Monday, February 13, 2017

From Ian:

Soundtrack to a legendary victory: Israel releases 1967 war recordings
Fifty years after the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel’s military archives on Sunday released a partial soundtrack — the IAF’s realtime communications — of the opening, decisive airstrikes in which the Israeli air force destroyed over 400 Egyptian and Syrian planes on the ground, and put 20 Arab airfields out of action. Almost the entire Israeli air force was involved, with just 12 Mirage jets kept back to protect the country.
Operation Focus began at 7.45 on the morning of June 5, 1967; by noon that same day, the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air forces had been destroyed, the IAF had almost complete control of the skies in Israel’s pre-emptive resort to force, and the war was essentially won.
The operation is regarded as one of the most successful air strikes in military history. In all, Israel lost 24 pilots in the war, seven were injured and 11 were taken captive.
In the Hebrew recordings, made public by the IDF archive, the IAF’s command and control officers are heard overseeing a series of critical developments in those opening hours.
One recording begins with complete air silence as the pilots head to their first targets, flying low to evade enemy radar, in the first wave of attacks on the Egyptian air fields. The silence is broken by reports of the initial successful attacks: Eleven Egyptian air fields are targeted in these first strikes, and 101 minutes and 183 bombing runs later, some 200 planes, half of the Egyptian air force, is destroyed on the ground.
Seth Frantzman: The Iron Lady and the Jewish state
On June 7, 1981, Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak. Israel was worried the reactor was about to “go hot” and bombing it after that date could lead to more deaths and contamination. UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher was outraged. The Jewish state’s actions were a “grave breach of international law,” and an “unprovoked attack.” Iraq was a peaceful country seeking peaceful nuclear energy in line with international obligations. Thatcher supported condemning Israel at the United Nations Security Council.
The 1981 controversy is one of many highlighted in a new book, Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East, by Azriel Bermant. A historian and lecturer in international relations at Tel Aviv University, Bermant brings an incisive analysis to Thatcher’s relations with Israel, and examines how she also balanced ties with the US and the Arab states in this period.
As prime minister from 1979 to 1990, she faced many of the key crises in the region, including the Israeli withdrawal from Egypt, the Lebanon invasion of 1982, the breakout of the intifada, Iraq’s attack on Kuwait and the first tentative steps toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Bermant argues that Thatcher was “instinctively sympathetic toward Israel,” an image that history has inherited. However, the declassified archival material revealed in the book paints a much more nuanced picture. Thatcher inherited a Foreign Office that was inimical to Israel. Many viewed the UK as responsible for the problems in the Middle East let loose by the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the creation of Israel. The Jewish state was a burden that harmed relations with the Arab states which many Foreign Office leaders felt an affinity for.
Report: Foreign governments fund terrorists' legal defense
HaMoked Center for the Defense of the Individual, which has provided legal aid to 48 terrorists who killed 50 people, received $4.13 million from EU, U.N., and 11 European governments, says Im Tirtzu report • "This is a danger to democracy," CEO says.
Foreign donations are largely sponsoring the legal defenses given to terrorists and their families, a new report by the right-wing organization Im Tirtzu claimed Sunday.
According to the report, by funding various human rights groups that operate in Israel, such as HaMoked Center for the Defense of the Individual, European nations are essentially funding terrorists' efforts to avoid being held accountable for their actions.
The data showed that over the past two and a half years, HaMoked has provided legal aid to the families of 48 terrorists who filed over 58 High Court petitions against orders to raze their homes.
Those terrorists had killed a combined total of 50 people, Im Tirtzu said.
The group found that between 2012 and 2016, HaMoked received 15.5 million shekels ($4.13 million) from the European Union, the United Nations, and 11 European governments -- Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Britain, Spain and Norway -- for the legal defense of terrorists and their families.



Ben-Dror Yemini: As the world keeps silent in light of Syria
A week after International Holocaust Day, an annihilation enterprise was exposed just a few kilometers away from the State of Israel, and the world is silent again. Let’s not delude ourselves. It happened, it is happening and it will happen again. All the “never again” talk is revealed as false declarations. Who cares?
