From Ian:

Scottish anti-Israel activist jailed for acid attack

A pro-Palestinian activist who carried out an acid attack against an Israeli-owned stall in Scotland has been sentenced to a year in jail.
Scott Harrison threw the noxious liquid at a woman who was manning a stall in Glasgow owned by the Israeli cosmetics firm Kedem, which activists from the anti-Israel BDS movement have been targeting in a boycott campaign.
His lawyers are filing an appeal against the 12-month sentence for assault to injury, which was handed down by a Scottish court earlier this week. He is currently being held in custody pending the results of his appeal.
Harrison's 18-year-old victim, Greek-born Iona Georgianna, told the Scottish Sun shortly after the attack on October 25, 2014, how she felt her face "melting."
"I was working and then I felt liquid on my head," she said, describing the terrifying attack. "It started to burn. It felt like my face was melting. I was screaming. I couldn't feel my lips and my vision was blurred for two or three minutes."
A quick-thinking colleague poured five liters of water on her head, saving her from the worst effects of the mystery liquid.
Melanie Phillips: Confused Jews and Islamophobia phobia

The accusation of Islamophobia confuses prejudice with legitimate criticism of Islam and concerns about Islamic extremism.
An example of this has surfaced in Britain with the publication by an organization called Hope not Hate (HnH), titled, “The Counter-Jihad Movement: Anti-Muslim Hatred from the Margins to the Mainstream.”
This document profiles 920 organizations and individuals in 22 countries. It says that they make no distinction between moderate Muslims and extremists, that they are “mainstreaming” anti-Muslim hatred, and that their “anti-Muslim rhetoric poisons the political discourse sometimes with deadly effect.”
Outrageously, the document links neo-Nazi and fascist groups with Middle East scholars such as Dr. Daniel Pipes and even with courageous Muslim reformers such as Dr.
Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and stellar counter- jihadists such as the Somalian campaigner Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
A number of these counter-jihadists already live under a permanent Islamist threat to their lives. Yet, astoundingly, HnH accuses them of spreading anti-Muslim hatred.
I, too, am included in this grotesque list, even though I have repeatedly acknowledged the many millions of Muslims who are neither extreme nor violent and emphasized that the Islamist perspective is merely one interpretation of Islam. Moreover, I am described as a “supporter of Israel” – as if it is axiomatic that Israel supporters will be Muslim-bashers.
IsraellyCool: AJ+ Exposé Exposes More Than Intended

Perhaps unwittingly, Ms. Takruri begins by highlighting the most contradictory aspect of all Palestinian “refugee” camps: their permanence.
“The crazy thing is you would think that a refugee camp would be a temporary type of thing, but as you’re seeing, these generations are growing up here born and raised. So his family was exiled, they became refugees from Jaffa in 1948. They came here in 1950 and they’ve been here ever since. So it’s become a permanent thing.“
This camp, which is essentially a permanent town in the heart of Palestinian controlled territory, has been running for roughly 65 years. Mr. Khader and (it seems) his father were both born there and yet they are still called refugees. His grandfather moved 53 kilometers from Jaffa to this area just outside of Nablus. This is roughly the same distance between Washington DC and Baltimore, not exactly a long journey. By any definition other than the one cynically used by UNRWA, Mr. Khader and his family are not refugees. They were not forced from their homes, they have citizenship in the Palestinian Authority and even his grandfather, who remained within the boundaries of Mandatory Palestine, would not be considered a refugee. But here is his grandson giving a tour of his pre-packaged misery for gullible Westerners to consume online.
Ms. Takruri says the Khaders were “exiled from Jaffa,” but this is not the case at all. Mr. Khader later in the interview says, “[my grandparents] told me that they were hoping to come back. They just turned off the stove and left.” They were not forced out of their home and soldiers didn’t load them on a truck and drive them out of the city. They took some belongings and left.
What’s more, Jaffa is probably the worst example an anti-Israel activist could cite as an example of “Israeli brutality.” There are several important aspects of the battle for Jaffa that must be taken into consideration.
First, Jaffa was slated to remain as part of the Arab State under the UN Partition Plan. This means that had the Arabs accepted peace from the beginning as the Zionists did, Mr. Khader’s grandfather would never have left his home, there would never have been any refugees – from Jaffa or elsewhere – and this video never would have been made.

