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Adviser: Trump Could Support Annexing Judea and Samaria


David Friedman, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's co-adviser on Israeli affairs, believes that Trump would support Israel annexing parts of Judea and Samaria, should he be elected. In an interview with Ha'aretz, Friedman said that Trump would not adopt the stance that a Palestinian state is in the United States' national interest, which was adopted by both Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

Trump is also not concerned about the possibility of a bi-national state. "Nobody really knows how many Palestinians live there," said Friedman, a 57-year-old Jewish man who has worked with Trump for the past 15 years.

Asked whether Trump supports the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, Friedman replied, "The answer is – not without the approval of the Israelis." "This is an issue that Israel has to deal with on its own because it will have to deal with the consequences... [Trump's] feeling about Israel is that it is a robust democracy. The Israelis have to make the decision on whether or not to give up land to create a Palestinian state. If the Israelis don't want to do it, so he doesn't think they should do it. It is their choice. ... He does not think it is an American imperative for it to be an independent Palestinian state. "

Friedman said that Trump's support for Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria stemmed from his understanding that the Israeli government "has a commitment to its citizens in Judea and Samaria" who moved out there with its agreement. Trump, according to Friedman, said Israel has to continue to build in Judea and Samaria because there is no reason not to do so.

Israelis "don't have to wait another generation for the Palestinians to hold more realistic expectations and show less hostile motivation," Friedman told Ha'aretz. "Trump's position is that we have to deal with reality and not hopes and wishes."

Asked whether he thinks Trump would object to Israel annexing parts of Judea and Samaria, Friedman replied, "I think there are parts of the West Bank that will stay part of Israel in any peace deal. I am sure he wouldn't have any problem with that at all. Regarding the entire West Bank I think that's a legal issue. I don't think he will have a problem with that but he would expect Israel to continue seeking peace. He has no doubt that Israel wants peace."

Anti-Semitic Incidents in the USA Up More Than 60%

By & Reuters

Anti-Semitic incidents on American college campuses nearly doubled in 2015, the Anti-Defamation League reported in an audit'. In addition, the number of anti-Semitic assaults across the country increased by more than 60% last year, the organization's audit found.

A total of 90 incidents were reported on 60 college campuses last year, compared with 47 incidents on 43 campuses in 2014. Campus anti-Semitic incidents accounted for 10% of the total. In one incident in January, swastikas were spray-painted on the exterior wall of a Jewish fraternity at the University of California, Davis, on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz from the Nazis.

In another incident which took place in November, students chanted anti-Semitic slogans at a protest at City University of New York's Hunter College in Manhattan after organizers on Facebook called for participants to oppose the school's "Zionist administration."

Protesters, who ostensibly gathered to fight for free tuition and other benefits, shouted "Zionists out of CUNY! Zionists out of CUNY!", according to JTA. The ADL audit recorded a total of 941 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in 2015, an increase of three percent from 2014. 56 of the incidents were assaults, the most violent category recorded in the audit, up from the 36 reported the year before.

These assaults included attacks on visibly Jewish men as they returned home from synagogue in New York and Florida, and a kippah-wearing high school student in Denver who was struck with a rock by an assailant who also called him "Jewboy" and "kike."

The ADL noted in the audit that, continuing a long-standing trend, the most-Jewish states had the most anti-Semitic incidents. But amid the upward national trend, New York, the state with the largest Jewish population, and California saw declines. New York had 198 incidents in 2015, down 17 percent from the 231 in 2014. California recorded 175 incidents, down from 184.

"We are disturbed that violent anti-Semitic incidents are rising," Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL's CEO, said in a statement about the audit quoted by JTA. "And we know that for every incident reported, there's likely another that goes unreported. So even as the total incidents have remained statistically steady from year to year, the trend toward anti-Semitic violence is very concerning."


'Israeli Offensive in Six-Day War Caught US by surprise'


Newly declassified CIA reports shed new light on how the U.S. intelligence community viewed the outbreak of the 1967 Six-Day War, suggesting American officials were caught off guard by the clashes. "Hostilities began early this morning," reads the President's Daily Brief from June 5, 1967, which was classified as Top Secret. The report, in the form of a detailed intelligence summary, was presented to President Lyndon B. Johnson. It notes that "both sides report heavy fighting in the air and between armored forces along the Israeli border with Egypt."

The brief later indicates that Israel fired the first shot of the war: "Reports are still fragmentary, but the signs point to this as an Israeli initiative." It would later transpire that Israel had indeed taken pre-emptive action after concluding that the diplomatic efforts to end a several-week standoff had failed. Operation Moked, launched in the early hours of that day, essentially decimated Egypt's air force and secured Israel's triumph in the war. "Israeli planes raided airfields in Cairo and other areas beginning at about 8:00 a.m. local time (2:00 a.m. Washington time)," the report reads.

A day later, the CIA was still uncertain as to whether Israel would prevail on the battlefield, although it conceded Israel had established de facto air supremacy: "In the fighting, Israel has gained an early and perhaps overwhelming victory in the air, but the progress of the war on the ground is unclear. If Israeli claims regarding damage to Arab combat aircraft are valid, they have destroyed the entire Jordanian inventory of 21, two-thirds of the Syrian inventory of 69, and 250 of some 430 Egyptian planes."

The analysts further discounted the Arab media's suggestion that Israel's air force has been severely compromised, saying, "Arab counterclaims of 158 Israeli planes destroyed seem grossly exaggerated, but actual losses to the Israeli force of about 270 aircraft are not known."


