From Ian:

Jewish Group Shocked by US Support of Muscat International Book Fair, a ‘Hothouse of Antisemitic Hate’

Major Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center on Tuesday lamented US participation and support of the 19th annual Muscat International Book Fair (MIBF), a literary event which is rife with antisemitic texts.
Shimon Samuels, the Center’s director for International Relations, sent a letter to the United States Ambassador to Muscat, Greta Holtz, urging the US Embassy in Oman to condemn the Fair, which is open to the public until March 7. He characterized the MIBF as a “hothouse of antisemitic hate” and asked the Embassy to withdraw its participation and “investigate those in the embassy responsible for this offensive embarrassment.”
“Oman is ostensibly a Western ally, threatened by Iranian mayhem and nuclear intentions. Yet its monarchy incomprehensibly permits on its soil a literary cesspool that can only encourage the most extreme of Islamic jihadists,” Samuels wrote.
He expressed outrage “at the volume of antisemitic texts on bookshelves of the current Muscat Fair and shock that the US Embassy’s participation could be presented as, ‘to support mutual understanding and exchange,’” quoting a statement released by the Embassy in Muscat. The embassy also said it is ”honored to have participated in the fair every year since it was founded 18 years ago and looks forward to many more.”
Moazzam Begg on a loving, unextreme man

Asim Qureshi of the terrorist cheerleading group Cage has rightly been pilloried for describing IS murderer Mohammed Emwazi as “extremely gentle, kind” and a “beautiful young man”.
Actually this is typical for Cage. No one should be surprised.
Have a look at Moazzam Begg just a month ago on the man who tried to slaughter revellers in a nightclub in London and people passing through Glasgow airport back in 2007.
He met Bilal Abdulla, one of the two men who attacked Glasgow Airport in June 2007, in prison and he thinks: “As a person, he’s unbelievably warm, kind, gentle, loving, unextreme to the maximum.
“Because he’s an Iraqi and he did it at the height of the Iraq war, it’s understandable – isn’t it?”
Boris In Confrontation With Cage Director Over Jihadi John

Whilst appearing on LBC Boris Johnson got into an angry confrontation with Cage director over Jihadi John
London mayor lays in to Jihadi John apologists and tells them: 'If you're a human rights group you should stick up for rights of people being beheaded'
London Mayor Boris Johnson has hit out at the 'human rights' group who claimed Britain was to blame for Jihadi John's actions.
Campaigners from Cage held a press conference in which they called Mohammed Emwazi - unmasked as Jihadi John last week - 'a beautiful man' who was 'harassed' by British security services.

State Department Tweets Speech by Cleric Who Blames Unrest on Global Zionist Conspiracy

The State Department’s counterterrorism office is facing pushback after promoting recent remarks by a Muslim cleric who blamed regional unrest in the Middle East on what he called a “conspiracy” by a “new global colonialism allied to world Zionism.”
The State Department’s official anti-terrorism Twitter account last week tweeted out remarks made by a leading Muslim cleric who, during a speech in Mecca, linked terrorism by the Islamic State (IS) to a plot by supporters of Israel around the world.
Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb, a leading voice in Sunni Islam, made the comments during a counter-terrorism rally held in the Muslim holy city last week, according to AFP.
Al-Tayeb “blamed unrest in the region on a conspiracy by what he called ‘new global colonialism allied to world Zionism,’” according to the AFP report, which was linked to by the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC).

Cleric who claimed 'every Muslim should be a terrorist' and blames George Bush for 9/11 given prestigious award by Saudi Arabia

An Indian television preacher who called the 9/11 attacks an “inside job” has received one of Saudi Arabia’s most prestigious prizes on Sunday for “service to Islam.”
Dr Zakir Naik, the President of the Islamic Research Foundation in India, was one of the five recipients of the King Faisal international prize from the gulf state’s King Salman during a ceremony at the luxury Riyadh Hotel.
The annual prizes are a project of the King Faisal Foundation, established in 1976 by the children of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz who died in 1975.
The honour was bestowed on Dr Naik for being one of the most renowned non-Arabic speaking promoters of Islam.
He established the Peace TV Channel that, according to its website, promotes “Truth, Justice, Morality, Harmony and Wisdom for the whole of humankind” through “presenting Islam and removing misconceptions about Islam." It is broadcast in over 200 countries.
Rotterdam Mayor Aboutaleb following Paris Attacks: Respect the Law or Go Live at the North Pole

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb recently said, with regard to the Paris attacks and the threat of further terrorism in Europe, that people who live here but do not want to respect the law should go live somewhere else - like the North or South Pole. The interview aired on Alaan TV on February 27.

