Report: Israel reaching out after Erdoğan’s ‘ambiguous’ rapprochement

After decades of healthy diplomacy between Ankara and Jerusalem, relations with Turkey began to sour with Islamic statesman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ascent to power. They continued a downward slide with the Turkish leader calling Netanyahu and other right-wing MKs various epithets while pandering to terrorist groups like Hamas and the PA following the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead against Hamas rocket barrages in the winter of 2008. Finally, relations were downgraded following unrest on the Temple Mount in 2018.

The two nuclear-armed nations share common interests, however, one of these being their disputes with Syrian dictator Bashar el-Assad. Turkey has invested money and military action into preventing Syrian refugees from flooding into the country, while Israel remains in a state of war with its Eastern neighbor.

Erdoğan public statement asserting he wants to revisit improving relations with the Jewish state last week came as no surprise to Israel’s military and intelligence elite.

In an Axios article published by reporter Barak Ravid, Ravid maintains that two Israeli officials informed him that Israel wanted “to start a low-profile outreach to Turkey in order to determine [the sincerity of Erdoğan’s] intentions.”

Ravid mentions that over the past weeks, Turkey had sent a number of “ambiguous” messages to Israel via the media and common ally Azerbaijan. According to the report, Erdoğan told reporters that while “we have some difficulties with the people at the top,” “Turkey maintains relations with Israel through intelligence channels.”

Ravid goes on to state that while Israeli officials are not certain of the Turkish leader’s intentions, foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi convened a meeting attended by senior officials to discuss the issue.

According to Ravid’s account, Ashkenazi instructed Israeli diplomats to assess Erdoğan’s intentions by sending “quiet feelers” to the Turkish leader.

The Israeli journalist says Erdogan’s sudden policy reversal comes as a result of Joe Biden’s election victory. He claims Erdogan believes he can improve relations with the incoming American administration, whom he fears will take a “hard line” on Turkey, by improving his country’s connection with Israel.

Israel, for its part, says Ravid, will not risk damaging relations with regional allies Greece and Cyprus, long embroiled in territorial conflicts with Turkey, to appease Erdogan.

Source: Arutz Sheva

US, Israel vote against UN 2021 budget

In a rare move, Israel, together with the United States, decided to vote against the United Nation’s 2021 budget on Thursday.

The decision to vote against the international institution’s annual budget, which usually passes by consensus, came in reaction to the UN’s continued bias against Israel and its intention to allocate funds for an event marking the 20th anniversary of the fated World Conference against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

“Twenty years ago, the Durban conference convened with the worthy goal of combating racism. But, like many UN initiatives, it was promptly high-jacked by organization and member states, that are interested in attacking Israel and delegitimizing its right to exist. They are not interested in human rights,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan told the assembly.

“Today we must all speak out against commemorating the disgrace that was the Durban Conference,” Erdan said. “Israel opposes any measure aimed at allocating a budget for this purpose – we all know that such funds will not be used to support human rights but to spread even more antisemitism and hate towards Israel.”

Erdan highlighted that all too often UN resources are used for anti-Israel initiatives and activities.

“It is part of a wider anti-Israel bias at the UN,” he said. “I will not stand by when such lies and incitement against Israel and the Jewish people are freely given a platform.”

US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft delivered a similar message in her address.

“Far too often the membership of this vital body abandons principle for expediency and integrity for the presumed benefits of consensus. We convince ourselves that accommodation of all viewpoints, including those that run counter to the values outlined in the UN Charter, will eventually yield long-term progress,” Ambassador Craft told the assembly.

“Today this body is poised to adopt a budget that reflects such an accommodation that extends a shameful legacy of hate, anti-Semitism, and anti-Israel bias. The United States rejects this effort and called for this vote to make clear that we stand by our principles, stand up for what is right, and never accept consensus for consensus’ sake,” Craft said.

She added:

“As a firm believer in the United Nations, the United States is, and has always been, the largest and most reliable partner of the United Nations. That includes providing 25 percent of all peacekeeping expenditures, and more than $9 billion a year in support of humanitarian operations. That commitment will not change as a result of my vote. The US is determined to properly implement the budget, ensuring efficiency, cost effectiveness and more rationalization.

Craft called out the way in which UN institutions are used to protect the worst human rights abusers. “I just know that we all can do better. Members of this body have ascribed to its founding principles, and too many – far too many – actively undermine those principles in this hall and across the UN system. Human rights abusers are rewarded with protection in the General Assembly and seats on the Human Rights Council. Authoritarian regimes enjoy a cozy embrace and the sort of back-slapping hypocrisy that should sicken us all.”

“We need a UN that fulfills its founding purpose of marinating peace and security, the promotion of global cooperation, and the advancement of human rights. Just as the United States played a pivotal role in establishing the UN 75 years ago, its charter and Declaration of Human Rights, we will work hand in hand to put human dignity and decency at the center of our action. This flawed budget makes it glaringly obvious that membership of this institution has ceased to require a moral center, and the United States will not let this pass without registering this uncomfortable truth,” she said,

“In specific terms, I turn your attention to this budget’s support for an official event during the 76th General Assembly commemorating the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. For two decades, both Republican and Democratic administrations have urged other Member States to recognize the fatal flaws in the Durban Declaration and join us in its rejection.

“I am reminded of a quote from legendary human rights proponent and Holocaust survivor Congressman Tom Lantos, who was a member of the US delegation to the original Durban conference, and remarked that it “…provided the world with a glimpse into the ‘abyss’ of international hate, discrimination, and indeed, racism.”

“Twenty years on, there remains nothing about the Durban Declaration to celebrate or to endorse. It is poisoned by anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. It encourages restrictions on the freedom of expression. It exists to divide and discriminate and runs contrary to the laudable goal of combating racism and racial discrimination.

She pointed to the difference between the UN’s failed old approaches and the success the US has seen in making peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors this year, “I shouldn’t have to point out the irony here. While this body is eagerly endorsing two decades of dishonesty and division, the Trump administration is bringing nations together and bridging age-old divides between people through the Abraham Accords.”

“Having just recently returned from Israel, I can attest that the Abraham Accords offer a real path toward reversing the tide of conflict and misunderstanding. In this instance, as in others, the world is moving forward while the UN is stuck in the past.”