On Monday, Belgian parliament members sat down with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who operated the slaughterhouse near Damascus. He has nothing to worry about. Nothing will change. They will sit down with him again next week. Another delegation is on the way.
When there was a fear that he might massacre his people using chemical weapons, he received threats from the president of the world’s strongest power. That would be the red line, Barack Obama warned at the time. The red line was crossed. Obama settled for an agreement on the destruction of the chemical weapons, sponsored by Russia. It was already clear at the time that the agreement was not worth the paper it was written on. A few months went by, and chemical weapons were used again. Not a single response was registered in Washington. Because the world is silent.
The world has been silent for decades. It has been keeping silent since the Holocaust. The world was silent in Biafra. The world was silent in Rwanda. The world was silent and is silent in light of the genocide in Darfur. The world is silent in light of the fact that every year, in the past few years, global jihad murders about 25,000 people on average.
Syria and the Failure of the Multicultural American Left
The main ingredient, however, potentially responsible for the contemporary silence of many American intellectuals regarding Syria is probably the most surprising: multiculturalism. By what political scientists would call the law of unintended consequences, the very set of ideas aimed at empowering disenfranchised groups, is, at least in Syria, ironically also facilitating their violent suppression. During the farewell parade held in Barcelona to mark the international brigades’ withdrawal in October 1938, Dolores Ibarruri, a famous communist politician known for her fiery sermons (aka “La Pasionaria”), thanked the foreign volunteers for their sacrifice. “These men reached our country as crusaders for freedom. They gave up everything, their loves, their country, home, and fortune … they came and told us: ‘We are here, your cause, Spain’s cause is ours. It is the cause of all advanced and progressive mankind,’ ” she said before addressing them directly: “You are the heroic example of democracy’s solidarity and universality.”
But it is this very sense of solidarity and universality that, inadvertently, multiculturalism has succeeded in eroding: In the process of removing unjust discriminatory barriers and amending historical prejudices, multiculturalism has accentuated new differences and established alternative cleavages. As one disheartened Aleppo resident recently asked a reporter: “You are silent because there are Muslims in our country?”
The answer is yes, but not for the reasons she implies. It is not because American intellectuals are bigoted that they remain silent, but the opposite is true: It is in order not to appear being so. For some, opposing the foreign policy of America’s first African-American President gives them the shakes. For some of them, any American foreign intervention automatically equals imperialism—the original sin of the West, in their eyes. Concerned with, among other things, establishing “safe spaces” on college campuses or boycotting Israel, they seem to have conveniently forgotten the plight of Syrians themselves.
Dr. Einat Wilf on Progressive Zionism
Is Zionism progressive? Dr. Einat Wilf discusses the challenges that arise when similar movements like feminism and Zionism challenge the status quo.


Australian Ambassador Attacked For Doing His Job
Australian news outlet Crikey‘s political editor Bernard Keane has posted a completely inaccurate and unwarranted attack on Australia’s Ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, as well as The Israel Project organization.
The job of an ambassador is to promote his or her country’s interests and to serve as a representative of that country. This also involves keeping his or her country’s government abreast of developments taking place in the country to which he or she is appointed.
The reason that Ambassador Sharma is well-regarded in Israel is because he has made sure to educate himself and his countrymen of the complexities of Israel’s political, social and security issues. He has done this by cooperating with any number of organizations on the ground.
FALSEHOODS
So what did Ambassador Sharma do to provoke Keane’s opprobrium? His embassy organized a symposium for diplomats in conjunction with The Israel Project on “Israel’s Northern Front: Trends, Challenges and Scenarios.”
What does this have to do with the issue of settlements as brought up by Keane?
Absolutely nothing.
New York Times Op-Ed Bulldozes Journalism
In his New York Times op-ed “Israel Bulldozes Democracy,” Israeli Arab MK Aymon Odeh presents a wide range of incorrect “facts,” and even some blatant lies.
