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Latest News in Israel – 1st April

WMN – Where women build startups in Israel

WMN is a social initiative founded in Israel in May 2015 to encourage more women to develop startups, and bridge the gender gap in the startup world.

In a spacious compound at the Tel-Aviv-Jaffa Port, facing the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, women initiate and build startups.

WMN is a social initiative founded in May 2015 by Merav Oren, a serial and multidisciplinary entrepreneur. Its goal is to encourage more women to develop startups, and along the way bridge the gender gap in the startup world by providing its members with a co-working space, professional events and workshops along with mentors and networking opportunities.     (MFA)

Soldier to face manslaughter charge, not murder, in shooting

The Israel Defense Forces soldier who shot a disarmed Palestinian attacker in the head last week in Hebron may face charges of manslaughter and not murder, military prosecutors announced Thursday.

IDF attorney Lt. Col. Adoram Reigler told a hearing that “significant developments” in recent days necessitated the downgraded charges.

The still-unnamed soldier is suspected of shooting the assailant “deliberately and unnecessarily,” Reigler said, indicating he likely had enough evidence to go ahead with an indictment.

He did not detail what the new developments were.

The downgraded charges were announced at a hearing at the Qastina Military Court near Kiryat Malachi.

Military prosecutors requested the soldier’s detention be extended for seven more days.

“In our opinion, the evidence indicates serious suspicions against the suspect,” Reigler said.

Military police guard a court hearing of the IDF soldier who shot a Palestinian terrorist in Hebron

The downgraded charge likely indicates the prosecution believes it would have difficulty proving the act was premeditated.

However, the soldier’s lawyer told the tribunal that there were several witnesses who could back up his claim that he feared the stabber had a bomb on him.

Last week, the Kfir Brigade soldier was caught on film shooting Palestinian assailant Abd al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif in the head, some 10 minutes after the stabber had already been shot, wounded and disarmed.

Al-Sharif and another man, Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, had attacked a soldier and an officer near the Tel Rumeida neighbor of Hebron. The pair stabbed the soldier in the shoulder and arm before the officer was able to shoot the two attackers. Al-Qasrawi was killed, but al-Sharif remained alive.

Six minutes later, the IDF soldier who is now in custody arrived on the scene and approximately five minutes later he was filmed shooting an apparently incapacitated al-Sharif in the head.

In his testimony, the soldier claimed he was concerned the Palestinian was wearing an explosive vest that could be used to harm the first responders and other soldiers on the scene.

According to the army, the soldier said before shooting the stabber that he should be killed, and told his commanders afterward that the assailant had deserved to die.


An IDF soldier who was filmed shooting a disarmed Palestinian assailant in the head attends a hearing in his case at a military court near Kiryat Malachi

An army investigator said Thursday that the IDF has a longer video than the ones released that adds to the evidence against the soldier.

The IDF launched an investigation into the shooting immediately after the video emerged, and a day later the army prosecutor said he was considering murder charges against the soldier.

On Tuesday, judges extended the suspect’s remand for a second time to allow the Military Police more time to complete their investigation. The Tuesday hearing drew hundreds of people in support of the soldier, waving Israeli flags and banners reading “terrorists should be killed.”

The debate over the soldiers actions has also snowballed into a political battle, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing pressure from the far-right flank of his coalition for backing the army investigation.

Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued statements condemning the soldier’s behavior as a violation of the IDF’s ethical code.

On Thursday, Joint (Arab) List MKs Ahmad Tibi and Osama Saadi condemned the military prosecutor’s decision to downgrade the charges being sought.

“This is a soldier who committed a criminal act of murder, as is clearly seen in the video, and the decision [to charge him with manslaughter] was influenced by the comments of the prime minister, who asked that the family of the soldier be considered,” said the two lawmakers in a statement. They added the decision “proves once again that such incidents must be investigated by an international war crimes tribunal.”

Top Israeli military officials have rejected assertions that the soldier was right to shoot the apparently incapacitated Palestinian attacker because he feared the man could be wearing an explosives vest, saying an officer had checked the assailant minutes earlier and confirmed that he was not wearing such a vest.

Other Israelis, however, believe the soldier was abiding by the IDF’s rules of engagement as he feared the assailant could still carry out a secondary attack.

In a separate hearing Thursday, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled that the family of al-Sharif would be allowed to choose a doctor to attend the autopsy of their son. The doctor, however, will not be allowed to participate in the autopsy. According to the official Palestinian news site Wafa, the Palestinian doctor will only be allowed to observe and have his notes inserted into the final autopsy report                   (The Times of Israel)

Chief of Staff: We will prosecute those who defy IDF’s values

In a letter addressed to soldiers Gadi Eisenkot states ‘We will not waver in prosecuting soldiers and commanders who defy IDF’s operational and moral standards’.

