04/11 Links Pt2: For Third Time in Week, Sanders Inflates Gaza Civilian Death Toll; Clinton: Hamas is provocateur, Israel has right to self-defense
For Third Time in Week, Sanders Inflates Gaza Civilian Death Toll; Accuses Israel of Using ‘Disproportionate’ Force (VIDEO)
For the third time in under a week, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has exaggerated the number of civilians killed in Israel’s 50-day conflict with terror-group Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014.
Confronted in an interview by CNN‘s Jake Tapper on Sunday morning, Sanders defended his earlier inflated figure of “over 10,000 innocent people” killed in Gaza as an inaccurate recollection in the course of a conversation with The New York Daily News that was quickly corrected after an on-the-spot Google search.
“What I said is, I, am I right on that? I didn’t know what the number was, and the gentleman there… the fellow who was conducting the meeting said let me check it, he looked, Googled it up and the number was I think 2100,” Sanders said. He added that he believes Israel’s use of force in Gaza was “disproportionate.”
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton on Sunday took a differing stance on Israel to fellow presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, saying that the Jewish state was entitled to protect itself against Gaza’s terror group ruler, Hamas.
“Hamas provokes Israel. They often pretend to have people in civilian garb acting as though they are civilians who are Hamas fighters,” Clinton told CNN’s “State of the Union” talk show on Sunday, according to Politico.
“When your soldiers are under attack, you have to respond,” Clinton said.
“It’s a very different undertaking for Israel to target those who are targeting them. And I think Israel has had to defend itself, has a right to defend itself.”
Mr. Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2009 to 2013, said Mr. Sanders owes Israel an apology after the senator used the 10,000 figure in an interview with the New York Daily News last week.
It is estimated that more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in the 2014 conflict, far fewer than the number Mr. Sanders suggested.
“First of all, he should get his facts right. Secondly, he owed Israel an apology,” Mr. Oren told the Times of Israel. “He accused us of blood libel. He accused us of bombing hospitals. He accused us of killing 10,000 Palestinian civilians. Don’t you think that merits an apology?”
After CNN’s Jake Tapper clarified who Mr. Oren is, Mr. Sanders stuck by his position that Israel overreacted.
“Was Israel’s response disproportionate? I think it was,” he said.
When I posted the Sanders comments on Facebook some of the replies against them compared his comments to having sold out Jews during the Holocaust.
It is part of this knee-jerk “anti-Semitism” refrain that has been cultivated in Israel circles, where exaggerating every criticism of Israel into anti-Semitism is seen as a good way to defend Israel. But accusing the one Jewish candidate for president, someone who lived in Israel and has always supported Israel, of committing a “blood libel” shows how out of touch Israelis are becoming. How long will accusations of anti-Semitism against Jewish candidates, against Jewish left-wing groups and Jews who have a radical critique of Israel or even loathe the country the way Tony Judt did, continue to be greeted with relevance? Sanders and his supporters seemed to greet them with a shrug.
For some reason many in the pro-Israel community have become addicted to the flattery of candidates who promise them outright lies, such as “I will move the US embassy to Jerusalem.” Instead of seeing sycophantic speeches for what they are, they want more. It would behoove this crowd to listen more to Sanders and his supporters. They likely won’t win this election, but just as Eugene McCarthy inspired many people to get into politics in 1968, it’s probable the Sanders phenomenon will have long-term impact. If the impact is that more politicians decide they will be more ambivalent on Israel and not be afraid of accusations of “blood libel,” there will be long-term consequences. More Israel supporters should listen to Ze’ev Elkin’s response to Sanders: Politicians make mistakes, “what is important is what candidates do and not what they say.”
The Mottle Wolfe Show: Bernie’s Blood Libel?
Member of Knesset, Michael Oren demanded an apology from US Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders last week for what Oren referred to as a ‘Blood Libel’. Jerusalem Post Op-Ed editor Seth Frantzman thinks that this is going to far.
