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Latest News in Israel – 28th April

Knife-clad Palestinian duo shot in attempted West Bank stabbing attack

An Arab man and woman were suspected of attempting to carry out a stabbing attack on Wednesday against Israeli security forces stationed at a checkpoint near Palestinian village of Kalandiya in the West Bank, police reported.

According to authorities, the pair approached security forces at the vehicular entrance to the military post while the woman brandished a knife.

The security forces called several times on the duo to stop. However, security forces shot the pair after they failed to heed the calls and rapidly approached the forces with a knife. Military doctors at the scene later declared their deaths.

There were no injuries reported among the Israeli forces.

According to Palestinian reports, the female attacker was identified as 23-year-old Maram Abu Ismail from Jerusalem.

Wednesday’s incident came after a period of significant decline in Palestinian terrorist attacks.

According to IDF data, March saw an overall number of six terrorism incidents (including shootings, stabbings, and vehicle rammings) in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and in Israeli cities within the Green Line, compared to 56 in February, 45 in January, and 40 in December.

In the West Bank, where most of the violence has occurred in recent months, the IDF saw a major drop in shootings, stabbings and ramming attacks.  (Jerusalem Post)

US ready to offer Israel largest aid package in history

A White House official indicated on Monday that the Obama administration was ready to offer Israel the largest military aid package offered to any country over the course of US history.

Amid a push by a large majority of senators to increase foreign aid to Israel, a White House official told Reuters: “We are prepared to sign an MOU [memorandum of understanding] with Israel that would constitute the largest single pledge of military assistance to any country in US history.”

The official said discussions with Israel were ongoing on a memorandum of understanding that would increase US military aid to Israel for the next 10 years, due to be renewed before 2018.

More than 80 of the 100 sitting US senators signed a letter Monday calling on President Barack Obama to increase aid to Israel and immediately sign an agreement on a new defense package. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is not one of the 83 signatories.

“In light of Israel’s dramatically rising defense challenges, we stand ready to support a substantially enhanced new long-term agreement to help provide Israel the resources it requires to defend itself and preserve its qualitative military edge,” said the letter, which was seen by Reuters.

Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Chris Coons were behind the letter, which was signed by 51 Republican and 32 Democratic senators.

Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz was one of the signatories, while Sanders was not.

Due to expire in 2018, the current aid package stands at $3 billion annually, and, according to reports, Israel wants to up the amount to $5 billion annually. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted he may wait to negotiate with Obama’s successor to try and secure a better deal.

Israel welcomed the reports but did not comment on the status of talks over the deal.

Speaking to The Times of Israel last month, chairman of the Senate’s Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Lindsey Graham vowed to “do everything I can to squeeze some money out of a tight budget to help increase funding for Israel.”

“Israel has to decide what to do and when to do it. But I can say this: we’ll have more money this year than potentially next year, because sequestration kicks back in,” he explained, referring to spending cuts the US federal government enacted in 2013.

During a visit to Israel last month, US Vice President Joe Biden reportedly warned Netanyahu that the aid package will be less than what Jerusalem seeks, but offered reassurances the amount would reflect the security needs of the country.

During Biden’s meeting with Netanyahu, described by an Israeli official as “friendly, cordial and warm,” the vice president urged the prime minister to accept the offer, assuring him the agreement could always be amended at a later date.

“In the past we’ve known how to make adjustments to agreements after they’ve been signed,” he said according to Channel 10, which cited senior Israeli officials.

The Prime Minister’s Office could not confirm the content of the report.

In November, Israel was said to have completed its “shopping list” of desired American military materiel, which reportedly included a request for V-22 Ospreys, planes believed capable of reaching Iran.

Israel also reportedly sought the V-22s from the US in 2012 when contemplating a strike on Iran’s Fordo enrichment facility, but later decided not to purchase due to budgetary restraints.

Under a separate budgetary hierarchy, the US administration is understood to be well-disposed to ensure funding for Israel’s missile defense systems — maintaining and improving the Iron Dome (short-range missile interceptor) and the Arrow (long range) systems, and deploying David’s Sling (medium range), to ensure Israel can counter threats from neighboring Gaza, south Lebanon and Syria, as well as from an Iran that is relentlessly developing its ballistic missile systems.

