Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen have arrive in Israel today (Sunday) on an official four-day visit. The Canadian Prime Minister is accompanied by ministers, MPs and business people. This is Harper’s first visit to Israel and the first by a serving Canadian Prime Minister since 2000.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah will welcome Harper and his wife in an official ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The Netanyahus will later host the Harpers for dinner at their official residence in Jerusalem.

On Monday, Prime Minister Harper will be the first Canadian Prime Minister to address the Knesset.

On Tuesday morning, the Canadian PM will meet with President Shimon Peres and attend a joint meeting of the Israeli and Canadian governments at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The Netanyahus will, afterwards, accompany the Harpers to Yad Vashem. An official dinner for Prime Minister Harper, his wife and the accompanying delegation will be held Tuesday evening in Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, the Harpers will tour Christian holy sites in northern Israel, after which they will go to Tel Aviv University, where Prime Minister Harper will receive an honorary doctorate and meet with students.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Prime Minister Harper have previously met in London in April 2013 and in Ottawa in March 2012.

Harper: Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you

Canadian PM met with many standing ovations, but in the end, was treated like family and interrupted by Arab MKs who relegated him to the Likud’s benches.

Stephen Harper, January 20, 2014

Stephen Harper, January 20, 2014 Photo: GPO/AMOS BEN GERSHOM

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper received a very warm welcome in the Knesset Monday.

The first speech in the Knesset by a Canadian prime minister was peppered with standing ovations, the enthusiastic likes of which may not have been seen since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the US Congress in 2011.

Statements like “through fire and water, Canada will stand with you” were met with rousing rounds of applause, and though clapping is against Knesset protocol, even Speaker Yuli Edelstein joined in.

The Canadian premier said he believes “it is right to support Israel because, after generations of persecution, the Jewish people deserve their own homeland and deserve to live safely and peacefully in that homeland.

“Let me repeat that: Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so,” he emphasized. “It is… a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular.”

“The friendship between [Israel and Canada] is rooted in history, nourished by shared values, and it is intentionally reinforced at the highest levels of commerce and government as an outward expression of strongly held inner convictions,” Harper said in French and English.

Some of those shared values are “freedom, democracy and rule of law,” in which Israel “has long anchored itself,” he said.

“These are not mere notions,” he added. “They are the things that, over time and against all odds, have proven to be the only ground in which human rights, political stability and economic prosperity may flourish.”

Palestinians also deserve these things, Harper said, expressing support for “a viable, democratic Palestinian state, committed to living peacefully alongside the Jewish state of Israel,” though, “sadly, we have yet to reach that point.”

“I believe that a Palestinian state will come, and one thing that will make it come is when the regimes that bankroll terrorism realize that the path to peace is accommodation, not violence,” Harper stated.

Despite the nearly wall-towall support for Harper’s words as expressed by the many standing ovations, the “robustness of Israeli democracy,” as Netanyahu called it, was demonstrated several times with Arab MKs interrupting the Canadian minister as he spoke about anti-Semitism in some criticisms of Israel.

“We have witnessed in recent years the mutation of the old disease of anti-Semitism and the emergence of a new strain…. People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East. As once Jewish businesses were boycotted, some civil-society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel,” Harper stated.

“Don’t mislead; we want to boycott settlements,” MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) interrupted in English.

“Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state,” Harper continued, as MK Taleb Abu Arar (UAL-Ta’al) shouted: “It is.”

“Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, [a state] that is condemned – and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening. But this is the face of the new anti-Semitism,” Harper went on.

Tibi pointed at the coalition’s side of the plenum, shouting “That’s where the Likud sits; you should be there,” and then he and Abu Arar demonstratively walked out as the audience cheered Harper for his comments against anti-Semitism.

“What else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to defend itself while systematically ignoring – or excusing – the violence and oppression all around it?” the Canadian prime minister asked. “What else can we call it when Israel is routinely targeted at the United Nations, and when Israel remains the only country to be the subject of a permanent agenda item at the regular sessions of its human rights council?” Edelstein, who spoke before Harper, commented to him after his speech: “You’re not a guest, you’re family, because there were interruptions, which is unusual for foreign guests.”

Earlier, Netanyahu gave a speech in support of Harper, breaking protocol to give large swaths of it in English.

“You are a true friend in Israel,” he said. “The people in Israel thank you for your steadfast support.”

Netanyahu commended Harper for his “courage to stand for the truth and courage to say it” when faced with people “who try to deny the connection between [the Jewish people] and our land. You know the facts of our past well.”

Describing the necessity of security arrangements in the event of a peace agreement, Netanyahu quipped: “If I’m not mistaken, Yonge Street [in Toronto] is longer than the State of Israel, so we have no margin of error.”

“There are thousands of miles between the large Canada and the small – larger than life but physically small – Israel, but our nations are close.

It’s deep in our hearts,” Netanyahu stated. “We will always see Canada as a close friend.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) dedicated much of his speech to the Toynbee- Herzog debate at McGill University in 1961, in which his uncle, then-ambassador to Canada Yaakov Herzog, debated notoriously anti-Semitic British historian Arnold Toynbee.

“Since you’re part of the family, I won’t hide our disagreements,” Herzog said. “I believe we need to separate ourselves from the Palestinians while protecting Israeli security.

We need a Palestinian state near an Israeli one, based on 1967 lines with land swaps while annexing settlement blocs… We have to try everything for peace and back the great effort US Secretary of State John Kerry is investing and give him a chance,” Herzog stated.

“Enough is enough,” he added in English, and in a reference to Canadian-Jewish singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen called to “let the dove free.”

Herzog also did not miss the chance to take a dig at Netanyahu and his breach of protocol, pointing out that “the official languages here are Hebrew and Arabic, not English.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu said Sunday, “Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a great friend of the State of Israel. He has strongly opposed against attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel and has taken a praiseworthy moral stand against these attempts. I welcome his arrival together with his wife and the members of his delegation. We will work together to further enhance the important relations between our two countries.”

DOES CROSSING THE GREEN LINE AFFECT BOWEL MOVEMENT?

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The “Green Line” is the pre-1967 border of the State of Israel, and “crossing it” means going into the ancient Jewish regions of Judea and Samaria, AKA the West Bank.

And apparently is does make one’s bowel movement more odorous, this according to the Sept. 30, 2013 PNN ( Palestine News Network) Headline : Israel Uses Settler Feces as Bio-Warfare.

Here is a quote from the article:

The Israeli army has developed a large vehicle for spraying sewage waste and feces at Palestinian protestors and homes, reportedly, in the towns of Abu Dis, Aizariah, Bil’in and Nabi Saleh.

Spraying sewage waste has become so common a weapon used by the Israeli Army that the combination of sewage water, feces, and human urine has been named “skunk”.  B’Tselem reports that ‘skunk’ and the vehicle used to disperse it, have been added to Israel’s armory for crowd control.

Here’s a short youtube about the skunk mixture.

Let’s analyze this together. [Try to keep a straight face]

  1. Premise: The Palestine News Network reports only facts.
  2. Premise: The PNN made the scientific determination that the skunk mixture contains excrement of “settlers” (as per the story headline: Israel Uses Settler Feces as Bio-Warfare).
  3. Premise: The editorial board has no access to the Skunk laboratory, rather they identified the settler BM odor solely based on its distinct smell.
  4. Conclusion: Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it: Crossing the Green Line into the Jewish villages of Judea and Samaria absolutely and positively affects the odor of one’s bowel movement.
The Skunk lifts its tail

I am shocked that the US State Department has not yet come out with a notice to US Citizens travelling in these areas.