'Reverse Birthright' Gives Israelis a Look at America's Jews


Instead of visiting the Western Wall, they visited Ellis Island. Instead of hiking in the Negev Desert, they took a day trip to a Habonim-Dror summer camp. Instead of basking in the sun on the Tel Aviv beach, they watched clips of the Three Stooges mocking the Nazis. And instead of Birthright, a 10-day trip meant to acquaint American Jews with Israel, a cohort of Israeli graduate students participated in a 10-day trip to get to know American Jews.

The trip, which began June 18, is the highlight of a yearlong master's degree program at Haifa University, the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies. The program teaches 25 students about American Jewish history, religion and culture to have them better understand and identify with their American counterparts.

"In Israel they don't teach about Jewish Americans," said Haifa University history professor Gur Alroey, who runs the program. "American universities are full of Israel studies departments. It's important that Israelis will understand that they live in Israel but they're not alone."

In the program, students attend class all day once a week, allowing them to work on the side. Classes cover everything from American Jewish immigration and American Zionist movements to American Jewish culture and contemporary issues.

Along with history books like Arthur Hertzberg's "The Jews in America" and Jonathan Sarna's "American Judaism," students read excerpts from "Portnoy's Complaint" by Philip Roth and some Three Stooges films from the late 1930s. They also looked at how Hebrew translation to English changed as American Jews grew more assertively Zionist.

The program attracts some 100 applicants each year, but the 25 students don't necessarily reflect the average Israeli. Many have had experiences with non-Orthodox movements, which have a scant presence in Israel. A few are studying to be Reform rabbis. Others have lived abroad for long periods of time.

The trip is billed as a "reverse Birthright," and aims to get Israelis to like American Jews in the same way Birthright aims to create pro-Israel Americans. But while Birthright has brought more than half a million young Jews to Israel, the master's program is orders of magnitude smaller. Sarna, who teaches American Jewish history at Brandeis University, said the program aims for depth of impact rather than breadth.

"The Birthright people don't have much preparation beforehand; these people are getting an M.A.," Sarna said. "I don't see these folks like Birthright participants in [terms of] numbers. I see these folks as future leaders."

On the trip, which takes place entirely in New York, the students hear from leaders of all four major denominations and meet with a range of Jewish organizations. They explore the history of Jewish immigration to America, visiting Ellis Island as well as the Tenement Museum on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Along with "Fiddler on the Roof," they attend a Yiddish theater performance and see a documentary on American Jews in film. The trip also includes a lecture by journalist Peter Beinart, a self-described liberal Zionist.

The students are largely bullish about the American Jewish community and the values it represents. Some praised American Jewry's pluralism and downplayed the challenges and divisions that afflict its subgroups. Israelis, a few suggested, have much to learn from Judaism's success in America's free market of religion.

"American Judaism, despite the challenges and problems it's facing, can embody a different and in many ways positive model of Judaism that is very important for us in Israel to know," student Assaf Gamzou said. "Israelis a lot of the time have a very monolithic sense of themselves and our place. Sometimes we think Israel is the center of Jewish experience, but it is not necessarily so."

New Israeli App Determines Taste of Watermelons


Three computer science students at Haifa's Technion University may be about to rid the world of the trouble of trying to find a sweet and juicy watermelon with their new technological innovation. The students developed an application which they say can figure out the quality of the fruit in a matter of seconds.

"One year ago, my mum sent me to the supermarket to buy a watermelon for the guests who were supposed to come to our house," said one of the developers, Salah Abed Alehlim (23) from the Manda village in the Galilee. "I got to the shop, chose a watermelon and hit it as they taught us to do. If it sounds hollow it isn't ready, if it sounds full then it means that it is sweet and tasty."

After the sound test Salah returned home. "My mum opened the watermelon and it was embarrassing. The watermelon was hollow and not sweet. My mum shouted at me. I was so frustrated and disappointed that I decided to search for a scientific solution to this problem. The watermelon is one of the most important fruits, and one of the most special to us. Near the village we have one of the largest watermelon farms in the state."

To help him in his quest to find the perfect watermelon, Alehim enlisted two of his friends to the project department: Adam Garah (22) and Ayman Sarha'an (23) from the Galilee. "We started looking for researchers with the view to finding a correlation between the external properties of a watermelon and its internal qualities," explained Sarha'an. "Agricultural engineers said that there was no connection between the two but biologists sad that, in fact, there were."

"We met with the researchers in Oxford and in MIT and came to the conclusion that the same factors which influence the fruit's peel also influence the surface of a watermelon. So there is a correlation between external factors - tone, stripe patterns and the size of the circle at the bottom of the watermelon - and its content," said Sarha'an.

The students divided the work: Salah took on the task of connecting the application to the sensors which could determine the size and mass of the watermelon. Ayman was responsible for the image processing while Adam was charged with the task of analyzing six properties of the watermelon.

"Since we developed the application, we have conducted experiments on 30 watermelons to teach the system about the content of the fruit. Since then, the system knows how to recognize and predict accurately the taste of every watermelon," Sarha'an said excitedly. "We brought friends who, together, checked the taste of 30 watermelons and the results corresponded with the reality and everything works perfectly. Since we checked the system with other melons, the system is totally accurate," he concluded. The application gives a score between 1 - a terrible watermelon - and 5 - a divine watermelon.

Itai Davran, manager of the laboratory in which the project was developed said, "The cell phone goes round the watermelon, photographs it and examine specific parameters. In a short space of time, it provides results about the information that exist inside it. To the best of my understanding, the experiments were successful, and in my opinion this is the first time that a correlation has been identified between the shape and color, and the taste. I believe that this is probably going to succeed for other fruits too."

The only problem is that the functioning of the device requires a separate device which, perhaps it would be worthwhile for shops to purchase. The question is, how many watermelon merchants will acquire the device in order to make our lives that much easier.

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