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Berkeley’s Safe Space for Jew-Hatred

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 02:00

“In the Hadith, the Day of Judgment will never happen until you fight the Jews,” Hatem Bazian reportedly declared, “until the trees and stones will say, oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him!”

That was in 1999.

Two years later, Bazian had co-founded Students for Justice in Palestine. Three years later, 79 members of his new SJP hate group were busted for disrupting a Holocaust Remembrance Day event.

At a rally to protest their arrests, Bazian told the mob to look at all the Jewish names on the buildings, “take a look at the type of names on the building around campus — Haas, Zellerbach — and decide who controls this university.”

Time hasn’t mellowed Bazian.

Last year, the Islamist racist, who has done everything from defending an anti-Semitic mural, to accusing Jewish students of being ‘Zionist’ spies to fundraising for a Hamas front group, tweeted a stereotypical meme of an Orthodox Jew with the text, “Mom, LOOK! I IS CHOSEN! I CAN NOW KILL, RAPE, SMUGGLE ORGANS & STEAL THE LAND OF PALESTINIANS YAY #ASHKE-NAZI.”

Even UC Berkeley’s administration condemned Bazian’s “unacceptable anti-Semitism” while continuing to accept him. And now, Hatem Bazian has been appointed to Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission. The Commission, whose mission is finding peaceful alternatives to war, now includes a Hamas supporter.

Perhaps Bazian can help the Commission figure out “just” and “peaceful” ways of killing the Jews.

After Trump’s victory, the Commission had urged that Berkeley become a “Community in Resistance.” Instead it’s become a community of hate. Its leaders obsessively attack Trump while avoiding any inconvenient mirrors that might force them to look their own bigotry in the eye.

In 2016, Berkeley had the fifth highest hate crime rate of California cities. Berkeley’s mayor attempted to blame these numbers on Trump, but in a leftist city where 90% voted for Clinton and more people voted for BDS socialist Jill Stein than for Trump, It isn’t the Trump supporters who are committing the hate crimes. Hatem Bazian embodies Berkeley’s tolerance and support for racism and anti-Semitism.

During Bazian’s hateful heyday, anti-Semitic hate crimes had climbed shockingly in Berkeley.

“Two orthodox Jews were set upon and beaten, the Hillel center had a brick thrown through its window, and several synagogues received bomb threats. Flyers comparing the Israeli army to the KKK appeared around campus, and several had ‘kill Jews’ scrawled on them. The conditions were serious enough that many Jewish students removed their yarmulkes so that they would not be the next targets,” David Horowitz had written back then.

This is the new face of Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission.

Bazian’s appointment is the work of Berkeley councilwoman Cheryl Davila, a BDS supporter who had previously faced protests from the Jewish community when she picked Bazian as her emergency standby officer.

And Bazian has agitated for her during at least one BDS event.

Bazian is also one of Davila’s donors. As is fellow anti-Israel UC Berkeley prof Andrew Gutierrez, who was caught heckling a Jewish rally against anti-Semitism after swastikas had turned on up campus.

Gutierrez, who  gave the rally the middle finger and had to be blocked from the students by a female campus police officer, claimed that the student protest was a “propaganda campaign” meant to “suppress others under the guise of anti-Semitism”.

“Hatem Bazian was more responsible than any other student on campus for trying to make life miserable for Jewish students,” Rabbi Doug Kahn, the man in charge of Jewish outreach in San Fran, had once said of the SJP founder.

Ever since his San Francisco State University days to his UC Berkeley present, a series of academic institutions have empowered Bazian and his SJP hate group chapters to make the lives of more Jewish students miserable. Now the Berkeley city government will be doing its part to legitimize anti-Semitism.

The Peace and Justice Commission has been a traditional hangout for compulsive anti-war lefties like Bob Meola, who once wrote an outraged letter to the Berkeley Daily Planet over being wrongly identified as a veteran, but it has an educational role that makes Bazian’s presence on it particularly dangerous.

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The Peace and Justice Commission is meant to advise the school board on social justice. Bazian’s appointment means that the man who made college campuses dangerous for Jews may be enabled to spread hate and anti-Semitism through Berkeley schools.

And it foreshadows a comprehensive effort to make anti-Semitism into the litmus test of public life.

Davila had previously been accused of firing Berkeley’s Transportation Commissioner over his refusal to support her anti-Semitic boycotts of the Jewish State, after first inquiring whether he was a “Zionist”. This closely resembles Bazian’s own alleged tactics when trying to drive Jewish candidates out of student government by demanding to know whether they were Zionists. It’s also a reminder that, like the Nazi boycotts to which it can trace its origins, BDS doesn’t just boycott products, it boycotts people.

BDS means that every Berkeley employee may end up having to endorse hatred of Israel to keep his job.

Bazian baked anti-Semitism into the college campus when he helped found SJP. Anti-Semitic harassment of Jewish students by SJP bigots has been normalized and mainstreamed.

SJP members have been involved in anti-Semitic altercations, harassment, threats and hate speech.

And it comes from the top down.

At Northeastern University, Muhammad Shahid Alam, the SJP faculty adviser, told its members to be proud of being called anti-Semitic. “If you are an academic or an activist, if they call you an anti-Semite, wear that as a sign of distinction,” he once said.

Alam’s own academic work follows that principle, as he claims that Zionism was the work of a “cabal of European Jews”, that “Jewish elites” manipulate governments using “the power of the Jewish lobby”.

Hatem Bazian has, unsurprisingly, promoted Alam’s rants about the Jews.

These are the ugly and hateful ideas that Bazian, Alam and their student hate groups have brought to college campuses. Bazian’s elevation to Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission risks injecting this same toxic atmosphere of anti-Semitism into Berkeley schools and its city government.

UC Berkeley’s safe space for anti-Semitism has now become the Berkeley government’s safe space.

Berkeley likes to assert its moral authority in national and international politics. The very existence of the Peace and Justice Commission was a typically grandiose statement about its ability to have a say in national politics. Now that voice has been turned over to one of the worst bigots in America.

The Peace and Justice Commission recently celebrated its 30th anniversary of fighting for social justice. It never did achieve social justice.

So it had to settle for hating Jews.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Front Page Mag

Reality Check: Palestinian-Israeli Coexistence is a Big Lie

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 01:00

The Barkan Industrial Zone massacre, is just days old, and already the moral watchdogs of the Peace Process are wringing their hands, mourning it’s possible demise. “We shall not allow abominable terrorists to harm coexistence,” is the rallying cry.

President Reuven Rivlin addressing the attack said, “I’m appalled and distressed by the horrible terror attack carried out in the Barkan industrial area… This was an attack against the idea of Israelis and Palestinians coexisting, and living peacefully side by side. I call upon the Palestinian leadership to condemn this despicable terror attack…”

Against coexistence? I thought it was an attack against Jews?

Then Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, comparing the attack to the one at the Gush Etzion junction last month, said, “its unfortunate and disappointing to see a terrorist – for the second time in a short period – do damage to prosperous areas of coexistence such as the Barkan Industrial Zone and the shopping mall in Gush Etzion where Ari Fuld was murdered…The appropriate response to the murderous attack in Barkan is to continue to strengthen the joint industrial zones. We shall not allow abominable terrorists to harm coexistence.”

This is how Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel’s leading papers, reported, “Over 30,000 Palestinians from the West Bank have work permits for the different industrial zones in the territories or for the Israeli communities. To this day, only a few—less than ten—took advantage of the situation to carry out terror attacks (among them was the attack last month in Gush Etzion), so Israel’s policy of differentiating between terrorists and the uninvolved population has proven itself, and that is also why the IDF did not impose a closure on the terrorist’s village. Despite the grave attack, the IDF will seek to maintain this policy and the coexistence in the industrial zones, which aids both the Palestinian and Israeli economy.”

An example of how Israeli media obfuscates the Israeli public. Five or ten murderous attacks on Jews is five or ten too many…

While describing the IDF search for the murderer, IDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Ronen Manelis said that the terrorist had a work permit, yet he managed to enter the factory with a rifle, and that needs to be investigated. “The industrial area is a zone of coexistence where Palestinians with work permits are employed alongside Israelis. We’ll review this incident and decide how to proceed from here. Nevertheless, preserving the coexistence is one of the army’s missions,” the IDF Spokesperson went on to say.

Even settler leaders are on the “coexistence” bandwagon.

After the attack, Yossi Dagan, head of the Samarian Regional Council said, “This is a serious incident in an area which symbolizes a bridge of coexistence in the West Bank. More than 8,000 employees work in the Barkan industrial area, with half of them being Jewish and half residents of the Palestinian Authority.”

Notice the emphasis is on how “coexistence” is under threat, as endangered, as the Jews themselves…

Yet a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), in September 2018, asked Palestinians to choose between the two-state solution, the one-state solution, or any other third solution, 53% preferred the two-state solution, 24% preferred the one-state solution, and 14% preferred some other solution.

By a 2 to 1 margin, Palestinians want a separate state rather than live with Israelis.

When asked their preferred way out of the current status quo, to “reaching a peace agreement with Israel,” only a very small minority of 14% prefer to keep the status quo.

Clearly smashing the myth of Palestinian support for coexistence…

And, a Jerusalem Media and Communication Center survey, at the end of June 2018, found that more than 61% of Palestinians said they opposed the Oslo Accords (up from 48.3% in March, 2013).