By printing incorrect information without context, disclosure or refutation, The New York Times bulldozes journalistic ethics, and for that matter, truth itself. Or to put it in the famous words of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
Odeh begins his essay with an utterly irrelevant reference to President Trump which includes evocative phrases like “hate and fear.” Regardless of one’s emotions toward the new US President, the reference has absolutely nothing to do with Israel. It is a cheap ploy to gain the sympathy of those New York Times readers who are anti-Trump, as is the newspaper itself.
From that incongruous starting point, the New York Times op-ed launches into a laundry list of lies, fabrications and half truths.
Here are just a few examples:
Arabs make up one-fifth of Israel’s population, yet only 2.5 percent of the state’s land is under Arab jurisdiction.
The statement doesn’t even make logical sense: all of Israel is under the jurisdiction of Israel’s democratic government. It is a mystery where his 2.5 percent figure even came from.
UCLA banned my book on Islam from a free speech event
At UCLA Law School last week, a squad of student "thought police" tried to ban my book, Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism: From George W. Bush to Barack Obama and Beyond. They don't want you to know the book even exists, let alone what's inside it. And the UCLA administration enabled them. This ominous episode underlines how students are learning to be contemptuous of intellectual freedom.
The story of what happened at UCLA is laced with ironies. On Feb. 1, the UCLA chapter of the Federalist Society and the Ayn Rand Institute co-sponsored a panel discussion at UCLA Law School on the vital importance of freedom of speech and the threats to it. My book shows how certain philosophic ideas undercut America's response to the jihadist movement, including notably its attacks on freedom of speech.
Naturally, the book was displayed and offered for sale at a reception prior to the event, which featured Dave Rubin, the contrarian YouTube host; Flemming Rose, the Danish editor who published the now-infamous Mohammad cartoons in 2005 and author of The Tyranny of Silence; and Steve Simpson, editor of Defending Free Speech (these two books were also displayed).
During the reception, however, a group of UCLA students assembled in front of the book table and objected to mine. Why? Had they read the book, weighed the evidence, and found it lacking? Had they formed a considered evaluation of the book's argument?
No: They felt the book was "offensive" and "insulting." They had "issues" with the views that I and my co-author, Onkar Ghate, put forward. Our views, it seems, were "Islamophobic." Based on what? Apparently, for some of them, it was the book's title.
Ryan Bellerose: Dear Israel, You Are Terrible at Hasbara
Dear Israel,
I think its time we had a talk.
You are terrible at hasbara.
At first i thought about making this humourous, make a few jokes about how bad Jews are advocating for yourselves even as you are almost always among the strongest advocates for others. But seriously, at this point you are actually harming the struggle which makes no sense because its YOUR struggle. Every time you screw up it has repercussions, and sometimes those repercussions are in fact dead Jews. I wouldn’t be much of a friend if I ignored this.
You screwed up with Philippe Karsenty who has gone to the wall for you fighting one of the most destructive cases of modern-day blood libel in history – the Mohammed Al Dura affair. While you in the government literally actively put up roadblocks, and refused to listen to him, the other side turned an obviously false story into something that effectively demonized your country. All you had to do was listen, and Philippe tried several times to no avail. This was only one massive failure by you that was costly and ended up leading to dead jews. It could have been avoided BY LISTENING.
You screwed up with how you talk about your ancestral homeland. Until recently you wouldn’t even admit that Judea and Samaria are your ancestral homelands, in fact your ancestral HEARTLAND. You act like grasshoppers from the bible, you don’t act like the Lions who reclaimed your ancestral homeland against overwhelming odds. You act like your most sacred sites don’t matter, to the point where UNESCO has now decided to take you at your actions and denies your ties to them. This is YOUR fault. All you have to do is manifest your identity, demand what is yours and speak truth. You need to learn how to listen to people who are trying to help. There is an entire movement of people who understand the indigenous argument, perhaps you should try listening to them. ITS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE INS AND OUTS OF ARGUMENT BEFORE YOU START MAKING IT.
McGill Student Newspaper Defends Igor “Punch A Zionist” Sadikov
Following McGill University student rep Igor Sadikov advocating violence against Israel supporters, Marina Cupido, editor of the McGill student newspaper The McGill Daily, has penned a piece defending him and his statement, while herself ripping Zionism.
