One Decade Since its Appearance, Iron Dome has Intercepted Over 2,500 Enemy Rockets … and Counting

By: Yaakov Lappin – Jewish News Syndicate;

Rafael’s air-defense system has successfully intercepted more than 90 percent of projectiles headed for built-up areas in Israel since 2011 and has become an essential element of national security, even as it had to overcome resistance before its initial arrival.

Ten years have passed since the Iron Dome air-defense system, produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, made its first revolutionary interception of a Gazan rocket in Israeli skies in 2011. Since then the system has conducted more than 2,500 successful real-world interceptions, preventing large-scale carnage in Israeli cities.

It has achieved an interception rate of more than 90 percent and is considered an essential element of Israeli security, on standby against enemy arsenals threatening the Israeli home front from north to south.

While Iron Dome is indispensable today, it had to overcome some preconceived notions about the role of air defense in security before first making its appearance.

Israel Scrambles to Save Animals Hurt in Massive Tar Spill

By: Abigail Klein Leichman – Israel 21c;

Veterinary professionals and volunteers rush to clean the beaches and rescue injured sea turtles, birds, lizards, snails and other wildlife.

A catastrophic tar spill washing up along Israel’s entire Mediterranean coast may be the worst environmental disaster in Israeli history.

While governmental authorities investigate the source of the offshore leak of at least 1,000 tons of sticky, toxic tar, many Israeli civilians and soldiers are helping with cleanup efforts that will likely take months.

Israeli Authorities Reveal Suspected Vessel Behind Massive Oil Spill

Israel Hayom –

Among the possible scenarios that could have led to the ecological disaster is a faulty storage device at the Minerva Helen.

Five days after Israel’s shorelines was contaminated by a massive oil spill, Israeli authorities revealed on Wednesday that the Greek-flagged vessel Minerva Helen may have been the source of the pollution.

Investigators said the vessel was expected to dock at the port of Piraeus on Friday, during which they hope it could be examined to determine whether the oil originated from it. Israeli environmentalists said that they nine other vessels could have been responsible for the spill as well.

Signs Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program Never Halted

By: Raphael Ofek – Jewish News Syndicate;

Traces of radioactivity were found recently at two Iranian sites where Tehran has reported no nuclear activity.

Samples collected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at two Iranian sites where Tehran has not reported any nuclear activity showed traces of radioactivity. Although the IAEA refrained from naming the sites in its quarterly report of June 5, 2020, they were identified last year by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in Washington. The identification was based on information extracted from the Iranian nuclear archive smuggled out of Tehran and into Israel in January 2018.

The first site visited by IAEA inspectors in August 2020 was a pilot plant for uranium conversion, with an emphasis on the production of UF6 (uranium hexafluoride, a uranium compound which, in its gaseous phase, enables the enrichment of uranium by centrifuges). This site, located about 47 miles southeast of Tehran, operated under the aegis of the Amad military nuclear program. In documents from the Iranian nuclear archive, this location is referred to as the “Tehran Site.” The facility was dismantled in 2004.

Boosting BDS: A Federal Court Decision that Should be Vacated

By: Nathan Lewin – Jewish News Syndicate;

Within 14 days of the panel’s decision, Arkansas’s Attorney General may request that the full array of active Circuit Judges of the 8th Circuit review the decision in what lawyers call an “en banc rehearing.”

A federal appeals court has just issued a pernicious constitutional ruling that should promptly be voided. In March 2017, the Arkansas legislature, by a unanimous vote of its Senate and a 69-3 vote of its House, passed a law designed to deter boycotts against Israel. Copying the text of a law enacted in Georgia in April 2016 (also adopted by the Texas legislature in May 2017 and by several other states), Arkansas law requires any company contracting with the state government to certify that it does not engage in a boycott of Israel. “Boycott of Israel” is defined in the law as “engaging in refusals to deal, terminating business activities or other actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel.”

