Ruthie Blum is the editor of Voice of Israel radio (
A few days ago, Jerusalem Post Managing Editor David Brinn posed a tongue-in-cheek challenge to his friends on Facebook, daring us to engage in a 24-hour moratorium on the words “Obama” and “Netanyahu.”

I have decided to take him up on it, though I suppose that what I am about to say could be considered indirectly connected to both.

I am referring to the brouhaha surrounding an article by Lena Dunham in the current issue of The New Yorker, which set social media on fire with charges of anti-Semitism.

The piece, called “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” is literally and figuratively nothing to write home about — or to write at all, for that matter. And had it not been penned by the celebrity actress-producer-director, who became famous for her TV series “Girls,” it would never have made it past the editor’s slush pile.

It consists of a list of 35 descriptions of the man with whom Dunham shares an apartment and a bed. Because Dunham’s mother is a Jew, she has no qualms about making fun of what she claims are her boyfriend’s Jewish traits. Among these are not leaving tips in restaurants, never bringing his wallet anywhere, having asthma and a sensitive stomach, being judgmental about the food he is served and expecting to be waited on hand and foot.


‘Everyone in Vanuatu Loves Israel’ Israeli aid workers went to remote islands to help locals in aftermath of Cyclone Pam, and made a surprising find: they love Israel.

An IsraAID disaster assistance team recently ended its first visit to the remote islands of Vanuatu in the South Pacific Ocean, where they helped locals recover from the massive damage caused by Cyclone Pam. While there they learned something surprising – the islanders love Israel.

The Israeli team, together with Tongoa parliament representative MP John Amos and a team of local volunteers, distributed over 40 tons of rice, flour and drinking water to residents of the Tongoa and Mataso islands in Vanuatu.


Israeli and UK academics to combat global cyber security threats.Francis Maude has announced joint working between Israeli and UK academics to combat global cyber security threats.£1.2 million of joint funding will be used to fund a bilateral cyber research programme through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The successful joint UK and Israeli academic partnerships are:

University of Bristol / Bar Ilan University
University College London / Bar Ilan University
The University of Kent / University of Haifa
All 3 UK academic institutions are part of the UK”s Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research programme which celebrates excellence in research in this field.



Brain disease mechanism discovered. Researchers at Israel’s Ben Gurion University and the University of California have discovered a new molecular mechanism in a mutant gene that governs how ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) attacks motor neurons. They have also identified that the protein MIF inhibits this mechanism. The discovery is also relevant to other neuro-degenerative diseases.

BrainTech 2015. (TY Michelle) Here is a roundup by “neurotech entrepreneur” Yannick Roy of the first day of Israel Brain Technologies’ BrainTech 2015 Conference in Tel Aviv. The speakers focused on the main joint ‘brain initiatives’ being conducted around the world.

Israeli nanotechnology explained. TY Israel21c for a fascinating discussion of how Israeli scientists are engineering the tiniest parts of matter to make life better for millions of people around the world. Applications include a tiny robot transporting drugs to a cancer cell in your body; or artificial retina to restore lost sight.

A study, not to be sniffed at. (TY One of the more unusual studies by scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute has uncovered that humans imitate one of the habits of dogs; by sniffing the odor of someone they meet. They do this by subconsciously sniffing their own hand after shaking the other person’s.

Device to prevent heart failure. (TY Michelle) Israel’s Vectorious Medical has raised $5 million to take its miniature wireless hemodynamic monitoring sensory implant into human trials. The device measures and reports left atria pressure – a reliable early indication of cardiac deterioration, which medication can treat.

An even bigger heart. Israel’s SHL Telemedicine specializes in providing remote diagnosis and monitoring services for patients suffering from chronic heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Its second German acquisition in two years is GPH, which monitors 10,000 heart patients.


The world leader in cyber security. (TY Michelle) To coincide with CyberTech 2015 in Tel Aviv, here is a link to the inside story of how the best and brightest Israelis go from the army’s elite cyber security unit to launch innovative startup companies. And this article explains why Israeli cyber security will continue to be a driving force in the Israeli hi-tech ecosystem. Even Chinese on-line shopping giant Alibaba is investing in it.

Cyber security for Portugal. Israel’s CyberGym has signed a NIS 45 million deal with the Portuguese electricity company Energias de Portugal (EDP) to plan, build, and maintain a cyber-defense training facility. CyberGym is jointly owned by the Israel Electric Company and Israeli IT company Liacom Systems.

UK announces 3 joint Israeli cyber Uni ventures. (TY Michelle) Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office responsible for cyber security, announced 3 UK-Israel academic collaboration ventures that will receive cyber research funding. They link UK’s universities of Bristol, Kent and UCL with Israel’s Bar Ilan and Haifa.

12 young science geniuses. Twelve teenagers won the top prizes in the Intel-Israel Young Scientists Competition in Jerusalem. Their projects covered medicine, mathematics, linguistics, music, anthropology and satellite technology. The twelve will travel to finals in Pittsburgh and Milan and receive academic scholarships.

