Israel and Space Exploration: Ariel Shapira, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 14, 2015— Over 3,000 space industry leaders from around the world are gathering this week in Jerusalem for the 66th annual International Astronautical Congress.
How Israel Is Solving the Global Water Crisis: David Hazony, The Tower, Oct., 2015 — The world is in a water crisis, one that will grow more severe in the coming decade.
Kibbutzim Look to Future in High Tech: Sara Toth Stub, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 22, 2015— For 66 years, this mountaintop collective near the Lebanese border has relied on apples, dairy cows and, more recently, a vehicle-armor factory for its livelihood.
Then and Now in Jerusalem: Geoffrey Clarfield & Salim Mansur, National Post, Oct. 27 2015 — Once again anti-Jewish violence ignited in Jerusalem has spread beyond into Israel.
A Century of Palestinian Hatred of Jews: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Oct. 26, 2015
Israel Joins UN Space Panel: Danielle Ziri, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 29, 2015
Q&A with Isaac Ben-Israel, Chairman of the Israel Space Agency: Peter B. de Selding, Space News, Oct. 5, 2015
Israel: The Blessing of Insecurity: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Breaking Israel News, Oct. 27, 2015
Jerusalem Post, Oct. 14, 2015
Over 3,000 space industry leaders from around the world are gathering this week in Jerusalem for the 66th annual International Astronautical Congress. The Israel Space Agency is proud to host astronauts and scientists from 60 countries who have convened for a week of intense discussions. And despite the tense security situation in Israel – and in Jerusalem in particular – not even one participant canceled.
At the International Convention Center in Jerusalem…Technology and Science Minister Ophir Akunis welcomed the guests, saying, “This is a vote of confidence in the State of Israel and a genuine gesture of appreciation for Israeli science. The fact that the International Astronautical Congress chose to convene the conference in Israel is a tribute to Israeli science and its position as a trailblazer in the field. The State of Israel is perhaps ‘only’ 68 years old, but it stands in the front row of global entrepreneurship and innovation. I’m so glad that Israel was given this opportunity to host the annual IAC conference and that all our guests will be able to see the beauty of our country and become acquainted with Israeli science and technology up close.”
Attending the annual IAC were delegations from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), the European Space Agency and space agencies from China, Russia, Japan, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, the UK, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Kazakhstan. The NASA delegation was 50 strong, such as NASA administrator Charles Bolden, deputy administrator Dava Newman, International Space Station program scientist Julie Robinson, NASA Orion program manager Mark Geyer and five astronauts, including Canadian Chris Hadfield and American Sunita Williams who holds the record for total spacewalks by a woman (seven). Also attending the conference were well known individuals in the space industry, such as Buzz Aldrin, who was the second person to walk on the Moon.
The conference was held in a 1600- sq.m. hall with more than 100 booths, including Lockheed Martin, Airbus Defense and Space, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Elop, Israel Aerospace Industries, the Italian Space Agency and a number of start-ups in the space industry.
SpaceIL, a nonprofit organization working to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, is the first (and so far only) Google Lunar XPRIZE team to secure a “ticket to the moon” on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Launcher. “Only three countries have ‘soft-landed’ a rover on the surface of the moon: the United States, the former Soviet Union and China. Now the notion of the small State of Israel being added to this exclusive list looks more promising than ever,” said SpaceIL CEO Eran Privman. This means that as of now, SpaceIL is the leader in the international race to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon and is the group with the best chances of winning the competition.
It should be noted that 33 private companies from around the world applied, but only 15 were picked to compete. At a press conference held last week at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, President Reuven Rivlin and Science Minister Ophir Akunis announced that the Israeli team has been picked to join SpaceX, run and owned by founder Elon Musk, on its rocket launch that is scheduled for the second half of 2017. SpaceIL recently signed a $10 million launch agreement that was made possible by contributions from two major donors: the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Family Foundation and Morris Kahn’s Kahn Foundation.
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
The Tower, Oct. 2015
The world is in a water crisis, one that will grow more severe in the coming decade. Water shortages will soon lead to increasing political instability, displacement of populations, and, more likely than not, political unrest and war. Though this water crisis overlaps with the more widely-discussed problem of climate change, it is different in many ways. It is more acute and more concrete, in that it focuses on a single resource without which humanity cannot live. Its causes are less controversial. Its dimensions are more easily measured. And its catastrophic effects are playing out more clearly and more quickly.
