MEKONEN-THE JOURNEY OF AN AFRICAN JEW

By Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman/JNS.org http://www.jns.org/latest-articles/2016/6/2/mekonen-puts-a-face-on-the-stories-of-the-idf-and-ethiopian-jewry#.V3D8SjU_nSY=

Squeals of laughter and high-spirited traditional Ethiopian dancing, coupled with deep and mournful cries of loss and pain. The piercing sound of bullets whizzing above a soldier’s head. “Ready, aim, fire.” The quiet smile of a night under the stars with your fellow comrades.

“Mekonen: The Journey of an African Jew,” the latest production from the film-focused educational non-profit Jerusalem U, is the story of an intrepid and introspective young Ethiopian-Israeli soldier.

The film, which debuted on Israeli Independence Day last month, is a spinoff of Jerusalem U’s previous documentary, “Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front” (2014), which followed five Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recruits, including Mekonen Abebe, through their military training. “Mekonen” follows up by honing in exclusively on Abebe, a young Ethiopian shepherd who overcame financial and familial hardships to realize his dream of becoming an officer in the IDF.

“After nearly every screening of ‘Beneath the Helmet,’ the audiences had burning questions about Abebe. They connected with him and wanted to know more about where he came from and how the next chapter of his story would unfold,” said Rebecca Shore, Jerusalem U’s creative director and the director of “Mekonen.”

The film, according to Jerusalem U CEO Raphael Shore, is part of the organization’s series of mission-driven productions that are meant to engage, educate, and empower Jewish young adults—particularly on college campuses, where anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are on the rise.

“We create these products to try to inspire and push back,” Shore said at the premiere event for “Mekonen” in Israel, which welcomed more than 200 youths who were culminating a year studying in Israel before attending college in the United States. “We all tend to think of ourselves as small. But we are all leaders. I hope you step up.”

“There is definitely growing anti-Semitism on campus—swastikas being painted on houses, assaults. We see it growing,” said Moshe Lencer, an international ambassador for the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi). “But on the other side, the pro-Israel camp is growing, too.…The students use these movies to help put a face to the story.”

But as much as “Mekonen” is a pro-Israel film, it is also the universal story of the Ethiopian aliyah (immigration to Israel)—and of aliyah in general.

“I decided to participate in ‘Mekonen’ to be there for others who need hope,” Mekonen Abebe, charming and modest, said in an interview with JNS.org. “It’s to give the weaker segment of society, those who are struggling, an example that you can win from nothing.”

EFRAIM KARSH : IT’S NOT THE “OCCUPATION”

As the blood dried at the scene of the latest Tel Aviv massacre, the city’s mayor rushed to empathize with the terrorists’ motives.

“We might be the only country in the world where another nation is under occupation without civil rights,” he claimed. “You can’t hold people in a situation of occupation and hope they’ll reach the conclusion everything is alright.”

This prognosis was quickly followed by the usual Israeli “hope” peddlers.

“The terror will continue as long as the Palestinian people have no hope on the horizon,” argued a Haaretz editorial. “The only way to deal with terrorism is by freeing the Palestinian people from the occupation.”

But this precisely what Israel did 20 years ago.

The declaration of principles (DOP, or Oslo I) signed on the White House lawn in September 1993 by the PLO and the Israeli government provided for Palestinian self-rule in the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip for a transitional period not to exceed five years, during which Israel and the Palestinians would negotiate a permanent peace settlement. By May 1994, Israel had completed its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (apart from a small stretch of territory containing a small number of Israeli settlements that “occupied” not a single Palestinian and were subsequently evacuated in 2005) and the Jericho area of the West Bank. On July 1, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat made his triumphant entry into Gaza, and shortly afterward a newly- established Palestinian Authority (PA ) under his leadership took control of this territory.

On September 28, 1995, despite the PA ’s abysmal failure to clamp down on terrorist activities in the territories under its control, the two parties signed an interim agreement, and by the end of the year Israeli forces had been withdrawn from the West Bank’s populated areas with the exception of Hebron (where redeployment was completed in early 1997). On January 20, 1996, elections to the Palestinian Council were held, and shortly afterward both the Israeli Civil Administration and military government were dissolved.

