NSW SUPPORTS BREAKTHROUGH DIABETES PROJECT

Thursday March 7

The NSW Government has today announced $250,000 to support NSW and Israel’s leading medical researchers to develop a new treatment for type 1 diabetes that has the potential to end the need for insulin injections.

Minister for Trade and Industry, Niall Blair said this project could transform the lives of those living with diabetes.

“In NSW alone, there are an estimated 39,000 people with Type 1 diabetes and more than 21 million world-wide, so the potential impact of this treatment is enormous. This could mean another global success for NSW’s medical technology industry,” Mr Blair said.

“People with type 1 diabetes must constantly monitor blood glucose levels, which can be easily impacted by changes to exercise and diet. Getting blood sugar levels wrong can lead to long term damage to major organs.”

“The new technology could remove the need for daily monitoring of blood sugar levels and create skilled jobs in NSW as the technology is rolled out globally.”

The Australian Foundation for Diabetes Research and Sydney Cell Therapy Foundation will work with Israel biotech company Kadimastem on the project.
Australian Foundation for Diabetes Research Director Professor Bernard Tuch said the diabetes project would develop a new implantable cell therapy to replace the need for insulin injections.

“We’ve developed a device which when seeded with insulin-producing cells and implanted in rodents has been shown to reverse diabetes without the need for toxic anti-rejection drugs,” Professor Tuch said.

“Our Israel partner Kadimastem has the ability to create insulin-producing cells from human embryonic stem cells which can sense blood glucose levels and respond by secreting insulin to regulate glucose levels in diabetic recipients.
“We will work together to develop a device containing insulin-producing cells that can be implanted into people with type 1 diabetes and regulate their glucose levels for at least five years, ending the need for insulin injections.”

Diabetes NSW & ACT Chief Operating Officer Trish Egan said the project held great promise. “Although diabetes is complex, this collaboration is particularly exciting as it is well advanced and promises to fundamentally change the way people with type 1 manage the condition,” Ms Egan said.

Type 1 diabetes sufferer, Elana Bowman has been treating her condition for 25 years, which requires her to have up to seven insulin injections a day.
“Generally I have two long-acting and three short-acting insulin injections and any correction doses if needed, so I can have up to seven injections each day,” Ms
Bowman said. “I have had to take on part-time work to give me flexibility to see doctors and pharmacies to help me maintain my health. I welcome any project that could make my life and millions of other lives that little bit easier.”

MEDIA: Evie Madden | Minister Blair | 0409 682 163

 

Greens and the stain of bigotry

The Australian
February 13, 2019
Janet Albrechtsen

Last week, a British Labour MP lament­ed that her political party, founded on fine-sounding ­prin­ciples of fairness and equality, was imbued with “the oldest hatred — that directed towards Jews”.

Luciana Berger, the 37-year-old MP for Liverpool Wavertree, describ­ed one of the most astonishing events she has taken part in since she was elected nearly nine years ago. It was a demonstration last year at Parliament Square organis­ed by the Jewish community to say “enough is enough” to anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

Instead of that being a watershed for her party, Berger wrote in The Timeslast week: “I am sick of being tainted by the stain of Labou­r anti-Semitism.”

Next time there is an election in Australia, remember that the Greens have no one even faintly comparable to Berger within their ranks. Theirs is a party of bigotry at the organisational level, yet no Greens MP is brave or honest enough to expose the hypocrisy. On the one hand, Greens spout sweet-sounding words about moral­ity, compassion and tolerance; on the other hand, the party endorses bigotry.

There are a few good people in the party. Last year, NSW Greens upper house MPs Cate Faehrmann and Justin Field said the party had fallen victim­ to “extreme­-Left ideology”. NSW Greens lower house MP Jamie Parker engages with the Jewish community too.

But even the good people have allowed the NSW party to fall into a habit of bigotry. History warns us that silence emboldens bigots, and that bigotry is a necessary pre­cursor to the sort of political ­fascism responsible for monstrous crimes against humanity.

We can disagree over Israeli politics and policies, the future of the Middle East peace process, settleme­nts, refugees and much more. We can condemn the action­s of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu too. It’s a free country. We get to speak our mind and choose who to associate with. But when a political party treats the members of a religious group as ­person­ae non gratae, refusin­g to meet them or speak with them, that is bigotry.

If the Liberal Party of Australia refused point blank to engage with credible Muslim groups, we would banish its members as ­bigots.

If the ALP continually ­rebuffed efforts to engage with Christian groups, we would out its members as bigots.