It is also a problem that can be decisively solved without anything remotely resembling the economic restructuring and political acrobatics required to address climate change. Fully effective solutions to the water crisis have already been found. They only need to be implemented. The world’s water problem is being caused by multiple simultaneous factors: Reduced rainfall, increased population, and the rapid development of impoverished societies have all come together to deplete the amount of water available to humankind. None of these causes are going away. Solutions will come only from changing the way we find and use water…
The country that has dedicated the greatest resources, innovation, and cultural attention to the problem of water scarcity is Israel. Founded on a dry strip of land smaller than New Hampshire, saddled with absorbing millions of immigrants, Israel has been worrying about water for a very long time. Today, it leads the way in solving problems of water supply, spearheading efforts to deal with water leakage, farming efficiency, recycling waste, desalination, pricing policy, and education. This has resulted in a water revolution unlike anywhere else on earth; a revolution not just of technology, but of thought, policy, and culture. For this reason, Israelis will be at the heart of any effort to solve the global water crisis.
In fact, as a new book shows, they already are. In March 2012, a skinny, bespectacled man with black wavy hair and a soft New York accent named Seth M. Siegel sat in on a briefing by an American intelligence official. It was about the looming global water crisis. The previous month, the U.S. government’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a terrifying report with a jarringly simple title: “Global Water Security.” Using data from across the intelligence community, the report painted a stark picture of decreased rainfall, depletion and degradation of groundwater, contamination, and continued waste. All of these would combine with great increases in water usage into a perfect, waterless storm. The report listed the following “Key Judgments”:
During the next 10 years, many countries important to the United States will experience water problems—shortages, poor water quality, or floods—that will risk instability and state failure, increase regional tensions, and distract them from working with the United States on important US policy objectives.
Between now and 2040, fresh water availability will not keep up with demand absent more effective management of water resources. Water problems will hinder the ability of key countries to produce food and generate energy, posing a risk to global food markets and hobbling economic growth. As a result of demographic and economic development pressures, North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia will face major challenges coping with water problems.
Looking deeper into the report, these predictions turn out to be understatements. More than half the earth will soon be facing shortages. A set of maps provided by the National Intelligence Council shows that, by 2025, parts of the world whose water supplies will be “severely,” “extremely,” or “exceptionally” affected include the entire western half of the United States, a swath of the Middle East from Egypt to Pakistan, the whole of India, and about three-quarters of China. A decade from now, billions of people will face a severe crisis if nothing is done…
Alarmed to the soles of his feet, Siegel set out to tell the world. His lifelong interest in Israel—he spent a year there as a grad student after finishing Cornell and, more recently, became deeply involved with AIPAC—had taught him that Israelis were worried about water. Soon he discovered something that few Israelis were even aware of: Through decades of research, testing, and determination, Israelis had already cracked the nut. The subject of his book quickly changed. He now wanted to tell the world about how Israel had solved one of humanity’s biggest looming problems. The result of his efforts is the newly published Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World. I spent some time with him in New York, where he introduced me to a few of Israelis bringing about the water revolution.
When you think of Israeli innovation, you might conjure up images of teams of unshaven ex-army intel officers, led by an energetic young start-up genius, coming up with new applications for commerce or cybersecurity or maps, angling for that eight- or nine-figure exit. But measured by their long-term impact on the world, Israel’s most important innovators just might be in the agricultural sector—wiry, sun-baked engineer types who specialize in geology and the chemistry of water and the biology of crops. Over half a century, they have turned the country into a global leader in the water sphere, with water-tech exports reaching $2.2 billion in 2013. This is a lot for Israel, but still a trifle compared to its future potential…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Sara Toth Stub
Wall Street Journal, Sept. 22, 2015
For 66 years, this mountaintop collective near the Lebanese border has relied on apples, dairy cows and, more recently, a vehicle-armor factory for its livelihood. But its fastest-growing business is cybersecurity startup Sasa Software, which makes software that filters and secures data and networks. From a standing start in mid-2012, it has jumped to 90 customers, though it won’t disclose financial figures. “We can’t be isolated from all of the changes,” said Michael Piha, Sasa Software’s vice president of marketing and a kibbutz member.
Israel’s kibbutzim—where members have worked for decades at equal pay for the good of their relatively isolated, members-only communities—are staking out a greater part of the country’s tech-startup success, mixing their traditional collectivism with a new acceptance of tech entrepreneurialism. Despite traveling the globe drumming up business for his software firm, Mr. Piha still relies on the collective’s laundry to wash his clothes; he still eats in the community dining room, and he draws the same salary as his fellow kibbutz members who work the orchards.
The economic fortunes of such communities ebb and flow, but times are good for Kibbutz Sasa these days. The community doesn’t disclose pay, but it is flush enough to be building 42 new apartments for its 220 residents. Each year, it funds a vacation abroad for all members—lavish by traditional kibbutz standards.