The US has either jointly developed or financed all three of the programs      (The Times of Israel)

US military used Israel’s ‘roof knock’ tactic in Iraq to warn civilians before bombing

The United States borrowed an Israeli military tactic known as “roof knocking” to try to warn civilians before it dropped a bomb targeting Islamic State fighters in Iraq this month, but a woman was killed in the attack, a US military official said on Tuesday.

The controversial tactic consists of firing a warning missile above or near an intended target, to give residents time to flee before the real strike.

The Israeli military used such “roof knocks” in the 2014 operation in Gaza, but a United Nations commission found in 2015 that the tactic was not effective, because it often caused confusion and did not give residents enough time to escape.

The United States used the tactic in an April 5 operation in the Iraqi city of Mosul. One woman who initially did leave the targeted building but then ran back inside was killed, a US defense official said.

Air Force Major General Peter Gersten, deputy commander for operations and intelligence for the US-led coalition, said the airstrike targeted a building that housed a member of Islamic State in charge of distributing money to fighters, as well as being a cash storage site.

  1. intelligence and reconnaissance aircraft tracked the site and observed that a woman and children also frequented the house, which the United States believed to contain about $150 million.

Looking to ensure they and any other non-combatants were clear of the building, the military turned to a tactic used by the Israeli Defense Forces in some of its operations against Hamas militants, Gersten said.

The plan consisted of firing a Hellfire missile above the building “so it wouldn’t destroy the building, simply knock on the roof to ensure that she and the children were out of the building,” he said.

“We’ve certainly watched and observed their procedure,” Gersten said of the Israelis, while noting that the military did not coordinate with the Israelis on the strike. “As we formulated the way to get the civilians out of the house, this (technique) was brought forward from one of our experts.”

But the woman ran back into the building after the US warplane had fired its weapon, Gersten said, adding that it was “very difficult for us to watch and it was within the final seconds of the actual impact.”

The US-led coalition could employ the roof knock technique again in the future, he said.

The air campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria has been a key part of the US plan to eventually destroy the hardline Sunni militant group.

But Islamic State’s presence in major Iraqi and Syrian cities has made it difficult to destroy its most important headquarters, because of concerns about killing scores of innocents in the process.

The US military acknowledges killing 41 civilians so far in the air campaign, which began in 2015     (Jerusalem Post)

Gaza kids put on play about stabbing, killing Israelis

Young Palestinian children participating in a festival in the Gaza Strip this week wore military fatigues, and brandished toy knives and machine guns as they performed a play simulating violence against Israelis.

The event was broadcast on a Hamas television channel dedicated to culture, available in Gaza and the West Bank, according to Channel 2 news.

One short clip of the play aired on Channel 2 on Tuesday shows a young girl armed with a knife attempting to free a Palestinian prisoner from Israeli jail by stabbing the guards. She is shot and falls to the ground amid cries and screams from the audience. Other little girls then approach and cry over her “body.”

“Do not be angry with her,” a voice on the loudspeaker says. “She is your blood, your flesh and your honor.”

A young Palestinian girl attacks 'Israeli soldiers' with a knife in a play held in Gaza as part of the 'Palestine Festival for Children and Education,[1]

A young Palestinian girl attacks ‘Israeli soldiers’ with a knife in a play held in Gaza as part of the ‘Palestine Festival for Children and Education

In the next scene, a boy dressed as a masked Palestinian sniper shoots a soldier and frees the prisoner from Israel.

“Rejoice! the sniper has arrived!” the upbeat music plays during the scene.

The play was performed in the Strip’s southern city of Khan Younis as part of the ongoing Palestine Festival for Children and Education.

Ofir Gendelman, the Arab media spokesperson at the Prime Minister’s Office compared the play to the propaganda of the Islamic State.

“When Palestinians send their kids to act in this school play no wonder their kids committ [sic] attacks when they’re older” Gendelman tweeted.

Negative portrayals of Jews and Israelis in official Palestinian media and school textbooks have long been a concern to Israeli officials who claim the content amounts to incitement.

