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July 26, 2016 / 20 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Kenyan-Born Lonah Chemtai to Represent Israel in Rio Marathon

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Lonah Chemtai, 26, member of the renowned Kenyan athletic tribe of Kalenjin, is Israel’s most accomplished female long-distance runner, and, having secured her Israeli citizenship just before the deadline, will represent Israel in the 3000 meter hurdles race and in the marathon competition at the Rio Olympic games this summer.

Chemtai arrived in Israel in late 2008, to work as an au pair for the children of Kenya’s consul to Israel. Eight years later she is married, to her Israeli trainer Dan Salpeter, and the couple has a six-months-old baby named Roy.

“I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters.

Chemtai’s personal best time of 2:40 for the marathon is relatively slow, compared with the world’s fastest runners — Paula Radcliffe ran the London Marathon in 2:15:25 on April 13, 2003. But in Salpeter’s view, “a personal best in Rio very much depends on the conditions, which can change from day to day, so it’s hard to know. … But Lonah still has tremendous potential to improve greatly over the next 10 years and even beyond.”

Chemtai is not worried about running the marathon, which she says “is not hard,” but after Rio she plans to focus on track events and hopes to represent Israel in the 10,000 meters race at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Israel’s team for the Rio games, with 47 athletes (there may be even more) is the largest-ever Olympic delegation to carry the blue and white flag. From 1992 to 2008 Israeli athletes have one medals in every Olympic, and then, at the London 2012 games, the Israeli team came home empty-handed, so hopes are naturally high for medals this time.

Chemtai grew up in a village in western Kenya, where she says the natural conditions for running are better than in Israel, with its heavy humidity in the summer. “I prefer training in Kenya but I have to follow what the coach says,” she relates. “In Kenya there are a lot of [running] partners and there is high altitude, not like here.”

JNi.Media

El Al Dropped Flights to Spanish City that Adopted Pro-BDS Motion

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

The Spanish El Al office had been negotiating with tourist officials from Galicia, Spain, the launching of a direct flight connecting Santiago and Tel Aviv last November, but talks were scrapped following the Santiago city council passage of a motion in support of boycotting Israel, La Voz de Galicia reported on Wednesday.

Tourism is a major source of income in Galicia, where unemployment stands at almost 50% for people under 25. Santiago is the famous destination of the Catholic pilgrimage route known as the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago. It attracts more than 250,000 pilgrims and other tourists annually.

Walter Wasercier, the director of El Al’s Spain operations, told La Voz de Galicia that he had personally pushed for opening the flight this summer. An estimated 350,000 Israeli tourists visit Spain every year.

Marta Lois, Santiago’s alderwoman for tourism, denied that any talks on opening a flight to Israel had taken place and said that in any case they would not have been sabotaged by a call to boycott Israel. But the Galician Association for Friendship with Israel told the Voz de Galicia that back in April El Al opened a flight to Valencia instead of to Santiago was a direct result of the boycott motion.

ACOM, a Madrid-based, pro-Israel group which is fighting the boycott campaign against Israel in Spain, blamed Santiago’s far-left ruling party of running the city “ineptly.”

JNi.Media

Hillary, The Democrats And Israel

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick created a stir when, in a recent article, she took Hillary Clinton to task for permitting Bernie Sanders, whom she had just defeated in the Democratic primaries, to select five of the fifteen members of the party’s platform drafting committee.

One key issue to be addressed was U.S. relations with Israel. Mr. Sanders was outspoken in the course of the primaries about the need for America to be more “even-handed” in the Middle East – i.e., to stand up more for Palestinian needs and interests and to try to rein in Israel’s settlement policies. He then proceeded to select three well-known, longtime champions of the Palestinian cause: James Zogby, Prof. Cornel West, and Rep. Keith Ellison, one of two Muslim members of Congress. The other two Sanders picks were environmental activist Bill McKibben and Native American activist Deborah Parker.

Here is part of what Ms. Glick wrote:

 

Although commentators downplayed the significance of their appointments, noting that Clinton’s representatives, were, by and large, supportive of Israel, the fact is that Clinton was under no obligation to give Sanders’ supporters a seat at the table. That she did so shows she wanted to showcase growing opposition to Israel and tip her hat to the growing power of anti-Israel forces in the party.

As expected, Sanders’ representatives submitted a draft platform that called for an “end to the occupation and the illegal settlements.”

In the end, the committee reached a compromise. While the Zogby/West/Ellison wording was rejected, the draft platform makes explicit mention of Palestinian grievances, for the first time calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state that will ensure “the independence, sovereignty and dignity” of the Palestinians….

 

Ms. Glick went on to observe:

 

The numbers speak for themselves. According to a Pew survey released in May, since 2014, support for Palestinians among liberal Democrats – that is, hard line Obama supporters – has skyrocketed from 21 percent to 40 percent. Support for Israel among the group during the same period decreased from 39 to 33 percent.

The result marks the first time that support for Palestinians exceeded support for Israel among any major political demographic. On the other hand, among conservative Republicans, support for Israel stands at 79 percent while support for Palestinians is almost negligible – 4 percent. The situation among moderate to liberal Republicans is not much different: 65 percent support Israel, 13 percent support the Palestinians. On the other hand, support for Israel versus Palestinians among moderate Democrats stands 53 to 19 percent.

 

Ms. Glick is undoubtedly correct in suggesting that Mrs. Clinton was intent on allowing the Sanders crowd to be represented on the platform committee, and Sen. Sanders certainly had to be aware that his designees would try to have pro-Palestinian provisions – including anti-settlement language – inserted in the platform document. But without knowing more, we would hesitate to suggest that Mrs. Clinton’s tolerance for the Sanders people meant she somehow approved of what they proposed.

Indeed, Mrs. Clinton’s years as United States Senator from New York were, by most measures, marked by a decidedly pro-Israel position and she has regularly spoken out strongly against the BDS movement and urged a relatively hard line against Iran although she did support the nuclear agreement.

But there are legitimate concerns over her years as President Obama’s secretary of state. She repeatedly condemned the growth of Jewish settlements over the green line, at one point calling for “a stop to settlements – not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions.” Indeed, one of her first acts as secretary of state was to issue a demand for a total building freeze in existing settlement communities.

According to Elliott Abrams, an official in both the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, this broke an agreement between Israel and the U.S. That is, although it had long been U.S. policy to oppose settlements and their growth, that opposition would not be reflected in policy initiatives. Some analysts also point to the focus on settlements as one of the leading causes for the breakdown of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, with the latter being handed an issue – one that had long been largely dormant – to exploit.

It is hard to know with any real certainty how much of what Mrs. Clinton said and did during her years as secretary of state reflected her own views and how much reflected those of President Obama. She herself has noted: “…I was often the designated yeller. Something would happen, a new settlement announcement would come and I would call [Prime Minister Netanyahu] up: ‘What are you doing, you’ve got to stop this.’ ”

Mrs. Clinton cannot be faulted for trying to draw Sanders Democrats into her camp, but that doesn’t negate the fact that their anti-Israel stances gained some legitimacy and also some exposure. Doubtless, the platform’s compromise language referring to Palestinian “independence, sovereignty and dignity” is viewed by the Sanders people and others as a step forward.

The way we see it, Mrs. Clinton needs to be closely questioned about her substantive positions on Israel. But also of great importance is, going forward, whether and how she plans to stanch the erosion of Democratic political support for Israel that has grown increasingly problematic over the past several years, fueled in great measure by President Obama’s open hostility toward Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Editorial Board

$2.8 billion invested in Israel in first half of 2016

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

(Israel21C) The forecasts of wobbly world economies and an Israeli civilian workforce in need of more human resources did not stop the cash flow of investments into Israeli startups in the first half of 2016. In fact, Israeli high-tech capital raising reached an amazing $2.8 billion in the first six months of the year, according to a report by IVC Research Center.

Israeli technology companies raised an astonishing $1.7 billion in Q2/2016, in 187 financing deals. In Q1/2016, 174 Israeli high-tech companies raised $1.1 billion in private financing rounds.

“There’s no question that investors are still very confident in Israel. Good companies will always raise [money],” Amit Karp, a vice president at Bessemer Venture Partners and who focuses on investments in Israel and Europe, tells ISRAEL21c.

The 361 deals are 35 percent above the $2.1 billion raised in 327 deals in the first six months of 2015, according to the IVC Research Center.

According to the report, most of the money invested in the first months of the year went to life-sciences and software companies. There were also investments in communications, Internet, cleantech, semiconductors and other sectors.

“Despite the slowdown reported in high-tech capital raising and venture capital investments in the United States, and until now – despite various forecasts published lately regarding the industry in Israel – the results of the first quarter of 2016 indicate stability,” said Koby Simana, CEO of IVC Research Center, which analyzes and monitors Israel’s high-tech industry.

“All indicators point to a healthy and vibrant ecosystem that continues to mature and generate new companies. We are in the middle of the summer, and it seems that economic winter is not quite around the corner. Having said that, there is no doubt a significant portion of the growth capital recently raised was induced by the need to prepare for a rainy day,” said Ofer Sela, partner at KPMG Somekh Chaikin’s technology group.

Gett, Interlude, enSilo, Lumus and more

Gett (formerly GetTaxi) taxi-hailing app recorded the largest investment deal in the second quarter – a $300 million strategic investment by Volkswagen.

Among the other headline-grabbing investments so far this year are ridesharing app Via‘s $100 million Series C funding round by strategic investors from North America, Europe and Asia; Sony Pictures Entertainment’s “multi-million dollar investment” in Interlude media and technology startup; Trax Image Recognition‘s $40 million Series C funding round; content-marketing platform Yotpo‘s $22 million funding round; innovative marketing and loyalty platform AppCard‘s $20 million Series B funding round; and the Chinese-led $15 million investment in Lumus, a developer of high-end transparent near-to-eye displays for augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and smart eyewear.

Other big investments include a $9 million financing round for cybersecurity startup enSilo; United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB)’s $10 million in OurCrowd; $50 million in Series B funding for augmented-reality startup Meta; online assistance platform toolkit provider WalkMe‘s $50 million Series E funding; a $25 million investment round byEarlySense, a leader in contact-free continuous monitoring solutions; and storage startup Weka.IO’s VC-backed funding round worth $22.25 million, among many others.

The high-flying first half of year investment results are in part thanks to continued increase in deals above $20 million.

“The clear increase in large deals is driven by the enhanced activity of foreign investors – primarily corporate investors and VC funds – in growth-stage companies,” said Simana. “However, the increase is not limited to top-tier deals. We are also seeing an increase in low- to mid-range deals, with those between $5 million and $10 million jumping 50 percent, to a record $234 million. This across-the-board trend leads us to believe 2016 will continue to be strong in capital raising, with a projected 20 percent year-on-year increase, or about $5.3 billion in total to be raised by the end of the year.”

Viva Sarah Press

Netanyahu Warns Hezbollah Will Meet ‘Iron Fist’ If Group Attacks Israel

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror guerrilla organization that Israel will deal a “powerful response” if forced to respond to aggression from the group.

The prime minister made the remark at a ceremony held in Jerusalem Tuesday to mark the tenth anniversary of the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Netanyahu expressed empathy for the families of the soldiers who were killed in the war, and he warned Hezbollah it will face an “iron fist” if the group attacks Israel again.

The previous war was launched with a cross-border raid in which terrorists from the group attacked an IDF patrol that was traveling along Israel’s northern border.

Two Israeli reservists were abducted that day and both were murdered. It took years and a German negotiator plus a prisoner swap with a hundred-plus dead terrorists and a handful of live terror inmates to get the Israeli reservists’ bodies back for burial by their families.

Among the terrorists traded to Hezbollah was child-killer Samir Kuntar, who later commanded Hezbollah terror forces in the Syrian Golan Heights.

Hana Levi Julian

Tuesday 223 American Olim Made Israel their Home

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

On Tuesday, July 19, a flight with 223 olim from the US and Canada landed in Ben-Gurion International Airport, where a ceremony was held to welcome them to Israel.

KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar said that “the Aliyah to Israel is the foundation on which the Zionist enterprise stands. It is the clearest expression of our love to the land of Israel.”

“The strategic cooperation between KKL-JNF and Nefesh Be’Nefesh assists many diaspora Jews to find their way to Israel, build their home there, integrate in the Israeli society and contribute to the prosperity of Israel,” Atar said, adding, “I am sure that many Olim will encounter KKL-JNF down the road … We are here for you and proud of you.”

The 223 newcomers include Jews from 17 US states and two Canadian provinces, former servicemen from three different US Armed Forces units, families of all sizes, and young professionals.

JNi.Media

Israeli Police Arrest PA Arab for Planning Attack in Jerusalem’s Old City

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – A man from the Palestinian Authority with a history of attempted attacks against Israeli targets was arrested on Monday after planning another attack against police and Border Police forces in Jerusalem. The man, who entered the city illegally, was released from prison just two days earlier.

According to a Jerusalem Police spokesperson, forces operating in the Old City noticed a suspicious young man walking near them. They detained him and discovered that he had illegally crossed into Israeli-controlled territory from his hometown of Ramallah.

The 28-year-old man was then taken for questioning, where he admitted he was intending to commit an attack against Israeli security forces and was searching for potential targets. The police believe that the Jerusalem Magistrates Court will extend his remand.

Interrogators who questioned the suspect discovered that he was released from prison just two days earlier after having been convicted of security-related offenses. He returned to his home in Ramallah upon being released, but crossed illegally into Jerusalem shortly thereafter.

The man was arrested as a teenager on the Temple Mount in 2004 after he attempted to stab a police officer at the holy site. He served a prison term of six years for the attempted attack.

“The alertness and preparedness of the policemen led again to an arrest and to the prevention of another attack directed at security forces,” said a statement by the police. “We are ready and deployed throughout the Old City with reinforced presence for the safety of the public.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-police-arrest-pa-arab-for-planning-attack-in-jerusalems-old-city/2016/07/19/

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