Such largess would have been unheard of to the kibbutz’s austere founders. Up until the 1990s, kibbutzim were true economic collectives where members lived in identical apartments or dormitories. Those who earned money outside of the kibbutz gave it to the group’s treasury for equal redistribution.
Those days are over. About 75% of the communities have abandoned economic collectivism in varying degrees. Those that remain collectives, including Sasa, are more flexible. Many have cut out expensive costs like the community dining room, and sought out new funding streams, like renting real estate and running hotels. The Kibbutz Industries Association, a trade group that represents kibbutz-based companies, estimates that the average kibbutz—there are 270 around Israel—has 10 million to 20 million shekels ($2.7 million to $5.4 million) to invest in new enterprises.
Many are looking to put that money into high tech, an industry in which Israel plays an outsize role. That is thanks in part to a large talent pool of tech-savvy army veterans, and top technology universities. There is little data available on kibbutzim investment patterns, but tech-industry executives and kibbutzim trackers point to growing anecdotal evidence. “Kibbutzim have land and they have money,” said Shay Mey-Tal, founder and chief executive of Agam Advanced Agronomy, which analyzes agricultural data collected through satellites and drones. It moved from a central Israeli town to Kibbutz Megiddo in northern Israel in 2014. Agam took on three kibbutzim in the area as investors over the past year, granting them a total of 60% equity in the company. The company’s five employees sit at computers in an office next to Kibbutz Megiddo’s metal workshop and garage, which fixes the kibbutz’s tractors.
Kibbutz members typically hold equal shares in its investments. But decisions—even on kibbutzim that remain collective—are made by a small committee, often advised by outside consultants, several kibbutzim said. “It’s a very closed community, in a way, but as far as business goes, it’s capitalistic,” said Simon Guthrie, business manager of Kibbutz Bror Hayil, near the Gaza Strip. Its 75%-owned cloud-based software company AKOL started life in the late 1970s as a kibbutz-maintained agriculture database. It is now turning a profit and pursuing global sales. The company recently brought in a new chief executive from outside the kibbutz and is refreshing its workforce both with younger kibbutz members and nonkibbutz employees from the area.
Kibbutz Revivim, in southern Israel’s Negev desert, is spending about 1.5 million shekels to convert a 8,000-square-foot chicken hatchery into a high-tech accelerator. Set to open in October, it will host 10 startups focused on Web and mobile products and services. The kibbutz will take a 15% stake in each startup that participates in the three-month accelerator program. It aims to acquire shares in about 40 new tech enterprises a year. “Now, instead of eggs,” said David Ben Lulu, business manager of the kibbutz, “it will be businesses that are hatched.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Geoffrey Clarfield & Salim Mansur
National Post, Oct. 27, 2015
Once again anti-Jewish violence ignited in Jerusalem has spread beyond into Israel. This present spate of violence is part of the long-term campaign of Palestinians for change in the “status quo” on the Temple Mount. Their goal is to insure Jews visiting there feel sufficiently intimidated so that they no longer come and this will then mean a victory for the latest Palestinian intifada or the local jihad. It might be said of this recent upsurge in violence that “it has been forever thus,” but this would be incorrect as the history of Muslim rule over Jerusalem and Jewish presence in and around the Temple Mount is complex and checkered.
Before we recount this history, let us point out that the latest throwing of rocks, knife stabbings, and murders by Palestinians of Jews, especially in the vicinity of the Temple Mount, are not simply acts of “spontaneous rage” against Israeli “occupiers.” It is has been strategically organized and orchestrated in the hope that it will inspire copycat actions. One of the key organizations involved in perpetrating this violence is called the “Murabitoun.”
The Israeli General Security organization (the Shin Bet) explains these Temple Mount Palestinian activists receive about US $1,000 a month for their “spontaneous” actions. The money comes from Hamas out of funds it receives from international Islamist donors. The young men and women activists spend time in the Al-Aqsa Mosque ostensibly studying the Quran and praying, while in fact they are on the lookout for Jewish presence on the Temple Mount. When Jews wearing skull caps or with any other item signifying their Jewishness appear, the Palestinian activists sound the alert. Groups of women activists in black veils wearing niqabs follow the visitors chanting threateningly “Allahu Akbar.”
Denial of Jewish rights on the Temple Mount is also being pushed by the Palestinian Authority with support of a number of Arab states at the UNESCO in Paris. They allege that the Western Wall where Jews have gathered for centuries past to pray are in danger of being destroyed by Israel. Apart from the absurdity of this allegation, it is made by those who failed miserably to prevent ISIL jihadists destroying ancient monuments in Iraq and Syria, or the Taliban’s destruction of the giant statues of Buddha in Bamiyan, Afghanistan.
