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Latest News in Israel – 30th March

Soldier held for Hebron shooting to be questioned amid major political uproar

The IDF soldier who shot a neutralized Palestinian in the head Thursday will be questioned by a military court at Ground Forces Command near Kiryat Malachi on Tuesday amid a political debate over how the IDF and politicians have handled the incident.

The questioning was originally set for at the Jaffa Military Court, but the location was changed, because hundreds of protesters were expected to demand that the soldier be released.

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman had called on Israelis to come to the court to support the soldier.

“It could be that the soldier was right and it could be that he was wrong, but a live soldier who was mistaken is better than a soldier who hesitated and was murdered by a terrorist,” Liberman told his faction.

Liberman complained that the incident “revealed how pathetic the government is,” led by “a prime minister who changes his mind every day” and two security cabinet ministers – Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Education Minister Gilad Erdan – “who constantly argue publicly.”

Netanyahu told his Likud faction that as the father of a soldier, he was touched by statements made by the father of the Hebron soldier, who pleaded for mercy for his son. But he said he trusts the IDF investigation.

“IDF soldiers, our children, are facing murderous terror attacks from terrorists who try to kill them,” Netanyahu said. “They must make quick decisions under pressure in the field amid uncertainty.

I believe the probe will take that into account and will be professional and fair to the soldier.”

Ya’alon and Bennett, who argued during the cabinet meeting and on social media Sunday, took their dispute to the Knesset plenum Monday.

In his speech, Ya’alon vigorously denied Bennett’s charges that he had condemned the soldier based on a video clip taken by the controversial human rights organization B’Tselem before the IDF had properly investigated the incident.

“Our initial investigation was already done before the video was published, and the bottom line was this was an incident of a soldier who had transgressed, and not a hero,” Ya’alon said. “Therefore all the criticism and release of false, manipulative information and attacks on the chief of staff were unwarranted. What do you want: a beastly IDF that loses its ethical spine?” Ya’alon said he was proud that the IDF officers had taken immediate action against the soldier. He said Bennett should have checked his facts before turning to the press.

Bennett said he would not respond to what he termed personal attacks by Ya’alon against him.

“You can attack me, and I will be alright, but don’t attack our soldiers,” Bennett said. “The story is not Ya’alon, or Bennett, but the soldiers. A soldier was condemned because of one video by B’Tselem, led away in handcuffs and charged with murder. Have we lost our minds?” Bennett said it was important for IDF soldiers guarding Israel during Monday’s rain to know that politicians were guarding them.

Likud MK Nava Boker called for a pardon for the soldier if he is convicted.

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas responded to the incident for the first time Monday, telling a Channel 10 reporter in Ramallah that the soldier must face an independent, international trial.

Separately, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday ordered Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to stop transferring the bodies of Palestinian terrorists to their families. Palestinians hold that these assailants are martyrs and have in the past held mass funerals for them in which their bodies are paraded on gurneys through their home villages or cities.

Netanyahu believes that these funerals fuel additional violence, whereas as Ya’alon is of the opinion that it is the failure to return the bodies that would lead to further attacks.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has already held onto the bodies of Israelis Arabs residents of Jerusalem who have carried out such attacks and has returned them only under certain conditions, including holding only small funerals.

Netanyahu’s order extends that policy to the West Bank.

Since mid-September, more than 120 Palestinians have been killed executing attacks against Israelis, in a wave of violence that has claimed the lives of 34 victims including two Americans.       (Jerusalem Post)

Defense minister tells IDF commanders to stand firm amid Hebron shooting firestorm

In the wake of the firestorm raging over the Hebron shooting of a downed attacker by an IDF soldier, and the soldier’s subsequent arrest, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon fired back on Tuesday against attacks from right-wing ministers and politicians who accused him and senior IDF commanders of abandoning soldiers.

During visit to IDF Central Command, Ya’alon told commanders that it is their duty to “prevent dark winds from the outside to influence us,” adding, “There is a struggle here over the character and image of the state of Israel, and Israeli society, in a way that influences the IDF.

It is important that the IDF remains as a stable anchor, and that it continues to safeguard norms and values.” Ya’alon, who toured the Central Command’s headquarters in north Jerusalem, said Thursday’s Shooting incident generated an “ugly wave, and it is important to keep the IDF away from this ugly wave, which is being caused by an extreme minority or political elements.”

The defense minister criticized what he called “confusion and impassioned” sentiments, and the intervention of “unprofessional elements” in the debate over rules of engagement. “What is happening now is not helpful.

The defense establishment has to remain stable when facing down [to the lower ranks]. We provide support to soldiers and commanders, unless they transgress from the values and the law.

Those who support a soldier who sinned, according to the view of his commanders, is not giving support to the soldier’s commanders, from the lower rank and to the chief of staff, and is harming the military, and national strength.” Commanders must maintain military professionalism during talks and briefs “down to the last soldier in the command,” Ya’alon added.   (Jerusalem Post)

‘ISIS branch in Egypt’s Sinai planning big operation in southern Israel’

The ISIS affiliate in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula plans to carry out a “big operation” in southern Israel, which will include an attack on the resort city of Eilat, a militant close to the group warned.

In an interview set to air Sunday on Aaron Klein Investigative Radio, a weekend radio show broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and NewsTalk 990 AM in Philadelphia, Abu al-Ayna al-Ansari, a Salafist movement senior official in the Gaza Strip, said that Israel and the US are among Islamic State’s chief targets.

“The Islamic State educates its people that Israel and the United States are the leaders of the infidels and we believe that Israel should be disappeared,” Ansari told Klein.

He said that Wilayat Sinai, the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State, “will be the pioneers in this confrontation with Israel.”

Ansari vowed that “it is only a question of time when there will be a big operation in Eilat and in the south of Israel.”

Col. Yehuda Cohen, the commander of the IDF’s Sagi Brigade operating on the border with Egypt, acknowledged in September that it is only a matter of time before Islamic State in Egypt attempts to carry out a terrorist attack against Israel.

“In the end it must be remembered this organization was formed by terrorists that dream of a terror attack against Israel, and it will come. It’s clear that there will be a terror attack against Israel, I believe that it will happen during my tenure,” he warned in an interview with Army Radio.