If the Nationals rejected overtures, over many years, to meet with a community on the basis of its members’ religio­n, race, sex or sexuality, we would vote them into political irreleva­nce as extremists.

Yet the Greens have a history of out-and-out organisational bigot­ry towards the Jewish community in NSW. A few turn up to mark Hanukkah in NSW parliament. But none of them have attended special events arranged by the Jewish community to build tolerance and respect.

Last Friday in Allawah, in ­Sydney’s south, Jewish leaders arrange­d a regular Shabbat dinner for different community groups, one of many dinners where people meet, eat and talk to other people from different walks of life.

There was a Shabbat dinner for Liberal Party leaders and member­s last year and another a few months earlier that included members of the LGBTI community. There was a dinner the year befor­e for Labor politicians, member­s of Young Labor and union leaders. Another one includ­ed many members from the Chinese community and other civic groups. Yet another dinner involved people and groups who help settle new immigrants.

You get the picture. You would be hard-pressed to find more genuinely inclusive events. These are non-political. Yet still the Greens have, for years, refused to be part of these dinners.

At last Friday’s dinner, guests included Labor and Liberal politic­ians, state and federal, councillors, leaders from the local Anglican church, a leader of the Sikh community, the chairman of Advance Diversity Services, a leader from the Korean community and the president of a local Rotary Club too. But no Greens politician.

In his closing remarks, Vic Alha­deff, who leads the NSW Jewis­h Board of Deputies and started these dinners, glanced around the room at the broad array of people, thanking them for laying down their arms to be there and on “the degree of stillness which we have collectively ­achieved in removing ourselves from our frenetic, hectic lives”.

The purpose of the dinners is simple yet important, “engaging as Australians … and using the opportunity to explore our commonalities, beliefs and shared values”.

Not to command agreement or to proselytise. To speak to one another­ as respectful human being­s. Many Jews might be drawn to genuinely green policies about the environment. Yet the Greens’ extremism towards Jews precludes engagement. That is not tolerance. That is anti-Semitism.

It is hypocrisy of the highest order, given that the Greens read­ily condemn the bigotry of others. Last year, the party’s federal leader Richard Di Natale slammed ­senator Fraser Anning for using the language of the Nazis when he referred to a “final solution to the (Muslim) immigration problem”. Di Natale said such language was “vile, racist, bigoted and has no place in our society”. Agreed.

The bigotry of the Greens has no place in Australia either. Sadly, the NSW Young Greens have learned the oldest hatred from their party organisation. A few years ago, they refused to attend a conference held at NSW Parliament House by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students. Labor and Liberal students attended.

There are plenty of reasons not to attend a bolshie student conference, but refusing to speak to or be near Australian Jewish students is anti-Semitism. As the AUJS said at the time, the ­boycott, under the cloak of the Palestin­ian problem, reduces all Australian Jewish students to one political issue 12,000km away. Not all Jews share the same views on any issue.

In recent months, neo-Nazi cowards hiding behind the Antipodean Resistance label have posted vile, bigoted and racist posters around Sydney and Melbourne. near schools, synagogues and other buildings.

They are the likely beasts who painted Nazi swastikas on a promenade wall at Sydney’s Bondi Beach at the weekend. Their active recruitment of more bigots is a moral monstrosity.

But let’s not kid ourselves. The organisational bigotry within the Greens is a slyer form of anti-Semiti­sm.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day in April 2017, the NSW Young Greens posted a Venn diagra­m on Facebook stating that Liberals and Labor love “locking people in concentration camps”.

They’ve learned from their Greens elders to engage in abhorrent Holocaust minimisation, likening offshore processing to determine refugee status to concentration camps where millions of Jews were murdered.

If Di Natale and other Greens are appalled by bigotry and vile, racist behaviour, if they genuinely believe in tolerance and respect for people of different faiths, they need to flush out the anti-Semit­ism in their party.

Until then, the next time a Greens politician brags about their progressive credentials, remember the organisational bigotry by the Greens towards Australian Jews.

Right now, a vote for the Greens — primary or ­preference — is a vote for bigotry.

AMA DOCTOR SLAMMED OVER NAURU-AUSCHWITZ COMPARISON

by Danielle Le Messurier
The Daily Telegraph
February 12, 2019

An Australian Medical Association doctor has been condemned for comparing the treatment of asylum seekers living in offshore processing centres to the Holocaust.

Dr Paul Bauert, the paediatrics representative on the AMA Federal Council, was condemned on Monday over “appalling” comments suggesting people living in detention are worse off than those killed in Nazi gas chambers during World War II.