In the wake of last Thursday’s shooting incident in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot sent a letter to soldiers Wednesday morning stating, “We will not waver in prosecuting soldiers and commanders, who defy the IDF’s operational and moral standards.”

At the beginning of the letter, Eisenkot said, “In recent months, we have dealt with terror attacks against Israeli citizens, which seek to undermine the strength of the state. The IDF aims to maintain the safety of Israeli citizens and residents on the battlefield and the home front. The IDF indeed works with vigor and dedication and operates in all arenas freely, employing all means necessary. In my field tours, I am proud to see you making progress and preparing to sacrifice yourselves to protect the homeland.”

The Chief of Staff cited the words of David Ben Gurion, according to which ” The fate of Israel depends on two factors: her strength and her rectitude.” He wrote that the IDF has always sanctified the values of human dignity and the purity of arms, values based on Jewish heritage. Every action must be performed professionally, using measured force so that the mission is accomplished in accordance with the IDF’s values.

Eisenkot stressed that he and the officers will continue to back every soldier who errs in the heat of battle. However, they will must not deviate from the IDF’s ethical code. “Keeping the spirit of the IDF and its values is not a right but a duty, in order to preserve the IDF as the protector of the people in a Jewish and democratic state.”

Military Judge Lt. Col. Ron Shorr, who is presiding the case of the soldier who killed a neutralized terrorist in Hebron on Thursday, said that “the evidence (that the soldier murdered the terrorist) provided until now is not clear cut.”

The soldier’s attorney, Ilan Katz, said that “the prosecution requested nine days of remand, but the judge ruled to extend his remand for only two more days despite the inflated claims of the prosecution. The military court will not drag our client through a media lynching. The evidence will be gone over on Thursday, and we hope that by the weekend, he will no longer walk around in handcuffs in such a humiliating manner, especially after he risked his life for Israel.”                               (Ynet News)

Police tactics, intelligence-sharing tip scales in Jerusalem’s war on terror

More than 3,500 police officers working in lockstep around the clock have helped turn the tide in the capital’s once seemingly insurmountable six-month long wave of terrorist attacks over the past few weeks, a senior police official said on Tuesday.

With the last major attack in Jerusalem having taken place on March 9 outside the Old City, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the relative lull in violence is attributable to hyper-vigilance, preemptive tactics and extensive intelligence coordination.

“Of course, the strategy is having police units at the right place at the right time, so we have mapped out the different areas where terror attacks could or have taken place,” said Rosenfeld during an interview with The Jerusalem Post.

“Multiple units are carrying out security measures in those areas – constantly guarding and patrolling them by car, motorcycle and foot, with undercover officers on site at all times.”

To ensure seamless coordination, Rosenfeld said a Tactical Intelligence Assessment Unit has been instrumental in “keeping all units connected in real time.”

Areas of the capital being monitored most carefully, he said, include the Old City, with an emphasis on the Damascus Gate; the light rail, which is frequently chaperoned by patrol cars; the central bus station; and all malls, restaurants and shopping centers.

The biggest challenge facing police, Rosenfeld contended, is the unpredictable nature of the attacks, which he said units are increasingly identifying using preemptive measures, including closely monitoring Arab social media.

“Over the last couple months, there’s been a change in tracking and finding potential terrorists, and police units are deeply involved in tracking social media sites where potential terrorists are making contact with one another and transferring information,” he said.

“Based on this information, police have been able to reach potential terrorists and have them arrested before they can carry out attacks.”

Moreover, Rosenfeld said police are working closely with the IDF in the West Bank to prevent the smuggling of improvised automatic weapons, which have been used by several terrorists in the capital.

“The national Police and IDF have increased coordination to find and raid the factories in Judea and Samaria where weapons are being made,” he said.

Still, Rosenfeld said there are multiple ongoing threats the police are up against, with each presenting different deadly scenarios that must be dealt with immediately, without costing the lives of civilians and officers.

“Our police officers are tested every day with a wide range of scenarios, and have to react quickly to save lives by risking their own lives,” he said. “There is no margin for error to do this right.”

Since the wave of attacks began in October, Palestinians have killed 30 Israelis and two US citizens, while security forces have killed at least 187 Palestinian assailants. (Jerusalem Post)

‘This Intifada is worse than the last’

Six months into a wave of stabbings, shootings and car ramming attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, the strain is showing. A survey conducted by the Smith Polling Institute found that the majority of those asked said that they felt “the security situation is more serious today compared to the Second Intifada.”

Since mid-September, 34 Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians. In this time period there have been 211 stabbings, 83 shootings and 42 vehicular attacks, according to information on the Foreign Ministry’s website. Approximately 200 Palestinians were killed by Israelis over the same period, 130 of whom were said by Israel to have been conducting an attack at the time of their death. The remaining 70 people died in clashes with Israeli security forces or with Jewish residents living in the West Bank.

