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June 04, 2017

PRES. DONALD TRUMP = HOMO DEUS OR YERTLE THE TURTLE?

Does U.S. President Donald Trump perceive himself to be a first and only master of humankind; a Homo Deus, to pinch the title of Prof. Yuval Harari's intriguing book? Never mind that the preponderance of serious scientists in the world agree that there is an urgent need to also 'repeal and replace' the Paris accord on the emission of dangerous gases into the atmosphere - our very future is at stake. But Trump has signaled that America's coal miners come first. However, just as Trump struck out on rejecting Obamacare, he probably will also fail again. Even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who opposed withdrawing from the Paris accord, was quick to play down the impact:

       “I think it's important everyone recognizes the U.S. has a terrific record of reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions. I don't think we are going to change our ongoing efforts to reduce these emissions in the future either. So, hopefully people can keep it in perspective.”

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May 30, 2017

Shavuot - the Feast of the Weeks

Shavuot, the Feast of the Weeks, is the Jewish holiday celebrating the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai, and the harvest season in Israel. Listen to Rav Daniel Cohen, who comments on various aspects of The Feast of Shavuot being celebrated by Jews around the world.

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May 28, 2017

TRUMP RAISES MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS IN MIDDLE EAST

The only thing consistent about U.S. President Donald Trump is his frequent lack of consistency. He left Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Right-wing camp jumping for joy: Trump had made no specific reference to the two-state solution! But on the other hand, he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was truly interested in making peace with Israel. Knesset Member Tzipi Livni, a former Likudnik who has switched to Labor, has more negotiating hours with Abbas than any other Israeli politician. Livni feels the question now is whether Trump will follow through on his declaration that both Bibi and Abbas are ready for a deal.

Livni is looking for Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt to start the ball rolling by putting something on the table. Greenblatt is Trump's longtime private lawyer with a reputation for resolving sticky issues. He will now have his work cut out for him. So far, he stage-managed a great Middle East tour for his boss that has left everybody singing the praises of Trump: Saudi Arabia's King Salman, Abbas, and Bibi.

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January 25, 2017

Cutting off a Cancer’s Life Support

In the most common form of leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, immune system B cells refuse to die, eventually clogging the bone marrow and the lymph and blood vessels. But when these same cells are removed from the body into a lab dish, they expire within a few days. “This suggests that something in the cells’ environment acts as a support system, keeping them alive,” says the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Prof. Idit Shachar. She and her group in the Institute’s Immunology Department have identified a protein that lets the cancer cells and their neighbors engage in a “secret handshake” that tells the cells to turn on their long-term survival programs.

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December 24, 2016

ISRAEL REELING FROM UN RESOLUTION OUTLAWING WEST BANK SETTLEMENTS

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu should have known better - but he didn't. He has now presided over Israel's greatest diplomatic debacle in years. Bibi knew U.S. President Barack Obama was gunning for him yet he persisted in concocting a ludicrous settlement law to placate forty families at the Amona settlement. This even after Israel's own Supreme Court had ruled it had been built on private Arab land, in violation of both Israeli and international law. Instead, Bibi gave in to the die-hard settlers who have now, in their infinite wisdom, agreed to evacuate peacefully.

So what did the PM do? He let himself be railroaded by cabinet ministers both in the Likud and the Jewish Home parties into approving a new law that would prevent the evacuation of other settlements that were also built on private Palestinian land. It is called the 'Regulation' law. The only hitch is that it opened the door for the UN Security Council to pass a resolution of its own - one that outlaws all Israeli housing built on the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Since the Six Day War in 1967, this territory was considered to be a subject for negotiation in eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Now the UN Security Council has weighed in saying in effect that all the West Bank belongs to the Palestinians for their future state. Bibi believed that US President Barack Obama, despite the bad blood between them, would again cast a US veto. But for Obama, soaking up the sun in Hawaii, it was too good to miss; he told Ambassador Samantha Power to simply abstain. The result was a landslide of 14-0 for the pro-Palestinian resolution. Bibi blew it big time and Palestinian President Mahmoud won by a knockout.

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December 10, 2016

AN ISRAELI SETTLEMENT 'TOO FAR'

Common sense will apparently prevail. The government has agreed to comply with Israel's Supreme Court that some 200 men, women and children must be evacuated from forty homes built on private Arab land at the settlement of Amona in the West Bank. After an acrimonious tug of war, it has been touch and go, and it's not over yet. The pro-Amona camp led by Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the far Right Jewish Home party played to the settler gallery. He tried, by hook and by crook, to circumvent the Supreme Court by promoting a new law that would retroactively enable Israelis to build and remain on private Arab land. This was to include Amona. His idea was that this would legally allow the settlers to remain in Amona.