“Let me underscore that today’s vote is indeed to reinforce the US commitment to a United Nations that functions effectively and in line with its founding principles. Anyone that would suggest otherwise is comfortable with a status quo that undermines the very purpose of this institution.,” she said,

“We must strive for a United Nations that lifts humanity in the 21st century. Our constructive protest against inequities in the budget is a necessary part of the journey, a part of a journey that builds a better world and to strive for a United Nations that lifts humanity in the 21st Century,” Ambassador Craft concluded.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Even While it Was Happening, it Wasn’t Happening

You know how it goes: if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, et cetera…?

Suppose an entire society goes to smithereens, while our media elites stubbornly refuse to notice. What then?

Suppose the reporters and the pundits and the “experts” ignore the coup that has trampled our basic freedoms since last March.

Suppose they all assure us that defending democracy is “anti-science,” and preach to us that civil rights (except for Black Lives Matter protests) are nothing but a “death cult.”

Suppose, after an “election” conducted mainly in the press, on the basis of a torrent of worthless propaganda, a notorious corporate whore is about to be installed in the White House as carnival-barker-in-chief for scantily-tested vaccines – drugs being peddled by a gang of profiteers who wouldn’t even make the stuff until they were promised complete legal immunity for whatever they do to their victims.

Well? Does the murder of our liberties even make a sound?

Was there really such a year as 2020?

In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 2005, the playwright Harold Pinter had this to say about every atrocity concealed by the Western press:

“It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.”

And so much never happened this past year!

Four-fifths of the United States of America suspended democracy and declared the Bill of Rights obsolete. The United Kingdom unleashed a new sort of “police” – faces masked, truncheons in their paws – to maul peaceful protesters for the crime of breathing. In parts of Australia, it became a criminal offense to tell other people the time and place of a political demonstration. Germany outlawed political protest.

But none of that happened. It wasn’t reported in the mainstream press. It was of no interest.

In just over nine months, economies in once-wealthy countries were reduced to ruin. Social media reeled under systematic thought-policing. Following a wave of “executive orders” that shuttered small businesses across the United States, an unprecedented number of Americans began to steal food to survive. In the U.K., UNICEF is distributing food to hungry children for the first time in more than 70 years. Around the world, people in need still can’t get medical treatment. Cultural institutions have been shattered. The performing arts have been banned. Singing was deemed a public health risk.

It didn’t matter.

This year, for the first time in history, more than 40 governors in the U.S. awarded themselves quasi-dictatorial powers – on the strength of laws hastily designed less than 20 years ago for massive bioterrorism attacks, pressed into service to counter a medical “emergency” that was never an emergency. By the end of 2020, most of the American population was still living under dictatorial rule.

That was of no interest.

Huge numbers of people, in Europe as in America, were placed (without a court order) under virtual house arrest. This was called a protective measure – and it was reported as such, though the practice violated civil-rights rulings going back nearly a century. Tens of millions of people saw their livelihoods snatched from them by officials they never even had the opportunity to confront.

Yes, a handful of states that did not imprison their populations or wreck their economies claimed to have medical results as good as – if not better than – neighboring states that did both. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson went so far as to assert all this on May 5 in the editorial pages of the Washington Post, a main purveyor of coronavirus propaganda. But those claims were never investigated in the mainstream press. They didn’t matter.

Now the mega-corporations that supported the “lockdowns” are sucking the life out of the small-business economy that was once the mainstay of the free world. For restaurants, the picture is so bleak that chef and author Edward Lee calls it “the end of the independent restaurant era,” and warns that…

“…we will lose the culture of all of our American cities…. [W]e will become a nation of corporate chain restaurants that will look and taste the same in every city.”

Culture is under attack from other directions as well. London’s theatres, heirs to one of the proudest dramatic traditions in the world, are closed for the first time in modern history – and whether they will ever open again depends upon the whims of politicians. Musicians and other artists have been devastated by “social distancing” rules that never made any sense and have never been obeyed by the powerful.

That doesn’t matter, either.

In respectable society, it can’t even be talked about.

The U.K. Labour Party’s Angela Rayner – last seen threatening to expel “thousands and thousands” of members who don’t think their country should be governed by Israel – is now grousing that…

“…[o]ur children should not have to rely on humanitarian charities that are used to operating in war zones and in response to natural disasters.”

You’d never guess that the self-righteous Rayner actually supported the economy-wrecking madness that caused this deepening poverty – in fact, back in May, she wanted even stricter police-state tactics than those the government imposed.

Governments lied to us throughout the year about the nature of the medical threat we faced, about what they planned to do about it, and about what it was going to cost us.

Formerly-esteemed scientists tried to tell us that the hype made no sense. “We’re falling into a trap of sensationalism,” Stanford University’s John Ioannidis said as early as March 23. “We have gone into a complete panic state.” The interview containing those comments was soon banned by Youtube, even though Ioannidis is universally recognized as “one of the world’s foremost epidemiologists.”

Prominent scientists who signed the Great Barrington Declaration suffered a similar fate, smeared as fringe elements promoting “craven lunacy” and a “brutal” attempt to “let people die” – in other words, as Nazis.

But that wasn’t name-calling. And it wasn’t censorship, either – even though Reddit’s moderators promptly banned the Declaration. Such facts mustn’t be mentioned. Breathe the word “censorship” and you’re a right-wing fanatic.

Speaking of fanaticism, though: an 18-year-old American college student is behind bars at this moment in the Cayman Islands. Her crime? Watching – by herself – as her boyfriend competed in his last jet-skiing race of the year, after she had received not one but two negative tests for COVID19. It seems other people attending the race snitched on the woman, resulting in a four-month prison sentence for cutting short a fourteen-day “quarantine” – one that was issued without a court order, of course.

Once upon a time, we would have called those snitches “collaborators,” if not “heartless fanatics.” Now their actions are praised by newspapers and prosecutors alike: after all, they were protecting the public “health” by putting a young woman in prison.

New vaccines for COVID19 are another way of protecting the public health, of course – they have nothing whatsoever to do with the billions of dollars pharmaceuticals companies are likely to make from selling them.

Never mind that the Food and Drug Administration had to short-circuit its own rules in order to authorize their use. Never mind that the manufacturers had to be promised that “for the next four years, [they] cannot be sued for money damages in court over injuries related to the administration or use” of their new vaccines – a blanket legal immunity that is “very rare,” according to a prominent labor attorney. (Oh, and you can’t sue the FDA either.)

None of that matters. None of that is of interest.