Impartial EU labeling would inspire Israeli trust

Despite an oversized conflict and a deficit of Israeli trust in European policy, the EU can help close the gap by making small but important adjustments in EU labeling protocols.
Haaretz journalist Anshel Pfeffer suggested in a September 2015 analysis that EU labeling can reflect sensitivity to Israel’s rights, noting, “If every cherry tomato from the Jordan Valley has to have a label, why not use it as a message board which can reach every well-stocked kitchen across Europe? A few well-chosen words, perhaps a good biblical verse on our historical right to the land, or a picture of archaeological evidence of ancient Jewish habitation.”
European Union officials might consider the spirit of Pfeffer’s suggestion. They might also consider the fact that tens of thousands of Palestinians work closely with fellow Israeli employees not in “settlements,” but in 16 industrial zones in Area C of these territories, producing the overwhelming majority of products that are exported to European markets.
That’s why the EU should employ the more neutral and impartial labeling nomenclature, “Produced in the contested areas of Judea and Samaria/The West Bank” for all products emanating from territories east of the 1949 armistice lines. This more impartial language would achieve the currently missing symmetry, and satisfy EU concerns regarding product origins, without prejudicing rights of Palestinians or Israelis.
A rebalancing of labeling language by the EU would help stimulate Israeli trust; that is, among the government, opposition and the public.
Cornell Discourages Menorahs from Holiday Displays, But Permits Christmas Trees

Can a menorah be displayed on public school property at Cornell University? Not according to its “Holiday Decoration Guidelines.” These curious regulations were flagged by New York Times contributing op-ed writer and Tablet contributor Judith Shulevitz, who expressed amusement at their contents. Most recently revised and approved on November 19, the guidelines appear to be a well-meaning attempt to promote an inclusive holiday atmosphere that went bizarrely awry:
Clearly, the university intended to bar explicitly religious symbols, while permitting more anodyne holiday ones, and decided that the Star of David and menorah—both secular national Jewish symbols as well as religious ones—did not make the cut.
In practice, however, this means that all symbols of Judaism and Hanukkah are discouraged from holiday displays on the Ivy League school’s campus. While large, highly visible Christmas items like trees and wreaths are permitted, the sole Jewish symbol allowed is a dreidel, the spinning Hanukkah top that is smaller than a matchbox. As Hend Amry, a Muslim American activist, put it on Twitter, barring some sort of giant inflatable dreidel, this policy effectively effaces Hanukkah from the public square: (h/t Yenta Press)
Who Opposes Democracy in Israel?

As Lapid’s move makes clear, the settlement movement and the far right in Israel aren’t the only ones upset by those who take sides with anti-Zionists and Palestinians bent on destroying the Jewish state. If Breaking the Silence is reviled by most Israelis it is because they know the basic premise of the group — that the IDF silences dissent and is carrying out atrocities against Arabs on a constant basis — is a flat-out lie. That a centrist like Lapid would denounce Breaking the Silence — a group that is regularly hosted on American college campuses and in Jewish communities by those claiming to be supporters of Israel — as not merely wrong but guilty of “subversion” and “undermining the foundations of the state” is significant. That left-wing NGOs get a great deal of financial support from hostile European governments and open supporters of BDS infuriates Israelis and understandably so. Given their willingness to support such groups, it speaks volumes about how out of touch with the reality of Israel and its struggle against Palestinian terror that many American Jews and leaders like those of the Reform movement truly are.
Left-wing supporters of Breaking the Silence are not defending democracy so much as expressing frustration with it. Since the collapse of Oslo and the Palestinians began turning down offers of statehood in 2000, an Israeli consensus has held that more territorial withdrawals such as the disastrous retreat from Gaza would be insane. Most Israelis understand that the Palestinian terrorists aren’t stabbing, shooting and bombing Jews because of their desire for a two-state solution but because they want to eliminate the Jewish state no matter where its borders might be drawn. They know that groups that seek to undermine the IDF or stop it from taking action against terror are doing neither the Arabs nor the Jews any good
The NGO legislation will probably fail, and that’s a good thing. American Jews who back groups like Breaking the Silence may not like Israel’s government and may wish that peace was possible. But they are neither saving it from itself or defending democracy. To the contrary, they are giving comfort to those who wish to destroy that democracy.
BDS and Campus Politics: A Bad Romance