Ayelet Shaked: Stop Worrying and Apologizing for Being Zionist

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Stephen Darori

Ayelet Shaked is my  favourite MK. Naftali Bennet is my favourite Minister. Both eloquently speak Zionism as it should be spoken .. with rip roaring ” in your face” enthusiasm.

Calling building in Judea and Samaria ‘the lifeblood of Zionism,’ MK Ayelet Shaked urges Israel to stand strong on building plans.

MK Ayelet Shaked

MK Ayelet Shaked

In light of increasing pressure from the European Union (EU) and other international powers to stop building in Judea and Samaria, MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) has urged Israel not to back down.

“Building communities throughout all of the Land of Israel has always been the lifeblood of Zionism,” Shaked explained, “from the immigrant groups who arrived pre-state, through the establishment of border communities after the War of Independence and the establishment of communities in regions liberated in the Six Day War.”

“These communities symbolized the Jewish people’s return to the Land of Israel, the home of its ancestors, and has defined the state of Israel’s security,” Shaked continued. “Unfortunately, we have seen that where there are no Israeli communities, there is no security.”

“In recent times, these settlements have become devalued in the eyes of our leaders,” Shaked stated. “Suddenly, the establishment of a new community – once celebrated all over the country – has become a rare event. The pulse of Zionism throbbing in the veins of our country has begun to weaken.”

“Especially now, when the flourishing communities in Judea and Samaria are facing external threats, we must say [to the world]: ‘Building communities in Israel – this is Zionism,” she continued.

Shaked called on the government to stop apologizing, to stop being afraid of world powers, and to tell the world that “we must return to the values ​​that led to the rebirth of Israel in its land – the establishment of new communities.”

Last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed the EU for summoning envoys over recently unveiled plans for some 1,800 new homesfor Jews in the ancient Jewish capital of Jerusalem, and the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.

“This is hypocrisy. The EU calls our ambassadors in because of the construction of a few houses? When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors about incitement that calls for Israel’s destruction?” Netanyahu asked foreign correspondents at his annual new year reception.

“It’s time to stop this hypocrisy,” he said. “This imbalance… doesn’t advance peace, I think it pushes peace further away.”

The European Union has been unrelenting in its criticism of Israel’s construction in Judea and Samaria. The EU promotes boycotts of products made beyond 1949 Armistice lines, and has effectively redrawn Israel’s borders to those lines in policies to its member states.

Recently, the EU has gone so far as to offer “unprecedented” aid packages to both Israel and the PA in the event that a two-statesolution – and a withdrawal – results from negotiations.

The Origin Of Almost Every Jewish Last Name

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jewish surname mapSlateRichard Andree’s 1881 map of the Jews of Central Europe.

Ashkenazic Jews were among the last Europeans to take family names. Some German-speaking Jews took last names as early as the 17th century, but the overwhelming majority of Jews lived in Eastern Europe and did not take last names until compelled to do so. The process began in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1787 and ended in Czarist Russia in 1844.

In attempting to build modern nation-states, the authorities insisted that Jews take last names so that they could be taxed, drafted, and educated (in that order of importance). For centuries, Jewish communal leaders were responsible for collecting taxes from the Jewish population on behalf of the government, and in some cases were responsible for filling draft quotas. Education was traditionally an internal Jewish affair.

Until this period, Jewish names generally changed with every generation. For example, if Moses son of Mendel (Moyshe ben Mendel) married Sarah daughter of Rebecca (Sara bat rivka), and they had a boy and named it Samuel (Shmuel), the child would be called Shmuel ben Moyshe. If they had a girl and named her Feygele, she would be called Feygele bas Sora.

Jews distrusted the authorities and resisted the new requirement. Although they were forced to take last names, at first they were used only for official purposes. Among themselves, they kept their traditional names. Over time, Jews accepted the new last names, which were essential as Jews sought to advance within the broader society and as the shtetles were transformed or Jews left them for big cities.

The easiest way for Jews to assume an official last name was to adapt the name they already had, making it permanent. This explains the use of “patronymics” and “matronymics.”

PATRONYMICS (son of …)

In Yiddish or German, “son” would be denoted by “son” or “sohn” or “er.” In most Slavic languages, like Polish or Russian, it would be “wich” or “witz.”

For example: The son of Mendel took the last name Mendelsohn; the son of Abraham became Abramson or Avromovitch; the son of Menashe became Manishewitz; the son of Itzhak became Itskowitz; the son of Berl took the name Berliner; the son of Kesl took the name Kessler, etc.

MATRONYMICS (daughter of …)

Reflecting the prominence of Jewish women in business, some families made last names out of women’s first names: Chaiken — son of Chaikeh; Edelman — husband of Edel; Gittelman — husband of Gitl; Glick or Gluck — may derive from Glickl, a popular woman’s name as in the famous “Glickl of Hameln,” whose memoirs, written around 1690, are an early example of Yiddish literature.

Gold/Goldman/Gulden may derived from Golda; Malkov from Malke; Perlman — husband of Perl; Rivken — may derive from Rivke; Soronsohn—son of Sarah.

PLACE NAMES

The next most common source of Jewish last names is probably places. Jews used the town or region where they lived, or where their families came from, as their last name. As a result, the Germanic origins of most East European Jews is reflected in their names.

For example, Asch is an acronym for the towns of Aisenshtadt or Altshul orAmshterdam. Other place-based Jewish names include: Auerbach/Orbach; Bacharach; Berger (generic for townsman); Berg(man), meaning from a hilly place; Bayer — from Bavaria; Bamberger; Berliner, Berlinsky — from Berlin; Bloch (foreigner); Brandeis; Breslau; Brodsky; Brody; Danziger; Deutch/Deutscher — German;Drues ( Drus) ,Dorf(man), meaning villager; Eisenberg; Epstein; Florsheim; Frankel — from the Franconia region of Germany; Frankfurter; Ginsberg; Gordon — from Grodno, Lithuania or from the Russian word gorodin, for townsman; Greenberg; Halperin—from Helbronn, Germany; Hammerstein; Heller — from Halle, Germany; Hollander — not from Holland, but from a town in Lithuania settled by the Dutch; Horowitz, Hurwich, Gurevitch — from Horovice in Bohemia; Koenigsberg; Krakauer — from Cracow, Poland; Landau; Lipsky — from Leipzig, Germany; Litwak — from Lithuania; Minsky — from Minsk, Belarus; Mintz—from Mainz, Germany; Oppenheimer; Ostreicher — from Austria; Pinsky — from Pinsk, Belarus; Posner — from Posen, Germany; Prager — from Prague; Rappoport — from Porto, Italy; Rothenberg — from the town of the red fortress in Germany; Shapiro — from Speyer, Germany; Schlesinger — from Silesia, Germany; Steinberg; Unger — from Hungary; Vilner — from Vilna, Poland/Lithuania; Wallach—from Bloch, derived from the Polish word for foreigner; Warshauer/Warshavsky — from Warsaw; Wiener — from Vienna; Weinberg.