AMA paediatric representative Dr Paul Bauert. Picture: AAP

In an interview with Sky News, Dr Bauert said offshore processing in places like Nauru has a “lack of certainty” which can cause “severe mental health damage”.

“Even those that finally knew they were about to be condemned at the gas chamber at least found some sense of relief in knowing what was happening,” he said.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff slammed Dr Bauert for demonstrating a “gross lack of empathy” for Holocaust victims, survivors and their families.

“The extraordinary ignorance and callousness in the statement that the millions of Jews who were gassed found relief in knowing they were about to be murdered is outrageous and appalling,” he said.

“Whatever his position on offshore detention, drawing a disingenuous comparison between Nauru and the Holocaust is offensive and inaccurate.”

Dr Bauert works as a GP in the Northern Territory but has been involved in assessing children on Nauru who need medical evacuations. He later apologised on social media, saying the words that he used were “intended to reflect the writings of an eminent Jewish psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz”.

Dr Bauert added “Auschwitz was a humanitarian disgrace”, trying to distance himself from his earlier claim.

 

 

Standing up to the Eurovision boycott brigade

The Australian Jewish News
7th February 2019
Vic Alhadeff

WHO knew that when Israel won the right to host Eurovision 2019, it would ignite controversy in Australia?

Israel will host this year’s extravaganza after Netta Barzilai won the 2018 contest with Toy – a salute to the #MeToo movement, punctuated by clucks and trills.

To be held in May, the contest is expected to attract 10,000 tourists, with Tel Aviv establishing a 2,000-person “tent city” and many visitors staying on for the city’s Pride Parade.

Australia’s entrant will be decided on the Gold Coast this weekend, with 700 songs submitted and the winner to be selected by the public and a jury.

Numerous Australian artists have joined the campaign, while BDS Australia staged a protest outside SBS, pontificating that it has a “fundamental problem with Eurovision going ahead in the midst of the catastrophe in Gaza”.

It issued a leaflet carrying the SBS logo and launched a petition stating “Eurovision should not be used to ‘artwash’ the Israeli government’s apartheid policies. Eurovision’s reputation will be forever tarnished by its association with the Israeli government. Just like the campaign to end apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s, international solidarity is vital.”

To its credit, SBS responded quickly and definitively. “SBS respects the right for people to express their views and we acknowledge the concerns raised by those opposed to the contest being held in Israel,” it said.

“SBS has been proudly broadcasting Eurovision for 35 years and we will continue to do so because of the spirit of the event in bringing people and cultures together in a celebration of diversity and inclusion through music.” It threatened to sue the protesters for appropriating its logo.

The heat and dust will escalate in coming weeks. Protesting voices abroad include 23,000 Icelanders petitioning their broadcaster to boycott the event; Irish members of the European Parliament, Portuguese artists and Sweden’s Left Party urging a boycott; London’s Guardian publishing a letter with 141 signatures; English protesters picketing a Netta Barzilai concert; and French protesters disrupting her appearance on French TV during “Destination Eurovision”, which selects France’s contestant.

Protesters jumped on stage but were removed by security within 30 seconds. BDS France claimed credit for the stunt with the hashtags #DestinationApartheid and #BoycottEurovision2019.

Then there are the principled voices, notably Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who blasted BDS during a historic apology for Canada’s refusal to admit Jews fleeing the Holocaust, infamously sending the MS St Louis, carrying 907 German Jews, back to Europe, where over 250 perished.

“Of all the Allied countries, Canada would admit the fewest number of Jews … far fewer than the UK and significantly fewer per capita than the US,” Trudeau said. “Of those it let in, 7000 were labelled prisoners of war and unjustly imprisoned alongside Nazis. As far as Jews were concerned, even none was too many.

“Hitler tested the world’s resolve … as country after country proved indifferent to the plight of Jewish refugees. He watched as we … denied them entry. He challenged the courage of our leaders and the empathy of those who elected them. With every pogrom he tested our humanity. Hitler’s test is one the Canadian government failed miserably.

“Antisemitism has manifested itself not just in targeting individuals, but Israel,” he added, citing students who “feel unwelcome in some of our campuses because of BDS-related intimidation … I condemn the BDS movement. It is impossible to ignore the injustices still facing Jews. Seventeen per cent of hate crimes in Canada target Jewish people, far higher per capita than any other group. Holocaust deniers still exist. Antisemitism is still far too present. Jewish institutions are vandalised. Out of the entire community of nations, it is Israel whose right to exist is most widely and wrongly questioned.

“It is my hope that by issuing this long-overdue apology, we shine a light on this painful chapter of our history. It is our hope that this apology will cement Canada’s commitment to stand with the Jewish community here and around the world in the fight against antisemitism. More than 70 years ago, Canada turned its back on them. Today Canadians pledged, now and forever, never again.”