Pat Condell: Free speech on campus

Time to stop indulging privileged militant “progressive” puritan student bigots.
Free speech? Not at four in five UK universities

Jeb Bush’s James Baker Problem

While it may be commendable that Jeb Bush has hired folks who represent different sides of past policy debates, former Secretary of State James Baker who, alongside former Secretary of State George Shultz, is Jeb’s most senior and, perhaps because he is not fishing for a job himself, most influential advisor, has a track record of policy recommendations that hone closer to what Obama has implemented than the clean break Jeb Bush suggests he wants.
Baker was co-chair back in 2006 of the Iraq Study Group, better known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission which, in the darkest days of the Iraq war, not only counseled the type of retreat which George W. Bush refused but also blessed the idea of unilateral retreat which Barack Obama implemented. Baker went further, however, and worked into the report a call for Israel to make concessions under fire and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad to be rewarded. Both a latent hostility to Israel and a benign reading of the Syrian regime have long been characteristic of Baker’s philosophy, as they have been Obama’s. Remember, Obama came into office believing Assad was a reformer and, despite the horrific civil war in subsequent years, now appears ready to again legitimize Assad as a partner. Baker also sought to partner with Iran in order to resolve difficulties in Iraq, leading to this brilliant David Zucker parody featuring Baker.

"The Most Thoughtful & Insightful Columnist On The Jewish Scene Today" On Netanyahu, Israeli Politics, Antisemitism & Aliya ...

That's Rabbi Mark Golub's assessment of the incomparable Isi Leibler, who for a quarter of a century bestrode the Australian Jewish communal scene like a Colossus, and who is of course also an international Jewish leader of great renown and prescience, based in Jerusalem.
In this thought-provoking interview Isi Leibler gives his views on Bibi Netanyahu's current visit to Washington, Obama's "humiliation" of Netanyahu, unparelleled by Obama's treatment of any "rogue state" leader, the attitude of Israeli politicians, the "demonisation" of Netanyahu and his wife in the Israeli press, the Iranian issue, and much more.
Incidentally, prior to a deep and searching discussion of Israeli politics, parties, political leaders (including Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman and other electoral candidates), and the rabbinate, he cautiously predicts that Netanyahu will be returned as prime minister when Israelis go to the polls on 17 March.
He also gives his views on the attainment of a Two State solution ... on Netanyahu's attitude to peace ... on Obama's "frightening" inability to use the phrase "Islamic fundamentalism" in relation to terrorism and his apparent support for the Muslim Brotherhood...
Isi Leibler is worried that the Obama administration will not stand by Israel over the remaining 22 months of its existence, and he fervently wishes American Jewish leaders would abandon their "silence"and publicly speak up against Obama ... He believes that American Jews have in their DNA a "liberal" unwillingness to be critical of a Democrat president and a black one at that.
He contrasts their attitude with his own as leader of the Australian Jewish community, when he was not afraid to take on prime ministers.