Israeli politicians have demanded that the Palestinian Authority crack down on anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric in official broadcasts, arguing it has inspired many young Palestinians to carry out attacks against Israelis.          (The Times of Israel)

Jewish-Arab tensions flare in violence-marred Israeli soccer match

A brawl in a soccer match between Israeli Premier League foes Bnei Sakhnin and Maccabi Tel Aviv has aroused nationalist and sectarian tensions, with Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi entering the fray and condemning a Maccabi player who made a provocative statement questioning Arab spectators’ loyalty to the state.

Tensions boiled over following Monday’s encounter at Doha Stadium in the Arab village of Sakhnin, with both benches clearing and a brawl only being averted by security forces.

Maccabi and Sakhnin were playing just four days after their volatile showdown in the State Cup semifinals.

A Tal Ben-Haim winner with five minutes to play gave Maccabi a dramatic 3-2 win over Sakhnin in an enthralling cup affair at Haifa Stadium last Thursday, booking the yellow-and-blue a meeting with Maccabi Haifa in the final next month.

However, what has dominated the headlines ever since has been the controversy surrounding Maccabi’s first goal of the match, with Sakhnin coach Yossi Abuksis being sent off for his protests after Tel Aviv continued play even though Ali Osman allowed the ball to roll out in order to receive treatment for his injury.

Abuksis clashed with the Maccabi bench following the final whistle on Monday, and the coach was kicked by Maccabi goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic during the ensuing melee.

After Monday’s match, which ended in a 0-0 draw, Maccabi star striker Eran Zahavi was quoted as saying: “I don’t know if we played the match in Israel or in Ramallah.”

In response, Tibi slammed Zahavi and Maccabi Tel Aviv for poor sportsmanship.

“Soccer isn’t just about gaining points in the standings, but it’s also about values and fair play,” the lawmaker said. “Maccabi Tel Aviv lost a good deal of points in this regard in both matches against Sakhnin.”

Maccabi is in a close race for the Premier League title with Hapoel Beersheba, the club currently in first place.

“Nobody will shed a tear if Hapoel Beersheba becomes champion,” Tibi said.

Tibi also took Zahavi to task for his “Ramallah” comment, saying: “That is a very blunt statement by an arrogant player. Zahavi and some of his friends are the ones who behaved in an unsportsmanlike, nationalistic fashion. There’s a reason that many people think Maccabi is the most arrogant team in the country.”

On his Twitter account, Tibi posted a picture taken by a Maccabi Tel Aviv fan site showing three rows of team supporters wearing shirts that spell “This is the state of the Jews.”

Above the picture is a caption that reads: “May their village be burnt.”

Tibi responded: “The village hasn’t been burnt.”                 (Jerusalem Post)

Politicians explore country during Passover break

MKs took advantage of the Passover break to tour the country with their families this week.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife, Sara, and their oldest son, Yair, went to Zichron Ya’acov, where they visited Beit Aharonson – the Nili Museum, which tells the story of the first Jewish underground in pre-state Israel, which provided the British Army intelligence in its fight against the Ottoman Army in World War I.

At the museum, Netanyahu was presented with letters his father, Ben-Zion Netanyahu, wrote to Alexander Aaronsohn, one of the founders of Nili and brother of the better- known founders Aaron and Sarah Aaronsohn.

“They talked about the future of Zionism and the storm coming over the world with the rise of the Nazis, as well as the documentation of the Nili Underground, in which my father took part as a historian,” Netanyahu described the letters, adding that he was moved to receive them.

The Netanyahu family also visited nearby Ramat Hanadiv, a garden in memory of Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

“Go out and tour our beautiful, developing country during Hol Hamoed,” the prime minister encouraged Israelis.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Naftali Bennett took a hands-on approach to seeing the country, posting to social media photos of himself hiking the Judean Desert with two of his children on his back.

In a video that he posted online, Bennett swam in Wadi Rahaf, near the Dead Sea, recommended the trail to families with children, and joked: “There are some places without traffic jams.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog’s office kept mum about his holiday plans, but he tweeted a picture of a beach, which he described as “under the sky by the Mediterranean Sea, here in the center of the country.”