First held in 1956 to unite war-ravaged Europe, Israel and Australia are the only non-European nations in Eurovision. This year’s theme is Dare to Dream. Is it unrealistic to dream that the unity aspired to in 1956 will one day extend to all nations? That the hypocrisy in singling out the world’s only Jewish state for boycott while ignoring some of the most egregious human rights abusers – who also participate in Eurovision – will one day be rendered obsolete?

In the meantime, SBS is to be applauded for its principled stand. Eurovision is about music; keep politics out of it.

VIC ALHADEFF is CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies

Amnesty International has lost its moral way with regard to IsraelALEX RYVCHIN

12:00AM JANUARY 31, 2019

Amnesty International has unveiled a new campaign to pressure digital tourism companies such as Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb and TripAdvisor to delist properties held by Israelis living in the West Bank, and calling on governments to pass legislation that would result in the total boycott of those living in Israeli settlements.

It is just the latest attack in a long war waged by Amnesty and other once-respectable human rights organisations intent on turning public opinion against Israel and bringing about its economic and political isolation.

The origins of this lie in an infamous non-governmental organisations forum of the UN World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001. The conference lives long in the memory for the appalling racism that marred an event convened for the very purpose of combating such conduct. Posters displayed Jewish caricatures and Nazi icons, and participants circulated copies of the anti-Semitic fabrication, Protocols of the Elders of Zion. US congressman Tom Lantos called it “the most sickening display of hate for Jews since the Nazi period”. The UN’s human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, told the BBC “there was a horrible anti-Semitism present”.

Against this backdrop, the conference of more than 1500 representatives of international NGOs adopted a resolution that defined Israel as a “racist, apartheid state”, and called for the launch of a “global solidarity campaign” targeting governments, UN agencies and civil society to achieve the “complete and total isolation of Israel”.

This co-ordinated attack on Israel’s very existence and legitimacy, including through various forms of boycott, divest and sanctions campaigns on campus, and among trade unions, government and civil society, became the vehicle through which new generations of thought leaders would be exposed to the characterisation of the Jewish state as a uniquely wicked, unjust project that had to be unwound for the good of humanity. Amnesty was a key player in Durban and in the adoption of the resolution, and has been at the forefront of the campaign ever since.

In 2002, following an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin in response to the Passover massacre in Netanya, in which a Palestinian suicide bomber murdered 30 civilians during a celebratory feast, Amnesty accused Israel of carrying out war crimes and massacres of Palestinian civilians. The allegations, promptly reported by the BBC and other news outlets, placed the Palestinian civilian death toll at more than 500. But 52 Palestinians died, the majority of them combatants, along with 23 Israeli soldiers, in fierce urban combat.

False allegations of a massacre made by Amnesty lubricated the machinery of the political campaign against Israel, leading to street protests, campus hearings, reams of condemnations and anti-Israel resolutions across civil society and government.

In 2015, Amnesty was forced into a humiliating admission that it had lobbied the Australian government to accept murderous Lindt Cafe terrorist Man Haron Monis as a genuine refugee.

Last April, Amnesty’s secretary-general called Israel’s democratically elected government “rogue”. In 2010, the head of its Finnish branch called Israel a “scum state”. Its British campaign manager has likened Israel to Islamic State and been condemned for his attacks on Jewish parliamentarians.

Perhaps as revealing as Amnesty’s fixation on Jews living on the “wrong” side of a long-defunct armistice line has been its relative silence on the disturbing trend of rising anti-Semitism. In April 2015, Amnesty UK rejected an initiative to “campaign against anti-semitism in the UK”, as well as “lobby the UK government to tackle the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Britain” and “monitor anti-Semitism closely”. It was the only proposed resolution at the annual general meeting that was not adopted.

The skewed morality revealed by Amnesty’s obsession with Israel reflects a broader decline in the non-governmental sector. Whereas groups such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch once led the struggle against Soviet tyranny and actively defended the rights of political prisoners, today they serve an increasingly narrow political agenda, one aligned with anti-Western, anti-capitalist forces. Amnesty’s apparent contempt for Israel, its ho-hum attitude to anti-Semitism, and its inordinate condemnations of democracies all stem from this malaise.

Of course, the settlements are a point of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Indeed, the parties identified settlements as a final status issue in the historic Oslo Accords signed between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel in 1993. It was agreed that the questions of which settlements will be annexed to Israel and which will be dismantled or transferred to Palestinian sovereignty are to be resolved in direct negotiations in the context of a final peace agreement. But the pursuit of peace is not aided by Amnesty’s political manoeuvres and attempts to isolate Israel, which perpetuate conflict by other means.

