. “We’re in the final phases of LRIP for all these systems; and we’re very proud of the amazing cooperation at the government-to-government and at the industry-to-industry levels,” Patel said.

In the case of Arrow-3, where state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries is partnered with Boeing, the U.S. supply chain extends across more than 20 states, said Boaz Levy, IAI executive vice president and general manager of the firm’s Systems, Missiles and Space Group.

“Significant parts of this high-performance missile designed to intercept targets deep into space are being produced in the United States. More than 20 states are involved in the production of Arrow-3,” Levy said of the interceptor that forms the uppermost layer of Israel’s multilayered active defense network.

In the case of the joint U.S.-Israel David’s Sling Weapon System, whose Stunner interceptor is the fruit of collaboration between state-owned Rafael and Raytheon, some 50 percent of missile components are being built in the U.S., according to Rafael Executive Vice President Pini Yungman, head of the firm’s Air Superiority Systems Division.

“We’re almost finished with LRIP, and we already signed a contract for full-rate production with Raytheon,” he said. “Our U.S. partner is doing great work with production; in fact, they’re running faster than we are in transitioning to full-rate builds.”

The David’s Sling Weapon System launches a Stunner interceptor

Yungman noted that Raytheon is not only managing a far-flung network of subcontractors and suppliers, but it is actively marketing the Stunner for approved U.S. allies in an arrangement whereby Rafael serves as subcontractor to its U.S. partner. Under the brand name SkyCeptor, the Stunner interceptor is slated to be part of Poland’s Patriot active defense system.

Warsaw recently sent a letter of request to the U.S. government to procure the hit-to-kill intercepting missile as part of its medium-range air defense Wisla system; and a contract is to be negotiated directly between the U.S. and Polish governments.

“We’re proud to serve as subcontractor to Raytheon in this SkyCeptor program, which integrates the Stunner into the Patriot system for Poland,” Yungman said. “This partnership with Raytheon that we’ve been working on and investing in for almost 12 years is becoming real. We’re seeing it start to translate into real contracts and big business. We’ll provide to Raytheon, Raytheon will provide to the U.S. Army and it’s a win-win for all concerned.”

Raytheon and Rafael are also partnered on U.S.-based production of the Tamir intercepting missile, part of Israel’s internationally known and combat-proven Iron Dome — an Israeli-developed system that has been generously funded by Washington. According to Yungman, about 75 percent of components for the Iron Dome intercepting missile — some 55 percent of the U.S.-funded production budget — is being built in the United States by 27 different American vendors.

“Raytheon is delivering all the subassemblies to us from around the United States. The Iron Dome interceptor is 75 percent made in the U.S.,” he said. ”It’s almost an American interceptor.” (Defense News)

Poll Shows Strong Support for Israel Among New Zealanders, Despite Their Government’s Policies

A new poll of close to 1000 New Zealanders has found surprisingly strong support for Israel.

According to local news outlet J-Wire, the Israel Institute of New Zealand found that respondents supported the Jewish state by a margin on 55 to 13 percent.

The institute’s co-director David Cumin commented, “The support for Israel is most encouraging at a time when Israel is demonized in the media and blamed, by some, for putting obstacles in the way of peace.”

“It’s also important to know that there is support when Jews are once again under threat around the world and need to know that they have a safe haven in their ancestral homeland,” he added.

The poll showed other positive results for Israel. It found that on the question of whether Israel should be a Jewish-majority state, 60 percent of men and 51 percent of women said yes. Fifty-eight percent of those under age 30 and over age 60 responded affirmatively.

These numbers are particularly striking because of recent tensions between the governments of New Zealand and Israel.

New Zealand was partially responsible for bringing UN Security Council Resolution 2334 to a vote despite strong Israeli opposition. After Egypt withdrew the resolution under pressure from the US, New Zealand stepped in to sponsor it.

Resolution 2334 declared East Jerusalem and the West Bank to be occupied Palestinian territory and denounced Israel’s settlements there. Israel saw this as a denial of Jewish rights to its capital city and holy sites like the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. It led to a serious rupture in Israel’s diplomatic relations with New Zealand.