OCCUPATIONAL NAMES

Craftsmen/Workers

Ackerman — plowman; Baker/Boker — baker; Blecher — tinsmith; Fleisher/Fleishman/Katzoff/Metger — butcher; Cooperman — coppersmith; Drucker — printer; Einstein — mason; Farber — painter/dyer; Feinstein — jeweler; Fisher — fisherman; Forman — driver/teamster; Garber/Gerber — tanner; Glazer/Glass/Sklar — glazier; Goldstein — goldsmith; Graber — engraver; Kastner — cabinetmaker; Kunstler — artist; Kramer — storekeeper; Miller — miller; Nagler — nailmaker; Plotnick — carpenter; Sandler/Shuster — shoemaker; Schmidt/Kovalsky — blacksmith; Shnitzer — carver; Silverstein — jeweler; Spielman — player (musician?); Stein/Steiner/Stone — jeweler; Wasserman — water carrier.

Merchants

Garfinkel/Garfunkel — diamond dealer; Holzman/Holtz/Waldman — timber dealer; Kaufman — merchant; Rokeach — spice merchant; Salzman — salt merchant; Seid/Seidman—silk merchant; Tabachnik — snuff seller; Tuchman — cloth merchant; Wachsman — wax dealer; Wechsler/Halphan — money changer; Wollman — wool merchant; Zucker/Zuckerman — sugar merchant.

Related to tailoring

Kravitz/Portnoy/Schneider/Snyder — tailor; Nadelman/Nudelman — also tailor, but from “needle”; Sher/Sherman — also tailor, but from “scissors” or “shears”; Presser/Pressman — clothing presser; Futterman/Kirshner/Kushner/Peltz — furrier; Weber — weaver.

Medical

Aptheker — druggist; Feldsher — surgeon; Bader/Teller — barber.

Related to liquor trade

Bronfman/Brand/Brandler/Brenner — distiller; Braverman/Meltzer — brewer; Kabakoff/Krieger/Vigoda — tavern keeper; Geffen — wine merchant; Wine/Weinglass — wine merchant; Weiner — wine maker.

Religious/Communal

Altshul/Althshuler — associated with the old synagogue in Prague; Cantor/Kazan/Singer/Spivack — cantor or song leader in shul; Feder/Federman/Schreiber — scribe; Haver — from haver (court official); Klausner — rabbi for small congregation; Klopman — calls people to morning prayers by knocking on their window shutters; Lehrer/Malamud/Malmud — teacher; Rabin — rabbi (Rabinowitz—son of rabbi); London — scholar, from the Hebrew lamden(misunderstood by immigration inspectors); Reznick — ritual slaughterer; Richter — judge; Sandek — godfather; Schechter/Schachter/Shuchter etc. — ritual slaughterer from Hebrew schochet; Shofer/Sofer/Schaeffer — scribe; Shulman/Skolnick — sexton; Spector — inspector or supervisor of schools.

PERSONAL TRAITS

Alter/Alterman — old; Dreyfus—three legged, perhaps referring to someone who walked with a cane; Erlich — honest; Frum — devout ; Gottleib — God lover, perhaps referring to someone very devout; Geller/Gelber — yellow, perhaps referring to someone with blond hair; Gross/Grossman — big; Gruber — coarse or vulgar; Feifer/Pfeifer — whistler; Fried/Friedman—happy; Hoch/Hochman/Langer/Langerman — tall; Klein/Kleinman — small; Koenig — king, perhaps someone who was chosen as a “Purim King,” in reality a poor wretch; Krauss — curly, as in curly hair; Kurtz/Kurtzman — short; Reich/Reichman — rich; Reisser — giant; Roth/Rothman — red head; Roth/Rothbard — red beard; Shein/Schoen/Schoenman — pretty, handsome; Schwartz/Shwartzman/Charney — black hair or dark complexion; Scharf/Scharfman — sharp, i.e  intelligent; Stark — strong, from the Yiddish shtark ; Springer — lively person, from the Yiddish springen for jump.

INSULTING NAMES

These were sometimes foisted on Jews who discarded them as soon as possible, but a few may remain:

Billig — cheap; Gans — goose; Indyk — goose; Grob — rough/crude; Kalb — cow.

ANIMAL NAMES

It is common among all peoples to take last names from the animal kingdom. Baer/Berman/Beerman/Berkowitz/Beronson — bear; Adler — eagle (may derive from reference to an eagle in Psalm 103:5); Einhorn — unicorn; Falk/Sokol/Sokolovksy — falcon; Fink — finch; Fuchs/Liss — fox; Gelfand/Helfand — camel (technically means elephant but was used for camel too); Hecht—pike; Hirschhorn — deer antlers; Karp — carp; Loeb — lion; Ochs— ox; Strauss — ostrich (or bouquet of flowers); Wachtel — quail.

HEBREW NAMES

Some Jews either held on to or adopted traditional Jewish names from the Bible and Talmud. The big two are Cohen (Cohn, Kohn, Kahan, Kahn, Kaplan) and Levi (Levy, Levine, Levinsky, Levitan, Levenson, Levitt, Lewin, Lewinsky, Lewinson). Others include: Aaron — Aronson, Aronoff; Asher; Benjamin; David — Davis, Davies; Ephraim — Fishl; Emanuel — Mendel; Isaac — Isaacs, Isaacson/Eisner; Jacob — Jacobs, Jacobson, Jacoby; Judah — Idelsohn, Udell,Yudelson; Mayer/Meyer; Menachem — Mann, Mendel; Reuben — Rubin; Samuel — Samuels, Zangwill; Simon — Schimmel; Solomon — Zalman.

HEBREW ACRONYMS

Names based on Hebrew acronyms include: Baron — bar aron (son of Aaron); Beck —bene kedoshim (descendant of martyrs); Getz — gabbai tsedek (righteous synagogue official); Katz — kohen tsedek (righteous priest); Metz — moreh tsedek (teacher of righteousness); Sachs, Saks — zera kodesh shemo (his name descends from martyrs); Segal — se gan levia (second-rank Levite).

OTHER HEBREW- and YIDDISH-DERIVED NAMES

Lieb means “lion” in Yiddish. It is the root of many Ashkenazic last names, including Liebowitz, Lefkowitz, Lebush, and Leon. It is the Yiddish translation of the Hebrew word for lion — aryeh. The lion was the symbol of the tribe of Judah.

Hirsch means “deer” or “stag” in Yiddish. It is the root of many Ashkenazic last names, including Hirschfeld, Hirschbein/Hershkowitz (son of Hirsch), Hertz/Herzl, Cerf, Hart, and Hartman. It is the Yiddish translation of the Hebrew word for gazelle: tsvi. The gazelle was the symbol of the tribe of Naphtali.

Taub means “dove” in Yiddish. It is the root of the Ashkenazic last name Tauber. The symbol of the dove is associated with the prophet Jonah.

Wolf is the root of the Ashkenazic last names Wolfson, Wouk, and Volkovich. The wolf was the symbol of the tribe of Benjamin.

Eckstein — Yiddish for cornerstone, derived from Psalm 118:22.

Good(man) — Yiddish translation of the Hebrew word for “good”: tuviah.

Margolin — Hebrew for “pearl.”

INVENTED ‘FANCY SHMANCY’ NAMES

When Jews in the Austro-Hungarian Empire were required to assume last names, some chose the nicest ones they could think of and may have been charged a registration fee by the authorities. According to the YIVO Encyclopedia, “The resulting names often are associated with nature and beauty. It is very plausible that the choices were influenced by the general romantic tendencies of German culture at that time.” These names include: Applebaum — apple tree; Birnbaum — pear tree; Buchsbaum — box tree; Kestenbaum — chestnut tree; Kirshenbaum — cherry tree; Mandelbaum — almond tree; Nussbaum — nut tree; Tannenbaum — fir tree; Teitelbaum — palm tree.