Alex Ryvchin is the author of The Anti-Israel Agenda — Inside the Political War on the Jewish State (Gefen Publishing), and co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

Amnesty International has lost its moral way with regard to Israel

By Alex Ryvchin

31 January, 2019

Amnesty International has unveiled a new campaign to pressure digital tourism companies such as Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb and TripAdvisor to delist properties held by Israelis living in the West Bank, and calling on governments to pass legislation that would result in the total boycott of those living in Israeli settlements.

It is just the latest attack in a long war waged by Amnesty and other once-respectable human rights organisations intent on turning public opinion against Israel and bringing about its economic and political isolation.

The origins of this lie in an infamous non-governmental organisations forum of the UN World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001. The conference lives long in the memory for the appalling racism that marred an event convened for the very purpose of combating such conduct. Posters displayed Jewish caricatures and Nazi icons, and participants circulated copies of the anti-Semitic fabrication, Protocols of the Elders of Zion. US congressman Tom Lantos called it “the most sickening display of hate for Jews since the Nazi period”. The UN’s human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, told the BBC “there was a horrible anti-Semitism present”.

Against this backdrop, the conference of more than 1500 representatives of international NGOs adopted a resolution that defined Israel as a “racist, apartheid state”, and called for the launch of a “global solidarity campaign” targeting governments, UN agencies and civil society to achieve the “complete and total isolation of Israel”.

This co-ordinated attack on Israel’s very existence and legitimacy, including through various forms of boycott, divest and sanctions campaigns on campus, and among trade unions, government and civil society, became the vehicle through which new generations of thought leaders would be exposed to the characterisation of the Jewish state as a uniquely wicked, unjust project that had to be unwound for the good of humanity. Amnesty was a key player in Durban and in the adoption of the resolution, and has been at the forefront of the campaign ever since.

In 2002, following an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin in response to the Passover massacre in Netanya, in which a Palestinian suicide bomber murdered 30 civilians during a celebratory feast, Amnesty accused Israel of carrying out war crimes and massacres of Palestinian civilians. The allegations, promptly reported by the BBC and other news outlets, placed the Palestinian civilian death toll at more than 500. But 52 Palestinians died, the majority of them combatants, along with 23 Israeli soldiers, in fierce urban combat.

False allegations of a massacre made by Amnesty lubricated the machinery of the political campaign against Israel, leading to street protests, campus hearings, reams of condemnations and anti-Israel resolutions across civil society and government.

In 2015, Amnesty was forced into a humiliating admission that it had lobbied the Australian government to accept murderous Lindt Cafe terrorist Man Haron Monis as a genuine refugee.

Last April, Amnesty’s secretary-general called Israel’s democratically elected government “rogue”. In 2010, the head of its Finnish branch called Israel a “scum state”. Its British campaign manager has likened Israel to Islamic State and been condemned for his attacks on Jewish parliamentarians.

Perhaps as revealing as Amnesty’s fixation on Jews living on the “wrong” side of a long-defunct armistice line has been its relative silence on the disturbing trend of rising anti-Semitism. In April 2015, Amnesty UK rejected an initiative to “campaign against anti-semitism in the UK”, as well as “lobby the UK government to tackle the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Britain” and “monitor anti-Semitism closely”. It was the only proposed resolution at the annual general meeting that was not adopted.

The skewed morality revealed by Amnesty’s obsession with Israel reflects a broader decline in the non-governmental sector. Whereas groups such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch once led the struggle against Soviet tyranny and actively defended the rights of political prisoners, today they serve an increasingly narrow political agenda, one aligned with anti-Western, anti-capitalist forces. Amnesty’s apparent contempt for Israel, its ho-hum attitude to anti-Semitism, and its inordinate condemnations of democracies all stem from this malaise.

Of course, the settlements are a point of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Indeed, the parties identified settlements as a final status issue in the historic Oslo Accords signed between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel in 1993. It was agreed that the questions of which settlements will be annexed to Israel and which will be dismantled or transferred to Palestinian sovereignty are to be resolved in direct negotiations in the context of a final peace agreement. But the pursuit of peace is not aided by Amnesty’s political manoeuvres and attempts to isolate Israel, which perpetuate conflict by other means.