The Second Intifada (Palestinian uprising) lasted from 2000 to 2005 and was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis. Suicide bombings were a frequent occurrence in those years. Opinion differs as to whether the recent increase in violence in Israel and the Palestinian Territories amounts to a full intifada or not.

“An indifferent reaction cannot be expected from the Israeli public when the level of risk to the citizens has increased significantly,” Pini Schiff, CEO of the National Association of Security Companies, said in a statement released with the findings of the polling.

Statistics from the survey were released in anticipation of the Israel Security Conference taking place on April 12 which will bring together elements from the Israeli private security sector and official institutions such as the police, intelligence agencies and the Ministry of the Interior. Of the 500 adult Israelis polled, 51% said that they found security worse now than in the early 2000s. A further 53% said they felt their personal security had diminished in the last two or three years.

“Now it’s the Third Intifada and it is the worst one (of the three),” Galit, a shop worker selling bags and accessories on Jaffa Road, Jerusalem’s main commercial street, told The Media Line. The frequency and the random nature of the current ‘lone wolf’ attacks are what makes them so scary, she suggested. “With the (suicide) bombings it was one at a time – one every two, three four months. The stabbings happen every day.”

Not everyone agrees. While acknowledging that attacks are occurring more frequently today, Dan Levi, a young Israeli working at the Jerusalem Hostel, said that the lethal nature of the bombings fifteen years ago contributed to a greater feeling of insecurity. “The Second Intifada was serious. I was a teenager and I knew people who died. Buses were exploding, it was really scary,” he told The Media Line.

As a result of the current violence, 56% of those asked said that they “refrained from travelling on public transportation and/or entering crowded public places.”

During the Second Intifada it became common for Israelis to avoid eating in restaurants or traveling on buses, both of which were viewed as easy targets for suicide bombers. Samuel, a young religious Israeli who immigrated to the country from America four years ago, told The Media Line he felt his security was no better or worse than it was when he first arrived, though he conceded he had changed his behavior because of the recent attacks.

“I don’t walk through the Muslim quarter (of the Old City) anymore on my way to the Kotel (Western Wall). It’s quicker, it saves me about ten minutes, but I walk the roundabout way through Jaffa Gate now,” he said.

This he does on account of the recent spate of stabbings which Samuel described as the main danger today. A year ago car rammings and attacks on public transport were the greater threat so he avoided standing at bus stops or traveling on the train, he explained. At the upcoming security conference the role of security guards and armed civilians as a counter-weight to the unpredictable phenomenon of ‘lone wolf’ attacks will be discussed.

“If you look at what’s happened in the last six, seven months, most of these terror attacks were stopped by (armed) civilians,” Iran Gil, CEO of the security firm HSMT, told The Media Line.

A question on the agenda is how much responsibility for security the state should relinquish to civilians. There is a balancing act required between allowing civilians, who may have limited training, to be armed, and protecting people from ongoing attacks, Gil said. In the meantime the role of security guards is emerging as an important, and often first, line of defense.

“Just yesterday (parliament) passed a law that security personnel should go home with their weapons (at the end of a work shift). This means an extra 50,000 weapons (will be) on the streets every day,” the CEO said.

This might be a comfort to the 69% of Israelis polled who said they felt “that a civilian carrying a weapon in a public place largely contributes to a sense of personal security.”    (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli and Egyptian ministers meet for first time in years

National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz met in Washington on Thursday with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry for the first meeting between ministers of the two countries in a number of years.

The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit being held in the White House.

According to Steinitz’s office, the discussion focused on various regional issues, the possibility of Israel supplying Egypt with natural gas, and international cooperation in preventing nuclear terrorism.

Israel’s delegation to the summit also included the head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, Zeev Snir; the deputy head of the National Security Council, Yaakov Nagel; and representatives from the Foreign Ministry.

US President Barack Obama’s original goal for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit – the fourth in a series of confabs meant to address what he described, in 2009, as the “most immediate and extreme threat to global security” – was for global leaders to step back and assess the progress they have made to secure existing stockpiles.

But the summit has adopted a sense of urgency, as the White House believes Islamic State is intent on acquiring radioactive material to conduct a nuclear terrorist attack.

After its operatives were found last week to have been conducting surveillance on Belgium’s nuclear scientists, one senior administration official said the US is not aware of a specific, active Islamic State plot to obtain or use radioactive material.