Sisters of Leon Kanner seek “maximal sentence” for Rasmea Odeh

In court proceedings, Rasmea remains defiant, alleging a conspiracy against her, acknowledging responsibility for nothing. Rasmea’s mendacity on the witness stand, in which she not only lied but defied the Judge’s orders, forms part of the basis why the government is seeking a 5-7 year sentence, almost three times the sentencing guidelines.
We have focused, to date, on Edward Joffe, including statements by Edward’s brother and niece, and a video of Edward’s mother reflecting on the loss of her son:
With a heavy heart, I now can fill in the blanks on the life and death of Leon Kanner.
Leon’s sisters, having read my reports about the trial, reached out to me recently, to provide me with the letter they sent to the Court in Detroit requesting a lengthy sentence for Rasmea. The text of that letter is reprinted at the bottom of this post.
But first, Leon’s story needs to be told.
Leon’s Sisters provided this family history at my request, and the captioned photos which I have integrated into their text:
Sorry Peter Beinart: Young Americans Still Haven’t Turned Against Israel

This summer, toward the end of Israel’s Gaza offensive, Peter Beinart found something to smile about in an otherwise hard time—an apparent drop in support for Israel among young Americans. Beinart had been predicting since 2010 that U.S. opinion would grow less tolerant of Israel, but American support for Israel in 2013, as measured by Gallup, matched an all-time high. Now, though, a Gallup poll was showing that only 25 percent of younger U.S. respondents considered Israel’s actions in Gaza justified. Fifty-one percent considered them unjustified. Israel was losing America’s millennials, and so we could expect that, with each new conflict, “the American mood [would] incrementally shift.”
As I pointed out, previous dramatic declines in American support for Israel, as indicated by this poll or that poll, had been followed by recovery. But Beinart was nonetheless confident that this time the anti-Israel cake would bake at last, at least for the young. And Beinart was far from the only commentator to take this position.
It is therefore of some interest that Gallup is out with a new poll. Here is Lydia Saad, a senior editor: some “six months [after the poll on Gaza], young Americans’ broad sympathies toward the Israelis vs. the Palestinians are the same as a year ago.” Approximately 57 percent of 18-29 year olds surveyed both years said that they sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians in the conflict. Sympathy with the Palestinians has also held steady at about 23 percent.
Exclusive Interview with Open Hillel Founder: Activist Uses Anti-Israel, Pro-BDS Electronic Intifada to “Educate” at Southern Synagogue

Lex Rofes, a founder and spiritual leader of the self-proclaimed “Open Hillel” activist group, works for the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) in Jackson, Mississippi and has boasted of using the Electronic Intifada to “educate” Jews regarding Israel and of influencing at least one student to withhold donations to the Jewish National Fund (JNF).
The ISJL, a winner of the prestigious Slingshot Award, however, has turned a blind eye to Rofes’ anti-Israel activism and teaching methods. Those methods, which include using the house organ of the BDS movement, have turned Jews against Israel at one Mississippi synagogue – and who knows where else.
An original member of the Open Hillel steering committee, Rofes once served as a student representative to Hillel International’s Board of Directors while a student at Brown University. Although claiming to be supportive of Israel, Rofes has worked tirelessly to create and advance the Open Hillel anti-Zionist BDS agenda while an employee of ISJL.
Harvard Hillel Embraces BDS

In February, Harvard University’s Hillel center for Jewish students co-sponsored an event entitled “From Selma to Ferguson,” purportedly aimed at addressing aspects of the civil rights movement in America. The event’s featured invitee was Dorothy Zellner, a harsh critic of the Jewish State and more importantly, a proponent of the anti-Semitic “Boycott Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement.
Zellner’s inclusion in the event violates Hillel International’s own guidelines pertaining to partnering with groups or individuals associated with BDS. These guidelines state explicitly that Hillel will not partner with, house, or host organizations, groups, or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice:
Amazingly, Harvard’s Hillel leadership sought to justify its co-sponsorship of the event by absurdly claiming that the subject of the event had no nexus with Israel and addressed an entirely different matter. David Eden, chief administrative officer for Hillel International noted that “BDS [was] not the subject matter of this event.” That sentiment was echoed by Rabbi Jonah Steinberg, director of the Harvard Hillel who stated that “Harvard Hillel does not by policy or in general pass judgment on a speaker for topic X because of that speaker’s views on topic Y.”
Stop Southampton Uni’s Anti-Israel Kangaroo Court

