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July 26, 2016 / 20 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘israeli’

eBay Acquires Israeli SalesPredict, Introducing Major Change in the Way Business Is Conducted [video]

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

On Friday, eBay, which has reported adjusted earnings per share of 47 cents on revenue of $2.1 billion in Q1, announced the completion of its acquisition of Israeli startup SalesPredict, which leverages advanced analytics to predict customer buying behavior and sales conversion. SalesPredict will support eBay’s artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science efforts, and their deep expertise will contribute to eBay’s structured data efforts.

Upon the close of the transaction, a number of SalesPredict’s employees will join eBay’s structured data organization, working from eBay’s Israeli Development Center in Netanya. SalesPredict Co-Founder and CEO Yaron Zakai-Or will serve as a Director of Product Management, Technology, and SalesPredict Co-Founder and CTO Kira Radinsky will be Director of Data Science & Chief Scientist, eBay Israel.

SalesPredict was co-founded in 2012 by Zakai-Or and Radinsky and its main investors include Yandex, AfterDox, Redline Capital, KGC Capital, and Pitango Venture Capital.

Dr. Kira Radinsky, who immigrated to Israel from Russia at age 4, says her passion “has always been, and always will be, predictions.” During her PhD studies and her work in Microsoft Research she was leading research in the field of Web Dynamics and Temporal Information Retrieval. She developed algorithms that “leverage web knowledge and dynamics to predict future events, that enable early warning of globally impactful events (e.g. riots or diseases) by spotting clues in past and present news reports.”

One of the best examples of Radinsky’s ability to predict future events was her warnings about violent riots in the Sudan during the Arab Spring. “We noticed a pattern that repeats in countries where the people are poor but the land is rich in resources—like the Sudan,” Radinsky told The Marker last week. “We noted that in such countries the canceling of state subsidies starts riots among students, and if the spiraling down isn’t stopped, things may end up in violent clashes.”

“At that time, when it was known that gas subsidies were being removed in the Sudan, our system had already issued an alert for a high chance of riots there. And, indeed, the riots began with student demonstrations, and turned into clashes with police and many protesters being hurt,” Radinsky continued. She said their system had also pointed to a similar pattern in Egypt, when bread subsidies were removed, but at the time there wasn’t enough data for the system to work with and it didn’t predict the downfall of President Mubarak.

“We lead the predictive marketing industry and strive to build the next generation business operating system,” Radinsky wrote on her Technion web page. “I am passionate about our vision of ‘Automatic Data Science’: an on-going effort to create a product that is completely automated without the need for an expert in the loop.”

“Today’s agreement to acquire SalesPredict builds upon our recently completed acquisition of Expertmaker, marking another milestone for eBay in our plans to apply world class learning approaches to building the world’s most comprehensive product catalog and pricing guide,” said Amit Menipaz, Vice President and General Manager of Structured Data at eBay. “SalesPredict’s deep expertise in predictive analytics and machine learning will contribute to eBay’s structured data efforts. For our buyers, it will help us better understand the price differentiating attributes of our products, and, for our sellers, it will help us build out the predictive models that can define the probability of selling a given product, at a given price over time.

There are three key efforts that comprise eBay’s structured data initiative: collect the data; process and enrich the data; and create product experiences. SalesPredict will contribute to data processing and enrichment, specifically with respect to inventory insights.

“With more than 900 million listings on eBay, there is an enormous opportunity to extend our experience in machine learning and predictive analytics to help eBay identify important product attributes that can affect the price of a product,” said Yaron Zakai-Or. “In partnership with eBay’s broader structured data team, we will help arm eBay sellers with more information about the value of items, ultimately helping to increase customer sales conversions.”

“As a data scientist at heart, I’ve always been interested in exploring the myriad ways we can leverage data to predict future high impact events,” said Kira Radinsky. “In founding SalesPredict, our vision was to bring about a major change in how business is conducted by unifying micro- and macro-economic predictions. Today, this vision has yielded state-of-the-art automated data science capabilities. I am excited to have the opportunity to bring these capabilities to eBay’s community and ecosystem.”

