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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gaza militant groups agree to halt rocket attacks on Israel

Over 200 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel this year, killing one person and causing some minor injuries.  Palestinian militant groups have agreed to halt these attacks temporarily.
Militant Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip have agreed to halt rocket attacks against Israel, a senior Islamic Jihad leader said Thursday. 

"We agreed to halt one of the means of armed resistance, which is firing rockets at Israel, to avoid the Israeli threats," Dawood Shihab, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement e-mailed to journalists. 
Read more at Haaretz

Kansas to consider bill to restrict late-term abortions based on fetal-pain claim

Following the passage of the "fetal pain law" in Nebraska earlier this year which bans abortions after 20 weeks, the Kansas legislature is set to take up a similar bill. 
Kansas lawmakers plan to consider legislation modeled on a new Nebraska law that restricts late-term abortions based on the claim that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks.

“I think the issue of fetal pain is an important one, and one that is becoming more and more a part of the debate,” said Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican who has championed late-term abortion reforms for the past several years.
Read more at The Kansas City Star

Monday, December 27, 2010

Raising fish in the desert

A group of Israeli scientists have developed a process that makes farming fish much easier and more feasible anywhere on land.
"There's plenty of fish in the sea," the old saying goes - but that's not as true as it once was. In fact, says Dotan Bar-Noy, CEO of Israel's GFA (Grow Fish Anywhere) Advanced Systems, there are fewer fish in the sea with each passing year. "Overfishing is a much bigger problem than people realize, and in a few years, many species of salt water fish are simply going to disappear if something isn't done."

Bar-Noy and 30 or so others - mostly engineers, marine biologists and other technical folk - have found a solution to the diminishing numbers of fish in the sea. Based on the work of Israeli scientist Dr. Yossi Tal and Hebrew University professor Jaap van Rijn - inventor of the system - GFA has developed an on-land environment where fish can be raised, without having to exchange water or treat it chemically.
Read more at Jerusalem Post

King Co. rejects Israeli-Gaza bus ad

In light of numerous complaints, both local and national, over a proposed anti-Israel bus ad set to run in Seattle, the King County Council has decided to pull the ad.
The outcry over a proposed bus ad to protest Israeli actions in Gaza prompted King County Executive Dow Constantine on Friday to order the county's transit system not to accept it or any other new noncommercial advertising.

A group called Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign paid $2,760 to place the ad on 12 buses, starting Monday, Metro Transit spokeswoman Linda Thielke said. The placard shows children and a demolished building with the caption, "Israeli War Crimes - Your tax dollars at work."
Read more at The Seattle Times

Thursday, December 23, 2010

To go where no Israeli has gone before

Most people they meet raise an eyebrow or two after hearing their plan. But if you ask Yonatan Winetraub and Kfir Damari what they are doing these days, the answer is simple: “We are working on going to the moon.”

The two, in their 20s, are scientists: Winetraub works for Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) as a satellite engineer with a focus on nano-satellites, and Damari is a lecturer at the Israeli College of Management and is a communication-system engineer.
Read more at The Jerusalem Post

Anti-abortion group aims to influence race for RNC chairman

The anti-reproductive rights group, The Susan B. Anthony List, is working to ensure the next RNC Chairman is strongly anti-abortion.  This follows the recent appointment of Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) to the Health Subcommittee chairmanship, which they promoted.  They are also pushing for the appointment of Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) to be chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
An anti-abortion group announced Wednesday it will launch a widespread e-mail campaign to elect a like-minded Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman.

The Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, which is co-sponsoring a Jan. 3 RNC chairman debate, said it will reach 500,000 socially conservative activists with its campaign.
Read more at The Hill

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Israel protests Gaza rockets in U.N.

In response to a recent upsurge in rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel, the Israeli government has filed a formal complaint with the UN.
Israel has filed a complaint in the United Nations over rocket attacks from Gaza.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Security Council President Susan Rice, Meron Reuben, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, called on the body to "send a clear and resolute message that these attacks are unacceptable."