Ryan Bellerose: Changing The Way We See Ourselves
You want to know how I see you and your people? Not as sheeple herded onto cattle cars and victimised by evil scumbags, but as survivors who were damaged and on the verge of breaking. Survivors who went home to their ancestral lands, hurting, damaged to the point of almost being broken, yet you didn’t give up, you didn’t give in to the urge to just let go.
These damaged people, fought, they struggled, and they wrestled with God, they had children, they planted trees knowing they may never see those trees grow. They picked up stones in fields where there were more stones than dirt. They took dirt by the bucket and washed that dirt to clean the salt out of it. Bucket by bucket. Backbreaking, mind-numbing, soul nourishing work. These are people who answered the call, when told they were going to be attacked and all of their people thrown into the sea, these people who had just gotten out of camps, many of whom were still malnourished and recovering from this horrific event, were handed guns and told “ defend us, defend yourselves” when it would have been so much easier to give up, These survivors stood up.
These are not the actions of victims, this is not sitting around and waiting for God to make things happen for you, these are the actions of people who were starved, who had watched their families decimated and murdered, who survived the unsurvivable. They had already begged God to save them once and they understood that while God loves us, God expects us to do what we need to do to protect ourselves and our families.
We are not defined solely by our tragedies or by our triumphs, we are defined by how we survive both. I would think that a people who have so much to be proud about, would start looking harder for things to celebrate, your survival against all odds is one of those things.
Phyllis Chesler: Mom, apple pie and burqas?
The stewardesses of Air France are outraged and have just refused to don headscarves when they fly into Tehran, as the mullahs have demanded.
Viva La France!
The French stewardesses have more dignity, more sobriety, and more self-respect than many American and European women do, beginning with trendsetting celebrities, female diplomats and first ladies, who have all donned headscarves, (hijab), face masks, (niqab), or full burqas when visiting Muslim countries — and as carefree fashion statements.
For example, Madonna, three Kardashian sisters, Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry and Nicole Richie have all recently posted photos of themselves in Islamic “drag,” either on visits to Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Morocco or just because it suited their fancy. They’re posed wearing filmy, long scarves (Katy Perry), heavy black hijab (Kylie Kardashian, Rihanna), niqab or face masks (Madonna), heavy hijab plus abayas (Gomez) and almost full burqas (Kim and Khloe Kardashian).
Such female celebrities may influence Western girls more than female Western political leaders can. They don’t understand that they are “slumming”; they can remove their exotic Islamic garb and pose naked whenever they choose to do so. This isn’t possible for Muslim girls and women who are forced to wear the Islamic veil (headscarf, face mask, or full head, face and body covering) and who risk death when they resist.
Being forced to adopt a colonizing custom that subordinates women; being forced to “pretend” that one is a Muslim when that isn’t the case; being made to feel shameful, shameless, if one is naked-faced, is an act of psychological warfare.
In an April 9, 2016 article in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, Kuwaiti media personality Yousuf ‘Abd Al-Karim Al-Zinkawi called on all Arab and Muslim states to recognize Israel, openly and without delay, and stop calling it “the Zionist Entity” or “the Israeli occupation.” He argued that, by sitting alongside Israel in UN institutions, these states already effectively recognize it, and they should take a lesson from countries like Qatar and Oman that take a pragmatic approach to Israel and maintain ties with it openly. He wondered why certain Arab and Muslim countries take a more hardline approach to Israel than the Palestinian Authority itself, which does maintain ties with it.
The following are excerpts:
“Israel became a member of the UN on May 11, 1949, namely 67 years ago, before most of the Arab and Islamic states [even] became independent. [It gained this status] after 37 states voted in favor of the decision [to admit it to the UN], 12 voted against and 10 abstained. At the time, the UN had only 57 member states, which means that over 62% favored Israel’s admittance. Today, when the [UN] General Assembly has swelled to include 193 states, I believe that the proportion of states that support Israel is even greater, and is over 83%. This, especially after some five Arab states and quite a few Muslim ones have recognized the state of Israel, [that state] which the dreamers – those who dream of restoring the stolen homeland [Palestine] – so expertly call by a whole bunch of names, such as ‘the Zionist entity’ or ‘the Israeli occupation,’ etc. Today, there are only 32 countries that don’t recognize Israel, in different parts of the world… It came to the point where the Arab League itself proposed in 2002 that the Arab states normalize their relations with Israel as part of the Arab peace initiative and as part of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Hamad Al-Sharifi, who previously served as an Iraqi diplomat in Kuwait and Jordan, will arrive in Israel on Sunday, even though the two countries do not have diplomatic relations.
