BDS is failing – the never-ending story (Dec. 2019)

Here’s the latest installment in our ongoing series of posts documenting BDS fails

Here’s the latest installment in our ongoing series of posts documenting BDS fails

The sweet sweet taste of BDS tears right in your very own mug. Drink it every time Israel receives a billion dollar investment.

Politics

Jeremy Corbyn suffered a historic defeat on Dec. 12th – killing the prospect of a pro-BDS government, including the specific pledge, in Labour’s Manifesto, to ban arms sales to Israel.

Boris Johnson to pass law banning anti-Israel boycott, official says

Boris Johnson will attempt to pass a law banning local councils from joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, the UK’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues has announced.

Eric Pickles said the movement was “anti-Semitic and should be treated as such” during a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s conference in Jerusalem on Sunday.

He said the new law would not allow public bodies to work with those who boycott, divest from or sanction Israel.

Last month’s Conservative Party manifesto included a pledge to ban local councils from boycotting products from foreign countries.

“We will ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries,” the manifesto said. “These undermine community cohesion.”

Israel’s arrest of Palestinian terrorist leader highlights ‘extensive overlaps’ between BDS and terror groups

(December 18, 2019 / JNS) The announcement on Wednesday by Israel’s Shin Bet security agency that it has arrested some 50 members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) capped off a months-long targeting of the terror group for its role in the deadly terror attack on Aug. 23 that killed an Israeli teenager hiking with her father and brother.

Rina Shnerb, 17, died as a result of an explosion near the town of Dolev in Samaria; her brother, Dvir Shnerb, 19, was injured, along with their father, 46-year-old Rabbi Eitan Shnerb. According to Israeli reports, the explosive device included 3 kilograms (6.5 pounds) of explosive material, making it an “unusually powerful bomb.”

The arrests coincidently provide evidence of further links between the PFLP and the BDS movement. Among those arrested by the Shin Bet include Khalida Jarrar, 56, who the Israeli security service noted was the head of the terror group’s operations in the West Bank. Until recently, Jarrar also served as the vice chairperson, director and board member of the BDS organization Addameer.

Prince Charles to attend Jerusalem commemoration of Auschwitz liberation

Austrian MP declares BDS movement to be anti-Semitic

 An Austrian MP who has been one of the principal advocates of a parliamentary resolution to combat antisemitism and ban government support for BDS groups has insisted that denying Israel’s right to exist is anti-Semitic, and that his motion seeks to counter such invective.

Reinhold Lopatka, a member of the Austria’s lower house of its parliament, the National Council, for the Austria People’s Party, told The Jerusalem Post that antisemitism in the country needs to be decisively refuted, and that the BDS campaign was itself anti-Semitic.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Lopatka and other members of parliament have submitted a motion to the National Council to combat antisemitism in the country, and to ban federal funds from going to organizations that back the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Remarkably, the motion has been backed by all five parties currently represented in the National Council from right to left, including the Austrian People’s Party, the far-right Freedom Party of Austria, the Social Democratic Party, the New Austria and Liberal Forum, and the Green Party.

The motion calls on the Austria federal government “to develop a holistic strategy” to combat antisemitism, and to “strongly condemn the BDS movement and its goals, in particular the call for a boycott of Israeli products, companies, artists, scientists or athletes.”

It also requests that the federal government “not provide premises and infrastructure” to organizations that express themselves in anti-Semitic terms “or question Israel’s right to exist,” and to ensure that no federal financial support goes to BDS organizations and events.

It will likely be submitted to a vote in January, when it should sail through due to the wall-to-wall political support for the measure

Poll shows that BDS is not popular in the UK.

New Ambassadors to Israel

France rules anti-Zionism form of modern anti-Semitism

The French National Assembly has passed a bill on Tuesday which rules that anti-Zionism is a modern form of anti-Semitism, with 154 lawmakers voting in favor of the bill while 72 voted against.

The bill has undergone several changes in recent months in the light of a heated public debate on the matter, and has been softened and approved as a declarative decision only, and not as part of the country’s penal code.

Israel appoints Arab Israeli George Deek to be ambassador of Azerbaijan

 Economy

Israel signs Egypt gas permit, becomes major energy exporter

JERUSALEM — Israel became a major energy exporter for the first time on Monday after signing a permit to export natural gas to Egypt. The announcement comes just days before a lucrative Israeli gas field in the Mediterranean Sea is expected to go online.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz called the permit a “historic landmark” for Israel. He said it’s the most significant economic cooperation project between the neighboring countries since they signed a peace deal in 1979.