He said that his forces prepare with the expectation that such an attack could come at any moment.

“I teach my people to expect it to come tomorrow, to always be ready for it. When it happens, my doctrine is that we must strike a very strong blow at the same point and ensure that there are zero successful actions for the enemy,” he said.        (Jerusalem Post)

ISIS cell planned to bomb security forces in Jerusalem

Charges were filed at Jerusalem District Court against two residents of Tzur Baher in eastern Jerusalem who planned a terror attack on behalf of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).

According to the charges against them, Muasab Alian, 23, and Samir Abed Rabo, 38, had planned to carry out a car bombing attack against security forces in Jerusalem.

Both were charged with conspiracy to aid the enemy in wartime. In addition, Alian was indicted on charges of membership in and activity on behalf of an illegal organization, membership in a terrorist organization, providing support to a terrorist organization and attempting to leave the country illegally.

Abed Rabo was also charged with supporting a terrorist organization and making contact with a foreign agent.

The charge sheet against them outlines a familiar pattern among Israeli-Arab ISIS recruits, many of whom have been jailed in the past and at least dozens of whom are currently in Syria and Iraq fighting for the so-called Islamic State.

According to the indictment, Muasab Alian began his affiliation with ISIS in early 2014, and between 2015-2016 took part in Islamic study sessions which included – among other things – instruction in the ISIS ideology.

By the start of 2015 he had sworn allegiance to ISIS, and decided to travel to Syria to fight among its ranks.

In October 2015 he traveled to Jordan, hoping to make his way from there to Syria via Turkey. However, he was arrested by Jordanian security forces and interrogated for several days before being deported back to Israel.

Undeterred, Alian worked to raise money in Israel to help him appeal to the Turkish Embassy to allow him to enter the country. At the same time he looked into the possibility of reaching Syria via Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where ISIS has an active branch.

During the same period, Samir Abed Rabo had begun his own affiliation with ISIS, and was actively seeking out other members and sympathizers online. Eventually, he met Alian, and the two began plotting to carry out a bombing attack targeting Israeli security forces stationed in Jerusalem along with another, unnamed individual.

Abed Rabo, who had some knowledge of bomb assembly, was recruited by Alian to construct the explosives.

The terrorists bought a cellphone to use as a remote detonator, and began gathering other elements necessary to construct the bomb. All three met regularly to discuss and plan their attack – before Alian and Abed Rabo were arrested and eventually charged.

The security services have requested the two be held in custody pending their trial.      (Arutz Sheva)

Netanyahu halts return of Palestinian terrorist bodies to their families

The bodies of Palestinian terrorists will no longer be returned to their families.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday ordered Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to stop such transfers.

Israel believes these funerals fuel additional violence.

Palestinians hold that these assailants are martyrs and have in the past held mass funerals for them in which their bodies are paraded on gurneys through their home villages or cities.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has already held onto the bodies of Israelis Arabs residents of Jerusalem who have carried out such attacks.

Netanyahu’s order extends that policy to the West Bank.

Since mid-September, more than 120 Palestinians have been killed executing attacks against Israelis, that has claimed the lives of 34 victims including two Americans.  (Jerusalem Post)

ISIS reportedly planning ‘imminent’ attack on Jewish school in Turkey

Islamic State terrorists are planning an “imminent” attack on Jewish kindergartens, schools and youth centers in Turkey, according to Sky News.

The most likely target of the attack is a synagogue in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district, which is attached to a community center and school, the British news service reported Monday.

The report is likely referring to the Neve Shalom Synagogue, which was previously hit by attacks in 1986 and 2003.

“We don’t know when it’s scheduled for. It could be in the next 24 hours or next few days,” an intelligence source told Sky News. “In light of these circumstances, extraordinary security measures are being taken above and beyond the high alert level already in place by the Turkish police, as well as vigilance within the Jewish community.”

Just hours earlier, Israel warned its citizens living in or visiting Turkey to leave immediately, warning of an Islamic State threat. Last Saturday, March 19, three Israeli tourists on a culinary tour were among five killed in a suicide bombing in Istanbul. It’s not yet known whether Israelis, who often vacation in Turkey, were targeted.

Sky News reported seeing an intelligence report saying the Islamic State was behind the attack in Istanbul as well as the series of bombings in Brussels Thursday.

Islamic State has been blamed for four of six bombings in Turkey in the past eight months, including a double suicide attack at a peace rally in the capital, Ankara, in October that killed 103 people.

The information about the planned attack came from six Islamic State operatives arrested in the city of Gaziantep, in southern Turkey, in the past week, according to Sky News.

“Undercover and other covert counter-terror measures are being implemented around the clock. This is a more than credible threat. This is an active plot,” the source is quoted as saying.

On Saturday, Turkish police warned of possible Islamic State attacks against Christians and Jews over the weekend.            (JTA)

Netanyahu: Bizarre gas ruling will greatly damage economy

Government officials on Sunday evening castigated the High Court of Justice decision that put the brakes on a controversial natural gas deal, even as opposition lawmakers — who led the petition against the accord — celebrated the development as a victory for the public.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had spearheaded efforts to seal the deal between the state and gas companies, said the ruling “threatens the development of Israel’s gas reserves. Israel is regarded as a state with excessive judicial intervention, which makes it difficult to do business.”

In its decision, the High Court declared that the deal to extract offshore natural gas would be canceled within a year unless a central tenet of the agreement, preventing future governments from altering the terms, is significantly changed or canceled.

“Surely nobody can celebrate the fact that the gas is likely to remain in the depths of the sea and that hundreds of billions of shekels won’t reach the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu continued. However, he vowed to “find other ways to overcome the great damage caused to the Israeli economy because of this bizarre ruling.”

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said the government would respect the High Court ruling, but added that he would “examine legal solutions to allow the government to implement its policy.”

The stability clause, one of the central parts of the gas deal, had ensured there would be no regulatory changes, regardless of changes in the government or changing discoveries on the amount of gas as the drilling progresses.

Opponents want the gas deal regulations to remain dynamic, and argued that the stability clause was too favorable for the gas companies.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz called the High Court’s ruling “miserable” and said its “negative consequences for developing the gas market, for energy security, for the Israeli economy, and in lost income for the state of Israel and its citizens, are liable to be even harsher — and potentially irreversible.”