For much of his career, Al-Sharifi has worked as a diplomat on behalf of Iraq’s Baghdad government and will arrive in Israel as a guest of the Foreign Ministry. During his visit, he will break many barriers between Israel and Arab states. Al-Sharifi will meet with Israelis of Iraqi descent, members of Knesset, and religious leaders from the three Abrahamic faiths. He will also tour the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, Yad VaShem, and many other places.
“I would like to thank Hassan Kaabiah, deputy spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, who convinced me to visit to see the true Israel, which we have not seen on anti-Israeli television. One day, I hope that I will be the Iraqi ambassador to Israel and that Hassan will be the Israeli ambassador to Iraq,” said Al-Sharifi before his visit. He added, “I consider myself a friend of Israel. At this time, Arabs need to understand that there is no conflict between Israel and Arab states, rather there is an Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I hope that it will end and peace will reign.”
Astonishingly, according to Warwick University newspaper The Boar, Gurbuz had run as Ethnic Minorities Officer during 2015 Students’ Union elections, with her manifesto stating her intention “to increase awareness of Holocaust Memorial Day” and encourage “more investment into Interfaith Week.”
At the same time, however, she had fronted a campaign to advocate the endorsement of the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) Movement at the university, which Jewish students have often accused of carrying out anti-Semitic harassment.
Earlier this year Gurbuz proposed a “Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions for Peace” motion for students to endorse. Tellingly, the motion called on the Student Union to “condemn the Israeli occupation of pre-1967 Palestinian lands,” referring to the entire State of Israel, as well as urging the university to “join the international academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions.”
Jewish student activists have in the past noted how prominent anti-Israel campaigners often seek positions on “Holocaust remembrance” committees, using their condemnation of far-right Jew-hatred as an easy way to “prove” they aren’t anti-Semitic, even while harassing Jewish students on the basis of other anti-Jewish prejudices associated with the far-left. Gurbuz appears to be a case in point.
She is now facing the prospect of disciplinary action at Warwick University.
“We certainly wish to talk with this student when she returns to campus at the start of term to ascertain if there has been a breach of the University’s policies on these matters,” Peter Dunn, director of press and policy at the University of Warwick, told The Boar.
The university’s student union said it will “consider appropriate next steps” against Gurbuz.
A member of Stanford University’s student senate who argued it is “not anti-Semitism” to claim Jews control “the media, economy, government and other social institutions” said he will not run for reelection.
In a statement published April 8 in the student newspaper the Stanford Daily, junior Gabriel Knight said that “my continued presence in the Senate race has become a distraction from the larger ASSU elections and has made it difficult for students to meaningfully discuss campus issues.”
Knight said in the statement of his remarks at the April 5 meeting, which was debating a proposed resolution on anti-Semitism.
“I never intended to be hurtful and am saddened by and apologize for the fact that I was. Nevertheless, I hope that this week’s events and my decision to end my campaign do not encourage or substantiate threats to free discussion,” he wrote.
I had thought the standard MPACUK line was that the Holocaust never happened. I have this impression because the group’s founder gave money to infamous Holocaust denier David Irving.
Of course MPACUK haven’t been shy about sharing antisemitic images on their website in the past. So it’s good to see that they are at least admitting it actually happened. I suppose then that one might call this progress.
Ironically, though unsurprisingly with a photo of Holocaust survivors, there are likely to be plenty of Zionists here. Most Jews made their way from Europe to Palestine any way they could and then fought tooth and nail to have a state of their own where they’d be free.