Alex Ryvchin is the author of The Anti-Israel Agenda — Inside the Political War on the Jewish State (Gefen Publishing), and co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

16-year-old Jewish Terror Suspect Charged Over Killing of Palestinian Woman

Bar Peleg 

Jan 24, 2019 10:33 AM

‘The suspect held the rock with the aim of harming Arabs. He forcefully and directly hit Aisha Mohammed Rabi’s head, all in front of her family’.

Jewish minor’s DNA found on rock that killed 47-year-old Aisha Mohammed Rabi.

The 16-year-old Jewish minor suspected in the October murder of a Palestinian woman in the West Bank was formally charged with manslaughter on Thursday. The charges come one day after a court was told that the DNA the Jewish minor was found on the rock that hit her car and caused her death.

According to the indictment, the suspect and other yeshiva students stood on a hill nearby Route 60 in the central West Bank on October 12. The suspect “held a rock weighing close to two kilograms, with the intention of using it to harm Arab car passengers, based out of an ideological motive of racism and hostility toward Arabs everywhere.”

The suspect threw the rock when he noticed a vehicle with Palestinian license plate, according to the indictment. Rabi, her husband and their nine-year-old daughter were driving at a speed of close to 100 kilometers-per-hour. “As the car approached in high speed, the suspect threw the rock forcefully and direcrlty at the windshield, with the aim of harming the car’s passengers and with disregard for the possibility of causing their death.”

The rock smashed the windshield, and according to the indictment “directly and forcefully struck Rabi’s head, all in front of her family.”

No additional indictments in the case are expected, according to sources close to the investigation.

The teen was arrested in late December on suspicion of a racially motivated murder of 47-year-old Aisha Mohammed Rabi.

A gag order imposed on the case prevents the publication of the suspect’s name and age, as well as those of four other suspects arrested in early January and released almost a week later, all Israeli settlers.

Last week, prosecutors had announced that the state intended to indict the teen within five days, but when that period ended, both sides informed the court that the teen had changed his mind and wished to give his own version of events.

“The prosecutor’s office, together with the Israel Police, has operated in the fairest manner and despite the fact that the minor refrained from giving his version of events throughout all of his interrogations, allowed him to have another interrogation…,” the judge wrote.

Drought in focus for new Australia-Israel cooperation on water management

By  Tom McIlroy

Australian Financial Review

21 January, 2019

Israel’s former state water commissioner says better management of supply and changes in storage methods should be key to preparedness for more regular and longer lasting droughts in Australia.

Completing a visit to NSW and Queensland organised by leading businessman and ANZ chairman David Gonski and the Jewish National Fund of Australia, Shimon Tal said Israel’s success in developing so-called “new water” technology could be hard to replicate in Australian agriculture, but improved efficiency in water transport, reservoir management and ground water use could take pressure off communities and businesses in future drought events.

A founding director of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Mr Tal was accompanied on the visit to Australia by the director of the Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Noam Weisbrod, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev professor Eilon Adar.

Members of the Israeli delegation toured NSW and Queensland, meeting with experts, policy makers and business representatives

The delegation met with experts, government officials and businesses, part of efforts to promote cooperation between the two countries.

“In Israel, we also think in terms of advanced water management, the water sector, but it is not a cut and paste thing,” Mr Tal said.

“You cannot copy management principles from one place to another without considering the existing conditions in each place, including geographical, climate, cultural, social aspects of water management.

“We have to prepare ourselves for the future. In Australia, you should emphasise much more efficient ways to use the water resources. We have seen efficiency is a very important issue in sustainable water management, including in irrigation, efficiency in using the ground water resources and in storage and the like.”

Team effort

The visit, coordinated by the Embassy of Israel in Canberra and representatives of the NSW and Queensland state governments, comes as the two states and communities across eastern Australia struggle with entrenched drought conditions and the need for reliable water supply.

It included discussions on cooperation for improved management of water shortages and technological innovation for reuse, purification, conservation and management.

The Morrison government has established a $5 billion fund for drought relief, providing assistance to primary producers, community organisations and rural communities.

Storms in NSW before Christmas were ineffective for significant pasture and crop production, while more than 58 per cent of Queensland is currently classified as drought affected.

Mr Tal said international cooperation on water and drought responses should increase, including economic development which could lead to job creation.

Israel reuses more than 90 per cent of the sewerage effluent and has built desalination plants to double the use of natural water.

“In Israel we have to learn from what is happening here in Australia and maybe rethink what we are already doing ourselves. Cooperation between government officials and between scientists and the academic world should be much stronger between our two countries,” he said.

Israel’s former state water commissioner and founding director of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research Shimon Tal in Australia.

On Monday, Labor announced plans for top scientists to prepare a report on the causes of the mass fish kill in the Darling River at Menindee.