The institute’s survey, however, found that ordinary New Zealanders strongly disapprove of their government’s sponsorship of the resolution, with only 27 percent expressing support for it. (the Algemeiner)

Archeologists find 2,000-year-old rare stone vessel used in Jewish rituals

A rare 2,000-year-old workshop for the production of chalkstone vessels, dating to the Roman period, was recently unearthed by archeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority during excavations at Reina, in the Lower Galilee.

The excavations took place in a small cave in which researchers found thousands of chalkstone cores and other types of production waste, including fragments of stone mugs and bowls in various stages of production, the Authority said Thursday.

According to Dr. Yonatan Adler, senior lecturer at Ariel University and director of the excavations on behalf of the IAA, during the first century of the Common Era Jews throughout Judea and Galilee used tableware and storage vessels made of soft, local chalkstone.

“The reason for this curious choice of material seems to have been religious, as according to ancient Jewish ritual law, vessels made of pottery are easily made impure and must be broken,” explained Adler on Thursday. “Stone, on the other hand, was thought to be a material which can never become ritually impure, and as a result, ancient Jews began to produce some of their everyday tableware from stone.”

Although chalkstone vessels are well-known at many Jewish sites throughout the country, Adler said it is extremely unusual to uncover a site where such vessels were actually produced.

“Today, we are excavating a second site near Reina, located one kilometer from here,” he said.

“Until now, though, only two other similar sites have been excavated, however both of these were in the area of Jerusalem. Our excavations are highlighting the pivotal role of ritual purity observance, not only in Jerusalem, but in the far-off Galilee as well.”

The excavations also revealed an artificially hewn cave from which ancient workers quarried the raw material for the chalkstone vessels.

“Ancient chisel marks cover the walls, ceiling and floor of the cave,” Adler added.

“Inside the cave and on the ground nearby are strewn thousands of stone cores, the ancient industrial waste from stone mugs and bowls produced on a lathe. Hundreds of unfinished vessels were also found, apparently damaged during the production process and discarded on-site.”  (Jerusalem Post)

Simple drug regimen could help prevent cancer recurrence, Israeli study says

Israeli researchers said they may have found a way to reduce the risk of post-surgical cancer recurrence through the use of a drug regimen that includes the combination of two drugs that relieve stress and inflammation and have been on the market for years.

Most cancer-related deaths are the result of the regrowth of cancer cells after surgery, a so-called post-surgical metastatic recurrence. In metastasis, cells of primary tumors travel to other parts of the body, where they often proliferate into inoperable, ultimately fatal growths.

Now, researchers at Tel Aviv University in collaboration with the University of California at Los Angeles and three Israeli hospitals say they have found a specific drug regimen that, administered to patients before and after surgery, “significantly reduces the risk of post-surgical cancer recurrence.”

The medications are a combination of a beta blocker, which relieves stress and high blood pressure, and an anti-inflammatory drug. The treatment is safe and inexpensive. The two medications are similar in price to aspirin, and are easily administered to patients without contraindications, the researchers said in a statement. The study was published in Clinical Cancer Research.

“We checked the molecular traits of the excised tumor and found that the drug treatment we administered makes the tumor less metastatic,” said Prof. Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu of TAU’s School of Psychological Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience. “What we don’t know yet is whether this improvement will be translated in lower cancer recurrence and lower mortality rates. A bigger study on this needs to be done and we will need funding for this.”

Taking an untrodden path

In their study the researchers deviated from the current medical procedure for cancer patients, which refrains from giving any treatment to patients during the short period surrounding a cancer surgery, which calls for no chemo-, radio- or immune therapy for at least three weeks before or after an operation, Ben-Eliyahu explained.

“We’ve taken an unconventional approach, deviating from the current medical dogma,” he said. “Even within the medical establishment, we encountered some levels of disbelief and antagonism. But after conducting ample studies in animal models of cancer, and reviewing the medical literature, we came to the firm conclusion that maybe this is the most important period in the prevention of cancer recurrence.”

For the study, 38 breast cancer patients at Sheba Medical Center, Kaplan Medical Center and Rabin Medical Center were given a pharmacological treatment — Deralin (used to reduce blood pressure and anxiety) and Etopan (used to reduce inflammation) — five days before their surgeries, the day of their surgeries and five days after their surgeries.