Over the course of the following day, Thursday February 9, an intense storm of criticism developed around Sadikov and his tweet, with many at McGill and in the wider world portraying it as an incitement to anti-Semitic violence.
This interpretation rests on the conflation of Zionism with Jewishness which, while widely believed, is in fact a misconception; many Jewish people do not identify with the settler-colonial ideology of Zionism or the goals and actions of the state of Israel.
Moreover, it should be noted that Sadikov himself is Jewish, a fact which has been ignored by many media outlets and in the discussion surrounding this controversy.

The piece also goes on to describe the infamous meeting discussing Sadikov’s conduct, which led at least one participant to feel very targeted, disgusted and disappointed. And while it does not describe the antisemitic ugliness that was apparently on display, what it does describe is in itself revealing.
Like the turnspeak on display, in which Sadikov and other Israel haters claimed they are the ones who feel unsafe.
Spanish Courts to try BDS leaders of Matisyahu boycott
Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions activists in Spain will be tried in court for the boycott and harassment of Jewish American singer Matisyahu in the summer of 2015, a Spanish court ruled.
The Examining Court No. 19 of Valencia has admitted into procedure a criminal complaint filed against nine BDS activists by the Legal Committee against Discrimination, an association of human rights lawyers combating discrimination and antisemitism in Spain.
In August 2015, Matisyahu was scheduled to perform at the annual Rototom Sunsplash reggae festival that takes place in Benicassim, north of Valencia.
Following pressure from the Valencia and Catalonia BDS movements, which the organizers of the festival said waged a campaign of “pressure, coercion and threats” against them, the organizers asked Matisyahu to publicly denounce Israel and declare his support for a Palestinian state.
Matisyahu refused, saying that he was the only artist asked to declare his political position in order to sing, and canceled his participation in the festival.
The affair was picked up by the international media and triggered a wave of criticism against the festival by the press, the Spanish government, and Jewish organizations.
As a result, Matisyahu was re-invited, and decided to perform as scheduled at the festival, saying that he “always believed in the power of music to unite all people, regardless of religion, politics or geography.
Spanish courts reverse two pro-BDS municipal rulings
The rulings on decisions passed last year by the local councils of Xeraco and Olesa de Montserrat were given independently last month by courts in Valencia and Barcelona, according to a report last week by the pro-Israel ACOM group, which has obtained similar reversals in at least a dozen other Spanish municipalities in recent months.
The courts cited various principles, including jurisdictional issues and an irreconcilable infringement of anti-discrimination laws.
The January 26 ruling by Xeraco, near Valencia, reversed a resolution that in May prompted the same court to issue an injunction against any action on Israeli firms and institutions.
The Barcelona court said in its ruling the following day that Olesa de Montserrat had “imposed unconstitutional restrictions on the freedom to hold personal beliefs and opinions.”
More than 50 Spanish municipalities have endorsed the principles of BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, the highest number in any European country. The Spanish judiciary has in recent months taken a tougher stance on the practice.
Texas moving closer to passing anti-BDS bill
State governments across the US have taken a more aggressive stance against the anti-Israel BDS movement in the past year and a half, passing legislation that bars states from funding companies who choose to boycott Israel. Texas is now positioning itself to be the 18th state to approve such a bill.
“We’ve had so much grassroots support all across Texas...
business community, civic leaders, leaders in the Jewish community, leaders in the Christian community,” said Rep. Phil King of the Texas House of Representatives.
“I’ve been here 18 years and I’ve never had legislation that so many people jumped up and said, ‘We want to help.’” To ensure the bill’s passage, nearly 200 community members from across Texas representing various faith groups and political organizations gathered February 9 at the state’s capitol in Austin, including members of Christians United for Israel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, StandWithUs and the American Jewish Committee, among others.
Supporters of the bill believe that withholding public funds from companies who refuse to do business with Israel not only upholds the state’s anti-discrimination laws based on national origin, but also bolsters the Texas- Israel economic relationship.
In the past 13 years alone, Israel has received $20 billion worth of Texas exports, making the Lone Star State Israel’s 4th largest trading partner worldwide.