“Certainly the video footage is of concern and suggests that there is at least some interest by [Islamic State],” Laura Holgate, senior director for weapons of mass destruction and arms control on Obama’s National Security Council, told reporters in a phone call on Tuesday. “But we don’t have any indications that it was part of a broader planning to acquire nuclear materials, and we don’t have any information that a broader plot exists.”   (Jerusalem Post)

Operator of Belgium terror hotline fired for telling caller Israel doesn’t exist

An operator in Belgium’s federal hotline on the terrorist attacks in Brussels was fired for telling a Jewish caller that Israel does not exist and is in fact called Palestine.

The call Thursday to the Belgian Interior Ministry’s hotline was recorded and the audio file posted on the website of Joods Actueel, a Belgian Jewish monthly.

Following the publication, the European call center group IPG fired the employee, whom they put to work at the call center in the framework of their contract with the ministry, Joods Actueel reported.

“We wish to apologize to all members of the Jewish community and to the victims and their families in Israel,” said Jac Vermeer, CEO of IPG.

In the recording, a man who presented himself as a volunteer for Antwerp’s Jewish Coordination Committee told the operator in Flemish that he was calling on behalf of two people who were injured in the March 22 attacks in Brussels and wish to be discharged as they are “being prepared to be transported to Israel.” The caller asked about the procedure for discharging them.

At least 32 people died in a series of suicide bombings last week at Zaventem Airport near Brussels and at a central metro station, which the Islamic State terrorist group said it planned and executed. The federal government opened a call center immediately after the attack to handle requests by callers seeking information on questions pertaining to personal safety, recommended behavior in emergencies and by people seeking information on the victims.

In the conversation with the Jewish volunteer, the operator can be heard: “That’s actually… See … Back to Palestine.” The Jewish caller insisted: “Not Palestine, Israel,” prompting another correction by the operator, who retorted: “Yes, but that was before Palestine, of course.” He also said about Israel: “It’s called Palestine, sir.”

Asked for his first name, the operator said it was Zakharia but refused to state his last name.

Challenged over his remarks over Israel, the operator told the caller: “I know the Jews went to there, that Palestine received them and that there is a war between Israel and Palestine, of course. And the occupation … that’s what’s on the news of course.” Asked whether he would be able to help with the patients’ discharge regardless, the operator replied: “Yes, of course.”

Michael Freilich, the editor in chief of Joods Actueel, said it “defies imagination” that a Belgian state employee would display the anti-Israel behavior that is commonplace in Arab countries. He also called for punishing the operator instead of issuing the “standard apology.”

A spokesperson for the crisis center told Joods Actueel it deeply deplores the “isolated case” and will take “necessary actions” against the staffer in question, which the center said was not a civil servant but a call center employee.

The recording’s release follows at least four recorded cases in which people who either spoke Arabic or wore Muslim traditional garb destroyed, concealed or removed Israeli flags at an impromptu memorial space set up for the attacks’ victims at Place de la Bourse in Brussels. It features many flags, including those of Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority.       (JTA)

Palestinian film claiming Israel digging under al-Aksa threatens to inflame tensions

A new Palestinian propaganda video that made rounds this week on the Internet claims that Israel has been excavating a network of tunnels underneath the western part of the Temple Mount complex, allegedly in order to “Judaize” the compound and build the third Temple.

The 17-minute long documentary, titled “Underneath al-Aksa,” was released on Monday by the Islamic Movement in Israel.

The Palestinian thesis that prevails in the documentary claims that “al-Aksa is in danger” and that concern has stoked the recent wave of Palestinian violence against Israelis that erupted in October.

The propaganda video, purporting to present hard evidence of the existence of an Israeli network of passageways underneath the holy al-Aksa Mosque, has the potential to pour oil on the flames and incite more Palestinian violence.

Three figure take the spotlight in the video: Mohammad Abu Atta, an expert on Jerusalem and al-Aksa, Gideon Slimani, an Israeli archeologist, and Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the extremist Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, who was previously convicted of incitement to violence.

The video begins with a statement by Abu Atta, claiming that “al-Aska Mosque and the old city of Jerusalem are today witnessing  the most dangerous diggings conducted by the Israeli occupation.”

In the documentary, Abu Atta tours the alleged sprawling network of tunnels between the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan in the south and the Muslim Quarter in the north. During the recording of his tour, he claims to be visiting Israeli tunnels that are located several meters underneath the Western part of al-Aska Mosque.

Slimani, the archeologist, explains what he claims is Israel’s actual goal behind what it describes as “archeological digging.” He claims that Israeli authorities strive to create an underground city that connects between Silwan and the Muslim Quarter, passing through the Western Wall and Damascus Gate. With this network of tunnels, Israel will create de-facto Jewish control underneath al-Aksa, Slimani adds.

“To me, as an archeologist, it is very difficult to see that Israel harnesses archeology for its political agenda. Israel calls the project ‘archeological digging,’ but this is not archeological digging. This is a tool aiding the Israeli government to fulfill its ideology,” Slimani says.