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called the ruling a “crude and unnecessary intervention in a government decision.”

“It is unacceptable that the government holds the responsibility over the economy and prosperity of the state, but remains without the necessary authority to take action,” she said in a statement.


By contrast, opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) — whose Knesset faction filed the petition against the deal — welcomed the decision.

“A correct and brave decision by the High Court,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “The government mustn’t tie its hands and its [right to use] discretion.”

Herzog said the petition by Zionist Union MKs “established a clear public limit for the benefit of the general citizenry and the citizens of Israel.”

In a statement, the Zionist Union wrote that it “welcomes the High Court decision that accepted the party’s petition and cancelled the gas deal.”

The party said the decision proved the claims that Netanyahu “was not looking at the benefit for the citizens of Israel when he signed the gas deal.

“In contrast to [Netanyahu] and his government, the petition claimed that the gas belongs to all of the citizens of Israel and not just to a small group of those close to the prime minister and we will continue to act for that to be the case,” the party said.

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni wrote on Twitter that “cancellation of the deal is the price that the government pays today for the uncouth trampling of the legislative gatekeepers.”

However, Immigration Minister Ze’ev Elkin accused the justices of meddling with the business of government and the running of the country.

“To my regret, once again the High Court blatantly got involved in the administration of the country without taking responsibility, when the outcome of that involvement is damage to the Israeli economy, and there will be many billions missing from the budget that could have been directed to the welfare, health, and social needs of others,” he said. “It is worthwhile remembering that those who bear responsibility for that are the judges, who sit in the ivory tower of the High Court.”

Elkin added that “there is an inevitable need for a fundamental reform of the legal system in order to restore rational Israeli democracy.”

Netanyahu had made the gas deal a centerpiece of his agenda, saying the discovery of large reserves would bring energy self-sufficiency and billions of dollars in tax revenues. But critics said the deal gave excessively favorable terms to the government’s corporate partners.

Activists have been furious with the gas deal’s lack of transparency, including the so-called “stability clause,” which meant that the government could not impose regulatory changes, such as breaking up suspected monopolies, on the gas companies for a full 10 years.

Netanyahu signed the gas deal on December 17, 2015, paving the way for a consortium of Noble Energy and the Delek Group to begin work on extracting gas from the massive Leviathan gas field off Israel’s coast, which is thought to contain some 22 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The deal came after a year of performing political cartwheels to override Knesset and public opposition to the deal, which, critics claim, will create a monopoly in the gas market and lead to higher prices for Israeli consumers.                     (The Times of Israel)

Belgians protect Israeli flag at Brussels attacks memorial

In the wake of last week’s terror attack in Brussels, Belgians transformed a central square in the capital into an impromptu memorial for the victims.

Thirty-five people died Tuesday in a series of suicide bombings at the city’s main airport and a subway station.

Starting the next day, people gathered in Place de La Bourse and lit candles amid spontaneous singing and guitar playing of French-language songs about peace, along with some Beatles hits for good measure. Locals and foreigners filled part of the square with candles and flags from dozens of countries.

Amid the display of national and international unity, a few people went out of their way to exclude Israel. In at least three incidents captured on video last week, people either speaking Arabic or wearing Muslim garb destroyed, removed or covered up Israeli flags at Place de la Bourse.

In an incident Sunday around noon, locals intervened. A crowd confronted a man who, after praying in Arabic, shouted “Palestine” and anti-Israel slogans — calling Israel a “terrorist state.” The incident was caught on video.

The white-haired man, wearing a head covering favored by North African Muslims, stepped on other flags and candles in an effort to reach an Israeli flag located near the center of the memorial site. Dozens of Belgians began booing him.

Several shouted in Flemish and French: “Shameful!” Others shouted in French: “Everyone!” in a call for others to join the booing.

When the man grabbed the Israeli flag, another man shoved him to the ground and wrestled it from his hands amid applause from onlookers. Two police officers made their way to the scene, and after a short exchange, escorted the shouting man away from the memorial. When the man again shouted in Arabic, one of the officers shoved him.

It was not the first time mourners at Place de La Bourse intervened to stop attempts to remove Israeli flags. In another incident after the bombing, two Arabic-speaking men who covered an Israeli flag with a Palestinian flag were confronted by a third man who was filmed saying in French: “This is an apolitical place, don’t do this.”

Gil Taieb, a vice president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, said that even bloodless insults against symbols must not be tolerated at a time when the West is grappling with killers who are waging a war of symbols.

“After each attack, we are shocked by the horror and cry for victims of all confessions,” he wrote in an Op-Ed published Sunday on the news website Le Monde Juif.info about the incidents at Place de la Bourse. “Each time, we hope and wait for a uniform line – the only rampart against barbarism.”

But anti-Israel actions like those in Brussels crack the unity Europe finds after terror attacks, he added, recalling the January 2015 slaying in Paris of 17 people at Charlie Hebdo weekly of 17 people, including several Jews and police officers, and the Hyper Cacher kosher market. Those attacks prompted millions to march under the banner “I am Charlie” and “I’m a police officer.”

Anti-Semitic anti-Zionists, Taieb wrote, “remind us they do not consider us to be like the rest, and that whether we are in Paris, Tunisia, Bamako, Brussels, whether we are Charlie or police officers, we will forever be but Jews and Israel to them.”

While disturbing to many, the drama around the Israeli flags pales in comparison to violence that broke out at Place de la Bourse Sunday, when police dispersed a group of black-clad men who had mounted the steps of the stock exchange in the square and started chanting slogans against the Islamic State. Some members of the group were seen making Nazi salutes, confronting ethnic minorities and throwing flares.              (JTA)

Belgian Jew who lost leg in Brussels blast plans Israel move after recovery

A Belgian Jew whose leg was blown off in a suicide bombing at Brussels’ main airport said he would immigrate to Israel.

Walter Benjamin plans to make aliyah when he recovers from the injury he sustained in the March 22 attack he told Israel’s Channel 2 Sunday. The attack was part of a series of bombings in the Belgian capital that killed 35 people and wounded hundreds.