That’s why CNN’s “political analyst,” Joe Lockhart, could recently insist that the government ought to prevent Tucker Carlson from stating inconvenient facts about those vaccines on his Fox News program. The First Amendment doesn’t matter any more, you see. Joe Lockhart says so. He’s a representative of a press outlet calling for government censorship of another press outlet – for expressing an opinion he doesn’t agree with.

And? Has anyone in the “free press” complained about Lockhart’s breathtaking treachery – attacking the Constitution’s press protections while handing over a colleague to the Thought Police? Not as far as I know.

Because, you see, none of it happened.

Just like the rest of the coronavirus coup. Even while it was happening, it wasn’t happening.

It didn’t matter that all the recent hysteria about COVID19 “cases” was based on the results of a manifestly unreliable testing procedure. It didn’t matter that inexpensive and effective treatment for the disease may already be available, with no serious side effects, from drugs like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. When the highly-credentialed Dr. Pierre Kory tried to interest Congress in the use of these medications – from which no one stands to benefit except those suffering the worst cases of COVID19 – he was the target of an astonishing smear by the ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

That was typical of official reaction, though: after a group of physicians announced the promising results of the same drugs on December 4…

“…no major U.S. media outlets reported [their] pleas for help from the federal government to act… Nor did any representative from the CDC, the NIH or the World Health organization contact them,”

…according to one of the rare alternative news sources that bothered to report the story.

So the unproven vaccines will roll out everywhere; Big Pharma will get even richer; poor people will be allowed to die. As manufactured claims of rising “case” numbers stoke renewed hysteria, government after government will subject its citizens to further mass house arrests, even though the experience of Belarus – which did not impose “lockdowns” – strongly suggests that the mass-incarceration strategy does more harm than good.

To those in power, all this is of no interest. It didn’t matter. It never happened.

And to the rest of us?

That will depend, I suppose, on the steadfastness of people who care more about the truth than about conformity.

Those for whom words still have meaning, and facts still matter.

Those who are not ashamed to touch, nor afraid to stand up.

Those who will not swallow lies nor ingest a fraud.

Those to whom the word “freedom” isn’t an insult.

Those are the ones who have truly survived the ghastly year 2020 – and on whom our future depends.

Source: Michael Gesher – OFF-GUARDIAN

Life’s trials and tribulations reason to shed vanity, focus on crucial matters, says Putin

The trials of life are unavoidable, but they urge one and all to turn an attentive ear to the voice of conscience, to brush off vanity and to focus on the matters of the greatest importance, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his customary New Year address to the nation. The residents of the Kamchatka Peninsula were the first audience in Russia to hear his message minutes before midnight.

“True, the formidable novel coronavirus has changed and turned upside down the customary mode of life, work and studies, it forced a revision of and amendments to many plans. In our world, the trials of life are unavoidable. They urge us to turn an attentive ear to the voice of conscience, to brush off vanity and to focus on the matters of the greatest importance,” Putin said.

He added that he was referring to “the gift of human life, the family, our mothers and fathers, our grandpas and grandmas, our children – both little kids and grown-ups – our friends and colleagues, disinterested assistance and the common energy of acts of kindness – large-scale deeds of national importance and small ones, too, within each neighborhood, street and house, but nevertheless no less significant.”

“Trials and misfortunes will certainly vanish. As they always do. But there will remain with us everything that makes us noble and strong: love, mutual understanding, trust and support,” Putin said.

“I would like to wish that all hardships of the outgoing year sink into oblivion, while all the very best that we have gained, and the potential each person has displayed remains with us forever,” he added.

Putin said that “today it is very important to have faith in oneself, not to retreat in the face of hardships, and to take care of our unity, which is the basis for our successes in the future.”

“I am certain that together we shall overcome everything, restore and establish normal life, and push ahead with renewed energy to handle the tasks facing Russia in the coming third decade of the 21st century,” he concluded.

Source: TASS

New Year’s festivities worldwide muted by COVID as curtain draws on 2020

This New Year’s Eve is being celebrated like no other in most of the world, with pandemic restrictions limiting crowds and many people bidding farewell to a year they’d prefer to forget.

New Year’s experiences in Asia and the South Pacific varied greatly depending on the country, just like the coronavirus itself. Some major cities canceled or scaled-back their traditional celebrations, while a handful of places without active outbreaks carried on like any other year.

Australia was among the first nations to ring in 2021 because of its proximity to the international date line. In past years, 1 million people crowded Sydney’s harbor to watch fireworks. Instead, most watched on television as authorities urged residents to stay home Thursday and the country’s most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, battled new COVID-19 outbreaks.

Locations on the harbor were fenced off, popular parks closed and famous night spots eerily deserted. A 9 p.m. fireworks display was scrapped but the seven minutes of pyrotechnics that lit up the Sydney Harbor Bridge and its surroundings starting at midnight brought momentary cheer.

Melbourne, Australia’s second-most populated city, called off its annual fireworks show.

“We did that because we know that it attracts up to 450,000 people into the city for one moment at midnight to enjoy a spectacular display and music,” Mayor Sally Capp said. “We are not doing that this year.”

In South Korea, Seoul’s city government canceled its annual New Year’s Eve bell-ringing ceremony in the Jongno neighborhood for the first time since the event was first held in 1953, months after the end of the Korean War. The ceremony normally draws an estimated 100,000 people and is broadcast live.

Authorities in coastal areas of eastern South Korea closed beaches and other spots where hundreds of thousands of people typically gather on New Year’s Day to watch the sunrise.

Cities and countries that have managed to control the coronavirus got to celebrate. New Zealand, which is two hours ahead of Sydney, and several of its South Pacific island neighbors that also have no active COVID-19 cases held their usual New Year’s celebrations.

Taiwan hosted its usual New Year’s celebration, a fireworks display by its capital city’s iconic Taipei 101 tower. A flag-raising ceremony in front of the Presidential Office Building on New Year’s morning was planned. The island has registered only seven deaths and 700 confirmed cases.

In Chinese societies, the Lunar New Year, which in 2021 will fall in February, generally takes precedence over the January 1 solar New Year. The coronavirus ensured more muted celebrations of the Western holiday. Beijing scheduled a countdown ceremony with just a few invited guests, while other planned events were canceled.

Much of Japan welcomed 2021 quietly at home, alarmed after Tokyo reported a record daily number of confirmed coronavirus cases. The capital reported about 1,300 Thursday, topping 1,000 for the first time.