Other names, chosen or purchased, were combinations with these roots:Blumen (flower), Fein (fine), Gold, Green, Lowen (lion), Rosen (rose), Schoen/Schein (pretty) — combined with berg (hill or mountain), thal (valley), bloom (flower), zweig (wreath), blatt (leaf), vald or wald (woods), feld (field).

Miscellaneous other names included Diamond; Glick/Gluck — luck; Hoffman — hopeful; Fried/Friedman — happiness; Lieber/Lieberman — lover.

Jewish family names from non-Jewish languages included: Sender/Saunders — from Alexander; Kagan — descended from the Khazars, a Turkic-speaking people from Central Asia; Kelman/Kalman — from the Greek name Kalonymous, the Greek translation of the Hebrew shem tov (good name), popular among Jews in medieval France and Italy; Marcus/Marx — from Latin, referring to the pagan god Mars.

Finally, there were Jewish names changed or shortened by immigration inspectors or by immigrants themselves (or their descendants) to sound more American, which is why “Sean Ferguson” was a Jew.

Let us close with a ditty:

And this is good old Boston;
The home of the bean and the cod.
Where the Lowells speak only to the Cabots;
And the Cabots speak Yiddish, by God!

A version of this post originally appeared on Jewish Currents.

Bennett Muraskin is a contributing writer to Jewish Currents magazine and author of The Association of Jewish Libraries Guide to Yiddish Short Stories and Let Justice Well Up Like Water: Progressive Jews from Hillel to Helen Suzman, among other books.

NOW WATCH: This Midwestern Saying About Cheese Makes No Sense To The Rest Of America

 

Bedpan Conversion to Judaism

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Renee is a very caring lady who spends a lot of her spare time visiting and helping sick members of her Shul. Her car is also well known in the community because it’s decorated all over with lots of Hebrew decals and bumper stickers showing the Jewish charities she helps.
One day, as she is driving to one of the care homes she regularly visits, her car runs out of petrol and splutters to a stop. “Oy veh,” she says to herself, “and just when I’m late.”
Fortunately, she notices a petrol station only a few hundred yards away, so she walks to the station to get help. “Hi,” Renee says to the man behind the till, “I’ve run out of petrol and I’m hoping you can lend me your petrol can. I’ll pay you for the petrol I use and I’ll return your can as quickly as possible.”
The attendant replies, “I’m sorry, lady, but I’ve lent out my one and only can, not more than 5 minutes ago. I’m expecting it back in about half an hour, so if you want, you can wait here for it.”
But as she’s behind schedule, Renee goes back to her car to find something that she could use to fill with petrol. Then, what mazel, she notices the bedpan she always keeps handy in case of patient need. So she takes the bedpan to the petrol station, fills it and carries it back to her car.
Two Christian men are passing by and watch her pour in the petrol. One turns to the other and says, “If that car starts, I’m converting to Judaism!”

Survey: Egypt Overtaking Saudis As Most Conservative

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Survey: Egypt Overtaking Saudis As Most Conservative

Survey of 7 Arab countries: Saudis think women should cover all but eyes in public, yet half for women choosing clothes.
Arab women (file)

Arab women (file)
Flash 90

A recent survey of 7 Muslim-majority Middle Eastern countries has revealed conflicting viewpoints in Saudi Arabia, a country that doesn’t let women drive and is often considered one of the most repressive nations in terms of women’s rights.

While nearly 2 out of 3 in Saudi Arabia think women should cover all but their eyes in public, nearly 50% say women should choose how they dress. The latter figure is close to the response in more liberal Lebanon with its large Christian population, and is far more permissive than Iraq, Pakistan or Egypt.

Mansoor Moaddel, lead author of the survey published by the Middle Eastern Values Study at the University of Michigan, claims to CNN that the results show Saudia Arabia has “a considerable liberal leaning.”

“Saudi has had a religious government for a long time,” stated Moaddel. “People tend to develop an opposition attitude.”

While Saudi Arabia recently allowed its first female lawyer, the nation’s religious police enforcing Sharia law have a far from stellar record on women’s rights. In March 2002, religious police stopped schoolgirls from escaping a burning school in Mecca because they were not wearing headscarves and black robes, nor were they accompanied by a man. As a result, 15 girls died and 50 were injured.

Moaddel argues that Egypt is the most conservative of the Muslim nations, as only 14% there said women should choose their dress, the lowestresults among the 7 nations.

Furthermore, 19 in 20 Egyptians said a women should be required to obey her husband, the highest result in that question.

The findings back research last November which placed Egypt the lowest in the Arab world in terms of women’s rights, with Saudi Arabia coming in third worst. A UN report last April found that 99.3% of Egyptian women and girls had been sexually harassed.

However, Moaddel assesses the Egyptian position as being sexist without relation to Islam. “The problem with Egypt is not just religion, it is an intellectual trend,” said the researcher, adding “Egyptians have become more sexist in the past decade. They have become less religious, less supportive of Sharia (Islamic law), but on the issue of gender, more conservative.”

The survey found that the generally agreed mode of dress for women in public among the 7 Muslim nations consisted of a tight white headscarf covering everything but the face.

Interviews with 2,005 people in Saudi Arabia and at least 3,000 in each of the 6 other countries made up the data for the survey.

Ariel Sharon dies at 85, eight years after stroke that felled him

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Former prime minister and combat soldier will be remembered for his exploits in Israel’s wars, the decision to leave Gaza, an infamous trip to the Temple Mount at the start of the second intifada – and the massacre at Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon

 

Ariel Sharon, the controversial prime minister often blamed for lighting the touchpaper of the second intifada in 2000, and who led Israel out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, has died at the age of 85. He had spent eight years in a coma following a massive stroke in January 2006.

A dominant yet divisive figure in Israel, both as a military and political leader, Sharon died on Saturday afternoon at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, where he had been receiving long-term care.

His son Gilad Sharon announced: “He has gone. He went when he decided to go.”

A lifelong soldier, Sharon had turned to politics immediately after ending his service in the Israel Defense Forces at the age of 45. He had fought in the nation’s conflicts from before the inception of the state in 1948 up to and including the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He retired from the military with the rank of major general, and entered the Knesset. His political career flourished, albeit, like his military life, not without some controversy.

Sharon served as defense minister from 1981 to 1983, and prime minister from 2001 to 2006. It was while he held highest of political posts that he suffered the stroke that would leave him in a coma.

Ariel Sharon at a Knesset meeting in 2005 (Photo: Reuters)
Ariel Sharon at a Knesset meeting in 2005 (Photo: Reuters)

Ariel Sharon was born in Kfar Malal on March 1, 1928 to parents Deborah and Samuel Sheinerman, who arrived in Israel in the Third Aliyah from Russia, after the First World War.

Throughout the years, Sharon’s personal life bore much turmoil and drama. His first wife Margalit was killed in a car accident in 1962. Their son, Gur, was killed in 1967 at the age of 11 after a bullet discharged from a rifle Sharon used as decoration in his home.

One year following Margalit’s death, Sharon married her sister, Lily. The two had two sons, Omri and Gilad. Lily passed away from lung cancer in March 2000, and asked to be buried on a hill overlooking their famous Sycamore Ranch.