And, that opposition always translates into support for terrorism.

The PSR study also found a large majority, 54% support “resistance” (33% armed attacksand 21% non-violent resistance), to only 39% who think that negotiation is the most effective means of establishing a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel.

Important to note, a Pew poll (Sept. 2013) of global attitudes, surveying the Muslim populations in 11 countries/territories, the only majority to support suicide bombings was found in the West Bank and Gaza. 62% of Palestinian Muslims believe that suicide bombings were often or sometimes justified (37% often, 25% sometimes). Almost double the next closest country, Lebanon with 33% support for suicide bombings.

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And, even a Feb. 2014, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Summary, wrote themselves: “The demonization of Jews and Israelis, including by the use of antisemitic motifs; the hatred generated by this incitement is a precursor to violence and terrorism, which relies in part on the dehumanization of the target. The denial of Israel’s existence and its delegitimization in any borders, in part by denying the existence of a Jewish people and its historic, religious and cultural ties to the land of Israel…encourages violence and harms prospects for peace, as a true resolution of the conflict is not possible until the Palestinians are willing to recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.”

Nothing has changed since then. We’re all familiar with Palestinian Authorityincitement, and payments to terrorists or their families. So, where exactly is the “coexistence?”

Sarah Vettori, an employee of the Alon factory, who was moderately wounded in the shooting attack, said, “I’ve worked with Arabs for many years, and I’m not afraid. Unfortunately this is not the first and not the last time something like this happens… Obviously, I’ll go back to work as usual, I do not think everyone is bad…it’s just the nature of the situation we have in our country. I don’t think it will shake the coexistence we have there… We will all work together and everything will be fine… This is what I am hoping for,” she concluded.

Hope is not a strategy!

Assaf, the manager of the Alon factory, said that he is in charge of 75 Palestinian workers, with whom, he claims, he has a good relationship. “I believe in coexistence, but one [attack]destroys everything.”

It seems many in Israel are mesmerized with the idea of “coexistence” even if it is only one-sided. Only Jews seem to dream of it. In contrast to the Jews fawning for coexistence:

The Hamas terror organization welcomed the terror attack, “The Barkan shooting is a new chapter in our resistance in the West Bank…The incident has proven that the attempts of the Palestinian Authority to normalize relations with the Zionist occupier are unsuccessful…The Palestinian youth want confrontation.”

Daoud Shehab, an Islamic Jihad spokesman, described the shooting attack as reply to “Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, Jerusalem, the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar and the damage Israel causes to the al-Aqsa mosque…We call on our people to rise up against the settlements terror until the West Bank is free from it.”

At least Hamas and Islamic Jihad are openly honest. Is anybody listening?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Ashraf Na’alwa, who carried out the Barkan attack, will receive payments from the PA. “The Palestinian terrorist who murdered Kim Levengrond Yehezkel & Ziv Hajbi will be paid a monthly salary for life by the PA, thus incentivizing more murderous terrorism against Israelis.”

So, Fatah and the PA are obviously against “coexistence” too…

But there are some sane voices out there. Education Minister Naftali Bennett stated: “While Israel endures terrible sadness, Hamas is handing out candies and Abbas is looking after salaries. We must stop this celebration. The State of Israel is obliged to ensure the security of its citizens. We must restore the deterrence.”

And, Minister Yuval Steinitz, responded to the attack in Barkan by saying, “This is another deadly terrorist attack…the basic reason is clear: The anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli education from kindergarten[on] for hatred against Jews, against Israelis – from kindergarten in the Palestinian Authority – at the end of the day, Abu Mazen is to be blamed, because these are the messages of his education system for kids when they are 1, 2, 3 years old.”

When one side dreams of peace and coexistence and the other side doesn’t, that’s aprescription for Asymmetrical Warfare, that’s a prescription for disaster. It lulls the Israeli public into a state of defenselessness.

Israel needs a Reality Check. Palestinian-Israeli Coexistence is a Big Lie!

Israel’s War with Iran is Inevitable

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 00:00

Iran is a formidable enemy. A large country of more than 80 million people, endowed with energy riches, it has always been a regional power. Having an imperial past and revolutionary zeal (since the 1979 Iranian Revolution), Iran nourishes ambitions to rule over the Middle East and beyond. Furthermore, theologically there is no place in Iranian thinking for a Jewish state. Iran believes that Israel will either wither away following military pressure on its population or be annihilated when it is militarily weak and vulnerable.

As Iran challenges the status quo in the Middle East, a clash between Tehran and Jerusalem is inevitable. International history teaches us that when a rising power challenged the balance of power, in most cases war ensued. Sparta challenged an Athenian-led Greek city system, ending in the Peloponnesian wars. Prussia’s quest for the unification of the German principalities under its helm ended in several European Wars. Similarly, Israel cannot tolerate a Middle East dominated by Iran and its radical ideology.

Unfortunately, much of the Arab world is in the throes of a deep socio-political crisis, particularly since the mistermed “Arab Spring,” creating dissension and a political vacuum, which the sophisticated revolutionary elite in Iran has capitalized upon. These dynamics explain the rise of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the power grab of the Houthi Shi’ite sect in Yemen.

The revolutionary enterprise was also facilitated by the Middle East policies of the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations. American military intervention destroyed Iraq, a strong rival of Iran, further undermining the regional balance of power.

Subsequently, the display of weakness by Obama was replaced by a questionable Trump commitment to the security of the region.

The Sunni Arab states have been terrified by the advances in the Iranian nuclear program and by the successes of its proxies. They are weak. Saudi Arabia failed to contain Iranian influence in Syria and Iraq. Closer to home, it was not successful to change the pro-Iranian orientation of small Qatar.

Egypt, an important Sunni power, survived the domestic turmoil, but it focuses on literally supplying food to its population, fighting an Islamic insurgency at home, leaving little energy to parry the Iranian challenge.

Turkey, a strong Sunni state, albeit non-Arab, has preferred to act upon its Islamic impulses and its common interest with Iran on the Kurdish issue, forfeiting its potential to balance Iran. The result was an entente between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Gulf states with Israel. In the absence of a credible American security umbrella, the Sunnis understand that only Israel can oppose the hegemonic drive of Iran.

Iran reached a similar conclusion – Israel is the main barrier for achieving hegemony. Israel is a religious and strategic anathema.

Initially, Iran has waged war against Israel primarily by proxies. It envisions military actions causing exhaustion to the civilian population. In the 1980s, Iran trained and armed the Hezbollah, a Shi’ite militia in Lebanon, directing its military efforts to oust Israel from South Lebanon. Moreover, Iran has supplied more than 120,000 missiles of various ranges to Hezbollah, which cover most of Israel. The declared goal still is “to liberate Jerusalem from Zionist rule.” In the meantime, Hezbollah has assumed control of Lebanon, turning the country into an Iranian satrapy.

Similarly, after Hamas took over Gaza in 2005, it became the recipient of large military aid from Iran, intended to enhance its capability to bleed Israel. As Sunni Hamas did not support the Iranian line in Syria, Tehran channeled its financial and military aid to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, which is subservient to Iranian wishes. By having a foothold in Gaza, Iran established an additional front against Israel in the south.

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The current Iranian effort in Syria aims at establishing a third front in the northeast, along Israel’s border on the Golan Heights. Moreover, it wants to acquire a land corridor to the Levant (Lebanon and Syria) via Iraq, where Iran has been successful to establish a military presence and influence, to facilitate the transfer of more advanced weapons to Hezbollah and gain access to the Mediterranean.

We can also detect Iranian efforts to destabilize the Jordanian kingdom, situated along Israel’s eastern border. This is also part of Iran’s attempt to encircle Israel with Iranian proxies. Shi’ite militias and/or the Islamic Revolutionary Guards in Iraq and Syria obviously threaten the Hashemite dynasty. The fall of Jordan would also endanger Saudi Arabia, Iran’s arch-rival in the Gulf.

Neutralizing Israel’s military power, by encircling it with proxies which have at their disposal thousands of missiles directed at Israel’s strategic installations and centers of population, is an Iranian goal in its quest for hegemony in the Middle East.

In the absence of a clear American or Turkish determination to confront Iranian encroachment, only Israel has the power to stop it. Therefore, Israel has no choice but to wage war against Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

It is an illusion that Iran’s nuclear ambitions can be curbed by international agreements. The bomb is the best insurance for regime survival and for achieving hegemony in the region. It is inconceivable that the mullahs will give it up. As the international community, including the US, has no appetite for a military confrontation with Iran, it is left to Israel to prevent its nuclearization. The only way to do it is by brute force, adding a new dimension to the war conducted already against Iran. This is an inevitable imperative for Jerusalem.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Middle East Forum

Category 4 Hurricane Michael Nears Florida Panhandle, Fears of Massive Surge

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 08:09

The United States National Hurricane Center has issued an advisory warning that an extremely dangerous category 4 Hurricane Michael is nearing the cost of the Florida panhandle. It is considered a life-threatening event for the northeastern portion of the Gulf Coast.

The storm has sustained winds of 140 mph and is due to make landfall at approximately midday. More than 370,000 Floridians have been ordered to evacuate areas thought to be closest to the eye of the storm and move to higher ground. Florida Governor Rick Scott, who declared a state of emergency, called Michael a “monstrous storm” urged residents to listen to instructions from officials. Alabama and Georgia followed Florida’s lead in also declaring a state of emergency. Forecasters in Alabama have warned of possible tornados.