Look on the second bunk and count seven gaunt faces in from the left and you’ll see the haunting face of the future Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel staring back at you.
So congratulations to MPACUK not only aren’t you sure whether the Holocaust happened you’re now using the images of world famous Zionist Jews to make a point that Muslims are on their way into the gas chambers.
One wonders whether they’re actually going to get around to doing any…you know, public affairs work at some point. Perhaps they’re under the impression that having a go at people is the same thing as public affairs work.
There will be a broader BDS-related Business Resolution to come before delegates to the UUA General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio this coming June.
The resolution to be voted on by the General Assembly was proposed by the Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME) and asserts that the corporations—Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and G4S—“directly profit from or support the occupation and its abuses of Palestinian human rights”, thus “violating the Principles” of the church.
So the church won’t own any stocks in the companies that are targeted by the divestment resolution by the time the GA 2016 meets on June 22-26.
But the UUJME still thinks it’s important for their Business Resolution to go to a full GA vote. The group wants fellow UUs to be “educated about the situation in Palestine” and believes that having the resolution on the agenda will facilitate a “national discussion”.
Ben Ameur disputed the authenticity of the ISIS propaganda videos showing the beheadings of American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, suggesting he didn’t know whether ISIS was responsible or not.
Another IUM instructor, Hasan Ali Mohamud, offered condolences after Israel killed Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 2004.
Writing under the name Sheikh Xasan Jaamici on the Minneapolis Somali community news website SomaliTalk, Mohamud said that Yassin had achieved martyrdom and that the “Hamas mujahideen” were fighting for the liberation of the Al-Aqsa mosque from Israeli control. His Facebook page suggests that Jaamici is his middle name.
Jews will face Muhammad’s wrath. Muslims who adhere to civil law over Islamic sharia are infidels. These are ideas supported by Waleed Idris al-Meneesey, who is responsible for a “university” teaching Muslims about their faith. Where will Islamic University of Minnesota students get a more modern and accepting education?
Urging the state’s residents to “reject bigotry and discrimination” and step into the 21st century, the Islamist terrorist group ISIS announced today that it had canceled an upcoming terrorist attack in North Carolina in response to a recently-passed law restricting transgender individuals from using the bathroom of their preferred gender identity.
“HB2, commonly known as the bathroom bill, perpetuates discrimination and violates the values at the very core of the Islamic State organization,” ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said in a press release. “It’s become apparent clear that the people of North Carolina are not worthy of Sharia Law.”
Baghdadi had been planning a spectacular attack against a major city in the Tar Heel State, but said that he could not in good conscience ask his operatives to carry out a mission in a state that does not protect them against discrimination.
The New York Times magazine section published an article by James Traub examining the concept of “homeland” and why it sometimes has negative connotations in the American context. It includes this paragraph:
What is it about “homeland” that feels more like a violation than an affirmation of American identity? In traditional usage, the word evokes the link between a people and the state that is theirs, or that they wish to be theirs. With the founding of Israel in 1948, Jews gained a homeland. Palestinians lost one. “Homeland” throbs with the primal forces of state formation. The word points to a world of solidarity forged through blood ties, through ancient ritual and legend.
Did Palestinians lose a homeland in 1948 as James Traub contends? If he wishes to argue that homeland and statehood are so intrinsically connected, then Palestinians never had a homeland to lose. Throughout history there has never been a sovereign Palestinian state. By Traub’s own definitions, it was the Jews who lost a homeland having been dispersed from their biblical kingdom by the Romans in 70 CE, only to regain it later.
In any case, while Jews gained a sovereign state with the founding of Israel, the Jewish homeland has existed going back over 3,000 years irrespective of who commanded sovereignty over the land at any given period of time.
The Independent has published a series of articles since April 3rd on revelations regarding the harm done to the students attending dozens of illegal ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools operating in London.
Among the guests interviewed about the issue of illegal Jewish schools on Tom Swarbrick’s show on LBC Radio, on the day the first Indy story was published, was Keith Porteous Wood, the Executive Director of the National Secular Society.