This is the text of a petition to stop the University of Southampton UK hosting an upcoming anti-Israel conference – you can sign it here.
Southampton University Law School is scheduled to host an upcoming conference entitled “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism.”
This will not be just another examination of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. This “unique” conference will focus on the “legitimacy in International law of the Jewish state of Israel.” According to the organisers, the conference will explore the connection between the “suffering and injustice in Palestine to the foundation and protection” of Israel.
To schedule a conference on the legitimacy of a state that was established over 60 years ago would be strange enough. But by blaming the “suffering and injustice in Palestine” on Israel’s creation and continued presence, this goes beyond being an academic discussion.
12 groups ask UCLA to address anti- Semitism

StandWithUs initiated the following letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block in reaction to an incident in which a candidate for the UCLA Judicial Board was asked if being Jewish presented her with a conflict of interest. The questioners later apologized, but the 12 organizations below seek additional measures.
Dear Chancellor Block:
The 12 organizations listed below are deeply concerned by your administration’s inadequate response to the anti-Semitic incident on February 10, 2015, when four UCLA Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC) members questioned UCLA Judicial Board candidate Rachel Beyda’s qualifications solely on the basis of her Jewish identity and affiliation with the Jewish community. The discussion was overtly anti-Semitic, stereotyping Beyda’s political affiliations based on her ethnicity and resurrecting the traditional anti-Semitic canard of divided loyalty. These council members, elected to represent the entire student body, instead demonstrated unabashed discrimination against Jews.
Israeli Company Prevented From Pitching at TV Market in Istanbul

One of Israeli's prominent production companies was prevented from pitching their new reality TV formats at a television market in Istanbul this week.
The pitching session at Discop Istanbul, a television industry market held in the Turkish city Feb. 24-26, was canceled after a panel of judges from mainly Arab nations in the Middle East, refused to hear a presentation from Israeli firm Gil Productions.
C21 originally broke the story of the ban, which occurred when Gil Productions executive Ilanit Hirsch turned up at the session to pitch two of her company's new reality series: Are You For Real? and Capturing the Moment. According to Discop attendees, Hirsch was prevented from giving her presentation, apparently for political reasons.
Rotana Holdings, the Arab World’s largest entertainment company, sponsored the pitching session and had two members on the five-member judging panel. The other judges came from independent TV companies in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, and one judge, , who did not take part in the boycott, was from Turkish distributor Global Agency.
Anti-Israel San Mateo Bridge blockaders face misdemeanor charges

We previously reported extensively on the blockade of the San Mateo – Hayward Bridge on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by a group of protesters.
What started as a #BlackLivesMatters protest was hijacked by anti-Israel protesters who draped the Palestinian flag across both sides of the bridge at its highest span.
The action was extremely dangerous, trapping hundreds of motorists and causing multiple traffic accidents.
One vehicle with a 3-year-old child in medical distress reportedly had to be rerouted.
68 protesters, most of them Stanford University students, were arrested.
There was speculation that charges would be dropped, but that has not happened. As reported in the Costa Contra Times:
Inside the Artistic Boycott Movement

“Israel’s wars are fought on the cultural front too,” says a letter to the British newspaper The Guardian explaining why over 1,000 artists based in the UK signed a February 2015 statement compiled by the group Artists for Palestine, asserting that they “will not engage in business-as-usual cultural relations with Israel.” Instead, they will boycott cultural products, events, and funding if they are connected to Israel or Israeli citizens.
It is debatable as to whether wars are indeed fought on a “cultural front,” but those who have animosity toward Israel seem to think so, and their efforts to fight this cultural war are becoming steadily more widespread and fervent.
It is important not only for supporters of Israel, but also artists around the world to understand what some of those efforts are, who is behind them, and why involvement with them can be dangerous not only to Israel but also to artistic expression itself. Even those who are critical of or passionately opposed to the policies of the current Israeli government need to be aware of the fact that this attempt to turn culture into a warzone is spearheaded not by those who wish to see political change and a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but by those who wish to silence free artistic expression through threats and intimidation, and often wish to see Israel wholly demolished. They believe, in other words, that there is no place in the world for a Jewish state or its artists.
Iceland’s New Antisemitic Threshold – A Psychiatric Illness?