“I probably will pack my things, get on a plane and start looking for a small apartment in Israel,” he said, adding that he wants to be near his daughter, who lives there until she enlists in the Israeli army. “That’s the most important thing in life for me.”

Benjamin said he was walking through the airport to check-in to a flight to Israel, where he planned to spend Purim with his daughter, when he heard a noise he thought was firecrackers.

Twenty seconds later, the second of two explosions at the airport blew off part of his leg. He was shielded from some of the shrapnel because he was holding a large suitcase, he said.

Benjamin recalled seeing a dead person next to him after the blast and realizing he had lost part of his right leg. A Belgian soldier helped stop the bleeding and evacuate him to receive medical treatment.

“I thought I was going to die,” Benjamin said.

Two students from an Antwerp yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, were also among the 300 people wounded in the bombings, the third of which struck a local subway station an hour later. The students were lightly to moderately hurt.             (JTA)

Netanyahu to Indonesian journalists: Time to establish formal ties

It’s time for Israel and Indonesia to establish full diplomatic ties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of five senior Indonesian journalists on Monday.

Netanyahu told the delegation, here for a week as guests of the Foreign Ministry, that the two countries have many areas in which they can cooperate, such as in the fields of water and technology.

“The relations between Israel and Indonesia need to change,” he said. “I have not a few Indonesian friends on facebook. The time has come to change the relations, and the reasons that prevented that in the past are no longer relevant.”

Netanyahu said he hoped that the journalists’ visit will pave the way to establishing ties with the world’s most populous Muslim country.

Netanyahu told the group that Israel has excellent relations with a number of other Asian countries, including China, Japan, India and Vietnam, and that it is deepening its ties with Russia, as well as countries in Latin America and Africa.

“Our relations with the Arab world is also changing, because we are allies in the struggle against Islamic extremism,” he said.

The delegation’s visit comes just two weeks after Israel kept Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi from visiting Ramallah because – contrary to what Jerusalem said was agreed beforehand – she did not plan to meet Israeli officials.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, in a response to a parliamentary question on the matter by MK Ahmad Tibi, acknowledged that Jerusalem has unofficial ties with Jakarta, and said there is “continuous contact” between the two countries.

Despite the lack of diplomatic ties, in 2015 the two countries did some $150 million in trade, more trade than Israel had that year with European countries such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Iceland; more trade than with most South American countries; and more trade than with every African state, with the exception of Egypt and South Africa.    (Jerusalem Post)

‘Chinese see Israel as a partner who can help in innovation’

Israel and China are set to sign an agreement Tuesday instituting a 10-year, multi-visit visa that will facilitate business and tourist travel between the two countries.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will sign the agreement with Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, who is heading an 80-member delegation taking part in the second annual Israel-China Committee for Cooperation in Innovation.

The previous meeting, which is the annual equivalent of the government- to-government confabs Israel holds with countries such as Germany, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria, was held in Beijing in January 2015.

The annual meetings underline the growth in ties between Israel and China.

Trade in 2015 reached more than $9 billion, double the amount in 2007. In addition, about 25% of foreign investment in Israel’s high tech sector now comes from China or Hong Kong.

Hagai Shagrir, director of the Foreign Ministry’s Northeast Asia department, said Liu is one of four vice premiers in China, and the highest ranking woman in the Beijing government. Her portfolio includes innovation, technology, education and health.

Liu was responsible for innovation being at the top of the agenda of China’s recently unveiled 13th five-year plan, he said.

“The Chinese see Israel as a partner who can help in innovation, so that is a connection that is very important,” Shagrir said. Explaining the importance of these types of meetings, he said that the way to move things forward with China is through these types of “institutionalized platforms.”

Shagrir said that the agreement allowing for a 10-year, multi-entry visa will be the first such arrangement Israel has with another country, and the third for China, which already has decade-long, multi-entry arrangements with the US and Canada.

“When a Chinese tourist or businessman looks where to travel, he looks for two things: where it is easiest in terms of visas, and if there are direct flights with a Chinese airline,” Shagrir said.

The new visa regime will make travel much easier. In another three weeks, China’s Hainan Airlines will open a direct line from Beijing to Tel Aviv. Hainan will fly to Israel three times a week, augmenting El AL, which already has three direct flights a week to Beijing.

In addition to the visa treaty, a number of other agreements are also to be signed. One will substantially increase the number of scholarships for Chinese students studying here, a program that could bring hundreds of Chinese to learn at Israel’s higher education institutions.

Another agreement governs the establishment of Israeli innovation centers in China in the spheres of agriculture, public health, education and entrepreneurship. The value added for Israel as a result of these centers is that they will expose the Chinese working in these fields to Israeli technology and know-how that they otherwise might not have known about.

Another agreement will establish a program to bring 1,000 young Chinese leaders over the next three years from government, the Communist party, businesses and think tanks to Israel on seven to 10-day programs to expose them to the country.

Liu, who was last in Israel in 2014, will be accompanied by three ministers, nine deputy ministers and 14 university heads. She is arriving from Egypt, and will also visit Ramallah during her trip here.                  (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli-Druze businesswoman conquers Spanish hearts

Jamila Hir, also known as “Grandma Jamila,” from the Druze village of Peki’in, is Israel’s new “ambassador” in Spain. She represented Israel at the prestigious Festival of Women, which is held annually in Segovia, Spain. Hir, a 76-year-old owner of a cosmetic company, amazed the Israeli embassy, conquering the hearts of the Spanish press.

Hagit Mualem, the Israeli cultural attaché in Spain, arranged for Hir to come to the festival, which hosted six women from around the world, who successfully affected change in their respective societies.


“Grandma Jamila”

Hir creates natural soaps from olive oil and medical herbs, which have garnered a reputation of a curing agent. She is the first Druze woman to build a factory with her own hands. Today she employs hundreds of Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Druze workers and her small business brings in $50 million in profits and exports to 40 countries. She is also a widow, a mother to five children, a grandmother to 15 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. She is proud to be the first Druze mother, whose daughter went to college and received a driver’s license.

In 2006, on Israeli Independence Day, Hir and Stef Wertheimer, another Israeli businessperson, lit the Independence Day torch for their efforts to develop the Galilee.

