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>Israel News Faxx
>JN Sept. 21, 2020, Vol. 28, No. 188

Netanyahu: Palestinians will Resume Peace Talks in November

By Israel Hayom

The Palestinian Authority will resume negotiations with Israel fairly soon, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu believes. In a closed-door conversation, Netanyahu said that the regional significance of the newly-signed peace deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain left the Palestinians no option other than to come back to the table. However, the prime minister said that talks with the PA would re-launch only after the US presidential election on Nov. 3, and only if President Donald Trump is re-elected. In the case of a Trump victory, Netanyahu said, he would begin negotiations based on the Trump administration peace plan, as he promised to do. Meanwhile, ties between Israel and the two now-friendly Gulf nations are solidifying quickly. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi send personal messages to his counterparts in the UAE and Bahrain in which he wished them and their families a year of "peace, prosperity, stability and health." Emirati Foreign Minister responded Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan responded with a message that read: "Shana Tova, Gabi, this is a wonderful way to begin the year, and I hope it is a good sign for both of us, Abdullah." Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani responded to Ashkenazi's message with the words: "Thank you, my dear friend, for the Jewish New Year greeting," and wished him a "blessed year in which we bring peace and stability to the region." On Thursday, a video from 2016 surfaced and went viral showing former President Barack Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry claiming that Israel would make no progress with Arab countries without a peace deal with the Palestinians. "There will be no separate peace between Israel and the Arab world. I want to make that very clear," Kerry says in the clip. "I've heard several prominent politicians in Israel sometimes saying, 'Well, the Arab world's in a different place now. We just have to reach out to them … and [then] we'll deal with the Palestinians.' No. No, no, and no. There will be no advance and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace. Everybody needs to understand that. That is a hard reality," Kerry says.

Coronavirus Cabinet to Convene Tuesday, Police Issue 3,000 Tickets

By the Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom & World Israel News Israel looks to be heading toward a period of even tighter restrictions, as the coronavirus cabinet is expected to meet on Tuesday to begin discussions about what new steps will be needed to stop the ever-growing rate of coronavirus infection. Any new restrictions will probably only go into effect after Yom Kippur, given the political challenges of passing them. On the table: Closing synagogues, restricting demonstrations and shutting down the private sector, except for essential workers. The education system will remain closed for at least the next three weeks, coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu told the N12 news site on Sunday night. Over Rosh Hashanah, with the country under lockdown, the streets were nearly empty – reminiscent of scenes from the first lockdown. Only a few dozen worshipers arrived at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem to pray on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Police said they issued some 2,800 tickets on Saturday. Officers cited 629 people not wearing masks in public spaces and another 2,044 were handed out to those who ignored the rule on traveling no more than a kilometer from home for a non-approved reason. A smaller number of fines were given for other offenses. Police handed a restaurant in Jaffa a NIS 5,000 fine (approx. $1,460) for opening in violation of guidelines. The owner had written on his Facebook page that he would open as usual, and compared his establishment to a synagogue. Police said 10 people were seated inside and 40 outside, in "blatant violation of the guidelines... Apart from the ticket, owner was given a ticket and required to close the business and stop receiving customers." Several others were fined, too, and a handful of restaurant owners have already made clear that they would open Monday in defiance of the restrictions. Some said they will allow takeaway, while others threatened to allow customers to come in and sit down. But the numbers make an argument for keeping the country under closure: There were 5,299 new diagnoses on Friday, another 3,790 on Saturday and some 1,571 between midnight and press time on Sunday, the Health Ministry reported. Israel now ranks No. 16 in the world for cases per a million people (604), the Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center, which is overseen by the IDF, showed over the weekend. The US ranked No. 1 at 14,084 cases per a million, India second (8,944) and Brazil third (8,318). Over the holiday, Israel also hit another peak: 643 people in serious condition, including 170 who were intubated on Sunday night. The death toll at press time stood at 1,236. The last Health Ministry report on September 18 showed 1,196 dead – a difference of 40 people. More than 900 of the people who died from coronavirus have died since July 1, the IDF report indicated. In July, an average of six people died per day. In September, that number jumped to 14. A report released Sunday night by researchers at Hebrew University predicted that another 1,000 to 2,000 Israelis would die of coronavirus by November 1. Gamzu told Channel 12 he expected there to be 800 patients in serious condition within the next week, a number that threatens to break the health system. He said that hospitals should cease to offer elective surgeries and other treatments like during the first wave, and instead invest their resources in opening and supporting new coronavirus wards, stressing "We are in an emergency situation." Gamzu admitted that the zigzagging of the government and the populism that prevented making sound decisions meant that the politicians did not stand up to their contract with the public. At the same time, he said that the public did not keep its side of the bargain either. He pointed to the Friday night dinner protest that took place on Balfour Street, of which pictures were shown of people eating side-by-side without masks on the first night of the holiday. Now is not the time," Gamzu stressed. "They will have all year to protest." At the Tel Aviv beachfront, hundreds of people turned out to protest against the closure on Friday. Protesting is legal according to the rules of the lockdown. However, just before the start of the holiday, the Health Ministry and the government released an outline for protests, which include people wearing masks and gathering in capsules of 20. The new rules were not being kept and police eventually broke it up. "This is a demonstration against quarantine and against corruption," one Tel Aviv protester, Oron, told N12. "The right to demonstrate has always existed." In a separate interview, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health, addressed the protesters: "I must say that as a Zionist Israeli, I find it really hard to see these protests with Israeli flags, and the people's lack of understanding," she told N12. "On the one hand, those people are waving Israeli flags. On the other hand, they're doing exactly what is harmful to the country right now." She added that it is "hard telling children in schools to stay apart, not to eat together. But I can tell that to adults. So, I tell people: Go to your jobs but avoid unnecessary gathering. Don't eat in public cafeterias because it will eventually impact all of us." The lockdown rules have also deepened the rift between secular and religious Jews in Israel. A proposal to lock down only on communities with high outbreaks – mainly ultra-Orthodox areas where initial restrictions were ignored, allowing infections to surge – was scrapped, apparently following pressure from ultra-Orthodox leaders, before Netanyahu announced the nationwide lockdown. Thousands of Israelis have participated in the protests throughout the summer, calling on Netanyahu to resign while he is on trial for corruption charges and accusing him of bungling the country's coronavirus crisis. In the ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak near Israel's commercial hub of Tel Aviv, over 100 activists took to the streets and burned garbage to protest restrictions on gatherings for public prayers. The demonstrations restarted hours after the end of the Jewish New Year holiday, Rosh Hashanah.