Federal Court Permanently Blocks New York’s Restrictions on Houses of Worship

By: Samuel Smith – The Christian Post;

A federal judge permanently blocked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s controversial restrictions on indoor worship gatherings that the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction against last November. 

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto, a George W. Bush appointee, granted a  permanent injunction to block Cuomo’s COVID-19 guidelines as applied to all houses of worship listed in red and orange zones throughout the state. 

In red zones, houses of worship were subject to a limit of 25% maximum occupancy or 10 people, whichever is fewer. Meanwhile, places of worship in orange zones were subject to a limit of 33% maximum occupancy or 25 people, whichever is fewer.

Bibi Goes to Court: “I’m Not Guilty”

By: Aryeh Savir – Israel Today;

Why exactly is he on trial, and how long’s it expected to take for a verdict?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared in the Jerusalem District Court on Monday to face charges against him in Cases 1000, 2000 and 4000, alleging bribery, breach of trust, and fraud.

Netanyahu, who left the court after a short session, pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The hearing began with an oral statement from the various defendants, including the prime minister, following the written answers their lawyers sent to the court last month.

Due to the Coronavirus constraints, the hearing took place in the new and larger courtroom. The number of representatives of each defendant was limited, the journalists sat in another room when what happened in the courtroom was broadcast to them on CCTV.

Muslim-majority Kosovo Forges Ties with Israel; Will Open Embassy in Jerusalem

By: Times of Israel Staff & Agencies;

First Muslim state to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; ceremony held via Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions; Ashkenazi says Pristina’s mission likely to open in the spring

Israel and Kosovo formally established diplomatic ties on Monday, with the Muslim-majority territory also recognizing Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital — putting it at odds with the rest of the Islamic world.

In a ceremony held over Zoom in Jerusalem and Pristina, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his counterpart from the Republic of Kosovo, Meliza Haradinaj Stublla, signed a joint declaration establishing ties.

It was the first time Israel established relations with a country virtually.

The Palestinian Refugee Hoax

By: Mitchell Bard – Jewish News Syndicate;

The refugee issue is easily solvable if we return to the original definition that applied only to people who lived in Palestine in 1948-1949, not their descendants. This is the true number of refugees.

The negotiation affairs department of the PLO tweeted on May 15, 2020, “Every nakba commemoration day, we mark the catastrophe that befell our people in 1948, when 957,000 Palestinians became refugees.” The truth is that number was concocted, as is the current figure of 5.7 million used by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The actual number is more likely less than 30,000.

Palestinians typically claim that 800,000 to 1,000,000 Palestinians became refugees between 1947 and 19­49. The last census was taken in 1945. It found only 756,000 permanent Arab residents in Israel. On Nov. 30, 1947, the date the United Nations voted for partition, the total was 809,100. A 1949 Government of Israel census counted 160,000 Arabs living in the country after the war, which meant no more than 650,000 Palestinian Arabs could have become refugees. A report by the U.N. Mediator on Palestine (as of September 1948) arrived at an even lower figure: 360,000. The CIA estimate was 330,000. In 2011, historian Efraim Karsh analyzed the number of refugees by city and came up with an estimate of 583,000 to 609,000.

When the United Nations created UNRWA to assist the Palestinians, a refugee was defined as “a needy person, who, as a result of the war in Palestine, has lost his home and his means of livelihood.”

Facebook Still has Holocaust Denial Content Three Months after Mark Zuckerberg Pledged to Remove it

By: Jessica Guynn – USA Today;

Holocaust denial content remains on Facebook three months after pledging to ban all content that “denies or distorts the Holocaust.”

That’s according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League, which gave Facebook a “D” for its efforts.

The ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said the report released Wednesday, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, shows that Facebook and other major social media platforms are “still struggling to address anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial effectively.” 

Among the pieces of content cited by the ADL that Facebook did not take down: a post promoting an anti-Semitic video that claims to expose “lies” about the Holocaust, and a private Facebook group dedicated to “Holocaust Revisionism.”

Facebook removed the content after being contacted by USA TODAY.