“Thus, all the archeologists working here cannot pretend to be professional archeologists, since they are undoubtedly taking part in political activity, “Slimani further states.

Sheikh Raed Salah is filmed warning that “al-Aksa mosque is in danger,” because “the occupation is openly committing crimes, and it leans on an invented agreement it signed with Jordan to install cameras on Temple Mount in order to continue committing these crimes.”

“These crimes include the digging beneath al-Aksa, the daily Jewish storming of the mosque, the expelling of young Muslims stationed in al-Aksa to protect the mosque and the propaganda according to which Israel should impose its sovereignty on Temple Mount,” Salah argues.

Salah then calls on the Jordanian government to “rapidly start a propaganda war against the Israeli occupation to expose all its crimes and act for its immediate annihilation.”

A tunnel does run underground, connecting the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan and the Western Wall. The tunnel leads to the archaeological site known as the Davidson Center and reaches the foundations of the Termple Mount.   (Jerusalem Post)

Report: Saudi Arabia buys drones from Israel through South Africa

A Saudi political analyst who is well known for leaking exclusive information about the royal family of Saudi Arabia on Twitter has recently reported that the kingdom buys drones from Israel, in cooperation with South Africa.

In a series of remarks he wrote on his Twitter page Wednesday, the Saudi analyst suggested that the official report released by the Saudi Defense Ministry according to which the kingdom would build a drone factory in collaboration with South Africa is false.

“The report aims to hide the fact that Saudi Arabia intends to purchase drones from Israel via South Africa,” the analyst, calling himself “Mujtahid”, claimed.

He further stated: “Notwithstanding the political controversies between Israel and South Africa, the military cooperation between both states strongly continues, enabling South Africa to purchase drones from Israel.

“Saudi Arabia buys Israeli drones through South Africa. These drones later arrive from South Africa, dismantled, to Saudi Arabia, where they are assembled, Mujtahid added, describing the mechanism developed to carry out the Israeli-Saudi deal.

According to the Saudi analyst, this deal not only means that the Saudi deputy crown prince and Defense Minister, Mohammad bin Salman, committed fraud by lying to the Saudi people, but it also paints him as a traitor who is serving Israel’s interests by purchasing its drones         (Jerusalem Post)

Dubai woman delivers baby in Israel, names him after IDF officer who helped her

An Arab woman who delivered her baby at the Israeli-Jordanian border crossing on Tuesday named the toddler after the IDF officer who helped her give birth.

The woman, heading from Dubai to the West Bank, arrived at Allenby border crossing when suddenly she started feeling contractions. An Israeli IDF officer who was present at the scene gave her initial medical treatment at the border crossing, after which he accompanied her to a hospital in Jericho.

The woman was so thankful to the Israeli, a Druse officer who serves in the Israeli Civil Administration, that she named her baby after him – Hadi.

While Druse news sites in Israel were fascinated with the story, Palestinian news sites raised doubts about the story that was first published on Tuesday on the Facebook page of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the territories.

They claimed that the fact that the woman’s face in the pictures released is blurred, and that neither her identity nor the details regarding her arrival at the border crossing were published, raised many questions.     (Jerusalem Post)

A single blood test could detect multiple diseases

Israeli researchers develop method to diagnose diabetes, multiple sclerosis, pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis and brain damage from one blood test.

An Israeli-led international team of researchers has proof of concept for a single blood test that can detect multiple conditions, including diabetes, cancer, traumatic injury and neurodegeneration, in a highly sensitive and specific manner.

The novel method, tested on 320 patients and control groups, zeroes in on patterns of circulating DNA that is released by dying cells and traces it to specific types of tissue.

The study was reported in a paper published recently in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences USA.

Cell death can signify the early stages of pathology (such as a developing tumor or the beginning of an autoimmune or neurodegenerative disease), mark disease progression, reflect the success of therapy (such as anti-cancer drugs), identify unintended toxic effects of treatment and more.

However, until now it was not possible to measure cell death in specific human tissues noninvasively.

The new blood test does this by combining two known biological principles: first, that dying cells release fragmented DNA into the circulatory system; and second, that the DNA of each cell type carries a unique chemical modification called methylation.

The researchers identified multiple DNA sequences that are methylated in a tissue-specific manner and can serve as biomarkers.

They then developed a method to detect these methylated patterns in DNA circulating in blood, and demonstrated that this method can pinpoint the type of cells from which the circulating DNA originated.

‘An exciting approach for diagnostic medicine’

The test was able to detect pancreatic beta-cell death in the blood of patients with new-onset type 1 diabetes, oligodendrocyte death in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis, brain-cell death in patients after traumatic or ischemic brain damage, and exocrine pancreas cell death in patients with pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis.