Some lawmakers took a multicultural approach, with MK Rachel Azaria tweeting a photo from a Beduin tent, where she said her family slept after a trip to the North, and MK Yossi Yonah took part in a meeting between Jewish and Arab Israelis, as well as Palestinians, where a band played Kurdish- Jewish songs in Arabic.

Others spent the time volunteering, like MK Oren Hazan, who took part in a fund-raiser in Otniel in Judea for victims of terrorism, and MK Meir Cohen who, on the day before Passover, packed food for the needy.

Some politicians chose to vacation abroad.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan was spotted in Greece, at the same hotel as comedian and columnist Hanoch Daum.

MK Shelly Yacimovich tweeted a photo of her cat climbing into her suitcase ahead of a trip abroad.        (Jerusalem Post)

Senior Egyptian archaeologist: Israeli claim that Pharaoh was Egyptian is a lie

According to Director General of Luxor’s Antiquities, Mustafa Waziri, king Pharaoh belonged to the foreign Hyksos dynasty that invaded Egypt in the 15th century BCE and ruled northern Egypt

In an unprecedented declaration that challenges the story told in the Passover Haggadah, a senior Egyptian archaeologist said that ancient king Pharaoh was not Egyptian, as claimed in the ancient Jewish text.

In an interview with the Egyptian daily newspaper al-Youm al-Sabih, the director-general of Luxor’s Antiquities, Mustafa Waziri, surprisingly argued that king Pharaoh belonged to the foreign Hyksos dynasty that invaded Egypt in the 15th century BCE and ruled northern Egypt.

“King Pharaoh who ruled Egypt during the epoch of our prophet Moses was not one of the kings who reigned in ancient Egypt as we tend to believe. He belonged to the Beduin Jabarin dynasty, which is called Hyksos,” Waziri said.

“This foreign dynasty ruled only in a part of Egypt. One of its last kings was a dictator named Pharaoh, to whom Moses was sent by Allah to demand that he allow the sons of Israel to leave Egypt,” Waziri explained.

The Egyptian archaeologist added: “the prevailing thesis according to which the kings of ancient Egypt were named Pharaohs is a false thesis promoted by the Jews to stick false accusations on ancient Egyptians.”

“Due to his oppressive rule, the Jews have succeeded in transforming his name to a formal title of all Egyptians kings, which enables them to damage us by saying that we have raped women and slaughtered children. However, the Pharaoh title was never used to describe Egyptians, but was always attached to boorish people,” Waziri said.

To prove his thesis, Waziri presented his conclusions from a study he conducted about the subject. He said that reviewing the Koran, he has not seen that the word “Pharaoh” is used to describe Egypt or Egyptians.

According to Waziri, the Koranic evidence that “Pharaoh” is a private name and not a royal title, as Israel alleges, is the phrase “Oh, Pharaoh”, that refers to Pharaoh as a private individual.            (Jerusalem Post)

An ode to haroset ice cream in Israel

Haroset ice cream[1]

Haroset ice cream

“Oy, haroset ice cream!” I thought to myself, trying Ben and Jerry’s haroset- flavored ice cream for the first time. My inner voice began to sound like Maya Angelou, leaping and bounding with emotion.

“Cinnamon, apples, dates, pecans, red wine – I declare, you are even better than the real deal!” I thought to myself.

The likenesses of Ben and Jerry smiled back at me from the carton as I took my first bite. It tasted like a doughnut, perfectly spiced but in the form of ice cream. Swirls of cinnamon ensconced the pecans and danced in a sea of dairy. This modern marvel, now in its second year, is still winning hearts, it seems.

Ever since the holiday began, I’ve marveled at how Passover can be the tastiest time of the year, no hametz (leavened food products) required. Walking into most grocery stores, even in the heart of Israel’s supposed “sin city” of Tel Aviv, shoppers can rest assured that the products available are kosher for Passover. Every item is released as a Passover version, from cake to vinegar to ketchup to toothpaste.

Most restaurants remain open during the holiday and became a dream for those who don’t eat gluten.

Breads made of potato, rice or corn flour are de rigeur at many restaurants as the slices of Passover pizza await their next customer. Matza humbly waits by the side, available for those who desire it.