The letter, dated Tuesday, was sent several hours after a rocket fired from Gaza landed several yards from a kindergarten in session in a western Negev kibbutz, wounding a 14-year-old girl on her way to school. Israel responded to the attack later in the day with an airstrike on what it called a Hamas terror center in Gaza.
Read more at JTA

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

King County councilman calls for review of proposed bus signs

In light of outcry over planned public bus advertisements set to appear in Seattle that proclaim Israel is guilty of war crimes, the King County Council is reviewing its decision to let them run.  The signs state "Israeli War Crimes, Your Tax Dollars at Work," and are currently set to start running on December 27th, the anniversary of Operation Cast Lead.
King County Councilman Peter von Reichbauer is calling for a review of proposed advertising on Metro buses that blasts Israel and the U.S., claiming U.S. tax dollars support war crimes.
Von Reichbauer says the ads could incite violence.
"I know hate when I see it," he said. "A number of people in King County see hate in this advertisement."
Read more at King5.com

Israel inside! Herzliya innovations run the Kindle

Do you have a Kindle?  Thank the high-tech center in the Herzliya Industrial Zone in Israel.
Windows; ICQ (known today as AOL Chat); anti-virus software; cell phone technology...

You name it, and Israel has had a hand in the development – if not the outright invention – of many of the most important tech components of modern life.

And Israel’s high-tech brain trust is still brimful of ideas. In fact, critical aspects of one of today’s newest, hottest, up-and-coming gadgets, Amazon’s Kindle, were developed in the heart of the high-tech center in the Herzliya Industrial Zone on the central coast.
Read more at The Jerusalem Post

Monday, December 20, 2010

House GOP Crushes Bill That Would Protect Against Child Marriage

Last week, House Republicans blocked a bill that aimed at reducing and ultimately eliminating child marriage around the world.  This bill passed with 100 votes in the Senate, yet was stymied by the House Republican leadership based on the possibility it might fund abortions.
On Thursday night, hours before passing the tax cut compromise, House Republicans thwarted a bill that aimed to protect girls around the world from being coerced into child marriage. They opposed it because, they claimed, it might fund abortions.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), was blindsided. After the Child Marriage Protection Act passed the Senate with zero objection on Dec. 1 -- a rare feat these days -- it didn't seem like there was much to worry about.
But just before the vote began, Republican leadership blasted out a "whip alert" to GOP staffers with a message: Vote no. The alert claimed the bill cost too much and that a competing bill, introduced just the day before, would be better.
 Read more at TPM Muckraker

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holbrooke’s Jewish Past Shaped His Passion for the Displaced

This week's loss of Richard Holbrooke will be felt across the world for a long time to come.  As we stop to reflect on the man and his accomplishments, information on his work on behalf of Holocaust survivors and refugees is becoming more public.
 With the tragic passing of Richard Holbrooke, the world has lost a man who devoted his life to resolving intractable conflicts; our nation has lost the premier diplomat of his era in the midst of one of his most challenging assignments as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan; and I have lost a dear friend and longtime colleague.
It is less well known that the Jewish people have lost a great champion of justice for Holocaust survivors and for refugees the world over.
Read more at the Forward

Israeli companies outsourcing to Palestinians

Within the pastel walls of a modest suburban office, Israeli high-tech workers have accomplished a feat that still eludes their political leaders: They have created a partnership with the Palestinians.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks may be stalled, but that hasn't stopped a small but steady trickle of Israeli technology companies from seeking to work with people on the other side of the decades-old conflict.

Israeli CEOs say it's their way of bringing a little bit of peace to their troubled corner of the world. But the real reason they're hiring Palestinians, they acknowledge, is because it simply makes good business sense.
Read more at Google News

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wichita doctors to offer abortions

A Kansas City abortion clinic has been training two doctors to provide abortion services in Wichita in the wake of the shooting death of Dr. George Tiller, a clinic spokesman told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Drs. Mila Means and Greg Linhardt decided to learn how to perform abortions at their Wichita practices after Tiller was shot to death by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder in May 2009, said Aid For Women spokesman Jeff Peterson. Abortion services haven't been offered in Wichita since Tiller's death.

"The reason we are training is for George," Peterson said.
Read more at The Wichita Eagle

Monday, December 13, 2010

Push for Stricter Abortion Limits Is Expected in House

Rep. Joe Pitts of PA has been selected as the incoming Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.  Rep. Pitts is strongly opposed to reproductive rights and his opposition to abortion access is a key part of his agenda as a Representative.  He co-authored the Stupak Amendment to the Health Care Reform Act, and his appointment signals a new assault on women and reproductive rights in the new Congress.
A leading Congressional opponent of abortion rights, who is in line to take charge of an influential House panel, plans to press for much stricter limits on the procedure.