Today's proponents of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel on college campuses see their movement as a way of protesting Israel's alleged mistreatment of Palestinians, its efforts to defend itself in a dangerous neighborhood and its purported colonialism. Yet their rhetoric corrupts the language of human rights and expropriates the words historically used to demean the Jew.
At the University of California at Berkeley, a professor who attended a BDS debate reported that Israeli soldiers were accused of deliberately killing women and poisoning wells. In an age of exquisite sensitivity on some campuses to microaggression, or language that subtly offends underrepresented groups, the ironic toleration of microaggression against Jews often goes unnoted.
In the words of Santa Barbara Hillel Rabbi Evan Goodman: "At a university, of all places, there must be space for legitimate political discourse and analysis....But when the one Jewish state in the world is obsessively singled out for condemnation, Jewish students recognize that their own religious and cultural identity is being called into question."
As former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has observed, the impact if not the specific intent of the BDS movement is anti-Semitic. While nations like China, Iran, Russia, Syria and others get a pass on campuses, Israel is the sole object of BDS. There are many displaced peoples around the globe, many conflicts and many settler nations. The double standard for Israel yields suspicion about the real agenda.
Most of all, I worry that the spirit of democracy may be withering on college campuses. Those who seek to silence campus speakers - as occurred most recently at the University of Minnesota, when pro-Palestinian protesters tried to shout down Israeli philosopher Moshe Halbertal - argue that they have a First Amendment right to drown out opponents.
Source of BBC’s ‘war crimes’ allegations lies about Palestinian victim of terror

As our CAMERA colleague Tamar Sternthal recently noted, a Palestinian victim of a terror attack which took place at Alon Shvut junction on November 18th – Shadi Arafa from Hebron – has been falsely described by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) as having been killed by Israeli forces [He was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist].
As readers may recall, the PCHR was one of the sources relied upon by UNOCHA for the compilation of casualty figures and civilian/combatant ratios in the Gaza Strip during the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas. Those figures were unquestioningly quoted, promoted – and defended – by the BBC without any independent verification.
Moreover, the PCHR was the source of serious allegations concerning ‘war crimes’ which appeared in BBC content less than 24 hours after the beginning of the conflict and the organisation’s head was interviewed by the BBC on several occasions.
As has been noted here previously, the PCHR is one of several NGOs uncritically quoted and promoted by the BBC which is active in the lawfare campaign against Israel.
Four reports from BBC Scotland tell false story about ‘Israeli discrimination’

The producers of this programme apparently did not find it inappropriate to promote the opinions of the same official – BDS supporter Rev. Páraic Réamonn – as he twice laid out his vision for a foreign country with more than a whiff of offensive and anachronistic British colonialism.
“Within the walls of the school we try to model the kind of community that we would like to see in this country. We would like to see Arabs and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis, living at peace with each other in a way that is fair and equitable and honest. But when the kids go out of the school or when they finish school they find themselves in a society that isn’t like that.”
Remarkably, whilst all four of these reports heavily promote the Church of Scotland and its views, at no point are BBC audiences told of that church’s political agenda relating to Israel and Judaism or made aware of the past controversies arising from that agenda.
But the central issue with all these four reports is that they blatantly misrepresent a disagreement about funding in order to promote the false – and politically motivated – notion of deliberate discrimination against Christians by the Israeli government. Clearly readers, viewers and listeners to these four reports need to be provided with a swift correction to the inaccurate impressions they have been fed.
New AMIA bombing revelation not news for the BBC