Over the weekend, it was reported that at least 13 people reportedly died in Central America as a result of storm rains and floods. Six people were thought killed in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.

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Weather forecasters and government officials not only worried about destructive winds and an onslaught of rain – thought to be four to eight inches in many areas, but as much as a foot in some other spots – but there are concerns that the storm surge could reach 13 feet in some places.

Officials in the Carolinas were also concerned about the path that the storm would take, particularly in light of the damage caused by the recent Hurricane Florence. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said, “We know we have to be ready, and hurricane-weary North Carolinians cannot let their guard down just because we’re fatigued with Hurricane Florence.”

U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that, “We are very well prepared for the incoming hurricane.” Local officials, however, are warning that not nearly enough people have evacuated as they would wish – particularly in stretches of coast that could be most severely hit by a surge of up to 13ft.

The time for evacuating along the coast has come and gone. First responders will not be able to come out in the middle of the storm. If you chose to stay in an evacuation zone, you must SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY.

— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) October 10, 2018

Strongest storms to hit within 150miles of Panama City, FL since 1950

Dennis-Cat 3-120mph-2005
Ivan-Cat 3-120mph-2004
Opal-Cat 3-115mph-1995
Kate-Cat 2-100mph-1985
Frederic-Cat 4-135mph-1979
Eloise-Cat 3-125mph-1975#HurricaneMichael would be strongest to ever hit FL Panhandle. pic.twitter.com/ECFJGUf6L3

— Mike Thomas (@MikeTFox5) October 10, 2018

Faith-based Intervention Successful at Managing Hypertension

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 07:10

Attending religious services is surely good for the soul, but recent research also highlights its benefits for the body and the heart. Lifestyle intervention delivered in churches by community-based health workers has been shown to bring about a significant reduction in blood pressure among African Americans, compared to health education alone.

This conclusion was reached by researchers at New York University’s School of Medicine and the NYU Langone Medical Center who have just published their findings online in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Meanwhile, Israeli researchers have contributed to the war against high blood pressure by performing for the first time in the country a procedure called cauterization on nerves in the kidneys. This procedure significantly reduced hypertension in patients whose blood pressure was not controlled by medications.

Churches are an influential institution for health promotion in black communities. While some faith-based interventions have successfully increased cancer screening, lowered weight and promoted better nutrition, this new study (named FAITH, or faith-based approaches in the treatment of hypertension) was the first of its kind to evaluate the effect of comprehensive lifestyle intervention for cutting blood pressure among African Americans in black churches. Dr. Gbenga Ogedegbe, a professor of population health and medicine at NYU’s School of Medicine and the study’s lead author, noted that African Americans tend to suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure) much more than other races.

They also have less access to medical care in clinics and hospitals, either because they don’t have proper health insurance or don’t go when needed to the doctor. But those with uncontrolled were found to better manage their blood pressure through programs administered in places of worship,” he said. Blacks in the US have a significantly greater burden of hypertension and heart disease, he added. “Vulnerable populations often have lower access to primary care. We need to reduce racial disparities in hypertension-related outcomes between blacks and whites. Additionally, we hope clergy and church leaders will take note of our findings and replicate these interventions in their churches.”

High blood pressure that is uncontrolled by medications can have devastating consequences. Among the possible complications are atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), which can lead to a heart attack and stroke; aneurysm (blood vessels weaken and bulge and eventually could explode and be life threatening);  heart failure (the inability of the heart to pump blood swiftly through its chambers, forcing it to pump harder and the muscle to get thicker); weakened and narrowed blood vessels in the kidneys; thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes, resulting in vision loss; metabolic syndrome, leading to type-2 diabetes; and memory problems and dementia.

NYU researchers collected data from 2010 to 2014 from 373 participants from 32 New York City churches who identified as black and had a self-reported diagnosis of hypertension and uncontrolled blood pressure. The research team then compared the effectiveness of a therapeutic lifestyle intervention plus motivational interviewing versus health education alone on blood pressure reduction among the participants. Results were analyzed after both six and nine months.

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Participants in the intervention group received 11 weekly group sessions of 90 minutes each that focused on healthy lifestyle behaviors, plus three motivational interviewing sessions delivered by community health workers every month. The curriculum was uniquely tailored to church members by including prayer, scripture and faith-based discussion related to health. Participants in the control group received one lifestyle session on hypertension management, as well as 10 informational sessions on health education topics that were led weekly by health experts.

Motivational interviewing, explained Ogedegbe, enhanced the people’s desire and confidence to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors. This was found to be especially effective for African Americans.

After six months, researchers saw a net reduction of 5.8 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure (when the heart is contracting) in the intervention group compared to the control group. Because the intervention was delivered by lay health advisors and not by nurses or doctors, it could not be determined whether issues of medication adherence were addressed during patient encounters in clinic. Using trusted members of the community to deliver care could reinforce the positive effects of reaching out to communities that have limited access or do not trust the medical community.

The study is limited because it could not determine how much of the difference in blood pressure resulted from lifestyle improvements and how much from changes in medication or better adherence to medication, Ogedegbe pointed out.

“Participants were encouraged to speak with their physicians about their medications and any problems they were experiencing. Future research should test an intervention that links the community and clinics as partners in delivering the intervention.”

The results may have been even more effective if intervention had included community-clinic partnerships to provide more comprehensive, structured health management, concluded Ogedegbe. “We plan to address this in new research that introduces community health workers into a team-based model of care for African Americans with poorly controlled high blood pressure.”

The Israel Accomplishment was carried out at Assaf Harofe (Yitzhak Shamir) Medical Center in the city of Tzrifin, 15 kilometers east of Tel Aviv. The innovative technology used a unique technique that enables safe and efficient burning of the nerve fibers of the kidneys using a novel method that has been successfully tested in several recent studies.

For the first time in Israel, the kidney nerve fibers were cauterized using the unique Symplicity Spyral recording system of the international Medtronic Corporation. The technique, which takes about one hour and is performed without anesthesia under sedation, has been proven to involve an extremely low complication rate. The results of the treatment will be monitored over the next few months.

Prof. Shmuel Fuchs, director of the hospital’s cardiology department, and Dr. Sa’ar Minha, director of the cardiology interdisciplinary unit, who performed the procedure concluded: “The challenge we face in cardiovascular medicine is to make personalized treatment accessible to patients using innovative technologies to achieve optimal improvement.”

MALACHI 3:23

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 06:27

Malachi’s last words mark the closing of the era of prophecy. He ends his final message by stating that the day of Hashem (God) is coming, preceded by the arrival of Eliyahu (Elijah) the prophet. On that day, the prophet’s role will not be to overthrow nations, but as verse 24 continues, to “reconcile parents with children and children with their parents.” Only when our homes are filled with harmony and love, teaches Malachi, can we begin to dream of peace and understanding on a global scale.

Jerusalem Hosts First-Ever International Tourism Security Summit

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 05:34

Tourism in Israel is booming. Despite figures from tourism research company IPK International that in 2017, 56% of people viewed Israel as one of the unsafest countries in the world to visit, hopes that the country will hit an all-time record of four million tourists by the end of 2018 are high.

During the first-ever International Tourism Security Summit, which was held in Jerusalem this week, tourism experts and academics from around the world met to discuss how to handle terrorist attacks at the world’s leading tourist destinations as well as how to communicate correctly in times of natural and national security crises; Rehabilitating reputation of destinations hit by disasters; and ensuring incoming tourism to capital cities worldwide.

Amir Halevi, director general of the Tourism Ministry, said that a sense of safety is something Israel can give tourists and the tourism field worldwide, explaining that security – which he described as the “elephant in room” for the tourism sector – “should be bundled up as part of the package, security should be part of the package.

“This elephant is here to stay,” he added.

Halevi explained that following terrorists attacks in recent years, the Tourism Ministry has put a “business as usual” policy into place, choosing to encourage routine and continue as normal. “Many countries shut down when in crisis, but Israel does not – it’s a mistake to shut down,” he said. “Belgium increased its tourism budget in the face of terror, where as France decreased its budget – we can see that Belgium is doing better.”

Concluding, Halevi said that taking the right measures “in times of crisis proves that tourism has the ability to overcome difficulties,” he said, adding that “we will continue to break records.”

Asked how Israel can put the “business as usual” model into practice on the ground, Prof. Eli Avraham, an expert in crisis communication at the University of Haifa, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that continuing with events and festivals and making sure there is increased safety and security at these events will encourage tourists and citizens to attend.

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“I use to live in Jerusalem during the Second Intifada and people were afraid to come downtown, so what did the police do? They blocked main parts of the area and put police everywhere so that nobody who was a threat could get inside without being checked,” he recalled.

“It’s all about emotion and all about what people feel – it’s not about the reality, the reality doesn’t matter here at all. The idea is to give [people] the feeling that events will continue and we’re doing the best we can and to do them in a closed space where people can be monitored. It is a challenge but we can do it,” Avraham said.

Keynote speaker Brig.-Gen. (Ret.) Avi Benayahu, who served as a former IDF spokesman, echoed the sentiments of “business as usual.”

“Tourism is more accessible to terrorists. The biggest terror attacks have taken place at airports, hotels, and tourists places,” he said. “For many years we [Israel] were ignored – terrorism was a snake that was swept under the carpet. The snake of terror has grown and fattened, became independent and is currently threatening to strike Europe, which has been feeding it, but now understands Israel better.”