However, international law stipulates that it is illegal for an occupying power to confiscate private land for private purposes. In practice, successive Israeli governments have tried to comply with it by building settlements on public or absentee Palestinian real estate. But there have been mistakes. Bennett's cockeyed idea was that if the government passed a new law making this legal, and including Amona retroactively, this would all be legally kosher.

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October 09, 2016

ISRAEL - WHAT WENT WRONG? YOM KIPPUR 2016

Jerusalem:

On Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement in 1973, the new-born state of Israel was nearly wiped off the map. Egypt and Syria launched a massive surprise attack along the entire lengths of the Golan Heights and the Suez Canal. The IDF was caught napping - when it finally awakened just several hours before the onslaught, Prime Minister Golda Meir and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan rejected a plea by Chief of Staff David Elezar to launch a preventative air strike against the massed Arab forces, about to surge forward. The Israeli leaders feared the US would blame Israel for starting the war because both President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger did not believe the Arabs would dare attack Israel. In the opening weeks of the Yom Kippur War, it was touch-and-go whether the Jewish state would survive. The IDF forces along the Suez Canal and the Golan were outnumbered ten-to-one in tanks and artillery, and by far more in infantry. Moreover the Russians had just supplied sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to both their Arab allies that shot down an alarming number of Israeli aircraft. In one of the war’s darkest hours, a desolate Dayan was heard to say:

      'The Third House of Israel may be about to fall!'

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October 03, 2016

SHIMON PERES - (1923- 2016) DREAMER & VISIONARY

Jerusalem:

Why did world leaders and ninety delegations from seventy countries attend the funeral of Shimon Peres in Jerusalem? An amazing number for a tiny country that is more often than not the butt of unbridled criticism in the corridors of the UN. They did so, as stated by US President Barack Obama, because Peres achieved the international stature of a Nelson Mandella during his incredible career that never ended until his final stroke.

First Peres bolstered the capability of the fledgling Jewish state to survive the repeated attempts by its Arab enemies to annihilate it. His contribution to Israel's defense was possibly more, and certainly no less, than many of the state's vaunted military commanders. To this very day, Israelis stand strong against threats unparalleled by any other democratic country. Although survival had to come first in the reborn homeland of the Jews, it was to be followed by a ceaseless quest for peace with her Arab neighbors.

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September 04, 2016

NETANYAHU FAVORS ULTRA-ORTHODOX JEWS OVER IDF SOLDIERS

Jerusalem:

Pandemonium in Israel after the end of the Saturday Sabbath! Tens of thousands of IDF soldiers were left stranded with no way to return to their bases after Sabbath leave. And why was that? Because Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, their Commander in Chief, bowed to the demand of his ultra-orthodox (Heredi in Hebrew) coalition partners to cease all maintenance work on the railway during the Sabbath. And since the thirteen ultra-orthodox MKs hold the balance of power in Bibi's sixty-seven member majority; they threatened to topple the government. The PM caved into their ultimatum rather than call their bluff. On Friday evening after the maintenance work had already begun, Bibi issued an urgent order barring all work on the Sabbath. That meant that the necessary work would have to be done by closing down the railway on Sunday, the start of the work-week in Israel. Of course, this is a wonderful recipe for stranding not only IDF soldiers, but also thousands of civilians going back to their jobs. In order to help the soldiers return to base, Bibi leapt into the fray by dispatching hundreds of buses to the railway stations he closed down to pick up the soldiers he marooned. Hopefully, IDF base commanders will not penalize soldiers who arrive late.

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August 20, 2016

An Israeli Reply to George Soros

Jerusalem:

This is the appalling reality of the Middle East that faces Israel today: next door in Syria, over five-hundred thousand people, mostly civilians, have already been killed in a six year blood-bath. Several times more have been wounded while millions of refugees flee to Western Europe. Marking time until he soon retires, US Secretary of State John Kerry will jaw-jaw some more with the Russian's Sergey Lavrov. Meanwhile the Russians are now flying air strikes from an Iranian air base to make it easier to hit their civilian, rebel and Da'esh targets. Human rights groups estimate that 17,000 people have been tortured to death in Assad prisons. At this moment, Da'esh sadists are carrying out their genocide of the Yazidi people. The rebel held town of Aleppo was just attacked with chlorine gas in barrel bombs. From the town, a group of doctors has sent out a frantic plea to US President Barack Obama, leader of the Free world:

      'We do not need tears or sympathy or even prayers. We desperately need a zone free from bombing .. and international action.'

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May 27, 2016

NETANYAHU-LIEBERMAN THUNDERBOLT FOR DUMMIES

Israel is still reeling after Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu appointed Avigdor Lieberman as his new Defense Minister. Half of the country thinks Bibi has lost his marbles while the other believes Lieberman is just what the doctor ordered to cope with the violence and bloodshed running rampant in the Middle East. In the past, Lieberman has called for imposing the death penalty on Palestinian terrorists, who have been killing Israeli civilians in the streets, and suggested that Israel should topple the Hamas regime in Gaza and target Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for backing terrorism against the Jewish State. In addition, if Cairo ever threatened Israel again, Jerusalem should destroy the huge Aswan Dam in Egypt.

