- Leader of World’s Largest Muslim Organization Meets Netanyahu, Wants Closer Ties with Israel
- After Hamas Threat of 5,000 Incendiary Devices, Israel Explodes Balloon with “I ♥ You” on It
- When Does Pro-Palestinian End … and When Does Anti-Israel Begin?
- Israeli System Alerts Both Vehicles and Pedestrians of Potential Collisions
Leader of World’s Largest Muslim Organization Meets Netanyahu, Wants Closer Ties with Israel
The leader of the world’s largest Muslim organization, Yahya Staquf, said he wants to see closer ties between Israel and Indonesia in a surprise meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, The Times of Israel reported.
The Muslim cleric from Indonesia, who is the secretary-general of the 60 million-member Nahdlatul Ulama, is visiting Israel at the invitation of the American Jewish Committee.
Staquf, a strong advocate of interfaith dialogue, met with several religious leaders this week. His meeting with Netanyahu, however, was not officially on the agenda. After talks with the cleric, Netanyahu spoke of Israel’s warming ties with Muslim countries, and expressed his hopes “that we have some movement with Indonesia.”
In Indonesia, social media has been filled with negative comments about the visit. Israel and Indonesia do not have diplomatic relations, and the visit has prompted protests in the country.
In an exclusive interview with The Israel Project, responded to the criticism, saying he needed to reach out “because I want peace” between Israel and the Palestinians. “If you want peace, then you have to talk to everyone,” he said.
Staquf urged different communities of faith and no faith to embrace the concept of “rahma,” meaning compassion and caring about others.
He explained one reason why people in Muslim countries have a negative perception of Israel is because they “haven’t thought about it deeply.” Instead, Staquf urged people to “think towards peace.”
In a final message, he once again pleaded for people to embrace “rahma.”
After Hamas Threat of 5,000 Incendiary Devices, Israel Explodes Balloon with “I ♥ You” on It
Following a threat Thursday by Hamas that it would launch 5,000 fire kites into Israel to mark the end of Ramadan, Israeli Police found and detonated an incendiary balloon that landed in Israel, The Times of Israel reported Friday. Photographs show that the balloon was marked with the message “I ♥ You.”
On Friday, The Times of Israel reported that Israeli aircraft had targeted a group of Palestinians who had been preparing incendiary balloons.
An IDF statement said, “The IDF views the use of incendiary balloons and kites with great severity and will operate to prevent their use.”
The Times referred to the firing of warning shots as a new tactic to counter the attacks by rioters using balloons and kites to carry burning fuel across the border into Israel. Israel has fired on groups preparing to launch the devices three times in the past two days.
The fires started by the attacks of incendiary balloons and kites have consumed thousands of acres of farmland, forest, and natures reserves, causing more than $1.4 million in damages.
Israel has been using drones to counter the incendiary balloons and kites.
Last week, David Halbfinger, the Jerusalem Bureau Chief of The New York Times, published a photo essay on Twitter showing the threat the incendiary kites and balloons pose to Israel, and the measures Israel is taking to fight them.
Halbfinger noted that “The losses to Israeli agriculture from flaming kites have been immense, though farmers raced to harvest early. But young people from nearby keep coming to look.”
According to The Times of Israel, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh joined several thousand Gazans for morning prayers near the border fence with Israel.
When Does Pro-Palestinian End … and When Does Anti-Israel Begin?
In a 2013 news item on Iran’s annual Quds Day march, the Associated Press reported that newly elected President Hassan Rouhani said at the event that Israel was an “old wound” that needed to be removed.
The AP later provided some context for those remarks, “Rouhani spoke at an annual pro-Palestinian rally marking ‘Al-Quds Day’ — the Arabic word for Jerusalem — and although his remarks appear contrary to his outreach efforts to the West, they should also be seen in the context of internal Iranian politics where softening the establishment’s anti-Israeli stand is not an option.”
Despite the AP’s efforts to downplay the extremism of Rouhani’s comments – that he had no choice but to express his opposition to the Jewish state – it also reported, “In the capital, Tehran, tens of thousands took to the streets, chanting ‘Down with America’ and ‘Death to Israel.'”
In a report about last week’s cancelled soccer match between Israel and Argentina, The Washington Post reported, “The BDS movement aims to pressure Israel into complying with international law vis-a-vis its policies toward the Palestinians by discouraging the purchase of Israeli goods, pressuring international companies not to conduct business in Israel and urging celebrities not to visit or perform in the country.”
Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment (BDS) campaign, has been clear about the goal of his movement. He has said, “A Jewish state in Palestine in any shape or form cannot but contravene the basic rights of the indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically…. Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”
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Israeli System Alerts Both Vehicles and Pedestrians of Potential Collisions
Automotive technology companies building collision detection systems abound, but usually they’re intended only for the vehicle.
Foresight Automotive’s Eye-Net can send an alert to both the vehicle driver and any pedestrians who may be in harm’s way.
For a demonstration in the Israeli city of Ashdod, Foresight partnered with Tel Aviv-based NoTraffic, which develops traffic-management systems for cities using sensors deployed at traffic lights.
Eye-Net was integrated with NoTraffic’s smart system to promising results. “The trial results proved that the number of accidents can be significantly reduced,” said Smadar Itzkovich, head of Industrial Development for the Ashdod municipality and the city’s Smart Mobility Living Lab.
The trial consisted of several accident simulations involving multiple vehicles and pedestrians. The pedestrians had Foresight’s Eye-Net app installed on their mobile devices. Eye-Net sent out real-time alerts in order to prevent a collision.
All data on cars and pedestrians was streamed in real time to a control center that displayed the location and time of occurrence of the simulated collisions on a map.
“Foresight met all the predefined objectives and indicators for the real-time use of the Eye-Net system in a manner that enabled all road users to brake safely and on time,” the company reported.
The trial positions Foresight and NoTraffic as important players in the self-driving future, where safety has been called into question following a fatal accident between a self-driving Uber vehicle and a pedestrian in Arizona earlier this year.
While the Foresight-NoTraffic trial probably would not have prevented that accident, which took place when the victim was walking her bike across a busy street outside a crosswalk and far from traffic lights, NoTraffic CEO Tal Kreisler called the Ashdod trial “a significant milestone that sets the basis for preparing the roads for a connected and autonomous world by using advanced technology that can be deployed today.”