Here’s an audio of Wood’s response to Swarbrick’s question concerning why the government doesn’t do more to address the problem of illegal Jewish schools.
Here’s the text of Wood’s response:
“I’m afraid there is a very very strong Jewish Lobby which actually undermines .. of which the government appear to be frightened … and allows the rule of law to be undermined ..whether we are talking about education or indeed as is another open secret effectively in places like Stamford Hill planning rules just don’t apply … if the Jewish community wants to build .. massively overbuild … and extend their houses .. then they just get away with it … it’s another open secret … It’s less of a surprise that local authorities are feeling intimidated, as they think they do, and I think there’s an awful lot of Jewish Councillors elected who are going to be happy to look in the other direction…and when it’s the central government…just thinking well actually we won’t do anything about it.”
First, it should be noted that Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, has condemned such illegal schools.
Last July the BBC News website published an article (which later had its inaccurate headline amended) concerning an incident which had taken place ten days earlier near the Qalandiya checkpoint.
The vast majority of the word count of that article was devoted to amplification of allegations made by the political NGO B’tselem. In addition, readers were directed to the B’tselem website and to its Youtube channel via two separate links but, in breach of BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality, no attempt was made to provide them with information concerning the NGO’s political agenda.
“In a statement, B’Tselem said the footage showed Col Shomer’s claim of self-defence was “unreasonable”.
“There is no doubt that the shattering of the jeep’s front window with a stone endangered the passengers when it happened. However, Kasbeh was shot in the back after the fact, when he was already running away and posing no ‘mortal threat’ to the soldiers. Feeling a sense of danger is not enough to justify any action.”
Together, the allegations from B’tselem, “witnesses” and the relative made up 85.5% of the article whilst statements from the IDF concerning the incident were allotted 14% of the total word count.
The investigation into that incident has now been completed.
“The Military Police opened an investigation into the incident to determine if Shomer had acted appropriately in the situation.
According to the IDF, Shomer had not intended to kill al-Kasbeh, and meant only to hit him in the legs in order to stop him, something that is permitted under army protocol.
What we discovered was particularly worrying considering that at the time the BBC had already broadcast several reports which included false allegations from one of the parties supplying UN OCHA with information.
“Katleen Maes informed us that UN OCHA’s three primary sources are B’Tselem, the PCHR and Al Mezan – all of which are political NGOs with a less than pristine record on impartiality in Israel-related matters. Maes added that the secondary sources used by UN OCHA to arrive at its 77% civilian casualty rate figures are the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, the Palestinian Red Crescent and the local Arabic media in Gaza, some of which is also run by Hamas and with the rest operating with Hamas consent, of course.”
NGO Monitor recently published a report which, among other things, casts more light onto UN OCHA’s relationship with those primary sources.
“OCHA coordinates several “Thematic Clusters,” whereby UN agencies, government donors, and NGOs collaborate on campaigning. […]
Now the news has been full of the results of a poll:
Poll: Half of Israeli Jews would not live in apartment building with Arabs 49 percent of Israeli Jews said that they would not live in the same building as Arab families, compared to 42 percent who said they would be willing.
There’s something very faulty with this entire news item. Actually more than one thing.
It does not make it clear that the question only involves having arabs live in Jewish neighborhoods, cities and communities.
It does not ask the reverse question: “How Many Arabs would Allow Jews to Live in Their Buildings?”
This news item it skewered to make Jewish Israelis look bad by either not asking that crucial question to show that Arabs do not want Jews in their neighborhood or hiding the results from the readers.
April 8th saw the appearance of an article titled “Gaza cinema a new experience for many with first screenings in 20 years” in the ‘Features’ section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page. Written by Hugo Bachega, the article opens with a very vague explanation of why there have been no working cinemas in the Gaza Strip for many years.
“It was only when he was 24 that Homam al-Ghussein first went to the cinema. Now, he says, he cannot miss another film.