“This is the first time that the subject [of tourism security] is on the agenda for the purpose of discussing the issue, sharing knowledge, experience and insight to defeat terrorism.”

Benayahu made it clear that Israel has the tools to help the world deal with terrorism and improve tourism security.

Asked about how Israel is contributing to the field of tourism security Ilanit Melchior, director of tourism in Jerusalem told TPS that sharing ideas and perspectives at the conference is what will help other countries develop the tools to better security for tourists and deal with crisis situations.

“The idea of this conference is to do just that,” she said. “There are many countries that are limited in know-how when dealing with terrorism and tourism security, but Israel has always been more security focused. There are people from many countries here and with this summit we are opening the dialogue, and sharing our knowledge. We are working together to develop a tool box for tourism security and for crisis situations.”

Mike Huckabee on UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s Resignation

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 04:01

Nikki Haley shocked both Washington and the world with her sudden resignation. She has served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for the last two years. Prior to that she was South Carolina governor for six years. Former Republican Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee said that Haley had done a “fantastic job.”

9,000 Gallons of Fuel Enter Gaza, Against Abbas’ Wishes

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 03:44

Two trucks carrying some 35,000 liters (9,200 gallons) of fuel entered the Gaza Strip from the Kerem Shalom border crossing on Tuesday after Qatar, which paid Israel for the transfer, deposited a check through the United Nations. They were escorted by U.N. vehicles.

Egyptian and Palestinian officials said that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas had spared no effort, until the last minute to block the transfer of fuel to the coastal enclave.

A senior Palestinian official told Israel Hayom that Abbas had spoken with U.N. Middle East envoy Nikolay Mladenov and accused him of helping to bypass Palestinian leadership. Abbas had also warned he would instruct the Palestinian Finance Ministry not to transfer the salaries of those workers with UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, set to receive the tankers in Gaza.

A senior Egyptian official told Israel Hayom that the P.A. had warned Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and other Arab leaders that through their actions, they were helping establishment a “Muslim Brotherhood state in Gaza.” According to the official, Abbas is doing everything in his power to ensure the situation in Gaza escalates and keep Hamas from reaping any diplomatic gains.

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Last year, Abbas suspended the P.A.’s payments for the power Gaza receives from Israel, plunging the Strip into a severe energy crisis and leaving Gazans with four to six hours of electricity per day. This, combined with a series of financial sanctions, dilapidated infrastructure and soaring unemployment that has recently crossed 50 percent, has seen civil unrest in Gaza grow, and with it, security tensions with Israel.

A top United Nations official said earlier that Qatar was buying fuel to restart the only power plant in the beleaguered Gaza Strip.

Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N.’s resident humanitarian coordinator, said this will add a few more hours of electricity to Gaza’s 2 million residents, who experience daily blackouts for up to 16 hours.

He said discussions were underway to find the “most optimal way” to deliver the fuel through Israel.

The territory’s terrorist Hamas rulers have accused the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority of hindering the Qatari efforts.

Hamas wrested control of Gaza and ousted the Palestinian Authority in 2007, drawing an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

Morning Joe Hosts Call Out Media Colleagues for Coverage of Kavanaugh Attacks

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 02:00

The hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, who have often been critical of President Trump, called out their media colleagues for playing the role of activist instead of reporter in their coverage of attacks against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

“There has been a series of stories about the Supreme Court appointment that have appeared on television and in newspapers that have caused I think a lot of Americans and has polarized political atmosphere of ours, to stop, pause, say, hey, this is a bit too much,” said Mike Barnicle, a regular Morning Joe panelist.

“Well, you have that and… breathless stories about Kavanaugh throwing ice cubes when he was 17 or 18-years-old, anonymous stories coming out, with absolutely no sourcing,” Joe Scarborough said. “Stories about gang rape factories coming out, absolutely no sourcing. Many in the media have forgotten that it’s their job to report that facts, not to act like this is “their war”.

MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski, a vocal critic of Trump, agreed about the media overplaying its hand.

“It’s not supposed to be how reporters feel and media analysts feel at this point in a case like this,” Brzezinski said. “It’s not even a case yet, although the FBI is looking into it. It’s a hearing, it’s a job interview and what we saw and I think what is playing into this blowback you are talking about is a lot of members of the media reacting emotionally.”

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Scarborough pointed out the electoral impact that the media could have on galvanizing the conservative base because of their treatment of Kavanaugh.

“The media is overreaching here, just as they did in the lead up to President Trump’s historic electoral victory,” Scarborough said. “A lot of them seeing them as overreaching. They talked about the media bias. They did see too many people see happening and said that there could be an impact politically and we are actually seeing that right now, polls that actually broke a couple hours after the show yesterday …The signs are clear, the smears against Judge Kavanaugh have fired up conservatives. But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist or you don’t have to have a Ph.D. in politics to understand what the last couple weeks have done to energize the Republican base and the conservative base.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Accuracy in Media

How Iran Plans to Take Gaza

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 01:00

The situation in the Gaza Strip is unlikely to witness any positive changes. Even if Hamas were to be removed from power, the Palestinians would continue to suffer under other radical groups such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Even if Hamas were to wake up tomorrow morning and have an about-face, striking a genuine truce with Israel, there will always be other terrorist groups that are prepared to breach the agreement any time they wish.

These are crucial factors that need to be taken into account by any international party that seeks a solution to the catastrophe called Gaza. Alternatively, one might to wish to continue to inhabit some alternate reality in which all be would be well if Israel would only ease restrictions on the Gaza Strip.

Gaza’s second-largest terrorist group after Hamas is the Iranian-funded Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which has thousands of supporters and militiamen. Pictured: Masked members of PIJ training in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

If anyone was hoping that removing Hamas from power in the Gaza Strip would improve the situation there and boost the chances of peace between Palestinians and Israel, they are in for a big disappointment. Hamas, which violently seized control over the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, is not the only terrorist group in the coastal enclave, home to some two million Palestinians.

In addition to Hamas, these are several other Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

The second-largest group after Hamas is Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which has thousands of supporters and militiamen. If and when Hamas is ever removed from power, PIJ has the strongest chance of stepping in to fill the vacuum.

You remove Hamas from power, you will most likely end up having to deal with PIJ – not a more moderate group. While Hamas could only be considered “good,” in some alternate reality, its replacement would not be any better. Islamist fundamentalism is enshrined in the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The two Islamist groups — Hamas and PIJ — are like two peas in a pod. The two do not recognize Israel’s right to exist and continue to call for an armed struggle to “liberate all Palestine,” from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

Like Hamas, the Iranian-funded PIJ also has an armed wing, called Saraya Al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigades). Founded in 1981 by PIJ leaders Fathi Shaqaqi and Abed Al-Aziz Awda in the Gaza Strip, the Jerusalem Brigades is responsible for hundreds of terrorist attacks against Israel, including suicide bombings. In recent years, the group has also been launching rockets and mortars at Israel.

Although it considers itself an independent group, PIJ often operates in coordination with Hamas. The two groups even have a joint “operations command” to coordinate their attacks on Israel. Sometimes, they carry out joint attacks.

The Jerusalem Brigades likes to take to the streets in shows of force aimed at the other Palestinian terrorist groups in particular and the Palestinian public in the Gaza Strip in general. Generally, Hamas does not tolerate competition from other armed groups in the Gaza Strip, but when it comes to PIJ and its military wing, it is a different story altogether. When PIJ displays its power and weapons on the streets of Gaza, Hamas shuts up about it.

Hamas evidently knows that PIJ, a large and influential group, is dangerous to mess with. Hamas also seems aware that meddling with PIJ means getting into trouble with PIJ’s paymasters in Iran. Like PIJ, Hamas is also dependent on Iran’s political, financial and military backing. Iran considers PIJ its main ally and puppet in the Gaza Strip. Through PIJ, Iran inserts its tentacles into the internal affairs of the Palestinians, much to the dismay of President Mahmoud Abbas and his Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

Relations between Iran and Hamas have not been stable in recent years, largely due to Hamas’s refusal to support the Iranian-backed regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Lately, however, reports have surfaced in some Arab media outlets that Iran and Hamas have agreed to lay aside their differences.

In the past few years, a number of Hamas delegations have visited Tehran as part of the group’s effort to patch up its relationship with Iran. The last visit took place in October 2007, when a Hamas delegation comprising Ezzat Al-Risheq, Sami Abu Zuhri, Khaled Qaddoumi, Mohammed Nasr and Zaher Jabarin, visited Tehran to brief Iranian leaders on the latest developments surrounding efforts to end the crisis between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah faction.

Despite the apparent rapprochement, Iran has strong reservations about trusting Hamas. Its skepticism appears based on Iran’s fear that Hamas is ready to reach a reconciliation agreement with Fatah and a truce accord with Israel. Such an alliance, in the eyes of Iran, would constitute a betrayal on the part of Hamas. Any agreement with Fatah would mean that Hamas is prepared to join forces with Abbas and, even worse, engage in future peace talks with Israel. Any truce agreement with Israel would mean that Hamas is prepared to lay down its weapons and abandon the armed struggle against the “Zionist enemy.” This “surrender” would be anathema to the mullahs in Tehran, who have a declared goal of eliminating Israel.