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May 20, 2016

Is Netanyahu Playing Russian Roulette with Israel's National Security?

Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has just made the biggest mistake of his political career. He has forced the resignation of the popular Defense Minister Moshe 'Bogie' Ya'alon, who has also resigned from the Knesset and threatens to challenge Netanyahu for 'the national leadership' in the future. This is nothing less than one of the biggest political bombshells in Israel's history.

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April 24, 2016

Israeli grassroots lifesaving model goes international

When the ambulance on which he was volunteering in the 1980's got stuck in Jerusalem traffic and failed to reach a choking child in time, then-teenager Eli Beer envisioned squads of neighborhood-based volunteers who could reach patients quickly by foot or cycle and begin first aid until the ambulance arrives.

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April 08, 2016

Bernie Sanders blows it on Israel & Gaza

Has Bernie Sanders just disqualified himself from becoming Commander in Chief of the U.S., the most powerful nation in the world and leader of the Free World? His outrageous charge that Israel killed over 10,000 Palestinians in Gaza casts serious doubt. At best, Sanders appeared to be a befuddled 74-year-old who over-estimated the figure by five times! That is not only sloppy preparation and playing fast and loose with the facts, but it quite simply showed that Bernie sometimes doesn't know what he's talking about. And everyone thought Donald Trump was off the wall. But seriously, would Sanders as President be qualified to be awakened from a deep sleep at 3AM to make crucial calls about war and peace? It appears that even in the middle of the day Bernie has trouble keeping the facts straight.

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March 29, 2016

IS EUROPE READY TO ADOPT ISRAEL’S APPROACH TO SECURITY?

In the wake of deadly terrorist attacks at Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek metro station in Brussels yesterday that killed 34 people and injured about 200 others, law-enforcement agencies in Europe’s major cities are scrambling to beef up security at airports and transport hubs.

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February 05, 2016

Israel Ponders Hamas Terror Tunnels from Gaza

Israeli officials say that so far Hamas has not yet tunneled under the Gaza border into Israel. However, it may be only a matter of time - sooner or later they will. If Hamas managed to surprise the IDF during the last war in July-August, 2014, it is only natural that they will try to do it again. In an attempt to placate the public, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has declared that all measures are being taken to protect the Israeli families living along the frontier. Nonetheless, these civilians keep hearing underground noises and are very worried. Why wouldn't they be? If the tunnelers are digging away, one night the terrorists could suddenly surface above ground and try to kill them or take hostages back to Gaza. So while Prime Minister Netanyahu and his aides are trying to reassure the public, tension is mounting.

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January 22, 2016

Netanyahu Outlines a New Strategy after Iranian Nuclear Deal

In Davos, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu charted a new course. In a memorable interview with Fareed Zekaria, Netanyahu stressed that new clandestine ties with the Sunni Arab countries will supersede a solution to the Palestinian issue:

          'There is a great shift taking place - we used to think that if we solved the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it would solve the larger Israeli-Arab conflict. The more I look at it, the more I think it may be the other way round. That by nurturing these relationships that are taking place now with the Arab world, that could actually help us resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we're actually working towards that end'.

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August 14, 2015

NFL PLAYERS & IRANIAN NUCLEAR DISPUTE?

It's no holds barred, almost. In the current clash between the Obama Administration and Israel, both sides are pulling out all the stops. Secretary John Kerry has now warned that if the U.S. Senate blocks the deal it will trigger a devaluation of the U.S. dollar. Washington will hold her to account. Bear in mind that a majority of U.S. Senators also believe the Iranians have 'fleeced' Kerry and President Barack Obama.

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June 11, 2015

Is unilateral action the key to our bilateral failure?

Faith in 'the process' is at an all time low. Even the eternally out-of-touch Obama administration has taken off the rose colored glasses and admitted it is unlikely that Israel and the Palestinians will reach a peace agreement in the coming year due to the various political challenges facing them. Indeed, yet another contrived round of bilateral negotiations between the newly formed right-wing Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority (that has historically shown no desire to agree to even the most generous of Israeli concessions) would likely be doomed to an even greater failure than the peace talks of 2014.

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May 28, 2015

Weaning baby triggers this surprising effect

 Israeli medical researchers unexpectedly discovered that only when a baby is weaned off mother’s milk does a formerly unknown developmental step in the process of pancreatic beta-cell maturation begin to occur. In experiments with lab mice, this critical developmental step appeared to be triggered exclusively by the change of diet.

 The surprising discovery was made while scientists were attempting to understand why only a small subset of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas of adult organisms can replicate – leading to tissue regeneration – and why the number of replicating cells declines with advancing age.

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