Blood and tumor tissue samples were then analyzed.

“We found that the drugs were very efficient in reducing biomarkers of metastatic processes,” Ben-Eliyahu said. “For example, we found that the drug treatment reverses EMT — the process that tumor cells go through to slip out of the primary tumor and enter another organ. It is a crucially important step in the metastatic process. We also looked at indices related to the immune system and were able to improve immune competence and reduce inflammation with the drugs.”

The research team conducted a similar, as-yet-unpublished study on colorectal cancer patients and found similar results, the university said in a statement.

The findings are the result of 20 years of studying animal models to see how surgery and psychological and physiological stress and inflammation cause the recurrence of cancer, Ben-Eliyahu said.

The researchers are currently considering a larger-scale clinical trial to establish the long-term beneficial effects of this treatment. But because the drugs used are generic medications and not protected by patents, big pharma firms may not be interesting in pursuing such research, he said.

“So we will need to be creative and find other ways,” he said.   (the Times of Israel)

A day in Area ‘A’

by  Aviva Klompas            The Times of Israel Blog


As part of a work study tour, I spent a day in and around Ramallah. We visited a refugee camp, met with a high ranking Palestinian Authority minister, spoke to university students, and walked around downtown. Israelis are forbidden from travelling to Ramallah, and few tourists venture into the de facto Palestinian capital. The article and photos that follow share some of our experiences.

It’s only 22 kilometers between Jerusalem and Ramallah, but the two cities are worlds apart. We depart our Jerusalem hotel early in the morning and drive north. Thirty minutes later, we pass large red signs in Hebrew, Arabic, and English stating, “The entrance for Israeli citizens is forbidden. Dangerous to your lives and is against the Israeli law.”Sign

A short while later we arrive at our first destination, the al-Am’ari refugee camp. Our group, a study tour of American academics, descends from the bus into the June heat. Just east of Ramallah, Am’ari is one of 19 refugee camps in the West Bank and is located in Area ‘A,’ under the control of the Palestinian Authority. In reality, the Palestinian government refuses to take responsibility or provide basic services for the camp’s 7,000 residents. As a result, it has become a hotbed of resentment toward Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

We enter the camp under a large archway with a key emblazoned on the sign, a symbol of the Palestinian desire to return to homes they left or were driven from in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The streets are teeming with garbage. Our guide explains that, until a few years ago, sewage ran through the streets. The Palestinian Authority refused to build sewage pipes, so the local counsel raised the money to install the pipes that we see running along the outside of the buildings. Some are noticeably cracked, and we are told that from time to time the pipes explode showering the narrow alleyways with raw sewage.

Our group steps gingerly around the piles of spoiled food and waste as we navigate twisting allies covered in graffiti and walls painted with giant keys. Above us are tattered strings of political pennants hanging between the cinder block buildings. The shutters of shops are papered in posters of “martyrs” killed while perpetrating terror attacks against Israelis.

A boy emerges from a passageway carrying an uncomfortably realistic toy gun. He raises it to eye level and fires a spray of pellets in our direction, hitting one of the women in the group. She rubs at the spot and insists that she is fine. The boy darts between us, retrieving pellets from the ground and proceeds to reload his gun and take aim once again at the group. Walking a bit faster, we continue through the camp’s narrow alleys, passing other boys clutching toy guns. Someone in the group wonders aloud how long it would be until the toy guns in their hands are real guns.

Boy with a gun

We leave the camp and drive the short distance to Ramallah. The contrast is striking. A prosperous cosmopolitan center, Ramallah is clean and contemporary, boasting museums, cultural centers and cafes. In the center of the city is “Stars & Buck,” a popular coffee shop with a striking resemblance to the iconic Seattle coffee chain.

We pull up at the office of the Palestine Olympic Committee, where we are scheduled to meet with Jibril Rajoub, the committee chairman. Rajoub is also Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and a leading candidate to succeed 82-year-old Abbas.

Sitting at the head of a large conference room table, he speaks to our group about building trust between Israelis and Palestinians, the virtues of non-violent resistance, and encouraging the normalization of relations with Israel. This must be the optimistic stump speech he delivers to American groups, though he does liberally sprinkle his remarks with descriptions of the occupation as racist, fascist, a cancer and apartheid.