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In 1942, he joined the Haganah, the pre-state militia that evolved into the IDF, and thus began a long career in the military. During the 1948 War of Independence, at the age of 20, he was a platoon commander in the Alexandroni Brigade and was seriously injured in the battle of Latrun. Upon his recovery, he became a battalion intelligence officer.

In 1951, Sharon was appointed chief intelligence officer for the Central Command, and in 1952 served in the same role in the Northern Command. He then took study leave, working for a bachelor’s degree in history and Middle Eastern studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

In 1953, he was an instrumental figure in the creation of Unit 101, whose purpose was to carry out retribution operations in response to infiltration attacks (Palestinian fedayeen) from Jordan and the Gaza Strip. Under his command, Unit 101 carried out several successful retaliation operations; however in October 1953, a retribution action in the village of Qibya in the West Bank resulted in 69 Arab casualties.

Following the “Qibya massacre”, the decision was made in January 1954 to end the unit’s independent operations, and it merged into a paratrooper battalion, under the Sharon’s command. In 1956, he was appointed commander of the Paratroopers Brigade, and fought in the Suez Crisis (Operation Kadesh) the same year.

From 1958 to 1962, Sharon studied law at the Hebrew University, and commanded the Infantry Brigade and the army’s infantry school. With the appointment of Yitzhak Rabin as the IDF chief of staff in 1964, Sharon was named Chief Staff Officer in the Northern Command, and two years later he was appointed head of training within the IDF General Staff, a role that awarded him the rank of major general.

Ariel Sharon, right, with Yitzhak Rabin (Photo: Defense Ministry)
Ariel Sharon, right, with Yitzhak Rabin (Photo: Defense Ministry)

He took part in the Six-Day War as an Armored Division commander, winning high praise. In 1970 he was appointed as head of the Southern

Command. He primarily took command of the War of Attrition, while fiercely criticizing the policies of then-IDF Chief of Staff Haim Bar-Lev and quarrelling with his General Staff colleagues. At the end of the War of Attrition and in 1971 he planned several attacks on terrorist cells in the Gaza Strip. In addition, he evacuated the Bedouins from northern Sinai, an act for which he was reprimanded by the then-chief of staff.

Sharon retired from the IDF in June 1973, and turned his attention to the Liberal party and the Knesset elections. He spent the next several months working with Menachem Begin on establishing the Likud, an amalgam of several existing rightist and liberal political parties. When the Yom Kippur War broke out in October 1973, Sharon returned to active duty as an Armored Division commander, quarreled with his superiors, and crossed the Suez Canal in what would become the war’s turning point.

New battles

Sharon became a Knesset Member in the general elections of December 1973, but resigned a year to return to the IDF. From 1975-1976, he served as defense advisor to Rabin, who was by then prime minister.

In 1980, Defense Minister Ezer Weizmann resigned, and Sharon sought to replace him. But Prime Minister Menachem Begin refused his request, and tensions arose between the two. It was only after the elections for the tenth Knesset in 1981 that Sharon was named defense minister. In this role, Sharon initiated Operation Oranim (Pines), which aimed to eliminate terrorist bases in Lebanon, and put an end to the ongoing attacks across the northern border.

The major operation, dubbed Peace for Galilee, began on June 6, 1982. Sharon was involved in all its stages, and critics charged that he had taken several steps without Prime Minister Begin’s knowledge or approval. In September 1982, after the assassination of Lebanese President Bachir Gemayel, the Lebanese Phalange forces massacred thousands of Palestinian residents of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps of Beirut, an act that would haunt Sharon – and Israel – for years to come. The Israeli Kahan commission of inquiry found that Sharon bore personal responsibility for the massacre, and he was forced to resign as defense minister.

Despite this, Sharon continued to serve in the government as minister without portfolio, and was appointed industry and trade minister in the unity government formed after the 1984 elections, despite the opposition of HaMa’arakh (alignment) party members.

Sharon with his wife, Lily,1990 (Photo: Reuters)
Sharon with his wife, Lily,1990 (Photo: Reuters)

In February 1990 he resigned due to the government’s decision to allow elections in the Palestinian territories. After the fall of the government on March 15, Sharon was appointed minister of housing and construction under Yitzhak Shamir. In this position he accelerated large-scale settlement construction in the territories.

Ahead of the 1992 elections, Sharon ran for Likud leadership, yet came in third after Yitzhak Shamir and David Levy. Following Likud’s defeat by Labor in the 1992 elections, Shamir retired from political life. In the internal Likud elections in February 1993, Sharon chose not to run against Benjamin Netanyahu, who went on to lead the party to victory in 1996.

Sharon was initially left out of the new Netanyahu government, but was given the ministry of national infrastructure following an ultimatum presented by David Levy. He was member of the security cabinet, and towards the end of the government served as its foreign minister.

National leader

Following his overwhelming defeat in the 1999 elections, Netanyahu resigned the Likud leadership, and Sharon was elected as his successor in September 1999.

In September 2000, Sharon visited the Temple Mount, a controversial visit that received much media attention, despite warnings regarding the possible consequences of such an act. Following the visit, a wave of violence erupted among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as among Israeli Arab citizens. This wave of violence marked the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

In the 2001 elections, Sharon ran against Ehud Barak in a special election for prime minister, and won by a landslide. In January 2003 he led the Likud to a decisive win in the Knesset elections.

Sharon inherited the prime minister’s chair with the second intifada in full swing, and Israel facing numerous terrorist attacks. Under Sharon, the country took major steps against the continuous assaults, including a prolonged military attack against terrorist organizations. Military action peaked in late March 2002, with Defensive Shield, a major operation involving conscripted and reserve soldiers triggered by a massive suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya on the first night of Passover days earlier, in which 30 people were killed.

In December 18, 2003, Sharon began to promote his plan for unilateral Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip. The full details of the plan were presented in April 2004, when Sharon announced he intended to execute a full separation from Gaza, which would include the evacuation of all Israeli communities in the Strip, along with four settlements in northern Samaria.

Within the next few months, Sharon managed, albeit with great difficulty, to maintain the stability of his government and implement his disengagement plan: In August 2005, all Israeli settlements in Gaza were evacuated, along with the four settlements in the northern West Bank.

Ariel Sharon at his beloved Sycamore Ranch in the Negev (Photo: Yossi Rot)
Ariel Sharon at his beloved Sycamore Ranch in the Negev (Photo: Yossi Rot)

The disengagement led to a severe internal crisis within the Likud. In November 2005, after the resignation of the Labor party from Sharon’s government and the agreement on early Knesset elections, Sharon announced his departure from the Likud and – the establishment of a new party, Kadima.

It was during what would prove to be a short-lived term as head of a Kadima government that Sharon suffered from two strokes, the second of which would leave him comatose. The first, in December 2005, was a mild stroke, and he was hospitalized for just two days. But on January 4, 2006, the prime minister suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Ehud Olmert, who served as Sharon’s deputy prime minister, became acting prime minister.

Sharon never regained consciousness. He is survived by his two sons, Omri and Gilad, and several grandchildren.

Israel and the death of pan-Arabism

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Nadaf and Bibi

The so-called Arab Spring unleashed forces that have been dormant for a century. Like their counterparts throughout the region, Israel’s Arabic-speaking minorities are changing in profound ways. But our leaders fail to grasp the implications of what is happening.

Consider the Christian community.

Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest from Nazareth, has become the symbol of this new period. Nadaf is the spiritual leader of an Israeli Christian movement calling for Israeli Christian youth to serve in the IDF. He is responsible for the 300 percent rise in Christian Arab enlistment in the IDF in the past year.