As far as Iran is concerned, the PIJ is its real ally in the Palestinian arena. And as far as Iran is concerned, PIJ will always be seen as a natural replacement for Hamas in the Gaza Strip if Hamas ever does forge a deal with Fatah or Israel.

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The PIJ, meanwhile, is doing its utmost to prove its trustworthiness to its masters in Tehran. Last week, PIJ’s military wing again dispatched its heavily-armed fighters to the streets of the Gaza Strip in a show of force directed towards Hamas, Iran and the rest of the world.

Abu Hamzeh, a spokesman for the Jerusalem Brigades, proudly declared during the paramilitary march that his group “will never compromise or bargain on one inch of the land of Palestine — all Palestine.” He added: “Our weapons are the symbol of our pride and power of our people. We will resist all conspiracies and foil all schemes aimed at liquidating our cause.”

So, what does all this mean for Gaza?

First, that the situation there is unlikely to witness any positive changes. Even if Hamas were to be removed from power, the Palestinians would continue to suffer under other radical groups such as the PIJ.

Second, that even if Hamas were to wake up tomorrow morning and have an about-face, striking a genuine truce with Israel, there will always be other terrorist groups that are prepared to breach the agreement any time they wish.

Third, that the Gaza Strip will continue to be swarmed by several heavily-armed groups that will continue to launch terror attacks on Israel and impose a reign of terror and intimidation on the Palestinian population.

Fourth, that neither Abbas nor any other third party would ever be able to set foot in the Gaza Strip, impose law and order and confiscate the weapons of the terrorist groups.

These are crucial factors that need to be taken into account by any international party that seeks a solution to the catastrophe called Gaza. Alternatively, one might to wish to continue to inhabit some alternate reality in which all be would be well if Israel would only ease restrictions on the Gaza Strip.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Gatestone Institute

Iran’s Idea of ‘Human Rights’: Persecute Christians

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 00:00

In his recent speech before the United Nations, and as a way to support his claim that Israel is “a rogue and racist regime [that] trample[s] upon the most basic rights of the Palestinians,” Iranian president Hassan Rouhani repeatedly portrayed his government as dedicated to “moderation and respect for human rights,” adding: “We in Iran strive to build peace and promote the human rights of peoples and nations.  We never condone tyranny and we always defend the voiceless. We never threaten anyone…”

How do these claims stand to scrutiny?  One need only look to Iran’s Christian minority—which forms only one percent of the entire population—for an answer.  Unlike the persecution other Christian minorities experience in Muslim majority nations—which often comes at the hands of Muslim individuals, mobs, or professional terrorists—the primary driver of Christian persecution in Iran is Rouhani’s government itself.

The 2018 World Watch List, compiled by Open Doors, a human rights organization that highlights the global persecution of Christians, makes this clear. Iran is among the top ten worst nations where Christians experience “extreme persecution.”

[Moreover], whereas most persecution of Christians in the Arab Gulf region comes from society or radical Islamic groups, the main threat for believers in Iran comes from the government. The Iranian regime declares the country to be a Shia Islamic State and is constantly expanding its influence. Hardliners within the regime are vehemently opposed to Christianity, and create severe problems for Christians, particularly converts from Islam. Christians and other minorities are seen as threats to this end, and are persecuted as a result. Iranian society as a whole is more tolerant than their leadership, thanks in part due to the influence of moderate and mystical Sufi Islam.

Most of the regime’s persecution is directed against Protestant Christians and Muslim converts to Western forms of Christianity, such as the Evangelical, Baptist and Pentecostal strains.  Because they are denied the right to build churches, Christians often resort to meeting and worshipping in secret.   Reports of Iranian authorities breaking into such house church gatherings, arresting and hauling off many if not all present Christians have become increasingly common.

Discussing this phenomenon, Middle East Concern, another human rights organization, says:

A great many Iranians have been coming to Christ and it’s something which the authorities are clearly very unhappy about. So there are periodic arrests, detentions, [and] imprisonments. There have been a lot of charges lately which are suggesting an even greater clampdown—sentences of 10-15 years in some cases for Christians. And usually, the authorities will suggest that this [is] the result of undermining the state or seeking to collaborate against the state and will use more political charges than say apostasy or blasphemy laws.

For example, in June 2017, four Muslim converts to Christianity, who were arrested a month earlier in raids on house churches, were each sentenced to ten years in prison.   “The four men,” notes one report, “were officially charged with ‘acting against national security,’ a catch-all charge often used by the Iranian government to punish different types of religious and political dissent. The government often uses it against converts instead of the charge of apostasy, according to freedom of religion advocates, in an attempt to avoid international scrutiny.”

Most recently, another convert to Christianity, Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh, inquired about the charge he was convicted for, namely, “Action against national security through the establishment of house churches.”  In an August, 2018, open letter to the Iranian court that sentenced him to ten years in prison, he asked, “is the fellowship of a few Christian brothers and sisters in someone’s home, singing worship songs, reading the Bible and worshiping God acting against national security?  Isn’t it a clear violation of civil and human rights, and an absolute injustice to receive a ten-year prison sentence just for organising ‘house churches…’”

Although the official reason Iranian authorities give in all these arrests and convictions is that such Christian—by which is meant “Western”—activities are tantamount to “crimes against national security,” that religious hostility is the root source behind such governmental animus is evident in other ways.   For instance, “[w]hile the government is anti-Christian, it does grant some limited freedoms to historical as opposed to Protestant] Christian churches,” says the World Watch List. “They [indigenous Orthodox and Catholic communities] are allowed to preach to fellow countrymen in their own language but are forbidden from ministering to people from Muslim backgrounds.   Members of these historical churches are treated as second-class citizens, and they have reported imprisonment, physical abuse, harassment and discrimination, and jail terms, particularly for reaching out to Muslims.”  Moreover, even historical, indigenous churches are targeted for destruction by Iranian authorities.

Not only does Iran persecute its Christian minorities, but it also tries to coerce them to embrace Islam—despite Rouhani’s boasts before the UN that “Iran does not seek to … impose its official religion on others,” because “[w]e are so confident in the depth of our culture, the truth of our faith and tenacity and longevity of our revolution…”

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In one instance, the government “ordered children belonging to families of one of the country’s largest house church movements to study the Koran and Shi’a Islam teachings or face expulsion from school,” notes one report. This policy “deprives Christian children of primary and secondary education unless they agree to religious instruction that does not conform to their faith.”  As one Iranian Christian living in hiding had explained, “Rouhani wants to prove that he is a good Muslim by persecuting Christians….  Most of the new Christians are former Muslims….  The authorities are trying to eradicate Christianity, just as the Islamic State group, but smarter.”

Moreover, many Christians who eventually escape Iran and its prisons make clear that pressuring them to convert to Islam was a standard tactic.   An October 2017 report says that it had “obtained confirmed reports of them [arrested Christians] being beaten in prison and threatened that if they don’t renounce their faith in Christ and turn away from their Christian faith they will be forced to leave the country or be beaten to death.”

Similarly, while recounting their harrowing experiences in Iran’s jail system, two female converts to Christianity said  “they were asked repeatedly to deny their Christian faith,” and “were denied medical treatment because of their faith and that they were seen as ‘dirty infidels.’”

“We can do anything to you and nobody can stop us,” their Islamic captors regularly informed them. “Here we are the law and we can do whatever we want…. If you don’t give us the information we need, we’ll beat you till you vomit blood…”  “They treated us like animals,” recalled the women.  “If a prisoner’s case got [international media] attention, they stopped torturing or raping them because they knew the world was watching….  We heard of many cases of prisoners who had no voice outside, and many things happened to them.”

The irony of all this is that Rouhani himself hints that Iran’s commitment to human rights does not include non-Muslims.  At one point in his UN speech he said that “Human and citizens’ rights, along with the quest for justice and Islamic values, have constituted the most pivotal demands of the Iranian people … particularly in the Islamic Revolution of 1979.”  Apparently any Iranian who has “Christian values” does not count.

Elsewhere Rouhani said, “It is simply impossible for anybody to aspire to attain long-term stability, prosperity and development, while Muslims in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Myanmar and so many other places live in misery, war and poverty.”  Why stress “Muslims”?  Why not say “all people” in Syria, Iraq, etc.?  Again, apparently the “misery” of non-Muslims who live in those countries does not warrant mention.

Until such time that Iran can show that it cares about the human rights of all—including those non-Muslims that live within its borders—all lofty talk about rights and Palestinians must be seen for what it is: hypocrisy, lies, and a political agenda.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Raymond Ibrahim

Heal O’Israel, Causes of Pemphigus

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 16:38

My wife and I live in Trinidad. About two years ago, my 47-year-old wife started to get severe ulcers in her mouth. She was diagnosed at a London hospital after a biopsy as suffering from pemphigus. We were told that the treatment is to regulate outbreaks with steroids (prednisone up to 15mg daily currently). There doesn’t seem to be much alternative treatment here, and steroids are not a cure. The long-term side effects, especially the weight gain, has been very difficult for her. We would so appreciate your help and advice. H.V., Trinidad

Dr. Julian Schamroth, a veteran Jerusalem dermatologist, replies:

Pemphigus is an uncommon disorder of the skin characterized by severe and extensive blistering of the skin. It is more common in elderly Ashkenazi Jews and affects females more than males.