The European Union, seeking to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, has encouraged the formation of new delivery routes, including through the eastern Mediterranean. These routes could also curtail Iranian ambitions to use Syria as a gateway to the Mediterranean.

Intel buys Israeli chip maker Habana Labs for $2 billion

US tech giant Intel Corp. has signed a deal to acquire Israeli startup Habana Labs, a Caesarea-based chip maker, for $2 billion, the company announced on Monday.

The deal marks Intel’s second-largest acquisition in Israel after the US firm bought Mobileye, a maker of autonomous car technologies, in 2017.

Last year, Intel Capital, the investment arm of the US firm, invested in Habana Labs, a maker of artificial intelligence-based processors and chips, as part of a $75 million series B funding round for the startup.

Israel and Montenegro ink multi-million defense deal

For the first time in history, Israel and Montenegro signed a major, multi-million-dollar defense contract, the Ministry of Defense confirmed Monday.

The Government-to-Government contract with the Balkan state had been signed on Sunday and is reportedly worth some $35 million.

The agreement was signed in Tel Aviv, with Montenegrin Defense Minister Pedrag Boscovic spearheading the country’s delegation to Israel.

Jerusalem ranked world’s fastest growing tourist destination

The latest survey of the world’s most popular tourist cities by UK business intelligence company Euromonitor International shows Jerusalem as the world’s fastest growing destination.

Jerusalem rose six places in the rankings of the Top 100 City Destinations report in 2018 to 61st place with 3.93 overseas tourists, up 12% from 2017 and is expected to enjoy 38% growth in 2019 to 4.8 million, according to Euromonitor International. With Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics projecting 4.9 million overseas visitors to Israel in 2019, this figure might be an overestimation.

Tel Aviv was ranked 79th in 2018 with 2.8 million visitors, up 8% from 2017 and is expected to attract almost 3 million visitors in 2019

Tel Aviv named among Forbes’s top destinations for 2020

The American business magazine Forbes last week ranked Tel Aviv among the 20 best destinations to travel in 2020.

“Ancient history and modern living meet in this bustling beach city along Israel’s Mediterranean coast,” said the article, highlighting the new luxury Setai Hotel in Jaffa and the Bauhaus architecture that comprises Tel Aviv’s White City, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

“While no day in this urban hot spot would be complete without a few hours on the golden sands (check into The Setai, Tel Aviv for a front-row seat to sea), you’ll also want to make time for the newly opened White City Center,” the magazine wrote.

“Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus architecture movement, the museum spotlights the city’s unique look—the UNESCO-designated White City zone is home to more than 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings, the largest such collection in the world,” said the article.

Israel to sell Iron Dome radars to Czech Republic

Israel on Thursday agreed to sell eight Iron Dome radar systems to the Czech Republic in a deal worth an estimated $125 million, the Defense Ministry said.

According to the ministry, the eight ELM-2084 Multi-Mission Radars will be delivered to Prague over the course of three years, from 2021 to 2023. They are the radar arrays used in cooperation with interceptor missile launchers in Israel’s Iron Dome batteries.

“The acquisition of eight ‘Iron Dome’ radars is one of the key modernization projects on behalf of the Czech Armed Forces and specifically the Air Defense branch,” said Czech Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar.

Google, Facebook Microsoft and Intel R&D in Israel  

Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Intel are among more than 300 multinationals that have opened up research-and-development facilities in the country, which is home to just 9 million people.

Google now employs more than 600 engineers in the country, and they work on several of Google’s core products, including Search, Maps, and Live Results.

Adi Soffer Teeni, the CEO of Facebook Israel, said the Palo Alto, California-based company first landed in Israel three years ago and now has a “small” R&D team in the country, in addition to a team that works directly with entrepreneurs in the local tech ecosystem.

Roy Ramon, the managing director of the Intel Ingenuity Partner Programme, said Intel was one of the biggest employers in Israel, with 11,000 workers across the country.

Zack Weisfeld, the general manager of Microsoft Global Accelerators, said Microsoft had grown its R&D team in Israel to about 1,000 people since it opened up its first office in the country 25 years ago. “It’s the first R&D centre we opened anywhere in the world outside of Redmond,” he said.

Tourism increased by 16% in November 2019 compared to November 2018.