Nadaf does not hide his goal or his motivation. His seeks the full integration of Israel’s 130,000 Christians into Israeli society. He views military service as the key to that integration.

Nadaf is motivated to act by the massive persecution of Christians throughout the Arab world since the onset of the Arab revolutionary wave in December 2010.

As he explained in a recent interview with Channel 1, it is “in light of what we see happening to Christians in Arab countries, how they are slaughtered and persecuted on a daily basis, killed and raped just because they are Christians. Does this happen in the State of Israel? No, it doesn’t.”

Shahdi Halul, a reserve captain in the Paratroopers who works with Nadaf, declared, “Every Christian in the State of Israel should join the army and defend this country so it will exist forever. Because if, God forbid, the government is overthrown here, as it was in other places, we will be the first to suffer.”

These men, and their supporters, are the natural result of the most significant revolutionary development of the so-called Arab Spring: the demise of Arab nationalism.

As Ofir Haivry, vice president of the Herzl Institute, explained in an important article in the Mosaic online magazine, Arab nationalism was born in pan-Arabism – an invention of European powers during World War I that sought to endow the post-Ottoman Middle East with a new identity.
The core of the new identity was the Arabic language. The religious, tribal, ethnic and nationalist aspirations of the peoples of the Arabic- speaking region were to be smothered and replaced by a new pan-Arab identity.

For the Christians of the former Ottoman Empire, pan-Arabism was a welcome means of getting out from under the jackboot of the Islamic Laws of Omar, which reduce non-Muslims living under Muslim rule to the status of powerless dhimmis, who survive at the pleasure of their Islamic rulers.

But now pan-Arabism lies in ruins from North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. The people of the region have gone back to identifying themselves by tribe, religion, ethnicity, and in the case of the Kurds and the Berbers, non-Arab national identity. In this new era, Christians find themselves imperiled, with few if any protectors or allies to be found.

As Haivry notes, Israel’s central strategic challenge has always been contending with pan-Arabism, which was invented at the same time that the nations of the world embraced modern Zionism.
Since its inception, pan-Arab leaders always saw Israel as the scapegoat on which to pin their failure to deliver on pan-Arabism’s promise of global Arab power and influence.

Israel changed its position on pan-Arabism drastically over the years. Once, Israel could see the dangers in pan-Arabism and Arab nationalism.

But since 1993, says Haivri, Israel’s national strategy has been based on appeasing the secular authoritarian pan-Arab leaders by offering land for peace to Syria and the PLO.

Haivry notes that Shimon Peres is the political godfather of Israel’s accommodationist strategy, which is rooted in a mix of perceived powerlessness on the one hand, and utopianism on the other.

The sense of powerlessness owes to the conviction that Israel cannot influence its environment. That the Arabs will never change. Israel’s neighbors will always see themselves primarily as Arabs, and they will always want, more than anything else, Arab states.

At the same time, the accommodationists hold the utopian belief that Israeli appeasement of Palestinian Arab nationalism will break through the wall of pan-Arab rejection, end hatred for the Jewish state, and even lead the Arabs to invite Israel to join the Arab League.

The so-called Arab Spring has put paid to every one of the accommodationists’ beliefs. From Egypt to Tunisia to Iraq to Syria, Israel’s neighbors are fighting each other as Sunnis, Shi’ites and Salafists, or as members of clans and tribes, without a thought for the alleged primacy of their Arab identity. What Israel’s Palestinian-state-obsessed Left has failed to realize is that many of Israel’s neighbors do not share the pan-Arab scapegoating of the Jewish state. So bribing the now largely irrelevant Arabs nationalists with another Arab state may do little more than create the newest victim of the Arab revolutions.
It is because they see what is happening to their co-religionists in the post-pan-Arab Middle East that more and more Israeli Christians realize they will lead safer, more prosperous and more fulfilling lives as Christian citizens in the Middle East’s only democracy than as pan-Arabs battling the Zionist menace.

But old habits die hard. Most of Israel’s elected Arab leaders owe their positions to their embrace of pan-Arabism. This embrace has brought them the support of the PLO and Europe, and since 1993, of the Israeli Left.

And so, since he first appeared on the scene, Father Nadaf’s life has been constantly threatened. Everyone from Arab members of Knesset to the Communist head of the Greek Orthodox Council has incited against him, calling him and his followers traitors to the Palestinian Arab nation.

He also threatens the Israeli Left. For its view of Israel’s strategic powerlessness and consequent need to appease its neighbors to remain relevant, the pan-Arab forces in the Arab world must be perceived as still dominant, even invincible. And so, the Israeli Left refuses to consider the larger strategic implications of the regional upheaval from which Nadaf’s initiative emerged.

Even worse, the official policy of the Netanyahu government appears based on this irrelevant Leftist view of the region. This is the implication of Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s defeatist speech at the Foreign Ministry’s annual conference of ambassadors on Sunday.

Liberman’s speech has been rightly viewed as the supposedly right-wing politician’s formal break with his ideological camp and his embrace of the Left. In his remarks Liberman let it be known, that like the Left, he now bases his positions on a complete denial or avoidance of reality. For this, he was congratulated for his “maturity” by Peres who was sitting on the stage with him.

In his speech, Liberman acknowledged that the Obama administration’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians is horrible for Israel. But, he said, it is better than the European Union’s peace plan.

Never considering the possibility of saying no to both, Liberman said he thinks we should accept the bad American deal. His only condition is that he insists that the PLO accept towns in the Galilee and their 300,000 Israeli Arab residents.
Liberman’s surrender of the Galilee is a key component to his population swap plan. Under his plan, Israel would retain control over the fraction of Judea and Samaria in which large numbers of Israeli Jews live, in exchange for the area of the Galilee that is home to 300,000 Israeli Arabs. This plan has reportedly been presented to US Secretary of State John Kerry as an official Israeli position.
In other words, the Netanyahu government has failed to recognize the implications of the death of pan-Arabism. In maintaining their slavish devotion to the two-state formula, and viewing the Arabs in the Galilee, Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and surrounding states as an impenetrable bloc, they are placing Israel’s future in the hands of actors who have already disappeared or will soon disappear. Instead of building alliances with non-Jewish citizens of Israel, such as Druse and Christians, who are more than happy to defend Israel against Islamists and other regional fanatics, the Netanyahu government insists on placing the state’s future in the hands of pan-Arabs whose grip on power is slipping and who would never willingly coexist with Israel anyway.

Nadaf and his followers respond to the allegation – uttered by MKs like Haneen Zoabi and Basel Ghattas, among others – that they are traitors to the Palestinian Arab nation, with contempt.

“When someone tells me, ‘We’re all Arabs,’ I tell him, ‘No, we’re not all Arabs. You’re an Arab. I’m not,’” Halul told Channel 1.
Samer Jozin, whose daughter Jennifer opted for IDF service instead of medical school, agrees.
“Telling me I’m a Palestinian is a curse. I’m, thank God, an Israeli Christian and proud of it. And I thank God I was born in the Land of Israel,” he said.
The message couldn’t be clearer. We are basing our national strategy on a world that no longer exists.
Today our longtime allies the Kurds have carved out virtually independent states for themselves in Iraq and Syria.
Christians throughout the region are on the run. The Druse of Syria and Lebanon are exposed, without protection, and looking for help.
As for the Muslims, as Haivry notes, they are fragmented along sectarian and political lines, and at war with one another in battlefields throughout the region. While so engaged, they have little time to devote to blaming Israel for their failures.