“Our work demonstrates that the tissue origins of circulating DNA can be measured in humans. This represents a new method for sensitive detection of cell death in specific tissues, and an exciting approach for diagnostic medicine,” said Dr. Ruth Shemer of the Hebrew University, a DNA methylation expert and one of the lead authors of the study.

The approach could offer a minimally invasive window for monitoring and diagnosing a broad spectrum of human pathologies, as well as providing a better understanding of normal tissue dynamics.

“In the long run, we envision a new type of blood test aimed at the sensitive detection of tissue damage, even without [prior] suspicion of disease in a specific organ. We believe that such a tool will have broad utility in diagnostic medicine and in the study of human biology,” said Prof. Benjamin Glaser, head of endocrinology at Hadassah Medical Center and another lead author of the study along with Prof. Yuval Dor, a developmental biologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“Noninvasive measurement of cell death is a super exciting area with endless applications,” Dor told Science magazine.

The experiments were performed by Hebrew University students Roni Lehmann-Werman, Daniel Neiman, Hai Zemmour, Joshua Moss and Judith Magenheim, aided by clinicians and scientists from Hadassah Medical Center and Sheba Medical Center in Israel.

Collaborators at institutions in Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada provided patient blood samples.

Further studies need to be done before such a blood test could be developed commercially.                    (Israel 21C)

Miracle on Dan Bus #4

By Esor Ben-Sorek        The Times of Israel Blogs


It was a very hot day in July 1951. I was in Tel Aviv and too hot to walk. I boarded Dan bus #4 on the corner of Ben Yehuda and Gordon streets.

The bus was very crowded and there was no available seat. I had to stand next to a Yemenite woman holding a live chicken under her apron.

People were chatting, discussing with fervor the day’s news, each one offering a personal description of the political situation, everyone with a different opinion. As is common in Israel, every person holds himself to be the authentic source of “inside” information. This one said “I have a cousin in the police force and he told me……..” Another replied, “that doesn’t make any sense. My neighbor’s son is in the army and he was telling us……” And from the rear of the bus, a passenger shouted “who cares? Nothing will change soon”.

At each bus stop some passengers alighted and new passengers boarded. Now there were a few empty seats and I grabbed one in the middle of the bus.

As we approached another bus stop (I can’t remember which corner), three or four new passengers boarded. One elderly lady stepped up to the coin box next to the driver and deposited a few coins.

Suddenly, looking at the bus driver she gave a loud shriek. “Moishele, Moishele, Moishele mein kind.”

The driver jammed on the brakes, looked at the elderly woman and cried, “Mama, Mama, is it you Mama?”

Both were Holocaust survivors from Poland and each one thought the other one was dead.

Jumping up from his seat, the driver embraced his long-lost and presumed dead mother and both hugged and hugged and both wept bitter tears of joy.

All the passengers clapped hands. Several were weeping from the joy of seeing mother and son re-united. One passenger jumped off the bus and hailed the next approaching bus. He shared the news with the new driver and requested him to notify the Dan bus company to send a relief driver.

None of us left the bus. A relief driver appeared about half-hour later. Passengers sitting in the row behind the driver got up and gave the seats to the mother and son, still clutching one another and weeping with heart-wrenching sobs.

At some point, our original driver and his mother left the bus while all of us clapped hands and the Yiddish-speaking passengers shouted “Mazal tov. Mazal tov. Tzu gezunt. A sach nachas”.

I never knew where they were going. Probably to the driver’s home so his mother could meet his wife and her new grandchild.

All of us were so filled with emotion that it was difficult to contain ourselves. There was not a dry eye among our passengers.

It was a hot July day in 1951. But I will never forget the miracle on Dan bus #4 on that very happy day.

“Excuses” for Terrorists

by Douglas Murray               The Gatestone Institute


The facts show is that all these “excuses” for terrorism are incorrect. Israel is not, for instance, carrying out the “war crimes,” “apartheid” or “genocide,” which propagandists have persuaded Europeans that Israel is engaged in. Israel is fighting an enemy that breaks every rule of armed conflict, and Israel responds in a manner so precise and so moral that allied nations are concerned that they will not be able to live up to the Israeli military’s moral standards the next time they go to war.

Well, what a shock the rest of the world will one day have to undergo. Because if you allow an “excuse” for one false narrative of Islamic extremists, you will then have to allow it for the others. You will, for example, have to accept the word of ISIS that Belgium is a “crusader” nation, deserving to be attacked because it is involved in a “crusade.”

The question is not why it took over 24 hours for the UK to find Belgian-colored lights to project in solidarity, but why after 67 years of terror, it still has not found the simple blue and white lights to project the flag of Israel onto any public place.