“What happened… in the territories is the Palestinian state,” gushed environment minister Yossi Sarid. “The Palestinian state has already been established.”

Hayek in the Hill Country In Austin, a textbook case of arbitrary regulation and its costs By Kevin D. Williamson

The easiest route to political control isn’t brute force: Sure, you can stick a gun in somebody’s face, but that’s always a risky business. The easiest route to political control is economic control. It’s cleaner, it’s safer, and it works.

There are some spectacular examples of that in India. In order to “protect” pepper farmers from being exploited by the ruthless profiteers of the free market, political bosses decided that farmers could sell their produce only to a government-approved buyers’ cooperative, the representative of which was usually — because every protection racket takes roughly the same shape — the uncle or brother-in-law of the local political boss, who often was the local money-lender, too. It’s a long and complex scheme (a story told brilliantly by P. Sainath in Everybody Loves a Good Drought) that ended in pepper farmers’ being kept in intergenerational debt bondage . . . for their own protection, of course.

Ahmad Zaatari saw a fair amount of that sort of thing growing up in Lebanon, where his well-to-do family of entrepreneurs and professionals were on the outs with the local political boss. Uncles and cousins of his father saw their factories closed on this or that pretense, and their land taken by the government. Zaatari himself ended up at a high school controlled by that same political boss, who maneuvered to make life miserable for the young man. In the end, Zaatari did what hundreds of thousands of Lebanese have done over the years: He moved to the United States. There are an estimated 3 million Americans of Lebanese origin living in the United States today; there are only 4.5 million Lebanese in Lebanon.

“My grandfather invested in real estate,” Zaatari says. “He was initially in textiles in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. Those investments saved the family, and that’s how I was able to come to the United States. I’ve always known real estate was a smart investment — it’s ingrained in me.”

Naturally, he bought a house. He bought that house in Austin, where he was involved with a number of technology start-ups after getting his master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas. His wife worked as a consultant, and they had a baby, and things were looking pretty good at the start-up where he worked developing high-tech equipment for the oil-exploration business. Buying a house in the Rockdale Circle section of Austin, far from the most expensive or most fashionable part of town, wasn’t a huge stretch.

Until the bottom fell out of the oil market, as it does, from time to time. Zaatari’s company lost a $6 million order, and pretty soon it didn’t have enough money to pay its engineers. Zaatari had a pretty good-sized mortgage and had drawn down some of his investments to make the down payment, and he is not rich. “Working in start-ups,” he says, “I’ve gained a lot of experience — not a lot of money.” Those obligations weren’t too bad for a two-income household, but they were going to be pretty rough on a one-income household.

He didn’t want to sell his house. He also didn’t really want to go get a clock-punching, steady-paycheck job, either — an energetic entrepreneur, he already had a proposal in to the National Science Foundation for an education-technology project he was developing. All he really needed was a little financial breathing room until he figured out his next step. That is one of the many faces of the so-called gig economy: It isn’t just people who can’t get a regular job, but also people who don’t want one, people who are working on something else and just need a bit of income for a while. Albert Einstein worked at a patent office, but he didn’t plan on making a lifelong career of it.

The Positive Side of Nationalism Elites may scorn love of country as primitive. Brexit voters — and many Americans — beg to differ. By Elliott Abrams —

The decision of the British electorate to reject all the advice and browbeatings from the Great and Good, and vote to leave the European Union, is above all a display of nationalism.

That word was mostly absent in the discussions I watched on the BBC and in much coverage here in the United States. And when pundits mentioned the word, they used it as a synonym for chauvinism, isolationism, and ignorance much more frequently than as a synonym for patriotism.

This should not be a great surprise: Nationalism is out of favor. It has, especially in Europe and for obvious historical reasons, been understood as a basis for fascism and extreme chauvinism. Orwell wrote that nationalism is “power hunger.” Einstein considered it infantile — the view most officials in Brussels probably take. Nationalism is considered by European elites to be a primitive view — indeed, not even a view but an emotion.