This state of affairs has implications for Israel’s Arab Muslim minority. None of the regional warring Muslim camps are natural homes for Israel’s Muslim community. A community that has lived in an open, free society for 65 years does not naturally turn to Salafism. Israel is a much easier fit for most Israeli Muslims.
At a minimum, no one is better off if Israel forces them to cast their lot with any of the warring factions in Syria or Lebanon, or the increasingly irrelevant forces in the Palestinian Authority. There may very well be hundreds of Muslim versions of Father Nadaf just waiting for a signal from our government that we want them to lead their community into our society.

The post-pan-Arab Middle East exposes the truth that has been obscured for a century. The Jews and their Jewish state are a natural component of our diverse neighborhood, just like the Kurds, the Christians, the Druse, the various Muslim sects, and the Arabs. The demise of pan-Arabism is our great opportunity, at home and regionally, to build the alliances we need to survive and prosper. But so long as our leaders insist on clinging to the now irrelevant dream of appeasing the defunct pan-Arabists, we will lose these opportunities and convince our allies that we are treacherous, disloyal and temporary.

10 Israeli Technologies That Are Changing The World

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Israel has been coined the “Startup Nation”; the country with the highest concentration of startups in the world. Over the past 63 years, thousands of Israeli startups have given rise to innovations in fields as diverse as irrigation; GPS navigation; and cherry tomatoes.

But which are the Israeli startups that are truly changing the world?

We’ve picked 10 startups that we believe have impacted the world for the better or are in the process of changing lives forever.

(this essay was first published at nocamels.com HERE)

Stratasys

the 3D printed car
the 3D printed car

One technology that is gradually being integrated into an increasing number of fields is 3D printing, and no company has more 3D printing technology in its arsenal than Israeli-American giant Stratasys. Bringing printing to a new level, Stratasys is bridging today’s most innovative ideas with reality. The company’s printers (and scanners) can be used in various fields, ranging from 3D-printed cars to clothes andmedical devices. Already, Japanese fashion designer Yuima Nakazoto used Stratasys’ 3D printer for his latest collection, printing futuristic sportswear. Perhaps more importantly, 3D printing can be used in medicine for its geometric capabilities linked with patient care and advanced experimental work. In all fields, Stratasys seems to be adding another dimension of possibilities.

Predicting the future

A graduate of the Technion, 27-year -old Dr. Kira Radinsky has developed software that can predict pandemics and genocides several months in advance. By scanning 500-years-worth of literature, including all the materials published in the New York Times from 1880 onwards, she was able to find strong correlations between various historical events. Among her other findings, Radinsky also discovered that the combination of droughts and storms is a good indicator to a potential Cholera outbreak. Already, her software predicted the Cholera pandemic in Cuba last year, several months before it actually happened. Radinsky started university at 15, earned her PhD at 26 and founded two startups on the side. She even landed a spot in this year’s MIT list of Top 35 Innovators Under 35, alongside the likes of Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

“Disk-On-Key” (USB flash drive)

Yes, that USB memory stick you just saved your assignment on hails from the Holy Land. This world-famous portable storage device was first made by M-System’s, the company of now legendary Israeli entrepreneur Dov Moran as an upgraded version of disk and diskette technology. Moran went on to sell it to SanDisk for a cool $1.6 billion. This miniature life-saver, rescuing us from panic on many occasions, uses flash memory and USB interface for connection to personal computers. Not only can it fit our pockets, but the USB flash drive can store up to 11,830 times more data than the floppy disk (remember that?). This invention made our computer files infinitely more portable and secure. Yay for USB!

ReWalk

The ReWalk aims to give those with lower limb disabilities, such as paraplegia, an experience that resembles walking. ReWalk consists of an exoskeleton suit, developed by a granduate of the Technion, Israel’s Institute of Tcehnology, which uses patented technology with motorized legs to power knee and hip movement. Battery-powered to allow all-day use, ReWalk is controlled by on-board computers and motion sensors, restoring self-initiated walking and stepping without the need of tethers or switches. ReWalk controls movement using subtle changes in center of gravity, mimics natural gait and provides functional walking speed. The system senses a forward tilt of the upper body, which triggers the first step. Repeated body shifting generates a sequence of steps, which allows natural and efficient walking. The ReWalk also sits, stands, turns and can even climb and descend stairs. ReWalk does more than make people walk – it gives hope. “It is an amazing feeling to be walking again,” said Dan Webb, a client from the US, who is paralyzed. “Doing the Rewalk, it’s cutting edge, it’s very exciting for me that I’m part of something that might be the future.” Dan was paralyzed after a spinal cord injury and is now on his feet again.

Storing electricity in the air

Phinergy has created an aluminum-air battery designed for electric vehicles, which allows a significant increase in travel range (three times that of a regular electric vehicle). With this more eco-friendly and efficient battery, Phinergy‘s technology could allow for a dramatic reduction in global oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The system is based on metal air technology, including aluminum air and zinc air. A metal-air battery contains an air-electrode that breathes oxygen from the surrounding air, instead of the conventional cathode. This means that the battery consumes only the required oxygen from the air, rather than having heavy materials that bound oxygen inside it. Metal-air batteries therefore have a huge potential for delivering high capacity with low weight. Some other advantages of the technology are zero CO2 emissions, full recyclability, safety and low cost. The company has currently developed metal-air batteries that are customizable and can provide energy solutions for a wide range of applications, such as cars, boats, portable electronic devices and smart grid storage. Imagine a world with zero CO2 emissions and multiplied efficiency.

Drought-resistant “superplant”

Israeli researchers at the Technion in Haifa have engineered drought-resistant plants that could be game-changers in the current global food crisis. Currently, 40 countries worldwide are suffering from food shortage and 870 million people, or one in eight, are chronically undernourished. Many of these countries’ food shortages are linked with drought. It appears as though the time is right for a change of strategy. The engineered plants require less water, yield bigger harvests and stay fresh for longer. They can go on for a month without water and only need 30 percent of the amount of liquid that normal plants do, so are therefore able to survive droughts. Could this be a big step in the direction of a hungry-free world?

Car-to-car communication

Do talking cars seem like a thing of the future? Well, the era where cars communicate with each other in order to enhance driving safety is nigh. Autotalks, founded by Nir Sasson and Onn Haran, has developed a smart chipset that enables cars and traffic infrastructure to literally “speak” via electronic messages. This technology should be able to predict the chances of road accidents and traffic jams, with vehicle-to-vehicle alerts being sent in real time to notify incoming drivers to slow down or to stop the driver entering the junction. The system is set to be in use by 2015.

The everlasting solar battery A battery with infinite power…yup, we’ve got it. Haifa-based company Sol Chip has developed the world’s first solar battery that is able to recharge itself to power wireless sensors and mobile electronics devices. Through a cross pollination of solar-cell and microchip technologies, the company now offers the missing technology that will improve batteries’ life or in many cases completely eliminate the need to recharge or replace the power source. Although currently limited to an output of 8.4 volts of power, the solar battery can provide power to a vast array of outdoor devices. Right now, the company is working on integrating their technology into the fields of agriculture, farming, weather testing and security-related applications.