The day after the Brussels terror attack, landmarks in the UK were lit up in the colors of the Belgian flag. Portions of the press in Britain excoriated the country on this. Why, they asked, had the now-traditional, mawkish ceremony occurred the day after the attacks rather than on the evening of the attacks themselves? Why were we a day late with our lights when other cities had managed to do their “solidarity” gesture straightaway? Such are our times. And such are our questions.

The night after last week’s terror attacks in Brussels, public buildings in Britain, such as the National Gallery in London (left) and Manchester town hall (right) were lit up with the colors of the Belgian flag.

If there is a question in all this, it is not why it took more than 24 hours for the UK to find its Belgian-colored lights, but why after 67 years of terror, it still has not found the simple blue and white lights it would need to project the flag of Israel onto any public place.

It is not as though there haven’t been plenty of opportunities. Israel’s enemies have provided us with even more opportunities for light displays than have now been offered to the light-infatuated by the followers of ISIS.

You could argue that in the last seven decades, public attitudes have changed; that today futile gestures of “solidarity” are all the rage, but in generations past they were not. It might have been unheard of for any British institution to beam the colors of the Israeli flag into buildings in 1948, 1956, 1967 or 1973. But when sentimentalism came to Britain, it came in a big way. If it had not struck us by the time of the first intifada (1987-1993), it certainly had by the time of the second one (2000-2005).

During that period, thousands of Israelis were killed and wounded by Palestinian terrorists. Yet there were no projections of the Israeli flag onto public buildings. Again, during the 2006 Hezbollah War, landmarks went unlit — the same as after each salvo of rockets launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip, freshly evacuated by Israel to allow the Arabs there to create the Singapore or Côte d’Azure of the Middle East.

When Israel is attacked, the steps of the Israeli embassies in London and other European capitals are not littered with flowers, teddy bears or candles, or scrawled notes of sympathy. Indeed, whenever Israelis are attacked and murdered, there is a response at Israel’s embassies. It tends to be less teddy-obsessed; it consists more of crowds roaring in rage against Israel and having to be held back from further antagonism by the local police.

It is possible that there are those who believe Israel is simply on a different continent from Europe and that, despite being an essentially Western society, it is not one to which we feel sufficiently close. Whenever a terrorist outrage occurs in a Western capital these days, there are always those who ask why the mourning for Paris or Brussels, say, is stronger than the mourning for Ankara or Beirut.

But the Paris/Brussels question for Jerusalem rarely, if ever, gets asked. One could take the lowest road and say it is because in Israel the victims are Jews. But there is also an explanation just as true. It is that Israel is seen as different because when Israel is attacked by terrorists, it is seen by a great number of people in the West not to be an innocent victim. It is seen as a country which might have in some way brought the violence upon itself.

Supposed excuses for this view may vary, from objecting to farms on the Golan Heights to Israel’s refusal to allow weapons intended to annihilate it to be poured into the Gaza Strip. Others include Israeli “settlements” in the West Bank, while at the same time disregarding that to most Palestinians all of Israel, “from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea,” as they put it, is one big “settlement” — to be exterminated, as openly set forth in both the Hamas and PLO charters. Neither charter has ever been renounced. If you look at any map of “Palestine,” it is actually a map of Israel, but with “al-Quds” instead of “Jerusalem” and “Jaffa” instead of “Tel Aviv.” For these Palestinians, there is, in fact, just one underlying offense: the existence of the State Israel itself.

This piece of land, however, as Canaan, the Fertile Crescent, and Judea and Samaria, has been home to the Jews for nearly 4000 years — despite Romans, Saladin, the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate.

What remains are facts. And what the facts show is that all these “excuses” for terrorism are incorrect. Israel is not, for instance, carrying out the “war crimes,” “apartheid” or “genocide,” which propagandists have persuaded Europeans that Israel is engaged in. Israel is, quite the contrary, fighting an enemy that breaks every rule of armed conflict, and Israel responds in a manner so precise and so moral (as the High Level Military Group concluded in its assessment of the 2014 Gaza conflict) that allied nations are presently concerned that they will not be able to live up to the Israeli military’s moral standards the next time they go to war.

Israel, like the rest of the West, is trying to find a legal and decent way to respond to an illegal and indecent set of terrorist tactics. It is also not true that Israel’s enemies have some righteous territorial dispute. They already have the whole of the Gaza Strip, and if they wanted most of the West Bank, they could have had it at almost any time since 1948, including at Camp David in 2000. On each occasion, it was the Palestinians who turned down all offers — without even proposing a counter-offer.

Even so, in the eyes of many Europeans, Israel is seen to have done something for which suicide bombers are thought to be an understandable response. Whether said or unsaid, this is the rationale that makes terror against Israel a lesser offense than terror everywhere else.