In the Brexit vote, Brits chose to reject those patronizing views and express their nationalism. By this, they seem to have meant that they want to make the key decisions about their future, and about how they live, through their own democratic institutions. On the BBC on Friday morning, a typically biased interviewer spoke with Radek Sikorski, the former foreign minister of Poland, who denounced Brexit as dangerous and malevolent. His anger and resentment were so great that they finally moved even the BBC to defend the vote. How? On democratic grounds. Don’t people have a right to vote? Isn’t self-rule sacred? It was half amusing, half inspiring to see the interviewer rise to the defense of his countrymen and -women when they were treated with contempt for choosing Westminster over Brussels.

There is a message here for Israelis — and for Americans.

For Israelis, the referendum fight helps explain their unpopularity among European elites. If nationalism is primitive and infantile and dangerous, it is no wonder that Israel is criticized endlessly and its efforts to defend itself are seen as excessive. Its basic demand — to be understood and acknowledged as a Jewish state — is itself considered illicit; ethno-national states are out of the question these days. Defending your state with actual guns is positively medieval in the eyes of today’s European leaders.

Michael Cutler :Terror Investigation Obstructer Nominated for Secretary’s Award for Valor DHS manager gets honored for thwarting the San Bernardino investigation.

I have written a follow-up article to my March 18, 2016 piece with the sarcastic title, “Are DHS Leaders Seeking an MVP Award From ISIS? – The day after the San Bernardino terror attack, why exactly did USCIS managers block a team of ICE agents from entering their facility?”

I began my original commentary by saying that I was not trying to go “over the top” with the title of my article and that I had not lost my mind but that I was infuriated that a manager of USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) would block ICE agents from entering that facility.

It is worth noting that both USCIS and ICE are component agencies of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

At the time I wrote my original article, the actual identity of the manager who blocked five ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents was not known however, it has been disclosed that the manager is Irene Martin.

It must be noted that these ICE agents were assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the office that they sought to enter was located in San Bernardino, the very same city where less than 24 hours earlier, on December 2, 2015, Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook carried out a terror attack that resulted in the murder of 14 and the wounding of 22 innocent victims.

Furthermore, Enrique Marquez, the individual the ICE agents were hoping to locate at the office, was believed to have provided the weapons used in carrying out that terrorist attack. They had discovered that Marquez was scheduled to appear for an interview that day, in conjunction with the application he filed for his wife to provide her with lawful immigrant status.

The agents were not only concerned about questioning and arresting Marquez because of the crimes he was alleged to have already committed in providing weapons and possibly other material support to the two terrorists, but the agents were greatly concerned that Marquez may have provided similar assistance to other terrorists who had not yet carried out additional attack(s). Time was obviously extremely critical and potentially innocent lives were hanging in the balance. The clock was ticking and time was not on the side of the agents- or of possible additional victims, for that matter.

Missiles for Terrorists, But No Guns for Americans Daniel Greenfield

Obama is the biggest smuggler of guns to terrorists.

You won’t find many of the Democrats who pulled their phony publicity stunt over gun control backing the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act. It was after all their very own administration that chose to sendF-16 fighter jets, not to mention other serious firepower, to the Muslim Brotherhood regime that ruled in Egypt before being overthrown by military intervention and popular protests.

Not only was the Muslim Brotherhood regime linked to Hamas, which was designated as a foreign terrorist group by the State Department, but it had helped ISIS open up a front in the Sinai. Hamas is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Qaeda is currently run by a Brotherhood splinter group. Osama bin Laden had been a member of the Brotherhood. Zarqawi, the founder of the group that eventually became ISIS, was freed as a gesture to the Muslim Brotherhood. If the Muslim Brotherhood were any more involved in Islamic terrorism, it would have copyrighted the term.

But Secretary of State John Kerry had defended the weapons giveaway to the Brotherhood by claiming that, “Not everything lends itself to a simple classification, black or white.” Apparently aiding Islamic terrorists defies simple classification. Not everything is black and white. Sometimes it’s bright red.

While Democrats have harped on gun sales to potential terrorists, their own government was responsible for selling far more lethal weapons to far more dangerous Islamic terrorist groups.

Our weapons have gone to such diverse forces for democracy in Syria as the Islamist militias operating under the moniker of the Free Syrian Army whose leader defended Al Qaeda and the majority of whose commanders wanted to work with Al Qaeda, Jaysh al-Qasas, a former ally of ISIS and Ghuraba al-Sham, which had called for slaughtering Americans “like cattle” and whose former leader had ISIS ties.