Food is just one aspect of Passover in Israel, albeit a major focus. The holiday energy during the five-day-long intermediate period of Hol Hamoed is palpable everywhere.

People look happier as they make their way to the beach or to their places of work, which have undergone a good Passover cleaning. Parents and grandparents can be seen with their young sires riding a train to some adventure or other. Packs of teenagers embrace freedom as they flock to the beach. The air is full of adventure and the smell of barbecues.

The Jerusalem Post’s political correspondent, Gil Hoffman, said that he celebrated Hol Hamoed at Waffle Factory restaurant, savoring waffles pizza and pasta… all kosher for Passover.

Later on, he stopped at McDonald’s, where even the famous golden arches made a holiday switch. “It looks normal, it tastes normal and it’s a joy,” he gushed.

“I have not had a single bite of hard matza since the Hillel sandwich,” he said of the ritual sandwich of matza, lettuce and haroset eaten during the Seder.

In other words, why settle for the bread of affliction? My memories of Passover outside of Israel involve a constant grumbling in my stomach as I grew sick of matza pizza, matza with cream cheese, chocolate covered matza.

Still to this day, the sight of coconut macaroons can send me running.

How I dreamed of normal food! Some may frown that today’s holiday substitutes bear such a similarity to the real deal. Others will savor every bite as their ability to observe the mitzva of refraining from hametz becomes one bit easier.                    (Jerusalem Post)

Israel’s U.N. ambassador: Direct diplomacy is the only way to peace

by Danny Danon    The LA Times

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0425-danon-israel-ambassador-peace-deal-20160425-story.html

As President Obama and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon prepare to leave office in the coming months, there are increasing calls for these world leaders to back a new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative.

Some are planning an international summit; others call for a renewed focused on mediated peace talks. A number of policymakers and peace process experts also have proposed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would set parameters for a final agreement.

While Israel welcomes the good intentions of our friends, the truth is such initiatives are not enough. The modern history of Israeli-Arab peacemaking has taught us that only direct negotiations between the two sides can actually achieve results.

The best-known international gathering on Israeli-Arab peace was the 1991 Madrid conference. It was an impressive event, co-sponsored by the U.S. and Russia that brought together representatives from Israel, Syria and Lebanon as well as a joint Palestinian-Jordan delegation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has extended himself further than any previous Israeli leader in his pursuit of direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

And yet little progress got made. The conference kicked off what was to be almost 20 years of unproductive on-again, off-again negotiations with the Syrians. Meanwhile, the Palestinian track that began in Madrid was short-lived and similarly made no progress toward peace. (It was separately that the controversial 1994 Oslo accords creating the Palestinian Authority were hammered out directly by representatives of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.)

The U.N. has been similarly unsuccessful in brokering peace. The most well-known Security Council action on the Arab-Israeli conflict is Resolution 242 from 1967. It called for ending the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors by a “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories” in return for every state in the region to be able “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” Following Resolution 242, however, the Palestinian representatives never acknowledged the legitimacy of the nation of Israel. No serious U.N.-sponsored peace talks were ever initiated as a result of this resolution.

Third-party mediation also has been tried. Envoys including Swedish diplomat Gunnar Jarring and Americans William P. Rogers, Dennis Ross and George Mitchell gave it their best shot. They all suggested new strategies for moving forward, and many had good intentions, but none brought about a peace deal.

So what does work? Direct talks.

Israel’s enduring peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan were the result of representatives ­ or even the leaders personally ­ coming together to negotiate without preconditions. Our collective memories may glorify the 1978 Camp David summit and the 1994 treaty-signing ceremony at the White House, but those events were the culmination of countless hours of direct negotiations.

The peace deal with Egypt began in 1977 with secret talks between Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, Moshe Dayan, and Egypt’s deputy prime minister, Hassan Tuhami, followed by detailed negotiations between Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat. In the case of Jordan, peace was finally reached in 1994 when King Hussein had the courage to sit down with Prime Minister Rabin and negotiate directly the tough issues that had kept our nations at war for 47 years.