In 1998, the Wiesenthal Centre’s Efraim Zuroff forced public attention to Icelandic hospitality granted Estonian Nazi collaborator, Ewald Mixon, better known to Icelanders as Edward Hinriksson,a football goalee with two sons playing in the national team. His death and government procrastination relieved the authorities of bringing
him to justice.
The 2003 marriage of Israeli-born, British diamond heiress Dorrit Moussaieff, to Iceland’s – no friend of Israel – President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, was hoped to improve the relationship. The First Lady, however, stayed away from Jewish contacts and has now, reportedly, resumed her residency in London.
Following the 2008 bank crashes,perhaps in the context of seeking Arab financial relief, Moussouef was accused as being “part of a Jewish conspiracy”. Perhaps seeking Muslim bloc support for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, the government became ever more anti-Israel An opinion poll marked 70% of the 320,000 Icelanders as pro-Palestinian and only 30% as pro-Israel.
The Gaza operations saw solidarity rallies, as elsewhere in Europe, brandishing antisemitic slogans and imagery. A bicycle-shop in Reykjavik posted a warning: “Jews Unwelcome.”
Honest Reporting: Irish Tweets and Slamming Settlers

HonestReporting’s Yarden Frankl joins VOI’s Josh Hasten in-studio to discuss the week’s media coverage of Israel. On the agenda: an Irish Times reporter who threw an “online fit” in response to an HonestReporting tweet; a New York Times columnist who gave a one-sided view of life in the disputed territories; and the Independent’s Robert Fisk, who launched yet another anti-Israel diatribe.
A Case of Cultural Vandalism Against Israel

One of the most insidious elements of the BDS strategy is the call for cultural boycott. It harms Israel’s image to be excluded from cultural events across the world, and it harms individual Israeli artists, writers, and others when they are treated as pariahs by people who claim to oppose only Israeli policy.
But what happens when a BDS supporter or an opponent of Israel, is given a platform in a mainstream newspaper to review an Israeli production, as Martha Schabas did in the Globe and Mail? That could be something even worse than cultural boycott. It could be a form of cultural vandalism.
Schabas, a freelance dance critic for the paper, recently reviewed an Israeli dance-theater piece called Marathon, an hour-long commentary on life in Israel that featured the three leads in a constant state of motion. Schabas has previously expressed opinions about Israel’s “war crimes” and the SodaStream factory on “illegal West Bank settlements,” on her Twitter feed. So it’s not surprising that Schabas was not impressed with the Israeli production.
The piece, which purports to reveal “the wounds of contemporary Israeli society,” features three white, Jewish performers running around in a circle and calling out platitudes about their respective struggles. I might be tempted to complain that Marathon offers an egregiously one-sided view of Israel’s wounds, but I worry the complaint would be misleading – even the privileged perspective gets shallow treatment.
Schabas seems completely uninterested in the wounds of Israelis. What concerns her about the piece is that it didn’t address the political issues that she champions.
The Independent’s Hypocritical Critique of Madonna

Pop superstar Madonna isn’t a likely topic of conversation for HonestReporting. Nonetheless we can only appreciate her willingness to raise the serious issue of anti-Semitism in France while visiting the country.
Clearly Madonna is no expert on the subject and one can agree or disagree with her comments, which were somewhat over-stated. The Independent’s Jenn Selby makes it quite clear where she stands in her report:
Madonna was born in 1958 in Michigan, USA.
But that hasn’t prevented her from likening the feeling in France right now to that of Nazi Germany, of which the German Reich presided with Adolf Hitler as the helm between 1933 and 1945.
Speaking to a Parisian radio station last week, she claimed anti-Semitism was at a record high in the country she doesn’t live in but occasionally passes through.
BBC’s Sommerville showcases PIJ rearmament but refrains from asking who supplied the weapons