Many people skipped what is customarily a chance to return to ancestral homes for the holidays, hoping to lessen health risks for extended families. Train services that usually carry people on shrine visits overnight were canceled. Emperor Naruhito is delivering a video message for the new year, instead of waving to cheering crowds from a balcony outside the palace.

Millions of Indians planned to usher in the new year with subdued celebrations at home because of night curfews, a ban on beach parties and restrictions on movement in major cities and towns after the new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus reached the country.

In New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, hotels and bars were ordered to shut at 11 p.m. The three cities have been the worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Drones were keeping watch on people’s movements in Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital. Large gatherings were banned, but there were no restrictions on visiting friends, relatives and public places in groups of not more than four people, police said.

Despite a surge in infections, the Gulf hub of Dubai pressed ahead with its mass New Year’s Eve celebrations, including the annual fireworks show around the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.

In many European countries, authorities warned they were ready to clamp down on revelers who breach public health rules. In the Czech capital of Prague, a popular New Year’s destination for people from across the continent, police prepared to enforce a night-time curfew starting at 9 p.m.

Organizers of the annual New Year’s Eve show at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate that regularly draws hundreds of thousands of spectators are this year putting on a virtual event for people to watch at home. Public gatherings and fireworks are banned in much of the German capital.

Italy’s interior minister has ordered 70,000 law enforcement officers to be on patrol for New Year’s Eve and said this year’s celebrations will be “more sober” than usual. Fireworks will go on as scheduled at midnight over the Colosseum in Rome, but viewing will be from balconies only due to a nationwide 10 p.m. curfew.

A few families gathered in Madrid’s sunny central Puerta de Sol square early on Thursday to listen to the rehearsal of the traditional ringing of the bells that is held at midnight to greet each new year. They followed the Spanish custom of eating 12 grapes with each stroke of the bells before police clear the area.

The British government ran ads imploring the public to “see in the New Year safely at home.” Most of England’s population is under lockdown measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the new, easily transmissible coronavirus variant.

London’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display, which usually draws thousands of people to the banks of the River Thames, has been canceled. But one tradition will continue: Big Ben’s bell is set to sound 12 bongs at midnight to herald the end of 2020.

Source: AP via TOI


In Israel, thousands of police officers are deployed around the country to break up New Year’s Eve parties.

According to Channel 13, police are calling on people to report their neighbors to the authorities if they’re hosting gatherings against the rules.

The current virus regulations ban Israelis from visiting others’ homes.

Police also set up checkpoints on highways and will perform random sobriety tests.

Thousands of Israelis who returned to the country between late October and early December were diagnosed with COVID-19 soon after their arrival, reports Channel 13.

The network quotes a Health Ministry report that was submitted to the high-level coronavirus cabinet.

Among those tested upon arrival from abroad, 10 percent of returnees from Turkey tested positive, as did 17% of those from Bulgaria; 3% from the UAE; 8% from Russia; and 2% from the United States.

Police station commander indicted for slapping haredi boy without reason or justification

The Department of Police Investigations in the State Attorney’s Office today filed an indictment in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court against Lev HaBira station Commander Deputy Commissioner Simon Marciano, for two counts of assault.

According to the indictment, on an October evening, Marciano commanded a police force that secured a large-scale demonstration by haredim held in haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and also acted to prevent riots.

At one point the demonstration became violent and included riots, including burning trash cans, throwing stones at police, and shouting insults at them.

During the demonstration, towards midnight, Marciano began running towards a group of protesters, who were standing next to him on Shivtei Yisrael Street, and who were suspected of throwing stones at the police force. A 12-year-old boy, who was standing with the rest of the protesters at the scene, began fleeing Marciano, like most of the other protesters.

The indictment states that Marciano grabbed the minor, pushed him hard against a stone wall and as a result the minor fell to the ground. While the minor was on the ground he shouted again “I didn’t do anything,” without resisting or taking other action, Marciano slapped him in the face, without reason or justification.

Shortly afterwards Marciano noticed a demonstrator holding a mobile phone in his hand and photographed the boy being led by another policeman. Marciano grabbed the demonstrator’s back, pushed him hard and knocked him to the ground.

Header: Israeli police officers guard as Ultra Orthodox jews protest against the enforcement of coronavirus emergency regulations, outside the Ultra Orthodox jewish neighborhood of Mea Shearim, Jerusalem, October 5, 2020. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Source: Arutz Sheva

Israeli Holocaust survivors with dementia don’t get the government aid they’re entitled to

Thousands of Holocaust survivors in Israel who are suffering from dementia are not receiving the government allowances that they are entitled to either because they are incapable of applying for the assistance or are unaware that they qualify for it, the Social Equality Ministry said.

Ministry staff asked the Finance Ministry to directly transfer the funds to the Holocaust survivors’ bank accounts without the need to fill out the forms, but Finance Ministry officials said that would require an additional budget or would have to come out of the Social Equality Ministry’s existing budget.

The Social Equality Ministry and the Finance Ministry’s Holocaust Survivors’ Rights Authority have determined that of the 8,231 Holocaust survivors with dementia who are entitled to the benefit, only 4,789 are actually receiving it.

The others simply have not submitted the required forms and proof of eligibility.

The financial assistance varies in amount depending on the survivors’ needs.

The monthly benefit for custodial nursing care at home is 740 shekels ($230).

They are entitled to 1,000 shekels ($310) to employ foreign nursing care worker at home or 1,400 shekels ($435) per month for institutional nursing home care.

The Social Equality Ministry and the Holocaust Survivors’ Rights Authority had asked the Finance Ministry to automatically pay the benefit since the authority already has the documentation on the survivors’ state of dementia.

In response, the Finance Ministry said it would require an additional government budget. The matter is still a subject of discussion, with the Social Equality Ministry insisting that the unpaid 30 million shekels in funds would have to be paid out if they were applied for.

“Thirty million shekels designated for assistance to survivors with dementia is not getting to them because they have not exercised their rights,” Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen of Kahol Lavan told Haaretz. “I have approached the Finance Ministry on the subject that the benefit be paid automatically, by default,” she said. “There is no logic in having [the survivors] prove their condition every year, creating an exhausting and unnecessary bureaucratic burden for everyone involved.”

The Finance Ministry said in response that the state transfers about 5.5 billion shekels [$1.7 billion] a year to Holocaust survivors via its Holocaust Survivors’ Rights Authority.