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Since his reelection in 2009, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has extended himself further than any previous Israeli leader in his pursuit of direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. He enacted a controversial construction freeze in Judea and Samaria and released dozens of convicted murderers, all in the hope of convincing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to negotiate with him.

Abbas, however, continually tosses out new preconditions to agreeing merely to talk. He has met face to face with Netanyahu for only six hours since 2009. While Abbas recently hinted in a TV interview that he would be willing to meet the prime minister, he has spent the intervening weeks pushing forward a Security Council resolution to condemn us and jetting around Europe to garner support for international initiatives. All the while, his Palestinian Authority continues to pay stipends to the family members of terrorists and to incite further violence against Israel on its official TV channels. These are not the actions of someone who is serious about peace.

Our peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, which have weathered years of upheaval in the Middle East, have proved that bitter enemies can settle their differences if they sit down to talk. Direct negotiations cannot be replaced by international conferences, presidential speeches, or even U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Peace will come only when the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state as a legitimate partner for direct negotiations to resolve this conflict.

Danny Danon is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Most young US Jews are Birthright patriots, not alienated Millenials

by Gil troy     The Jerusalem Post

http://www.jpost.com/printarticle.aspx?id=452414

I’m confused. I keep reading that “Millennials” are abandoning Israel, and that this broader American Jewish distancing from Israel is, of course, all Israel’s fault. Yet busloads of young Jews keep touring Israel despite parents who never bothered visiting – often returning rapturous. How could young Jews be abandoning Israel if they embrace it so ardently that comedians mock their enthusiasm? Are young American Jews Millennial traitors or Birthright patriots? Beware, the loudest voices today are not necessarily the most representative. The media megaphone amplifies critics’ voices, especially those who bash politically incorrect targets like “Bibi’s Israel.”

While there are ideological tensions between Americanism and Zionism and some loud elite Millennials are abandoning Israel, Birthright is a mass movement.

It reflects and reinforces vigorous, popular, mainstream Jewish support for Israel. The Chinese teach: “The crying baby gets the milk.” We can say: “The snotty, self-righteous Israel-bashing, Millennial commands the attention – not the crowds.”

Scholar/statesman Daniel Patrick Moynihan advised that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. Intellectuals often masquerade as sociologists, pretending their opinions enjoy mass support. In 2010, had Peter Beinart just said, “I’m fed up with Israel,” his essay wouldn’t have ignited a firestorm. By claiming he represented the young American Jewish masses souring on Israel, forced to choose between liberalism and Zionism, his article terrified the American Jewish establishment. Some conservative Zionists also claim American Jews are abandoning Israel, but they blame American Jewish superficiality – because the more identified you are with Judaism, the more identified you are with Israel.

Let’s remember, Zionism historically was a marginal movement, especially before 1948. The movement’s validity came from being right – not popular.

The Eastern European masses moved to America.

Today, according to the Pew Study, 69 percent of American Jews remain attached to Israel, including 60% between the ages of 18 and 29.

(Only 49% of those with no denomination feel attached to Israel, proving that Israel affiliation reflects the depth of your Jewish identity more than your age or politics).

Moreover, thanks to Taglit-Birthright Israel – whose International Education Committee I chair voluntarily – more 20 to 30 year-olds than 30 to

40 years olds are pro-Israel. This phenomenon reverses the historic tendency whereby the older Jews get, the more pro-Israel they become. The opportunity so many young Jews have enjoyed to visit Israel on a non-partisan program, connecting with Israel, Judaism, and Zionism as part of their heritage not as a political problem, has been revolutionary. The result has renewed appreciation for Israel and for Zionism as a Jewish identity-building process.

Birthright has liberated hundreds of thousands of young Jews from seeing Israel only through the prism of the news or of Yasir Arafat’s conceit to make every conversation about Israel be about him and his people. Professor Theodore Sasson’s research has shown that it has freed conservative and liberal Jews to have opinions about Israel, even criticize Israel, but, as with their relationship with America, not abandon the country when they disagree with its politics or leaders.