The group, led by the Australian Academy of Science, will report before Parliament resumes.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has sought advice on any possible “step change” to water inflows due to climate change.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud last week asked the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to convene an emergency meeting of state and federal water managers and environmental water holders, but the NSW government insists drought remains a key factor in the fish kill.

Jewish guests confronted by Germany’s new generation of neo-Nazis

By: Vic Alhadeff

19 January 2019

The cry was as jarring and intrusive as it was unexpected. Huddled against a bracing Frankfurt morning, the delegation of Jewish leaders from centres as diverse as Novosibirsk, Siberia, and Santiago, Chile, was listening to an outdoor briefing about the turbulent history which lay behind a sign that simply said “Judenmarkt”.

Just metres away was an elongated grey wall, its surface punctuated by tiny metal boxes – simulated coffins? – each bearing biographical details of one of the 11,500 Jews of Frankfurt who were murdered in the Holocaust. Suddenly, a cream-coloured Mercedes taxi raced towards us; as it passed, the driver lowered his window and yelled “Alles luege!” – which translates, unfortunately, to “All lies!”

Vic Alhadeff, centre, with Dr Felix Klein, appointed by the German government to devise a strategy to combat antisemitism.

The irony that the invective occurred during the final presentation on the final day of a week-long government program titled “Jewish Life in Germany” was not lost on the international visitors, while visibly rattling our guide’s composure. A commendable initiative of the German Foreign Ministry, the comprehensive schedule of briefings, site visits and participation in Holocaust memorial ceremonies immersed us in the fraught situation in which the German Government and the nation’s 250,000 Jews currently find themselves.

Headlining the most disturbing aspect of the evolving landscape is the eruption onto the political scene of an extremist party with neo-Nazi elements, the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD). From a standing start, it burst into prominence in September 2017 and now occupies an alarming 92 seats in the Bundestag (federal parliament), making it one of the country’s largest opposition parties, while fielding MPs in all 16 of the nation’s state parliaments.

Exploiting widespread anger at the 2015 influx of over one million Syrian refugees, its principal platform is opposition to Muslim immigration. In this context it bizarrely presents itself as a safe harbour for German Jews, attempting to launch a Jewish group at a recent meeting in Wiesbaden. The good news was that only 19 Jews showed up, while 400 Jews staged a counter-demonstration and affirmed that they would have nothing to do with the AfD – consistent with the policy of the country’s peak Jewish organisation.

While the rise in antisemitic incidents is attributed in part to the left, to Islamists and to refugees, over 90 per cent are perpetrated by far-right extremists – all of which has motivated Germany’s Foreign Ministry to establish a position dedicated to combating anti-semitism and liaising with German Jewry. The appointee is Dr Felix Klein, who is building a department to devise a strategy to combat antisemitism and promote Jewish life in Germany. At the same time, 300 municipalities across the country are engaged in programs against hate.

While German Jews are spread across 103 communities throughout the country, creating logistical challenges, there are many positive events on the national Jewish calendar. They include: Jewrovision, a music festival for Jewish youth, bringing together 1000 Jewish teenagers; Kipa Day, when the mayors of Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich and Cologne invite males to wear a kipa as a mark of solidarity with Jewish citizens; a project to educate Syrian refugees about the Holocaust and antisemitism; the import of Arab-speaking Israelis in an effort to build bridges to the refugees; and a recent conference by Jewish youth on the future of Germany’s Jewish community with the upbeat theme “Because I want to live here”.

Meanwhile, Berlin leads the way in acknowledging the Holocaust. Apart from the iconic landmarks such as the massive Holocaust memorial just 200 metres from the Brandenburg Gate, 6000 Stolpersteiner (Stumbling Blocks) – metal plates inlaid into pavements across the city at sites from where Jews were deported and murdered, their personal details engraved. And chillingly, while on a pre-dawn run, I came across a bus-stop outside a hotel featuring billboards bearing information about Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann – because the hotel is located on the site of Eichmann’s headquarters, from where he directed killing operations.

So the situation is complex. German Jews – who include an estimated 30,000 Israelis – are overwhelmingly positive, while profoundly concerned at the emergence of the AfD. At the same time, 3600 British Jews have applied for German citizenship in the event that Jeremy Corbyn becomes that country’s prime minister.

Yet there are Germans – a growing phenomenon among younger demographics – who are angry with the Jews because of the Holocaust, who in fact resent the Jews for the Holocaust. There are 1600 years of Jewish history in Germany, they point out; why this obsession with just 12 of those years – 1933-45, when the Nazis were in power? How succeeding generations of Germans tackle and respond to that most vital of questions will hold a key to the future of the country’s Jewish community.