Robot Snake

Rescuing victims of natural disasters is a lot easier than before with the Robot Snake. This robot is designed to enter spaces in collapsed buildings and assist in location and rescue operations. Developed in association with the Technion, the machine is unique in its manner of crawling and is very flexible thanks to its large number of segments. Each joint is equipped with a motor, a computer, sensors, wireless communications and batteries. The head carries a camera. Thanks to its flexible structure, the robot can crawl through wreckage without further damaging the collapsed structure and provide vital information about inaccessible areas, including the status of people who might be trapped or the location of hazardous materials.

Hacking the human brain

ElMindA has developed Brain Network Activation technology (BNA) in association with Bar Ilan University. Basically, this technology is a major step towards “hacking” the human brain, and gaining control over specific brain functionalities, such as rehabilitation from injuries, reactions to treatment, psychiatric and neurological problems and pain. The company has made significant progress in drug research, utilizing the BNA technology in detecting and quantifying drug-induced neural response and changes in brain network activity. They’ve also used the technology to reveal differences between the effects of a drug and a placebo. All in all, ElMindA has opened our eyes to a never-before-seen dimension of our brains.

Photo: Business technologies today by Bigstock

 

Here’s a related article that might interest you: Israeli Neurologists Reverse Brain Damage With Mega-Doses of Oxygen

A Post on the New York Post and the Post Stark Murder Fiasco

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One of my Jewish brothers was murdered over the weekend. This makes me very sad. One of my Jewish sisters is now a widow. Seven of my Jewish nieces and nephews lost their father. Few things tug more at the heartstrings than children who will grow up without a father because his life was knowingly taken by human murderers. From a personal angle, the murder of Menachem Stark is a tragedy. It hurts so much.

By all accounts, Stark was a member in good standing in his Chasidic community. He gave charity generously. He helped those in need. He was well regarded in his social circles. This is the side of the man that was known in the insular Chasidic community.

There may have been another side to this man. Stark was a high roller. He was involved in huge business deals and multi-million dollar investments. The world of the wheeling and dealing real estate mogul is a far cry from the quiet streets of Williamsburg. Many Chasidic men live with one foot in each of these two very different worlds.

kidnap4n-1-web

Photo: VINNEWS

It seems that over the weekend he succumbed to the outside world. Someone wanted him dead. Someone from the part of his life that was a mired in litigation, massive loans, a less than sterling reputation as a landlord, and a world with associates who would not feel at home in Stark’s shteible or Shabbos table chose to kill him. Stark met his Maker in the wake of unspeakable violence. To snuff out the life of a human being is the most heinous of crimes. There is no restitution. There is no forgiveness. It’s a crime that is deserving of the stiffest punishments available. In my view, murder is never justified. No matter the circumstances.

Almost all the discussion about this man and his death are about a headline in a tabloid newspaper. The Sunday New York Post ran an article that enumerated many of the allegations and rumors regarding Stark’s business dealings. The article was sordid and hardly journalism but the point of the article was that because Stark had so many potential enemies there were a lot of potential suspects in the murder investigation. It’s an immature angle to the story, but that was their angle. The front page was a photo of Stark in his Chasidic garb with the following headline: “Who Didn’t Want Him Dead?”

It’s hard to imagine a more provocative, attention grabbing, sensationalist headline. Especially because the true king of sensationalist headlines is the New York Post. They do it all the time. It’s also ironic because so many frum Jews in the more insular communities of New York have always thought of the Post as a friend of Israel and the Jews. They share the paper’s conservative bent and thus always thought the Post was something of value. Most serious people have known that the Post is trash for a long time. To them, the headline was gross, but it wasn’t a betrayal. The headline was obscene, but it was completely in character. (Just a few weeks ago, the Post editorial team ran a despicable article saying that New York City was too generous in its meager assistance of the homeless family of Dasani whose story was heartbreakingly portrayed in a superb in-depth article in the New York Times. That’s typical. Disgusting, but typical.)

In response to the terrible headline in the Post, many politicians have called for boycotts of the Post. Other spokespeople have condemned the Post. I join in those condemning the headline and I think the Post doesn’t belong in the home of a God Fearing Jew. It’s trash. We take the trash out. We don’t bring it in. Page Six is enough of a reason for the Post to be assur. Many people have politely called the Post to express their outrage. I admire them for their advocacy.

It seems to me that the headline is terrible because it makes a murder victim into an object of character assassination. It does not wonder who would commit such a heinous crime. It wonders what kind of person becomes an enemy to so many others. That’s an awful angle to take on a murder story. Although, I don’t doubt the Post has taken this approach to other murders. I just wouldn’t know because I don’t read the Post.

Some Chasidic bloggers have penned responses to the Post headline. I think they have a right to be outraged. But I do think some of the outrage is misguided and counter productive. I know that we are in pain, but we still must be responsible and accurate.

First, the headline says “Who Didn’t Want Him Dead?”. The headline was written by an editor. It was not written by any of the journalists assigned the story. Threats have been made to a journalist. I heard this from someone who knows the journalist personally. Photoshopped images of the journalist captioned “Who Wouldn’t Want Him Dead” have been produced. If you are mad about the headline, please direct your anger to the appropriate party. Do not threaten

Second, please learn English. The headline does not imply that his death was justified in any way. Nor does it give license to kill all slumlords. Please. The headline means that there are a lot of potential suspects because of his many colorful business associates and dealings. No sense in generating anger because of a misreading of the headline.

Third, he wasn’t just a philanthropist. It’s appropriate to eulogize our loved ones and community members by remembering them fondly. Even (and I am not making a moral equivalency here) mob bosses are remembered fondly at their funerals. But we cannot confuse the glowing positive memories with the harsh realities of the real world. We’ve all done things that we wouldn’t want announced at our funeral. But just because they are not cried over at our funeral does not meant that they are not true.

Fourth, let’s try to be consistent. If we hate sensationalist journalism, let’s not do it ourselves. Let’s not support the Post. Let’s try to be balanced and measured in our writing. Combating hyperbole and shoddy journalism with histrionics and wild accusations helps no one.

Fifth, let’s shelve the anti-Semitism card on this one. There is nothing different or unique about this disgraceful Post headline than any others. It has nothing to do with him being a Jew. It has nothing to do with him being a Chasid. It has everything to do with the fact that this is a really interesting story. Crying anti-Semitism when there is none is the easiest way to helping create real anti-Semitism.

Sixth, enough with the Hashem Yinkom Damav please. If the first reaction to death and murder is to take revenge, I think we have to consider whether we have a serious character issue.

So let’s join together and tell the Post how disgusted we are with this story and headline. Let’s also tell them that we don’t like their other nasty headlines either. Let’s be honest and truthful about what we do and do not know. Let’s not cry anti-Semitism.

Most of all, let’s try to compensate for any chillul Hashem that is occurring by increasing our efforts to be mekadesh Hashem. Let’s remember that the first question we will be asked when we reach the Heavenly Court is whether we dealt honestly in business. Let’s make sure that we pass that test. Let’s see if we can generate the same kind of outrage that we have about this headline for things that actually affect our communities. Headlines are harmless. Abuse and corruption are crimes with real victims.

Finally, I can only assume that the Stark family is going to be enduring a very difficult emotional and financial period. I am sure that their community will take good care of them as they always do. Perhaps some solidarity from us outsiders to their community would be a fine gesture in this difficult time. If only as a token of unity, I think it would be an appropriate thing to do. Families of murder victims deserve our help and camaraderie. Let’s give it to them.

– See more at: http://finkorswim.com/2014/01/06/a-post-on-the-new-york-post-and-the-post-stark-murder-fiasco/#sthash.Hmz2djIT.dpuf