“The Social Equality Ministry can provide an allocation for [survivors with dementia] from its own budget. Therefore, instead of spending 3 million shekels on advertising and campaigns, the Social Equality Ministry could choose to divert these budgets to support for Holocaust survivors, including those who became disabled while fighting the Nazis. There is no doubt that the Finance Ministry would support and encourage such a step.”

Finance Minister Yisrael Katz did not respond to an inquiry from Haaretz on the issue.

Header: Holocaust survivors demonstrating in front of government offices in Tel Aviv. Credit: Nir Kafri

Source: Lee Yaron – HAARETZ

Paris police chief faces backlash for including Trotsky quote in New Year greetings card

After a tough 2020 and apparently seeking to inspire some camaraderie heading into the new year, Lallement drew on a passage from the founder of the Bolshevik Red Army in which Trotsky attempted to rally his “comrades” against the Russian bourgeoisie.

The French police chief selected a couple of lines from Volume One of Trotsky’s ‘Military Writings’, dated April 21, 1918 – months before the infamous ‘Red Terror’, the Bolshevik-led campaign of violence and executions in Russia.

“I am deeply convinced that we will create the necessary order by joint efforts, no matter how the black crows croak,” the quote reads.

“Just know and remember firmly that outside of this – collapse and destruction are inevitable.”

However, far from being a rousing message for 2021, Lallement’s quoting of Trotsky was questioned by French politicians of all shades, including right-wing Marine Le Pen who said the police chief had a “strange conception” of France’s Republican values.

“Should we see the source of his complacency towards the thugs of the extreme left?” the National Rally leader asked in a tweet on Thursday.

Socialist Party lawmaker Remi Feraud also chimed in to share his bafflement at the quote: “What drift … Where have the republican principles that should found the authority of the State gone?”

Meanwhile, National Rally MEP Jean-Lin Lacapelle was stronger in his condemnation of quoting Trotsky in the cards.

“Let us recall that this sinister individual was a fervent supporter of the Red Terror, a repressive policy of mass arrests and executions, which killed at least 140,000 people,” he said.

Lallement, who took office in March 2019, is something of a controversial figure among France’s political establishment and public, with as many as 40 percent of French people wanting him gone, according to a recent YouGov-HuffingtonPost poll.

His new year message contrasts to his call just a month ago for French police to hold “the republican line to the end” against those protesting controversial new security legislation, which included banning people from taking pictures identifying on-duty officers.

The government later pledged to remove that element of the bill.

In 2019, Lallement was captured by TV cameras telling a member of the French ‘gilets jaunes’ protest movement that “we are not in the same camp,” an incident that further marred his image as police chief for many members of the public.

Header: Didier Lallement attends a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, November 11, 2019 © Reuters / Ludovic Marin

Source: RT

France imposes New Year’s curfew, will deploy 100,000 police to enforce it

French police will be deploying 100,000 police and gendarmes across the country this evening and throughout the night, in order to prevent large New Year’s celebrations, The Guardian reports.

In addition, a curfew is being imposed from eight o’clock this evening until the following morning.

Anyone found on the street during the curfew hours is liable to be stopped by police and asked to prove the necessity of his outing by providing a sworn declaration.

200 Metro stations will be closed from nine o’clock this evening, and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has told police to break up gatherings and impose instant fines on organizers.

The extra security also aims at “halting the torching of cars that often takes place on the final night of the year.”

Patrols meanwhile are to carry out “appropriate identity checks” and search vehicles for “dangerous elements” that could be used against officers.

France has confirmed 2.6M COVID-19 cases, the fifth highest total in the world, and more than 64,000 deaths.

Like other European countries, France will see muted celebrations for New Year’s Eve amid the pandemic.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has ordered a visible security presence in city centres and flashpoint suburbs from 20:00, when the curfew begins.

Mr Darmanin is also encouraging shops to limit or stop the sale of flammable liquids in portable containers and takeaway alcoholic drinks.

He has also suggested that local authorities do not publicise incidents of cars set alight to “avoid any incidence of ‘competition'” between different areas.

In Paris half of the metro lines will be closed in the evening, while Mr Darmanin also asked for a wider public transport shutdown across the country to be considered.

Car burning has effectively become an annual event in French suburbs since riots in 2005 in Paris and elsewhere.

Last year a record 1,457 cars were torched across France on New Year’s Eve, according to media reports. The previous year’s figure was 1,290.

Source: BBC

MDA purchases dozens of refrigerators to store COVID vaccines

This week, MDA purchased dozens of specialized refrigerators to store coronavirus vaccines. The refrigerators will allow proper storage of the vaccines in vaccination locations throughout Israel.

To date, MDA teams have vaccinated more than 45,000 civilians, and MDA plans to complete the vaccination of all residents of sheltered housing in Israel and staff in the next two weeks.

“The vaccines must be stored under strict conditions and at very specific temperatures. To do so, we purchased dozens of refrigerators which will allow MDA personnel to ensure the safety of the vaccine in every way possible”, says MDA Director General Eli Bin.

Source: Arutz Sheva

2020: The Year We Lost our Common Sense, Courage and Civil Liberties

Once it became clear to the Western elite that their subjects would readily accept draconian anti-Covid measures, it encouraged them to usher in a code-red lifestyle where there will be no ‘return to normal’ in the foreseeable future and, possibly, never.

If nothing else, nobody can say we were not warned about the madness that would descend upon leap year 2020, making it one of the worst 366 days ever recorded on the Gregorian calendar.

On October 18, 2019, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, together with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted the incredibly visionary Event 201, an exercise that simulated the outbreak of a pandemic “transmitted from bats to people that eventually becomes…transmissible from person to person.”

The simulation proved to be so uncannily similar to the real thing that started just three months later – from imagining a dramatic drop in air travel and business, to breaks in the global supply chain – that Johns Hopkins eventually felt compelled to release a statement saying their exercise was not intended to be a prophecy of future events.

“To be clear, the Center for Health Security and partners did not make a prediction during our tabletop exercise,” the statement read, in what just might be the creepiest caveat ever. “For the scenario, we modeled a fictional coronavirus pandemic, but we explicitly stated that it was not a prediction… We are not now predicting that the nCoV-2019 outbreak will kill 65 million people.”