During the Festival of Woman and in interviews after it, Hir spoke proudly about the peace that exists within the walls of the factory between Jewish, Druze, Muslim, and Christian women. “They all work together under the same slogan—only women can give birth to peace,” Hir said.

She also spoke about how the Druze community lives in peace with Jews and serves in the Israeli security establishment.

Mualem added, “It was important for us to show the diversity and complexity of Israeli society. There are many faces and colors of Israel that Europe does not know. Spanish media simply loved grandma Jamila. She had an amazing performance here.”    (Ynet News)

PA Security Forces spokesman suggests Israel is behind terror in Brussels punishing Europeans for support for Palestinian state  and for boycott of settlement products

“Is it possible that the timing of the targeting [of Europe] by ISIS and its offshoots is innocent and a coincidence?”

Op-ed in PA daily:

“Why did the crimes and terrorist massacres of ISIS in France and Brussels coincide with the European Union’s first attempt to free itself of the Israeli extortion and of the Jewish persecution in Europe complex, and with European members of parliament’s support of the Palestinian right [to statehood]?”

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik                Palestinian Media Watch


Following the announcement that the Islamic State terror organization orchestrated the terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday, in which at least 31 people were murdered and hundreds were injured, PA Security Forces Spokesman Adnan Al-Damiri suggested that Israel is behind the attacks. In a post on Facebook, Al-Damiri questioned whether the attacks by ISIS could be just “a coincidence” now that European support for “Palestine” and the boycott of Israeli settlement products is at a high:

“Question: How come Europe has turned into the scene of terror attacks and murder of innocent civilians after the majority of European parliaments have recognized the State of Palestine, and after the expansion of the European boycott of products made in Israeli settlements? Is it possible that the timing of the targeting [of Europe] by ISIS and its offshoots is innocent and a coincidence? And why specifically Europe now that the European popular and official support for Palestine is growing??? Help me understand and answer. Thank you!”

[Facebook page of PA Security Forces spokesman Adnan Al-Damiri, March 24, 2016]

Palestinian Media Watch has documented that the Palestinian Authority often libels Israel and the US as having created ISIS, presenting them as the masterminds managing it and its attacks.

Similar speculation pointing at Israel as the perpetrator of the terror attacks in Europe was printed in the official PA daily. Member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council Muwaffaq Matar, a regular columnist of the paper, wondered how come the attacks in Paris in November last year and the attacks in Brussels this week happened precisely at a time when Europe’s support for the Palestinians is great, indicating that it seems logical that Israel was behind the attacks.

“We do not want to throw accusations, but why did the crimes and terrorist massacres of ISIS in France and Brussels coincide with the European Union’s first attempt to free itself of the Israeli extortion and of the Jewish persecution in Europe complex, and [coincide with] European members of parliament’s support of the Palestinian right [to statehood]?”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 24, 2016]

He specifically mentioned France’s leading role in pressuring Israel, and the fact that Brussels and the EU has been heading the boycott and labeling of Israeli products made in settlements. “How can we not allow ourselves to consider this background as the motive of those affected (i.e., Israel) by the new Europe to strike at its heart (i.e., Brussels),” the columnist asked.

“We are talking about the motives of the heads of the project (i.e., the “Zionist project”), who carried out a historic crime against a whole people in order to achieve authority to act as a proxy of the colonial states and powers – those people will not hesitate to use the latest tools of terror under their own labels (i.e., ISIS), and thus hit three birds with one terrorist bombing – the Palestinians, the Arabs, and Europe… ISIS does not have all these abilities to attack whenever or however it wants, and there are those who have penetrated ISIS to the core because ISIS is their modern means to take revenge on Europe and rip out its heart.”

Right after the attacks in Brussels, Al-Damiri stated that the US and Europe brought the terror on themselves and that “those who prepare the poison will taste it themselves, and today Europe is having a taste of what it prepared with its own hands.”

Similarly, Fatah accused Israel of being behind the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015.

The following is a longer excerpt of the column in the official PA daily implying that Israel was behind the Brussels bombings:

Headline: “The hidden terror rips out the heart of Europe!”

By Muwaffaq Matar, Fatah Revolutionary Committee member and regular columnist for the official PA daily

“The terrorist bombings in the capital of the European Union are not only a response to the arrest of the mastermind of the terrorist crimes in Paris, Salah Abdeslam, but also [happened] at the best moment for those targeting the real heart of Europe and who are hiding behind the name of ISIS.

We do not want to throw accusations, but why did the crimes and terrorist massacres of ISIS in France and Brussels coincide with the European Union’s first attempt to free itself of the Israeli extortion and of the Jewish persecution in Europe complex, and [coincide with] European members of parliament’s support of the Palestinian right [to statehood]?

Isn’t France the one that came up with the idea of holding an international conference that would end the conflict and the Israeli occupation of the lands of the State of Palestine?! Isn’t [France] the one that threatened to recognize the State of Palestine if Israel did not head towards peace with the Palestinians, which would guarantee their rights according to the decisions of the international institutions?

Isn’t the European Union, its main headquarters – Brussels, not those who made the decision to mark the Jewish Israeli settlement products, something which affected the Israeli economy negatively?!

Have you heard of the European boycott against Israel, the effective activities of its activists and the extent of Israel’s concern about its [the boycott’s] escalation?

How can we not allow ourselves to consider this background as the motive of those affected (i.e., Israel) by the new Europe to strike at its heart (i.e., Brussels), even though the perpetrator is a barbaric ISIS criminal – terrorist, savage, and devoid of humanity?! The lesson learned from this crime does not only lie in its details, its means and its people, but also in its motives and instigating circumstances, and most important of all is the real hidden criminal.

We are talking about the motives of the heads of the project (i.e., the “Zionist project”), who carried out a historic crime against a whole people in order to achieve authority to act as a proxy of the colonial states and powers – those people will not hesitate to use the latest tools of terror under their own labels (i.e., ISIS), and thus hit three birds with one terrorist bombing – the Palestinians, the Arabs, and Europe… ISIS does not have all these abilities to attack whenever or however it wants, and there are those who have penetrated ISIS to the core because ISIS is their modern means to take revenge on Europe and rip out its heart.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 24, 2016]

When MKs attempt to speak English

We checked what happens when Jewish American students who are considering making aliyah turn to Israel’s elected officials with questions about issues that bother them about life in Israel. The result was embarrassing.

Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth


What do young Jews from the United States, who see Israel primarily in the news, think about it? Not that good. Knives on the streets, social gaps, a high cost of living, and declarations of war against Reform and Conservative Jews. If they are considering making aliyah, it’s thanks to true Zionist ideology, and yet, they are still worried about the security situation, the economy and the state of democracy in Israel.

To see how much our elected officials are willing to help and encourage young Americans who are indecisive about immigrating to Israel – we turned to dozens of our lawmakers from the different factions in the Knesset. We wanted to see to what extent they are aware of the issues that worry the Jews in the Diaspora, and how accessible they are to queries addressed by young people seeking to make aliyah, which is, to use clichés, the essence of Zionism.

We asked to interview them for one of the Jewish student papers at one of the largest universities in the United States. We told them that an aliyah conference was recently held at the university, where students considering immigrating to Israel were given the opportunity to discuss issues that concerned them about life in Israel.

Trying to interview MKs in English

The first difficulty was encountered was in accessibility to the public: Out of the 65 MKs we tried to contact numerous times (from all political parties in the parliament), only 37 answered the call. All the ultra-Orthodox MKs we contacted refused to be interviewed, in part because the appeal was made by a woman.

But the biggest obstacle was language: 14 MKs were unable to speak English, or refused to be interviewed for that reason.

Add to that the fact that an inquiry by ultra-Orthodox website Kikar HaShabbat” found that nine out of 13 ultra-Orthodox MKs are not fluent in English, meaning at least 23 parliamentarians are unable to have a basic conversation in English.

Eight MKs personally answered the phone call, but were not interviewed, with five of them saying it was because they were not fluent in English: David Bitan (Likud), Sofa Landver (Yisrael Beytenu), Yaakov Margi (Shas), Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) and Yoav Ben-Tzur (Shas). Three responded in excellent English, and referred us to their spokesperson or deferred due to scheduling reasons: Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union), Jamal Zahalka (Joint List), and Michal Rozin (Meretz).

Twenty-one spokespersons turned down the interview offer, or promised an answer and then never called back, with six of them admitting that the MK does not know how to speak English: David Amsalem (Likud), Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid) – who takes private lessons in English, Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi), Yisrael Katz (Likud), Tali Ploskov (Kulanu) and Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi).

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman’s spokesman could not speak English himself. Litzman’s English, by the way, is not bad at all. The other nine Orthodox MKs who failed Kikar HaShabbat’s survey are Aryeh Deri (Shas), Meshulam Nahari (Shas), Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), Uri Maklev (UTJ), David Azulai (Shas), Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas), Meir Porush (UTJ), Yisrael Eichler (UTJ) and Eliezer Moses (UTJ).

Thirteen other MKs declined the interview citing scheduling conflicts, or simply stopped answering the phone or responding to messages: Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid), Haim Yellin (Yesh Atid), Yoav Kish (Likud), Gila Gamliel (Likud), Oren Hazan (Likud), Nava Boker (Likud) and Anat Berko (Likud).

Only nine MKs agreed to be interviewed and answer questions that concern young American Jews, less than a fifth of the MKs we approached.

The most successful interview was held with MK Avraham Neguise from the Likud party, who redeemed the dignity of the Immigrant Absorption Committee. He spoke almost perfect English, and delivered an ardent Zionist message. We asked him about a family of two students with master’s degrees, who are concerned that even if they can find a job with a similar income to what they are currently making in the United States, it will still take them almost a decade to buy a home.

Naguise: “This is exactly why the Absorption Ministry exists. It is responsible for absorbing new immigrants and helping them integrate into society. Be it is housing, employment, education, health and welfare. The government is ready to absorb millions of immigrants. I will tell you my story. I grew up as a shepherd in Ethiopia, I immigrated to Israel 31 years ago. I got an equal opportunity for education in Israel. While in Ethiopia I graduated from high school, here in Israel, I have five degrees, and I’m a legislator in Israel. I am one of the millions who settled here successfully.”

MK Avraham Neguise[1]

MK Avraham Neguise

Another Knesset member who spoke English fluently is MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin from the Zionist Union, who was asked about concerns over the security situation. “Israel is a very safe place to live in. When it comes to other issues of personal security, such as crime, Israel surpasses other countries. Of course it would be better when the situation in the region calms down, but I am raising three children here that I have no intention of raising elsewhere. They live a peaceful and pleasant life here.”

Likud MK Yaron Mazuz asked to be interviewed only in writing. He was asked to respond to one of the students, who is afraid to immigrate to Israel after discovering that one of his relatives, who is a theater actress in Israel, was included in right-wing NGO Im Tirtzu’s “plants” campaign. The student said he is against the occupation and wondered if he could express his views freely in the State of Israel.

“He is more than welcome to make aliyah,” Mazuz said. “Israel is are one of the biggest supporters of the freedom of speech and the freedom to express any opinion, so long as it does not endanger national security. The problem raised by the student is part of the dark side of globalization and free media, but there are also many advantages.”

MK Aida Touma-Suleiman from the Joint List responded immediately to the request for an interview. She was eloquent, courteous and displayed a rich English vocabulary. Her comments are probably less pleasant for Israelis who are in political center to hear.

Assuming that Arab MKs will be less interested in encouraging Jewish immigration, we asked her to talk to us about the proposed Suspension Act and the declaration made by some of her colleagues in support of Hezbollah.

When asked about Balad and Hadash’s (factions within the Joint List party – ed.) recent condemnation of a decision by Gulf nations to label Hezbollah as terrorist organization, Touma-Suleiman replied: “First of all, the condemnation was against Saudi Arabia and the countries of the region who support organizations such as the Nusra Front. In our opinion, these countries do not have the right to determine who is a terrorist and who is not. Saudi Arabia financially supports ISIS.