The Palestinian leadership has incited publicly their people to “spill blood.” Mahmoud Abbas, the president of Palestinian Authority, declared on television, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah.” Such chilling incitement to kill reaches back to the years immediately after the First World War, when the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, appointed by the British, made a career out of calling for jihad against the Jews culminating in his embrace of Hitler.
When Abbas calls to “spill blood,” or Jamal Zahalka, an Israeli Arab member of the Knesset, declares, “I will personally expel every Jew who comes to the Temple Mount in a provocative manner,” they are following the odious footsteps of Haj Amin Al-Husseini. Their anti-Jew hatred not surprisingly is encouraged by King Abdullah II, the West’s favourite royal pretender whose family the British imported from Hejaz in Arabia and enthroned as unelected rulers over the largely Palestinian people and country of Jordan, illegally carved out of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine in the early 1920s. Abdullah shamelessly announced recently that only Muslims should be allowed on the grounds of the Temple Mount.
There is, however, another history of Muslim rulers over Jerusalem. It is contrary to Al-Husseini’s jihad against the Jews that became embedded in the politics espoused by Palestinians over the past century. Though this history has been deliberately obscured by advocates of political Islam or Islamism in recent years, it is all the more necessary today to hold Palestinians accountable for shredding their own Muslim tradition that holds the promise of religious coexistence and mutual respect among Christians, Jews and Muslims.
When the first Arab armies conquered Palestine, or the land of Israel, in 637, Jews stood witness. Muslim and non-Muslim sources recount the surrender of Jerusalem by the Byzantine Patriarch Sophronious to Umar, the second of the righteous Caliph of Muslims and a close companion of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam. There were Jews in the company of Umar when he visited the Temple Mount and ordered the removal of filth accumulated on the site. Jews were granted permission by Umar to live in Jerusalem and pray on the Temple Mount. They were allowed to build a synagogue there. Even after the completion of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Umayyad caliphs based in Damascus, the 10th century Jewish writer Solomon ben Jeroham (a Karaite) recorded that Jews prayed on the Temple Mount.
Umar’s conduct on taking control of Jerusalem from the Byzantines set the righteous precedent for Muslims to follow. When Muslim rulers behaved differently their conduct spoke ill of them, as happened with the Fatimid ruler Caliph Hakim in Cairo. Hakim turned malevolent against Christian and Jews, and destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 1009 (for which Jews were falsely blamed and victimized by a recurrent wave of anti-Semitism in Europe). There were the Crusades, and Jews were massacred in Jerusalem by the Crusaders. But Christian rulers of the Crusader Kingdom during the 12th century became mindful of the local traditions and Jews were allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. After Saladin reconquered Jerusalem in 1187, he restored Jewish rights following Umar’s precedent.
When Ottoman Turks took control of Jerusalem in the 16th century they imposed a ban on Jews worshipping on the Temple Mount. However, they strictly enforced the right of Jews to pray at the Western Wall of the Temple, what is now known as the “Wailing Wall.” Access to the Temple Mount for non-Muslims (including Jews) was relaxed at the request of the British at the end of the Crimean war in 1856. Some six decades later General Allenby, at the head of the British army, triumphantly entered Jerusalem in November 1917, and Britain’s rule over Palestine under the League of Nation’s Mandate inaugurated a new era for Jews in their ancestral homeland after nearly 2,000 years.
For Muslims, Jerusalem is the third holiest city after Mecca and Medina. But for Jews, Jerusalem is the first and only holy city, since it was made the capital of ancient Israel by King David. Yet contrary to public opinion (in and outside of the Muslim world) Muslim authorities have generally tolerated Jews praying on the Temple Mount. The theological and historical evidence over time support this simple fact. The Muslim connection to Jerusalem rests upon the reference made in the Quran of the Prophet’s night journey “from the Sacred Mosque to the distant Mosque whose precincts We have blessed, that We may show him some of Our Signs” (17:11). Muhammad’s miraculous heavenly journey from King David’s city, referred in Arabic simply as al Quds (the Holiness), confirmed his lineage in the fraternity of prophets reaching back through Moses and Abraham to Adam…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
A Century of Palestinian Hatred of Jews: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Oct. 26, 2015 —Palestinians are on the wrong track and will not get off it until the outside world demands better of them.
Israel Joins UN Space Panel: Danielle Ziri, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 29, 2015—Israel was accepted into the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space on Thursday.
Q&A with Isaac Ben-Israel, Chairman of the Israel Space Agency: Peter B. de Selding, Space News, Oct. 5, 2015 —On a per-capita basis, Israel may have the world’s most developed space program.
Israel: The Blessing of Insecurity: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Breaking Israel News, Oct. 27, 2015—Throughout the centuries, historians, philosophers and anthropologists have struggled with the concept called “Israel.”