Vic Alhadeff is chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. He travelled to Germany as a guest of the German Foreign Ministry.

Murder of Israeli student: police obtain CCTV footage in hunt for Aiia Maasarwe killer

By: Mark Schliebs

The Australian

18 January 2019

Aiia Maasarwe was murdered on her way home. Picture: Instagram.

Detectives now have CCTV footage from the tram Aiia Maasarwe travelled on before she was killed outside a shopping centre in Melbourne’s north, Victoria’s public transport chief has confirmed.

This came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the killing of the 21-year-old Israeli student as “the most despicable of crimes.

Public Transport Victoria Jeroen Weimar told 3AW this morning that footage had been provided to detectives hunting Ms Maasarwe’s killer, who attacked her when she was on her way home from a night at a comedy club early on Wednesday morning.

There was certainly footage … on that particular tram Aiia was travelling on,” Mr Weimar said. “That’s been provided to Victoria Police.

“What’s on that footage and what other images they’ve obtained from that, obviously I can’t comment on that. But I can confirm that CCTV files and images have been provided from the tram and from the other trams that Victoria Police are working on.”

He said “about a third of trams are fitted with CCTV” across Melbourne.

PM speaks out on ‘despicable’ crime

In Fiji, Mr Morrison sent his condolences to Ms Maasarwe’s family.

“On behalf of myself and Jenny and my family to her family, (we) just pray you can find whatever comfort you can in the worst of all circumstances,” he said.

He said Ms Maasarwe’s murder was the “most despicable of crimes” and Australians must remain vigilant as Victoria Police continue the hunt for her killer.

“Every woman in Australia, every person in Australia, should be able to travel home safely,” the Prime Minister said in Fiji today.

“I can’t begin to think what I could say to her family. I know what I’m thinking about her attacker.”

“I know the police will do their job and they’ll deal with it. But the rest of the country has to wake up today and deal with the most despicable of crimes.”

Mr Morrison said stopping violence against women was a “top priority” for the government.

“We must be forever vigilant and that’s why I’m so sickened by the attack,” he said.

People leave floral tributes near where Aiia Maasarwe’s body was found Picture: AAP

“We have put in $350m for programs to address domestic violence across Australia. There will be a fourth action plan that will be announced in between now and the next election.

“It’s a top priority order issue for our government and should be … (we must) redouble our efforts on every occasion. It’s just so shocking. I’m speechless.”

Melburnians will attend a vigil at the Victorian parliament later tonight as they cope with yet another horrific random murder of a young woman in the city.

Ms Maasarwe’s body was found on Wednesday morning about 50m from the 86 tram stop, where she got off after a night out and started the 1km walk to her lodgings near La Trobe University in Bundoora.

Police are investigating whether she was followed, much like ­Eurydice Dixon, a young Melbourne comedian who performed in a city comedy club and was followed home and killed.

Ms Maasarwe was speaking to her sister in Israel when she was attacked, with her sibling hearing her cry out and drop the phone.

‘This is not the Melbourne I grew up in’

Bill Shorten wants to reassure international students and their families that Melbourne was safe, and that Victoria Police would catch and punish the killer of Aiia Maasarwe.

The Opposition Leader has joined Scott Morrison in voicing his shock over the murder of Ms Maasarwe, with the Prime Minister calling it the “most despicable of crimes.” He has also called out a Victorian senator who tweeted out gruesome details of her death.

“I’ve got teenage children who, you know, use public transport in Melbourne. This is not the Australia or the Melbourne that I grew up in. It is shocking,” Mr Shorten said.

“I want to say to parents whose young people come to Australia, this is shocking but this is not Australia. So, my feelings for the grief of this family, just very strong.

“I want to reassure them that our police are amongst the best in the world. They will successfully catch, and our legal system will punish, the wrongdoer.”

Mr Shorten criticised Justice Party senator Derryn Hinch, who published information from police sources about the murder that they have not wanted to reveal officially.

“I do think that people who are in positions of power and influence shouldn’t put out information automatically when the police have got a different strategy to catch and convict the wrongdoers,” he said.

“I don’t want to give what Senator Hinch has done any more oxygen than that”

Senator Hinch took to Twitter this morning to defend his tweet: “To all the do-gooder Tweeters attacking me for telling the gruesome truth about the Bundoora rape/ murder. This brute is still out there. My tweet was for the memory of Jill Meagher and Eurydice Dixon.”

Official statement of the Embassy of Israel concerning the death of Israeli citizen, Aiia Maasarwe