“On the other hand, I understand that there is a particular sensitivity to this issue on the Israeli side, but as a woman living in a place that suffered Hezbollah’s bombardment, when there was a need to condemn the bombing of a civilian population, we were the first to do so. And when it was necessary to condemn the Israeli government – we did that too. I believe that this gives us the right to make complex observations, since the situation is complex.”

MK Masud Ghnaim from the Joint List also immediately responded to the request for interview, and gave clear and to-the-point answers. When asked whether his party members will follow up on their threat to resign from the Knesset if the Suspension Act passes, he said: “It was said more as a form of protest designed to show how serious we consider this bill to be. Ultimately, if the bill passes, we will sit together and decide what to do. The statement was made to show the coalition that it has gone a step too far with anti-democratic legislation, it violates the freedom of expression.”

Among those seeking to improve their mastery of the English language is Itzik Shmuli from the Zionist Union. He understood the questions, but gave cumbersome answers, and found it difficult to get his message across.

“Of course we have to solve the conflict with our neighbors,” he said on the issue of security. “I believe that if the Palestinians’ future is good, then our future will be even better. But reducing the conflict to the story of good versus evil is simplifying the situation and that’s not smart. We need to reach an agreement with the Palestinians and separate if we want to protect the vision of a democratic and Jewish state. But sometimes there is frustration in Israel, as Israelis feel that people in many countries don’t understand the complexity of the conflict, and I say this as an enthusiastic supporter of the two-state solution.”

Likud MK Miki Zohar could do with some work. While he demonstrated great confidence, it unfortunately didn’t match his level of English. In response to a question from a Jewish student who opposes the occupation, Zohar said: “The Jewish nation cannot be occupying its own country. This is the Jewish state, and it was created 3,500 years ago. We don’t think there should be a Palestinian state, there’s only one state and that is the State of Israel. We need to maintain this situation until the end of time. We are willing that the Palestinians live here because they were born here. But they cannot establish their own state here. We want to live alongside them in peace, but not on their terms.”

Are you talking about a one-state solution?

“Yes. The Palestinians must understand that if they want war, they will lose. If they want peace, we will live here together.”

Another issue concerning some students is the attitude towards non-Orthodox Jews. One student is afraid to immigrate because she would not be able to get married here.

“In Israel, there’s no problem being non-Orthodox, most people here are not Orthodox. The problem is with those who want to be Reformists. If you are a Reformist and you are trying to change the Jewish culture and create a new culture, that is a problem, but if you’re merely non-orthodox, it’s absolutely fine, you can be an atheist.”

The definition of “non-Orthodox” refers to Reformists and Conservatives.

“It is okay to be non-Orthodox, but it is not okay to try and change the 3,500-year-old Jewish culture. They can be non-Orthodox, but it may be harder for them to live here if they are Reformists or Conservatives. But again, most people in Israel are not Orthodox and they live here just fine.”

Two of the interviews were conducted as a game of telephone. The interview with MK Nissan Slomiansky of Bayit Yehudi was done with the help of an interpreter. Unfortunately, the questions were translated carelessly, while MK Slomiansky’s answers were also not translated accurately

For example, he was asked a fairly detailed question about the security situation, which was condensed in Hebrew in “She’s asking if it is safe here.”

“Tell her it is very safe here,” said Slomiansky, “and that the land of Israel was acquired through suffering, meaning if we hadn’t been willing to pay the price, we wouldn’t have the land of Israel, like the price paid by those in the United States … the price paid to establish the United States. But emphasize it is very safe,” Slomiansky said to his spokesman in Hebrew.

The translation from the spokesperson was a little different, “He said the founders of the state fought for the country and unfortunately, we have to sacrifice for the nation. The world is not perfect, as you can see in the news. But life goes on, I for example live in Jerusalem, and sometimes it is safer here more than in the US.”

Another Knesset member who was interviewed in this manner was Mickey Levy. The entire interview was conducted while Levy was voting at the Knesset. The spokesperson translated the question, Mickey voted, called after a few minutes, and so on. The problem? This was more of an interview with the spokesperson than with the MK. Levy gave the spokesperson speaking points, ran to vote, and left the spokesperson to formulate his own creative position.

For example, when asked about non-Orthodox marriages, he said: “It is true that Israel has no freedom of civil marriage, but the discourse has been very progressive in recent years. We do not believe there’s going to be civil marriage in Israel, but hope to have a civil partnership agreement equivalent to marriage, perhaps not in the current government, but at least in one of the governments that follow.” Someday, this spokesperson will give great interviews as a member of Knesset.

The Israel That Arabs Don’t Know

by Ramy Aziz    Fikra Forum


When the Israeli Ministry of Exterior invited me to visit Israel as part of a delegation of European-based Arab journalists and media representatives, I accepted without hesitation. The goal of the invitation was to provide us with an opportunity to freely explore the different dimensions to life inside the state of Israel. Located in the heart of the Middle East and one of the region’s central and enduring conflicts, Israel receives a large amount of attention from neighboring peoples curious about the state itself and its management. Although major developments in international communication and accessibility of knowledge have transformed the world into a connected community that now sometimes resembles a small village, Arab media coverage of Israel continues to be characterized by a lack of clarity and misrepresentation, making it difficult for Arab citizens to truly understand the country. The persistent and recurring problems in the West Bank and Gaza are of major concern to many Arabs, but media sources often conflate the State’s controversial foreign policy with life inside the the country itself and produce dystopian visions of life inside its borders.

While not an article or analysis, the following is an honest testimony of what I saw during my visit, without influence by any person or institution. I hope to present an alternative perspective from other Arab media outlets that I have found to exaggerate and mischaracterize the realities of Israeli life.

On my flight from Rome to Tel Aviv on Israel’s El Al airlines, I thought about what awaited me and what I would see. Although I had an idea of what Israel was like and friends who have told me of their experiences working there, memories of the accumulated assumptions about the place that I had gained throughout my childhood in Egypt presented a conflicting counter narrative. I wondered which was the truth: what I now knew, or what had been instilled in us Egyptians as children. Do the “Jews” in Israel actually hate Arabs? If they found out I was Egyptian, would treat me poorly? Would I be verbally or physically abused if Israelis heard me speaking Arabic?