Hundreds of schools in tech contest. Hundreds of Israeli middle and high schools are participating in the biggest programming contest in Israeli history, with prizes totaling NIS 100,000. Israel’s Center for Educational Technology wants students to learn to write code, using CodeMonkey – an Israeli interactive computer game.

Brainihack 2015. The winning project at this year’s Brainihack in Tel Aviv, Emochat, used a Neurosteer Brain Computer Interface device to interpret another person’s emotions based on their brain activity. So no need anymore to see facial expression or hear voice tone.

Microsoft’s opens new Haifa R&D center. 24 years after selecting Haifa for its first Research & Development center outside the US, Microsoft is inaugurating a new R&D center in the city. The new building will cover 7,500 sq.m, houses 150 engineers and allows Microsoft to expand by hiring dozens more.

Multinational cooperation week. The Israeli R&D centers of Motorola, Microsoft, Marvell Technology, Deutsche Telekom, Citibank, Kodak, and GE are holding their third Weekathon in three years to develop new products together. Each company is sending up to 5 senior programmers to develop “the next big thing”.

The most popular national pavilion. (TY Michelle) The crowds flocked to the Israel pavilion at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Here is a roundup of some of the innovative Israeli products and apps on show.

Magisto revolutionizes Facebook. Magisto, an Israeli video storytelling platform with more than 55 million registered users, is a key part of Facebook’s newly launched Messenger Platform. Using Magisto’s patented AI technology, EmotionSense, text and photos are transformed into a video with music, motion and special effects.

Real-time road-traffic information. (TY Michelle) Israel’s Decell Technologies provides historical and predictive road-traffic information captured from smartphones and GPS-enabled car systems in Tel Aviv, Vienna, Prague, Warsaw and Bratislava. Decell has just been acquired by US-based AirSage.

Transforming the forestry industry. Israel’s Intelescope Solutions utilizes drone and satellite imagery to produce an accurate inventory of a forest. Forestry companies in the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, India, and China utilize services from Intelescope, which just raised $8.3 million of funds.

Where to go next with your smartphone? (TY Michelle) Israel’s has launched AppWords – a mobile search and ad platform that uses keywords to trigger relevant content between one app and another. E.g. after finishing booking with a theatre tickets app, you receive “bids” for your custom from your restaurant apps.

Citi launches tech challenge in Jerusalem. (TY David Levy) International banking giant Citi has launched the Citi Mobile Challenge in Europe (London & Warsaw), The Middle East (Jerusalem) and Africa (Nairobi). Developers can win $100,000 and Citi support by building innovative solutions based on Citi’s digital platform.

Israeli scientists calculate Saturn’s “day”. (TY Geoff) Scientists at at Tel Aviv University have solved the mystery of Saturn’s days, determining that one day on the planet lasts 10 hours and a little more than 32 minutes – seven minutes shorter than originally calculated.,7340,L-4641248,00.html

Obama Allies Back Pro-Sharia Populist in Nigeria : Christian Whiton

In the dangerous last two years of Obama’s presidency, things could go from bad to worse. His allies are now backing a pro-Sharia populist in Nigeria’s presidential election, with potentially disastrous results.

On Saturday, Nigerians will go to the polls to choose their president. The race pits an incumbent with an imperfect record against a former military dictator who has flirted with Islamism.

As with the recent election in Israel, alumni of Obama are aiding the challenger — and not because he would make the region safer.

The decision Nigerians will make this weekend matters greatly, both for themselves and the West. Nigeria has Africa’s largest economy, with a gross domestic product of about $500 billion. It is a major energy producer and exporter, but also a political and cultural bellwether: the nation of 177 million is divided almost equally between Christians and Muslims.

Nigeria’s problems are serious, ranging from endemic corruption to a spiraling jihadist insurgency. The economy is growing but the unemployment rate exceeds 20 percent. Transparency International, which ranks nations by the absence of corruption, places Nigeria at an undesirable 136th out of 175.

Git Along, L’il Harry by Mark Steyn

The news that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid will not contest the next election and has decided to ride that lonesome trail into the sunset of lobbying and consulting naturally reminded me of the great man’s finest hour – his stirring defense of the federally subsidized cowboy poetry program. Here’s what I had to say about it in my column of more or less exactly four years ago – March 2011 – oh, and do stay tuned for my own non-federally subsidized efforts at cowboy poetry right at the end:

How mean-spirited are House Republicans? So mean-spirited that they would end federally funded cowboy poetry! On Tuesday, Harry Reid, the Majority Leader, took to the Senate floor to thunder that this town ain’t big enough for both him and the Mean-Spirited Kid (John Boehner).