Members of the group ask Rajoub about his work with Palestinian sports teams, and whether there is a Palestinian winter Olympic team. I consider the room before raising my hand and asking about the ongoing payments by the Palestinian Authority to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons.

Palestinian laws direct that Palestinians who are convicted of attacks in Israel are entitled to monthly “salaries.” The deadlier an attack, the more profitable the payout. In its 2016 budget, the Palestinian Authority allocated $140 million for payments to prisoners and $175 million for payments to the families of “martyrs.” These payments amount to roughly seven percent of the Palestinian Authority’s budget. Palestinian Media Watch reported that in 2017, the Palestinian Authority increased spending by 13% for salaries to terrorist prisoners and by 4% for payments to families of terrorist “martyrs.”

Momentarily taken aback by my question, Rajoub proceeds to yell that it is “a crazy question” and that his government had a “social responsibility” to support the 7,000 prisoners. He bangs his fist on the table and declares, “Of course we must pay. If we don’t pay, Iran will pay.” He eventually calms down and is about to move on, but pauses, stares at me down the length of the table and asks if I have another question.

Resisting the urge to shift in my seat, I ask how he can speak to us about non-violent resistance while simultaneously endorsing payments to terrorists. He again explodes with anger, banging the table, and railing at the “absurdity” of my question. When he is done, he recovers his good humor, and continues to take questions from the group.

One of the academics shares that we had come from the al-Am’ari refugee camp and he was disappointed to see the condition of the camp. He asks why the Palestinian Authority doesn’t assist the people living there. Rajoub dismisses the question saying, “What do you expect me to do about the refugees? It’s Netanyahu’s problem.”

Later that afternoon, we drive out of Ramallah and pass a stone memorial bifurcating a road leading into the valley below. The monument is fashioned into the expanse of land stretching between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea, presumably reflecting the desired borders of a future Palestinian state. Etched into the monument is the face of 19-year-old Muhannad Halabi.

In October of 2015, Halabi went on a shooting and stabbing spree in Jerusalem, murdering Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Bennett, as they walked to the Western Wall. Halabi also stabbed Bennett’s wife, Adele, and their 2-year-old son, before he was shot and killed by Israeli police.

The monument on the side of the highway was commissioned by the municipality of Surda-Abu Qash, where Halabi had lived. Following the attack, the mayor described the slain terrorist as “a pride and badge of honor for the whole village.”


Shortly after the attack, Rajoub also honored Halabi by naming a sporting event after him. The banner at the event read: “Under patronage of the leader Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestine Olympic Committee. Palestine Cup – Martyr Muhannad Halabi Table Tennis Tournament 2015.”

Halabi’s attack helped catalyze the 2015-2016 wave of stabbings, shootings and car ramming attacks against Israelis. Those attackers and their families now receive payments from the Palestinian Authority. The cycle of incitement, terror, glorification, and reward continues unabated. So long as it does, the 22km between Jerusalem and Ramallah will remain a world apart.

Israel Developing Ways to Survive Nuclear Radiation – Lt.-Col. (ret.) Dr. Arik Eisenkraft (RealClearDefense)

Acute radiation syndrome (ARS) may be the result of an accident with diagnostic and therapeutic devices, or with a nuclear facility (Chernobyl, Fukushima).

It may also be the result of an intentional act of terrorism, involving the use of a radiological dispersal device (i.e., dirty bomb), an improvised nuclear device, an attack on a nuclear power plant, or any number of potential scenarios.

The major goals of a response plan to a radio-nuclear emergency are to protect the public, as well as the emergency personnel while performing their duties.

A novel protection device that recently reached the market is the StemRad 360 Gamma wearable shield, which allows the protection of enough bone marrow tissue among first responders and all those who may be exposed to high radiation levels in a way that will ensure their survival.

The first 36-48 hours following exposure are critical. There is a time window allowing for treatment even in a mass casualty scenario.

Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. is developing cell therapy products that release a mix of therapeutic proteins in response to signals from cells and tissues that have been damaged by conditions such as inflammation, ischemia, hematological disorders, or exposure to radiation.

The writer was former Head of Medicine for the Israel Ministry of Defense, where he led studies and product development for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) medical countermeasures.