Halting my train of thought, a man sitting next to me with his wife asked me something in Hebrew. In English, I explained that I didn’t understand the language. The man then apologized and asked in English, “Where are you from?” When I answered that I was from Egypt, he and his wife smiled genuinely and welcomingly. These were not the fake smiles our schools, society, television, and film had attributed to Israelis and Jews.

When I arrived in Israel’s financial capital, Tel Aviv, the airport’s clean atmosphere and facilities left me wondering whether I had left Europe. Its modernity left little doubt that I had entered a developed country.

On the road from the Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem (al-Quds)–Israel’s political capital–I saw wide, clean roads, filled with trees and captivating natural scenery. I took notes on everything, in line with my mission to relay the truth of life inside Israel. Once I had arrived in the political capital, I visited the Ministry of Exterior, the Knesset, and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.

I met with both Arabs and Jews of Arab origin, and they recounted their memories of life in Iraq, Egypt, and the other countries from which they had come. I listened to how they had left those countries after bitter experiences of incitement and hatred. Life had brought them to a place where they peacefully coexisted. Unfortunately, the truth of coexistence has been muddled with the help of many media organizations.

In another repudiation of another false claim, my visits to places of worship were not stopped or barred from entry by either the Israeli army or police force, as they have been rumored to do, despite the escalating incitement and violence in the city. Life in the holy city goes on, filled with vitality during all hours of the night and day. It is a city that does not sleep, filled with people from all over the world.

After spending two days in Jerusalem (al-Quds), my journalist colleagues and I headed to Tel Aviv, a capital of technology, money, and business. I was astounded by the presence of such a huge number of both local and international communications and technology companies, whose numbers have helped the city earn its nickname: Israel’s “Silicon Valley.”

Besides the bustling business, life in Tel Aviv is filled with activity. In the morning, people walk, run, and ride bicycles in designated bicycle areas along the many beaches of the Mediterranean, all of which are equipped for people to enjoy their time there. At night, restaurants and cafes are filled with both city residents and international tourists. Like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv is an international and welcoming city that blends a variety of cultural influences. Tel Aviv-Jaffa is not only a center for trade and business, but also a city of relaxation that offers the pleasures of the sea, the balmy weather, and modernity.

In the beautiful coastal city of Haifa, I visited the large educational edifice of the University of Haifa. Its towering buildings and libraries hold over two million books and periodicals, and the university has departments for the disabled and the blind. What caught my attention was the children’s library in its center. Children pay visits to the library in order to learn how to conduct research and to be instilled with a love of reading and discovery at a very young age. The University of Haifa is considered a model and reflection of Israeli society. Within its walls, students of Jewish, Arab, Druze, and Circassian origin study together. It appeared to me that Muslims, Christians, Druze, Baha’is, and atheists are all given equal opportunities based on the principle of equality and without discrimination or segregation based on race or religion.

In Haifa, I also visited the village of Daliyat al-Karmel nestled on the al-Karmel mountain, where I met with Druze elders. They recalled the experience of Druze integration into Israeli society and informed me that they now preferred to call themselves Israelis instead of Arab citizens of Israel. Because they hold Israeli citizenship, enlist in the Israeli Defense Forces, and are treated as full citizens with equal rights, they have no reason to deny their Israeli nationality.

In the evening, I found dinner on Ben Gurion Street, which looks out onto the magnificent Baha’i gardens on one end and leads to the famous port of Haifa on the other. The street is filled with Arab cafes and restaurants, identifiable by the songs they play and their customers’ conversations. I struck up discussions with various restaurant patrons and employees regarding life here in Israel, and I asked them whether there was differentiation between citizens of non-Jewish origin and Jewish citizens. In every instance, I was told that this was not the case, and these Arab Israelis informed me that in Israel, the law is equally applied to everyone without distinction or discrimination.

At the end of my trip, I had spent five days between Jerusalem (al-Quds), Tel Aviv, and Haifa. I had visited official state, national, social, and educational institutions and heard from Jewish, Arab, Druze, and Bedouin segments of Israeli. After my experience there, I can now say that in my eyes, Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, and is a country open and accepting of religious and ethnic minorities. I heard the call to prayer from mosques in various cities – a religious expression that is banned in Europe. I saw Christians with crosses on their chests who had no fear of exposing their identities, a marked contrast to some neighboring states. I saw Baha’i gardens and memorials the like of which exist nowhere else in the world.

Through these experiences, I saw a recently formed state that has become a democratic institution rivaling the oldest democracies in the world. Despite the youth of the new Israeli state, I saw, without exaggeration, a bright flame in a pitch-black region. I realized that without a doubt, the secret to Israeli’s existence in spite of all the dangers and controversy that surround it is the democracy and freedom of Israeli society, a society composed of so many different yet coexisting segments and components.

Ramy Aziz is an Egyptian journalist based in Europe.

BDS Is the Modern Form of Anti-Semitism – Ronald S. Lauder (Jerusalem Post)

There is a worldwide effort to isolate Israel. To undermine Israel. To destroy Israel. It is called the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Our enemies, having failed to destroy Israel militarily and economically, are trying to destroy Israel politically.

BDS tries to present itself as some sort of democratic movement concerned with human rights. That’s a lie. BDS is an international campaign to incite hostility toward Israel and the Jewish people.

The BDS movement is not motivated by disagreement with specific Israeli policies. BDS has no interest in peace and no interest in improving the daily lives of Palestinians. Its real aim is the destruction of Israel.

BDS seeks to boycott Israeli goods, Israeli scholars, Israeli doctors. But these academic boycotts are no different than the Nuremberg laws that kept Jewish professors out of German universities.

Academic boycotts run counter to the very mission of colleges and universities. Colleges and universities should encourage the free flow of ideas. But too often, we have seen Israel’s viewpoint shouted down or shut out.

Schools that condone hate speech should be exposed. Alumni and donors who care about Israel need to make their voices heard. They should pressure university boards of trustees to punish hate speech against Israel. And we should not hesitate to bring legal actions. We will take on the anti-Semites. And we will win.

The writer is president of the World Jewish Congress. This is based on his speech at Monday’s Yediot Aharonot anti-BDS conference in Jerusalem.

This video debunks  the great Arab lie

This information is compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman, Board Member of the Zionist Council of NSW