Newsletter : 19fx0221.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
Israel's First Moon Mission Set for Florida Liftoff on Thursday
The unmanned robotic explorer named BeresheetHebrew for the word
"Genesis"is due for liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:45 p.m. EST
(0145 GMT Friday) atop a Falcon 9 rocket launched by the California-based entrepreneur
Elon Musk's SpaceX company.
The 1,290-pound (585 kg), dishwasher-sized lander was built by Israeli nonprofit space
venture SpaceIL and state-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) with
$100 million furnished almost entirely by private donors. If the launch is successful,
Beresheet is due to arrive on the near side of the moon in April following a two-month
journey through 4 million miles (6.5 million km) of space.
SpaceIL said they hoped Beresheet will help inspire Israel's defense-focused space program
to pursue more science missions by way of an "Apollo effect," referring to the manned
lunar exploration program that became NASA's chief purpose in the 1960s and early '70s.
The United States, the former Soviet Union and China are the only three nations to date to
have achieved controlled "soft" landings of spacecraft on the lunar surface.
The US Apollo program tallied six manned missions to the moonthe only ones yet
achievedbetween 1969 and 1972, with about a dozen more unmanned landings combined by
the United States and Soviets. China made history in January with its Chang'e 4, the first
to touch down on the dark side of the moon.
"This is the beginning of Israel's story in deep space ... whether this succeeds or
fails," SpaceIL president and billionaire high-tech developer Morris Kahn, who invested
$44 million of his own money into the Beresheet project, told Reuters.
The Falcon 9 rocket will thrust Beresheet into a "long and complex" Earth orbit where it
will spend roughly five weeks gradually widening its orbit until close enough to enter the
moon's gravitational field. From there, the spacecraft will execute a series of maneuvers
to reach its destination between the landing sites of Apollo 15 and 17 by mid-April.
During a mission slated to last just two to three days on the moon, Beresheet will use
on-board instruments to photograph the landing site, measure the moon's magnetic field and
send all the data back to SpaceIL's Israel-based ground station Yehud, via NASA's Deep
Space Network, SpaceIL vice president Yigal Harel told Reuters.
If successful, Beresheet will end up as the prototype for a series of future moon landing
missions jointly planned by IAI and Germany's OHB System on behalf of the European Space
Agency. SpaceIL has no plans for future explorations of its own beyond Beresheet and "will
not continue after this mission," Harel said.
German President Lauds Iran on Revolution that Seeks Israel's Destruction
By the Jerusalem Post]
The president of Germany Frank Walter-Steinmeier sent a congratulatory telegram to
Iran's mullah regime in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in the
name of federal republic's citizens.
Germany's largest paper Bild reported on Wednesday "On the 40th anniversary of that day,
friendly greetings from Berlin arrived in Tehran by telegram: the President of Germany,
Frank-Walter Steinmeier sends 'Congratulations' on the occasion of the national holiday,
'also in the name of my compatriots."'
The congratulatory note to a regime that seeks the destruction of the Jewish state and the
United States of America has raised eyebrows and unleashed criticism on social media. The
prominent German-Iranian dissident and public intellectual Nasrin Amirsedghi wrote on her
Twitter feed that "Steinmeier congratulates the Terror-Mullahs."
Bild wrote "Mass executions and torture; the brutal persecution of women, minorities, and
the opposition; the installation of an Islamist terror state that threatens to annihilate
Israel, that covers the Middle East with its militias, and that denies the Holocaust. All
of this started in Iran on 11 February, 1979, the day of the 'Islamic Revolution,' when
the mullahs seized power in Tehran."
Steinmeier, who as then-foreign minister previously allowed former Iranian deputy foreign
minister Muhammad Javad Ardashir Larijani, in 2008, to call for Israel's destruction and
deny the Holocaust at a German foreign ministry event near Berlin's Holocaust memorial,
told Iran's president Hassan Rouhani that Germany is doing "everything in its power to
guarantee the maintenance and continued implementation of the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal)."
The Bild article by Antje Schippmann noted: "There is not a word of criticism concerning
Tehran's murderous attacks in Europe or its billions for financing terror groups such as
Hamas and Hizbullah." The article said: "Instead, the telegram praises the bilateral
relations and promises to 'intensely maintain' the dialogue. Only together, is it possible
to 'overcome the crises and conflicts."' wrote the president, who is a member of Germany's
social democratic party.