Hizbullah Threatens Israel—As Its Own Support Sinks Even the terror group’s longtime Lebanese backers are fed up. P. David Hornik

How is Hizbullah doing after about four years of fighting in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime, as part of the axis led by Iran?

In terms of bluster, and particularly threats against Israel, Hizbullah hasn’t changed much. But in other ways—and not only with regard to the often-cited 1500 fighters Hizbullah has lost on Syrian soil—the war is taking a toll on the Shiite terror organization. That includes growing unpopularity in Lebanon itself—even among its traditional supporters.

On June 18, speaking to a Lebanese audience on Hizbullah’s Al-Manar TV channel (as translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI), Hizbullah MP Walid Sukkarieh painted a scenario in a future war between Hizbullah and Israel.

He asked: “What would the capturing of settlements mean?”

Hizbullah has indeed been planning for years to capture Israeli communities in the Galilee in a prospective war.

Answering his own question, Sukkarieh said:

First, we would be liberating land. Second, we would take hostages, prisoners. The Israeli people would be a prisoner in your hands. This would prevent Israel from targeting civilians on your side. It would not be able to implement the Dahiya Strategy. They have threatened that in the next war, they will implement this strategy and destroy all of Lebanon. What will they destroy if we hold settlements hostage? We will have hostages. If they kill us, we will kill them.

The EU-Progressive Paradigm Is Falling Apart The rise of populist and patriotic passions. Bruce Thornton

Long-developing cracks in the Western political establishment’s century-old paradigm suddenly widened this year. In the US Donald Trump, a reality television star and real estate developer, improbably became the Republican Party’s nominee for president. Bernie Sanders, a socialist and long-time Senate crank, challenged the Democrats’ pre-anointed nominee Hillary Clinton, who prevailed only by dint of money and un-democratic “super-delegates.” Meanwhile in Europe, the UK voted to leave the European Union, perhaps opening the flood-gates to more defections.

These three events share a common theme: populist and patriotic passions roused by arrogant elites have fueled a rejection of Western establishments and their un-democratic, autocratic, corrupt paradigm.

That political model can be simply defined as technocratic and transnational. Starting in the 19th century, the success of science and the shrinking of the world through technology and trade created the illusion that human nature, society, and politics could be similarly understood, managed, and improved by those trained and practiced in the new “human sciences.” This new “knowledge” said people are the same everywhere, and so all humans want the same things: peace with their neighbors, prosperity, and freedom. The absence of these boons, not a permanently flawed human nature, explains the history of war and conflict. National identities, along with religion and tradition, are impediments to institutionalizing this “harmony of interests.” International organizations and covenants can be created to enforce this harmony, shepherd the people towards the transnational utopia, and leave behind the misery and wars sparked by religious, ethnic, and nationalist passions.

Technocracy, however, is by definition anti-democratic. So how can the foundational belief of Western governments – the sovereignty of free people and their right to be ruled by their own consent–– coexist with an administrative state staffed by “experts” and armed with the coercive power of the state? Quite simply, it can’t. As for the transnational ideal of a “harmony of interests,” it was repudiated by the carnage of World War I, when the Entente and Central Powers sent their young to die under the flags of their nations on behalf of their particular national interests. Yet the West still codified that transnational ideal in the League of Nations, even as it enshrined the contrary ideal of national self-determination, the right of people to rule themselves free of imperial or colonial overlords.

UK Labour Party: Haven for Racists? by Robbie Travers

It is hard to believe that the party once led by Prime Minister Tony Blair, who assisted President Bush in leading the war on terror and fighting expansionist Islamist movements, is now being fought over and led by a man who voted against banning Al Qaeda as a terrorist organization.

The idea that a single totalitarian Caliphate would bring increased democracy and stability, let alone civil and political rights, to an increasingly factional, corrupt and unstable Middle East, appears more a childlike, logic-defying fantasy.

Isn’t it usually secular societies that protect the rights of religious minorities, including Muslims, to practice their faith?

I am not a Jew, and I have no links to Judaism. But if being a Jew offends antisemitic racists, then I am happy to call myself Jew, and to stand up and be counted with the Jews as a minority facing increased persecution across Europe.