JNi.Media

Arab Attacked, Hospitalized for Posting Israeli Flag on Facebook

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Haled Abu Mokh, an Israeli Muslim Arab, was attacked by other Arabs last week for posting a profile picture with Israel’s flag on Facebook. Haled, who works in a Jerusalem hotel, was caught by a fellow Arab worker surfing to his Facebook page, and the other man started cursing him out and threatening him. By the end of that day’s shift, that same worker followed Haled on the street and threw a stone on his head. Haled dropped to the ground and was later evacuated to hospital, where he received several stitches. He’s still suffering from dizziness.

Haled was a guest on Israel’s Channel 20 TV, where he told the host, Rinat Spivak, that he is used to these reactions: “These responses, it’s normal, wherever there are such extremist Arabs, but they won’t break me.”

“Why should I be afraid,” he answered the host’s next question. “We shouldn’t be afraid of them, they should fear me, not me of them. I walk the true path. This is the truth. I was born here, I opened my eyes here and saw the national flag. There was no Palestinian flag where I was born. The Star of David, that’s me, that’s how my mother raised me.”

Haled also made clear that “no one will shut me up! This only strengthened my resolve to love this wonderful country, and I’m not alone. There are other Arabs in this country who aren’t ready to live in fear. It’s a pity that there are some people who don’t understand what democracy is, and they live in a violent and barbaric reality. What kind of future are they going to have?”

JNi.Media

Analysis: Should Israeli Settlers Fear Trump’s Peace Negotiations? [video]

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Donald Trump’s website mentions only two foreign countries by name: in its Positions section it deals with “Reforming The US-China Trade Relationship To Make America Great Again,” and in its Issues section, which is a series of videos with the candidate spending about a minute speaking forcefully on the issues, the one country that’s mentioned as an “issue” is, you guessed, Israel.

Should Israelis and US Jews be concerned that the Jewish State is so clearly a burning issue for Trump? Not if you believe the opening, where Trump straightens his gaze at the camera and declares, “I love Israel, I’m very pro-Israel.” He hasn’t said it about any other country in quite this total fashion.

But what to Trump is the Israel issue begins and ends with what he considered, back in March, when he shot this video, a challenge to his skills as negotiator. You can be a Trump supporter and still be perplexed by the amount of personal prestige the candidate has invested in being that one American president who finally brought peace to “Israel and the Palestinians.”

“Trump is plainly the best bet for the Jews,” Seth Lipsky wrote in the NY Post Wednesday, citing neoconservative Norman Podhoretz, who berated Hillary for the 2012 rejection by the Democratic convention of restoring both God and Jerusalem to the DNC platform.

True enough, but Trump was booed at his AIPAC appearance last December when he, too, refused to commit to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“Trump’s also the candidate siding with religious Americans whose rights are in jeopardy from the proliferating series of laws and court rulings in which religious persons are being asked to bow to a liberalism hostile to religious law,” Lipsky argued.

But religious Jews are not under attack by the liberal government anywhere in America: unlike in Europe, Jewish rituals are not under attack anywhere, with the possible exception of the Bay area; why even the latest NYC policy on oral suction in circumcision is restricted to educational pamphlets, rather than court orders.

The problem with Trump regarding Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria (and, possibly, eastern Jerusalem) is the candidate’s eagerness to make a difference in the age old Israeli-Arab conflict.

Here is what Trump said on tape in March, which the campaign has chosen to keep up there as one of his key concerns:

“I would love to see a deal be made between Israel and the Palestinians. It’s probably the hardest negotiation there is. Great negotiators have tried and they failed. It’s just so deep seated, the hatred, the level of distrust.

“But I’m going to give it an awfully good shot. I want to remain as neutral as possible, because if you’re not somewhat neutral the other side is never going to do it.