Schippmann wrote: To conclude, he [Steinmeier] encouraged the regime to also listen to the
critical voices in your country. "A suggestion that seems absurd given the thousands of
political detainees in torture prisons, including human rights lawyers, journalists, and
environmental activists," she wrote.
The Free Democratic foreign policy Frank Müller-Rosentritt told the paper that
Steinmeier's praise for the Iranian regime that "For our friends in Israel, who are
subject to Iran's permanent threats of annihilation, this must feel like a slap in the
The prominent Palestinian-Israeli psychologist and author Ahmad Mansour, who works to
combat radical Islam and anti-Semitism in Germany, wrote on his Twitter feed that "the
picture confirms my impression that politics [in Germany] does not take the fight against
Israeli Official: Netanyahu-Putin Meeting in Moscow Delayed
By VOA News
An Israeli government official says a planned meeting in Moscow between Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been postponed. The official,
speaking on condition of anonymity Wednesday because of the sensitivity of the matter,
says the meeting was delayed in agreement. The two will have a telephone call Thursday and
schedule a new meeting soon.
Netanyahu and Putin have been recently holding regular consultations to coordinate
operations in war-torn Syria. The meeting was to be the first since a Russian plane was
shot down in Syria by anti-aircraft fire.
Israeli media report the delay is due to Netanyahu's domestic political concerns, saying
he wants to oversee mergers in his nationalistic camp before a Thursday night deadline to
submit party lists for the upcoming April election.
Women Soldiers to Get Free Access to 'Morning After' Pills
A number of years ago the Health Ministry's health services basket committee authorized
the free availability of "morning after" contraception pills for youngsters, under the age
of 20, after the committee found that some woman may avoid using contraceptives after
having unprotected sex, due to the cost.
However, it was then revealed that female IDF recruits lack the ability to take the
contraceptive pills within the required time for them to be effective. Because a health
cooperative does not insure soldiers during their service, they must make an appointment
at one of six special clinics across the country, but by the time of their appointment, it
is generally too late for the pill to work, leaving them only with the option of paying
NIS 100 ($2.65) for the pill at a public pharmacy.
But the IDF and the Defense Ministry have recently changed their policy, and female
recruits can now receive the contraceptive pill within a matter of hours of having
unprotected sex by calling a support hotline, available all year round, including weekends
A soldier who calls during the week will immediately receive a prescription for the pill
either by email or through her unit's doctor and she can take it to the nearest civilian
pharmacy to receive it free of charge. Soldiers who call the hotline on weekends receive
authorization to purchase the pill from the pharmacy, and can later submit the receipt to
their unit to receive a refund. The policy is designed to prevent unwanted pregnancies
among soldiers during their mandatory IDF service.
Morning-after pills are generally effective up to 120 hours after having unprotected sex.
Recently, the Health Ministry ruled that girls under the age of 14 can receive the pill
without the need for a prescription after discovering that many turned to illicit methods
in order to obtain the medication.
The Israeli Vampire Series `Juda' is Coming to Hulu
By Jessica Price (Alma)
Imagine a TV series that's basically "Snatch" meets "Blade," only it's also super Jewish
and the main character occasionally gets into discussions of classical Hebrew grammar with
the mysterious rabbi who plays the Giles to his Buffy.
I've just described "Juda," an Israeli vampire TV series I've been obsessed with ever
since I found out about it roughly a year ago, and which Hulu has just acquired the rights
to stream. I managed to obtain all eight episodes (we don't really need to go into how, do
we?) and loved it so much I spent hours translating and captioning it so my non-Hebrew
speaking friends could watch it with me (HMU, Hulu, I've already done all the work!). They
agreed with me that it was the best vampire TV series they'd ever watched, although that
may have been a ruse to get me to untie them from the chairs.
Anyway. Remember that one time Buffy brandished a cross at a vamp and he was like, "Sorry,
I'm Jewish," and everyone lost their minds and was like, "YAY, A JEWISH VAMPIRE!"? I'm
pretty sure the creators of this series were like, "Yeah, why aren't there any Jewish
vampires?" and set out to answer that question.