Well, what a shock the rest of the world will one day have to undergo. Because if you allow an “excuse” for one false narrative of Islamic extremists, you will then have to allow it for the others. You will, for example, have to accept the word of ISIS that Belgium is a “crusader” nation, deserving to be attacked because it is involved in a “crusade” against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). You will have to accept that for standing up to the Islamic extremists in Mali and Syria, these Islamic extremists have the right to attack the people of Belgium, France, Sierra Leone, Canada, the United States and Australia.

You will have to accept that Europeans can be killed for publishing a cartoon, simply because a foreign terrorist group says so, and then accept that the cartoonists brought it themselves.

The enemies of Israel and the enemies of the rest of the civilized world have some minor differences, but there is far more that they have in common. They are both driven not only by the same jihadist ideologies but by the insistence that their political and religious view of the world is relevant not just for them, but needs to be implemented against all of the rest of us.

It may take a while to realize it, but we are all in the same boat. It also may take a while until European cities reach for the blue and white bulbs; but if we start to question where those bulbs went, we might get closer not only to understanding Israel’s predicament, but to understanding the predicament that is also now our own.

BDS: Helping Palestinians or Promoting Hate?

by Sima Goel          The Gatestone Institute


Sadly, university students, unions, and those in show business who believe they are lending their energy in support of the Palestinian people might take a moment to understand that they are supporting politicians — both from the Palestinian territories and from terrorist sponsors — who are, in fact, using the Palestinian people as pawns in a game of chess where oil, money and power are the rewards.

Rather than promote boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), well-meaning idealists might consider how best to assist the Palestinians, whose own leaders siphon off aid money they receive from other countries. Students might consider how to establish industries to improve the Palestinian job market, instead of boycotting Israeli companies that employ thousands of Palestinians. They might make an effort to understand the real situation and work towards promoting a lasting peace, instead of misguidedly worsening the plight of Palestinians.

Peace requires empathy; the BDS movement, with its secret aim of destroying a free and democratic nation, promotes nothing but resentment, division and hate

The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is busy promoting anti-Semitism, with universities leading the charge.

Sadly, university students, unions, and those in show business who believe they are lending their energy in support of the Palestinian people might take a moment to understand that they are supporting politicians — both from the Palestinian territories and from terrorist sponsors — who are, in fact, using the Palestinian people as pawns in a game of chess where oil, money and power are the rewards.

Yes, you feel the pain of the Palestinians; yes, you understand their plight. But you also have seen how students can be used by political agencies. During the late 1970s, when the Shah of Iran ruled, like any dictator, he protected his own power at all costs. Freedom of expression and debate was nonexistent, causing intellectuals and university students to revolt, shouting “long live freedom.” University students are young and idealistic; they support the perceived underdogs, wherever they believe them to be.

The regime that replaced the Shah, however, was even more repressive. Every aspect of the life of every Iranian was controlled and decided by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iranians were betrayed and used. Many innocent people had lent their voices to a group that had no respect for them, but regardless used their voices to advance their own political agenda.

In Iran, students protested the Shah in the name of freedom and inadvertently helped bring Ayatollah Khomeini to power. When Khomeini imposed the hijab on all women, even Christians, Jews and others had to wear it. He controlled every aspect of every life. It was only later that so many Iranians realized they had been used, and after the fraudulent elections of 2009, gave their lives, either by imprisonment or death, trying to protest the regime they had brought into being.

While Palestinian politicians are trying to win the public relations battle, the Palestinians are the ones continually suffering.

BDS supporters are quick to point a finger at Israel for the Palestinians’ misery. What they fail to recognize is the responsibility of the Palestinian leaders for corruption and failed governance. They also fail to recognize that Israel is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, the only country in a vast region where all citizens — Jewish, Christian and Muslim alike — are governed equally under law and enjoy the same benefits.

Consequently, I have no have compassion for those who support the BDS movement: they are blind to what the BDS movement represents. The movement shuns improving the lives of Palestinians; it only provides legitimacy to repressive Palestinians leaders, who in many ways resemble their Iranian counterparts.

People who claim they really care about helping Palestinians would, instead of only trying to hurt Israel, consider how to assist the Palestinians, whose own leaders siphon off aid money they receive from other countries. Students might consider how to establish industries to improve the Palestinian job market, and internal human rights abuses, instead of boycotting Israeli companies that employ thousands of Palestinians.

Rather than promote BDS, well-meaning idealists might consider how best to assist the Palestinians, whose own leaders siphon off aid money they receive from other countries. Students might consider how to establish industries to improve the Palestinian job market, instead of boycotting Israeli companies that employ thousands of Palestinians. They might make an effort to understand the real situation and work towards promoting a lasting peace, instead of misguidedly worsening the plight of Palestinians.

Peace requires empathy; the BDS movement, with its secret aim of destroying a free and democratic nation, promotes nothing but resentment, division and hate.