“But just remember, Israel, I love you, we’re gonna’ see if we can get something done, it has to be done for both sides, it cannot continue to be the way it is. Let’s see what we can negotiate, let’s see if it can be done.”

Does the last paragraph strike you as something you might tell your child before taking him for his booster shots? It’ll hurt, for sure, but remember, Daddy loves you very much and when the doctor is done poking you Daddy will buy you an ice cream cone.

There’s no doubt that presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is easily as worrisome when it comes to Israel. She is surrounded by anti-Israel advisors, one of whom is a radical Muslim. It is a tough call to make — which Roman emperor will bring more trouble to tiny little Judea: Hillary, who might end up just talking the talk but avoid the actual walk; or Trump, who might just, God forbid, decide to test his skills — and then what would Israel do when the Arabs agree to some of his proposals and a victorious Trump turns to Netanyahu and says, Brother, I got you a great deal, just hand over control of eastern Jerusalem and take the Jews out of the “territories.”

We welcome a civilized discussion of the concerns raised in this article.

David Israel

One Year in: Does the Iran Nuclear Deal Alleviate Global and Israeli Fears?

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to the JNS website}

The nuclear agreement signed on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 powers—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany—was a watershed event in international diplomacy and a key moment for U.S. President Barack Obama, who staked his legacy on the deal’s success. One year later, should world nations, and perhaps most notably Israel, still view the Islamic Republic as a nuclear threat?

“In terms of compliance with the deal itself, I think it is going very well,” Dalia Dassa Kaye, director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the Rand Corporation, told JNS.org. “Basically, the bargain was Iran rolling back of key elements of the nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief—those two key aspects of the deal have been met.”

In May, U.S. Ambassador and Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation Stephen Mull said in testimony to the U.S. Senate that the Iran nuclear deal “has been implemented by all participants.”

According to Mull, Iran has completed dozens of specific actions to “limit, freeze, or roll back its nuclear program and subject it to greater transparency by the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

This includes Iran disconnecting two-thirds of its installed centrifuge capacity, terminating uranium enrichment at its secretive Fordow nuclear facility, reducing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent, and filling the core of its Arak heavy water reactor with concrete.

As such, Mull concluded that these actions have increased Iran’s so-called “breakout time”—the time it would take to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon—from two or three months to at least a year.

Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council think tank, told JNS.org that while the deal is “holding for now,” the Iranians “remain within the letter of the agreement but not the spirit of it.”

“They have been a little more transparent in their nuclear processes, but it has not fundamentally changed Iranian behavior,” Berman said, alluding to Iran’s continued military buildup; support for terrorist organizations; and hostility towards Israel, the U.S., and America’s Arab allies.

Many policymakers and analysts also remain concerned about the economic ramifications of the nuclear deal. One of the principle concerns had been the estimated $100-$150 billion in sanctions relief that Iran would receive as a result of the unfreezing of foreign assets once the Islamic Republic met its obligations under the agreement.

According to Berman, the deal has set in motion a “vast sanctions give away that is far more expansive than most people understand.”

“It is not only the $100 billion or so incorporated into the deal, but also measures like the White House’s attempts to facilitate Iranian access to the U.S. dollar and pressure on state governments to roll back Iranian divestment measures,” he said.

“What they set in motion was this grand reorientation of global economics in favor of Iran,” Berman added.

Despite these concerns, there are still a number of non-nuclear U.S. sanctions in place on Iran relating to terrorism, Iran’s ballistic missile program, and human rights violations—creating financial uncertainty for Iran, and making a number of international companies and banks wary of doing business with the Islamic Republic. Those sanctions are in place in large part because the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, is heavily involved in Iran’s economy.

As such, with Iran not seeing the economic windfall that it had hoped for and had promised its people, Iranian leaders have publicly complained that the U.S. has not held its end of the bargain in the nuclear deal.

“On paper, the Americans say banks can trade with Iran, but in practice they act in such an Iranophobic way that no trade can take place with Iran,” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in April, while accusing the U.S. of engaging in “obstruction and deception.”