For at least a decade and a half BBC News articles relating to the 1994 terrorist attack on the AMIA centre in Buenos Aires have informed audiences that Iran denies any involvement in the case. For example:AMIA bombing
“Tehran rejects the accusations.” (23/12/2000)
“…Iran has rejected claims that it was in any way involved in the attack.” (24/09/2001)
“Iran has denied that any of its officials were involved in a deadly bomb attack on a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in 1994.” (09/03/2003)
“Iran denies any involvement in the bombing…” (25/08/2003)
“Argentine, US and Israeli officials have all said that Iran is to blame – a charge Tehran denies.” (10/11/2005)
“The Iranian government, which denies any involvement, has said it is ready to help solve the case.” (19/07/2011)
“Tehran has always denied any involvement.” (29/01/2013)
“Iran has always denied any involvement.” (28/02/2013)
“Iran dismissed the allegations as “baseless”.” (19/01/2015)
“Iran has denied any involvement in either of the attacks.” (28/01/2015)
Such statements are of course accurate: Iran has indeed denied involvement in the 1994 AMIA bombing and there is no reason why the BBC should not make audiences aware of that fact. However, it should also inform them of the wealth of evidence available which indicates that Iran’s denial of involvement is to be viewed with a considerable amount of scepticism. One might therefore have assumed that the following news would have sparked the interest of the “standard-setter for international journalism”.
Unlike The Atlantic, Reuters Doesn’t Meet “Mandatory Minimum” of Accountability

After Israel enacted harsher penalties for those convicted of stone-throwing and similar nationalistic attacks last September, an article in The Atlantic described the new measures as imposing "a minimum four-year prison term for Palestinians who throw rocks and Molotov cocktails."
As an Israeli law, though, it applies to all Israeli citizens and residents, whether Jewish or Arab, while Palestinians rock throwers in the West Bank are more likely to be prosecuted under military regulations.
The Atlantic's inaccurate statement may have been the influence of a Reuters piece cited in that same story. Reuters, too, described the penalty as being imposed "on Palestinian" attackers:
Israel will impose a minimum four-year jail term on Palestinian petrol bombers and rock throwers and will ease open-fire regulations and impose harsher fines, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
But in his remarks that Thursday, Netanyahu was very specific: The law, he explained, would apply to "all citizens and residents of Israel." Reuters was flatly wrong about what "Netanyahu said." And it was wrong in its headline, "Israel tightens crackdown on Palestinian petrol bomb, stone-throwers."
The errors by The Atlantic and Reuters were virtually the same. But the way the two media outlets responded to calls for corrections this week couldn't be more different.
Obama administration tried to encourage Syrian coup — report

The Obama administration tried to encourage a military coup against the Syrian regime, utilizing a complex network of Syrian dissenters and international intermediaries in an effort to remove embattled President Bashar Assad in the early years of the country’s insurgency, an investigative report by the Wall Street Journal revealed early Thursday.
According to the report, in 2011 as the Assad regime began a violent crackdown on protests in the county, US intelligence officials attempted to identify Syrian officers who would potentially lead regime change from within, on orders from above.
“The White House’s policy in 2011 was to get to the point of a transition in Syria by finding cracks in the regime and offering incentives for people to abandon Assad,” a former senior administration official told the Wall Street Journal.
More than 250,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict broke out in March 2011. About 4 million people have fled Syria during the conflict, which the UN says has killed more than 250,000.
Analysis: A new confrontation between Netanyahu and Obama over Iran?