Raising Children to be Soldiers of Allah by Monir Hussain

“Moreover [the children’s] mindset [in the Islamic Madrasa education] is nurtured with a message of hatred towards all non-Muslim communities… Islam is the only true religion, all other religions are false — this is what they are taught from the beginning by the Madrasa teacher. They also chant nonstop the mantra that all nonbelievers (in Islam) are Kafirs and infidels fit to be destroyed by all true Muslims.” — Shudhansu S. Tunga, author of A 20 Million Billion Trillion Dollar Loss: The Story of India’s Downslide Independence.

In such a small land as Bangladesh, roughly the size of the U.S. state of Iowa, there are 15,000 officially registered madrasas, accompanied by 200,000 teachers “teaching” four million “students.” If one adds to it the number of unregistered madrasas, the number is as high as 64,000.

“Bangladesh is appeasing the most insidious and violent strains of Islam… That appeasement of theocratic demands and naked threats must end, now.” — Bob Churchill, Director of Communications, International Humanist and Ethical Union.

James Baker’s Zombie Foreign Policy by Matthew Continetti

Jeb Bush is cleaning up a mess he helped create. It’s a distraction from what he’d rather be doing, which is building an “aura of inevitability” around his soon-to-be presidential campaign. He’s spent the past week distancing himself from the speech that one of his foreign policy advisers, former secretary of State James Baker, delivered to the annual meeting of J Street, the liberal fringe group that pushes tough policies against Israel.

Baker’s speech couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Obama administration is in the midst of a campaign to demonize Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, greeted Netanyahu’s election victory with abuse and threats to abandon Israel to the anti-Semites at the U.N., and is hurtling toward a flawed nuclear agreement with Iran. Having a former high-ranking Republican official tell moldy anecdotes and agree that Israel is responsible for the standstill in the peace process only legitimized J Street and suggested a division in GOP ranks when there isn’t any. The speech risked confirming the suspicions of conservatives and Republicans that Bush isn’t really one of them. Two advisers to national political figures appeared at the J Street conference: White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and James Baker. Surely this White House is company the Bush crew doesn’t want to keep.


Harry Reid is retiring. Whatever happens to his Senate seat in 2016, this is good news for Republicans and it is good news for America. Good riddance, Harry. Good bloody riddance. Today we will hear a lot about Reid’s “service” to the Senate and to the American people. Ha! “Service” indeed. The truth of the matter is that Harry Reid is a stone-cold killer who has damaged Washington considerably, who has elevated his own political preferences above the institution he was elected to protect, and who has made worse the partisan rancor that our self-described enlightened class claims to abhor.
The greatest service he can do America is to go away. From a purely Machiavellian perspective, there is a strong case to be made that Reid has been the most effective federal politician in the United States over the last decade or so. In order to protect the president and to advance his movements’ goals, Reid has been willing to diminish the influence, power, and effectiveness of his own institution; in order to thwart his opponents, he has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to play dirty — a capacity that sets him apart even from other harsh players such as Chuck Schumer, Ted Cruz, and Dick Durbin; and, in order to satisfy his own need to feel powerful, he has perfected the scorched earth approach that has kept Obama’s presidency on life support since November of 2010 (in my estimation, the Democratic party’s success during the 2013 shutdown was the product of Reid’s obstinacy and resolve, not Obama’s).


From the June 2, 2014, issue of NR Editor’s Note: To mark Harry Reid’s announcement that he plans to retire in 2016, NR is running Kevin D. Williamson’s 2014 cover piece on the Nevada senator.

There are 53 Democrats in the Senate, plus two nominal independents who associate with them, and this clown caucus has chosen, since 2007, to place itself under the malignant leadership of Harry Reid, Washington’s answer to Frankenstein’s monster — stitched together out of the worst bits of Roger Chillingworth, Joe McCarthy, and Droopy — a teacup tyrant who has filled his own pockets to the tune of $10 million while decrying the allegedly baleful influence of the wealthy on politics, a man who has done violence to ethical standards left and right, using campaign funds for personal expenditures and trying to hide payments channeled to his granddaughter, who takes to the Senate floor to make patently false, malicious, and increasingly loopy claims about his political rivals, and who is leading a partisan assault on the Bill of Rights. If America needs a(nother) good reason to hand Democrats their heads come November, then they would do well to study the career of Harry Reid (D., Ritz-Carlton), the Sheriff of Nottingham to Barack Obama’s Prince John.

Harry Reid is in some ways a laughable figure, and one of his few charms is that he is known to make self-deprecating observations about his own unprepossessing nature. His obsession with Koch Industries and the intimations of venality that surround him might be grounds for annoyed eye-rolling if they were not of a piece with his audacious war on the most important of our fundamental constitutional liberties. The cheap histrionics, the gross hypocrisy, the outright lies, misusing campaign funds to tip his staff at the Ritz $3,300 — all of that would be just about bearable, but the shocking fact is that Harry Reid and his Senate Democrats are quietly attempting to repeal the First Amendment. And that elevates Senator Reid’s shenanigans from buffoonery to villainy.