Story of Jewish Boxer Recruited by FBI to Fight Nazis to Become a Movie

By the Jerusalem Post

Leslie K. Barry's upcoming novel Newark Minutemen, which depicts the unbelievable story of a Jewish boxer who was recruited by the Jewish mob and the FBI to fight Nazis in the US, will be turned into a movie. This was announced just two weeks before the publishing date of the new book. Barry's new novel, due out on October 6, may sound like fiction, but it tells the true story of American Jewish boxers in the years leading up to World War II, who played an active role in fighting the rising American Nazi Party. They were known as the Newark Minutemen. According to the New Jersey local news agency, the story is inspired by Barry's uncle, Harry, who was a Newark Minutemen boxer himself in the 1930s. Harry, like others, was recruited by Abner "Longie" Zwillman, who would then send the new recruits to work with the FBI. He was a Jewish mob boss who has been called the Al Capone of New Jersey. In order to write the story, Barry consulted family members who knew her uncle. But it wasn't until her mother's 90th birthday, when Barry's family started reminiscing, that she began getting to know her uncle's story. In a virtual chat hosted by the Newark Public Library ahead of Barry's new book, she said that when Harry would come home with bruises, his mother used to ask where he'd been, to which Harry would respond: "I was out beating up Nazis." Barry also gained access to FBI reports. Together with her family's testimonies, these created a detailed picture that eventually turned into the story of a Jewish boxer as he goes undercover during the Great Depression to thwart a shadow Nazi Party in the US, as Hitler was becoming more powerful in Europe. And while her book is a fictional take on the true story, it also addresses the very real history of Nazism in the US. Like many other Americans today, Barry didn't know much about Nazi presence in 1930s America and had to do quite a bit of research to get an idea of the American social reality back then. The German-American Bund was a pro-Nazi organization with a significant presence in New Jersey. It was established in 1936 with the goal of promoting a favorable view of Nazi Germany. Members of the group would parade down streets in Newark and New York to showcase their support. In 1939, months before the start of World War II, German-born US citizen Fritz Kuhn, who headed the organization at the time, held a rally at Madison Square Garden. During the infamous Nazi rally taking place in the heart of New York, Kuhn spoke of "the Jewish-controlled press" and advocated for a "white gentile-ruled US." Today, more than 80 years later, the Madison Square Garden rally is mostly forgotten. So is the fact that many notable Americans preferred staying neutral on Nazi Germany and Hitler in the 30s. Producers John Niven and Nick Ball are interested in reviving this almost forgotten piece of history and have begun writing a screenplay for a movie based on Barry's book. "Newark Minutemen is an epic story of battles, boxers and Mafia, overlaid with an explosive love affair that compares with the classic star-crossed stories from Casablanca to Titanic," producer Leo Pearlman told Variety. "This would be an important story to tell at any time in history – but right now, with the lessons we can learn from the past, it is an essential one that everyone should see."

Shades of the Daleks: Can DNA be Used as Circuits in Electronic Devices?

By the Jerusalem Post

Can DNA molecules be used for disease detection and electronics? In a groundbreaking study, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem claim that they can. Previously known information on DNA molecules focused on its role in expressing heredity through genetic information. However, throughout the years scientists have made an interesting discovery: DNA can also conduct electrical currents, opening up many previously unknown applications. One possible application may be found in the field of electronics in which DNA molecules are being used as electric circuits in electronic devices. Another possibility is using the molecules to detect early stages of diseases like cancer and COVID-19. In a recent study published in Nature Nanotechnology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Professor Danny Porath and his team at the university's Institute of Chemistry and the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, demonstrated a highly-reliable method of measuring electric currents passing through a DNA molecule. The most significant finding that the team made was that the current passes through the DNA backbone, contrary to prior assumptions in the scientific community that the current flowed along DNA base-pairs. "Our method's high degree of reliability, experimental reproducibility and stability allows for a wide range of experiments, in which researchers may learn about the conduction properties of DNA and bring the field closer to creating DNA-based medical detectors and electronic circuits," Porath said. Attaching a single DNA molecule to electric contacts was no easy feat. It entailed overcoming long-held technical difficulties. Eventually, the breakthrough came from team-member PhD student Roman Zhuravel, who managed to an accurate technique for doing so. For Porath, these findings are a career highlight, "we were able to debunk a 20-year-old paradigm. While many technical hurdles still need to be worked out, we've taken a big step forward toward the holy grail of building a DNA-based electronic circuit." The study was led by Porath in conjunction with Alexander Kotlyar at Tel Aviv University, the late Yossi Sperling from the Weizmann Institute, and researchers from Cyprus, Spain, the United States and India. Its findings are considered a major step towards unimaginable applications that just may change the way we understand DNA and the possibilities it brings with it.

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