The disorder is caused by an autoimmune process in which the body makes antibodies against the fibers that anchor the skin to underlying tissues. Without these adhesive “anchors,” the skin becomes detached from the deeper skin layers and forms blisters. The same thing happens on mucosal surfaces, such as the mouth, vagina or urethra, but the blisters are rarely seen as they rapidly break down to leave ulcers. There are several different forms of the disease – pemphigus vulgaris being the most common.

In extreme cases – especially if left untreated – secondary infections can occur and the disorder can be life-threatening. The standard therapy involves topical steroid creams as well as oral cortisone. High doses of cortisone doe have side effects, but this can be minimized by taking a “cortisone-sparing” drug such as azothiaprine (Imuran) or other immune-suppressant drugs. (Imuran is used worldwide and is probably available in the West Indies). A newer biological agent called retuximab (Rituxan) is available for severe life-threatening cases.

All of the above drugs have side effects, mild as well as serious. It is thus imperative that patients with pemphigus be closely monitored by their dermatologist.

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We’re desperate to get some help for our nephew, Valentino. He is a fun-loving, 15-year-old boy who loves gymnastics, running, soccer, video games and hanging out with his friends. But during the last eight months, he has been in constant pain and has lost the ability to walk unaided. He no longer sees his friends and is unable to go to school and enjoy the things a normal boy of his age would do. The family have spent months visiting a general practitioners and hospitals via Britain’s National Health Service, but so far, they have been unable to find a diagnosis so doctors can even start to treat his condition. Various specialists have suggested gastritis, Guillain Barré Syndrome, Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome, but so far none have conclusively arrived at a diagnosis. After eight months and almost $26,000 spent on treatments and remedies already, Valentino’s health is still declining, and no answers are forthcoming. All the family’s savings have run out. Valentino wasn’t even able to hold a conversation without exhausting himself, he was taken to a hospital emergency room. An x-ray of his chest and an ECG were performed, but the results came back normal. He was diagnosed with gastritis. Within a week, Valentino went back to the GP; the GP agreed with the emergency room doctor’s diagnosis of gastritis and prescribed Omeprazole to treat acid reflux. Valentino finished the course in two weeks with no improvement, in fact, he was getting weaker by the day.

After further visits to the GP, he was referred to the pediatric team at the hospital. He had a series of blood tests and examinations all returning normal. With no improvement or diagnoses from the doctors, and Valentino’s parents desperate for answers they took Valentino to a private pediatrician. He examined Valentino and could find no problem but increased his dosage of Omeprazole to rule out any esophageal issues. His condition deteriorated even further. He now needed support to walk around the house, using furniture or a family member to support him.

His parents took him to a neurologist, who carried out a thorough physical examination. Again, everything came back normal. He was sent for a muscle and nerve test, and again, all came back normal. By this point the funds were quickly dwindling; so rather than spending $1,000 to carry out this test in the UK, the family traveled to Cyprus to have this test carried out there for less than a quarter of the price.

 The family traveled with Valentino to a cardiologist and professor of medicine in Cyprus. It was suggested that they take him to see a holistic doctor in Cyprus. He carried out a full body examination. He carried out a test using a Vega machine and detected possible liver toxicity and Lyme disease. This holistic doctor recommended a course of supplements to strengthen his immune system to fight off any toxicity or infections in his body. 

 After almost 4 months taking these supplements, no changes or improvements have been seen. Back at home, he also had a brain and spinal MRI – results came back normal. A physiotherapist gave Valentino exercises to try and reduce muscle wastage in his legs, as he wasn’t able to walk, and agreed that he would need weekly visits with a physiotherapist and psychologist. Continuing with the supplements prescribed by the holistic doctor, a further visit with him in August showed zero improvement.They took him in September to a consultant medical herbalist in Harley Street, London. Blood was taken here and sent to the US and Germany for screening. She believes that the infections attacking his nervous system could possibly be caused by mold, but nothing was proven. He is still without a diagnosis or treatment. What can they do now?  Via Internet

 


Prof. Eitan Kerem, chief of pediatrics at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center, comments:

I consulted with Dr. Tal Gilboa, head of pediatric neurology at our hospital. We note that after repeated physical and neurological findings are normal, normal brain and spine MRI, normal EMG & NCV more than than weeks after symptoms appeared, normal EEG, negative cultures, normal CSF, normal blood tests including thyroid function and negative serological and immunological panels, we see no signs for an organic disease. We suggest to consider a psychology evaluation.

If you want an Israeli expert to answer your medical questions, write to Breaking Israel News health and science senior reporter Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at judy@israel365.com with your initials, age, gender and place of residence and details of the medical condition, if any.

The Moses Controversy

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 15:31

Debate continually rages over the credibility of the Bible. One such example concerns the Exodus – is it Moses’ first-hand account or was it written more than 1,000 years later? The Bible implies that Moses wrote an eyewitness record of the Exodus journey.

Intel and Haifa’s Technion Join Forces to Help Machines Think Like Humans

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 15:18

Machines have for centuries worked for humankind, but can they also think for us? It seems they can, and this amazing but potentially frightening development is called artificial (or machine) intelligence (AI). Unlike natural human or animal intelligence, AI devices survey their surroundings and take aim at a target, imitating human learning, problem solving and carrying out other types of cognitive functions.

AI goes back to fictional works such as Frankenstein. But as early as 1956 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, AI became an academic discipline. Since then, research into the field has gone very far to include planning, learning, language processing, perception, the ability to move objects and reasoning. AI today is based on mathematics, psychology, linguistics, philosophy, information engineering and other fields.

While the study of human reasoning and AI, whose basic element is usually a set of mathematical instructions called algorithms, can make our lives easier. many people fear it because they think it might make their jobs obsolete. But that fear has not stopped industry and academia from trying to progress in the field, as in medical diagnosis, logistics, data mining and other fields. A “thinking” computer even managed some 20 years ago to beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov.

Now that Israel’s Mobileye company and others around the world are trying to develop autonomous vehicles, AI is becoming more tangible to the general public. But there are still serious bugs in such vehicles, as shown by some fatal accidents, and AI computers are still unable to figure out what pedestrians or drivers who are busy with their smartphone actually plan to do.

Israel – and particularly the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa – is among the leaders in AI research. The Technion and the Intel Corporation (based in California, a giant company that produces most of the semiconductor chips in the world’s computers) have just inaugurated a joint Center for Artificial Intelligence. The center, located in Haifa, will advance research in AI fields and collaboration between Technion and Intel researchers.

Intel’s Dr. Michael Mayberry, chief technology officer, and Naveen Rao, corporate vice president and general manager of the Artificial Intelligence Products Group, represented Intel at the inauguration of the new AI Center. Prof. Boaz Golany, vice president for External Relations and Resource Development, Prof. Wayne Kaplan, executive vice president for Research, Prof. Nahum Shimkin, dean of the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Prof. Dan Geiger, dean of the Computer Science Department and Prof. Carmel Domshlak, Dean of the William Davidson Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, represented the Technion.

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Already, CSRankings – a metrics-based ranking of leading computer science institutions around the world – has already named the Technion as eighth in the world in AI, after Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University, Cornell University, Tsinghua University, Peking University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley. This is quite an achievement.

Prof. Shie Mannor from the Technion’s Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering will head the Center. “The Technion is the leading university in Israel in the field of artificial intelligence and is one of the top ten universities in the world in the field,” Mannor said. “The Technion has about 20 faculty members whose main field of research is computational learning and another 40 researchers are working in related fields. The majority of the researchers come from the Faculty of Computer Science, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, and some of them are from other faculties such as Medicine and Biology.”

Intel and the Technion have maintained close ties for many years. Nine years ago, Intel awarded the Technion the Intel Award in recognition of the university, whose graduates were the founding nucleus of the company’s branch established in Haifa in 1974. To date, Intel supports some of Technion’s labs and funds many scholarships for students at the university, including specifically supporting outstanding students in electrical engineering and computer science.

As part of this collaboration with Intel, Mannor added, the company will support research projects of Technion faculty members engaged in computational learning and artificial intelligence together with Intel researchers. The research will cover a variety of areas, including natural language processing, deep learning and hardware optimization for different learning algorithms.”

Intel-Israel CEO Yaniv Garty added, “We are proud of the cooperation with the Technion, which will promote Israeli technology and Intel’s technological leadership in the field of artificial intelligence. Intel is a leader in this field, and the research center will help further advance AI innovation. I have no doubt that we will achieve breakthroughs that will lead to significant developments in the coming years. Intel has always maintained a close cooperation with Israeli academia, which has included many contributions, support of teaching programs, scholarships for outstanding students, joint research and more,” he said.

Prof. Boaz Golany, vice president for external relations and resource development noted: “The Technion intends to expand its activities in the fields of machine learning and intelligent technology in the next few years and the joint activity with Intel is one of the first steps in this direction. We are working to raise unprecedented resources to support basic research in the field and in parallel, to work with leading companies such as Intel to promote applications in a wide range of fields including health care, autonomous vehicles, smart environments, home and industrial robots and more.”

Ginosar: Thousands of Christians March in Jesus’ Footsteps with Four Species

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 15:09

More than 25,000 Evangelical Christians came to “The Galilee Boat” exhibit at Kibbutz Ginosar during the intermediary days of the recent Sukkot holiday. They came to learn about the Jewish holiday and walk in the path of Jesus.

