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The Daily TIP: Governor Signs Kansas Bill Outlawing Discriminatory Boycotts of Israel

Posted by Tip Staff - June 16, 2017

Governor Signs Kansas Bill Outlawing Discriminatory Boycotts of Israel
New Technology Reveals First Temple-Era Message Reaffirming Historical Jewish Ties to Israel
Netanyahu Holds Third Summit With Leaders of Greece, Cyprus Over Gas Pipeline
Innovative Israeli Job-Hunting Site Get $8 Million in Funding, Opens NY Office

Governor Signs Kansas Bill Outlawing Discriminatory Boycotts of Israel

Kansas became the latest state to adopt a law barring the state from doing business with entities that boycott Israel when Gov. Sam Brownback signed the bill into law on Friday.

The bill, HB 2409, passed the Kansas senate last Wednesday by a 39 to 3 vote and a few hours later passed the state's House by 99 - 13.

According to the bill the state and none of its agencies may not "enter into a contract with an individual or company to acquire or dispose of services, supplies, information technology or construction, unless such individual or company submits a written certification that such individual or company is not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel."

Further on the bill states that the problem with such boycotts is that they are imposed "on the basis of such person’s location in such places."

Similar anti-BDS bills have become law in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, South Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, Florida, Alabama, California, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Minnesota, Nevada, and Iowa. New York governor Andrew Cuomo approved a similar measure by executive order.

Advocates of these measures have emphasized that they do not raise any First Amendment issues, as private parties are still free to protest, boycott, or speak out against Israel in any way. However, states may be obligated to protect taxpayer money from being used to promote or support discrimination based on religion, race, or nationality.

The passage of anti-BDS legislation reflects an understanding that the campaign “is not like the civil rights protests, as its supporters love to claim, but rather more like the anti-Jewish boycotts so common in Europe in the 20th century, and in the Arab world until this day,” Northwestern University law professor Eugene Kontorovich wrote in The Washington Post in 2015.

New Technology Reveals First Temple-Era Message Reaffirming Historical Jewish Ties to Israel

Previously unseen Hebrew writing from the First Temple-era that reaffirms a historical Jewish connection to Israel has been discovered on pottery from almost 3,000 years ago, The Times of Israel reported Wednesday.  

The ink-on-clay piece of pottery, called an ostracon, was originally discovered in the 1960s in the city of Arad, near the Negev Desert. Over 100 ostraca inscribed in biblical Hebrew were found in the citadel, which is the largest and richest collection of inscriptions from the biblical period ever discovered in Israel.  

For the past 50 years, the shards have been prominently displayed at the Israel Museum, after leading scholars had deciphered the legible writings on the pottery. But now, using revolutionary technology in multispectral imaging, researchers at Tel Aviv University have found a way to illuminate previously hidden messages on the ostraca that could shed light on ancient Hebrew history.

The researchers discovered three lines of writing from two and a half millennia ago - containing commands regarding supply of commodities (wine, oil and flour) to military units - that would otherwise have been lost to the annals of history.

The discovery raises the possibility that other “blank” pottery from the same period may also contain previously unseen texts and a wider re-examination of the pieces are in planning.

“My heart aches when thinking of all the inscriptions [on finds believed to be blank] that were perhaps thrown into the trash, because it was impossible to discern them in the field,” Arie Shaus, a doctoral student at Tel Aviv University, told The Times of Israel.

Last September, scientists reconstructed a 2,000-year-old biblical text from a burned scroll found in Israel that is thought to contain the earliest known copy of biblical scriptures in standardized form.

A month later, The Israel Antiquities Authority unveiled an ancient papyrus from the First Temple period containing the earliest Hebrew mention of Jerusalem outside the Bible.


Netanyahu Holds Third Summit With Leaders of Greece, Cyprus Over Gas Pipeline

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with his Greek and Cypriot counterparts to discuss speeding up construction of a gas pipeline from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe, The Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

The summit with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades took place in the Greek city of Thessaloniki. It was the third between the three leaders in the past two years.

Israel, Greece, Cyprus, and other European nations signed agreements in April to build a 2,000 kilometer (1,250 mile) pipeline that would carry natural gas from Israel to Europe. The project is slated to be completed by 2025 and cost $6.7 billion.

Europe is eager to diversify its sources of natural gas and Greece is interested in being the transit point for the gas on its way to Italy and the rest of the continent.

"We agreed to expedite our joint actions concerning our agreement on the construction of a large project which will offer new prospects of economic cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean," Tsipras explained a press conference with the two other leaders.

Tsipras, Anastasiades, and Netanyahu also discussed the construction of a cable to carry electricity generated in Israel to Europe, by way of Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete. They also spoke of regional issues including Syria, tensions between Cyprus and Turkey, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Tispras said that he and Netanyahu “always talk openly and honestly” about relations between Israel and the Palestinians.

In his remarks at the joint press conference, Netanyahu hailed the ties between Israel, Greece and Cyprus. He noted that relations between the three nations had once been cool, but " I thought that it had to change because there’s a simple fact about Cyprus, Greece and Israel that brings us very close together. We’re all democracies, real democracies. And when you look in the present in our region, especially looking eastward and some other directions as well, that’s not a very common commodity."

At a meeting in January, the three leaders discussed the creation of a regional emergency response force.


Innovative Israeli Job-Hunting Site Get $8 Million in Funding, Opens NY Office

Israeli startup Workey is opening an office in New York, following a new fundraising round of $8 million, led by Jerusalem’s PICO Partners and Magma VC.

Workey uses artificial intelligence to help millennials find a career. The company’s software compares users’ skills and employment history with “millions of career paths” on the web, including friends on social media.

“We don’t use the word ‘applicant,’” the company’s VP of marketing Danny Shteinberg told ISRAEL21c when we first wrote about the company in 2016, shortly after its $1.6 million seed round. “You express your willingness to work in a company that needs someone with your skills, and if they want you, we propose you as a candidate. We take out the embarrassing part because you don’t actually apply for the job.”

The identities of Workey users are cloaked. Only if a potential job seeker expresses interest in a job is he or she introduced by name to the potential employer.

“Workey is a safe playground to expose your experience and expertise and get specific opportunities that suit you. Only you decide if and when your personal details will be revealed to the company,” Shteinberg said.

Workey is free for job seekers, while companies pay a fee. The $8 million came in part as a result of Workey’s success in bringing on some big beta test clients, including Yahoo, Amazon, Dell, Cisco and Oracle. Founded in 2014 by IDF Intelligence Unit 8200 veterans Ben Reuveni and Amichai Schreiber, Workey has worked with more than 400 companies so far.

“In a candidate-driven market, Yahoo always strives for innovative approaches to recruitment, and Workey has proved to be an invaluable service,” Omri Perek, recruitment manager at Yahoo, said in a news release. “The smart recommendations and quality introductions facilitated by Workey, combined with its easy-to-use and welcoming platform, has enabled us to fill multiple positions with ideal candidates.”

Workey started with a focus on engineering jobs, but its technology can be adapted to work with other industries.

“The traditional recruitment process is inefficient and outdated for not just millennials, but for employees across the board,” said Shteinberg.

(via Israel21c)

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