THE US administration is concerned about the possibility of a new confrontation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) latest report on Iran’s nuclear shenanigans. “We hope it won’t happen,” a senior US official tells The Jerusalem Report, “but if it does, it will be a completely different ball game. The administration will not sit idly by this time and it will be vindictive.”
In November, the IAEA published a report on Iran’s past nuclear activities, also known as the “Possible Military Dimension” (PMD). The long-awaited report was supposed to determine and conclude whether Iran had been actively involved in acquiring and mastering the expertise to assemble a nuclear bomb.
The report, however, is somewhat inconclusive and leaves all the parties dissatisfied.
However, one thing is certain.
The process of further implementing the nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers signed in July will not be disrupted.
ADL Chief: Iran Has Gotten Worse on Terror, Abuses, Anti-Americanism Since Deal

Iran’s violations of human rights, support for terrorist proxies, and use of anti-American and anti-Semitic propaganda have escalated in the wake of the nuclear deal, Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League‘s national director, wrote Wednesday in the San Diego Jewish World.
Greenblatt, who previously served as a special assistant to President Barack Obama, argued that the Islamic Republic oppresses its own citizens while “enforc[ing] policies overseas that challenge the core principles that center our country.”
Observing that Iran’s behavior often parallels that of ISIS, the ADL chief pointed to the regime’s ongoing persecution of religious and sexual minorities, as well as its “use of capital punishment as a tool of the state against its perceived enemies,” which led to the execution of hundreds of people in 2015.
“Fantastical anti-Israel and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have been a mainstay in the state-run Iranian media since the Islamic Revolution in 1979,” Greenblatt further noted. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recently claimed that Israel was behind the November terror attacks in Paris, while official state media falsely reported that Jews had advance knowledge of the attacks. In reaction to these slanderous claims, and those that Israel created ISIS, Greenblatt wrote, “the Islamic Republic of Iran has benefited more than any other government in the world from the distracting capabilities of ISIS.”
Statue outside Washington state shul defaced with swastika

Vandals spray-painted a swastika on a statue outside an Olympia, Washington, synagogue.
The statue outside the 75-year-old Temple Beth Hatfiloh was defaced Monday night or early Tuesday, The Olympian reported.
In a blog post on the Reconstructionist congregation’s website, Rabbi Seth Goldstein wrote, “a swastika is not mere vandalism-it is a symbol of hatred with deep resonance with Jews, and shakes us to our core, especially in a community in which we are constantly reminded of our minority status.”
The Olympia Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Goldstein, who has been at the temple for 13 years, told The Olympian that the congregation has been vandalized before, but this is the first time he knows of that vandals have used a swastika.
Anti-Semitic crimes in Britain up by 61%

There has been a 61 percent increase in anti-Semitic crime in Britain in the last year, according to the statistics released by the Met Police on Thursday and published by the Jewish News Online website.
A total of 483 anti-Semitic crimes were committed up until November 2015, increasing from 299 crimes from November 2014.
Hotspots included Westminster where there was a 178 percent increase, the London Borough of Hackney where there were 122 crimes, Tower Hamlets which had a 100 percent rise and Lambeth which had a 200 percent increase, according to the Jewish News Online.
Speaking to the Jewish News, the Met police said they are “committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms”, adding that they “take positive action to investigate all hate crime allegations, support victims and their families and bring perpetrators to justice.”
They noted that “there has been a rise in faith/religious hate crime, however the MPS believes these increases are down to a range of factors, including the improvements in crime recording, a growing willingness of victims to report hate crime; and an improved awareness of MPS staff to identify these offences.”
Non-Jewish British MP Receives Anonymous Antisemitic Christmas Card

A non-Jewish politician in the UK posted on Twitter a photo of an antisemitic Christmas card she received this week.
Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, shared pictures of the card and inserted hand-written note, which arrived by snail-mail on Tuesday.
The card is an illustration of two stick figures, one adult and one child, conversing. The adults asks the child: “Do you still believe in Father Christmas?” The child asks the adult: “Do you still believe in Holocaust?”
The attached note, in which its author calls Creasy “a fake,” said, “No Jew can be Prime Minister of England, no MP can be a Jew. We are all in a Holocaust on the white race people of USA, Russia, Europe. No shame. Re Trump… There’s 70 million people in our country. Stella, you received 260 complaints. Get real. It’s the Jewish vote rig conspiracy. Stupid.”
Creasy responded on Twitter with sarcasm. “Ah Christmas — what makes that the trigger to send antisemitic greeting cards, I wonder?”
Human Rights Group to Release Comprehensive Report on French Antisemitism