Anti-Israel Divestment Campaigns Kick Off on Campuses Across the US
Student groups across the US are renewing their efforts to pass anti-Israel divestment resolutions.
Following a defeat two years ago, a coalition of student groups at Ohio State University (OSU) — under the auspices of “OSU Divest: Buckeyes for Human Rights” — is seeking to put the issue to a vote in the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) in the spring.
The OSU Divest measure calls on the student government to “cease and/or prohibit any investments in G4S, Caterpillar, CoreCivic, The GEO Group and Hewlett Packard Enterprise until they are no longer engaged in the violation of human rights [of Palestinians] and other practices deemed unethical by the Buckeye community.”
The group is currently attempting to gather the 1,895 signatures needed from the student body to secure the measure on the USG ballot, the campus newspaper The Lantern reported.
At the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, groups such as the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), are pushing to place an anti-Israel bill on the Student Government (SG) ballot next month. The measure demands that the USF Foundation divest from “companies complicit in human rights violations in Palestine and Yemen.”
Jewish Organization ‘Disgusted’ After Chicago Teens Post Photos of School Building Defacement With Message: ‘F*** Jews,’ ‘ N***er Di’e
A local Jewish organization said it was “disgusted” when Chicago teens posted photos on social media of their defacement of an old school building with the messages “F*** Jews” and “N***er die.”
A spokesperson for the Jewish United Fund (JUF) — the philanthropic arm of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago — told The Algemeiner, “It’s extremely upsetting to hear about this sort of hate crime here in Chicago or anywhere in this country,” after reports of last month’s vandalism of the shuttered St. Cornelius Catholic School came to light.
As neighborhood news outlet DNAinfo reported, vandals broke into the closed building through a bathroom window, and then posted footage on Snapchat of themselves smashing computers and painting swastikas and racist messages in hallways.
A tipster provided Chicago Police with the video, and identified one of the suspects as a “former student” of the school, according to the report, which also said that the Chicago Police Hate Crimes Unit has launched an investigation into the incident.
The Archdiocese of Chicago, which still owns and manages the school’s property, did not respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.
BBC Music promotes falsehoods and BDS campaign website
BBC Music runs a webpage called ‘Music News LIVE’ which can be found on the BBC Music website or accessed via the BBC News website’s ‘Entertainment & Arts’ page.
The February 9th edition of ‘Music News LIVE’ – compiled by Paul Glynn – ran under the headline “Controversy over Radiohead gig in Israel“.
A similar headline – linking to that page – appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Entertainment & Arts’ page.
BBC audiences were told of a fictional “industry boycott” and mythical “industry rules” while a link was provided to a (misspelled) website which is part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.bbc-music-radiohead-1
BBC’s Bowen again misleads domestic audiences on UK PM’s statement
As we see, twice on the morning of February 6th domestic audiences listening to two different BBC radio stations were misled by Bowen with regard to a statement made by their own prime minister.
Moreover, it is abundantly clear that the occasion of the Israeli prime minister’s visit to London was in both cases used as a hook for yet more promotion of the now standard politically motivated narrative according to which the two-state solution is solely endangered by Israeli actions.
Were Jeremy Bowen truly committed to providing BBC audiences with accurate and impartial information which would meet the corporation’s remit of enhancing “UK audiences’ awareness and understanding” of this particular international issue, he of course would not have concealed from view no less relevant issues such as Palestinian terrorism, Palestinian Authority incitement, Hamas’ refusal to accept the two-state solution, the PA’s refusal to recognise Israel as the Jewish state and the Hamas-Fatah split.
Following complaint, BBC Arabic corrects partisan terminology
Readers may recall that on January 2nd the BBC Arabic website published a report on the death of Hilarion Capucci which included less than impartial terminology.
“In the article’s second paragraph Jerusalem as a whole is described as “the occupied city of Jerusalem” and readers are told that Capucci “was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces on charges of supporting the Palestinian resistance…”.
BBC Watch wrote to BBC Arabic on the subject but did not receive a reply. We therefore submitted a complaint which has been upheld.