Jerusalem, December 4, 2019 – Approximately 451,200 tourist entries were recorded in November 2019, 16.1% more than November 2018 and 26.8% more than November 2017.  In the period January – November 2019, 4.2 million tourist entries were recorded, as opposed to 3.8 million in the same period last year, an increase of 10.7%. (Source: Government Press Office)

Moody’s affirms Israel upbeat assessment of Israel’s economy

Technology and Medicine

Israeli Researchers Develop Universal Flu Vaccine

Companies that attempt to develop a universal vaccine, which needs to confer immunity over several seasons and multiple strains and mutations, are therefore looking at a different way to target the virus. Though such a vaccine is being attempted by several companies and teams, BiondVax appears to be the closest to actually bringing one to market.

Nasdaq-listed BiondVax received investments from both government bodies and private companies and funds over the years. Marius Nacht — co-founder of cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies — and his life sciences venture capital firm aMoon own a 42.5% stake in the company, according to Babecoff. The Israeli government’s tech investment arm, the Israel Innovation Authority, made a $5 million investment and the European Investment Bank committed 24 million euros for the current trials.

Israeli medics take on deadly measles outbreak in Samoa 

A team of Israeli medics is en route to the Pacific island state of Samoa to help it take on the deadly measles outbreak estimated to have killed at least 63 people since October.

Led by experts from Sheba Medical Center, the team of six nurses, two pediatricians, and one physiotherapist is expected to arrive at the island on Monday in a deployment requested by the World Health Organization

Israeli scientists find way to treat pancreatic cancer in 14 days

A new treatment developed by Tel Aviv University could induce the destruction of pancreatic cancer cells, eradicating the number of cancerous cells by up to 90% after two weeks of daily injections of a small molecule known as PJ34.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the hardest cancers to treat. Most people who are diagnosed with the disease do not even live five years after being diagnosed.

[Prof. Malka Cohen-Armon] estimates that would take “at least two years on the condition that we get enough funding.”

First, she said, the group will test the treatment on pigs and then apply for permission from the FDA to administer humans with this molecule.

Culture

Christmas tree in Jerusalem

Armenians have celebrated Christmas in Jerusalem’s Old City for over 1,000 years. This year, however, the celebrations will be slightly different. For the first time, a public Christmas tree has been set up for the community at St. James Convent.

According to Harout Sandrouni, a civil engineer who was born and raised in the Armenian Quarter, the public nature of the display breaks from the generally private spirit of the holiday.

“Traditionally, it was always celebrated in the family. We don’t have a lot of pomp surrounding Christmas like putting a tree out in a public space,” he told The Media Line.

The Armenian Christmas is celebrated on January 5 and 6, but the Armenians in Jerusalem celebrate Christmas Eve on January 18.

“It’s been this way since the Ottoman days, so you cannot change it,” Apo Saganian, an Armenian Jerusalemite musician, told The Media Line.

One aspect of the holiday that can be altered, however, is its communal celebration.

The public Christmas tree is a result of the efforts of the Armadner (“Roots”) committee, established earlier this year. The group has nine members who range in age from 23 to 36, including Saganian.

Queen Rock Symphonic sells out Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv

In the wake of the Oscar award-winning movie Bohemian Rhapsody, about the life of Freddie Mercury, the traveling Queen Rock Symphonic show “We Will Rock You” arrived in Israel this month. In fact, the rock-cum-classical musical experience from the theater district of London, England, made its way to the pinnacle of Tel Aviv cultural venues: the Charles Bronfman Auditorium, home of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

The main performance, scheduled for December 10, quickly sold out. Responding to public demand, a second performance was added the night before (December 9); it, too, played to a packed house.

Heavy metal legends Iron Maiden to rock Israel in 2020

Heavy metal giants Iron Maiden will entertain Israelis in 2020 when they perform at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on May 30.

The concert is part of their Legacy of the Beast World Tour, named after a mobile game released by the group in 2017 featuring their mascot “Eddie,” who appears with them during the live shows as well as on the cover of their albums.

Chad issues stamps with image of Israel’s Eurovision winner

The Chad postal service recently issued a tribute to the Eurovision Song Contest, which includes two images of Netta Barzilai, the Israeli singer who won the contest back in 2018 with her hit-single “Toy.”

Israel and the north-central African country renewed their diplomatic relations last January during a historic visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the capital N’Djamena.

Relations between the countries were severed in 1972 due to pressures from the Arab world.

Chad state officials said that the current stamp issue was intended to express the strengthening relations between the countries and made sure to send a copy of the stamps to the National Security Council (NSC) in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

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