The UK Labour Party, which once stood proudly in solidarity with the victims of terrorism, now, under the would-be leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, seems to have become a haven for antisemites, Islamists and their apologists.

It is hard to believe that the party once led by Prime Minister Tony Blair, who assisted President Bush in leading the war on terror and fighting expansionist Islamist movements, is now led by a man who voted against banning Al Qaeda as a terrorist organization months after more than 200 people were killed in the 1998 terrorist attacks on the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

GOOD NEWS FROM AMAZING ISRAEL: MICHAEL ORDMAN

ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

SACH saves its 4000th child. (TY Hazel) 4-year-old Sanusey was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. The surgery needed to repair his heart is not available in Gambia. Sanusey is now recovering from open heart surgery at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel. He is the 4,000th child saved by Israel’s Save a Child’s Heart organization. Other children currently being treated include five from Iraq and Zead from Gaza.
http://www.saveachildsheart.com/sach_news/save-childs-heart-saves-4000th-child/
http://www.timesofisrael.com/sanusey-4-is-4000th-child-helped-by-save-a-childs-heart/?
http://www.saveachildsheart.com/global/children-we-help/children-currently-in-israel/

Good trials of colon X-ray capsule. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported about Israel’s Check-cap previously (Feb 2012) that requires no prior preparation or hospital visit. After 4 years, trials on 54 participants of its ingestible and disposable low-dose 3D imaging capsule proved safe and well tolerated and detected small and large polyps.
http://ir.check-cap.com/2016-05-25-Check-Cap-Announces-Preliminary-Data-Evaluating-its-Preparation-Free-Colon-Screening-Capsule

US approves CT radiation safety system. (TY Atid-EDI) The SafeCT-29 solution from Israel’s Medic Vision Imaging Solutions produces high-quality medical scan images but reduces radiation doses by up to 80%. SafeCT-29 works with any CT scanner and has just been approved by the US FDA.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIxekstfs5k http://www.medicvision.com/en/home

Canada approves tremor treatment. (TY Atid-EDI) Canada’s federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health, Health Canada, has approved the Exablate Neuro system for the treatment of essential tremor developed by Israel’s Insightec. http://www.insightec.com/news-events/press-releases/2016/health-canada-approves-insightec-s-exablate-neuro-system-for-the-treatment-of-essential-tremor/

Skin stickers to monitor activity. A new medical innovation, developed at Tel Aviv University’s Center for Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, uses ‘stick it and forget it’ electrodes affixed to the skin, to monitor muscle activity. Applications include monitoring driver alertness and individuals with neuro-degenerative diseases.
http://unitedwithisrael.org/new-israeli-developed-stickers-can-detect-and-map-emotions/
http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/InnovativeIsrael/ScienceTech/Pages/New-electrode-maps-emotions-20-June-2016.aspx

The science of daydreaming. Scientists at Bar-Ilan University have used low-level electricity to increase the rate at which daydreams – or spontaneous, self-directed thoughts and associations – occur. They also discovered that daydreams have a positive effect on task performance.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/289896.php

Help for patients and care-givers. Israeli Marni Mandell launched the startup CareHood to provide patients and care-givers with a website where they can learn what has helped other people in similar situations. They can then build a care package of services, gifts, tasks and errands that their friends and family can assist with.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/when-medical-crisis-strikes-carehood-tries-to-answer-how-can-i-help/

Monitoring cancer in the genes. Israel’s NovellusDx monitors the effect of cancer therapies on a patient’s genetic mutations. NovellusDx reports to the oncologist on the contribution of the driver mutations to the activation of the signaling pathways. NovellusDx has just received $2.5 million funds from the VC Orbimed.
http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-orbimed-invests-25m-in-cancer-profiling-co-novellusdx-1001133996 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zBQzAXFDrQ

Making any fabric antibacterial. I reported on Israel’s Nano Textile previously (Feb 2015) when it announced its antibacterial Zinc Oxide (ZnO) nano-coating for bed linen and clothing to prevent hospital infections. Nano Textile has now announced that it can make any fabric (natural or synthetic) antibacterial.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/nano-textile-says-it-can-make-any-fabric-antibacterial/
http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-israeli-co-nano-textile-introduces-antibacterial-fabric-1001131859