European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 15/11/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 15/11/2016

Major Headlines 
  • Government authorises unsealing papers on Yemenite children

Israel’s government has voted to declassify some 400,000 documents in connection with allegations that hundreds of Yemenite children were kidnapped from Israeli hospitals in the 1950s and handed over to wealthy families for adoption, the Times of Israel reports.

Since the 1950s, over 1,000 families — mostly Yemenite, but also dozens from the Balkans, North Africa and other Middle Eastern countries — have alleged their children were systematically kidnapped from Israeli hospitals and put up for adoption, sometimes abroad. The claims were generally dismissed by authorities.

Over the past several decades, the government has appointed three investigative committees to probe the case, with all concluding the majority of children died in the hospital and were simply buried without the families’ being informed or involved. The last panel to probe the affair in 2001 reached similar conclusions, but sealed various testimonies from the probe in the state archive for 70 years.

Sunday’s decision means that those testimonies along with several other collections of documents, which were to be sealed in the state archives until 2071, will be unsealed and even posted on the internet following a final authorisation by the Knesset Constitution Law and Justice Committee.

The government decision stressed that families involved would be able to review the documents first and could opt out of having certain details released to the public.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • Ministers approve bill muffling muezzins’ call to prayer

A proposal to ban religious institutions from using outdoor loudspeakers, called the “muezzin bill” after the Muslim call to prayer, was authorised by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu threw his support behind the bill earlier in the day, saying in a cabinet meeting that “citizens of all religions” have complained to him countless times about noise from the muezzin.

“Israel is committed to freedom for all religions, but is also responsible for protecting its citizens from noise. That’s how it is in cities in Europe. I support similar legislation and enforcement in Israel,” Netanyahu said.

MK Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi), who proposed the legislation, said that hundreds of thousands of Israelis from the Galilee to the Negev, Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, “suffer regularly and daily from noise caused by the muezzin’s calls from mosques.”

“The bill comes from a view that freedom of religion should not harm quality of life,” he added.

Yogev also said the muezzins use the loudspeakers to incite violence.

Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh said the bill is racist and populist.

“Its whole goal is to create an atmosphere of hatred and incitement towards the Arab public,” Odeh said. “There are already noise laws that apply to mosques and it is clear that the whole purpose of the bill is to label mosques as problematic.

A report by the Knesset Research and Information Centre found that several European countries limit the muezzin’s call to prayer, and in some cases the height of minarets, including the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland – which completely prohibits both – France, the UK, Austria, Norway and Belgium, as does the city of Cairo and some cities in Michigan and Saudi Arabia.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Israel and Germany launch 30 million euro nanotechnology initiative

The Israeli Innovation Authority and the German Ministry of Science announced the launch of a new €30 million project to have nanotechnology institutes in both countries collaborate in joint projects.

“The impressive achievements of nanotechnology in research and industry are a source of pride for us globally – these achievements reflect the state’s focus on this sector and the support it grants,” said Israeli Chief Scientist Avi Hasson, whose Office of the Chief Scientist was redubbed the Israeli Innovation Authority earlier this year.

The budget is intended to last three years. The announcement did not say it would be up for renewal, nor the structure of the grants in terms of any shares Jerusalem or Berlin might take in any spinouts created by the research teams that are funded.

“Our jumping off point . . . was to make a significant contribution on the academic/research level and on the industrial/trade level, on several levels,” said Ilan Peled, Manager of Technological Infrastructure Arena in the Innovation Authority, who then listed, “creating academic excellence at the forefront of the technology, developing research capabilities and achievements, and combining resources and recruiting funding to establish research infrastructure and to train personnel for this sector.”

Click here to read the full article in Geek Time


  • Israeli wins US science award for work on brain cell mutations

Israeli researcher Dr. Gilad Evrony has won a prestigious scientific prize after developing techniques for identifying brain cell mutations that may help explain unsolved neuropsychiatric illnesses such as epilepsy and autism, Ha’aretz reports.

Evrony, 34, won the Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology, awarded by Science magazine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, for a series of studies he published in recent years. He summarized them in a Science article called “One brain, many genomes.” In the studies, he revealed processes of genetic mutations as somatic mutations.

These mutations take place in the body throughout one’s lifetime and are the source of many genetic illnesses, including all forms of cancer.

Evrony’s research dealt with the question of whether somatic mutations in brain cells contribute to the development of neuropsychiatric illnesses whose origin is presently unknown, including epilepsy, autism and schizophrenia.                      

Evrony, originally from Jerusalem, is doing a paediatrics residency in New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital. After his discharge from the army, he went to study abroad, and acquired his scientific and medical education in the United States. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, and his medical degree and doctorate from Harvard Medical School.

At the same time, he conducted his research at Boston Children’s Hospital. Last year, he was included in the MIT Technology Review’s list of the 35 leading innovators worldwide under the age of 35.

The $25,000 prize was awarded to him at the annual meeting of the American Neurological Association in San Diego on Sunday.

Click here to read the full article in Ha’aretz

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
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