Notably, BBC audiences are not informed at this juncture or at any other point in this report (or in the written article) how the PIJ has been able to rearm or who has supplied those weapons.
Of course the likelihood of any future confrontation between terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip and Israel depends entirely upon the policies chosen by the former: for as long as they elect to refrain from attacking Israeli civilians, there will be no “next confrontation”. Sommerville, however, allows one of his masked interviewees to mislead viewers with the inference that Israel is the party initiating the recurrent bouts of conflict.
“We are prepared for any aggression on the Gaza Strip.”
A short way into the report Sommerville tells audiences:
“….right by its [Israel’s] border…120 mm mortars. There’s an ample supply and there’s more inside.”
BBC’s Lyse Doucet does ‘reporter in the rubble’ redux – part three

Whilst Doucet made copious use of those ‘wasteland’ and ‘natural disaster’ themes in all of her latest reporting from the Gaza Strip, at no point did she bother to try to put the scenes of destruction she promoted so enthusiastically on radio, television and social media into their correct context. BBC audiences were not informed that the scenes from the neighbourhood of Shuja’iya upon which her reports focused are not representative of the situation in the entire Gaza Strip.
That same practice was already in evidence six months ago when BBC reporters likewise nudged audiences towards the mistaken belief that the isolated images of structural damage which had been selected to appear in BBC reports reflected the situation as a whole.
Suspect declared 'Heil Hitler!' after Jewish site shootings

A man accused of fatally shooting three people at Jewish sites in Kansas declared "Heil Hitler!" and asked how many Jews he had killed after the attacks, a police officer testified Monday during a hearing in which the man's apology to some survivors was rejected.
Frazier Glenn Miller, 74, is charged with capital murder in the April 13, 2014 shootings at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas and at a nearby Jewish retirement home. None of the victims were Jewish.
Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.
The World Is Full of Holocaust Deniers

Only 54 percent of the world's population has heard of the Holocaust.
54 percent.
This is the most staggering statistic in a new survey by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of more than 53,000 people in over 100 countries, conducted by First International Resources. But that figure speaks to only those who have heard of it: Only a third of the world's population believe the genocide has been accurately described in historical accounts. Some said they thought the number of people who died has been exaggerated; others said they believe it's a myth. Thirty percent of respondents said it's probably true that "Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust."
Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, two-thirds of the world's population don't know the Holocaust happened—or they deny it.
These beliefs follow some unexpected patterns, too. The Middle East and North Africa had the largest percentage of doubters, with only 8 percent of respondents reporting that they had heard of the genocide and believed descriptions of it were accurate. But only 12 percent of respondents in sub-Saharan Africa said the same, and only 23 percent in Asia. People in these groups were likely to say they believed the number of deaths has been exaggerated—just over half of Middle Easterners and a third of Asians and Africans think the body count has been distorted over time.
Five Stages of Antisemitism in Art — From Medieval to Modern Times

Putting all the pieces together, we can now draw a comprehensive sketch of the evolution of antisemitism in art.
Summary of the five stages of antisemitism in art from Medieval to modern times:
1-Early Medieval art up to the twelfth-century: no visual distinction between Christians and Jews.
2- 1100-1150: Jews are introduced in Christian art to represent the “blindness” and failure of Judaism and to serve as “witnesses” to the superiority of Christianity.
3- 1150 — early Renaissance: Demonization, physical distinction of Jews and other stereotypes begin.
4. High and late Renaissance through the seventeenth century: The virtual ethnic cleansing of Judaism in Christian art. Depictions of Jesus, his family, followers and Christianity show no connection to Judaism.
5. Eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries: The resurgence of explicit antisemitic art, mostly in the form of printed images and other visual propaganda.
Now that we have overwhelming evidence that iconography in Medieval and Renaissance art was ideologically driven, isn’t it time for art historians, curators, teachers and critics to note in their analyses and commentaries the glaring falsifications of biblical history? That might redress long-standing omissions and contribute to healing the historic divide between Christians and Jews by restoring the common ground and heritage of the two faiths.
A showcase of Israeli diamonds and technology