A detailed report on antisemitism and extremism in France will be launched in Washington, DC early next month, its authors announced on Wednesday.
Susan Corke, the director of the Antisemitism and Extremism department of the New York- and Washington, DC-based Human Rights First, noted that the release of the report comes as 51% of all reported hate crimes over the last year in France have been antisemitic in nature, although Jews comprise only 1% of the French population.
“Our research finds that French Jews confront multiple forms of antisemitic violence, including attacks by perpetrators who subscribe to the stereotype that Jews have a privileged association with the French political establishment,” she wrote. “Jews are ‘in the front line’ by proxy, and muted governmental efforts to combat discrimination against other marginalized groups in France fuels this hostile situation.”
Specifically, Corke argued that “Debates about ‘French identity,’ multiculturalism, and pluralism have fueled anti-Muslim sentiment and nurtured perceptions of discrimination within Muslim communities — which are diverse, including those who have a long history in France as well as recent immigrants.”
These marginalized populations are then subject to antisemitism, especially through social media, she wrote.
Witness: Security Guards, Bystanders Ignored Brutal Assault on Hassidic Jew in Midtown Manhattan

A Hassidic Jew who was assaulted in the lobby of a New York City office building on Monday said security guards and witnesses in the vicinity did nothing to stop the attack, The Algemeiner has learned.
“He punched me in the neck and there was security [there] and nobody interfered. They were just watching,” said the victim, who asked to remain anonymous. “I got bruised… and security didn’t even call 911, nothing. They’re just standing there and watching.”
Yoni Davidov, who witnessed the attack from a nearby coffee shop, told The Algemeiner, “It bothered me that no one attended to the man. People were just watching. [They] didn’t do anything. It was also shocking to me how everyone in the lobby and in the adjacent Starbucks was sitting quietly and no one even called the police or offered the man any help.”
Davidov posted a description of the incident on his Facebook page and provided more details in an interview with The Algemeiner. He said it began at around 5:30 p.m. in the lobby of 575 5th Avenue, which houses the corporate office of L’Oreal USA. The victim was sitting at a table and eating a sandwich, when an “Arab-looking” man demanded that he move. According to Davidov, the assailant didn’t want to share a table with a Jewish man.
Davidov said the victim told the man that he had arrived at the table first, and that he would finish eating quickly and give up his seat. Then, Davidov said, “This Arab-looking man punched him in the face multiple times, before fleeing the scene with his girlfriend.”
Moroccan King who signed anti-Jewish decrees honoured

The Jewish press are enthusiastically reporting that the late King Mohammed V of Morocco has been posthumously honoured for 'protecting' his country’s 250,000 Jews during World War II. Some fact-checking is sorely needed, because the Moroccan Sultan actually signed every anti-Jewish decree presented to him by the Vichy authorities who ruled Morocco. For proof that Jews suffered persecution in Morocco between 1940 and 42, look no further than the fact that they have been declared eligible for 'Holocaust' compensation.
The Jerusalem Post reports:
KIVUNIM, the Institute for World Jewish Studies honored the king with the first The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. – Rabbi Abraham Heschel Award, to mark the organization’s 10th anniversary. The honor was presented to granddaughter Princess Lalla Hasna of Morocco on Sunday at New York City’s B’nai Jeshurun synagogue as part of the group’s three-day conference to mark its milestone.
Kivunim is a gap-year program that sends Jewish students to 12 countries each year, including India, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and Morocco.
During World War II, King Mohammed V kept the lives and property of the country’s Jews under his protection, and did not subject them to the Vichy Laws.
Foreign Banks Increasingly Investing in Israeli Innovation