Shortly after the global elite played Nostradamus, on January 15th to be exact (the very same day, incidentally, that the Democrats presented articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in the Senate), the first Covid-positive person arrived in Seattle from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the disease is said to have sprung to life. From there it has been a non-stop roller-coaster ride of government-sponsored insanity.

Before continuing, it is important to remember the context with which the pandemic has been happening, that is, in the most consequential U.S. presidential election in recent memory. It should thus come as no surprise that the Democrats and Republicans would use the scourge to achieve some sort of advantage, demonstrating Machiavellian opportunism at its very best. Indeed, such is the nature of the political beast.

For example, although Trump shut down the U.S. border on January 31 to Chinese nationals, the Democrats and leftist media pounced, saying the U.S. leader responded too late to make a difference. Even Trump’s use of the term ‘Chinese virus’ was slammed by his opponents as ‘racist.’ Meanwhile, it was the Democrats themselves who were the pioneers in taking the first draconian steps of locking down society to stop the contagion.

On March 16, 2020, six counties in northern California and the city of Berkley ordered an unprecedented stay-at-home order for some 7 million Bay Area residents. This was all part of “flattening the curve” logic that would “buy time for hospitals to gear up for the onslaught…” Well, 233 days later political leaders are not only still flattening the curve, but flattening their economies as well. Today, although the survival rate for those infected with Covid-19 is reported to be in the neighborhood of 99.85 percent, harsh lockdowns continue to wreak havoc, not least of all for small businesses.

Consider the situation in California, where Governor Gavin Newsom has mandated yet another ‘shelter-in-place’ order, which has shuttered, among other businesses, hair salons, barbershops, personal care services, movie theaters, wineries, bars, breweries, family entertainment centers and amusement parks. What is hard to fathom, however, is how the corporate big-box stores are considered “essential businesses,” apparently immune to the scourge, while the small business owner is trashed as expendable.

By way of example, consider the tragic plight of Angela Marsden, the owner of Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill in Los Angeles. In an effort to comply with the ever-changing anti-Covid rules, Marsden spent over $80,000 to build an outdoor patio so she could stay in business during the pandemic. With Newsom’s latest lockdown restrictions, however, city officials denied her permission to serve clients on location, even in the parking lot.

To add insult to injury, the authorities granted permission for a film company to set up a large outdoor eating area for its staff just across the road from where Marsden had built her patio.

“I’m losing everything,” she exclaimed in a video posted to Twitter that has been watched almost 10 million times. “Everything I own is being taken away from me. They have not given us money and they have shut us down. We cannot survive; my staff cannot survive…”

For the Fortune 500 companies, however, the pandemic has translated into a windfall.

Between April and September, at a time when thousands of small business were quietly getting crushed underfoot, 45 of the 50 most valuable publicly traded American companies turned a profit, according to the Washington Post.

At the same time, at least 27 of the 50 largest firms slashed their workforce this year, collectively cutting more than 100,000 workers, while at the same time distributing billions of dollars to shareholders. As just one example, Walmart distributed more than $10 billion to its investors during the pandemic while terminating 1,200 office staff.

To put these figures another way, since mid-March – when President Donald Trump declared a national emergency – America’s 614 billionaires saw their net worth explode by $931 billion in total.

Jeff Bezos, for example, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, saw his private wealth go from $73.2bn since the start of the crisis to a record $186.2bn.

It would probably come as no surprise that the very individuals who helped pave the way for astronomic wealth generation among the 1 percent, are the same ones breaking their own rules.

Governor Newsom and his wife, for example, attended a birthday party with a dozen friends at the French Laundry restaurant in San Francisco. Equally maddening is that Dustin Corcoran, the CEO of the California Medical Association, was also in attendance. And who could forget the photo of Nancy Pelosi walking through a California hair salon when such businesses were deemed ‘super spreaders’?

Such incidences only served to reinforce the idea that the draconian lockdowns, the worst of which are centered on Democratic-controlled states, were specifically designed not to contain a contagion, but to foster as much anger and frustration among the general population in the most consequential presidential election in many decades.

After all, unhappy people have a tendency to vote out their leaders whom they believe are responsible for such dire circumstances. And with the mainstream media almost totally in the Democratic anti-Trump camp, placing the blame on the president has proven no difficult task.

So where do we go from here? Now that we have reached the end of 2020, will the situation begin to improve? Will political leaders begin to loosen the screws and let some semblance of normality return once again? Or will people be forced to rise up and demand the return of their freedom and liberty?

At this great loggerhead in human history, there has been much talk about creating ‘freedom passes’ that will be demanded from people before they are allowed to travel or visit any sort of entertainment again.

“People who test negative for coronavirus could get a five-day freedom pass to attend big events or access public buildings, under plans being considered by public health experts running a trial program in England,” reported Bloomberg in November.

Already, five global airlines – United Airlines, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, Swiss International Air Lines and JetBlue – have announced they will observe the so-called CommonPass to passengers on some flights from December.

“The project, developed by non-profit group The Commons Project and backed by the World Economic Forum, uses a digital certificate downloaded to a mobile phone to show a passenger has tested negative for COVID-19,” according to the Financial Times. Here is the kicker: “The airlines are not making the CommonPass mandatory, but in time it will also be used to provide proof of vaccination.”

It seems rather obvious where all of this is heading: mandatory vaccination for anyone who ever wishes to board an aircraft or visit another entertainment venue again.

Over time, it is not difficult to imagine a vaccine regimen extending to all human activities, including shopping and even getting a job.

Yet what about the millions of people who have expressed extreme skepticism in being administered a vaccine that has been developed so quickly?

Whatever the case may be, should such a plan of action become mandatory, peoples’ lives will be entirely dominated by fears over a virus, together with an endless bureaucratic process of being tested and approved to move about.

Vaccines will become a regular requirement since viruses are in a state of constant mutation, which makes them the authoritarians dream instrument of domination.

Such a system of totalitarian control, should it ever come into fruition, will have achieved in mere months what fascism could not in years: the pacification and unification of a great swath of the world’s population not by bayonet, but by syringe.

In fact, today the people of London are fleeing their fair city not out of fear of the virus per se, but out of fear of the lockdown restrictions put in place by the authorities. To put it otherwise, the world gave an inch and the globalists took a mile, and a person would have to be a fool to believe it could have turned out any other way.

Source: Robert Bridge – Strategic Culture Foundation

Rift in Israeli ultra-Orthodox party may impact Netanyahu’s Election Math

The election campaign has taken off at a dizzying pace: new parties, splits and bolts.