The antisemite who turned out to be one of the Jews he despised
Every Friday morning, Szegedi, an erstwhile anti-Semite who discovered he was a Jew by descent in 2012, comes to study with Oberlander to learn about Jews and Judaism for an hour or two. In an atmosphere of casual bonhomie, the rabbi and his pupil shoot the breeze, discussing this and that but never straying far from matters of Jewish interest: Moses, Abraham, the Torah, Zionism, life in Israel.
Today, they start off with Shabbat prohibitions pertaining to hospital visits, apropos a visit Szegedi made to an ailing friend. Then it’s on to the topic of brit mila, a subject that likewise interests Szegedi who himself underwent the procedure only recently. They proceed to touch on bits and pieces from the Zohar, the Jewish legal code Shulchan Aruch, and Maimonides’ “Guide for the Perplexed.”
In between, they banter jovially.
“It’s like an addiction with you, collecting books,” Szegedi chides Oberlander, 51, a slight, bookish man with the studious mien of a lifelong bibliophile. “I remember going to a bookstore with you in Jerusalem,” Szegedi elucidates. “You were like a naughty child who wanted everything that took his fancy!” Their laughter bounces off the booklined walls.
As radical transformations go, Szegedi’s has been one for the storybooks. Here he is, fraternizing with an ultra-Orthodox rabbi, versing himself in the ins and outs of Jewish law, and toying with the idea of moving to Israel, a country he’s visited repeatedly. Yet, only a few years ago, the very same man despised Jews, viewing them as a sinister cabal of scheming spoilers, congenital malefactors and cosmopolitan fifth-columnists who stood in the way of Hungary’s rightful aspirations as a proud and prosperous Christian nation at the heart of Europe.
Large swastika painted on car in Jewish neighborhood in Florida
A large swastika was spray painted on the side of a car in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Boca Raton, Florida.
The incident occurred early Sunday morning, according to local report. The white swastika took up the entire driver’s-side door of the black Ford Mustang.
The owner of the car is a teenager who is currently visiting Israel, the Miami Herald reported. It is not known if the teen’s visit to Israel made him the intended target.
“This is a direct hate message,” Yona Lunger, an activist in South Florida’s Jewish community, told the Miami Herald. “We are shocked, devastated.”
Many Holocaust survivors live in the neighborhood, residents told local media.
German far-right party votes to oust lawmaker over past Holocaust remarks
Right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) members voted on Monday to expel one of the party's state leaders who criticized a memorial in Berlin to victims of the Nazi Holocaust and said history should be rewritten to focus on German victims.
The AfD, which has lawmakers in 10 of Germany's 16 regional parliaments, is expected to become the third-largest party in the Bundestag federal lower house after an election on Sept. 24.
Some senior AfD members say speeches like the one by Bjoern Hoecke, the party leader in the eastern state of Thuringia, damage its image and dent its chances in the election.
Two-thirds of regional AfD leaders voted during a conference call to start a legal process within the party to oust Hoecke, who said in a statement he regrets the party's decision.
"I am convinced that I have breached neither the statute nor the rules of the party," he said.
Israeli firm to build second sewage treatment plant in Ethiopia
Aiming to provide a more efficient and reliable alternative to the aging septic systems of Addis Ababa, Israeli company Emefcy will be building an innovative sewage plant to serve a residential neighborhood in the Ethiopian capital.
The Caesarea-based firm is teaming up with partner TodayTomorrow Ventures Inc. in a $400,000 deal to construct a wastewater treatment facility at the EPRI 1 condominium complex in Addis Ababa. In addition to treating half the sewage generated by the sprawling complex, which contains 32 buildings and 7,000 residents, the plant will generate recycled water capable of irrigating the neighborhood’s landscape, the company said.
“This Emefcy plant is a model for the benefits we can deliver for the people of Ethiopia,” said Ilan Wilf, Emefcy’s vice president of sales. “At a low cost, untreated sewage can be turned into high-quality recycled water.”
The plant will utilize Emefcy’s Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor, an aeration-based technology capable of treating sewage while using 80% less energy than conventional plants and reducing sludge by up to 50%, according to the company.