Israeli entrepreneurs are increasingly attracting foreign banks’ investments by offering innovative technologies.
The Santander InnoVentures fund, which has $100 million available to invest in the next two years, plans to make one or two annual investments in Israel. Even though there are no Santander banks in Israel, the company has shown significant interest in Israeli technology. Santander has already made its first investment in an Israeli start-up, the MyCheck mobile payment solutions company.
Other banks, such as Citi and Barclays, have also started investing or mentoring start-ups in Israel due to the Jewish state’s expertise in security, big data analysis, and mobile communications.
Citi has invested tens of millions of dollars in Tel Aviv’s high-technology hub, while Barclays focuses on cyber security, the Bitcoin digital currency, and compliance solutions in Israel. Barclays has also initiated a program to mentor 10 Israeli start-ups.
“We realized…unless we go with open innovation rather than internally developed solutions, the way banks previously did, [then] banks will lose out to the technology companies,” Michal Beinisch, chief operating officer of Barclays Israel, told Reuters.
Israel and Hong Kong step up tech, R&D cooperation

Israel continued this week to develop its business and tech relations with the Far East. On Wednesday, the Office of the Chief Scientist at the Israeli Economy Ministry, in tandem with the Innovation and Technology Commission in Hong Kong (ITC), announced the launch of an R&D Cooperation Program to fund joint projects.
Under the joint program, both entities will seek out and match up companies from both locations for the purpose of conducting cooperative projects.
Companies chosen for the program will received funding from either, or both, groups — depending on the project and location. Hong Kong entrepreneurs will receive funding through the ESS (Enterprise Support Scheme) program, managed by the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF); in Israel, funding will be given by the Office of the Chief Scientist and the program will be managed by the executive branch of the Office of the Chief Scientist, the Israeli Industry Center for Research and Development (MATIMOP).
China looks to Israel to get its civil aviation industry off the ground

Just a few days after the Technion broke ground on a research center in Guangdong, a second Israeli institution — Israel Aerospace Industries — announced that it, too, was establishing one in the southeastern Chinese province.
The agreement signed on Tuesday in China between IAI with the Shantou Municipal Government of China, the Guangdong Airport Authority and other Chinese partners will help, Chinese officials hope, turn the region into a center of development for China’s aviation industry.
While China has excelled in manufacturing in general, to the extent that it has long been called “the world’s factory,” the Chinese have had less success in building a civil aviation industry — the crown jewel of manufacturing, worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
While Chinese-made products dominate electronics, apparel, plastics, and many other fields, the country has done far less well in manufacturing planes for civilian use, whether in China or abroad. In 2014 alone, for example, China imported over $100 billion in planes and parts from the US, but managed to export only $3 billion worth of Chinese-made products abroad.
Recent Linkups By China-Israel VCs And Tech Startups Spell More Opportunity Than Risk

It’s long been said that Chinese and Israeli culture is alike – entrepreneurial, hard-working, family oriented and spiritual.
Now these two leading startup nations are coming closer together in the venture capital and technology innovation world and advancing the potential for disruptive breakthroughs.
Chinese investment is flooding into Israel’s venture capital funds and high-tech companies. This year, some $500 million worth of high-tech financing and $750 million of VC capital will include at least one Chinese investor, estimates IVC Research Center. As many as 80 Israeli companies and 11 Israeli venture capital funds have raised money from China sources, mostly since 2011, IVC reports. The trend line is definitely upward. China-Israeli tech deals totaled $300 million in 2014, up from $50 million in 2013, according to Israel’s National Economic Council.
Chinese companies are scouring Israel in search of leading edge technology that can complement the Mainland’s own strengths as a rising innovation nation. This parallels a hunt by Chinese tech titans in Silicon Valley for the next new thing.
Israeli companies are looking to China for market expansion opportunities. Both countries are leveraging their scientific and research knowhow and joining together to enhance progress in a next generation of technology. China is expected to soon surpass the U.S. as Israel’s biggest collaborator in the number of joint government-backed development projects, says Avi Luvton, executive director for the Asia Pacific region at the Israeli Industry Center for R&D (and a featured speaker December 2 at Silicon Dragon’s Tel Aviv forum.)
BrightStar set to launch solar-powered UAVs