Why did it take him so long? He lives in Gaza, where cinemas disappeared 20 years ago because of violence.”
Readers then have to plough through a further sixteen paragraphs before they find out what that reference to “violence” means.
The sabotage of Gaza’s cinemas – along with other branches of the leisure and entertainment industries – by local religiously motivated extremists is obviously the real background to this story. Nevertheless, before they are given that information, readers are led to believe that there is another factor contributing to the absence of film culture in the Gaza Strip.
Given the unpleasant nature of the issue and the potential damage to Israel’s image in the wider world, Marc Schulman, to his credit, wrote his Newsweek piece in a fair and balanced manner.
This did not, however, extend to the headline:
“Apartheid Arrives at the Maternity Ward”
By the second paragraph of the article, Schulman makes it clear that separating Jews from Arabs “was taking place even though it violated the official policy of the Ministry of Health and the officially stated policy of the administrations of each of the hospitals.”
This and the ensuing public storm is enough to demonstrate that “apartheid” is certainly not an official state policy, nor is it supported by the Israeli people.
The headline apparently generated a storm of its own aimed at Marc Schulman, who responded on his personal blog:
While I disagreed with the choice of headline “Apartheid Arrives at the Maternity Ward”. It was an effective headline and at least reflected aspects of the story. Of course, effectiveness is a function of the results and this article certainly generated the readership and level of interaction that a mostly web based news organizations desire. So much so that the Editor and Chief of Newsweek wrote me an E-mail thanking me for the article.
In 1920, President William Howard Taft said, “Anti-Semitism is a noxious weed that should be cut out. It has no place in America.”
Nearly a century later this noxious weed not only remains, it’s on the upswing worldwide, from the Middle East to Europe to US college campuses. This compelled Abraham Foxman, National Director Emeritus for the Anti-Defamation League, to come out of his recent retirement and helm a new Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
“Here was an opportunity to be involved in what was missing. There are about 40 to 50 Holocaust memorials and centers across the United States that portray what happened, but the why [it happened] is mostly limited to the issue of Nazism,” Foxman said in a telephone interview with The Times of Israel. “That’s important for future generations to understand what hate can do. But the disease of anti-Semitism goes back two thousand years.”
The center’s starting point will be the lingering controversy surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus, and then take visitors forward through time. It will rely on a combination of exhibits, scholarly works, and archival material to show how for more than two millennia religious anti-Semitism led to, among other things, the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsions of Jews from England, and the Holocaust, Foxman said.
The Jewish community in Croatia said it will boycott the country’s official Holocaust commemoration events this year to protest alleged government inaction to curb neo-Nazism.
The Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Communities of Croatia said it would hold its own commemoration “in line with Jewish tradition” instead of participating in the government one, the Voice of America reported Monday.
The committee’s president, Ognjen Kraus, told the radio station that the move followed cases of open anti-Semitism, including chants by demonstrators of pro-Nazi slogans at an anti-government march in January and during a soccer match between the Israeli and Croatian national teams last month.
“The state is simply not doing anything about it and does not want to,” Kraus said Monday.
A meeting called by the mayor of a Boston suburb to discuss prejudice, including anti-Semitism and racism, degenerated into name calling and accusations.
Newton Mayor Setti Warren said he called the April 7 meeting in the wake of several anti-Semitic and racist incidents in the community, especially in the local schools.
Many who attended the forum wanted to keep the focus directed on anti-Semitism, including a woman who held a sign reading “It’s not prejudice, it’s anti-Semitism,” the Boston Globe reported.
Three incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti were reported at predominantly Jewish Newton North High in the days after fans of an opposing Catholic school basketball team shouted anti-Semitic chants during a championship game. And a Newton middle school was the target of at least three incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti since October, including one in March.
The Israeli cosmetics firm Ahava will be fully acquired by a Chinese investment group for $77 million.
The Fosun Group on Sunday night in Jerusalem signed an agreement to purchase the Dead Sea skin care products company, the Israeli business daily Globes reported.