Combining elements of crime capers, body horror, comedy, music videos, classic noir, and
superhero stories, "Juda" is actually sort of indescribable one of the most
original things I've seen on TV. According to Variety, it will premiere on Hulu early this
year and the original distribution company also sold the rights for an American
remake so without further ado, here are seven reasons you need to watch it as soon
as they start streaming it (and maybe hit them up on Twitter to get on that).
Exquisite comic timing: The showrunner, writer and eponymous star of "Juda," Tzion
Baruch, is a comedian and it shows. Comedy succeeds or fails on timing, and the timing of
everything from the rhythmic, Guy Ritchie-like visual editing to the 1940s
screwball comedy-patter dialogue and reaction shots is surgically precise. While
the show isn't a comedy, its hapless poker-player main character's journey from petty
criminal to deadly superhero has a ton of funny bits and, like the best comedy, it's also
punctuated with genuinely moving moments.
Gorgeous, haunting animation: After Juda's life-changing encounter with a beautiful
femme fatale (emphasis on the fatale) in Romania, a rabbi tells him the story of the last
time there was a Jewish vampire (WWII, natch). The flashbacks are done in eerily beautiful
black-and-white animation with carefully chosen spots of color (perhaps an homage to
"Schindler's List"). What could have been the usual corny, clichéd vampire
flashback scene to characters in badly done period dress and stilted accents takes on the
dignity of art (with Juda's irreverent interruptions "Waitaminute, DRACULA
Dracula?" keeping the mood from getting too heavy).
A killer soundtrack: I've watched this series with quite a few musician and film
industry friends, all of whom had the same question: "How did they afford all this music?"
From Johnny Cash to perfectly produced Metallica, Jay-Z and Eurythmics covers, the
soundtrack is a whirlwind of great music. (Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" is,
hilariously, a plot point.) The score also sounds incredibly high-end, involving a lot of
subtle, sophisticated riffs on relevant movie moments.
Non-toxic masculinity: Let's get this out of the way: The characters aren't saints
(you'll level up your Israeli profanity lexicon by watching the pilot alone), and the
series isn't going to win any awards for women's representation (female characters other
than the two love interests are in short supply). But a scene in which a frightened Juda
can't sleep, and his best friend Asher spoons him and promises to protect him, is just one
among a plethora of examples of affectionate male physical contact, something that
American audiences could use more of.
Classic high-goth European vampires: Forget vampires who have nanites in their blood,
who sparkle in the sunlight, who are aliens, or who are just misunderstood. The Romanian
vampire antagonists in "Juda" are descendants of Dracula and out-Underworld "Underworld"
itself in their corseted, black-clad glory. Their headquarters are in catacombs accessed
via a secret button in an elevator. And their leader? Sits on an actual skull throne. Suck
The most Jewish heist/jailbreak ever: So your buddy's in jail, and you need to get him
out before the mob has him murdered. How do you pull it off? Well, if you're Juda, you
have your Hasidic friend head to the police station to replace their mezuzot and
distribute books of Psalms (one of which, of course, is hollowed out so the protagonists
can smuggle a weapon to their captive comrade). This is the Jewish representation we need.
A rebuke to blood libel myths: The development of the vampire mythos may have been
spurred by anti-Semitism, but in "Juda," Jews get to bite back. Vampire law prohibits
preying on Jews, and when one of Dracula's children unwittingly breaks this law, it could
spell the end for vampire kind. Jewish values insist that Juda refrain from drinking human
blood and are presented throughout as the thing that prevents him from becoming a monster
like his opponents. Each episode even starts with a perfectly selected quote from Jewish
writings, ranging from the Torah and Talmud to the Yom Kippur liturgy. (Who knew that
Esau's demand for some of that "red, red stuff" fit so perfectly into vampire lore?)
Ultimately, underneath all the glitz of international poker games and seedy horror of
incipient vampirism, this polyglot, witty, brash series has a big, beating Jewish heart.
Hulu hasn't announced a launch date yet, but hopefully it will be soon. (If you can't
wait, you can watch Episode 1, with my fan-subbed captions, on YouTube.)
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)