BrightStar Group, an Israeli firm engaged in defence and aviation businesses, is set to launch its first in a series of solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs), early next year.
The company is engaged in parleys with potential buyers in India and other markets, for these UAVs that fly for years during day and night without any fuel requirement as they are solar-powered.
Jonathan Lison, Managing Director of BrightStar Group, said, “The first of this unmanned solar vehicle, to be ready by early 2016, will have a wing span of about 22 metres and be priced at about $1.5-2.0 million. This will be followed with several other models, with larger wing span and different capabilities.”
The global market for such UAVs in 2014 was estimated to be about $2.91 billion.
During an exclusive interaction with BusinessLine earlier this month, Jonathan Lison had said this was the beginning of a long journey with the new generation of solar unmanned aerial vehicles. “We will produce such UAVs with different configurations, capabilities and sizes based on the applications. Apart from internal security, they can be used for border surveillance and telecommunications in rural parts,” he explained.
How a US-born amputee fought his way back into the Israeli army

The hardest part was loading the assault rifle.
That’s not because he was a newbie, unaccustomed to the workings of a Tavor rifle. Rather, 1st Sgt. Izzy Ezagui had lost an arm in combat.
He’d overcome seemingly insurmountable bureaucratic hurdles and got a posting on a base in the Negev. And so his next challenge began: He had to prove he could still fight.
Ezagui is the only combat soldier with an amputation to serve as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces reserves. For him, returning to the army meant proving to himself that his life could still be the same — even with a single arm.
“It’s a weird thing to send a guy with one arm into combat,” he told JTA. “I was so excited to go back and erase the damage that was done.”
Today, seven years after his injury, Ezagui travels around the United States, advocating for Israel’s moral standing and giving motivational speeches about overcoming injury.
But the most challenging element of his recovery wasn’t physical. It was convincing the army to let a one-armed soldier go back to war.
Netanyahu Wishes Christians ‘Merry Christmas,’ End to Persecution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a video address on Christmas Eve wishing Christians in Israel and worldwide a Merry Christmas.
“From Jerusalem, I wish Israel’s Christian community and Christians everywhere a very joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
Netanyahu went on to express pride in Israel’s singular support of persecuted Christians, particularly in the Middle East.
“I’m proud to say that Israel is one of the few countries in the Middle East, maybe the only country in the Middle East where Christians are truly free to practice their faith openly, freely to celebrate Christmas and other Christian holidays. The state of Israel is a beacon of liberty in a Middle East plagued by oppression and extremism. Here everyone can practice their faith because in Israel, religious freedom is sacred.”
“It’s my fervent hope, my fervent prayer that 2016 is marked by greater security and freedom for all Christians across the Middle East. May the coming year bring the blessings of peace and prosperity for all humanity. So on behalf of the people of Israel, on behalf of the Israeli government, I wish all our Christian friends a very Merry Christmas and I also invite you, come to Israel. Thank you,” Netanyahu added.
Nearly 30,000 Jews immigrated to Israel in 2015

Nearly thirty thousand Jews moved to Israel in 2015, up from 26,500 last year, the Jewish Agency for Israel announced on Thursday.
Aliya has been on the rise in recent years, driven largely by the flow of immigrants from France and Ukraine, with this year’s increase following last year’s thirty two percent surge in newcomers, which was at the time characterized by Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky as “a year of record-breaking aliya.”
France became the leading source of immigrants for the first time last year with almost 7,000, double the number from 2013. This year’s numbers mark a ten percent increase over last year, however, with 7,900 French Jews relocating here.
"Each has his or her reason, including the economic crisis, personal security, terrorist attacks, and, in some places and times, an anti-Jewish mood," agency spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
Though not final, the immigration figure falls short of Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky's prediction after the kosher market attack following the Charlie Hebdo shootings in January that more than 10,000 French Jews would move to Israel this year.

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