The selection of the lawmaker, Representative Joe Pitts, Republican of Pennsylvania, as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health presages a major shift on abortion and family planning, according to opponents and supporters of abortion rights.

Opponents of abortion gained about 45 seats in the midterm elections, and they count the next speaker, Representative John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, as a staunch ally, virtually guaranteeing more conflicts with the White House on the issue.
Read more at  The New York Times

Thursday, December 09, 2010

What You Can Learn by Watching 'Glee'

Amazing inventions from Israel are popping up in the most unusual places.  Israel is making progress in a number of areas from medicine to energy to electronics that have the potential to impact millions of lives around the world.
So here we are watching Glee -- I know, I know, but what can I do, my kids love it -- and, though I usually fall asleep on the couch and lose the plot, I did surmise that the dim-bulb cheerleader was hoping Santa Claus would provide her paraplegic boyfriend with the ability to walk. This is where I I dozed off again, but when I woke up, one of the teachers had secretly provided the boyfriend -- Artie -- with a device called a "ReWalk," which was described to his astonished friends as a device invented in Israel that allows paraplegics to actually walk. The ReWalk is real -- here's a link to the manufacturer, Argo Medical Technologies, of Yokneam, a town near Haifa -- and it does seem like a fantastic device. It serves as a kind of electricall exoskeleton, allowing wheelchair-bound paraplegics to rise, and, as the manufacturer says, meet the world eye-to-eye.
Read more at The Atlantic

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

300 protest plan for late-term abortions in Md.

In response to Dr. LeRoy Carhart beginning to work in a reproductive health clinic in the Washington, DC area, protests have already begun.  Dr. Carhart announced last month he would open 3 clinics that offered late-term abortion services for women who need them around the country.
Nebraska doctor LeRoy Carhart began working Monday at a Germantown abortion clinic, prompting protests and a prayer vigil - and shifting the national battle over abortion from the Midwest to Maryland by focusing attention on a controversial procedure that stirs up strong feelings among many Americans. 

One of the few doctors in the country who openly acknowledges performing abortions late in pregnancy, Carhart said last month that he chose the Washington area because Nebraska has implemented a law making it illegal to perform abortions beyond the 20th week of pregnancy. Only a handful of doctors say publicly that they perform late abortions, and Carhart has been the target of abortion protests. 

New Subject of Debate on Mideast: Hummus

Part of the ongoing BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) attacks on Israel, hummus had become a recent focus on several American college campuses. 
Forget Hezbollah and Hamas. The latest chapter in the Israeli-Arab conflict is all about hummus, the chickpea dip that is a staple of American college cafeterias.
At Princeton and DePaul Universities, Palestinian students and their supporters have challenged the sale of Sabra hummus in an effort to focus attention on accusations that Israeli military forces violated human rights.
Sabra is based in Queens and Virginia, and a spokeswoman said the company had never contributed “hummus or anything else” to the Israeli military. But one of Sabra’s joint owners is the Strauss Group, an Israeli food company that according to its Web site provides financial support to the Golani brigade, part of Israel’s military force. (The other joint owner is PepsiCo.) 
Read more at The New York Times

Monday, December 06, 2010

Israel: Haifa forest fire extinguished

An update on the forest fire near Haifa, Israel.  This article includes a map showing the affected area near Mt. Carmel.
A massive wildfire which killed 42 people in northern Israel has now been extinguished, emergency officials say.

The blaze, which broke out in forests close to the city of Haifa on Thursday, had required international firefighters and equipment to stem it.

Israel's highest ranking policewoman, Ahuva Tomer, who was caught in the fire on Thursday, has since died of her injuries, her family said.
Read more at BBC News

Friday, December 03, 2010

JAC In the News - Obama White House Hanukkah Party: Kosher sushi, latkes, "Rock of Ages" sax solo

Among the many guests in attendance for this year's White House Hanukkah Party were JAC's  President Gial Yamner, Executive Director Marcia Balonick, Research Director Joy Malkus, and former President Betsy Sheerr.
In a room heavily decorated for Christmas, President Obama and First Lady Michelle hosted a Hanukkah Party on the second night of the Jewish festival.

There was a heavy contingent of Chicagoans spotted in the East Room event, packed with about 500 people, including Rabbi Capers C. Funnye, Jr. who is Mrs. Obama's cousin. Funnye is the rabbi of Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation at 6601 S. Kedzie in Chicago.

Funnye told me this was his third White House Hanukkah party--not only last year with cousin Michelle--the Bush White House invited him in 2007.

Among the other Chicagoans at the party: Judy Gold, Marcia Balonick, state Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, Neil Bluhm, Alan Solow and Jon Medline.
 Read more at The Chicago Sun Times

Abortion-Rights Issues Surface In Bids For House Committee Chairs

As House Republicans campaign for leadership positions before the start of the 112th Congress, abortion and reproductive rights are on the table once again.
House Republicans are campaigning for leadership positions as committees reorganize before the start of the 112th Congress. Summaries of recent coverage appear below.

House Appropriations Committee: In his effort to become chair of the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) has outlined a return to strict conservative values, including antiabortion-rights policies, in a booklet, multimedia presentation and letter to colleagues, Politico reports. "We have an historic opportunity to realize a conservative, pro-defense, pro-business, pro-energy, pro-gun, pro-life and pro-fiscal restraint legislative agenda," he wrote. He added that he will "restore longstanding pro-life policies abandoned by House Democrats," including by "reinstating the Hyde Amendment banning federal funds for abortions." Lewis also pledged to block funding to implement the federal health reform bill (PL 111-148). Reps. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) also are seeking the Appropriations position (Bresnahan, Politico, 11/30).
Read more at Medical News Today

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A 63-year search for Mideast peace

On the eve of the 63rd anniversary of UN Resolution 181 (Nov. 27), which called for the partition of Palestine into two states, Israel's Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, reflected on the history of the area since then and where to go from here.
Imagine a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict: a Jewish state living alongside a Palestinian state in permanent peace, with open borders, and even economic union. Sound like fantasy? It wasn’t, 63 years ago tomorrow, when the U.N. General Assembly voted in favor of Resolution 181, dividing what was then known as Palestine into independent Jewish and Arab states. The Arab world was to welcome the Jews, after 2,000 years of exile, back to their homeland. There would have been no Arab-Israeli conflict, no Palestinian refugees, and no suicide bombers. The Middle East would have looked much different. If only.
Read more at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Israeli firms see a global market for their anti-terrorism know-how

As he inspected the Taj Mahal hotel after the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, and listened to a hotel manager bemoan the lack of adequate security preparations, Israeli export official Avi Hefetz saw a growth market in the making.

"I thought to myself, if we have the state-of-the-art technology, the defense know-how and our considerable experience gained throughout the intifadas, why not organize a platform for displaying our technologies in this field?" he said.
Read more at The LA Times

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

PA removes controversial Kotel report from website

After a paper published by the Palestinian Ministry of Information claimed the Western Wall in Jerusalem had no historical significance for the Jewish People was roundly criticized by the United States, a link to the report has been removed from the Palestinian Authority's website.
The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday removed a report claiming that Jerusalem's Western Wall is not holy to Jews from an official website, after it provoked furious reaction. The PA Ministry of Information claimed that hackers had penetrated the site and removed the post.

Palestinian officials would not comment on the report Wednesday. But its author, Al-Mutawakil Taha, a civil servant in the Information Ministry, said that he stands by his work.

The move came hours after Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch praised comments made by the US in response to the report. In a press statement, Rabinovitch had said "the foolish attempt to place an 'alternative historical narrative' to the holy site of Israel insults not only the credibility of the narrators and the esteem for history, but primarily the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East."

Read more at The Jerusalem Post 

Late-term abortion doctor to practice in Md. facility

As announced, Dr. LeRoy Carhart is beginning to offer late-term abortion services in clinics in three states.  Here is information on his work to make late-term abortions available to women in the Maryland/Washington, DC area.
One of the country's most prominent late-term abortion doctors will begin offering the procedure in Maryland beginning next week, a professional association announced Tuesday.

Dr. Leroy Carhart will begin performing both early and late-term abortions at Germantown Reproductive Health Services next week, said Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, a professional association of abortion providers, of which the Germantown facility is a member.
Read more at the Baltimore Sun