Yet Berman dismissed these complaints by Iranian leaders, saying that it is important to “separate what Iran says from what it is actually doing.”

Just weeks after the implementation of the nuclear deal in January 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Tehran, where both nations agreed to increase bilateral trade to $600 billion over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, Russia used the pretext of the lifting of nuclear sanctions to renew its deal to provide Iran with the advanced S-300 air defense system.

Even India, which has seen significantly warming relations with Iran’s enemy, Israel, under President Narendra Modi, signed a dozen agreements with Tehran during a visit by Modi to the Islamic Republic in May, including a $500 million deal to develop Iran’s Chabahar Port.

Before the nuclear deal, Iran “didn’t lack for global ambition, but lacked resources,” said Berman. Now, he explained, “the powers of global politics are such [that] the Iranians can start thinking about what it looks like to not just be a participant in Middle East politics, but a key driver of it, [and] not just be a partner of rogue regimes like North Korea or Venezuela, but to actually be a patron of them….That’s a fundamentally new dynamic for the Iranians.”

For Israel, the nuclear agreement represented a major blow to the efforts of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke out strongly and regularly against the pre-deal nuclear negotiations and has argued that the deal does not fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Yet a year after the deal was signed, there appears to be less concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions within Israel’s leadership and more of a focus on Iran’s regional ambitions, its involvement in Syria, and Iran’s support for its terror proxies.

This sentiment was clear in recent remarks by former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who stated at the Herzilya Conference in June that Iran’s nuclear program “has been frozen in light of the deal signed by the world powers and does not constitute an immediate, existential threat for Israel.”

Similarly, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said during a speech in January that a current “decline” in existential threats to Israel comes due to a variety of emerging trends, including the Iran nuclear deal.

The Rand Corporation’s Kaye, who recently returned from a trip to Israel, said that “there is a wide consensus among Israeli analysts that the Iranians are likely to adhere to this agreement.”

But Israeli military officials are now more deeply concerned about the possible economic and military consequences that a richer and more emboldened Iran will bring forth, especially through its support for its terror proxy nations. Kaye cautioned that for Israel, attention “has really turned to Iran’s role in Syria and its relation with Hezbollah as well as a permanent Iranian presence along Israel’s northern border in southern Syria.”

Berman said that “even if you take away the existential question of Iran getting a nuclear weapon later, which is where they (Israeli security officials) still think Iran is headed. What you are looking at is a very negative cycle of economic attrition. [Israelis] expect all the proxies that Iran is funding —Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad—to have a greater resources in the near future as a result of the nuclear deal.”

As a consequence, Berman said, Israel will need to step up its security and deterrence, and spend more money on defensive weapons and technology such as the Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems or anti-tunneling technology.

Nevertheless, Kaye contended that by taking the nuclear threat off the table for the time being, Israel might have more of a chance to act boldly against Iran’s terror proxies without the concern of potentially igniting a nuclear conflict with Iran.

“One of the motivations [of the deal] to begin with was to ensure that Iran would not be engaging in this type of behavior under a nuclear umbrella. I think in that context, there is some relief that Iran is at least hemmed in on the nuclear front,” Kaye said.

While it appears that Iran’s compliance with the letter of the deal has so far reduced the likelihood of a nuclear-armed Iran in the short term, there is continued concern among policymakers and analysts over Iran’s aggressive behavior moving forward.

“I think the focus will now only increase towards implementation as well as planning and preparation for what might happen once some of the key elements of this deal start to expire in 10 years,” Kaye said. “The only exception to that will be increased momentum and focus on the missile front. There won’t be a renegotiation on the existing agreement. But there may be a push to expand on the current agreement to include more restrictions on Iranian missile testing and development in exchange for further economic relief.”