Positive Israel experiences cannot resolve all the ideological tensions between Jewish Americanism and Zionism. Both America and Israel remain dueling “promised lands.” Americans and Israelis each view history as naturally flowing toward their respective homes. American assimiliationism and cosmopolitanism, along with the mainstreaming of intermarriage, root young American Jews in non-Zionist worldviews and experiences – precisely when young Israelis are steeped in the intensely nationalist experience of army service. Clashing attitudes about the Palestinian problem mix with questions of tribalism, loyalty, patriotism, and tradition.

A small, loud minority of American Jews, motivated by support for Palestinian rights, has used these ideological tensions to repudiate Israel and exaggerate the wedge between the Israeli and American Jewish communities. These critics enjoy disproportionate strength among non-Orthodox rabbinic students, graduate students, and undergraduates in elite educational institutions. As a result, whereas once rabbis were usually more conservative religiously and politically than their flock, tomorrow’s rabbis and communal leaders risking being more radical in general – and less loyal to Israel.

Ultimately, the numbers indicate that Jewish support for Israel, and pro-Israel activism on campus, are growing. The “alienated Millennials” who generate headlines are more warning sign than tombstone.

Ideologically, we must continue building Israel connections based on a search for meaning rooted in heritage and homeland, not through politics, guilt or fear. And we should sharpen the Zionist critique of American Jewry, showing how Israel’s more collectivist, three-dimensional Jewish identity can enrich American Jewish identity.

We must stop distorting the conversation about Israel by making it all about the Palestinians. In 1981, the liberal feminist writer Anne Roiphe wrote Generation without Memory, articulating her Jewish identity worries. She sought a richer, more muscular, American Judaism, a more Israeli Judaism.

Acknowledging that “All Jewish rivers run toward Israel,” she wrote: “A Judaism that does not involve new commitments, work for others, will melt away in the heat of the barbecue on the patio, the light of the TV, the warmth of the variety of comforts now available….

If one modernizes Judaism too far, it becomes like a TV game show, as compared to a fine Shakespeare performance… Indifferently, the next generation is tempted to drift away, to turn it off.”

By visiting Israel, hundreds of thousands of young Jews have experienced this deeper 3-D, 24/7 Judaism and Zionism. Israel, our homeland, can inspire Jews, wherever they stand on the Palestinian issue, because they care about their own identities, and seek more depth, commitment, meaning, in their lives. Identity Zionism, not partisan or guilt-based Zionism, provides the depth many moderns seek.

So look beyond the headlines and beyond the shrill critics. See the ongoing support for Israel among Jews, to fulfill themselves, not just help Israel.

The World Dodged a Bullet in Syria – Thanks to Israel – John Hannah (Foreign Policy)

I well remember the day in spring 2007 when I got an urgent call from Vice President Cheney. The head of Israel’s Mossad, the late Meir Dagan, had just been in to brief Cheney and President Bush. He revealed compelling evidence that in the Syrian desert east of Damascus, near the town of Al-Kibar, North Korea was covertly building a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor. It was more or less a replica of the North’s own reactor at Yongbyon.

Making matters worse, Al-Kibar was perilously close to completion. Options for getting rid of it would narrow considerably once operations began and the reactor went “hot.” For its part, the U.S. intelligence community had totally missed Al-Kibar.

The fact is that the U.S. dodged a bullet in Syria – and, it’s worth stressing, all courtesy of the Israelis. Not only did they discover Al-Kibar in the nick of time. They also carried out the attack that was almost certainly the only means of ensuring the reactor never went hot.

Just imagine the nightmare that the world would have faced if, on top of everything else in Syria, we were also dealing with the nightmare of the Islamic State getting its hands on a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor.

The writer, a senior counselor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, was national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney from 2005 to 2009.

Israeli 4-Minute Malaria Detection Kit Brought to India – Viswanath Pilla (Live Mint-India)

U.S.-based medical devices firm Becton, Dickinson and Co. on Monday said it will introduce a malaria detection method developed by Israel’s Sight Diagnostics Ltd. in India, which will make a diagnosis in just four minutes.

In 2013, 880,000 cases of malaria were reported in India with over 128 million tests performed. Malaria testing is mandatory on all blood donations.

The miracle of Israeli medical research and discovery

Enjoy and be amazed by this video!  Perhaps you’ve seen some of these, but there are several “new” ones