Within this political drama, the ultra-Orthodox parties are usually considered an island of stability. But over the past few days, this has been revealed as an optical illusion.

Haaretz has learned that a group within Agudath Israel, the Hasidic faction in United Torah Judaism, is expected to launch a rebellion against its leadership – the Ger Hasidim, represented by Construction and Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman.

Two members of the rebel group preparing this unprecedented struggle for control of the party apparatus are Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush and MK Israel Eichler.

A number of sources in UTJ said Porush and Eichler are poised to establish autonomy within the party and challenge Litzman, the faction’s strongman.

“After more than two decades, Litzman’s rule has ended,” a source said.

Porush and Eichler are expected to send a letter to the non-Hasidic branch of UTJ Degel Hatorah, declaring that from now on, any negotiations between the two branches would no longer go through Litzman.

Beyond the far-reaching significance of the move for internal ultra-Orthodox politics, it is also expected to impact the race between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former senior Likud member Gideon Sa’ar.

Porush and Eichler are expected to send a letter to Netanyahu with the same message – Litzman no longer represents the entire branch.

When Netanyahu negotiates with Litzman, and the leader of UTJ’s non-Hasidic branch, Degel Hatorah, MK Moshe Gafni and he makes “a list of who’s with him and who’s not, he’ll have to take into account that two votes in UTJ are already no longer in his pocket, and that’s that,” a source close to the Eichler-Porush axis said.

“If he wants something he’ll have to close it with them directly, because they don’t owe him anything,” the source said.

Haaretz has learned that approaches have been made to some of Netanyahu’s people but they have not been fruitful.

“Up until now, Netanyahu’s people didn’t take them seriously, the source said, referring to Eichler and Porush, “but now things are changing.”

A source in the party told Haaretz that there was a political maneuver to reach a better place on the party roster and control over the party institutions, and that it would have no effect on the party, nor on a contest between Netanyahu and Sa’ar.

“The declaration of independence isn’t meant to impact the conduct of the party. It’s not that Porush has so far conducted himself according to Litzman’s dictums. The party has institutions and management that in the end make decisions that everyone is bound to,” the source said.

The Porush-Eichler axis began to form over the past year on a number of issues, but the official moment was about a month ago, when the two of them had a long meeting at the home of the leader of the Belz Hasidic sect, Eichler’s patron, who has backed the move. According to a source in the party, Porush managed to obtain the support of a number of the party’s rabbinical leaders.

Over the past few days Porush and Eichler have presented the Ger Hasidim with three main demands before the election campaign starts: the establishment of a finance committee their representatives would join, instead of the current situation in which the Ger Hasidic representatives are solely in charge of financial management; bringing representatives of other communities onto the party roster instead of another Ger Hasid; and advancing a Belz Hasid over another representative of the Vizhnitz Hasidim.

Historically, the Ger Hasidic sect has controlled Agudath Israel, and since the late 1990s, has been represented by Litzman. Porush represents another group, Shlomei Emunim, which represents a number of other communities and Hasidic groups, which was led before him by his father, Menachem Porush.

Both Porushes have had a long-running feud with the Ger Hasids, mainly since the latter supported Nir Barkat, a Likud MK, for mayor of Jerusalem when he ran against Porush some years ago. “There are two struggles crossing each other. One is Porush versus Litzman, with their long history, and the other is Eichler, representing Belz, versus MK Yaakov Tesler, representing the Vizhnitz Hasidim,” a party source said.

In Eichler’s favor is the fact that Belz is a larger community than Vizhnitz and therefore its representative should be higher on the Knesset roster than Vizhnitz’s.

Until recently, the slot on the list was a non-issue, because the balance of power in UTJ was 40:60 in favor of the Hasidic Agudath Israel. There was a slot for a Belz member as well.

But about two years ago things changed. The non-Hasidic Degel Hatorah proved stronger in municipal elections than the Hasidic branch and demanded that this be recognized on the Knesset roster as well. Litzman gave in without an argument and signed an agreement that divided the roster equally between Hasidic and non-Hasidic candidates, which pushed Belz down the list. Porush has received backing from within the Ger Hasidic members of UTJ who oppose Litzman, a party source said.

Degel Hatorah is also going through challenging times amid rumors of the possible retirement of its chairman, Moshe Gafni, partly for health reasons. “The leader of the party behind the scenes doesn’t want Gafni to leave because he realizes a war of succession that will start that will be cruel and hurt the party,” a source said. “Faction members are sharpening their knives for the day after Gafni. It won’t be pretty.”

Header: Yakov Litzman of the Hassidic Agudat Yisrael faction and MK Moshe Gafni of the Degel Hatorah faction.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Source: Aaron Rabinowitz – HAARETZ

21-year-old from Boston becomes Israel’s first US-raised female Air Force pilot

A 21-year-old from Boston who shelved thoughts of a medical career in the United States is the first female US-raised Israeli Air Force pilot.

Lt. O., whose father was a longtime IAF veteran, was among 39 candidates in a class of 500 to make the grade. She was also one of only two female pilots to complete the grueling three-year course. Israel’s military censors will not allow her last name to be published.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin were on hand last week for the Negev Desert ceremony.

“I’m really ecstatic,” Lt. O. said of her graduation. “It took a while until I could feel all the excitement. As soon as my family landed I felt it. Until then I had a bunch of tests and flights.”

Lt. O., an Israel native who was raised in the United States, was trained to fly a Boeing 707. She will take on a role that consists of aerial refueling operations and hauling cargo, including medical supplies needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

She follows in the footsteps of her father, Boaz, who was an IAF navigator for 22 years before moving to the United States. Her mother, Naomi, also has an aviation connection — she worked as a Delta flight attendant for several years following her service as an IDF communications officer. Naomi now works for the charitable group Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, which provides services to “lone soldiers” who do not have family supporting them in Israel.

Her older sister is in Israel and plans special forces operations for its Navy.

For Naomi, O.’s service was especially challenging during the pandemic, which effectively cut off any possibility of her daughter returning to visit.

“We didn’t see her for more than 18 months in a row,” Naomi said. “Luckily she had her sister, who is also a lone soldier there, who did her best to help her.”

Describing the process of serving as a lone soldier, Lt. O. said that she had it “much easier than other lone soldiers” because she already spoke Hebrew and was familiar with Israeli culture, but that the training was still “the most challenging thing” she had ever done. And while her Israeli upbringing stateside was an asset, joining the military was still a significant “culture shock.”

Asked if she sees herself as a role model, Lt. O. said that she hopes that she can help use her platform to inspire others. She said it is “a little upsetting” that there are not more women and lone soldiers in her position.

Lt. O. initially planned on studying medicine stateside before deciding to move back to Israel and enlist in the IAF.

It was, she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on a phone call, “definitely the right decision.”

Header: A 21-year-old, whose name has not been released by Israeli censors, is Israel’s first female American air force pilot. (Israel Air Force)

Source: JTA via Sam Sokol – TOI

Running low on vaccines, Israel may stop giving 1st doses for short period

The Health Ministry might be forced to semi-freeze its vaccination campaign for two weeks in January, as it may run out of injections otherwise.

Unless a deal is agreed under which Pfizer vaccine supplies due in February arrive ahead of schedule, current stocks will run out in about 10 days at the current pace of inoculation — some 150,000 shots a day — Channel 13 reported Wednesday.

The semi-freeze would allow those who’ve received the first dose to get the second dose, but new first doses would not be given, according to the report.

This in turn will likely lead to a delay in opening vaccination to the general public, Channel 12 said. Some officials had previously assessed that could happen within a week or so, but it may now need to wait a month and a half or more, the report said.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein confirmed that his ministry may stop administering first doses for “a short period,” telling Channel 12 that “there will be no shortage of the second dose.”

Edelstein added that he was in contact with Pfizer officials in order to advance February’s vaccine orders to January, but said that “even if we were to stop for two weeks” Israel would still be far ahead of any other country in inoculations per capita.

Earlier Wednesday, the Health Ministry announced that 152,000 coronavirus vaccines had been administered Tuesday, even as Israel recorded its highest number of new COVID-19 cases since early October.

Government officials had set a goal of vaccinating 150,000 Israelis per day by the end of the week.

“On the way to a million vaccinated!” Edelstein tweeted. “Close to 650,000 in total.”

Israel has ramped up its vaccination campaign amid a third national lockdown, which took effect on Sunday evening to curb a resurgence in infections.

The Health Ministry said 5,583 new coronavirus ‘cases’ were confirmed Tuesday, the highest daily increase since early October, during the second lockdown.

Meanwhile, coronavirus czar Nachman Ash said the lockdown may need to be tightened and warned of a possible slowdown in the pace of the vaccination campaign.

“We’re making a great effort to bring forward the next shipments so no gap is created. If the shipments don’t arrive earlier, this is a possibility and it is worrying,” Ash told the Ynet news site.

However, Sharon Elroy-Preis, acting head of the public health services division, played down concerns about a potential shortage of vaccines.

“We’re in a routine process of receiving airlifts of vaccines from Pfizer to ensure it continues like this,” she told Kan.

She touted the capacity of hospitals to administer vaccines, after they joined health maintenance organizations this week in inoculating the general public, and said the ministry wants to hand out special documents to those who have been vaccinated.

Israel began its vaccination drive on December 20, focusing on healthcare workers, over 60s and some at-risk groups.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is aiming for some 2.25 million Israelis out of a population of 9.2 million to be vaccinated by the end of January.

Header: A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a Clalit vaccination center in Rehovot on December 29, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Source: TOI

Russia is developing world’s first COVID-19 antidote, preclinical studies show drug effectiveness of more than 99%

According to Veronika Skvortsova, the head of FMBA, studies thus far have shown it is more than 99% effective.

“This is the first etiotropic drug that directly affects the virus. In fact, this is an antidote for coronavirus infection,” she informed Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Wednesday, noting that preclinical studies have been completed, which have shown the remedy to be “completely safe” and “highly efficient.”

Etiotropic means that the treatment is directed against the cause of a disease.

Skvortsova told the prime minister that the FMBA is ready to apply for permission for further testing, which they hope to get before the New Year.

“If clinical trials confirm the effectiveness of this drug, it will be the first safe, effective, direct-acting antiviral drug that has no analogs in the world,” she explained.

The FMBA is also working on a separate drug for the treatment of the most complex coronavirus cases, which suppresses and prevents a physiological reaction called ‘hypercytokinemia’. Also known as a ‘cytokine storm’, it is an immune response that leads to body tissue damage, and is thought by some to be causing COVID-19 deaths.

In May, the Russian Ministry of Health approved an anti-coronavirus drug called ‘Avifavir’, a Favipiravir-based treatment that has been used in Japan since 2014 against severe forms of influenza.

The medication is being produced domestically.

If effective, the antidote won’t be Russia’s only breakthrough during the COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier this year, Russia became the first country to announce the registration of a coronavirus vaccine named Sputnik V. After trials, it was revealed to be 95 percent effective in producing antibodies after 40 days.

Earlier this month, Putin ordered the start of mass vaccination, with it eventually beginning in Moscow on December 5.

Header: MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Pictured in this file image dated March 21, 2018, is a laboratory of the Biocad biotechnology company; on March 18, 2020, Biocad announced it had started working on a vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus. File Image/Biocad Press Office/TASS

Source: RT

Pollard traveled to Israel on Sheldon Adelson’s private jet

Billionaire and pro-Israel philanthropist Sheldon Adelson flew Jonathan Pollard and his wife, Esther Pollard, to Israel overnight onboard his private jet.

The Pollards arrived Wednesday morning at Ben Gurion International Airport, where they were greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The couple was flown on Boeing 737 VIP jet owned by the Las Vegas Sands casino group, owned by the Adelson family.

Haggai Segal, editor of the Makor Rishon paper – which is part of the Israel Hayom group owned by the Adelson family – tweeted that the Adelsons had organized the flight.

“Wherever a Zionist shoulder is needed in the 21st century, the Adelsons are there.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu gave Jonathan Pollard an Israeli identity card. The Prime Minister told the Pollards that it is good that they have come home where they will be able to start a new life, in freedom and happiness.

Jonathan Pollard said: “We are ecstatic to be home at last after 35 years and we thank the people and the Prime Minister of Israel for bringing us home. No one could be prouder of this country or this leader than we are and we hope to become productive citizens as soon and as quickly as possible and to get on with our lives here. This is a wonderful country. It has a tremendous future. It is the future of the Jewish people and we’re not going anywhere.”

Source: Arutz Sheva