Sean Savage

New Israeli Law Compels Couples to Undergo Counseling Before Divorce

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

As of Sunday, a new Israeli law titled the Domestic Dispute Settlement Act requires couples to make an attempt to resolve their disputes through peaceful means before they can embark on divorce proceedings. The new law is the result of a collaboration between Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), Minister Yariv Levin (Likud), and MKs Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi), Merav Michaeli (Zionist Camp), and Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid).

Minster Shaked said in a statement about the new law: “It is our duty to protect the children, and I’m sure this is what the parents want more than anything else. In the end they remain parents even when they are no longer a couple.”

According to the new law, before a couple is allowed to start divorce proceedings, the couple must engage in up to four meetings, at the state’s expense, to try to resolve their differences through peaceful mediation in order to avoid dragging their disputes to court. The couple’s first meeting will be in a therapeutic setting, without their attorneys present. During this initial meeting the support unit will determine the character of the next three meetings — whether the couple should engage in more therapy without their lawyers, or should move ahead to mediations, with their lawyers present.

The process of having the therapeutic and/or mediation meetings before being able to file for divorce will take 45 days.

MK Michaeli believes the new law will cut down the number of divorces in Israel. “The dispute will begin, instead of with courtroom wars, with a session at the nearby support unit, where the couple will arrive for four meetings at the state’s expense, completely confidential, where they’ll receive information on ways to manage their dispute without starting world war three and without tearing up their children,” MK Michaeli said.

Some couples who are already in the midst of their divorce proceedings have told Army Radio that the new law is ineffective and only complicates things. The new law is also not a favorite of divorce lawyers, who have been enjoying a bonanza in recent years, with the rate of divorce in Israel soaring.

Some women’s advocates have argued that in cases of a violent husband who beats up his wife and engages in vindictive action against her, the 45 days of therapy will only extend the woman’s suffering.

JNi.Media

Summer Project: Flood the Internet with Subversive Temple Mount Images

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

“How bored are the Israel police?” Facebook user Haim Brosh was wondering, after a meme he posted, showing a photoshopped image of himself, carrying an Israeli flag in front of the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, with the title of the Zionist song “Carry a flag unto Zion” and a call for the Israeli government to finally raise the flag on the Temple Mount — ended up with his arrest in the middle of the street by police detectives.

The cops could not tell a photoshopped image from the real thing, and warned Brosh to cease and desist his subversive activities, such as, we assume, getting his picture taken with an Israeli flag in front of the Al Aqsa mosque with no one noticing.

Since then, a new genre of memes has evolved in the pro-Israel side of Facebook, which we would like all of us to join, because, hey, it’s hot outside and we don’t feel like watching TV right now. Also, we’re patriotic, imaginative, and we know Photoshop.

This is the original meme by Haim Brosh.

Original flag on temple mount image

This meme was added by Arnon Segal.

Israeli flag (Arnon Segal) on Temple Mount

This came from Lizi Hameiri‎.

Israeli flag (Lizi Hameiri) on Temple Mount

And Danny Gelman.

And Danny Gelman

Here’s Jameel @ Muqata with his son (they’re wearing T’fillin too)

Jameel with Flag on Temple Mount

Then the floodgates were thrown open with this amazing meme (which we already used for the cover image but we love it so much, we figured, what the heck), we believe by Sharon Gabay.

Israeli flags on Temple Mount And we went ahead and added the ones below, but before we share them with you, please download this image if you need a foundation background for your memes, and start uploading subversive Jewish Temple Mount images to mess with the fuzz. Send us your mind gifts to www.jewishpress.com/submit-article.

This is a good background image to use.

Temple Mount Basic

And this is what we started doing with it…

Temple mount flags 3

You recognize Tzipi Hotovely above, right? She said her dream was to raise the flag on the Temple Mount, so, there you go.

Temple mount flags 2

Temple mount flags 4

Temple mount flags 5

Temple mount flags 1

Looking forward to your contributions — be funny, if possible, but keep within the limits of a Jewish family newspaper. We hope to run a follow-up story with your best submissions.

David Israel

A Teenager Experiences Israeli ‘Administrative Detention’

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Shay and Reena Yared, residents of Yitzhar in the Shomron, spent last Shabbat in a tent in a park in Kfar Avraham, a religious neighborhood of Petach Tikvah, with five of their six children.

It’s not because they don’t have a home. Rather, it was in protest of the administrative detention meted out to their 15-year-old son, Elisha, who was ordered to stay away from his home and his neighborhood for six months. The only claim against him is vague and loosely defined: suspected “involvement with violent activities targeting Palestinians.”

(The Petach Tikvah neighborhood embraced the family, with residents bringing them food, leaving the nearest shul open for them so they could have running water and plumbing, and coming out to offer them emotional support.)

Administrative detention, a holdover from the time of the British Mandate, allows police and security forces to keep a person under arrest without the need to actually charge the individual with a specific crime. While this tactic was kept in place by successive Israeli governments to detain suspected terrorists, recently it has been used to hold people considered dangerously right wing such as Evyatar Slonim and Meir Ettinger, both finally released after protracted detention and, allegedly, even torture.

Honenu is an organization that provides counsel and defense for people like Elisha or for soldiers who are under investigation for killing terrorists. A Hebrew-language cartoon on the organization’s website shows a cemetery where two soldiers killed in Operation Protective Edge say to each other: “I’m so glad we were ordered not to return fire.” “Yeah, who has strength for all these legal proceedings?”

According to Honenu’s website, dozens of people are under administrative detention – which can mean house arrest, banishment from their place of residence, or jail. While they are all right wing and religious, none has actually been charged with any crime. Although Elisha was a member of the Hilltop Youth, there is no law against that.

The problem with administrative detention is that it circumvents the courts as well as the social welfare system. Elisha, having been labeled “dangerous,” was put in solitary confinement for three days – perhaps a preferable situation for a yeshiva bachur than sharing a cell with criminals, but traumatic and a violation of his human rights nonetheless.

Central Command Chief Roni Numa, who was also in charge of the eviction from Chomesh, ordered Elisha Yared out of his house and to the custody of his grandparents (both sets of whom live in Petach Tikvah) but his parents objected. How can the government decide where Elisha, a minor, should live? Especially since protocol demands that authorities periodically check on his whereabouts, which, as Elisha’s grandmother Shoshana can attest, sometimes includes pounding on the door at four in the morning like they would for a criminal, waking up neighbors and causing a disturbance.

“You don’t throw a child from one place to another like he was a thing,” says his mother, Reena. “A child is life.”

While Elisha has to report on his whereabouts every night, he has been moving from place to place without a home, without a yeshiva, without a framework. His family has left their home to wander with him, setting up a tent in various parks to help draw attention to their plight. A couple of policemen came by the park last Erev Shabbat but were called out on an emergency that apparently posed a greater threat than a family with little kids camped out in the park.

“My daughter says she doesn’t want Elisha to come home,” says Reena, “because the kids are having so much fun camping all over the place.” But this isn’t a vacation. It’s a nightmare. Draconian laws are being instituted against families and children whose views are not politically correct. The efforts of security forces, which could be better spent targeting terrorists, are focused on idealistic boys and depriving them not only of their loving homes and families but of basic safety and security.

The Ministry of Defense has ignored requests from the Organization for Child Welfare that Elisha be permitted to return home.

“The purpose of administrative detention is to keep people quiet,” says Elisha’s father, “to make them think it isn’t such a good idea to make so much noise.” So in response the Yareds are making as much noise as possible, appealing to Knesset members and making their protest as public as possible.

People can differ over issues such as construction of settlements or dealing with terrorism, but arresting young boys, depriving them of their judicial rights and distancing them from their homes and families, should not enter into the equation.

Editor’s Note: For more information about Honenu, visit www.honenu.org or e-mail honenu.org.il@gmail.com. The Ministry of Defense can be contacted via e-mail at dover@mod.gov.il/

Rosally Saltsman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-teenager-experiences-israeli-administrative-detention/2016/07/14/

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