Hundreds of buyers from around the world jammed the trading floor at the Israel Diamond Exchange to find the best gems during International Diamond Week in February. They were also introduced to the latest technological advances in the diamond industry.
“For years, the diamond industry was seen as archaic, working with dated technologies to treat the diamonds,” IDE President Shmuel Schnitzer told exhibitors. “But these times are long gone. The polishing process, as well as the manufacturing process and trade, are done using cutting-edge technologies that are constantly improving.”
Israel’s export of polished and rough diamonds totaled some $9.324 billion last year, up from $9.166 billion in 2013. Diamonds constitute 20 percent of Israel’s total industrial export.
IronSource raises $105 million to buy start-ups ahead of IPO

When ironSource eventually goes public, it will have to make extra room at the podium for all its founders. The five-year-old Israeli startup already counts eight founders when you included those acquired into the company in past years. As a group, they still own three-quarters of the tech company valued at more than $1 billion.
By the time of a possible late-2015 or early 2016 IPO, ironSource expects that group to become much more crowded.
The app delivery company announced Wed. that it’s closed a $105 million funding round from banks like JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, with billionaire Len Blavatnik now joining the mix through his holding company Access Industries. Access has committed $25 million to round out the round, the bulk of which was raised in Sept.
Terms of the funding were not disclosed, but the first tranche of the round for ironSource cleared the $1 billion valuation mark, making it one of Israel’s few “unicorns,” a tech startup valued by investors at more than $1 billion. Given founder ownership and 2014 revenues of $250 million, according to CEO Tomer Bar-Zeev, that valuation is likely far higher.
Group of Muslims organize fundraising to rehabilitate oldest synagogue in Belgium

A group of Muslims in the Belgian southern town of Arlon decided to appeal for donations and human support to help refurbish the local synagogue, the oldest in the country, which is in poor condition.
According to regional newspaper Vers l'Avenir, the LOCAL Muslim association has been moved when reading an article on the situation of the small Jewish community of Arlon.
The synagogue is part of the architectural and religious heritage of Belgium.
‘’We have decided to organize a fundraising to provide help and testify publicly our solidarity. In line with our values of generosity and mutual assistance, the Muslim community of Arlon is willing to give a hand in this project of general interest, '' said Mohamed Bouezmarni, general secretary of the Association of Muslims of Arlon.
'' Beyond the discourse on 'living together', we want to go further and build a 'do together',’’ he added
The synagogue has been closed since August 2014 because of the risk of collapse of the structure due to the spread of dry rot and moisture problems. 400,000 euros are needed to refurbish the building.
Ambucycle zooms into AIPAC conference

United Hatzalah founder and president Eli Beer made a dramatic entrance to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington as he zoomed onto the stage on his ambucycle.
The pro-Israel lobbyist organization named the Jerusalem- based, voluntary rescue and first-aid outfit as one that “advances innovation” and has spread its work of around the world.
Beer said that it has 2,500 trained volunteers in Israel, enabling it to reach ill or injured people in less than two minutes because the riders are “everywhere.” The specially equipped motorcycles are able easily to get through traffic that slows down regular ambulances, which take an average of 12 minutes to arrive.
After six months of first-aid training, volunteers – men and women, religious and secular Jews, Muslims, Druse and Christians – get a special app that informs them where to go to help those in medical need that are closest.
The 16,000 AIPAC participants applauded the orange-vested Beer warmly.
For Jews, an odyssey out of the frying pan and into America’s melting pot

When Rabbi Marc Angel describes his adjustment to Yeshiva University in the 1960s in new PBS special “The Jewish Journey: America,” it was neither the classes nor bustling New York City that he found challenging. It was the Ashkenazi food.
“Everything was brown. Roasted chicken, kugel, cholent, gefilte fish, and honey cake for dessert and tea,” he laments in the one-hour documentary, which will premiere March 3 on PBS stations across the United States.
Originally from Seattle, the American-born Sephardic rabbi is the founder and director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. He is also rabbi emeritus at The Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue in New York.
His is one of the personal stories this new documentary features, alongside observations about Jewish immigration to the United States by historians, scholars, and Jewish-American writers.

Show more