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The Daily TIP: Leading Reform Rabbi: Kotel Controversy Should Spur American Jews to Engage More With Israel

Posted by Tip Staff - June 30, 2017

Leading Reform Rabbi: Kotel Controversy Should Spur American Jews to Engage More With Israel
Partners of Hamas, PFLP Address UN Anti-Israel Event
Israel's JNF to Help Kenya Reforest Dry Lands
Three Israeli Startups Make List of Cool Vendors for 2017


Leading Reform Rabbi: Kotel Controversy Should Spur American Jews to Engage More With Israel

A leading American Reform rabbi said that the best approach to the controversy over canceled plans for an egalitarian prayer area at the Kotel, or Western Wall, would be for American Jews to become more engaged with Israel.

Rabbi Richard Block, a former president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), told The Algemeiner on Thursday, "whatever goes on in Israel, we need more visits there, and deeper, engaged, more passionate commitment to help develop non-Orthodox streams of Judaism there."

The anger expressed by many in the Jewish community over the decision earlier this week to stop the establishment of an egalitarian prayer area for non-Orthodox Jews and to strengthen the Chief Rabbinate's control over conversions, Block said, is "understandable," but "we’re not going to Israel as an act of kindness. We are going there for our own souls and our own sense of Jewishness."

“Going to Israel doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t register our fundamental disagreement with this decision, for example by going to the Supreme Court,” Block added. “But to disengage from Israel over legitimate issues says to those on the other side of this dispute, ‘It’s your Israel.’ And it’s not — it’s our Israel too, and we don’t walk away from it.”

Block said that American Jews who are upset with the decision and the political climate in Israel should invest in the country's community resources, “so that we’re engaged in developing the Israel we all aspire to.”



Partners of Hamas, PFLP Address UN Anti-Israel Event

Organizations allied with Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) participated in the “United Nations Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Occupation,” which was held at the U.N. headquarters over the last two days, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

Al Haq and the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights are linked, respectively, to PFLP and Hamas, both internationally recognized terrorist organizations. The brutal murder of Israeli policewoman Hadas Malka at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem earlier this month was claimed by both terror groups.

After learning of the groups’ participation at the UN event, Israel’s ambassador to the international body, Danny Danon, on Wednesday accused the UN of “colluding with supporters of terrorism seeking to harm Israel.”

He added, “It is beyond comprehension that UN funds are supporting organizations that aid terrorists and incite against Israel. We call on the secretary- general to intervene immediately and prevent these individuals from appearing at the UN.”

Meanwhile, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Thursday rejected the criticism and denied that Hamas and the PFLP were terrorist organizations. Erekat made the comment following his participation in the controversial event at the UN.

In response, Danon blasted Erekat and the Palestinian Authority, “They have no shame. These are lies and incitement from those who are paying terrorists to kill innocent Israelis. These obsessive attempts to besmirch our good name will not change the fact that the Palestinian leadership refuses to end their support for terror."



Israel's JNF to Help Kenya Reforest Dry Lands

The Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) signed a memorandum of understanding with Kenya to help the African nation restore forests in dry areas, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

The agreement will govern how KKL-JNF will assist Kenya in forestation and optimal water utilization efforts.

At the signing ceremony in Jerusalem, KKL-JNF chairman Danny Atar said the memorandum "illustrates the great importance KKL-JNF holds as an international environmental organization in sharing its knowledge and experience with the world."

"Through support in and development of arid and semi-arid regions in Kenya, which suffer from a lack of food security, KKL-JNF helps prevent climate refugee emigration and radicalization in the area," he added.

Dry land ecosystems often don't get the attention they deserve, even though they comprise roughly 40% of habitable land and are home to some 30% of the world's population, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, said at the ceremony.

Because these areas face significant ecological challenges, they are often populated by some "the most disenfranchised and marginalized people in the world," she noted.

"As we proceed to implement the MoU, we shall come up with designs and appropriate mechanisms for restoration of degraded dry land spaces and the establishment of forests in the dry lands,” Wakhungu added.

Three Israeli Startups Make List of Cool Vendors for 2017

Empow, SafeBreach and Optimal+ were among Israeli companies cited in information technology research and advisory company Gartner’s 2017 Cool Vendors listing.

Each year Gartner releases its Cool Vendors picks based on its research into worldwide providers that are changing the digital paradigm in areas such as data science and machine learning, threat management, IoT, analytics, artificial intelligence for legal affairs, DevOps, manufacturing, cloud infrastructure, blockchain application and business and IT services.

“Cool Vendors are typically companies that are lesser well-known,” said Chief Gartner Fellow Daryl Plummer. “They’re not going to be too old, because that could suggest they’ve maybe had too many rounds of funding, had maybe even a public offering. Typically they have to be under $100 million in US revenue. They have to be compelling and offer something interesting to the market, that either shifts or disrupts the market or brings a solution to the market that’s really necessary.”

Ramat Gan-based Empow, a pioneering cybersecurity startup, was cited earlier this year by Forbes as one of the few disruptive technologies in the software-defined cybersecurity arena.

Israeli breach-and-attack simulations developer SafeBreach, based in Tel Aviv and Sunnyvale, California, also was named a 2017 Cool Vendor in the category of monitoring and management of threats to applications and data.

Optimal+ of Holon was listed in Gartner’s Internet of Things analytics category for “its unique focus on creating a multi-industry and value-chain digital thread to give brand owners ‘cradle to grave’ visibility into their manufactured semiconductor and electronics products.”

(via Israel21c)


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