Ahava has been a target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel over its factory in Mitzpeh Shalem, located about one mile from the western shores of the Dead Sea in the eastern West Bank, as well as initiatives targeting only products made by Israelis in the West Bank and other disputed territories, namely the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem.
Last month, the company confirmed plans to open a plant in Ein Gedi, located within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. It is not known if the new plant eventually will supplant the factory in Mitzpeh Shalem.
The number of Brazilians who have “liked” Israel’s Ministry of Tourism Facebook profiles in Portuguese has exceeded 2 million.
Israeli officials in Brazil said the achievement is the result of a strategy that puts strong emphasis on countries like Brazil, which has one of the world’s largest Christian populations.
Today, the ministry’s “Holy Land Spirit” profile dedicated to evangelicals has nearly 1.22 million followers, and the number of Catholic followers of the “Holy Land Pilgrimage” page has hit over 1.17 million.
Evangelicals make up 22 percent and Catholics 65 percent of Brazil’s population of 204 million. A former Portuguese colony, Brazil has the largest Catholic population in the world.
“Because everything in the Bible happened in Israel, nothing is more natural than to pay attention to this [Christian] market,” said Renata Cohen, general director of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism in Brazil, in an interview with O Globo newspaper on Thursday.
SodaStream’s commercial for Heavy Bubbles –Sparkling Water That Makes You Sweat was initially created as an April Fools’ joke but this silly video has gone on to pop an Israeli Internet record with over 50,000 shares and more than five million views in just a few days.
The SodaStream International sparkling water brand collaborated with Game of Thrones star Hafthor ‘Thor’ Bjornsson on a commercial advocating that carrying heavy bottles is the best sweaty urban-fitness exercise.
Allenby Concept House, the Tel Aviv-based team behind Levi’s Commuter Clothing line, and viral video director Vania Heymann also took part in the practical joke ad campaign.
As holder of Europe’s Strongest Man title, Bjornson was an obvious choice of brand ambassador for SodaStream.
“Fun, revolutionary and disruptive campaigns are very much part of our culture,” said Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream. “We wanted to emphasize how ridiculous it is to continue to carry bottles home from the supermarket, so we came up with this crazy, out-of-the box campaign. We know that this consumer habit is hard to break, so we brought Europe’s Strongest Man to help us.”
Heavy Bubbles – Find Out Who’s Behind this Launch
Rare, 150-year-old maps of Jerusalem from a British Army operative during the Ottoman Empire, constituting “the basis for the modern understanding and recognition of Jerusalem,” were sold at auction on Sunday for NIS 13,000.
The maps in question, the first modern topographic maps of the city drawn by Capt. Charles Wilson, attempted to resolve sewage and sanitation problems in Jerusalem.
Wilson, a British Army engineer contracted by the Palestine Exploration Fund in 1864 for one year to determine the most practical means of improving the holy city’s pressing sanitations issues based on the most relevant data of the time, is considered to be a pioneer in the field.
His scholarship and research led to an advanced understanding of topography that resulted in a pronounced improvement of how to advance Jerusalem’s primitive sewage system.
The remains of the oldest kilns in Israel, including the rare raw Judean glass they produced, were recently discovered by archeologists from the Antiquities Authority as part of the Jezreel Valley Railway Project in Mount Carmel, near Haifa.
The 1,600-year-old kilns, dating to the Late Roman period, indicate that Israel was one of the foremost centers for glass production in the ancient world, the authority said in a statement on Monday.
According to the authority, glass production kilns that date to the 6th or early 7th century CE were previously found at Apollonia in Herzliya, and came 200 years later than the latest discovery.
“The largest glass production facility from antiquity that has been found so far was exposed in the Bet Eliezer neighborhood in Hadera, where it was dated to the 7th-8th centuries CE, and the latest evidence we have of glass production in the country was revealed at Bet She‘arim (next to Khirbat ‘Asafna), dated to the late 8th and early 9th centuries CE,” the IAA said.
The recently discovered kilns are the earliest to be discovered so far in Israel, the authority said.
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