European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 23/11/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 23/11/2016

Major Headlines 
  • Israel against using term “Polish death camps”

Israel opposes use of the term “Polish death camps” to describe the Nazi concentration camps set up in occupied Poland during the Second World War such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka and Sobibor, Jerusalem made clear in a joint statement issued with the Polish government following high level talks on Tuesday, the Jerusalem Post reports.

The issue is very sensitive to the current Polish government, which initiated legislation over the summer that would penalise anyone using the term with up to three years in prison. The Poles maintain that calling the concentration camps on their soil “Polish death camps,” rather than terms such as “Nazi death camps set up in occupied Poland,” whitewashes German responsibility, and places it on their shoulders.

Following meetings in Jerusalem between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and a number of his ministers and senior government officials, with visiting Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, and ten of her cabinet ministers and deputy ministers, a joint statement was released that dealt with a number of different issues, including foreign affairs, defence and innovation.

In the section on Holocaust remembrance, the statement read: “The governments attribute great importance to their dedicated efforts in the field of education, particularly in eradicating false stereotypes in both countries. Both governments firmly oppose any form of discrimination on racial grounds and antisemitism, as well as any attempts at distorting the history of the Jewish or Polish peoples by denying or diminishing the victimhood of the Jews during the Holocaust, or using the erroneous terms of memory such as ‘Polish death camps.’” Netanyahu, at the start of the government-to-government meeting, the third of its kind aimed at deepening relations between the two countries across a wide range of different spheres, referenced the death of millions of Jews in Poland during the Holocaust.

“We’ve had a joint history, the Jewish people and the Polish people, for 1,000 years. It’s had its ups and downs, in the previous century the worst down in the history of humanity with the murder of three million Polish Jews by the Nazis in a horrible tragedy.” Netanyahu said. 

“Poland too underwent terrible suffering during that war, and the history of modern Israel and modern Poland in the last 70 years is a history of tremendous hope and tremendous vitality. The rise of these two modern democracies, with free economies, with robust people, I think is a story of hope and inspiration for all of the world.”

Netanyahu also praised Poland for taking a “resolute stand against the resurgent antisemitism” in parts of Europe, as well as taking an “important position in international forums against the automatic reflex of anti-Zionism and anti-Israel resolutions. That is important, too.”

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Residents evacuated as forest fires blaze in northern and central Israel

Hundreds of residents from the northern and central communities of Zichron Ya’acov and Neve Shalom were evacuated from their homes throughout Tuesday, as two brush fires – propelled by strong winds and arid conditions – spread perilously close to residences and schools, the Jerusalem Post reports.

The largest fire, in the outskirts of the north’s Zichron Ya’acov, began spreading shortly after 1 p.m., taking over four hours to contain, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. Several homes there were badly damaged, with eight people treated for smoke inhalation.

“There were 60-km per hour winds there and police immediately set up roadblocks and cordoned-off as much of the area as possible,” Rosenfeld said.

Meanwhile, 35 fire crews and six planes also dealt with another blaze that started in a field of the small central community of Neve Shalom, during the early hours of Tuesday morning, Rosenfeld said.

“At about 4 a.m., there was a fire there causing an evacuation of dozens of homes followed by house-to-house searches to prevent anyone from being injured,” he said. “The fire was put out after about six hours, and no one was injured.”

None of the homes were damaged, he added, noting that schools there were closed for the day.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Israel fund to raise $50m to invest in agri-tech products

Copia Agro & Food, a two-year-old fund that invests in agricultural and food technologies developed by Israeli research institutes, said it is raising $50 million to expand its investments in Israel to address global challenges like climate change and food shortage, the Times of Israel reports.

The private fund, co-managed by Ohad Zuckerman, former CEO of Zeraim Gedera, and Eyal Cohen, cooperates with Israeli and international agro/food tech industry partners to create technologies and products aimed at improving the efficiency and sustainability of the food chain and decrease the adverse effects of agriculture on the environment.

Its business model is to invest in R&D projects rather than companies and manage the entire process, from research to the commercialisation of products. In addition to funding, Copia also matches each project with suitable industrial partners who support and execute the development and marketing of the technologies. The fund said this kind of collaboration helps transform the technologies into products, reduces financial risks and reduces time to market, according to an emailed statement.

“Copia’s vision is to further the rich tradition of Israeli agricultural and food tech R&D and bridge the gap between the need for innovative sustainable solutions in the global agricultural and food sectors and scientific-technological breakthroughs,” said Zuckerman. “Our hands-on involvement from research to commercialisation, based on proven processes we developed during our careers, results in smooth cooperation between academia and industry, something in which very few have succeeded.”

One of the projects is the development of a bio-pesticide targeting nematodes, a dangerous kind of worm that causes about 14 percent of all crop damage in agriculture. Agricultural crop damage is estimated to cause a total loss of more than $100 billion, the fund said. The bio-pesticide does not seep into water or plants and uses nematodes to kill other nematodes.

Another project involves the invention of a “smart” plant valve, which, using gene therapy, enables plants to hold water longer while decreasing water consumption and costs. The valve allows the plants to grow faster, generating earlier revenues for the agriculture sector.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


Wednesday, November 23, 2016
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