In first, Israeli company offers tours of North Korea
The Israeli company Tarbutu announced Sunday that it is adding North Korea to its list of destinations, the first time an Israeli travel agency has offered organized tours to the secretive East Asian nation.
The company is the sole operator in Israel for the trips, and will handle the visa application process with North Korean authorities.
Israelis have previously been allowed into North Korea only through Chinese tourism companies, and only about 100 Israelis have gone on such trips. Tarbutu's initiative was made possible after it joined forces with a North Korean tourism company operating under the auspices of the Korean International Sports Travel Company, one of the state-owned tourism agencies.
Tarbutu announced dates for four organized tours in April to May 2017. The tours will include sightseeing at important landmarks and regions, including the large monuments in the capital, Pyongyang.
"North Korea is undoubtedly one of the most interesting countries on earth," Tarbutu program manager Haim Peres told Israel Hayom. "It is an isolated state that is cut off from the rest of the world, including its neighbors."
After PR fumbles, Israel to welcome smaller squad of NFL players
Seven National Football League players are due to arrive in Israel Monday night for a post-Super Bowl trip, after four fellow athletes pulled out of the tour, three of them having expressed discomfort with the expressed goals of the Israeli government-sponsored trip.
There were no last-minute participants added to the week-long trip.
“The delegation is on its way to Israel, expected to land tonight,” said Revital Yakin-Karkovsky, executive director for communications and strategy in the Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, which is handling the NFL visit. “They’ll begin their tour of Israel tomorrow.”
The withdrawals from the trip were led by Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who pulled out saying he felt he was being “used” by the Israeli government.
Bennett’s public exit was followed by that of Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills and then reportedly by his younger brother, Martellus Bennett, of the New England Patriots.
Aussies visit Israel to drum up listings on securities exchange
A two-man team from the Australian Securities Exchange is visiting Israel this week to drum up listings of Israeli high tech companies on the Australian exchange, which in 2016 saw more technology-based initial public offerings from all over the world than the Nasdaq did.
“We are coming to Israel both to learn the market and as a response to the strong interest we have seen from local tech companies to list on our exchange,” said Max Cunningham, the general manager of listings at the exchange, in a phone interview ahead of the visit. This is his third visit to Israel, and this time he is coming with one other exchange colleague.
“Our job in our meetings in Israel will be to present the ASX story to technology companies that are seeking to raise money,” he said. “Our message will be: speak to us. Companies shouldn’t list their shares too early, but they should definitely talk to us early on, so we can help them be ready when the market is right.”
Eight Israeli tech companies listed their shares on the ASX in 2016, including three in December: HearMeOut, restaurant tech firm Dragontail, and UltraCharge, a maker of lithium ion battery technologies, bringing to 12 the number of Israeli companies that have their shares traded on the exchange. Israel now has the sixth-highest number of foreign shares traded on the exchange. New Zealand has 49 companies traded on the exchange, followed by 45 for China and 34 for Singapore. The UK has nine companies traded on the exchange, and places seventh on the ranking.
There are some lessons from Israel's success
It should be no surprise that this tiny country has more than 10 per cent of the world's cyber-security industry and it's doubling every year.
And the booming innovation companies work in fields as diverse as medicine and irrigation. It's not surprising that a country that transformed desert into a fruit and veg bowl would have invented drip irrigation.
"Without that I wouldn't have had a tomato this summer," grins Charlie.
Three things stand out.
First. Israel's motivation is the survival of its people. Let's not forget that it's a land of immigrants, bound together by a shared commitment to build a safe and prosperous nation. Charlie thinks that three years' compulsory military service for all young men and women toughens both body and mind.
Second, the Israelis have an enormously strong family culture. I built my business on the simple domestic values of telling each other the truth and when arguments occur they are fixed before bedtime.
Most of our competitors spent a huge amount of time fighting among themselves because they didn't address their problems by the end of the day. Families, companies and nations succeed with these values.
And third, some Israelis are not afraid to question authority, be it the boss or the government. And what's more, authorities usually listen. We should all know by now that if you tend to surround yourself with people who only agree with you, collapse is just around the corner.



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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

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