The visitors came from tens of countries, among them Brazil, Korea, Canada, the United States, the Philippines, and others. The boat, which was discovered thirty years ago by two kibbutz members, is dated from around Jesus’ time, when many of his believers were fishermen living in the area.

Alongside the boat, which is on exhibit in the Beit Yigal Allon Museum at the kibbutz since the year 2000, held a special Sukkot holiday happening onsite. During the happening, employees of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) and the museum wore ancient costumes, similar to those worn during the time of Jesus, and presented a sukkah, the four species, and shofars to the visitors, explaining each one of the holiday traditions.

From the Galilee Boat site, the large crowd of visitors went for a guided boat ride around the Sea of Galilee, and when it was over they were treated to pomegranates, apples and honey, and dates produced in the Jordan valley. The guests heard an explanation of the symbolism of each of these foods, which are eaten on the Jewish New Year.

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A certain percentage of the cost of the purchases made by the visitors was donated to needy families. The visitors also prepared a notebook filled with special blessings for IDF soldiers, in which each visitor wrote a blessing in his own language. The languages included Russian, Polish, Spanish, Korean, and others.

The boat from Ginosar, known as “The Jesus Boat”, is a wooden boat discovered when the water of the Sea of Galilee was at a very low point. Carbon 14 dating was instrumental in giving an accurate picture of when the boat was created. After the boat was discovered, it was packed inside polyurethane foam and moved to the shore where it was placed in a special pool of water. Tilapia fish were introduced into the pool with the boat and ate all the worms and bacteria that had multiplied in the boat. It took 14 years to preserve the craft. The wood was strengthened with synthetic wax and through 65 tons of various chemicals. The boat is on exhibit in a special hall in Beit Yigal Alon alongside a simulation about the mystery of the identity of the boat’s owner and its use during ancient times.

Abe Truitt, Tourism Manager at the IFCJ and the person who organized the event, said, “It was a unique experience to give the visitors the opportunity to learn about Jewish and Israeli culture. Moreover, it was an opportunity for us, as Jews, to be proud of our nation and our culture. When we go to Christian countries during the Christmas season, all we see and feel is the Christian culture, in the streets, in the houses, everywhere. In this event, our tradition and culture were what was communicated and that moved us all deeply.”

US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley in Shock Resignation

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 12:02

Nikki Haley, the United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations has shocked the world by announcing her sudden resignation. Initial reports suggest that she will continue in her post until the end of this calendar year.

Haley took up her post in 2016 – a somewhat surprise announcement – considering that she often had policy disagreements with her boss, President Donald Trump. Earlier in Trump’s successful campaign, she criticized the then-candidate for his demeanor.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump was magnanimous in his praise. “We will miss you… and you have done a fantastic job, and I want to thank you very much. We’ll hate to lose you.” The president also said that Ms. Haley had informed him some six months ago that after two years with the administration, she wished to take a break.

Haley scotched rumours that she was preparing a run for the presidency in 2020. She did claim, however, that she would be prepared to campaign for President Trump’s re-election. She described her powerful stint as ambassador as “an honor of a lifetime.”

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As ambassador, Haley has been a forceful and outspoken envoy, particularly in defense of Israel. She was instrumental in calling out the hypocrisy endemic in the United Nations Human Rights Council including withdrawing the United States from it in protest at its bias.

“For too long, the human rights council has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias,” Haley said in announcing the withdrawal at the time. “Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded.”

Haley added that the council has a “chronic bias against Israel,” while also decrying that countries like China, Cuba and Venezuela, who all have poor human rights records, are members of the council.

Israel’s Ambassador the United Nations Danny Danon, was effusive in his praise of Haley, thanking her for being a true friend of Israel.

Thank you, @nikkihaley! Thank you for representing the values common to #Israel and the #UnitedStates. Thank you for your support, which led to a change in Israel’s status in the UN. Thank you for your close friendship. You will always be a true friend to the State of Israel. pic.twitter.com/kErDLLEiNz

— Ambassador Danon (@dannydanon) <a

Arch of Palmyra Casts Shadow of Idolatry Over Kavanaugh Hearings

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 07:56

On September 26, a 20 foot-tall replica of Roman Victory Arch of Palmyra was unveiled for a three-day display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The arch perfectly framed the Capitol Building where the next day, Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Though the arch and the Senate hearings seem disconnected, there may be an underlying nefarious synchronicity bringing the idolatrous roots of the arch to the political process going on nearby.

Representative Eliot Engel (Dem-NY) spoke at the arch’s unveiling ceremony, saying, “When you look at this beautiful arch, we are seeing through the eyes of ancient civilizations, and to have it right here, set against the classical columns of the Capitol, is really extraordinary.”

Engel is also proud of many things including his efforts in pro-abortion legislation.

“I am proud to be a member of the House Pro-Choice Caucus and to have a 100% voting record with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund,” Engel wrote on his website. “In addition, I was honored to receive the Congressional Defender of Women’s Rights Award from the Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion.”

The controversy surrounding Kavanaugh began well before Blasey Ford stepped forward, accusing him of sexually assaulting her 36 years ago. His nomination faced fierce opposition from the left-wing at the outset due to their fear that once he became a Supreme Court Justice, he would help overturn Roe v. Wade. Blasey Ford’s allegation was used as an opportunity to prevent this and as a result, Planned Parenthood advocated strongly for Ford.

It should be remembered that Palmyra, the home of the original arch for two millennia, was a major center for idolatry, specifically the worship of Ba’al, also known as Moloch. Mentioned more than 90 times in the Bible, most notably when Elijah defeated the priests of Ba’al in a contest to bring down fire from heaven to burn a sacrifice, Ba’al became the archetypical form of idol worship. Pantheistic, his adherents worshipped Mother Nature while denying the existence of a creator. Followers of Ba’al engaged in bisexual orgies and sacrificed human infants, burning them alive. Anthropologists conjecture that the child sacrifice was to cull the population after the inevitable outcome of wanton sexuality.

Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific end-of-days author, sees a powerful message in the connection between the ancient symbol of idolatry and the current political conflict.

“Even though people change, generations come and go, and the manner in which certain social phenomena appear, the spiritual basis and human drives of what we do today have their source in the Bible,” Rabbi Winston told Breaking Israel News. “These roots of history will serve until Moshiach (Messiah).”

Rabbi Winston noted that even if the timing was coincidental, the issue of abortion is not exclusive to modern times.

“Abortion has its spiritual source in the child sacrifice to Moloch,” he explained. “The worship of Moloch was based on the belief that anything a person produced was wastefulness and life is meaningless. Jews are reviled because we say precisely the opposite. That is why we sacrifice so many worldly pleasures for the sake of the world to come. A godless world says ‘Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die’. And forget about the consequences, no matter how inevitable.”

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Rejecting idolatry should be a universal concern. Judaism does not desire for non-Jews to convert to Judaism but the third Noahide law is a prohibition against idolatry.

Avodah zara (idolatry) was created to give Man a sense of justification for his animalistic behavior, so that man could have a feeling of righteousness while doing evil,” Rabbi Winston explained. “Any form of that is idol worship.”

The rabbi suggested that the Bible could be used as a tool to avoid falling into these ancient pitfalls.

“People think mankind has evolved and there is no connection between our world and what happened thousands of years ago,” he asserted. “This leads to a feeling of hopelessness, that life is meaningless. They don’t believe in the soul and they say the Bible is irrelevant. History becomes meaningless but a cursory look reveals that our world is uncannily similar to what happened in the Bible. The Bible gives a basic understanding of life.”

Palmyra was dedicated in 32 CE to the worship of Bel. Lower levels of the ground underneath the Temple of Palmyra indicate human occupation that goes back to the third millennium BCE. Converted into a Christian church during the Byzantine Era, parts of the structure were modified into a mosque by Muslims in 1132. It remained in use as a mosque until the 1920s.

The original arch was destroyed by the Islamic State (ISIS) in October 2015, but one year later, the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) used 3-D printing technology to reproduce a 20-foot  full-scale replica. Before the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, Palmyra was a popular tourist attraction, drawing 105,000 visitors a year.

The reappearance of the Arch of Palmyra has been accompanied by other startling cases of synchronicity that connect to its roots in idolatry. Its debut in April 2016 in Trafalgar Square, London for the UNESCO World Heritage Week coincided with Beltane, the primary festival for Ba’al, the pagan deity for which the Temple of Palmyra was constructed.

In addition to its association with idolatry, the recreated arch is emerging as a symbol for world government. Before its appearance in the U.S. capital, the replica arch was displayed in New York’s City Hall Plaza, London’s Trafalgar Square, the G7 Summit in Florence, and Dubai’s World Government Summit, attracting more than 10 million visitors.

The replica arch will next be reassembled in the Hague, the site of the Dutch Parliament and the UN’s International Criminal Court. The Hague is described as the City of Peace and Justice. Hosted by the Centre for Global Heritage and Development, the arch will be displayed adjacent to the ICC for one month beginning October 17. The Internet announcement of the exhibit describes the arch, a replica of the victory of Roman paganism, as “a symbol of cultural resilience” that will stand as an inspiration to the Netherland’s approximately 100,000 Syrian immigrants.

The IDA and UNESCO have paired up in other projects presenting symbols of idolatry. In November 2017, a statue of the pagan goddess Athena was reconstructed by the IDA and presented at an exhibit “The Spirit in the Stone,” at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York City. The exhibit described Athena as “synonymous with reason, refuge and the rule of law, all of the same values on which that historic institution was built,” but the spear lying at the statue’s feet belied her more common association as the goddess of war. Some scholars believe the Greek goddess was based on the Mesopotamian goddess al-Lat.

http://digitalarchaeology.org.uk/washington-dc

First Full Hebrew Spelling of ‘Jerusalem’ Unearthed on Second Temple Inscription

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 07:38

The first epigraphic testimony noting the full spelling of Jerusalem in letters was unveiled at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum for the first time today (Tuesday) in a joint press conference of the museum and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

At the press conference on October 9, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the 2,000 year-old discovery from the Second Temple Period (First Century CE), which will be part of a new exhibition of artifacts from the capital city of Jerusalem.

Found at the excavation site of an ancient Jewish potter’s quarter near Binyanei Ha’Uma (The International Convention Center) in Jerusalem, excavation director Danit Levy found the limestone inscription last winter. Discovered out of context, the Aramaic inscriptions appear on a column drum supporting the foundations of a Roman structure are Hebrew letters, typical of the Second Temple Period, that read: “Hananiah son of Dodalos of Jerusalem.”

The drum was originally part of a building that stood in a Jewish potters’ village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the column drum coming from a workshop or other structure belonging to Hananiah or a public building that he helped finance. The site was likely converted into a ceramic workshop for building products by the 10th Roman Legion (Legio X Fretensis).

Second Temple inscription of the full Hebrew name of Jerusalem on a stone column drum. (Credit: Eliana Rudee/Breaking Israel News)


When Levy saw the inscription and understood its importance, she recalled, “my heart was pounding so hard that it felt like it would break my t-shirt.”

While most artifacts of that period use the shorthand version of the spelling of Jerusalem (Yerushalem or Shalem), this artifact is the oldest stone inscription with the full spelling of Jerusalem, Yerushalayim, as it is written in Hebrew today.

Professor Ido Bruno, director of the Israel Museum and resident of Jerusalem, expressed his excitement that the inscription will be accessible to “every child that can read and uses the same script used two millennia ago.”

Commenting on the uniqueness of the find, Dr. Yuval Baruch, Jerusalem regional archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Professor Ronny Reich of Haifa University, who read and studied the inscription, noted that “First and Second Temple period inscriptions mentioning Jerusalem are quite rare, but even more unique is the complete spelling of the name as we know it today, which usually appears in the shorthand version.”

They continued, “This is the only stone inscription of the Second Temple period known where the full spelling appears. This spelling is only known in one other instance, on a coin of the Great Revolt against the Romans (66-70 CE).”

While Jerusalem is mentioned 660 times in the Hebrew Bible, only five mentions have the full spelling as we know it today, including Jeremiah 26:18, Esther 2:6, 2 Chronicles 25:1, 2 Chronicles 32: 9 and 2 Chronicles 25: 1.

Archaeologists believe that the inscriber, Hananiah, was a Jewish artist-potter who manufactured cooking vessels and sold them to Roman soldiers and Jewish pilgrims on the way to the Second Temple, especially during the Jewish pilgrim festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

According to Baruch, the inscription speaks to the uniqueness of how Hebrew and the Jewish culture has been preserved from ancient times until today.

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“In the Second Temple period, most of people living in Jerusalem were Jewish. It was a Temple city – the only place for Jews to worship. There was no synagogue or Yeshiva – there was only the Temple,” he told Breaking Israel News.

The city, Baruch explained, developed into one of the largest cities in the east according to Jewish and Roman historical sources, with its economic basis provided through food, water and most importantly, ceramic tools like ones unearthed near Binyanei Ha’Uma and manufactured by Hananiah, author of the newly discovered inscription.

According to Baruch, artifacts and inscriptions like the one presented today have a direct relation to ancient Jewish cultures, “that give us the understanding of the roots of the Jewish people here in the land of Israel and of course, in Jerusalem.

“For us, as scientists, there is no doubt about Jews and this part of the history of Jerusalem,” he added.

The find occurs in the context of Israel Antiquities Authority excavations of portions of the potter’s quarter and Jewish village near the manufacturing site.

According to the press release, the site produced vessels for Jerusalem for more than 300 years during the Hasmonean Period through the Late Roman era. Jewish ritual baths, kilns, pools for preparing clay, plastered water cisterns and workspaces for drying and storing the vessels were also found in the excavations.

Representing the largest pottery production site in Jerusalem of approximately 200 dunams (50 acres), the manufacturing of pottery provided hundreds of thousands of Jewish pilgrims on their way to the Temple – and the hostels that housed them – with cooking vessels. The site was likely chosen due to its proximity to water and material sources for ceramics, trees to burn for kilns and the main road leading to the Temple.

According to Dudy Mevorach, chief curator of archaeology at the Israel Museum, after the Roman conquest and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, the potter’s workshop resumed its activities on a smaller scale until the early 2nd Century CE when the Roman 10th Legion established a factory on the site for the mass production of construction materials, typical of the Roman army.

Mevorach noted that it is interesting that the Hananiah son of Dodalos – likely an artist-potter and son of an artist-potter – found it meaningful to note his origin, Jerusalem, as part of his family name, as his village was very close to the city. Hananiah’s father’s name, Dodalos, is based on the name of the mythological Greek artist Daedalos – his name may have been a nickname alluding to the father’s artistic abilities.

“The stone was perhaps a dedication inscription or a way to market his craft,” he said at the press conference.

Additional finds will be displayed at the Israel Museum beginning on October 10, including a Greek mosaic inscription of the 6th Century CE commemorating the construction of a public building in Jerusalem – likely a hostel – which attests to the development of the city as part of the mass pilgrimage of Christians to the Holy Land in this period.

IDF Tech Expo Inspires Younger Generation

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 05:10

The mission statement of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) states that its main goal is to “defend the existence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Israel” and to “protect the inhabitants of Israel and to combat all forms of terrorism which threaten daily life.”

However, it is clear that the IDF does so much more than that.

Israel, often referred to as the “Start Up Nation,” is known for its technological advances in agricultural technology, cyber security, digital health, finance, manufacturing technologies and water innovation.  

The IDF is no exception, constantly developing new advances to better serve its mission, while providing education and fun for the younger generation in the process.

During the week of Sukkot and in honor of its 70th anniversary, the IDF held a tech expo featuring past technological advances as well as new developments that will be used in the near future.

 

According to Anat Gur, marketing and advertising manager for Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, exhibits included robots, flight, boat and parachuting simulators that children and their families could test out, showing them how each was built, the wars for which each technology was used and the new technology being developed.

On display were past technologies such as the F-16 fighter jet (an Israeli Air Force invention), the Namer (Tiger or Leopard) APC tank based on Israel’s Merkava tank and an advanced weapons system called the Mini-Typhoon (developed and manufactured in Israel).

The Merkava Eitan armored personnel carrier, a future technology displayed at the exhibition, will be operational by year 2020.

“The children got to see the army in a very positive way, outside of what they see on the news,” Gur told Breaking Israel News.

“They saw how we use robots in the army and got to go aboard a navy boat. They met soldiers and learned about the IDF’s operational capabilities and its current activity, connecting the new generation to Israel’s Defense Forces,” she said. “It was nice to see all the kids playing with simulators and taking part – it was an impressive event.”

Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers was asked to participate in the expo by the event organizers as it is the only body authorized by the Israeli government to pass on donations to the IDF. Between organizations large and small, such as the Friends of the IDF and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers raises approximately 200 million shekels each year (nearly $55 million).

At the event, Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers sold IDF merchandise, CDs, books and toys, with every purchase going towards their mission of ensuring the welfare of IDF soldiers.

“Through everything they bought at the event, the people were able to give something back to the army, a small gesture of appreciation,” Gur said. “I feel blessed to be able to make an impact on the welfare of Israeli soldiers – I don’t think there’s a better purpose out there.”

Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers programs support lone soldiers and soldiers from underprivileged backgrounds. They pay for post-army combat soldiers’ university studies and for soldiers without a parent in Israel (lone soldiers), Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers has housing around the country, provides vouchers for the holidays, supports immigrant soldiers’ Hebrew studies and matriculation into Israeli schools. The organization even offers soldiers a round trip home to visit their family during their army service.

Through these programs, not only does Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers provide for soldier welfare, the organization also ensures that Israel will continue its prevalence as the Start-Up nation.

“The Israeli army, especially intelligence units, gives soldiers opportunities and experiences that lead them into the fields of technology in the future,” said Gur. “Being a part of the army, you’re encouraged to step out of your comfort zone. You are given the tools to step out of your normal activities, be open to any possibility, act independently and creatively and think out of the box.”

These experiences and tools translate perfectly in a technological and start up environment, posed Gur. “Israel’s army gives soldiers the qualifications to be a commander. It matures a person quickly into a leader and even a CEO,” she said.

Gur, a former education officer in the army, said that her training in the IDF was “one of the best experiences” in her life, giving her “confidence and knowledge to know who I want to be.”

“The army gave me more than it took from me, and now I want to pass on the favor to Israel’s current defense forces,” she declared.

At the IDF expo, Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers did just that, giving back while inspiring the next generation of Israel’s soldiers.  

To donate to Israel’s soldiers’ welfare, please click here.

Written in cooperation with Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers.